• 88°

Local merchants help kids ‘bounce back’ into new school year

Several Greenville merchants banded together last weekend to bring the first “Bounce Back to School” event to the Camellia City.

A bouncy castle could be found in the corner of the former El Rodeo parking lot across from Walmart, along with the opportunity to get your face painted and/or enjoy a hot dog, chips and drink, school supplies and goodie bags, all free of charge to any children visiting the event.

“Originally we wanted to do this last weekend, before school actually started. But we couldn’t meet that deadline, so we held it today,” explained Richard Gregory, store manager for Cricket Wireless, the business that organized the event. “We were going to do all this ourselves, but we had several businesses in what we’ve started calling The Willows (the strip shopping center where Cricket Wireless is located), and in the surrounding area who also wanted to join in and help us out. For example, Southern Spirits provided all the hot dogs and Sonic gave us coupons for free drinks.”

Cricket Wireless employee Lexius Poole prepared hot dogs for a couple of youngsters who had walked over from their store.

“It’s been a little slow—but it is really hot today,” Poole commented, as she offered cookies to the children.

Little Jessie McCormick, who attended the event with his dad, William McCormick, enjoyed a hot dog lunch while his father snacked on a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie under the shady canopy surrounding the former restaurant building. Later, the youngster had a whale of a time leaping inside the bouncy castle.

“We just really wanted to do something nice for the kids in our community. The owner of this (former El Rodeo) building was gracious enough to allow us to use this parking lot to set up the bouncy castle, and we are really appreciative of that fact,” said Gregory. “We just wouldn’t have had the space to do where we are.”

Along with Poole, Cricket Wireless employees Torie Pressley and Alonzo Gipson braved the heat to alternate between helping customers in the store and working outside preparing hot dogs, painting faces and passing out goodies to the children.

“It’s a way for our business and other businesses in this part of town to extend goodwill to our community and its families,” Gregory said.

Other businesses supporting the event included Brian Moss State Farm, World Finance Inc. and Check Into Cash.