MB businesses store away biker signs for family friendly marketing

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – It was a harsh reality for some to face, but business owners who depended on the May Bike Rallies to jumpstart their sales for the summer are learning quick it's time to switch gears and market to a new type of customer.

Take Shuckers Restaurant and Bar in Myrtle Beach, for example.

Situated along Kings Highway, it was one of the perfect pit-stops for bikers in town for the May rallies to grab a bite to eat or have a beer. Now, owner J.R. Nye says his bike parking signs stored away in a closet may not see the light of day this may thanks to a series of new ordinances regulated by the City of Myrtle Beach.

"It's a whole lot different than it used to be," said Nye. "You definitely have to change up what you're doing, and if you don't, you can see going up and down this road it's rough to survive."

Survival tactics or not, business owners who banked during the May Bike Rallies are hoping a new wave of "family friendly" marketing will help make up for lost revenue.

"There will always be bikers that come into town, but none of us who were in that business will ever make that amount of money, or the revenues we were making from a couple of years ago," added businessman Mike Shank.

Shank's company planned a number of Bike Week events in previous years that helped draw thousands to the Grand Strand, but now that the biker-specific income won't be back, he's had to switch business gears – even if it means getting a little creative.

"I'm just trying to be as creative as possible," Shank confessed. "You know, necessity is the mother of invention, so I'm trying to do whatever I can to move forward and stay open."

Shank has been one of the masterminds of events gracing the Grand Strand – including this past weekend's BeerFest at Market Common. A selection of over 90 beers drew hundreds to the Market Common area on Friday and Saturday, bringing with it added business to the growing live-work community.

"It's adapt and survive or close the doors," he said.

The City of Myrtle Beach is hoping a series of larger festivals planned for each weekend in May will help ease the financial burden of a biker-free May. Officials say the plan is to put the festivals into motion to attract a wider variety of people.

American Idol Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks is scheduled to headline a concert set for Memorial Day weekend, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce announced on March 29.

Events for May 29 include a parade on Ocean Boulevard and a number of activities at the former Myrtle Square Mall site including celebrity meet-and-greets with Nathan Kress of "iCarly," Savannah Outen of "Hannah Montana," Jasmine Richards of "Camp Rock," Drake Bell of "Drake and Josh," Tiffany Thornton of "Sonny with a Chance" and Debby Ryan of "Suite Life on Deck" and performances by headliners Mitchell Musso of "Hannah Montana" and Jordin Sparks of "American Idol" (season 6 winner) as well as Outen, Bell and Richards.

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