Sissy Andrews has never served soup in her own restaurant. However, on Monday she got her chance. Andrews opened Maryann's Downtown, because she said it seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up. "After the storm, I saw that there was a need for more restaurants in our area," Andrews said.
Members of the D'Iberville St. Martin Chamber were the first to dine in the city's newest restaurant. Maryann's is on Central Avenue in the heart of the old downtown shopping district. "We were remodeling this building," remembered Andrews. "As were were remodeling, I'd see all the traffic on this road everyday. I said hmmm. Those people may need a place to eat maybe during lunch." And just like that, Maryann's Downtown was born.
Andrews knew she took a bit of a risk by opening the restaurant in the remodeled downtown building. Since the arrival of Wal Mart and Lowe's, a lot of D'Iberville's retail traffic moved north of I-10, away from buildings that used to be the financial hub of this city.
Richard Rose is the D'Iberville City Manager. "Having a restaurant open in downtown D'Iberville puts us back on the map that we're coming back, coming back strong," he said, in between bites of his salad.
Retail sales figures prove that point. According to the state tax commission web site, gross sales collections in D'Iberville in Fiscal Year 2006 jumped nearly 50%. They hit $435 million between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006. In FY 2005, gross sales in D'Iberville were just $297 million. And the expectation is those sales figures will keep climbing, as long as people like Sissy Andrews have faith in D'Iberville's future. "I think D'Iberville is really going to be great," Andrews said. "I think we're going to come back from the storm and I think it's going to do real well."
So does the city manager. "It just means the people have the belief that downtown D'Iberville is going to come back," Rose said. "That old town will survive and come back better and stronger than ever."