MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – Getting through COVID-19 brings new hope for many. At Inlet Square Mall, owners are hopeful for new plans to bring in local businesses and more foot traffic after the pandemic.

Outside Inlet Square Mall paints a different picture than what’s happening inside.

“We are here to stay as long as the mall is here and they’ll let us stay,” Bill Caugherty, store owner said.

“The mall is still here, there has been a lot of talk about the mall being sold,” Douan Bingham, Owner and Operator of Custom Golf Carts said.

Caugherty and Bingham are business owners at Inlet Square Mall. Bingham is a world champion robot builder. With knowledge to run a custom golf cart business

“Anything you need done on a golf cart he can do,” Caugherty, said.

Caugherty helps run a co-op selling fresh elderberry products.

“There are a lot of local businesses in this mall that depends on the locals here supporting us,” Bingham said.

From health products to golf carts, drum stores, and photography business, store owners outside their job hear people say it’s a dead mall. They want to show they’re thriving inside.

“I think if people knew what was here there would be more foot traffic small business owners are building hope for a new future,” Bingham said.

Owners say the 425,000 square foot area has transitioned more to local business groups, not a typical mall. They said the trouble comes as people think this is a mall open 9-5 Monday through Sunday. Inlet Square Mall local business owners run most of these businesses and can’t afford to hire a lot of people, leading them to only be open certain days.

“We want this to be a positive effect for local small businesses and local shoppers I mean this area is growing leaps and bounds,” Caugherty said.

Two major chains Books a Million and Bath and Body Works recently closed. Business owners see an opportunity to create a new dynamic.

“New people that have come in and people who are staying they have new hope,” Caugherty said.

The Inlet Square Mall is the only indoor mall between North Charleston and the Coastal Grand Mall. Some retail chains have closed, other local small businesses are seeing success, even expanding.

Owners say new plans were in the works before the pandemic. News13 reached out to management for a statement on new plans but got no response.