After 32 years in business, longtime Seaside residents Bill and Heavenly Dawson sell the five Seaside eateries they founded — Pickle’s Burgers & Shakes, The Shrimp Shack, It’s Heavenly, Dawson’s Yogurt & Fudgeworks and Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs.
The new owners are Ashley and Clark Beecher, managing partners and homeowners in Seaside, along with operating partners Courtney and Baron Fields. The Beechers and Fields will continue growing the business operations in Seaside.
Ashley and Clark, who have two homes in Seaside and live in Houston, Texas, moved their family to Seaside during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March. They expected to stay for only a few days, but ended up staying for months. The family, including four children ranging in age from 22 months to 11 years, lived in their Venice Circle cottage, while turning their home on Savannah Street into a school house, even naming it Beechers Beach Baptist school, and having a schedule to help keep the kids on track. “The kids did extremely well here,” Ashley says. “During recess everyday they’d ride bikes to WaterColor.”
The Beechers also wanted to support local businesses, as the pandemic left many small businesses at risk of closing permanently. “I’d order from Duckie’s,” Ashley recalls, “and they’d leave my purchases outside so I could pick it up.”
When the opportunity to buy the Dawson places came along, the Beechers knew that it was important to Seaside founders Robert and Daryl Davis that nothing in this town is corporate run, and that the owners needed to have roots in Seaside. “We are a family that checks the box,” Ashley adds. The Dawsons say that initially The Dawson Group Stores were not on the market, but after meeting the Beechers and the Fields they knew this was a special opportunity and the right team to take the five stores in a positive direction.
Visiting Seaside regularly for the last six years, Ashley says she has become a sort of ambassador for the town. “A lot of people who come here are making memories that will last a lifetime,” she adds. “It’s a privilege to be a part of that and I take it seriously.” Together with their children, Ashley and Clark are excited to continue the legacy of a family-owned business in the heart of Seaside.
The Beechers partner with Clark’s step sister Courtney and her husband Baron, who are the boots-on-the-ground business partners. As hands-on operators, Courtney and Baron bring more than a decade of hospitality industry experience. Their backgrounds include an array of restaurant concepts, including burgers, refined seafood, Cajun seafood, full-service BBQ, and Tex-Mex. Baron has been the general manager for Pappas Restaurants Inc. in Houston, Texas and Courtney has been in management roles as well as Human Resources for the same company. Courtney and Baron are passionate about Southern hospitality, excellent food, consistency and providing an elevated service. The Fields will also serve on the Merchant Advisory Council. “For us to move here we knew it would have to be an amazing opportunity,” Courtney says. “And that’s what it came out to be.”
As a nod to the Dawsons, the eateries will keep their respective names, while menu overhauls at each location will add value and variety. New menu items at the Shrimp Shack include shrimp-salad-stuffed avocado and additional sandwiches options. Pickle’s gets a new salad mix. Taking the humble hot dog up a notch, Wild Bill’s adds gourmet dogs. “The menu will add an option for kids,” Baron says. “Plus, a more adventurous menu, andouille sausage with a Hawaiian bun, for example.” Daily specials, available Monday through Friday, are posted every Monday on each restaurant’s Facebook page.
The essence of the five restaurants will remain true to Seaside’s values of quality and excellent customer service. “Bill and Heavenly Dawson did a great job for 32 years, making it a big success” Ashley says. “They set it up for us to take it to the next level, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”