Video: Gulf Coast Reps Seek Help Bringing Businesses Downtown

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-  Several representatives from the Gulf Coast want to encourage business owners to come visit the coast and stay. A team from the coast is visiting Columbus – looking to leaders for some help with a new redevelopment strategy to bring the Gulf Coast back to life. Reps with Mississippi Power say they want to offer incentives to bring more businesses to their downtowns, where there are too many vacant buildings along the Gulf Coast.

“Because of the downturn in our economy, and natural disasters we’ve had,” said Pat Wylie, commercial development rep for Mississippi Power.

That’s why they’re looking for some help, right here in Columbus.

“What we’re doing today is to come up and look at the success that the Main Street organization, downtown merchants, and the city has done here in Columbus to try to see if we can pick up some of the tidbits that have happened here and made you successful,” Wylie said.

Pete Creekmore owns Rae’s Jewelry, and says moving his business to downtown Columbus 12 years ago was the best thing he ever did. It used to be in a strip mall.

“The customer base is a lot different,” Creekmore said. “A lot more buyers here, a lot more lookers there.”

And he says business has doubled since moving.

“I like the atmosphere downtown,” Creekmore said. “It’s more relaxed and less busy than on 45. Traffic is better, location. Customers are better.”

It’s a commitment. Main Street development leaders say they’ve been making renovations since the late 1980s.

Creekmore believes it, saying several buildings have been completed since he’s been on 5th Street.

“Lots of apartments,” Creekmore said. “I think there were 20 something apartments when I moved downtown 10 years ago, 11 years ago, and now there’s 168, so big changes.”

And these Gulf Coast residents are hoping they’ll have the same success.



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