Vape Shop in Knightsville, SC | #1 Smoke/Vape Store | Smape Shop

10150 Dorchester Rd Suite 214 Summerville, SC 29485

  • Image 01
  • Image 02
  • Image 03

Vape Shop in Knightsville, SC

Ask us Anything

Quick Quote

Your Go-To Vape Shop in Knightsville, SC

Welcome to The Smape Shop, where the worlds of smoking and vaping come together to give you the best buzz in the Lowcountry! As a locally owned smoke shop in Knightsville, we have built our reputation on sourcing the finest smoking accessories and vaping products in the industry. As experts in our trade, our goal is to give you the very best vape and smoke shop experience in South Carolina. That way, you leave feeling happy, informed, and excited about your new purchase. It doesn’t matter if you’re in town for the weekend or we see you regularly. Our customers receive the same personalized, boutique service every time they walk through the front door.

Our loyal customers keep coming back to the Smape Shop because we offer the following services:

  • Free Shipping – Yes, you read that right. Buy a product from the Smape Shop, and shipping is on us!
  • Low Prices – We will beat the price on any listed competitive product in South Carolina.
  • Warranties – All manufacturer warranties are guaranteed when you purchase a product from the Smape Shop.
  • Easy Returns – All Smape Shop products are guaranteed returnable within 30 days of your purchase if you experience a manufacturer defect.
  • Easy Shopping – Our team of friendly, knowledgeable vape and smoke experts makes your life easy and irie. Have a question? We’ve got an answer for you.
  • User Services – We make it a priority to educate all of our customers on how to use our products.

At the end of the day, we know that life is hard. We’re here to make it more bearable, one puff at a time.

What is Vaping?

Thirty years ago, the idea of an electronic cigarette seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie. Enjoy nicotine without having to burn tobacco? That’s nonsense!

Today, vaping is one of the most popular ways to “smoke,” with Euromonitor estimating that 55 million people worldwide enjoy tobacco-free devices. If you’re reading this page, chances are you’re well-versed in the world of vaping. But for those who aren’t, let’s get you caught up.

Typically, adults vape by using battery-operated devices called “vapes” or “e-cigarettes,” which are used to inhale a vapor. This vapor usually contains nicotine and other flavorings. Puffing on the vape engages the battery-powered heating device, which turns the liquid into an aerosol or vapor, which users enjoy in a variety of potencies. Adults vape for many different reasons, most commonly for the wide selection of flavors, their ability to be used inside, and their use in cigarette smoking cessation.

There are a few main components in almost every vaping device. Check out the breakdown below or ask your

What is Vaping?
Battery

Battery

The vape’s battery is its primary energy source and is used to power the atomizer. The battery is the most essential part of any vaporizer product because it provides the power needed to heat the coil. The vape battery generates power, the coil heats liquid, wax, or herb, and vapor is formed. Without the battery, your vaping device won’t work. Not all vaping batteries are the same, so be sure to select one with enough power for your needs. More on that later.

Atomizer

Atomizer

The atomizer’s job is to heat e-liquid, which turns the liquid into vapor.

E-Liquid

E-Liquid

Also known as e-juice, this substance is inserted into a vape and gives the vapor its flavor and nicotine. Today, there several varieties of e-juices to choose from, which give vapers the chance to experiment with various flavors.

Cartridge

Cartridge

The cartridge is a small container that holds vape juice or e-liquids. This container is sealed from the heating coils of your vape and only touches the wick. When you visit the Smape Shop, ask your vape expert about our disposable and reusable vape cartridges!

Wick

Wick

Typically made of cotton fibers, the wick gets saturated with e-juice from the container. The oil moves along the fibers of the cotton until it comes into touches the e-coils. Vapor is produced and inhaled when the heated e-coils and the wick touch.

Geek Vape Aegis X

SUB OHM TANK AND MOD

More info

Our Brands

mAh¬ and Your Vape Battery

Many e-devices within our vape shop in Knightsville, SC come with a built-in battery. However, these batteries vary in power. You can find out how powerful the battery is by looking at its mAh, or Milliamp Hour. In the world of vaping, mAh refers to how much energy the vaporizer’s battery can store on a single, complete charge. The higher the mAh, the more energy can be stored in the battery. With a higher mAh, you will be able to use your vape or e-cigarette longer without charging. The mAh number is important to look at, especially if you’ll be traveling and won’t have access to a power outlet or charging station. If you’re always out and about, pick a vape with a higher mAh. If you’re only using your e-device at home, you may not need to have a high mAh.

What are the Different Types of Vaping Devices?

Vapes come in a wide range of models and forms. Some vapes need to be filled with e-liquid, while others require cartridges. There are also more advanced vapes on the market, sometimes referred to as Box Mods or just Mods. These devices often include modifications to battery power or cartridge size. Vape devices are generally categorized into one of three generations. However, some vapers are now adding a fourth generation to account for advances in vaping technology.

Cig-a-Likes (First Generation)

Made to mimic the size and look of traditional cigarettes, this first-gen vape is heavier than a regular cigarette. It will often have an LED light on the end, which illuminates when the user inhales. If you are new to vaping or e-cigarettes, cig-a-likes may be the first thing that comes to mind. These vaping devices are usually inexpensive and easy to use. Some cig-a-likes are considered disposable, meaning you throw them away after the battery dies. Others are rechargeable and have replaceable cartridges.

Mid-Size E-Cigarettes (Second Generation)

Larger than cig-a-likes, mid-size vapes have been said to resemble laser pointers. These devices usually have a button, which users press while inhaling. Mid-size vaporizers often have larger battery capacities and last longer than cig-a-likes. It’s common for the battery of a second-generation e-cigarette to feature a threaded connection which is compatible with several atomizers. For added customization, some mid-size e-cigs allow the user to adjust the voltage for more power.

Advanced Personal Vapes (Third Generation)

These advanced vaporizers are larger and bulkier than second-generation vapes. They are also more complicated from a technical standpoint and can come with modifications. Some mods include longer lasting batteries and have a higher refill capacity. These advancements aren't available on first and second-generation vaporizers. If you’re new to vaping, ask one of our experienced Smape Shop employees for more info on the AVPs we have in stock.

Innovative Regulated Mods (Fourth Generation)

Historically, vaporizers have been classified into three generations. However, new technology has led to the creation of a fourth generation by some vape users. This generation features more powerful and highly advanced mods. Some features include temperature controls, rebuildable tanks, adjustable airflow slots, and dual airflow slots, to name a few.

Vape mods typically come in two forms:

  • Mechanical Vape Mods:

    Regulated mods are complex modifications that involve modifying the vaporizer's voltage or wattage output. They often have features like resistance meters and safety additions like reverse battery polarity protection. These mods are most often used by experienced vapers.

  • Regulated Vape Mods:

    Regulated mods are complex modifications that involve modifying the vaporizer's voltage or wattage output. They often have features like resistance meters and safety additions like reverse battery polarity protection. These mods are most often used by experienced vapers.

Which Vape is Right for Me?

If you’re new to vaping, it can be hard to pick a device. With hundreds of choices available, you may not know where to start. Don’t stress, though: we’ve got a breakdown to help you out.

Cig-a-Likes

  • Who Should Buy Cig-a-Likes:

    These first-gen vapes are great for folks who might be trying to kick traditional cigarettes. They are small, portable, and often are designed to look like tobacco cigarettes. They have a mouth-to-lung inhalation process, allowing the user to puff on the vape like a traditional cigarette without the smell. They are also free of the harsh toxins and chemicals often found in cigarettes, making them a great choice if you’re trying to quit conventional smoking.

  • Who Shouldn’t Buy Cig-a-Likes:

    These first-gen vapes are great for folks who might be trying to kick traditional cigarettes. They are small, portable, and often are designed to look like tobacco cigarettes. They have a mouth-to-lung inhalation process, allowing the user to puff on the vape like a traditional cigarette without the smell. They are also free of the harsh toxins and chemicals often found in cigarettes, making them a great choice if you’re trying to quit conventional smoking.

Advanced Personal Vapes

  • Who Should Buy AVPs:

    AVPs (or box mods) are highly customizable, so if you like to have more control over your vaping experience, an AVP could be the way to go. These devices are great for all vaping styles and often come equipped with a longer battery life with both mouth-to-lung and direct-to-lung variants.

  • Who Shouldn’t Buy AVPs:

    If you prefer an all-in-one package with little-to-no assembly, an APV isn’t for you. If you’re a newer vaper, understand that AVPs have a higher learning curve. So, if you just want something easy to vape, a box mod might not be the best fit for your needs.

Mid-Size Vapes and Vape Pens

  • Who Should Buy Vape Pens:

    Pens usually come with a battery, tank, and safety features that shut off the vape after a few seconds. These rechargeable devices offer both mouth-to-lung and direct-to-lung options. If you like ease of convenience and portability, a vape pen might be your best bet.

  • Who Shouldn’t Use Vape Pens:

    These vapes have a shorter battery life than AVPs. Many require the user to clean the e-juice tank. If you don’t want to take the time to clean your device, this style of vape isn’t right for you.

Smape Shop Pro Tip

If you’re anything like us, you may prefer to speak with a real-life person about your vaping options. We recommend that all new vape users swing by our vape shop in Knightsville, SC. When you swing by and say hi, you will have the opportunity to see our vapes up close, hold them, and get more information from our team of vaping experts.

Contact Us

One-Stop Smoke Shop in Knightsville, SC

If “vape life” just isn’t for you, don’t worry – we’ve got a HUGE selection of smoking accessories for you to choose from when you visit the Smape Shop. Whether you’re looking for a brand-new waterpipe to ring in the weekend or need tobacco to roll your own cigarettes, we’ve got you covered.

Some of our most popular smoke shop products include:

Dab Rigs
Dab Straws
Hookas
Classic Tobacco Pipes
Cigarillos
Blunt Wraps
Cones
Cigars
Kratom
CBD

We only carry the best name brands for you to choose from, like White Owl, Dutch Master, Backwoods, Al Capone, and many more. Have questions about a product? Curious where a particular waterpipe was created? Our knowledgeable staff is ready to answer all of your questions. Our goal is to make your time with us easy, so you can focus on having a good time without feeling pressured to purchase until you’re ready. So, go ahead and “roll up” to our store – you’ll be happy you did!

Thank you for your support! Ask about our loyalty program to save $10 on a $20 purchase upon loyalty card completion.
Free Quote

Latest News in Knightsville

Solomon Offers What Your Dentist Doesn't

Here is a scenario: You are in pain from swelling in your jaw, mouth, or face. You call your dentist, but it’s the weekend. What do you do?You head to the Solomon Family Dentistry office in Sangaree or Mt. Pleasant, where an oral surgeon awaits, even on Saturday and Sunday. And don’t worry about how you will pay because Solomon Family Dentistry accepts more than 300 insurance plans, including yours."If you have pain, we’ll see you the same day – even if you’re not an existing customer," s...

Here is a scenario: You are in pain from swelling in your jaw, mouth, or face. You call your dentist, but it’s the weekend. What do you do?

You head to the Solomon Family Dentistry office in Sangaree or Mt. Pleasant, where an oral surgeon awaits, even on Saturday and Sunday. And don’t worry about how you will pay because Solomon Family Dentistry accepts more than 300 insurance plans, including yours.

"If you have pain, we’ll see you the same day – even if you’re not an existing customer," says Dr. Jason Solomon, the son of the founder, Dr. Fred Solomon, and now a partner in the practice.

Your dentist doesn’t offer that service. In fact, no dentist in the Lowcountry offers that service.

Even if you don’t need an oral surgeon, Solomon is the most accessible dental practice in the area. Their six offices are all open Monday through Saturday and each one accepts walk-ins. Because they accept basically every insurance you could have, they’re in-network for you (even if you are a walk-in).

Indeed, there are only six days every year – the major holidays – when Solomon Family Dentistry does not have an office open. During the other 359 days (360 on a leap year), patients are encouraged to come on in!

Oral surgery isn’t the only specialty Solomon offers. Pediatric dentists practice next door to their Carnes Crossing and Knightsville locations six days a week, so you can bring your kids in for a checkup while you have yours next door. The pediatric dentists offer nitrous oxide and IV sedation to comfort children who are apprehensive by injections.

What do patients think about Solomon Family Dentistry’s amazing availability and affordability? For the fifth straight year, Solomon has been named a Charleston Choice winner for Best General Dentistry in the Lowcountry by the readers of The Post and Courier. In addition, for the straight second year, Solomon Kids Pediatric Dentistry has won the award for Best Pediatric Dentist.

It turns out that when you provide quality treatment to people with an affordable price and flexible hours, they like it!

Besides the 300+ insurance plans accepted by Solomon, they also offer a membership plan for those without insurance called Solomon Savers. For a small monthly fee, patients under the Solomon Savers program receive two free cleanings and exams, including x-rays, at no extra charge. Solomon accepts Medicaid and CHIP for families that can’t afford to pay.

Solomon Family Dentistry also employs cutting-edge technology, offering same-day crowns, root canals, and extractions. With crowns, there’s no need to walk around with a temporary crown for a couple of weeks before returning for a permanent crown.

"We feel like everybody should be offered quality treatment at an affordable price and with flexible hours, which is our motto," says Dr. Solomon, a West Ashley native and graduate of Middleton High School and the College of Charleston.

It’s true: Nobody does it quite like Solomon Family Dentistry.

Interested in learning more about Solomon Family Dentistry, or visiting one of their six area locations? Call (843) 871-0842, or use their online form to request an appointment. To learn all about Solomon Dentistry’s offerings, visit their website at SolomonDentistry.com.

Tiny Berkeley County community of New Hope pushes back against industrial warehouse complex

NEW HOPE — As a teenager, Ron Harvey used to pick tobacco, soybeans, corn and cotton in the fields that surrounded his house to a make a little extra money in the summertime.In his free time from sunup to sundown Harvey and his buddies would hunt, fish and swim in the creeks and woods that make up the Wassamassaw Swamp.That idyllic lifestyle that Harvey grew up with in this rural part of Berkeley County is under attack from the area’s rampant development. That growth includes the Berkeley Charleston Tradeport &mdash...

NEW HOPE — As a teenager, Ron Harvey used to pick tobacco, soybeans, corn and cotton in the fields that surrounded his house to a make a little extra money in the summertime.

In his free time from sunup to sundown Harvey and his buddies would hunt, fish and swim in the creeks and woods that make up the Wassamassaw Swamp.

That idyllic lifestyle that Harvey grew up with in this rural part of Berkeley County is under attack from the area’s rampant development. That growth includes the Berkeley Charleston Tradeport — a 5 million-square-foot industrial complex off Jedburg Road just down the street from Harvey’s boyhood home in the New Hope community.

The New Hope community, which is made up of about 150 families, is in unincorporated Berkeley County about nine miles northeast of Summerville off of Interstate-26.

“I said goodbye to my community a few years ago when we could still recognize each other,” said Harvey, 73, who has lived in the New Hope community his entire life. “The place where I grew up has been destroyed by unbridled development.”

The Berkeley Charleston Tradeport complex will eventually include 10 massive warehouses in addition to extensive service roads and parking areas. Two of the buildings are under construction, but those are the only buildings for which the developers — NorthPoint Development — have the required permits. To add the eight additional buildings and complete the project, nearly 13 acres of wetlands would have to vanish beneath tons of concrete.

In January, state Rep. Sylleste Davis, R-Moncks Corner, requested the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to hold a public meeting to listen to the concerns from residents of New Hope about the complex.

The meeting never took place.

“DHEC told us that they were too far into the process to hold a public meeting,” Davis said. “The public can still voice their concerns about the complex by getting in touch with DHEC.”

DHEC conducted a five-month public comment period last year from June to November.

“There’s a timeframe under federal law within which DHEC must issue its decision or risk waiving its oversight authority of the federally non-jurisdictional wetland impacts,” DHEC media relations director Crisiti Moore said in an email.

In February, the federal Army Corps of Engineers and DHEC gave initial approval to NorthPoint Development to fill in the wetlands.

The Coastal Conservation League and the South Carolina Environmental Law Project filed a request for final board review to stop the wetland fill and are awaiting a decision from DHEC.

“This is a huge complex that will, when completed, encircle the folks that live in New Hope, a longstanding community,” Robby Maynor, the Berkeley County project manager for the Coastal Conservation League, said. “Nobody wants to be surrounded by an industrial complex. This is a community that was, until a few years ago, in the middle of nowhere and this will completely change their quality of life.”

Industrial rural life

When Ed Whitlock purchased 3 acres along Jedburg Road five years ago, there was nothing but woods across the two-lane blacktop from his house.

There were nearly 500 acres of pristine woodlands on the other side of the road that served as a hunting club. The 84 acres of woods adjacent to his property was owned by a family in Walterboro.

“There was nothing out here but a couple of foxes that liked to eat our cat’s food,” said Whitlock, a retired chief deputy for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

When Whitlock walks out on his front porch these days, the first thing he sees are the warehouses that make up the Berkeley Charleston Tradeport. The 80 acres that sit next to his property has become Petterson Meadows — a 160-home Mungo Homes development.

“My country home has become industrial suburban,” Whitlock said with a chuckle.

What upsets Whitlock the most is that there is supposed to be a 100-foot buffer between the warehouses and Jedburg Road. It’s much less than that now. Under the agreement with the county, the NorthPoint Development must keep a 100-foot buffer, but it can be reduced to 50-feet with the inclusion of a 6-foot wooden privacy fence.

“We are committed to maintaining a 100-foot buffer where possible, but where the physical constraints limit the ability to maintain that buffer, the ordinance allows for a reduction in the buffer as long as certain criteria are met, including a fence,” Caleb Moore, a representative of NorthPoint Development, said in an email.

The project will also surround the historic New Hope United Methodist Church, which was founded before the Civil War. The church cemetery contains historic gravesites dating to the 1880s, and the grounds are home to a community center and baseball field.

“At one point, we were designated as a rural historic community,” Harvey said. “That’s not helping us much right now.”

Seth MacDougall grew up in a small, farming town about an hour south of Boston and was looking for a similar community when he moved to the Lowcountry a decade ago to work for Boeing. MacDougall originally settled in Knightsville, but moved to New Hope about four years ago trying to escape the development in Summerville.

The development seemed to follow the MacDougall family.

“I just don’t understand why they’d put an industrial complex like that here, it makes no sense,” MacDougall said. “I can’t imagine what the people that have lived here a long time think now. It’s an industrial mess. We are thinking about finding a farm and moving to Ridgeville.”

Olympic size swimming pools

The quality of life that has been lost because of the development doesn’t compare with the potential loss of the wetlands that could be devastating to the Wassamassaw Swamp, critics have said. It has the potential to eradicate wildlife habitat and compromise the area’s capacity to withstand major storms.

Wetlands act as natural water purifiers, prevent excessive erosion and sedimentation and store water during storms, effectively reducing flood damage and lessening the risk of flash floods.

The Berkeley Charleston Tradeport could affect the entire watershed of Miller Dam Branch and could even cause issues with flooding and sedimentation downstream along the Ashley River, Maynor, of the conservation league, said.

A study by Robinson Design Engineers found the hard surfaces of the buildings and parking lots from the complex would increase annual runoff by 60 percent, or the equivalent of 235 Olympic-size swimming pools. That excess stormwater would run into the Wassamassaw Swamp and downstream to the Ashley River.

“There’s going to be a lot of water with nowhere to go,” Harvey said. “Flooding will start to become a bigger issue for everyone.”

Further development in the watershed, which includes new housing developments along Jedburg Road and an extension of the Nexton development along Sheep Island Road, will also contribute to this increased runoff.

Robinson Design Engineers found developers plan to install a culvert within a FEMA floodway, which requires special regulatory review and permitting.

“It is clear that the developers of this site have not considered the full impacts this project would have on the environment or the community,” Maynor said.

New Hope residents like Harvey and Whitlock said they feel powerless to stop the growth that is coming to their part of Berkeley County. The county’s population has grown more than 25 percent in the last 10 years.

Mega-developments like Nexton and Cane Bay have taken over the landscape. According to state highway counts, the average daily traffic around Jedburg Road in 2018 was 63,400 vehicles per day. By 2023, with no additional roadwork, it is expected to be more than 71,000.

The additional trucks coming and going from the Berkeley Charleston Tradeport will only make traffic and noise worse for residents.

“I know you have to have growth, there’s no denying that,” Harvey said. “It’s a tough balance. We need smart growth. You just can’t put industrial development anywhere you want. I think a lot of us feel like our voices are just not being heard.”

Davis said the balance between growth and quality of life can be a tricky undertaking.

“Whether that’s a tough balancing act is immaterial to me,” Davis said. “We have to get it done. Berkeley County is a special place, but if we continue to destroy our forests and our wetlands because of rapid growth, then one day we’re going to wake up and it’s going to be gone.”

Maynor said the New Hope residents can still have an impact on the development of the Berkeley Charleston Tradeport.

“I know that all the development can be scary,” Maynor said. “But there is still a chance to reach an outcome that everyone can live with. The residents cannot be discouraged or intimidated into silence. People have to use their voice and demand that our leaders listen. We can’t just sit back and let new development trample our natural resources and historic communities.”

School districts in Charleston region struggle with overcrowding

The droves of people moving to the Lowcountry for the low cost of living and plentiful jobs aren’t coming alone.Often those workers have families that include young children who will attend public schools. Of the more than 750,000 people who live in the region, about 22 percent are age 18 or younger, according to the Census Bureau.That growth leaves school systems struggling to keep up as they strive to find funding, space and dozens of teachers to instruct those new students each year.“Right now, we are tryi...

The droves of people moving to the Lowcountry for the low cost of living and plentiful jobs aren’t coming alone.

Often those workers have families that include young children who will attend public schools. Of the more than 750,000 people who live in the region, about 22 percent are age 18 or younger, according to the Census Bureau.

That growth leaves school systems struggling to keep up as they strive to find funding, space and dozens of teachers to instruct those new students each year.

“Right now, we are trying to basically take inventory of what we have, and trying to find different ways to deal with the growth,” said Berkeley County Senior Associate Superintendent Deon Jackson.

In many cases, districts’ annual growth is enough to fill a new school.

This year, for instance, Berkeley planned for 800 new students, but 1,400 came.

“And Volvo hasn’t moved the first car off of their plant yet,” Jackson said of the carmaker that plans to bring 4,000 new jobs to the county and will roll out its first S60 sedan later this year. “At this rate, there is no doubt in our minds that yes, we are going to need additional schools at some point.”

Dorchester, on the other hand, got an unexpected break this year. After more than a decade of 400 to 1,000 additional students per year, only 149 new students enrolled in that district this year. Officials had planned for 600.

Predictably, the schools near new development are the most overcrowded.

Cane Bay elementary and middle schools near bustling Carnes Crossroads are currently under the biggest strain in Berkeley, and the Philip Simmons schools off Clements Ferry Road are expected to feel a pinch in coming years.

Dorchester 2’s crush is in the Knightsville area on the district’s northeast side, where Reeves Elementary and DuBose Middle share a campus.

“We have a lot of development coming that could impact those schools,” said Dorchester 2 Chief Financial Officer Allyson Duke.

Lack of funding

But those new houses don’t contribute to school districts’ operating budgets.

State law, Act 388, limits the kind of taxes a school district can levy, including a prohibition on taxing homeowner-occupied residential properties for operating expenses.

“They build all these houses, but we don’t benefit from the property taxes from them,” Duke said.

Property tax bills reflect an amount for the school operating budget that is then deducted as a credit.

“There’s still confusion,” Duke said. “A lot of people do not realize that they’re not paying school operating taxes. They see it on their tax bill and don’t look and see that school tax credit at the bottom.”

Funding for capital needs like new buildings or maintaining existing ones has to come from somewhere else, often special obligation bonds.

“What we are trying to do is make sure that we’re utilizing everything that we have to the fullest extent before we start building additional schools,” Jackson said.

Charleston County, which is also growing by about 1,000 students annually, funds its building program through a 1 percent sales tax. The district expects to collect $575 million to fund new school buildings and renovations through the tax, first approved in 2010 and renewed in 2014.

But Berkeley and Dorchester 2 have both turned to homeowners. In 2012, those districts floated “Yes 4 Schools” campaigns with an eye toward easing some of the overcrowding that existed then.

At the time, they said several schools housed hundreds more students than they could comfortably hold and students were being taught in trailers, work rooms and libraries.

Seventy percent of voters in Berkeley approved the ballot measure to fund a $198 million building program that added four new elementary schools and a high school, while Dorchester 2’s $179.9 million campaign to add three elementary schools and a magnet middle school of the arts passed by a 60-40 margin.

The measures added $102 on a $150,000 owner-occupied house in Dorchester County for 20 years. In Berkeley, homeowners paid $60 more on a $150,000 house the first three years, and are now paying $120 annually until 2023, when it goes back to $60 for another decade.

“The referendum was definitely a success,” Duke said. “If we didn’t have these new schools, I don’t know what we would have done.”

End of Yes 4 Schools

Both Berkeley and Dorchester 2 will see the end of their building campaigns this year. In August, Berkeley plans to open Bowens Corner and Foxbank elementary schools, and Dorchester 2 students will move into the new Rollings Middle School of the Arts.

The extra seats have helped some but not enough, officials said.

“We need more schools, that’s all there is to it,” said Duke.

In the 5½ years since the referendums were approved, Berkeley has grown by about 5,000 students to 35,192 this year. Dorchester has gone from 23,245 to 26,240.

“We’ve completed that building program, and the growth is still coming,” Jackson said. “We’ve made our adjustments; however, it’s still not sufficient. When you have a 900-student school opening up at 750 students, it doesn’t leave you much room, not the way that Berkeley County is growing.”

The county is outpacing even the aggressive predictions of a 2015 study by Clemson’s Strom Thurmond Institute that forecast the student population could skyrocket to 55,000 by 2035. That study called for 20 new schools in 20 years.

Moving forward

But aware that taxpayers are still putting money into the 2012 program, officials are doing everything they can to maximize space.

“We are not so certain that a referendum is the only solution,” Jackson said. “We’re working with the county government and working with our Legislature to figure out what’s the best way for Berkeley County to deal with the situation we have.”

The trailers the districts removed from schools a few years ago are now being added back. At DuBose, for instance, six additional units will be added to the 18 already there for next school year.

Dorchester is not yet talking about redrawing attendance lines — always a hot topic — but Berkeley is.

“Where do you move them? To a less overcrowded school?” said District 2 spokeswoman Pat Raynor.

Officials at both districts said they have a commitment not to increase class size, which can be a detriment to learning for students and a stress for teachers.

“Talk to just about any teacher, and they would rather have lower class sizes,” Duke said. “That’s probably more important to most of them than pay, really.”

Berkeley is looking at some unconventional ways to increase capacity, such as using a “college model” of office space or shared spaces in jam-packed high schools instead of assigning teachers to classrooms. That allows each class to be used every class period, in theory increasing capacity by 25 percent.

“We’re trying to use every resource that we have to the fullest before doing something that’s going to cause us to borrow more money,” Jackson said.

Although they aren’t ruling out future referendums, both are aware that they may not get taxpayer support.

“We’re taking a collaborative approach because we are coming out of a building program that drew a lot of attention,” Jackson said. “We are definitely cognizant of that.”

Opposition to Berkeley’s referendum led to a State Law Enforcement Division investigation and guilty pleas on ethics charges from former Superintendent Rodney Thompson and Communcations Director Amy Kovach.

In addition, in the aftermath of the investigation, authorities uncovered a scheme by former Chief Financial Officer Brantley Thomas to embezzle nearly $1 million from the district and shuffle money between accounts to cover up construction cost overruns of about $7.2 million.

Dorchester 2 was also sued over its referendum. In March 2017, Summerville lawyer Mike Rose filed a lawsuit claiming that the district broke state law and its own rules during the building campaign, leading to cost overruns, delays in opening new schools and shoddy work. That lawsuit is ongoing.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 843-937-5713. Follow her on Twitter @brindge.

Living the Life in Summerville: Primate sanctuary is saving thousands of lives

By Casey L. Taylor, JDTucked away near Summerville, SC – the place known as “Flowertown, USA” – is a sanctuary dedicated to gibbons (small apes). It’s a jungle-like wonderland that has lifesaving at the core of its mission.The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) sanctuary is a secret to many locals. It is situated on over 40 acres of land surrounded by lush woods. Neighbors are lucky enough to hear the songs and great calls of these interesting primates throughout the da...

By Casey L. Taylor, JD

Tucked away near Summerville, SC – the place known as “Flowertown, USA” – is a sanctuary dedicated to gibbons (small apes). It’s a jungle-like wonderland that has lifesaving at the core of its mission.

The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) sanctuary is a secret to many locals. It is situated on over 40 acres of land surrounded by lush woods. Neighbors are lucky enough to hear the songs and great calls of these interesting primates throughout the day and night.

The sanctuary is home to 36 gibbons, the smallest of the apes, who have been rescued or retired from laboratories, deplorable “roadside” attractions, or the pet trade. IPPL provides lifetime care to these incredible endangered species and works to educate the community on the plight of gibbons in the wild.

The gibbon residents at the sanctuary have indoor night houses that are hurricane-grade, expansive outdoor habitats, and aerial walkways that give them the choice to safely move about their designated areas as they wish. It is important to the organization that each sanctuary resident is given as much freedom of choice as possible in a captive environment, while keeping them safe. Despite most residents having a rough start to their lives, they thrive at IPPL. They even have some residents nearing the age of 60!

International Outreach

IPPL is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the world’s remaining primates, great and small. For the last 45 years, IPPL has made a global impact by securing an export ban on primates from Thailand (saving thousands and thousands of lives) and working with over 20 reputable primate rescue and rehabilitation centers in Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America.

IPPL not only supports their efforts to care for native primates who have been rescued and are in need of rehabilitation or lifetime care, but also to thwart poachers and illegal wildlife traffickers, as well as educate local villages and communities on how they can help be part of the solution in preserving native populations of primates.

Small Team, Big Impact

With a small but mighty team of animal caregivers, maintenance technicians, office staff, and dog nannies, IPPL provides compassionate lifetime care for every resident, which includes nutritious and delicious fresh produce three times a day for the gibbons, as well as veterinary care and enrichment — to stimulate those intelligent minds of theirs!

Forms of enrichment vary from food puzzles that the gibbon must figure out in order to get their healthy treats, to special time with their favorite caregiver. Bubble-blowing is a big hit with some of the gibbons. Tong, who was one of the first four original residents at the sanctuary, loves a good foot rub — what girl doesn’t?

Absolutely nothing beats a life in the wild, but for these residents that is sadly not a reality. The team at IPPL feels that the least they can do is make the rest of these individuals’ lives the happiest and healthiest they can be. From residents used in invasive human vaccination studies and locomotion tests, to those kept in less-than-favorable conditions, IPPL’s sanctuary is a safe and loving place for them to thrive and to live as gibbons should.

Casey L. Taylor, JD is the Executive Director of IPPL.

MORE ABOUT IPPL

The sanctuary is not open to the public as an attraction, but it holds educational events in the community and offers options to visit during special times. Sign up to receive their e-newsletters on their website (www.ippl.org) and be the first to know about opportunities and events.

People are overwhelmed with stuff, so junk-hauling businesses are booming in Charleston

Clutter, junk and a general over-abundance of stuff has prompted storage unit businesses to pop up all over the Charleston area. But what if you don’t want to store it? What if you just want it gone?That’s where junk removal companies come in, and like self-storage businesses, they’ve been growing in number locally and across the United States. Some are small local businesses and others are national franchises.For a price, they’ll come and cart away everything in a garage, or remove construction debris, ...

Clutter, junk and a general over-abundance of stuff has prompted storage unit businesses to pop up all over the Charleston area. But what if you don’t want to store it? What if you just want it gone?

That’s where junk removal companies come in, and like self-storage businesses, they’ve been growing in number locally and across the United States. Some are small local businesses and others are national franchises.

For a price, they’ll come and cart away everything in a garage, or remove construction debris, or truck away everything that’s left after a person moves out of a home. Some will help homeowners sort through their things, or demolish a backyard play set or shed.

“Junk removal is very much an industry where a client has items they don’t want any more, typically household items,” said Dylan Mullins, owner and manager of Tidewater Junk Removal in Goose Creek. “Over time they have become, instead of useful products, obstacles in their life.

“We remove that stress from their life,” he said.

Paul Hayes just got into the business. In April he opened the Charleston-area Junk King franchise. It’s one of several national franchises, along with College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving, and 800-GOT-JUNK.

“When people just want to reclaim their domain, they call us,” said Hayes. “We say the only thing you have to lift is your phone and your wallet.”

Hayes got into the business after 12 years in the Air Force, encouraged by a cousin who owns the San Diego Junk King.

Lots of Hayes’ initial jobs involved debris left over from home improvement projects, the sort of heavy material that can’t easily be put out for trash collection. At 8 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, he was removing a heavy pile of roof shingles from a back yard in North Charleston.

“It’s like a breath of fresh air when we go to an apartment complex in Mount Pleasant where someone is downsizing,” Hayes said. “Our first customer was a guy in Summerville who had a brick wall he had knocked down.”

The junk removal businesses don’t just pick things up and haul them away. Most sort materials and donate usable items to local charities, which helps the charities and reduces landfill costs for the haulers. Electronic waste, such as televisions and computers, must be sent to specialty recyclers.

“We give most everything that has value to different charities,” said Paul Galmitz, owner of Dr. Clutter of the Lowcountry. “The rest gets recycled or scrapped.

“We’ll help people downsize and go through their things,” he said. “It might be helping people who are moving to assisted living or a smaller home.”

Most of the businesses are small, with a truck or two and several employees. They try to stand out by offering better prices and specialized or extra services, or by having different equipment.

Tidewater, for example, will drop off a collapsible, fabric dumpster that can hold 4,500 pounds. To lift such a thing when it’s full they have a truck with a mechanical claw.

“The great thing about those is they get it delivered for free, they have it for two weeks and they can fill it up at their leisure,” Mullins said. “Most folks could empty a one-car garage full of debris into one of those.”

Hauling the dumpster-bag away costs $225 for up to 2,000 pounds, and $75 per ton after that, he said.

Other junk removers charge based on how much space materials take up on a truck. Hayes charges $75 to remove a single item, and up to $588 to fill up his 18-yard truck.

“That’s essentially six pickup trucks,” he said.

Galmitz said he’ll help people make decisions about what to get rid of.

“We’ll go through things they’ve have for 40 or 50 years and help them decide what to do,” he said.

Elderly residents who are downsizing or decluttering to prepare for a move or just have things they can’t do themselves are often customers. Owners of rental properties are also a source of business.

“There are a lot of people who have a couple of homes, and summer rental season is coming, and they’ve got a bunch of stuff under their house that they need gone,” Galmitz said.

In some communities, just about anything can be put out by the curb for trash collection, but that’s not true everywhere, and even in areas with liberal policies there are restrictions on size and certain materials. For example, a large roll of carpet or the remains of a backyard play set might have to be cut into smaller pieces for curbside collection.

“Where there’s kind of a void, for our customers, is when they have large objects that don’t fit the size and bundling requirement,” Mullins said.

“What we find is that older folks, or people who are just short on time, will come to us because we do all these things,” he said. “The more the population increases, the more services like ours are needed.”

Get a weekly list of tips on pop-ups, last minute tickets and little-known experiences hand-selected by our newsroom in your inbox each Thursday.

Reach David Slade at 843-937-5552. Follow him on Twitter @DSladeNews.

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.