by Melissa LaScaleia
Introduce me to your family.
It’s myself and my husband Tommy. We have three boys: Brandon, 15; Brody, 13; and Braxton, 9. They all work at our family business, Beach House Boat Rentals, and have been since they could walk. Braxton started by opening the gate for our customers. Brandon and Brody got their boating license when they were ten years old, and love to help customers dock the boats. We also have a dog, River, so named because we spend so much time on the water.
Where are all the places you came from? What area of the Grand Strand do you now call home?
We moved here from New Jersey thirteen years ago, and we live in Murrells Inlet now.
Why did you move here?
So many reasons. Everything in New Jersey is expensive for what you receive. And we wanted to move to a place that felt smaller and less congested. We vacationed here all the time; we always rented a beach house, and we were familiar with the area.
How has your lifestyle changed or what new activities have you taken up since moving here?
In New Jersey, we didn’t live near the water. When we moved here, the first thing we did was buy a golf cart and a boat; it was completely new to us. We opened a boat rental business the first year we moved here, and are proud that we have grown our fleet from one boat to sixteen.
When we vacationed here, we always wanted to rent a boat, but found it difficult. So we started our business to fill in the niche (www.beachhouseboatrentals.com), and today have two locations: at the Inlet and the Intracoastal Waterway. A big chunk of our business serves people who rent homes with an attached dock; they can keep the boat at their dock for their entire vacation and take it out when they choose. We also offer half-day and full-day rentals, as well as captained charters on our Catamaran. If we had stayed in New Jersey I don’t think we would have even owned a boat.
What is your favorite place in this area?
It’s a toss up between the Inlet and the Waccamaw River. Even though we work at the marina, we spend most of our free time on a boat because that’s what we enjoy the most. My kids will do anything water related— fishing, boating, surfing, jet skiing, wakeboarding, tubing.
What do you like the most about living here?
When we first moved here, it was a bit of a culture shock that people we didn’t know would wave and smile at us. I really like that. People take the time to say hello to you. In New Jersey, everyone is so busy that nobody does this. When I first had a baby, people would stop me in the supermarket to say hello to my baby; they are friendly. And nobody honks around here either. It’s just a different way of life.
What is one thing that your neighbors don’t know about you?
I used to be a teacher, and have a master’s degree in early childhood education. I taught in New Jersey for ten years. I am also a photographer, and I take all the pictures and videos of our boats for our company. Every picture on our website shows our own boats and family.
Is there anything that you miss or would like to see in Myrtle Beach?
Bagels and Italian delis. In New Jersey they are on every block, and it’s been really hard to find some good ones here.