Bill Hall, founder of Hall Management Group, died unexpectedly Wednesday morning, the company said.
“His family, friends, colleagues and I are devastated,” Jim Wahlstrom, director of human resources and operations, said in a statement.
“From the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast here in Charleston, Mr. Hall built opportunity for people, families and communities,” Wahlstrom said.
As a panelist in a Business Journal Power Breakfast event in 2018, Hall urged the audience to follow their instincts.
“If you have an urge in your stomach or your heart to go into business today, do it. I mean that,” Hall said. “Don’t stay in the corporate world and be miserable. … One day, I said, ‘I’m going to do it. I’ve always wanted to do it. I’m going to open my own business.’”
Hall worked in hospitality for more than 50 years before he and his wife, Jean, opened Halls Chophouse on Upper King Street in 2009. He was known for providing memorable customer service and sending handwritten thank-you notes to his guests.
At the Power Breakfast he said his years running Halls taught him some core principles for success: Focus on customer service and the product, listen to employees’ concerns and ideas, and review financial statements daily.
Hall helmed the family-run Hall Management Group and its various venues, which include High Cotton, Slightly North of Broad and Rita’s Seaside Grille, as well as Halls Chophouses in Summerville, Greenville and Columbia.
“Together, we will continue to operate in his honor and serve our customers with the kind of generosity and excellence he demonstrated throughout the course of his life,” Wahlstrom said. “He was the cornerstone of his family. A husband, father, grandfather. To us, Mr. Hall was so much more than just a boss.”
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg called Hall a leader in the community who put service above self.
“The sense of true hospitality that’s become synonymous with the Halls’ name here in Charleston was never a business strategy or a show for the general public — it was just a fundamental part of who Bill Hall was,” he said.
Halls' Columbia location opened in December 2018 at 1221 Main St., former site of The Oak Table. Carl Blackstone, president and CEO of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, shared his sadness at the news of Hall's death.
"Bill redefined the concept of Southern hospitality and was gracious in all that he did," Blackstone said via email. "His legacy will be remembered not only by the extraordinary service that his family of restaurants provides, but by his generosity in our communities."g