Some Area Businesses Feel The Pain Of Mill Shutdown

The food is always hot at Heritage House in Moss Point. The restaurant is located right down the street from the closed International Paper mill, but folks here say the mill's closing really hasn't affected their business.

"We've never done a whole lot of business with the Paper Mill because of the fact that they only have 30 minutes for lunch, and a lot can't even leave their stations," Heritage House owner Kathy Baker said.

But the restaurant has made up for what customers they did lose by recruiting other businesses.

"I fax my menus to them and they order, and we deliver to them everyday," Baker said. "That replaced a lot of that business."

Carla Peoples has been a cook at Tate's Restaurant for two years. She says the mill's closing didn't have a major impact on their business either, but it has effected them in another way.

"A lot people assumed that we were closing," Peoples said. "So they would come in and say 'Are ya'll closing?,' and I would say 'no.'"

"We've had people come in that said 'Well, so and so told me you were closed because of the Paper Mill, but I had to come and check for myself,'" Baker said. "So that's affected us, I'm sure."

Although those businesses didn't close, this branch of Singing River Federal Credit Union did. Officials say they saw the last days of the mill coming, so they closed back in February.

"The biggest majority were Paper Mill people," Ricky Browning said. "They would walk across the street and do their transactions, coming into to work or leaving work. It's really going to be no effect to our bottom line."

Regardless of the business impact, most business owners in the area agree, they miss the hustle and bustle of an industry that lasted in Moss Point for 90 years. Most business owners said they will have more of a loss when Rohm and Haas shuts down later this year.