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Summerville SEO Agency

If you are a business owner, there’s probably a good chance that you have asked yourself this question before. It’s a question that many entrepreneurs ask, and for good reason.

According to a recent study, the first five organic search results on Google account for about 67% of all website clicks. With more than 2.3 trillion Google searches in 2019 alone, it has become clear that if customers can’t find your website online, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your business.

The good news is, with a trustworthy SEO company in Summerville on your side and an effective SEO campaign,your website can show up on the first page of a Google search. The bad news is, many “SEO agencies” offering such services provide clients with outdated, a la carte options at ridiculous prices – and good luck getting them on the phone if you have a question that needs to answering.

Unlike some of our competitors, mediocre customer service and ineffective digital marketing strategiesaren’t in our digital DNA.

Our innovative, all-inclusive SEO services work together to form a digital marketing machine, unlike anything on the market. We call it Local Magic.

What local SEO services in Summerville can you expect? Keep reading to find out.

Comprehensive Link Building

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Most veteran SEO professionals agree that one of the most important signals that Google uses to rank websites is backlinks. Backlinking is essentially a link that is created when one website links to another. According to recent statistics, 91% of webpages that don’t get organic traffic are because they don’t have any backlinks. Mr. Marketing solves this problem for you through comprehensive backlinking techniques, which adds authority to your website over time so that Google recognizes your website as trustworthy in your industry.

Online Review Management

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Positive online reviews can be incredibly beneficial for your business. 93% of online shoppers say that online reviews play a part in their purchasing decisions. The problem is, many business owners don’t have the time to request online reviews from happy clients, manage those reviews, or display them on their company’s website.

That’s where Mr. Marketing’s Review Manager comes in. Review Manager is the world’s first comprehensive reputation management system, allowing you to get more from your reviews. With Review Manager, you have the ability to request reviews via SMS and Email, track pending review requests, and even publish your most favorable reviews right to your website, with a few taps on your phone.

Website Optimization

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As local SEO consultants in Summerville, we see a lot of good-looking websites. While a website might be attractive on the surface, it needs to be optimized on the backend for it to have a better chance of showing up in a Google search. Our team of skilled web developers will optimize your website both on the surface and “under the hood”, so that your business gets noticed by customers who are already looking for the products or services you sell.

Website Hosting & Updates

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To make life a little easier, we are happy to host your website on our servers, so you don’t have to hunt down a separate hosting service. If you have updates that need to be applied to your website, we will handle the heavy lifting for you. We even implement security measures to prevent hackers from accessing your data.

Google Ads Management

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Here’s a fact you might not know – Google controls more about 71% of the search engine market. If you want customers to find your business online, you need to show up in Google searches. As part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy in Summerville available from Mr. Marketing, Google Ads can be an excellent wayfor new clients to discover your business both on mobile devices and on desktops. Much like online reviews, however, managing a Google Ads campaign can be burdensome and time consuming for busy entrepreneurs. Our team will work closely with you to figure out the best ways to use Google Ads to your businesses’ advantage so that you can focus on day-to-day tasks while we grow your presence online.

Does Your Local SEO Company in Isle of Palms Care?

At Mr. Marketing, we really do care about your businesses’ success. Many local SEO consultants in Summerville only care about their profits, but that’s not a mantra that we agree with at Mr. Marketing. For that reason, we also include monthly digital business coaching as part of our Local Magic package. That way, your knowledge of digital marketing grows alongside your businesses’ website rankings.

When We Say All-Inclusive, We Mean It

Believe it or not, you get even more customized SEO services in Summerville than those we listed above. While you may certainly pick and choose which digital marketing services work best for your unique situation, with our Local Magic package, you also gain access to:

  • Conversion Optimization
  • Programmatic Ad Management
  • Advertising Landing Page Development
  • Google My Business Management

So, what’s the next step? We encourage you to reach out to our office or fill out the submission form on our website to get started. Once we understand your goals and business needs, we’ll get to work right away, forming a custom marketing strategy for you. Before you know it, your phone will begin ringing, your reviews will start to pour in, your online connections will grow, and your website traffic will explode with interested clients looking to buy your products or services.

Latest News

The ‘Trump effect’

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. Before he heard from neighbors about the confrontation at his subdivision swimming pool, Jovan Hyman saw a shaky video of it online, where it was quickly going viral. He clicked the link, which opened on turquoise water and a white woman walking quickly toward three black teenage boys, one of whom is filming her with his cellphone. “Get out!” the woman yells, slapping at the phone in the teen’s hand. “Get out now!” As the three boys head for the pool exit, the woman follows an...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C.

Before he heard from neighbors about the confrontation at his subdivision swimming pool, Jovan Hyman saw a shaky video of it online, where it was quickly going viral.

He clicked the link, which opened on turquoise water and a white woman walking quickly toward three black teenage boys, one of whom is filming her with his cellphone.

“Get out!” the woman yells, slapping at the phone in the teen’s hand. “Get out now!”

As the three boys head for the pool exit, the woman follows and takes another swing at the boy and his phone.

Hyman called his wife, Tameka, over and played it for her.

“PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me this was NOT where I think it is,” she typed in a Facebook post that linked to the video. At that point, the video, shot in late June, had been online for only about 10 hours.

“In my neighborhood!” her husband added on Facebook a few minutes later. “This is totally uncalled for and downright embarrassing!”

The video rocketed around the country and the world — one of more than a dozen online clips from the summer that captured whites accusing blacks, often improperly, of trespassing, loitering and, in one instance involving an 8-year-old black girl, selling bottled water without a permit. At least six of the videos took place at neighborhood swimming pools in places such as Indianapolis, Winston-Salem, N.C., Pasadena, Calif., and the community pool in Summerville just a few hundred yards from Jovan and Tameka Hyman’s house.

People walk along bucolic streets in the Reminisce subdivision in Summerville, S.C. A video filmed at the subdivision swimming pool caused a rift among white and black residents.

President Trump’s critics have been quick to blame the incidents on emotions unleashed by his derisive rhetoric, often aimed at minorities. “The Trump effect strikes again!” blared a Facebook post from the group Occupy Democrats that featured the Summerville pool video and was played more than 4 million times.

Such videos predate Trump’s presidency and have proliferated this summer in places where he’s popular and reviled. Race, however, has been an overt component of Trump’s ascendance. On the campaign trail and in the White House, he has spoken about race in ways that would have been disastrous to almost any other politician. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has defended the president as an “equal opportunity” insulter, but his gibes follow a pattern — forgiving toward whites and unrelenting when it comes to minorities.

Nearly 20 months into his presidency, Trump’s insults are changing the way neighbors see each other, treat each other and talk about one of the most sensitive issues in American life.

In Summerville, white and black residents have fought, often angrily, about the video and the woman’s actions that day. At the core of their disagreement is an argument over what constitutes racist behavior at a time when Trump and others are rapidly scrambling social norms.

Hyman’s first post, reacting to the video, had been online for only 20 minutes when he received a private message from Stephanie Sebby Strempel, the woman in the swimming pool video. The video was rapidly piling up views and Strempel’s Facebook inbox was filling with threats and insults from around the country.

“You’re a hot headed racist,” read one that she forwarded to Hyman. “Love to see y’alls getting your lives ruined.”

“I’d beat the [expletive] outta you and your kids,” read another.

Hyman and Strempel had never met, though Hyman and his wife had hazy memories of seeing her around the subdivision and at the pool. She lives less than a block away from him. Now she had an important message: “Jovan if you live here. You don’t know what happened. . . . Please let me explain. I need someone to know what happened. . . . This is out of hand.”

The Summerville video, filmed in late June, spanned only 19 seconds. Darshaun Simmons, 15, who was holding the phone that day, waited 24 hours before he showed the video to an adult. The confrontation at the pool had taken place on the same day that his great-grandmother was rushed to the hospital. She died the next morning.

Because his parents were busy with family and the funeral arrangements, Darshaun first played it for his aunt. His phone screen shattered when Strempel knocked it from his hand, he said. So it was hard for his aunt to make out exactly what was happening.

She could hear Strempel screaming “Get out,” threatening to call 911 and disparaging the three boys as “little punks.” She could see Strempel draw back her hand to slap Darshaun two times.

“Is this you?” his aunt recalled asking her nephew. He replied quietly that it was.

Darshaun’s aunt said she noticed that none of the adults at the pool seemed to be doing anything to help him. She called over Darshaun’s mother to watch. Darshaun told them that he and two friends had been invited to the pool by a family that lives in the subdivision. They were just sitting down at a table and kicking off their shoes when Strempel approached them, asked them if they lived in the subdivision and then accused them of trespassing.

Darshaun’s mother took him to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office to file an assault complaint.

His aunt looked Strempel up on Facebook and dashed off a quick message.

“Good evening, Stephanie. Is this you in the video?” she asked.

After four hours passed without a response, Darshaun’s aunt posted it to her Facebook page, tagging local activists, two television news stations, the NAACP and the Coast Guard unit where, she had learned, Strempel’s husband was serving.

“This kind of behavior is unacceptable and we WILL NOT TOLERATE IT!!!! PLEASE SHARE!!!!” she wrote. “. . . Racism at its best.”

She hit post at 11 p.m., flipped off her computer and went to sleep.

Online, Strempel would soon be dubbed “Pool Patrol Paula,” joining “ID Adam,” “BBQ Becky,” “Permit Patty,” “Coupon Carl” and others branded as exemplars of racism and white entitlement.

It was 10 the next morning when Strempel, who declined to comment for this article through her attorney, sent her first message to Jovan Hyman. She denied hitting Darshaun — even though the video showed her doing so — and defended herself as an involved member of the community.

“I have children,” she wrote. “My husband is a respected coast guard officer. I have a special needs son. . . . My husband and I are being threatened and slandered all over social media [and it] is not okay.”

By this point, Hyman had watched the video several times, and he had no doubt that Strempel had targeted the boys at the pool because of the color of their skin.

He and his wife had moved to Summerville after serving together in the Navy. They bought their first home in the subdivision, known as Reminisce in the gauzy feel-good language of newly created communities, five years earlier. He taught English at a local elementary school and coached high school football in nearby North Charleston. Together they were raising a 3-year-old son.

Hyman said he didn’t want to come across as “a bitter African American person.” But as he watched and re-watched the video, he thought of all the times he had seen white teenagers from outside the subdivision use the pool without being questioned by residents. He imagined someone, someday, confronting his son at the pool.

“Hello, the video is very damaging!” he messaged Strempel. “I understand your concern, but you have to understand the points of view of others!”

Strempel replied that she had been trying to help the boys by telling them to leave before someone at the pool called the police.

“No one knows what the kids said to me or did,” she wrote. “They only see me looking like I’m beating him up. Not the case but it’s disgusting.”

The next day the Reminisce Homeowner’s Association sent out an email to the subdivision residents urging the homeowners to call 911 or the sheriff if they spotted trespassers. “We hope this incident will allow us to come together as a community and work with law enforcement to provide security for your community as you might need it from time to time,” it read.

To Hyman, the email missed the main point. Like Strempel, the homeowner’s association had assumed that the teens were not guests. “That was not the case,” he said.

Even worse, the language about providing “security” suggested that the boys posed a threat to the subdivision’s residents, Hyman said. In fact, they were just boys trying to escape the summer heat in South Carolina and didn’t harm anyone. Hyman showed the email to his wife.

“Piss poor,” he said.

FROM LEFT: Emma Gregoire, Lilliana Holladay, Theresa Powers, Brittainy Holladay, Chrissy Pfeiffer, Koda Seymour, Elizabeth Gregoire, Ellie Seymour and Ella Seymour hang out on a summer evening along Scrapbook Lane in the Reminisce subdivision.

For much of its history, Summerville was a quiet vacation town, about 30 miles from Charleston. Its main square is crammed with antique stores, art galleries and Victorian homes. “We are the cute, little town where everyone wants to live,” said Mayor Wiley Johnson. “They ride across the railroad tracks and see hometown USA.”

Johnson did not see a racial incident when he watched the video. “There were a lot of folks trying to make it a racial issue,” he said. “She overreacted. But, is there more to the story?”

Of late, the mayor’s version of Hometown USA has been changing fast. Since 2000, the surrounding county’s population, fueled by an influx of auto and airplane manufacturing jobs, has surged by more than 60 percent, to about 156,000 people. Much of that growth has happened in such places as the Reminisce subdivision, which was built a decade ago on farmland and today consists of about 275 vinyl-sided homes, designed to resemble the houses of historic Charleston.

Today, Reminisce is reminiscent of a typical Southern suburb, where blacks and whites live side by side but usually avoid sensitive topics such as race and politics. It’s a precinct where Trump took nearly two-thirds of the vote, is mostly white and made up of schoolteachers, police officers, and employees of the nearby Air Force base and Boeing plant.

Many of the residents are families who sought out the subdivision for its inexpensive homes, quiet streets and good schools.

As the video was taking off online, several black families in the subdivision tried to post a link to it on the homeowner’s association’s closed Facebook group account, hoping that it would generate a discussion about exactly what happened and the role race may have played in the incident.

Each time, an administrator for the page would remove it. Eventually, the black residents quit trying. Tamanu Lowkie, a black Reminisce resident, complained on the page that the censorship was absurd.

“I posted [the video] because it was shared with me from someone that doesn’t live in the neighborhood,” she wrote shortly after her first post was taken down. “It’s all over Facebook. You can delete it from this private page, but it’s on Live 5 [News] and everyone’s page. . . Just saying.”

To Lowkie, the message from the white residents was clear: “The subject is very uncomfortable to them.” They didn’t want to discuss it.

Instead, many white residents fretted about the effect the video might have on their property values and complained about the reporters who were converging on their neighborhood.

“Hopefully if everybody just ignores them they will leave,” one resident wrote in the Facebook group.

“That’s the thing,” another added. “People are stopping” to talk to reporters.

“For Jesus sake, WHY??” a third exclaimed.

No white Reminisce residents were willing to discuss the incident on the record, out of what they said was fear their remarks would be miscast as racist. A few discussed it in public Facebook posts, such as Carly Honea, a white Reminisce resident, who wrote that the real issue at the pool wasn’t race, but trespassing, which is “an enormous problem,” and the teens’ conduct.

“So sad a grown up can’t ask a simple question and [have] it be answered respectfully,” she added. “If you live here, why would you be offended?”

Many of the white residents assumed that the teens bore some responsibility for provoking Strempel. To prove it, they circulated a photo on Facebook that had been taken that day of one of the teens, standing poolside with a towel around his neck, flashing his middle finger at the camera.

“Only so much a person can take till they snap,” wrote a Reminisce resident.

“Kids seem to get away with behaviors that I would have my ass beat for,” added another.

The sentiment exasperated the black residents on the page, who saw in the comments a tendency among whites to portray all African American boys as menacing. “I will try and post in a more elementary fashion so an obvious dumbass such as yourself will understand!” one black resident wrote. “If the kids became disrespectful AFTER she invaded their personal space, then SHE was wrong period!”

For many whites in the subdivision, any suggestion that race had played a role in the incident was offensive. Such charges were one piece of a broader effort by black activists, liberals and the “fake news” media to cry racism to gain advantage, they suggested, often at their expense.

These tactics, many white residents said, had been a central element of President Barack Obama’s divisive eight years in office, and they were exactly the kind of anti-white, politically correct bias that Trump had been elected to stop.

“This shit is sooo yesterday,” a white Reminisce resident wrote as the online argument grew more heated. “Hasn’t Trump done something recently, like making America great again!!!”

“Nope! He has done what he normally does — make a few nobodies feel important by posting dumb remarks, such as “make America great again,” a black resident replied.

The white resident responded by posting a Trump “Make America Great Again” meme.

A black resident responded with a photo of Obama.

As his neighbors argued, Corey Grant, who is black, grew frustrated with the debate. He, his wife and their three children had moved to Reminisce one year earlier in search of good schools and a “certain level of peace,” he said. He thought he had found it. “Most of my neighbors are nice. Some aren’t,” he said. “I love where I live.”

Still, he couldn’t understand how his white neighbors could suggest that the teens and Strempel shared equal blame.

“Did the kids touch her?” asked Grant on the Reminisce Facebook page. “She is the adult!”

Grant was one of a small percentage of blacks who had voted for Trump in 2016. He couldn’t forgive Bill and Hillary Clinton for supporting a 1990s crime bill that had put tens of thousands of black men in prison for nonviolent drug offenses.

Since then, he had come to regret the decision. “Trump has opened racial wounds,” Grant said. The upheaval on the homeowners’ association was further proof. To him, the “Make America Great” meme that his white neighbor posted during the pool argument was intended to remind the blacks in the subdivision of their secondary status in the nation’s racial hierarchy.

“I know what it means,” he said, “and I don’t believe it includes me as an African American man.”

Today, the 19-second snippet from the swimming pool has faded from the online discussion, usurped by other videos. Trump has continued to talk about race in ways his supporters find refreshing and his critics view as inflammatory.

Back in Summerville, Darshaun and his two friends have returned to their normal lives: basketball practice, video games, bike riding and swimming. Strempel faces a third-degree assault charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

In the Reminisce subdivision, black and white residents have given up on reaching an understanding about the pool incident or other issues that touch on race. The tensions dredged up by the pool video, though, still rumble beneath the surface.

Grant was at a backyard barbecue with a few of his white Reminisce neighbors recently when talk turned to the upcoming National Football League season. During a speech in Alabama last year, Trump referred to NFL players who knelt during the national anthem as “sons of bitches.” Last month, he suggested in a tweet that the football players, most of them African American, didn’t know why they were demonstrating.

“The deeper we got,” Grant said, “we almost got to the NFL protests.”

Grant considers the neighbors from the barbecue as friends. “Our families do things together all the time,” he said. But they seemed uncomfortable talking about the protests with him. “The conversation stopped,” he said. “That’s a rough one for my neighbors because it means they have to pick a side. . . . We never touched on it.”

Hyman and his wife similarly avoided talking about the pool video with white neighbors, beyond Hyman’s initial brief exchange of online messages with Strempel. “If there was an open discussion, it would shine a light on racist neighbors,” Hyman’s wife, Tameka, said. “I’d rather not know — especially if it’s someone living this close.”

Hyman agreed. Shortly after it went viral, Hyman asked his white next-door neighbor if he had seen the “crazy” video.

“Must be the hot weather,” the neighbor said, offering his explanation.

“Global warming,” Hyman joked.

The two men said nothing more about it and retreated to their air-conditioned homes.

Summerville, South Carolina

Located amid thick pine forests 30 miles inland from the South Carolina coast, 18th century Summerville was a vacation spot for Charlestonians seeking relief from the oppressive summer humidity and tormenting swarms of mosquitoes. In the 21st century, a combination of affordable housing, excellent schools and numerous recreational alternatives has made this small city one of the best places to settle down in South Carolina. Centuries ago, the low incidence of mosquitoes in Summerville was attributed to the pine trees that blanket the are...

Located amid thick pine forests 30 miles inland from the South Carolina coast, 18th century Summerville was a vacation spot for Charlestonians seeking relief from the oppressive summer humidity and tormenting swarms of mosquitoes.

In the 21st century, a combination of affordable housing, excellent schools and numerous recreational alternatives has made this small city one of the best places to settle down in South Carolina.

Centuries ago, the low incidence of mosquitoes in Summerville was attributed to the pine trees that blanket the area, launching the love affair between the town's residents and the many species of indigenous pines that thrive in the sandy soil. Meanwhile, as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, the International Congress of Physicians declared Summerville to be one of the best places in the world for people suffering from lung disorders. At the time, the prevailing medical belief was that the powerful scent of pine trees, still omnipresent in the area today, contained special healing properties. Thousands with respiratory ailments flocked to Summerville, and many fell in love with the beauty of the small town and the forests that surround it.

Though it is no longer a destination for people with lung problems, Summerville has remained a popular choice for families and retirees relocating to the sunny South. But to this day, there are laws against cutting down Summerville's "fever-preventing" pine trees.

For one week every spring, "The Flowertown in the Pines" lives up to its nickname in a big way. The city is awash with color during the annual Flowertown Festival, held during the first week of April. The world-renowned Festival, which draws artists and craftsmen from across the United States, is the second biggest draw in the area, behind Charleston's Spoleto Festival.

Summerville offers its residents and visitors excellent local eateries and a variety of chain restaurants, retail shopping and health care facilities. The area is by no means short of recreational opportunities, from golf and tennis to hunting, fishing and boating. And the beaches of the Carolina coast are within a 30-minute drive.

The Francis Beidler Forest, owned and operated by the National Audubon Society, is also a short drive away, and, on a rainy day, the Dorchester Museum is home to some of the oldest fossils discovered in South Carolina.

REAL ESTATE SALES WITH HEART

Elaine Brabham and Associates, LLC's company philosophy is a simple one: to help our clients find their way home. Our goal is to provide excellent service and to "go the extra mile" at every opportunity.

If we can be of any assistance in helping you make a decision, please contact us!

Summerville

(Dorchester County; 2000 pop. 27,752). Summerville, the “Flower Town in the Pines,” was established as a summer refuge for plantation owners of St. George’s Dorchester and St. Paul’s Parishes. The decline of the colonial town of Dorchester on the Ashley River was another source of population for the village. As Dorchester lost population, St. George’s Dorchester Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian White Meeting House congregation relocated to Summerville. Prior to 1831 Summerville had few year-round residents, but the p...

(Dorchester County; 2000 pop. 27,752). Summerville, the “Flower Town in the Pines,” was established as a summer refuge for plantation owners of St. George’s Dorchester and St. Paul’s Parishes. The decline of the colonial town of Dorchester on the Ashley River was another source of population for the village. As Dorchester lost population, St. George’s Dorchester Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian White Meeting House congregation relocated to Summerville. Prior to 1831 Summerville had few year-round residents, but the population swelled in the summers as lowcountry planters sought the breezes and pine forests that were deemed healthier than their swampland rice plantations. In 1831 the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company constructed a railway from Charleston to Hamburg. Summerville was one of the first stops along the route. The company laid out town lots in a grid pattern near the tracks, which it called New Summerville to distinguish it from the rambling arrangement of the old village.

Summerville was incorporated in 1847, and one of its first ordinances restricted the cutting of trees in the town limits. From its beginnings it was a resort, and much of its history has been tied to tourism and temporary residence. After the railroad was built, some antebellum residents of Summerville commuted to work in Charleston. The South Carolina writer William Gilmore Simms lived for a few years in Summerville and traveled on the train to his editor’s job in Charleston. This early commuter traffic was a precursor to the bedroom-community character of Summerville in the twentieth century. During the Civil War the town was a refuge for lowcountry planter families, who moved away from the coast to escape Union attacks. The epicenter of the 1886 Charleston earthquake was near Summerville.

Toward the beginning of the twentieth century Summerville was promoted as a health resort and vacation destination. Large inns, the most notable being the Pine Forest Inn, provided accommodations for summer visitors. Sanatoriums were built for persons recuperating from tuberculosis and other pulmonary illnesses. As Charleston became home to an increasing number of United States military bases in the twentieth century, Summerville grew. For the first half of the twentieth century the town’s population was stable. In 1910 the population was 2,355, and it had grown to only 3,028 in 1940. In 1960, just before the Sun Belt population explosion, the population was 3,633, but by 1990 the residents numbered 22,519. Five years later the population within the town limits was about 25,000, with an additional 50,000 residents in nearby areas. Summerville is a key element in the Charleston–North Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area. Seven buildings and historic sites in and around Summerville are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Summerville is governed by a mayor and an elected city council. The Timrod Library Society, a private subscription library, was founded in 1897 and continues to be active. The Summerville-Dorchester Museum opened its doors in 1992 and exhibits photographs, artifacts, and other historical materials relating to the town and Dorchester County.

Foster, Clarice, and Lang Foster, eds. Beth’s Pineland Village. Columbia, S.C.: Summerville Preservation Society, 1988.

Hill, Barbara Lynch. Summerville: A Sesquicentennial Edition of the History of the Flower Town in the Pines. Summerville, S.C.: Town of Summerville, 1998.

Kwist, Margaret Scott. Porch Rocker Recollections of Summerville, South Carolina. Summerville, S.C.: Linwood, 1980.

Summerville passes ordinance for face masks to be worn in retail, food service businesses

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - The Town of Summerville has passed an ordinance requiring the public to wear face coverings in retail and food service establishments. It goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 through 11:59 p.m. on July 9. All customers are required to wear face coverings while inside the enclosed area of any retail and food service establishment, and must wear one when entering any public building in town. In addition, employees must wear faces masks for retail establishments including restaurants, retail stores, sal...

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - The Town of Summerville has passed an ordinance requiring the public to wear face coverings in retail and food service establishments.

It goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 through 11:59 p.m. on July 9.

All customers are required to wear face coverings while inside the enclosed area of any retail and food service establishment, and must wear one when entering any public building in town.

In addition, employees must wear faces masks for retail establishments including restaurants, retail stores, salons, barber shops, grocery stores, pharmacies or other buildings open to the public.

Exemptions include outdoor or unenclosed areas in which social distancing of at least six feet is possible, for those who cannot wear one due to a medical condition, children under 12 years old, patrons while they are dining/drinking/eating, employees who are separated from customers by a plexiglass or glass shield, settings where it is not practical like swimming, with family members, and emergency responders engaged in an emergency situation.

Town officials say food service establishments are those within town that sells prepared food on a delivery, carry out or drive-through bases. Retail establishments means any retail businesses or establishment including grocery stores, convenience stores, any other business in the retail sale of non-prepared food.

“The vote was made in the best interest of public health and out of an abundance of caution in helping to reduce risk of exposure to the coronavirus disease 2019,” town officials said.

'Dedicated staff' keep on top of school cleaning

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — When Susie Summerville first started as head of Columbus Municipal School District’s custodial services, she found a picture of herself in the hallway of what was then Lee Middle School. Summerville had graduated from Lee when it was a high school, and the senior year portraits of her and her fellow classmates were still on display 25 years later. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s still here,’” she recalled. “And then I went and saw some trophies ... from my class. They h...

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — When Susie Summerville first started as head of Columbus Municipal School District’s custodial services, she found a picture of herself in the hallway of what was then Lee Middle School.

Summerville had graduated from Lee when it was a high school, and the senior year portraits of her and her fellow classmates were still on display 25 years later.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s still here,’” she recalled. “And then I went and saw some trophies ... from my class. They had a big trophy case and stuff, so I was like, ‘My God, that brings back memories.’”

That was 15 years ago. Since then Lee has been sold, and the district’s middle schoolers now attend Columbus Middle School on the other side of town. Summerville works in that building, as well as Columbus High School where her office is, each of the six elementary schools and every other CMSD building, managing 30 custodial and maintenance employees and working to keep the schools clean and safe for students and teachers.

That was always a big part of her job, but she has to monitor them constantly, making sure the district has enough paper towels, as pandemic puts all those items in higher demand.

Starting in May, the custodial staff, who had been sent home with fewer hours after the pandemic shut schools down statewide in March, came back to the schools for annual summer cleaning.

“We have to take every piece of furniture, everything out of every classroom, wax strip the floors, clean it, and then put it back in after the floors are dry,” Summerville said. “We do that every summer. The first day school is out, that’s when we start.

“On top of that, (there) was COVID,” she added. “They kept us abreast of (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, what we had to do. I met with all the custodians and told them, ‘OK, y’all, it’s a different ballgame.’”

Now the staff wear masks, increase their walk-throughs of classrooms and bathrooms and spend their time constantly wiping down door handles, light switches, desks and other “hot spots” in the buildings that tend to have multiple people touch them throughout the day, she said.

While COVID-19 makes this year unique, Summerville added this is not the only time the custodial staff has tackled a big job. She remembers how on the morning of Feb. 23, 2019, a group of custodial staff completed a major cleaning project on the Hunt campus, which housed the district’s alternative school.

“We had cleaned the whole strip, washed the floor,” she said. “It was so pretty. ... Everybody was so proud, over there working half a day on Saturday.”

That night, an EF-3 tornado touched down in Columbus, destroying the Hunt campus.

“I got a call, and I go over there,” she remembered. “It was ruined. The work we had done. It was ruined.”

Summerville said she was just glad that the tornado hit after all her staff had gone home. As it was, they were back at work the next day, along with a crowd of volunteers, moving what equipment they could salvage out of the building and preparing rooms at CHS for the Hunt Success Academy students to attend Monday.

That’s all in addition to the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance of nine schools, and a central office building for administration staff and other district property and equipment.

“I have people ask, ‘What do y’all do?’” she said. “But they don’t know the depth of it, what you really, really do, to keep things flowing smoothly. ... I’m just glad I’ve got some dedicated people.”

Prior to working for CMSD, Summerville worked in real estate and ran her own business. A lifelong Columbus resident, with parents, an adult son and two grandchildren still in the area, she’s also been involved in the community, volunteering with the local NAACP and the Mayor’s Unity Picnic every year. She helped organize the first ever senior citizen Thanksgiving luncheon, during which a group of volunteers delivered Thanksgiving meals to homebound citizens, more than 25 years ago.

She chose to work for the district so she would have more benefits after retirement, she said.

She said she really likes being able to see students every day.

“They see you out somewhere, they’ll go, ‘You coming to my school?’” Summerville recalled laughing. ”... A lot of times you develop a rapport with some of the kids.”

Now though, the students stay in their classrooms throughout the day to minimize traffic throughout the buildings and hopefully keep COVID-19 from spreading.

Instead of chatting with students, Summerville spends her days trying to stay on top of supplies. That was always a big part of her job, but now she has to constantly monitor supplies, making sure the district has enough paper towels, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and toilet paper as the pandemic puts all those supplies in higher demand. She’s also had to order new supplies, such as a Clorox machine custodians run through rooms twice a week, sanitizing the buildings and getting rid of airborne germs.

Summerville says she couldn’t do it without her staff, who have been supportive since the pandemic began.

“They have a high morale,” she said. “It’s not like everybody, when I say, ‘We need to do this, we need to do this,’ says, “Aw.′ They (say), ‘OK, OK, we got it. Extra cleaning in the restrooms.’ So they were very on board with everything that I asked them to do. That was a good thing. ... Everybody’s doing their part. I’m so proud of them.”

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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