Surfside Business Owners Vote with Their Feet

November 5, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Chris Panos
Citizen Reporter

At least one restaurant, Nibils, will be leaving the pier by year-end, and there’s been talk that eight to 10 other businesses are considering moving, as well.

Nibils’ owners Jack and Margaret Cahill announced late last month that after more than 20 years at the Surfside Beach Pier they would be moving to Myrtle Beach.

Surfside Beach purchased the pier from a private owner in 2008 for $2.5 million, but has since taken steps seen by some as anti-free market. Those include imposing a smoking ban that some have said is being enforced selectively enforced.

In addition, there have been issues with parking and zoning.

The town also upset some business owners because while procurement policies require the town to solicit proposals to find the best tenant for the pier-side space, public officials didn’t inform some existing business owners of this fact.

“We were really blindsided to find out this was up for bid and that’s what’s hurtful,” Nibils’ Manager Maureen Cahill-Butwin, told WMBF earlier this year, adding she had to learn about the bid process through her family attorney because she said town officials never informed her or her father, Jack Cahill.

Chris Panos is a resident of Myrtle Beach.