More conventions mean big bucks for the Coast

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of Mississippi County supervisors are enjoying what the Coast has to offer. The State Association of Supervisors is holding its annual convention at the Coast Coliseum. What we enjoy are the dollars they bring along with them.

The supervisors come here with full pockets for business and pleasure.

Hosea Bogan is a supervisor from Monroe County. She noted, "We're probably going to be spending somewhere in the neighborhood, our five people, about $3,000 plus."

Many come with their families who are eager to see the sights. Brenda Campbell is the wife of one of the attendees. She brought her grandchildren here. She said, "We're carrying them to the water park, and then we'll play putt-putt golf and going to the mall and shop."  How much money will she spend?  Her answer, "However much paw paw gives us."

While here, many might want to pick up a souvenir of their visit. "They had a law enforcement convention recently and it almost looked like we were having a meeting at Sharkheads with all the people underneath the building. It's just that important to our business in a day in and day our basis," said J.J. Pierotich, the owner of Souvenir City.

Some even pick up a club for a round of golf. Tracy McGuire is the manager at Sunkist Country Club. "Mostly afternoon rounds when they are finished doing all their meetings. We have a little twilight that they'll come play, so anything helps, especially this time of the year," he said.

Is their a limit? Supervisor Chris McIntire from Choctaw County has the answer. "I brought more money than the wife wanted me to bring. But trying to make a good impact on the Coast. Our association also tries to strive to come down here to the convention and use the restaurants and local facilities," McIntire explained.

Many of the conventions are booked during the busy summer tourist season here on the Coast, and the business is noticeable. Where it's really noticeable is in the dead of winter.

That according to restaurant owner Mark Balius, who stated, "Big time importance during the slow season. Because at that point, we're not really doing that much business anyway with most of our tourism gone so it really helps boost the numbers in the off season."

That's the kind of boost the Coast really needs.

Business at the convention center has increased for three consecutive years. The facility averages about 130 conventions a year. Rental fees from the conventions have increased from $813,000 in 2016, to a projected $1.1 million this year.

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