More Bikefest visitors make Cherry Grove their new destination spot

More Bikefest visitors make Cherry Grove their new destination spot

CHERRY GROVE, SC (WMBF) - As one bike rally begins to wind down, businesses in Cherry Grove are starting to focus on another one.

Local business owners said they are excited about the Memorial Day weekend, as they prepare to see a large crowd for Bikefest.

Thayla Benfield, owner of Berry's Seafood, said her business depends on the Memorial Day weekend.

"This is a small business. We need that revenue," Benfield said. "We appreciate when they come into town." .

Benfield said she has been preparing for Memorial Day since last fall, but for the past two months, she has been actively stocking up her inventory and preparing orders.

"I got a particular fish that I have been holding on to for the past four months because that's what they want, and I don't want for anyone to be disappointed," she said.

Sandy Shope, with Cherry Grove Beach Vacations, said homes are full, with most of their beach rental houses being booked in January and February for this weekend.

Shope says many of their clients are regulars, with most booking their homes before they leave at the end of the previous trip.

"It's guaranteed revenue for us and that absolutely keeps our business going," Shope said.

With the 23-mile bike traffic loop in place in Myrtle Beach, one local event promoter said he believes Cherry Grove will be the more popular spot within the next three to five years, as more Bikefest visitors will migrate north.

"There's a lot of people that are in Cherry Grove that don't even ride down this (Myrtle Beach) way," said Alex A., with Bike Week Expo. "So, to take advantage of something like that would be great, because the people down there deserve to have some activity too."

Alex said several local vendors plan to be in the area next weekend.

"They like the non-commercialized areas," Shope said of Cherry Grove. "They want to be able to come and stay with their families. It is more quiet, and less traffic."

Several of the local businesses are working together to make the event successful.  The beach rental companies tell restaurants their booking numbers, as that information will help those owners prepare for how much traffic they could see come through their doors.

Benfield said the businesses strive to make the bikers feel welcomed, and she believed that's the reason they continue to come back to Cherry Grove.

"When they go back home they tell their friends to go to North Myrtle Beach, and especially Cherry Grove, and that's what we want," she said.

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