Local store owners drive business at Inlet Square Mall through an indoor market

Local store owners drive business at Inlet Square Mall through an indoor market

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - Retailers across the nation have announced more store closures in 2019 than ever before.

Nearly 6,000 stores are expected to close this year, according to a recent report from Coresight Research. In the past decade, the way Americans shop has drastically changed.

With online shopping on the rise and e-commerce giants like Amazon changing the retail landscape, brick and mortar stores are constantly working to provide the full shopping experience, something online shopping can’t always offer.

John and Sonja Hutton own My Olive Shack at the Inlet Square Mall. While other stores there are on the way out, their business is just getting on its feet.

The Huttons said it’s opened opportunities to grow. In December 2018, the couple launched an indoor market to help grow local businesses, and attract bigger retailers and more shoppers to the area. So far, they say it’s working.

It started as an event hosted inside Inlet Square Mall on the first Saturday of every month with 27 vendors. Now, it’s grown to a two-day weekend event with over 80 vendors.

During the monthly event, My Olive Shack’s sales increase eight times more than a regular business day. Other store owners have also seen a growth in sales.

"The mall just comes alive. It is so exciting to see. So many locals love the small, and they’re really, really supporting our indoor market and the local artisans in our area. The talent here continues to blow me away. I love it and that helps the market and our store, and the other new stores that are in the mall,” said Hutton.

Experts said retailers have to keep up with the trends now and provide value to the product they’re offering since shoppers are choosing to spend their money on the experience rather than just the product itself. The Huttons say the indoor market provides the sort of experience shoppers can’t get online.

According to the Huttons, five vendors from the indoor market have set up permanent shop at the Inlet Square Mall after seeing success during the monthly event. They hope to fill even more empty storefronts in the future.

Those who are interested can check out the next indoor market the first weekend of August on Saturday, Aug. 3 and Sunday, Aug 4.

Inlet Square Mall is located at 10125 U.S. 17 Bypass in Murrells Inlet. Those who are interested in signing up for the indoor market can click here.

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