South Carolina

No Mickey D’s. No Chick-Fil-A. This SC beach town wants to ban big chain restaurants

The Town of Folly Beach could ban all chain businesses from the island.
The Town of Folly Beach could ban all chain businesses from the island. Town of Folly Beach

The City of Folly Beach, South Carolina, may ban any new chain restaurants and businesses from opening on the island south of Charleston.

City council members voted earlier this month to ban any new chain businesses from opening in most of the beach-front town, according to the Charleston Post and Courier. A second vote on the ban is set for next month, according to the newspaper.

“The goal is to keep mom and pop places healthy and alive,” Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin told WCSC.

WCSC reports the island already has a ban on drive-thru businesses, which, the TV station notes, has kept a lot of fast-food chains away from the island.

The city calls the chains “formula businesses,” according to the ordinance included in its last city council agenda. The town explains: “A Formula Business is any business with 10 or more outlets anywhere in the world.” Chain businesses, the proposal notes, have standardized products, uniforms, logos and buildings.

There’s already a BP gas station and a Subway on the island, so they would be allowed to stay, the Post and Courier reports. An area just inland from the island with a Harris Teeter grocery story would still allow chain businesses, according to the newspaper.

The town’s Planning Commission did not hear from anyone opposed to the ban, according to a letter from Folly Beach Zoning Administrator Aaron Pope to the town council. Pope said the commission approved the idea before sending it to town council members for their approval.

Folly Island is about 12 square miles, according to the Folly Association of Businesses site The town says the island is home to 2,400 permanent residents.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting

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