SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Surfside Beach Pier has been a place for families to go and eat a meal, grab an ice cream cone and pick out a few gifts since 1954, but in October the businesses will be closing up shop, possibly for good.
Chris Brand said he’s worked at the Souvenirs and Gift shop on the pier for seven years, but the last several years, things have been different after Hurricane Matthew severely damaged the pier.
“We still get quite a few people that come out and walk the pier there, but we don’t charge them anything because there’s only half a pier there," Brand said. “But we still get phone calls everyday people asking ‘What’s biting?’ or ‘How’s the fishing out there?’ People don’t realize that the pier is broken.”
Recently, it was announced that the pier would finally be rebuilt after the town of Surfside received a $10 million FEMA grant to go toward repairing the pier. They will also be reallocating funds from the beach renourishment project to go toward the construction.
The pier itself will be made of concrete and raised around 10-feet feet higher, giving it more protection from storm surge.
“I would like to see it built back, I think it’s great," Surfside Beach resident Sam Almond said.
“I think it’s great, I think they should. It’s a good tourist attraction and people just like to go out there on it and look at the ocean and fish," said Robin Lawrence, who also lives in the area.
But this means the businesses along the pier that have been there since 1954 will have to be torn down and it’s unknown if they will reopen once the pier is complete.
“Our lease is up we’ve been doing month-to-month so it’s something that we are going to have to come back and rebid on but it’s something that’s going to take a couple of years as far as I know," Brand said.
This news is breaking the hearts of those who have visited the pier for decades.
“It’s sad, our last day will be October 31. People are sad. People love this store," Brand said.
So the souvenirs and gifts that line the shelves of the shop will all be packed up and placed in storage, in hopes of finding their place on a new shelf in the same location nearly two years from now.
Construction is expected to be completed sometime in 2021, and the businesses who are currently on the pier will have to bid for their spot back.