I-95 billboard sends tourists on "shortest beach route"

A new billboard on Interstate 95 is encouraging tourists heading to Myrtle Beach to travel through Fairmont, North Carolina by using Exit 10 on the "shortest beach route", according to Fairmont Mayor Charles Kemp.

The billboard near mile marker 18/17 in the south bound land of I-95 was the brain child of Mayor Kemp.

He added "We believe that the billboard will be an economic boost for our merchants, as well as an enhancement for our overall community."

Kemp said for more than a year, he applied for grants and tried to figure out how to pay for the rent for the billboard space.

In March, he reached out to businesses on the street that runs directly through the town of Fairmont.

Nine businesses and one organization agreed to pay $50 a month each to rent the billboard space from Lamar Advertising Company.

The billboard, which is 14-feet tall and 48-feet wide, was put up July 1.

Just three days later, Mayor Kemp noticed the billboard was already working.

"On the fourth of July, I pulled into the McDonalds parking lot and three cars pulled in before I did, one with license plates from Virginia, one from Massachusetts and one from Pennsylvania. I rolled the window down to speak to one of the drivers. A man told me they were going to the beach. He said 'I saw a billboard on I-95 and saw this was the fastest route," said Kemp.

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