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Small Mississippi Businesses Try To Lure Local Customers

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 06 Dec 2010 08:42am | comments
Kib's Supermarket in Downtown Crystal Springs

Yesterday on MPB news, we took you to Crystal Springs to examine slow job growth in the state. Today, we go back to Crystal Springs to see how those stores compete with their Big Box neighbors. MPB's Jeffrey Hess finds out how they entice consumers to shop close to home.

Crystal Spring's classic downtown square is home to a small number of local shops competing for business in a serious recession.

Joanne Johnson manages the Tillman Furniture Company. She knows they face an uphill challenge against the bigger stores. She lures costumers by offering financing and is ready to cut special deals.

"I have a lot of people say that they would rather come here than go to Jackson, just to keep their dollars in town," Johnson said.

A big challenge for people who want to shop close to home is a lack of product diversity. The big box stores have wide selections and provide consumers a one stop shop for all their needs.

Small Business owners who hope to stay open in a downtown environment need to find a niche.

That is what Pequita Brown is trying to do with her thrift shop, providing what the mall cannot.

"I just want to sell things that are cheap were people can afford it. Everything are just so high and people are not making more money and people need clothes or like different things for their house. So it is more like a little nick-knack clothing store," Brown said.

Anna Teasly was just finishing her lunch at Lillian's World Famous Soul Food. She has worked in Crystal Springs for 17 years and considers shopping there a no-brainer.

"Well, I mean this is your home, this is where you live. I think it would be self-explanatory. You need to take care of where you live," Teasly said.

But Teasly is also quick to say that others might not see it that way, and that sometimes it is just easier to drive to the Wal-Mart in Hazelhurst, just 20 miles away.


Kib's Supermarket in Downtown Crystal Springs



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