Is Pawleys Island getting a Walmart?

A Charleston-area developer plans to build a Walmart store in Pawleys Island and many small business owners there hope to stop it.

It wouldn't be the first time the town's merchants have fought off a big box store.

Glenn Cox owns three small businesses in the town. He said a Walmart store would hurt all local merchants, especially his pharmacy.

"It would be detrimental to my prescription business," Cox said. "(Walmart has) four dollar prescriptions and, personally, Walmart is a cancer, they're going after everything."

Cox said some locals might welcome the store's low prices and the 200-plus jobs it would create, but he says many current jobs would also be lost.

Georgetown County councilman Jerry Oakley says the store would be built on what is now the Pawleys Island Plaza property.

County law limits commercial buildings to 45,000 square feet along U.S. Highway 17, but current plans are for the store to be set far enough back from the highway to avoid those limits.

Oakley said the store would still need county approval for changes and additions to the property.

In 2005, Pawleys Island residents and business owners successfully fought off a Lowe's Home Improvement store that had been planned for the town. But Walmart is the world's biggest retailer and opponents say they know this time, they have a fight on their hands.

"They're enormous, but we're going to do our best," said Pawleys native Jennifer Brown. "There's enough people around here that are vigilant and cautious and like their area and like our stringent zoning and the perks that we have."

Brown and her husband own Pawleys Island Supplies where locals can buy anything from boiled peanuts to volleyballs.

She said the town, with its beach houses and quaint shops, just wouldn't be the right fit for a Walmart.

"You can drive 12 miles to Garden City to that Walmart, or 15 (miles) to Georgetown. Why do we need one here in Pawleys Island? Makes no sense."

The Walmart proposal will go before the Georgetown County Planning Commission on September 20.

A spokesman for Sunbelt Ventures, LLC, the developer planning to build the store, declined to comment to NewsChannel 15.