Despite Slow Times, More Shops, Homes on the Way in Myrtle Beach


Waiting for the crowds

August 03, 2008

By Jessica Foster and Lisa Fleisher –The Sun News

Philip Pecora, owner of Toffino’s Italian Bakery & Deli, has run his eatery in its spot on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base for more than a decade, awaiting the base’s redevelopment.

Now, the time has finally come that new shops, restaurants and houses on the former base are filling up with people – but Pecora said the traffic isn’t quite what he expected.

“Basically, people that are finding The Market Common are finding us … so it’s definitely been good for us,” Pecora said. “I thought there’d be more of a bang.”

Businesses surrounding Myrtle Beach’s biggest new developments – The Market Common housing and retail center and the first-of-its-kind Hard Rock theme park – were poised for a big boost when the two opened in April. But even though those businesses say the projects have brought in some extra customers, many haven’t seen a significant influx.

“Periodically, we get a lot of [Hard Rock Park’s] employees and periodically bands,” said bartender Travis Quillen, who has worked at The Boathouse Bar and Grill on Hard Rock Parkway since it opened in 2005. The restaurant has had a steady following since it opened, he said, but it doesn’t get many customers from the park.

By the time Hard Rock Park closes at 11 p.m., park-goers are often ready to head back home or to their hotels, Quillen said.

“Once the families get done at the Hard Rock Park, they’re not staying in this area,” he said.

Coastal Carolina University economist Don Schunk said the sluggish economy is weighing on traffic and spending at the two developments.



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