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LakeWylie TODAY Spring 2021 | Issue 1

What’s the buzz? Meet Lake Wylie’s ‘King of the Bees’

Development Update Despite pandemic, real estate market saw record-breaking sales

Chamber Spotlight Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce news and information


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Our View

Springtime By Susan Bromfield, President

A

fter a long challenging pandemic year, spring is in the air with all its beauty and blossoms. It’s the time of year to enjoy a walk, breathe the fresh air and take in the beauty after a long, cold winter. This year, there is the new Lake Wylie Field Day Park with its ballfields, walking trails, and pickleball courts to enjoy. Although we are still adapting to circumstances of a pandemic year, look around and you can see Lake Wylie exploding with growth — things are happening all around us as we kick off 2021. It is already evident that Lake Wylie continues to grow and has worked through a challenging year. Neighbors have helped neighbors, supported local businesses, lifted each other up as we worked together. It is a pleasure to introduce the spring 2021 issue of Lake Wylie Today. This issue is packed full of information and has interesting features! Pour a cup of coffee or glass of wine and sit down and read this issue, and you, too, will be amazed at all that is going on at Lake Wylie today. Although many events have been canceled, there are still ways you can safely enjoy the area this spring. A few ideas are highlighted in this issue. The beauty of Glencairn Gardens and Cherry Park in Rock Hill and the celebration of spring with springtime displays at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden are just a few. Carowinds will open for spring 2021. There are also many beautiful scenic areas featured that enable people to hike, bike, boat and explore the scenery and nature trails. And, of course, springtime is a beautiful time of year for a country drive to visit Bush ’N Vine, The

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce

Peach Tree, South Forty Farm and other farm stands in the area. The real estate development feature talks about how the market is strong and prices continue to rise. It demonstrates people want to move to the area and inventory is limited. In spite of economic challenges, new businesses have opened, and major investments and changes made. It paints the picture for the start of a positive year ahead for Lake Wylie. The Shoreline feature tells us about all the new improvements and opportunities at the reinvented Ebenezer Park, located in the southern area of the lake near Rock Hill. With spring and summer weather just around the corner, Ebenezer Park is sure to be a wonderful place for picnics, fishing, and boating and other lake-related opportunities. It may be time to get a fishing license, get your fishing pole out and enjoy springtime days fishing on the lake. The Garden Party section highlights community gardens in the area. Growing vegetables and flowers in a community garden brings folks together outside, socially distanced, and enjoying a special gardening experience. One of this issue’s features is titled “King of the Bees.“ I will let this fun story be a surprise. Food for Thought features the story of how a local chocolate shop got its start, its journey of growth, and its way of bringing friends together. Located in Clover, Carolina Chocolate Company hot cocoa bombs are really the bomb! The updated Lake Wylie Dining Guide is also included to make it easy to find info to order take out and support our local restaurants. The mail bag is an eclectic collection of

photos and items of interest from the Lake Wylie area and community. We encourage you to send your photos of charity events, special occasions or beautiful scenery to the Chamber or Lake Wylie Today to be featured in future issues. Our local writers and seasonal topics and stories add the local flavor of our quarterly community magazine designed to market and promote our beautiful Lake Wylie area. Lake Wylie Today is a collaboration with the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce and SC Biz News with a goal to publish a beautiful full-color magazine that helps to promote and market Lake Wylie and its businesses, real estate, area attractions and events. Issues are seasonal and have themes. Spring, published during the first quarter of the year, is the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise issue featuring tips on healthy living, financial tips, and featured-related topics. The summer issue theme is summer fun. Fall is the green issue with a focus on the environment, home-grown food, gardening and nature-based ideas and tips. Winter is the Holiday issue with a holiday theme with activities, attractions, parties and winter stories. We encourage local ideas, photos and attractions to be presented in the mailbag each issue. Email lakewyliechamber@ yahoo.com to submit your photos and story ideas. It looks like we are off to a good start for 2021 together, supporting each other, supporting our businesses, helping our neighbors, and caring for each other. Lake Wylie is a great place to visit, to live and to work. It is a pleasure to work every day to promote our beautiful area and its many attractions. LW


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Contents Spring 2021

2 Our View Springtime fun at Lake Wylie 6 Mailbag 16 Shoreline

Long-time local favorite Ebenezer Park gets a facelift

22 Food for Thought

Carolina Chocolate Company makes lake life even sweeter

28 Feature

Meet Lake Wylie’s King of the Bees

42 Feature

Girls on the run build confidence and learn life skills

36 Feature

Little Free Libraries popping up all over Lake Wylie

38 Garden Party

Three community gardens share space and grow new gardeners

46 Healthy, Wealthy and Wise 50 Development Update

LakeWylie TODAY

Published by SC Biz News Lake Wylie Today Editor - Jim Tatum jtatum@scbiznews.com • 864.720.2269 Creative Director - Ryan Wilcox production1@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3117 Advertising Sales - Jane DuBois jane@lakewylietoday.com • 704.287.8668

Contributing Editors Susan Bromfield President, Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce susan@lakewyliesc.com • 803.831.2827 Jane DuBois jane@lakewylietoday.com • 704.287.8668

Contributing Writers Susan Bromfield Jan Todd Kathy Widenhouse Contributing Photographers Zack Bordeaux Susan Bromfield Jane DuBois Alex George Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce Dana Sipper Jan Todd Kathy Widenhouse

The entire contents of this publication are copyright by NWS Company LLC with all rights reserved.

Any reproduction or use of the content within this publication without permission is prohibited.

54 Spotlight

The magazine of the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce

Cover and Table of Contents photos by Jan Todd 4

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

1802 Dayton St., Suite 101 North Charleston, S.C. 29405 843.849.3100 • Fax: 843.849.3122 www.scbiznews.com


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Mailbag Did you just catch a fish? Celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary? Are you participating in a charity event or community fundraiser? Where did you go on your last family outing? Whether you just celebrated a major milestone or are gearing up to give back, part of our goal with Lake Wylie Today is to provide a platform for our community to share what’s happening in the community through stories and photos. We want to celebrate with you, laugh with you and build memories with you. Please email photos and stories to LakeWylieChamber@yahoo.com

CAAC kicks off 2021 with new mural

O

n February 2, the Clover and Lake Wylie Chambers of Commerce and Clover Area Assistance Center held a mural unveiling to showcase the beautiful new mural painted on the CAAC building. Mayor Greg Holmes and Town Councilman Wes Spurrier joined in the event. Mural artists Atilla and Imre Nagy signed the mural and Karen Van Vierssen, CAAC Executive Director, gave summary about CAAC’s work during the pandemic. CAAC’s board members and guests were on hand for this special occasion. (Masked and social distanced) After Board members of CAAC saw a story in LWT about the murals at Lake Wylie, they contacted the artists and lined up some sponsors to have a colorful mural designed and painted on the CAAC building located at 1130 Highway 55 East in Clover. Matthew Mugavero, owner of Lake Wylie Liquor is a real fan of the young artist, Attila, and his dad, Imre Nagy, and the murals they have painted all over Lake Wylie. He helped sponsor the mural, along with a few others. After all, someone has to buy the paint. Matthew wrote the story about the murals, Attila, and Imre in a previous issue of LWT.

The artist

The mural artist is 11-year-old Atilla. He has been painting and working in different forms of artistic expression for as long as he can remember. In just a few short years, he has dabbled in oils, watercolor and of course technology arts. “It’s pretty easy,” Attila said. “You simply draw the lines on a tablet and then download it to a micro (tech blah, blah) and then transfer it to an external projector (tech blah, blah) and put it to the wall.” What? He will use the tablet gizmo to create the outline and then his dad gets to paint it. In layman’s terms, it

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

By Susan Bromfield and Matthew Mugavero ual works of art all the while creating lasting memories. So next time you travel along Highway 55 East and pass the CAAC building, be sure to turn in and take a look at this beautiful and colorful mural created by Atilla and Imre Nagy. What a beautiful sight!

Clover Area Assistance Center – the work

The artists, Imre and Attila Nagy. (Photo/Susan Bromfield)

is like using one of those overhead projectors and tracing it to the wall. But it is way more artistic and complicated — you need to see it to believe it. Imre Nagy is a Hungarian transplant and lives right here in Lake Wylie. Imre has been painting his entire life on multiple mediums and finds oil painting and flowing drop shadows as his preference. As a professional artist, he spends most of his days building the confidence of special needs citizens. Imre is extremely proud of his fulltime work and sincerely loves what he does day to day. His favorite hours of the day are spent at the Adult Enrichment Centers of York County, Max Abilities Centers, and the Flint Hill Adult Day Care. This is where he interacts with students sharing his many talents and creating individ-

When news of the pandemic was breaking in February 2020, CAAC immediately made plans on how to address safety issues without impacting the continuity of providing services to those in need in the community. Social distancing, wearing masks and hand sanitation was implemented. The number of volunteers and people in the building had to be limited. It didn’t take long before home delivery and food pantry services were moved to drive up grocery pick up. Financial Assistance was given to many in need and Vision Care (eyeglasses), hearing aids and vouchers for Tender Hearts Thrift Stores were given out. When the school year ended, CAAC brought the summer feeding program to Clover. Over eight weeks, more than 12,000 meals were distributed to school age children, along with food for each participating family. The community and many community groups stepped up to do many food drives contributing 174,625 pounds of food for the pantry. Direct financial assistance was given from contributions of $115,571 helping hundreds of households during the past months. Contributions of money were received to help neighbors in need. A sincere story of neighbors helping neighbors.

Contributions can be sent to: Clover Area Assistance Center P.O. Box 521, Clover SC 29710


Mailbag

Lake Wylie Field Day Park has pickleball

P

ickleball is a cross between tennis, badminton and ping pong. It’s like playing ping pong while standing on the table. Since the court is small it really is for all ages and skill level. The court is the size of a badminton court; you can play singles or doubles; the ball is similar to a whiffle ball and the paddle is a little bigger than a ping pong

paddle. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport out there. Come out and enjoy the competitive and social portion of the sport.   For more info or to learn the game call Pickleball Ambassador Billy Hurin at (704) 905-7430

The new pickleball courts at Field Day Park in Lake Wylie have been a popular feature of the park.

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021


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Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Mailbag

LIONS COUPLE LEAVES A LEGACY

Van Leers say ‘farewell’ after nearly 20 years of service By Bessie Meeks

D

uring the much-anticipated opening of Field Day Park, Lake Wylie’s newest sports venue, the River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Club recognized the contributions of two former club members by naming a park bench in their honor. The club extolled Frank and Dona Van Leer for years of dedication and service to the region and state through the memorial. Members since 2002, the Van Leers recently resigned and announced that they would be moving to Florida. “Occasionally we get to know a Lions couple who exceeds the norm, stepping up to fill whatever need arises,” said Paul Dove, past District Governor and Council Chair of MD 32-S. “The Van Leers do this with enthusiasm, competence and love.  To me, they are consummate Lions and great friends. They leave large shoes to fill in their stellar club, their ac-

tive district and their Palmetto State. We miss them already and wish them the best.” Since joining, Frank and Dona Van Leer supported the RHLW Lions Club by advancing its mission vigorously, consistently and tirelessly. Frank examined ways in which Lions still in the workplace could join and optimize their experience in Lionism. A man of many words, the bearded man was eager to share his vision of how small, stagnant or struggling clubs could find a portal to the future to all who would listen. Years ago he mused frequently about establishing cyber clubs, long before the pandemic struck and virtual meetings became the norm.

Searching out club newcomers

Frank and Dona Van Leer.

During the club’s business breakfast meetings, the couple would search out newcomers. Richard Ellington, current RHLW Lions

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Mailbag


Mailbag

“ They leave large shoes to fill in their stellar club, their active district and their Palmetto State.” Paul Dove, Past District Governor MD32-S

president, said, “One of the things I personally remember was when I joined our club, they invited me to sit at their table during a breakfast meeting when I didn’t know but just a couple of the members.” Many may recall the annual December holiday dinners where the RHLW Lions welcomed the “angelic” voices of the youth chorus from the S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg. As Father Christmas — cloaked in his full-length Santa robe and haloed in a garland of greenery — Frank evoked joy from the giddy and expectant youngsters as he entered the hall loaded with gifts to dispense.

Recognizing their strengths

Early in their journey as Lions, Frank said that Dona focused upon club organizational leadership, while he concentrated on youth activities. Gradually, their roles intertwined, with both serving as club president and holding other positions of leadership, locally and regionally. He was a two-term president of RHLW Lions, while she advanced to zone chair of the district. Both received the club’s

prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship and the coveted Franklin Mason Award. As their association with the club grew, the list of accomplishments would become dizzying for the two retirees from New York who moved to the region nearly 20 years ago. (He had enjoyed a career as a high school English teacher, and she worked as a medical technologist, computer programmer and operations specialist.) Both would forge a close relationship with the Clover School District, launching initiatives such as the Roaring Readers, the lunch buddy program, and Leo Club and Internet Connectivity scholarships. “They were instrumental in bringing the South Carolina Vision and Hearing testing vehicle to the school district, performing hundreds of screening tests,” said RJ Phillips, a former president of RHLW Lions Club.

Serving as host family

The Van Leers served as a host family for the Lions Youth Exchange program, opening their home over the years to three exchange

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Mailbag

   students: from Cologne, Germany; the Netherlands; and England. Frank recalled, “The young lady from Germany, Caro, soaked up all that we showed her and shared her love for baking with Dona.” The Van Leers have maintained a relationship with Caro and her family and celebrate her progression through medical school. “I believe we gave her a more positive perspective of Americans, especially as she went camping with Erik and Morgan Lombardo (former Leo Club sponsor) and their child, along with the Lombardos’ three exchange students.” Frank would later initiate an Exchange Student Grant whereby students in the CSD could participate. Believing in a collaborative leadership style, the Van Leers encouraged eager volunteers, soon handing over the vision-screening program to the leadership of David Allen and his team. The program, where RHLW Lions partner with school nurses to schedule students, has expanded to include schools in Union, Rock Hill and York, in addition to those in CSD. Using the V-100 Welch Allyn spot camera, the RHLW Lions screened 15,601 area students last year and referred 1,934, according to Allen. That was a referral rate of 12.4%. It was the hope of the Van Leers to detect vision disorders in children as early as possible.

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An example of Lions motto

“Frank and Dona have always been generous and gracious with their time and commitment to our club here and to their community. They are one of the reasons why our club is one of the most resourceful and energetic clubs in South Carolina. They will be missed for their leadership and are a prime example of our motto, ‘We Serve,” said Phillips. Acknowledging how the pandemic has impacted the 140-member club’s ability to hold meetings (amid social distancing challenges) or render usual service, Frank offers the following words of encouragement: “Keep demonstrating and advertising by all available venues that we are Lions. ‘We Serve.’” Frank added, “While we’ll miss the immediacy of the supportive relationships we enjoyed with the River Hills Club, and members of other clubs throughout the state, we look forward to continuing same as members of Florida’s Fort Pierce Lions Club.” Bessie Meeks is director of communications for the River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Club. Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Mailbag

Lake Wylie votes for special tax district

D

uring the November election, the Lake Wylie area voted to have another special tax district (in addition to Lake Wylie Park) to fund land acquisition for a dog park, green spaces, a farmers market, and walking trails, as well as to preserve land from development. Also, people can donate green space land, receive tax breaks on those donated parcels, and stop development of those parcels. President of the River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Club, Richard Ellington, right, presents benefit raffle winner, Dr. Alan Hartley of Lake Wylie Family Chiropractic, with check.

Lions announce benefit raffle winner

D

r. Alan Hartley of Lake Wylie Family Chiropractic is the $10,000 winner of River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions benefit raffle for the local Emergency Management Service. For several years now, the RHLW Lions have conducted the raffle to benefit the local EMS. Three hundred tickets are made and sold at $100 each, and the total proceeds are doled out to the raffle winner (minus taxes) and to the EMS. The club is pleased to be able to provide this continued service to the River Hills and Lake Wylie communities and thanks all supporters of the raffle.

Lake Wylie Rotarians honor first responders

Rotarians Mary Sieck, Angel Neelands, Mark Wilson, Paul Moran and President Anne Violanti present care packages to Lt. Marston for his team. 14

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021


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Car Accident? Moe Bell, left, and Rick Thomas with bicycles to give to area children in need. (Photo/Alex George)

Lions Club spreads joy to many

H

oping to make Christmas merrier for area children, Rick Thomas and Jimmy Lee of the River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Club dropped off 29 new bicycles at United Way’s Toys for Christmas Warehouse on Tuesday, December 8. From October through the first week of December, Thomas and his team work in the basement of the River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS, reconditioning donated adult bicycles to sell. In return, with the profit from the sales of the adult bicycles, the team purchases new bicycles to give away to children ranging in age from those in first grade through middle school. In addition to the United Way, the RHLW Lions Club has donated to Kinard Elementary School in Clover (a Title I school), the Fort Mill Police Department and the Boys and Girls Club of York County. “The principal and counselors have helped find a forever home for the bikes,” Thomas said. This year, Sam Swisher, the team’s marketing manager, brought in $2,000 in the sale of multi-speed, refurbished mountain bikes within a day or two. Thomas’ wife, Susan, secretary of the RHLW Lions Club, posted ads on Facebook Marketplace and brought in $400 for the project. “People were even calling us this summer, asking if we had any bikes for sale,” Thomas said. “There was a high demand for bikes, perhaps with the pandemic and the embargo and people just wanting to get out.”

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Shoreline

enezer of new Eb w ie v l a ri e A hoto/ lar pier. (P u c ir c rk a P ounty) ark/York C P r ze e n e b E

Ebenezer Park’s new pier. (Photo/Kathy Widenhouse)

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Shoreline

EBENEZER PARK’S

NEW LOOK

Renovation makes room for swimmers, boaters, anglers, campers By Kathy Widenhouse

L

ake Wylie boasts just a single dedicated public swim beach. And it’s situated right in our backyard at Ebenezer Park in north Rock Hill. Set on Lake Wylie’s southwestern shore, the park draws a constant stream of visitors, thanks in large part to its stunning panoramic views and 67-site campground. Add to that water access, picnic shelters, grills, a volleyball court, and playground equipment and it’s no wonder that guests say it’s “an awesome place to enjoy the lake” with “beautiful scenery” offering “fun times every time we visit.” Yet through the years, the public beach combined with a boat launch and campground in a concentrated space had made for special challenges. Swimmers elbowed out anglers for space on the shoreline. Kayakers had no way to launch their boats safely. And parking lot runoff muddied the waters for everyone. Five years ago, visitors and residents alike began clamoring for a park facelift. The county complied in 2018 by approving a master plan for Ebenezer Park Improvements. And now, as Ebenezer Park enters its fourth decade, it’s gotten the makeover that residents and visitors have been asking for.

The park’s $1 lease

In the late 1980s, Duke Energy approached local officials with a proposal. The utility would lease its 26 waterfront acres to the county for $1 year. In turn, the county would develop a park, staff it, and maintain it. York County embraced the project and built the park. Named for the historic, unincorporated Ebenezer township several miles away — one of the earliest settlements in York County — Ebenezer opened the waterfront swim and picnic area in 1989. The campground was added in 1992. That was the same year Pat Morrison joined the staff as a park ranger helping to manage guests and maintain the park’s facilities. After a hiatus 2008-2011 to work in Charleston, Pat returned to York County and Ebenezer Park — this time as park superintendent. “When I sat down with my staff, I asked them an important question,” says Pat. “What can we do to improve the park for York County residents and other visitors?” The first step was clear: take care of the eroding shoreline. Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Shoreline

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Stop the erosion

“We needed to protect what we had,” says Pat Morrison. “Ebenezer Park is on a spectacular piece of waterfront property, but in the time I’d been here, the park had lost 40-60 feet of shoreline.” Increasing construction, waves, and wind have contributed to the lakeside erosion. While park personnel could not halt runoff, they could work to stabilize the park’s 500 feet of waterfront. The Ebenezer team considered two main options. They could build a berm to divert runoff. Or they could fortify

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

Beach seating on Ebenezer Park’s new waterfront.

Pat Morrison enjoying one of the new pier’s double swings. (Photos/Kathy Widenhouse)

the shore with a vegetated biobank, a honeycomb structure filled with plant material. Project managers chose to stabilize the shoreline using a vegetated biobank because it was more environmentally-friendly – an approach that got the go-ahead from the Fish & Wildlife Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers as well as other stakeholders. They built a supportive structure along the lakefront and added a native vegetative covering to preserve the lake’s ecosystem. As part of the master plan improvements, they repositioned and regraded the parking lots, too.

Platforms let fishermen bait a hook and cast from the pier’s jut-outs, away from swimmers, placing lines a hundred feet out into the lake. Previously, anglers were forced to dodge swimmers while casting from shore. Meanwhile, the circular pier created an enclosed swimming area. The construction team dredged 2,300 cubic yards of silt from the enclosure, now six to nine feet deep depending on lake levels. The result enlarges the beachfront, too. It is manned by lifeguards between Memorial Day and Labor Day and offers a central focal point for the park. The project managers took advantage of the rest of the shoreline to upgrade existing docks, making boat arrivals and departures more efficient. And they included a new kayak and canoe launch. “Kayaking is growing to be more popular,” says Pat Morrison. “Guests now have a place where they can launch safely.”

A Pier Without Peer

After the shoreline was stabilized, the planning team envisioned what Ebenezer Park could look like in the future. Its original elements had been hobbled together in a piecemeal layout, added one at a time without a master plan. The park begged for a unified design. Plus, the facility needed to accommodate the county’s burgeoning population which was on track to grow yet another 25% in the next decade. How could Ebenezer Park become more streamlined yet provide recreational amenities the public loved? The answer came through ADC Engineering (Greenville, SC), the masterminds behind Colonial Lake (Charleston, SC), Northbridge Park (West Ashley, SC), and Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park (Mount Pleasant, SC). ADC offered a unique combination of civil engineering, structural engineering, and landscape architecture services. All were needed to maximize Ebenezer’s multi-use facilities. “To start with, we knew we needed a pier,” says Pat Morrison. “And it needed to be a kind we didn’t already have.” What they got is a showpiece. Ebenezer Park’s new circular 850-foot pier extends into the lake and provides covered viewing platforms and double-sided swings allowing visitors to view the lake from all angles.

A Centerpiece on the Lawn

The pier is the waterfront’s jewel, but the open lawn now boasts its own centerpiece, too. A new multi-use event building serves as a stage for concerts and movies on the lawn. Large barn doors at the front and back open up for views of the lake. With its own kitchen and rest rooms, the structure also doubles as an event facility. Dotting edges of the lawn and beach are a volleyball court, basketball court, portable cornhole equipment, a playground, five picnic shelters with grills, a concession stand, and rest rooms — all connected with trails and walkways to the campground.

Only lakefront campground in York County

Ebenezer Park offers one of just two campgrounds on Lake Wylie’s shores — the other being McDowell Campground in Mecklenburg County. But it’s the largest, with


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Shoreline

Pat Morrison checks sliding doors in new multi-use building. (Photo/Kathy Widenhouse)

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67 overnight full hook-up sites available for rent as well as bathrooms and Wi-Fi. Volunteer campground hosts assist the staff 20-25 hours a week with projects around the park. In exchange, they can stay free in the campground for up to six month a year. Guests can make camping reservations online through the county website. Park staff encourage visitors to do so well ahead of time. “Beginning around March, campground reservations start to fill up six to eight weeks in advance,” says Pat Morrison. The pandemic, he says, has led to more residents enjoying

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outdoor activities, particularly camping, and the park foresees the campground operating at capacity this summer. Pat’s advice for day visitors? “Arrive early,” he says. “We anticipate a full house — especially on weekends.” All areas of the park will be open to guests when the $4.6 million renovation is completed in spring 2021. And with a new beach, pier, additional amenities, and all the other lakefront fun to be had, you can count on Ebenezer Park becoming more popular than ever. LW

Check Out Ebenezer Park’s New Digs 4490 Boatshore Road, Rock Hill, SC 29732 Phone: 803-366-6620 Email: ebenezer.park@yorkcountygov.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/EbenezerPark1988/ Instagram: @ebenezerpark Hours: 8 AM – 6 PM daily Day rates: $5/ vehicle (county residents); $8/vehicle (non-county residents) Season pass: $30 (county residents): $35 (non-county residents)

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Food for Thought

The Sweet Benefits of a Small Business Carolina Chocolate Company delivers gourmet goods and still puts family first

By Kathy Widenhouse

J

ust after Thanksgiving, Alicia Griffith’s teenagers came to her with a video. “Check it out, Mom. You could make these!” The video showed the latest Tik Tok sensation: hot cocoa bombs.

They’re glossy, hollow chocolate globes, filled with cocoa mix,

marshmallows, and goodies. Once plopped inside a mug full of warm milk or hot water, the outer chocolate layer opens, the cocoa mix dissolves, and the treats float to the top. If your chocolate is high-quality, you end up with a mouth-watering, unforgettable cup of cocoa. They’re everywhere on the internet. And, as Alicia discovered, consumers were scooping up the bombs in droves.

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www.LakeWylieToday.com | Spring 2021

Co-founders Alicia Griffi th and Dave Demchik. (Photo/Ka thy Widenhouse)


Food for Thought She ordered a hot cocoa bomb mold from Amazon and in less than 24 hours she was experimenting to create her own version. A day later, she posted on the Carolina Chocolate Company Facebook page that Hot Cocoa Bombs would be available the coming weekend. Within one hour, she had 200 pre-orders. “A small business gives you the ability to pivot and create a new product in 48 hours,” says Alicia. And since 2013, when she co-founded Carolina Chocolate Company, Alicia has discovered other benefits to running a small business, too.

A simple (but premium) chocolate concept

The newly minted company launched in late 2013 at a kiosk in Carolina Place Mall with a simple chocolate concept: offer gourmet, handmade chocolate confections that people could afford. In other words, give customers a first-class but reasonably priced treat. The company’s success that season — plus the mall’s astronomical rental costs — motivated the three partners focus on finding wholesale customers to sell their premium chocolate products. With childhood friend Dave Demchik as investor and Johnson & Wales graduate Harold Logan handcrafting the chocolates, Alicia became the sales force behind Carolina Chocolate Company. She packed up her car with dark chocolate espresso bark and caramel-filled truffle samples and went door to door across the Charlotte area, visiting prospective customers and serving Carolina Chocolate Company’s gourmet chocolate at friends’ Sip & Shop events, regional food fairs, and wine-chocolate pairings at local vineyards. Gift shops, cafes, and specialty stores signed on. One of the first was The Bagel Boat in Lake Wylie. “They took a chance on me,” Above: Hot Cocoa Bombs. says Alicia. And she didn’t forget it. Right: Packages of Plenty of confectioners peddle chocolate to peppermint bark waiting to consumers, says Alicia. But chocolate’s over- be shipped. whelming popularity has allowed a handful (Photos/Kathy Widenhouse) of specialty companies — like Carolina Chocolate — to carve out a niche in local pockets across the Charlotte metro area. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate arrive in 500-pound pallets on the company’s back doorstep. Then the Carolina Chocolate team follows its proprietary recipes —no frosting, fondants, or fillers — by adding pecans or pure peppermint or even Old Bay

500 pounds at a time

Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

23


Food for Thought

Alicia, center, with CCC employees Miriam Rosa (left) and Shelle Enix (right). (Photo/ Kathy Widenhouse)

Teeter are ready to fill up their shelves. Cari Tennell and Elba Arzeno, also moms, work part-time to help meet the orders, too. “I’ve even had my two teenagers come in and help,” says Shelle. “And guess what? That means we get more time together. This job lets me schedule my work around my family.”

The benefit of community

Miriam making hot cocoa bombs. (Photo/Kathy Widenhouse) seasoning to make its unique lineup of southern chocolate confections. The team won’t name their chocolate supplier. “Let’s just say it’s premium,” says Alicia, grinning. Customers agree: the quality is first rate. Their enthusiasm shows in sales. Five years ago, Carolina Chocolate Company had grown to the point that it needed more space than simply dedicated kitchen counters and cabinets in a team member’s apartment. The company moved to a storefront on Main Street in Clover, now its center of operations, and ships the handcrafted chocolates to sixty retail vendors up and down the east coast. Locally, that includes the Market on Main in Clover, The Peach Stand in Fort Mill, Lulu’s Gifts in York, The Cotton Candy Factory in Belmont, Overhead Station in Rock Hill, and the Paper Skyscraper on East Boulevard in Charlotte. 24

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

The benefit of family first

It takes just a handful of good women to put gourmet chocolate into the hands of those customers from Connecticut to Florida. “But we’re moms first,” says Alicia. Joining Alicia is Miriam Rosa, who mans the Carolina Chocolate Company’s candy-making station when she’s not serving up meals for students at Clover Middle School. “I work as much as we are needed and when it’s convenient in my schedule,” says Miriam. She clocks in an average of 25-35 hours a week during peak seasons making chocolate. On the other side of the workroom is Shelle Enix, a former dental hygienist, who met Alicia through her son’s football team. Shelle now wields foil wrappers and confectioners’ specialty bags to package dipped pretzels and cranberry cashew bites with the right labels. It can be a gargantuan task when grocery vendors like Lowe’s Foods and Harris

It hasn’t taken the company long to become ingrained in the local community. When Dr. Tony Hemingway, Clover School District’s chief of human resources, approached Alicia and asked for help in welcoming new teachers, she didn’t hesitate. Staff members received goody bags specially designed by Carolina Chocolate Company. That was just one of many personal campaigns that are individualized to the customer, and in many cases, the group. The company has headlined fundraisers for The Clover Choraliers in 2019 and 2020 as well as Oakridge Middle School and Crowders Creek Elementary School. “One of the benefits of running a local small business is the flexibility we can offer,” says Alicia. Groups choose whichever products they’d like to feature and then Alicia designs custom flyers and order forms. Pricing and margins are tweaked depending on the size of the order, but groups generally take home 50%. And each year, the Carolina Chocolate team makes sure to give some of their special, handmade candy bars to the unsung heroes at the Children’s Attention Home in Rock Hill: the 75 staff members who care for the abused,


Food for Thought abandoned, and neglected resident children. “Everyone thinks of the kids at Christmas, which is good,” says Alicia. “But we want the workers to know how much we value them, too.”

Get a Taste of Gourmet Chocolate Right Here in Clover

The benefit of relationships

These days, 90% of the company’s orders are wholesale. Meanwhile, the Clover shop is open on Saturdays and the website is open 24/7 for retail customers. Along with their 40plus products, Alicia’s team makes personalized specialty orders upon request, including molded chocolate keys for real estate agents to present to new homeowners or gourmet chocolate bars with a team logo on the label. When business booms, the team of moms tag their children and friends to help fill the orders. That was the case during December, when the Carolina Chocolate Company team pumped out as many hot cocoa bombs as they could using all the help they could find. They couldn’t keep them in stock. But Alicia made sure to send several dozen hot cocoa bombs to her friends at The Bagel Boat in Lake Wylie, who had been there

Find Carolina Chocolate’s products online, when you visit the retail store on Saturdays, or at your favorite retailer listed on the website. Carolina Chocolate Company 106 Kings Mountain Street Clover, SC 29710 Retail hours: Saturdays 11 AM – 4 PM Phone: 803-500-1424 CCC’s assorted truffles. (Photo/Kathy Widenhouse)

for her at the beginning. Now, she wanted to make sure they had the hottest new chocolate item available for their customers. “Relationships,” she says. “That’s another benefit of a small business.” LW

Email: carolinachocolatecompany@gmail.com Web: www.carolinachocolatecompany.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/ carolinachocolatecompany

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Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

25


Food for Thought

DINING GUIDE Arby’s 511 Nautical Drive Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-5555

Domino’s Pizza 125 E Evergreen Rd Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-7075

Lily’s Bistro 4547 Charlotte Highway Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 701-7788

River Hills Country Club 1 Country Club Dr. Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-2126

Azteca Grill 604 Nautical Dr. Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-8930

Dunkin Donuts 335 Vesla Lane Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 675-6044

McDonalds 5262 Highway 557 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803)831-0577

Starbucks 1201 Village Harbor Drive, #101 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (704) 591-5361

Bagel Boat – Bagels 4090 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-5995

Famous Toastery of Lake Wylie 5217 Highway 557 Lake Wylie, SC 29710

Moe’s Southwest Grill 312 Bulkhead Way #105 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 398-1663

Subway 5245 Hwy 557 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-0143

Panda Hut 144 Highway 274 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 631-1988

Sweetwater Grille 4582 Charlotte Highway Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-1788

Papa Doc’s Shore Club 3990 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-0043

Taco Bell at Lake Wylie 311 Vesla Lane Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 701-7068

Papa Johns 221 Latitude Lane Suite 101 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-0101

Thai Fusion 125 Evergreen Road Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 746-5047

Pier 88 at River Hills Marina 54 Marina Rd Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-0088

Waffle House 5013 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-0315

Pizza Hut 5241 Hwy 557 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-1188

Wendy’s 5188 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710-8099 (803) 831-2687

Rey Azteca Mexican 4052 Charlotte Highway Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-9277

Zaxby’s 143 SC-274 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-2634

Best China 5243 Hwy 557 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-5540 Bojangles 4927 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-9346 Chef ’s Kitchen 5301 Highway 557 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-701-7215 Cherry – Asian Cuisine 4034 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-9594 Christopher’s Bar and Grille 1500 Village Harbor Dr. Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-2461 Copper Premium Pub 4516 Charlotte Highway Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 701-7021

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Fast Frog Bakery 54 Highway 55E Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803)209-2065 Jersey Mike’s 604 Nautical Drive, Suite 101 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-0912 Kochi Japanese Steakhouse 5360 Highway 557 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 610-0146 Lake Wylie Bowl N Bounce 4034 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-2553 Lake Wylie Italian and Pizza 4074 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 831-0855 Lee’s Hoagie House 312 Bulkhead Way Lake Wylie, SC 29710 (803) 619-4046

www.LakeWylieToday.com | Spring 2021


Food for Thought

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KING OF THE

Lake Wylie residents make life a little sweeter for fellow gardeners and clients

By Kathy Widenhouse

M

ost sales reps leave a business card with a client after a meeting. But not Lake Wylie residents John and Jan Sowell. They leave a jar of honey instead. As multi-line manufacturing sales representatives, John and Jan tag themselves as “jbsREPS” in working on large commercial projects. Their clients, including architects, designers and contractors, value environmentally-friendly products. With that mindset, homegrown honey, canned salsa, and gifts from the Sowells’ Queenie Bees “hive” sets them apart. A typical sales call usually involves discussion of how John’s beehive is doing, what Jan’s harvesting in the garden, and what is going on with the environment — all before the Sowells present any products. The honey jar labels include the Queenie Bees brand and the Sowells’ contact information. When clients add honey to their tea or spread it on their toast, they’re reminded of jbsREPS — and of John and Jan.

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021


Faces

John working on the beehives.

John suited up to work on the beehives. (Photos/John and Jan Sowell)

Escaped bees in Sowells’ car.

Not enough bees

“Your bees are here”

John backed into beekeeping by accident about ten years ago. He and Jan became interested in growing organic produce and joined the River Hills Community Garden to manage their own plot (see related story, page 38). But the Sowells and their fellow gardeners lamented low production rates. A big problem, they learned, was bees … as in not enough of them. Ag experts report that honeybees are responsible for up to 80% of a garden’s success-

30

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

ful pollination. Yet beginning in 2006, a large number of honeybee colonies across North America died out in what’s been called the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has been attributed to pests, diseases, pesticides, and honeybees’ loss of habitat. Why not give honeybees a new home in Lake Wylie and simultaneously help out the community garden? The bees would increase pollination. And John and his fellow gardeners would harvest more fruits, vegetables, and herbs, too.

John got permission from the River Hills Community Association to place his beehives on the community garden grounds to house new bee colonies. Then, using his insatiable curiosity, John learned everything he could about beekeeping. He and Jan joined the York County Beekeepers Association. “One year, our Valentine’s Day date was their monthly beekeeper’s meeting,” says Jan. John ordered all the necessary equipment to build a beehive, from the frame to the


Food for Thought

Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

31


Faces beeswax foundation to wood glue. He also needed gear to maintain the hive and the colony: a beehive smoker, honey knives, a bee water feeder, a beekeeper’s suit, gloves … And to start a bee colony, you need bees. They’re shipped to a beekeeper by mail. “One day, I got a phone call from the folks at Clover Post Office,” says John with a grin. “They said, ‘Your package of bees is here. Please come get them as soon as you can.’” John noted the urgency in the postal employee’s voice, so he and Jan hurried to retrieve their beehive’s new residents. As they opened the post office door, they heard a low-pitched hmmmm that filled the building. It was the sound of their bees buzzing.

The “Queenie Bees” brand

In the meantime, John had built beehives, structures that would become home for his new bee families in River Hills. Each colony (bee talk for “family”) ranges in size from 20,000-80,000 bees and includes a female queen bee, male drones, and worker bees. Together, a colony’s work centers on two primary activities: gathering food and replicating themselves. The queen and the drones handle replication. The most productive seasons are spring and early summer, making early spring the perfect time to build a new beehive. The queen’s job is lay eggs. Male drones, naturally, assist her in that process. The worker bees take care of building the nest, collecting pollen and nectar, and rearing tens of thousands of baby bees. Gathering food for colony residents is a busy business. Bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers and convert it to  honey, which becomes food for the majority of the colony. Future queen bee larvae are fed with royal jelly, secreted from worker bees. While his bees were happily pollinating crops in the community garden, John discovered his hives offered an added benefit: the colony’s by-products, which can include not just honey but also royal jelly, wax, and bee pollen. Soon, he and Jan were busy processing and packaging. Like other beekeepers, John’s beekeeping results vary year to year depending upon environmental circumstances, even after a decade of trial and error. During 2020, John didn’t harvest any honey because the bees joined humans in struggling with COVID-19. “But one year I pulled out more than 30 gallons of honey,” says John. These days, he manages 3-4 beehives which produce an average of 10-12 gallons of honey a year.

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

Call in the swarm patrol

Queenie Bee honey and pepper jelly gift bags.

Queenie Bee insect repellent and hand sanitizer. (Photos/John and Jan Sowell) John gathers the honey and he and Jan package it with the jbsREPS logo under the “Queenie Bees” brand. The name fits. The Sowells referred to their daughters as “Queenie Bees” when they were younger. And both John and Jan share the “JBS” initials, hence their “jbsREPs “sales handle. John and Jan even changed their email and business cards to John “Bee” Sowell and Jan “Bee” Sowell. “The Queenie Bees brand is now ingrained in our work identity,” says Jan. The Sowells package pepper jelly from peppers grown in their community garden plot and “Buzz Off Bugs” insect repellent, “Buzz Off Germs” hand sanitizer, canned goods, and sugar scrubs with essential oils. They offer their products as gifts to clients, neighbors, friends — even the workers who visit their hive (er, home.)

When the queen is not busy laying eggs and the worker bees are not busy gathering food, the colony replicates itself by swarming. They divide one colony into two. A new queen hatches and leaves the colony, taking half of the bees with her, and sets up shop in a new nesting site. While most people fear a bee swarm, beekeepers embrace it. A swarm is the opportunity to start a new hive, and local friends and neighbors know who to call when a swarm hits a hollowed tree or crack in the wall on their property: Lake Wylie’s King of the Bees. “Recently, a friend in York found a swarm in one of her trees,” said Jan. “She knew that John keeps bees and that he’d want to harvest the swarm for his hives.” John put on his bee suit and together he and Jan drove the thirty-minute trip. John was able to retrieve the swarm, place it in a trash can, and put them in a box. But on the way home, some bees escaped and buzzed around in the car. “Don’t panic,” John told Jan. “Or they will sense your fear.” John and Jan were able to return to Lake Wylie sting-free. “You just dump the swarm into an existing beehive box,” says John. “The bees get a new home.” And his hive gets a new colony, one with a queen bee already laying eggs. Colony members get busy buzzing to and fro in the community garden, raising the pollination rate. And the worker bees start gathering pollen and nectar for John and Jan to collect and process. Which means John’s clients will enjoy more delicious, homegrown “Queenie Bees” honey in their tea and on their toast. All while toasting Lake Wylie’s King of the Bees. LW

Bee in the Know

Learn more about beekeeping, start your own beehive, or build a bee stand. York County Beekeepers Association 1188 Edgefield Road, P.O. Box 2172 York, SC 29745 Email: YCBeekeepers@gmail.com Phone: 704-564-5701 Web: www.yorkcountybeekeepers.com


Feature

LIFE PLAN COMMUNITY INDEPENDENT LIVING ASSISTED LIVING LONG TERM CARE HOMEBRIDGE

westminstertowers.org

(803) 328-5587

Call for a personal tourSpring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Feature

Girls

ON THE RUN

Girls build confidence, life skills even while social distancing By Kathy Widenhouse | Photos by Girls On The Run Tri-County Council

F

ourth-grader Sophia has a new self-confidence. And she’s no longer afraid of the mean girls that infiltrate her preteen world. “I’m not athletic at all,” says Sophia, a Clover resident and recent Girls On The Run alumni. “When I started going to Girls On The Run I kept telling my coaches that I couldn’t do this.” But eight weeks later, Sophia was one of the first teammates to cross the season-end

5K finish line. And Sophia’s personal victory brought tears to the eyes of her coaches when she jogged back along the route to run with a teammate who was struggling to finish. Sophia is just one of nearly 2,000 girls in Clover and Lake Wylie who have been a part of Girls On The Run (GOTR), a life skills program that focuses on building preteen girls’ confidence, character, and connections. It’s a movement that shows no signs of slowing down – even during a pandemic.

Clover First Bapt

ist Church practic

e 5K

National movement, local roots

Youth development experts agree: girls’ confidence drops twice as much as that of boys during adolescence. It was Charlotte resident Molly Barker who coined the phrase, “Girl Box,” describing how girls limit themselves and buy into others’ expectations for their behavior, thinking, and appearance. Running gave Molly a sense of identity and purpose during her youth. In 1996, she Clover First Baptist Church 5K

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021


Feature

Clover First Baptist Church Team Coaches

Girls On The Run Bethany Elementary School Team

Girls On The Run Griggs Elementary School Team

Girls On The Run/Heart and Sole Clover Middle School Team 5K

Girls On The Run Crowders Creek Team

Girls On The Run/Heart and Sole Oakridge Middle School Team Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Feature

Community Impact Project: Kindness Rocks

Community Impact Project: Handmade Dog Toys for Pet Shelter

decided to share what she learned with the next generation and give young girls a leg up as they navigated adolescence’s murky waters. Molly gathered 13 preteens together, met with them twice a week, and instilled them with confidence and healthy relationship skills using health and fitness as a framework. That group became the first Girls On The Run team. Back then, Lindy Morris made the twice-weekly trek from York County to the Harris YMCA in south Charlotte so her daughter could participate in GOTR. “The emphasis is not on running,” says Lindy. “It’s on helping each girl set personal goals and reach them. They encourage each other. A GOTR team becomes a supportive community.” One of the biggest benefits, say GOTR alumni, is that they used to be afraid of bullies and mean girls, but now they have friends who stand by them. In 2003 Lindy learned that GOTR was expanding nationally, but there was not yet a chapter in York County. Armed with a $1,500 grant, she started one with 20 girls in Fort Mill. Two years later, Bethel Elementary School hosted the first GOTR team in Lake Wylie/ Clover. Since then GOTR Tri-County has impacted 15,000 girls on 70 teams throughout York, Lancaster, and Chester counties.

the team plays a game to put it into practice, presenting a real-life situation for girls to think about, such as how to respond to a bully or how to manage conflict with a friend. Then each girl sets a lap goal and runs. Afterwards, they stretch and talk about what they learned and how to use it. Is GOTR effective in getting participants out of “The Girl Box”? A recent study by University of Minnesota’s Maureen R. Weiss, Ph.D. says yes. Data shows 97% participating girls said that being part of Girls On The Run helps them learn critical life skills including managing their emotions, resolving conflict, helping others, or making intentional decisions. In a COVID world, the program offers something else: security. “I can come here and feel safe,” said one Clover participant. “We talk about things I am afraid of and the other girls encourage me.” Groups are purposely kept to a maximum of 15 for each season so the team can develop intimacy and supportive relationships. When applications to participate exceed the number of girls who can enroll – regularly the case in Clover and Lake Wylie – participants are chosen by lottery. GOTR has become so popular locally that it has expanded to include a middle school program, Heart & Sole, operating at Clover and Oakridge Middle Schools.

Get girls out of the box

40-50 community impact projects

The 8-week program, open to 3rd through 5th grade girls, meets twice-weekly using a structured format with a topic of the day, such as self-awareness, making friends, or gratitude. Coaches present the day’s lesson and then 36

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

As part of the program, each team chooses, plans, and carries out a Community Impact Project. That means 40-50 community projects impact the tri-county area each season. “it’s so fun to see what the teams come up with,” says Jennifer Thorsell, GOTR

Community Impact Project: Trash Pick Up

Tri-County Program Director. “Girls see that they are important and can impact the world around them.” Projects have included restocking a school’s food pantry, making cookies for the local volunteer fire department, and painting and setting out kindness rocks around the school campus. One group crafted cards for local nursing home residents. Another wrote letters to veterans. One of the more meaningful projects? “One team cleaned up the school and left positive notes of encouragement to other girls,” said five-time coach Melissa Reeves of Clover. “They placed sticky notes in bathroom stalls with positive statements.”

How GOTR adapts to COVID-19

Running is an outdoor activity, making it a natural fit for social distancing. Since spring 2020, GOTR’s organization-wide modifications allow teams to continue to meet during the pandemic by adopting their own level of adaptations. “Teams can choose if they want to meet in person or virtually,” says Lindy Morris. “The adaptations allow a lot of flexibility.” In-person meetings follow clear social distancing protocols. For instance, each girl is given her own cinch bag which includes an individual journal. Activities are modified, too. Teams play Shadow Tag instead of the traditional touch-you-you’re-it version. “Our team met in person and followed GOTR recommendations for social distancing,” said Iman Popejoy, a coach for the GOTR team meeting at First Baptist Church in Clover. “The girls were really good with keeping masks on and staying apart.”


Feature

Learn More about Girls On The Run

Girls On The Run Tri-County Serving York, Lancaster, and Chester Counties Lindy Morris, Council Director Jennifer Thorsell, Program Director Kerri Duckett, Community Engagement and Events Director Community Impact Project: Food Drive.

Coaches needed

The season’s $150 fee provides a girl with trained coaches, program materials, a t-shirt, 5K entry fee, and a stipend for the team’s year-end celebration. Any girl can participate even if costs are a challenge. “Forty percent of the girls who enroll receive financial assistance,” says Lindy Morris, explaining that the Tri-County Council has provided $472,000 in scholarships to girls who otherwise might not be able to participate. Because of GOTR’s popularity, coaches remain the program’s biggest need. “Anyone can coach,” says Jennifer Thorsell. “At just eight weeks, it’s a short-term time commitment, but it has lifelong impact on these girls.” GOTR

provides coaches’ training, now virtual, which equips volunteers with skills what they need to coach young girls.

2431 Cherry Road Rock Hill, SC 29732-2171 (803) 620-3036 Web: https://www.gotrtricountysc.org/ Email: info.gotrtricountysc@gmail.com

The big finish

Each season culminates with a Girls on the Run 5K event. Typically, GOTR races among the largest in the Charlotte area with thousands participating. To adapt during the pandemic last fall, coach Melissa Reeves created a 5K team route through downtown Clover. Family and friends cheered the girls along the way and the team celebrated at the finish line. “You don’t have to be a runner to be a coach – in fact you don’t even need to like running,” says Melissa. “The girls just need

someone who believes in them. In the end, they will encourage you.” The program’s emphasis on setting and reaching individual goals, she says, sets GOTR apart from other youth sports programs. She should know. Last fall, when Sophia crossed the finish line, Melissa was cheering louder than anyone. And she was one of the coaches in tears. LW

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Garden Party

Gardeners

Unite 3 local community gardens share space and produce, grow new gardeners By Kathy Widenhouse

C

ommunity gardens are sprouting up all over the country — and in Lake Wylie. They’re a part of a growing trend towards cultivating more fresh produce, says the National Gardening Association. One-third of American households are now growing some of their own food — and many are banding together to do so. Community gardens attract those with no other recourse for growing things: apartment dwellers who lack a sunny balcony for tomato plants … homeowners without adequate yard space for a garden plot … residents of a community with HOA restrictions. Some gardeners choose to combine forces to turn unused spaces into productive plots. And still others work a community garden plot to help supplement local food assistance programs with fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The community gardening movement has escalated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

offering the additional benefit of safe socializing. In a shared plot of land, people grow fresh crops while social distancing at the same time.

Not a new idea

The idea of a community garden in the U.S. is not a new one, says Smithsonian Institute fellow and garden scholar Joe Cialdella. In the aftermath of the 1890s recession, vacant lots in Detroit, MI became the country’s first city-sponsored urban gardens. Then, during The Great Depression, food shortages drove Americans to join together to cultivate combined subsistence gardens. Throughout both world wars, community gardens became a patriotic act as citizens banded together to grow “liberty gardens,” also called “war gardens,” to meet a domestic need for food. Since the 1960s and 1970s, people and grassroots organizations build community gardens to fight urban decline. Schools use these gardens for


Garden Party

health education. Whole communities join together to grow fresh produce to feed the poor in their midst. Nutrition, environmental stewardship, charity: all are driving forces that are very much alive today in the community gardens in and around Lake Wylie.

A community garden in a neighborhood

A community garden needs a bit of space and 10-12 hours of sun a day, explains River Hills resident and gardener John Sowell. When Duke Energy offered an easement beneath power lines that run through the development, River Hills residents embraced the project. Those who lack space or sunlight on their own property could grow flowers, veggies, fruits, and herbs in the neighborhood’s shared space. The association made it official in 2007 by incorporating as River Hills Community Garden. The founders raised funds to create the required infrastructure. Some of those original members still work their plots, including board member George Gessner, Mark Woolery, and master gardener John Olson — who maintains not just one plot, but four. Now, about 15 years after its launch, the garden has 85 plots that average 17 feet by 35 feet. Some families share a plot, explains John, who now serves as the community garden president. They split both the upkeep and the fruits of their labors. Prospective gardeners are placed on a waiting list and notified when a plot becomes available. New members pay a $150 plot transfer fee which is deposited in the association’s bank account and used for maintenance and upkeep. Returning gardeners are not charged an annual fee. How do the gardeners manage South Carolina’s heat and dry spells? Spigots dot the garden, one for every four or five plots, fed by an association-funded well and irrigation lines. Two community

Getting started with Rock Hill Educational Community Garden. (Photo/RHECG)

Rows in the River Hills Community Garden. (Photo/ Kathy Widenhouse)

Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Garden Party

Belmont Community Gardens. (Photo/Belmont Community Gardens)

Donations for Clover Area Assistance Center. (Photo/Kathy Widenhouse)

Harvest from Rock Hill Educational Community Garden. (Photo/RHECG)

wheelbarrows are available to use, as is a lawnmower to keep pathways cut. Most gardeners bring their own hand tools to work their plots. They benefit from the neighborhood tree services who dump mulch and the River Hills maintenance team that collects the garden debris. In recent years, when gardeners noticed a dip in production, John built beehives to increase pollination (see related story, page 28.) 40

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

Then in 2020, gardeners began to lose their green beans and squash plants to an exploding deer population. John Olson suggested an eight-foot high deer fence funded by a small group of gardeners, which worked so well that Sowell and other gardeners built their own fences to protect their efforts. Walk through the River Hills Community Garden and you’ll see gorgeous zinnias, sunflowers, and roses alongside typical homegrown crops, from tomatoes to corn to melon. And you’ll also see oversized coolers where gardeners deposit their overflow harvest, collected once a week by River Hills residents and delivered to the Clover Area Assistance Center.

A community garden in town

Across the state line, Belmont Community Gardens formed in 2014 as a nonprofit. With permission, the garden took up residence in a private vacant lot on the town’s Main Street. When the plots opened for lease to individuals and families, all 47 were reserved within 24 hours. “Belmont’s walkability makes a community garden a great fit for the town,” says Jonathan Taylor, one of the garden’s founders and a member of its board. Local businesses and the Rotary Club provided funding to start the project. Gardeners pay a $65 yearly lease fee. The COVID-19 pandemic halted the garden’s production in 2020, but volunteers maintain seven beehives on the property and the board plans to resume growing this summer, first with a pollinator garden. When in production, the garden provides seven plots to local schools for free. Page Primary school, says Jonathan, uses their plots to grow strawberries in the spring and pumpkins in the fall to teach children about plants and farming. Cherubs Café, a vocational training arm of Holy Angels for those with intellectual disabilities, uses a plot to grow its own herbs. And the garden’s leftovers? They’re funneled to low-income families through Belmont Community Organization.

A community garden on campus

The Rock Hill Educational Community Garden broke ground on private property in 2011 with eight plots. Today, there are 21 plots in the garden’s home on the Winthrop University campus. The joint project is supported by the city of Rock Hill, Winthrop University, the Eat Smart Move More nonprofit, and Master Gardeners of York County. Plots are divvied up to gardeners on a first come, first served basis says garden coordi-

nator Dee Morgan. A few spots are open this year as a result of the pandemic. The remainder are leased to master gardeners, members of the Winthrop community, and a few private citizens. Gardeners pay a $20 annual fee “so they have skin in the game,” says Dee, and to purchase plants and seeds to welcome new gardeners. Additional funding comes from the city, generous donors, and Winthrop. Garden partners replenish the plots each year with a premium compost. And while garden members enjoy the fruit of their labors, each agrees to share a portion of produce with six charity kitchens scattered across Rock Hill. On average, the community garden donates 700-800 pounds a year to their partners charities. “Last year was amazing for tomatoes,” says Dee. “One plot donated 65 pounds of tomatoes to our charity partner kitchens.” One of the most rewarding aspects of the garden, says Dee, is its educational program. Prior to COVID-19, the garden was a weekly destination for local school children, who visited the garden on Fridays. “We taught children where vegetables come from’” says Dee. “A garden, not the store.” She’s planning to resume those sessions post-pandemic. With community gardens thriving across the region, there’s hope that the new generation continues to learn where produce comes from. And that the community garden trend sprouts a fresh crop of gardeners, too. LW

Want to Dig in the Dirt? Check out these local community gardens. River Hills Community Garden John Sowell, president 12 Old Fox Trail Lake Wylie, SC 29710 Email: forejbs@aol.com Belmont Community Gardens Jonathan Taylor 21 N. Main Street Belmont, NC 28012 Email: hotelbelmontjt@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/growingbelmont Rock Hill Educational Community Garden Dee Morgan, coordinator 954 Constitution Boulevard Rock Hill, SC 29732 Web: www.rockhilledgarden.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/rockhhilledgarden Email: ddmorgan@comporium.net


Lake Wylie

Garden Party

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Working Together Supporting Each Other

Staying Connected

We S u c c e e d THE BUSINESS OF A THRIVING COMMUNITY

Interested in joining this winning team? Call Charlie at 803.831.2827 www.lakewyliesc.com Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Feature

BOOKS

Down the Block Little Free Libraries spread literacy and build community one reader at a time By Kathy Widenhouse

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ooking for a good book? You needn’t look further than just down the block. That’s the idea behind Little Free Libraries, the book-sharing movement sparked in 2009 when Minnesotan Todd Bol used wood scraps from an old garage door to make a miniature school house. The former teacher mounted the box on a post in his front yard, filled it with reading material, and invited neighbors to “take a book and leave a book” as they passed by. The neighborhood book exchange took off and soon, little free libraries were springing up everywhere.

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

Residents vi siting the Lit tle Free Library at A utumn Cove. (Photo/ Lake Wylie R otary Club)


Feature Anyone can start one. And everyone enjoys them. Now, just a little more than a decade later, Todd’s vision launched a nonprofit that has grown to 100,000 Little Free Libraires in 91 countries across the world — including those in and around Lake Wylie.

Coming: a library near you

The slogan “Take a look, leave a book” caught on locally in 2015, when the Lake Wylie Rotary Club was searching for a project that would help support the service organization’s mission’s strengthen education and literacy in the local community. Little free libraries were a perfect fit. “They are a wonderful way for the Lake Wylie Rotarians to give back to the community that we love, serve and live in,” says Anne Violanti, Lake Wylie Rotary Club president. “The Rotarians enjoy spending time together building a little library, painting it, and installing it.” Once each library unit is constructed, individual Rotarians collect books from good folks throughout the community and donate their own to stock the library. Sweet Repeat also donates books, says Anne. Rotarians periodically sponsor book drives to keep their libraries well-stocked. The club has since added four more Little Free Libraries throughout Lake Wylie. While the Rotarians choose locations based on the greatest amounts of foot traffic, they also consider requests. Last year, the Autumn Cove Homeowners Association reached out to the club and asked that it install a Little Free Library in the neighborhood’s common area. The Autumn Cove location was completed in summer 2020. And last fall, the Rotarians opened their newest Little Free Library in front of the playground in Field Day Park. “Guests can read a book while their children play on the swings or while they’re waiting for a sporting event to begin,” says Anne. “And they can have a seat on the bench right nearby – one donated to the park by the Lake Wylie Rotary Club.”

How it works

Little Free Libraries operate on a simple honor system. A primary caretaker, called the steward, builds the library in an approved location. Some stewards construct Little Free Libraries on their own property. A new library may require formal permission from a homeowner’s association. In some instances, a prospective steward must get the go-ahead from the local public property owner or gov-

Above: Rotarians installing Little Free Library at Field Day Park. (Photo/Lake Wylie Rotary Club) Right: Girl Scouts build a Little Free Library in Davis Park, Belmont. (Photo/Gaston Gazette)

ernment agency. The structure is longest-lasting — and safest for books — when it’s waterproof, thereby avoiding condensation and damage to both hardbacks and paperbacks. Many libraries are made from wood and sealed with stain or paint, but others have been created from converted microwaves, repurposed newspaper vending machines, rehabbed nightstands, even former file cabinets or school lockers. It’s not uncommon for a steward to find a perfect library-to-be at Goodwill or on Craigslist in an old piece of furniture that can be transformed with just a bit of ingenuity and elbow grease. The Little Free Library organization Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Feature

Little Free Library across from Allison Creek Presbyterian Church.

Little Free Library at Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, Lake Wylie.

Little Free Library on the playground at Bethel Elementary School. (Photos/Kathy Widenhouse)

(www.littlefreelibrary.org) also offers building kits for purchase for would-be stewards who prefer an all-in-one project. Stewards take care of the library’s basic maintenance and are encouraged to register their new Little Free Library with the originating nonprofit’s worldwide network. This way, the library is listed on a finder map for visitors to locate. Then, a registered library can post a charter sign on its exterior, naming its builders, sponsors, and related organizations. Once the library structure is completed, the steward stocks it with purchased or donated books. Some libraries also include a notebook for comments. When the library “opens,” anyone may contribute or take books. You do not need to share a book in order to take one, although you are encouraged to do – or share a book in another little library in your area when you can. An active little library’s contents change from day to day and week to week as visitors borrow, donate, return, exchange, and contribute books.

“At that point, Lake Wylie had few parks or outdoor areas. By building a Little Free Library at a public school, I could encourage people to get outside and give them more access to books.” Once the library opened, residents used it regularly both when the school was open and when it wasn’t. And children often checked the box for books during recess hours. A Clover LEAF grant provided resources for Building and Construction classes at Clover High School to build three Little Free Libraries. The Clover High School Cross Country team joined up with the young builders to paint and load the libraries, now scattered across the town of Clover. Meanwhile, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (Rock Hill chapter) installed a Little Free Library in Clover’s Roosevelt Park as part of its safe playground initiative. Even local residents like Jennifer Brewster, have embraced the book-sharing movement by installing a little library in their local neighborhood — in Jennifer’s case, in the Patrick Place community. Internationally, Little Free Libraries became sharing centers during the pandemic as stewards installed collection boxes near their library structures. There, community members could deposit food, personal care, and household items to offer to neighbors in need. Here at home, “The libraries have been well-utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic because people of all ages were looking for a good book to read during isolation,” says Anne Violante. “There is nothing more rewarding than

watching a child open the library door, choose a book, and tuck it under their arm as they walk away with excited anticipation.” That’s the kind of response that Little Free Libraries receive not just in Lake Wylie but around the world. It’s an excitement for books and for reading that began with one man’s wood scraps … and the simple encouragement to “Take a book and leave a book.” LW

Local stewards embrace the movement

Others in Lake Wylie have joined the Lake Wylie Rotary Club in embracing the book-sharing movement. In 2016, John Mark Trainer built a Little Free Library as his Eagle Scout Project, positioning it on the Bethel Elementary School playground. “I saw a need for local residents to get outside more and to read more,” says John Mark. 44

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

Borrow a Book Down the Block Check out these local Little Free Libraries and find more nearby when you visit www. littlefreelibraries.org.

Clover School District Community YMCA 5485 Charlotte Highway, Lake Wylie Good Samaritan United Methodist Church 5220 Crowders Cove Road, Lake Wylie The Landing (by the pool) Neighborhood off of Route 49, Lake Wylie Autumn Cove (by the pool) Neighborhood off of Route 49, Lake Wylie Field Day Park at Lake Wylie (by the playground) 1101 Field Day Lane, Lake Wylie Bethel Elementary School 6000 Highway 55 East, Clover, SC


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Feature

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Expert advice on physical, emotional, financial fitness

Growth and potential in 2021 Jason Channell, Channell Consulting Group

H

ave you ever read a great book, or attended a powerful seminar or workshop, only to find that a few weeks down the road nothing had changed? I’ve experienced this personally more time than I’d like to admit.  Many studies have concluded that personal development is directly linked to achieving high levels of success in life, family, and business.  Successful people learn to prioritize personal growth and development.  They possess an understanding that their quality of life, relationships, and business will never outgrow their thinking.  They are willing to put their time, money, and resources where their  potential is.   Jim Rohn asserted, “If you work hard at your job you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself you can make a fortune.”  Making a fortune is not always the goal.  I know it is not mine.  But how about reaching your full potential, or becoming the

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

person you are intended to be? Or living a fuller life?  The requirements are the same.  You must grow.  I believe that most people carry forward a childhood reality deep into their adult lives that is no longer valid.  As children we grew each year becoming taller, stronger, and smarter simply with time.  As adults we are not afforded that same luxury, yet many still approach personal growth and development with this false belief.  That they will continue growing and developing simply with time.   Unfortunately, this belief causes many to fall short of reaching their full potential in life, not achieving the deep desires of their heart.  As world renowned coach Christian Simpson says, “Life doesn’t give you what you want, it gives you who you are.”  Growth  always  comes from a  process.  Is 2021 your year?


Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

Financial Fitness Post-Pandemic Angela Sloan, Sloan Financial Group, LLC 

H  

opefully 2021 will bring an end to the health crisis of 2020. Even if it does, the lingering effects will be felt by many. One area that might take longer to recover is your financial health. Some were harder hit than others, but most of us will emerge with a new view toward managing money. So, what lessons have we learned and what can we do to keep our finances on track going forward?   

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Benefit from the new normal

Many found themselves working from home, and many are still at home. We might find this to be part of our new normal. One of the things we have heard is the amount of money people saved by not going to the office. Things like gas money, specialty coffee, restaurant lunch money, dry cleaning and day care are at the top of the list. If your new normal actually allows for saving on what use to be regular expense, SAVE IT! Many went into this without the recommended three-to-sixmonth emergency fund. Take this as an opportunity to make sure you have one. If your emergency fund is already in place, open or add to an investment account.  

Stop keeping up with the Joneses

If this was you, and you were in the group affected financially by the pandemic, you’ve probably already recognized the perils that come with trying to keep up with those around you. If you’re still trying, please stop. Living within your means, and saving for emergencies, will most likely provide a more rewarding lifestyle long-term.  

Give back to your community

If you’ve made it through and are financially sound then support small businesses, donate to your local food bank, and do your part to support those hit the hardest by the financial crisis. While this will not actually improve your net worth, it will make a big difference to those around you and help improve your emotional well-being. Yes, this past year has taught us some lessons. As we move forward into a post-pandemic era, let’s remember the lessons learned and look to the future with a better focus on financial fitness.

Dr. Chad Vanourny | Dr. Britany Baker

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Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

Staying healthy during the pandemic Larry Meek, Lake Wylie Pharmacy

T

he coronavirus pandemic has been a scary time for everyone, but rest assured there are ways to keep you and your family safe and healthy at home. Several vitamins and supplements found at your local pharmacy can help your immune system fight infection, and the pharmacy staff members are easily accessible sources of knowledge on ways to stay healthy year round. The supplements particularly effective in combatting COVID-19 include Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and our local Elderberry & Honey Tonic. Zinc has been shown to decrease incidence of respiratory infections. While it can be found in your diet, supplementing with Zinc is important to boost your immune system, increase metabolism, and improve wound healing. Women should take 8mg by mouth daily and men should take 11mg by mouth daily. It is important not to exceed take the recommended amount as Zinc can accumulate in the body. Vitamin C,

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

also known as ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that helps limit inflammation and prevent or slow tissue damage. Women should take 75mg by mouth daily and men should take 90mg by mouth daily. Vitamin D3 lowers the risk of developing respiratory tract infections and limits cold-like symptoms. Both women and men should take 600IU by mouth daily.

Our local Elderberry & Honey Tonic can also be taken to fight infection and is unique because it contains 12 immune boosting ingredients compared to more common Elderberry syrups that only contain four to five ingredients. Our Elderberry & Honey Tonic includes Elderberries, Turmeric, Rose Hips, Garlic, Echinacea, Elderflower, Honey, Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, Astragalus and Hibiscus. The benefits of this tonic include boosting the immune system, improving respiratory health, aiding in digestion, decreasing inflammation, alleviating allergies, and relieving cough and sore throat. Adults and children should take one tablespoonful by mouth daily for prevention of illness or one tablespoonful every two hours if ill. The staff at Lake Wylie Pharmacy are dedicated to you and your family’s health and are available to assist with any questions to help you stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

Five ways to spring clean your health routine David Redding, Lake Wylie Wellness and Chiropractic Center

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onger days, warmer weather and fresh starts are the hallmark of spring. Many find this season to be a motivator for change, which tends to reenergize us and inspire action.

Spring cleaning

Boost your immunity

In the midst of the coronavirus, it has never been more important to be in good health. (Our office is strictly adhering to all the guidelines set forth by the CDC in regards to the coronavirus). Along with proper supple-

mentation, chiropractic care has proven to be beneficial for the immune system. Treat spring as a fresh start with these tips. Rediscover health and wellness with the onset of more sunlight and blooming flowers. Happy Spring! LW

We are sure you’ve been anticipating a thorough house/garage cleaning after the winter months have concluded. While this may seem as a laborious chore, tidying up your living space will make your home and mind feel clearer. Just as organizing your home will make spaces feel larger and cleaner, this act will have a similar effect on your mental health.

Go green

Have you been surviving on soups and comfort food this winter? Try swapping these out for lighter foods dishes that better reflect the new season like salads or fish. Spring is the time to get your seeds planted and start growing some produce. Even if you only have a patio or deck, you can create a pot or growing box of vegetables and produce some of your own vegetables. Studies show that people who home garden are happier and eat more healthfully. You can start with a tomato plant, basil, parsley, greens, carrots, zucchini or radishes. A variety of veggies in the diet is shown to bolster gut health.

Get out

Some people find their exercise routines easier to stick to in March, April and May. Go for a run, a bike ride or play some pickleball. Come spring, most of us are in a vitamin D deficit. It’s smart to get a small amount of unprotected sun exposure — say 10 minutes a day — in order to let your body produce the vitamin. Vitamin D is linked to helping prevent everything from osteoporosis, to heart disease and cancer. And no one can argue that sunshine just makes you feel awesome.

Be mindful

Spring is a great time to begin a new mindfulness exercise. Consider a quiet activity on which you can focus your mind solely, such as art, yoga or journaling.

Happiness Is A New Furry Family Member Schedule an appointment for your kitten or puppy’s first wellness visit Follow an individualized vaccination and parasite control protocol Protect your pet with microchip identification

STEELE CREEK

Animal Hospital

Choose the best pet insurance policy for your pet and budget Enjoy love and snuggles for a very long time

704-588-4400

&

Companion Animal Rehabilitation Center

9729 South Tryon St. l Charlotte l KeepingPetsHealthy.com Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Development Update

Another home being built on a large lot in one of our area’s new eco-friendly developments.

2020 market boomed By Drew Choate

Z

ipping down the lake in a boat on a warm spring day, watching the water sparkle in the sun, it is easy to see why Lake Wylie is one of the fastest growing communities in the area. In spite of the pandemic, or maybe because of it, Lake Wylie’s real estate market broke records in 2020. Waterfront homes reached an all-time high of 171 sales in 2020, an 20% increase over the year before. The average waterfront home price rose to just over $800,000, and there was a large increase in luxury home sales, with 43 homes on the lake selling for $1 million or more — a whopping 72% increase over the year before. “River cabins,” older properties with small structures designed for weekend or secondary use, posted strong sales as well, with the av-

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

erage price climbing to just under $450,000. Some of these properties have been extensively renovated, modernized with new flooring, air conditioning, updated kitchen and baths — ideal for buyers who want a place to get away and relax. Others sold for land value with the buyer’s intention to remove the structure and build a primary home. Off the water in Lake Wylie, sales were also strong, with a 7% increase in number of homes sold and an average price increase of 9% per square foot. Price increases were driven by old fashioned economics: demand increased, and supply decreased. Supply (number of listings) averaged about 25% less than “normal” off the water, and waterfront listings were down over 40% in comparison to previous year.

Nationwide, housing starts approached pre-pandemic levels and home prices rose 7% over the prior year. Record low mortgage rates spurred the market, and urban dwellers began to move to rural locations, where their housing money could generally stretch a little farther. With telecommuting becoming more of the norm — even post-pandemic, the working force has more flexibility in where they can live, especially if they have to go into the office on a more infrequent basis. In Lake Wylie, new construction sales represented about 20% of the total in York County, down a few percentage points from previous years. With people staying at home during the pandemic, demand for construction materials increased for home improvement projects. New construction costs increased due




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Development Update

Luxury homes such as this one reached record sales numbers in 2020.

Homes off the water, such as this one, sold on average for around $450,000.

Cabin-type properties, especially in move-in ready condition, performed strongly in 2020.

to tightened supply of construction materials and disruptions in the supply chain. Yet the greatest increase in average price was for established homes. During the pandemic, sellers in our area tended to delay listing their homes, either due to uncertainty about the times or as a result of the workforce pivoting to telecommuting, pausing the need to relocate in some cases. Around Lake Wylie, new neighborhoods such as Cypress Point, Paddler’s Cove, Lake Crest and Camburn represented a significant portion of sales. Established neighborhoods including Bethelfields, Forest Oaks, Kings Grove and Mill Creek Falls had sales increases as well as prices inching up by 5% or so. River Hills average home price increased by 10%, and 2020 home sales outpaced the previous year by 50%. With buyers looking for more space, May Green Properties had a successful year selling acre-plus homesites in the Clover School District, in their new developments including Sanders Landing in southwest Clover, and Shepherds Trace, across from Clover Middle School. The developer noted that the availability of fiber network — particularly important for

Spring Clean Out! Now taking donations ONLY at our Warehouse located at 145 Blackburn Street in York. Clean out your closets and donate to a great cause – did you know that by donating to Tender Hearts Thrift Stores you are helping 21 other non-profits though the program “Corners of Your Field?"

We have a wide variety of active programs right now! Please visit our website to learn more about us.

Please use our website www.tenderheartsinyork.org

Tender Hearts Ministries and Thrift Stores Located in Clover, Rock Hill, and York

Tender Hearts is a 501c3 not-for-profit so all donations are tax-deducible.

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

803-684-3131 | www.tenderheartsinyork.org Check us out on Facebook.


Development Update people working or schooling from home — as well as low interest rates had a positive impact on sales in these quiet, eco-friendly developments. Lake Wylie’s real estate market entered the new year with plenty of momentum, with a large number of properties under contract in what is typically the slowest sales season of the year. New listings that are priced right and are “move-in-ready” continue to sell quickly. The expertise of an experienced Realtor can help sellers determine what repairs and updates may ensure a quick sale, as well as the optimum asking price. Buyers should be pre-qualified for financing and ready to act quickly. A realtor who specializes in the neighborhood or market (e.g. waterfront, starter home, executive home, etc.) can help potential buyers obtain the best value for their budget. LW Drew Choate and The Lake Wylie Man Team, affiliated with Keller Williams Realty, has sold the most waterfront property on Lake Wylie each year for over a decade. More market sales information for Lake Wylie is available on his website, TheLakeWylieMan.com.

Clover Area Assistance Center

Lake Wylie & Clover Residents Support “Keep It Local” Concept For over five years, CAAC’s “Keep It Local! Feed the Need in OUR Community” campaign has been dedicated to increasing public awareness of the importance of utilizing local resources to improve the lives of residents living within the boundaries of the Clover School District. During this time of challenges and uncertainty, we are grateful to our local community for keeping it local and responding with a unity and generosity that has lightened the burdens of our neighbors in need right here in Clover and Lake Wylie. Food needs are ongoing, and donations of the following are always welcomed: Boxed cereal, pasta sauce, canned meats and seafood, tomato products, peanut butter, TP, and toiletries (bar soap, shampoo, toothpaste). Donations accepted Monday 8-4, Wednesday 8-5, Thursday 8-3, or by appointment.

To make a donation, volunteer, or find out about how to get help, call or visit:

803.222.4837

1130 Highway 55 East | Clover, SC 29710 www.CloverAreaAssistance.org Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

53


Spotlight News of the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce

Spring 2021

Members on the Move

D

uring the past few months there have been many changes and updates with many of our area businesses. Papa Doc’s Shore Club adapted to better serve its customers by adding an expanded outdoor picnic area with tables and a beverage and pick up area for take out food. In addition, Papa Doc’s has take out service at its docks. Boaters can order by app and server will deliver the take out order to the boat at the docks. The restaurant is offering normal dining with social distancing inside the restaurant. Lake Wylie Italian and Pizza adapted to better serve their customers by making numbered parking places where customers can call in their order and within about 15 minutes can pick up take out food. Also outdoor tables safely spaced along with lighting and ambience was created so in mild weather customers can safely dine outside. Normal delivery service continues and is very popular. YMCA Camp Thunderbird adapted for Jackson's Kitchen offers freshly made breads, pies, ready-made meals and more. summer camp last summer and then adapted again to offer a safe place for Day Care and virtual learning for children K-6th grade. The 106-acre camp with large buildings and open air shelters have been adapted for children to enjoy the best of both worlds with support for virtual learning and beautiful recreation areas for recess. The program was especially designed to help first responder families, teachers and essential workers first, and then the program is open to all. There are also overnight camps and many special offerings this year. In addition, a year round equestrian program has been added. Copper Premium Pub located on HighRiver Hills Country Club adapted with lots of golf and safe social distancing. way 49 has also adapted and expanded their 54

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021


Spotlight

Lake Wylie Field Day Park VIP Preview with the park committee and York County leaders.

patio and outdoor dining area to offer diners safe outdoor dining options with heaters and covered outdoor areas. In addition the chef has expanded the menu options and daily specials with take out dining made easy. Across the road, Lily’s Bistro has also adapted to expand outdoor dining and provide a variety of options for family take out. Regular specials are posted on their Facebook. Social distanced indoor dining and a varied selection for safe dining are offered. In River Hills, River Hills Country Club and its award-winning chef adapted to offer members take out dining with drive through pick up service in front of the club at the portico. Daily specials are offered so diners can order early and simply drive through and pick up dinner. The turn shack also offers sandwiches, soups and lighter fare. River Hills Country Club has also adapted for golfers to safely social distance and be able to get outside to get some fresh air and exercise. Rules have been relaxed to allow for hand cart and extended evening hours when days get warmer and longer. Tennis and pickleball courts have also been adapted to safety standards. With milder spring weather, these are sure to be some welcome and popular ac-

tivities. With warmer and longer days on the horizon, River Hills Marina Picnic Shelter will be great location for people to gather when safety guidelines allow. The outdoor, lakeside open air pavilion with picnic tables, ceiling fans and restrooms can be reserved for a fair price. The chamber is looking forward to being able to have Business After Hours at this great location as soon as we can safely gather. Vision it. Lee’s Hoagie’s adapted, providing curbside take out service and deliveries to the whole area. Whether it is hoagies or deluxe trays for a group, Lee’s Hoagie will deliver everything you order to your home or business. Christopher’s, located behind Allen Tate Realty, adapted and serves take out and has outdoor patio dining in mild weather. Also, Christopher goes mobile with his delicious BBQ and ribs. During the shut- down and on many holidays and weekends Christopher’s sets up a mobile location with ribs, BBQ and trimmings. Christopher’s Facebook page will give updates for spring and summer. Lake Wylie Liquors, quickly adapted for the pandemic by bringing in more inventory and adapting to safety standards. All kidding

aside, in good times and bad, many people enjoy a cocktail and this year with many being home so much, Lake Wylie Liquors made sure to have varied and ample selections on hand. LWL has utilized their Facebook pages to post specials, new offerings and festive recipes. Lake Wylie Pharmacy adapted to make it easy to pick up prescriptions or over the counter needs at their drive up window as well as offer FREE delivery. For many, having prescriptions and OTC needs delivered during a pandemic is a priceless service. Larry Meek and his team offer personalized service and are a great local support team, whether we have a cold or just have questions about available OTC meds. They also carry a full assortment of elderberry syrup and natural remedy products. Revel Color Studio and Salon also quickly adapted by extending hours to allow for hair appointments and to social distance and follow safety guidelines. They also offer product curbside pickup; if anyone needs hair products, they can call the salon and order and pick up curbside minutes later. Carolina Trust Bank became United Bank on May 1, 2021. Located on the corner Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Spotlight

Lake Wylie 7-Eleven Ribbon Cutting

Lake Wylie Business Centre has two available parcels ready to build for businesses.

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

of Highways 49, 274 and 557 in the original Clover Community Bank has blossomed and grown and merged and has now become United Bank. It is the same great team and service at the local branch with a new name. Publix adapted and added grocery deliver service at a nominal fee and gratuity. And what a super service to do online grocery shopping and within 2 hours the groceries are delivered to your front door. Whether during a pandemic or if we don’t feel well or just don’t want to go to the grocery store, this is a wonderful service and huge help to many. Wal-Mart added online grocery shopping with no-contact pick up at the store. What a huge help to a busy mom with young children or for anyone who does not want to go into the stores. Wal-Mart has a large assortment of groceries, cleaning products and household items that can be secured easily without getting out of your car. Lowe’s also adapted and offered curbside service during the COVID-19 shutdown in spring. Online ordering can be done easily and pick up is available at the service counter. Lowe’s continues to offer a huge selection of products that can be easily accessed locally. Springtime is here and the garden section is fully stocked making it easy to social distance, mask up and get plants and gardening items to enjoy a safe outdoor spruce up. The garden section has been extremely popular with so many enjoying their decks and patios while home so much. A new 7-Eleven opened on the corner of Lake Wylie Road, Highway 274 and Highway 55. A ribbon cutting was held in November with Clover and Lake Wylie Chambers of Commerce with our guest, Congressman Ralph Norman, also welcoming this new business to our area. 7-Eleven features freshly baked goods, sandwiches, snacks and beverages along with gasoline, of course. 7-Eleven also presented the principal of Crowders Creek School with a check to help with extra supplies. May Green Properties has created several lovely developments that have large and beautiful wooded lots in well-planned neighborhoods. Sanders Landing. located off of Lawrence Road, offers 1-2 acre tracts in a wellplanned development. Sheperds Trace, located off Lawrence Road, offers 1-2 acre tracts on beautiful wooded land. Magnolia is the newest development and all are in the Clover School District. Photos and updates are at www.maygreenllc.com.


Spotlight

JOIN THE LAKE WYLIE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE...

AND GET THE EDGE ON BUSINESS!

Spotlight

THE LAKE WYLIE CHAMBER HAS JOINED FORCES WITH LOCAL CHAMBER BOOST AND MAKARA MARKETING TO HELP OUR MEMBERS LEARN HOW TO ESTABLISH THEIR ONLINE BUSINESS PRESENCE!

FREE VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS FOR CHAMBER MEMBERS! Learn Highly Effective Digital Marketing Strategies Designed To Get Your Business Found On Google By Local Consumers!

TOPICS COVERED: Easily get Google Reviews for your biz Google My Business setup and optimization Google and Facebook posting Effective Video Marketing

Susan Bromfield feels this is a great FREE benefit for the Lake Wylie Chamber members! Call to see what you're missing, and to reserve your Virtual seat!

Call (803) 831-2827

SAVE YOUR BUSINESS FROM COMMITTING RANDOMSpring ACTS MARKETING! 2021OF | Lake Wylie Today 57


Spotlight

Carolina Trust Bank became United Bank with the same great team.

Above: YMCA Camp Thunderbird is offering new programs to align with safety protocols made necessary by the pandemic. Left: Susan Bromfield displays the award the Lake Wylie Chamber received from Local Chamber Boost for being one of three chambers in the U.S. to receive 100 online reviews and all 5 stars.

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

Lake Wylie Field Day Park grand opening was held on October 31, 2020. The 32-acre athletic complex, located at Paddlers Cove subdivision, features many amenities providing numerous opportunities for individuals and families, as well as team sports. There is also a team building, playground area, baseball/soccer fields, three synthetic fields, six pickleball courts, two shelters, scorer tower, and walking trails, located at 1101 Field Day Lane, Lake Wylie, SC 29710. Lake Wylie Dog Park and Land Acquisition was an initiative and special tax district that was passed by voters in November. This initiative intends to secure land and create a dog park and areas for farmers markets and other community activities. Land can also be donated, which would preserve land and give land owner a tax break while at the same time insuring the land will not be developed. A local board is being established to oversee the initiative and dog park. Land has been donated to create the dog park. The special tax is to be implemented in 2021. More news and info will be provided in future issues. Lake Wylie Business Centre, located at the end of Latitude Lane has two parcels of land ready to build two 5,000-7,000 sq. ft. buildings within the office condo complex. The area is zoned for business/office complex. It is ideal for offices, law practice, physical therapy or other wellness type business, investment business or almost anything else in this thriving complex where Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce is located. Contact chamber for more info. Jackson’s Kitchen, located in Clover, adapted to offer freshly baked bread and banana bread, prepared meals that just need to be heated at mealtime, chicken salad and freshly baked pies, and more. Since so many are working at home, helping kids with virtual learning and busy adapting to new circumstances, Jackson’s offers many “homemade” meals and ready-made food. Watch their Facebook page for daily specials and updates. This are just a sampling of our members and how they have adapted, have updates or news. If your business has news or updates, please let us know so we can include in a future issue of Lake Wylie Today. E-mail: lakewyliechamber@ yahoo.com. Please support our local businesses. It is more important than ever. Lake Wylie Chamber means business!


Spotlight

Remembering

Don Long O

ur friend, neighbor and Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce Board Member Donald G. Long passed away November 17, 2020 at his home in Lake Wylie, SC. Don moved to Lake Wylie in 1989 and retired from IBM after a 32-year career where he was a project manager working closely with the banking industry. He helped to pioneer the modern -day credit card and helped to develop and introduce the first group of IBM teller machines that evolved into the present day ATM. He experimented with the early on-line banking innovations and traveled the world making presentations to the banking industry. Don’s two passions were collecting and community service. His collections were diverse; from all things IBM to classic cars, cherry pitters, music recording

devices, sports and political memorabilia. Once an interest caught his attention, he followed it with single-minded determination—from its evolution and changing intricacies, to its cultural significance. He loved his community & served it well. From President of River Hills Community Association & Country Club to River Hills Community Church Trustee. In 2018, the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce honored him with its first ever Legacy Award for dedication and contributions to the community. Don served on the chamber board for more than 25 years actively contributing to many efforts including a founder of the Lake Wylie Civic Association. Don worked to have the county establish The Lake Wylie Overlay Ordinance which gave guidance for signage,

buffer zones and plantings. He worked to get the Lake Wylie beautification grants which led to the planting of trees along Highway 49, addition of sidewalks, bike path and having flag poles and signage at the entrance to Lake Wylie by the bridge and other entrances at the corners of Highway 49, 274, and 55. Don was instrumental in working for the chamber to have a permanent location for the chamber to establish a Lake Wylie Visitor Center and Small Business Center. If there was a community or chamber need, we could count on Don to work diligently to get results and help others. Don was involved and engaged with many community efforts for nearly 3 decades at Lake Wylie. We have many wonderful memories together with Don and his wife Peggy. We will miss him dearly. Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Spotlight

Holiday Boat Parade

The show went on ... safely and socially distanced

O

n a chilly December evening during a pandemic year to the delight of all, Lake Wylie lit up with Santas, Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, elves, Minions, Christmas trees, airplane, Snoopy, pirates, the Grinch and the Who’s and lights and more lights, OH MY! Decorated boats came to Papa Doc’s from every direction. The docks filled up and the boats kept coming and had to remain on the lake waiting for the parade lineup. There were big boats, houseboats, pontoons, cruisers, fishing boats and boats of all sizes; definitely a challenge for a nighttime parade and visibility on the lake. The night sky was perfect for the parade and the cool temperature was just right. A special thanks to the York County Sheriff lake patrol and Mecklenburg County Police Boat for all their help and support with safety and assisting with the lineup of the exceptional turnout. As 2020 continued on with the pandemic and safety concerns, The Lake Wylie Chamber was uncertain if it could even have the Holiday Boat parade safely. By November, thinking if five or six boats signed up we could have a little festivity for families and kids to safely enjoy from the shoreline and from Papa Doc’s. When more than two dozen boats pre-registered the week leading up to the parade, we knew we had enough. This year’s Lake Wylie Lights on the Lake Holiday Boat Parade was exceptional and the

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Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

THANK YOU TO SPONSORS OF THE HOLIDAY BOAT PARADE Atrium Health Comporium York County Natural Gas and Papa Doc’s Shore Club Photos by Dana Sipper Dana Sipper Photography hit of the season with folks of all ages. More than 50 decorated and well-lit boats came from all parts of the lake, lighting up the lake for the delight of those fortunate enough to live on the lake and able to look out their windows. There were more boats than could fit at Papa Doc’s docks. The parade took about two hours slowing traveling north hugging the shoreline and crossing the lake to head south under the bridge, and passed the Red Fez and across to River Hills, then along by Camp Thunderbird and back to Papa Doc’s.

Some would say we made lemonade out of lemons this holiday season when folks could not safely gather and nearly all holiday events and gatherings were canceled. The event was the festive highlight of the season on Lake Wylie. It safely brought people out of their homes to watch the parade socially distanced and it allowed families to plan and decorate their boats to have a fun and festive evening together during the pandemic. It also helped our local restaurants and businesses as many people ordered take-out meals to either eat while watching the parade or to take home after. Papa Doc’s offered a nice take-out menu with selections for our boaters at the docks to order via cellphone app and then meals were safely delivered to the boats by servers wearing masks. Meals were also delivered to picnic tables socially distanced along the shoreline. The Lake Wylie Chamber thanks all those who came out, decorated their boats with great themes, lots of lights and imagination. The Chamber also thanks Papa Doc’s for hosting the parade and for all who helped, sponsored, adapted and supported our efforts to safely have the parade during a pandemic year. We especially appreciate the care taken to socially distance, organize safely and for all to adapt to new circumstances. We look forward to the 2021 parade.


Spotlight

1st

First Place: “The Great Snowman” – The Michael Hurst Family

2nd

3rd

Second Place: “Let’s Light it Up” – Laura Sample and family

MOST

CREATIVE

Most Creative: “Nightmare Before Christmas” – Karina Snyder

Third Place: “Despicable Me” – Holiday Minions – Ugly Sweater – Betsy Mapes Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Spotlight

Welcome New Members

October 17, 2020 – February 15, 2021 Insurance American National Insurance Craig Hudson 264 Latitude Lane Suite 102 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-448-8099 craig.hudson@americannational.com

Resort, Cabins and Marina Long Cove Resort & Marina Gina LaBlanc 14629 Rain Barrel Road Charlotte, NC 28278 704-588-1467 info@longcoveresort.com longcoveresort.com

Digital Marketing Brave River Solutions Justin Marshall 120 Academy Street, Fort Mill, SC 29715 864-339-9207 jmarshall@braveriver.com www.braveriver.com

Electrician Fox Electrical, LLC James Fox 1668 Glenway Road Clover, SC 29710 704-972-4318 foxelectricalllc@outlook.com

Digital Marketing Lateral Reach Chris Carnes 2628 Cozy Cove Drive York, SC 29745 317-201-2114 marketing@lateralreach.com www.lateralreach.com

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Convenience Store 7-Eleven Vic Giroux 5990 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-75887

Banking Truliant Federal Credit Union Michelle Gordon 14154 Steele Creek Drive Charlotte, NC 28273 704-522-1955

Website Design and Digital Marketing YB Design Yesim Bozoklu 264 Latitude Lane, Suite 101-A Lake Wylie, SC 29710 ybozoklu@hotmail.com ybdesign.net

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

Renewing Members investing in the chamber October 17, 2020 – February 15, 2021 Businesses AAA of the Carolinas Caromont Health Clover Area Assistance Center Comporium D&D Sanitation Dock Master Edward Jones - Ryan Brockington Elite Eco Clean Foresight Property Solutions Fred Caldwell Chevrolet Habitat For Humanity Kasby’s Lake Wylie Athletic Association Lake Wylie Business Centre Lake Wylie Family Chiropractic Lake Wylie Pediatric Dentistry Lake Wylie Pet Resort Lake Wylie Travel McSpadden Custom Homes Midgard Self Storage Portable Restroom Trailers LLC Quality Interiors of the Carolinas Restore Mobility For The Blind Revel Color Studio and Salon River Hills Community Association River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Club Scholarship Gold Steele Creek Dermatology Totalbond Veterinary Hospital VFW-American Legion WaterJack Marine Construction LLC York Technical College

Individual Members Andy Kane Sandee Wilkerson


Spotlight Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce 2021 Board of Directors Jeff Ledford - Chairman

Business Suite Now Available For Rent

Charles Wood - Past Chairman Susan Bromfield - President Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce Matthew Mugavero - Vice Chairman Lake Wylie Liquors Donna Bordeaux - Secretary Calculated Moves, PA Michaelyn Sherrill - Treasurer Home Companions Fred Caldwell, Fred Caldwell Chevrolet Jane DuBois, Lake Wylie Today Kim Conway, YMCA Camp Thunderbird Allan Gregory, K. A. Gregory Wealth Management Ed Lindsey, Rotary Club of Lake Wylie

Everything A Small Business Needs At Reasonable Rates!

Angel Neelands, United Bank Stephen Nishimuta, Carolina Family Dentistry Sheila Quinn, Clover School District Ed Stewart, ML Ford and Sons

P.O. Box 5233 264 Latitude Lane, Suite 101, Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-2827 | Fax: 803-831-2460 lakewyliechamber@yahoo.com | www.lakewyliesc.com

2021 Chamber Champion Gold Member

Fully and Beautifully Furnished Rental Office New Professional Business Center Includes High Speed Internet and WiFi Includes All Utilities Except Telephone Includes Reception Area & Mail Service Large Office Ample Parking Prime Lake Wylie Business Location Convenient Location Easy Access Save Fuel and Work Close to Home Includes Hospitality Area

Located at Lake Wylie Business Center 264 Latitude Lane Lake Wylie, SC

For information or tour, call Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce (803) 831-2827. Spring 2021 | Lake Wylie Today

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Spotlight

Summer Celebration! Lake Wylie Community Fireworks Sunday, the 4th of July

What: Fantastic Fireworks Display When: Sunday, July 4, 2021 Time: Dusk – approximately 9:30 pm Where: Lake Wylie by the Buster Boyd Bridge S.C. Hwy 49 at Lake Wylie Best Viewing: The Buster Boyd Bridge Boat Landing Papa Doc’s Shore Club on outside deck Rey Azteca deck at Lake Wylie Plaza Lake Wylie Italian and Pizza on patio at Lake Wylie Plaza Bagel Boat Long Cove Resort

We all enjoy the fireworks each year. Since Lake Wylie Community Fireworks Display is funded solely through donations, your support of this wonderful event is really needed in order for the event to continue. Please send your contribution in any amount now to: Camp Thunderbird Fireworks Fund One Thunderbird Lane Lake Wylie, SC 29710

Thanks very much for your support! 64

Lake Wylie Today | Spring 2021

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