Ocean Springs Bridge Gives Businesses A Boost

Just weeks ago people in Ocean Springs and Biloxi celebrated the re-opening of the Ocean Springs Bridge. Now that traffic is moving freely, businesses say they are reaping the rewards.

"The first day the bridge was open, you would not believe how many people from Biloxi and all they could say was how wonderful it was to be able to just drive across and come to see us and come see what had been happening with us," says Michele Hale, she works at Courtney Farms.

The eight-year-old business originally started out as a produce market but Hurricane Katrina forced owners to make some big changes to stay in business.

"They decided to go into retail nursery garden center and actually quit the produce business," Hale said.

She says the response from customers has been overwhelming especially now that the bridge is back open.

"We've had nothing but positive sales, a positive boost in customers coming back to us and we could not be more happy to see what the opening of the bridge has done for Courtney Farms," Hale said.

The bridge is also making shopping a little easier for the Nowell Family.

Talor Nowell is home on Thanksgiving break from MSU.

"Since I just came home, just today was my first time going across the bridge and everything and it's much more convenient actually," Nowell said.

Customer convenience is also important for neighboring Hartz Chicken.

"We have had a lot of customers since the storm that we haven't seen since the storm and now that the bridge is back up, they've been coming back," says Tracy Durand, the assistant manager.

Durand has been working for the restaurant for almost 15 years. She says she while the businesses has regular customers, the bridge is crucial to the company's success.

However now that it's open, business is definitely booming for businesses in Ocean Springs.

Right now there are only two lanes open on the bridge. Workers expect to have all lanes open by April of next year.