South of the Border is a bucket list must

DILLON, SC (WMBF) - From the north east to the sunny shores of Florida, chances are you've probably seen one of the 175 billboards along Interstate 95 counting down the miles to South of the Border.

Before South of the Border became the glitz and the eye popping pit stop it is today, things started with the vision of one man, Alan Schafer, back in 1949.

"And all of a sudden this was the main road between New York and Miami and all of sudden there was traffic and they saw this little stand with a beer," says Alan's sister, Evelyn Hechtkopf.

Business was booming for his beer stand and a few years later Schafer added the only eatery and then hotel on this long and empty stretch of highway.

Over the last fifty years, South of the Border has become much more than just a place for weary travelers to stretch their legs. To this day, this place is still is a huge job creator, with hundreds on the payroll.

"If you are from this area, either you or someone you know has worked here at some point in time," says Security Director Timmy Townsend.

Timmy worked his way up through the ranks, proving that hard work in this family business pays off.

"I started here actually working third shift in one of the convenience stores and over the years, the job kept kind of changing as time went on," Townsend added.

It's the same story for Lola Jacobs who started out as a waitress and now oversees almost every store on-site.

"I started here at 13. It has always provided for me and my family," explains Jacobs.

While this place has become known for it's iconic "Hot Tamale" restaurant, the endless supply of fireworks and knick knack shops that you can get lost in,  there are some things few know about. For example, Pedro's Fire Department includes a fleet of fire trucks ready to go in a moments notice.

"We don't really fight fires. We're here to contain it until someone can get here," explains Townsend.

Another hidden gem on-site is the newest endeavor, a motocross training camp where riders not only train, but live.

Pro-rider Cooper Webb is new to professional sports and is currently the youngest competitor in his series. "I live three hours away, but it's well worth it to be able to come here and stay here and put my training in. And really just have all the positive influences around you, and everybody wants to help you make you the best you can be."

Some things will remain the same, but one thing is for sure, this family business is still going strong because they've learned to embrace change in order to grow.

The next race event at SOBMX is September 21st- 22nd. Saturday is practice day and Sunday is race day. Open to the public! See the SOBMX event on the calendar here:

The official site for the SOB motocross track is:

And the website for South of the Border is here:

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