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Explorin’ With Loren: Up-and-coming Florence known for friendly, creative people

The core of the historical Pee Dee region
Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 6:26 PM EST
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - We explored Florence this week, an up-and-coming city that’s centrally located and known for friendly people who are very creative.

Florence is the core of the historical Pee Dee region and its downtown is transforming into something trendy. Just ask Aimee Monjarrez, owner of DIY Place.

“It’s a place where you can come and pick out your own signs, your own home décor items and you get to choose if you want to distress them, what stained colors, paint colors. So, it fits your home or your liking,” Monjarrez said.

Monjarrez and her husband opened shop last November because she wanted to share her passion for art.

“If you can follow instructions, then you can complete a project,” she said.

Folks can enjoy a complimentary glass of beer or wine, or bring their own alcohol. Monjarrez said it’s a fun and easy activity, and customers leave with their one-of-a-kind piece of art that day.

“I think Florence really needs some more places where we can gather and have fellowship and have fun. I hope that we’re bringing that to the community,” she said.

Check out DIY Place

For those who worked up an appetite while creating their artistic masterpiece, stop by Wholly Smokin’ BBQ & Ribs.

Jackie Travis said she started as a small take-out place in 2014 and quickly grew to be one of downtown’s flagship restaurants.

“Our slogan is barbecue ribs and a whole lot more because we do a whole lot more than your typical BBQ restaurant,” she said.

Some of the favorites include the barbecue sandwich, half rack of ribs, smoked wings, and deviled eggs. The deviled eggs are topped with smoked fried chicken, fried pickle and homemade barbecue sauce drizzled on top.

“We try to put a smoke component in everything that we do,” Travis said.

She said the restaurant is also known for its craft cocktails, happy hour and a weekend brunch.

“Our staff is so friendly; they’re welcoming. Our food is amazing, and the atmosphere is something that you will remember for a long time to come,” Travis said.

Eat at Wholly Smokin’ BBQ & Ribs

Unwind at the Historical Hotel Florence, which residents said is the catalyst for the downtown’s revitalization. It was built in 1891 and once housed Schofield Hardware, a bank and another hotel.

“When we came in 2013 to open the hotel, we completely renovated, but we still wanted to keep the original aspects of the building,” said Kristy Fowler, regional director of sales.

Fowler showed the original staircase, hardwood floors that now make up the ceiling in the penthouse and a brick wall dubbed the “Tom Wall.”

“We tried everything we can to get Tom off the wall and we cannot get it off,” Fowler said. “We think Tom was possibly a builder, but we don’t know anything else.”

Folks can rent the spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse for $699 a night. The owner’s suit is also two-bedroom, two-bath, but with a more modern vibe. It’s available for rent for $599 a night.

“People like to use those for a social event for just smaller parties, get-togethers, things like that,” Fowler said.

The 64-room hotel also includes a chic restaurant and a full-service spa for everyone to enjoy.

“It’s a warm and welcoming community and I think all the residents of Florence all have the same goal in mind, where we want Florence to succeed,” said Fowler.

Stay at Hotel Florence

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