Pull up to The Big Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet and, for anyone who has been here awhile, it’s hard not to envision the parties and scantily-clad women with body paint riling up a group of rowdy bikers on a summer night or during Bike Week.
But come through the doors on a Sunday morning, and you’ll find those bikers mingling with churchgoers, locals chatting up a handful of tourists, and a $5 donation for all-you-can-eat breakfast providing a temporary relief for someone in need.
Sure, the Beaver Bar’s book cover may sell babes and burnouts, but the book’s contents tell a whole different story.
Its author is Leslye Beaver, a 59-year-old Albany, Ga., native who has spent the last 27 years owning one of the most well-known night spots on the Grand Strand. Yet it’s the breakfast, which is on its 10th year, that’s been the unsung hero for those in temporary need.
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The non-smoking, non-drinking bar owner is the middle child of three who said her mother, nanny and grandmother influenced her giving nature.
“My grandmother looked at me one day, I was whining about something, and very nonchalantly said, ‘Are you cold?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m good.’ And then she said, ‘Are you hungry?’ and then I said, ‘No, I just ate.’ Then she said, ‘Then you’re good.’ And that stuck like chuck,” Beaver said. “My nanny used to tell me all the time, ‘ you give it and forget it. You don’t keep score.’ That’s just something instilled in me – you love unconditionally and you don’t keep score.”
My grandmother looked at me one day, I was whining about something, and very nonchalantly said, ‘Are you cold?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m good.’ And then she said, ‘Are you hungry?’ and then I said, ‘No, I just ate.’ Then she said, ‘Then you’re good.’ And that stuck like chuck.
Leslye Beaver, owner of The Big Beaver Bar
And, Beaver said, she hasn’t kept score. If someone is in need of help with a utility bill or tires on a car used to go to work, she’ll help out. She knows, however, that no one has come back twice. Beaver said people know it’s temporary help.
She started by reaching out to people she knew could afford it and could help. But she thought she would take it a step further and host a breakfast each Sunday morning for $5, with the proceeds going to someone in need.
On occasion, she’ll help an organization host an annual festival like she did for S.C. CARES, or South Carolina’s Coastal Animal Rescue and Educational Sanctuary.
“She does so much for the community and I feel that the general public should know what a kind, giving person she is, especially at this time of the year,” said Cindy Hedrick, who helps run S.C. CARES with her husband. “She not only provides the venue for these fundraisers but, if I’m not mistaken, the food for most of them too.
“I realize a lot of people may think of Beaver Bar as a biker hangout, but honestly her clientele are usually over 50 and all do so much good for the community at large. I just feel that at least a pat on the back is in order for all that she does and for so many, human and animal alike.”
I realize a lot of people may think of Beaver Bar as a biker hangout, but honestly her clientele are usually over 50 and all do so much good for the community at large. I just feel that at least a pat on the back is in order for all that she does and for so many, human and animal alike.
Cindy Hedrick, of SC CARES, about Leslye Beaver
As for those battling an illness, Beaver allows those families an opportunity to do a 50-50 or a raffle so they have the attention of the 500-700 people who attend the breakfast.
“So instead of going out there and having a benefit and struggling to get people there, I allow them to use the people that we already have, whether these people know them or not,” Beaver said.
That sense of giving combined with knowing she has everything she needs has made the breakfast a success for many families.
“I had a very sweet family, a very kind family,” she said. “I don’t need anything. I’m golden. I’m satisfied.”
But don’t expect Beaver to get that warm, fuzzy feeling from feeding a few hundred people. She takes more pride in bringing a community together – a camaraderie instilled in her by her mother.
“I don’t get warm and fuzzy,” Beaver said. “I don’t think that God is shining down. I just think it’s what you’re supposed to do. I think you’re supposed to love unconditionally. I think you’re not supposed to judge. I think you’re just supposed to do how it was supposed to be from the beginning.
“My mother was very big on camaraderie. The camaraderie and the coming together of the bikers, the locals, the club members and the churchgoers has been incredible.”
This is part 1 of an 8-part series taking a look at Horry’s Angels — a selection of community members nominated by the public for outstanding selfless efforts.
On Monday, the series profiles a woman who has led Backpack Buddies and Help4Kids for years.