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Holiday shopping reported successful

Shirley Burch and Michael Longmire talk to Old South Trading Post owner Jonathan Wood while they shop in his store Friday. According to Wood, this Christmas was one of his most profitable yet because of the riverboat traffic and a new gift wrapping service. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Shirley Burch and Michael Longmire talk to Old South Trading Post owner Jonathan Wood while they shop in his store Friday. According to Wood, this Christmas was one of his most profitable yet because of the riverboat traffic and a new gift wrapping service. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ An apparent increase in visitors to Natchez over the holiday season helped area businesses and restaurants have plenty of seasons greetings.

Those visitors came from a variety of places, including a large convention in early December, as well as visitors from the American Queen and the Queen of the Mississippi.

Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Hudson said several area businesses and restaurants reported an increase in traffic throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. Hudson hopes to hear the same about the Christmas holiday.

“I feel like I’ve been seeing more visitors throughout Natchez, and a lot of people said the Thanksgiving weekend was a good one compared to other years,” Hudson said. “There seemed to be a lot of downtown shopping going on throughout the holidays.”

Hudson said exact figures of how much was brought in through sales tax figures will be available this month and early February. Sales tax collections are reported two months after the fact.

Hudson believes some the visitors that frequented Natchez stores over the holidays came thanks to coordinated marketing efforts made in cities such as McComb.

“We have our own efforts and then we encourage everyone else to do the same so that we can remind people of what’s available for them here,” Hudson said. “The more we can do that and pool our resources together with other businesses and organizations, the more bang we’ll get for our buck.”

Jonathan Wood, owner of Old South Trading Post, said he saw increased numbers in both foot traffic through his store and mail orders throughout the holidays.

“I think the atmosphere was positive, and I was just very pleased with the holiday,” Wood said. “I think we have a lot of positive things happening in Natchez and people are starting to see that and want to come here.”

Wood said he believed the good weather and even lower gas prices helped bring more visitors from Brookhaven, Vicksburg and surrounding cities to Natchez.

“Last year was a little stressful for everybody because we had a lot of bad weather, but it was great this year,” Wood said. “The gas prices helped bring a lot of people.”

Wood said he was pleased to see the continuous amount of visitors from the two boats that dock in the Miss-Lou, but also customers who said they traveled on the boats previously and wanted to come back to Natchez for an extended stay.

“When people come back and say, ‘I wanted to do more and tour more,’ that’s a really positive thing for Natchez,” Wood said. “We had a number of people say this year that they already have plans on coming back to stay longer.

“I think all that traffic gives the merchants so many opportunities that many cities would die to have.”

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