As Ambergris Caye grows as a hot spot for visitors and retirees, to those who live here, it sometimes seems like a business changes hands and/or a new one opens every week.
Earlier this month, I ran into a couple from Kinard, Florida just outside of Panama City. Both were VERY excited to tell me about their new business venture on the island.
Meet Dwayne and Peggy, new business owners in San Pedro.
And their new business – Big Dawg Beachside Sports Bar & Grill.
“We first visited San Pedro years ago,” Dwayne told me, “and we immediately felt like ‘we got it’”.
It was 2015 – and on that 5-day trip they fell in love with San Pedro’s quaint, small town feel.
“In our first few days, we really got a feel for the place and the people here. Everyone was sooo helpful, asking us “Hey big man, what you need?” when we’d walk around town. By the end of the trip, it’s like we were treated more like locals than tourists.”
On that first trip, Dwayne was sitting at a popular bar in town (he doesn’t want to name names – he says he’s not “about negativity”). He was not even half finished with his first Lighthouse when it became totally OBVIOUS to him what the owners should be doing differently.
So they decided to buy a business. They’ve been following International Living for years – and it was clear. Owning a business is the fastest way to make the move to paradise.
The couple plans to bring big new ideas to Big Dawgs.
First tweak? To make the beers colder – the coldest beers in town. “People will know when they see our sign that says “Coldest beers in town!” that our beers are the coldest.”
“The day in, day out challenges and requirements of HVAC repair man have DEFINITELY given me the skill set and problem solving ability to succeed in the bar business.”
Dwayne is also pretty active on the AmbergrisCaye.com message board and the Facebook expat forums – AC message board handle: GringoDawg59. (He asked me to give a shout out to his message-board-buddy SPMoose)
The game plan is to open in August or September of this year. They have the name, they just decided on a logo (and plan to produce lots of hats and shirts. Merch, Dwanye says, is where the money’s at…)
…and they’ve hired a general manager for the renovation phase.
“It’s just been a couple weeks but our manager Delroy is already more like a old friend than an employee. We’ve been bringing him tennis each trip since our first trip.”
“Our plan is to put sound, proven SOP’s in place… that’s “standard operating procedures” in case you’re not in the biz… so that we can manage things remotely… daily checklists, inventory controls and such. Practically everything can be done on the internet these days.”
Note: Do not get Dwayne starting on the topic of the “dark web”!
We are not retiring… Dwayne made it clear. “In fact, much of our retirement savings went into the bar. But once Big Dawg is up and running, it’ll generate enough money to live on Ambergris Caye full time. ”
They consider themselves lucky to have found a turn-key, income generating business on BusinessesForSale.com.
While they are not able to get down to San Pedro full-time YET, their son, Logan is graduating from high school this spring. He will relocate to Belize at the end of the summer just in time for the soft opening.
Peggy says with a smile – “it’s the perfect way to keep him out of trouble”.
Located about 3 miles north of the bridge, conveniently just 200’ west of the main road, Big Dawg’s hopes to attract both locals and visitors. Dwayne knows they will have regulars quickly. “It’s just the type of bar I want to open”.
Big Dawg will be coming at you with $1 wings during Happy Hour. Buckets of beers. Cornhole. Karaoke night.
Check Facebook for more information.