Q&A with Neal and Marta Gielstra

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Market Common MYN (2/16)

From a Tiny Fishing Village in the Netherlands to Sunny Myrtle Beach

by Melissa LaScaleia

Introduce me to your family.

My wife is Marta. We have four children: a son who lives in Florida; two sons in Texas; and an adopted daughter in the Netherlands.

Why did you move to Myrtle Beach?

Essentially for adventure. I was chief engineer on a banana boat in St. Lucia, many years ago. And while there, my wife and I met a doctor from Myrtle Beach who became a good friend of ours. He sponsored us to move here. We came directly to Myrtle Beach in 1966, and bought a 6,000 square foot house towards the north. In 2008 we bought a townhouse in the Market Common, right behind the Cupcake Cafe. Four years ago we decided to downsize and move into our townhouse.

Where are all the places you came from?

My wife and I came from a small fisherman’s shipyard village in the Netherlands.

Do you have a favorite place in the Market Common?

We have 3 favorite places: Gordon Biersch, P.F. Chang’s, and the Brass Tap.

What’s your favorite thing about living in the Market Common?

The fact that you can walk and drive your golf cart anywhere. We very much appreciate the golf cart path that the state park made. The unique way of living here is what we love about it, and the people too. It’s a real village inside of a town.

How has your lifestyle changed since moving to Myrtle Beach?

The culture is totally different from ours. When we first moved here in the ’60s, Myrtle Beach was much bigger than our native village.

What new activities have you taken up since moving here?

I started a business in heating and air conditioning, contracting for many restaurants in the area. Then I went back to school in 1988 to Coastal Carolina, and became a project manager for outside research, like beach erosion and building research equipment.

Do you find people here friendlier or more at ease?

We came from a town of 4,000 people and you knew everybody there. We find it similar here. In general, the people are very friendly. What’s nice is that people from the North come down here and then they become friendlier too.

What are your favorite things to do here?

We like to go to the beach and read.

Is there anything you would like to see in the Market Common?

An organic grocery store.

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