A mall crowded with shoppers the day after Thanksgiving is nothing new. But in years past, this kind of hustle and bustle was fairly uncommon at Singing River Mall in Gautier.
"This year so far we are over 100 percent from what we were last year," says Mall Manager Tina DuBose. "That's average. Some stores are considerably higher, some are a little lower, but it averages over 100 percent."
Singing River Mall only closed for about a week after Hurricane Katrina. Since the storm, it has become a hot spot for both displaced shoppers and retailers alike.
"Very very busy," says DuBose. "A lot of activity. New leases. We have a lot more apparel shops. New stores that haven't been in here for quite some time, they're back. We have a lot of shops, only a few leaseable spaces left."
The improvements are appreciated by shoppers like Scott Anderson of Gulfport.
"Yeah it is, a lot better," says Anderson. "Edgewater Mall kind a took a beating, so we had to come over here to do our shopping."
For others, like Kimberly Turner of Escatawpa, a functioning mall featuring more than 70 stores, provides both the necessities, and some post-Katrina relief for her and her family.
"I purchased a bed ensemble for myself. I just redid my house from the storm, so I wanted some new covers and things like that. And we brought my brother and his wife from Alabama to shop for the day."
Mall managers say they expect business to remain steady until the last 10 days before Christmas, which often outpace the post Thanksgiving weekend as the busiest time of year.
By the way, both Edgewater Mall in Biloxi and Prime Outlets in Gulfport have reopened. The outlet mall just opened on Friday. Edgewater opened nine days ago with about 70 percent of its pre-Katrina businesses.