‘Unfortunate.’ Some businesses not seeing tourist boom during CCMF

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Some workers are saying the Carolina Country Music Fest hasn’t been all that good for their business.

It’s because they’re not seeing a boom of customers walking through their doors.

Part of Myrtle Beach’s traffic control plans include blocking off 8th Avenue North at Ocean Boulevard. Police have barricades preventing traffic from entering that area from all sides.

However, nearby business owners said those same barricades are costing them lots of customers.

Daniel Becker, the operating partner for the Art Burger Sushi Bar, said his business was banking on seeing a boom of CCMF customers this week.

So far, Becker said business has been slow.

His restaurant is located between 7th and 8th avenues north on Ocean Boulevard. This is the area that’s been blocked off for CCMF. Becker said the traffic plans. which include the fenced barriers. are making it extremely inconvenient for people attending the music event to access his restaurant.

“[Compare to] the 2019 CCMF numbers, it’s down 30-40% [since] yesterday,” Becker said. “What happening is we’re stuck on an island. All the foot traffic is non-existent. The let-out for the event itself is on the opposite end. Nobody comes this way. It’s just kind of unfortunate.”

Business owners on the other side of Ocean Boulevard said although their street is not completely blocked off, they’re not seeing the amount of CCMF customers they expected after night one either.

They say they feel the traffic plans make it hard for potential customers to find parking.

Demond Grace is the general manager of I Love Sugar. According to his past numbers from previous CCMF events, he says business this year is slower.

Grace feels the reason is due to the traffic flow limitations with the barricades.

“It stops the walking traffic, the people who come through here just to shop,” Grace said. “They get so frustrated because when they go in one way and come out another way it makes it so confusing to where people don’t even want to come down here.”

Grace said he’s already heard several complaints from customers and employees about the parking prices being extremely higher this weekend during CCMF.

“You have people that work down here that can’t even park down here because they’re trying to charge the workers $40 and we work down here everyday,” Grace said. “I’ve had people not show up to work because they can’t pay for parking.”

April Stewart, the owner of Somewhere in Time, said she had to come into work early to ensure she could find a parking spot for herself and her employees.

“There’s no place for any of our employees to park,” Stewart said. “We have to shuttle people around. It’s $40 or $20 minimum for parking. None of the regular tourists can get down here because there’s nowhere for them to park. We love the CCMF festival but it needs to be moved over to Kings Highway to the old mall.”

WMBF News brought these businesses concerns to the city of Myrtle Beach to confirm if leaders were aware of these issues employees have been facing.

Spokesperson Mark Kruea provided this statement:

“We’ve heard from and been in touch with businesses, especially some on Eighth Avenue North, and have made some adjustments to better accommodate their needs for foot traffic, parking and deliveries. For example, we shifted some of the barriers to provide more access and moved some vehicles to provide better delivery options. The challenge is balancing everyone’s needs, plus public safety. With 25,000-plus attendees for the concert, public safety is a priority. We are committed to working with the businesses, but likely will not be able to accommodate every request.”

Kruea stated the city will review the event after the fact and will consider changes for the following year.

Copyright 2021 WMBF. All rights reserved.

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