RINCON — Effingham County’s business environment remains healthy despite the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
Bealls Outlet became the latest business to open here last week at Fort Howard Square. It conducted a ribbon cutting Friday.
“We had no apprehension about opening,” Bealls Outlet manager Kristan Lemos said. “We opened (other stores) at the end of April and they have been going good ever since. We take all the precautions.”
Bealls Outlet, which originated in Florida, had its eye on Rincon for a while. A previous effort to move into Fort Howard Square didn’t pan out.
“I think now is the right time,” said Dawn Wikle, a Bealls district manager for 23 years.
Bealls Outlet sells clothing, shoes, handbags and bed/bath items.
“We have over five hundred stores in our chain and we are growing,” Wikle said. “In the spring, we are going to try to open sixty stores in other states.”
Lemos said customer service is key to the success of Bealls Outlet.
“We cater to everyone,” she said. “We are basically family oriented. We try to have the wife come in and shop for her family. We have a little bit for everybody.”
Before the ribbon cutting, Effingham County Chamber of Commerce CEO Andy Cripps vowed to assist Bealls Outlet if needed. The chamber helps businesses connect with customers through special events and promotions.
“We also keep them informed, not just about chamber events but what’s happening legislatively and business trends so that they can make knowledgeable decisions,” Cripps said.
The chamber also has the ear of local and state government leaders, Cripps said.
“The chamber is the voice of two hundred or three hundred businesses instead of just one voice,” he said. “We are trying to build more tangible benefits among our membership.”
Cripps said most Effingham County businesses have weathered the COVID-19 storm well since it swept the nation last spring.
“Manufacturing had some hiccups at the beginning with the supply chains but now they are going strong. Some of them are doing better than before the pandemic,” he said. “That’s going to continue to grow. This will continue to grow.
“It’s not as vulnerable as other areas. It’s not like we didn’t get affected, but we weren’t devastated.”
The following is list of Effingham County businesses that opened during the pandemic:
Central Station Bakery & Eatery
116 N. Laurel St., Springfield
Norburg Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Terri Greenslade Norburg
505 N. Laurel St., Springfield
336 S. Columbia Ave., Rincon
Horton's General Store
293 S Columbia Ave., Rincon
Coastal Performing Arts Academy
701 South Laurel St , Springfield
Veteran's Fence Company
895 Ebenezer Road, Rincon
Ally’s Bakery LLC
202 E. 4th St., Rincon
69 Central Ave., Guyton
Peachy Clean Pet Salon
129 Waterford Court, Rincon
For more information about the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce, call (912) 754-3301.