Welcome to Old Town Bay St. Louis!
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Our authentic character, historic buildings, and friendly folks are just a few of the reasons why Budget Travel Magazine named us one of the "Coolest Small Towns in America" in 2013. And Coastal Living Magazine named Bay St. Louis one of the top ten small beach towns in the country in 2010! Explore Old Town using the menu above - or check out quick links to individual merchants below. Come play for a day, you may want to stay!
Second Saturday Artwalk
Use the alphabetical list below or search by category from the menu bar above to learn more about members of the Old Town Merchants Association!
BSL Makes "Best Of!"
Recently, Bay St. Louis was one of only twelve Mississippi locations to be selected for the "Official Best Of Mississippi" feature. Nominees underwent a rigorous selection process. See why we were chosen "Best Pleasure Seeker's Paradise" below!
131 Main Street
During Second Saturday, the Sones Family Band will be performing in the parking lot adjacent to Identity Vintage from 6 – 8pm. Suzi has created a gift basket she’ll be giving away as a door prize, no purchase necessary. Refreshments served.
Whole generations have missed it.
The joy of buying a record album, taking it home to spin on the turntable and then spending hours listening, while absorbing every image and credit on the cover.
Identity Vintage on Main Street is going to change that.
The Bay St. Louis diva of the Vinyl Revival, owner Suzi Walters is now stocking nearly 1000 albums in Identity Vintage. Some are highly collectible – and all in pristine condition.
The local trend follows the national one. Older music buffs are enthusiastically embracing the return to vinyl, while the younger set is beginning to understand the sound quality they’ve been missing in digital – and the artful packaging that can’t be duplicated in tiny, plastic CD cases.
The record section is only part of Identity Vintage’s new expansion, which includes the addition of a new jewelry line and décor items created from mid-century fabrics, both created by Walters herself. Yet, the fine quality vintage clothing, accessories and hats that have built the shop’s regional reputation over the past 15 years will remain a mainstay.
“I’ll always be attached to my first love, vintage clothing,” says Suzi.
Yet her goal is for Identity Vintage to be a full-fledged, independent record store by the end of next year, with thousands of albums in stock. Many of the albums are first pressings of recordings over half a century old. The back wall of the store currently showcases albums by the Beatles, Bob Dylan and early Bruce Springsteen. Each record has been professionally cleaned, re-sleeved and in the case of the rarer ones, play-tested.
“The records were produced using the analog method, so the music sounds live and has a much warmer tone,” Walters says.
By the holiday season, Identity Vintage will also carry turntables (some new and some vintage), representing a full range of quality. Entry-level players will start at $50. Album prices range from $2 to $100 for truly rare records. Sales have already been brisk as word has spread.
Meanwhile, Suzi’s new jewelry line, called “Beni” – French for ‘blessing’ – are keeping her creative side busy. Each piece is individually designed and crafted using charms, crystals, and religious medals she’s collected over her career.
The average Beni bracelet consists of 30 – 60 individual pieces assembled by hand. A basic bracelet is $35 - $40 in stainless, more for precious metals.
With a two or three week lead time, pieces can be customized by adding family keepsakes and charms. Suzi created more than fifty custom pieces during the 2014 holiday season and anticipates more orders this year. The bracelets have also become popular first communion gifts.
“When I do a custom piece,” says Suzi, “I want the customer’s breath to be taken away when they see the finished product.” She grins. “Usually, they are.”
But while Suzi is exploring new ventures in retailing collectibles, one thing won’t change. Identity Vintage’s location.
“I’ve been in business in Old Town since 2000,” she says. “I was here before Katrina and I’m still here. I’m proud to be in Bay St. Louis. I can’t imagine being in a better place.”
201 Main Street
To celebrate their Hot Spot status, the Pohl family Band will perform at Social Chair from 5 – 7:30 pm. Refreshments will be served. Free Social Chair fan with a $10+ purchase.
Social Chair refuses to be pinned down.
The business in the historic building at the intersection of Main and Second streets might be called a gift shop. It’s certainly that, stuffed with all sorts of fun items for both kids and fun-loving adults.
But it’s also a boutique, offering trending fashion accessories, like jewelry, scarves and handbags. Home furnishings and décor? Yep. Social Chair is the headquarters for interior designer/owner Yuki Northington, so shoppers will find fanciful chandeliers, hip furniture and luxury bedding.
The synergy is palpable. And unforgettable. Social Chair has been tapped as Mississippi Magazine’s favorite shop in the state. Twice. And HGTV snagged Yuki for appearances on their Design Star series.
Yuki, who holds degrees in fine art and interior design, opened Social Chair shortly after Hurricane Katrina demolished the town ten years ago. Despite the devastation that surrounded her, she spotted a niche to be filled.
“People needed to have better local shopping options as they began to rebuild or restore their homes,” says Yuki. “At that point, they had to settle for whatever they could find in big box stores.”
Social Chair began by carrying mostly home furnishings, along with some fine antiques. As Bay St. Louis has recovered, the focus of the store changed.
“My business is evolving as the town is evolving,” says Yuki. “Now, our number one seller is jewelry.”
While the finer jewelry lines she carries make important gift-giving occasions easy, Yuki’s focusing more on trendy jewelry with accessible price points.
Locally-created Helen Marie Swarovski crystal pieces are especially popular now, sparking up everything from casual wear to formals. Prices range from $25 to $98, and since the pieces are made locally, custom orders can be picked up in just a few days. Accessories like hats, scarves and tote bags complement the jewelry lines.
Those shopping for their own homes will find furniture, tableware, and now, luxury bedding by Bella Notte. The bedding is all garment piece-dyed and made from linen, silk and velvet.
But when it comes to holiday home décor, Yuki’s built a coastal reputation for being the go-to place.
“We go over the top for the holidays at Social Chair,” she says. “People love being able to decorate for the season and make their houses even more interesting and beautiful. We’re after the “wow” factor.”
The “Red Hot” sign over Social Chair’s door would seem to confirm that. However Yuki says it’s a nod to a business that used to operate out of the same historic building, which is one of the oldest commercial structures on the coast.
“People can spend the same amount of money at Social Chair that they’d spend at a discount store,” she says, “and go out the door with a better gift that is wrapped and beautiful. And that’s a pretty hot concept.”
Coolest in the South!
In Budget Travel Magazine's annual contest, Bay St. Louis was chosen as one of the top three Coolest Small Towns in the country for 2013 - and we ranked above other Southern contenders by a long shot. That makes us the Coolest Small Town in the South by our way of thinking and gives us major bragging rights! So start bragging! Here's the link to the whole article. Share it with friends and business associates. To read the article in Budget Travel On-line, click here!