Departures of Planet Hollywood, Magiquest raise questions about the future

Departures of Planet Hollywood, Magiquest raise questions about the future
MagiQuest closes its doors
MagiQuest closes its doors

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - New questions are popping up about what happened to Planet Hollywood and MagiQuest, the employees, and why they are out of jobs.

Planet Hollywood has been here nearly two decades and has suddenly shut its doors. When we asked the company's corporate office to find out why it closed, we were given a statement which read, in part: "Planet Hollywood has opted not to renew the lease for its Myrtle Beach location."

Representatives on site of Planet Hollywood said at the time of its closing, there were about 65 employees working there, and in the height of the summer, the Myrtle Beach location employs about 120 people.

Several people reached out to WMBF News saying employees found out about the closing very abruptly, but Planet Hollywood representatives were not available to confirm this.

The General Manager of the Hard Rock Cafe, Keith Stamp, spoke about the importance employees have on a restaurant's success, especially this time of year.

"We just hope everybody who was working in the local businesses that have closed are able to find gainful employment," Stamp said. "I know it's a tough time this time of year to be out on the job market."

With this location closing, that leaves Planet Hollywood with three locations nationally, and three internationally.

The flyer on the door of the restaurant said, "The company is pursuing other opportunities for the legendary franchise while focusing on the global development and expansion of Planet Hollywood Resorts International."

While many tourists were surprised to see Planet Hollywood close, Stamp said he understands what it means to run a big restaurant in a tourist driven city. Hard Rock has been around for two decades.

"Were still going strong but it takes a lot of adjusting and a lot of getting with the times and staying current and staying relevant to keep people coming in and out of the doors," he said.

For Hard Rock, it comes down to hiring the right staff, and using the time tourists are gone constructively - for example, to host charity events.

Hard Rock Cafe will now be the location for, "The Vocalist Challenge," an event hosted by the American Cancer Society, which was originally supposed to be held at Planet Hollywood.

The fall and winter months are also a time to play catch-up on repairs.

"It takes a lot of focus in the off-season to get things repaired - fixed, I have a facility supervisor who walks the building every day and says we've got to do this, we've got to do that, we have to fix this," Stamp said.

All of this comes at a cost. Some people are speculating cost may have lead to Planet Hollywood and Magiquest closing.

On Facebook one person said in part: "These places charge way too much for way too little. People have become value shoppers over the past couple of years."

Others, brought up the cost of the lease, but Burroughs and Chapin, the company that owns these properties, says they will not comment on company contracts nor are they saying what will replace either attraction.

"Hopefully something new and fresh and up-and-coming comes into the spots and kind of keeps people interested in this part of Myrtle at least," Stamp said.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce isn't worried about the future of our area.

In a statement, President Brad Dean said:

"From our perspective, the numbers from Coastal Carolina University look pretty solid. Through the first six months of 2015, retail sales in Horry County are up 4 percent and accommodations taxes are up 5 percent. Hospitality fees are up even more than that. These indicators suggest that it's been a pretty solid year, tourism wise, through the first six months. Through July, occupancy in our local hotels was up a little more than two and half percent over the same period in 2014, which is faster growth than the state and national average. As for Planet Hollywood and MagiQuest, it's not specific to the market when a business closes, and may have more to do, simply, with the business itself."

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.