Over the past week, Bonita Smith has made three stops at the Skrimp Shack off Windsor Spring Road, and she plans to return in the near future.
âThe warm welcome and the delicious food,â said Smith. âIt was definitely, I believe, a gift that God sent through the owners. This is the best fish sandwich in town.
The seafood restaurant officially opened last week and has already gathered a steady stream of customers. The restaurant is a franchise, but locally owned by Brandon Dotson.
Dotson grew up in the Newport News, Virginia area and moved to Augusta, where he graduated from Greenbrier High School. He went to Albany State University and returned to Augusta about eight years ago to be closer to his family.
Whenever Dotson visited Newport News, he stopped by Skrimp Shack. About four years ago, he decided to ask them if they were franchisees. He started working to get financing, develop a business plan and get everything in order, but ran into problems.
âThere isn’t a lot of funding for first-time restaurant owners, so it took a while to save what needed to be saved. Then we ran into the whole COVID situation, which set it back another year, âhe said. “The original plan was to open a year ago.”
Dotson originally wanted to open in May 2020 and then later in the year, but said it never seemed like the right time.
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Choose southern Augusta
Dotson was familiar with the southern Augusta area and said he had looked at the place, anchored by Planet Fitness, Food Lion and Sitel, for about two years and felt it was the perfect place to open a Skrimp Shack.
âIt’s a very busy place. Lots of heavy traffic, lots of pedestrian traffic, âhe said. “It makes sense.”
He liked the neighborhood because it was close to two high schools, close enough to Fort Gordon, and surrounded by businesses. He hopes southern Augusta will become a hub for other new businesses.
âWe are located in southern Augusta, which was once the business center of Augusta. We hope that small businesses like ours and many others will be the start of this revitalization, âhe said.
Dotson said it means a lot to operate a black-owned business in Augusta. He said black people generally don’t have the same opportunities as others and hopes his business becomes something the African American community can be proud of. For those who wish to follow in his footsteps, Dotson encouraged them to do the following:
- Count the costs
- Make sure everything is in order
- Have a good business plan
- Have good credit
- Don’t take no for an answer
- Don’t be afraid to think outside the box
Dotson said there are many sacrifices involved in owning and opening a business. After eight years, he quit his job as a high school teacher and focused full time on opening the restaurant.
Customers come first
Dotson appreciates the support the Augusta community has shown his business over the past week. By the time the restaurant opened at 11 a.m., customers were already waiting to order.
Dotson said the goal is not only to provide great food, but also to provide a fun and safe environment for customers to enjoy.
âWhen people come to the Skrimp Shack they can expect a quality environment, a clean environment, a safe environment, a loving environment, exceptional customer service, we strive to go above and beyond, we can’t wait to go above and beyond, that’s what sets us apart from everyone else, âhe said. âThe food sells itself, the food is amazing.â
The Skrimp Shack is located at 2115 Windsor Spring Road, Suite 14, Augusta and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.