Picayune Main Street receives market analysis

Published 3:41 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

Findings from a market analysis presented to Picayune Main Street members will be used to increase economic activity.

Trip Muldrow, an urban planner with ArnettMuldrow, presented the findings of a study funded by a Mississippi Development Authority grant, at the Picayune Main Street meeting last Thursday. Those findings show that a growing business district in downtown Picayune has room for growth.

Muldrow said while there is traffic from other areas, such as Slidell, La., coming into Picayune, there also is a considerable amount of market leakage. Leakage amounts to local residents shopping in neighboring markets to gain access to services not offered in Picayune.

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While the local base in the city is strong there is room to capitalize on regional tourism to bring in more customers, Muldrow said. Some of the ways to do that would be to improve on the walking area of the Main Street area to improve on shop browsing, which Muldrow said was already impressive.

Despite the amount of business generated in Picayune between the primary trade area and the secondary trade areas, there is about $231 million in leakage to other areas, he said. This leaves a tremendous opportunity to increase business within the Picayune market.

Areas of leakage include such things as electronics, full service restaurants and liquor, beer and wine. The figures reflected in the study show that there is about $19 million in leakage in sit down restaurants. There is a demand of about $5 million that is not being served in the city, the figures show. About $3 million in electronics sales also is leaking into surrounding areas. Muldrow expects it to be a long time before chain electronic stores consider locating in Picayune.

Grocery stores are currently underserving the local population. Muldrow suggested expanding existing stores instead of adding new ones.

Key opportunities for the city to take advantage include sales of furniture, clothing, gifts, books, jewelry and sporting goods.

Muldrow then showed some ways to overhaul the external appearance of stores in the Main Street area with new coats of paint, new awnings, and adding flair to the thoroughfares coming into the city.

Main Street Manager Reba Beebesaid the Main Street Revitalization grant of about $2 million recently awarded to the city by the MDA will help implement some of the appearance overhaul ideas Muldrow presented.