Green Heron Grocery gone - Residents: Store was part of local flavor

The Green Heron Grocery on Sullivan's Island closed New Year's Eve. The owners plan to auction off its furnishings and food on Sunday.

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND — Island resident Cheryl Clark remembers popping into The Green Heron Grocery for an occasional ice cream or "awesome" handmade pizza to take home and cook.

Sam Simons used to stop in to buy wine or grab a "delicious" sub sandwich on a Sunday afternoon as she walked on the island she's called home for 26 years.

Capt. Skipper Weston said it was always convenient to run across Middle Street from the fire station if he and fellow firefighters needed something.

Unfortunately, they won't be able to pop in anymore.

The Green Heron's owners, Butch and Kim Brown of Sullivan's Island, locked the doors on the longtime business on New Year's Eve.

They won't reopen. Instead, they plan to hold a going-out-of-business sale this coming Sunday at 9 a.m. to sell everything from the remaining groceries that still line the shelves to the ice cream still frozen in the case by the front door to the deli cases and other furnishings inside the building that was originally part of a large pharmacy. Any items remaining after the sale will be sold at an auction, which will be held at a date to be announced later.

Burmester's Drug Store once encompassed much of the building in the 1950s that now houses the Green Heron, Sullivan's Restaurant and an art gallery, Sullivan's Island Town Administrator Andy Benke said.

The old drug store was split up, and part of it that is now the grocery store became Gruber's Wishing Well, with pinball machines and other games in the back and candy and groceries up front.

In the mid 1990s, it evolved into The Green Heron Grocery. The Browns acquired it in 2006.

"Business has been tapering off with the recession, and as more and more businesses opened on the island, it got more competitive and tighter," said Butch Brown, a lifelong resident of Sullivan's.

Both Brown and his wife also are busy with other jobs — he repairs electronics, she is a nurse — and he said it got to be too much for them to keep it going.

About three months ago, they brought in their son, David, who runs a catering business as well, to try to beef up the store's offerings and help them run the business, but it didn't work out.

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

"The time for these little mom-and-pops is over," said Kim Brown.

"It's just sad," said Clark, who stopped next door at the post office on an errand Thursday. "It's another local business gone."

Reach Warren Wise at 937-5524 or