Celebrating 10 years on Sullivan's Island and looking ahead
CM: When did you start what’s now a frosé empire?
JP: It started on Sullivan’s originally; I wasn’t the owner, and it was more of a market for islanders where they could grab and go. I took over the Co-Op in 2012 after leaving a job on Wall Street, and around five years later, it turned into what it is today, more of a frosé place and eatery. We couldn’t have continued after the first four or five years if we hadn’t gotten so much community support.
CM: How does it feel celebrating the original shop’s 10-year anniversary?
JP: It means a lot. We were one of the few small businesses who found a connection with customers during COVID and were not only able to stick around, but thrive. We opened up another location on Isle of Palms, and after that was Kiawah. Since then we’ve added more out of state. It’s definitely more of a brand at this point that people are supporting, not just somewhere they go to pick something up on the way to the beach.
CM: Why do you consider the downtown Co-Op—slated to open later this year—your “baby?”
JP: Sullivan’s was really a community. I feel like the way Charleston has blown up has affected businesses on the islands in a dramatic, great way, with people coming to the beach in masses now. We want to still have that neighborhood feel downtown, too. Hopefully they accept us; that part of town already has such a good vibe to it. This will also be our first location where we’ll be able to sell liquor as well, and it will keep that beach vibe. We don’t want to mimic a Margaritaville, but you want to walk in and feel like you’ve escaped.
CM: What are the challenges of opening out-of-state locations?
JP: We’ve evolved from a mom-and-pop place, and it’s tough. That was originally something that I held onto as long as I could.The majority of our out-of-state shops, including Nashville and Chattanooga, are managed by people from our original team who know and understand the vibe. Las Vegas will be very new. A lot of these places also have very different alcohol laws. I remember doing the application to get a liquor license down here and being mildly annoyed, and now I think, “That was so effing easy.”
CM: Tell us about the boat, Flocked Up.
JP: We are really excited about the boat! It’s a charter that holds up to six, in addition to the captain and mate. There are mini frosé machines in the cabin, and you can order sandwiches, beer, and snacks. All of the seats and vinyl are pink; it’s in the shop right now getting even more pink.
CM: Do you have a favorite among your many frosé flavors?
JP: It’s like Baskin Robbins: we have more than 50 rotating flavors. We try to have at least four at a time at each of our locations so you can do a flight, like you would at a winery or brewery. Our most popular by far, that’s always available, is strawberry. I don’t really like sweets, so my personal favorite is the aperol spritz where instead of all rosé, we use a lot of Champagne.
Speak Up: Check out Jess’s heartfelt but no holds-barred Instagram account @coopsullivansuncensored, which boasts 50K+ followers.