Business of the Month Archive

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 Travelhendersons-2

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, 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

Palmebusiness-monthtto 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.


Wells Fargo  pix - Biz of Month Wells Fargo Waller NealJPG

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.

See Past Businesses of the Month here

Commercial-BankSmall, 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

Belton-Alliance-Southern-Burglar-alarm-Business-of-monthListening to Their Clients:  From Merchants’ Grocery to Southern Burglar and Fire Alarm Company.


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

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.kutz salon

“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
Belton, SC

bo peep sign

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. 

Nancy’s Fancies

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!”