NEWBERRY COUNTY — Newberry County welcomed some new businesses and said good-bye to some familiar faces in 2013. Here’s a look back on some of the stories that made headlines in 2013:
On the business front, Newberry and Prosperity were on the forefront with new business openings. On Main Street in Newberry, Making It Personal and Figaro’s are the new kids in town.
Making It Personal opened in August while Figaro’s just opened in December in time for the holidays. The fine dining restaurant took over the old Delamater’s restaurant while Making It Personal upgraded to a bigger location after the owner, Dawn Graham, began her business from a hobby.
Also in Newberry, NaWilSte opened, Alltel reopened and Anytime Fitness began construction in the Newberry Square. The gym is set to open this year sometime.
NaWilSte was opened by a mother, Michelle Gray, who named her sweet and spicy shop after her three children, Natalie, William and Stephanie.
Further down Wilson Road/C.R. Koon Highway, Kiswire expanded their current industry to contain a second building and add some more jobs. The industry broke ground in May and finished around October.
In Prosperity, the following businesses opened: Chase’s on Grace, Southern Arts & Outdoors and Moon’s Seafood and More. The Main Dish transformed into Cathy’s Place and The Blend changed management but continued to keep its doors open.
In other business news, First Community Bank in Prosperity established their brand new building next to their old location and donated the clock from their old building to the Town of Prosperity. The bank and town are also working together on a park for the community.
The Oakland Mill apartments also finished construction and opened for residency. The historic old mill was transformed into modern apartments and Newberry College dorms while still maintaining the historic appeal and status.
A couple of old faithfuls said good-bye to Newberry including Anderson’s Shoes in downtown Newberry and Piggly Wiggly in Prosperity. While the grocery store simply underwent a change in name to Bi-Lo, the shoe store owned by Eddie Anderson decided to close their doors after 103 years of service.
However, one business in Newberry decided to expand with construction still continuing in the new year. Sonic is enclosing their seated area so that people can enjoy their meal inside and watch TV as well.
The few businesses were not the only ones to say good-bye to Newberry. Newberry Hospital’s CEO Ron Vigus and City of Newberry’s City Manager Jeff Shacker left Newberry for different jobs leaving a couple of openings for new people to be introduced to Newberry.
The hospital welcomed Craig Cudworth as its interim CEO while the City of Newberry welcomed back Al Harvey as its city manager. The hospital also revitalized their third floor for medical and surgery patients.
In city news, Vincent Street Park received a face lift with new equipment to boot. There was also a grand opening held with students from Newberry Elementary involved.
The city also completed streetscaping in the Oakland Mill area and around Newberry College and began the process of adding marketing signs in and around the downtown area to lead people to downtown Newberry. The marketing signs are part of the Wayfinding process.
Downtown Newberry also began its Third Thursdays in which businesses held later business hours for clients to shop and eat. A Young Professional society was also started by the Chamber of Commerce to get more young professionals who live and work in the area to mix and mingle.
Over in Little Mountain earlier this year, the small town made national headlines due to the cancellation of a long running reunion and no one signing up for the mayoral position in the last election. However, the town and Little Mountain Reunion Association made amends and signed a contract to bring back the reunion in 2014. Mayor Jana Jayroe also became mayor after longtime mayor Buddy Johnson decided not to continue after 16 years.
Newberry College initiated its president Maurice Scherrens this year making his presidency official after he came on board last year.
In other education related news, the School District of Newberry County finished the Newberry High construction and began construction on the district administration building after facing opposition about building a new building.
The district did receive an excellent overall rating in its state report card this year and three of its schools received excellent in one or both categories for their report cards. Also Newberry High’s head football coach Phil Strickland also won the title of best high school coach in the state in a USA Today poll.
Other headlines included the new Piedmont Technical College completion. The new building opened for business and education this year taking over the old Wal-Mart in the Newberry Square. The project was a part of the one cent sales tax project for the county.
The county also agreed to transform the old library/post office on Friend Street into a museum for the city and college. The project has not started yet as this project could become the next penny sales tax project.
In Whitmire, the old Baker building finished transformation into the new town hall and council chamber allowing Main Street to clean up one of their old buildings.
The town also assembled an economic development committee of community members to discuss ways to bring business, recreation and productivity into Whitmire
Not all news are happy as one of the oldest churches in the county — St. Paul Lutheran on S.C. 773 in Pomaria — was destroyed in a fire. However, the church members and community have really come together with many fundraisers and support to rebuild the historic church.
Newberry was still home to plenty of good events including the first South Carolina Elvis Festival where Newberry played host to many Elvis impersonators singing and shaking up the small town.
Stay tuned to what’s in store for Newberry in 2014.