South MS businesses face decision to stay open or close up shop

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - With the snow, ice and freezing rain expected to close roads and bridges, South Mississippi businesses were faced with a big decision Tuesday of whether to stay open or close up shop.

At Tato Nut, the baking starts at 2:30 a.m. By 5 a.m., hungry customers are lining up. That was still the case on Tuesday despite the winter weather.

"We were thinking that we would probably make it through most of our busy part of the day," said Tato Nut owner David Moehler.

"Then sell as many donuts as possible. Then close before it got really bad."

While the donut shop was busy with customers, most of downtown Ocean Springs was quiet. Downtown sits at the end of two bridges, the Biloxi Bay Bridge and the Fort Bayou Bridge. Both of the bridges have recently had icing issues severe enough to warrant closings. That's why business owners say many shops here either closed early on Tuesday or didn't open at all.

"I don't know what everybody else is thinking. I guess their people wouldn't be out shopping necessarily, but they might want a coffee, a hot coffee and a donut."

For businesses like Government Street Grocery, the decision on whether to open was based on staffing.

"We're making sure that the weather is going to be stable enough for our employees to make it here," said restaurant manager Rachel Evans.

"Most everybody here did not have to cross any bridges to get here. So it was why not be open. It's a community service. We like to serve the community."

Some businesses weren't surprised to see people out and about.

"I assumed most people would be out for school, and other businesses would be closed, that they'll want to do something besides sit inside all day," said Evans.

"So why not be open? It's fun."

Some business employees said while they weren't serving customers on Tuesday, they were still hard at work. They were using this down time to do maintenance and repairs.

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