Road to Kiawah paved with gold, some hope
Richard Hartley hopes the road to Kiawah Island is paved with gold, or at least draws someone rich enough to buy his vintage car collection.
Parked in the front yard of a friend’s house off Bohicket Road are five of Hartley’s mostly pristine hot rods, including a ’41 Willy’s, ’56 Chevy and ’69 Chevelle.
Asking prices range between $15,000 and $40,000. But he’ll take what he can get.
“This is the best opportunity because this is the PGA, and they are all millionaires,” said Hartley, who began plotting his golf-related sales package a few weeks ago.
“That’s where the ‘money people’ are,” he added, “I ain’t going to lie to you.”
Professional golf might be the draw inside Kiawah this week, but residents living outside the gate are seeking a different type of green, hoping to profit before, during and after the tournament.
“For sale” real estate signs have popped up like mushrooms from eager agents looking to show land and homes off Bohicket Road and the Betsy Kerrison Parkway, seeking to attract some of the thousands of drivers whizzing by.
The sweetgrass basket weavers are back in abundance.
Those stuck with PGA tickets they can’t use are advertising hard by the roadside to make a sale in the hope of cutting their losses.
Some have even made quiet contact with downtown hotel concierges, looking to make a connection with eager patrons.
One of those holding tickets Monday was Steve Presley, who set up a “for sale” sign by his truck parked on Maybank Highway.
Presley had four passes for sale after three friends had to bail. He’s willing to let them go for $800, or about half of what he paid.
“I’m a big believer that a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing,” Presley said.
The concierge desk at the Charleston Place Hotel confirmed Monday it is keeping a list of sellers looking to part with their passes for guests to contact.
Concrete and mortar businesses, too, are looking for a good week. At the Island Bike and Surf Shop, situated about three miles outside the Kiawah gate, owner Loren D. Van Oordt said Kiawah residents have been buying or renting bikes in advance of the tournament.
“They know it’s going to be quicker to ride down to the Ocean Course than to get on a bus,” he said.
Estimates are Van Oordt’s business is up by about 15 percent compared with this time last year.
At Red’s Ice House at the Bohicket Marina, general manager Jason Kechak said he hopes to double his sales this week, especially with the new wave of night-life-seekers coming in to see bands like the local Blue Dogs.
He said sales began already boosting last week when the crews that put together the PGA infrastructure came on scene, he said.
Meanwhile, back on the Kiawah approach road, sweetgrass basket weaver Betsy Frasier of Mount Pleasant regularly sets up her wares near Kiawah only from Thursdays through the weekend.
But for the PGA, she arrived Monday and will be by the side of the road all week hoping to sell more than her minimum goal of one basket a day.
“It’s a blessing; I feel I’m going to sell them,” she said.
But just because residents are trying to make a sale doesn’t mean it’s going to happen or be easy. Hartley, the hot rod seller, said he’s not had any serious offers for any of his vehicles so far.
“I had a few bites” from people who worked for the PGA and stopped by, he said. But everyone told him they’d have to come back later.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.