‘It’s happening’: Myrtle Beach businesses that opened during the pandemic getting first taste of busy season

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The first year is the toughest for all business owners, but the pressure was amplified for those who opened their doors for the first time during the pandemic.

Dara Sawczuk and her husband, Adrian, opened Tidal Creek Brewhouse in June after nearly three years of planning.

“While all the mayhem was going on we were still doing construction,” Dara Sawczuk said. “March comes around and everything is shutting down, so we stop, we look at each other and we say, ‘What do we do? Do we stop construction? Do we continue?’ We were already in it. We already had the financing, so we pushed on because we didn’t know. Was it going to be two weeks, was it going to be two months? Nobody had that crystal ball, and no one knew what was going to happen, so we kept pushing on.”

She believes their success is partly because they started small. The business began by serving coffee and breakfast, and then added lunch a few weeks later, before growing to shareables, wine and then finally beer.

She said they also tried to optimize all their outdoor space, going as far as opening the beer garden a year early.

“We needed to make the community feel comfortable,” she said. “The taproom is small, but we’re in Myrtle Beach so we can sit outside twelve months out of the year.”

Now, they can tell the tide is changing.

“If we had 200 guests a day, we were happy because we were in a pandemic so we would be very happy, but now that things are starting to pick up and we’re seeing the sheer numbers of people coming out, it’s happening,” she said.

With business booming, local restaurants and attractions are facing a new problem: staffing shortages.

“Staffing has been a situation, but having a self-service model really does help us,” Dara Sawczuk said. “We do need more bartenders, so we have to ask our customers to be more patient with us. There could be one hour where we have 10 tickets and there could be an hour where we have 100 tickets.”

The business is expanding its point-of-sale system and is adding more technology to help ease the burden on employees.

Sawczuk says they are now working to brew a seltzer and are adding more events to the calendar for summer.

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