The new Merchants and Marine Bank headquarters is now open for business in Pascagoula. Construction started on the $7 million project six months before Katrina. Now, after many delays, the bank is finished, bigger and better than ever.
M & M President Royce Cumbest was happy to welcome customers Friday.
"We had a number of customers in this morning. It's been quite a good day," Cumbest said.
"Oh, the bank is real nice," customer Sidney Green said.
Green said having the downtown bank back will save him time and money.
"I had to go so far to get to the other banks, so it as good to have it open."
M & M started work on the 40,000 square foot building before Katrina, but with the bad always comes some good.
"There's an opportunity in every disaster like that, to do something better. You can always come back a little stronger, a little better," Cumbest said.
The new building is also home to offices and a community room. And the architectural style represents the French and Spanish influences in our area.
"We wanted the building design to accommodate some outdoor events," Cumbest said. "We are a community bank, so everything we do here is geared to the community."
A community full of small business that are just as excited to see opening day finally come, especially Monica's Restaurant. Restaurant Manager Mary Poole said after the bank closed, her business slowed down. Now Poole says she's looking forward to bank customers stopping by for some southern cooking.
"I hope it helps. We had a lot of businesses from over there before the new bank started and we really missed it," Poole said.
Cumbest said the bank lobby will also feature different works from Jackson County artists.