In the five years since Don Marcum opened the first Shuckin’ Shack location in Greenville, each year’s sales have been better than the last — that is, up until COVID-19 cast a storm cloud over those sunny projections.
Now plans are underway to open a new location in downtown Easley in early fall, at 221 W. Main St., although Marcum said the past few months have taught him never to assume — either for the good or the bad.
“Who knows, is all I can say,” Marcum said. “I had no real idea what would happen then, and I still have no idea, but we’ll keep on going.”
Marcum said he’d been keeping his eye on news of the virus’ spread early on and predicted a dire outcome.
“Right away when they started talking about the virus and the prospect of shutting things down, I knew it was going to be devastating,” Marcum said.
“Devastating,” for Marcum, ended up meaning a 90% drop in sales year over year across all 15 locations of the seafood franchise in March 2020 compared to the same month the previous year. Still, even that drop was less than he anticipated.
“We actually did more curbside pickup than I thought we would,” he said. “And on the positive side, it showed us how loyal our customer base was.”
Sales only increased in April and May, and by the time restaurants began partial and full reopening, something surprising happened: Shuckin’ Shack was actually seeing higher sales than ever before in May.
“Even with limited seating, we’re seeing these increases,” Marcum said. “It’s a total surprise, and I have to say it makes you feel fantastic.”