Ribbon Cutting: Goodwill

By: BY ANDREW BOARDWINE, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. — A rain-soaked Thursday morning was unable to dampen the excitement of Palmetto Goodwill employees and shoppers as they celebrated the grand opening of the store’s second location in Florence, at 260 N. Beltline Drive.

Goodwill officials and employees joined ambassadors from the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce to hold a ribbon cutting at 9:45 a.m. before officially opening the store to customers.

Rick Shelley, director for workforce development for Goodwill in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions, said the goal of constructing the new store is to help with missions and services in the community.

“We’re very excited to be opening our second location,” Shelley said. “This is going to help us expand our footprint in the Pee Dee and give folks another opportunity to promote the mission of Goodwill in the Florence area.”

Shopper Katrienne Ham was one of the first to enter the new store on Thursday and came away impressed with the selection and price.

“I love the Goodwill and the mission they have,” Ham said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing. Nowadays, people don’t have a lot of money and they have things in the Goodwill store that are just as nice for a reasonable price.”

The mission of Goodwill is “to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work.”

Palmetto Goodwill CEO Robert Smith said the organization assists people in finding jobs, trains them in resume building and helps adults who haven’t received a high school diploma get their education and obtain certifications to get back out in the workforce.

Over 90 cents of every dollar made through retail is given back to the community through those education, training and employment programs.

“We bring them in, train them and help them become successful in the workplace,” Smith said. “This store not only serves as an opportunity to employ people, but also an opportunity to train them and place them back out in the community.”

In addition to store manager Ruth Cain and assistant manager Lamar Meyers, 15 store associates were hired in conjunction with the new store opening, according to Palmetto Goodwill.

“We’re really excited to have the Florence community and their support,” Smith said.

People can register all weekend long for a free 60-second Goodwill shopping spree by visiting the store location.

Last year, Palmetto Goodwill placed more than 1,596 people into new jobs and provided services for more than 57,981 in South Carolina.

For more information about its programs and services or to donate, visit palmettogoodwill.org.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union celebrates office relocation in Florence

By: Jessica Imbimbo, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. – Sharonview Federal Credit Union held a ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon to celebrate the relocation of its Florence branch to 1921 W. Palmetto St.

Ambassadors with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce held the ribbon cutting and congratulated Sharonview executives and employees on their grand opening. The branch also held its “Cocktail & Conversations” event at 3:45 p.m. just before the ribbon cutting. Attendees mingled with Sharonview staff while enjoying light refreshments.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution that offers a variety of services from banking to loan education and financial planning. The branch has been serving the Florence community since the 1970s and Bill Partin, president and CEO, said the company is thrilled to be opening the new branch.

“Achieving an enhanced member experience holds great value to Sharonview, and this new location will bring current members and new members the resources they need to meet their financial goals,” Partin said.

Alger Holloman, Florence branch manager, said the new location with allow for even more growth within the “Sharonview family.”

“Our team in Florence looks forward to building new and maintaining current relationships with our members in the area,” Holloman said.

Members of Sharonview Federal Credit Union have a say in credit union procedures because members are owners. Because it is a community charter branch, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Florence County can become a member. To learn more about membership, call 800-462-4421.

The Florence hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit sharonview.org.

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Thrift shop holds ribbon cutting at new location in Florence

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Florence County Disabilities Foundation’s Pee Dee Thrift Shop held a ribbon cutting Tuesday morning to celebrate the opening of its new location at 1524 S. Irby St. in Florence.

Ambassadors with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce joined foundation board members and executives as well as local customers for the ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. The thrift shop moved to the new location from 1723 S. Irby St.

The public was invited to the ribbon cutting as well as to the shop’s grand opening set for Friday. During the grand opening, customers can look forward to special deals and sales throughout the day to help get a head start on holiday shopping.

The foundation operates other thrift shops in Scranton, Lake City and Johnsonville as well as a second location at 1650 E. Palmetto St. in Florence. The stores are open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Florence County Disabilities Foundation was established to provide funding for the Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs Board. The foundation seeks support from sources such as corporate donations, fundraising activities and grants, as well as volunteer assistance for the agency. For more information, call 843-662-4021 or visit fcdfoundation.org.

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Florence Civic Center unveils new name, branding design

By: Joshua Lloyd, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. – The 2018 season at the Florence Civic Center will be one for the books.

Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the center’s opening, as well as the grand opening of the $16 million expansion that’s under construction and set to be complete by this year’s end.

Amid this forward progress, a new branding campaign was born, and officials revealed Tuesday what that entails. Starting in January, the facility will be called the “Florence Center,” and a new logo and color scheme will reflect that. The new slogan is “We’re at the Center of what’s happening.”

The new brand incorporates a “rivers, rail and roads” theme, to capture what makes this area special.

“This component is true to us, and we wanted to make sure what we’re promising is authentic to who we are,” said Barry Townsend, who designed the logo. “You have to make a promise you can keep. This idea of rivers, rails and roads is true to us and carries out authenticity.”

Becky Davenport – founder of Strategiz, a marketing company involved in the rebranding – said the goal with this rebrand was to get to the core of what the center is doing where it realistically wants to be: at the center.

“The mission the team developed is to deliver a unique experience that meets the diverse needs of our clients and creates an economic impact for our community,” she said. “Looking forward, the goal is to be truly be a destination for local, regional, national and even international events.”

Holly Beaumier, executive director of the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau, said this expansion and rebranding will usher in a new, transformative era for Florence.

“There’s this connectivity that’s being carried out in the design and brand, but it’s also carried over to the team,” she said. “It’s very exciting to see this connectivity with this team and the community. We have the same goals of creating an impact through events, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

The forthcoming expansion will add 28,000 square feet to the center, which includes 8,000 square feet of subdividable space, 5,000 square feet of new kitchen space and 12,000 square feet of lobby and meeting room space. There will also be an additional outdoor pavilion and sitting area.

The grand opening tentatively is scheduled in mid-January.

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Pecan Festival offered something for everyone

By: Rebecca Cross, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. – An estimated 50,000 people flooded downtown Florence on Saturday to enjoy food, games, music, fellowship and vendors at the 14th annual Pecan Festival.

The festival spread through nine square blocks of downtown Florence, and attendees said that everywhere they turned there was something new to see, hear and do.

“It’s all-around fun and a family atmosphere,” said Lasheena Douglas. “Everyone can take something out of it.”

Douglas is a regular attendee at the Pecan Festival.

“It’s positive to see a variety of people come together, sharing fun and experiencing different activities and foods,” Douglas said.

For Kathy Ham, sharing her culinary talent has consistently drawn her out to the festival. This was her 14th year participating in the cooking competition, and she won three awards for her pecan dishes, including the overall award from Duke’s Mayonnaise.

“I take this contest very seriously, and I try to choose unique recipes with great presentations,” Ham said. “I very much appreciate the people who sponsor this contest and am grateful for the work they do.”

Duke’s Mayonnaise sponsored the cooking competition as it concluded a 100th anniversary tour at the Pecan Festival.

Musicians and dancers performed on stages throughout downtown, offering attendees a constant stream of entertainment. Beach music, jazz, blues, country and gospel were just some of the music genres represented at the festival.

Young performers gained confidence as they shared their talents with a large crowd. While Trinity Stewart has performed at other festivals with Extreme Cheer and Tumble, this was the teen’s first time taking the stage at the Pecan Festival.

“It’s enjoyable to see everyone’s reactions,” Stewart said. “All the little kids adore you.”

Visiting vendors joined with local vendors to offer more than 250 food and craft booths.

For Julia Hill-Montgomery, the dedicated attendees always make it worth the trip from Easley to sell her handmade soaps and crocheted items at the Pecan Festival.

“I love the crowds,” Hill-Montgomery said. “They come out rain or shine. I didn’t know Florence had so much to do.”

Smiles were wide as children played games, bounced on inflatables, carried balloon creations and met super heroes in the Kids Fun Zone. Activities were at no expense to parents’ pockets, another feature that Lasheena Douglas said keeps her coming back to the festival and bringing her daughter.

A new STEM Zone was adjacent to the Kids Fun Zone, offering more free activities from leaders in science, technology, engineering and math.

Jim Frederick, a professor at Clemson University, oversaw the construction and flight of paper airplanes. Through Clemson’s “Nature of Flight”-themed activities, Frederick said leaders wanted to engage students in intellectual conversations.

“It challenges them to see the science and math behind these fun challenges,” Frederick said.

The Pecan Festival has been held on the first Saturday of November each year since its inception in 2003.

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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 facebook.com/thelibraryflo/.

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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 http://www.elmcroft.com/community/elmcroft-of-florence-sc/.

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Edible Arrangements holds ribbon cutting, celebrates downtown move

FLORENCE, S.C. – Edible Arrangements celebrated their relocation to 130 N. Dargan Street in downtown Florence with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The store was previously located inside the Florence Mall at 145 W. Palmetto Street before moving downtown on Sept. 19. Ambassadors with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce joined Edible Arrangements staff members in the celebration on Tuesday morning.

Collin Perry, owner of the downtown Edible Arrangements, said the relocation will allow the store to provide smoothies and frozen yogurt to their customers, along with their fruit boxes and bouquets. The Edible Arrangements use fruit that is cut fresh daily and each arrangement is made with no added sugar.

The store is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 843-679-2007.

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Ribbon cutting held for Stewart Behavioral Health in Florence

By: Jessica Imbimbo, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. – Stewart Behavioral Health employees joined Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce ambassadors for a ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon to celebrate the facility’s new chamber membership.

Located at 525 S. Dargan Street in Florence, Stewart Behavioral Health is a counseling office that provides a variety of services including crisis intervention, family counseling, couples therapy, marital counseling, and stress management. The facility sees an average of 25 clients each week ranging in ages from early childhood to adult.

Martha Stewart, counselor and owner of Stewart Behavioral Health, she said was inspired to start her own private psychology practice after working with children from the Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in 2013. Since then, Stewart dedicated herself to working in counseling services and earned her master’s degree in psychology from Francis Marion University in 2007.

“I went back to college late in life and got my degree,” Stewart said. “I’ve been helping people forever and now I have the degrees to back it up. It’s going well and I hope this is my last job so I can retire here.”

 Along with her other full-time and part-time counselors, Stewart moved into her own facility in June of last year and recently joined the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce. Stewart said she didn’t expect the large welcome from the chamber ambassadors on Thursday afternoon but was pleasantly surprised by the ribbon cutting and said she looks forward to being a part of the chamber moving forward.

“It’s awesome,” Stewart said. “I have wanted to do this for a long time. I’m really excited to be a member of the chamber.”

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