If all goes according to plan, the already-bustling Evelyn Gandy Parkway in Petal could be seeing even more growth in the near future, with several new ventures – including some restaurants – possibly in the works.
The measure was discussed at a recent meeting of the Petal Board of Aldermen when Allen Flynt, owner of Flynt & Associates on Old Richton Road, said his company has signed a letter of intent with a business for a parcel of land immediately east of Rainforest Carwash and Oil Change. Although Flynt and the client are in the contract phase of the process, the name of the business is being kept under wraps for now.
“I’m one of those who can announce something, but I can’t tell you who,” Flynt said. “It is someone that has not been in Petal before.”
In addition, the owners of the vacant land in between McDonald’s and Merit Health Wesley Primary have received calls from a few interested parties regarding that property.
“They’ve actually had two people contact them direct, and I’ve had two people contact me direct about their property right there,” Flynt said. “We’ve been friends for years, and I help them with plats and documents and things like that.
“So, there’s actually four individual restaurants (asking about that land) – all of them are restaurants.”
Flynt attributes the interest in the area to the rapid growth of other businesses on that stretch, particularly places like McDonald’s.
“I think McDonald’s probably submits a report of what their growth is, and if you go by there you’ll see there’s (usually) traffic backed up all the way to the highway,” Flynt said. “I do know that Zaxby’s had a record year, and I believe two or three other restaurants have had a record year here in Petal.
“I think all of a sudden, that influx of these people wanting to come in here is from the growth of the existing restaurants that they’re seeing. I don’t think we’re to the point yet that we’re going to be over-built; I think the pandemic has got just about everybody going to get something to eat, and that’ll probably continue like it is.”
Mayor Hal Marx, who also has been approached about a possible new restaurant on the Evelyn Gandy Parkway, said he applauds Flynt and others in their efforts to bring new businesses to the city. That endeavor, however, requires private investors to be successful.
“It looks like we’ve got several people coming, or looking to come, and that’s great,” Marx said. “But that’s one thing I see that a lot of people don’t understand, is that the city itself does not start any business – we do not start business, we do not decide who comes and who doesn’t.
“But it’s people like Allen and a lot of others who put their time and money, and gamble that they’re going to be able to make a go of it. They take a chance, take a risk, and Allen’s been very successful in getting people to come to Petal, and we appreciate it.”
Marx said although city officials don’t always know who is looking at a particular property, “success breeds success” in that when people see a successful location, they want to be a part of it.
“I think we’re on the verge of continuing to grow, and growth kind of comes in spurts,” he said. “You have a growth spurt and a lot of people come in, and then for a couple of years everybody’s waiting to see how they do, and as long as they’re successful they start coming back in.
“I think that’s what we’re getting to now. We were in a little bit of a lull the last year and a half or so; I think now we’re going to see more start coming in after that.”