A new apparel and gift store on St. Helena Island aims to capture visitors and area residents with its local theme.
Southern Life opened the week of Thanksgiving at 808 Sea Island Parkway, near the intersection of Polowana Road. The shop offers brands like Simply Southern and Guy Harvey, said Tony Yahav, who owns the store with his brother, Eddie.
Not all of the merchandise has been stocked. But the store is open and shelves filled with items such as short and long-sleeved T-shirts featuring Beaufort and Fripp Island and South Carolina’s palmetto tree and crescent.
The building had been vacant for years and previously operated as Frogmore Outfitter and a dry-cleaning business. Tony Yahav said the location is appealing because of the more than one million cars that pass each year on the way to Harbor, Hunting and Fripp islands.
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He noted the Family Dollar across the street, nearby Dataw Island and Sea Island residents as advantages in addition to the tourist traffic.
“I think this area is growing big time,” Yahav said. “I think we’re going to be very, very successful.”
The owners invested money inside and out to ready the building for its new purpose, he said.
A white sign by the road greets visitors with familiar southern colloquialisms, and racks of shirts are displayed outside the blue, cinderblock building.
Inside are bright shirts of various colors with turtles, sea horses and elephants. Hats and visors feature the palmetto tree and crescent of the state flag.
Goods include hooded sweatshirts, handbags, sunglasses, jewelry, flip-flops and koozies. Some cardboard boxes sit packed in parts of the store, and a sailfish is mounted behind the sales counter.
The brothers also own Barefoot Bubba’s, which has locations on Bay Street and Harbor Island, but Yahav noted Southern Life will be a different concept. Barefoot Bubba’s Harbor Island location, a surf shop offering water sports rentals and beachwear, suffered more than $100,000 in damages during Hurricane Matthew but will reopen in February, Yahav said.