Visit the Places of Georgetown

Jan. 29, 2020

My daughter had bought a t-shirt for my granddaughter for her third birthday. It announced she was the birthday girl on a Paw Patrol shirt. She called and asked me to run by and pick it up so the birthday girl could wear it to her party.

It’s at Handbag Haven,” she said, instructing me to the location of the boutique.

There is no store over here,” I said exasperated as I drove around (and by it three times), “Much less a boutique.”

Mom, stop driving, park in the strip plaza, and tell me the stores in front of where you are.”

There it is!” It’s the very last store in the strip plaza (Next to Hwy 701) behind the old Scotchman at the fork in the road.

O-M-G! I did not know this store existed.

I went in and talked to Lindsay McCrae, the owner and proprietor of Handbag Haven. The store is amazing and it’s perfect for whenever a gift is needed. Instead of ordering online and paying a shipping fee, or going to the beach, she’s right here in Georgetown.

How long have you been here?” I asked her as I marveled at the merchandise.

I’ve been here going on eight years,” she answered.

Eight. Years! Holy Handbags! I had no idea.

While I love Front Street as well as the many shop owners along the historic district, I also like to look outside of that area. In addition, I admire creative people and Lindsay makes a lot of her own things here at Handbag Haven. She makes bows, wreaths for any occasion, jewelry, t-shirts: she makes a lot.

How did you get started doing this?” I questioned looking at the adorable children’s shirts she’s put together.

I have always enjoyed doing these kinds of things and my friends would tell me I should sell some of it… I also sell on Etsy (Etsy is an online store that caters to homemade gifts, crafts, and merchandise). Yes, Lindsay sure does have a talent for this, that’s for sure.

I also enjoyed the atmosphere of the store. I came in and it was very friendly with no pressure to buy anything – a person can browse if they like, hang out for a minutes, or just talk to Lindsay.

I am so glad I found her. Now, instead of going out of my way or paying high shipping costs, I will be going by Handbag Haven to pick out a thing or two. Thank you for being in Georgetown, Lindsay. We need people creative and talented like you.

Dec. 22, 2019

When some people see the term “consignment,” they are indifferent, but Green Beans Consignment Boutique is special. It’s special not because it’s part of the Georgetown Community, or because it’s located in the historic district, but because of the uniqueness of the business.

I have been watching from afar almost since they opened several years ago and recently, I’ve been more involved with the boutique and its owner, Lisa Haas. Green Beans will only accept high end brands or brand names and then sells them at a more affordable costs.

“What made you decide to open a consignment boutique?” I asked of Lisa one afternoon.

With a shrug and small smile she answered, “I don’t know. I guess I’ve always been a recycler and this way it helps people get rid of things they don’t want anymore. Most importantly, though, it helps family’s buy nice things for their children without having to pay a lot of money.”

I looked around the shop (as I always do when I am in there). “Obviously, you haven’t sold everything you’ve ever received.”

“No, sometimes we retire things and I donate them to Martha’s House which is an organization targeted to helping women’s issues and causes.”

“Like…?”

“Women who’ve just come out of incarceration… Martha’s House helps rehabilitate them: provides employment and a place to stay until they can get them back on their feet and it keeps them off the streets.”

Lisa is quite the humanitarian as she also works with Miss Ruby’s Kids. This is a non-profit organization that helps families educate children with early literacy. They will sometimes work inside the home or with a family care center to teach children how to read.

“So, tell me how this works so I can write it and share it with my readers,” I prompted. I sat down at the roll-away counter. No kidding! It kept rolling away from me. “Is everything donated?”

“Yes, even from local boutiques here on Front Street. Sometimes they get a surplus of stock in or they’re retiring their items, too,” she answered and then clarified. “And it’s not really donated… we split the cost 50/50.”

Lisa’s correct. Donations imply the person gets nothing back even if it sells. The person, or persons, “donating,” will bring their items in and if Green Beans accepts them, they’re placed on the sale racks. If the item sells, the owner will either receive store credit (which most seem to like), or they can get cash back (payout).

If the item doesn’t sell within 60 days, the owner can pick them up or, as already stated, they can donate them to Martha’s House for the women and children. Of course, that is a donation. It’s a win-win situation for all around.

There are so many nice things in Green Beans… Knock-offs excluded. There have been Gucci items, Prada, and so forth. There is an abundance of brand names and brand new (with tags) items such as clothing, purses, shoes, and jewelry. There really is a wide selection and what a wonderful place to stop in to pick up a last minute gift idea at an extremely reasonable price.

Lisa has help with the store, too. Carol’s parents used to own the Hallmark store on Front Street. They were there for years so you may know her. Green Beans is now in, what used to be Irving’s Jewelry and later, the Diamond Exchange. I have no idea what it was before that, though.

“People who already have in-store credit will also get an extra 10% off when they shop with us,” Lisa added as we wrapped up our visit.

I love it! I love how Lisa Haas, also known as Ms. Green Beans, has found a novel way to help the community and effectively so. If you pop into the store, please tell Lisa or Carol I said hello.

Mar. 11, 2019

I had the esteem honor of speaking at the Rotary Club (Evening). Currently, they meet at the Manor House Restaurant in Wedgefield Plantation once a week. It was truly an exciting experience and I enjoyed every bit of it.

My daughter had called earlier in the day and asked me to do it. “Reuben (Goude) wanted me to call you and ask if you would be willing to speak.”

“Sure, I would do anything for Reuben,” I answered. “What does he want me to talk about?”

She insisted I say something funny and talk about my books or just one book...or just play it by ear. That’s what I did. I talked a little of my writings on my blog site CrankyHag.Com, as a columnist for GAB News, and being an author. I even brought my latest book with me for everyone to view.

Before going, I googled the Rotary Club to learn a little of the history. It was started in 1900 by a young lawyer, Paul Harris, who thought his colleagues of professional men, not just lawyers, but also other occupations, should be friends outside of work, as well. It was his idea that developing personal relationships with each other could better the community as a whole.

This community organization began in an era where men worked and women stayed home. Naturally, there were only men inducted into the Rotary Club, but now, women are included and involved.

Indeed, Lunda Green is the president of this Rotary Club with whom I met when I arrived. I met a bunch of new people there who made me feel very welcome. Generally speaking, I don’t like crowds because I feel out of sorts, but this group made me feel as if I were in my own element. Maybe I was so comfortable because I recognized a few faces.

I knew if Reuben was there, Sherwin Jacobs would be close by as they’re old friends. I was pleasantly surprised to find an old acquaintance of my husband and mine, as well: Woody Avant. Gosh, I had not seen him in years and he still looks about the same, too.

They had a few new members wanting to join, which I thought was great. Although, the Rotary Club is not a secret society, they are an organization and their day-to-day business is kept between themselves. Out of respect, I’ll not mention the newest members by name or their employments, at this time. That’s their story to tell. However, I will say, as Georgetonians, they will make an excellent addition to the Rotary.

I try to take something back with me whenever I have a new experience and this time was no different. Although, I had already looked up what a Rotary Club was, I wanted to hear it in their own words so, I asked what the Rotary was about; what did they do?

“We do a service to the community, like charitable work,” Woody explained.

Sherwin picked up and continued, “For instance, the guy in front of Walmart that collects for the Salvation Army; that’s us.”

Another member stated they do a lot of work in the nursing homes around the holidays such as caroling and passing out gifts. Their work and effort is in helping the community itself. Anyone who has been reading my articles knows I’m all about Georgetown’s community so you have to know, I love this group already.

We started off with prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, and then basic business of the Rotary, including my little speech. I truly did have a good time and it was my pleasure to be there, especially when Lunda let me ring the bell to adjourn the meeting.

Thank you Georgetown’s evening Rotary Club...until we meet again!

Sep. 10, 2018

Our family has been recycling religiously for the last twenty-five or so years now. However, as of late, we’re not sure if we’re going to continue the tradition since Georgetown has, again, changed what they will and will not recycle.

It used to be that any paper products, cardboard boxes, glass, cans, the usual recyclable trash, could go into the blue bins, including trash bags full of recyclables. My husband and I noticed a change about a year ago.

The garbage men started taking the trash bags out of the bin and sitting them next to it, leaving them behind. They emptied any stray pieces (without discrimination) of recyclables inside the bin, though.

My husband called and asked what the problem was. “Why are the trashmen taking the trash bags out and leaving them behind?”

Georgetown Sanitation responded that the problem would be remedied and it was.

The next incident took almost a year and a phone call later when our recycling bin (the blue bin) was broken up. It was so broken, it looked abused and trampled on by a herd of elephants, baby elephants at the very least. The city brought us a new one, but failed to take the old broken (up) one with them.

My husband put signs on it “Please take with the recyclables” or “Please take me with you.” These notes were on large pieces of paper and taped to the outside of the bins. Finally, he called and told the office what was happening. The bin was picked up the following trash pick-up day.

A few months later, and just recently, our trash bags were taken out of the bin and bought back up the driveway. They placed them next to the large green trash bin used for regular trash. They did take the stray trash pieces (again), though.

This time, I didn’t waste anytime, I called Georgetown Sanitation and they sent someone right out to me.

“I’m so sorry for the inconvenience,” Jamie said apologetically. He was very sweet about it as he explained, “We’ve recently hired special needs people and they will not take the trash bags. They will only take what’s in the bin that they can visually see is recyclable.”

“But they’re recyclables, too,” I insisted. “Look in the bags, it’s all paper products, plastic bottles, glass, etc.”

Jamie handed me a refrigerator magnet that reads as:

City of Georgetown Recycling Tips

  • Fill your bin with recyclables:

Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, newspapers, paper, glass, cardboard boxes (folded and placed flat under bin)

  • No plastic bags – return to the grocery store
  • No pizza boxes, tires, paint cans, or fluorescent bulbs
  • City does not collect e-waste (TV, computer, printers, etc)

I went through the list with him. “There are plastic bottles, as you can see, paper products, glass, as well. What is the problem?”

“Well, the paper plates have food particles on them and if you wash out the plastic bottles and containers, they’ll accept them, but they have to be able to see that they are washed out,” he answered.

I shook my head. “And, plastic bags? What’s wrong with them? It used to be the city used to pass out clear plastic bags and then stopped. The trash bag is a plastic bag and is recyclable...and pizza boxes are cardboard.”

“Yes,” he agreed, “but they cannot see everything in the trash bag and they are not going to dig through it. Pizza boxes have grease and food stuck on them so they won’t take that either. Like I said, they’re special needs so, they’re only going to take what they can get money for at the recycling center; it’s their call.”

Really? I want their job. They get paid to pick up the recyclables and they get to pick and choose what they’ll take so they can get more money at the recycling center.

I’m all for helping special needs. I even encourage it, however, this is crazy! A lot of recyclable trash is being tossed into the landfills because the trashmen cannot use it to get extra money for it.

I shook my head again as I thanked Jamie for his time. At least he cared enough to stop in and explain what was going on; for that I’m grateful. As I said, though, it’s getting to the point that it’s not worth it to recycle anymore. Georgetown has got to do better than this.

Jul. 13, 2018

Social media has become the newest technological form of classifieds, announcements and communications. Local grievances can be aired and discussed openly. Recently, Jack Woodward, a retired resident of the Georgetown community posed this question: “When is someone going to address the shortage of parking spaces, handicap parking spaces, and wheelchair accessible businesses on front Street?”

I thought about that question for several hours, pondering what, if anything, I could offer to Jack’s thought provoking question. To anyone who lives in Georgetown, you understand what I mean when I say, “thought provoking.”

There’s already a shortage of spaces, but here, as of late, it seems they are no longer available all day long. It used to be parking was only allowed for two hours at a time during the hours of 9-5 Monday through Friday. Anyone overstaying would have been ticketed.

One of Georgetown’s professional photographers, Paige Sawyer, offered up that many of these parking places are filled with employees and business owners whereas in the past, they always parked on the side streets and behind the stores when available, thereby leaving the parking places on Front Street open for customers.

It’s been that way every since I can remember. I asked myself what changed? The answer is Officer Ricky Floyd. Officer Floyd patrolled Front Street like it was his own personal space. Many times I would come out of a store after having been inside for only 15 minutes to find my tires marked. I would often shake my head and think to myself that I’d been Floyded.

I called the police station and asked, “Where is Ricky Floyd? Who is patrolling Front Street now?”

I was told it was none other than my own favorite officer, Shelley Brantley. I laughed and left my number. I was pleased that Shelley called me back within minutes. I opened the topic to him.

“Yeah, I know,” he confessed. “I was reading that feed last night and thinking to msyelf I need to crack down.”

“Well, what happened, Shelley?” I inquired. “Ricky Floyd had that beat down to a science.”

I could almost see Shelley nodding his head in agreement. “Yes, he did. He was good at it, too, but Officer Floyd didn’t have the dog pound patrol to deal with too. I have to answer calls for them as well.

“Just like this morning, after reading that feed last night, I had decided I was going to stay on Front Street all day and mark the cars and pass out tickets, but then these calls came in and I have to go answer them.”

“So you need help,” I surmised. “You’re doing two jobs where Ricky only had the Front Street beat.”

Shelley gave a chuckle, but didn’t offer comment to my suggestion. Instead, he explained, “I will tighten up on them and they’ll get straight for a while and comply then they go back to their old ways again."

“I’ve tried talking to people because I don’t want to write them tickets. That will cost them money, but it looks like I’m going to have to be more proactive on this so don’t be surprised to see me walking around with my chalk stick marking cars.”

“What do you think the problem is?” I asked and then offered, “I think we need to put the signs back up. There used to be a sign every three or four parking places and now it is like one parking sign per block.”

“That and the other problem is the shop owners and employees who are parking on Front Street instead of the side streets like they were,” he answered without hesitation. That was just what Paige Sawyer said. Shelley went on, “Just like this morning, I marked a store owner’s car at 8:00 this morning. Here it is almost 11:00 and I’m turning down Front Street now...Yup, his car is still there. He hasn’t moved it at all.”

I pointed out another shop owner who parks in front of his store all the time now. Shelley agreed, he has seen him, too, and has asked him several times not to do that. We talked about the fines for their total disregard to the Front Street parking rule.

“The first three fines are only about $10,” Shelley answered. “Then it goes up to $50 and then $100 and keeps going up.”

After I wrote a page of notes, I asked about the second part of Jack Woodward’s question: the handicapped and accessible parking spaces and was told I had to address city council for that. I had already suspected that answer and so I put in a call to the Mayor, Brenden Barber, who is also the head of City Council.

As of yet, I have not heard back from him. He’s been at the high school with the children doing a training camp. Hopefully, he will get back to me at some point soon.

I also put in a call to a couple of City Councilmen. Councilman Al Joseph called me back within the hour. I explained the situation to him about parking places and the lack of handicapped spaces, as well as the lack of ramp or wheelchair accessibility.

“Well, honestly, we’ve always had problems with shop owners and employees parking on Front Street,” he answered. “I guess the problem continues. As for the handicapped, I never thought about it before.”

I went on to explain, “The the few spaces that are available are so small that if someone were to park and need to get their walker or wheelchair out, they wouldn’t be able to do it without beating up the car next to them. In addition, they would not have an access ramp.”

“Yes, now that I’m thinking about it, there are not a lot of handicap places to park and I certainly agree, it’s something we need to take a look at it,” Al stated. “We need to accommodate all in the community, including our handicapped and disabled residents.”

With that said, I asked about the next council meeting. I’m thinking I need to attend and follow up on this. I’ll do my best to make that meeting which is due this week.

If nothing else, we have Officer Shelley Brantley taking care of business along the main street in Georgetown. If not for the community, then for the tourist that would like to stop and shop along our historic district. If they can’t stop, they can’t shop.