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What does the future hold for bonds, interest rates?

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graph raymond

By now, you have likely heard something, either directly or indirectly, about “The Great Rotation” from bonds into stocks. 

Just googling the term will pull up a whole host of articles written by practically every major financial news organization in existence, and it seems that every “bond king” and market strategist has weighed in with his or her own respective opinions on the matter. 

In short, the line of thinking behind the rotation is that, after 30-plus years of interest rates in the United States generally falling and bond prices, resultantly, rising, an inflection point has been reached or is approaching where now interest rates will rise over time and bond prices will suffer. 

Most people, at least, seem to agree on that point to some extent, though what exactly that will mean for bonds and stocks as investments remains widely contested. 

Some have argued that this dynamic will prompt massive money flows to move from bonds into the stock market (producing the titular “great rotation”), while others contend it will not have as big of an effect on aggregate portfolio allocations as expected. 

The financial media has tried quite hard to pitch this as a battle between Bill Gross, the well-known portfolio manager at Janus, and Jeff Gundlach, founder of DoubleLine Capital, who have shared a contentious past and don’t mind taking jabs at each other. 

However, to me, they seem to be saying the same thing except for a slight difference of opinion on the “key level” in the bond market. Gross has come out and said that 2.6 percent on the 10-Year U.S. Treasury is the line in the sand for the end of the bond bull market, while Gundlach argues that “second-tier managers” can focus on 2.6 percent, but 3 percent is the level to watch to “define the end of the bone bull market from a classic chart perspective.” 

In other words, both of these very smart bond guys, despite their minor differences, believe we are getting close to hitting that inflection point, with Gundlach going on to say that it is “almost for sure” that the 10-year is going to take out 3 percent this year. 

Meanwhile, we have already said that it is very likely that last July marked the bottom for rates, when the 10-Year U.S. Treasury made an undercut low below the 2012 nadir before quickly recovering to shoot up about 125 basis points (almost a 100 percent move in percentage terms) by the end of 2016. 

The future trajectory for rates, therefore, does appear to be upward, but the exact path remains an unknown. 

Just as yields didn’t go straight down over the last three decades, they will not go straight up in the years ahead, as the last few weeks have reminded us with the 10-Year falling about 10 percent. 

Also, while the long-term chart of the 10 Year going back to the early 1980s looks to have already broken its downtrend line when using a linear scale (see chart above), 2.6 percent, 3 percent and 3.5 percent may all act as fairly strong resistance, too. It would not surprise me to see interest rates remain range-bound for much of 2017 until expectations about economic growth and inflation pick up enough to power rates above this resistance block. 

Three percent, especially, may be tough to overcome in the next few months until we see just what the new administration’s policies are going to be.

So, what does this all mean for the stock market? Well, market strategists are sort of torn on that point, as well.

Jeffrey Kleintop, chief global strategist at Charles Schwab, believes the fund flow shift from bonds to stocks that has taken place over the last two months, which has added $3 trillion to global equity values while bond values have dropped by $2 trillion per Bloomberg, “marks an important juncture” and has “years left to run.” 

Conversely, David Kostin of Goldman Sachs argued recently that, many institutional investors, the ones who really move markets, are restricted from moving money out of bonds and/or owning stocks, so the impact of the “great rotation” may already be approaching its upper limit since allocations to debt securities are already near the lowest levels of the last 30 years.

The truth may lie somewhere in the middle, then. 

Overall, interest rates are still likely to be low and accommodative for the next couple of years when compared to their long-term averages, which should help keep interest in stocks high. 

At the same time, if we are correct and earnings growth picks up in the quarters ahead, that should bode well for stock prices, so we may still see a large amount of money flowing back from bonds into stocks, particularly among retail investors chasing returns, if stock prices go up while bonds are losing value and still yielding relatively low rates. 

However, David Kostin does make a fair point that we are certainly not going to see most fixed income investors suddenly switch to stocks – institutional investors are generally limited in what they can invest in by the terms of their portfolio agreements, and bonds will still play a large role for retail investors who need the diversification and income benefits that they can provide. 

So, on a net basis, I’d say that “the great rotation” may help provide a tailwind for stocks, but it might not be as “great” as many believe. At the end of the day, earnings and economic growth are still the primary drivers behind the stock market and, without this growth, interest rates and stocks may both have trouble rising significantly from current levels.

This column was prepared by Raymond James and brought to you by Charles Tumlin, managing director at TLS Wealth Management of Raymond James. Tumlin is a financial advisor with Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC located at 2015 Boundary St., Suite 220, Beaufort SC 29902.  He can be contacted at 843-379-6100 or charles.tumlin@raymondjames.com or by visiting www.tlswealthmanagement.com.

2016: A look back at the real estate market

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2016 REAL ESTATE GRAPH

By Everett Ballenger

2015 was a landmark good year for Ballenger Realty and I suspect also for many other Beaufort real estate companies. Last year we equaled the volume we did in 2005. So it has taken us 10 years to get back to where we were in 2005 in regard to sales volume.

With 2015 being a strong year for the local real estate market, the question in many Realtors’ mind was, “Would we see the progress continue into 2016?”

Looking at the data above, I think we can say a resounding “yes.”

When we look at the quarterly reports, we quite often see some minuses in either sales volume or in prices. As can be seen in the chart comparing the 2015/2016 sales for all types of property in Northern Beaufort County, the statistics show very healthy positive numbers across the board. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 10.34.56 AM

Residential sales

Single-family homes saw an 11.8-percent uptick in units sold in 2016 and an excellent surge of 16.8 percent in sales volume. It has been a considerable amount of time since we have seen anything like this strong growth across the board. 

The market gives every appearance of being very steady, evenly spread and sustainable. We are not seeing the “crazy” market of the early 2000s. One only has to look at the “conservative” 5.6 percent rise in both median and average price to allay anyone’s fear that the local market might be overheating.  

The total Northern Beaufort County real estate market was equally as spirited as was the “Residential” section. 

One thing to consider in looking at the “Total” market is that it includes land and commercial sales, both of which have been on the weak side for many years. Considering that, the “Total” market is even more impressive. 

So will we see 2017 evolve into a better year than 2016?  

At the time of writing this article, we are only about a month and a half into 2017, but I will say that the January numbers for this year were again ahead of the year before.

Realtors, by nature, are optimistic and by nature see the glass as being half full. So let’s hope this optimism is well placed and the local market continues its steady recovery.  

Please remember that in times of change, both good and bad, you especially need a professional Realtor to assist in the selling of your home or purchasing a new one to insure you are basing your decisions on the latest information available.  

Everett Ballenger is the owner of Ballenger Realty and is the past president of the Beaufort County Association of Realtors.

Chamber Corner for March 16th-22nd

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Visitor services coordinator hired

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce had added Lynda Dyer to its staff as the visitor services coordinator.  

Dyer, a native of Covington, Ga., has called Beaufort her home for the past four years. Dyer earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Valdosta State University. She had a successful career working for Dow Jones & Company and the Pacific Daily News. 

A military spouse of 22 years, Dyer has enjoyed traveling the world and getting the opportunity to support her husband and children in the various locations the U.S. Navy has led them. 

“We are pleased to welcome Lynda Dyer to our team,” said Robb Wells, vice president of tourism of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Lynda’s background and experience make her a great fit for this role, and her enthusiasm and outgoing personality will make her an asset to Beaufort’s many visitors.”

Dyer can be reached directly at 843-525-8531 or Coordinator@BeaufortSC.org.

Coffee with Colleagues being held March 17

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold a Coffee with Colleagues from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Friday, March 17, at Groucho’s Deli at 81 Sea Island Parkway. 

This is a free networking opportunity for members. 

Beaufort chamber to host Rustic Charm’s new store

Rustic Charm will be celebrating its new furniture store from 11 a.m. to 7 pm. Wednesday, March 22, at 711 B Charles St. in Beaufort. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. 

The grand opening and ribbon cutting will feature light refreshments, door prizes, gift bag giveaways and the unveiling of new product lines. 

Rustic Charm offers a variety of upcycled and repurposed items, unique finds for the home and handmade gifts from local artisans. To learn more about Rustic Charm, visit rusticcharmsc.com.

For more information, visit www.beaufortchamber.org or call 843-525-8500. 

Running business focus of series

A three-part series on running a successful business will be held from 8:30-10 a.m. Wednesdays on March 22, March 29 and April 5.

Breakfast Business for Breakfast: Simple Steps to a Well-Run Business is being hosted by Beaufort Chamber of Commerce & Lowcountry SCORE.

The three parts will include:

• Operate: Participants will learn strategies for business funding and operations; 

• Navigate:  Discover how to take the time for planning and strategic thinking, as well as learn more about the business life cycle; 

• Communicate:  Develop or refine your “core value” and learn ways to effectively communicate it to others.  

These roundtable discussions will be led by small business expert SCORE volunteer instructors. The series will be held at the chamber offices at 701 Craven St. in Beaufort. Continental breakfast and coffee will be provided. The total cost of the three sessions will be $20 for chamber members and $40 for nonmembers. Attendees can pay at the date of event.

For more information, email carolyn@beaufortsc.org.

Manage your finances as you near retirement

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As your target retirement date gets closer, what was once an abstract concept may now feel more like a reality. 

This life event can provoke different feelings for different people. While some might feel excited about the possibilities the non-working years might bring, others may be anxious and fearful. 

Regardless of your emotions, now is the time to stay focused on maximizing your retirement savings while also looking ahead to develop a retirement income plan that supports your vision of retirement. The following are some tips you may find helpful.

Catch up

If you are age 50 or older, one way to help maximize your retirement savings is to take advantage of “catch up” contributions. The “catch up” contribution provision allows you to make additional contributions to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan.  If you’re unable to do this, try to contribute at least as much as the employer’s match – otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table.

Open an IRA

If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan or you’re self-employed, consider opening an IRA. Even if you already participate in a 401(k) or other plan at work, an IRA can help supplement those savings and help you gain access to a potentially wider range of investment options. Keep in mind you are still eligible to contribute to an IRA whether you contribute to an employer-sponsored plan or not. You can also make catch up contributions to an IRA if you are age 50 or older.  

Convert to a Roth IRA?

An often overlooked retirement planning strategy is the Roth IRA conversion. A Roth IRA conversion occurs when you take savings in a Traditional, SEP or SIMPLE IRA, or employer-sponsored retirement plan, and move the assets into a Roth IRA.  

You will owe federal and possibly state income tax on the before-tax amounts in your employer plan or IRA converted to a Roth  in that tax year, but not the 10-percent IRS early distribution penalty. 

Once you settle that bill, though, you’ll be able to withdraw all the money in your Roth IRA during retirement without owing any tax or penalty, provided: (1) the Roth IRA has been open for at least five years and you are age 59 ½ or older; or (2) the distribution is a result of your death, disability or using the first-time homebuyer exception. 

The benefits of tax-free distributions in retirement may justify the conversion costs and allow for flexibility to manage taxable income in retirement. Converting to a Roth IRA is not appropriate for everyone. Some factors to consider include your tax bracket now and expected tax bracket in retirement, availability of funds to pay taxes due on the conversion and your time horizon.  

Talk to your financial advisor and tax advisor to discuss your specific situation before you convert.

Develop income plan

Now may also be a good time to develop a retirement income plan. A retirement income plan helps make the transition from accumulating assets in your portfolio to determining how you will use all of your various sources of income to cover your living expenses when you’re no longer working. 

It’s critical to start the retirement income planning process before you retire. If your planning process determines there’s a gap between your desired expense projections and your required income, you still have time to make some adjustments. 

These can include retiring at a later date, working part time in retirement, increasing your current savings or reducing expense projections. You may want to begin the process with the following:

• Analyze your essential and discretionary expenses and create a realistic budget. 

This process will help you identify all of your sources of income, including Social Security, retirement savings, pensions, investments, etc. 

A financial advisor can help you determine when and how to take withdrawals and build an investment strategy that generates income in retirement while still giving your investments the opportunity to grow.  

• Consider Social Security. 

For married couples or divorced individuals, there are numerous options regarding when and how you elect to take your Social Security. Your choices can have a significant impact on the total benefits you receive over time. Your financial advisor can help you analyze the Social Security benefit options available to you and help you evaluate which one best fits your personal circumstances. 

• Think about longevity. Americans are living longer and more active lives, which can translate into two or three decades of living in retirement. This affects not only how much you will need to save but also how much you’ll need to budget for healthcare expenses.

You are eligible for Medicare when you turn age 65. If you retire before age 65 and don’t have health care through your former employer, you will have to purchase your own coverage. 

And, while Medicare will help cover hospitalization costs and doctor visits, you’ll probably want to secure supplemental coverage. 

Additionally, you should consider long-term care insurance – the younger you are when you purchase long-term care insurance, the less expensive it is.

Nearing retirement can bring excitement – and also anxiety. But some careful planning now can help ease any anxieties you might experience down the road. 

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Katie Cuppia Phifer, certified financial planner and financial advisor in Beaufort at 843-982-1506.

Business briefs for March 9th-15th

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American Legion Beaufort Post 9 is striving to promote both patriotism and businesses in the Beaufort area by calling attention to those that proudly display the U.S. flag at their location. Post 9 presents those enterprises with a framed certificate thanking them. Here Post 9 Commander Chuck Lurey presents the staff a certificate thanking Murr Printing for displaying the flag. From left are Sarah Evenden, Lurey, Victoria Orem and Mary Crosby.
American Legion Beaufort Post 9 is striving to promote both patriotism and businesses in the Beaufort area by calling attention to those that proudly display the U.S. flag at their location. Post 9 presents those enterprises with a framed certificate thanking them. Here Post 9 Commander Chuck Lurey presents the staff a certificate thanking Murr Printing for displaying the flag. From left are Sarah Evenden, Lurey, Victoria Orem and Mary Crosby.

Job fair coming to Beaufort County

The 2017 Lowcountry Job Fair will be held form 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at the Beaufort National Guard Readiness Center (1 Cavalry Lane). The public is welcome.

Investment control focus of upcoming program

“Take Control of Your Investments” will be held from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Bluffton Branch Library at 120 Palmetto Way. Investors will learn about value investing and its advantages compared to mutual funds and other related topics.  

The speaker will be Michael Osteen, MBA is Chief Investment Strategist at Port Wren Capital LLC. He is also a member of the Lady’s Island Business & Professional Association (LIBPA), as well as, the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. Seating is limited to 23. To sign up in advance, visit www.portwrencapital.com/Bluffton_Library_Event_031117.htm.

Vehicle complaints take top spot among consumers

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) received 3,913 consumer complaints from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2016, resulting in a total of $1.24 million going back to consumers in the form of credits, refunds and adjustments.

The No. 1 category in 2016 was vehicle complaints, totaling 16 percent (697) of SCDCA’s complaints. It was the third year in a row that vehicle complaints took the top spot. 

The most common vehicle complaints reported were in reference to used vehicles, repairs and credit sales of motor vehicles. 

Rounding out the top five are utilities at 13 percent (515); debt collection at 8 percent (317); contractors at 7 percent (281); and finance at 6 percent (240). 

“While DCA stands ready and waiting to help consumers resolve issues encountered in the marketplace, we always encourage South Carolinians to be savvy consumers,” said SCDCA’s Administrator Carri Grube Lybarker. “Taking a few up front steps like researching a company before deciding to do business with them and carefully reading a contract before signing can save consumers from major headaches down the line.”

SCDCA processes and mediates consumer complaints against businesses regulated by the DCA, refers complaints that fall within another agency’s jurisdiction, and mediates those complaints against businesses that are unregulated. To file a complaint, visit www.consumer.sc.gov and click FILE A COMPLAINT. To see if a business has complaints against it, consumers should take advantage of the Search Complaints tool on the Consumer Information page of SCDCA’s website.

What are the tax implications of stock trades?

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By Michael Osteen

As the old saying by Benjamin Franklin goes, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  

At the least, equity investors should be aware of some of the tax rules and how they pertain to your investments.  

The concept is simple. When you trade stocks and have a gain you are vulnerable to capital gains tax. The key is to understand how those capital gains are treated in regards to the types of accounts that are available.  

Generally speaking, you can break them down into two basic categories: those stock trades within a tax-deferred account and those in a regular brokerage account. 

Tax deferred accounts like Individual Retirement (IRAs), Simplified Employment Pension (SEPs) and Self-Directed Rollover IRAs, to name a few, allow you to defer paying the capital gains tax until you make withdrawals.  

The advantage is when you start withdrawing you are taxed at the rate of your income tax bracket which typically is lower since you are retired and no longer working. This enables the total principle and the gains to compound and grow in the account over time.  

The power of compounding has been best summed up by Albert Einstein, who said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.  He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”  

Also, with these you don’t have to be concerned with the usual tax implications when making stock trades provided you keep the funds inside the account. 

Regular brokerage accounts are offered by many firms today like Vanguard, Scottrade and many others allow you to trade various types of investment vehicles including common shares of stock.  

These accounts are subject to short-term and long-term capital gains taxes when a capital gain is realized.

Be sure you understand the impact on your trades in this situation. In general the difference between the short-term and long-term tax rate can be about 13 percent or more depending on specifies. 

Thus when you think of the long-term effects of compounding on reduced income taxes incurred today, you begin to see the advantage of holding your stock positions for over a year and longer. 

For us at Port Wren Capital, as value investment researchers, we always look towards the long-term horizon. 

It offers investors many advantages not only in taxes and compounding, but in creating value.  

Effectively, the strategy of value investments are buying a company that is selling below its intrinsic value today and waiting for Mr. Market to recognize its true value and knowing that value in created in the long-term and not in the short-term.  

As described by Morgan Housel, a former columnist at The Motley Fool and The Wall Street Journal, “… value is ultimately created in the long run. 

“That’s where scale takes off and compounding works its magic – over years and decades, not months and weeks. The key is recognizing that the long run is just a collection of short runs, and capturing long-term growth means managing the short run effectively enough to ensure you can stick around for the long time.”  

Based on my experience, typically, and naturally there are numerous variables involved, expect a minimum of about two years before Mr. Market starts to discover an undervalued company.  

Be sure to speak with your tax advisor who is the experts on taxes, before this year’s filing deadline of April 18.  

To find out more about setting up brokerage trading accounts and value investing research, just email me. 

Michael Osteen, MBA, is chief investment strategist with Port Wren Capital LLC with a 252 percent 3-year total gain (36.04 percent annualized) performance using independent value investment research. 

Email him at michael@portwrencapital.com.

Business briefs for March 2nd-8th

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American Legion Beaufort Post 9 is striving to promote both patriotism and businesses in the Beaufort area by calling attention to those that proudly display the U.S. flag at their location. Post 9 presents those enterprises with a framed certificate thanking them. Here  1st Vice Commander Bob Shields thanks Marie Lewis, owner of Alvin Ord's Sandwich Shop, for showing the flag.
American Legion Beaufort Post 9 is striving to promote both patriotism and businesses in the Beaufort area by calling attention to those that proudly display the U.S. flag at their location. Post 9 presents those enterprises with a framed certificate thanking them. Here
1st Vice Commander Bob Shields thanks Marie Lewis, owner of Alvin Ord’s Sandwich Shop, for showing the flag.

Leadership program explores economy

Marilyn Harcharik, Beaufort County Senior Leadership participant, listens to small business presenters as they discuss their experience running a business in Beaufort County. Photo by Steve Brown.
Marilyn Harcharik, Beaufort County Senior Leadership participant, listens to small business presenters as they discuss their experience running a business in Beaufort County. Photo by Steve Brown.

Participants in the 2017 Beaufort County Senior Leadership program recently explored economic development in the county with local business owners, incubators and representatives of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce and two local colleges.

David Nelems, CEO of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, and Blakely Williams, of the Beaufort Regional Chamber, outlined actions to foster business development and job growth, while Dr. Lynn McGee, of USCB, and Dr. Gina Mounfield, of TCL, touted educational initiatives targeting career development.

BCSL class members heard firsthand about business opportunities and challenges from local business owners John Harris, of Harris Pillow Supply, Kirsten Hotchkiss, of My Life’s Message, Frank Lesesne, of Anchorage 1770, Mary Mack, of Red Piano Too, and Craig Reaves, of Sea Eagle Market.  

Fridays @ the Corridor to tap into technology

An upcoming event, Fridays @ the Corridor, will explore the various technology available at local libraries.

Beaufort County Library Director Ray McBride will showcase the array of free technology tools and technical solutions that are available.

This one-hour interactive forum, meant to engage and inform Beaufort’s knowledge-based community, will be held at 8:30 a.m. Friday, March 10.

Attendance is limited to 25 guests, with priority seating for Digital Corridor members. The nonmember fee is $10 and can be paid by cash or check at the door.

RSVP to fridays@beaufortdigital.com.

Job fair coming to Beaufort County

The 2017 Lowcountry Job Fair will be held from 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at the Beaufort National Guard Readiness Center (1 Cavalry Lane). The public is welcome.

Chamber Corner for March 2nd-8th

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First Friday to be held on March 3

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold First Friday from 5-6 p.m. Friday, March 3.

“Join our downtown merchants the first Friday of each month,” according to a release. “Many merchants stay open until 8 p.m. Refreshments will be offered and there will be live street music. Stay for dinner in one of our downtown restaurants.”

Business After Hours to be held March 9

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold a Business After Hours networking event from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, March 9. 

The event will be hosted by Beaufort Memorial, Keyserling Cancer Center, and will be held at the center at 1680 Ribaut Road, Port Royal. The event is free for members; $5 for guests.

Business leaders tell reps roads need to be fixed

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Leaders representing statewide businesses and industries have announced their support for H.3516 – the House Road Funding Bill. Additionally, the South Carolina Roads Coalition announced that it was sending a letter to legislators commending the House for moving forward with a road plan and urging House members to vote yes on H.3516.

Rick Todd, president and CEO of the South Carolina Trucking Association, speaking on behalf of the South Carolina Roads Coalition, said, “We’ve come together today with hope, belief and optimism that 2017 might finally be the year that we secure significant, recurring and dedicated funds to fix and improve South Carolina’s
highway infrastructure.”

Todd continued, “This is an issue that impacts the quality of life, safety and enhanced economic prosperity for all South Carolinians.”

Pete Selleck, president of Michelin North America, speaking on behalf of the SC Chamber of Commerce, said that 2017 is the year the General Assembly must finish the job on infrastructure.

“We’ve seen the situation only get worse, and we really do believe at this point we’re at the end of the road,” said Selleck. “If we do not come up with a solid plan this year that is sufficient and sustainable over the long term, we believe that going forward it’s going to do significant damage to this state.”

Chamber Corner for February 23rd-March 1st

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Ambassadors named by Beaufort chamber

ambassadors

The following have been named this year’s Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce ambassadors: Mark Flasch, Sea Island Rotary Club; Jack Griffith,  Kinghorn Insurance Agency of Beaufort; Dawn Harris, Pink Magazine; Lee McManus, Glasspro Inc.; Mary Ann McCracken Mikell, Bridges Preparatory School; Nicole Myers, Hospice Care of the Lowcountry; Wendi Russell, Printology Signs & Graphics; Trysh Steeves, PruittHealth Hospice ; Tim Waz, Grounded Running; Kristen Webb Gissy, Turbeville Insurance Agency Inc.; and Kelly Weber, Weichert Realtors-Coastal Properties. 

They provide an essential service to the chamber membership and team by serving as the chamber’s primary liaisons to new members. 

Considered the goodwill arm of the chamber, ambassadors actively promote membership in the chamber, facilitate networking among members and encourage meaningful participation and involvement in chamber programs in order to enhance the membership benefits received by each member, strengthen member commitment and increase long-term member relationships.

River Oaks celebrates new renovations

River Oaks Assisted Living, along with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the newly renovated community on Feb. 21 at 1251 Lady’s Island Drive in Port Royal.

River Oaks Assisted Living recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation. The 62-bed, luxury assisted living community has also added a new memory care program led by two nationally certified dementia practitioners. 

Visit www.riveroaksassistedliving.com. 

Local chamber to hold Friday networking

The public is invited to the First Friday Networking of the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 3, at Best Western Sea Island Inn Dolphin Room at 1015 Bay St. in Beaufort. 

Karatbars International and local partner Elliott Hagan will sponsor the event. Karatbars is headquartered in Stuttgart and specializes in the sale of small gold bars and gift items in golf bullion.

Catering will be provided by Aunt Pearlie Sue and Singleton’s Catering. RSVP to the chamber office 843-986-1102. 

First Friday to be held March 3

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce will present First Friday After Five  from 5-6 p.m. Friday, March 3, in downtown Beaufort.

“Join our downtown merchants the first Friday of each month. Many merchants stay open until 8 p.m.,” according to a release. 

There also will be refreshments and live street music.

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