Tavern owners feel patriotism battle has worn out their welcome
By Sonya Stevenssstevens@abcnews4.com
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Local restaurant owners feel a battle with patriotism has worn out their welcome.
Chucktown Tavern has been on Market Street for just over two years, but at the end of June the restaurant will be relocating.
"We would like to get hopefully on King Street if possible and then Marty has been contacted by several people about places in Summerville, Goose Creek, the north area," said Hope Young, co-owner of Chucktown Tavern.
The owners are choosing to relocate because their relationship with The Beach Company, which owns the building they lease, changed after the flag issue this past April.
The Beach Company said that flying the flags was not in compliance with the lease and did not meet BAR standards.
"We didn't realize until the next day it was a much bigger issue because they sent one of their representatives over and took the flags down," said Marty Young, co-owner of Chucktown Tavern.
They originally started flying the flags to honor the number of Vietnam veterans that are regulars at the tavern.
"We got a lot of very, very positive press last year about the flags flying in front of Chucktown and we got an unbelievable amount of support from people all over the world. Unfortunately, it put us at odds with our leasing company," said Marty Young.
After the flags were taken down, the leasing company had a change of heart and the flags were raised again. But months later when lease negotiations came around, Marty and Hope struggled with what to do.
"This is not a high traffic area, and after polling some other businesses in the nearby area, we realized that the rent increase that was being asked was really way beyond what was appropriate," said Marty Young. "Business reasons not withstanding, I'm sure they are, but just left us with a feeling that we really weren't welcome here."
But they have felt the opposite from their customers, which has been good for business.
"We are really thankful for the opportunity that we had here," said Hope Young. "We are still plugging along doing good and looking forward to finding new location and all of our regulars are hoping that we will stay uptown, so Lord willing, that will happen."
And while there are no hard feelings toward The Beach Company, it will be a financial loss for the couple. However, the outpouring of support has kept them going.
The Beach Company acknowledged that the new lease would be higher than the current value.
"The rent is to adjust to market rent in that area," said Leonard Way, Vice President for Asset Management at The Beach Company. "We thought that the number was fair and we didn't come to an agreement on it."