When is the Right Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florence, SC

cd-head-bottom

If you have been accused and charged with a crime you are in need of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Florence, SC. Having a skilled and dedicated criminal defense lawyer on your side is key in order to protect your freedoms and to ensure that a proper legal defense is built to shield you. Dealing with legal charges in Florence can be a highly distressing ordeal with even minor violations causing considerable impact on an individual's personal and work life. The repercussions of having a criminal record can be severe, leading to loss of employment, severed relationships and alienation from loved ones.

At Theos Law Firm we offer trustworthy legal representation to those who need it most. Our criminal defense team has over 50 years of combined experience and is committed to ensuring our clients maintain their freedom and move forward with their lives. From handling drug-related charges to more nuanced federal cases, sexual misconduct offenses and murder cases, we take a personalized approach to every case. By utilizing cutting-edge legal strategies and decades of combined experience, we provide the best opportunity to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Service Areas

We help clients overcome criminal charges in a wide range of cases, including the following:

  • Homicides
  • Drug Crimes
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • Theft Crimes
  • Violent Crimes
  • Misdemeanor Offenses
  • Federal Offenses
  • More

If you are facing one or more of the charges above, it's imperative that you establish contact with a legal advocate ASAP. At Theos Law, you can rest easy knowing our phone line is always open. When your future is up for grabs, let our team of criminal defense lawyers fight for your rights. It all starts with a free consultation at our law firm in Florence where we will educate you on the particulars of the charges you're facing and explain the next steps in our representation.

At this point, you probably have many questions in mind. Keep reading for more information on criminal law in South Carolina and some of our criminal defense specialties at Theos Law.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Florence, SC

Understanding Criminal Defense Cases in South Carolina

cd-head-bottom

In South Carolina, criminal cases are classified into different categories based on the severity of the crime. Generally speaking, offenses that carry a maximum penalty of less than one year are considered misdemeanors. On the other hand, crimes that carry a punishment of more than one year in prison are generally classified as felonies.

State and Federal Criminal Defense Cases in South Carolina

Crimes in The Palmetto State are usually split into three categories: (1) Magistrate or Municipal Level Offenses; (2) General Sessions or Circuit Court State Charges; and, (3) Federal Crimes. Classifications are based on which prosecuting body has jurisdiction to prosecute a particular charge or offense. Regardless of which court your criminal charge is in, the Theos Law Firm has decades of experience protecting individuals from prosecution and assuring that the best possible outcome is achieved.

 Attorney At Law Florence, SC
 Car Accident Attorney Florence, SC

The Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in South Carolina

Understanding the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony crime can be challenging for someone facing their first charge. Misdemeanors are generally considered minor offenses, and can result in punishment by incarceration up to one year.

Conversely, felonies are more severe crimes which are punishable by incarceration of more than one year. Those charged with a felony may face significant fines and a prison sentences of over a year in a federal or state institution. Convicted felons may face difficulties after their release such as losing the right to vote and the right to carry a firearm. These penalties make it crucial to have a reliable criminal defense attorney in Florence, SC.

Plea Deals in South Carolina

It is not uncommon for legal cases to be resolved without a trial through a plea deal. In order to assure that the best possible plea deal become available it is crucial for your legal defense to properly build your defense and prepare your case for trial. Deciding to represent yourself or not hiring the best legal team will likely result in exposure to unnecessary penalties, fines and jail time.

 Car Accident Lawyer Florence, SC

When is the Right Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florence, SC?

cd-head-bottom

At Theos Law Firm, we often receive questions from potential clients about when they should hire a criminal defense attorney for the charges that they're facing. Although each situation and client are unique, there are some common criminal situations to keep in mind. In general, it's always best to reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as you're charged or have been arrested.

Below are some guidelines to help you decide when it's necessary to retain a criminal defense attorney for your case in South Carolina.

 Family Law Florence, SC

When You've Been Accused or Charged

Thinking about hiring a criminal defense lawyer when you're charged with a crime is a no-brainer for most, and for good reason. Our team of experience criminal defense attorneys can offer assistance with various offenses, ranging from minor crimes to more serious ones such as sexual assault and manslaughter. Regardless of the charges, navigating the legal system can be complex, and without the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the situation can escalate rapidly. It is critical that you engage an experienced attorney as soon as possible!


 Family Law Attorney Florence, SC

When Investigators or Police Question You

As you may have observed in movies or television shows, the police might request you to provide a statement, giving the impression that you are not under arrest. Remember, it is within your rights to have a criminal defense attorney in Florence, SC, present during questioning, and you should absolutely use that to your advantage. If possible, consult with an attorney before answering any questions or participating in any discussions with law enforcement.


 Family Lawyer Florence, SC

When Authorities Search Your Residence

In the event that law enforcement officers arrive at your residence with a warrant, it indicates that a judge has determined there is reasonable suspicion that evidence related to a criminal offense is present in your home. Regardless of whether they discover and confiscate anything, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a seasoned defense attorney to discuss the situation and receive assistance in determining any potential charges or locations they may investigate in the future.


 Personal Injury Lawyer Florence, SC

When You Are Wrongly Accused of Committing a Crime

Could you imagine being accused of something you didn't do? When you are accused or charged with committing a crime that you didn't commit defending yourself may seem straightforward but it can be an arduous task to see to it that the charges are timely resolved. It can also feel hopeless and like it's impossible for you to get someone to listen to your side. The truth is that anything you say or do can and will be used against you. To increase your chances of being cleared of charges, it's advisable to have a defense lawyer who can support your innocence and fight for your rights. Criminal defense attorneys at Theos Law don't just listen - we act swiftly and always with your best interests at heart.


 Truck Accident Attorney Florence, SC

When Your Child Is Involved

The legal system for juveniles in South Carolina is different than it is for adults. It comes with its own complications and hurdles to overcome. If you your child has been accused of a crime it's imperative to get legal counsel swiftly. Failure to do so could be destructive to your child's life, your family or result in a exposure to jail time. Keep reading to learn more about just a few of the most common criminal defense cases we accept at Theos Law Firm.

Criminal Defense for DUIs in South Carolina

cd-head-bottom

In terms of common criminal offenses in South Carolina, DUIs top the list, especially regarding mindful drivers with clean driving records and no criminal history. Unfortunately for these drivers, a DUI conviction in South Carolina stays on your record and cannot be expunged. Even first-time offenses with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent can be costly. Your insurance premiums go up for years, you may end up paying almost $1,000 in fines and fees, and there's a good chance you'll have to perform community service or serve jail time.

If your breathalyzer test result is more than .15%, you refuse the breathalyzer, or it is recorded as a refusal, your license will be automatically suspended, which complicates matters further. Throw in the possibility of interlock device rental, and your life may never be the same. For those reasons alone, it is crucial to approach such charges with the help of a DUI defense lawyer. At Theos Law Firm, our attorneys have years of experience in successfully fighting these types of charges.

Fortunately, if you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, there is hope. That's especially true if the accused has undergone a breath or blood test for DUI. In fact, cases that involve such tests are successfully beaten every day. At Theos Law Firm, we will thoroughly investigate your DUI case in Florence and explore every possible angle to have it dismissed.

To begin that process, your criminal defense lawyer in Florence, SC, may seek answers to many questions, including:

  • Was your DUI stop legal? If not, your case could be thrown out.
  • Is there enough probable cause or evidence for an arrest? If there is not, it's possible to file a pre-trial motion for your case to be dismissed.
  • Did officers explain implied consent rights? One of the most common errors police make is failing to take this step.
  • Did the police maintain your BAC and breathalyzer results? Breath testing often comes with inherent weaknesses. This can create doubt in a juror's mind.
 Truck Accident Lawyer Florence, SC

Criminal Defense for Drug Cases in South Carolina

cd-head-bottom

If you are dealing with drug-related crimes in Florence or another city in South Carolina, it is crucial for you to understand the potential penalties involved. Possession of a controlled substance may fall under the category of a misdemeanor, but many drug offenses are considered felonies. Even a minor drug offense conviction can result in long-lasting negative consequences. As such, it's always advisable to explore your options and seek the assistance of a Florence drug crime attorney. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help safeguard your rights and may help achieve a favorable outcome.

One of the most frequent questions we hear at Theos Law is, "What does possession mean?"

Drug charges based on possession in South Carolina are divided into three categories:

  • Simple Possession
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Drug Trafficking

However, the state also has other drug charges that are not based on the weight of the drugs. These include:

  • Drug Distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution Near Schools, Parks, or Playgrounds
Criminal Defense Lawyer Florence, SC

Possession-based drug charges in South Carolina are deemed "graduated offenses" with penalties that grow more severe based on the weight of the drugs. It's important to note that the charges can be based on either actual or constructive possession. Contact a criminal defense lawyer in Florence, SC, today to learn more about the complexities involved with drug cases in Florence and other cities in South Carolina.

Some of the most common drug charges we see at Theos Law include the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD and Hallucinogens
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Prescription Pain Killers
  • Fentanyl
 Attorney At Law Florence, SC

Can I be Arrested for Drug Paraphernalia in South Carolina?

The simple answer to this question is a resounding "Yes." Drug paraphernalia can refer to various items such as pipes, bongs, syringes, scales, grinders, and rolling papers which are linked to drug usage, preparation, storage, or hiding. Even though some of these items may have legitimate uses, like tobacco pipes or medical syringes, they can still be scrutinized by law enforcement if there is proof of illegal drug use or intent.

Criminal Defense for Assault and Battery Cases in South Carolina

cd-head-bottom

If you are facing assault and battery charges, it is possible that you haven't actually physically harmed someone. Many people associate assault and battery with brutal beatings, but that is just one example. There are other situations that are less severe than what people typically imagine.

 Car Accident Attorney Florence, SC

It's a common misunderstanding that physical injury is required for assault and battery charges. The fines, penalties, and jail time you may face depend on the severity of your charges and the number of offenses. Regardless of the degree of your charges, Assault and Battery is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly. The consequences of a conviction can be life-changing, and as such, your criminal defense lawyer in Florence, SC, should work relentlessly to fight the charges being levied against you.

Though this list isn't comprehensive, here are some of the biggest factors that dictate the severity of your assault and battery charges:

  • Age of Victim
  • Severity of Injuries Sustained
  • Size and Weight of Accused vs. Size and Weight of Victim
  • Whether or Not the Victim Presses Charges
  • Whether or Not Weapons Were Involved
  • Whether or Not the Victim's Privates Were Touched

Understanding the Degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina

Third Degree

Causing harm to someone or threatening to do so with the ability to carry out the threat can result in a charge of third-degree assault and battery. This misdemeanor offense is typically heard in municipal or magistrate courts and may carry a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Second Degree

Causing harm or making threats to harm someone that results in moderate bodily injury can lead to charges of second-degree assault and battery. Additionally, touching someone's private parts without their consent can also result in charges of assault and battery in the second degree. This misdemeanor offense is heard in General Session court and can carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

First Degree

Assault and Battery in the first degree can involve a number of actions such as inflicting an unlawful injury when kidnapping, touching a person's privates "with lewd and lascivious intent," and much more. Contact Theos Law Firm for more info on the degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina.

Everyone Deserves a Reliable Criminal Defense Attorney in Florence, SC

cd-head-bottom

At Theos Law firm, we work tirelessly to ensure that our client's rights are not overlooked. Because unfortunately, the rights of everyday citizens are often trampled by law enforcement oversights and legal system failures.

That's why every criminal defense lawyer at our firm works hard to provide guidance and support throughout the legal process by keeping you informed of updates and as comfortable as possible during this trying time. Benefits of hiring Theos Law Firm include:

  • Thorough Knowledge of South Carolina Criminal Law & Procedures
  • Seasoned Legal Representation in the Courtroom
  • Years of Experience Structuring Plea bargains
  • Ability to Identify Due Process Violations
  • Fierce Dedication to Clients & Vigorous Representation
  • Skilled Negotiation Tactics Involved with Bail, Sentencing, Appeals, and More
  • Familiarity with Local Prosecutors

Unlike some criminal defense law firms in South Carolina, our team believes that everyone deserves a great lawyer when their freedoms are on the line. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in South Carolina, trust Theos Law to have your back without judgment.

Make an Apportment

Latest News in Florence, SC

First-of-its-kind behavioral health hub in Florence to serve as model for future facilities across S.C.

FLORENCE, S.C. (WIS) - On Thursday, state leaders announced what they are calling an innovative approach to treating South Carolinians’ growing mental health needs.It will start with a new, $100 million behavioral health facility in the Pee Dee, but its successes could be replicated in other parts of South Carolina.“That’s why we’re here today: celebrating a bold, new, and aggressive approach to treat behavioral health across the state of South Carolina,” Francis Marion University President Dr. Fre...

FLORENCE, S.C. (WIS) - On Thursday, state leaders announced what they are calling an innovative approach to treating South Carolinians’ growing mental health needs.

It will start with a new, $100 million behavioral health facility in the Pee Dee, but its successes could be replicated in other parts of South Carolina.

“That’s why we’re here today: celebrating a bold, new, and aggressive approach to treat behavioral health across the state of South Carolina,” Francis Marion University President Dr. Fred Carter said at the announcement event Thursday in Florence.

That kind of approach is what medical leaders say South Carolina desperately needs right now.

“I’m not even going to talk about the tsunami of anxiety and depression that our youth are facing — by the way, stay tuned because it’s heading our direction,” Medical University of South Carolina President Dr. David Cole said. “I think this provides a basis for us to actually start putting the fire out and then start doing something on a larger scale to actually have us have a healthy society to reflect the health of our state.”

On Thursday, state and medical leaders gathered outside the future site of a regional behavioral health hub in downtown Florence, located at an MUSC-owned property on E. Cedar St.

Construction is slated to start in 2024, with the facility opening two years after that to serve the Pee Dee region, according to Cole.

The facility will offer a combination of triage, crisis stabilization, telehealth, outpatient, and inpatient services, a first-of-its-kind model in South Carolina.

“When good things happen, they happen here first, and they happen here fast, and today is another example of that,” Gov. Henry McMaster said.

The project announced Thursday is a public-private partnership between the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Mental Health, MUSC, McLeod Health, Francis Marion University, and HopeHealth.

Up to $100 million in state funds have been set aside for this facility, along with another $5 million from the City of Florence.

“This is the future of what’s coming to South Carolina,” Speaker of the House Murrell Smith, R – Sumter, said. “This is the model of care that we’re going to set up regionally throughout the state, and we’re going to have a vibrant and successful behavioral health system.”

State leaders say they will be looking at what works at the Florence facility to use it as a model for future behavioral health hubs in other regions of South Carolina.

“We’d like to get some of those models learning from quick wins, quick learning that we’re going to experience as we bring this facility up. I’m hoping in the next couple years, we start getting some replication in some other areas,” SCDHHS Director Robby Kerr said.

The Florence behavioral health hub will be named in honor of the late Florence County Sen. Hugh Leatherman, who chaired the state Senate’s powerful budget-writing committee and advocated for the facility’s creation at the State House before his death in 2021.

Notice a spelling or grammar error in this article? Click or tap here to report it. Please include the article's headline.

Stay up to date with WIS News 10. Get the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Storeand Stream us on Roku, YouTube, Amazon Fire, or Apple TV.

Copyright 2023 WIS. All rights reserved.

SC Dept. of Education sent letter to Florence charter school to cease all operations

FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — The South Carolina Department of Education sent a letter to Palmetto Youth Academy on August 23 asking the school to cease all operations as a public school.In a recent affidavit asking the court to issue an order, Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley said the school was terminated effective June 30....

FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — The South Carolina Department of Education sent a letter to Palmetto Youth Academy on August 23 asking the school to cease all operations as a public school.

In a recent affidavit asking the court to issue an order, Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley said the school was terminated effective June 30. This order came after a motion by the F1S Board of Trustees to not renew the district-sponsored charter school.

Florence 1 Schools said the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) closed PYA on August 1.

ABC15 obtained a copy of a letter the SCDE sent to PYA following a hearing last month when an administrative law court judge didn't grant PYA a stay to continue operating.

A portion of the letter reads:

“The immediate effect of the Court's order is that there is no legal means through which PYA can currently operate with public funds. If it has not done so already, PYA must immediately cease all operations as a public school. The SCDE expects Palmetto Youth Academy to fully and faithfully comply with the AL's order. The SCDE likewise anticipates that Florence One will be a willing partner in effectuating an orderly transition and ensuring that PYA's students are quickly enrolled in an appropriate school program. To this point, the ALC Order mentions that "the District appears ready to mitigate that disruption."

It goes on to say," The SCDE expects that appropriate action will be taken with respect to all state and federal funding related to PYA. PYA must provide a full accounting of all funds spent since the conclusion of the 2022-2023 school year to Florence One."

S.C. Administrative Law Court Judge Sebastien Phillip Lenski presided over a hearing Monday involving a motion filed by Florence 1 Schools for an injunctive relief asking a judge to issue a restraining order, appoint a receiver and issue a Writ of Mandamus demanding Palmetto Youth Academy (PYA) to close.

Florence 1 Schools' lawyer said PYA is using funds from the district to continue operating the school.

Montgomery said right now there's no trust between PYA and Florence 1 Schools.

He told the judge that's why it's important for a receiver to be appointed to investigate how much money has been spent and on what.

PYA's Director Dr. Yvonne Brown Burgess spoke out and contradicted what her lawyer told the judge saying "The school is closed."

ABC15 found information on the S.C. Secretary of State's website that shows Brown-Burgess, as of May 13, has another business registered at the same location as PYA at 1209 North Douglas Street in Florence.

It's listed on the website as Palmetto Promise Academy.

The non-profit business is shown to be in good standing, according to the website.

ABC15 sent Brown-Burgess a couple of text messages asking about Palmetto Promise Academy and if PYA is still operating, but have yet to hear back from her.

At this time, there's still no decision on Florence 1 Schools' injunctive relief.

We will let you know when the judge reaches a decision.

Florence grocery store owner selling shares to grow community

FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — The owner and operator of the Save A Lot grocery store on East Darlington Street in downtown Florence is making a bold move to essentially help save his business and grow the community.Waters said he's selling 120,000 shares at $25 each."They can buy up to 200 shares. I am using two exemptions. Exemption 141 A for the federal. and I am using SC exemption 13-206 for the state. Talk to the attorney general Alan Wilson. They walked me through what I was doing. Here I am taking government money be...

FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — The owner and operator of the Save A Lot grocery store on East Darlington Street in downtown Florence is making a bold move to essentially help save his business and grow the community.

Waters said he's selling 120,000 shares at $25 each.

"They can buy up to 200 shares. I am using two exemptions. Exemption 141 A for the federal. and I am using SC exemption 13-206 for the state. Talk to the attorney general Alan Wilson. They walked me through what I was doing. Here I am taking government money because this is what built the store. And taking it and giving it back to the people who we got the money from," said Waters.

Waters said he was able to secure $3.6 million dollars in grants to open a Save-A-Lot grocery store through his company Elijah Craig, LLC. He got a $300,000 incentive package from the City Of Florence to finally open the store in 2021.

However, he said since it's opened he's not getting the customers he needs to keep the business filled with groceries.

"There are some things that I have to do. And I’ve come to recognize that I need some help. I don’t want to wait 20 years to see my dream come true. And all of a sudden they just fade away. Because I was too proud not to ask for help or too proud not to seek help. And that’s what I’m doing now," said Waters.

NEW: Changes to this Horry County law could give another 10-20% on flood insurance premiums

Waters is sharing the following information with those interested in buying shares:

"Cost of Shares: $25 per share, with a maximum of two hundred shares per person purchased at one time. Shares may be purchased in five, $5 dollar installments on a weekly basis in-store. This will allow low-income people to buy shares. Our store will be in the hands of the community forever. Shares are lifetime purchases to be passed to the next generation after generation.

Dividends: Dividends will be paid each quarter, based on the rate of return on the net profits from sales for that quarter. Our Board along with our CPA will develop the ROR, to be included in our welcome aboard package.

Shareholder Board of Directors: Shareholders will elect a five-member board to oversee all shareholder funds. Funds will only be used for inventory and working capital. We have obtained over 5.6 million thus far, however, I want to pass some ownership to our community.

This will allow the store to truly become a community store indefinitely.

Our audaciously inclusive initiative aims to provide an opportunity for residents of the state of South Carolina, especially Afro-Americans and low-income families throughout South Carolina, to become shareholders in Elijah Craig LLC dba Florence Save a Lot., fostering community empowerment, economic inclusion, and creating opportunities for generational wealth and prosperity.

The Florence Downtown Save a Lot is more than a grocery store. We are a community. By becoming an owner (also referred to as “member”) of Elijah Craig LLC dba Florence Save a Lot, you become a partial owner of our store and take ownership in our community. Your investment in the store allows us to make investments in local farmers and artisans, offering direct support to the sustainable, natural foods and products that they provide, along with the Save a Lot brand. As a community-owned grocery store, we are accountable to you, the members of our community who support and invest in us. We are committed to supporting the environmental, social, and economic concerns of our owners. I know that we need shoppers and others to invest in the store; therefore, I have decided to make the Florence Downtown Save a Lot store truly a community store. "

For additional information, you can contact Tim Waters by phone at 843-472 -7463 and by email at twaters003@gmail.com.

You can also visit the store at 310 North Dargan Street in Florence.

‘A store divided’: Florence shop embraces crazy world of Clemson, South Carolina sports

FLORENCE — It’s almost football season, and that means there’s one local store you have to visit. You can’t miss it – it’s the building in screaming Gamecock garnet and Tiger orange.“You’ve gotta hit Rivals when football season approaches,” said Ericka Robinson, a Hartsville resident who stopped by the store while running errands.Rivals, the sports store celebrating fans of the University of South Carolina and Clemson, has become a Florence landmark.The business embra...

FLORENCE — It’s almost football season, and that means there’s one local store you have to visit. You can’t miss it – it’s the building in screaming Gamecock garnet and Tiger orange.

“You’ve gotta hit Rivals when football season approaches,” said Ericka Robinson, a Hartsville resident who stopped by the store while running errands.

Rivals, the sports store celebrating fans of the University of South Carolina and Clemson, has become a Florence landmark.

The business embraces its tag line, “a store divided,” by splitting its 18,000-square-foot sales floor right down the middle — Gamecocks on one side, Tigers on the other.

There are rubber ducks, umbrellas, suitcases, sippy cups, shoe laces, T-shirts, sunhats, skirts, socks, pants, polos, purses, ties, tents, tongs, belts, bath robes, backpacks, bandanas, coffee makers, coolers, coasters, clocks, crocs, cups, car mats, door mats, Rubik’s cubes and magic 8 balls.

And don’t forget the dresses crusted in purple sequins, orange jeans with glittering Tigers marching up the leg, even a Christmas ornament that depicts Santa Claus riding a motorcycle with a Gamecock tattoo proudly displayed on his bicep.

Robinson was born and raised a Clemson fan. A week before the Tigers’ first game of the season, she was looking for an outfit to wear to the Florida State game in late September. It’s been at least 10 seasons since she started coming to Rivals. The vast selection makes it an appealing place to shop.

“They have everything here. I mean, they probably have Clemson toilet paper,” she said. “It’d be on the Carolina side, though.”

Across the way, Kelley Nix Brown sifted through South Carolina shirts. Her entire family are USC fans; she’s an alumna.

She is the kind of person that cries when she hears the alma mater, which she admits without shame. Her family has had the same seats at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia for 45 years.

The Lexington resident stopped by Rivals on the way back from the beach. Her only complaint about the store is that it’s not in Columbia.

Store owner Will Webster said Rival’s success is all due to the fans, who have an almost cult-like commitment to their schools and teams.

“To me, it’s kind of a celebration of the love that people have for these two teams,” he said. “There’s just so much excitement here, and always has been, about the Gamecocks and Tigers.”

Webster started his business career by selling tobacco. The Mullins native has had a number of stores across the Pee Dee.

Rivals, however, is his family’s baby, he said. Webster runs the business alongside his wife, Paula, and his two children, William and Taylor.

It was about 15 years ago that Webster started looking for ways to fill up the rest of the sales floor at his tobacco stores. He considered what other merchandise people buying tobacco might want. Sports gear was the obvious choice.

When Webster lost the lease on his tobacco store, he pivoted, and Rivals was born.

When Webster walked into the warehouse off of David McLeod Boulevard, he could picture what it might become. The building is almost like a stadium — the high, vaulted ceilings, brick walls, blistering fluorescent lights.

There’s a purity to the store. It embraces that pumping, animalistic drive to latch onto a team and cheer for dear life.

Only occasionally do staff members have to steer rival fans away from each other.

Football generates the most sales, but it’s not the only draw for customers, Webster said. Some come looking for paraphernalia for a themed event: birthdays, anniversaries, even funerals. Some come to Rivals once they have been accepted to attend USC or Clemson.

It’s often part of the ritual after high school students graduate, Webster said — the beginning of the next phase of their life.

Still, there’s a direct correlation between how well the football teams perform and the sales Rivals sees.

When Clemson or USC wins a national championship, “it’s like Santa Claus coming every day,” Webster said.

Disclaimer:

This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.