Nothing says beach like a hollowed-out pineapple filled with slushied strawberries, bananas and coconut. One family-owned business is cashing in on the beach vibes during Atlantic Beach Bikefest while keeping tourists cool over the hot weekend.
Tropical Delights, which is based in North Carolina, set up shop in Atlantic Beach and on the north end of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Friday afternoon. The 20-year-old business sells hollow pineapples filled with different fruit mixtures – all in slushy form – for $12 a pop.
Charles Burnett, co-owner of Tropical Delights, said the idea stemmed from a vacation he took with his brother.
"We just thought it would be a good thing to have here, so we brought it home with us," Burnett said.
The brothers have been selling their frozen treats during Bikefest for about 20 years, Burnett said, but the brothers have only set up a stand in Myrtle Beach for about four years. Friday night business was slower than usual, but Burnett said the weekend should pick up a little bit as long as the weather holds out.
The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for Horry and Georgetown counties late Friday afternoon, with the tropical depression expected to bring between 2 and 4 inches of rain over the next several days, and wind gusts up to 40 mph. Strong rip currents also are expected.
"It’s typically a very busy weekend, as long as the weather cooperates," Burnett said.
Tropical Delights offers several different flavors, but none contain any alcohol. That’s the only thing Tenia Stevenson doesn’t like about the frozen fruits.
She said $12 is a little expensive for a virgin cocktail, but after sipping from her daughter’s pineapple she’d pay the price any day. The creative concept – which already has a few competitors along the boulevard – is another draw.
"Everyone has henna tattoos or T-shirts, so you’ve got to find something new," Stevenson said.
Tiffany Burnett, Charles Burnett’s daughter, said she’s helped her father run the stand since she was 8 years old. The businesses services festivals throughout the Carolinas and relies on family and friends to work the booth, she said.
About 10 people were working the Myrtle Beach stand Friday night, which is common for a large crowd, she said.
"Everybody works – that’s how you keep it in the family," she said.
There’s very little prepping before the event, Tiffany Burnett said, since pineapples sour fairly quickly after being cored. Everything Tropical Delights serves is fresh and made right when the customer orders it, to the delight of Stevenson.
The only possible improvement?
"Get your ABC license and make the people happy," Stevenson said. "Other than that, they are really, really good."
Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN