UNION — A donation from a local citizen will allow for the renovation of a Main Street building to serve as USC Union’s new book store and student center.
Union’s Main Street once housed a gem that many remember as Smith’s Drug Store, yet most people remember the owners — Dr. Bobby and Barbara Rippy — as the true gems. For many years, Smith’s Drug Store opened their doors and the Rippys opened their hearts to the community. They were sponsors of a Dixie Youth Baseball team for 43 years, active with the Union Chamber of Commerce and energetic with the Downtown Union Merchants Association. The Rippys have always had a passion for Union, a commitment to Main Street and the desire to give back to their community.
Barbara wanted to do something for USC Union after seeing a picture of State Rep. Mike Anthony and State Sen. Harvey Peeler recently. The cooperation between Anthony and Peeler helped save USC Union when former governor Mark Sanford wanted to cut off state funding for the campus and close it. Now, USC Union is adding to its campus by renovating a building on Main Street for a new bookstore and student center.
Barbara decided that she wanted to give USC Union $25,000 to assist with the project on behalf of her late husband, Dr. Rippy.
“I am happy, as I know Bobby would be, to know that we are creating an addition to Main Street that will also enhance USC Union,” Barbara said.
Representative Mike Anthony, a friend of the Rippys, guided Barbara to Dr. Lowe during the holidays after speaking with her about her aspirations.
“It is amazing to see people giving back to their community and this family has done so much for Union,” Anthony said. “This is what you call true love of your community.”
The new bookstore and student center will be located on 311 East Main St., beside the old Union Dry Cleaners. The funds will be used to update the furniture and for new displays in the bookstore.
“Union and USC Union is very fortunate to have a family that is faithful to their community and focuses on giving back,” said Tanja Black, Manager of the USC Union Bookstore.
The bookstore is currently located on the ground floor in the main building on East Main Street.
“We are looking forward to our new location and believe it will also encourage more of the public to stop in, as well as adding an attractive addition to Main Street,” Lowe added.
USC Union’s bookstore is now open 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. The store carries various USC and Gamecock apparel as well as items for the home, office and tailgating.