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Latest News in Daniel Island, SC

Building to Building: 20 Fairchild Street

Can you smell the aroma? The building was made for coffee lovers, literally.The structure at 20 Fairchild St. was built in 2017 specifically for a Starbucks, following a survey in The Daniel Island News stating that’s what 88% of residents polled wanted.Since then, the site has since matured into a Class A, mixed-use, 12,000-square-foot facility that is still home to the national coffee chain, Beacon Community Bank and Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery. Previously, Bin 526 Wine Bar was a fixture as well, which closed due to the ...

Can you smell the aroma? The building was made for coffee lovers, literally.

The structure at 20 Fairchild St. was built in 2017 specifically for a Starbucks, following a survey in The Daniel Island News stating that’s what 88% of residents polled wanted.

Since then, the site has since matured into a Class A, mixed-use, 12,000-square-foot facility that is still home to the national coffee chain, Beacon Community Bank and Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery. Previously, Bin 526 Wine Bar was a fixture as well, which closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Beacon Community Bank is a Charleston-based FDIC insured institution that accepts deposits, and loans money for both personal and business needs.

When asked what the most important thing to know about their business, the business said: “Beacon is a local bank built on relationships and service. One hundred percent of Beacon’s decisions are made here in Charleston and we give back to our community. This includes Beacon’s Board Members who are active members of the Charleston community. ‘It’s not my bank, It’s not your bank, It’s our bank!’”

When asked what they like about doing business on Daniel Island, the business said: “Daniel Island has been so welcoming to our bank. There is a great sense of cooperation between the residents and local businesses, which makes networking within the community easy and beneficial. The tailored banking experience we offer here at Beacon fits perfectly within this tight knit community.”

Branch manager Silva Goxhaj is the best point of contact. Goxhaj can be reached at (843) 364-9613 or emailed at silva.goxhaj@beacon.bank

Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery specializes in plastic surgery and offers a medical spa.

When asked what the most important thing to know about their business, the business said: “At Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery, we treat every patient as if they are family. Our offices are warm and inviting. Our goal is to ensure that everyone leaves us feeling beautiful, confident and empowered. After all, patient satisfaction is our greatest achievement and best advertisement!”

When asked what they like about doing business on Daniel Island, the business said: “Daniel Island is fantastic because of how unique this tight knit community is. Having a location here gives Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery the exciting opportunity to become part of a growing community and even more important, the Daniel Island family.”

Practice manager Vicky Tolbert is the best point of contact. Tolbert can be reached at (843) 471-1135 or emailed at info@sweetgrassplasticsurgery.com.

Starbucks regional management was contacted for this article, but was unable to be reached by publication. The location is said to be the largest Starbucks in South Carolina, according to property owner Mike White, Broker-in-Charge of Charleston Industrial, LLC.

DI Rotary new president looks to cement foundational impact

Derek Epperson is a family man, a businessman and a fisherman. The Indiana native also is the Rotary Club of Daniel Island’s newest president at the helm of the philanthropic organization.On July 1, Epperson assumed the leadership role that was held by Mary Jo Romeo for the past year. Epperson will hold the position until July 1, 2023.He moved to Charleston in 2015 from Kentucky, where Epperson had moved after college to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals. He’s been involved in the pharmaceutical business for the pa...

Derek Epperson is a family man, a businessman and a fisherman. The Indiana native also is the Rotary Club of Daniel Island’s newest president at the helm of the philanthropic organization.

On July 1, Epperson assumed the leadership role that was held by Mary Jo Romeo for the past year. Epperson will hold the position until July 1, 2023.

He moved to Charleston in 2015 from Kentucky, where Epperson had moved after college to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals. He’s been involved in the pharmaceutical business for the past 23 years and for the last seven years, he’s been planting his roots deep in the soil of the Lowcountry.

After Epperson arrived in the area in June 2015, four months later in October he joined the club. “I just love that (Rotary) is so service-oriented,” Epperson said. “They are a very vibrant club that is out doing great things for the community.”

In the early beginnings when Epperson first came aboard, he held the board position of public image director. Since then, he has been part of a slew of community service projects and food drives, especially around the holidays when money, time and resources are tight.

Aside from being the incoming president, he has also served as Mr. Sunshine, a role he launched to bring a bit of laughter to the club’s weekly meetings.

“Derek Epperson is a phenomenal Rotarian and leader,” Romeo said. “He is smart, strategic, kind and thoughtful... Derek has always been willing to step up and serve the club and our community.”

When Epperson was nominated by the board for the job, making him the 21st president in the club’s history dating back to 2001, he was humbled. “One of my mottos in life is to always try to leave something a little better than the way you found it.”

Epperson is aware that the clock is ticking on his newly established presidency. Under the club’s bylaws, every president gets one year in office with no consecutive terms.

This year, Epperson said the club’s focus will be on a big project initiative. Every three to four years, the club will look to do a project that betters the community like a park, memorial or garden – something that can be given back to the community for all to use.

Epperson’s goal is to lay the foundation of the next project for his successor. He hopes and intends for this tradition to be carried onward like a legacy for years to come.

For the foreseeable future, Epperson said he will put his best foot forward in all aspects of life. “I’ve got a full-time job and a full-time family. I typically try to take an hour or two each day in the morning or evening when I get home to stay caught up on any email communications or phone calls.”

Epperson lives on Clements Ferry Road near the Point Hope subdivision. When he’s not meeting the demands of running a nonprofit, he’s watching movies with his wife, Shannon, son, Gus and daughter, Maisie. Or eating out as a family at Dog & Duck, their favorite dining spot.

Rotary club holds one membership meeting a week and one board meeting a month. Next week, the club is traveling to Charleston City Hall for a fellowship event.

The next club meeting will take place Aug. 3, featuring guest speaker Nick Wong, executive director of the Maritime Association of South Carolina.

Later next month on Aug. 17 the club will be paid a visit from Rotary District Governor Bob Gross.

Daniel Island’s rotary club is made up of 94 members. Their satellite club on the Cainhoy peninsula, launched in 2021, currently has 14 members.

Hotel, restaurant and event space proposed along DI’s Beresford Creek

As Charleston continues to boom as an attractive destination for tourists and business, the expansion for hospitality in the Lowcountry becomes a high priority. Daniel Island may serve as a place of refuge by way of a newly proposed hotel, restaurant, event space and guest cottages.In June, Daniel Island’s Architectural Review Board approved the conceptual design of a proposed hotel at 1995 Daniel Island Dr. and on Monday evening the City of Charleston Design Review Board voted 6-0 to approve the same design with some aesthetic ...

As Charleston continues to boom as an attractive destination for tourists and business, the expansion for hospitality in the Lowcountry becomes a high priority. Daniel Island may serve as a place of refuge by way of a newly proposed hotel, restaurant, event space and guest cottages.

In June, Daniel Island’s Architectural Review Board approved the conceptual design of a proposed hotel at 1995 Daniel Island Dr. and on Monday evening the City of Charleston Design Review Board voted 6-0 to approve the same design with some aesthetic revisions.

Next up, the hotel will undergo a preliminary submittal process through the city’s Technical Review Committee prior to obtaining final permits.

A 1,536 square foot single floor office building constructed in 1996 currently sits on a portion of the 1.5 acre site. That building is occupied by Beatty Management, a property management firm. The existing site is slated to be demolished.

The hotel would be located across the street from the former Blackbaud headquarters and the Old Charleston Battery soccer stadium, which is the future site of a 320-unit multifamily apartment complex called Nowell Creek Village.

Over the past 20 years, the 1995 Daniel Island Dr. has been home to a myriad of businesses and island celebrations. The building was the original sales center for Daniel Island Real Estate. It also served as the location of the inaugural Blessing of Daniel Island in 1997 around Thanksgiving. Over the years, the site housed an art school (Daniel Island Music and Arts) and a chiropractor’s office.

In May 2019, the 1.5 acre parcel was acquired by JT Industries from the Daniel Island Inn for $1.25 million. The properties previous owners included the Daniel Island Company.

According to DRB Administrator David Meeks, the scope of the project is piecemealed into four sections: The main building is scaled to be 11,200 square feet and three stories tall and will serve as the hotel, restaurant and event space. Four guest houses are planned at 8,500 square feet each. Two two-story cottages will be 866 square feet each. And, two two-story cabanas will overlook the marsh on Beresford Creek at 592 square feet each.

The design calls for a total of 38 units, along with 50 parking spaces. The developer is local King and Society Real Estate and the architect is local Neil Stevenson Architects, acclaimed in 2008 for Best In American Living Award’s “Best Urban Smart Growth

The owner was contacted for comment but was not reached by the time of this article’s publication. The developer and the ARB declined to comment due to the preliminary nature of the project.

The earliest the hotel could obtain permits would be by the fall. Construction would not break ground until next spring if all goes according to plan.

Bishops, Iron Horses football squads ready for fall action

Bishop England High School football coach John Cantey is ready for some football. He also is ready for a season with fewer injuries.The Bishops battled injuries last year, causing depth chart issues, especially at quarterback and limped home with a 3-8 record.“We lost two quarterbacks in one game,” Cantey said. “We had a lot of people injured. But we gained experience at just about every position. That’s the good news. We hope to capitalize on that. Another big difference is we had only 11 seniors last y...

Bishop England High School football coach John Cantey is ready for some football. He also is ready for a season with fewer injuries.

The Bishops battled injuries last year, causing depth chart issues, especially at quarterback and limped home with a 3-8 record.

“We lost two quarterbacks in one game,” Cantey said. “We had a lot of people injured. But we gained experience at just about every position. That’s the good news. We hope to capitalize on that. Another big difference is we had only 11 seniors last year. This year, we have 25.”

That’s one of the bigger senior classes in a while for the Bishops, who hold their first day of practice July 29 as member schools of the High School League get the green light to kick off the 2022 practice season.

Philip Simmons High School will also hold its first practice that same day as they prepare for the upcoming season.

While Bishop England drops from Class AAA to AA, the Iron Horses make the jump up to Class AAA for the first time in the school’s brief history. Coach Eric Bendig and his staff have built a strong foundation and the numbers attached to the program are impressive.

Bendig expects 60 players for the first varsity practice. The junior varsity program is solid with 55-60 players and the B Team should top 40 players by the time it plays its first game.

“It’s always the same for me,” Bendig said. “I have put last season to bed and we moved some players around in the offseason. Now, we get to see what kind of work they’ve put in since January. We get to see the results of their work at practice.”

Philip Simmons is coming off its best season ever when the Iron Horses posted an 11-2 record, winning Region 6-AA and reaching the third round of the playoffs. The Iron Horses dominated foes last fall, outscoring the competition 468-166.

While most of the changes for Philip Simmons will be in personnel, the Bishops have reconfigured their offense. Last season, the Bishops used the spread offense. This year, the Bishops will go back to the triple option.

“Part of it is because the triple option works best with the people we have,” Cantey said. “But the other factor is common sense. We have to possess the football and have long drives. Last year, on first down, we lost yardage 50 percent of the time.”

Cantey had health issues and underwent surgery, while taking some time off. “I haven’t felt this good in about seven, eight years,” he said at the end of spring practice. Cantey expects healthy numbers when the Bishops open camp. The Bishops had about 60 players out for spring practice and the numbers should hold steady during the fall.

The Bishops kick off the season with a showdown against Porter-Gaud on Aug. 26.

Meanwhile, Philip Simmons will open the regular season on Aug. 19 against Andrews.

Daniel Island pet portrait painter has an eye for detail

You know the look. The look when they need to go out. The look when they want to play. The look when their favorite person shows up or when they leave. You know the look in your pet’s eye, the silly way they sit or the curious way they tilt their head.Pet portrait painter Michele Levani focuses intently on the eyes of every loved animal she’s commissioned to paint and delivers a look of pure joy in the eyes of the owners when a painting is finished.From the age of 5, Levani had a love of drawing. “For me, draw...

You know the look. The look when they need to go out. The look when they want to play. The look when their favorite person shows up or when they leave. You know the look in your pet’s eye, the silly way they sit or the curious way they tilt their head.

Pet portrait painter Michele Levani focuses intently on the eyes of every loved animal she’s commissioned to paint and delivers a look of pure joy in the eyes of the owners when a painting is finished.

From the age of 5, Levani had a love of drawing. “For me, drawing was the start.”

Levani’s parents saw the love and cultivated it with classes. Not pick-up-a-crayon-and-color classes, but real art classes where she learned composition and the elements of perspective, depth and value. Levani studied voraciously so that now, 40 years into her life and a career as an artist, the accuracy and level of detail found in the pets she draws and paints shines through in each face.

“I consider myself a narrative artist,” Levani said. “I want to find the personality. My favorite thing ever to draw are eyes. There’s a story to tell and it’s in the eyes.”

Levani laughs and shares that she believes in the core strength of the eyes and face of her subjects so much so, that one time when a teacher tried to get her to turn her talents towards still life, she ended up drawing lips on her lemons and eyes on her apples. Levani is a prolific artist, contracted by a national pet brand, many months she produces 120 small works for pet owners nationwide. These small studies are not where she stops, though. Levani’s work is on display downtown at the only nonprofit gallery in Charleston, the Charleston Artist Guild. Among the 70-plus exhibiting members, Levani’s work with animals and people as subjects of admiration stand out as they combine equal parts precise and playful.

Levani feels at home alongside other “kindred spirits,” including Daniel Island residents Joyce Erb, Peter Finger and Betsy Jones McDonald who are also represented in the CAG East Bay gallery.Levani’s commission works come in all mediums and all sizes, from petite pen and ink drawings of pets on paper to perfect home-hung original paintings to large public art commissioned wall murals for Orvis, Ronald McDonald House and a recent collaboration with the South Carolina Aeronautics training center for Trident Technical College and Boeing.

“As an artist, I don’t want to get locked into rules,” Levani said about using just one type of medium or one particular size. She layers acrylics, inks, washes, watercolors and more. Artists, unlike our furry friends, don’t always obey. They are “rule breakers and trend-setters,” which makes this artist equally as lovable as the pets she paints. Pet lovers can visit the CAG in person downtown or view a comprehensive bio and commission pricing for Levani’s work on her website MicheleLevaniArt.com. You will also find a tab titled, “why it’s worth it all” which is the bright eyes of some very happy pet owners upon receiving her commissioned work in their forever home.

Heather MacQueen Jones is a Daniel Island artist journaling life’s journey through oil painting. Follow her stories on Instagram @heARTpalette or MacQueenJones.com.

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