Explorin’ With Loren: Bennettsville’s people make visitors feel like family

A city that’s full of friendly people who make you feel like you are family
Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 6:09 PM EST
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BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - We explored Bennettsville this week, a city that’s full of friendly people who make you feel like you are family.

“Generations of folks have lived here but when our newcomers come, they sense this feeling of family, community,” said Elisabeth McNiel, Bennettsville’s director of tourism.

McNiel describes Bennettsville as a community that’s full of rich history and has a population of about 9,000 people. The city was established in 1819 and is known for having the largest collection of Victorian commercial buildings from the 20th century.

Magnolia On Main is one restaurant that operates out of a century-old building and has the original ceiling tiles framed on the wall.

“Magnolia On Main is a family owned café that has more of a diner flare to it,” said owner Hope Smith Crane.

Smith Crane said the hometown café serves up breakfast and lunch, which includes a ton of delicious specials like their blue plate special of a meat and two sides, and a signature sandwich that Crane created and dubbed as a customer favorite - the fried green tomato and bacon pimento cheese sandwich

Smith Crane said it gets very busy during certain times of the day along with orders for takeout, but she doesn’t rush anyone who’s dining in the restaurant.

Gaylon Floyd said he can sit at his reserved table for as long as he likes.

“It’s a great restaurant. I’m here every day for breakfast, sometimes lunch. I’ve been coming here for about 20 years,” said Floyd.

He said it’s not just the good food or his own personal table that keeps him coming back; it’s the people.

“It’s just a small town, homey friendly restaurant. You get good meals and service with a smile,” Floyd said.

It’s a service that Smith Crane said she and her husband strives for every single day.

“When they come in, you feel like you’re walking into somebody’s kitchen to sit down at the table and to linger and to have a conversation. It’s really a gathering place, more than it is anything else,” said Smith Crane.

Click Here for Magnolia On Main

Breeden’s Quality Meats is a must-see in Bennettsville. It’s a family owned and operated butcher shop since 1926 that sells fresh meat, poultry, and seafood.

“We really specialize in our steaks. We carry Angus, we carry prime, cut to order. You won’t walk in and find it in the counter,” said owner Cindy Stone.

Stone said they also make their own sausage, which is regulated by the South Carolina Meat and Poultry Inspection Department to ensure the process is safe from start to finish. Folks can find the sausage in independent stores and some restaurants in town, including Magnolia On Main. The shop also sells local jams, jellies, seasonings, and rice.

“We want the best and we want to offer the best because Breeden’s has the best customers, and we like to take care our folks,” said Stone.

Click Here for Breeden’s Quality Meats

Finish your day at The Village Marketplace, an eclectic shop filled with unique pieces, located on the corner of 201 E. Main St.

“We wanted to have a place where anyone could shop. We have things from a dollar up to a $1,000 in our store,” said owner Edward Taner.

Taner said he sells everything from period furniture to porcelain and antique gems, with new items coming in weekly. Taner showed off a child’s desk from the 1930s to 1940s as one of the more unique items he has in stock.

The owner said he prides himself on making every shopper feel like family in his family-owned store and strives to bring uniqueness to downtown Bennettsville. He’s been so successful, that he’s in the process of expanding his store.

Click Here to browse The Village Marketplace

“Everyone’s always welcome in our store because we’ll have people come in and ask us, ‘Can we look around?’ ‘Sure!’” said Taner. “It’s not a forced sale, per se. We would just like people to be comfortable as they shop.”

“We really do have a wonderful sense of community,” said McNiel.

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