Younger Generation Emerges As Entrepreneurs Post-Katrina

Saturday morning is no time to sleep-in for 22-year old Timothy Martin. That's because the young entrepreneur is helping locals get a jump start on their day with a fresh cup of coffee.

"A lot of people like to go to college so they don't have to go straight to work. But I wanted to start young to hopefully retire early," small business owner Timothy Martin says.

American Style Coffee House in Gautier is just one of many new businesses started by people under 30.

"I've seen a surge here in Jackson County, and I've talked with some of my colleagues throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and they're seeing it as well," Jackson County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carla Todd says.

So Martin might not be alone, making his mark in the world of business.  From the looks of happy customers, he's doing a good job trying.

The coffee shop has enabled Martin to serve up a hot cup of joe to many customers. But since opening, Martin says he's been served up a lesson or two about life, and being an entrepreneur.

"Just try as hard as they can. Anybody can do it. It's something I wanted, so I went for it. When people tell you that you can't, that's when you go for it anyway," Martin says.

That commitment to goals and customer satisfaction is what sets this generation apart in a post-Katrina world.

"They're open to change, they're willing to take a risk, I think that's a breath of fresh air for Jackson County," Todd says.

Ms. Todd recommends business owners of all ages take advantage of their local chamber of commerce resources. She says the networking, local advertisement, and guidance the chamber can provide is invaluable to the success of a new business.