It’s been a busy year for malls and shopping centers across the Grand Strand.
New or renovated stores and gyms have opened in three area malls – Coastal Grand, Inlet Square and Myrtle Beach malls – and area entertainment complexes revamped their look to attract locals and tourists alike.
Coastal Grand mall boasts one of the biggest changes of the year; H&M, a national clothing retailer, opened its doors in August as the first store for the company in the area.
The store cemented Coastal’s occupancy rate at about 96 percent, but officials are still searching for a few tenants to fill the last spaces, said General Manager Steve McGhee.
“And we just don’t want to bring in anyone – we want what the people want,” McGhee said. “When other retailers see H&M here, they’ll be interested in seeking a space at the mall, too.”
H&M is just one of many changes at Coastal Grand mall this year.
Rue 21, an apparel and accessory retailer targeting young consumers, Fun Wear sports apparel, and five other new stores opened in June. Another dozen tenants remodeled their spaces or are amid the renovation work, and several had to move to new locations in the mall to make room for H&M.
Several stores, however, left the mall in the last year; some didn’t renew their leases and other chain retailers filed for bankruptcy or struggled nationally. Among the stores that have left: Hallmark, Kirkland’s, New York & Company, Cache, Wet Seal, Delia’s. The food court lost Chef Smitty’s and Abuelo’s (the restaurant outside the mall remains open).
McGhee said even though some stores have shut down, the future of Coastal Grand remains bright. Sales are strong and the changes are expected to lure in both locals and tourists all year.
“We try to bring in the most exclusive tenants and try to bring in what people want,” McGhee said.
Inlet Square mall – just off U.S. 17 in Murrells Inlet – boasts a Belk, Books-A-Million and a brand new Planet Fitness. The mall has struggled over the past few years to keep a hold on anchor tenants; J.C. Penny closed its doors in March and Kmart left the mall in April.
But the addition of the 22,000-square-foot gym earlier this year has brought some life back into the struggling mall, said Brooke Doswell, Inlet’s general manager.
“The Planet Fitness parking lot is crowded all the time – it’s doing very well,” Doswell said. “All the mall stores are doing better because of it.”
Doswell said national department stores have struggled over the past few years, which fed into some of Inlet Square’s problems. The mall is focused on securing “all kinds” of tenants and anticipating the residential growth on the south strand.
“The mall has gone through very hard times, but the location is incredible and we know it will be successful,” she said.
Folks on the north strand may have seen some changes to Barefoot Landing this year. Burroughs & Chapin, which took ownership of the entertainment complex in 2013, spruced up the property with trees, new trash receptacles and refurbished wrought iron benches.
The complex also planted 18, 30-foot-tall live oak trees, according to Jamie Wilburn, public relations coordinator with Lesnik, Himmelsbach, Wilson, Hearl, who represents Burroughs & Chapin.
Several new shops have been added around the complex as well: the Stuffed Animal Store; Carolina Hat Company; Pepper Palace; and Barefoot Amusements, which features five rides and games for families. Several other shops have been remodeled over the year, Wilburn said.
Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with prizes, fireworks and giveaways for visitors. The Paula Deen store opened its doors spring of 2015 and the Hollywood Wax Museum welcomed visitors last summer.
Jim Powalie, general manager, said Broadway at the Beach is looking forward to another 20 years on the Grand Strand.
“Broadway will continue to be the center of fun for Myrtle Beach visitors and locals. It will continue to remain fresh, evolving as we work to bring our guests a great experience,” he said.
COASTAL GRAND MALL, 2000 Coastal Grand Circle, Myrtle Beach, 843-839-9100 or www.coastalgrand.com
MYRTLE BEACH MALL, 10177 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 843-272-4040 or www.mymallmyrtlebeach.com
INLET SQUARE MALL, 10125 U.S. 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet, 843-651-6990 or www.inletsquaremall.com
THE MARKET COMMON, 1120 Farrow Parkway, Myrtle Beach, 843-839-3500 or www.marketcommonmb.com
BROADWAY AT THE BEACH, 1325 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, 843-444-3200 or www.broadwayatthebeach.com
BAREFOOT LANDING, 4898 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, 843-272-8349 or www.bflanding.com
THE HAMMOCK SHOPS VILLAGE, U.S. 17 South, Pawleys Island, 843-237-9122 or www.thehammockshops.com
TANGER FACTORY OUTLETS, 4635 Factory Stores Blvd. at U.S. 501, Myrtle Beach, 843-236-5100 or www.tangeroutlet.com /myrtlebeach501; 10835 Kings Road at U.S. 17 and S.C. 22, Myrtle Beach, 843-449-0491 or www.tangeroutlet.com/myrtle beach17
DOWNTOWN CONWAY AND GEORGETOWN, Take U.S. 501 from Myrtle Beach then U.S. 501 Business into downtown Conway. Take U.S. 17 South from Myrtle Beach to Georgetown and turn left on Front Street. www.conwaymainstreet.com and www.visitgeorge.com