When Mike Phillips opened Audio Wave Electronics in 2004, he says Gautier lacked both small and large businesses.
"Pascagoula had some shops, Oceans Springs, D'Iberville, Biloxi, but there was not anything here," Phillips said.
Still, Phillips took a chance on Gautier.
"I could see some potential here."
Phillips says the gamble paid off. Today, commercial development in Gautier seems like a sure bet. Restaurants and shops now line Highway 90, and soon, a new Walgreens will open. Down the road, construction is underway on a bigger Lowe's store.
"We are very, very excited about that, not only because the size of it, but when they tear down the old store, they're are going to lease out three parcels," City Manager Christy Wheeler said.
Wheeler says she is not sure how many business have opened in Gautier in the past three years, but she says two factors make the city so popular. One is available land. The other, oddly enough, is Katrina.
"We did not get the damage that everyone else did. Our infrastructure remained intact, so the opportunity to build here quickly was available."
And Wheeler says more businesses setting up shop in Gautier means more jobs, more tourists, and more tax revenue.
"The more rooftops we have, the more businesses that are going to come. The more businesses that come, the rooftops will be developed, and you are into this spiral that creates growth."
Wheeler says the new Lowe's should be open for business by August.