The Donut Man doughnut shop has been around for as long as any Myrtle Beach resident can remember.
Sadly, the local, favorite pastry stop has closed its doors permanently. A sign on the door notifies long standing repeat customers of the closure.
Said Market Common resident, John Smith, “Myrtle Beach is the city where small businesses go to die.”
The small business failure rate in Myrtle Beach has been historically high despite the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce receiving over $54 million in annual tax dollars to promote the town.
OPENING IN CAROLINA FOREST VERSUS CITY OF MYRTLE BEACH
When comparing business success in Carolina Forest and the city of Myrtle Beach, most small business start ups prefer the Carolina Forest area.
Here are some key points to consider:
1. Demographics: Carolina Forest is an unincorporated community located in Horry County. Horry County has 350,000 residents, most of these shop in Carolina Forest often and few visit the City of Myrtle Beach. While Myrtle Beach is a well-established city known for tourism and the Market Common, Dell Webb, and Grande Dunes retirement communities, most of these retirees do not shop in the run down South part of Myrtle Beach. With diminishing marginal returns in Myrtle Beach tourism, the demographic differences between the two areas can significantly impact business success. Myrtle Beach attracts a larger number of 3 month tourists while Carolina Forest has a more diverse population, providing a wider customer base for businesses.
2. Tourism: Myrtle Beach is a renowned tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year. This year, however, was 20% off in many of the peak Summer tourism weeks. This steady flow of tourists provides ample opportunities for businesses to do well in the peak 3 month period in sectors such as hospitality, restaurants, entertainment, and retail. However, finding help that is willing to work only 3 months out of the year is almost impossible. While Carolina Forest benefits from its proximity to Myrtle Beach, its level of 3 month only tourism activity is comparatively lower. In fact, Carolina Forest businesses can expect tens of thousands of 12 month regular repeat business.
3. Local Economy: Myrtle Beach has a run down Southend façade. Additionally, the city has spent over $100 million in land purchases, but has yet to find an investor willing to partner with the city on those downtown land purchases. Carolina Forest, on the other hand, relies more on residential development and supporting more reliable local suburban residents.
4. Competition: Myrtle Beach has an ever diminishing concentration of small businesses in various sectors with many closed store fronts on the South End. This decline can make it challenging for newer or smaller businesses to establish themselves. Carolina Forest may provide more opportunities for smaller businesses to flourish with healthy competition, depending on the specific niche.
5. Growth Potential: Both Carolina Forest and Myrtle Beach have witnessed substantial growth over the years. However, due to the limited availability of land in Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest has become an attractive option for businesses looking to expand or establish themselves in the greater Myrtle Beach area.
Ultimately, while Myrtle Beach offers a broader range of business opportunities due to its tourism industry and established economy, Carolina Forest provides a suburban setting that may be more conducive to certain types of businesses.
Closures, like the Donut Man, are indicative of the trend Myrtle Beach currently finds itself within.