A few weeks ago, the Grand Strand was alive with the disgruntled grunts of Black Friday or Thursday or whatever day it started - and who can remember when it ends anymore? All we know is people fought in lines and got robbed in parking lots and were generally rude to each other. For a couple of days, some of us forgot how to be a community – to support and take care of one another. That’s what Christmas is all about right? Did no one pay attention to Sam the Snowman from “Rudolph, the Red-Nose Reindeer” when he said, “Like I said, the outside world is up to its ears in danger”?
But Christmas is right around the corner and you don’t have time to lock yourself away and rely on online shopping for gifts. Good thing there are plenty of safe bets up and down our coast. You just need to know where to look. Local city leaders have even tried to lift up the community and boost the local economy. On Nov. 24, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach joined in on the national Small Business Saturday observance, offering initiatives to customers to shop local, independently-owned stores. And it’s no secret that Weekly Surge wallows in local love – we are by the people, for the people.
Last year, we published “The 12 Daze of Gen-Xmas” on Dec. 15, and this year we return in our favorite red stockings to bring you another dozen or so alternative gift ideas - all with local ties. There were no easy choices because hundreds of local people are out there doing and making extremely cool stuff – some are crafting treasures from trash, some are toiling out of garages and selling their wares online and in local stores, some are setting new highs in sports, some are businesses having the wherewithal to survive in a tourist town during a shitty economy. The choices weren’t easy, but here it is, a new song for holidays – Surge’s Baker’s Dozen-Plus One Daze of Gen-Xmas, our twisted twist on the famous English carol that brought us the partridge in a pear tree.
One of These Badass Tees: Native Sons Tees
What is it? Native Sons has been around since 1984 – since Myrtle Beach-themed shirts only came in bright neon and brighter neon. These guys were making cool, surf-centric T-shirts when no one else was. In 25 years, they’ve designed and supplied shirts for local businesses. They’ve worked with artists to create art you can wear. And they’ve survived in a churn-and-burn tourist town to promote a homegrown, surf culture. Did we mention that in these years they’ve also become one of the East Coast’s largest screen printing companies? Ursula Hockman, Native Sons’ Marketing and Web Director, says, “Most of our designs are Myrtle Beach or surfer themed. Our mantra is, ‘Dress Like You Live Here.’ We like to think our clothing represents Myrtle Beach locals and the beach lifestyle.”
Why buy it? Printing and embroidery orders are Native Sons’ bread and butter, but there’s a retail store at its facility in Myrtle Beach. Hockman says, “Feel free to stop by to grab some cool Tees.” Hockman tells us a shirt from Native Sons makes a great Christmas present because, the Native GenerosiTEES program raises money and donates supplies to Myrtle Beach Haven Family and Women’s Shelter – a nonprofit that provides shelter for families in need and women and children, who are victims of domestic violence.
How much is it? $10 to $25 – If you’re looking for screen printing or embroidery, call 448-0585 for a quote.
Where is it? You can order online at www.nativesons.com or stop by the new state-of-the-art facility at 1519 Executive Ave. in Myrtle Beach.
Two Cool Comic Books: Coastal Comics
What is it? A playground for the freaks and geeks among us – it’s a comic book shop so new that the paint still smells wet. It’s a welcome addition to the Grand Strand. With Apocalypse Comics in North Myrtle Beach and Corsair Comics in Myrtle Beach, Coastal Comics’ location on the south-end of S.C. 707, geographically balances our sources for comics and cool comic-related merchandise. Much like its counterparts to the north, Coastal sells new and vintage comics and toys. The store has gaming supplies for “Magic the Gathering,” “Dungeons and Dragons” – all the other role playing games and all the accoutrements that come along with them.
Why buy it? First off, the store will be open on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 6pm.
This is a great opportunity to show support for a specialized local business, doing it guerilla style, building its own shelves and displays. These guys could be easily missed out on 707 and they’re depending on word of mouth and social networking online and in the community. Owner, Drew Johnson says, “Our products cater to all ages. We have something for young children to adults.”
How much is it? From a buck and up.
Where is it? 9261 S.C. 707, Myrtle Beach; 750-0330; www.facebook.com/coastal.comics
Two-and-a-half Ounces of Jerky: J-Mike’s Jerky, made by Jaesen Moore, singer of The IZM
What is it? It’s two-and-a-half ounces of full flavor in a vacuum-sealed Ziploc bag. J-Mike’s Jerky is just getting started. Made by the singer of local rock band The IZM, Moore’s jerky comes in more than a dozen flavors. Most of these are based on teriyaki and vary by thickness and heat. You can play it safe with Nugz style which is a mild flavor. Or you can ramp it up with the spicier, The Izm blend. Or you can kick-out-the-jams by biting down and ripping off a piece of the XXX. Moore says it’s “around 300,000 Scoville units and made with three different types of chili peppers.” That means it’s one spicy meat-stick. He’s recently added Jerky Straws for Bloody Marys. Even though J-Mike’s is not officially in stores yet, it is made in a DHEC-approved restaurant kitchen.
Why buy it? Think about the conversations this gift will create – Telling the recipient through a mouth full of Jerky that a local rocker made this super-delicious jerky by day and at night, he screamed his lungs out with his band, all the while dreaming up new flavors for dried meat. Moore says, “J-Mike’s is the best stocking stuffer simply because, J-Mike’s is flavor under any circumstance."
How much is it? $5 for pickup or dropped-off, $6 to be shipped
Where is it? Drop Moore a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – Tell him what you want and work out the details on delivery.
Three Seasons Deep : "Eastbound and Down: Season 3" on DVD/Blu-ray and Merman Swag
What is it? It’s a fuckin’ TV show, duh! Sorry, we channeled our inner Kenny Powers there for a moment. The third season of the HBO comedy, “Eastbound and Down,” the antihero/main character Kenny Powers, portrayed by Danny McBride, came to Myrtle Beach to play some baseball at our Pelican’s TicketReturn.com Field. It was originally thought to be the final season, but it was renewed this summer for one more season. Last season or not, we couldn’t ask for a better salute to Kenny Powers’ Paradise, aka Myrtle Beach. And bonus, the change of the Pelicans’ name to the Mermen was a brilliant decision for the show, the show has a cult following and the logo and name are iconic. So, why not wear a Mermen T-shirt while you’re watching the whole season?
Why buy it? The Grand Strand is more than a location – it’s a character on the show. All the highlights and lowlights are included, from Coastal Carolina University to mini-golf to our beaches and the funniest boogie board scenes ever filmed. Wearing your Mermen T-shirt, you can shout out the locales as they fly, as Kenny Powers inhales the essence of our sins and redemptions.
How much is it? On DVD, $20; On Blu-ray, $27; Merman Tees are $15 to $27
Where is it? You can get the DVD/Blu-ray at any of your major or minor electronic/entertainment outlets. The Merman Tees are sold at the Pelican’s Pro Shop at TicketReturn.com Field, 1251 21st Avenue North, Myrtle Beach; Call 918-6015 or order them at www.pelicans.milbstore.com. Or if you’re shopping at Broadway at the Beach, pick up your Merman gear at RetroActive, 1200 Celebrity Circle, Unit 210.
Four for $44 Basketball Tickets: Coastal Carolina Chanticleer Ticket Package
What is it? For a party school at the beach, CCU has been making some waves with its sports programs. First-year football coach Joe Moglia has been named one of five finalists for the Liberty Mutual FCS Coach of the Year Award, after he coached his team to the Big South Conference championship and the second round of the NCAA Division I Football Playoffs. Amber Campbell represented CCU’s track and field team in the London Olympics. The baseball and soccer teams had respectable seasons this year making the playoffs. But the men’s basketball team is sitting under .500. It’s the beginning of the season and there’s time to turn it around. Here’s the thing: It’s winter, it gets cold, and CCU just built The HTC Center to house the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams. It’s a warm and cozy new arena with brand new video boards, digital signage, an awesome lighting system, plus it’s been selected to be the home for the Big South Basketball Championships for the next three years.
Why buy it? Kevin Olivett, Assistant Athletics Director of Marketing and Promotions at CCU, does some math: “Normally tickets are $10 each for a total of $40, drinks are $3 each for a total of $12 and the popcorns are $2 for a total of $8, a grand total of $60. With our 4 for $44 it is a savings of $16.” He says of The HTC Center, “With all of these bells and whistles we are able to provide our fans a great bang for their buck.” And how cool would it be to get out and support your local teams, helping them gain momentum toward March Madness?
How much is it? $44
Where is it? Get your tickets at www.goccusports.com or go by CCU’s ticket office at Arcadia Hall, 132 Chanticleer Drive West, Conway or call 347-TIXX.
Five Golden Jars of Honey: Local beekeepers Honey Products
What is it? It’s mason jars, it’s bear-shaped bottles, some have a honeycomb in the jar, some are just a hunk of edible honeycomb. But the walls of our fresh and farmer markets are filling up with honey. The sizes of the containers may vary but it all tastes the same because it’s not just honey – it’s local, raw, all-natural, unfiltered honey.
Why buy it? Well-known-fact – honey never expires. But that’s not why it’s a thoughtful gift. It’s a thoughtful gift because it is delicious in and on anything you add it to. We know you’re thinking that we’re going to say that it fights allergies. But no, we’re not. The allergy remedy is not scientifically proven. We’re recommended it because it’ll get you into a farmer’s market and you can see all the great stuff they have in there – fresh and local and awesome. Scott Lee from Lee’s Farmers Market in Murrells Inlet says, “It’s handmade with hard work. Anyone can go to a grocery store, this is a chance to go back to nature, get food not filled with preservatives and chemicals. I mean, do you want to get real grandma jam or some jar in a grocery store with a label that says grandma’s jam?”
How much is it? Varies on what and how much you get but basically $4 and up
Where is it? Lee’s Farmers Market at 4883 U.S. 17 Bypass in Murrells Inlet; 651-7398. But there are too many farmers markets to mention here. If you’re not on the South-end, there’s Google, search for “fresh or farmer” and let the honey drip.
Six Pack-A-Drinking: New South Brewing Gift Cards
What is it? It’s an opportunity to give the timeless gift of beer. Not only that, New South is a micro-brewery making this beer right down the street. And this year, the brewery is offering gift cards for the first time. Give your special beer-lover a little piece of plastic that allows them to come in, tour the brewery, see how it goes from the recipe to the can, and take home a six pack, a growler, a keg. While you’re at it, take home logoed hats, T-shirts, pint glasses or other beer gear and rep your local brewmasters by lifting one high and saying “cheers.”
Why buy it? Since it first hit the local taps 14 years ago, New South has been establishing a reputation of doing it right – by keeping it simple and doing simple well. For another reason to put this card under the tree, owner and brewmaster David Epstein says, “What is better holiday cheer than the beer from here?”
How much is it? The amount is up to you, starting at $5
Where is it? Something this good can’t be all easy. You have to get the gift cards from the brewery and here is the trick – New South only opens for retail business and tours on Tuesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. And that’s today, so get going to 1109 Campbell Street, Myrtle Beach. For more info look online at www.newsouthbrewing.com of call 916-2337.
Seven Design Types of Glass Grooving: Groovy Green Glass
What is it? Ever want to sip a drink out of a piece of art? Ever want to light a room with a rum bottle? Ever wonder what an empty bottle of wine would sound like if it was crafted into a wind chime? Well, wonder no more – Groovy Green Glass makes something from nothing. Beautiful and handmade jewelry, glassware, home décor and more – this husband-and-wife outfit takes the bottles that would fill the dumpsters of local businesses and creates really cool stuff.
Why buy it? Owner Deana Vail says, “Every bottle we collect is a bottle that was diverted from going into the landfill. Glass never breaks down. Plus, glass is a completely recyclable resource. Keeping these bottles out of the landfill is a major passion for us. I am proud to say that in 2012, we have saved almost 30,000 from going into the trash. Plus, we are huge supporters of shopping local ourselves. We love going to area farmers’ markets, supporting local artists, and eating at locally owned restaurants. Every dollar spent with Groovy goes back into our community.”
How much is it? Prices range from $10 - $125
Where is it? www.groovygreenglass.etsy.com – enter the promo code, “LOCALS,” and the shipping charges will be removed. Locals can either pick up orders or you can arrange for delivery. Groovy Green Glass items are also available at The Mole Hole at Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing.
Figure Eight on a Longboard: A Skateboard from Local Skateboard Company
What is it? Custom made 39 and 59-inch skateboards, these longboards have your choice of top quality hardware and the decks are designed especially for the rider. Screw a mass-produced, assembly-line approach. These boards are created to your personal specs. You can put a picture of a panda hugging your mom if you want. Business logos, your own artwork, family photos, your imagination is the only limit. And if you can’t come up with something, brainstorm with the owner, Danny Callahan, or pick one of his custom graphics.
Why buy it? Callahan builds these boards in his garage with tools that once belonged to his grandfather and father. And he is willing to sweat to succeed, he says, “I have demo boards customers can take home with them to try out. I give free lessons to beginner skaters and I can refurbish an old board and make it look new again. I offer a product that will get the younger kids outside. Older kids and adults use them as transportation in urban areas and college campuses and my customized boards will be around for many years providing many hours of good clean fun.”
How much is it? Prices range anywhere from $150 to $200.
Where is it? Go to www.localskateboardcompany.com or you call 997-6707. You can pick up or he can deliver and he’s taking Christmas orders up until Saturday (Dec. 22). He says, “I just got a note from Santa saying he is available to deliver a few boards on Christmas Eve if needed. The only stipulation is they have to believe in him.”
Nine Months and Still Kicking: Something Kooky from Movie Shack
What is it? The last movie rental store in the world…OK, that’s a bit hyperbolic. But it’s been around for nine months and it’s not a vending machine outside a grocery store or gas station either. But it’s not a just a rental store. If you watch a movie and you like it, you can buy it at a used/reduced price. But that’s not all it is. The walls are like an eBay page. Vintage movie-related toys hang from the walls, from the ceiling. There are shelves filled with discounted Disney films for sale and Blu-ray players for sale and comic books and collectables and hand-painted wine glasses and whatever else you can trade or barter concerning movies.
Why buy it? This is your mom-and-pop video store and that’s worth preserving for sentimentality and for the humanity of actually renting and buying movies and movie stuff from a human being that’s happy just to hang out and talk about movies or whatever else pops up. Movie Shack Manager Eric Chaney says, “Everyone should support your local businesses. We have a great selection and the inventory changes weekly, and nobody else is doing this.”
How much is it? From a buck and up.
Where is it? 4959 Socastee Boulevard, Myrtle Beach; 293-1840.
Ten Books for Reading: A Book from Prose Press
What is it? A local publishing company, publishing local authors, and these guys are everywhere – doing signings and readings and discussion panels. They strive to give a voice to writers outside of the conventional publishing loops. And this small press is gaining steam. Since writer/publisher Robert T O’Brien, brought it into being in 2011, the outfit has published 10 books by nine writers.
Why buy it? There’s something for every reading palate – there’s mystery, history, adventure, humor, poetry, even a kids’ book. Even better, you can support two local outlets at once and go down to Litchfield Books in Litchfield Beach or Harborwalk Books in Georgetown to pick them up.
How much is it? Price range from $8 - $26
Where is it? Check out the book list at www.prosepress.biz. Besides Litchfield Books and Harbor Walk Books, these books may be on the shelves of Barnes and Noble at The Market Common or all three area Books-A-Million locations. Publisher O’ Brien says, “We’re working at it.” If you’re looking for a post-Christmas read, you can also order from www.barnesandnoble.com. O’Brien says, “In orders of three or more they can order from Prose Press at a 20 percent discount.” For the discount, contact O’Brien at email@example.com.
Eleven Boomboxes Booming : DomeCandy Lab Boomboxes
What is it? You ever think, I wish my suitcase had a couple speaker cones that I could really boom my beats through? This is a daydream no more – DomeCandy Labs can take anything hollow and make a boombox out of it. And this is not your daddy’s boombox, these boxes have style. They’re converted suitcases, guitar cases, trumpet cases, prosthetic leg cases, cigar boxes…you get the point. At last count, there were only 11 left on the company’s Web site. But never fear, founder/rockboxer, Seth “Spark” Alcorace says, “We’re working in the lab right now to get more done.”
Why buy it? These local boom-masters build all of their creations by hand. Their goal is sell them, but they also want to lead the way in a D-I-Y market by eventually creating and sharing, “The Recipe” – a database of instruction to help people build their own awesome rock boxes. Alcorace, says, “No matter which one you get or give, it will be completely unique, whether it’s an original DomeCandy Boombox, or one of our newest creations from the TableTop Series.”
How much is it? Range from $120 to $800
Where is it? Contact DomeCandy Lab via www.domecandylab.com to make arrangements for local pickup. Or you can pick up one at Surcees, a brand new store opening today at 700-B U.S. 17 South in Surfside Beach’s Lorraine Plaza. Surcees also has vintage clothes and handmade gifts.
Twelve Inches of Vinyl Spinning: Kilgor Trouts’ Retro Deals
What is it? It’s everything retro and local with a spin. It’s vinyl and DVDs and CDs of music you’ve never heard of. It’s clocks and coasters made of vinyl records. It’s local music. It’s a head shop. It’s kitschy and art deco oddities. It’s old-school Nintendo. It’s handmade bell earrings for Christmas. It’s a Deadhead’s wet dream. It’s a store that will buy the stuff out of your closet, shine it up and sell it to someone who’s been searching for years, for that very item.
Why buy it? Owner Gary L Finkenbiner has been rocking the heart of Myrtle Beach for a few years now. Always looking out for his community, he’s running a special on from Saturday through Monday (Dec. 22-24). Everything in the store is on sale for at a 40 percent discount. He’s also staying open until 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve just in case you’re in a fix for a gift. He says, “We have products no one else does – unusual, collectable, handmade. Plus, you can’t bet that sale.”
How much is it? From a buck to a let’s barter.
Where is it? 512 8th Avenue N., Myrtle Beach; 445-2800; www.kilgortrouts.com or on Facebook.
And on the Baker Dozen Day of Gen-Xmas: Scuba Diving Lessons with Express Sports
What is it? This is a business owned and operated by family and friends. They have services that range from catering to the novice diver, all the way up to providing for the masters of the deep. You can get a gift certificate or make it a gift for yourself. Either way, once they guide you through the academics and pool, you’re certified to dive down in the open water to real-life wrecks and man-made diving sites off our shores. And you’re certified for life and wherever you may wander – ages range from 8 to whatever.
Why buy it? It’s a one-stop shop, supplying everything except mask, fin and snorkel. But those items are sold in the store, which also offers discounts to students. And if you’re not sure, try, Discover Scuba, a two-hour session where they teach you the basics, submerge you within a tank and let you float underwater, mid-pool, weightless – just to see if you’re into it. And if you’re not, wait until spring and do one of the dozen other water-sports on the menu. Co-owner Jennifer Jones-Poore says, “Scuba creates a lifetime of memories no one can take away from you.”
How much is it? $50 – $400
Where is it? Check out www.expresswatersports.com or swing by 4042 U.S.17 Business, Murrells Inlet; 357-3337.