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New business

Sharnise McMichael with her parents Sharmon and David McMichael.

A manicure and pedicure business held a grand opening of its downtown Orangeburg store.

Lush Nail Lounge is located on 1145 Russell St.

The store is open from Tuesday through Saturday. Tuesday through Thursday hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. by (appointment only).

On Friday, the store will accept walk-ins from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The store employs three people.

Store owner Sharnise McMichael has always desired to be a manicurist since she was a little girl.

"It means a lot," McMichael said about opening up the store. "I am really excited to be able to accomplish it. I am definitely blessed."

McMichael graduated from Claflin University in 2015 with a degree in business. She is a licensed nail technician.

The building, built in 1900, recently housed a clothing store and is located right next door to the Blue Bird Theater. The building has been vacant for about four years.

The new business, which began operations in November, is a project of the non-profit Orangeburg-based New America Corp.

New America specializes in business development, affordable housing, and education, according to its website.

"New America Corporation decided to invest in downtown Orangeburg because we believe that downtown provides a unique social, cultural and economic opportunity for our community," New America President and CEO Adolphus Johnson said. "We believe that downtown is a fun place to hangout, build relationships and experience a sense of community."

"We believe that downtown is a place where people can encounter new cultural experiences in fashion, food, arts, and entertainment," Johnson said. "We believe that downtown is a cool and receptive place to launch a new business venture."

Johnson said the building was in disrepair suffering from a leaking roof, mold and mildew, deteriorating brickwork, crumbling plaster, inadequate mechanicals, and declining aesthetics.

"In an effort to foster economic development in downtown Orangeburg, New America acquired the 1145 Russell St. property, attracted a commercial tenant, and fully renovated the building to suite the needs of the new business," Johnson said. "Renovations included new electrical, plumbing, central heating and air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, framing, drywall, painting and flooring."

Johnson said that "one of the greatest obstacles to fostering economic development in downtown is the derelict condition of its real estate."

"When businesses desire to locate downtown, they find it difficult to find decent and affordable properties to lease," he said. "As a local community development corporation, we felt that we had the responsibility and capacity to help enhance the real estate inventory in downtown Orangeburg."

Johnson said New America is also looking at other possibilities downtown but declined to comment on specifics.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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