Business And Population Growing In Post-Katrina Stone County - - The News for South Mississippi

Business And Population Growing In Post-Katrina Stone County

Wiggins Mayor Jerry Alexander has cut so many ribbons lately, he's taken to recycling them.  

"We'll just drop it like it cut," says Alexander. "All right, there we go."

But that doesn't mean he's not excited to have Sears back in business.  

"It's Known worldwide and it's a good retail outlet," says Alexander. "Everybody knows what Sears handles. They handle everything from one end to the other and we're just excited about being back in business here in Wiggins."

The Roberson family is excited as well.

They're buying all new appliances for their new house that's replacing their old one that was destroyed by Katrina.  

"My wife is excited," says Bryan Roberson. "I'm ready to go fishing. I'm tired of building a house."

Sears Store owner Dianne Lambert says excitement is the key word to describe the business climate in Wiggings these days.  

"All around us, we're getting all kind of new growth," says Lambert. 

Sandra Maniscalco with Stone County Economic Development says that growth closely mirrors the growth in population they're experiencing as former coastal residents relocate further inland.  

"We've got one new industry that has opened up in the South Park on 49," says Maniscalco. "We've got 2 or more fixing to break ground. We've got a lot of small businesses that's opened."

It's the kind of good news that can make a first term Mayor start thinking about a ribbon budget.  

"It's a shame it took a disaster to hit us to get us woke up and get progress going on, but the Lord works in mysterious ways," says Alexander.

And neither he nor any of these Sears shoppers are looking back.

"I hope it keeps growing," says Carol Reutter of Perkinston. "It needs to. We love Wiggings."  

by Don Culpepper

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