Featured Local Businesses in Simpsonville SC
First Reliance Bank
First Reliance Bank arrived in the Simpsonville/Greater Greenville community during the first quarter of 2018 when it acquired Independence Bancshares, Inc and its subsidiary, Independence National Bank.
Ranked among the top 20 banks in South Carolina with assets of nearly $535 million and 170 associates, First Reliance was founded in Florence in 1999 by longtime bankers and brothers, Rick and Paul Saunders, and their friend, Dale Porter.
Today First Reliance Bank has branches statewide, as well as in Winston-Salem and Lake Norman, North Carolina.
“We have a great team of bankers and now we have the resources of a strong community bank behind us. We are looking forward to growing our business in the thriving upstate of South Carolina,” said Kemper Kenan, First Reliance City Executive for Greenville/Simpsonville.
“We believe banking is not simply about dollars and cents. First Reliance Bank serves hard-working Americans who prefer to bank with people who understand their needs and are committed to helping them achieve their financial goals,” said Pam Rhoads, Vice President Marketing and Customer Relationship Management.
First Reliance has been recognized for its success, including receiving a Banky Award from the Institute for Extraordinary Banking for being among the top one percent of banks in the country. It is also the only company ever to be named to The Top 25 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina four times running.
The staff at First Reliance weathered the global economic crisis that began a decade ago and reshaped the way it does business. It was a difficult journey, Rhoads noted, one that required strong risk management, credit discipline, efficiency and expense management – while also expanding their ability to generate profits through the expansion of a mortgage business line and auto lending as competitive advantages – but they succeeded and continue to expand.
The First Reliance Bank team gets to know each customer personally and provides them with products and services focused on “convenience” and being “easy to do business with.” They also offer a variety of community-oriented custom programs through which they are able to treat their customers like individuals and not account numbers including programs for young adults, mothers, hometown heroes (police, fire, teachers) and those who have had trouble managing a bank account.
The bank also makes significant economic contributions to the communities they serve. For instance, First Reliance annually donates over 800 volunteer hours of service and is one of the top local contributors to the American Cancer Association.
Finally, First Reliance provides financial literacy videos and information used in school presentations to encourage people to save, budget, and develop strong money management habits. The bank’s online banking service also has a free financial management and budgeting component available to support customer needs.
Primrose School of Simpsonville at Five Forks
Primrose School of Simpsonville at Five Forks, a highly-rated and nationally-known preschool and childcare franchise, opened in Simpsonville in August 2015. The school, located at 2255 Woodruff Road, boasts a very special and unique lineage that sets it apart from the other 375 Primrose Schools across the country. This school was opened by Meggie and Buck Bradberry, the daughter and son-in-law of the preschool chain’s founders.
Paul and Marcy Erwin founded Primrose Country Day School, the first Primrose School, in Marietta, Georgia, in 1982. Six years later the chain’s fourth school opened and was the first to be franchised. That same year, Jo Kirchner, the company’s current President and CEO, was hired as a consultant to help shift the then half-day preschool to a full-day model, as well as to assist in the launch of the franchising concept. She remains at the helm of the AdvancED Corporation accredited family of schools today.
Meggie Bradberry, owner of the Simpsonville Primrose School, grew up attending her parents’ preschool and learned the business through osmosis by listening to her parents’ discussions over the dinner table for years. One of the schools’ animal mascots – a pig – is even named “Meggie.” She majored in marketing at the University of Georgia, and then worked for a Charlotte-based bank. Meanwhile, Buck worked in construction. However, they both desired to become entrepreneurs.
The couple started a small company with moderate success. But when Meggie became pregnant, the couple started thinking about following in the Erwins’ footsteps and opening a Primrose School.
They purchased land and spent two years building the facility. Today the Primrose School of Simpsonville cares for over 180 children from 6 weeks to 6 years old – some part-time and some full-time, and offers after-school programs for children up to age 12. Meggie and Buck’s children, Mae, age 4, and Hank, 1, both attend the school.
Operating Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the school employs a full-time chef who prepares five meals and snacks each day for their tiny charges.
The school follows the company’s proprietary Balanced Learning curriculum, which combines traditional, teacher-guided learning with more child-initiated play and emphasizes building character in students. The concept of “giving without expecting” is central to their teaching.
Primrose also emphasizes parent communication in order to foster the connection between home and school and create continuity in the children’s educational experience.
For more information, visit www.primroseschools.com/schools/simpsonville or call (864) 757-1191.