Revitalized Boykins gains attention

Published 10:03 am Friday, September 9, 2011

The revival of Boykins’ downtown was the cover story for the August issue of the magazine Virginia Town & City.

The revitalization of downtown Boykins was the cover story for Virginia Town & City’s August issue. -- SUBMITTED

Published by the Virginia Municipal League, the eight-page article focuses on how “a new state law, a handful of entrepreneurs, a persistent mayor and the Virginia Main Street Program” turned Boykins’ dying downtown into a viable business district.

It all started when an attorney for the Virginia Municipal League — a statewide, nonprofit association of city, town and county governments that assists local governments through legislative advocacy, research and education — informed the town about a new law. That new law allowed Debbie and Mike McManus, who moved to Boykins from Virginia Beach in 2003, to buy a 4,800-square-foot former supermarket for $5,500 without paying delinquent property taxes. The Boykins Town Council and Southampton County Board of Supervisors agreed to the plan.

After two years of renovating the building, the McManuses opened Boykins Beans & Ice Cream. Others moving to Boykins either relocated businesses there or opened up businesses.

The article features Eric and Sandy Coard, owners of Whittington Station gift shop and mailhouse-printing business, Debbie Baugham, owner of Storybook Antiques, and Phyllis and Brett Bunch, owners of Village Peddler, which specializes in vintage merchandise, gifts and collectibles.

Also featured are Sarah and LaShonda Russell, owners of Sarah Lee’s Shop, a dry cleaner and clothing consignment shop; Thomas Barnes, owner of Cumberland Millworks; Joann Bishop-Williams, owner of Trinity Home Care Services; and Ronny Griffin, owner of Boykins Supply, which offers home, garden and farm supplies.

• The Franklin Rotary Club and YMCA Leaders Club on Aug. 31 sponsored a program called Bright Beginnings for S.P. Morton Elementary School.

Twenty-one students were selected by school staff to be paired with volunteers, who were given money to take students shopping at Walmart for clothes, shoes and school supplies.

Rotary and Leaders Club members, YMCA staff, former students, Franklin Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle, S.P. Morton Principal Don Spengeman and Assistant Principal Lisa Francis, and school nurse Starr Harris helped students select items to get ready for school.