GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Shoppers on the Grand Strand have more choices than ever when it comes to where they can get their groceries.
Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said a record year for tourism in 2013 and the recent growth in permanent population are the reasons many grocery stores like a brand-new Publix near Pawleys Island are moving in.
Publix opened Wednesday at 7 a.m. The 45,000 square foot facility is in the Pawleys Island Plaza off Highway 17.
"The response today has been overwhelming," said Kim Reynolds, a Publix spokesperson. "It's been great. A lot of business, a lot of traffic today."
Publix chooses its locations based on customer requests, available sites and number of homes in the area.
"Pawleys Island was the perfect fit," Reynolds said. "We've had loyal customers here for a long time shopping with us in other cities and we knew it was time to be here and here we are."
Tourism does play into the decision to open up shop in certain locations.
"It's heavily on local demographic, but we do look at tourism. We can't deny that. That will play into our business. The season is here, business will increase."
The grocery store chain did search locally for employees. 100 the store's 125 employees are from the area.
Also, the store is the anchor of development for the Pawleys Island Plaza, which Sunbelt Ventures has been remodeling. A Dunkin Donuts and Jersey Mikes are the next two chains to make the shopping center home.