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How The Pandemic Destroyed The Myrtle Beach Economy

Over the past few weeks, several major events across the Grand Strand have made the tough decision to cancel popular events, including Carolina Country Music Fest and the Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival.

Not only is it a loss for event-goers, but it’s taking a toll on the Myrtle Beach’s tourism industry, hoping to fill up Fall 2020 hotel rooms with visitors.

This, following a disastrous 2020 Summer. Summer 2020 is Myrtle Beach’s worst economic Summer in the town’s history.

The city of Myrtle Beach witnessed its worst financial summer since the city was founded in 1938. A study from Coastal Carolina University’s Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism revealed a nearly 45% decrease in revenue this year for Grand Strand hotels and resorts.

CCU Lodging Study Results
CCU Lodging Study Results (Source: CCU)

Coronavirus Mandates

While local government officials are quick to blame the mandates imposed by state government, the troubling numbers were caused by other ongoing factors, as well, that include:

Overall Brand Depreciation: The city of Myrtle Beach has been in brand free-fall for more than the past 5 years.

SC Watchdog

High Crime: MyrtleBeachSC news has documented ongoing crime in the downtown city for a decade. The city’s crime issues have largely been either ignored or mismanaged by City Council and City Manager John Pedersen.

High Crime Downtown
Downtown MB Has Become Crime Ridden
Myrtle Beach
Shooting September 8th reported by WPDE TV 15

Leaky Sewer Pipes draining on the Oceanfront: Decades of neglect by the City Manager John Pedersen and City Council created a need for major underground infrastructure projects that the city does not have the monies to fund. These old, outdated pipes leak onto the Oceanfront causing Myrtle Beach to be rated the dirtiest bacteria beach in S.C.

Myrtle Beach Sewage Pipes
Rusted city of Myrtle Beach sewage pipes. High profile leaks and collapses concern tourists.

Government Incompetence: Retiring City Manager John Pedersen has waged a war on downtown small business owners in a failed attempt at a big flip related to downtown redevelopment. His actions likely scared off more investors than attracting new ones.

MOVING FORWARD – Closures, Businesses For Sale

Forecasters expect 42% of small business owners to close or sell their restaurants, small hotels, or other tourism related businesses over the next 6 months.

Tommy Bahama Market Common Closes Sept. 2, 2020

What Myrtle Beach is missing?

According to reports from several top brand management companies we interviewed, what the City of Myrtle Beach needs most at this time is an INFLUENCER personality type leader. The DISC profile designates this type as ID. [or DI]


Brad Dean
Brad Dean, Departing Myrtle Beach Area Chamber C.E.O.

People with the Id (Influencer) personality type tend to be energetic and adventurous, communicating with casual language, bold statements, and a focus on the big picture. They are likely to have an easy, relaxed, casual manner when speaking or interacting with others and enjoy the challenge of meeting new people.


Former Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce C.E.O. Brad Dean was a top tier ID (Influencer) personality type. While our news team questioned and continues to question his moral and business ethics, everyone agrees Dean was a high influencer. He could pull together divergent teams (groups) and marshal millions in tax funding for projects he championed.

High level influencers [who can operate at Dean’s level] make up only 3% of America’s population. His replacement, Karen Riorden, is certainly no influencer.

A generation ago, Myrtle Beach was fortunate to have Clay Brittain Jr. as the key influencer of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s era. He son David, now deceased, was also a high influencer.

Neither current Mayor Brenda Bethune, nor hotel business leaders Matthew Brittain, Jim Creel Jr., Chris Schroff, nor Doug Martin possess the influencer personality type.

Whatever the opposite of the Influencer personality type is, that (by definition) would define Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen. He consistently divides, upsets, and polarizes the community. He is scheduled to retire in November.


In our research over the past 60 days, we spoke with top national brand managers that included:

  • Motto
  • Traina Design
  • Tenet Partners
  • BLVR
  • Mucho
  • Deksia
  • Matchstic
  • Venthio

Each of them, in short order, told our team a high level ID personality (influencer) leader is necessary to reshape the Myrtle Beach brand name and restore its sinking economy.

Local Influencer has issues

Mark Lazarus
Former Horry County Councilman Mark Lazarus is now one of the most powerful, behind the scenes, men in the county.

The highest profile local possessing an influencer personality type happens to be former Horry County Councilman Mark Lazarus.

Sadly, we have documented ongoing issues surrounding Mr. Lazarus for these past 10 years. Lazarus owns Wild Water & Wheels in Surfside Beach and several other key Myrtle Beach tourist attractions.



About David Hucks

Born in 1961, David is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area.David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

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