‘Myrtle Manor’ wants to set up souvenir shop

dbryant@thesunnews.comMarch 19, 2013 

— Fans of the show “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” might soon be able to buy a T-shirt or other souvenir at the Myrtle Beach mobile home park where the TLC show was filmed.

Patrick’s Mobile Home Park off Highway 15, a.k.a. Myrtle Manor, wants to set up a merchandise trailer at the park, similar to the ones you see at NASCAR events, that will sell show souvenirs including T-shirts, flamingo sunglasses and beach balls.

But the city must first sign off on the plan because retail isn’t an allowed use there. The city’s Special Events Technical Review Committee is scheduled to consider the mobile home park’s request during its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall. Then the City Council would have to sign off on the request and could consider it as soon as Tuesday, city spokesman Mark Kruea said.

Cecil Patrick, whose family owns the mobile home park and is a cast member on the show, wants to set up the merchandise trailer as quickly as possible, aiming to open it April 1 if the city approves the plan.

If it’s not approved as a special event, the spot would have to be rezoned to allow retail, a process that typically can take at least six weeks.

Patrick’s Mobile Home Park has become an attraction for fans of the show, with between 100 and 200 people driving through the park daily to check out where the show was filmed, Patrick said. Many stop to take pictures by the large signature “Myrtle Manor” sign set up at the back of the mobile home park and many ask to buy Myrtle Manor merchandise, which started selling online before the show even aired.

Merchandise includes T-shirts with sayings such as “Home is where you park it,” “Keep calm and trailer on” and “mess with me, mess with the whole trailer park” -- borrowing from one of the signature lines of the series. Shortly after the show’s March 3 debut, someone made off with a small “Myrtle Manor” sign at the park’s entrance, according to a Myrtle Beach police report.

“We’ve had four people in here today wanting to buy T-shirts,” Patrick said about noon Tuesday. “It’s unbelievable.”

Among those stopping in the park recently: A bus with cheerleaders in town for a competition and a couple from Toronto, Canada who had just flown into Myrtle Beach International Airport and made the mobile home park, which is just a mile or so from the airport, their first stop after arriving in town, Patrick said.

Some residents have criticized the “docu-series,” which was filmed last year, for putting Myrtle Beach in a negative light, while others have said the show is entertaining.

“The word has gotten out,” Patrick said. “This thing, whether Myrtle Beach likes it or not, is going to be big.”

The show, which airs at 10 p.m. Sundays on TLC, has attracted between 925,000 and 1.3 million viewers each week.

Sunday’s episode averaged nearly 1.2 million viewers after pulling in about 925,000 for the second episode on March 10, according to Nielsen, the company that measures the ratings of television shows. The March 3 premiere averaged 1.3 million viewers.

On Sunday, History Channel's “The Bible” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” had the most viewers with about 10.8 million each.

The first season of “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” will include 10 hour-long episodes.

No one is yet saying whether the show will be picked up for a second season.

“We are talking about it,” Patrick said.

All the extra traffic through the park isn’t bothering its owners, who often take pictures with the fans.

“No, not at all,” Patrick said. “We are having a ball.”

Staff writer Maya T. Prabhu contributed to this report.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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