GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Business is different at the Mardi Gras Supplies in Gulfport due to COVID-19 cancelling most of the Mardi Gras festivities this year.
“Normally, our lines are all the way back through all of the aisles,” said employee Bradley Day. “So, just to be this time of year and so close to Mardi Gras, it’s definitely a lot different. It’s been hard.”
But at least there is business during the pandemic that has shut down parades and other celebrations. Bulk beads and some other traditional items that normally would be heading out the door are pretty much stuck on the shelf.
But, what’s being sold well is home décor.
“We’ve been selling a lot of garland, lights, things that can really make your house really pop,” said Day. “Lot of wreaths.”
That’s what’s driving Austin McAllister, and he said he’s on a mission to decorate for an engagement party he’s hosting.
“Oh, it just brings it all together,” said McAllister. “I mean, it’s a Mardi Gras-themed party. So, we’ve got to have all the Mardi Gras decorations, beads and all the accessories.”
Mollie Manhattan and Kenny Matlock are all in, for everything.
“I love the artistic value of it,” Matlock said. “Just the extravagant stuff. I love the harlequins, the jokers, all that. And the beads. I love it all.”
Manhattan added “Coming here is really fun because you can see the stuff that you would have gotten in parades or seen in the parades. But you kind of have to make your own parade at home.”
However, Day remains positive.
“What’s wonderful is that since it’s beads at Mardi Gras, we can still this for years to come,” said Day. “So, I don’t really think it’s going to affect our stock. We’ll have a lot more in reserve for next year. So, whenever the pandemic finally settled down we’ll be able to be a little bit more robust, and I think that’s going to be the ultimate Mardi Gras.”
And there are lessons that will stay for a long time.
“I think what we have learned is just to order a lot differently in the years to come,” Day added. “I think there’s still going to be a lot of people that are afraid to go out to the parades for the next oncoming year. So, I think we’re looking at being a little bit more smart with what items we’re going to have in our inventory.”