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Thriving in the midst of COVID

Photo Courtesy of Mississippi Strong/Facebook

Mississippi is no stranger to trials. Over the years, challenges such as economic hardships and devastating storms have only helped continue to build the kind, resilient, and dynamic spirit that epitomizes “The Hospitality State.” Although the pandemic was a new curveball for everyone, many Mississippi businesses used their creativity and ingenuity to grow their businesses while also serving their communities.

With the rising demand for real estate and low-interest rates, local real estate companies, such as Tommy Morgan Realtors in Tupelo, thrived. They provided top-notch service while following COVID safety regulations and serving those in the housing market with a smile and a spirit of optimism. Naturally, along with real estate sales, local banks and attorney offices worked tirelessly to help homeowners close promptly and safely too.

Speaking of Tupelo, the city’s spirit shined bright as local businesses such as Sweet Treats Bakery never closed their doors and continued to serve their customers safely. Strange Brew Coffee House provided toilet paper and other necessities, along with homemade baked bread through their drive-thru window as a way to give both comfort and incentive to customers for months. There are countless examples just like this of small business owners thinking outside the box and overcoming an unexpected life hurdle.

The pandemic resulted in more time at home for most of us. Staying at home or sheltering in place, resulting in more DIY and home projects. Enter more savvy, small, local businesses such as Tupelo Handy Man and Magic Mike’s Window Cleaning LLC.

The Downtown Hattiesburg Association wanted to ensure that their servers felt appreciated by introducing an app to locals that allowed them to send their favorite servers “a tip in advance” while bars and restaurants remained closed. If you were looking for something to do with your children during the pandemic, the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum became a popular alley to visit. Alley?! Yes. The Hattiesburg Convention Commission converted an alley into an enigma for families to find. This free outdoor adventure features colorful paintings, ever-changing exhibits, and pocket-size creatures to discover.

The Natchez Brewing Company offered “build your own pizza” kits, including a dough ball, pizza sauce, shredded cheese, and whatever meat the customer ordered. Additionally, the Natchez Heritage Cooking School offered virtual online cooking classes to the public on Facebook.

The take-out and curbside opportunities statewide were endless and gave locals the chance to purchase some of their favorite foods and products while supporting their hometown shops. Mobile “pop-up” restaurants began trending in various neighborhoods, promoting community spirit and local support. At the same time, apparel stores offered online ordering and curbside delivery.

With the combination of this local support, loyalty, and additional funding, many Mississippi businesses made lemonade out of COVID’s lemons. Like many times before, the Magnolia State is busy building and rebuilding, and the Mississippi spirit of hospitality and hard work is stronger than ever!

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Written by Meredith Biesinger

Hey y'all! I am a professional educator, and writer, with a great love of southern culture. There's no place like Mississippi!

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