The zip code 29585 comprises Pawleys Island and Litchfield Beach in South Carolina, two resort-oriented coastal towns rich in beaches and golf communities. The year-round population within the zip code is approximately 13,500, but that number can swell significantly during the peak beach and golf seasons that include spring and fall for golfers and summer for families looking for a week or more on some of the cleanest and most expansive beaches on the east coast.
Supermarket shopping during peak seasons at beach and golf resorts can be a chore, what with the crowded aisles and long checkout lines as well as prices considerably higher than back home. Neither of those conditions should nag visitors or residents in the Pawleys Island area.
In March, the Publix chain of supermarkets will open a large facility on Highway 17, the main north/south thoroughfare through town that stretches all the way south through Charleston and Savannah and north through Wilmington, NC, to Norfolk, VA. The Publix is rising literally across the highway from an established Food Lion supermarket and less than a mile north of a less-than-year-old Loewes supermarket. A half mile north of the Publix is a Fresh Market, a chain of more "boutique" type produce, meats and other products has done quite well since opening a couple of years ago. Less than four miles farther north, in Litchfield Beach, a BI-LO supermarket took over the space formerly occupied by the iconic southern chain with the funny name, Piggly Wiggly. (BI-LO's previous store was ¼ mile from the former Piggly Wiggly.)
For residents of Pawleys Island golf communities, as well as visiting golfers and families renting the many condos in the area, the glut of supermarkets is good news. The intense competition will keep prices down, and the sheer number of places to shop will ensure short or non-existent wait times to check out. Supermarkets also require a large number of employees, albeit mostly low-wage jobs, but the continuity of employment in off seasons or through tourism dry spells should be an economic boost to the area.
Pawleys Island and Myrtle Beach golf courses and beach resorts are preparing for a high level of traffic this spring and summer as prices at the gas pump continue to fall. At the gas station in front of the Pawleys Island Loewes supermarket, the advertised price for regular gas is $1.99 per gallon, the lowest I recall since my early visits to Myrtle Beach in the late 1960s. Myrtle Beach real estate officials, who experienced their best year of the decade in 2014, are also anticipating more sales traffic during the peak upcoming seasons. Condo prices still have not recovered substantially from the 2008 recession, and some prices remain low enough to make a vacation home within reach of many couples and families who might have thought such a purchase exceeded their grasp. For example, a 2 bedroom, 2 ½ bath unit in Pawleys Plantation, with a short walk to the first tee of the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, is currently listed at $124,900. (I played the golf course yesterday and it was in nice shape for the mid-winter; the greens were fast, the fairways only a little thin, and the dormant rough thick enough to prop up the ball a bit.) That unit can also be rented out to the almost constant flow of visiting golfers and families throughout the year.
I'll have more to say about the entire Myrtle Beach housing market in the coming days. In the meantime, if you would like more information about Pawleys Island, Myrtle Beach or any golf community rich area in the southeast, please contact me.