New park, more access
Allison Creek Park expands accessibility to Lake Wylie
Wine lovers can sip near home at 3 area craft wineries
Running after dreams
Robert McBee fulfills long-delayed goal of becoming a top runner
New park, more access
Allison Creek Park expands accessibility to Lake Wylie
Wine lovers can sip near home at 3 area craft wineries
Robert McBee fulfills long-delayed goal of becoming a top runner
Everyone loves a nice vacation. A chance to get away and relax is needed. Of course a great vacation requires a certain amount of planning. Planning for retirement also requires a great deal of planning. Right now it might look like retirement is a long way in the future, however, we have learned that time moves faster than you think.
At Baker Wealth Management, we assist our clients in planning for retirement so they can spend their time planning memorable vacations, family activities, improving health and much more.
We’ve been doing this for over 20 years and would love to talk with you about your plans.
Summertime is here once again. We are fortunate to live on a lake and be surrounded with beauty and many fun things to do.
How fun to have a terrific amusement park down the road and for nature lovers, Kings Mountain with its trails, lakes, campgrounds and history is a half hour away for a weekend outing. It is just 2 hours to the mountains and a little over 3 hours to the beach. And right here water sports, parks and trails afford many recreational opportunities. There is history, agritourism and plenty to do and see all summer long - right here.
At Lake Wylie it has been a very busy year with many new projects, new businesses, renovations and opportunities. MarineMax has a new showroom, Papa Doc’s has expanded its outside dining options and takeout at the docks, and Camp Thunderbird is adding a new building and is hosting a variety of community days in 2023.
Down the road CaroMont Healthcare is building a new medical facility offering a variety of medical options. Planet Fitness will open this summer offering a new fitness option. WalMart is renovating and updating to meet the
demands and desires of its customers. Land is being cleared for a new assisted living facility to be built this year. And many more projects are in the works. A growing residential community provides the needed data for investors to create and open new businesses. See more on residential and commercial real estate starting on page 50.
A growing community brings along many challenges and also many opportunities. Since Lake Wylie is a census designated area and not a city, it is up to the York County to have the zoning and ordinances in place to guide the growth, enforce the buffer zone requirements, require ample landscaping to make the commercial area look attractive and also to plan the interconnectivity for traffic flow as the new projects are approved.
The Chamber meets with many new investors and business people looking to relocate to our area and it strives to make a positive first impression in its attractive visitor center and to encourage investors to invest in high quality projects. Investors have the right to buy a property and follow the planning and zoning ordinances and requirements of York County. It is up to York County to require high standards
and guide a practical plan for how the area develops. Saying no to businesses is not a viable plan. A healthy community needs to grow and offer its residents local shopping, restaurants and services.
This issue of Lake Wylie Today highlights summer at the lake and has local stories and photos that feature the local area. A highlight of summertime is July 4th and the Lake Wylie Community Fireworks display. Each year it takes contributions from local residents and businesses to fund the show. This year is no different and your contributions are needed in order for the long tradition to continue. Please remember to send your contribution to Camp Thunderbird Fireworks Fund, One Thunderbird Lane, Lake Wylie, SC 29710.
Summertime is a time to slow down and enjoy some leisure and recreation with friends and family. Our area is rich in opportunities for outings, entertainment, recreation and nature exploration. No matter what you choose to do this summer, we hope you will have a wonderful and safe summer while making some fun memories that can last a lifetime.
WATERFRONT homesite with picturesque views, mature trees, +/- 480ft. of natural shoreline, and a gentle sloping yard for easy access to the lake.
The Rotary Club of Lake Wylie has been actively supporting the Lake Wylie and York County community. In January, grant funds were provided to Early Learning Partnership and the York County Library - Lake Wylie Branch. Hundreds of books for the youth of our area were purchased by these organizations.
Prior to the books getting into the Early Learning Partnership, Reach Out & Read program and the five Little Free Libraries supported by the Rotary Club of Lake Wylie, these books were labelled by Rotarians and members of the Clover High School Interact Club.
The Lake Wylie Branch of the York County Library purchased over 75 hardcover books, 32 of which are Wonder books (these books include an integral audio program for the reader). On March 24, these books were put into circulation
in the children’s section of the library.
The Rotary Club was moved into action by the story of one of its members whose grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. As a result of that discussion, Paddle for the Cure – the Race to Beat Alzheimer’s was set in motion.
Thirty-six paddlers in four divisions (sit-in kayak, sit-on kayak, paddle boarders and youth) paddled a 5-kilometer course that took them from Camp Thunderbird to the River Hills Marina for the adults and a shorter 2K course for the youth.
A silent auction took place at Duke Pavilion with over 100 donated items. Food, drink, and live music was enjoyed by all in attendance. Many thanks to the volunteers and participants, including the volunteers from Clover High School Interact Club and Air Force Junior ROTC.
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For 49 years, America’s Boating Clubs has hosted an all-day event for underserved children and their families in the York County and metro Charlotte. Last year they served 450 children and their families to the Children’s Outings at the Red Fez Club and Camp Thunderbird. Event attendees go boating, swim, fish and enjoy a day on the water. The Lake Wylie Rotary Club is an event sponsor.
Welcome to where it all began! York County is home to the first Ag + Art Tour held in 2012 and the event has expanded since then to include many other counties across the state. The 2023 tour is set for Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11. Saturday hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.
The South Carolina Ag + Art Tour is a free, self-guided tour of farms and markets featuring local artisans at every stop. During the tour visitors can see first-hand where their food comes from, watch artists in action and purchase their works, enjoy the melodies of local musicians, and learn more about rural life. The tour is the largest free farm and art tour in the nation with over 45,000 visitors participating since 2012.
The following York County farms are participating:
• Baker Farm
• Betwixt Studios
• Black Walnut Farms
• Black’s Peaches
• Cat’s Paw Winery
• Cherry Place Farm
• The Country Carrot
• Forlines Farms on Ferndale
• Fort Mill Farmers Market
• Fort Mill History Museum
• Hourglass Alpacas
• Indigo Iris Farm
• MeadowView Events
• New Moon Flower Farm
• Old Town Market
Paddle for the Cure was held on Lake Wylie on April 15. The fundraiser was sponsored by The Goat Boater, Lake Wylie Paddleboarding.
Boat safety support was provided by American’s Boating Club of the Catawba volunteers Jim Samland, Lee Clementi, Bart Kinzel, Ray Williams, Jim And Leigh Van Blarcom, Bill Beers and Kevin Toevs. They also provide safety support for The Goat Boater’s Sunday morning paddle boarding sessions.
At Comporium, we take great pride in supplying our neighbors in Lake Wylie with the technology they need to make life easier and more enjoyable. Whether it’s 1-Gig Internet, Stream TV or Comporium Security, you don’t have to look far to ﬁnd the cutting-edge technologies you want in your home or business.
School might be out for the summer, but Clover School District wrapped up one busy year full of accolades and is poised to start another.
The first change coming to CSD for 20232024 is a modified, balanced school calendar. Classes are scheduled to start on Tuesday, August 8. This is a full week earlier than in previous years. The new calendar features new week-long intercessions in both the fall and spring semesters, as well as early dismissal day. The new school calendar is available at www. clover.k12.sc.us.
Thanks to the Clover LEAF Foundation and a grant from both the Clover and Lake Wylie Rotary Clubs, the annual Back-to-School Bash will be bigger and better than ever. Scheduled for Friday, August 4, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. The event includes inflatables and fun events for the kids, along with opportunities for parents to access important information and services for their students. Community members can help Clover LEAF “Stuff the Bus” as they conduct a drive to collect school supplies for students in need and individually-packaged foods to support the Backpack Buddies program.
“Growing Together” is the district’s campaign to help keep the community informed about construction projects underway. During the 2022-2023 school year, CSD broke ground on two renovation projects at Bethany Elementary and Clover High School. On Monday, August 14, at 10 a.m., CSD will break ground on the Daimler property, the future home of High School #2 that was approved in last fall’s bond referendum.
Clover High School will begin the 20232024 school year with a new leader. Previous principal Rod Ruth was promoted to the position of Chief Student Services and Secondary Education Officer at the District Office. The principalship of Clover High School is an especially desirable position after the school was
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named a finalist in the Palmetto’s Finest competition last school year. CSD plans to complete the hiring of Mr. Ruth’s replacement by the end of May.
Another first celebrated by CSD last year was a Regional Spelling Bee Champion. Eighth grader Peyton Goldenstein of Clover Middle School won the Regional Spelling Bee at Bank of America Stadium in March by going 20 rounds against competitors until she successfully spelled “vis-a-vis.” Peyton was the first student from the Clover School District to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, at the end of May.
Going from a first to a second, the Clover High School Percussion Ensemble won its second consecutive WGI World Championship in April in Dayton, Ohio. The Ensemble performed a piece titled “Nevermore” inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe. This was a major accomplishment as the program stepped up
to a high skill level bracket after winning the competition last year.
Honors were also heaped upon several CSD staff members during the 2022-2023 school year. Applied Technology Campus Principal Carrie Bolin was named the South Carolina Career and Technical Education Administrator of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. Clover High School Principal Rod Ruth was honored three times by state organizations. He was named SCASA’s Secondary Principal of the Year, Honor Administrator of the Year by the South Carolina Music Educators Association and 5A Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Association of Athletic Administrators. The ATC’s Wayne Williams, who served as the district’s Teacher of the Year, was named a finalist for South Carolina Teacher of the Year in March at a ceremony hosted by the State Superintendent.
As districts across the state and nation experience teacher shortages, CSD has begun hosting a series of employee engagement events to strengthen the connection between employees and our community. In doing so,
CSD aspires to become a “Destination District” for prospective educators. The first of these events was called “Lucky to be in CSD” and was held in conjunction with the Town of Clover’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Employees could visit the CSD booth to spin the prize wheel and enter a drawing for gift cards to local businesses. A second event, employee yoga classes, were offered in April and May. Look for these kinds of activities to continue in 2023-2024.
On Saturday, May 13, the Clover High School Choraliers appeared on the international stage. They were invited to perform in celebration of the 50th anniversary of independence of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. They presented a concert entitled “100 Voices in Song” at Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau.
The District Teacher of the Year will be announced at the annual CSD Convocation to be held Monday, July 31, at the Clover School District Auditorium. Each school announced a Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year in April. These outstanding educators were honored at a banquet held at the River Hills Country Club on Thursday, April 20.
Students enrolled in a first-of-its-kind program demonstrated their skills during a Utility Line Worker Rodeo on Wednesday, April 26. CSD partners with York School District One and York Technical College to offer this program, which trains students to become utility line workers. During the rodeo, students changed out an insulator, changed out a switch, rescued an injured worker and took part in a speed climb up the 45-foot pole. Business and industry leaders were invited to the contest to recruit future employees.
Finally, Griggs Road Elementary implemented a “Student for a Day” project that allowed 27 parents of third through fifth graders to attend school alongside their students.
Parents sat in on class, enjoyed lunch from Chartwells and joined students for recess to get a better understanding of the day-to-day routine for students and staff.
As part of the day, parents heard a detailed presentation from student ambassadors about their learning portfolios and its development from 3rd through 5th grade. They also heard from Griggs Road teachers and the Clover School District instructional staff about the continued development of personalized learning throughout the Clover School District.
Seventy percent of South Carolina businesses were impacted negatively during the pandemic, according to the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. And one out of 10 of small businesses closed as COVID-19 surged around the U.S. and rest of the world.
But one Lake Wylie entrepreneur has experienced the opposite outcome.
For the last four years in a row, AK Media (Lake Wylie, SC) has been voted as Charlotte’s No. 1 real estate photography service in the Charlotte, earning the accolades from a field of 150-plus providers. And while the soaring real estate boom has contributed to the success, it’s not the sole reason this specialized firm has flourished.
“99% of this work is about people,” says owner Andrew Ketchum.
Clients notice. They keep coming back for more and refer others for home photos, twilight shots, 3D video tours, and aerial photography that have allowed this
specialized firm to expand into headshots, auto shoots – even dog portraits.
The journey has had plenty of challenges, says Andrew. It started when he had a need. So he sought out a need in the marketplace … and then put the two together.
Long before Andrew stood behind a camera or held a drone controller in his hand, he loved music. That led him to earn a degree in sound engineering from Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL). Andrew’s first job in Charlotte gave him the opportunity to run sound for nationally known acts at PNC Pavilion and Bojangles Stadium. Then it was on to MorningStar Media where he learned the ins and outs of video and television production, ultimately landing him in the creative department with the Maxwell Group.
But when Andrew became a single parent to four young boys in 2015, he found he needed to travel less and be home more.
So he studied the commercial media market in Charlotte to see what needs were there – and found opportunity in real estate photography. “People were doing it,” said Andrew. “But I thought I could do it better.”
He’d already launched his own media
company in 2010 as an avenue for additional work and as a creative outlet. With that infrastructure in place and handful of cold calls to local real estate agents offering them a discount, he snagged his first clients.
Quality work and excellent service meant business grew quickly. By 2020, Andrew had a client base of real estate agents who used him regularly for real estate photos and Matterport 3D video tours. The flexibility meant he could plan photo shoots according to his family’s schedule and then edit and upload images from home, allowing him to parent his boys.
But Andrew and AK Media went in a different direction than many other small businesses. Work tripled.
While Andrew is quick to credit needs
in the real estate market with success, he is also savvy to offer a variety of photography services. He offered still shots and Matterport (now the industry standard in 3D photography) to his first clients but soon added drone photography.
The demand for droning’s “bird’s eye view” has grown as costs have decreased. Andrew has completed drone projects for Bright Side Youth Ranch, filming the facility’s horses and lake, as well as drone imaging for a women’s boot camp exercise group. He and his team complete about one drone project per day.
Occasionally they run into problems. One time, Andrew’s drone lost its GPS signal while he was filming a home on Lake Norman. Using its preprogrammed safety feature, the drone set a new course to return “home,” leading it straight upward into a grove of trees. It crashed into the lake. Andrew fished it out, got it repaired, and put it right back to work.
Drones can make people nervous, says Andrew, but can lead to more business.
Such was the case while he was filming a property in Lancaster, SC. Andrew received an alert on his phone informing him that rain was imminent. Simultaneously, an irate neighbor approached Andrew
and demanded to know what he was doing near his property with a drone. “Sir, give me just five minutes,” said Andrew, “and I’ll explain everything.” Once the footage was completed and the drone landed safety, Andrew explained his assignment. The neighbor’s face softened immediately.
“I’m selling my house soon,” he told Andrew. “May I have your card?”
“Every house has a story to tell,” says Andrew. “We help families see their life in that house.” And now, AK Media has started telling other stories, too.
In November 2021 AK Media moved business out of Andrew’s home into a studio on Village Harbor Drive in Lake Wylie, allowing him to expand his “storytelling” skills to include headshots.
“I love the interaction with people,” says Andrew. He offers individual headshot sessions with professionals as well as team headshots for entire business staffs from realtors and bankers to church staff and CEOs. “A great headshot is much more than a profile image,” says Andrew. “It captures your character and shows why you are unique.” One of his favorite headshots is of his new mother-in-law, former harpist with the Charlotte Symphony Orches-
Andrew Ketchum, owner 1532 Village Harbor Drive, Lake Wylie Telephone: (980) 428-9229
Real estate photography
Auto photography packages
tra, and is a focal point on his studio wall.
As his business grew, Andrew included
his sons in his work. They ride along to sites and assist. And he has added staff. “I look for people who are interested in the field,” says Andrew. “Not necessarily trained photographers, but those who have an interest in photography.”
One such employee is Vinnie Guill, a friend of Andrew’s son, who borrowed a piece of photography equipment from Andrew to complete his capstone tele-production degree project. Vinnie’s interests and personality revealed he would be a good fit for AK Media, and Andrew who asked Vinnie if he was interested in a job. Vinnie has been with AK Media for more than a year.
“I like the variety,” says Vinnie. “One day I’m shooting home interiors and the next day I’m shooting drone footage.”
And the variety is expanding. While 85% of AK Media’s business is in real estate photography, that balance is shifting as new
services are added. For instance, AK Media created a Matterport video of specialty, vintage, and exotic cars serviced by Automotive International in Charlotte – including Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, and Ferrari – which opened the door for Vinnie to combine his passions for photography and cars. Vinnie has since completed photography sessions for private auto owners and now, AK Media has launched auto photography packages.
Andrew has created processes to streamline work from scheduling (nearly 100% online) to learning how to use the imaging software, visiting sites, knowing what photos to take of a home, understanding how to edit and upload them.
But the most important training for new employees? Learning how to interact with customers, says Andrew. Clients need to feel comfortable and confident with a photographer.
“We’re not really in the media business,” says Andrew. “We’re in the people business.” Which is a big reason he and AK Media have faced challenging times and thrived.
“For years, the Allison Creek Boat Landing has been known as just that – a couple of boat launches and a pier,” says Greg Suskin, public information officer with York County. “But now, this lake access point has undergone a huge transformation to become something much more.”
That “something more” is a 160-acre recreation area known as Allison Creek Park, which opened earlier this year after two years of construction. It’s part of a bigger arrangement between Duke Energy and 20 www.LakeWylieToday.com | Summer 2023
York County to make Lake Wylie more accessible to more people.
And while the project helps to fulfill that bigger vision, the park itself is big, too. “Allison Creek Park is the largest recreation project that Duke Energy has completed to date,” explains Christy Churchill, recreation project manager at the utility.
The expansion means anglers can launch their boats and cast their lines from the updated docks and pier and then park their rigs in an enlarged parking area surrounded by a canoe/kayak launch, 52 campsites, 4 miles of trails, 20 picnic areas, a couple of pavilions, 5 rest room areas, a playground –all overseen by a ranger station and store to ensure security.
The upgrade is the result of a special partnership between York County and
Duke Energy. The county leases the property from Duke Energy and manages it. Duke helped create the park as part of its federal licensing agreement and its commitment to add more recreation and access to local waterways.
It’s not a new project. In fact, Allison Creek Park has been in the works for two decades.
In 2003, Duke Energy began the process of renewing its federal license for the Catawba-Wateree Hydroelectric Project, which provides the utility with access to Carolina waterways. Duke uses its access to the watershed to produce electricity for 103,000 homes.
The Catawba-Wateree Project is comprised of 13 hydropower stations and 11 reservoirs. Its headwaters begin in western North Carolina’s Catawba River and flow east and south into South Carolina to form the Wateree River, with Lake Wylie spanning the two states in the middle.
Duke and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finalized their licensing agreement in 2006. As part of the deal, the utility will complete 89 recreational projects across the Carolinas to ensure public recreation, protect wildlife habit, and provide for environmental health along the project’s 1,800-mile watershed.
The 89 projects have been prioritized into five stages in a 20-year construction schedule. Allison Creek Park expansion is one of 28 projects that Duke is completing in that first stage.
The utility worked closely with York County during the years-long relicensing process, explains Christy Churchill. Meanwhile, the influx of residents into Lake Wylie, Clover, and York has increased the need for lake access and places for people to enjoy the outdoors. The Allison Creek project earned a spot in the first phase of the construction queue not only because of local demand, but also because of a shared vision and enthusiasm from both Duke Energy and York County.
During the design process, Duke committed to building RV camp sites, hiking trails, restrooms, picnic shelters, and an upgraded boat launch and pier. Meanwhile, the county had input for residents requesting primitive camping, a canoe/kayak launch, and playground. The partners are cost sharing the construction. York County agreed to a zero-cost lease from Duke Energy.
“For the last couple of years, outdoor recreation has exploded,” says Christy Churchill of Duke Energy. “So this park is coming at the right time.”
Ebenezer Park’s popularity proves this point. The 26-acre facility to the south of the Allison Creek location has 66 campsites that are perpetually booked. Officials anticipate that the Allison Creek facility will relieve that pressure.
“There’s been more and more interest in outdoor activities, especially since the pandemic” says York County’s Greg Suskin. “With this project, we are answering the call
Grave at cemetery. )Image courtesy of Allison Creek Presbyterian Church)
to provide opportunities for our residents to enjoy the lake and the outdoors.”
Duke is especially excited about the hik-
May – August: 7 AM – 9 PM
September – October: 7 AM – 8 PM
November – February: 7 AM – 6 PM
March – April: 7 AM – 8 PM
4 boat ramps
34 RV sites with full hookup, picnic pad, and fire ring
18 tent camping sites
4 miles of trails
20 picnic sites, half with grills
Covered picnic shelters
5 restroom areas; 2 with bath houses
Ranger station and store
ing trails on park property, which connect with trails already in place behind Allison Creek Presbyterian Church.
The church’s wooded walkways are part of its Common Ground area, which includes a quarter mile walking track, prayer chapel (open 24/7), playing field, picnic areas, and 1+miles of trails that lead to two cemeteries. Clay Hill Graveyard is a historic cemetery for former enslaved and free African American ancestors of the church. Allison Creek Cemetery is a historic resting place for former Civil War soldiers and their descendants.
Duke partnered with the church to connect the new trails to those that are part of Common Ground. Not only will hikers have access to the combined trails, but also have the chance to visit the historic graveyard sites and learn about early residents in the Allison Creek area.
And for history buffs, the park holds even more interest. The park opening’s timeframe coincides with the anniversary of the British raid on nearby Hill’s Ironworks on June 18, 1780, during the Revolutionary War. The furnace and mills, which produced cannons and cannonballs for the patriot cause, were burned to the ground by the British. Duke Energy and York County are working closely to commemorate the event.
When so many partnerships fail, what has made this one between York County and Duke Energy work so well?
“Continuity, consistency, and communication,” says Christy Churchill, saying that the county has been a reliable, professional
And from the county’s perspective, Duke Energy has been more than a partner. “The utility is required to fulfill their part of the federal licensing agreement, but they have done more than what was necessary,” says Greg Suskin. “They’ve gone above and beyond to make the new park a terrific recreation area.”
Other jurisdictions along the Catawba-Wateree watershed have had changeover in personnel that threw schedule off track, but the Allison Creek project players have remained largely the same. That has allowed for continuity despite delays during the global pandemic and supply chain struggles obtaining picnic tables to swing sets during the construction process.
And while the park’s key benefit is more access to Lake Wylie for more people, the county’s management means it will be well cared for, well-maintained, and safe.
“We’re really proud of this park,” says Christy. “It’s providing more opportunities for recreation on Lake Wylie from canoeing to paddling to camping, hiking, picnicking, and fishing. It’s going to enhance the ability of people to experience the lake and be in nature.”
York, SC 29745
Kathy Kitts Walking Track: quarter mile walking track with places to sit, reflect and exercise.
Tom & Nell Jackson Prayer Chapel: open at all times for reflection and prayer.
Clay Hill Graveyard: historic cemetery for former enslaved and free African- American members of Allison Creek Presbyterian Church.
Allison Creek Cemetery: historic resting place for former Civil War soldiers and descendants.
Meditation Trails, Clay Hill Graveyard Trail, Peace Trail: over a mile of beautifully wooded trails with prayer stations and places for reflection.
Playing field: two-acre field for soccer and football, which includes a disc golf course and a Little Free Library.
Two large picnic areas with picnic tables scattered across the property.
Daniel Waterfall: 60 feet of stream and a 4-foot fall with an overlook bridge.
More than 200 wineries dot the Carolinas, with the bulk of them tucked away in the western North Carolina mountains.
Most are more than an hour up the road from Lake Wylie, such as Childress Vineyards (Lexington, NC) which boasts 70 acres for guests to tour before or after a tasting. Drive further and you can stop for a sip at Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery, named by Southern Living as one of the best in the south. Or head east of Charlotte, and you can visit Treehouse Vineyards (built on a family farm) and Kefi Estate Winery (which specializes in Greek varietals) – both in Monroe, NC.
But you needn’t go that far to sip a glass of locally produced vino.
Three craft wineries near Lake Wylie are winning awards and bringing recognition to our special corner of the Piedmont. And they are just
minutes from us.
But first, some clarity.
What’s a craft winery, anyway?
A winery is a licensed property that produces wine on site. They’ve got equipment, storage, bottling gear, and a winemaking process in place.
But a winery needn’t be a large-scale operation. Mass producers fill bottles and cases in large quantities to meet market demand in grocery stores and restaurants. Craft wineries, on the other hand, produce limited-production wine in runs of 5,000 cases or less.
Meanwhile, wine bars – of which there are dozens in our area – offer a wide selection of reds, whites, and rosés from makers across the globe but do not have a winemaking operation on site.
It’s on-site production that sets apart a winery
Three nearby craft wineries host tastings and more – just minutes from Lake Wylie
from a wine bar and the small production that designates a craft winery rather than a mass operation. A craft winery’s menu is limited to house products. Tack on a tasting room and a craft win-
ery, like those near us, provides a destination for guests to sample in-house wines and purchase them – and an online store for ordering more.
If your vision of a winery visit is sipping a glass of red or white while gazing at a panoramic view of vineyards, then make a stop at Veronét Vineyards and Winery.
The 70-acre Kings Mountain estate, opened by Monique and Dave Sullivan in 2019, includes six acres of grape vines tucked among stands of
pine and two meandering streams and views of Crowders Mountain and its nearby Pinnacle peak.
The mountainside offers an ideal home for Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Chambourcin, Traminette, and Grüner Veltliner vines. But a new vineyard means new plantings – which means even now, Veronét’s grapes are still young. Vines take three years to produce an initial harvest suitable for wine and up to two years to bottle after that.
That hasn’t stopped the Sullivans from producing single varietal dry wines with the Veronét label, using sourced grapes from vineyards in North Carolina, California, and Virginia.
And clearly, they have the touch. Veronét was voted one of Charlotte’s Best of the Best in 2022.
On site you can order by the bottle, glass, or flight – or choose a wine cocktail or craft beer – and pair your beverage with prepared char-
cuterie and fruit and cheese boards, chicken salad, hummus, and picnic boxes. The vineyard hosts a rotating schedule of food trucks each weekend, too. Seating inside and out is on a first come, first served basis, but you can bring your own blanket or folding chairs and make yourself at home on the lawn.
Seven Jars Winery & Distillery is proof that craft wine needn’t be produced solely in a bucolic rural setting. It is part of a new trend – urban wineries, which operate their production in town rather than in the country amongst the grape vines. In fact, Seven Jars’ exterior looks more like an office building in an industrial park rather than the distillery-winery-brewery.
Its roots go back to Prohibition, when Charlotte resident Frank Ratcliffe delivered homemade alcoholic beverages from wine to moonshine to customers using his Model A. Once alcohol was legalized, Frank became a respected fixture in the local business community until his death in 1977. In 1984, family members followed
Frank’s instructions and unearthed his “hidden treasure” – seven Mason jars, covered with aluminum foil, buried on property they would soon sell as part of his estate. The jars contained Frank’s recipes for wine and spirits.
His descendants opened Seven Jars in 2014, fulfilling Frank’s vision that one day, small distillery businesses would be allowed to operate legally in the Carolinas. And yes, they used his recipes (or at least started with them.)
While Frank himself grew muscadine grapes to make his favorite wine, Seven Jars serves up 15 other types of wine at its Brookshire Boulevard location, including Seven Jars’ own Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Moscato, and Chardonnay – as well as its more exotic Raspberry Peach Sangria, Blackberry Cabernet, and its Ava Gardner signature collection.
You can mix-and-match your tastings to include wines on the winery side of the operation and liquors from the distillery. Seven Jars offers tours so you can see how it’s all done. You can even follow Frank’s footsteps by taking wine and beer making classes at Seven Jars.
A winery needn’t be attached to a vineyard in order to make Riesling or Malbec. Most wineries
1549 IKE BROOKS DRIVE
KINGS MOUNTAIN, NC
PHONE: (704) 981-2490
FRIDAY – SUNDAY: 12 PM – 6 PM
SEVEN JARS WINERY & DISTILLERY
6148 BROOKSHIRE BOULEVARD, SUITE A CHARLOTTE, NC PHONE: (704) 919-0278
MONDAY – FRIDAY: 10 AM – 5 PM SATURDAY: 10AM – 4 PM
CAT’S PAW WINERY
1567 FAYRENE ROAD ROCK HILL, SC PHONE: (803) 327-6622
THURSDAY-SATURDAY: 12 PM – 8 PM
outsource at least some of their grapes.
For years, John Burks made wine and shared it with family and friends. In 2016 he gave into the urgings of his inner circle and opened Cat’s Paw Winery on 100 acres in Rock Hill, adopting a logo and winery name inspired by his first tabby, Joey.
Rather than grapes, John makes wine using juices from Carolina suppliers and adds spices, natural flavors, and fruit juices to create small batch wines. Many are aged in oak barrels. All are bottled, labeled, and stored on site. “Mass produced wines can contain over 20 chemicals, preservatives, and added sugars,” explains John. “Our wines contain only two additives, no additional tannins, and no additional sulfites.”
John’s process means Cat’s Paws’ small batch wines have a limited shelf life. Yet that TLC gives each with a unique taste – and ovations from wine lovers. Cat’s Paws wines earned the 2022 #1 ranking in South Carolinas by Choice Wineries based on wine quality, on-site experience, atmosphere, and service.
The winery offers hosted tastings at the indoor bar or self-guided tastings on the patio. You can sip by the flight, glass, or bottle from one-ofa-kind varieties like Pomegranate Wild Berry Zinfandel, Black Cherry Pinot Noir, and Coconut Citrus Chardonnay … house versions of Cabernet
Sauvignon or Merlot … or any of Cat’s Paw’s 19 varieties. The winery offers complimentary popcorn and has small cheese and cracker trays for purchase while you taste and enjoy.
All three venues offer event space. But you don’t need to host a party – or even travel far –to enjoy wine that’s made right here in our backyard.
Want to spend a summer evening sipping vino? Go local.
Those juicy tomatoes you just picked up at the Bush-N-Vine stand or South 40 Farm – oh, they’d be delightful when paired with bit of fresh basil.
And you can be one of those locals who steps outside to your deck, snips a few leaves, and makes a delicious caprese salad with your own crop.
No, you don’t need a sprawling estate to have farm fresh herbs at your disposal. And you don’t need to be a Master Gardener, either. Herbs are among the easiest plants to grow, particularly in our area with its eightto nine-month growing season. If you’re new to gardening or you fear your thumbs are brown, growing herbs is an inexpensive way to get started and bolster your confidence. Here’s what to know to get started.
Many of the most common herbs – rosemary, oregano, dill, thyme – love what Lake Wylie has in abundance: full sun and heat.
Plus, they are drought tolerant. Specialists at our local garden centers can recommend varieties that have been bred for humid climates to help herbs withstand our sticky summers.
And herbs thrive in all garden sizes. You can grow herbs as ornamentals or ground cover in flower beds. In the veggie garden, herbs act as good neighbors. Sage, garlic, lemon balm, and chives repel pests.
But a word of warning: herbs prefer well-drained soil. That means our Carolina heavy clay needs to be amended to make
the best home for fresh herbs. Be sure to work in plenty of organic matter and compost to your garden so the soil is loose, rich, and allows excess water to seep away.
One of the best ways to circumvent the clay issue? Plant herbs in raised beds, containers, or window boxes. Fill those pots and boxes with well-drained soil from the get-go.
Smaller containers and boxes are perfect for single herbs and can contain invasive ones like mint.
For raised beds and large pots, use the
“thriller, filler, spiller” container gardening principle. Choose a vertical, spikey herb as a thriller in the pot’s center, such as rosemary, chives, dill, or garlic. Add mounding fillers to bulk up the center of the container – like basil, sage, and lemon balm – and let creeping thyme spill over the sides.
10 herbs to grow in your Lake Wylie garden
It’s called “King of Herbs” for a reason. Basil’s Greek name means “king” or “royalty.” It is also one of the easiest herbs to grow and can be used in salads, casseroles, and garnishes. Plus, basil can be grown anywhere – in the garden, containers, window boxes, and even indoors. It’s an annual, so you’ll need to plant it every year. But with about 100 reported varieties – and the ease of sowing this herb from seed – you can grow basil simply and easily. The herb loves heat, so don’t plant seeds or seedlings too early in the spring. And when temperatures begin to dip overnight in the fall, be prepared to bring in container basils or kiss your annual plants goodbye for the season.
These mild onion-flavored shoots prefer full sun but will tolerate part shade. Chives put out purple blossoms, making them a good fit in your flower border or as a colorful addition to your patio containers. They come back year after year. When yours spread, you can lift the clump and divide it – either in the spring or fall.
You can use dill’s feathery foliage plus its seeds in all kinds of dishes. Its height and texture add interest both in the garden and in containers. As an annual, you’ll need to plant it every year but after you keep the seedling area moist and the plants sprout, dill is maintenance free. If you like black swallowtail butterflies, then allow their black-and-yellow-striped caterpillars to feast on your dill. Otherwise, watch for the pests and pick them off or they’ll gobble up this herb quickly.
4. Garlic Heat? Drought? No problem. Plant garlic cloves and you’ll harvest gorgeous bulbs to braid, hang, and dry to use all year long. Tip: as you grow garlic, be on the lookout for deer. They love to snack on garlic’s upward shoots.
Nothing beats crushed lemon balm leaves in sweet tea. The plant is an aromatic addition to your flower bed when you brush by, plus it attracts bees, making it a good pollinator. Shallow roots mean lemon balm grows best in part sun but be sure to give it water when we’re in a drought. It’s a cold-hardy perennial that can overwinter even when temperatures get down to -20 F.
Mint is almost too easy to grow – especially when you find a home for it in a partly-shaded area. In fact when given free rein in your garden, mint is invasive and can take over other plants. Solution: grow mint in a container and you will
contain it and still have plenty of fresh leaves at your disposal for mojitos, tabbouleh, and yes, mint juleps.
Hardy and versatile: that describes oregano. It’s a perennial so it comes back each year although the mossy-green leaves may go dormant during the winter months here in the south. Like other leafy herbs, oregano’s flavors are best when you harvest it right be flowering. To add to its versatility, you can grow oregano as a ground cover in your garden or as a filler or spiller in containers and window boxes.
Lots of sun, well-drained soil, good air circulation, and a bit of protection over winter: provide those conditions for rosemary, and this tender perennial can grow into a prolific bush. You can use its needles nearly all year long. Plus, rosemary is considered an excellent companion plant for beans, cabbage, tomatoes, and peppers. Keep an eye out for beetles. They like rosemary and can destroy your plant if not kept in check.
A lovely perennial that is cultivated in 300+ varieties, thyme can be harvested from early spring to late fall. It’s a beautiful low-growing ground cover for your garden but thrives in containers, too.
Want to repel mosquitoes? Grow sage. You can use this perennial shrub’s leaves to season poultry but also to rub on your arms and legs to keep bugs away. Plant sage in well-drained soil and watch it carefully to prevent crown gall fungus and leaf rust.
• Work compost and organic matter into your soil before planting. Herbs flourish in well-drained soil.
• Plant in full sun or part sun for best production.
• Use clay pots (rather than plastic) for container herbs because they drain better.
• Pick herbs all season to slow flowering and to encourage additional growth.
• Harvest herbs just before blooming when the essential oils and flavors are at their peak.
• Bring container herbs indoors to winter over and to enjoy all year long.
Cucumber-mint water … herb marinade with thyme and rosemary … cream cheese with oregano and garlic – fresh herbs allow you to season your cooking with mouth-watering flavors. Lake Wylie’s mild climate and 3-season growing year mean you can save money, be healthier, and add delicious flavors to your cooking by growing just a few herbs. You can dry excess crops and save them to use in the winter. Or you can get a yearlong harvest from herbs in containers when you move them inside at the first threat of autumn frost.
Herbs aren’t too picky about timing, either. You can start growing anytime. Like now.
4555 Charlotte Hwy Lake Wylie, SC (803)831-8321
CLASSES BEGIN AUGUST 7TH!
“If you’re not chasing your dreams, you’re never going to catch them.” That’s the advice Robert McBee has repeated to his children over and over through the years.
And it is advice the 55-year-old Lake Wylie resident has lived out. Robert is a successful entrepreneur who co-owns and operates Eye Contact Vision Center (Rock Hill. SC) … an avid volunteer and sponsor of Lake Wylie Children’s Charity … happily married to his wife Michelle for 29 years … dad to three adult daughters and grandfather of three.
Now, after years of chasing his biggest dream, Robert has finally captured it. In 2022, he was named South Carolina USATF Masters Runner of the Year.
The accomplishment has been more than four decades in the making. And it’s especially meaningful because of the challenges Robert overcame to achieve it.
Running with Uncle Danny
More than four decades ago, Robert was a member of his junior high track team. His uncle, lifelong Gastonia runner Danny McBee,
stopped by practice one day to watch Robert on the track and then asked his nephew to go running with him.
“That weekend we ran 10 miles,” says Robert with a grin. “He kept looking over at me and asking, ‘Are you alright?’”
To which Robert answered, “Yeah!” each time.
What followed was a season of camaraderie as uncle and nephew ran road races together.
Our staff has been trained to treat your house to a thorough, in-depth cleaning each time we come to your home. We will treat you and your belongings with the utmost respect. We use top of the line cleaning supplies.
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But around the time Robert turned 17, he says, he lost his competitive spark and walked away from running. Life took over. Robert got a job at an optician’s office and was soon a SC Board Certified lab technician – then an optical store manager, regional manager, and today, a business owner. He has been an optician for 35 years.
As an adult he stayed away from serious running, although he participated in a handful of 5Ks, the equivalent of 3.1 miles. “I ran a Girls on the Run 5K with my daughters when they were young, but I was so out of shape that it nearly killed me,” says Robert. “And I ran a 5K with a
friend whose bucket list included participating in a road race.”
That event was especially poignant, says Robert, because Uncle Danny participated, too.
His uncle encouraged Robert to return to running as an adult, even going so far as to purchase Robert some running gear for his 48th birthday. “It’s been more than thirty years, Uncle Danny,” Robert told him. “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
cle Danny,” Robert told him. “I don’t think it’s
But just a few weeks later, Uncle Danny passed away suddenly at the age of 67. He had completed the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon the month before. When he received the call about his uncle’s passing, Robert dug out his running shoes, laced them on, and went running in the pouring rain.
It was a turning point. “That day, I promised my uncle and God that I would dust off my old dreams and start running again,” says Robert.
Over the next few months, Robert trained and participated in a handful of 5Ks in memory of his uncle. Meanwhile, another piece of devastating news motivated him to train. Robert’s father was diagnosed with cancer, which quickly spread to his brain, requiring risky surgery. Soon afterwards, Aunt Belinda, Danny’s widow, asked Robert to run in the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon in honor of her husband. Robert answered yes automatically.
“What was I thinking?” Robert laughs. “It’s one thing to run a 5K. But the Myrtle Beach race is a half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles!”
When Robert crossed the finish line, his aunt was waiting for him. He handed her his medal and has done so every year since. When race organizers heard Robert’s story, they designated he and his uncle together as a “legacy runner” – a participant that has taken part in every running of a particular race since its inception.
running of a particular race since its inception.
From that point, Robert’s competitive nature took over, as did his individual training. He began competing in marathons from Boston to Chicago to Big Sur to Berlin, Germany.
Through the years, Robert has suffered his share of runners’ setbacks. There was a torn plantar fascia that required a six-month recovery. His father passed away in December 2020. Robert struggled with ankle tendinitis which kept him from running for over a month. He battled depression throughout 2021 and by January 2022, there were days he could barely
Yet Robert took to running from his home on Allison Creek Road to the Tom and Nell
Jackson Prayer Chapel on Kathy Kitts Walking Track, all part of the Allison Creek Presbyterian Church Common Ground complex. “I’d stop in the chapel, pray, and then run laps and laps around the track,” says Robert. “I just kept getting faster.” One day on that trek, he noticed that his ankle felt better.
And with that, he made a decision: he wanted to be SC Masters Runner of the Year – the runner aged 40 years or older that is voted as leading his peers during that competitive year. The date was January 26, 2022.
Robert stuck with his training and racked up a series of accomplishments. At the 2022 Myrtle Beach race, he set a 10K record for his 55-59 age group. Then it was on to the Boston Marathon – one of the world’s most prestigious road races – where Robert finished 13th in his age group in the world.
For the next three months, Robert trained for the grandaddy of distance races: the 50K (31 miles). He competed in Lancaster, SC’s Bigg Butt 50K on July 4, in 85-degree heat and 99 percent humidity, to set a record for his age group that topped the previously best time by 9 1/2 minutes.
But it was a marathon record he wanted to break. He did so at the Kiawah Island Marathon in December 2022 by surpassing the record held for more than a decade by elite runner Mark Embler.
In total, Robert ran 12 races in 2022. He won three, set three state records, and was awarded the 2022 SC Masters Runner of the
Year by a jury of expert runners on January 26, 2023 – exactly one year after he committed his running to God while on the Kathy Kitts Walking Track at the Allison Creek Common Ground complex.
The award qualified Robert to participate in the Chicago Marathon Age Group Championships this coming October. He continues to train for that and other races by running 60-90 miles a week, lifting weights, riding an exercise bike, stretching, and by following in his words, “an intense and strict diet.”
When he recently shared his story at a local church, Robert likened himself to David facing Goliath. As a memento, the pastor gave Robert a pebble from the Valley of Elah in Israel where the young David successfully faced down his giant.
Robert now carries the pebble in his pocket during races. Everyone has their own Goliath, he explains.
“That pebble is the greatest award I’ve received,” says Robert. “My story is, in reality, God’s story. I want others to dust off their dreams. We only have so much life. I want to make the most of mine. I hope others do, too.”
“Before I could talk, I loved horses,” says Clover resident Wendy Schonfeld.
And now, Wendy has been able to use her equine passion to help hundreds of York County families. In 2012, she and her husband Michael founded RideAbility, a therapeutic riding and assisted equine services center for children and adults with special needs, along with veterans.
Today, the center has expanded to help even more students.
In her teens, Wendy fed her horse fervor by traveling on three city buses from her Bronx, NY home to a horse barn simply to volunteer to clean stalls. Decades later, her special needs daughter discovered mobility and the ability to be like everyone else by riding horses. At the ring, Wendy observed other children finding joy and gaining skills in the saddle. She had an epiphany: horses are good therapy.
With that vision, Wendy became a certified a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship certified instructor and an Advanced Certified Equestrian Coach for the Special Olympics.
The Schonfelds moved to Clover where Michael opened his chiropractic practice. Wendy founded Rideability Therapeutic Riding Center with just two horses and a handful of students at the barn and arena in their Cherokee Farms community.
needs – and peace and well-being for veterans who suffer from PTSD. Equine assisted learning brings academic skills into riding lessons. Most students come to RideAbility once or twice a week for private or group lessons. They are referred by physicians, physical therapists, schools, counselors, veteran’s groups, families, and friends.
“There are very few places and services in York
“There are very few places and services in York County for special needs children and adults,” says Wendy.
Therapeutic riding and equine assisted services develop core strength, muscle strength, and fine and gross motor skills for those with special
twice training for olina Special Olympics Organization launched the
Just a year after opening its barn doors in 2013, RideAbility became the training center for Mecklenburg County’s Special Olympics Equestrian Team. Four years ago, Wendy and the South Carolina Special Olympics Organization launched the South Carolina Equestrian Program. Today, 26 Special Olympics athletes are coached by 28 Special Olympics certified coaches at RideAbility.
The center is also celebrating its 10-year partnership with the Clover High School Occupational Education Program for special needs students, now joined by other York School District students.
But as services grew, RideAbility outgrew the Cherokee Farms location. Its new 20-acre home, just 7 miles away, includes a barn, 15 horses, several pastures, a large arena, and a special sensory trail area. The space has allowed RideAbility to host its first camp this summer for the local school districts.
While half of RideAbility’s 90 families cannot afford regular services, they get help from its tuition assistance program funded by grants and local partners (see sidebar). And Wendy credits its fifty passionate volunteers with keeping the center successful. Volunteers range from 14-year-olds to retirees who take care of the horses, help during lessons, assist students, and clean stalls.
Wendy Schonfeld, Executive Director
2551 Pats Road, Clover
Join local partners who support RideAbility’s Tuition Assistance Program:
Ann Springs Close Foundation
Eng School of Self Defense
Family Trust Credit Union
Founders Credit Union
River Hills Lions Club
Sweet Repeat Foundation
The Junior Welfare League
The Knights of Columbus
The Lutz Foundation
The Mayday Project
they can and they will succeed. They reach their
What started as a one-woman show has now become a community effort. “Our students learn they can and they will succeed. They reach their goals and set new ones,” says Wendy. “All while having fun on our amazing therapeutic horses.”
Now more have that ability at RideAbility.
Two Kings Casino
United Bank of Clover
Williams and Fudge
York County Community Foundation
York Electric Cooperative
The Lake Wylie Community has come through a pandemic and 2-3 years of delays and interruption in several commercial projects. And now economic investment and growth is visible in every direction of Lake Wylie. Homes sales have been strong. Commercially zoned properties have been purchased with many new plans and projects under way. The community voted to preserve land by supporting another special tax district. Properties have already been purchased; they are the well-known goat farm and the Woodend Farm formerly known as the Van Avery Estate located along Hwy 557 across from Oakridge Middle School. Plans for a dog park are underway. The Lake Wylie Field Day Park was built, opened during the pandemic and has blossomed into a jewel for the whole community to enjoy. York County has recently purchased Blue Granite Water System with the plan to provide improved service and longterm financial benefits to the customers. York County passed a Lake Wylie Small Area Plan to assist with guiding the growth moving forward.
Here are a few things going on: River Hills Country Club invested in doing all new greens and irrigation on the golf course as well as adding a cabana at the pool. This year, RHCC has
renovated the clubhouse and created new more casual dining options with an informal pub atmosphere for evening gathering and dining options and also expanding the banquet and dining rooms and updating the whole clubhouse. YMCA Camp Thunderbird new strategic plan is enabling more local community access for recreation and enjoying the beauty of camp. This park setting on the lake is a hidden jewel and will now be able to be enjoyed by its neighbors and locals more often. Space will be able to be reserved for gatherings and recreational use.
River Hills Marina Club made a major investment and completely rebuilt the A dock which houses large boats and houseboats at the marina. Meanwhile across the way, MarineMax (Lake Wylie Marina) created a new showroom and invested in its future growth.
At Lake Wylie Plaza, Pet Wants, a new locally owned pet store opened offering many healthy options for pet food and treats along with pet supplies and services opened this spring. Next door, The Barber Lounge, a new and modern barber shop opened offering a variety of pro-
fessional barber services.
Along Highway 49, Copper Premium Pub adapted and expanded its dining area during the pandemic creating more outdoor dining space and covered areas for gathering safely. The menu was expanded and easy access and land was purchased for expanded parking area.
Across the road Dreamery Creamery, an old fashioned ice cream parlor opened last year giving kids and families a great space to have an outing with ice cream treats. The ice cream parlor is open seasonally for spring, summer and into the fall.
River Hills Nursery School closed during the pandemic and now Dogwood Lane Children’s Academy has created a larger school and day care for children in the whole building and area which opened last fall.
Meanwhile across the road, the Goddard School is celebrating its 5th Anniversary at Lake Wylie and is going strong.
Last year, CaroMont Health opened an urgent care facility in Village Harbor. This year, Caromont Health is investing in a new Lake Wylie Medical Office Building located on Nautical Lane. Plans are for the family practice to move to this building as well as adding Women’s Health and Pediatrics. This building will also have x-ray and laboratory service. This will be a wonderful addition to the community. This will allow the current building located across the highway in Village Harbor to host additional specialty providers adding to the current partners of Neurology, Cardiology and Endocrinology. This combined with the Urgent Care will provide comprehensive care to the community. The opening is set for early Au-
gust. New doctors, nurses and other staff will be hired.
Also on Nautical Lane, Inspire Integrative Pediatrics opened in the Lake Wylie Pediatric Dentist building. What is Integrative medicine? It combines effective treatments from conventional and complementary medicine. It also focuses on healthy lifestyle, including nutrition, sleep, physical activity and stress management to help activate the body’s natural healing response. Dr. Little also specializes in integrative mental health care for ADHD, anxiety and depression.
BB&T became Truist Bank last year. The local branch is located on the corner of Highway 49 and Latitude Lane.
Dragonfly Wellness Center located next to the chamber in Lake Wylie Business Center opened during the pandemic and is growing and expanding services. Services include chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, nutrition counseling and other wellness support services.
A Planet Fitness is being built next to Morningstar Storage on Nautical Lane and in front of Lake Wylie Business Center. “Planet Fitness’ goal is to provide a clean, safe welcoming environment for anyone who walks through the door, and all the equipment, amenities and support you need once you are here,” the company said in a news release. Planet Fitness will be hiring once the building is completed.
Sunflower Springs Assisted Living facility is being built on Latitude Lane, next to Lake Wylie Business Center and the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce. The facility features restau-
rant style dining, enriching activities, exercise and entertainment. The facility is expected to be over 63,000 square feet. The value of this project is estimated at $17,000,000 when complete. It is expected to create over 100 new jobs in our area.
Down the road by the old River Rat on Highway 557, plans are underway to build a small hotel. The land is zoned commercial and allows for this commercial project. Why a hotel at Lake Wylie you may ask? There are competitive team sports, lake events, Clover School District can host and better participate with regional and statewide competitions and tournaments and have opportunities. Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens is down the road, Catawba Nuclear Station many times has contracts that have many people staying for days, weeks or months locally while doing work and projects at CNS. Local residents many times have visitors and need added space. And a little known fact is that YMCA Camp Thunderbird has 800 or more campers most weeks during summertime and parents come from all over the Southeast and beyond to bring their children to drop off at Camp T on a Sunday for summer camp. Many come and spend the night before dropping off their campers and then return again to pick them up a week or two later.
There is lake recreation like fishing tournaments, opportunities to host antique boat shows at Lake Wylie, family reunions and local weddings on or by the lake. Visitors to York and Clover may need a place to stay over at times. And there is also an international airport minutes away and Interstates 77 and 85 are nearby if travelers have business to do in the area and
then return to the highway. The chamber will work to influence and encourage the developer and hotel chain to have a project with an attractive appearance, clean, well maintained and affordable. York County will approve the site plan, landscape and building standard of all the projects in the works.
The next corridor that will be developed is from Three Points to Five Points on Hwy 49/274. Tractor Supply was already built during the pandemic. The property next to it is in the development stage as a multiuse with apartments at the back of the property and a business/health and wellness center on the front part of the property. Plans are for a forward-looking development that may set the
tone for the future of that area as it is a major investment and modern plan.
On the opposite side of the highway by The Pit Stop at 5780 Charlotte Highway, a commercial building is being planning that can house a restaurant, storefront and offices. KA Gregory Properties is marketing that property.
Land has also been purchased near the corner of Highways 55/274/49 that is zoned for commercial center that may be suitable for a grocer and retail center. York County approved the Lake Wylie Small Area Plan and land is zoned for commercial along that corridor. As the area grows, the various properties are on the market or already sold there will be a variety of new commercial projects. York County has standards, landscape requirements and road interconnectivity to be planned before each project is approved. Guiding this new
growth will be important for the whole area for decades to come.
Data drives the business decisions and investment. Millions of dollars can be committed for each project. The land at Lake Wylie has become sparce and expensive. It is a tall order for small business to buy land, then build and then to operate a profitable business. Therefore, many major investors, developers and national chains purchase the land based on the data and invest at Lake Wylie. York County has the land zoned allowing certain developments in certain areas.
A variety of auto service and supply related businesses have invested at Lake Wylie in recent years. This trend is across the nation where the data drives the location decision. More growth, more rooftops, more vehicles and then by a highway where approximately 40,000 vehicles travel per day makes this a solid area for investment in auto service and supply businesses.
Another storage rental business with UHaul rental is being built on Highway 49 by Forest Oaks and next to Express Oil Change and Tire. Why another storage place is a common question? Again, data drives the decision for business investment in storage units. Short answer is we all have too much stuff ! Statistics show that nearly 10% of homes in an area have a storage unit with excess items. These days many vendors operate out of a storage unit. In addition to the normal trends, storage businesses are booming and seeing rapid growth as more people reorganize their homes, find extra space to work from home, or move to the suburbs or move in with family members. That is in addition to people moving to apartments and needing extra space to store seasonal items and unneeded items. Eighty-eight percent of those renting self-storage are reported to be 21-55 years old and 85% of tenants come from “drive by traffic”.
And one more thing; it is a high profit business investment. Look around at the residential growth, people still working from home, many new vendors and traffic going by and it may help to explain why Lake Wylie has had so many invest in self-storage in the area. If the zoning allows, self-storage can be built.
Lake Wylie with its proximity to the Charlotte metro area, the international airport and with its beauty, recreational opportunities, good schools, low taxes and nice quality of life makes it a wonderful place to live and to invest in business. Commercial and residential growth is happening before our eyes.
Summer fun on Lake Wylie always adds life to the real estate market. As boaters enjoy refreshing days on the lake, they see and appreciate the beauty of our area. Those who live on the water are fortunate to have quick access to the lake for a mid-week ski session or an evening boat ride to watch the sun set over the water.
Our area had a slow start to 2023 in home sales on and off the water — with first quarter sales down about 27% from the previous year. Prices held steady, though, with the average home price approximately $465,000, up just 1% compared to first quarter last year.
Listing inventory is at record lows, which is one of the factors contributing to the slowdown in sales. While in years past, growing families might look for larger homes and empty-nesters might choose to downsize a bit, now most homeowners are staying put if they are able. Rising prices and interest rates are causing a pause in optional moves. First time homebuyers are feeling the pinch as well, with some priced out of the market entirely.
Still, there is substantial pent-up demand for homes in the Lake Wylie area. New listings catch quick attention from buyers waiting in the wings, and we’re seeing quick — and sometimes multiple — offers within the first week of listing for homes properly priced.
Lake Wylie waterfront home sales for first quarter 2023 were down about 21% in comparison to last year, primarily due to the lack of available homes for sale. The average price of waterfront homes selling now is approximately $1.2 million — quite a jump from the low $700’s just five years ago.
The type of home sale on the lake has shifted, however. The inventory shortage is most
pronounced in the more moderately priced segments. Five years ago, almost half of available waterfront inventory was priced under $800,000. Now only 10% of listings are under $800,000. The majority of homes listed are over $1 million — with several over $2 million, a price almost unseen prior to the pandemic.
Individual home prices are up, too, of course. An increase in demand for waterfront homes, coupled with a decrease in supply has driven prices up on homes on Lake Wylie. The average waterfront home’s price is up around 40% since the beginning of the pandemic.
There is a strong market right now for lake cabins — those 2 or 3 bedroom homes, most under 1,500 square feet and built prior to the 1980s. Last year, 16 of these properties sold, for an average of almost $750,000. The higher priced cabins had some updates and renovations and were situated on premium, “big view” lots. Many buyers are looking for a weekend getaway property — with an eye on replacing the cabin with a primary residence in the future.
After a wild ride in the real estate market the past three years, we are settling into our new norms. The frenzy of sales has subsided, but we
have some new realities: Home prices are high and are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels. Interest rates continue to creep up to rates we haven’t seen in many years.
In January, Zillow listed the Charlotte area as one of the hottest housing markets in the country for 2023. So even if the economy drives down housing prices in general, we’re unlikely to see prices fall in our area. Demand is strong, and the seller is in the driver’s seat for a while.
Drew Choate and e Lake Wylie Man team are a liated with Keller Williams Fort Mill. e Lake Wylie Man team has been the leader in Lake Wylie waterfront sales each year for over a decade. For more information on the market and recent sales, visit eLakeWylieMan.com.
It is hard to believe that the first half of 2023 has roared by already. 2023 has brought new goals and aspirations for companies, families and individuals. Many new businesses are growing, expanding, relocating to and launching at Lake Wylie. The economic development is strong and critical to the success of our chamber businesses and civic organizations and community. That said, the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce continues to offer member businesses and investors the opportunity to grow and prosper through involvement in the numerous chamber activities and services. Your involvement is critical to the success of the chamber, and more importantly, the value and prosperity of your business.
The Chamber Board of Directors is made up of individuals and businesses that care about all our businesses and community. The mission of the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce is to build a business environment that creates economic prosperity for our members and community, providing a voice from our community and a support network for members. The chamber’s vision statement is: To lead the Lake Wylie area to become the premier place to live, work and conduct business in the Carolinas.
In the absence of Lake Wylie being a
municipality, the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce has been a strong voice for the community on vital issues that impact the members and community. It launched the Adopt a Highway at Lake Wylie and Riversweep with the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, and it worked with York County to launch Adopt a Stream and other clean-up programs at Lake Wylie.
Through the years, it successfully lobbied for widening Highway 49 to four lanes and to raise and widen the Buster Boyd Bridge; it worked with SCDOT to get identifying signage along Highway 49 for Camp Thunderbird, River Hills, Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens and other signs. It worked with York County to secure grants for sidewalks, trees, entrance signs and flag poles and to create a “Lake Wylie Gateway” into South Carolina, York County and Lake Wylie.
Organizing efforts to support Pennies for Progress referendums, school referendums, county improvement referendums, lobbying for Sunday Sales and Sunday alcohol sales and a whole variety of efforts have taken place. The chamber also works to organize food drives, toy drives and other charitable efforts through the decades and now supports other service groups with many charitable efforts. It also helps stage events such as holiday boat parades, festivals, the annual Splash Dash premier running events, car shows, farmers markets, golf events and much more.
Fifteen years ago, with the support of the State of South Carolina, the chamber bought an office condo and created a welcoming Lake Wylie Visitor Center and then expanded and created the Lake Wylie Small Business Center with six fully furnished rental offices so businesses can launch, relocate or have a convenient local office space. Shortly after, the chamber partnered with SC Biz News to launch Lake Wylie Today, an awardwinning lifestyle magazine to promote the Lake Wylie area, recreation and lifestyle and to have a high-quality local magazine in the visitor center. The chamber works with businesses and investors who are developing at Lake Wylie to encourage and inspire high-quality projects. To that end, the new Lake Wylie Medical Office Facility by CaroMont Healthcare has been years in the works and is a welcome and needed service. The new assisted living facility being built next to the chamber will enable many of our community members to remain at Lake Wylie when they may need help with daily living and to have family members in need close by as well. There are many new projects in the works (see Lake Wylie Development update on page 54). All of these create jobs locally and contribute to the economic prosperity of the community. These additions to our caring community, area beauty and recreational opportunities make Lake Wylie a premier place to live, work and invest.News of the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce
February 1, 2023 – April 30, 2023
AK Media, LLC
Bank of York
Clover-Lake Wylie Republican Women’s Club
Custom Sock Line, LLC
Community Church of Lake Wylie
Eason Roofing, LLC
Glaza Chiropractic Center
Kasby’s By The Lake
Lake Living with Matt and Katie
Lake Wylie Bowl N’ Bounce
Lake Wylie Pet Resort
Lifestyle Physical Therapy, LLC
Parkway Concrete Products
River Hills Community Association
Rotary Club of Lake Wylie
Sea & Sun Travel Agency
Sifford-Stine Insurance Agency
Sloan Financial Group
Tow Boat U.S. - Lake Wylie
United Way of York County
Upper Palmetto YMCA
5 Star Luxury Transportation
Stephen and Lisa Allred Lake Wylie, SC 704-947-0361
Luxury Transportation Services
1004 NC Music Factory Boulevard, Suite 4 Charlotte, NC 315-706-1122
Real Estate Development
Black Tie Auto Detailing
Robert MacNab and Mike Elmore Lake Wylie, SC
John Paoloca 1007 Old N. Main St. Clover, SC firstname.lastname@example.org
Farm to table restaurant
Cornerstone Builders Group Inc.
4371 Charlotte Highway, Suite 4 Lake Wylie, SC 704-201-8489
Residential Design, Build Homes, Architecture, Build Homes
Sara Singh-Anstey 4607 Charlotte Highway, Suite 3 Lake Wylie, SC 803-466-5173
Christian Life and Business Coaching
Kevin Tindal 4076 Charlotte Highway
Lake Wylie Plaza Lake Wylie, SC 803-746-5401
Gymnastics, Tumbling, After-School, Camps
Katherine Price Clover, SC 203-570-5867
https://hireeffect.com/ Bookkeeping, Payroll, Human Resources, and Recruiting
In nite Athletics
Cameron Lee 4003 Handsmill Highway York, SC 803-882-1980
Personal and Team training, Sports performance, and Recovery
4607 Charlotte Highway, Suite 4 Lake Wylie, SC 803-619-4161
Pet Wants Lake Wylie
4110 Charlotte Highway, Suite 103
Lake Wylie Plaza
Lake Wylie, SC 803-610-1228
Pet supply store
Southern Edge Beverage Co.
331 East Main Street, Suite 200 Rock Hill, SC 803-619-9176
Sarah James 5516 Rozelles Ferry Road
Charlotte, NC 704-315-4111
Trash and Recycling Service
Zenergy Massage Therapy
James M. Jones 4607 Charlotte Highway, Suite 16 Lake Wylie, SC 803-526-3550
Massage Therapy, ZEN full body stretch, Reiki
Zo.ra Food & Wine
Samantha and Roshan Singh 1201 Village Harbor Drive, Suite 103 Village Harbor
Lake Wylie, SC
In memory of Debra Andres, a former Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce
Board of Directors chairwoman and friend to many, we want to share a few photos and memories of her life at Lake Wylie. Sadly, Debra recently had a fall in her driveway and hit her head and passed away suddenly two days later at her home. Debra worked at Wells Fargo Bank for many years and had retired last year to enjoy her life and friends at Lake Wylie. She enjoyed cards, reading, traveling, cooking gourmet meals and volunteering at Chamber of Commerce events and the Blumenthal Center. Debra was a wonderful friend to many and always kind and caring. We will miss her.
Jeff Ledford - Chairman River Hills Country Club
Charles WoodPast Chairman
Susan Brom eldPresident
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce
Matthew MugaveroVice Chairman
Lake Wylie Liquors
Donna BordeauxSecretary Calculated Moves, PC
Michaelyn SherrillTreasurer Home Companions
Fred Caldwell Chevrolet
Little Woods Marketing
Kim Conroy YMCA Camp underbird
K. A. Gregory Wealth Management
Rotary Club of Lake Wylie
Carolina Family Dentistry
Dr. Sheila Quinn
Clover School District
Business After Hours
“Business by the Lake – Member Spotlight”
Thursday, June 22, 2023
Held at River Hills Marina Picnic Pavilion
Lake Wylie Fourth of July Community Fireworks
Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Approximately 9:30 p.m.
Lake Wylie Plaza, Lake Wylie Italian and Pizza, Rey Azteca- Patio, Bagel Boat, Papa Docs and Long Cove Resort and Marina
Business After Hours
September date TBA, 2023
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce
Annual Golf Classic
Thursday, October 12, 2023
1 p.m. shotgun start, captain’s choice
Held at River Hills Country Club
Lake Wylie, SC
Business After Hours
Thursday, October 19, 2023
sponsored by and held at
Caromont Healthcare - Lake Wylie Medical Office Building Nautical Lane – Lake Wylie
Annual Holiday Gala
Thursday, December 7, 2023
Cocktails, Dinner and Music
Seating Limited, Festive Attire
Held at River Hills Country Club
Lake Wylie, SC
Holiday Boat Parade
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Held by Papa Doc’s Shore Club
The Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce is a private, nonprofit organization made up of nearly 300 member businesses in the Lake Wylie area in South Carolina. Whether you’re a Chamber member, a prospective member, a resident, a prospective resident, or a one-time visitor to our area you’re important to us.
“To build a business environment that creates economic prosperity for our members and our community by serving as the voice of the business community and by providing a support network for members.”
“Leading the Lake Wylie area to become the premier place to live, work and conduct business in the Carolinas.”
Thursday, October 12, 2023
1:00 pm Shotgun Start– Captain’s Choice River Hills Country Club
Daytime Telephone: ( )______________________ Fax: ( )___________________
Golf---Includes box lunch, driving range privileges, golf, cart, hospitality and great networking safely! All player spots are reserved upon receipt of payment and registration form.
Individual Golfer(s) @ $130 per person
Golf Team(s) – Four players @ $520 per team
Golfers Name:________________________Handicap:___E-mail:__________________ Optional…
_____Mulligan (s) – Limit 2 per player $10 each
_____Mulligan (s) – For the team $80
Hole Sponsorship - $300 (Includes sign at tee box or green, and recognition in Lake Wylie Today Magazine!
____ Flag Sponsorship - $300
_____I’d like to donate a raffle prize!
Please return this registration form with your check to:
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 5233, Lake Wylie, SC 29710
provides residents and visitors with plentiful outdoor recreational options, including the annual 4th of July celebration that can be viewed from the water or on shore.
Lake Wylie Community Fireworks
Tuesday, the 4th of July!!!
What: Fantastic Fireworks Display
When: Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Time: Approximately 9:30 pm
Where: Lake Wylie by the Buster Boyd Bridge, S.C. Hwy. 49 at Lake Wylie
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
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 underbird Fireworks Fund
One underbird Lane
Lake Wylie, SC 29710
Thanks very much for your support!
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