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New square rounding into shape
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Workers install the new sign to go along with the new name for Fort Howard Square. - photo by Photo by Brittany McNair

It has a new name, a new look and a lot of new stores.

The anchor of Fort Howard Square opened Friday as crowds packed into Goody’s clothing store, and the team redeveloping the shopping center is delighted at the results to date.

“It has turned out nice,” said Troy Jordan of the Augusta-based Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial. “I think the city was ready for a new, fresh look at the main intersection.”

Blanchard and Calhoun has shopping centers in about a half-dozen states and on their way to Savannah, Blanchard and Calhoun representatives would pass through Rincon. They were intrigued by Effingham County’s continued growth.

They also asked for help in giving their project a new name. When Yvonne Martin submitted her entry to the Effingham Herald for the contest to name the former Rincon South shopping center, her kids liked it. But she didn’t figure on winning.

“I didn’t have any idea,” she said.

With the center being on the corner of Highway 21 and Fort Howard Road, the name she entered seemed to be natural.

“I thought it was the best name,” she said, “and I asked my kids if they thought it was good. When they called me to tell me I won, I was really happy.”

So were her kids, who asked to be taken shopping — Martin’s prize was a $200 gift certificate.

Even with Goody’s open, there is still plenty of work left to do. The renovation began in July and there remains extensive site work, such as the parking lots.

“But with a redevelopment, you expect that,” Jordan said.

This week, Coin Laundry, Rincon Beauty Supply, China Delight and Lovely Nails will open. Goin' Postal also is expected to open this week.

Access to the center is going to be better, too, according to the plans. The builders will be adding two access roads to Fort Howard Road, which will be widened to five lanes near the Highway 21 intersection.

The current building is completely leased, and Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial is adding a 10,000 square foot building to face Fort Howard Road. There will be three stores facing Fort Howard Road and six stores in all. Jordan is hoping to have national tenants move in.

He also commended Rincon officials for their cooperation in the project.

“The city has been great to work with,” Jordan said. “(City planner) LaMeisha Hunter has helped us out with everything.”