New Businesses Find Plenty Of Customers In Bay St. Louis - - The News for South Mississippi

New Businesses Find Plenty Of Customers In Bay St. Louis

Bay St. Louis city leaders say it's a major sign of hope. At a time when so many small business owners are still struggling to reopen, several new businesses have set up shop in the storm devastated city.

The Stirred Up Bay Coffee House opened for business in the Zappardo Shopping Center 3 months ago.

"I'd had already talked to a couple of the coffee shop owners that were here prior to the storm and they had said to me that they were not going to return and this town needs a coffee shop," Co-Owner Patricia DeNardo said.

She said so far business has been good, relief workers drop by for a hot beverage and to take advantage of free wireless Internet service. Other regulars are people with "FEMA trailer fever" who just need a place to hang out.

DeNardo admits she did have concerns about opening a new business in a storm battered community.

"The population for one, I wasn't sure if the business really could sustain with our population being so small right now. But I figure if we could just stick it out til everybody comes back and the bridge opens up, we'll be doing good."

Clyde's Lounge opened its doors to customers two months ago. The Highway 90 business is packed with people once the sun goes down.

"I was in the medical equipment business prior to the storm and it didn't seem viable after the storm given the population shift. And all of our favorite spots like the Good Life and Malini's and other places were washed away by the storm, so we wanted to do it, to make a living but also to give people around here a place to go," Owner Tommy Mortillaro said.

The Market Town Shopping Center welcomed Russo's Restaurant two months ago.

"I had a little concern, you know especially at this end of Bay St. Louis near the Bay Bridge. It's sort of a dead end now, so I had a little concern of not getting traffic," owner Charles Russo said.

But one look at the long lines in his restaurant, and it's clear. He had nothing to worry about.

"It's sort of a life dream come true kind of thing. We took the diversity of the storm and made something good out of it."

There are at least four other new mom and pop businesses set to open in the Bay. 

The Stirred up Bay Coffee, will hold a grand opening celebration with its neighbors on Friday, June 18th. There will be food and live music.

by Al Showers

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