PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX)- It's Lalinda Grace's first holiday season doing business in downtown Pascagoula. She opened her children's boutique, Emmy Jacks' this summer.
"It started kinda slow to start with, but the last week before Christmas it really picked up a lot," she said.
It was about a twenty percent increase in business, and she said the boost encouraged her for the new year. That's when she thinks things could really improve downtown.
"I'm excited about the things that are happening here," she said. "We have new restaurants opening and the older restaurants are improving and I just love it here."
A lot of the business owners are still gone for a post-holiday break, but they are excited about coming back in 2009. Some of them say this year is going to be very important for Downtown Pascagoula.
With the rough economy, ushering in new businesses wont be easy. Despite it all, they are slowly popping up.
"I'm fixing to open this bar that's next door over here," said Charles Briggs in reference to the vacant building next to his business, Downtown Jazz Club. "I'm fixing to open it in the next two months."
People are following the new businesses.
"They're starting to come down more. I'm a new store. We have the new restaurant opening. They've done a lot of beautification down here so more people are coming down here than they used to."
There's still a lot of work to be done before downtown Pascagoula thrives.
"It's gonna be a process," said Robert Brumfield who owns Coast Clothing Company. "It doesn't happen overnight but we feel like it's headed in the right direction."
Business owners are optimistic that the process is moving along.
"You gotta be positive about these things," said Briggs. "I think it's gonna come back, it'll be alright."