MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Residents of and visitors to the Myrtle Beach area are encouraged to keep their dollars local this Easter season.
Myrtle Beach Shopping Days returns Easter weekend. Starting Friday through Sunday, residents and visitors are encouraged to hit the sidewalks of Myrtle Beach, where they'll find "huge" sidewalk sale bargains, according to the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.
During the next 72 hours, outdoor displays and sidewalk sales will be allowed at retail locations, and customers were even allowed to camp on-site for up to 24 hours prior to the first shopping day. It's supposed to be like a spring time Black Friday. Only one problem: not many businesses are participating.
Brad Dickerson with the Chamber says only one business responded to say they are officially participating. That business is the Paradise Pancake and Omelette House on South Kings Highway.
Businesses are still allowed to set up a table on the sidewalk even if they did not officially respond. But at least in the Market Common, not many, if any, store managers said they plan to participate. This low participation for the Easter weekend shopping days isn't anything new. It was low last year, too. It's important to note that it's hard to track participation for this weekend, because there's no permit required to take part in this shopping promotion.
Patty Jones is the owner of Centro Shoes in the Market Common. It's a new shop that's working hard to build a solid customer base. They participated in the last Shopping Days. "It went well," remembers Jones. "We got to meet some very new folks who came out to see us. But it seemed like not a lot of the other businesses participated."
Last year, most business owners said they simply didn't know about the weekend promotion. Jones said they don't plan on setting out a table this year, but they have sales of their own going on right now. Many store managers say the main reason they're not participating in these Shopping Days is because they are already running multiple sales.
City council approved two city-wide, 72-hour Shopping Day Weekends to be scheduled whenever is best. As it stands, these days are scheduled for the weekend after Thanksgiving and the Easter weekend. The city's spokesperson, Mark Kruea, says these weekends were recommended by the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. And Kruea believes this spring weekend is not as ideal as the fall, seeing as some stores across the city could be closing up shop on Sunday for Easter.
The thought process from the chamber and council was that the momentum from Easter weekend and spring break would be the spark to create an annual shopping event – one that people would plan to come to Myrtle Beach each season to snag a deal.
Jones says that the city's effort to encourage buying local and to brand the area as a shopping destination is welcomed, but the scheduled event might need some tweaking.
"Because this is Easter weekend, we feel that a lot of our customers want to spend time with their families and not necessarily go out shopping as much. So it would, possibly is could be better to do it on a different weekend," says Jones.
Kruea says the city and chamber could consider possibly moving the Myrtle Beach Spring Shopping Days to a different weekend in the future.
If you're not wanting to spend money at the stores this weekend, there are plenty of other activities going on across the Grand Strand to celebrate Easter with the family:
· 10th Annual Race for the Inlet – 8 a.m.. – Morse Park Landing in Murrells Inlet – www.MurrellsInletSC.com
· Free Easter Egg Hunt – 8 a.m. – WonderWorks at Broadway at the Beach – www.BroadwayAtTheBeach.com
· Ripley's Aquarium's Breakfast with the Easter Bunny – 8 to 11 a.m. – Ripley's Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach – www.BroadwayAtTheBeach.com
· Breakfast with the Easter Bunny – 9 to 10:30 a.m. – Hard Rock Café at Broadway at the Beach – www.BroadwayAtTheBeach.com
· Eggstravaganza – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. – Brookgreen Gardens – www.Brookgreen.org
· 33rd Annual North Myrtle Beach Easter Egg Hunt – 10 a.m. – McLean Park in North Myrtle Beach – www.NMB.us
· Easter Bunny Brunch – 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Children's Museum of South Carolina – www.CMSCKids.org
· Park Palooza – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Myrtle Beach State Park – www.MyrtleBeachSP.com
· Easter Egg Scramble – 2 p.m. – James R. Frazier Community Center in Bucksport – www.HorryCounty.org
· Surfside Beach Easter Egg Hunt – 2 to 3 p.m. – Huckabee Complex, located at 499 Spanish Oak Drive in Myrtle Beach – www.SurfsideBeach.org
· Fireworks Extravaganza – 10 p.m. – Broadway at the Beach – www.BroadwayAtTheBeach.com