Business

A favorite Beaufort Co. stop on the way to the beach is closing soon. Here’s why

Rindy Jerue stands with her Irish Setter, Blue, on the porch of Lowcountry Store she has owned more than 10 years on St. Helena Island. The store is closing Saturday.
Rindy Jerue stands with her Irish Setter, Blue, on the porch of Lowcountry Store she has owned more than 10 years on St. Helena Island. The store is closing Saturday. sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com

Between bites of salad this week, Rindy Jerue responded to questions from shoppers looking for a deal on the remaining pickings of her St. Helena Island store.

The ladders are not for sale. The small cooler is $500 and the other belongs to Pepsi. Two black shelves are $15 each and propane tanks can go for $20, not negotiable.

Much of the remaining furniture is already sold and awaiting pickup.

Frogmore’s Lowcountry Store sits just off the highway on a highly visible spot where its handmade wooden furniture has greeted travelers to and from Harbor, Hunting and Fripp islands more than 10 years.

The wide, welcoming porches of what was once a vegetable packing facility for the Bishop family farm are what drew Jerue and her husband, Ed, all those years ago. They needed space to display and sell the furniture Ed made after they gave up hauling it to wholesale market in Atlanta.

“When this building became available, we kind of jumped on it,” Jerue said. “We thought it was a really neat building and because of the porches, our furniture — we could show it off really nicely.”

Ed died last month at age 72, and Rindy decided to close the store. Prices were slashed and much of the furniture is spoken for.

The store will close for good at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The building is for rent and available for whatever business might come next, building owner John Trask Jr. said Friday. Including the porches, the structure spreads just under 10,000 square feet.

High traffic, recent development in the area with a new Parker’s gas station and discount store and nearby shops like Macdonald MarketPlace and Red Piano Too gallery make the location attractive, Trask said.

Lowcountry Store started with furniture and expanded to include other wares that might draw beach-goers. The Jerues added a small restaurant in the back of the store several years ago, naming it Blue Dog Cafe after their now-10-year-old Irish Setter who roams the concrete floors.

The cafe sold hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, she crab soup and cold drinks. A sign now announces the kitchen equipment and display case are for sale.

Rindy will turn 70 next week with a family trip at Kiawah Island. She plans to one day publish a cookbook of Ed’s recipes, including gumbo, chili, pimento cheese and Charleston crunch.

She and Ed had been married 48 years. After Officer Candidate School, the couple moved to Pensacola, Florida, and then returned to Hawaii where Ed was from.

He flew as a Marine pilot during Vietnam and last month was buried with military honors in Beaufort National Cemetery.

After a small IT firm where Ed was chief executive broke up in 2001, he pitched NASCAR on the idea of producing and selling digital images of the sport and a new business was born. Ed and Rindy produced posters, banners, framed photographs and sold them at races.

Furniture making started as Ed’s’ hobby. His now-trademarked Lowcountry chair and tables quickly became popular with friends and nonprofit organizations.

After tiring of selling wholesale in Atlanta, Ed and Rindy discovered the store and built furniture themselves in the back of the building from cedar and cypress, painting the chairs bright colors. Some customers ordered special wood for tabletops and a variety of furniture was crafted from a load of heart pine from nearby Tombee Plantation.

Ed and Rindy’s son, Tristan, carries on the furniture-making tradition. He picked up numerous orders from loyal customers when he was in town recently and will build the pieces at his home in Charleston, Rindy said.

Rindy, a floral designer, sold flower arrangements in the store. Local artists sold their wares in the store and Gullah angels Rindy created became top sellers.

“I think the store became more than what we thought it was going to be,” Rindy said.

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