The Library restaurant in Florence holds ribbon cutting

FLORENCE, S.C. — The Library restaurant in downtown Florence hosted a ribbon cutting Thursday morning to celebrate joining the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

The Library, at 154 S. Dargan St., has been in operation for several years but recently closed and reopened under the new ownership of chef Adam Silverman in late September. Silverman manages the city’s farmers market and had been running Tracks Cafe at HopeHealth before taking on his role as chef and owner at the Library.

According to Silverman, the restaurant’s new menu will feature locally sourced foods and locally themed dishes with exciting and delicious twists. The Library will be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The bar will open at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with the kitchen open from 5 to 9 p.m. The bar will remain open as long as there are customers Silverman said, except Saturday when it will close at midnight.

To view The Library’s menu, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page at

SCNow Web Article – The Library restaurant in Florence holds ribbon cutting

Pee Dee Electric names Fuller as CEO

DARLINGTON, S.C. — The Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, Inc. board of directors announced last week that Mike Fuller has accepted the position as chief executive officer.

Fuller will begin his new position at Pee Dee Electric Cooperative on November 13th.

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to serve as Pee Dee Electric’s next CEO,” Fuller stated in a press release. “I have been very impressed with Pee Dee and have heard nothing but good things about the cooperative’s board and employees.”

Fuller has served 24 years in the rural electric program. He is currently the general manager of Consolidated Electric Cooperative in Mexico, Missouri. Prior to his time at Consolidated Electric Cooperative, he worked for Carroll Electric Cooperative in Berryville, Arkansas.

He is a graduate of Columbia College with a degree in business administration. He also received an MBA degree from William Woods University. Fuller and his wife, Marla, have two children, Brett and Ashley.

Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, Inc. based in Darlington, South Carolina has more than 30,000 services in place serving residents, businesses and industries, and 2,800-plus miles of line in Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee and Marion counties.

SCNow Web Article – Pee Dee Electric names Fuller as CEO

Biotech company plans to bring 100 jobs to Dillon County


DILLON, SC (WBTW) – A Chinese-based biotech company will spend $12 million in Dillon to renovate a storage building and create 100 jobs.

KB Biotech Solutions, a venture of Chinese-based Anhui Chem-bright Bioengineering Co. Ltd., is launching new manufacturing operations in Dillon County, according to a press release from Governor Henry McMaster’s office.

“Today’s announcement is proof that good things come to those who wait,” says Dillon County Council Chairman Archie Scott. “We decided to make the commitment upfront of providing infrastructure, a talented workforce and available buildings, and it has paid off for Dillon County.”

Founded in August 2006, Anhui Chem-bright Bioengineering Co. specializes in biomedicine and the deep processing of agricultural byproducts. Its products are widely used in pharmaceutical raw materials, cosmetics, functional foods and feed additives.

KB Biotech Solutions purchased the 55,000-square-foot Polar Cold Storage building located at 1317 East Main Street in Dillon. Hiring for the new positions should begin in the first quarter of 2018.

“The seeds were planted early on and now our economic development garden has begun to bear fruit,” explains Scott. “We are happy to announce that we are adding more jobs to our community and providing more opportunities for our citizens.”

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. A $150,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant was also awarded to Dillon County to assist with the costs of building upfit.

“This announcement is great news for our company, and we are excited to be locating in Dillon County,” says KB Biotech Solutions CEO Yan Zhao. “Between its proximity to suppliers, easy transportation opportunities, and a dependable labor force, we look forward to what the future has in store here.”

WBTW Web Article – Biotech company plans to bring 100 jobs to Dillon County

Florence County expands road improvements projects with Capital Sales Tax II

By: Kiahnna Patterson, WBTW

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Florence County Council plans to use money left over from the Capital Sales Tax II bond to pay for more road repairs.

Each district received $4 million dollars for road improvements in the original bond. So far, on average each district has spent about $1.6 million dollars.

Charles Smoot says drainage and potholes are problems on his street.

“Every time it rains water settles there for 3 or 4 days,” said Charles Smoot. “I wish they could raise that up some… raise up the drainage to improve the drainage on it.”

Thursday, Florence County Council approved the second reading of an ordinance to use money left over from the Capital Sales Tax II bonds for more road projects.

Florence County Council Chair Kent Caudle says it is legal to use the extra money for road improvements like drainage, repaving, or paving.

“It affects people every day. It affects councilman as well as the other citizens. Some of us live on dirt roads not all of us but some of us do,” said Caudle.

Since many of the original projects are not the complete council, does not know exactly how much money it will have to spend. Ordinance documents list more than 100 additional roads , including Cumberland Drive, where Smoot has lived for 45 years.

“I thank God that we are getting it done. They repaved all the streets around us. We were getting kind of concerned saying ‘where why did they leave us off?’,” said Smoot.

Smoot says he is happy with the county’s progress.

“I’m here because I want to be. I want to see it grow. I want to see improvements,” said Smoot.

Council will have a third and final reading of the ordinance next month.

McCall Farms to invest $35 million in ‘Project Veg 3’ to create 150 new jobs

By: Joshua Lloyd, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. –McCall Farms will invest $35 million in another expansion, called “Project Veg 3,” that will create 150 new jobs in Florence County.

On Thursday, the Florence County Council moved forward with a fee-in-lieu-of tax agreement for the code-named project, which is a common move by the county that allows for a lower tax rate for these types of economic development projects.

County officials would not name McCall Farms at the investor, but the Morning News was able to confirm the information through multiple outside sources.

Council Chairman Kent Caudle said this type of progress should be no surprise to the people of Florence County.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “Expansion projects like this speak volumes to the pro-business environment we have in Florence County. We’re always willing to work with our companies and we have open arms for companies who want to invest.”

The ordinance includes a $250,000 economic development grant to the company for this project.

Last year, McCall Farms announced a $23 million expansion that will ultimately create 150 new jobs as well.

County documents indicate this expansion would be a $35 million investment that would result in 150 new, full-time jobs by 2020. That expansion entails three new facilities and a ramp-up in production by 2019.

Last month McCall Farms announced its acquisition of Sager Creek Vegetable Company, a division of the San Francisco-based Del Monte Foods Inc. Popular Sager Creek brands include Allens, Veg-all, Popeye, Princella, Freshlike and Trappey’s.

No other details about “Project Veg 3” were made available to the Morning News, and representatives with McCall Farms were not available for comment.

The council’s approval of the tax-agreement ordinance on Thursday came on the second reading; it will go to a third vote at next month’s council meeting.

The council unanimously moved forward with an ordinance that would allow funding for a $15 million parking garage.

If fully approved next month, the measure would refinance debt on an existing facility and use that refinanced bond to build a parking garage adjacent to the county complex on Irby Street.

The council also approved on second reading an ordinance to amend the second penny sales tax to “address allocation of additional revenues” of the tax.

This amendment would allow the county to spend additional revenues on “like” projects that were not laid out in the original tax ordinance.

Another code-named economic development project – Project Presto – was introduced by the council. No details were provided about this forthcoming project.

SCNow Web Article – McCall Farms to invest $35 million in ‘Project Veg 3’ to create 150 new jobs 

Annual Membership Luncheon

You might want to make plans to attend the Greater Florence Chamber’s Annual Membership Luncheon on Wednesday, November 15th at the Florence Civic Center.

This years speaker will be Lynn Good, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Duke Energy – one of America’s largest electric power companies.

Fortune magazine lists Lynn Good one of the “Most Powerful Women in Business” and Forbes magazine calls her one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”

If you want to know more about our future energy resources and hear a powerful business message, find a way to attend this event. The program starts at noon.

Click here to purchase tickets for this event or call 843-665-0515.

Wings, chili draw competitors to downtown Florence

By: Rebecca Cross, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. – Smoky smells wafted through downtown Florence on Friday evening as cooking teams participated in the fourth annual Kickin’ Chicken Wings and Chili Festival.

The festival is held by the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Miller, Greater Florence Chamber president, said the festival is a fun, different downtown event. The festival brings in local businesses to compete in a cook-off, and many businesses are not in the food industry.

This year, there were 12 wing competitors and 12 chili competitors.

Duke Energy won first place in the chili competition, and The Carolinian won second place.

Carolina Fresh Foods won first place in the wing competition. Performance Food Service won second place, and Otis Elevator won third place.

Keith Tokar, an engineer at Otis Elevator, said his cooking team bonds during the preparation process. Leading up to the event, they spend a few weekends together experimenting with different recipes.

Cordy Williamson, a member of the Duke Energy team, said his team loves to cook for the company and for the competition. Williamson said the team’s chili simmered all day Friday, but the pleasure of seeing others enjoy their food was worth the work.

“I like the expressions on peoples’ faces when they taste it,” Williamson said.

However, more than good food, Tokar and Williamson said, their teams enjoy getting involved in the community and supporting the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

There were 15 judges for the wing competition and six judges for the chili competition. The names of the winners were announced toward the end of the evening.

Speakeasy also performed at the festival on an outdoor stage. People mingled, danced and listened to live music.

Florence Civic Center’s new GM carving a niche for unique Florence events

By: Joshua Lloyd, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. – For Paul Beard, work in entertainment management is more than a career. It’s a way of life.

Beard, the former director of operations for the Florence Civic Center, recently was chosen to move the venue into the future as its new general manager, and he didn’t waste a second getting started.

He’s already established an “energetic, tireless” sales team that focuses on the future of the Civic Center as both an entertainment complex and a true convention center. He also has a vison of the venue promoting its own events more often.

“We’re going to get more unique, self-promoted events for the people in this area to enjoy without us having to depend on somebody to come here and do it for us,” he said. “We have the talent here to take events from start to finish and run it in between. It will be a popular thing.”

This could include different takes on the kid’s jamboree, the Pee Dee Deer Classic and other local specialty events.

Beard has more than 30 years’ professional experience in the industry, including tour management and leadership spots at multiple arenas and conference centers.

He also spent some time working for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus in New York, not as a clown, though he is adept at juggling many complex tasks at once.

“I have a passion for this. I was practically born into it,” he said. “My parents owned race tracks in Fayetteville, and through high school I helped with concessions, maintenance, ticket booths, cleanup, working special events. I grew up with this stuff. It’s natural.”

Beard has been a part of the organization for years and stepped up as interim general manager approximately three months ago when the Civic Center’s former general manager, Kendall Wall, left the center for a larger market.

The 60-year-old entertainment industry veteran takes over in the middle of a $16 million expansion to the center, which is expected to open the venue to larger, true convention style events.

Beard said the civic center quickly is becoming a more versatile venue, and that calls for an ability to sell the space on multiple fronts and pull the center out of a struggle facing many small markets.

“What we’re evolving into now is a true conference center, and ‘oh, by the way’ we have a 10,000-seat arena as well,” he said. “The arena can act as general assembly spot and do other meetings in breakout spaces.”

SCNow Web Article – Florence Civic Center’s new GM carving a niche for unique Florence events 

Elmcroft holds open house after renovations to Florence building

By: Jessica Imbimbo, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. — The Elmcroft Senior Living Community introduced its newly renovated facility on 3006 Hoffmeyer Road with an open house and ribbon-cutting celebration Tuesday afternoon.

Ambassadors with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce joined Elmcroft executives in the celebration, which featured music, food, beverages and a tour of the building.

 Kristie Kronk, senior vice president of operations at Elmcroft, said the renovations were the first for the building in more than a decade and included updates in 45 apartments, new carpeting and flooring, paint, furniture and window treatments.

Kronk said many of the 72 residents had a voice in what happened with the renovations, which took approximately three months to complete and cost roughly $325,000.

 “As they have seen the transformation happen, it’s really fun and exciting for them because they feel as if this is their own home going through this renovation,” Kronk said. “Putting money back into the building and keeping it updated not only for our residents and their families but really the community at large, it’s really the progression of senior housing to keep your building fresh and new.”

Elmcroft Senior Living offers services and amenities for seniors who need assisted living as well as adults with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. For more information about Elmcroft Senior Living in Florence, call 843-292-0012 or visit

SCNow Web Article – Elmcroft holds open house after renovations to Florence building 

McLeod Health and the City of Florence have once again partnered to raise awareness of breast cancer and physical activity

McLeod Health and the City of Florence have once again partnered to raise awareness of breast cancer and physical activity through the McLeod for Health Florence Open benefitting Susan G. Komen South Carolina. Now in its sixth year, Florence’s only professional tennis tournament is being held this week through October 22, at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Tennis Center.

The Florence Open tournament formed an alliance in 2014 with McLeod Health and Susan G. Komen South Carolina to help support the fight against breast cancer in the region. McLeod Health, the tournament’s presenting sponsor, is deeply committed to the early identification and treatment of breast cancer, and Susan G. Komen South Carolina has provided significant funding to regional programs, including grants totaling more than $400,000 dollars to support breast cancer programs and patients at McLeod Health. Among other things, these grants have been used for mammograms, follow-up diagnostic procedures, patient navigation services, and survivor support services, including transportation.

In May of 2017, representatives with the McLeod for Health Florence Open presented its 2016 profits — a total of $12,704.09 — to Susan G. Komen South Carolina to help fight breast cancer in the northeastern region of South Carolina. Over the last three years, the McLeod for Health Florence Open has raised more than $27,000 for Komen South Carolina.

Florence, one of the smallest cities on the circuit, was selected to host an event because of its world-class courts, its strong volunteer base, and the generosity of its sponsors. This nine-day tournament puts Florence on the world tennis map and generates significant tourism revenues for our community.

The McLeod for Health Florence Open will draw some of the best young professional players from around the world to compete for $25,000 in prize money and higher rankings. Net profits from the event will again go to Komen South Carolina, which covers 12 of the South Carolina counties served by McLeod Health.

The Florence Open will feature a 64-draw qualifying round, a 32-draw main round and a pro-am event. There will be feature matches at noon on Monday through Friday. The singles semifinals and the doubles finals are scheduled for Saturday the 21st and the singles finals will be held on Sunday the 22nd.

Community Day on Sunday the 22nd will feature a cookout, an exhibition match by the Francis Marion University tennis teams, a Junior and Adult “Hit and Get” for players of all skill levels with prizes provided by Wilson Sporting Goods, Junior Play Day and a reunion of the Adult Tennis Apprentice Alumni. Community Day activities will kick off at noon, the singles final will begin at 1:00 p.m., and the other activities will be going on all day.

With more than 90 tournaments held annually throughout the country, the United States Tennis Association Pro Circuit is the pathway to the U.S. Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, it draws more than 1,000 men and women each year from more than 70 countries to compete in cities nationwide. Virtually all of the best known pros began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit, and so did some of the sport’s top new players like Americans Grace Min, CiCi Bellis and Taylor Townsend.

“The goals are to bring world class tennis to Florence, to create a genuine community event that emphasizes health, fitness, and breast cancer awareness, and to raise funds that will enable us to make a significant donation to an excellent cause. This will be great tennis for a great cause,” added Tournament Director Rob Hill.

Admission during the tournament is free, but attendees will be offered the opportunity to donate directly to Komen South Carolina.