A Real Kwik-E-Mart Exists in South Carolina
Every part of the store has been approved by the creators of "The Simpsons."
If you’ve ever dreamed of jumping into the animated world of The Simpsons and buying an actual Squishee or Buzz Cola in Springfield’s iconic Kwik-E-Mart, you’ll probably want to book a trip down to South Carolina. On Friday, the world’s first “real,” permanent Kwik-E-Mart—as officially authorized by the show’s creators—opened at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach.
Though pop-up versions of the iconic mini-mart took over 7-Eleven stores around the 2007 release of The Simpsons Movie, this new location is the "world's first authentic Kwik-E-Mart." "Every inch of this store is themed, including bringing products to life,” Mark Cornell, senior vice president of attractions development with SimEx-Iwers Entertainment, the company behind the project, told WMBF News. “The products that are on the show, you can actually come and experience in the store first hand. Sort of like getting a taste of the show.”
Those products include Squishee machines featuring a half-dozen flavors with even the recipes “approved by the creators of the show,” hot-lamp hot dogs, Flaming Moe's energy drinks, eight flavors of Buzz Cola, and a wall of Lard Lad donuts. As one early shopper revealed on Twitter, you can even score oddities like a box of Mr. Sparkle, which on the show was a brand of Japanese dish soap.
Of course, there’s plenty of other general Simpsons merch that an actual Kwik-E-Mart wouldn’t include—though who can complain about a dedicated Duff Beer section (despite no alcohol being served)? And even when things aren’t exactly like the Kwik-E-Mart from the show, you’ll still find fun inside jokes like a freezer labeled, “Behold Frostillicus,” referencing a gag when Jasper tried to visit the future by freezing himself. “This store, when you look around, took four years to design and that's a lot of detail,” Cornell added.
Apparently, this Myrtle Beach Kwik-E-Mart is just the start. A version of The Simpsons’ Aztec Theatre is slated to hopefully open next door later this year, reportedly offering an interactive “4D” experience featuring The Simpsons characters “coming to life.” From there, Cornell said his company plans to open four more of these Simpson-themed facilities—though exactly where wasn’t specified.
Meanwhile, though the overall concept will surely delight Simpsons fans, the timing is a bit odd seeing as the Kwik-E-Mart’s purveyor, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, has received growing criticism as a racist stereotype. Interestingly, and probably not coincidentally, though the storefront features depictions of Bart and Chief Wiggum, Apu is absent. That said, Apu’s face can be prominently seen inside as part of the heat-lamp dogs section.
Regardless, Cornell expects big things. “It's a magnificent sort of East Coast destination,” Cornell said of Myrtle Beach. “Millions of people vacation here annually and I feel Homer Simpson would vacation here.” When he does, he’ll feel right at home.