Written by Kelly Johnson | Photography provided by Bald Head Blues
Grab the bungees and strap the surfboard up top, don’t forget the beach chairs, and the umbrellas too! Whether part of your daily routine or just visiting, it’s essential to look the part when on Bald Head Island. Does your wardrobe need an update? Relax! Bald Head Blues has what you need to place yourself on “Turtle Time.” Classic and casual is the fashion one should aim for while zooming around Bald Head Island – in a golf cart nonetheless.
Before Bald Head Blues it was just Maritime Market, and in 1988 when the Pope’s first visited the island, it was a place of simplicity, even more so than what it is today. Bald Head Island Limited bought the island in 1983 and had just started development. Claude Pope Jr. and his wife, Melissa had escaped to the Island for a short getaway from the life of parenthood. Weaving through what “seemed like a wet jungle” after their arrival on a dark, rainy night, the next day they opened their eyes to crystal clear blue skies and began their adventure, which turned into their everyday life. For thirteen years, before selling their dream home in Raleigh, the Pope’s visited the Island using a “Passport Package” created by the developer. First, buying the cheapest thing on the island, a condo, which they flipped and sold, which led to the purchase of their second home on the island in 2005. Stumbling “across the opportunity to buy the Maritime Market in 2011” they realized it was time to make BHI their permanent residence.
Living amongst 150 to 175 year-round residents, they found themselves “howling at the moon.” No, not quite literally, but rather, gathering family and neighbors to “watch the moon rise with the ocean” out on the east beach. Checking the calendar, marking the full moon, and going out with wine and cheese in hand; even celebrating their daughter’s wedding on the oceanfront as the moon rose. Their family celebration morphed into an annual celebration, including neighbors and visitors alike. The pot of chili, (provided by Chef Greg) and “bring your own platter” event of forty people transformed into an attendance of over one-thousand during the summer months, and has been hosted by the Pope family every year since the Maritime Market opening. The event has become so popular, that monthly sponsorships are sold for the event. Sunset to moonrise, there is great jubilation in regards to the community here on BHI. With bagpipes, appetizers, and comradery, “Howl at the Moon” is an experience for all. The Popes’ son, Claude Pope III is an avid golfer. Earlier in his career, Claude Pope III caddied at several swanky golf clubs and met many notable contacts, including the creators of the Vineyard Vines brand, which led to his inspiration for Bald Head Blues. Bald Head Blues hosts the same leisurely, community-oriented ideals as Maritime Market. Their flagship store opened in 2014, adjacent to the market. They recently acquired Coastal Urge on BHI and are thrilled to have another retail store that carries the brand, among others. They will also grow the paddleboard and bicycle rental segment of the business.
The owner, Claude Pope III wanted both brand and logo to be derived from the lifestyle inhabited by BHI, where “driving around in golf carts, going to the beach and playing golf,” are top priorities. The brand embodies the concept of “clothing for coasting.” Simple life and style translate into “selling a comfort story.” With high-quality designs and fabrics, Bald Head Blues creates the ultimate comfort look and fit for island style. A passion for golf and business, BHB sponsors names such as, Martin Piller and Joel Dahmen, who will be wearing the BHB brand on the PGA tour.
Today, over 200 retailers and golf pro shops carry the “blues brand” throughout the United States, as well as a few international locations. The brand is also sold online at www.baldheadblues.com and offers free shipping. High-quality clothing and accessories are available for men, women, and children.
From a down to earth family, Claude Pope III feels that customer service is vital for a business’ success. He says, “so many businesses fail because of customer service – be polite, responsive, courteous, shake hands, kiss babies.” He and his family have “followed this as a golden rule,” which has proven well for their life on BHI. So, join the Pope family in their love for Bald Head Island’s lifestyle, hop in that loaded up golf cart, and “we’ll see you ‘round the island.”