Bennettsville Downtown Development Association
Celebrating a Proud Past... a Promising Future

VISION STATEMENT
To create a promising future in a place which inspires people to achieve their best through nurturing partnerships and loyalties while enhancing the experience of a small historic southern town.

MISSION STATEMENT
The Bennettsville Downtown Development Association is dedicated to the development, growth, and preservation of Bennettsvilles' historic downtown area.

Downtown Update Archive

Bennettsville Archived News and Events.

Leadership Bennettsville - The 12th Year

The new Leadership Bennettsville class begin the 2015 – 2016 year in May with 15 classmates. This is the 12th year for this outstanding project. Participating in the class are: Joey Jones, Tracie Stubbs, Matt Haynie, Joy Graham, Cameron Shepard, Luke Sides, Terri Cook, Kim Willis, Jessica Sides, Davida Holiday, Chris Burks, Mel West, Joette Barnhill, and Tanasia Thomas. The opening class time was spent getting to know each other and learning about Leadership Bennettsville. The June 18th class will be on City Government and the class will hear from various departments within the city. Future classes will deal with County Government, Education, Bennettsville history and a walking tour of historic Bennettsville, Arts and Culture, and various organizations along with leadership skills.

Leadership Bennettsville is sponsored by the City of Bennettsville and the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association. Each participant pays $135 for the entire year of activities. If you would like to volunteer to help with the classes at any time, call Ken Harmon at 843-479-3869.

Summerfest 2015


The Bennettsville Downtown Development Association participated in SUMMERFEST 2015 with a booth giving out information on the Association and candy. A good crowd of visitors and locals stopped by for a chat. In the above picture are Doris Ann Breeden, Secretary and Ken Harmon, Executive Director. For information on Bennettsville Downtown Development Association, please call 843/479-3869.

Ken Harmon Attends State-wide Main Street Managers Meeting in Pickens, SC

Ken Harmon, Executive Director of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association recently attended a state-wide Main Street Managers meeting in Pickens, SC. Managers from Pickens, Orangeburg, Columbia, Manning, Hartsville, Summerville, Sumter, Woodruff, and Chester attended. The day was spent learning about board development, a fresh look at the four point approach which is the highlight of the Main Street approach, and fulfilling your mission. Sessions were conducted by Shalene Cannon of Thomasville, GA. Meetings were held in the renovated Pickens County Museum, circa 1910.

Bill Kinney, Jr. Speaks to Junior Leadership Bennettsville

Bill Kinney, Jr. Editor Emeritus of the Herald Advocate, spoke to the Junior Leadership Bennettsville class recently as they met for their monthly meeting in the Kinney Room in our public library. Kinney gave a talk about the history of Marlboro County and Bennettsville. Because of the inclement weather, a planned walking tour of historic downtown Bennettsville could not be held. Kinney traced the history beginning with the Indians present when the first Welch pioneers arrived. The members of the class, all seniors at the two high schools in Marlboro County, also visited the Marlboro County Museum and the Jennings-Brown House. The day ended with fun and games, with points of leadership, directed by Michael McManus of Clemson University.

Grand Opening of MAMA BLAIR'S

Bennettsville’s newest restaurant recently opened its doors with a bang. The grand opening and ribbon cutting for MAMA BLAIR’S, 602 Cheraw Street was held with over 60 people in attendance to welcome the new business owned and operated by Danny and Woodrow Blair. MAMA BLAIR’S is open seven days a week serving ribs, wings and a complete menu for the entire family. Shown in the above picture from left to right are Becky Munnerlyn, Bob Porter, April Johnson, Woodrow Blair, owner, Lori Simmons, Danny Blair, Ken Harmon, Rogers Bridges, Keisha Blair, and Brandon Blair. Bennettsville Downtown Development Association assists with grand openings and other special events in Bennettsville. If you would like for them to work with you, please call 843/479-3869.

Grand Opening of Reassigned Blessings

Reassigned Blessings officially opened their doors to the public on August 22 with a Wine and Champaign Reception. The store, located at 104 East Main Street, brings to the public the opportunity to purchase high-end consignment items. In the ribbon cutting picture are, left to right, George Newby, Ken Harmon, ED of Bennettsville Downtown Development Association, Kristopher Taylor, owner of the shop, and Paul Taylor. The store is open six days each week. If you are interested in an opening for your store, call Bennettsville Downtown Development Association at 843/479-3869.

Grand Opening of Preferred Care

Late in 2014 Preferred Care of Bennettsville held their Grand Opening supported by BDDA. Preferred Care is located at 209 West Main Street in downtown Bennettsville and is dedicated to supporting families in our area with their many services. Shown in the picture are, left to right, Rickie Covington, Jeffrey Walters, Marquise Billinger, Sylvenia Walters, Gary Breeden, Ken Harmon of BDDA, Von Quick, and Tony Covington. To speak to the folks at Preferred Care call 843/456-5107. If you are interested in opening a new business in downtown Bennettsville, please call BDDA, 843/479-3869.

Bennettsville After Hours

The final Bennettsville After Hours (BAH) of the year was recently sponsored by Embrace Hospice of Bennettsville. Embrace Hospice is located in the Walmart Shopping Center and serves all of Marlboro County. Over 50 people enjoyed music by Dennis Hardison and his group, heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine. Numerous door prizes were given away compliments of local businesses. BAH is a way for businesses to make the public aware of their business and to enjoy fellowship with friends and acquaintances. The above picture shows, left to right, Dena McHugh, Ken Harmon, ED of BDDA, and Kevin McHugh, President of Embrace Hospice. If you are interested in hosting BAH, call 843/479-3869.

Grand Opening of The Little Shop of Bennettsville

The Little Shop of Bennettsville, 205 West Market Street, celebrated their grand opening and ribbon cutting recently. The shop, featuring Avon products, custom ironing, candles, candies and the like, is owned by Christine White and is Bennettsville’s newest business. Shown in the above picture reading left to tight are Destiny Watson, Katherine Watson, Rosa Vaughan, Allonia Ward, Christine White, Ken Harmon, ED of BDDA, Cynthia Stevens and Marilyn Vaughan. BDDA is happy to conduct grand openings and ribbon cuttings and other events in your business. Call 843/479-33869

Grand Opening of FRUITFUL SOULS

FRUITFUL SOULS opened on Thursday, August 14th with turn away crowds. Fruitful Souls is all about fruit products which are healthy and therefore good for your “soul”. Store hours are Tuesday through Sunday. In the above picture, showing the ribbon cutting, are, left to right, Mary Dese, Apostle Ervin Dese, City Council member, Bernice Johnson, Bobbie Ford, store owner, Ken Harmon, ED of BDDA, Demarus Ford, Channie Burroughs, Malik Ford, and Markey Purvis. Fruitful Souls is located on Marlboro Street in the former Dr. Douglas Jennings offices. If you are interested in a grand opening for your business, call BDDA at 843/479-3869.

BDDA Executive Director attends National Convention

Main Street South Carolina (MSSC) held its annual summer retreat recently in Columbia, SC. The three day meeting covered such subjects as branding, economic development, a tour of downtown Columbia and the Vista area, reports from member managers who attended theNationl Main Street Center convention in Detroit, MI., and a reception for Ben Boozer, founder of Main Street South Carolina, celebrating thirty years. To make things even more interesting, one of the managers had to be rushed home and had a baby that night.

Shown in the picture are Ken Harmon, ED of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) which has been a member of MSSC for 28 years, Eric Budds, Deputy Executive Director of the Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC), and Randy Wilson, contract architect for MSSC. If you are interested in Main Street activities in Bennettsville, call Ken Harmon at 843/479-3869.

The American flag, the stars and stripes are our symbol of freedom

All of us enjoy the American flags we see flying on 15 holidays and special days in downtown Bennettsville each year. There are 158 of these flags or there were 158. This past fourth of July weekend we experienced a disaster when over twenty of our flags were either stolen or destroyed. Why? I don’t understand wonton destruction and thievery, especially when we are looking at the symbol of all that means freedom in our country. It’s this very freedom that allows all of us, including vandals, to enjoy the freedom to make our own decisions, even the wrong ones.


Our downtown flags are given by folks like you, who want to honor or remember someone special in your life. The majority of our flags have been given for service members, but not all, and giving a flag is certainly not limited to veterans. We need your help to replace the flags lost over July 4th and for those in the future. To sponsor a flag is only $50. Your flag is flown in our downtown and an engraved brick is place at the flag monument located on the grounds of the Bennettsville Visitor Center.



Driving around our downtown, when our flags are gloriously flying, just thrills my heart. I’m sure part of it is because I am a veteran, but regardless….we are all Americans and the stars and stripes are our symbol of freedom…of life and the pursuit of happiness. Please help. Send your check and information to Ken Harmon, BDDA, PO Office 1293, Bennettsville, SC 29512

Annual Bennettsville After Hours Held

The Mayor and City Council of the City of Bennettsville held their annual Bennettsville After Hours on 7-8-2014 in the Bennettsville Visitor Center. About 60 people enjoyed music by Dennis Hardison and food by We Get It Together. The group networked with each other as they welcomed several new folks to our community.


Pictured are Rhonda Frazier, Manager of the Visitor Center, Ken Harmon, ED of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) and Mayor of Bennettsville, Dexe Bostick.

If you are interested in hosting a Bennettsville After Hours, contact 843.479.3869.









Jonellda Educational Services Grand opening

Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremonies for Jonellda Educational Services were held on June 24, 2014. Owner Amanda Kelly welcomed the group and told them about her tutoring services for elementary age students in english and math. Jonellda Educational Services is located at 113 Liberty Street in the Arcade Building and is open throughout the week. Call 843.544.7179 for information for your child.


Pictured are Ken Harmon, ED of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) and Amanda Kelly, owner
of Jonellda Educational Services.

If you are interested in a grand opening please call 843.479.3869.









Graduation Exercises

Graduation exercises for the 2013-2014 Leadership Bennettsville class were help on April 17, 2014. After eleven months of intensive training, the twelve graduates enjoyed a sit-down dinner and an address by Fred Sheheen, Director of the Non-profit Leadership Institute at Francis Marion University. Graduation certificates were given by Bennettsville Mayor Dexe Bostick. Shown in the above picture is Director Ken Harmon and class members Yolonda DuPree, Christina Pearson and Waldo Pearson, Kisha McLain, Nikki Peele, JoAnne Jones Evans, Lindsey Sanderson, Willie Steele, 111, Kathy Stuart, Woody Graham (chosen as the outstanding class member) and Melissa Mallette. Missing from the puictue is classmate Kim Malphus. A new class year for Leadership Bennettsville will begin May 15th. For information contact Ken Harmon at 843/479-3869.

Leadership Bennettsville

More and more new folks are coming to our town. More and more of our young people are coming back to our town. These folks are our future, designated to take over from the generation that’s called “baby boomers” and older.

This is a group of people Leadership Bennettsville is designed to reach out and touch, of course, along with anyone who is genuinely interested in the future of our town (should be all of us). The eleventh year of the successful Leadership Bennettsville classes will be begin on May 15, 2014 with a full day of activities. Leadership Bennettsville is a once a month, eleven month course of what Bennettsville and Marlboro County are all about with some serious leadership skills taught along the way. It’s intensive. It’s rewarding. It’s an attitude changer.

Sign up now by calling 843/479-3869 for details. Look to your future and the future of Bennettsville. If you live and or work in Marlboro County you meet the requirements. Tuition is only $135 for the year. Deadline is fast approaching so call today or drop by the Bennettsville Visitor Center. Leadership Bennettsville is a partnership between the City of Bennettsville and the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA).

Board Meeting News from March

At the Board of Directors meeting in March of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA), the Board honored Eddie Campbell, owner of Eddie's Pawn Shop for his rehabbing an historic building in historic downtown Benettsville. The building, located at 108 Broad Street, is known as the Rogers Mercantile Building. Not only did Campbell rehab the building but used the historic signage on the rear of the building to convert to Eddie's Pawn Shop while leaving parts of the sign applicable to his business.

The Board voted to request the City of Bennettsville authorize the naming of the area in the Municipal Parking lot and in front of the Jennings-Brown House be named Bill Kinney, Jr. Way.

TED Ken Harmon discussed the graduation ceremonies (April 17) for this year's Leadership Bennettsville class and also the annual meeting of the membership of BDDA to be held on April 28th.

Board meetings are always open to the public and are held on the last Monday in each month at 5:30 PM in the Municipal Court Building, 103 mARKET Street in downtown historic Bennettsville.

NEW YEAR FOR LEADERSHIP BENNETTSVILLE

It’s time to apply for the 11th year of the popular LEADERSHIP BENNETTSVILLE CLASSES. These classes teach leadership skills and take a well-rounded look at “The Bennettsville Story” as well Marlboro County. The purpose of Leadership Bennettsville is to interest our local citizens in taking leadership roles to further help our area grow and prosper and to preserve our historic legacy. Nearly 100 folks have taken and graduated from the course directed by Ken Harmon, Executive Director of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA).

Over thirty local community leaders give information on city and county governments, civic clubs, education, and arts and culture, also the histories of Bennettsville and Marlboro County and leadership skills. If you would like to talk with graduates, a list can be furnished.

To receive further information, and an application to join the next class beginning on May 16, 2014, call BDDA at 843/479-3869 or email kharmon415@yahoo.com. Classes are held on the third Thursday of each month for eleven months.

Bill Kinney, Jr. Speaks to Vistors

Bill Kinney, Jr., Vice-Chair of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) spoke to a group of visitors in the Bennettsville Visitor Center just prior to taking the group on a bus tour of our historic downtown. The group from Columbia was brought to Bennettsville by Circuit Judge Edward Cottingham, a native of Bennettsville who now resides in Columbia.







R&S POOLS Grand Opening

Bennettsville's newest business, R&S POOLS greeted the public with a grand opening and ribbon cutting on Thursday, February 27, 2014. Located in Bennettsville Square on highway nine, east, R & S is a full-service pool supplier. Shown in the photo on the right are owners Bob Byrd and Eric Stubbs along with family members and staff.

Ken Harmon, ED of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) conducted the festivities.For further information call 843/479-3869.

Main Street South Carolina Managers Quarterly Meeting

Main Street South Carolina managers met in Manning for their quarterly meeting. Attending the meeting from Bennettsville were Doris Ann Breeden, Secretary of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) and Ken Harmon, Executive Director of BDDA. The all day meeting included discussion on ways to partner with the South Carolina Arts Commission to increase development in downtown, Market Research in downtown Manning as attendees critiqued several local businesses as Silent Shoppers, and Roundtable Discussions as each manager discussed happenings in their community and areas of success and those in need of helpful suggestions. Plans to attend the National Main Street Center's annual convention in Detroit, MI were made. BDDA is member of Main Street South Carolina (MSSC) and the National Main Street Center. In the above picture are Breeden and Harmon along with some of the other managers from around the state.

L & S Custom Designs Grand Opening

L & S Custom Designs, a print shop specializing in T-shirts, mugs, banners an most anything that can be printed on, opened its doors for business with a grand opening and ribbon cutting held recently in downtown Bennettsville on Broad Street.

The business is open Monday through Saturday. Shown in the above picture are Henry Love, owner, Ken harmon, ED of BDDA, and Loretta Love, owner.

For information on grand openings call BDDA at 843/479-3869.

Arbor Day

The City of Bennettsville celebrated Arbor Day on December 6th. South Carolina observes the first Friday in December for this annual observance. Bennettsville is a TREE CITY USA, therefore they observe this special day by planting a tree and reading a proclamation from the Mayor.

This year Hospice of Chesterfield County donated two red Crepe Myrtle trees to be planted on the grounds of the Municipal Building on East Main Street.

Joining Bennettsville Mayor Dexe Bostick, Holly Swann, City Planner and Tommy Bostick, Public Works Director were John Douglas, Mayor of Chesterfield and Executive Director of Hospice of Chesterfield County, Cindy Beard, Sharon Coachmen, Peggy Shaw & Loraine Garris also of Hospice of Chesterfield County and board member Hampton Hubbard.

Members of the Golden Gate Garden Club of Bennettsville as well as Executive Director of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association, Ken Harmon were also in attendance.

School District of Marlboro County Presentation

The Leadership Bennettsville Class met in the Blenheim School to hear a presentation from the School District of Marlboro County. The activities were hosted by Wes Park, Chief Finance Officer for the District. The class heard from many of the various departments serving the school district and then a wrap up by School District Superintendent Dr. Helena Tillar. The class was also able to tour the new school. Shown in the picture above are members of the leadership class along with Wes Park and Ken Harmon, Director of Leadership Bennettsville.

2013-2014 Leadership Bennettsville Class

The class recently toured Marley Engineered Products and enjoyed lunch while there. Shown in the picture with the class are Vincent Vilarchao and Timothy Emnett of Marley. Leadership Bennettsville is a project sponsored by the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) and the City of Bennettsville. For information call 843/479-3869.

Pictured are members of the 2013-2014 Leadership Bennettsville class.

Junior Leadership Bennettsville 2013-2014 Class

Junior Leadership Bennettsville 2013-2014 Class

The Junior Leadership Bennettsville 2013-2014 class kicked-off their new year recently, meeting in the Bennettsvile Community Center. The classes will continue for five months. There are 43 seniors from the two high schools in Marlboro County participating in this the fifth year of the project. The seniors are given information on Bennettsville and Marlboro County with the goal of making them aware of the many special things here that they may not have known about in the past. Also, the seniors are urged to go to college, come home and make Bennettsville their home. Presenting information to the class were Lon Lester, Chair and Bill Kinney, Vice-Chair of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA), Dr. Forest Mahan of NETC, and Michael McManus of Clemson University. The Junior Leadership Bennettsville project is sponsored by the City of Bennettsille, BDDA, and corporate entities. For further information contact Bennettsville Downtown Development Association at 843-479-3869.

Bennettsville After Hours

Bennettsville After Hours

The Marlboro County Disabilities and Special Needs Board (MCDSNB) hosted a Bennettsville After Hours on October 29,2013 to acquaint the public with the many services the Board gives to Marlboro County. Over 50 people attended the drop-in and enjoyed refreshments and networking with their fellow citizens. Among the many who attended were, as shown above in the captioned picture, Brent Parker, Executive Director of MCDSNB, Jean Quick, a member of the Bennettsville City Council and a member of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) Board, and Ken Harmon, ED of Bennettsville Downtown Development Association . Further information is available by calling 843-479-3869.

Marlboro County Economic Development's Annual Industry Appreciation Day 2013

The Marlboro County Economic Development Partnership celebrated Industry Appreciation Day on September 12, 2013. A total of over 200 people attended the day-long events. Ken Harmon, Executive Director of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) helped with the registration for the events that were held during the day. BDDA supports all efforts to salute our local industries and to thank them for all they mean to our area.