Local Gulfport Businesses Come Back Strong After Katrina

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One of the first businesses to build in downtown Gulfport after Hurricane Katrina was Tony’s Brick Oven Pizzeria.

Owner, Tony Swigris, says a year after the storm he started planning his restaurant, but didn’t get open until late 2009. Swigris says he was one of the first businesses back open after the storm. In 2009, there were no street lights and very few businesses, but now there are more than 30 bars and restaurants downtown. For Swigris, it was important to build in his hometown community.

Swigris says, “We saw what when on with all the devastation with Katrina. It was like we want to do something to put something back in the community, and so one of the things we noticed about the Coast at that time, there were no pizzerias that were locally owned. Just one or two and that was it.”

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Swigris says as Gulfport continues to grow, he hopes the combination of retail and housing in the downtown area will bring more revenue into the city.