Think about downtown Sumter. Have you lived here your whole life or at least for a while? Are you returning to Main Street for dining and entertainment?
Are you new to the area? Have you been …
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This article was originally published in Life is Good in Sumter 2019, a publication of The Sumter Item that is co-sponsored by the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce and the Sumter Economic Development Board. To see a digital version of the entire magazine, click on the following link: https://issuu.com/theitem/docs/lig_2019_pages_web2
Are you new to the area? Have you been told about all the new restaurants and revitalization downtown has undergone in recent years? Or have you simply wandered Main Street to explore for yourself?
Whether you’re a lifelong Sumterite or a recent transplant, whether you moved your family or yourself here for a manufacturing job or were stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, there is one name most often associated with downtown. You may have already heard Danielle Thompson’s name in connection to redevelopment, to the opening of first Hamptons, then Sidebar, then the moving of Hamptons and the opening of Rafters, an upscale cocktail bar with gourmet appetizers (and pizza on Wednesdays and Thursdays) and La Piazza, an event rental space adjoining Hamptons and Rafters. Soon, the opening of a Tex-Mex restaurant where Hamptons used to be.
Thompson was named the 2018 Business Person of the Year by the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce at its annual gala.
She’s not the only one who has opened new businesses and put time, effort and investment into downtown Sumter, but someone had to start, and someone had to lead.
“Danielle’s efforts not only include just running high-quality businesses and event venues, but also organizing events downtown such as Oktoberfest and Derby Day that provide the energy you look for in thriving downtowns,” said Chris Hardy, president and CEO of the Chamber. “Proceeds from these events benefit worthwhile causes in our community such as Sumter United Ministries and the United Way of Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties.”
Thompson’s first venture downtown was Hamptons, a fine-dining restaurant that spurred more growth and development in other business and restaurant owners.
“All of our past, and I know our future, recipients were and will be extremely deserving of the award, but with what Danielle has been able to accomplish in just a relatively short period of time is simply amazing,” Hardy said. “If you look at many other successful and thriving downtowns across our state and even our nation, you will always see a Danielle Thompson. We are just glad we have the real one.