Most folks immediately think water sports and outdoor recreation when you mention lake living. However, there is another important element that makes lake living viable – the many small businesses that contribute to the local economy. Many are located right on Bringle Ferry Road in Salisbury, NC. Many are family-owned businesses that provide needed services for those who live on the lake, those who are visiting just for the day, or for those staying on our beautiful lake for a vacation. These amenities and services include bait shops, marine vehicle services, tree removal, pier/dock construction, and of course, restaurants.
Welcome Mat to the Lake
Regardless if you are a year-round resident of High Rock Lake (HRL) or a weekender, the pier or dock is the gateway to the myriad of fun activities on the lake. It is like your welcome mat for lakeside visitors.
Childers Marine Construction has been a mainstay on High Rock Lake since 2000. Barry Childers grew up on the lake and is a third generation HRL resident. His grandfather bought the first Childers lake house in 1949.
By the time Barry was 11 years old, he was working on HRL docks alongside his neighbor and he knew what his calling was. Barry says his philosophy is, “make a living doing what you love while working on High Rock Lake, and then your work will not feel like work”. His philosophy and workmanship have sustained his pier construction business year-round.
Barry has three full-time employees and is proud to say he has worked on more than 350 docks on High Rock Lake in both Davidson and Rowan counties. “The docks are all my babies; I love zipping around the lake and saying hello to past customers who have become friends over the years,” he explains.
Barry has seen lots of changes on High Rock Lake over the past few years, and now with more flexibility with pier construction requirements for lake homeowners, they can now put their own personality into their property piers. The updated rules are due to the FERC relicensing agreement, thanks in part to the efforts of High Rock Lake Association working well with Cube Hydro Carolinas, the ownership of the Yadkin River dam system. Barry also noted the ease of working with the respective county inspectors which makes his customers happy in the long run.
I asked Barry to share one of his favorite stories with us. He laughed when he reminisced about a call he received during a major storm. The individual told him that their pier broke loose and he needed to come out and rescue it immediately. With the thunderstorm brewing and high winds, the search and rescue had to wait until morning. Barry found and retrieved the dock the next day. I would call that superior service.
Time to Eat
Presently in Rowan County, we have three lakeside restaurants: Lakeside Family Restaurant, the newly re-opened High Rock Boat & Ski Club, and of course, the ever-popular Tamarac Marina. If you think you can handle it, check out their all-you-can-eat fried shrimp and flounder plate. I promise you will not go home hungry.
When I first moved to HRL, Jimmy’s Restaurant was our ‘go- to’ for breakfast. The Pence family has operated the restaurant for 19 years, first being led by Jimmy and Ann, but now by their son Dustin. Dustin has taken over thus the restaurant name change to Lakeside Family Restaurant. Try their daily specials while watching fishermen unload their boats into the lake. I asked Ann to share a special story about their customers with me. “We have lots of great loyal customers, but one couple stands out as they eat at our establishment everyday that we are open; sometimes even two to three times a day. They are elderly, but come out to see us and that makes our day,” shared Ann.
A Facelift for Vehicles
The Traveling Stitch, a custom auto and marine upholstery company, is owned by husband and wife team, Joe and Karyn Patrick. They are located on Bringle Ferry Road, just before you get to Second Dutch Creek Bridge. As I drove by the Patricks’ place of business, I noticed a myriad of jet skis, boats, golf carts, RVs, and even custom cars and trucks.
I spent some time with the Patricks who happily said it feels like they have been working together for what seems like over 100 years. They have called Salisbury home for more than 30 years. “We like Rowan County as it provides all that we love about a supportive community. Our business is booming, and we are only three years in, thanks to word of mouth from the locals. We have seen a good uptick in new customers from High Rock Lake, even Lake Norman and Lake Wylie. We provide free estimates, and deliver timely work,” said Joe. “We just finished a full rebuild on a (blue) pontoon. It doesn’t look like the same boat. The refurbish was a solid project and turned out well,” he further explained.
“We are busy year-round, mostly in the spring, as folks get ready for the summer recreation season, and now as they are bringing their boats in for the off-season.” Karyn continued, “We have customers from Mooresville and Morganton for Bimini and boat seat covers. One customer from New York brought his 1967 Chrysler Charger here for us to replace the seat covers! He was visiting family who live nearby and wanted custom seats for his baby.”
What I loved about meeting the Patricks is how this dynamic duo work together, which is not in the traditional way. Karyn is the Chip Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper as the ‘tear it apart, break it down, prepare, and clean the vehicle’ person, while Joe makes the patterns, sews the new covers, and finalizes the project, aka Joanna Gaines. You can tell the Patricks take pride in their work and enjoy what they are doing.
Yes, we are in late fall/early winter, but there is still lots to do at and around High Rock Lake. Simply take a drive, visit one of the restaurants, and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
I would love to hear from you on what your favorite lake activity is, and we may be able to feature it in 2020. Please email me at highrock@YourRowan.com.