Businesses have shaped our community, even our lives

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Businesses have shaped our community, even our lives

Published Tuesday, December 25, 2012   |  724 Words  |  

Businesses are like people; sometimes you hate to see them go.

I read a list of businesses that were missed in our capital in the Columbia City Paper. One was the Capital City Newsstand, which I hated to see go.

The City Paper's list made me think of the businesses we miss in Beaufort County.

In Beaufort, people still talk about The Breeze Theater on Bay Street as if it were on Broadway. What a perfect name, The Breeze. I don't know what all took place there, but it did more than just blow through town. It left a strong imprint on generations.

The Yankee was a rustic institution in Beaufort, so well-loved that a reunion held recently featured favorite menu items and a replica of the bar.

Lipsitz Department Store shut its doors recently. It was an enchanting place with talking birds and a machine that showed feet wiggling inside shoes.

Harry's and the John Cross Tavern are missed on Bay Street, too. Harry's had a Booth of Wisdom, where sages of the community argued over such issues as how a fly walks upside down on a ceiling.

But the place I'd like most to be able to see today in Beaufort would be the Gold Eagle Tavern. I never went there. Sunsets over the Beaufort River and fine dining drew an artsy crowd.

In Bluffton, people talk about an earlier generation of thriving businesses on Calhoun Street, including the "Jew Store" that sold everything from toothpicks to coffins.

On Hilton Head Island, I think of the Golden Rose Park. Gene Wiley's emporium was tucked away beneath a Carolina moon beaming through tall pines. He had a jazzy jukebox, interesting food and a huge Saturday-night crowd.

The Hurley House, the Marsh Tacky, the Crow's Nest atop the oceanfront William Hilton Inn, Burke's Hideaway and the Bradley Beach Pavilion, where Ike and Tina Turner once played, are only memories now.

Club Indigo downstairs at the Hyatt, now the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa, always made you feel special, and gave us one our most popular bands, The Headliners.

It's still hard to believe that the Shoreline Ballroom on Folly Field Road brought Loretta Lynn, B.B. King and Del McCoury to our little town.

The Old Post Office Emporium was cleverly named, located in what used to be the main post office on Hilton Head, now a Time Warner store on Pope Avenue. Dave Truly unleashed the Truly Dangerous Swamp Band there, but it also had acts like Leon Russell and Delbert McClinton. Some of us are still debating whether we saw John Prine there.

I covered one of the island's first comedy acts there. It was an unknown kid who had people laughing so hard they could barely breathe. His name was Jeff Foxworthy.

Geiger's Record Counter and The Gramophone could get you any record or stereo equipment you wanted. Some of you may remember records. For books, it was the Port Royal Bookstore.

Restaurants we miss include the Treasure Cove for lunch at the Sea Crest and the Gaslight for an elegant dinner, the Hofbrauhaus for a good time, Katie "Miz Mack" McElveen's Roadside Restaurant for a home-cooked lunch, with a velvet Last Supper tacked to the wall.

Abe and Charlie Mae Grant's series of restaurants were worth a trip to the island.

And I miss Jody's Fine Foods. Jody is still here, working at David Martin's Piggly Wiggly at Coligny Plaza. But getting to listen to her sass isn't the same as doing it with a greasy cheeseburger, tater tots and a Coke in perfectly crushed ice.

Rock's Party Store, with Elgie Stover -- "the Black Cassanova" -- cooking barbecue outside in a haze of smoke; and the Onion Man, Jack Tapley of Vidalia, Ga., who sold bags of Vidalias from an old yellow school bus each spring, added life to the Sea Pines Circle area.

I'm sure you've got your own list of favorites. It's hard to let them go.

Follow columnist David Lauderdale at