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Archive for the ‘Schafer Family’ Category

Cinco de Mayo At South Of The Border

Monday, May 5th, 2014

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South of the Border Tourist Attraction in Hamer, SC is one of America’s favorite roadside attractions. For 60 years our Mexican themed attractions have tempted travelers along Interstate 95 to stop in for a visit. Our 100 foot tall statue of our mascot Pedro sports a huge sombrero, and you can find your own sombrero in one of many South of the Border gift shops. You can grab some quick Tex-Mex food like tamales and nachos at our 24-hour Hot Tamale Diner. You can also get a cold beer and some spicy Mexican favorites like burritos with re-fried beans and rice at The Sombrero Restaurant.

cinco de mayo at south of the borderThe South of the Border theme came about when the founder Alan Shafer took a trip to Mexico to buy trinkets for the gift shop. He helped two young Mexican men immigrate to the U.S. and gave them jobs. One of them was nicknamed Pedro, and pretty soon everyone just started calling each other Pedro and a tradition was born.

It didn’t matter what race or nationality anyone was, they all called each other this nickname. The South of the Border theme evolved from this inside joke among employees, and Mr. Shafer’s desire to help two young men come to America for a better life.

One of the most popular holidays of the year is Cinco de Mayo. Many people are under the impression that’s it’s a day to celebrate Mexican Independence. However, Mexican Independence day is actually September 16th. That’s when Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hildago encouraged his congregation to revolt against Spanish rule. Cinco de Mayo began in Mexican-American towns in California and the Southwest United States, and in the Mexican state of Puebla where it’s known as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, or The Day of the Battle of Puebla.

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration that grew out of the American’s appreciation of the Mexican’s help in turning back the French Army from helping Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War. On May 5th, 1862 the Mexican Army had a surprising victory over the French forces in Puebla.

Over the years it has turned into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. In 2005, Congress passed a resolution to have the President declare Cinco de Mayo a day of appreciation with ceremonies and activities about the Mexican and Latino culture. Everyone at South of the Border shares the respect of the Mexican culture, while also having a bit of fun with theme. Our founders, workers, fans and hopefully all our visitors understand the wonderful and incredible contributions our neighbors to the south have given the world. So everyday at South of the Border is like Cinco de Mayo for us.

Join the South of the Border Facebook Group and follow Pedro on Twitter. Our new South of the Border Instagram feed is great way to see our pictures. And don’t forget to tag Pedro in your photos with #sobpedro.

The Border Celebrates Blenheim Ginger Ale

Friday, October 1st, 2010

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As some of you know, Good Ole Blenheim Ginger Ale is made right here on the grounds of South of the Border, America’s Favorite Roadside tourist attraction in Dillon, South Carolina. Today Pedro is helping them celebrate and announce the opening of their Online Store. You can now place an online order for the tongue-slapping ginger ale that was created in 1903, making it America’s oldest independent soft drink.

Blenheim Ginger Ale is owned by the Schafer family, who also own South of the Border. As the story goes, Alan Schafer began drinking Blenheim Ginger Ale as a youngster and fell in love with that spicy heat and homemade flavor. Legend has it he once credited his long life and good health to two things: An Old #3 Blenheim Ginger Ale and a beer every day. So when the opportunity arose to buy Blenheim Bottlers, he jumped at the chance. After a marketing campaign in the Seventies, the demand for Blenheim Ginger Ale became so great, he decided to build a new modern factory near his office on the grounds of South of the Border. He may have modernized the equipment, but Blenheim Ginger Ale is still made the old fashioned way with sugar and a century old recipe that puts the fire and spice in ginger ale.

For over 100 years, Blenheim Ginger Ale has been made in small batches with the love and attention only a family run business can offer. This made getting your hands on a bottle pretty difficult if you didn’t live in the Dillon, SC area. But now every home in America can have a case of Blenheim Ginger Ale sitting in the fridge in just a few short days. Once you place you online order, the factory will ship it to your home in a couple of days for the incredible price of $24 per case plus shipping. That’s only a dollar a bottle, and Pedro loves a good bargain. So head on over to their website and read all about Blenheim Ginger Ale’s 3 unique flavors: Old #3 Hot, #5 Regular and #9 Diet.

You can get more updates, news, info and fun from South of the Border by following Pedro on Twitter, @sotbpedro or checking out our Official Facebook page.

South of the Border- A Schafer Family Tradition

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

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Click image to download pdf (452KB)

Scanned from the Dillon Herald Centennial Edition
02/04/2010 www.the dillonherald.com

South of the Border is in its 60th year of business in Hamer, South Carolina, but its roots in Dillon County extend much deeper. The Schafer family has been an integral part of the community since the 1870’s, not only as residents but as business owners and employers. The Dillon Herald recently published their Centennial Edition and included an article about the Schafer family history, the origins of South of the Border and Schafer Distributing.

The Schafer Company originally began as a dry goods store, and then evolved into a distributorship for Miller Beer throughout most of the major cities in South Carolina. South of the Border began as a beer depot to sell alcohol to “dry” Robeson County in North Carolina, and has evolved into a 300 acre tourist attraction. Each year millions of hungry, curious and weary travelers take advantage of the shops, restaurants, hotel and amusements. Tens of millions of dollars flow into the local economy from taxes, jobs, charitable donations and related spending.

Enjoy this article, courtesy of the Dillon Herald, and learn more about America’s Favorite Roadside Attraction~ South of the Border.

“Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?!?”

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

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South of the Border has the answer when the kids start yelling that they’re hungry as you cruise down Interstate 95 at the North Carolina and South Carolina border. We make feeding a hungry family on the move super-easy, very affordable and incredibly yummy. Everyone can find a tasty treat at one of the SIX restaurants on the grounds of America’s favorite roadside attraction. You can grab a quick bite at Pedro’s Diner, or enjoy an elegant steak dinner from The Peddler Steakhouse. And of course, if you live in the area, we make a great date night destination for a little fun after you eat.

The Sombrero Room restaurant is the perfect place for the entire family to take a break from the journey and enjoy a wholesome sit-down meal together. The ceiling is covered in hundreds of sombreros and a new one goes up every time some donates $20 to The Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. This was one of SOTB founder Mr. Schafer’s favorite charities and we proudly honor his memory by continuing his charity work for this worthy cause. The restaurant is located on the north side of the complex where the original South of the Border Drive-in stood in the 60’s, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

There are hearty dishes for the big appetites like prime steak and chicken cooked over our charcoal fire grill. For the diet conscious, our salad bar is filled with fresh fruits, veggies and our homemade tuna and chicken salads. The Kid’s Menu has special items like grilled cheese and applesauce for the picky young ones. Finding something for every finicky eater is easy at the Sombrero Room because we have a real variety to offer. We have down-home Southern favorites like crispy fried chicken, tender BBQ ribs and smoky BBQ chicken. Pedro’s South of the Border Mexican specialties include crunchy tacos, saucy enchiladas, cheesy quesadillas and a breakfast burrito. For lunch we have an assortment of sandwiches like our char-grilled huge ½ pound steak-burger, Carolina pulled-pork sandwiches and an All-American club. We pile the NY-style corned beef high on rye bread with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut to make our signature Reuben sandwich, so Pedro’s Yankee friends will feel right at home.

The coffee is always hot and fresh to give you that little shot of energy to get back on the highway to your ultimate destination after your visit to South of the Border. The Sombrero Room fixes our big fluffy 3-egg omelets filled with ham and cheese will boost your protein levels and keep you going strong the rest of the day. And our grill serves up golden pancakes, Belgian waffles and French toast that can be topped off with fruit, syrup or whipped cream for those of us who like a little sugar rush in the morning. We don’t forget about that sweet tooth at dinner either. Our strawberry cheesecake is simply divine and the Hot Fudge Cake with chocolate fudge and ice cream is sinfully rich and delightful.

If you need a light snack or sandwich as you make you way around South of the Border exploring the sights and shopping, stop off at The Hot Dog Stand or The Hot Tamale. They serve up a wide selection of subs, burgers, pizza and Pedro’s infamous tamales. For the late night traveler, Pedro’s Diner is open 24 hours a day serving up diner classics, breakfast and sandwiches. If the kids scream for ice cream, Pedro’s Ice Cream Fiesta has flavors galore and low-fat yogurt for those worried about the old waistline battle. Blenheim Ginger Ale is available at most of our stores and restaurants, so don’t miss out on South Carolina’s only native soft drink and it’s addictive fiery ginger flavor.

So stop on in to South of the Border and visit Pedro as you pass by, he will make sure you get a hot, delicious meal and get you back on the road in no time.

Alan Schafer ~ St. Petersburg Times Article 2001

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

alan_schaferCompiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 21, 2001
view article»

Anyone traveling along Interstate 95 has seen them: the groan-inducing, retina-scorching green and orange billboards.

Too Tired to Tango? (Rest Weeth Pedro!)

Pedro sez: Chili today, hot tamale.

Keep America Green! Bring Money!

You Never Sausage a Place! You’re Always a Wiener at Pedro’s!

Keep yelling kids! (They’ll stop.)

For more than five decades, South of the Border has attracted restless travelers, reportedly as many as 8-million a year. The $40-million Mexican-themed complex includes motel rooms, campsites, gift shops, restaurants, an amusement park and a large observation tower shaped like a sombrero. The park, with about 750 workers, remains one of the largest employers in an economically depressed county.

Its mascot is the wise-cracking Pedro character made famous by the billboards and created by Alan Schafer.

Born into a Jewish family in Baltimore just as World War I was starting, Mr. Schafer lived almost all of his life in South Carolina’s rural Dillon County. He was a journalism major at the University of South Carolina, who left during his senior year in 1933 to take over a cafe and a beer distributing company for his ailing father.

After World War II, Mr. Schafer noticed hordes of families from the Northeast zooming down U.S. 301 to South Carolina and Florida beaches. He decided to offer them a place to stop for a meal and souvenirs. He started in 1949, with an 18- by 36-foot, shocking-pink beer stand just south of the state border. The nearby North Carolina counties were dry, meaning it was illegal to sell alcohol there. The next year, he added a 10-seat grill — the South of the Border Drive-In — at the request of then-Gov. Strom Thurmond, who wanted to quiet complaints from anti-drink forces in the neighboring state.

Next came the curios. One night in the early 1950s, a traveling salesman wandered in. He had run out of cash on the way home to New York City from a Miami trade show. Mr. Schafer bought the man’s stock, a collection of plush elephants and bears, for $100. He distributed the stuffed toys around his store. A week later, he had sold them all for $500.

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Documentary Film ~ “S.O.B. and the Legend of Alan Schafer”

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

There’s a new documentary on the way about the most famous Mexican themed roadside attraction in the United States: South of the Border.  “S.O.B. and the Legend of Alan Schafer” will premier Saturday, April 25 at the Charleston International Film Festival. The film examines the life and stories behind Alan Schafer, the heroic figure behind this world famous attraction. Hopefully the film will put to rest some of the rumors and mysteries about Pedro.

“S.O.B. and the Legend of Alan Schafer” was co-directed by  Jesse Berger and Nate Mallard.