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2020 Award Recipients

Excellence on Main Street Award

eSTEAM Festival
Downtown Sumter

 

The eSTEAM Sumter Festival in downtown Sumter celebrated a program that brought together pre-K and K-12 schools as well as universities and tech schools to promote STEAM, also known as science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

The eSTEAM program began when efforts to stage job fairs and manufacturing expos showed to the city that many students and parents did not grasp the range of available career opportunities in Sumter. As a result, city staff sought out businesses and organizations to plan the eSTEAM Sumter umbrella program.

The program highlighted career paths and aimed to increase the talent pipeline. In doing so, it sought to dispute the idea that success requires at least a four-year degree. By creating more buy-in from a wider range of audiences in the community, eSTEAM sought to contribute to Sumter's broader economic development efforts, from expanding workforce development through the local technical college to infrastructure investments undertaken to attract and retain employers, boosting the community's quality of life.

Funding came from workforce development organizations like the Regional Economic Development Alliance, Sumter Chamber of Commerce, the SC Department of Commerce Workforce Division and the city. The city and the Downtown Sumter program were also involved in every step of the process from planning to logistical support during the festival.

The initial 2018 eSTEAM Sumter event brought together more than 3,000 participants, 16 partnering organizations and 63 exhibitors for special activities encompassing an entire city block. The 2019 event grew to more than 6,000 participants, 17 organizations and 68 exhibitors, taking up two blocks.

Contact Leigh Newman at lnewman@sumtersc.gov or 803.436.2635

Inspiration Awards

Master Merchant – Jennifer Casselman, Main Street Manning

Jennifer Casselman first opened Lucy's Traditional Southern Bakehouse in 2014 as a home business, selling cakes, cupcakes, cookies and home cooking. In 2017, she expanded into a retail business space, leaving behind a full-time job, and expanded her menu. She has since expanded her operating hours and her product line to include low-carb, keto and gluten-free options. Additionally, Casselman has begun a rewards card program.

Voters of the Manning Times Best of Clarendon Awards have honored Lucy's Traditional Southern Bakehouse with numerous awards, and it received the Best of Main Street Most Hospitable Business Award twice. A local finance firm provides its customers with a Lucy's gift certificate for a cupcake on their birthdays, and a local barbecue restaurant orders cakes from Lucy's to serve on its buffet. Casselman's sales have grown by 138% from 2018 to 2019.

Since the beginnings of Lucy's in 2014, Casselman has participated in almost all of Main Street Manning's events. She served as a committee member for the 2018 Farm to Table event and made all the desserts for it. A Manning resident for nearly four decades, she participates in many of the community's festivals and is involved with the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce.

Contact Carrie Trebil at ctrebil@cityofmanning.org or 803.435.8847.

Gaines Jontz Rehabilitation – Former Sumter Printing Building, Downtown Sumter

The City of Sumter sought to develop the underutilized second floors of historic downtown commercial structures into residential space. The revitalization of the Sumter Printing Company building provides an example of this kind of redevelopment.

The structure at 134-136 N. Main Street, built in 1929 with Romanesque brick detailing in its facade, stood abandoned for a decade or more. The developers working to revitalize the property obtained South Carolina abandoned buildings and historic renovation tax credits as well as federal historic renovation tax credits. The City of Sumter also awarded a facade grant for the project. The owners ultimately received tax credits covering about 55% of construction costs.

The project included a down-to-the-walls demolition of the building's interior and the construction of new exterior stairs to meet fire code. The original first-floor storefront windows remained, with all other windows receiving historically appropriate replacements. The two first-floor commercial spaces kept much of the original terra-cotta tile flooring and reinstalled original beaded-board ceilings in the lobbies. New balconies at the building's rear provided outdoor space for the apartments.

The renovation created two larger commercial spaces leased to a law firm and architecture firm which were already located downtown. The second floor now features four apartment units. The commercial space and two of the apartments had leases signed before construction finished.

Contact Leigh Newman at lnewman@sumtersc.gov or 803.436.2635.

Outstanding Partnership – Downtown Parking Lot, Main Street Kingstree

A partnership between Main Street Kingstree, the Town of Kingstree, Williamsburg County Development Corporation and numerous downtown property owners allowed for the revitalization of a parking lot, complete with lighting improvements and green space.

Previously, the space located between Academy Street and Hampton Avenue, was a confusing, uncoordinated slab of concrete with poor lighting and usage. The town and the SC Department of Commerce provided funding for the project, and the project's partners worked together on planning and design.

Because the lot is in a central location, it brings value to both downtown businesses and the surrounding area. Beyond the greatly improved visual appeal, the renovation also expanded the availability of downtown parking spaces from 55 to 125.

Contact William Freeman at wfreeman@kinsgree.org or 843.372.8846.