Once upon a time, I can recall many years ago when black businesses dominated the local scene in Charleston. Main streets like King, Spring, Meeting, Line, and the Market area, all were filled with black-owned businesses everywhere you looked. After many years of their reign, the communities changed, the businesses disappeared, and everything was different.
Now if you frequent downtown Charleston, or any area of Charleston now, you'll know that entrepreneurship has made a triumphant return to the Lowcountry over the past 5-10 years.
But one business that was able to survive the tests of time was Fair Deal Grocery, also known now as The Spot 47, which many believe to be one of the oldest family-owned establishments in the Lowcountry.
Their history expands back over 60 years in the Lowcountry, and in the Powell family, starting with Paul and Gladys Powell in 1953. They made the decision to open a grocery store on the Eastside of downtown Charleston as a way to provide excellent service to their community and the people within it. After the passing of Paul Powell in 1968, the store continued to thrive under Gladys', and the rest of the family's, leadership, becoming the staple of the community.
Fast forward to 2018, and the store continues to flourish under the Powell family, now newly renovated within the past 3 years with many more additions to the services it provides for the Eastside Community. Well let's see if we can name them all:
It's still a grocery store, of course, selling all of the household goods and snacks anyone could possibly need.
There is the Spot 47 Party Bus that runs on the weekends in downtown Charleston, providing a safe space for people to come to unwind, kick back, and have a cold one with friends.
It's an internet cafe, offering free wifi to its customers who want to set up shop with their laptop and get some work done.
It's a sports cafe, the perfect place for you and your buddies to come and watch the big game, or debate about whose team is better for tasty drinks and food.
It's a restaurant, serving some of the best wings, sandwiches, and ribs, a person could ask for after a long day, or as some midday motivation.
It's a great place to have your special events or meetings when you are looking for an intimate space to hang with friends, celebrate, or come together over a good cause.
As you can see, the Spot 47 has definitely evolved with the times into a place any and everyone is welcome, for almost all your needs. The Powell family has been long invested in the community not just as a business, but as a hub for the community when in need of support of any kind. Now under the leadership of Deborah Powell Anderson, she carries on her parents' ideals of the importance of community and family and continues to show that they are just one and the same for them.
In an effort to continue on her family's legacy and impact, and honoring a new generation of "angels" in our communities, Deborah created The Spot Light Awards.
The Spot Light Awards is a cumulative event of all of the values and principles that Gladys and Paul Powell instilled in their children, and in their community through Fair Deal Grocery. They stepped up to the plate and made it their responsibility to serve their community in the best and most effective way possible.
On November 17th, the vision will come to life and the communities of Charleston will come together to pay homage to those who support the community and bring out the best in people.
Paul Powell would be proud.