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Goose Creek Gazette: Two Keys owner addresses incident

Two Keys owner addresses incident
Published Thursday, May 10, 2012 12:16 PM
The Gazette

To the citizens of Goose Creek and surrounding areas:

As owner of Two Keys Tavern on College Park Road and a longtime resident of this area, I work hard to run a successful business and to be a good, community-minded citizen. Unfortunately, unauthorized activities within my establishment recently led to someone getting hurt.

I want to make a full apology for these events, and I want to be clear that I do not condone the actions of those involved. Before condemning the entire establishment, however, I ask that you look at the history of Two Keys and its financial impact on Goose Creek. 

We began with an investment of more than $1 million, and we dutifully pay business license fees and taxes. We paid almost $200,000 in sales tax last year and spent well over $1 million with local vendors buying goods and services. We also employ 30 local residents. We have gladly, and quietly, made thousands of dollars in charitable donations to many local causes.

Two Keys Tavern is a restaurant, bar, entertainment and recreation establishment offering great food, nice music and good, clean fun. In the last year, we served over 175,000 patrons and 65,000 meals. We have a state-of-the-art security system, and I am personally vigilant about the cleanliness of the place. I am proud of Two Keys Tavern and its staff, with few exceptions.

Since opening, we have enjoyed a good relationship with the Goose Creek Police Department.  Law enforcement officers frequently come in to inspect our premises or to say hello. Off-duty law enforcement officers and fire department employees often patronize Two Keys.

We also spend a great deal of money on security. In spite of this, the unfortunate events of April 21 occurred. In that case, we worked swiftly to remove those who were involved from our payroll and have revisited all policies and procedures with ongoing staff.

With regard to that night, it’s important to know that, consistent with fire codes, the doors to Two Keys Tavern do not lock from the inside.  After closing, the doors operate to keep people from entering, but anyone inside can exit any door without a key. 

On April 21, the business had been left to a manager to operate and close.  Without my permission, he invited some acquaintances to play pool.  The doors were locked promptly at 2 a.m. when we closed for business, but the pool players, several spectators and a number of employees remained.  Our cleaning crew began working and the others played pool or watched. People could leave, but no one could come in. Our register system automatically shuts down at 2 a.m., and no additional sales were made.

Although bar scuffles occur on a regular basis throughout the area, this situation was somehow portrayed differently. Although the doors could never be locked as an exit, there were allegations of kidnapping. Some have even alleged that the employees were “kidnapped.”

Since this incident, Two Keys Tavern has been the topic of much media coverage. What occurred at Two Keys that early morning was wrong, but it was the actions of individuals acting outside of the course of their employment.  There were no guns, no knives, no one was killed, shot or stabbed. EMS was not even called to the premises. The alleged perpetrators have been fired, and I have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies. My management is undergoing additional instruction and training, as noted.

Nevertheless, I would like to extend my deepest apologies to the citizens of Goose Creek, our long standing Mayor, the Goose Creek Police Department, whose daily task is greatly appreciated by all – including me- and the Goose Creek City Council for having to deal with this incident.  I am committed to doing whatever it takes to re-gain the trust of this community.  Two Keys Tavern will continue to give back to the community, and I hope we will have the chance to prove we are here to be a positive and contributing partner in this community for many years to come.

Mark L. Keller, owner of Two Keys Tavern


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