South of the Border was developed by Alan Schafer (1914 – July 19, 2001), who founded a beer stand at the location in 1949. The location was chosen as a convenient location for selling beer as it was located just over state (South of the North Carolina border) and county lines to a dry "alcohol prohibited" county adjacent to the north. Business was steadily expanded with Mexican trinkets and numerous kitsch items. He had a great deal of success turning South of the Border into a "tourist mecca" because of his location, which was immediately across the border from Robeson County which was at one time, one of many dry North Carolina counties. He grew his small business into what was, by local standards, an economic empire. South of the Border grew to over a square mile, required its own infrastructure, and had its own fire and police departments. Assisting in this growth was the fact that the new (at the time) Interstate 95 and the existing US 301 criss-cross at the site of the South of the Border complex. Schafer became reclusive, building a large compound of interconnected houses outside the Dillon city limits. At South of the Border, he kept secret apartments hidden in the backs of restaurants and shops.
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