Downtown Long Beach business vibe getting stronger

After months of anticipation, the Juicy Caboosy is open for business near downtown Long Beach.
Published: Feb. 26, 2023 at 9:05 PM CST
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LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - After months of anticipation, the Juicy Caboosy is open for business near downtown Long Beach. If opening weekend is any indication, the juice bar and restaurant is on the right track.

“It’s incredible. We’ve been slammed, which is a true blessing,” said co-owner Alisa Von Dobeneck. “We sold out yesterday by 6 p.m.”

It’s already been an emotional ride for her and her business partner Tomeka Bryant.

“People have been coming up and saying like, ‘Oh, we follow you on the journey on social media and we’re so excited.’ And so many people we’ve been chatting with came and it was full of like hugs and great food,” Von Dobeneck said. “And the vibes have been exactly what we’ve been hoping for.”

She wants that feeling to spread.

“There are other businesses opening and there’s like this huge, huge energy around Long Beach and we’re excited to be part of that.”

The potential for growth is one of the reasons Stephen Laub and his wife moved to Long Beach six years ago.

“We researched the entire Coast and we fell in love with Long Beach,” he said. “We heard a lot of good things, a lot of good expectations that were going to happen to Long Beach. So, we’re really glad to see something like this come in.”

Resident Monte McCoy is also happy with the pace at which Long Beach is growing.

“I think you have to grow as a town - get better at everything,” he said. “More people, more businesses, more stuff like this downtown. It’s great.”

Dr. Don Gaddy has lived in Long Beach for 60 years. He’s seen the city at many different stages.

“I like to see Long Beach growing. I like to also see how it’s growing. It’s what I think a lot of people say is kind of a bedroom community,” he said. “But they need the commercial stuff too and we’re starting to see some of the commercial stuff along Jeff Davis here. And that’s good.”

Even those protesting the removal of live oak trees to make room for a boutique hotel on Jeff Davis Avenue want growth. They just want smart growth.

“We are all for the economic development of Long Beach,” said protester Wendy Taylor. “We want the hotel; we want the business. We’d even like to visit there. But we want to save the trees, too. And we believe we can save the trees.”

They want the trees to be part of the solution, not the problem.

“They add value, they add beauty, they add shade,” Taylor added. “I think it’s more indicative of a small-town main street with these old Live oaks than just taking them down.”

The group against removing the trees collected signatures Sunday for hard-copy evidence to show the number of people supporting the cause.

Last week, the Long Beach Board of Aldermen sent the previously approved permit, which allows the trees to be cut down, back to the planning commission for review. Last Thursday, the planning commission approved the permit again.

Protestors will present the signatures when the permit comes up again at the next Board of Aldermen meeting on March 7.

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