MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Amid the chatter floating around Market Common’s Peace, Love and Little Donuts, you may hear some civil-minded discussion from the back room.
That’s because Myrtle Beach City Council Member Mary Jeffcoat holds bi-weekly office hours there- open to anybody who wants to talk over a donut or two.
“It’s ended up being a good community conversation about issues,” Jeffcoat said. “It’s not just people coming to complain.”
She’s doing the office hours since February in an effort to stay connected to the community she serves.
“While I do have a Facebook page, I really like meeting people one on one,” the councilmember said. “I think it’s a good way to get the temperature of the community.”
Council Member Jeffcoat says that she’s heard a lot of ideas and concerns from people coming by. The biggest issues so far are traffic and speeding, she says.
“It shows me that people are civic minded and concerned about their community,” Jeffcoat said. “So I’m glad to be accessible. I’m glad to be approachable. Because that’s what public servants need to do.”
The setting of the donut shop, Jeffcoat says, is an ideal one for open discussion- far superior to anything an office could offer.
Since city hall doesn’t have office space for councilmembers, she had to get creative when finding a space.
“I thought well the coffee shop idea, which is really a southern tradition, where politics happen in coffee shops,” Jeffcoat said. “So I looked around and the guy who owns this place is sort of the informal mayor of Market Common.”
That’s Clayton Matthews. He’s owned Peace, Love and Little Donuts since 2017.
“When she first approached me, I honestly didn’t know what would happen,” Matthews said. “By the third week, there’s 10 people. Three of them are waiting on her. And we do have some people who almost come every week.”
Dodd Brosius of Market Common is a regular to Jeffcoat’s office hours. He’s been coming since the beginning.
“I thought it was interesting that a city councilmember would come into the community and welcome everybody and say hello,” Brosius said.
That happens to be one of Council Member Jeffcoat’s favorite parts of her job.
“I love this,” she said. “I can’t wait until Wednesday office hours because it’s interesting to see who’s going to walk in the door.
Her other favorite part?
“The donuts are great,” she laughed. “We try not to have too many of them, but they’re good.”
Councilmember Jeffcoat hosts her office hours every other Wednesday, starting at 3:30. You can check her Facebook page for any schedule changes.