Abstract

King Street, the heart of the historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, is a charming and highly successful retail area. The merchant mix of the street over the past few decades has trended away from local merchants and area-specific goods and services, to instead today be home to numerous national chain stores selling the same merchandise tourists find at home and locals can find in the city’s suburban malls. This short paper reports findings of an empirical survey-based study that explored the views of both Charleston residents and Charleston tourists regarding the changing nature of downtown Charleston. The results are of interest to tourism officials and city planners for any historic destination as they consider the future of their locales as they face similar changes in their community.

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THE ‘MALLING’ OF MAIN STREET

King Street, the heart of the historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, is a charming and highly successful retail area. The merchant mix of the street over the past few decades has trended away from local merchants and area-specific goods and services, to instead today be home to numerous national chain stores selling the same merchandise tourists find at home and locals can find in the city’s suburban malls. This short paper reports findings of an empirical survey-based study that explored the views of both Charleston residents and Charleston tourists regarding the changing nature of downtown Charleston. The results are of interest to tourism officials and city planners for any historic destination as they consider the future of their locales as they face similar changes in their community.