NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — When merchants at Barefoot Landing ask a question of their new landlord, Burroughs and Chapin, they now get an answer, said Rick Kligman.
With the previous owner, he said, “It was always, ‘We’ll get back to you’.”
B&C bought the North Myrtle Beach shopping, dining and entertainment complex for $43 million in April, and Kligman, owner of Klig’s Kites, is the merchant there who likely is most familiar with the management of one of the Grand Strand’s largest developers.
The original 1982 Klig’s Kites was in the Pavilion, which was owned by B&C, and now there is a Klig’s at Broadway at the Beach as well as at Barefoot.
“They’re good people,” Kligman said. “I like working with them.”
Kim Kelley, marketing director at Barefoot Landing, said B&C has installed an outdoor public address system, added some fountains and reinvigorated the landscaping.
She said tenants generally like the beautification and cleaning up at the complex as well as the music now broadcast over the loudspeaker system.
“They like that everything is moving in a positive direction,” Kelley said.
Several new stores and a new cafe have opened since the change of ownership, and Kelley said more changes will be coming in the future.
One of them might be extended winter hours, Kligman said. He said that proposal has drawn concerns from some of the business owners, he said, and no final decision has been made.
“I think they’re open to discussion,” he said of the new landlords.
Kligman said he thinks B&C is trying to establish consistency between Broadway and Barefoot, but he said as a merchant in both complexes, the two are significantly different and what works at Broadway may not work at Barefoot.
No one was available at B&C’s corporate office to comment Thursday.
Sam Sacco, manager at Bijuju, a women’s accessory store near Klig’s, said she’s noticed that B&C has been working on making Barefoot a more attractive place.
“It looks prettier,” she said, something that can’t help but make a visit more pleasant for customers. “There’s always people walking around sweeping.”
She’s hoping that B&C will beef up promotions to attract more visitors, and Kligman said he’s already noticed more people around the 64-acre complex.
Barefoot, which opened in 1988, gets about 7 million visitors a year. Broadway at the Beach, also owned by B&C, opened in 1995 and has about twice the visitor count as Barefoot.
Kligman said that B&C has put a fountain in a small pond near his store that has transformed it from a stagnant eyesore to a pleasant accompaniment.
Kligman said some B&C officials asked him why he had so many foot mats outside his store. He explained that it was because of the slickness of the board walkways from rainwater washing onto them from the complex’s roofs.
When he got to work the next day, he said, someone had sandblasted the boardwalk to make it friendlier to customers.
He said B&C is very conscious of correcting things that could be potential liabilities.
Merchants on Kligman’s end of Barefoot said customers complained about having to walk so far to get to a bathroom. This winter, he said, B&C will install one nearby.
“The consistency is here now,” Kligman said.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.