City Optimistic about Retail Growth

Meridian's retail sales revenues are down, but officials still say things are looking up locally.

Despite a 2% drop in retail revenues in the last 12 months, city officials say they have good reasons to be optimistic about the future.

"Retail is a very big part of Meridian and our revenue for the city of Meridian," said Mayor Cheri Barry.

Barry says the $288,000 drop in sales tax revenue is causing the city to tighten the purse even more.

However, she says there is good news because after the back-to-back closure of some businesses within the last two years, many are now starting to make a move, but in a way that helps Meridian.

"People are just moving their locations," said Barry. "I think they are looking for the best place to be so they can advertise their businesses and make sales better."

That's why she says so many of what were empty locations in the Bonita Lakes Mall area are now being filled. Such was the case in the Meridian Crossroads shopping center, where the addition of a Halloween costume store has led to all of the spaces at the front of the center being filled.

Aside from the opening of Jo Ann Fabrics in what used to be the Old Navy store, Newscenter 11 has learned that United Blood Services is going to open an office in that same building complex in November. Also, city officials say there are now growing prospects for the site of a what was Garfield's Restaurant at the front of the mall.

"In the year 2008 and 2009, we had 14 new businesses, brand new businesses come in," said Barry. "I feel like within the next 24 months that you're going to see a lot of new businesses coming not only to Bonita Lakes Mall but to the Crossroads and to downtown Meridian."

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