Rapid business growth in Meridian

Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 6:53 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Meridian is growing in new businesses as people are investing and helping to improve the area. Community Development Director Craig Hitt said there are over a dozen building spaces that are ready for new businesses to occupy.

“We recently did a report that we look back from when Mayor Smith came into office in 2021. We have permits for 31 commercial buildings, either renovations or new buildings, that are being prepared for exciting or new businesses,” said Hitt.

Downtown, Sela Ward Parkway, Frontage Road, and even North Hills are thriving with new retail stores being built. But there’s a hold-up on construction for some of the buildings. Hitt explains why.

“Probably different reasons in each one, depending on their circumstances. Some of it is just getting materials and equipment in. We are still hearing from contractors that they need, some of the specific items they need may take 12 to 18 months in receiving the product,” said Hitt.

Hitt also said the city has 18 new houses either sold or awaiting buyers, valued together at more than $5 million. Zaxby’s, Starbucks, and a cigar shop are just a few businesses under construction. And there’s a lot of talk about the new athletic facility - Performance Academy at 2516 5th street.

“This thing is going to be tremendous for this community and region. It is an indoor facility that’s going to allow school and individual teams to come in to take advantage of it. I think some of them are already scheduling their teams, from what I understand from the owners.”

Bakery 900, located at 900 23rd avenue, has only been open for six months. The owner, Adie Fields, said her business has taken off.

“We are very blessed. We see all kinds of people. We see business owners, moms with kids, nurses, medical staff, and doctors on their way home or to work. So, the business has been great. We are very blessed,” said Fields.

Mom-and-pop shops are the backbone of the city economically. Fields said when the community helps support small businesses, we all benefit.

“We’ve got to support these small places. This is what supports our community, and helps raise our kids, our churches, and our sports teams. When you ask for a donation from a small business, we are supporting you. We are grateful when you support us too,” said Fields.

Craig Hitt also said the city will be getting two new hotels. Construction is expected to begin next year.