I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be caught up in the negativity that seems to be prevalent in the news — on television, in the newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, or any other media format. So today, I’m devoting my column to positive things that are happening right here in Clinton, South Carolina. As the old song goes, “don’t bring me down!” (Electric Light Orchestra, 1979).
This past week, we had the opportunity to celebrate the unveiling of the Cotton Loft at 305 West Main St. What began as the Peoples’ Bonded Warehouse has housed many businesses and organizations over the last one hundred plus years—most recently, Duncan & Co. Auctions and Realty, Heritage Fellowship, and Lazytoe Productions. In fact, my wife’s grandfather, General Ansel B. Godfrey, once told me that this building was an old building when he was a child. To put that in perspective, he passed away in 1990 at the age of 89. This may be one of the oldest buildings left standing in our city, and I’m thrilled that we’re seeing new life in the form of a total renovation of this building.
Just what is the Cotton Loft? It will be a venue and event center that can accommodate up to 600 people for weddings and receptions, community events, business meetings, training sessions, job fairs, family reunions, and so much more! It will include a wedding chapel which can seat up to 175 guests, and will be handicap accessible. The owner chose Clinton because it was conveniently located between Greenville, Spartanburg, and Columbia, and we are very fortunate to have this exciting new edition on Main Street.
This is not the only thing going on in Clinton; I’d like to take this opportunity to brag about what is happening in our city! Let’s start with the 101 E. Main St. building, better known as the Lawrence Young Building. This restoration project received the 2018 Gaines Jontz award from Main Street South Carolina. This award recognizes one building each year, and is based on excellence in façade rehabilitation, or total building rehabilitation. This building was a total rehabilitation. The project must demonstrate quality of design, materials and construction, and be a positive impact on the commercial district. The Lawrence Young Building project met all of these qualifications.
This same building will also be receiving a 2018 Historic Preservation Award from Governor Henry McMaster in the State House lobby on August 31 at 2:00. Council member Shirley Jenkins and I, along with our Main Street Director Adele Alducin, will be there to receive this award on your behalf.
All three upstairs apartments of the building are currently rented, as are two of the three retail spaces downstairs on the main level: Southern District, a sports clothing and shoe store occupies one of the spaces, and E Wireless, which does phone repairs and accessories, occupies another. Have you needed a phone repair lately? We now have a business downtown that can assist you!
Additionally, local business owner Chip Cooper is currently remodeling three of the buildings located in the Industrial Supply complex, and the city hopes to be able to help with parking and other improvements to this property.
All of these businesses share one thing in common with most businesses in our town: they are small businesses, led by individuals who see Clinton as a great place to do business. If I started on the south end of Broad Street and worked my way up town, I would have to go by the Oil Depot Car Wash, Subway, Bishop Tires, Dempsey’s Pizza, C-Mart, El Jalisco, Lee Nails, Southside Salon, State Farm, and many other businesses before I even get to Whiteford’s! Our town is FULL of small businesses. They are the backbone of this city, and I’m proud to be one of them!
The scripture reading from church this past Sunday was Ephesians 4:25-5:2, which tells us “in Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Go ahead and be angry; you do well to be angry. But don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” With this in mind, I encourage you to shop local, and be positive, kind, and considerate of others. Our city thrives when we all work together to make Clinton a great place to live and work!
(Bob McLean is mayor of Clinton.)