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Business leaders say Bikefest not living up to downtown expectations

Some Downtown business leaders say they've seen less sales this year than in recent years. One businessman told ABC15 off camera he's lost $4,000 over the last two days. (Taggart Houck/WPDE)

Some business leaders in downtown Myrtle Beach said they're down on sales this weekend, citing the barricades and what they called a smaller turnout for Bikefest this year.

"Last year was a little slower than the year before, but last night was dead around here," said James Hufnageo, a manager at The Bowery, which sits less than 100 feet from Ocean Boulevard along 9th Avenue North.

Section of the boulevard are completely cut off to traffic. Barnacle Bills along 8thAvenue North chose not to open for the weekend. Their stretch of road is completely sectioned off from Kings Highway and Ocean Boulevard.

About two blocks from Ocean Boulevard sits The 'Ole Irish Pub, a bar that's been in business since January, according to a manager.

"We basically lost 80 percent and we're never like this, ever," said Sinead McGann, the manager. "We're always busy."

She says the biggest problem was barricades law enforcement placed near where they sit along 10th Avenue North. They're intended to funnel bikers from Kings Highway to Ocean Boulevard. McGann said they've funneled customers, too.

"Our regular customers and also tourists can't get into the barricade there and especially with tourists, they don't know where to go, so they end up driving around," said McGann.

Back on the boulevard, some said motorcycle traffic seemed to be less than in recent years.

"It's just not the same. A mini van just went by," said Ernest McClam from Hartsville, with a grin.

One business ABC15 spoke to, Peaches Corner, said sales were business as usual. The business sits right along Ocean Boulevard and 9th Avenue North. Employees said their location helps, primarily attracting foot traffic.

"We're right here on the corner where everything [is]...it's been pretty flowy," said Mikayla Williams.



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