Small business innovation and a seize-the-moment spirit have been the foundation of the area’s continued population growth, and the businesses we spotlight this week are just the latest examples of that vision and opportunity grabbing.
New business openings
• Icon Golf Cars of Bluffton, 7 Venture Drive, Suite 105, Bluffton, 619-495-3566, iconbluffton.com: The Gaydish family has recently opened their showroom next to Kroger and Tio’s in Buckwalter Place to spotlight the Icon line of electric vehicles. The brand is the fourth-largest brand in the industry but a relative newcomer to the Lowcountry.
The Gaydishs have a long history of management with the leaders in the industry and moved from California to Bluffton to start their family business with the Icon brand. The family has a distribution and service center in Ridgeland and is in the middle of building out a second location in the Walmart plaza in Hardeeville.
They offer pre-owned sales, mobile technician service of their vehicles and third-party financing for new models. Most important in today’s purchasing landscape: they have plenty of on-hand inventory with more vehicles on the way.
• Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming Palmetto, 7 Lawton St., Bluffton, 843-757-9663, woofgangpalmetto.com: A new pet boutique has come to Old Town with the arrival of this franchise that doesn’t exactly feel like a franchise. Woof Gang has expanded to 150 locations nationwide, including Savannah and Pooler locally, with a focus on being the neighborhood pet store.
You’ll find more specialty brands of pet food and pet supplies, as well as a professional grooming staff. The store’s staff have already been active around Bluffton, participating in numerous pet-focused pop-up events and the Bluffton Farmers’ Market and give the golf cart set of Old Town another option beyond the big-box pet retailers.
The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days a week and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and will hold an official grand opening on Aug. 26. According to its Facebook page, the owners already have a second Bluffton location in the works.
• Elite Training Center and Pulseology Fitness Club, 1530 and 1538 Fording Island Road, Bluffton, 843-706-9700, pulseologyetc.com: The health and wellness brand that took the island by storm has made its way across the bridge, with the company’s first fitness center and a youth-focused training facility at the former locations of Powerhouse Gym and Island Playground in Bridge Center.
The fitness club offers personal and group training, over 200 group exercise classes per month, life coaching, nutritional counseling, and physical therapy as well as aesthetic services such as facials and body contouring. The Elite Training Center offers youth sports camps, boxing classes and boot camps, sport-specific clinics and one-on-one personal training – with each program tailored to the individual needs of each athlete.
The fitness club has recently added the area’s first and currently only indoor and air-conditioned pickleball court. You do not have to be a member to use the court. Simply fill out a waiver form and pay the $20 per court hour rate. The club is offering intro and intermediate pickleball classes, as well as social pickleball club events beginning in September.
Fast food news: As I put it on the What’s Happening in Bluffton page, and was later quoted as “one person from a popular Facebook page” in one local daily publication, our excruciating nightmare of a wait is over. The Chic-Fil-A at 9 Malphrus Road re-opened on Aug. 5 for drive-thru only. But what a drive-thru it is, complete with two lanes and a fancy new drive-thru service door. The store has released video of their shiny new kitchen as well and is selling peach milkshakes and their signature chicken to a legion of diehard cluck-cluck cravers.
Across town, the McDonald’s in Buckwalter Place is utilizing the dining room downtime to do renovations of their own. The store is putting finishing touches on a revamping of their electronic ordering boards and kitchen, and promises that milkshakes will once again be available once the buildout is complete.
Nantucket’s getting grand: The gourmet food market with a New England flair has been open for weeks at the former Nike Outlet building at Tanger Outlet II. The budding chain with locations in Nantucket and Edgartown, Mass., has a reputation for New England style food products, seafood and custom cuts of prime meat, and has won early raves for the quality, innovation and fresh takes on signature comfort foods and drinks at their café and bakery.
The lobster roll rivals The Sugaree for the closest you’ll find to an authentic taste experience outside I-495 and I-93.
The store will be serving test samplings of house-marinated steak tips and homemade bagels during their grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting on Aug. 20 at 12 p.m. The store is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information, go online to nantucketsmarket.com.
Want to share news about your new, expanding or renovated business in town? Email Tim Wood at email@example.com.