K-Mart, Home Depot Draw Businesses To Waveland's Choctaw Plaza - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

K-Mart, Home Depot Draw Businesses To Waveland's Choctaw Plaza

Small retail shops are continuing to make a post-Katrina comeback in Waveland. In the Choctaw Plaza, six new businesses have either recently opened or will soon open.

After Hurricane Katrina destroyed J's Seafood Restaurant, its owners considered rebuilding on Highway 90 in Bay Saint Louis. But after the Home Depot and K-mart opened right next door to their original location, the restaurant owners reconsidered.

"Home Depot, K-mart and the businesses around here, once we saw they were going to open up and invest the money that they were, it made our decision a little easier," owner Richie Santiago said.

His popular seafood restaurant is scheduled to re-open at the end of next month.

A new coffee shop, a carpet and flooring business, and a hair salon have already opened in the strip mall. Soon, a small church and a custom home developer will also call the Choctaw Plaza home.

"Everybody comes to Home Depot, so everybody has a chance to see who we are and where we are," carpet business owner Paul Studstill said.

Hair salon owner Cynthia Bowen agrees.

"It's a lot of exposure for me with Home Depot, K-Mart and Auto Zone. It's very important. It's bringing people to the location."

While this strip mall is on its way to bouncing back, the Choctaw Village movie theatre, located directly behind the Plaza, still looks like it did the day after Katrina struck.

"It's an eyesore. We need to get that cleaned up," Bowen said.

Business owners who are trying to re-establish themselves say the sooner something is done with the property, the better it will be for the road to recovery.

"Many of us lived almost in a state of depression because of all the destruction around us. The place behind us is a direct reminder of all of that," Studstill said.

Waveland city leaders are in the process of trying to locate property owners, who live out-of-state.

By Al Showers

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