Horry County is home to many types of manufacturing businesses. Here is a spotlight from Native Sons who calls Myrtle Beach home.
Native Sons started in 1984 as a group of local young men. We were all in college at the time and we enjoyed the beach lifestyle. We decided that we were going to try to parlay that into some business ventures. We called ourselves the Native Sons, there were 18 of us. We started selling t-shirts and everyone thought it was a great name. As we grew up and got out of college, I got into the t-shirt business and ended up buying out all of my good friends, and that's kind of how Native Sons got started.
We really started out trying to be a surf line or a gotcha Quiksilver type company, but found that that was difficult to do and we ended up primarily getting into the screen printing business. That was really around 1990 when that occurred, so we've been in that business in this business ever since and we've grown from a couple employees to almost 100 employees. We do a tremendous amount of work here locally for bars and restaurants, the tourism industry, colleges, schools. But we also do business internationally and have clients really all over the United States and ship all over the world. I always find that when we're out talking to potential clients outside of the Myrtle Beach area say in Ohio or North Carolina or even anywhere in the United States like New York, and I tell them that we're from Myrtle Beach the very first thing they say is ‘we'd love to do some business with you’ because they want to come visit us. We have someone tomorrow coming from one of our big clients and they all love coming to Myrtle Beach.
It just gives you a little bit of an advantage obviously with Myrtle Beach being a well-known tourist destination as opposed to say being somewhere in rural South Carolina or North Carolina, nothing against those areas but we do have that advantage. You can take people out and entertaining clients easier if they enjoy golf or the beach or whatever activities are available, but that's a big plus. Operating a business in Horry County or Myrtle Beach is a very pro-business environment, especially if you're an entrepreneur. There’s just a tremendous amount of opportunities to take advantage of the environment down here.
You know when you're a small business owner and you're trying to make a decision if you’re going to grow or take the next step, that's a big decision because it impacts personally your finances, your family, and all the people that work for you, because if it doesn't work you're going backwards or you're out of business. And when I was trying to decide whether to make the move and build and move into this building which was a big step for my company, having the economic development support and having an incentive, which is just that, has been key for us. It was in 2011 when we moved over here, we've invested over a million dollars in our facility and equipment. At the time we had about 35 year-round employees now we have around 80-100 year-round employees.
I grew up in Myrtle Beach and I'm probably not going to go anywhere else. I love it here, I love the beach, and I think we have a great town. I think we have a great environment to raise children in and run a business and, like I said, there's a lot of opportunity to be an entrepreneur and you go out and carve your own way and it's been great for me and I love it.