HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – If you take a peek inside one of the storefront windows of the Waccamaw Pottery shopping center, you will see evidence of a work in progress. Paint cans, cement sealer, construction tools are all part of a much needed makeover to bring life back to the area.
In fact, shopkeepers are seeing constant changes this year. It started with a huge crew coming in to landscape, performing simple maintenance such as cutting the grass and trimming the shrubs. It makes a big difference to the curb appeal of the Factory Shoppes.
In addition, crews are out working on the exterior by painting and repairing the building. Shopkeepers said they also see crews patching the pavement.
The improvements have more cars coming to check out the shops, which is driving business into the few shops currently open there.
"Since we've been here, at night we'll have 30 cars in the parking lot and for an area that's had nothing, it sticks out like a sore thumb," said Frank Schauer, the owner of SerraBJJ, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu center, thriving in the Waccamaw Pottery shopping center.
Schauer has faith the shopping center will soon take off.
"I see within the next year this place being full blown rocking and rolling," he said.
He's referring to a multi-million dollar project currently underway, and under wraps, in one of the buildings. The maintenance changes occurring are a small portion of a much larger transformation planned for the area. An announcement should be made by the end of the year regarding those future plans.
In the meantime, shopkeepers are seeing business steadily picking up in an area once considered desolate.
"If you make it more aesthetically pleasing, more businesses will want to come out here and customers won't think it is shut down," said Jay Coley, the co-owner of Imaginations.
Coley's business relocated to the area more than six years ago. The affordable rent was an appeal for the business owner, along with the potential to expand.
He credits the new owners for the recent upgrades and believes they have plans to fill more shops.
"They are trying to put businesses in the back, retail in the front. It's a great spot, it is central Myrtle Beach," said Coley.