MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Flea Market is open for the long haul. After announcing it would close, vendors found a way to get business back as usual.
Just about a month ago, WMBF News was at the flea market talking to Marty Keene, who sells regenerating PBS wristbands there. He said, even though it was closing, he was going to find a way to re-open it, and that's exactly what he did.
This was a huge shock for all the vendors, after the company that leased the space pulled the plug with just a few weeks notice. The biggest concern was after 20 years, closing would mean many would come at a loss.
"It's so important that they're able to continue their enterprises because for many of them it's the only income that they have and their families are so dependent on it," said Kene.
The broker in charge of JTE Real Estate, Jason Ellis, said the flea market will operate on a short-term lease. The plan is to re-evaluate it year-to-year. Marty Keene signed that new lease, calling it Grand Strand Flea Market LLC. The original flea market was 75,000 square feet, this one is opening at a much smaller scale to less than a third of the size.
"It was amazing to us that all of the vendors that wanted to come in here, fit all of the spaces that we had here and we all worked together to do it," Keene said.
The flea market re-opening under new ownership isn't the only growth for the shopping plaza, which sits just south of the Kings Highway/Farrow Parkway intersection.
The main building of the former Myrtle Beach Flea Market is available to rent, which is more than 50,000 square feet up for grabs.
Ellis said he has been in contact with a couple of interested businesses. One contender is an outdoor store described as a smaller version of Gander Mountain. Ellis said he has also been in contact with two sporting goods stores. Right now, he said businesses are looking at the feasibility of opening at this location.
In the meantime, just doors down, a barbecue restaurant is in the process of executing a lease to fill one of the empty spaces. If inspections follow through, Ellis said we could see it open around April 1.
On top of all these developments, Anytime Fitness is up and running and has been open since Monday.
"I think it's a great location, we've already had a lot of tourists here over the past few days," said the owner of Anytime Fitness, David Fiori. "The locals have been kind of hesitant to come and check us out."
Fiori expects as more shops move into the center, business will pick up.
"The owners are going for more national chains," said Fiori. "Everybody goes towards the brand so they want more brand stores for recognition in the area."
"It will bring even more attention to the market, we'll bring attention to them, they'll bring attention to us, everybody benefits," Keene said.