White Knoll, SC (Paul Kirby) The White Knoll Business Coalition held a Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the office of Mark Rouse Jr’s. State Farm Insurance agency Thursdayevening. It began at 5:00 p.m. and continued well into the evening.
This was a re-grand opening for Mark. He began the agency in the West Columbia area. He moved the business to this area around the turn of the century in the plaza where the Food Lion is located. Eventually, he moved to the small strip building near Bella Dentistry across from Hardee’s, but had to move in September when the land was purchased for the construction of the new Publix.
The event began with the presentation of colors by the cadets of the US Navy JROTC program from White Knoll High School. They were under the command of First Sergeant David Pelley, US Marine Corp (ret). That was followed by the singing of the national anthem by Ms. Shaila Amaker, a student at Pelion High School. She was followed by Pastor Derrick Liferidge of Radius White Knoll who offered the invocation. Liferidge asked God’s blessing over the business, its customers, the community, and those that were in attendance.
SC State Representative Todd Atwater was in attendance and spoke of the importance of businesses like Mark’s State Farm Agency and the contribution that they make to our communities. Atwater said that this country was built by the small businesses, not large corporations, and that without their contributions of jobs, services, and leadership, and a commitment to the community, we would not be the strong and powerful country that we are.
After Representative Atwater Spoke, greetings were read from SC State Senator Katrina Shealy who was at a conference, and Lexington County Councilmember Bobby Keisler who was called away for work. In their letters, both thanked Mark for his hard work and the fact that he took a chance on the Red Bank community years ago when it was much smaller, less populated, and often underestimated as a part of the county.
In her prepared remarks, Senator Shealy said, “As a fellow small business owner, I know how difficult it is to balance a business, family, and all the other responsibilities of life. You certainly do a good job of that being a business owner, a community leader, father, grandfather, and friend to so many.” She continued by saying, “I appreciate the fact that you had the vision to move your business here to Red Bank so many years ago and take a chance on us. You have contributed to the good growth of this area that we love, even though you live in a totally different area. You also have had the vision to realize that this area would grow and improve, and you were certainly correct.”
Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher was also in attendance with her husband Clifford who runs a business in the area. She also wished Mark continued success in the future, and thanked him for his community work through his leadership of the White Knoll Business Coalition.
Mark then took the microphone himself and thanked everyone for being in attendance. He thanked his family for their hard work and the years of support they had given. He also thanked, his staff, the community, and his customers for being faithful and helping him be successful throughout the years.
After everyone had gathered to take photos, Mark and his staff let the crowd into the new office for a tour and refreshments. The all marveled at the beautiful hardwood floors, the arches, and character filled architecture.
They enjoyed a variety of roll-ups, a vegetable tray, sweets, and some delicious pulled pork sliders. The pork was expertly prepared by Brad Rouse, one of Mark’s sons, who had seasoned it with a dry rub and slow cooked it for many hours. It was absolutely wonderful. There was also tea and lemonade available as well as water.
The crowd of guests continued to come in and out well into the evening. Eventually, more than 50 dropped in to wish Mark, his family, and his staff well. There was a large contingent from the sheriff’s department that was headed up by Regional Commander Captain Jenn Burns, as well as some of her staff. Many joined them in wishing Mark many mores years of success in his business and personal life.
Mark Rouse, Jr’s. State Farm Insurance can be found at 1414 South Lake Drive near the fire station in Red Bank. He can be reached by phone at (803) 957-9001.