Little places, big plans

September 11, 2008 12:00 am
Nikki Barreras makes a sandwich for a customer at BC's Boardwalk on Wednesday afternoon in the harbor. (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).
Nikki Barreras makes a sandwich for a customer at BC's Boardwalk on Wednesday afternoon in the harbor. (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).

By Kelley Atherton

BC's Boardwalk sandwich shop has finally opened in Crescent City Harbor.

After a year of finding a location, working out a lease with the harbor and getting the proper permits, owner Bill Cobb opened Friday. While the weather is still good, he's working on completing the outside area.

The fare at BC's Boardwalk is modeled after Cobb's other business, Lake Earl Market.

The shop on Citizens Dock Road and Starfish Way has the same sandwiches, soup and salads, plus espresso and — coming soon — ice cream. There's not really a menu — customers pick what kind of bread, meat, cheese, condiments and toppings they want and there's a soup special every day made fresh from Cobb's mother's recipes. Fridays will also be clam chowder day.

Cobb essentially bought a trailer and converted it into the sandwich shop. He gave the shop a nautical theme, since it's in the harbor and so close to the Pacific Ocean.

There's only room for outdoor dining. When it starts raining, Cobb said the shop will be perfect for people to call in orders, especially for fishermen and crabbers before they head out to sea or business people on their lunch break.

"They can call in with their order and come down and get it," he said, noting his fishing experience. "I know how hard it is to get a sandwich."

The hours will change next Monday to 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accommodate early-rising fishermen. He said he'll open up earlier or later if necessary — "whatever I can do to help the local community."

He's is also getting a few more locally sawed wood picnic tables to match the deck and walkway. The deck also features nautical wood carvings from Marshall Arts on South U.S. Highway 101.

After being gone for 25 years, Cobb returned to the city where he grew up in and saw a harbor in disrepair.

"I was shocked at how it looks," Cobb said, which prompted him to start thinking about what he could do to change that. "I wanted to help develop it."

The harbor is in transition from an "old working harbor" to a retail/commercial one, Cobb said. Highway motorists stop off for a view of the harbor or the many fishing boats and need something to do and eat.

"People park and they have nowhere to go — they're on their own. It's a beautiful harbor, but there's nothing to do."

Cobb said he'd like the harbor to eventually look like the Brookings or Eureka harbors with lots of restaurants and retail shops.

"I'm jealous of that," he said.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s when Cobb was a young man, he said the harbor was busy with lots of people milling around. It was well maintained and beautiful, but "that was a different era."

While fishing and crabbing is an important aspect for the harbor, Cobb said it's time to move toward tourism.

If people see that he can do it and be successful, then maybe others will take the plunge and open a business in the harbor, he said.

It is a risk though. Cobb said he's putting his savings on the line with the sandwich shop.

"I'm hoping people see that it can be done," he said.

All it takes is a bit of planning and know-how to streamline development, Cobb said, not only on the part of the entrepreneur, but the local governments. The two should work together to get businesses up and running, he said.

Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of encouragement from others. Cobb said the local Small Business Development Center on 3rd Street helped him decide to take a risk.

As Cobb talked earnestly about hoping the community will visit the eatery, several customers walked by and told him the food was "awesome."

For more information about BC's Boardwalk, call 465-5180.