The new Lunch Lady food truck – and yes, fans of the eatery know the resemblance to The Dream Machine is an homage to Mindi’s love of all things Scooby Doo, which she shows off at the restaurant.

Spring is coming, we have that extra hour of daylight and a full blossom of new business ventures across the region.

Familiar faces, new food trucks:

Lunch Lady Food Truck, 51 Riverwalk Blvd., Ridgeland, 843-645-6331, The breakfast and lunch spot off of S.C. 170 that has been a longtime favorite for comfort food served with Southern hospitality and a side of vintage signs is beginning a new chapter. Owners Mindi and Brandon Meyaard have purchased a food truck to take their favorite dishes to the people. The Riverwalk restaurant will continue to be open Tuesday through Thursday for breakfast and lunch curbside pickup (orders accepted via phone or online through the Clover app), but will focus Mondays and Fridays on traveling the region. “After 15 years, this is a re-energizing moment for us,” Mindi said. “We’ll have a variety of our favorite dishes available on a rotating basis and are always taking requests.” The Meyaards said early results have been outstanding and are currently booking events for the spring and summer.

Meanwhile, former Big Dog Tacos owner Joe DePatty is returning to the Lowcountry after a brief stay on the West Coast to help care for his ailing mother. DePatty sold his first truck in November thinking he was in for a longer stay out west, but has returned with a brand-new truck and a new menu focused on gourmet burgers and hot dogs. His first event will be at Lawton Station on April 1 and he is accepting booking reservations through May and June via phone at 860-230-7561.

Under new management:

Apple Appliance Center, 20 Capital Drive, Hilton Head Island, 843-681-8234, Marketing and e-commerce executive Pete O’Reilly left his long-time job with Circa Lighting in Savannah to buy the island appliance store in August 2021 with the intentions of growing the appliance sales and repair services through community involvement. “That’s what appealed to me most here – the idea of really immersing myself in Hilton Head and Bluffton and evolving this business with personalized service,” O’Reilly said of taking over an established local brand. Early results have been strong, as O’Reilly is planning an expansion that will double the size of their current showroom. He plans to hold a grand re-opening event in by early summer.

Southern Charm Elopements, 301 Central Avenue No. 207, Hilton Head Island, 843-368-9445, We all know that the Lowcountry is the setting for some of the most picturesque weddings ever, as well as some of the most lavish celebrations. But what if you’re looking for a ceremony with all the feels but just a few guests? That’s the idea behind Southern Charm Elopements, recently taken over by co-owners Alexis Rose and Tracy Trimmer. The pair offer a full-service wedding concierge, complete with photography, flowers, cake options and location scouting at historic areas, beaches and parks around Beaufort County. They serve anywhere from a handful of guests to a full-blown guest list.

Expansions and anniversaries:

Will and Jaime Coley, the owners of Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming Palmetto (7 Lawton St., Bluffton, 843-757-9663, recently announced that they will be expanding with a second Lowcountry location. The neighborhood pet store and grooming salon will open by late spring in Shelter Cove Towne Center. “We’ve built up a loyal following of islanders willing to cross the bridge for us and we made a promise to make it a little easier trip,” Jaime Coley said. “We always deliver on promises. We’re going to bring the dedication and enthusiasm we’ve cultivated in Old Town to create a personalized fit for the island pets and their owners.”

Nurse Advocate Partners, Bluffton, 508.930.2738, Registered nurse Karen Balerna began her healthcare advocacy business in Massachusetts nine years ago and opened a Lowcountry branch that is celebrating its fifth anniversary. The company is composed of RNs who accompany clients to doctors’ appointments to make sure they are understanding what the doctor is telling them, make sure their questions are answered and make sure the doctor understands what is going on with their home care. With permission, the nurses then report results back to family members. NAP also provides transportation to appointments if needed, assist in finding new doctors, maintain a current list of medications and coordinate care and information sharing among a client’s multiple providers.

Lettrs Gifts, 8 State of Mind St., Bluffton, 843-707-1270, The personalized gift store launched by owner Debbie Timen in Main Street Village on Hilton Head Island nearly 20 years ago is celebrating its fifth anniversary at its Bluffton location in Old Town’s Promenade. Lettrs offers numerous items from handbags and totes to linens, towels and jewelry from brands such as Spartina 449, Mudpie and Brighton. The shop offers full embroidery services as well as personalized printing of cards, stationery and invitations. The Bluffton store offers a large selection of Bluffton-themed products as well a full array of socks, insulated coffee mugs and even Old Bay Seasoning memorabilia.

Cottonwood Soap Company, 13 Cottonwood Lane, Hilton Head, 513-324-2592, Colleen Laux is a retired attorney, a wife of 35 years and a mother of two grown sons. And she has a passion for soap. She suffered for years with cracked heels and her husband battled eczema-prone skin, and neither could find a successful remedy. So Laux decided to make her own remedies, beginning with a soap recipe that she took years to perfect. Her small-batch soap has won raves since she hung her official shingle two years ago and Laux has since expanded her line of artisan soaps to include lip balms, lotions and scrubs, and fizzling bath bombs that look like real donuts. What began as a personal journey expanded to family and friends and has spread worldwide with the idea of affordable personal pampering.

New businesses:

Twisted Pilates Studio, 139 Hartwell Avenue, Ridgeland, 843-290-3639: Kristen Benson has been a Pilates instructor at some of the most popular fitness centers up and down U.S. 278 and now she has opened her own space in the 843 Sport facility near the back entrance to Sun City Hilton Head off Argent Road. The 600-foot boutique studio offers private lessons and small classes of up to three people. Benson offers the only Fuse Ladder 8-in-1 workout station in South Carolina, as well as a full selection of Balanced Body Pilates equipment.

Catalina Esthetics, 17 Sherington Drive Suite B, Bluffton, 571-235-4146: Licensed esthetician Catalina Castro is a recent northern Virginia transplant and wife of an active-duty Marine who recently opened a spa inside Savannah Plastic Surgery and Laser that offers customized skin care services based on your specific needs as well as full body wax services. Castro offers everything from nanoneedling facials to hydrojelly masks, chemical peels and procell microchanneling, as well as 11 different waxing services.

Lowcountry Imaging, 104 Buckwalter Parkway Suite J, Bluffton, 843-298-5874: Lowcountry native Erika Vargas has always had a love for all things baby and pregnancy and is the mother of three kids. She aims to take the impersonal feeling of a doctor visit ultrasound and transform it into an intimate collection of moments and a diary of a family’s pregnancy. The company offers 2D, 3D and 4D imaging with early sneak peeks for mothers after 10 weeks, a gender reveal package and heart beat listen at 15-plus weeks and more extension sessions with digital images and video of your soon-to-be-newborn in the 27- to 35-week window. The viewing rooms seat up to six guests besides Mom, allowing family and friends to share in the moment in a more personalized and welcoming environment.

Bluffton Mobile Physical Therapy, Bluffton, 815-861-4115: Licensed physical therapist Sean Neuman decided to open a mobile therapy business in order to achieve more medical freedom for both himself and his patients. Insurances can create too many restrictions in the quality of care physical therapists provide. Neuman said his patients will always have his full attention for the entire session, as he is not distracted with unnecessary paperwork that is needed for insurance patients. He is a participating Medicare provider, and offers a cash option for non-Medicare patients. BMPT offers services such as dry needling, myofascial release, spinal and joint manipulations, tailored therapeutic corrective exercise programs, LSVT BIG program for Parkinsons Disease patients, osteoporosis postural corrective programs, kinesiology taping and cupping.

Behavior Wellness Group, 110 Traders Cross, Bluffton, 843-278-0008, Mental health counselor Erin Pawlak moved from the company’s main office in Mentor, Ohio, to open a branch of the practice in Okatie Commerce Park off S.C. 170. Pawlak is scheduling virtual therapy sessions for individuals, couples, families and groups. She has also started an adolescent intensive outpatient program for teens ages 12-17 who struggle with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and self-harming behaviors. The program runs for seven weeks and meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pawlak is also hoping to restart in-person appointments in the near future and is currently looking for an independently licensed clinician to help expand the Bluffton practice.

Kizer’s K-9s Training, Bluffton, 843-505-3068, Dog trainer Sarah Kizer has recently relocated from San Diego to be closer to family in the Lowcountry and has opened this practice focused on behavior modification training, puppy training, leash walking and puppy sitting. Kiser works one-on-one with your dog to help to eliminate barking at strangers entering the home and to ease anxieties in encountering people and pets outside the home. She offers multiple dog discounts and offers in-home dog sitting for families looking to vacation or travel without having to disrupt their furry friends’ home routine.

And finally, a coming attraction: It’s always a tip-off that a new business is coming when you start to see the business cards from utilities like Hargray on the window. Such is the case on Buckwalter Parkway in the plaza housing businesses like Omelette Café and Sports Clips. We are told that the corner space will transform into a Vietnamese restaurant over the coming months. More information as we hear it.

Tim Wood is a veteran journalist based in Bluffton. Contact him at