City Council to review proposed ‘Myrtle Manor’ souvenir shop Tuesday

03/20/2013 3:49 PM

03/21/2013 7:18 AM

The Myrtle Beach Special Events Technical Review Committee will place a permit application for a “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” souvenir store on Tuesday’s City Council agenda.

“Welcome to Myrtle Manor” is a “docu-drama” that was filmed in Patrick’s Mobile Home Park in Myrtle Beach last year. The show premiered March 3 on TLC. The park wants to open a souvenir shop selling “Myrtle Manor” merchandise.

The committee will present the permit as a “temporary film district,” which would allow the park to sell items for 90 days, Assistant City Manager John Pedersen said Wednesday afternoon. Pedersen typically oversees the committee meetings but was absent when the group considered the request Wednesday morning.

Mayor John Rhodes said he had not yet seen the application but that Patrick’s was entitled to apply for the permit.

“Then it’s up to the City Council to approve it or not,” he said. “I haven’t gotten the agenda yet … I won’t know [what I think about it] until I see it.”

Cecil Patrick, owner of the trailer park and a cast member on the show, said hundreds of cars drive through his property daily to see and take pictures of the park.

“Thirty-three states have been through the park to see it,” he told the committee.

“And three Canadian provinces,” added Dana Painter, Patrick’s daughter.

Patrick said he plans to have a NASCAR-like merchandise trailer that would sell show souvenirs that currently are available for purchase online at Available items include T-shirts, hats, can coolers and “beer belts.”

“Everyone who comes out here wants a T-shirt,” Patrick said, adding that the store is a way for them to benefit from any success the show sees. “We don’t make a lot of money doing the show … We’re just trying to make some money.”

The show premiered to 1.3 million viewers. Ratings for the second episode fell to about 925,000 but bounced up to 1.2 million for the third episode, which aired Sunday, according to Nielsen, the company that measures the ratings of television shows.

Rhodes, as well as some members of the committee, said they didn’t understand how a store qualified for a special event permit.

“I think a store is a good idea, but I don’t think a special-event permit is the way to go,” said Cpl. Bryan Murphy, special events coordinator with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

Pedersen said the current laws don’t allow retail sales in a trailer park zone. He said Patrick could have applied to change the zoning in the park, but it would be a lengthy process and take at least six weeks. Patrick said he aims to open the store on April 1.

“It’s a very unique circumstance,” Pedersen said. “There’s a huge interest in an area that isn’t usually a touristy area … This allows him to benefit from the popularity of the TV show while it’s at its height.”

City Council is expected to discuss the permit during its workshop at 9 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

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