Co-Owner of Homegrown Hospitality Group Was a Humanitarian & Friend to Everyone He Ever Met
Jeff Walker, Restaurant Writer
The low country food and beverage community lost one of its greatest ambassadors and the City of Charleston lost one of its best friends when Mark Cumins passed away on October 5th, 2023 at the tender age of 66. As one of the founding partners of Homegrown Hospitality which includes TBonz Gill & Grill, Pearlz, and Kaminsky's locally, as well as Liberty Tap Room, Flying Fish, Taco Mundo, and Rioz Brazilian Steakhouses throughout the Palmetto state and Georgia, Cumins was easily the face of the brand.
There aren't enough words or pages to fill to describe how much Mark Cumins impacted the world he lived in. He was a giant in the restaurant industry and perhaps a bigger giant to anyone and everyone who knew him. Although he would never admit it, because he was equally one of the most humblest of men to walk the planet. He truly had all his priorities in order, putting faith, family, friends, and work in order.
A Georgia native Cumins forged his hospitality empire nearly four decades ago with partner Jerry Scheer, opening TBonz in West Ashley just weeks before Hurricane Hugo ravaged the low country. Not deterred, the partners re-opened just weeks later, eventually finding a second location years later on N. Market Street in downtown Charleston. From there Mark and Jerry continued to build what would become Homegrown Hospitality.
Serving great food at reasonable prices wasn't enough for Mark Cumins. As quickly as he came to understand how blessed he was, he began to give back, opening the restaurants on specific holidays to feed the homeless, further partnering with a bevy of local charities to help raise funds for two of his favorite passions, ie kids and education. He did it all without any pomp and circumstance, always hoping to fly under the radar, and simply use his blessings to extend God given benevolence.
Through his family, friends, employees, and countless business relationships Mark Cumins' life touched thousands of people in the low country. He didn't know a stranger and would no doubt buy a meal for a stranger just to gain a new friend. The measure of a man who was well loved and appreciated was evident in his memorial service.
Hundreds of people, young and old, from all walks of life braved cooler temperatures and overcast skies to attend Mark's grave-side memorial service. Guests included politicians, business people, past and current employees, as well as members of Hootie & the Blowfish. Mark was tight with Darius Rucker and regularly participated in the band's Monday After the Masters which allowed him to befriend some the world's most veteran professional golfers, many who made TBonz in Augusta Georgia a regular stop when playing The Masters.
As Mark's health continued to decline over the past few years including getting medical treatments out of town, he never let it overtake his lust for life. Mark Cumins was upbeat throughout his remaining days on God's green earth. Although he remained humble throughout, Mark's life mattered and he left a lasting impact on anyone who ever met him, even if that was just 15 minutes.
Mark Cumins was a big man. He loved his family, his wife, his kids, his employees, his business, playing golf, and he loved giving back anyway he could. As successful as he became he understood it didn't happen without surrounding himself with the best people, whether that was at home, at work, or in the business world. The food and beverage industry as well as greater Charleston will miss this giant of a humanitarian who quietly walked through life with the sole intention of making it better.
God now has an extraordinary spokesperson in heaven who knows how to prepare a banquet and serve up awesome meals. Rest in peace Mark Cumins and thank you for just being you. You will be missed.