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Find the Beauty in You at Chroma Hair Studio & Spa

Choosing the right hair salon in West Ashley, SC, is a little bit like finding the perfect outfit. The materials feel great on your skin, the fabric is flattering to your body type, and when you try it on, you just know - this is the outfit that you have been looking for.

With thousands of hair salons and stylists in South Carolina, choosing the right one can be difficult. You want a salon that is clean, comfortable, and chic. But, more importantly, you need a stylist that "gets" you. Someone who takes the time to understand your preferences, your style, and your personality. You need a stylist who listens, is honest, and has the technical skills to turn your vision into a reality.

An excellent stylist epitomizes all those traits and knows how to adapt to changing beauty trends. They aren't afraid to take on a challenge.

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Welcome to Chroma Hair Studio & Spa

Where the most talented hairstylists in West Ashley help bring out the beauty in each of our clients. We strive to provide each of our customers with the highest levels of customer service in the beauty industry. At Chroma, we offer a relaxing environment, skillful professionals, and a variety of products with environmentally safe and good-for-you ingredients.

Our goal is to make your salon experience special, from the moment you walk in to the second you leave. With a variety of professional hair and beauty services to choose from, we're sure you will rediscover the "beauty of you" every time you visit our salon.

Here are just a few of our most popular hair and beauty services in West Ashley:

The key to a great haircut and salon experience is to understand the services we offer, so you can choose the best selection for your needs. What do our salon services entail? Keep reading below to find out.

Hair Studio West Ashley, SC

Professional Hair Color in West Ashley, SC

Let's be honest: DIY hair kits can be tricky to get right. They can be complicated to apply and usually have hard-to-understand instructions. Half the time, the color you're left with looks nothing like it does on the front of the box. In a perfect world, you should be able to pop into Target, pick a boxed hair color, apply it at home, and emerge out of your bathroom with a new, beautiful hair color. For most people, this never happens.

That's why people who want flawless color, professional application, and ease of convenience get their highlights at Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.

Whether you are changing your hair color completely or just want a few highlights to switch things up, we are here to create the look and style that you've been dreaming about. At Chroma Hair Studio & Spa, we specialize in the latest hair coloring trends using cutting-edge technology. That way, our clients get the freshest looks, coolest colors, and longest-lasting highlights in town. When you get your highlights done at our hair salon in West Ashley, we want you to leave excited and ready to share your new hair all over social.

Don't spend hours in the store trying to find the color you think will look great on you. Our team of professional stylists will consult with you about your vision and craft a custom highlight plan that fits you're your unique style. There's a reason why so many customers trust us with their highlights - we genuinely care about your hair and how it looks.

Our professional hair coloring services in West Ashley are a combination of art and science. The artistic results only last as long as the hair coloring products used, and we use the best. Our hairstylists and colorists are committed to helping you look and feel fabulous, whether you're planning a special occasion or just want to impress that special someone.

 Women's Hair Studio West Ashley, SC

Get the Look You Crave with Personalized Hair Treatments

Ever taken a chance on a new look or hair color, only to end up embarrassed and unsatisfied with the results? You're not alone - we get calls every week from people just like you who need hair treatment West Ashley. Sadly, sometimes even the professionals get a color procedure wrong.

Other times, your hair has suffered from years of blow-drying and straightening, and it looks dry, brittle, and unattractive. You know you need a deep conditioning treatment, and you need it ASAP.

At Chroma Hair Studio & Spa, our technicians have treated all sorts of hair problems - from unprofessional coloring with multiple bands of different colors and tones to dehydrated hair and more. Sometimes, our client's entire hairstyle needs to be corrected. To do this, we stock multiple types of color and toners to revitalize hair and give it the color you've been dreaming of. Our team always puts a priority on the health and integrity of your hair, whether it's your first visit or your fortieth.

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 Women's Haircut West Ashley, SC

Voluptuous Eyelash Extensions in
West Ashley, SC

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wish that you had fuller, longer eyelashes? You're not alone - thousands of people crave darker, thicker lashes. They settle for what they have, not knowing that a revolutionary lash treatment is waiting for them at Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.

Eyelash extensions have revolutionized fashion culture, saving women untold amounts time and effort in front of the makeup mirror. The great news is that lash extensions aren't just reserved for Hollywood celebrities anymore. Anybody can have the long, fluttery lashes they've been craving, with a trip to our salon.

Eyelash extensions are a fabulous way to enhance your look on a long-term basis and provide you with a small change that makes a huge impact. From the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed, your lashes remain long, sexy, and sultry.

Our eyelash extension specialist works with your existing lashes to apply individual extensions to enhance the natural beauty of your eyes. Using a meticulous application process, we maintain the integrity of your natural lashes so they remain healthy and undamaged.

Whether you're looking for a wispy, effortless look or want your lashes to have mega volume, our lash extension technicians are here to cater to your needs.

Here are just a few reasons why women love our eyelash extension services in West Ashley:

  • 24/7 Beauty
  • No Damage to Your Natural Lashes
  • No More Mascara or Eye Makeup
  • No Clumps
  • Long, Lovely Lashes That Will Make Your Friends Jealous!

If you're looking for a cost-conscious way to stand out from the crowd, contact our office today. We'd be happy to tell you more about our eyelash extension process and which lashes work best for your needs.

Smooth Out Hair and Add Flair with a Brazilian Blowout

The Brazilian blowout: you've heard about the new craze, you've seen the stunning results, but haven't had a chance to sit down and receive the treatment yourself. Luckily, Chroma Hair Studio & Spa now offers this sought-after style right here in West Ashley, from certified Brazilian blowout stylists.

If you suffer from dull, frizzy hair that lacks life and shine, the Brazilian blowout is one of the best ways to get smooth, frizz-free hair. By using cutting-edge bonding technology, this customizable treatment doesn't damage your hair at all. Actually, it improves your hair's health by adding a protective layer of protein that smooths your hair for weeks on end.

This ultra-popular choice offers you a laundry list of benefits, like:

  • Protection Against Seasonal Damage
  • Locks in Color
  • Cuts Down on Styling Time
  • Protects Against Heat
  • Seamless Extension Blending
  • Great for All Hair Types

To get the best of both worlds, be sure to schedule your Brazilian blowout and custom hair color treatment in the same appointment. Call us today to learn more about our Brazilian blowouts and to schedule your appointment today.

 Hair Salon West Ashley, SC

Custom Haircuts in West Ashley Crafted for You

There are many ways that you can reinvent yourself this season, but if you're ready to make a lasting impression, nothing beats a new hairstyle. While there is nothing wrong with sporting top knots, ponytails, or straight hair, a styled cut from Chroma Hair Studio & Spa will drastically improve your hair game.

Getting a new haircut isn't just fun - it makes you feel good, too, especially when you get a lot of positive compliments.

 Hair Stylist West Ashley, SC

Our experienced stylists are tapped into today's hottest trends, so if you want to try something new, we're here to help. If you want to play it more traditional, our stylists have a solid foundation of time-tested techniques, to give your existing cut the edge it needs to impress. And sometimes, you need something simple and low-maintenance that cuts down on styling time and primping.

Not sure what kind of a cut you need? We're happy to give you our educated opinion and are happy to provide examples of what we think works. Whatever style you've got your eye on, we can make it a reality!

Here are just a few of the most popular haircut trends in South Carolina:

Natural Textured

Natural Textured

In a time when extravagant dyes and unique hair extensions are all the rage, the natural look will always be trending. This haircut is a great way to rediscover yourself and let your beauty shine organically without overdoing it.

The Shag

The Shag

This medium-length haircut is a classic throwback to the 79s, with a layered look, messy bangs, and lots of attitude. If you like to get ahead of trends before your friends, bring back the shag and rock this retro style with pride.

Curly Bangs

Curly Bangs

This cut will look great during the summer and will give you an innocent look that will get plenty of attention. Great for a short-term haircut or even something special for a big party or Gen-X event.

Long Length

Long Length

Go against the status quo and let your hair down this season. Pixie cuts and shags are all the rage, but rocking a Rapunzel-like haircut will set you apart from the crowd. If you're looking for a more natural, classic look, this could be your haircut.

Find Your French Flair with Balayage

If you're looking to switch up your hair color but can't decide between Balayage or Ombre because, well, you don't know the difference - don't worry. You're not alone!

Balayage is a French technique for highlighting the hair in which the dye is painted to create a natural-looking effect. The goal is to create soft, subtle highlights that make your hair look like it's been kissed by the sun.

While Balayage is the technique of painting the hair, Ombre focuses on the style of the hair. It is the transition from a lighter shade to a darker shade. Typically, Ombres work best for brunettes, but the style can is suitable for blondes too. To achieve the effect of an Ombre, there must be a smooth transition between colors. While the Ombre is a beautiful look, you'll need to work with a professional to get the best results.

Luckily, we offer both Ombre and Balayage in West Ashley, SC! Short on time? Busy schedule? Only available on weekends? Chroma Hair Studio & Spa offers flexible appointment scheduling to accommodate even the busiest clients. You deserve a fresh new style, and we're here to help when the time is right for you.

The Top Hair Salon in West Ashley, SC

If you're looking for a hair salon that offers high-end styling without expensive pricing, you're in the right place. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and leave you feeling beautiful, whether you need a touch-up or a total makeover. We offer a relaxing salon atmosphere, skillful stylists, and only the best in professional brands. When it's time for your next haircut, highlight session, or eyelash extension, look no further than Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.

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Latest News in West Ashley, SC

New Summerville restaurant opens June 1; West Ashley sandwich shop now serving

The latest restaurant venture from chef Nico Romo is ready to welcome diners.Italian-concept Laura will open June 1 at 101 N. Main St. in downtown Summerville.The new Flowertown restaurant, inspired by the culture and cuisine of Romo’s grandmother — the eatery’s namesake — will be open nightly for dinner at first with Saturday lunch and Sunday brunch added later.Dinner hours will be 4-10 p.m. daily. All-day Saturday service will run noon-10 p.m. starting June 11. ...

The latest restaurant venture from chef Nico Romo is ready to welcome diners.

Italian-concept Laura will open June 1 at 101 N. Main St. in downtown Summerville.

The new Flowertown restaurant, inspired by the culture and cuisine of Romo’s grandmother — the eatery’s namesake — will be open nightly for dinner at first with Saturday lunch and Sunday brunch added later.

Dinner hours will be 4-10 p.m. daily. All-day Saturday service will run noon-10 p.m. starting June 11. Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. is set to start July 3.

Romo bought the property in 2019 for $500,000, according to Dorchester County land records, with plans to open earlier, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted those plans.

Nico Hospitality Group also operates Bistronomy on the Charleston peninsula and Nico|Oysters and Seafood in Mount Pleasant.

The 6,000-square-foot restaurant includes an indoor bar as well as an outdoor dining area with a bar.

Now serving

A second West Ashley location for a sandwich and ice cream shop is welcoming customers.

Ye Ole Fashioned Cafe & Ice Cream Parlor had a soft opening May 23 in the outparcel space formerly occupied by Famous Toastery at 1319 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. in Ashley Landing Shopping Center. A grand opening is set for 11 a.m. June 10 with a ribbon-cutting and special offering of buy one scoop, get one free.

Rolando Ravelo said this will be his first location as a co-owner after working in two other Ye Ole Fashioned sites for a few years. Hours will be 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday.

The other West Ashley location is at 474 Savannah Highway.

Ye Ole Fashioned also operates two restaurants in Summerville and one each in Goose Creek, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston. Famous Toastery closed last year after opening in 2018.

Opening soon

A new restaurant plans to open soon on Charleston’s upper peninsula.

Heavy’s Barburger is slated to open in June in the former Tattooed Moose space at 1137 Morrison Drive.

It’s the product of John Haire and Brandon Stewart. The business is named for Haire’s grandfather, who was called “Heavy.”

“Heavy’s will be a neighborhood burger joint ... smashin’ burgers & shakin’ margaritas,” Haire said. “Our menu will also include creative sandwiches, fresh salads and a full bar. ”

It will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily with later hours on weekends.

Tattooed Moose moved earlier this year to 4845 Chateau Ave., one block off East Montague Avenue in North Charleston.

Gassing up

A new gas station and convenience store is planned at the corner of a heavily traveled West Ashley intersection where a bank once operated.

Savannah-based Parker’s Kitchen plans to build a 3,800-square-foot shop with 12 fueling stations under a canopy at Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Ashley River Road where Wells Fargo Bank closed more than a year ago, according to site plans.

The 1-acre parcel is across the street from a Circle K convenience store and gas station.

In the details

A new car detailing business is now open in West Ashley.

Palmetto Suns Detailing is at 1856 Belgrade Ave., off Wappoo Road. It’s open by appointment from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

The company was founded by Heath Hudgins and Van Patterson. Patterson, with 15 years of car restoration experience, is the day-to-day operator.

The professional-grade shop specializes in car detailing, paint correction and ceramic coatings.

“We consider ourselves a true detailing business rather than a carwash masquerading as a detailing shop,” Hudgins said. “What we do can’t be done with the tools and materials in someone’s garage.”

Teachers leaving public schools for reasons other than pay

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Teachers are leaving public education in droves. The latest data compiled by SC for Ed, a teacher advocacy group, shows more than 3,400 open positions across the state.As of June 12, that number is closer to 650 for just the Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester District Two school districts.Vacancies by district:*Source: SC for EdThe number of teachers leaving year over year is starting to level out, however.This year the three districts show a 10.4% turnover rate on average, down f...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Teachers are leaving public education in droves. The latest data compiled by SC for Ed, a teacher advocacy group, shows more than 3,400 open positions across the state.

As of June 12, that number is closer to 650 for just the Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester District Two school districts.

Vacancies by district:

*Source: SC for Ed

The number of teachers leaving year over year is starting to level out, however.

This year the three districts show a 10.4% turnover rate on average, down from an average of 12.5 percent last year. However, the number of teachers fleeing public education (and education in general) is concerning for advocates who have been pushing state leaders to dedicate more resources to educators at every level.

Abby Watson is among those leaving the Charleston County School District this year. She worked at Goodwin Elementary for a year before deciding to leave.

She says keeping up with ever-evolving district initiatives did not give her the feeling of stability. Specifically, she mentioned the plan to merge Goodwin Elementary with Lambs and Hunley Park in the next few years.

“There was a lot of uncertainty for my job,” Watson said. “We would have to reapply and all of that. It kind of freaked me out so I wanted to start looking, just in case, to have some security.”

She says the primary motivator for her was to move to a district that more aligns with her values. She is now set to start teaching second grade at a private Catholic school in West Ashley.

“They provide a little bit more freedom for the teachers as well,” Watson said. “It’s not so scripted. We can kind of take what the suggested curriculum is and make it into our own and provide what I think is sometimes a better education.”

The idea of large school districts across the state being out of touch with their employees and constantly implementing changing strategies is not a new criticism. Sydney Van Bulck, another teacher at Goodwin this year, says the expectations put on teachers are unrealistic.

“For educators, it’s a lack of respect,” Van Bulck said. “It’s a lack of funding. Really the system is being pitted against teachers. Morale is low, pay is low and it’s all kind of compacting together.”

Watson agrees.

“I think the public schools have a lot of really great programs, but I think there’s a lot of pressure to teach to the test,” Watson said. “We have to make sure that we get our scores up and have to make sure that everything is perfect and it’s ultimately too much. I can’t handle the pressure.”

Unlike Watson, Van Bulck is leaving education entirely. While Watson is leaving to find a job with a better culture and more security, Van Bulck’s reason for leaving, like so many others, is financial.

“The ultimate reason that made me make the decision was the pay,” Van Bulck said. “With the housing crisis in Charleston the way that it is right now and as a single person living here on my own, I can’t afford housing and be a teacher here in Charleston.”

While pay is routinely cited as a top reason teachers leave, the turnover data does not necessarily support the idea that starting pay is the most important factor. The Charleston County School District has the highest starting salary and the highest turnover rate.

Starting salary by district:

*Source: SC for Ed

Cost of living seems to be the determining factor when weighed against starting pay. According to BestPlaces.net, Berkeley County has the lowest cost of living, followed by Dorchester and then Charleston counties.

The Charleston County School District has several programs designed to retrain and recruit teachers. You can find more on some of those programs here:

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

West Ashley brewery adds 2nd taproom; hard kombucha brewery opening downtown

Two new taprooms are coming to Charleston in the next month.One is a newcomer specializing in lagers and hard kombucha, while the other is a household name known for signature beers like the Sungazer hazy IPA.Craft beer drinkers will find that beer and other refreshing sippers at Avondale brewery Charles Towne Fermentory, which will add a second taproom outfitted with a spacious beer garden, site owner Adam Goodwin told The Post and Courier.Thos...

Two new taprooms are coming to Charleston in the next month.

One is a newcomer specializing in lagers and hard kombucha, while the other is a household name known for signature beers like the Sungazer hazy IPA.

Craft beer drinkers will find that beer and other refreshing sippers at Avondale brewery Charles Towne Fermentory, which will add a second taproom outfitted with a spacious beer garden, site owner Adam Goodwin told The Post and Courier.

Those who attended Charleston Beer Week might recognize the new taproom called The Garden by Charles Towne Fermentory. The 1331 Ashley River Road compound, that was previously occupied by Wine and Design, hosted Beer Week’s grand finale in November 2021.

“When I found this property it was kind of just perfect,” Goodwin said. “We ended up fully gutting the building. We added (a nearly) 1,000-square-foot covered deck out back and then did all the landscaping outside to make it a little more of an accommodating place to hang and enjoy beer.”

Goodwin has the capability to brew small test batches at the new location, but the majority of The Garden’s 8-14 beers will come from Charles Towne Fermentory’s 5,000-square-foot Avondale brewery at 809 Savannah Highway.

Because of South Carolina’s three-tier system, Goodwin must purchase his own beer from a distributor in order to sell at The Garden, which will also offer wine and cider for non-beer drinkers.

The Garden will host a grand opening party May 28, with Co-Hog and Foxes Fried popping up with food at the event. Moving forward, The Garden will be open from 2-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.

As Charles Towne Fermentory expands, downtown Charleston’s brewery district is adding another brewery to a list that already includes destinations like Revelry Brewing Co., Munkle Brewing Co. and Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co.

Specializing in lagers and hard kombucha, Bevi Bene Brewing Co. is located in The Lumberyard development at 1859 Summerville Ave. in downtown Charleston. Guests can expect to find eight beers and a handful of hard kombuchas when the new brewery opens June 18.

Husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Marissa and Clay Carlisle are behind Bevi Bene, which means “drink well” in Italian. The 5,000-square-foot space features an outdoor patio and mural by Savannah artist JULU that is visible heading northbound on Interstate 26.

“We’re a lager focused brewery,” Marissa Carlisle said. “We will have sours and then we’ll be introducing hard kombucha to the Charleston community.”

Specifically, Bevi Bene will serve traditional lagers, kettle sours and hard kombucha. “Mostly sessionable stuff which means lower alcohol just because we want people to come stay awhile,” according to Clay Carlisle.

To make the hard kombucha, he brews regular kombucha that’s put in a closed fermenter with more sugar and brewer’s yeast. The yeast eats the sugar, converting it into ethanol (alcohol produced by fermentation). Bevi Bene is believed to be the first Charleston area brewery to offer hard kombucha.

The brewery will host a grand opening on June 25, with food trucks Chucktown Meatball Co. and Vibrant Alkaline Vegan Meals serving at the event.

Once open, Bevi Bene will serve customers from 1-8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, noon-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday.

Bearcat, a new 2-part restaurant, set to replace Al Di La in Avondale this fall

George Kovach moved from Chicago to Charleston at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with the goal of turning an elevated pop-up he hosted in a friend’s apartment and local eating and drinking establishments into a full-service restaurant.Months into the pop-ups, he struck a deal on a brick-and-mortar lease that eventually fell through, temporarily ...

George Kovach moved from Chicago to Charleston at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with the goal of turning an elevated pop-up he hosted in a friend’s apartment and local eating and drinking establishments into a full-service restaurant.

Months into the pop-ups, he struck a deal on a brick-and-mortar lease that eventually fell through, temporarily sending the chef back to Chicago. One year later, Kovach has finally found a permanent home for his venture in West Ashley’s Avondale neighborhood.

Bearcat will open this fall at 25 Magnolia Road in the space previously occupied by Al Di La.

The two-part restaurant will feature a walk-in-only cocktail-driven lounge serving a small food menu, frozen drinks and cocktails on tap, Kovach said. Open for walk-ins and reservations, the second half will be home to a dining room with a more upscale atmosphere and a seven-course $85 tasting menu reminiscent of the six-course $65 menu served during Bearcat’s pop-up days.

Between 12 and 15 dishes will be available a la carte along with two wine pairings, one of which includes a rotating selection of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits.

Equipped with two kitchens, the spacious site was home to Italian restaurant Al Di La for nearly two decades before its owners abruptly closed the doors at the end of 2021.

After coming across the property in March and signing the lease at the end of May, Kovach plans to bring boundary-pushing cuisine to a neighborhood filled with longtime local favorites, such as Carolina’s Aloha Bar (formerly Voodoo Tiki Bar & Lounge), Gene’s Haufbrau and Triangle Char & Bar.

The space is undergoing extensive renovations ahead of its opening, Kovach said, with the biggest changes taking place in the kitchen where a wood-burning stove has replaced Al Di La’s pizza oven.

He plans to open the bar side of Bearcat in August, with the dining room to follow in September.

“We like to call it ‘Regional Modern American,’” Kovach said, describing Bearcat’s food. “It’s kind of taking nostalgic favorites from not only the South but all over the world and giving them a little bit of a facelift.”

Kovach brings a Michelin star-level pedigree to the restaurant, having spent time in the kitchen at Chicago establishments Elizabeth and the now-closed Band of Bohemia, once the nation’s only Michelin star brewpub.

For hints at what to expect at Bearcat, diners can look back at menus from previous pop-ups, which Kovach briefly restarted in March. Carolina Gold rice with smoked tofu “abalone,” tortellini with beets and mushroom conserva, and sorghum char siu glazed pork shoulder were among the options served at a handful of Bearcat pop-ups throughout the month.

While he aims to serve cutting-edge cuisine, Kovach insists Bearcat will be approachable.

“We don’t necessarily want to scare everyone with our technique,” Kovach said.

In cities like Chicago and New York where Kovach has cooked, tasting menu restaurants are often exclusive venues. With its dual concept and innovative cuisine, Kovach said he believes Bearcat can be different.

“The cool thing about Bearcat is we don’t really want to appeal to tourists as much as we want to appeal to the locals,” Kovach said. “When it comes down to it, the locals are the most important people.”

Kovach has hired a yet-to-be-named chef de cuisine and is still searching for a general manager to lead Bearcat. Diners can expect at least one pop-up ahead of the restaurant’s fall opening and can stay up to date by following Bearcat on Instagram @bearcatchs.

How Chipper Dog BBQ sauce hit the shelves

Dog is a man’s best friend. Or in Brandon Close’s case, the face and name of his rapidly expanding barbecue sauce company, Chipper Dog BBQ.Named after Close’s 12-year-old English Bulldog Chipper, Chipper Dog BBQ sauce and rub has suddenly found itself in 115 stores across five states — Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina and South Carolina — in just over two years.What started as a backyard hobby turned into an actual business venture.“I started smoking [meats] like 15 years ago in...

Dog is a man’s best friend. Or in Brandon Close’s case, the face and name of his rapidly expanding barbecue sauce company, Chipper Dog BBQ.

Named after Close’s 12-year-old English Bulldog Chipper, Chipper Dog BBQ sauce and rub has suddenly found itself in 115 stores across five states — Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina and South Carolina — in just over two years.

What started as a backyard hobby turned into an actual business venture.

“I started smoking [meats] like 15 years ago in the backyard,” said the 38-year-old Close. “I worked for John Deere [in Illinois] and on Saturdays and Sundays, I’d be spending them in the backyard with the smoker. I read an article about Carolina barbecue sauce and had never made it before. I did it for a college presentation on different barbecue sauces, actually. We were close, but we weren’t traditional Carolina barbecue sauce. It’s evolved from there a lot, obviously.”

Close moved to Charleston in 2015 and found himself working in kitchens across the city at places like Bessinger’s and Sticky Fingers, developing a tongue fit to make his own branded barbecue sauce. He “invested” in himself and incorporated Chipper Dog BBQ in April of 2020 after an infusion of startup cash from his late grandmother. Shortly afterward though, the pandemic hit. Fortunately, Close worked at Timbers on Kiawah Island as a manager out front and a cook in the kitchen. There he was able to further develop his sauce and realize its wide-scale potential.

At Timbers, Close added his barbecue and sauce to the menu. “That was kind of our proof of concept,” he said. “Because people would come down and get a barbecue sandwich as the first thing they did when they got into town.”

Between shifts at Timbers, Close spent hours on the internet researching different ways to get a product on grocery store shelves. He reached out to co-packers in the region, other barbecue sauce companies and even went on Facebook food and beverage groups to ask for advice.

“I always said, everything we’re going to do, we’re going to do it professionally, and I don’t care if it costs me more money,” he said.

By July, 2020 Close had locked in a co-packer who could bottle his sauce and left Timbers. By that September, with the product in hand, he hit the ground running.

Close started with the 40-plus Piggly Wigglys in South Carolina — all of which are independently owned. If your product is good, he said, it’s far easier to convince a Piggly Wiggly owner or manager to carry your product as opposed to big corporations like Publix or Kroger. The first location to carry Chipper Dog BBQ was the Piggly Wiggly on Skylark Drive in West Ashley.

The next stop was the Piggly Wiggly on Otranto Drive in North Charleston, where he met the district manager of Lowcountry Grocers, owner of 15 Piggly Wiggly locations across South Carolina.

From that chance meeting, Close received contacts for around 34 stores across the state. With phone numbers, names and addresses in hand, he pounded the pavement.

“I just went to every one of them,” he said. “I would start out by calling them. If I did that and talked to them beforehand, then stopped in and showed them the product, it was about a 90% chance I was gonna get in. If I just cold call and stop in, about a 30% chance.”

Chipper Dog eventually found itself in 30 Piggly Wiggly stores across South Carolina. From there, dominoes started to fall.

To land a deal with independent IGA stores, Close contacted W. Lee Flowers in Lake City, S.C., which not only owns and operates 50 IGA and KJ grocery stores in Georgia and the Carolinas, but warehouses that distribute food to them.

Close then worked out an arrangement with Perfect 10 Distribution, distributors of popular southern and Lowcountry brands like King of Pops, Red Clay Hot Sauce and Marsh Hen Mill, by applying on the website.

In just under two years, Chipper Dog BBQ Sauce was carried in over 100 grocery stores.

Close next landed a deal with Lowes grocery stores. Chipper Dog participated in the Lowes-sponsored Pinehurst Barbecue Festivals Sauce Showdown competition last Labor Day. The winner would earn a one year Lowes shelf contract. Chipper Dog didn’t win, but that didn’t stop Close from making a connection. At the festival, he simply asked Lowes team members about carrying Chipper Dog. The team gave him the name of Lowes buyer, and by 2022, Chipper Dog was in all 15 Lowes Foods in South Carolina.

Starting in August of 2021, Close added a booth at the Charleston City Market and Night Market to his growing list of locations for Chipper Dog. He had spent so much time getting into grocery stores that there wasn’t much time to set up a booth in the local market.

“I feel like there are people that make careers out of the Charleston market and people that make careers out of wholesaling,” he said. “We’re trying to do both at the same time. And it’s crazy.”

Follow @chipperdogbbq on Instagram to see pictures of Chipper himself (and sometimes Close).

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