Springfield's favorite convenience store, managed by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in the long-running animated series, has been faithfully recreated on Myrtle Beach's Broadway at the Beach, where it opened Friday. Customers can purchase Squishee frozen drinks and Lard Lad donuts as seen in the show, as well as Duff-branded energy drinks instead of Duff Beers.
In addition to the frozen treats and the over-sized donuts, fans have their pick of Simpsons-centric merchandise, including plush dolls, magnets, glassware and clothing items. Adorning the outside of the shop are fan-favorite Simpsons characters, like Police Chief Wiggum and Bart Simpson bullies Nelson Muntz and Jimbo Jones.
"Broadway at the Beach is like no other location. It really draws a lot of foot traffic, walking around, and I think it's the perfect sort of first place. I think the Simpsons would come to Myrtle Beach for a vacation," said Mark Cornell, Senior VP, Attractions Development for SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment.
The store will eventually serve as the exit area for the next door Aztec Theater — also a recreation from the show — which will host a Simpsons 4D experience, set to open later this year.
Cornell told WBTW the first family into the Kwik-E-Mart's doors was reflective of The Simpsons' continued pop culture prominence as the longest-running primetime scripted series on television.
"[It was] a 64-year-old grandmother, her son and daughter-in-law, and their three children," Cornell said. "They were all sort of arguing about who were stronger fans, but to see three generations walk through the door that all love The Simpsons, how can you say that about anything else?"
Universal Studios previously debuted Kwik-E-Mart-themed gift shops in the Springfield-themed areas of their California and Florida theme parks.3comments
Store proprietor Apu and The Simpsons came under fire in recent months following the release of documentary series The Problem with Apu, which took issue with racial stereotypes centered around the character, who is an Indian immigrant. After briefly and cheekily addressing the controversy in an episode of the show, The Simpsons and its creators were criticized for improperly addressing complaints waged against the character and the series.
The Simpsons debuts its 30th season Sunday, September 30 on FOX.