CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A popular restaurant in West Ashley serving up soup, salad and sandwiches is preparing to close its doors for the last time.
Ladles Soups, located 3125 Bees Ferry Road in Charleston, will close down on Thursday at 8 p.m., according to a post on the store’s Facebook page.
“I truly cannot express how grateful we are to the local community that kept us going for so long, especially through the last few years,” the post states. “We are sad to leave you but excited to begin the next chapter of our lives.”
Suzie Allen, who founded Ladles Soups with the opening of the West Ashley store in October of 2007, calls the closure heartbreaking.
“Ladles is a labor of love, and we never really had a chance to get it off the ground,” she said. “You know, it takes time to build a chain of restaurants and COVID, it’s sad, it took that one down.”
Allen said COVID has created sometimes-insurmountable challenges for many restaurants, especially in the Charleston area. As businesses started reopening after initial closures, they faced struggles to pay the bills.
“It put up very strenuous money strain on all businesses, not just the restaurant industry, everyone, because you know you have an overhead to pay,” she said. “You have to make sales in order to pay overhead. You have to do that. I think just a lot of these people did the best that they could possibly do and at some point, it just drains the life out of you.”
She called COVID and its aftermath a “perfect storm” for businesses and hopes customers understand and appreciate the dedication restaurant owners and employees face in keeping the doors open every day.
“You’re losing business because you don’t have enough employees to serve the customers that are coming in,” she said. “They get frustrated because they’re not getting served quickly enough. We can’t get the food that we used to be able to get. We’re limited to the things that we can order and it has nothing to do with our food vendors; it has to do with just the supply chain. The problem is they’re paying more for goods. They can’t they make less money and they can’t pay the overhead. It’s just really hard.”
But she said she is grateful for her customers, both longtime and new.
“Thank you for patronizing us and supporting us, and we do have diehard customers that come no matter what. And, you know, without them, we would have never even gotten to where we were,” she said. “And I’m not saying Ladles is done, because it’s by no means done.”
The downtown Charleston and James Island locations are remaining open, along with a location in the Outer Banks, Allen said.
Allen sold the West Ashley location in 2017, but her family still owns the other Charleston-area locations.
“Hopefully, down the road you know, we’ll be able to open up some more locations. That’s what we’re hoping for,” she said.
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