Justin and Eloise Plyler first opened The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove 1946. Over the years, The Gay Dolphin has grown into what is today the East Coast’s largest gift shop. With more than 26,000 square feet and 70,000 items ranging from shark’s teeth and shells to sarcophagus’ and Hummel figurines, there is something for everyone at The Gay Dolphin.
Origin of the name
The Gay Dolphin is a well-known gift shop and tourist attraction not only because of the vast collection souvenirs and gifts found inside, but also because of its unique name. In the early days, Justin loved to watch the ocean through his telescope, and would frequently see dolphins. He couldn’t help but notice how the dolphins always appeared to be smiling and happy. When he was trying to decide on a unique name for his store, he wanted something whimsical and nautical. He thought The Gay Dolphin was a perfect fit.
Justin and Eloise’s son, Buz, continues to run the store today.
Justin was one of the founders and second chairman (1952) of the Sun Fun Festival, an annual festival held the first weekend in June.
Plyler Park (the oceanfront park at the end of Mr. Joe White Avenue and Ocean Boulevard) is named after Justin.
Justin and Eloise also operated the Gay Dolphin Amusement Park, home of The Wild Mouse.
Justin and Eloise also operated three of Myrtle Beach’s original guest houses: The Tuck-Em Inn, The Coast Inn and The Just Inn.
Eloise’s family history in the Myrtle Beach area dates back to 1776.