8 Dec

It’s game time for those who love Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Everyone knows the game Monopoly, but have you heard of Pawleys Island-opoly?

Just in time for Christmas, Ben and Molly Marlow, owners of Pawleys Kayaks rental company, have created a new game called Pawleys Island-opoly that is perfect for visitors and residents of Pawleys Island on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast.

The Pawleys Island-opoly game features some of the iconic wildlife, places and symbols that make the beach community unique. (Photo courtesy of Pawleys Kayaks)

“This game is certainly a unique gift, and it is a perfect time for board games because people are spending a lot more time with family these days,” Ben Marlow said. “People fall in love with Pawleys Island, and we would love people to share this game that celebrates our blessed isle. They are perfect to give as Christmas presents.”

Players of Pawleys Island-opoly will use the iconic metal game tokens like the original Monopoly, but instead of a shoe, a car or a thimble, for example, they can choose from a Pawleys shell, a flip-flop, a beach cruiser bicycle, a heron, a sea turtle or a crab. And, instead of buying hotels, condominiums and railroad companies, players compete to purchase beach houses and inns.

“The idea of Pawleys Island-opoly came from conducting business through Pawleys Kayaks,” Marlow said. “We wanted the tokens to be representative of Pawleys Island.”

In addition to helping Molly run Pawleys Kayaks, Marlow is a lieutenant with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office. The couple, who both graduated from the University of South Carolina, have two sons, Ben Jr., who is also attending USC, and Wheeler, who is 15.

Instead of a shoe, car or thimble, players of Pawleys Island-opoly can choose from a flip-flop, a beach cruiser bicycle, a sea turtle, a heron, a crab or a Pawleys shell game token. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Marlow said that if the games are purchased locally, he will deliver them personally because Pawleys Kayaks is a delivery business and doesn’t have a physical storefront. Pawleys Kayaks rents and delivers, in addition to kayaks, paddle boards, john boats and crab traps.

The cost of each Pawleys Island-opoly game is $25 including tax if paid in cash, or $30 including tax if paid for with a credit or debit card. Shipping, if needed, is a $10 flat rate per order.

Living on the creek at Pawleys Island and residing in the area most of their lives, Marlow said he and his wife created the new game for people who know the island and the Pawleys Island mainland. Although they could not include everything the area has to offer, the game features some of the most nostalgic locations, wildlife, and icons of the beach community.

Places featured include the Pelican Inn, the Seaview Inn, Pawleys Chapel and the former Pawleys Pavilion, all on the island itself; and the former Marlow’s Grocery Store — once Pawleys Island’s only grocery store owned by Marlow’s great-uncle, Frank Marlow, which is now where popular restaurants Frank’s and Frank’s Outback are located. Also included are businesses such as Whitmire’s Fine Jewelry, Pawleys Island Tavern and Habanero’s Mexican Restaurant, all on the mainland.

Pawleys Island Tavern and Habanero’s Mexican Restaurant are two local eateries featured on the game board. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

John Henry Whitmire, owner of Whitmire’s Fine Jewelry, which has been in business since 1972, said the locations included in the game are immediately recognizable to people who have visited and lived in the Pawleys Island area.

“They are local, iconic places that have been around for many years,” Whitmire said. “The game reflects the Pawleys Island lifestyle, and it shows places where people frequent or have frequented in the past.”

For the game, Whitmire helped create the Pawleys shell game token by casting one in silver. It was sent to the company that designed and printed the game, Late for the Sky in Cincinnati, Ohio. Whitmire has had a lot of experience with the Pawleys shell in previous years, having been the first one to officially call it by that name.

“When I moved here in the early 1970s, I had a concept of making a seashell collection in gold and silver,” he said. “After going house to house, asking what different seashells were called, the only one that people agreed on was the Pawleys shell.”

Not being able to find the shell in books, Whitmire used that name to describe his jewelry pieces. He said the Pawleys shell, with its distinct markings, is actually from the Imperial Venus Clam and he found out later that the shell can be found in other areas, as well. But, he said, it is found predominately on Pawleys Island.

“It is now very popular for people to find on the beach and it is fun for me to design in different ways,” Whitmire said. “I made a little model for the game, but we sell five different sizes of gold or silver Pawleys shells as earrings, bracelets, pendants, charms and rings.”

Pawleys Island Police Chief Mike Fanning says he is honored that the game board features a caricature of him. (Photos by Donna Fanning)

The game also features a caricature of Pawleys Island Police Chief Mike Fanning, who is shown on the board writing a parking ticket that will cost players $75. Fanning, who started as a Pawleys Island Police officer 14 years ago and took over as chief eight years ago, said he’s honored to be featured on the game board.

“Obviously, I realize I represent the Pawleys Island Police Department as a whole,” Fanning said. “But they chose a caricature of me, and I’ll take it!”

He said although there are only about 150 year-round residents on the island and about 100 more who spend the majority of their time there, the summer months see an influx of between 5,000 and 5,500 visitors per week.

“There is a great amount of traffic on the island during the summer months, some of which is attributable to local people visiting the beach, as well as vacationers,” Fanning said. “We are very fortunate here because we have relatively few crime issues.”

Fanning added that Ben and Molly Marlow captured the essence of Pawleys Island in the new game. He said he thinks people will enjoy playing the game while also learning some things about the island.

“I think it will be a collector’s item for the Town of Pawleys Island,” Fanning said. “I also think it will bring fun to families for many years to come.”

For more information or to order a game, visit or call 843-315-4567.

By Clayton Stairs/tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce

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