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Shopping passports aimed at boosting business in Pass Christian, Long Beach

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:50 PM CST
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PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - Business is steady at Pass Christian Olive Oils and Vinegars, months after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reason why we are still standing here today is because of our customers and community,” owner Kyla Jacobs said.

However, like many small businesses nationwide, the health crisis’ effect on the supply chain is still wrecking havoc.

“We’ve had to change some of our pricing, which we hate doing,” Jacobs said.

Some South Mississippi stores are following suit with a price hike while others, like Mocking Bird Lane in Long Beach, have to do without some items.

“A lot of my Christmas stuff that I ordered at market did not make it in because it’s still sitting on a shipping container somewhere,” owner Janice Conway said.

The challenges for small retail stores haven’t stopped the demand for goods, especially with Small Business Saturday just around the corner.

“The holiday season is just fun in general,” Conway said.

Things are getting even more festive in both Pass Christian and Long Beach. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce organized a shopping passport for small, local businesses in both cities. Shoppers simply pick up their passport at a participating store and get it stamped every time they shop locally from the long lists of shops. Once the booklet is filled out, customers turn them in for prizes or to enter into a raffle.

The Long Beach program ends on December 4 while the Pass Christian program starts on November 19 and ends on December 15.

Organizers say the passports entice shoppers to explore around the cities’ downtowns.

“There’s two opportunities really to shop local in some businesses that you might think of or might not think of for holiday gifts,” Long Beach/Pass Christian Chambers of Commerce Director Gabrielle Rose said.

Participating stores say the passports aren’t just about getting more people through the door this holiday season. It’s also about stressing the importance of shopping local.

“Really the whole goal is to incentivize people to return to these businesses year round,” Rose said.

As online sales and national chains become more of the norm, shop owners say they support any boost in business.

“The small businessman is the one that keeps the town going in the long run,” Conway said.

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