Series of new businesses open in Hattiesburg

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Over the past year, Hattiesburg has seen a plethora of businesses and restaurants pop up throughout the city. Many of the most notable appear in The District at Midtown across the street from Southern Miss’ campus.

The District at Midtown currently houses several restaurants, apartments and one retail store, but The District is steadily growing.

Hattiesburg local Robert St. John maintains two of the restaurants inside The District, The Midtowner and the Midtown Donut.

“My favorite restaurant is definitely Midtown Donuts,” junior communications and public relations double major Bailey Shelton. “While I will always be a Shipley Donut girl, I love how different the Midtown donuts are and the variety they have.”

Midtown Donut offers many different types of donuts in the shape of squares. The Midtowner is a breakfast to lunch joint that’s menu offers a variety of food options, set as a 1950s diner.

The District also houses Orange Theory Fitness, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Chicken Salad Chick, Rock N Roll Sushi, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café and Pyro’s Fire Fresh Pizza.

Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar, 4th Street Bar and The End Zone have also recently opened in Hattiesburg.

“I think so many new places, especially restaurants, are opening up in Hattiesburg because this community is growing at such a rapid pace,” Shelton said. “Southern Miss is a huge part of Hattiesburg, and our freshman class grows every year. Not to mention, we have William Carey and a lot of people from Jones [Jones County Junior College] come to Hattiesburg for entertainment. On top of that, Oak Grove and Hattiesburg are growing with more and more young families each year so it’s just necessary us to have for more food and entertainment options.”

With so many new businesses opening in Hattiesburg, the city’s economy is also growing at a rapid pace. Southern Miss being the center of much of the city’s population growth has caused for students to want more food and entertainment options.

“I’ve grown up here and seen how much Hattiesburg has been growing over my lifetime, and right now, it’s becoming bigger,” sophomore graphic design major Emilee Hoang said. “More people mean more business to an extent, so with the population influx in the area, it’s more likely that you’ll see restaurants and businesses opening above other things.”

Although the city’s rapid growth is bringing many new businesses, some students have expressed their concerns about the rapid development of the city.

“I hope it is mostly local businesses that will continue popping up, so Hattiesburg doesn’t just become a collection of chains. I hope that businesses do not cause Hattiesburg to lose its culture,” freshman English major Bezal Jupiter said.

Shelton and Hoang agreed.

“I don’t really have any worries other than traffic can already get pretty bad. I’d just like to see more local places opening instead of chains because I’m a big pro-local business kind of person,” Shelton said.

“I’m just worried that with too many restaurants we won’t have room for other things. There are literally too many restaurants in this city it’s so stressful,” Hoang said .