Jackson County

City businesses — not ‘alt left’ — want Ocean Springs leaders to put the flag issue to rest

Jan Rideout owns J Laurie Shoe Boutique, a popular business in downtown Ocean Springs.

She wants the city to take down the state flag that is so offensive to so many. She’s not the only one. And she took the time Tuesday night to let the mayor and aldermen know how the business community feels.

They will hold a merchants mixer from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at Lola Fleur (720 Bellande Avenue) to start a petition. Merchants and property owners are welcome to sign it.

Four hundred merchants with the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce Main Street Tourism Bureau received notification.

The point is to show that there are a lot of city businesses that want the flag down, Rideout said.

“The perception (with city leaders) is that it’s some minority fringe group that doesn’t want the flag,” Rideout said, “that these people are a pain in the side for the board, coming to the meeting every week, holding marches.”

“But we’re just regular people who own businesses and property,” she said. “According to a television interview, the mayor thinks we’re some kind of ‘alt-left’ group.

“They are under a misguided belief that a majority of businesses and people support the flag,” she said. “We want to prove to them that merchants think it’s not a good idea to fly the Mississippi flag.”

She said she’s giving the mayor and Board of Aldermen a heads up, because, “they should know what’s going on.”

She and the Ocean Springs Business Coalition are alerting them to the mixer “regarding the state flag and the future of Ocean Springs.”

“We’re trying to prove that the majority doesn’t want that flag,” she said.

Mayor Shea Dobson raised the flag over City Hall shortly after he took office this summer.