MayFest Is No Party For Small Business Owner

The stage is set, and the street is blocked off for the first ever Ocean Springs MayFest.

"Music, good food, good vendors, that are all family oriented for the good of the city and the businesses downtown Ocean Springs," MayFest Organizer and Mosaic Co-Owner Arturo Barajas says.

But not everyone is in the mood to celebrate.

"People don't bother to come. They'll come for the festival, but they won't come to the merchants. So I'm going to be closing here shortly, it's unfortunate because Saturday is my best day," Missisippi Mud Works potter Jim Francis says.

On this day, Francis had zero sales.

"Haven't sold a thing," Francis says.

He says cutting off vehicle traffic from Government Street at 2 pm is a blow to his business, which is usually open until 5pm. So at noon, he called it a day.

Mississippi Mud Works isn't the only business that's shutting it's doors early today. You can see signs that says "Sorry We're Closed" in other Ocean Springs businesses. But Barajas says today's event is a chance for businesses to get some extra exposure.

"It's going to bring people from side to side. That way people are going to be in front of your business at least seven times this day," Barajas says.

Many stores did setup shop outside, to catch the walking traffic. While it might not be Saturday business as usual, it is a Saturday that Barajas hopes visitors won't soon forget.

"I'm sure they're going to come back, because that's stored in their head somewhere. I'm sure they're going to come back and go to that store," Barajas says.

Merchants did reach a compromise on the street shutdown time throughout the festival's planning stages. At first, organizers pushed for a complete day of blocked traffic, beginning at 5am eventually, that 2pm time was agreed upon. And merchants did have the choice to have a booth on the street.