Businesses ready for boardwalk opening

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Businesses along the new Oceanfront Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach are adding final touches to their building improvement projects in preparation for the official ribbon cutting and Grand Opening ceremony Saturday.

Some business owners say now is a time for not only looking forward with excitement about the future, but remembering the rich past along the oceanfront.

Looking out over the boardwalk, Russ Stalvey cannot help but think of his grandparents who started the Oceanfront Bar and Grill in 1948.

"It makes me feel good inside to know that what they started off down here is going to continue for many, many more years," Stalvey said.

He says now it will be his little girl who gets to grow up on the boardwalk.

"It makes my heart full to be able to know that she's going to be able to be down here and enjoy this her whole life," Stalvey added. "Just like I did when I was a kid."

From shop to shop, each store has its own history, but there is also a fresh face looking to hang with the regulars.

"I am the new kid on the block," Rick Sarver said, laughing.

He says it all happened so fast, he feels it was meant to be. Sarver says he was visiting Myrtle Beach for the first time just a few weeks back and happened upon the Boardwalk.

"I was just mentioning to my wife, I said 'Boy it would be neat to have a coffee house right here,'" Sarver said.

As he was talking to his wife, he says a man came up behind him and started talking about the dolphins out in the water. The stranger ended up being none other than Russ Stalvey over at the Oceanfront Bar and Grill. Sarver says Russ preceded to show him an empty storefront for lease and Rick knew immediately it would make a great coffee house.

"He came and brought us to this spot," Sarver said. "Our mouths just dropped open and we just said 'This will work here.'"

While Sarver acknowledges that all business ventures involve some risk, he is confident in what he feels the boardwalk has to offer.

"I believe all the elements are here for this thing to really attract a lot of people," Sarver said. "There are a lot of things going on, just a lot of attention, the positive attention with the boardwalk."

Not only that, but Sarver points to renovations going on as a sign of an improved business environment.

"Businesses are investing now," he said. "Businesses that maybe haven't put a lot of money into their businesses are now putting money into their business."

While Sarver's Boardwalk Coffee House will not be open for Saturday's big ribbon cutting event, he says he is hoping to open up shop before Memorial Day.

The ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremonies for Myrtle Beach's new Oceanfront Boardwalk will be held at noon Saturday, May 15, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues North on Ocean Boulevard.

The event is going to be held in conjunction with the new Beach Music Festival, which is slated to kick things off at 10 a.m. and run until 10 p.m. Saturday. The Beach Music Festival will feature performances from eight beach music groups, including Ben E. King, Billy Scott and the Party Prophets, Chairmen of the Board, the Coasters, Jim Quick and Coastline, and Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.

Other activities include creation of a giant cake shaped like a flip-flop by TLC's "Cake Boss," Buddy Valastro. The festival also will include food and beer sales, arts and crafts vendors and a fireworks finale. Admission to the event and the beach music performances is free.

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