Small business booming in Jones County

Small business booming in Jones County
"Mississippi Made" sells products only from the state. Source: WDAM

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - In the month of October, 12 to 15 new business are expected to have opened their doors in Jones County.

"Things are really thriving here in Jones County," said Sandy Holified, Vice President of the Economic Development Authority. 

"I think people are just getting excited about the activity they are seeing and that breeds activity,"  Holifield said.  "I just think the enthusiasm is just inching itself to other people and people are excited to open new businesses."

This past weekend, four businesses held grand opening celebrations in downtown Laurel.  Three more ribbon cutting ceremonies are scheduled for this week in the county.

"We see that businesses kind of breed off of one another and when they see some of the small businesses being successful, it kind of gives them the attitude that yeah, I can do that too and I want to do that," Holifield said.

One of those business is Mississippi Made, a southern goods store in Ellisville.

"We are Mississippi Made, we sell just products made and manufactured here in Mississippi by the good people of Mississippi," said Michael Welch, who owns the entire building on Front Street with his wife, April.  The married couple also operate the restaurant  Bosun Joe's and Hotel Alice.

"We just felt like it was a good fit for us to stay and develop what was already here, instead of leaving and trying to go somewhere else to do it," Welch said.

The grand opening ceremony for Mississippi Made was just two weeks ago.  Welch said all items sold are from the state, with over half from vendors about 15 to 20 miles around the Pine Belt.

"The money that they are using and buying right here in Jones County, it's not going to three hours away," Welch said.  "It's a family whose kids go to school in Jones County, they get their tires fixed in Jones County, they eat here in Jones County, they get insurance here. We really want to let people know the more that we can spend here locally and invest locally, it's a continuous cycle that can help everybody."

According to data from the Economic Development Authority, over $400,000 was spent on retails goods in Jones County in 2016.

"We see that when local businesses open, they tend to shop locally for their businesses," Holifield said.  "And when they do that it just kinds of rolls over, like seven times when they are shopping locally for merchandise or supplies that they may need."