The William R. Thomson Law Firm
The William R. Thomson Law Firm has been a fixture in Belton for over 40 years and is this month’s Belton Alliance Business of the Month.
After graduating from USC Law School and passing the SC State Bar, Thomson began his career in Anderson, SC.
“At the beginning of my career, I worked for the firm of Thompson and Sullivan. I was mentored by George P. Sullivan and later worked for William L. Thompson exclusively when Mr. Sullivan joined another firm,” said Mr. Thomson.
But Anderson didn’t have a hold on him after a few years. In 1978, Jim Fowler, President of Capital Bank, reached out to Thomson to see if he had any interest in coming to Belton. At the time, the Greene-Lindley Accounting Firm had acquired the old Belton City Hall underneath the Standpipe and was looking to lease out a portion of the building.
“Mr. Fowler informed me that he felt Belton had a need for a lawyer and he thought that it would be a good opportunity for me,” stated Thomson.
After a productive meeting with John Greene and Bob Daniel of the accounting firm, he agreed to rent part of their building. He had offices at that location until 1990, when Mitchell Cole, Bank Manager of Southern National Bank (now BB&T), alerted him to space available in their building.
“Because our practice had expanded greatly, we moved to the new location where we still remain at 121 O’Neal Street,” said Thomson.
Over the years, the practice has served varied capacities, centering on domestic, probate and real property matters.
“I have also served as Municipal Judge for the City of Belton,” Thomson added.
Currently, the practice deals with business start-ups such as corporations and Limited Liability Companies. Wills, probate and real property matters are also part of their day-to-day responsibilities. This includes deeds, contracts and mortgage closings. Notary services are also provided.
“It is so convenient to have a person in the community to provide professional and solid legal services instead of having to drive to Anderson or Greenville,” said clients Wallace and Troyce Anne Ashley, who recently had wills updated and medical power of attorneys filed by Thomson.
Two assistants on staff, Cheri Cade and Regina Alewine, help Mr. Thomson complete the wide range of legal services he provides and he also employs the paralegal firm of Morris and Perkins, Inc., to assist with courthouse matters.
“He is one of the most honest lawyers I have ever met,” exclaimed businessman Gary McAlister. “I have told my wife that if I die, just take everything to Bill and whatever he says sign, sign because I believe in his integrity so much.”
“It is with great pleasure that the Belton Alliance recognizes the William R. Thomson Law Firm as an esteemed partner of our community of businesses,” stated Rex Maynard, BA Treasurer.
“If you want a lawyer who is reasonable with his charges, timely in his work, and honest in his dealings, Bill Thomson is the lawyer for you,” added Mr. McAlister.
Town Square Chiropractic: A balanced spine means a healthy body
Ancient practitioners of medicine knew what chiropractors know now: the alignment of the skeletal structure affects every aspect of our health.
This is a tenet that Dr. J. C. Neel believes in completely. At Town Square Chiropractic, he is committed to offering patients the safest, most convenient, and affordable care possible and making sure that clients leave the doors of the practice fully aligned.
“After graduating from Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic in 2006, I knew that I wanted to open my own practice,” he stated.
“Although joining an existing practice as a partner would have alleviated the stresses of starting a new business and developing a new patient base, I believed that to be assured my patients received the best treatment, both medically and personally, I needed to be in complete control of the practice.”
That’s when he opened Town Square Chiropractic on the Belton Square in August of 2007.
“The area has a hometown feel that I love. I love to get to know my patients and how their lives are going. We are not only concerned with the health of their backs, but their overall well being,” he stated.
After almost 12 years, he has built up a reputation and a devoted client base in the area. “Excellent doctor; premium care! I trust Dr. Neel and I always walk out feeling much better!” stated patient Allison Buchanan.
In addition to chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy modalities, the practice also has two licensed massage therapists on staff. Additionally, the staff offers rock taping, and CBD oil for sale along with Biofreeze, components that help with pain.
With five employees, his practice is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 9-12 and 2-6 and Wednesdays 9-12. Located at 200 City Square, the office can be reached by phone at 338-BACK (2225).
“We take pride in the family atmosphere that we have created since our opening, and intend on maintaining that reputation regardless of how large our practice may grow to be. It is our hope that you will allow us to assist you with all of your chiropractic and massage therapy needs,” said Dr. Neel.
It is with great pleasure that we announce that Town Square Chiropractic is the Belton Alliance Business of the Month
Earth Materials Grading
Moving dirt to level building sites, clearing unusable land and making it profitable, creating beautiful streetscapes, and cutting roads to new destinations—these are the hallmarks of the work performed by this month’s Belton Alliance Business of the Month.
Earth Materials Grading, Inc., is a local business owned and operated by Lee and Michael Gilreath in Anderson, SC. These two brothers began the business in August 1996.
In everything the brothers do, they make sure the company follows its mission statement: to provide high quality construction services with an emphasis on safety and value, and to develop customer relationships based on honesty and dependability.
The business employs 11 full time employees. Lee Gilreath as president of the company controls the billing and bidding processes and Michael Gilreath oversees the field work. Both, however, are multi-taskers, doing everything from shoveling dirt to driving the dump trucks, from visiting a site to prepare a bid to hopping on a bulldozer to topple a tree root. The brothers do whatever is needed for a job to be completed.
Weston Gilreath, who recently graduated from Clemson University, has come on board to be the first second-generation operator/estimator for the company. It is Lee and Michael’s hope that the rest of their children will have the opportunity to be employed by Earth Materials Grading.
Donna Finley runs the office, and field and equipment operators include Donnie Dooley, Austin Miller, Tony Moore, Travis Vaughn, Dale Gunnells, Nicc Varner and Josh Holden. All of these team members play a vital role in the success of Earth Materials Grading. They each have a great work ethic and strive for excellence in all areas of each project.
The company’s scope of work includes but is not limited to road work for city, county, and state contracts, commercial grading, streetscapes, demolition, clearing and grubbing (root clearing), site excavation, erosion control and storm drainage.
“We are proud of all of our projects, but the projects that help communities thrive are the most rewarding,” stated President Lee Gilreath.
They have been intimately involved in Belton’s new Rail Trail project. Michael, especially, has offered leadership in pushing the project forward.
When asked why, he explained: “Our company has been involved in creating streetscapes in other municipalities, and I saw firsthand what a difference those trails made in the overall attractiveness of the towns, but also in the development of new businesses. Because of seeing the successes elsewhere, we wanted to do something that encouraged Belton’s economic growth and quality of life for its citizens. The Walking Trail was a prime project that we had the resources to be able to help complete.”
Lee and Michael grew up in this area and want to be involved in making Belton a place where their kids will want to come back to the city that they love. Beautifying the city and supporting the non-profits in the area who offer cultural activities show they put in their muscle and monetary resources to ensure this happens.
Although most contracts they complete are commercial, county and municipal bids, they also work on smaller projects. If you need any of their services, contact Lee or Michael at 864-296-4488 or by email at [email protected].
“Their commitment to the community, their willingness to use their equipment and manpower to help, and their strong business success is why we named Earth Materials Grading, Inc., this month’s Belton Alliance Business of the Month,” stated Belton Alliance President Greg Tysl.
Congratulations to this month’s Belton Alliance Business of the Month
Gus’s Home Center
The sight of row upon row of useful tools, the smell of grease and hay bales, the beauty of freshly potted garden plants, the smiles of friendly cashiers and sales clerks with years of plumbing and carpentry skills behind them: This scene describes our town’s premiere hardware store—Gus’s Home Center.
Gus’s Home Center is an independently owned hardware store that is committed to bringing quality products at competitive prices to our community. It is being honored as this month’s Belton Alliance Business of the Month.
Established in 2004 by Ed Campbell, the business was started because the two long-time hardware stores–Mattison’s and Sullivan’s–
had closed their doors after years of serving our community.
The business passed into the next generation’s hands when Trampus Campbell, Ed’s nephew, became Ed’s business partner in January of 2015 and then purchased the company outright in June of 2016.
Some of the services offered at the location are key cutting, propane fill and exchange, glass and plexiglass cutting, delivery on most items, outdoor power equipment repair including pickup and delivery, and a full line of premium paints from Best Look and Pratt & Lambert.
“Our biggest product lines would include plumbing and electrical and lawn and garden,” said Trampus Campbell, owner of Gus’s Home Center.
To meet the needs of every customer who walks through the doors, there is a staff of seven full-time and four part-time employees.
“Each employee has their own strengths,” stated Campbell. “Some of the younger ones are good with computers and can check out customers swiftly and can also help find items in our warehouse that may not be in our store. The more seasoned employees have a lot of life experiences that they bring to the table to help customers figure out what they need.”
All of the employees are eager to help when someone comes in the front door and sometimes they are accused of being too eager when multiple employees ask the same customer if they can help them.
“This may happen if our employees don’t know if someone else has already tried to help the customer, but we would rather be accused of trying too hard than not trying at all,” said Campbell.
To ensure that customers are handily served and products they need are stocked at the best prices, Gus’s Home Center became affiliated with Do It Best Hardware Stores. Do It Best is a hardware cooperative that is about 3800 members strong worldwide. They provide invaluable support with marketing, product assortments, store renovation and new store design, and much more.
“Do It Best has eight warehouses nationwide. The Lexington, SC, warehouse contains 67,000 different items that we have access to. Gus’s Home Center carries about 17,000 items, but our customers can access all 67,000 items through our website gus.doitbest.com. Products can be shipped directly to the store without paying any shipping charges,” added Campbell.
Expansion and relocation are part of the five-year plan for this business. Campbell and his wife Janet have purchased land closer to the city limits as the future site to build a new hardware store.
“We currently lease in the old Winn-Dixie building location. The current plan is to be in the new store when our lease expires in approximately four years.”
Open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, the business is closed on Sunday so the employees can enjoy family time. Come visit them at their Anderson Street location when you need to complete your next project
“I would like to thank Belton and the surrounding areas for their patronage of our business. We could not continue to serve the community without each and every customer,” said Campbell.
The Belton Alliance is proud to present Clinkscales Chevrolet with this month’s Business of the Month recognition.
Since cars were first brought to the square of Belton, SC, there has been a dealership ready to serve the needs of our community. First Ford, then Dodge/Plymouth, and then in the 1940’s, Chevrolet hit the local market.
In 1957, Will Clinkscales, Jr., purchased the Chevrolet dealership and branded it with their surname, to ensure the quality and reputation expected among its customers.
Billy Clinkscales took over the business at the death of his father in August 1972. Fresh out of school, Billy had no car selling experience, but fortunately, he was able to rely on a group of loyal, experienced staff. Without this core group of individuals in the early 1970’s, there probably would not be a Clinkscales Chevrolet today.
Billy is still active in the business; however, his son Michael Clinkscales took over as Dealer Principal in 2010 and along with his sister Beth Clinkscales Scott manages Clinkscales Chevrolet today with a staff of 18 who are committed to serving the community with the highest level of customer satisfaction.
“One of the things we are proudest of is that over the 61 years of doing business, six different employees have worked at the dealership in excess of 40 years,” stated Billy Clinkscales.
Customer oriented service permeates everything they do. With a convenient location, top class service, quality standards, personal approach, transparent pricing, and commitment to community, Clinkscales Chevrolet is the dealership of choice for many in our area.
If you haven’t checked them out yet, drop by their location at 1515 Anderson Street. With their friendly sales staff and a wide array of vehicle choices, you’ll easily fulfill their business motto: “No one walks away from Clinkscales Chevrolet.”
When Amanda Thompson took over the Belton State Farm office which had long been owned by Quincy Waters, she had been fully vested in the corporation as an Agency Field Specialist for several years.
“Overseeing 57 agents in the upstate allowed me to see what successful agents all had in common, and I wanted to offer the same winning traits to the residents of a small town. When the Belton franchise came open, I knew it was a great fit for me,” stated Thompson.
She took over the office on September 1, 2014, and immediately set to work adding a variety of services that had not been available to its clients in Belton. Today, State Farm-Amanda Thompson Agency not only offers traditional homeowner and auto insurance, but the company also offers big-city services such as life insurance, health insurance, and banking services including vehicle and mortgage loans.
But just because big-city services have been added, doesn’t mean that small-town relationships have suffered.
“With a team of mostly Belton born and raised people, we provide a local face to many of our clients. Having been raised in Roebuck, SC, I had small town values instilled in me early on myself, so I value these small-town relationships and ways of doing things,” she stated.
Being invested in our local community not just as a business but also as a partner was important to her as well.
“My team and I participate in as many local events as we can. We participated in Relay for Life, the Belton Easter Egg Hunt, the Standpipe Heritage and Arts Festival, and sponsored the recent exhibit Fins, Feathers, Claws and Paws at the Belton Area Museum Association.”
The company also sponsors many of the sports teams and activities at Belton-Honea Path High School.
One big step for the business occurred in December 2017 when Thompson bought the SunTrust Building (formerly Heritage Federal Savings and Loan) and moved the company back into the city limits.
The move has been very beneficial to the organization as people stop in just to say hello or to see what the office looks like.
“A lot of folks didn’t even know where we were located before. And we have several customers take advantage of the drive-thru as a convenient way to make payments,” Thompson added.
The move didn’t alter their work ethic or service-oriented values either.
“We love being a part of town now, but the way we do business has not changed. We pride ourselves on our customer service and our team work,” Thompson concluded.
Stop by and see the staff and Amanda at the new location at 914 Anderson Street and congratulate them on being named the Belton Alliance Business of the Month.
Superior Engineering and Superior Hydraulic Supplies combined is the featured Belton Alliance Business of the Month.
Superior Engineering opened its doors in 1984 and due to a demand in the local marketplace, Superior Hydraulic Supplies opened in 1990. Although the two businesses share the plant location, the companies are completely separate with separate management and employees who use different areas of the building. Each company has a completely different product and customer base. Whereas Superior Hydraulic Supplies provides pre-made nuts, bolts, housings, hoses, etc. for earth moving and manufacturing machines, Superior Engineering, Inc., designs and sells forklift attachments or complete systems to increase the efficiency of their customers’ materials handling operations. “Materials handling is any process in a manufacturing or warehousing company where the product is moved from the manufacturing process to storage in a warehouse or to a truck or rail car for shipping,” explained David Jones, President of Superior Engineering, Inc. Forklift manufacturers who utilize Superior Engineering components include Hyster, Yale, Clark, Caterpillar, Toyota, Nissan, and Raymond. Liftone in Greenville, SC, is their largest local customer. “Our products are also used in the manufacturing operations to move product inside a plant. We specialize in the design and manufacture of application specific attachments that in some cases are only used by a unique customer,” he added. Most of the well known manufacturers of products all of us use everyday utilize a fork lift component made right here in Belton by Superior Engineering, Inc. Lazy Boy Furniture, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Campbell’s Soup, John Deere, Milliken, Springs, Batesville Casket, Glen Raven Mills, Mount Vernon Mills, Walmart, Tropicana Orange Juice, Gatorade, Pepsi, Budweiser, and the Federal Government all employ Superior Engineering, Inc., forklift components in their operations. Products are shipped all over the world, including China and Australia, and the company competes and outperforms companies that are a hundred times larger than they are. Furthermore, Superior Engineering, Inc., has been recognized by their peers in the Materials Handling Business many times throughout their years of business. The company has grown from a recession plagued beginning in 1984, weathering economic upswings and downturns over the years, to stand strong today as a company of over five million in annual sales. “Going from nothing to where we are today is one of our greatest achievements,” stated Jones, “but more importantly, being able to use our monetary success to support philanthropic and community causes in Belton and the surrounding areas tops even that.” In the future, look for Superior Engineering, Inc., to break into the laser guided and self-guided vehicular automated processes for storage and materials handling systems. “We have partnered with manufacturers who integrate computer guided systems into the materials handling world,” said Jones. “The greatest challenge facing our business is keeping up with new technologies because that changes every day. And of course, we constantly adjust to changing markets, work to minimize our environmental impact, and modify our processes to address the many challenges of government regulations, both local and national,” stated Jones. Jones is quick to praise the success of the business as being due to the Superior family of associates. “They are a great group and work together like a family. To have employees spend most of their life at Superior is a rewarding experience for me.”
Please take a look at the website www.superioreng.com for more information.
Congratulations, Superior Engineering, Inc., and Superior Hydraulic Supplies, Inc., for being recognized as the Belton Alliance Business of the Month!
Premier Dental Services, Relaxed Office Setting
Belton Comprehensive Dentistry, under the careful hands of dentists Dr. Joe Paradise and Dr. Thomas Burriss, has a long history of providing the best in dental care for the citizens of our area.
When Dr. Thomas Burriss came to Belton in 1972 after he graduated from the University of South Carolina Medical School, he began to practice in the rear rooms of Dr. Ron Tysl’s practice on River Street. Eventually, his practice grew into the new, spacious office on Pine Top in 1994.
Dr. Burriss built the building with the intent of adding new dentists to practice under his direction. “However,” he said, “it took almost 14 years to find the right dentist who would carry on the tradition of excellence in patient care that was expected by myself and our community.”
And that person was Dr. Joseph Paradise. He also began practicing dentistry in Belton at Dr. Tysl’s River Street office. He later joined Dr. Burriss and purchased the practice in 2008.
Dr. Paradise said, “I was looking to join a practice with a diverse population where I could really get to know the patients and provide them with the best dental care possible.”
The current practice includes 11 staff members working together to meet each patient’s needs. The team provides a variety of services including implants, routine cleanings, teeth whitening, crowns, dentures, extractions, root canals, and orthodontic treatment. Belton Comprehensive Dentistry provides patients with premier oral care.
“I am very thankful to do what I love in the great community of Belton. And I am blessed to have such a great supporting staff. I could not ask for a better team,” said Dr. Paradise.
“Years ago, I started seeing Dr. Burriss for my dental care,” stated patient Gail Davis. “The practice had great personnel who were professional and equipped to handle all dental care that we might experience, so I wanted the same type of care for my entire family! Now, we all are patients of the practice.”
Located at 1000 Pine Top Road, the practice is open Monday through Thursday, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, and two Fridays a month for morning hours. They accept checks, cash or credit cards and are the preferred in-network provider for insurance companies Delta, MetLife, Aetna, Ameritus, Assurant, and Cigna.
Lead-time from appointment scheduling to services rendered is usually two weeks.
“But we try to get patients in as quickly as possible when they are having difficulties,” said Landis Riddle, front office specialist.
“Your health and comfort are our top priorities, and we do what it takes to help every patient understand their symptoms and treatment options in a relaxed office setting,” commented Dr. Paradise.
If you’re looking for a new dental practice, make an appointment today by calling 864-338-6589.
With a friendly staff, expert knowledge of patients’ dental history, close attention to patient comfort, in addition to affordable and competitively priced services, Belton Comprehensive Dentistry sets itself apart from other dental practices in Anderson County.
We are proud to announce that Belton Comprehensive Dentistry is the Belton Alliance Business of the Month.
A local bank that’s just right, Park Sterling Bank
There have been three versions of the Belton Bank. The first one opened in 1899 and was absorbed by the SC National (eventually Wells Fargo) network. Another opened its doors in the 1950’s and eventually became BB and T. Out of the latest re-creation, formed by local citizens in the 1990’s, the Belton Bank became Park Sterling in December of 2011, giving this four-state regional bank a foothold in Belton.
Park Sterling Bank was founded in 2006 to provide customers in the Southeast with a viable alternative to what can be limited resources offered by small community banks and the limited flexibility of large national banks.
Just like Goldilocks found in the Three Bears story, “It’s not too big; it’s not too small; it’s just right.”
The group serving its customers at Park Sterling, located at 717 Anderson Street, includes Matt Mundy/Branch Manager, Dana Fisher/BSA Compliance Officer, Joseph Brice/Area Retail Manager, Phillip Kesler/Financial Advisor, Brenda Masters/Relationship Banker and a host of friendly tellers.
With seven employees at the Belton branch, Park Sterling has the right person to assist clients with their financial needs, whether wanting to open a checking and/or savings account or seeking assistance with wealth management, mortgage lending, or business banking services.
According to Matt Mundy, Branch Manager, the success of this strong bank in our community is the following: “Our commitment is to be large enough to have all of the tools to allow our customers the ability to achieve their financial goals and small enough to care that they do.”
Part of that dedication to the community and its stakeholders is offering free financial education to those who live and work in Belton.
“We do this through our Sterling at Work (SAW) program and FinStrong program. Both serve as community outreach financial wellness programs,” added Joseph Brice.
Any company, regardless of whether they are Park Sterling clients, can utilize the Sterling at Work (SAW) program.
“We offer budgeting seminars, credit seminars, etc . that provide financial education on whatever topic that the company thinks will best benefit their staff. And we just launched our FinStrong program which provides an interactive way for those who participate to be educated on sound financial pillars that will hopefully help them take control of their money and become financially strong,” explained Mundy.
Another big part of SAW is to provide help to those who bank with Park Sterling. For example, if a customer has a pay roll direct deposit from a participating SAW company, he/she is eligible for a SAW checking account, which does not have monthly fees or require a minimum balance. Furthermore, any client with a SAW account has their ATM expense fees waived at any ATM machine across the country.
“Savings is also heavily encouraged, so we offer a savings account without any minimum balance requirement or monthly charge. Customers also have free access to 360, which is a helpful tool that allows them to view all of their bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, etc. together in one place. It tracks their spending and segments where that money is going, so customers can create a budget that best suits them. We also include things like free credit monitoring, free credit report with score every 90 days and loan discounts,“ said Mundy.
As a bank committed to its community, Park Sterling will be offering a financial wellness seminar for teens at the Belton Depot on Saturday, April 1 . This two-hour long interactive seminar will be available for teens from ages 15 – 19. Please call 864-338-2265 to sign up for the program. At the end of the session, all participants will be entered for a chance to win a gift card.
“It’s amazing how many young adults that I’ve come across who made some mistakes when they were 18 to 20 because they simply had no idea how something like not paying their cell phone bill would negatively impact them. They didn’t understand that a decision like that could one day prevent them from being able to buy a house, get a decent insurance rate, etc. So any opportunity that we have to assist with financial education we take,” said Mundy.
“This is why we are excited about offering this seminar to the community’s teens.”
Get away with services from All About Travel
Driven by a love of travel and adventure, Jeanne and Rick Henderson of All About Travel have provided quality booking services for numerous area families over the last 20 plus years.
Jeanne had been working in the travel business for GTM Travel Group before branching out on her own in 1993. Rick joined the business in 2006 after Rice Mills closed. He had traveled extensively and also wanted to help others with affordable and interesting travel opportunities.
“Our travel services include cruise planning, group travel, and customized individual travel packages anywhere in the world. We book all inclusive resorts, ski packages, private villa rentals and any type of travel that a person should request. Disney World Park, Disney Cruises and other trips of this type can be easily accommodated,” explained Jeanne.
Through Nexion, a clearing house of over 3000 home-based agents, All About Travel can provide great deals on travel packages. And repeat customers seem the norm for this agency.
“Although we have a website presence, most of our business comes from word-of-mouth advertising,” explained Rick. “Many people come back time and time again for us to arrange their travel excursions.”
“My husband Dave and I have been on several wonderful vacations, all planned by Jeanne and Rick Henderson at All About Travel. We chose them to help us plan our beautiful wedding in Jamaica, a castle tour in Ireland, and several other vacations. They are the most patient folks in the world. We have always enjoyed the personal touch they offer based on their experience,” said Nancy Jo Thomason Cannon. “I would definitely recommend them!”
“We enjoy sharing our knowledge and resources with all who wish to travel and enjoy the world and all it has to offer,” summarized Rick.
The agency will also soon begin specializing in travel arrangements for parents whose children are studying abroad for a semester and would like to visit them.
Check out this month’s Belton Alliance Business of the Month online at allabouttravel.nexionaffiliate.com, make a call at (864) 338-1552, or send an email to [email protected] before planning your next adventure.
“Whether it be a family vacation, a honeymoon, a wedding destination, a cruise, or a luxury tour, we hope we can help you find just the right vacation,” added Jeanne.
Palmetto Insurance/Keys Agency is an independent agency, 100% owned by the Keys Family of Belton and Greenville, and they work directly for the client so that the company can provide the best coverage for the right price.
Presently owned and operated by Marshall Keys and sons DuPre Keys and Brooks Keys along with a staff of 8 employees, everyone strives to create satisfied customers, just like their patriarch did almost 70 years ago.
Rufus Keys, Jr., began the business in 1947 after he had served in the US Navy as a captain of an LST (small supply ship) and had participated in the Invasion of Normandy. After returning home from overseas, he worked in the business office of Abney Mills, and saw the need and an opportunity to help fellow veterans through personal insurance services. He wrote his first policy at night after he got licensed to sell insurance, and within a year, he was able to start his own business full time. Originally known as the R B Keys Agency, offices have been located on the Square, in the Wayside Shopping Center, off McGee Way, and presently at their newly built stand-alone facility on Anderson Street, which they opened in 2004.
“We’ve always been in the city limits of Belton,” Marshall explained, “but we have customers all over the state of South Carolina.”
One reason customers come to Belton from all over South Carolina for their insurance needs is that the Keys Agency has access to a large network of insurance carriers to create the right insurance program to fit the customer’s needs, whether personal or commercial.
“Being affiliated with Palmetto Insurance gives us access to companies that we would otherwise not be able to write policies for as a smaller company while also allowing us to make decisions locally,” explained Marshall.
“We take pride in our careful evaluations of our clients’ unique needs in order to find the most suitable policies, taking the hassle out of buying insurance,” added DuPre.
Areas of expertise include business insurance; personal home, auto, and umbrella insurance; and life insurance, and “we can find a company in our market for any insurance need you may have,” DuPre assured.
Palmetto Insurance-Keys Agency has always been a customer-centered company. “We feel that our incredibly good customer service is what sets us apart from other insurance companies. We expect that every employee follows the Golden Rule,” said Marshall.
In fact, Marshall remembered a time when the company was located on the Square and a terrible storm passed through Belton.
“We went uptown and put a card table outside the doors because the power was out. Everyone who needed us could come by, and we hand wrote their claim forms so that we could get our clients help as fast as possible.”
This same courtesy is evident today. “The last big storm we had in the spring, I came up to the office and changed our after-hours message to give our clients our cell numbers so that we could expedite claims for them,” said DuPre.
“We try to be involved in our clients’ claims and help them muddle through the paperwork process and make sure that they are happy with the resolution,” added Brooks.
In 2005 the Culwell Insurance Agency became affiliated with Palmetto Insurance. Jim Culwell owns 100% of the agency so the entire Belton office is locally owned and operated. Jim and Brooke Phillips do a wonderful job at providing their customers with top notch service.
With the Belton location doing well and younger son Brooks steeped in the family business tradition, the opportunity arose for a satellite office to be launched in Greenville, SC. Opened five years ago and managed by Brooks Keys with two additional full-time staff members, Palmetto Insurance/Keys Agency in Greenville provides that same attention to detail and customer service so prized in the Belton office.
One client summed it all up: “The thing I really like about the Keys Agency is their quick response when we need to change the policy, have a question, or have an unfortunate claim. They are truly there for us, the customer.”
To which Marshall replied, “The commitment my dad made so many years ago to provide personal and expert service to every customer is foremost in all our minds when a new client walks through the door.”
Palmetto Insurance/Keys Agency is located at 715 Anderson Street. Contact them today for a free quote at 338-8886 or walk through the doors. You’ll be greeted with enthusiasm and warmth.
Around the time that the railroad was completed from Columbia, SC, to Belton, SC, in 1852, Henry Wells and William Fargo of New York City founded a financial services company that has become a legendary part of the American West, and a part of thousands of other communities, including Belton, as well.
During the 19th Century, Wells Fargo and Company’s Express provided transportation of money back and forth overseas by sailing ship or steamer; and overland by stagecoach, Pony Express or railroad. With a physical bank location in San Francisco, thousands of Wells Fargo financial transfer offices were erected in mining towns throughout the western provinces in response to the Gold Rush.
In 1905 Wells Fargo & Co’s Bank, San Francisco formally separated from Wells Fargo & Co Express, the branch that served as a money transfer company. The bank survived the disaster of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, and Wells Fargo began rebuilding its banking business across the West.
In the 1910s and 1920s, Wells Fargo served as a commercial bank in San Francisco, supporting the West’s growing business and agriculture, including fledgling auto, aerospace and film industries. Sound management helped the bank weather the Great Depression, serve the nation during World War II, and positioned the bank to meet new consumer banking needs in the prosperous post-war era.
In 1960s prosperity, Wells Fargo became a northern California regional bank with branch offices everywhere people lived and played. Wells Fargo expanded into a state-wide bank in the 1980s, becoming the seventh largest bank in the nation — and launched its online service.
In the 1990s Wells Fargo returned to its historic territory throughout the Western, Midwestern, and Eastern states by purchasing smaller banking institutions.
The present day Belton branch of Wells Fargo has the longest tradition of locally originated banks in our city. The Bank of Belton, begun by investors in our community in 1899, grew soundly and strongly, providing payroll, loan, savings and banking services as one of only two banks in town by the turn of the 20th Century. In 1926 the Bank of Charleston merged with local banks in the Greenville, Anderson, and Columbia areas to form the South Carolina National Bank, purchasing the Bank of Belton at that time. SCN left the original 1899 building (which is still located at 308 City Square) to build the present day building, erected in the mid 1970’s. SCN was in turn absorbed by Wachovia in the mid-1990s. Wells Fargo purchased the Wachovia brand in 2008, along with the Belton branch, preserving the services that historically had been offered to this community while adding the benefits of the insurance and investment opportunities supported by the new conglomerate.
Providing a broad range of banking, asset management, wealth management, and corporate and investment banking products and services, the Wells Fargo name extends “Ocean-to-Ocean,” “Over-the-Seas,” and online. Wells Fargo is the world’s largest bank by market capitalization, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, and the second largest bank in deposits, home mortgage servicing, and debit cards.
The Belton Branch is one of 6314 banks nationwide that carry the Wells Fargo logo and the services supporting that image. Belton branch manager Maurice Waller believes that the strength of the Wells Fargo Belton branch starts with the people who serve their patrons.
“I’m a firm believer that any successful business starts with wonderful customer service. We treat everyone equally and fairly, and it’s a tremendous testimony to the team we have that our customers feel valued. Our seven employees offer great financial services, but they also make it a habit to greet recurring customers by name,” he said.
In fact, an example of such customer service happened last year. An elderly patron left the bank to find that she had a flat tire. It was raining, and several other Beltonians passed by her without offering assistance. Waller went out into the rain and changed to her spare so that she could get home.
“He’s a true leader,” said one teller, “proving by example to be the epitome of the customer service that he so values in all of his employees.”
“Although we’re part of a very large company, it’s really important that we are involved in community in which we live, work, and play” concluded Belton Branch Manager Maurice Waller.
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Small, Local, Updated: The Commercial Bank
Belton’s banking community is proud to claim that because of the stewardship of wise men, no bank failures occurred during the Great Depression. In fact, one bank that offers its services to our citizens now was actually organized during that volatile time in our nation’s history.
In 1934, Honea Path merchants began The Commercial Bank, and since that auspicious year, this bank has grown to five branches with 43 employees strong.
Over the years, the people of Honea Path could meet with their own personal banker including over the years Tim Thompson (current President), Marion Davis (VP and Belton Branch Manager), Al Young (President and CEO), Terry Cooley (VP and HP Branch Manager), and Garnet Hall (President) with the assistance of long time employees Jane Gambrell (Information Technology Specialist), Polly Atkin (Teller) and Dorothy Robinson (Cashier). These executives not only worked at the bank, but they also tirelessly joined efforts to benefit their community through participation in and sponsorship of civic, church, school, and charitable events.
“I have been able to walk into the bank and talk directly with the person who made the decision to give me a loan or not, and I would also see these bank managers at church or at local functions,” said Honea Path resident Wallace Ashley. “This type of commitment to the community is lost in the mega-banks of today.”
With the success and financial strength of the Honea Path location, the board of directors voted to branch out to additional locations, first in Donalds (1950) and Due West (1965), and then to South Greenville (2003) and eventually Belton (2008). All the branches are tasked with offering the communities in which they reside the same attention to customer service and hometown bank pride that is the hallmark of its original branch.
Overseeing the branches today are Bebe Vaughn (Honea Path), Dawn Cothran (Belton), Art Gibson (S. Greenville), and Sheila Sears (Donalds and Due West), and the institution boasts $146,975,110 in total deposits (2015).
All services expected at bigger financial institutions are offered at the Commercial Bank, including mortgages, mobile banking, internet banking, checking and savings accounts, CD’s, IRA’s, and consumer loans.
It’s a rare thing to find that personal local service along with 21st Century conveniences in a bank with a five-star Bauer rating for 26 years running, but with The Commercial Bank, patrons are able to get the full package. Check them out today!
Southern Burglar Alarm
Establishing his business in Belton, Mr. W. Clarence Clinkscales became the wholesale supplier of dry and canned goods and sundries through his Merchants’ Grocery venture. Situating his business conveniently beside the P and N Railroad Depot Warehouse, he created access to fruits, vegetables, rice, flour, cornmeal, and all types of sundry goods for the citizens of Belton and the surrounding communities. However, as his business grew and he listened to the concerns of the merchants he served, he determined that these businesses also needed protection for their investments, so Southern Burglar and Fire Alarm Company was formed in 1925.
Originally, the company began installing small security systems in their customers’ warehouses and storefronts and then began to manufacturer alarm equipment. As the company grew, over the years the company had franchise offices in Miami, Atlanta, Norfolk, Hendersonville, Charleston, and Birmingham.
With leadership from three generations, the company has been handed down from son to son and is now owned by the third generation, overseen by Hack Clinkscales, Jr., and family. Hack has been with the company since 1974 and has offered his expertise in the field for over 40 years.
In addition, the company is manned by technicians who have a combined total of 110 years of experience in the security industry.
But the company is not just a burglar and fire alarm company. It is considered a security integrator, which means that Clinkscales and his technicians can assist with a multitude of security solutions to meet the developing needs of their clients.
“We have kept pace through the years with the evolution of security systems: from the use of contacts, grills, and gongs to the age of electric eyes, PIRs and high definition surveillance cameras, and secured access control,” said President and CEO Hack Clinkscales, Jr.
Southern Burglar and Fire Alarm has built a solid reputation over the 85 years it has spent as the largest independently owned and operated alarm company in Upstate South Carolina.
“The most important characteristic of our business is that we have never lost the personal touch with our customers. We recognize that the customer is the most important team player in our business and we listen to their needs and develop a security plan that most clearly meets those needs,” added Clinkscales.
By listening to their clients and reacting to their security needs, since 1925 Southern Burglar and Fire Alarm Company has provided outstanding customer service that is second to none.
Kutz on the Square
302 N. Main Street
Kutz on the Square: Professional and Inviting Salon
Established in 2002 by Tracy Wood, Kutz on the Square has become a busy stronghold on the square in Belton. On any given day, Tuesday through Saturday, you can find businessmen, children, drop-ins, busy mothers, and young professionals –all enjoying the personal atmosphere and competent staff providing the latest in styling services.
Licensed cosmetologists Tracy Wood, Lori Maness, Brittany Holden and Ashley Erskine are friendly, courteous, and professional. They each take the time to listen to what cut and color a patron desires. They are honest enough to tell a client if a certain hair style or color will work and will take immediate steps to correct any undesirable results.
Under the management of Tracy Wood, a Matrix artistic educator for two years and currently a Certified Matrix Color Master, and the business has grown. Wood enjoys cultivating relationships with clients, responding to community concerns, helping her colleagues develop their skills, and handling all types of customer service needs.
Customers are comfortable and satisfied, leading to repeat visits and referral business. Longtime patron Billie Burton remarked: “I love Tracy and her work. She does a spectacular job with my hair.”
Services offered include men, women, and children’s cuts, bridal and special event styling, color and texture procedures, and waxing.
“After over 10 years of patronizing Kutz on the Square, I strongly recommend this salon and the vibrant staff who offer services. Tracy, Lori, Brittany, and Ashlyn all provide the utmost care for the client’s needs, both stylistically and personally,” commented Alison Darby.
Kutz on the Square is located at 302 N Main St. Call 338-1331 for an appointment today. You’ll be transformed into a new you!
Bo Peep Consignment
314 City Square
Bo Peep has found her sheep and little bit of everything else!
Belton, SC-Where can you go to find a wide array of items, from antique to modern and from useful to downright eclectic? Why, at Bo Peep’s Consignment Shop in downtown Belton.
Tony and Frances Saville, transplants to Belton over 10 years ago, have transformed the old Page’s Shoe Shop and Mattison Hardware buildings on the square into a shopping mecca. Opened in 2013, Bo Peep’s 6000 square feet of retail space is set up in 10 x 10 spaces for rent for a nominal monthly fee.
“We have vendors who have the classic antiques and furniture in their booths, but we also have vintage toys, American housewares, novelty item-a little bit of everything,” said Frances Saville. “In fact, today, we had customers fighting vigorously over a tortoise shell.”
On any given day, shoppers are found perusing the booth spaces for treasures or vendors are bringing in new items to sell.
“People come from all over the upstate to see what new items have been put in the booths,” said Saville. “We’ve even had people from as far away as Florida and Ohio to come through the doors.”
And why do customers keep coming over and over again?
“The people are incredibly inviting and always have time to chat,” said hometown shopper Rose Shirley. “Plus, there’s always something different to look at, something fresh that wasn’t there the last time I visited.”
Dawn Weber, both a shopper and a vendor of one of the over 32 spaces for rent, remarked: “I just can’t resist all the vintage items I find there. I always enter empty-handed and leave with at least a handful of things that called out to me to ‘take me home!’”
Bo Peep’s is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 AM – 6 PM. For more information or to rent a booth space, contact Tony or Frances at (864) 221-8760, or just drop by. You’ll not leave empty handed.
228 City Square
Belton, S. C.
Owned and operated by Nancy Smith since 2008, Nancy’s Fancies is the best kept secret in Belton! Open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10:00 to 5:30 and Saturday 10:00 to 3:00, Nancy sells a large variety of gifts and collectibles at affordable prices. You can find almost anything at Nancy’s Fancies, including jewelry, antiques, stationary, children’s books, home canned goods, mulling spices, coffee, tea and many other gift and household items. Among Nancy’s feature items are metal art pieces made in Lexington, South Carolina featuring Clemson University and University of South Carolina themed items as well as South Carolina pieces like the Palmetto tree. Visit Nancy today and discover the “best kept secret in Belton!”