First it was the Chanticleers that drew national attention to Conway; now it’s The Price is Right game show and the Cypress Inn.
And it could happen again!
This story started about six months ago, according to Hugh Archer with the Cypress Inn, who said he was contacted by Lisa Cho, a woman that he thinks works for a company that lines up prizes for The Price is Right.
He doesn’t know how she learned about the Cypress Inn overlooking the Kingston Pointe Marina in Downtown Conway, but he sent pictures when she asked for them and he thinks she looked at the website.
“That was it,” he said.
The only promise the caller wanted was that he would indeed give the winner her prize, which was five nights and five breakfasts at the Cypress Inn.
“We didn’t pay anything to them other than we would have paid for the person who won the room if she had come,” he said.
Unfortunately, Cho called later saying no one won the prize package that included a “comfy” outdoor swing, a trip to South Carolina, a day in Myrtle Beach and then a stay in a “king room” at the Cypress Inn. Also included were a massage and a map for a bicycle ride. A clip from the show suggested a day of shopping at Conway’s nearby downtown in some of its “charming downtown shops” and a walk on the riverwalk.
The contestant was encouraged to do all of this in a new car that was also part of the package.
In the clip of the show, the contestant whose name was Melody, was appropriately excited about the chance to win, as are all Price is Right contestants who are invited to “Come on down!”
The trip to Conway promises to help the winner slow down a bit.
Unfortunately for Melody, she overbid the prize package and didn’t win, but win or lose the mention on daytime television on CBS was there.
Archer said Ms. Cho called again telling him no one had won the trip.
It seems that not too many people in Conway saw Tuesday’s show this past week, but some have seen it on a short clip that Conway native, Jan Bennett, who lives now in Lexington, sent to Conway’s Parks and Recreation Director Ashley Smith.
“I noticed that a lot of the pictures were of Charleston,” Smith said, adding that he thinks the bike ride might have been in Myrtle Beach.
But then they showed the Cypress Inn.
“It was like what? It’s the Cypress Inn, but that doesn’t look like the Cypress Inn. It’s pretty cool that it’s on Price is Right and nobody knows about it. Usually stuff like that, they jump all over it,” he said.
When Smith got the snippet from Bennett, he shared it with some other Conwayites.
Conway Downtown Alive executive director Hillary Howard is one of the folks who saw Smith’s recording.
‘I don’t think anybody even knows,” she said earlier this week.
Her memory of the group’s response was, “…it was like what is this?”
Conway’s Grounds and Maintenance Director Timmy Williams also saw the recording.
“The only time I heard about it was when they were talking about it when Ashley showed it to the group,” he said.
He agrees that it was good publicity for Conway.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Bennett was actually at home working with his television turned down low when the prize package was offered. He works in the Audit and Advisory Services office at the University of South Carolina, where most employees are now working four days a week at home and one day at the office.
Bennett said when he heard the announcer give a trip to South Carolina as a possibility for the winner, “I said ‘what?’”
With his interest piqued, he quickly turned up the sound on his television. Then he heard something about Myrtle Beach.
“I was like oh okay. I said that’s pretty cool” but when they said Conway, “I just freaked out.”
He ran his set back, recorded the snippet and put it on Facebook because he still has many friends in Conway.
He said he started telling people what he heard and that he had the recording to prove it.
He said a lot of people responded to his Facebook post.
“Some people laughed, and those were people that did not grow up in Conway…I guess Conway hit it big time,” he said.
Bennett has fond memories of growing up in Conway, knowing everybody no matter where he went and visiting with his dad, J.C. Bennett, at the post office where he worked, and his mom, Ramona, at Peoples National Bank, where she worked.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to add new unless you tear down old. I appreciate the fact that some of that old has remained,” he said.
Archer wasn’t as fortunate as Bennett; he missed seeing the show.
“It was a surprise,” he said. “Sorry I missed it, but I can go back and look at it on the website.”
But he and everyone else might get another chance to see and hear Conway mentioned on national television.
Archer said Cho asked if he’d be interested in offering the prize again in the future, “…and I said, ‘sure, just let me know when.’”