More financial opportunities are coming to Winona

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- More financial opportunities are coming to Winona.

After losing two large companies in one year, Wal-Mart and Fred’s, city leaders are working to bring more businesses to the city.

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To stay alive, cities and small towns rely on sales tax. Roads, businesses, and restaurants are a few.

Winona is now reporting higher numbers on its sales tax report.

It’s the first time they’ve seen this happen in several years.

Over the last two years, new and emerging businesses have come to Winona.

“From the day Walmart left, we were trying to get other businesses here. It just takes time. We pushed hard for citizens to stay home and shop. The only way the city will have revenue is sales tax. It’s right at a million dollars,” said Mayor Jerry Flowers.

Convenience stores and pharmacies line downtown, even larger companies like Stribling Equipment and the Sawmill.

” If you look at the sales tax from April of 2019 to April of 2021, you are up to 85,000 increase in sales tax,” said Flowers.

24% is the increase of tourism tax. Sales tax is up by 20%.

” We’re re-financing old debt. We have a paving project. We have a 5 million dollar water and sewer well and water tank project,” said Flowers.

Executive Director of the Economic Partnership, Sue Stidham, believes investors are expanding to keep business in Winona.

“They aren’t just testing the waters this time. They’re doing more than that. They are showing interest in wanting to locate here,” said Stidham.

The old Fred’s building will soon turn into a new shopping location.

” We are beginning to see interest from retail businesses, which is very important. It brings the sales to the city of Winona. And property tax to Montgomery county,” said Stidham.

Flowers says it’s all about the opportunity.

” It’s fulfilling to see your hard work pay off,” said Flowers.

Flowers adds the Biewer Lumber Company should be complete by the end of the year.

The business will create nearly 150 jobs.