By Lanier Laney
I’m sure you’ve seen the kayaks piled outside of Higher Ground (located caddy corner to Bi-Lo in the Beaufort Town Center shopping center) and wondered, “Can I do that?”
“Sure you can,” says owner Tim Lovett. “At Higher Ground we sell fun and adventure. We are Beaufort’s premier outdoor outfitter specializing in paddle sports.”
He adds, “I have a small, very knowledgeable staff that loves to help people get acquainted with how to get outside and enjoy Beaufort. It is always nice to see customers come back in with a big smile on their face and hear how much they are enjoying their new kayak or stand up paddleboard.”
Tim was born in Union, S.C. His dad was in industry so they moved around a lot. He said, “The longest that I lived anywhere was about four years until I moved to Beaufort. I have been here for 22 years now, so this is home.”
His parents, Dick and Wilna Lovett, retired to Beaufort 11 years ago. His dad is enjoying himself out at Bull Point Plantation as the director of operations and his mom helps out at Higher Ground from time to time.
Says Tim about his move to Beaufort: “I grew up visiting family in the Charleston area and always knew I wanted to be in the Lowcountry. Beaufortonians are about as real as it gets. It doesn’t matter where you come from or how much money you have, every one is treated the same. Real Southern hospitality.”
Tim lists some of his job descriptions at Higher Ground: “Store owner, stock boy, paddleboard instructor, kayak loader and unloader.”
How did he get to Higher Ground? Tim recalls, “I managed The Sportsman’s Shop for 19 years and have always loved the outdoors. When I found out that the previous owners of Higher Ground were interested in selling the shop, it was a perfect fit, so I made the move.”
He describes his work philosophy as “Do what you love and everything else will work out one way or another.”
Even Tim’s “time off” includes doing what he loves. Says Tim, “I travel to compete in stand up paddleboard races from time to time. The paddling community is made up of a great group of people.”
And he has used his love of paddleboarding to set up competitions to raise money for local charities.
“We put on Paddlefest every year in November,” says Tim. “It is a kayak/stand up paddleboard race in the lagoon at Hunting Island. All proceeds are donated to Friends of Hunting Island. This past November was my third time putting on the race. It would not happen if it were not for all of the fantastic volunteers. To date we have donated over $5,000.” He adds, “We also participate in and are race headquarters of the Sea Island Rotary Adventure Biathlon. The race is coming up on March 9. The proceeds are given to several charities that Sea Island Rotary supports.”
Tim says they are expecting all their new spring items to start arriving at the store next week. Tim has great running shoes and other relaxed shoe brands from Tom’s to Merrill in the store and all sorts of polarized sunglasses to complete lines of outdoor clothing, swim suits, bikini’s, backpacks, dry bags, water purifiers, watches, knives, and even car roof rack systems — all brand names that Tim has carefully researched and selected.
So whether you are a fan of Higher Ground or have never been in, now is the time to check it out as days in Beaufort start to get warmer and the outside begins to beckon.
IF YOU GO
Higher Ground, 2121 Boundary Street, Suite 101, Beaufort SC 29902, 843-379-4327, www.highergroundbeaufort.com