Antique stores create business boom in downtown Walterboro
By Sonya Stevenssstevens@abcnews4.com
WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) - Collecting antiques may not be of interest to everyone, but the industry has helped to bring the downtown Walterboro area back to life.
David Evans is the owner of Bachelor Hill Antiques. When he moved to the area back in 2004, he never expected this outcome.
"We could rent a store here for less than we were paying space in somebody else's store in Charleston and we did it and it just took off," said Evans.
And come to find out Walterboro has always had an antique presence.
"There have been a number of really good antique dealers here for years and years. I mean truly for decades and so it always had that core group of people who knew about a great antique dealer or two that was here," said Evans.
Then more doors opened for Evans as the local paper asked for help on a specialty publication, which got to be so popular that he took it over.
"We started out doing I-95 from south of the Border to Savannah and we now do Washington to Miami then Charleston to Asheville on I-26," said Evans.
The quarterly paper is still expanding and covers most of the Southeast.
"Somebody will call me on the phone and they'll say you know that ad in the newspaper has turned my business around. We are getting some many people in," said Evans.
Something else that is flourishing these days is the downtown area.
"We have been able to partner with a fairly new tourism group and sort of pulling it all together with an active and interested city council and a wonderfully enthusiastic mayor and city manager, the tourism director and the funding that you can get through things like that have afforded us a luxury that most people don't have," said Evans.
Now the area has more to offer than 12 antique stores and gift shops
"It's mind boggling that we now have four or five great places to eat," said Evans. "We have a couple of neat consignment shops, three great ladies clothing stores, we have the women that owns the Christmas shop has put in a bakery and now serves lunch."
And while the city now has lots to offer to locals and tourists, he hopes the atmosphere always remains the same.
"I just hope that we don't lose sight ever of what makes this work," said Evans.
After all, those that live in the "front porch of the Lowcountry" want it to stay uniquely charming.