Ocean Boulevard businesses question if barricades played part in slow July 4

(Photo Source: City of Myrtle Beach)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Business owners along Ocean Boulevard say the barricades weren’t too bad for their business this fourth of July, but in the long run, they will probably affect things.

The owner of the Bowery says he wants people visiting to know the city is a fun and safe place to visit,  but says he doesn’t know if the barricades are sending that message.

Restaurant owners on Ocean Boulevard have come to expect big crowds on holidays, but numbers were low for one owner yesterday.

“Fourth of July itself was a little down from last year,” said owner of the Bowery, Victor Shamah.

Shamah’s business sits near the line of police barricades on the boulevard.

“The barricades aren’t the impression we want to give to anyone around here,” said Shamah.

He says the holiday falling on a weekday probably played more into his low turnout than the barricades, but overall, he says the structures are more harm than help.

“It just doesn’t look right. It looks like there’s something wrong. It’s not the atmosphere or the impression that we would like to give to the tourism,” said Shamah.

Similar feelings are felt down the row of restaurants.

Deann Sarver, who co-owns Boardwalk Coffeehouse, would rather they weren’t there. Sarver says her numbers were good yesterday, but she doesn’t know if the barricades will continue that trend.

“I feel like they make people feel like maybe it’s not safe when I really feel like for the 98 percent of the time it is very safe,” said Sarver.

Myrtle Beach police say the barricades played a huge role in controlling crowds and keeping people moving along Ocean Boulevard.

“We found that to be very effective. The pedestrians utilized the sidewalks as well as the crosswalks to cross the roadway. So we found that to be very successful and we achieved our goal,” said Lt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

Lt. Crosby also added the department urges feedback from business owners and hopes to have an open relationship with them.

News13 spoke to Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean on the phone who said exact numbers for business on the fourth of July will be released starting Thursday.

Although he didn’t have anything concrete to go off of, Dean said preliminary results imply tourism in the city was near average.