LAKE WYLIE — Bagel Boat owner Frank Keefe is banking on a big return.
So much so the River Hills resident decided to open the new bagel shop this week in the former Bank of America location on S.C. 49. As of last week’s press time, his plan was to open early in the week, take off for Thanksgiving Day and hit the ground running Friday morning.
“Hopefully, we’re on our way,” he said.
Bagel Boat offers New York bagels, along with breakfast sandwiches, coffee, frozen yogurt, baked goods and seasonal items. There is seating for 30 in the main area near the counter, plus side rooms for small groups. There also is a play area for children, part of the family atmosphere Keefe hopes to create. This family-first attitude also is the reason he won’t keep high school staffers working late more than a couple of nights a week.
“I don’t want to distract from Choraliers, distract from the band, distract from their studies,” Keefe said.
Keefe expects an overall staff of 15 to 18 employees. Son Louis Keefe, along with Auriel Dunnuck, will be managing the store. The team brings years of experience in the service industry from hotels to steakhouses and coffee shops.
“My dad’s been in it longer, but we’ve been in hospitality for years,” Louis Keefe said.
The shop will be open 6 a.m.-9 p.m., with an extra hour to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Staff worked for weeks ahead of the opening to make the inside as comfortable and appealing as possible, yet it’s what’s just outside that drew them to the former bank location. Having a drive-thru, particularly during the morning and evening rush along S.C. 49, is a major part of the business plan.
“That’s going to be a big side of our business,” Louis Keefe said.
The move is a main addition for Lake Wylie Plaza, which now has its entire highway frontage filled. With the opening of Mill Creek Commons in 2008, bank branches of then-Wachovia and Bank of America relocated the following year leaving two prime spaces empty. R.P. Boggs & Co. moved into one last year, and now Bagel Boat has the other.
For more information on Bagel Boat, visit bagelboat.com.