Senior Medicare Advantage plan insurance in Greenville, SC
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Helping Seniors Make Better-Informed Medicare Decisions
Trying to pick a health insurance plan can be a chore for anyone. For many people, just mentioning the word "open enrollment" sends shivers down the spine. It seems like there's always a nagging feeling that you're wasting money, choosing a plan with poor in-network care, or both. One would think that health insurance gets easier as you approach retirement age, but the truth is that picking an initial Medicare coverage plan can be daunting.
Unfortunately, the confusing process of signing up for Medicare causes many seniors to forego healthcare coverage altogether. After all, Medicare enrollment can involve several federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (or SSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS).
At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, our passion is guiding seniors through the confusion of Medicare. That way, they can enjoy retirement with peace of mind knowing they are protected and ready for life after 65. We work with dozens of insurance companies, giving our clients the chance to choose a plan that best fits their lifestyle.
We choose to design our senior insurance plans with a focus on optimal benefits structure, lower costs, and personalized service. Some independent insurance agencies see their aging customers as nothing more than a financial transaction waiting to happen. In contrast, we treat each of our clients with respect and dignity as we help them navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. Combined with individualized service, we help older Americans make well-informed decisions about insurance. Whether you're in need of senior Medicare Supplement Plan insurance in Greenville or simply have questions about signing up for Medicare, our team is here to help.
Guiding You Through The Confusion of Medicare!Request a Consultation
What is Medicare?
If you're approaching the golden years of your life, it's important you understand what Medicare is if you don't already.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program reserved for people older than 65 who have worked full-time for at least ten years. The Medicare program is paid for by a combination of worker payroll tax, premiums paid by Medicare enrollees, and the U.S. government.
There are four parts of Medicare:
The amount of money you pay for your health care depends on several factors, including:
- What kind of care you need, and how often it is needed.
- The type of Medicare coverage you choose.
- Whether there are alternative insurance policies that will help fill gaps in your coverage
- Whether a doctor agrees to charge you the same amount that Medicare will cover for a medical service
At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, we offer a number of health insurance solutions for seniors. Two of our most used services include Medicare Advantage plan insurance and Medicare supplement plan insurance.
Senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in Greenville
Sometimes called Medigap, the purpose of Medicare Supplement Insurance is to help fill in "gaps" that might not be covered by Original Medicare. You can think of a Medigap policy as a supplement for your Original Medicare benefits.
Private companies like Senior Medicare Insurance Services sell this type of insurance right here in South Carolina. While Original Medicare will pay for much of the cost associated with health care services you need, it may not cover all of your expenses. Generally, Medigap policies do not cover costs stemming from eyeglasses, private-duty nurses, dental care, hearing aids, or long-term care.
Depending on the Medicare Supplement Plan that you choose, it may cover out-of-the-country medical services when you travel abroad. Assuming you have Original Medicare coverage, your policy will cover its share of Medicare-approved health care costs. Once your Original Medicare coverage reaches its limit, your Medigap policy will pay its share of the fees.
Our Medigap policies are drafted to meet your specific needs, and can help cover remaining health care costs such as:
Important Information About Senior Supplement Plan Insurance
To dispel some confusion, you should know that a Medigap policy is not the same as a Medicare Advantage Plan. The latter helps you receive Medicare benefits, while the former supplements the benefits you obtain through your Original Medicare plan. As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:
As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:
- To qualify for a Medigap policy, you must first have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
- Payments on your Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan will be made to the private insurance company that you choose, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. These payments are made every month and are paid in addition to the monthly payment you make for Medicare Part B.
- If you are the holder of a Medicare Advantage Plan, it is illegal for an insurance company to sell you a senior Medicare Supplement Policy. If you plan on switching back to an Original Medicare plan, you may be able to purchase a Medigap policy.
- If you have health problems as you age, your standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed to be renewable. So long as you pay your monthly premium, your insurance provider cannot cancel your policy.
- Medigap policies only cover one person. If you have a spouse or family member that would like coverage, they must purchase a separate policy.
- You may only buy a Senior Medicare Supplement Plan from an insurance agent that is licensed to sell them in your state. Senior Medicare Insurance Services has been licensed to sell Medigap policies in South Carolina for years. We have helped countless seniors get the Medicare coverage they need and continue to do so to this day.
- In the past, Medigap policies were able to cover costs related to prescription drugs. As of January 1st, 2006, prescription drug coverage is not available on Medicare Supplement Plans. The best way to get coverage for your prescription drugs is to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, often called Part D. Contact our office today to learn more about paying premiums on Medigap and Medicare plans.
For many people, the best time to buy senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in Greenville is during the 7 months Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period starts the day you turn 65 years old, so long as you hold Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B). Generally, during the enrollment period, you get more policy choices and better pricing. Once the enrollment period is over, you may not be able to purchase a Medigap policy. Contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services today to determine if you qualify for a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan.
Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance in Greenville, SC
A Medicare Advantage Plan is a kind of Medicare health coverage designed to provide seniors with all their Part A and Part B Medicare benefits. Many Medicare Advantage Plans will often include coverage of the following:
- Preferred Provider Organizations
- Special Needs Plans
- Private Fee-for-Service
- Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans
- Health Maintenance Organizations
In addition, most Medicare Advantage Plans give seniors coverage for their prescription drug needs. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan through Senior Medicare Insurance Services, your Medicare benefits are covered through your plan and will not be paid for by traditional Medicare.
How Medicare Advantage Plans Work
Sometimes called "MA Plans" or "Part C," Medicare Advantage Plans are considered an "all in one" solution to Original Medicare. Senior Medicare Advantage Plans are only offered by private companies that are approved, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. Seniors who enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan are still on Medicare. However, these individuals enjoy bundled plans that give seniors the benefits of hospital insurance (Medicare Part A), medical insurance (Medicare Part B), and sometimes drug coverage (Part D).
Medicare Advantage Plans are very popular because they cover all Medicare services and make life a little easier for seniors who have trouble understanding the nuances of Medicare.
When you contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services to choose your Medicare Advantage Plan, ask your agent about Medicare prescription drug coverage. Unless you already have drug coverage (Part D), you should seriously consider Part D coverage to help reduce costs associated with prescription drugs. You may also want to consider a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan to help fill gaps in coverage that Original Medicare will not cover.
Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance Rules
Medicare works by paying a set amount of money to the companies that offer senior Medicare Advantage Plan insurance in Greenville. That money is used to pay for the care services that you need. Because Medicare Advantage Plans are different, you should expect out-of-pocket costs to vary depending on the plan you choose.
Different plans have different rules for how you receive services, such as:
- If you must go to facilities, suppliers, or doctors that belong to your Advantage Plan for non-urgent and non-emergency care.
- Whether you must get a referral to see a specialized doctor
Companies that offer Medicare Advantage Plans must follow strict rules, which are set by Medicare and can change every year.
Paying for Your Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance
How much you pay for your Medicare Advantage Plan varies and depends on a few different factors. In most cases, if you need a kind of medical service, you will need to rely on the doctors and providers in your plan's service area and network to pay the lowest amounts. In some cases, if you choose to use a service outside of your plan's network of coverage, you may have to pay out-of-pocket.
We encourage you to contact our office today to learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans, how they work, what your options are, and how often you will have to pay out-of-pocket, if at all.
The Senior Medicare Insurance Services Commitment
Since our company was founded, we have led the insurance industry by providing our clients with the most valuable, helpful insurance solutions available. We are fully committed to our current and prospective clients by:
- Choosing to focus on personalized, one-on-one service. When you work with our team, know that we will always design your health insurance plan with your best interests in mind.
- Listening to your specific needs.
- Responding to all inquiries and questions promptly and with a friendly attitude.
- Providing you with the best customer service in the senior health insurance industry, whether you have questions or are ready to move forward with a Medicare plan.
Our mission is to help give seniors the best Medicare assistance available so that they may understand the Medicare process and make an informed health coverage decision. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to assist anyone interested in Medicare. Our personal goal is to become a lifetime resource for our clients and give them greater confidence in choosing their insurance plans.
Latest News in Greenville, SC
Controlled downtown Greenville growth, infrastructure keys to city's 'magic,' mayor says
GREENVILLE, S.C. —Downtown Greenville is booming, and construction is visible all up and down Main Street.Mayor Knox White says that despite all the construction, the core of downtown is evident.“The core of our downtown to me is about trees and water, and you can’t get more basic than that, and we will continue to always focus on that and remember that, trees and water trees," said Mayor White.MORE HEADLINES:People living downtown say that growth is ...
GREENVILLE, S.C. —
Downtown Greenville is booming, and construction is visible all up and down Main Street.
Mayor Knox White says that despite all the construction, the core of downtown is evident.
“The core of our downtown to me is about trees and water, and you can’t get more basic than that, and we will continue to always focus on that and remember that, trees and water trees," said Mayor White.
People living downtown say that growth is great, but it is happening quickly.
“It is just amazing," Maggie Waldrop explains. Waldrop says she has lived in Greenville for years. "Every year, it just continues to blossom more and more and more.”
Watch: Teacher pulls man and his wheelchair from a burning car
“I have been in Greenville probably 20 years not necessarily downtown where I am now but there was nothing here years ago,” Waldrop said. Having people like Waldrop living in downtown is key to the success of downtown.
“There is real magic in having a strong residential base in your downtown,” Mayor White explains. “When you have people living downtown, they provide eyes and ears to your main street. It makes it safer, keeps the quality high, puts life on the streets after 5 o’clock and on weekends. It’s one of those magical things that we have working for us in downtown Greenville.”
Several more apartments are being built in downtown Greenville right now, and there is more in the planning phase to be built. Mayor White says that there is a lot of planning that goes on before any development starts in Greenville.
“We are also very strong on having rules. We have rules of development, focus on the ground floor, keep it vibrant, keep it alive, push that tower off the street," the mayor said. "We really prefer office buildings going forward not to be on Main Street but to go behind Main Street to keep Main Street again, that walkable village feel you have now.”
The city says that things are being done underground that help support the growth above ground.
“One thing we are so proud of is, the last 20 years, we’ve really focused on things that don’t make headlines. It’s the infrastructure. It is the water, it’s the sewer, it’s the stormwater in the downtown area to support the growth that we’re having,” Mayor White said.
The city says they have taken advantage of projects like Camperdown Development, Grand Bohemian, the McDaniel bridge replacement, and other projects to make infrastructure updates, like upgrades to sewer and water quality, while there was already construction going on in the area.
With this much growth this quickly, it is a lot of planning and a lot of thinking ahead.
“I feel like this all the time; we’re riding a fast-moving horse. We are in this incredible location on Interstate 85, one of the fastest-growing regions in the whole country, right here in the backyard all around us. We’re riding a fast-moving horse, and we’re trying to keep it steady. The whole region is growing. We’re just focused on the city. At least the city is going to be very intentional about how we shape the growth. We don’t always get it right, but we’re doing a lot of things that are right. You can look around and see,” Mayor White said.
“Then you add to that a mix of green space parks. We are committed to making downtown walkable and feeling like a village,” said Mayor White.
The mayor says every decision about downtown is made with that in mind, and that will continue to be the driving force of every decision.
“And we’re going to have more growth. We’re going to have taller buildings in the decades to come, but we have rules in place, and we have a philosophy that says focus on the pedestrian experience — what do you see, what do you feel?” Mayor White said.
Greenville County Council looks to productive year with new members, leadership
With four new members and new leadership pledging to foster a more collegial atmosphere, Greenville County Council is starting its new two-year term with big policy issues ahead of it and with hopes to tackle those issues without the acrimony that characterized many of its meetings in the past session.Following his election as chairman in January, Dan Tripp (District 28) outlined his aims for the next two years in fostering a more produ...
With four new members and new leadership pledging to foster a more collegial atmosphere, Greenville County Council is starting its new two-year term with big policy issues ahead of it and with hopes to tackle those issues without the acrimony that characterized many of its meetings in the past session.
Following his election as chairman in January, Dan Tripp (District 28) outlined his aims for the next two years in fostering a more productive working relationship between council members and allowing room to “disagree without being disagreeable.”
Liz Seman (District 24), the council’s new vice chairwoman, echoed those aims and voiced her optimism the new term would see the council work constructively to address the many issues facing the county.
The new council makeup comes just a month before county staff is set to move into the new $65 million County Square, which will serve as the hub for all county administration in the coming decades.
Photo gallery: Exclusive first look inside the new County Square
Ready to work
Tripp says the genesis for this new emphasis on a more constructive atmosphere came through a series of conversations he had last fall with councilman Ennis Fant (District 25). Tripp and Fant had frequently been verbal sparring partners at meetings during the past two years, but in talking the two discovered a shared desire to find a more productive way to accomplish county council’s work and avoid the rancor that so often stymied that work previously.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Tripp says. “We’ve got to start working together.”
Seman says the time was also ripe to start a new chapter with the coming of four new council members, a result she believes was a reflection of county voters’ desire to see less squabbling on council and more work.
She says the voters sent a clear message on what they expect of their council.
“There is a way to be productive and have hard conversations without it being personal,” she says.
With an eye toward improving not only the tone of council meetings but also improving its internal workings, Tripp proposed — and the council approved — rules changes and committee assignments to pave the way for work on major policies in the new term.
One of those changes has been the reconstitution of the Communications and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee with councilman Chris Harrison (District 21) appointed as chairman.
The committee is charged with fostering improved input from Greenville County citizens. While fostering expanded opportunities for citizens to have their voices heard is critical, Tripp and Seman say the committee will also play a vital role in spearheading more open and collaborative dialogue with the county’s municipalities and other government organizations.
The Communications and Governmental Affairs Committee is the newest of the council’s five standing committees.
Those permanent standing committees are:
A packed agenda
As Greenville County continues to experience rapid growth, council will have to address a number of complicated policy issues in the next two years.
Looming in the immediate future is the task of developing and adopting the county’s biennium budget, which sets the county’s spending for the next two years. This process will begin to take shape in March when the council is scheduled to have a retreat and hear from the various county departments on their priorities and funding needs.
Beyond developing a budget, the council will likely be grappling with two other perennial and thorny issues: road infrastructure and land use policies that effectively manage growth.
All of these policy areas have funding implications, and the council will likely face a number of difficult discussions on how to pay for vital services and infrastructure without putting an undue tax burden on county residents and businesses.
For now, Tripp and Seman are optimistic the council is starting its work from a healthier place.
“I’m extremely optimistic about the next two years and the work we’ll get done,” Seman says.
Step inside the new Greenville County Square for a first look
There are a number of superlatives that can be applied to Greenville County’s new administrative complex, the flagship and anchor of a $1 billion redevelopment that will completely transform the promontory known as University Ridge.The $65 million project is big and bold and will soon be home to more than 500 county employees who will be at the epicenter of one of the state’s largest economic-development projects in decades.The new County Square is a world-class str...
There are a number of superlatives that can be applied to Greenville County’s new administrative complex, the flagship and anchor of a $1 billion redevelopment that will completely transform the promontory known as University Ridge.
The $65 million project is big and bold and will soon be home to more than 500 county employees who will be at the epicenter of one of the state’s largest economic-development projects in decades.
The new County Square is a world-class structure, according to County Administrator Joe Kernell, in no small part because it was designed by British architectural powerhouse Foster and Partners. This is the same firm behind the design of Apple’s iconic headquarters in California and, more recently, the Global Home of the PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
In order for the redevelopment of about 37 of the nearly 40 acres the county owns at University Ridge to proceed, the county’s administration needed to “get out of the way,” Kernell said.
The existing administrative building started life as a shopping center and is decades old. With mounting maintenance and repair costs, the building had served its purpose. Once county offices are moved into the new buildings, which is expected in March, the old building and attendant parking lot will be demolished.
Kernell said this will allow the next stages of the redevelopment to begin.
The complete build out of the project could take as long as a decade and involves more than a dozen buildings that will include restaurants, retail, Class-A office space and a mix of multifamily housing.
The developer, RocaPoint Partners, plans to build more than 3 million square feet of mixed-use space that will also include a hotel and grocery store.
As for the new county offices, Kernell said the design’s use of natural light through a profusion of windows is meant to convey a sense of transparency and that the county “is open for business.”
The south building will house most of the county’s public-facing departments like the assessor’s office, public works, and both magistrate and probate courts, among others.
Many of the public spaces will have informational kiosks where residents can sign in and access necessary forms to cut down on wait time while conducting their business with the county.
Kernell said the new building and what it represents for the region’s future is something to be proud of and added employees are looking forward to getting into the new building.
Kernell said as excited as he is to get into the new building, he’s even more excited to see what comes next.
Anticipation for the next phases of the project has already expanded well beyond the county administration, according to Mark Farris, president and CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corp.
GADC is the county’s economic-development arm and will soon join county administration in the new buildings. Farris said they’re already starting to get inquiries about the Class-A office space coming in the next phases of the project.
Farris said the new county buildings and broader project represent a new chapter for Greenville County in terms of the pace and types of projects expected. Although much of GADC’s efforts will remain on recruiting manufacturing firms to the area, the organization is devoting more attention and resources to luring corporate headquarters to Greenville.
Farris said the new County Square and surrounding development will help those efforts.
“South Carolina is home to not one Fortune 500 company, and we want to change that,” Farris said.
As a sign that development is about to enter a new phase, he said GADC is beginning to hear discussions about speculative Class-A office projects that may be in the works.
“It’s certainly signaling a transition in our economy,” Farris said.
County Square fast facts
Other notable Foster and Partners projects
University Ridge redevelopment by the numbers:
Greenville and state leaders: tourism’s big role on economic growth
By 2040, Greenville economic organizations predict at least 220,000 more people will be living in Greenville County — that’ll be the equivalent of dropping Anderson County’s population into Greenville.With that growth comes a lot of benefits but also a lot of challenges.A panel consisting of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlos Phillips, ...
By 2040, Greenville economic organizations predict at least 220,000 more people will be living in Greenville County — that’ll be the equivalent of dropping Anderson County’s population into Greenville.
With that growth comes a lot of benefits but also a lot of challenges.
A panel consisting of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlos Phillips, Greenville Area Development Corp. President and CEO Mark Farris, S.C. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Ashely Teasdel, and VisitGreenvilleSC President and CEO Heath Dillard got together at the Greenville One Center on Wednesday to address Greenville’s tourism and the intersection of economic development.
“When people come here (to Greenville), they can’t help but love the place they have visited,” Dillard said.
The state saw $10.27 billion in capital investments last year — BMW’s Spartanburg expansion and Redwood Materials Ridgeville plant were major contributors — and will continue to see a shift in the automotive sector along with other manufacturing industries, Teasdel said. Federal investments have played a big role in foreign companies setting up shop in South Carolina and the Southeast, which is now known as the “battery belt,” she added.
“Any way we can continue to support these industries will be really important going forward,” Teasdel said.
But with new headquarters, plants and other facilities making their way to the state, site availability is limited and has also become a challenge, she added.
“We are seeing billion-dollar investments looking for thousands of people to fill their workforce,” she said. “And for a state that is relatively small, there are few places you can fit a mega site. We will have to have serious conversations when it come to new investments.”
The workforce is front and center, as it’s not just a South Carolina issue but a national one, said Teasdel.
As the unemployment rate is low in the state, there are still a lot of open jobs, she said. “Things have shifted since the pandemic.”
“Companies are considering the quality of life before making a big investment in the workforce they are tapping into,” Teasdel said. “Quality of life has risen as a top priority because workers are making the decisions — for their future family — and want live, work, play options. People want experiences, and that’s a huge factor in what makes Greenville more attractive.”
The Greenville market has a lot of great amenities and factors that keep it competitive, Dillard said.
“The people here really make the place and visitors feel that and feel welcomed when they come here,” he said. “We have created an environment that is clean, beautiful and safe. Tourism is often the front porch. Companies looking at capital investments feel it when they visit, and we believe our people in the Greenville community are our greatest asset.”
With the influx of companies and people moving to the city, Phillips said an additional 50,000 housing units over the next 20 years will be necessary as well as expanded infrastructure across the board — that means roadways, airports, broadband, etc.
“Growth is great, but with that growth does come opportunities over the coming years,” he added. “As people come to visit, they don’t want to just visit; they want to live here.”
But growth can also hijack a city’s brand, making it unrecognizable from what made it so lovable to begin with, Dillard said.
“We can’t prevent that from happening, but we can try to manage it, and that’s the challenge,” he added.
That challenge also includes a lack of affordable housing.
“Those communities that are on the margins and largely disproportionately affected by growth and affordable housing are often the people we want in the labor force,” said Dillard. “We need people to serve our guests and our visitors. As we may not be the organization who can specifically control infrastructure and affordable housing, we have to bring the perspective of the hospitality industry, and that’s taking a closer look at if our people can afford to live where they work.”
As the city manages its growth and challenges, said Dillard, they must do it collaboratively.
“Working with other agencies, taking a more holistic approach, and understanding it’s complex — using our tools and resources to work together to solve these challenges is crucial,” he added.
So, what are some solutions and goals to tackle these issues?
Farris said city organizations must do a better job at attracting the “right” people to address the major workforce issues.
For example, the emergence of remote workers, said Phillips. People can be based in California but have the option to move to places like Greenville and work from home.
“That means we aren’t filling jobs we have here,” he added. “This is a significant challenge to get those people to fill the workforce here.”
In terms of finding and keeping talent, said Phillips, employers play a significant role in that. He said they must be more innovative and flexible to retain talent but unfortunately not every employer is built to offer a flexible work environment, such as a work-from-home or hybrid option. However, this flexibility does contribute to a worker’s desire for work-life balance and is key to attracting talent.
Related article: This Greenville CEO on how to navigate post-COVID hiring
State and city organizations also have been adamant and active when it comes to recruiting college graduates to fill jobs.
“We continue to pump dollars into scholarships for technical colleges and incentive structures,” Teasdel said.
Farris said they can do a better job at keeping college graduates in the state to work, though.
“I don’t think we can stop the speeding up (of the growth),” said Farris. “Half of our projects are international, but they love it here because it reminds them of home, where they came from. When people come to Greenville, they establish a sense of place. And we have to take pride in that.”
The overlooked history of Greenville’s Black business district
S.T. Peden Jr. remembers watching Donald J. Sampson, Greenville’s first Black attorney, walk to the Greenville County Courthouse on South Main Street, just a few blocks away from the cluster of Black-owned businesses that have long since disappeared.“We used to be so proud because he was tall, stately, dressed well,” Peden recalls, looking back on the 1950s, when Black-owned offices thrived around East Broad Street. “It was something proud for Black folks to see at the time of segregation.&rdqu...
S.T. Peden Jr. remembers watching Donald J. Sampson, Greenville’s first Black attorney, walk to the Greenville County Courthouse on South Main Street, just a few blocks away from the cluster of Black-owned businesses that have long since disappeared.
“We used to be so proud because he was tall, stately, dressed well,” Peden recalls, looking back on the 1950s, when Black-owned offices thrived around East Broad Street. “It was something proud for Black folks to see at the time of segregation.”
A couple of buildings are all that’s left of Greenville’s historically overlooked Black business district, which once spanned roughly eight blocks off Main Street. The Greenville Historical Society refers to the area now as North of Broad.
John Wesley United Methodist Church at East Court Street is one of those buildings, where Black congregants began worshipping shortly after the Civil War. A block away stands what used to be known as the Working Benevolent Temple and Professional Building.
In 1922, an organization called the Working Benevolent State Grand Lodge of South Carolina erected the three-story brick building at East Broad and Falls streets. With chapters in Greenville, Richland and Charleston counties, the lodge served as a health, welfare and burial-benefit society for African Americans, according to a Historical Society PowerPoint.
Peden, who was born and grew up around Haynie Street — a short bus ride or walk away from the area — remembers the offices that once housed Black lawyers, doctors, dentists, finance professionals and the like. Now, the law offices of Nelson & Galbreath occupy the space.
The Temple building, as it’s commonly called, stands as a cornerstone of Kendra Williams’ tours of the area. And on a stunning spring afternoon, she points to the Temple’s timeworn cornerstone, etched with names of some of the most prominent Black Greenvillians.
Williams, who serves as executive assistant to Mayor Knox White, says she started offering the tours in January after hearing stories about the area that also included the Liberty Theatre, a movie and vaudeville house for Black audiences; the McBee Avenue Service Station; and a meatpacking plant, among others.
Another marquee site: the original Phillis Wheatley Center. Peden remembers playing basketball at the East Broad Street facility, once known as the Black YMCA, back when African Americans were barred from the whites-only YMCA.
Williams says she felt compelled to keep those memories alive at North of Broad.
“Blacks in Greenville contributed to what Greenville is today. There is history — they weren’t just indentured servants or slaves here, they’re not just the bellmen at the hotel. They actually contributed to the city in a great way,” she says.
Peden, who graduated from the all-Black Sterling High School in 1968, says the end of segregation in Greenville in 1972, when Sterling closed, marked the end of the Black business district.
“There was kind of a Catch-22 with the Black district and integration,” she says. “You want to be able to go anywhere at any time, but you also want to be able to have the resources to get into something that has been renovated downtown.”
Call it business gentrification. Rising real estate prices and developers putting up costly buildings and charging higher rent drove some out, she says. Still other businesses saw opportunities outside of downtown that hadn’t been available until then, she says.
“Or maybe,” she adds, “you were antagonized. Maybe you were ‘encouraged’ to move on.”
Still, Peden, whose father ran a barbershop there, remembers the district’s friendly, safe, family atmosphere. Now, though, with no formal recognition of North of Broad’s role in Greenville’s past, he says there needs to be a recognition of the impact the area had on Greenville residents and the city as a whole.
“It gives the image that we have always worked for somebody else as opposed to the fact that we were owners of businesses and land and property downtown, one block off of Main Street. And that’s what’s hurtful,” Peden says. “It’s not even acknowledged as being a part of downtown Greenville, and it’s one block from City Hall.”
And that, Williams says, is a travesty she and Peden and others are working to change — perhaps one tour at a time.
“The reality is Black history is American history. If you’re looking at something historical and you don’t see a Black person associated with it, you’re missing the history,” she says.
Scanning an area that in other cities might be called Black Wall Street, she adds, “This is Black history here in Greenville. It’s Greenville history.”
For more information about Kendra Williams’ North of Broad tours, visit http://www.bhigtours.com. The two-hour, 2½-mile tours take place three Saturdays a month, weather permitting. Cost is $20.
Working Benevolent Temple and Professional Building- Broad and Falls St.
Phillis Wheatley Center – East McBee Avenue
Liberty Theatre, 14 Spring St.
East McBee Avenue Greenville Public Library for Blacks
Source: Greenville Historical Society