Cruisers Crank Up South Mississippi's Economy Over Weekend

Ocean Springs streets are no longer filled with classic cars, but the sounds of Cruisin' the Coast, and the sales it brought, still linger inside Salmagundi's.

"We had a wonderful crowd in downtown Ocean Springs, people from all over the country," sales associate Sarah Jacobs said.

It was so good that workers are busy re-stocking store shelves to replace the countless items visitors purchased this past week. The sales filled up both the store's cash register and the cars of out-of-town cruisers.

"One fellow sort of smiled at his wife and said he'd already filled it with parts to his car, and they would have to make a trip back to the hotel before we could bag her purchases into the car," Jacobs said.

On Government Street, bar owner Kris Kwitzky helped hundreds of visitors quench their thirst.

"We were so busy, I didn't really have a chance to check on the clientele. But it seemed like we had a bunch of nice people in here from all over the area," Kwitzky said.

Some local business owners said off camera that Cruisin' actually hurt their sales on Thursday and Friday. That's because the city blocked off parts of downtown making it much more difficult for cruisers to find their shops.

Kwitzky says while some stores were at a disadvantage, overall, reaching pre-Katrina Cruisin' numbers should be a win for everyone.

"Let's find out what we can do to make it better next year, but it was a fantastic event," Kwitzky said.

Chamber of Commerce Director Margaret Miller says the overall economic impact on Ocean Springs is hard to tell, but more than 2,000 cruisers participated in the Ocean Springs stop.