Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Myrtle Beach: The Market Common

On Monday, August 31, we toured The Market Common at Myrtle Beach.

This is a new shopping area.

I was keen to explore this because it is similar in concept the Daleville Town Center. I began writing about the Daleville Town Center from its inception and had been following the development of this proposed "traditional neighborhood" for four years, so I was interested in seeing one that was better underway.

The Market Common at Myrtle Beach was built on the old Air Force Base. It has shops, main street areas, and places to live above the shops. Daleville Town Center has the same plan: shops, living spaces, walking - a ready-built town, in other words.

At The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, the shops are filled with things like Barnes & Noble, Williams-Sonoma, Cold Creek. Not stuff that local marketeers and entrepreneurs might sell, but ordinary corporate normal made-someplace-else stuff that you can find most anywhere else in the United States.

I longed to see a line of stores that were different, independently owned and operated, offering up a world of goods that would be unique to each merchant. I would spend time in a place that offered things I could not see elsewhere, but I had no real desire to see the whitewashed goods I can find at Valley View Mall in Roanoke.

I would have liked for Barnes & Noble to have stayed where it was near Broadway at the Beach, and had a smaller bookstore owned by an independent bookseller, for example. Something like a Ram's Head at Towers Mall in Roanoke. There's a great bookstore that should be in something like The Market Common or Daleville Town Center.

The Market Common in theory seems to be fine, but I do not find it enticing. I wonder if in five years it will still stand. The shopkeeper at Williams Sonoma said it had been a struggle to stay open. There were very few people there when we were visiting.

After we hit The Market Common, we went to Tanger Outlet, where we visited many clothing stores, began our Christmas shopping, and in general wore out the bottoms of our shoes. All the people who should have been at The Market Common were at Tanger Outlet, sticking with the tried and true.

Next we went to The Original Benjamin's for dinner, a seafood buffet that cost $26.75 each. The food was great but I felt like I was in a warehouse.

Tuesday dawned cloudy again, so we walked the beach in hopes of working off Monday night's feast. We debated on renting an umbrella and two chairs from the lifeguard. It was expensive - $30 a day, less if you went for multiple days. In the end we doled out $95 for 4 days of use. Otherwise we would have had to buy an umbrella and chairs. I am fair-skinned, burn easily, and on medication that says "stay out of direct sunlight" on it, so no way could I have just lain out in the sun like other beauties.

By the end of the day I had read through two book by Tamora Pierce and started a third. My husband was resting a lot, which was good, and I was trying to.

Soon we would be taking a trip down memory lane.


  1. I agree with your thoughts on the market common. Nice concept, but I agree that it would be even nicer with unique, individually owned stores instead of corporate ones. A privately owned bookstore is such a treat, it has flavor and personality. Towers is a good example. I wonder how they have managed to incorporate the special shops? Low rent?

  2. Oh, I love a restaurant or any other place for that matter that has a warehouse feel to it.

    We were in a mall over the week-end where every store was as you described.... everything was made somewhere else, stuff you could have bought anywhere.

    Snappy Di

  3. I haven't seen Myrtle Beach since I was very little. Thanks for the pictures!
    I feel the same way about Virginia Beach. I really miss the homey feel it had when I went there as a child with the small bookstores, cute souvenier shops and the wooden boardwalk. It was a great place for a family but not anymore :(

  4. Next time you're down there, drive down to Murrell's Inlet. It's not that far and there is a wonderful place called Drunken Jack's. They have the best scallops on the east coast. They also have green beans like my grandmother used to make. It's quiet, right on the waterway and the birds are spectacular. It's less expensive than the calabash chains, and you get some local flavor.

  5. Why even bother to come to Myrtle Beach, while with the same money or less you can have a vacation where you will be treated with respect and and leave with the feeling that you want to come back again and again.
    Myrtle Beach is a "cultural wasteland" and the only thing they know is smoke cigarettes, eat fried fish, take your money without even to say "Thank You".
    Good luck on your next adventure.


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