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The one to watch

Higher res African American Museum (copy)

The International African American will celebrate its groundbreaking on Friday, Oct. 25. Provided/IAAM

Mark your calendars. After two decades of planning and fundraising, Charleston's International African American Museum is breaking ground. 

Though site work, including a final archaeological dig, has been going at the museum's waterfront lot since late August, the IAAM will formally mark the start of its construction process next Friday with a ceremony.  

Due to limited space at the museum site where the groundbreaking program will be held, the event was ticketed. As of Thursday, all of the of the tickets, which were free, had been claimed. 

Those who weren't able to get tickets will have another opportunity to participate in the event in person. The museum is holding a worship service at Mother Emanuel AME Church the evening before the groundbreaking. The interfaith service is open to the public and does not require tickets.

The service will include scripture readings, music and dance, including performances from the Charleston Area Justice Ministry Choir and the Wona Womalan African Drumming and Dance Ensemble. It begins at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 24. 

The Friday groundbreaking, which starts at 10 a.m. at the museum site at 10 Wharfside Street, will include a 90-minute program followed by a reception.

Both the museum's interim CEO, College of Charleston professor emeritus Bernard Powers, and its former chief executive, Michael Boulware Moore, will give remarks. Rev. Eric S.C. Manning, pastor at Mother Emanuel AME Church, will give a blessing. 

Former Charleston mayor Joe Riley, who has been at the helm of the project since he announced his intent to build an African American Museum in Charleston in a speech in 2000, will give a keynote address, along with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

The event will also be streamed live on the museum's Facebook page

The museum anticipates an opening in late 2021, so at least a couple years of construction are ahead after next Friday's groundbreaking. 

IAAM Animation from The IAAM on Vimeo.


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Openings, closings:

  • Mesu is now open, serving both Asian and Mexican fare on King Street.
  • Six ailing Burger King restaurants in the Charleston area closed this week.
  • Ship’s Wheel Hard Cider will host a soft opening 2-10 p.m. Saturday.
  • Italian restaurant Gale is preparing to open at the Meeting Street Lofts
  • A new Jersey Mike’s Subs opened yesterday on Clements Ferry Road
  • Peloton will start selling its indoor bikes in Mount Pleasant next month.

Other stuff you should know:

  • The Charleston City Paper was sold to Charleston School of Law president Ed Bell and online publisher Andy Brack. (Post and Courier)
  • Spartan Motors, a firm that customizes Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, will expand in North Charleston, hiring 308 workers. (Post and Courier)
  • The upper peninsula food court Workshop was on the brink of closing earlier this year. Here's how they turned things around. (Post and Courier)
  • Charleston isn't alone in its anxiety about too many hotels. Destination cities like Portland, Maine and Asheville are feeling it, too. (Bloomberg)
  • Two "knowledgeable sources" confirmed that USA Today will phase out its print edition after the merger of Gannett and GateHouse. (Poynter)

Sound smart at work:

Marco Specialties (copy)

Marco Specialties founder Marc Mandletort sells pinball machine parts worldwide that he keeps in hundreds small boxes at his Lexington County business.

"Hey boss, did you know the Columbia area is a mecca for the vintage pinball industry?"

Founded in 1985 and selling online since 1999, Marco Specialties in Lexington said it has become the largest web retailer of pinball machine parts with 100,000 customers. Executives, athletes and even musicians like Barenaked Ladies lead singer Ed Robertson are among Marco's clientele. 

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Reach Emily Williams at 843-937-5553. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

Emily Williams is a business reporter at The Post and Courier, covering tourism and employment. She also writes the Business Headlines newsletter, which is published twice a week. Before moving to Charleston, her byline appeared in The Boston Globe.