Spann Roofing Joins Florence Chamber

by Ardie Arvidson

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting Tuesday at the chamber office for Spann Roofing and Sheet Metal.

A three-generation, family-owned business, Spann Roofing is based in Conway. The business was started in 1957, said James M. “Jimbo” Spann IV.

He said the company was already doing business in the Florence area when it decided to open an office here about a year ago. Josh Boykin is the territory sales representative for this area. His office is at 6 S. Santiago Drive.

Spann said they do primarily commercial business but have branched out into residential roofing and gutters. They also do service and maintenance work for homes and businesses, all to prolong the life of the roof and gutters.

“We have always done work here in this area and thought it was time to give back to the community,” Spann said. “My wife and I both have roots here.”

Spann said he wants to stress that they are a full-service repair and maintenance business.

Spann Roofing employs about 75 people.

For additional information, visit or call 843-283-6115 or 843-656-9808 in Florence or 843-347-2220 in Myrtle Beach area.

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Eggs Up Grill Celebrates Joining the Chamber with a Ribbon Cutting

by Ardie Arvidson

Eggs Up Grill joined the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and held a ribbon cutting on Monday, March 9 with the Chamber and its ambassadors. Eggs Up is located at 250 N Beltline Drive in Florence.

Dean Patel is the franchise owner. He opened the breakfast and lunch grill in August 2018. This is his second location. He also owns the Eggs Up in Sumter. Patel lives in Sumter.

Patel said he decided to open in Florence because the chain started in Pawley’s Island and has a big following in this direction. The first Eggs Up was started in 1997 by Chris Skodras.

Patel said he chose the franchise because it is family-oriented.

“Our staff is what makes Eggs Up so good,” Patel said. “It is a good workplace.”

He said the staff enjoys the fact that the restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and they get to spend the rest of the day with their families.

Patel said he has a staff of 15 employees.

Patel said he is a member of the chamber in Sumter and saw what it did for his business. He wanted to be a part of the community of Florence.

“It is not just about serving breakfast; it is about helping the community,” Patel aid. “We want to get to know the community and to help.”

The restaurant serves traditional breakfast food with its own twist.

“Our new best seller is the Texas Farmhouse omelet,” he said. “It is huge. It takes up the whole plate.”

Other items include steak and eggs, buttermilk pancakes, French toast, waffles, eggs benedict and more. Lunch menu items include salads, pimento cheese burger, bacon cheddar burger, BLT. reuben, wraps, soup and other sandwiches.

The restaurant has a seating capacity of 98.

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Woodforest National Bank Celebrates Opening in Florence

by Ardie Arvidson

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce welcomed Woodforest National Bank into its membership on Friday, March 6 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The bank is located within the Walmart Supercenter on North Beltline Drive in Florence. Chamber ambassadors joined the staff for the celebration.

Woodforest opened its first account on Thursday, February 13. Friday, March 6 was its official debut for the Florence and Hartsville locations, said Takiyah Sheppard, Branch Manager of the Florence location.

“We are a full-service bank,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said the bank offers seven-day-week banking. The bank is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. It has two ATMS with one full service ATM that accepts deposits.

Sheppard said the bank offers direct deposit with pay a day earlier.

The bank has a staff of four.

Sheppard said plans are to open a branch in the Walmart Supercenter on Irby Street in March 2021.

Woodforest is also in Dillon, Marion/Mullins, Cheraw, Conway and Myrtle Beach, she said.

The bank is based in Texas and operates in 17 states with more than 800 locations, Sheppard said. There are 46 branches in South Carolina. Sheppard said all are located in Walmart except for some in Texas.

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Mailroom Barber Co. Joins Chamber

Staff Reports

The Mailroom Barber Co. hair studio in downtown Florence downtown has joined the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

The company is expanding and is expected to soon cut the ribbon for their West Palmetto Street location, which will be more of a barber shop.

The downtown location at 116-B S. Irby St.will be a full-service hair salon and cosmetology studio.

The company also is going to open a shop in Taylors in Upstate South Carolina.

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American Cancer Society Joins Florence Chamber

by Ardie Arvidson

The American Cancer Society celebrated joining the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce on Monday at the chamber office.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with chamber ambassadors and three members of the American Cancer Society: Chinel Boateng, Senior Community Development Manager for five counties, including Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Marlboro and Marion counties; Sundi Herring, Senior Manager Community Development/Southeast region/North Charleston; and Becky Eaddy, Program Manager, mission delivery/ Southeast region/Myrtle Beach.

The mission of the American Cancer Society is “to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer.”

“Having cancer is hard,” Boateng said. “Finding help shouldn’t be.”

The American Cancer Society sponsors Relay for Life. The 26th Florence County Relay for Life will be from 1 to 10 p.m. on April 25 at Freedom Florence.

“Every survivor in Florence County is invited to participate,” Boateng said.

It is also for caregivers and family and friends. Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration, she said.

The Florence Relay was started in 1994. One of the originators was Kaye Floyd-Parris.

Boateng said she joined the chamber after discussing the benefits to the American Cancer Society with Jay Lavrinc, director of membership relations with the chamber.

She said the exposure in the community and getting information about the ACS out to chamber members will benefit them.

Boateng said she doesn’t have an advertising budget, and having that outreach will be beneficial to the organization.

“This will mean more folks to share the word,” she said.

Boateng doesn’t have an office in Florence. She works from her home at the beach.

Boateng started as a volunteer and team captain with Relay for Life. She said her mother, father and a sister died of cancer, and she has two brothers who are prostate cancer survivors.

When people asked her why she volunteered before becoming an ACS employee, she said, “The life I fight for could very well be my own.”

Herring has worked for ACS for 16 years.

“I think it is important to let folks know that we appreciate all the investment they has put into the American Cancer Society,” she said.

She works closely with the Hope Lodge in Charleston. She said it was the first one of its kind. There are now 33 across the country. These are places for cancer patients and family to stay free of charge while taking treatment.

“It was started in 1970,” Herring said. “This is its 50th year.”

She said it is completely free. The facility in Charleston has 18 rooms.

Eaddy said ACS needs volunteers, especially with the Road to Recovery program. Through this program the ACS provides free rides to cancer treatments.

“This is one of the biggest requests when people reach out to the American Cancer Society,” she said.

There is some good news about cancer.

There has been a 29 percent decline in the cancer death rate from 1991 to 2017, Herring said.

She said it is due to the investment of the communities and their support.

The largest single-year drop occurred from 2016-2017 at 2.2 percent, she said.

Every month except August and December, Boateng said, brings awareness to a specific cancer. There is a “colors of cancer” calendar with some months bringing awareness to more than one type of cancer. She said most people are aware of the “pink” for breast cancer awareness, but there are others that receive less exposure but are no less important.

Through their membership in the chamber of commerce, Boateng hopes to make more people aware of cancer. She said so many lives can be saved through early detection and screenings.

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Ribbon Cutting with Florence Chamber Held at Clarion Inn and Suites

by Ardie Arvidson

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting at Clarion Inn and Suites at 1829 W. Lucas St. in Florence on Wednesday, marking its new chamber membership. Chamber ambassadors joined the staff at Clarion for the celebration.

The hotel was purchased in August 2018 by Gary M. Hodgins of Myrtle Beach, president, and his partner, Stephen Lam of New Jersey.

On Oct. 31, the hotel became a Clarion Inn and Suites. It was most recently a Ramada Inn.

The 224-room hotel features three conference rooms with a 300-person capacity when opened up as one; it also has a fitness center, courtyard with pool, bar and restaurant.

There are about 30 staff members. Tameka Ham is the assistant general manager.

The hotel is in the process of a two-phase renovation project. Phase I, which has been completed, included an upgrade to the lobby, restaurant, bar area, pool, fitness center, guest laundry facilities and west-wing guest rooms. Seventy-two rooms have been renovated.

Phase II, which is projected to be completed at the end of 2020, includes upgrade of all guest rooms, completion of 51 suites, refinishing of the parking lot and courtyard landscape update.

Hodgins said owning a hotel was on his “bucket list” of things to do. He said he was a chief financial officer in hotels for about 40 years. He is a Vietnam veteran. His partner, a Vietnamese, is a CPA. Hodges said they met when his partner worked for an outside audit firm for hotels he worked for.

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Primary Learning Center Joins Greater Florence Chamber

by Ardie Arvidson

Primary Learning Center of Florence, located at 600-A Pamplico Highway, recently joined the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce. A ribbon cutting was held on Wednesday with chamber ambassadors to celebrate.

Brittney Jefferson, owner/director, cut the ribbon.

Primary Learning Center is an untraditional day-care-type facility for children. It offers short-term, after-school tutoring for children up to 12 years of age.

Jefferson said the center has flexible hours.

“It is our flexibility that sets us apart,” she said.

Jefferson said the center operates two shifts and normally closes at 8 p.m. Although, she said, it has stayed up to midnight with a child. She said the center is there for parents who want a date night, who have to work late or attend night meetings.

Children who come after school receive a snack and are offered supper. The center sees that children do their homework, too.

“Our mission is to cater to the working mom, the modern-day mom, even if she is a stay-at-home mom,” Jefferson said.

She said stay-at-home mothers need time to themselves, too.

She has a staff of six.

Jefferson started out after college working in education at Brockington Elementary School in Timmonsville. She was a psychology major. She enjoyed working with children and decided to start her own center for taking care of children.

The center opened in October and normally has about 30 children on any given day with a capacity to care for 50 children.

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Pee Dee Healthy Start Joins the Florence Chamber

by Ardie Arvidson

Pee Dee Healthy Start Inc. held a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce signifying its new membership in the chamber. Chamber ambassadors joined Pee Dee Healthy Start Inc, staff and guests for the occasion.

When it began in 1991, the focus of Pee Dee Healthy Start was helping reduce the infant mortality rate and other negative birth outcomes for women and children in the Pee Dee.

Pee Dee Healthy Start was one of 15 federally funded demonstration sites created in 1991. It was administered through the United Way of South Carolina. At that time, the organization served six counties in the Pee Dee, which did not include Florence.

In 1997, Healthy Start transitioned from the United Way to Pee Dee Healthy Start Inc. and was granted 501-C3 status.

Pee Dee Healthy Start now serves seven counties — Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg — and provides assistance in several areas to help strengthen families.

It provides health education, fatherhood involvement, mentoring and support, child development counseling and other services.

Madie Robinson, executive director and chief executive, said one of the primary goals is to strengthen the African-American family unit by improving the effectiveness of adult relationships through its Relationship and Education Program.

The Dannon Project offers opportunities for individuals who have been in conflict with the law to transform their lives, she said. It provides training, job development skills, GED preparation and certifications for certain jobs. This program is geared toward adults between the ages of 18-24. Its purpose is to help educate, train and reintroduce them to the workforce.

The re-entry program helps people become whole, Robinson said. It helps them get a job, she said. She said these are people who need a “help up, not a handout.”

“That is where I see our relationship with the chamber,” Robinson said.

Robinson said that when the organization started it established a relationship with the businesses in the area.

“We had an economic development specialist,” she said.

She said women’s issues were discussed with businesses, especially those relating to pregnancy.

Decreasing the incidence of infant mortality is still one of the main purposes of Pee Dee Healthy Start Inc. Through health education, the organization hopes to increase the knowledge and awareness related to infant mortality and poor birth outcomes, Robinson said.

Chairman of the board Billy Williams said the people that Pee Dee Healthy Start Inc. helps need a lot of help.

Williams said space is an issue at the Pine Street location. He said his dream is to find more space within the next five years to operate.

Robinson said they are always looking for non-federal donations.

Pee Dee Healthy Start Inc. is at 314 W. Pine St. in Florence.

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Burris and Pressley Opens Office in Florence

by Ardie Arvidson

Burris and Pressley Realty celebrated the opening of its Florence office at 155 N. Dargan St. and its membership in the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon-cutting Thursday. Chamber ambassadors joined in the celebration.

Damian Burris and Cody Pressley are owners of the brokerage company. The two joined forces in February in Columbia. The Florence office opened Nov. 1. Burris is broker in charge.

Burris and Pressley specializes in residential and commercial real estate and serves South Carolina in new home sales, resales and construction, property investments and property management.

“We are glad to be a part of a vibrant downtown,” Pressley said.

“Florence is growing,” Burris said. “I love what downtown is doing. We wanted to drop our roots here.”

There will be four agents at the Florence office. Burris said he will be in Florence every Wednesday and Thursday.

He said they have been working with clients in the Florence area for a while and saw a need to offer “elite service” in the area.

“We are unconventional with tradition,” Burris said.

He said they try to appeal to the millennials who are now purchasing homes.

“We cater to the customer,” he said. “We care about how our customers approach homebuying.”

Both men are from the Pee Dee. Burris is originally from Marlboro County, and Pressley is from Mullins.

Burris is a retired police officer, who worked in homicide and narcotics for 12 years. He retired from the Camden Police Department in 2016. He is married to Valerie Moore Burris and lives in Kershaw County.

Burris said they founded the company on their faith.

“We attribute our success to God,” he said.

Pressley is married to Avarie Pressley and has four children. He is retired military, having served eight years in the Army. He is a member of the Richland County Zoning Board in Columbia.

“We are one of the largest independent minority real estate companies in the state of South Carolina,” Burris said.

“We look forward to serving the community and want to educate students about literacy, real estate and being business owners,” Pressley said.

They both travel the country speaking on national platforms.

Burris said they are looking forward to becoming more involved in the community and with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

“We want to help build the city of Florence, not just houses,” he said.

They both agreed it was important to them to locate their business in the thriving downtown.

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McLeod Occupational Health Hosts Open House

by Ardie Arvidson

McLeod Occupational Health celebrated the opening of its new location in McLeod Medical Park East on Thursday, November 7 with an open house and ribbon-cutting. The ribbon-cutting was part of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours with Chamber ambassadors taking part.

The new location of McLeod Occupational Health is 101 S. William H. Johnson St., Suite 150.

Dr. Stuart Sandler, Medical Director of McLeod Health Occupational Health Services, greeted guests to the Business After Hours event. He said McLeod Occupational Health provides “treatment, services and health care to area businesses and industries at several locations throughout the 18 counties McLeod Health serves.”

“The locations include McLeod Occupational Health Cheraw, McLeod Occupational Health Sumter, McLeod Occupational Health Commerce Park located off I-95 and this new location at McLeod Regional Medical Center.”

Sandler said the new location allows them to offer a full range of occupational medicine services. They include DOT-certified exams, physicals, primary care services, treatment for work-related injury and illnesses, on-site X-ray and EKG services, labs, firefighter physicals, and employee health services for McLeod Health staff.

Occupational Health moved from across the McLeod campus where it had been for nearly 30 years. Occupational Health kept outgrowing its space.

Oct. 14 was the first day at the new location.

Nurse Kim McCracken, business relations manager, said occupational health is all about medical health for people who work. It is on-the-job health care and covers things like immunizations, she said.

There are two full-time physicians, Sandler and Dr. Valarian Bruce. Dr. Peter Hyman is associate vice president. Shelly Morris is the director of occupational employee health.

Sandler said he has been with McLeod Health Occupational Health for about two years but has worked in the field for 25 years.

“We take care of the working family,” he said. “Anything that happens at work.”

He said a lot of times people who come to them don’t have a primary doctor.

“This is really a step up for us,” Sandler said.

Hyman said the new site has allowed them to expand their services.

“We are very happy to have this new location,” he said.

Sandler said they have 26 employees in the new building and about 55-60 overall, and 15 on-site locations in industries throughout the McLeod coverage area.

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