Downtown Ocean Springs Thrives with New Local Businesses
Hoping to share some of their tips and tricks with others, Ocean Springs will host a destination convention with officials from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center. News 25 went to downtown Ocean Springs Wednesday to see how officials have worked to revitalize downtown and why business owners are choosing to open up shop in Ocean Springs.
Susan Powell and her daughter, Brandin Brosh, are Mississippi Gulf Coast natives, and now they’re both business owners. Powell and Brosh just opened the clothing boutique, Charisma, in the heart of downtown Ocean Springs. Powell says, “If you ask any shop owner, downtown Ocean Springs is the place to be. It’s very quaint, it’s got walking traffic, a lot of people from out of town visit, and the festivals.”
Monthly festivals put on by the city’s Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau provide a bump in the already thriving customer base in downtown Ocean Springs. Powell says, “We just went through the art walk, and the art walk proved to be very beneficial to the business.”
At Charisma, owners are already finding their store bustling with customers from the art walk and Labor Day weekend and are already prepping for Cruisin’ the Coast next month. Cynthia Sutton of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau says, “We try to host some type of activity every month, and of course downtown is the heartbeat of town and we try to focus on doing those events to create activity.”
Besides its signature events, the Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau individually helps the 150 shops, restaurants, and galleries downtown. Sutton closes, “We definitely work hand-in-hand with those businesses, help them with any marketing ideas. We did a façade grant a few years ago to help them improve the outdoors.”
The success of downtown Ocean Springs can be seen in winning The Great American Main Street Award, and now being the hosts of the conference, Destination Downtown, where they can share advice with other Main Street associations.