Boat Launch Mini Mart rebrands as Harbor Snack Shack
Visitors can once again get Hebrew National hot dogs at the Santa Barbara Harbor, as the Boat Launch Mini Mart continues to serve its iconic franks.
But now, the mart is rebranding as the Harbor Snack Shack.
At the start of the pandemic, another disaster struck for Richard and Dolly Lawrence, owners of the Harbor Snack Shack. Their building, located at 305 W Cabrillo Blvd., caught fire.
The building’s four exterior walls survived, and the Lawrences’ vision was preserved as well.
“Nothing’s changed, except everything is new now,” Mr. Lawrence told the News-Press.
He is stocking the same items and, of course, snapping pictures of customers and their hot dogs.
The Boat Launch Mini Mart had thousands of photos of customers, some celebrities. (Mr. Lawrence’s favorite was movie star Sophia Loren.)
Now Mr. Lawrence is keeping a digital record of his guests on the Instagram account @harborsnackshack.
“We’ve been busier than we’ve ever been in the past,” he said. “It just seems like the harbor is really busy now.”
He misses meeting people from all over the world but is happy to be back at the harbor, continuing his 18 years beside the sailboats.
Ian FitzGerald, general manager at the Santa Barbara Sailing Center, said the staff missed the mini mart.
“We are ecstatic, because it just felt empty and like a ghost town without them there. It was just empty,” he told the News-Press.
The two businesses refer customers to one another, and visitors appreciate the convenience of having drinks and sea-sickness medicine by the boats.
The Lawrences never considered another location for their shop. They waited for a year while the city of Santa Barbara reconstructed the building. The city is the landlord.
The pandemic’s constraints made the process move slowly, and Mr. Lawrence was eager to get out of the house and start interacting with customers again.
He was back behind the counter at the beginning of April and said the business is “rolling right along.”
He anticipates hanging the “Harbor Snack Shack” signage this summer after the city’s approval.