NEWBERRY — A lot of times when you hear ribbon cutting it means a new business has arrived in Newberry. However, that is not the case for the Pomeroys, who recently hosted a ribbon cutting for their newly renovated office space at 1215 Friend Street.
The recently redesigned space was once an extension for the old Newberry Hotel, built in the 1920’s. Sean Pomeroy, who owns the building along with his wife Christina, said they think the extension was used for staff or less sophisticated stays.
“One of the doors that was in this building had signed on the back Corporal Shealy, or something of that effect,” Sean Pomeroy said.
The decision to renovate the upstairs of the Friend Street building was because their business, Visibility Software, is growing, and they needed more space.
“My co-founder exited in 2015, we have been on a growth spurt since then, with a goal of expanding. We hope it will be another industry for Newberry, more technical, not necessarily manufacturing,” Sean Pomeroy said. “We bought the building in 2009, with a need for an office in town and internet and a place to store all of our stuff.”
Construction began in May 2016. Pomeroy said they gutted everything, taking out about 14 or 15 radiators that weighed about 300 pounds. Christina Pomeroy said that the upstairs was set up very much like a hotel, every room had a porcelain sink, and some of them had adjoining rooms.
“The only thing that was maintained was the outer shell, we took it all down to the studs. All new plumbing upstairs, electrical, flooring, 1,600 feet of sheet rock in almost every room,” Sean Pomeroy said. “There was not a staircase until the 1950’s, and they put a staircase in there between the plumbing pipes and the front door. It was jammed in and we had to redesign that to make it more usable.”
During the gutting of the upstairs, Christina Pomeroy said they made an interesting discovery, a Coca-Cola mural.
“We have noticed a lot of buildings were built on to other buildings, why build four walls when you already have one. The far end (near the bathrooms) is the exterior wall to The Gallery, and it had a Coca-Cola mural,” she said.
Now that construction is complete, the Pomeroys have upgraded their office space, from downstairs to upstairs, from about 700 square feet to about 3,000. Sean Pomeroy said they do not need all of the space and they now have four offices for rent.
“If someone was working out of their house now, and they would want shared space we have that capability,” he said. “We started with that in 1999 (when Visibility Software began), as a tenant in a shared office space. We thought it was a neat idea to offer that for small businesses.”
Another goal of the renovations for the Friend Street building was to help promote the revitalization of Downtown Newberry.
“More people that tackle these old buildings, the less scary it is. It is a little bit of a daunting task to take on some of these old buildings because you never know what you are going to find, but it is rewarding,” Christina Pomeroy said.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.