HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (Nov. 15, 2021) –For 30 years, Frank Gaston has been the face of the iconic General Store at the center of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.
Throughout those three decades, he has greeted and gotten to know countless locals and visitors from around the US and beyond, serving up hot coffee, along with delicious breakfast and lunch at “the G-Store,” which stands just a short walk from the resort’s Tennis and Pickleball Center, the Robert Trent Jones Clubhouse and the beach.
Now, Frank and his wife, Susan, are stepping away from the business they acquired in 1991. “We’re excited about (retirement),” he said. “We’ve been there 30 years and it’s been a lot of fun, but it’s time to relax a little bit, travel around and see what else is going on in the world. There will be a little bit of an adjustment period, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it pretty quick.
“It’s been a ‘Mom and Pop,’” he said. “Pop has been in the store every day and mom is at home doing the book work and the taxes and making sure everything gets paid on time. Doing all the hard stuff, as I call it, the stuff I wouldn’t want to do. It’s been a good run and a good partnership — a good team of employees. Everybody has really helped us do well over the years.”
The General Store first opened in 1979. The Gaston family has turned the business into a true, Hilton Head institution that has received numerous awards including “Hilton Head’s Best General Store” and “Hilton Head’s Best Fried Chicken.”
In addition, the G-Store has earned its reputation for carrying one of the island’s best and most eclectic selections of long and short-sleeve t-shirts, hats and other Palmetto Dunes and Hilton Head Island swag.
“We travel and go to gift shows every year,” Frank said. “We try to pick new stuff every year. “We’ve got a lot of the same customers that keep coming back so we don’t want to have the same stuff every year. We’ve taken a lot of time shopping and buying for the season. We want really nice shirts and quality merchandise. That’s what the customer wants. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Frank and Susan’s two daughters, Branden and Jordan, and now the couple’s three grandchildren have also played a major role in the General Store’s success. “Jordan was born in the same year we bought the business. She’s pretty much lived her whole life in and out of that store,” Frank said. “Branden worked there most of her teenage years and as an adult has helped her mom with the books. Our three grandchildren have helped during the summer, as well. It’s been a true family business. They’ve learned a lot and been a big help.”
Frank said he doesn’t expect much to change at the General Store after it is taken back over by Greenwood Communities and Resorts at the beginning of December. “Greenwood has taken really good care of us during this transition,” he said. “We’re really pleased with that. This is a win-win for everybody.”
Frank said he doesn’t want to say goodbye to his friends and customers, preferring to tell them, “See you around.”
“I’m not real good on goodbyes,” he said. “We’ve met a lot of really, really nice people and a lot of good friends over the years from all over the country — really great people. I would hate to say goodbye to every one of them.
“Our customers mean a lot to me. I love all our customers. Our goal for 30 years has been to keep them happy. We really appreciate all of their support and patronage over the years.”