Lowcountry business activity continues to be strong

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The Grind Coffee Roasters celebrated the opening of its coffee shop in a new space with a ribbon cutting April 17, assisted by the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. In the photo, Ian and Kathleen Duncan hold the scissors while staffers and friends, al

Retailers, restaurants and service businesses are changing the landscape in Bluffton and Hilton Head. Here's the latest in new construction, mergers, renovations, relocations, planned projects, commercial transactions, grand openings and closings.

SERG (Southeastern Restaurant Group) has been expanding its portfolio and buying other eateries on Hilton Head Island this spring.

Hilton Head's largest employer, with a staff of 764, announced early in April that it purchased the Charbar burger franchise, the newly opened Whiskey Room bar and lounge, and the Holy Tequila! Mexican restaurant, all located in Park Plaza near Sea Pines. The trio was owned by HHI Hospitality.

At the same time, the company is planning to open two new restaurants on the mainland as second locations for two of its most popular establishments. One Hot Mama's will take over the space previously occupied by Hinchey's in Berkeley Place. Celebrity chef Orchid Paulmeier will oversee the signature slow-cooked pork menu in the 4,300-square-foot space.

Now under construction in Buckwalter Place is a 5,400-square-foot Frankie Bones franchised restaurant and lounge. The steaks, seafood and pasta menu, offered in a 1960s atmosphere, is expected to open at the end of the year.

Additionally, a few weeks ago, SERG submitted plans to the Hilton Head design review board to add a 2,087-square-foot outdoor "sunset pavilion" just north of the Skull Creek Boathouse, which it also owns.

The additions will bring to 18 the number of establishments that SERG owns and manages. The first to open was Giuseppi's Pizza and Pasta on Hilton Head, in 1984.

Signore Coastal Art, 14 Promenade St. #304, Bluffton. This artistic gallery offers Lowcountry themes with its metal fish sculpture, and nautical paintings, photography and bracelets.

Luna & Lillie's, 1401 Main St., Hilton Head. Owner Karli Dixon displays fresh and silk flowers, kitchen accessories, pots and planters, children's decor, candles and soft lighting elements, hand-crafted accessories and custom gift baskets.

CrossFit moved out at the corner of Mellichamp and Bluffton Drive and the town, which purchased the 0.75-acre lot in 2017, has moved in and is constructing parking spaces to help relieve the parking crunch in Old Town.

The project, which began in April and will be completed at the end of June, will provide 41 new parking spaces, landscaping and lighting.

Old Town Bluffton. 60 new parking spaces at Boundary Street Park will be available at the end of August. The 1.25-acre property also will offer public space for events and restrooms.

McDonald's, 2 Plaza Drive, Hilton Head. The mega franchise is renovating this restaurant's dining room, exterior and drive-through. It remains open throughout the process that will be completed in 2020. There will be no iconic golden arches, in keeping with the town's architectural code.

Grand openings, ribbon cuttings and closings:

Andes Rotisserie at 7 Johnson Way, Bluffton, has closed "until further notice," according to a sign posted on the door in mid-April. It opened in November 2017.

E-fit Club, 137 Towne Drive, Belfair Towne Village, Bluffton, opened March 30. This "maximum fitness, minimum time" concept studio provides goal-based workout programs.

The Grind Coffee Roasters, 1 Sherington Drive, Suite J, Bluffton, held a grand opening and ribbon cutting April 17. The new shop features an expanded coffee bar, retail section, more seating space and a drive-thru.

Owner Ian Duncan started his company in 2016 as a wholesale roasting business. "We grew faster than we ever could have imagined, and we wanted to have more space to accommodate that growth," Duncan said.

Have Bluffton or Hilton Head business news (new construction relocations, expansions, openings, ownership changes, etc.) to share? Send information to Dean Rowland at leaftoo@live.com.

Lowcountry resident Dean Rowland is a veteran senior editor and freelance writer.

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