New Grand Strand businesses, jobs popping up

From tourism to construction, new businesses and job opportunities are popping up along the Grand Strand, and that's a little out of the ordinary to be happening in the winter.

A report out earlier this month shows Florence and Myrtle Beach metro areas showed some of the strongest employment increases over the past year. Some in Myrtle Beach say that is just the tip of the iceberg.

"Not all parts of the economy have recovered," Myrtle Beach Spokesman Mark Kruea says. "Yes, housing, construction, and auto sectors are lagging in Myrtle Beach, but tourism is picking up and hopefully that will drag all the other parts of the economy ahead."

Much of the growth in Myrtle Beach is happening along Highway 17 Bypass, in or around Broadway at the Beach. In 1996, Broadway was named "Most Outstanding Attraction" at the Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism. It's annual attendance now exceeds 14 million visitors.

Greek restaurant Mykonos (1002 29th Ave. N.) has only been in business for 6 weeks, but the owners bought the building out of foreclosure and are already doing major business in the off-season, seeing some 300 people on a weekend.

This particular Tuesday night, they're setting up for two private parties. One for a group of 45 people. Co-owner Christopher Manios says he's not worried about the economy or his business tanking.

"There's risks in any business that you get into," he says. "As long as your desire to succeed outweighs your fear of failure, you're always going to do well."

Down the road, the Pat Boone Family Theater is scheduled to open this spring in the former Nascar Cafe on Highway 17 Bypass. Magician Morgan Strebler will headline the theater's entertainment.

An executive with Liquid Metal Holdings, the entertainment company that's developing the theater, says the venue will seat around 600 people after it's renovated.

Also Tuesday, the opening lineup of performers for theLegends in Concert tribute show were announced.

The tribute artists will perform March 17 when the show debuts at the new theater located adjacent to Planet Hollywood at Broadway at the Beach. The site has been undergoing a $2 million renovation to make way for the show, which includes a 600-seat theater, projected stage with seating on three sides, retractable chandeliers, side stage monitors and other additions.

The artists will portray Elvis, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Little Richard, the Blues Brothers and Jay Leno, who will make limited appearances from March 17 to April 9.