MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – With just a few days left before the 2013 Bike Rally, bike-related businesses say they are anticipating one of the best rallies they've seen in the Grand Strand in years.
"We've got a full staff working," said SBB General Manager Bill Barber. "We literally had to put Four Corners back together because we tore it down after we sold it."
Barber says the SBB staff decided to shut down SBB Four Corners on Highway 17 because the building had been losing money for years, but they decided to bring it back for one last hurrah at this bike rally, which he anticipates will be huge.
"We've got 19 outdoor permits," Barber said. "And about 18 or 20 indoor vendors at both locations. We've got a lot of vendors coming."
All across the Grand Strand, bikers say they are anticipating a big turnout for the 2013 rally, saying obstacles like Take Back May or permitting problems haven't materialized this year, and businesses are bringing back some older events from before the helmet laws.
"At the Springmaid Pier, we're doing a party at the pier," said Harley Davidson's Kelly Payne. "We did those years ago, now we want to bring them back."
There has been a lot of anti-biker sentiment in years past, but now bikers businesses say public opinion is changing, and businesses that once kept bikers at an arm's length are now taking a closer look at the potential revenue that comes in with the rally.
"Most bikers are relatively well-to-do," Barber said. "These guys' second or third vehicle is a $30,000 motorcycle."
Barber also says a huge factor has been the weather, but not just in the Myrtle Beach area. He says rain in Florida affects the turnout here.
"Panama City's rally was last week, it was mainly rained out," he said. "A lot of those people will now come here."