Mitch Brown has wanted to open a local flea market for at least five years but couldn't find the right location.
He knew his chance had come when a group of business partners acquired a small shopping center in Bluffton several months ago. In addition to the Village Commons center, the property includes space near the Bluffton library, which Brown believes will be the perfect place for a market.
Brown pitched his idea to his partners, and it "stuck like glue," he said.
"The more we thought about it, the more it just made sense."
The partners are clearing and landscaping the property at 163 Bluffton Road, and they plan to open May River Marketplace next month. They envision it as an open-air market.
They plan to open on Saturdays and might later add Sundays, Brown said. The market will accommodate 150 vendors to start with, and Brown said there is room to double that capacity if needed. It will have restrooms and concessions.
Brown hopes to attract some permanent vendors, but tables and tents will be available for all to rent.
He wants to create a festival-like atmosphere at the market.
"We want people to be worked up into a fevered pitch before we start this thing," he said. "It brings that community atmosphere that everybody seems to be looking for so hard in Bluffton."
Other recent business openings, closings and changes in the area:
• Gardening has been in Frank Lynch's blood since the Maryland native began cultivating plants and tending flower beds on his grandfather's 50-acre plot as a boy.
He studied horticulture and built a garden center with seven greenhouses in his home state, but one thing held his business back, he said. The chilly climate near the nation's capital required him to close his center for four months out of the year.
"It was kind of a spring and fall thing," Lynch said, "and then it was over."
To fix that problem, he looked up and down the East Coast for three years before he moved south three months ago to take over the garden center formerly occupied by The Greenery at 1117 Fording Island Road in Bluffton.
"I'm here because of the weather," he said.
Lynch and his wife, Donna, held a grand opening last weekend for the center, which they have christened the Green Thumb.
In addition to selling plants, Frank Lynch said he plans to sell supplies for water gardens, fountains and hardscapes, and offer landscaping and lawn maintenance services.
He will also sell seasonal gifts for holidays at a specialty shop inside the center. He plans to hold an open house and ribbon-cutting next month.
• Speedi Sign of Hilton Head Island moved to 5 Hunter Road from 136 Beach City Road on Oct. 1.
Owners John and Ann Gresty plan to expand their array of equipment at their new location, Ann Gresty said.
The business, formerly known as Environmental Graphics, offers signs, window lettering, digital graphics and sandblasting.
WHAT IS ABOUT TOWN?
As you drive around southern Beaufort County, you notice a sign for a new shop, new construction or road work. Or you realize that an old store you once frequented has gone out of business. About Town answers the question, "What's going on here?"
If you have information about something that has changed the local landscape or if you wonder about one of those changes and would like us to tell you more about it, contact reporter Josh McCann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-706-8145.