Flowertown Festival is bittersweet for one business

By Valencia

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- {} The Flowertown Festival has a long reputation of luring thousands of people, which turns into thousands of dollars for local businesses.

"The exposure and the visibility you get from being out there is ...{}you can't put a price tag on it," said Bob Shipley, owner of Firewater Grille.

Last year, Shipley's restaurant was the official burger sponsor for the event.

"It was great. We served over 2,500 hamburgers last year," Shipley said.

The leader in last year's success was Perry Stone, the restaurant's chef.

"He was always the guy who went out there and did everything and I stayed out here at the restaurant and kept everything going," said Shipley.

While Shipley can brag on last year's victory, this year will be different.

"Tragically we lost Perry at 41 years old and it was a challenging loss," Shipley said.

Perry died in his sleep on Election Day last November.

"It's been difficult," said Shipley. "Certainly, this time of year, with the Flowertown Festival, you know, it's definitely bittersweet for us not to be out there."

Still, Shipley says they use Perry's life as a means of motivation to feed the Summerville community with love and great food.

"We miss the big guy and we know he's looking down on us," said Shipley. "We gone keep on putting out good food that he would be proud of."

Shipley says he hopes the restaurant can participate in the festival next year.