Businesses gear up for Bike Week's official start

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - On Sunday, restaurants were gearing up for Bike Week's official start.

Monday, vendors can set up in Horry County. Although the county has cut back on the number allowed, local pubs and bars say that isn't hurting business.

When the city of Myrtle Beach passed a helmet law in 2009, it drove bikers away from the rally and out of Myrtle Beach.

Bandy Vanderhyde, Manager of The Original Shuckers Raw Bar in Myrtle Beach says,"We lost about 90 percent of our clientele and after they brought it back we didn't get really any of our customers back."

But that's starting to change.

She adds, "It hasn't come back as much as we'd like it to, but it's slowly coming back."

But further south in Surfside Beach, it's a different story.

"We do a lot more business during those ten days, but you have so many people here in those ten days, so somebody has to do better," says Shannon Taylor, manager of Sundown Sports Bar in Surfside Beach.

It has taken years to bring that business back. This spring, the restaurants and bars that rely on the rally customers say it is finally here.

Bike week not only brings people to our area for a few days, it also brings more vacationers later on in the summer months.

David Horns from Pennsylvania says, "The guys who come down in May with their buddies, Come back in the summer with their families."

The annual Harley Rally ends May 18th.

The heavy traffic and loud noise can be frustrating to locals, but those who depend on the bikers' business say it is vital to our local economy.

Horns also says he's going to stick around even after bike week is over.

"Probably a couple of days up in North Myrtle and then actually we brought golf clubs too. So I have my bike and my golf clubs."

Rally organizers estimate nearly 300,000 bikers are in town for the spring bike rally. That's 275,00 more than the fall rally brings in. They expect the highest number to be toward the end of the week.

Businesses are prepared for the high flow of traffic and have already hired extra staff to help.

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