The oyster bar nearly doubled its impact compared to its inaugural live music tour in 2022, traveling to 16 cities in just four weeks.
After a month-long community party that spanned 16 cities and 3,500 miles, Shuckin’ Shack, the oyster bar franchise, is celebrating $80,000 raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Its 2023 Fresh & Raw Tour, presented in partnership with Truist, was a major hit, spotlighting Barrett Baber, a country rockstar who took off after appearing on NBC’s The Voice, and Taylor Goyette, an up-and-coming Nashville artist with a raw, soulful sound. This dynamic duo, paired with Shuckin’ Shack’s fresh oysters and cold beer, made for the perfect community get-together benefitting a great cause.
“In the hospitality business, people seek places where they feel welcomed and served. They seek an experience that makes them feel like they belong there. We believe that a big part of that belonging is our desire to get involved with the communities where we have restaurants,” said Jonathan Weathington, CEO of Shuckin’ Shack. “For us, that community extends beyond city limits and restaurant walls. When we’re talking about a community of people affected by cancer, we’re extending our reach beyond any geographics. We don’t use Fresh & Raw as a publicity stunt, we truly don’t make any money off of it. Fresh & Raw is for our customers and their families – giving them a place to come and celebrate life and togetherness, all for the benefit of seeking cures for terrible diseases.”
Fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is incredibly important for the Shuckin’ Shack network as Co-Founder Matt Piccinin is a survivor of Leukemia, largely thanks to the funds raised by the Society that empower further research and treatments for Leukemia patients.
The Fresh & Raw Tour created an opportunity for the entire system to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in a fun way. Rather than focusing on how many people were in attendance or ways the system could increase its own revenue thanks to the tour, the team funneled its energy toward increasing its impact for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and local communities.
“I’m so glad I had the pleasure to be able to join my friend and co-writer Barrett Baber for the Fresh & Raw Tour at Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bars,” said Goyette. “It was a heartwarming experience being able to lift the spirits of so many people affected by such a horrible disease and raise so much money for a wonderful cause. I really enjoyed getting to know some folks and getting to hear their personal stories. Being able to do all that while playing music was just the cherry on top.”
“As a songwriter, it’s always a pleasure to get the opportunity to play original songs in new cities for new people,” added Baber. “The fact that we raised so much money for such a great cause makes it even more special. It was a tour I’ll never forget.”
The last stop of the tour, in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, punctuated the entire experience perfectly and really highlighted the power of the Shuckin’ Shack system, its leadership team, its guests and its partners.
Though the Carolina Beach Shack technically has just 35 seats, there were 500 people in attendance for the Fresh & Raw Tour, meaning the crowd — and great vibes — spilled out into the parking lot and street.
“This tour meant way more to attendees than just a live music series, and the overflowing Carolina Beach event is a perfect illustration of this,” said Darren Keeler, Vice President of Marketing. “There was live music, cold beer and fresh oysters, but the guests were here to raise money for LLS and come together as a community. We heard moving personal stories at every stop of the tour as we spoke to attendees who felt deeply connected to the cause, and the privilege to support these people and their communities is one of the biggest honors of the tour.”
One of the most memorable guests was Lynn Bridges, a two-time non-hodgkin survivor who was also diagnosed with Leukemia in 2021 but has been in remission for over a year now. Bridges loved visiting her local Shuckin’ Shack for meals, but when she learned of the Fresh & Raw Tour, she was excited to attend. Having survived both lymphoma and leukemia, any opportunity to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is something she’s interested in. After attending the first event at Surf City, NC and having a great time, she decided to go to the Wilmington and Carolina Beach, NC events, too.
“From the very first day, Taylor and Barrett were so welcoming and warm to everyone. I went and thanked them for their contributions after the first event, then I met Darren. We all took pictures and talked and cried together,” said Bridges. “Everyone just made me feel so warm and welcomed. The staff of Shuckin’ Shack is the most wonderful staff I’ve ever met. They really make you feel like they care about you and want you to enjoy your time. It was that great experience that led me to Wilmington.”
Again, at the Wilmington and Carolina Beach locations, Bridges had a great time, shared her story and connected with other survivors and community members in support of a cause incredibly close to her own heart.
“I can’t tell you how uplifting all of this was for me. These people were complete strangers, but they made me feel so comfortable,” she explained. “I may never see some of these staff members again, but the way they reached out to me made me feel that they were with me 100%. It really warmed my and my husband’s hearts. I’ll never forget those three days.”
“People like Lynn are the reason why we are so committed to doing this tour every year and continuing to contribute to the culture and connection of the communities we enter,” added Keeler. “We’re already looking forward to the next round of concerts, delicious seafood, an even bigger fundraising goal and A Good Shuckin’ Time at Fresh & Raw 2024.”
Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar grew out of a vision for a local establishment that would appeal to families of all ages. A place where friends and family can enjoy fresh, delicious meals and creative cocktails in an environment that exudes relaxation. Shuckin’ Shack offers its guests a “lifestyle experience” in addition to exceptional seafood. The brand started as a 900-square-foot shack in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, in 2007 and began franchising in 2014. Today, Shuckin’ Shack has grown to 18 locations across six states. To learn more about Shuckin’ Shack, visit https://www.theshuckinshack.com.