With the lease signed on Friday, November 13, Gulfport is officially getting a new visitor center that will offer information about local businesses and activities, as well as sell arts and crafts made by local artisans.
The center, located in a highly trafficked area in the heart of downtown, will be the new home for the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce and the Gulfport Merchants Association, two organizations that have traditionally had similar goals but a slightly different membership.
“Together we are always stronger,” said Barry Rubin, president of the Gulfport Area Chamber. “We felt that it was an important step for the city.”
Rubin explained the joint venture has been a long time coming and highlighted the importance of the groups’ unified presence in Gulfport.
The collaboration will bring new resources to the center, said Rubin, allowing it to remain open for events like GeckoFest, Art Walks and the Tuesday Fresh Market, in addition to more regular office hours.
Scott Linde, the new interim president of the Gulfport Merchants Association, said his group was delighted to be moving to the new site.
“We used a tent on the street for the various events,” he said. “This is extremely beneficial for us.”
The two men said they expected the sale of locally made products to generate enough revenue to cover the center’s rent, which otherwise would be shared equally by the two groups.
The center, located at 3101 Beach Blvd. S., Ste. 1 , will hold its grand opening/holiday open house December 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.