Grapevine: Google South Carolina brings wireless Internet to Moncks Corner ball field

Google has invested more than $400,000 to install WiFi connections in the Charleston region.

The Moncks Corner Ballpark is going wireless.

The field is getting free WiFi courtesy of Internet search and ad giant Google.

Google invested $60,000 in the project and plans to take it further by adding WiFi to other areas, it said in a written statement. An expansion at the Berkeley County recreational site is expected to start next year.

“Creating free access to online information at the new ballpark is a great way (to) ensure the Moncks Corner community has access to information they need online,” said Rob Sanchez, operations manager for Google South Carolina’s data center in Mount Holly Commerce Park off U.S. Highway 52.

The technology company said it has provided more $430,000 to create WiFi hotspots across the Lowcountry, including Marion Square and Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston.

Jill Shortreed isn’t blowing hot air.

The co-owner of Charleston Balloon Co. on Johns Island has been chosen to teach and judge at the World Balloon Convention going on in New Orleans this week.

More than 800 international balloon professionals attend the conference, which features design, product, business classes and balloon competitions.

In 2014, Shortreed brought home two awards in the medium sculpture competition for a design that took 60 hours and 15,000 balloons. She will be judging the contest this year.

She will also teach four classes and administer the Certified Balloon Artist exam, which allows professional balloon artists from around the world to become certified. She operates the 8-year-old business with husband Scott, and they cater to everything from corporate functions to birthday parties.

As ServisFirst Bank settling into its new historic digs in Charleston, its stock has gained entry to the S&P SmallCap 600 Index.

The latter move took effect Friday after the close of trading. ServisFirst replaced BB&T buyout target National Penn Bancshares Inc. in the S&P SmallCap 600.

Launched in 1994, the index is designed to measure the performance of 600 U.S. public companies with a market capitalization of between $400 million to $1.8 billion. ServisFirst Bancshares Inc. was valued at $1.18 billion as of Friday.

The company expanded into the competitive Charleston banking market about a year ago. It recently took moved into its permament local headquarters in the newly restored Cigar Factory on East Bay Street on the peninsula.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based lender leases 3,262 square feet on the first floor for use as a full-service bank branch and about 5,100 square feet on the fifth floor as corporate space. The two spaces house 17 employees with room to handle more than 30 workers. In the first year operation, the bank said its Charleston outpost originated more than $85 million in loan commitments.

After nearly six decades, Hancock Fabrics is unraveling.

The Mississippi-based retailer of crafts and fabrics is closing all 185 of its remaining stores, including locations in Westwood Plaza in West Ashley and The Promenade at Northwoods in North Charleston.

The 59-year-old company filed for bankruptcy reorganization in February and was hoping for a bidder to keep the company running. On Thursday, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware approved the sale of the stores to Great American Group, which had offered about $65 million for the company’s assets.

Store liquidation sales have begun. The company’s website says items are marked down between 20 percent and 50 percent. Sales will include merchandise as well as furniture, fixtures and equipment. A local store receptionist said coupons and checks can no longer be accepted and the current advertising mailout will not be honored.

The stores have 90 days to clear out, a West Ashley employee said Friday.