The way we do business here on the Coast has definitely changed to some degree with some places having to close down temporarily or even for good.
Anyone who has stopped by Shawn’s Petit Bois Liquor Store knows its owner, Shawn Guider, always does business with a smile. Typically this time of year, the Biloxi store is packed with spring breakers, but this March it is familiar faces that make up the bulk of her customers. “At first I was really concerned about the Spring Break Weekend being canceled, but sales have more than made up for that. People are not sure how long they’ll have to stay in, so they’re doubling or maybe even tripling their weekly orders.”
With the Coronavirus threat, Guider and employees have been going above and beyond the typical spring cleaning. “We keep Clorox, wipes, and gloves here. We sanitize cards, all our pens, the doorknobs, everything. We’re keeping up on it.”
While business is good here, Guider does hope help will soon be on the way for other small business owners. “Definitely. I have people who shop with me who work at the casinos, different places, who have lost their jobs, and my heart breaks for them.”
Not only the employees, but cities, like Biloxi, that depend on casino and local business sales tax revenues, are taking a hit overall.
The City of Biloxi, Mayor Andrew ‘FoFo’ Gilich, and Guider all survived and rebuilt after a somewhat similar challenge 15 years ago after Hurricane Katrina dealt her blow and believe history will repeat itself, as with generations before us, believe brighter days will eventually come again in due time once this too passes. Mayor Gilich said, “This was not forecast, not by anybody’s stretch. I’m sure generations before us, with different kinds of challenges, yellow fever, influenza, we’re in different times, and we can do better with today’s technology and the organizations we do have.”