Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tutwiler: Mississippi's Boomtown?

By Amy McCullough
Courtesy of the Mississippi Business Journal.

TUTWILER — Tutwiler’s beer, pork rinds or plate lunches must be going like hot cakes, because the Sept. 2009 sales tax revenue of more than $6,000 is double what it was for the town last year. Tutwiler’s main businesses are two gas stations with convenience stores, a restaurant and a juke joint.

Maybe the state Legislature could learn a lesson from this Delta town with a population of 1,364 in the 2000 census. It’s one of a handful of state towns that has seen a financial positive in the current recession.

Mayor Genether Spurlock did not answer cell phone calls at press time and was therefore unable to speculate about drinking, dancing, driving or fried food consumption being the cause for the economic upturn.

Owner of Big Poppa’s restaurant, Henry Gipson, said business is “so bad I’m about to close my door.” Gipson said the Double Quick on Highway 49 replaced the Shell station about five months ago and has taken 70 percent of his business. Gipson believes the Double Quick is getting everybody’s in-town and highway business.

Double Quick manager Clarence Hudson said he does not know why the town’s sales tax revenue would have increased. “Business has slowed down,” he said.

Chris Jackson, an employee at Double Dy Express, which sells gas and lunches, said the business also has not increased, and there have been no special events in town that would have provided tourism dollars.

Total Tutwiler sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2009, which includes the months of July through September, was more than $13,000. For the same period in 2008, total collection was more than $9,000.

1 comment:

Amy McCullough said...

In a later interview, the Tutwiler mayor did confirm that the Double Quick is the reason for town's extraordinary tax revenue increase.

Residents are now buying gas in town and not elsewhere, since DD's prices are lower than the old Shell's.