By Karen Nelson
The Sun Herald.
It wasn’t started on a whim, but the business of books and toys fell into place easily for Tracy Jackson-Wilson.
She has two daughters of the age when reading is so crucial — Emma, 10, and Piper, 7 — and she saw a need for books and specialty toys. That’s what her business, Whimsy Books & Toys, offers in Pascagoula and east Jackson County.
Her only competitor is Miner’s Big Stuff Toy Store in Ocean Springs, and that’s 30 minutes away. She doesn’t see the large chain stores as real competition, not when a parent is looking for a special birthday present for yet another neighborhood birthday party.
She actually had that problem herself before she opened the store with her mother-in-law, Cathy Johnson.
“We were invited to two birthday parties every weekend, and I needed an outlet for gifts,” she said. Also, she believes Pascagoula “needs great things for kids.”
So she set about providing just that, at first in Anchor Square, the city’s MEMA cottage village that serves as a business incubator.
But after less than a year there, she and Johnson were ready to move to bigger digs and a location that’s more in the mainstream.
In August, they set up shop to 3255 Pascagoula St., just south of the railroad tracks in downtown and across the street from the public library.
The business has taken off.
Pondering a train discount
Jackson-Wilson has an app on her iPad cash register that gives analytics on everything the shop is doing. She said 80 percent of her customers are return customers. Still, she is getting a lot of new shoppers from the walk-through traffic.
“It’s a great spot,” she said, smiling from the brightly lit checkout counter. Light is streaming in through the large front windows and a CSX train is rumbling by.