A neighborhood convenience store that boasts Brunswick’s biggest burger will remain on its corner after the Brunswick and Glynn County Economic Development Authority voted to lend its owner $57,000 from its revolving loan fund.
Odell Rosby said he will use the money to buy what is now a leased two-story building on the corner of G Street and MLK Boulevard. Rosby will put in $7,000 of his own money to make upgrades and buy new equipment for the food service portion of the business. Rosby will have 10 years to repay the money that was loaned at 3 percent interest.
When EDA Chairman Wayne Johnson asked Rosby what he was known for, he replied unbashedly, “The biggest burgers in Brunswick.”
He circled the fingers and thumbs on both hands to form a shape that would at least match the Whopper in its bigger days.
“Not processed,’’ but hand-shaped patties, Rosby added.
In addition to his signature Rosby cheeseburger, he serves grilled food, fish and shrimp.
“The food is great,’’ he told the authority board members. “That’s how I gained about 300 pounds.”
The convenience store and restaurant is hemmed in on its corner, but unlike other burger places he needs no drive through window. Many of his customers walk up form the surrounding community.
Before the vote, board member Bill Austin endorsed loaning money to a business that doesn’t fit the usual model that comes before the authority.
“I think this thing he’s proposing here is exactly what we need to do more of,’’ Austin said.
The board is investing in a local business that is in area that “is somewhat depressed,’’ he said.
Johnson turned Austin’s statement into a motion to approve the loan and it passed without opposition.
Austin’s assessment that the area is somewhat depressed is borne out by the building diagonally across MLK where the Manna House serves dozens and dozens of needy people daily.
Soon after the vote, Rosby was visiting a few customers along G Street to assure them he was going to stick around.
Because the building was leased, there was always the chance he could be outbid for the property, but now, Rosby said, he won’t have to worry about that.
Standing in front of the light pink and maroon concrete block structure, Rosby pointed to a white-shirted silhouette of a man wearing a hat and leaning on an umbrella.
That image is him and is the Rosby logo, he said.
He came to Brunswick from Arkansas about 17 years ago working as a contract aircraft mechanic at Gulfstream, which later took him on as a full-time employee of its own.
A sudden illness forced him off the job, but he got tired of sitting around the house.
Five years ago, he took over the convenience store and, at first, sold a few hamburgers.
People liked them, Rosby said, and one day a woman asked, “Why don’t you cook some shrimp?”
He did and the menu has expanded. Although he likes to talk about the food, the store also sells the normal convenience store fare of groceries, cigarettes and cold beer.
Rosby said about the only places he goes now are to church and his store.
“This is home now,’’ he said of Brunswick.
The EDA also adopted a resolution to issue $2.25 million in bonds to Frederica Academy so the private St. Simons Island school can renovate its middle school and acquire 2.2 acres of neighboring land.
United Community Bank will loan the money, and the EDA is under no liability for repayment, EDA attorney Rees Summerford said.
The bond issue must still be approved by the county attorney and undergo validation in Superior Court.