MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — With Myrtle Beach Bike Week mostly in the rearview mirror, area businesses say the 10-day event was a roaring success.
Leslye Beaver, the owner of the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet, said that while no rally will ever beat the ones “back in the good ‘ole days,” this year’s event was among the best.
Bill Barber, general manager at SBB in Murrells Inlet, agreed that Bike Week is huge for businesses in the area, saying it’s the second biggest 10-day period for income behind the July 4th holiday.
Barber said this year’s event was tougher than some because of the weather but it was still a very busy time.
“Because it’s 10 days long, and everybody’s here, ya know, you get 250, 300,000 bikers in town, you’re gonna be busy,” he said.
Area vendors said they had similar experiences.
“I don’t think the weather hurt us,” said Robert Lynn Hayles of Lucky Kustoms, which provides LED lighting systems for motorcycles. “I think it slowed us a little down on Thursday, but I think the bikers that come from the New England area; Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, they’re comin’ regardless, and they’re gonna ride their motorcycles regardless. It doesn’t matter what the weather’s doing.”
Area restaurants also saw increased business with the influx of bikers busy during the week, though Al Hitchcock, the owner of Drunken Jacks on the Marsh Walk, said some regular customers tend to stay away during Bike Week.
“They don’t come during Bike Week because of the noise, the chaos they have in the roads and stuff, but it doesn’t scare ’em all away,” he said, adding that this year’s event was not one of the biggest he’s seen, but it was still profitable.
Besides spending money at local bars and restaurants, Barber said bikers support other businesses, such as hotels and gas stations, which helps everyone get ready for the summer season — and even more tourists.
While Bike Week 2023 is mostly in the books and bikers are moving on, Barber is already planning for the next event.
“It’s a year-long process,” he said. “We’re pretty close to being booked for fall already, and as soon as fall’s over with, we’ve got seven months to get spring together.”
And, of course, there’s always the Atlantic Beach Black Peal Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival coming up over the Memorial Day holiday, an event that is scheduled to take place on May 26-29.
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Claire Purnell is a multimedia journalist at News13. Claire is from Louisville, Kentucky. Claire joined the News13 team in January 2023 after graduating from the University of Colorado-Boulder in December 2022. Follow Claire on Twitter and read more of her work here.