Toast and TopicsBy David Meade – Members of the Palmetto Business Association met Tuesday morning for the first Toast and Topics breakfast held at the Williamston Municipal Center.
Mill Town Place, a new restaurant that has opened in the former location of Boots & Thelmas in West Pelzer, sponsored the event and provided breakfast.
PBA President Blake Sanders said opening a new restaurant is a “long process” and that it took from September to February for the owners to renovate the building and get open.
Owner Maranda Sialmas said she and her husband have been in the family restaurant business for 15 years. The West Pelzer business is the third restaurant they have opened, with a restaurant in Liberty and the second being Riverside Family Restaurant just out of Greenville.
Sialmas said Mill Town Place offers meat and three everyday and they cater. She said they plan to keep a full staff and menu.
Barret Foust of Goodwin Foust Custom Homes in Powdersville was the guest speaker.
Foust said that the demographics of the upstate for Greenville, Anderson and Mauldin, show that Baby Boomers, ages 56-73 “love to retire to this area.”
Foust said that warm weather and reasonable tax rates attract retirees and leads to growth in the upstate.
Foust provided population and growth figures comparing Atlanta, Greenville and Charlotte.
“Greenville is not as small as people think it is,” Foust said.
He said there is a trend of people looking for land, from 10 to 20 acres and that more people will be looking at the Western and Southern sides of Anderson County.
He also said that national builders will also be looking at the area.
According to Foust, the Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg region has a “very large footprint” and a high growth rate, around 9 percent. He also said that building permits are trending up. “This is a very value oriented market,” he said.
He said that being between Atlanta and Charlotte makes the Greenville region “very strong.”
He also advised that lumber prices are expected to jump as much as 30 percent due to a trade war with the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Builders are also seeing an increase in other materials including concrete.
Another demographic that is adding to growth in the area is Millenials. According to Foust, the age group born between 1981 and 2003 are bigger in population than the Baby Boomers and will have a massive effect on housing, especially as they approach retirement.
He said that most people buy a larger home when they are around 49 years old and then again when they reach 62 to 65 years in age and ready to retire.
Multi-family housing is doing real well in Greenville as young people look for a place to live. They begin buying entry level homes at age 30 to 35, Foust said.
“A lot is cyclical depending on age brackets,” Foust said.
He said that a lot of retirees are getting out of Atlanta and Charlotte and coming to Greenville and Anderson. “It is good to be sandwiched between two big cities,” he said. “2017 should be strong.”
The next meeting of the PBA will be held Mar. 21 at Fiesta Restaurant.
Topics of discussion will be the annual Clay Shoot, the Easter Egg Hunt and Party in the Park, Sanders said.
The April 18 meeting will be a Business after Hours.