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Half-Moon Outfitters buys abandoned car dealership in Summerville for 9th store location

SUMMERVILLE — A North Charleston-based outdoors apparel and gear retailer is expanding its store count in the Lowcountry.

Half-Moon Outfitters recently bought a long-vacant former automotive dealership at 605 N. Main St. in Summerville for $2.21 million, according to property records and Robert Pratt of RE/MAX Pro Realty, who represented the seller.

Half-Moon owner Beezer Molten said the new location will bring his store count to nine in South Carolina and Georgia. The retailer also sells online and operates from its headquarters near Park Circle in North Charleston.

605 N. Main St. Summerville

North Charleston-based Half-Moon Outfitters recently purchased the long-abandoned auto dealership site at 605 N. Main St. in Summerville, where the outdoors retailer plans to convert the space into a store by the winter of 2021-22. Hugh Molten/Provided

The Dorchester County purchase will give the locally owned merchant four locations in the Charleston area. Half-Moon now has stores downtown on King Street and in Mount Pleasant and West Ashley. Other South Carolina locations are in Columbia and Greenville. In Georgia, Half-Moon can be found in Athens, Augusta and Savannah. 

The 17,000-square-foot building in Summerville once housed Chrysler-Plymouth and Mercedes-Benz dealerships, but Molten said it's been mostly vacant since 1993.

"It's been sitting there derelict all this time, but it's what we look for," he said.

Molten said he had no qualms about making a sizable business investment during the pandemic since he's been trying to buy the site — that was tied up in a legal matter — for about five years.

He also noted that he doesn't plan on opening the store until the winter of 2021-22, well after a vaccine for the coronavirus has been made widely available, according to the latest government estimates.

The Summerville store will occupy between 8,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet. Molten hopes the rest of the building can be subleased to other businesses.

The L-shaped property site also extends from E. 6th North St. to U.S. Highway 78 behind a Checkers restaurant on the corner of North Main and U.S. 78.

The abandoned structure is in a dilapidated state and in dire need of repairs, he said.

Molten called it a "classic and sustainable urban infill candidate."

"The existing buildings will be utilized, repaired and given a major facelift," he said.

Molten likes to incorporate sustainable "green construction" elements into his operations whenever possible, and he believes the southwest exposure of much of the roof will provide tenants with a significant amount of solar power.

He also plans to plans to study rainwater or runoff for any benefits and add native plants that are drought-tolerant. Parking areas, he said, will achieve 50 percent or more shade within five years after the building is renovated.

Molten likened the new location to its recently opened store in Greenville, where he teamed up with other like-minded tenants to create a small hub of local lifestyle brands.

"It's great to have another crack at this type of retail as we see this as the path forward for Half-Moon, where we really get to try to customize our surroundings and team up with supporting businesses," Molten said. "This building on North Main, being substantially bigger, just gives us more opportunity to experiment with this type of collaboration."

Molten's brother, Hugh Molten of Mount Pleasant-based SouthVest Group, represented Beezer Molten Properties LLC in the purchase.

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Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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