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Find the Beauty in You at Chroma Hair Studio & Spa

Choosing the right hair salon in James Island, SC, is a little bit like finding the perfect outfit. The materials feel great on your skin, the fabric is flattering to your body type, and when you try it on, you just know - this is the outfit that you have been looking for.

With thousands of hair salons and stylists in South Carolina, choosing the right one can be difficult. You want a salon that is clean, comfortable, and chic. But, more importantly, you need a stylist that "gets" you. Someone who takes the time to understand your preferences, your style, and your personality. You need a stylist who listens, is honest, and has the technical skills to turn your vision into a reality.

An excellent stylist epitomizes all those traits and knows how to adapt to changing beauty trends. They aren't afraid to take on a challenge.

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Welcome to Chroma Hair Studio & Spa

Where the most talented hairstylists in James Island help bring out the beauty in each of our clients. We strive to provide each of our customers with the highest levels of customer service in the beauty industry. At Chroma, we offer a relaxing environment, skillful professionals, and a variety of products with environmentally safe and good-for-you ingredients.

Our goal is to make your salon experience special, from the moment you walk in to the second you leave. With a variety of professional hair and beauty services to choose from, we're sure you will rediscover the "beauty of you" every time you visit our salon.

Here are just a few of our most popular hair and beauty services in James Island:

The key to a great haircut and salon experience is to understand the services we offer, so you can choose the best selection for your needs. What do our salon services entail? Keep reading below to find out.

Hair Studio James Island, SC

Professional Hair Color in James Island, SC

Let's be honest: DIY hair kits can be tricky to get right. They can be complicated to apply and usually have hard-to-understand instructions. Half the time, the color you're left with looks nothing like it does on the front of the box. In a perfect world, you should be able to pop into Target, pick a boxed hair color, apply it at home, and emerge out of your bathroom with a new, beautiful hair color. For most people, this never happens.

That's why people who want flawless color, professional application, and ease of convenience get their highlights at Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.

Whether you are changing your hair color completely or just want a few highlights to switch things up, we are here to create the look and style that you've been dreaming about. At Chroma Hair Studio & Spa, we specialize in the latest hair coloring trends using cutting-edge technology. That way, our clients get the freshest looks, coolest colors, and longest-lasting highlights in town. When you get your highlights done at our hair salon in James Island, we want you to leave excited and ready to share your new hair all over social.

Don't spend hours in the store trying to find the color you think will look great on you. Our team of professional stylists will consult with you about your vision and craft a custom highlight plan that fits you're your unique style. There's a reason why so many customers trust us with their highlights - we genuinely care about your hair and how it looks.

Our professional hair coloring services in James Island are a combination of art and science. The artistic results only last as long as the hair coloring products used, and we use the best. Our hairstylists and colorists are committed to helping you look and feel fabulous, whether you're planning a special occasion or just want to impress that special someone.

 Women's Hair Studio James Island, SC

Get the Look You Crave with Personalized Hair Treatments

Ever taken a chance on a new look or hair color, only to end up embarrassed and unsatisfied with the results? You're not alone - we get calls every week from people just like you who need hair treatment James Island. Sadly, sometimes even the professionals get a color procedure wrong.

Other times, your hair has suffered from years of blow-drying and straightening, and it looks dry, brittle, and unattractive. You know you need a deep conditioning treatment, and you need it ASAP.

At Chroma Hair Studio & Spa, our technicians have treated all sorts of hair problems - from unprofessional coloring with multiple bands of different colors and tones to dehydrated hair and more. Sometimes, our client's entire hairstyle needs to be corrected. To do this, we stock multiple types of color and toners to revitalize hair and give it the color you've been dreaming of. Our team always puts a priority on the health and integrity of your hair, whether it's your first visit or your fortieth.

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 Women's Haircut James Island, SC

Voluptuous Eyelash Extensions in
James Island, SC

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wish that you had fuller, longer eyelashes? You're not alone - thousands of people crave darker, thicker lashes. They settle for what they have, not knowing that a revolutionary lash treatment is waiting for them at Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.

Eyelash extensions have revolutionized fashion culture, saving women untold amounts time and effort in front of the makeup mirror. The great news is that lash extensions aren't just reserved for Hollywood celebrities anymore. Anybody can have the long, fluttery lashes they've been craving, with a trip to our salon.

Eyelash extensions are a fabulous way to enhance your look on a long-term basis and provide you with a small change that makes a huge impact. From the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed, your lashes remain long, sexy, and sultry.

Our eyelash extension specialist works with your existing lashes to apply individual extensions to enhance the natural beauty of your eyes. Using a meticulous application process, we maintain the integrity of your natural lashes so they remain healthy and undamaged.

Whether you're looking for a wispy, effortless look or want your lashes to have mega volume, our lash extension technicians are here to cater to your needs.

Here are just a few reasons why women love our eyelash extension services in James Island:

  • 24/7 Beauty
  • No Damage to Your Natural Lashes
  • No More Mascara or Eye Makeup
  • No Clumps
  • Long, Lovely Lashes That Will Make Your Friends Jealous!

If you're looking for a cost-conscious way to stand out from the crowd, contact our office today. We'd be happy to tell you more about our eyelash extension process and which lashes work best for your needs.

Smooth Out Hair and Add Flair with a Brazilian Blowout

The Brazilian blowout: you've heard about the new craze, you've seen the stunning results, but haven't had a chance to sit down and receive the treatment yourself. Luckily, Chroma Hair Studio & Spa now offers this sought-after style right here in James Island, from certified Brazilian blowout stylists.

If you suffer from dull, frizzy hair that lacks life and shine, the Brazilian blowout is one of the best ways to get smooth, frizz-free hair. By using cutting-edge bonding technology, this customizable treatment doesn't damage your hair at all. Actually, it improves your hair's health by adding a protective layer of protein that smooths your hair for weeks on end.

This ultra-popular choice offers you a laundry list of benefits, like:

  • Protection Against Seasonal Damage
  • Locks in Color
  • Cuts Down on Styling Time
  • Protects Against Heat
  • Seamless Extension Blending
  • Great for All Hair Types

To get the best of both worlds, be sure to schedule your Brazilian blowout and custom hair color treatment in the same appointment. Call us today to learn more about our Brazilian blowouts and to schedule your appointment today.

 Hair Salon James Island, SC

Custom Haircuts in James Island Crafted for You

There are many ways that you can reinvent yourself this season, but if you're ready to make a lasting impression, nothing beats a new hairstyle. While there is nothing wrong with sporting top knots, ponytails, or straight hair, a styled cut from Chroma Hair Studio & Spa will drastically improve your hair game.

Getting a new haircut isn't just fun - it makes you feel good, too, especially when you get a lot of positive compliments.

 Hair Stylist James Island, SC

Our experienced stylists are tapped into today's hottest trends, so if you want to try something new, we're here to help. If you want to play it more traditional, our stylists have a solid foundation of time-tested techniques, to give your existing cut the edge it needs to impress. And sometimes, you need something simple and low-maintenance that cuts down on styling time and primping.

Not sure what kind of a cut you need? We're happy to give you our educated opinion and are happy to provide examples of what we think works. Whatever style you've got your eye on, we can make it a reality!

Here are just a few of the most popular haircut trends in South Carolina:

Natural Textured

Natural Textured

In a time when extravagant dyes and unique hair extensions are all the rage, the natural look will always be trending. This haircut is a great way to rediscover yourself and let your beauty shine organically without overdoing it.

The Shag

The Shag

This medium-length haircut is a classic throwback to the 79s, with a layered look, messy bangs, and lots of attitude. If you like to get ahead of trends before your friends, bring back the shag and rock this retro style with pride.

Curly Bangs

Curly Bangs

This cut will look great during the summer and will give you an innocent look that will get plenty of attention. Great for a short-term haircut or even something special for a big party or Gen-X event.

Long Length

Long Length

Go against the status quo and let your hair down this season. Pixie cuts and shags are all the rage, but rocking a Rapunzel-like haircut will set you apart from the crowd. If you're looking for a more natural, classic look, this could be your haircut.

Find Your French Flair with Balayage

If you're looking to switch up your hair color but can't decide between Balayage or Ombre because, well, you don't know the difference - don't worry. You're not alone!

Balayage is a French technique for highlighting the hair in which the dye is painted to create a natural-looking effect. The goal is to create soft, subtle highlights that make your hair look like it's been kissed by the sun.

While Balayage is the technique of painting the hair, Ombre focuses on the style of the hair. It is the transition from a lighter shade to a darker shade. Typically, Ombres work best for brunettes, but the style can is suitable for blondes too. To achieve the effect of an Ombre, there must be a smooth transition between colors. While the Ombre is a beautiful look, you'll need to work with a professional to get the best results.

Luckily, we offer both Ombre and Balayage in James Island, SC! Short on time? Busy schedule? Only available on weekends? Chroma Hair Studio & Spa offers flexible appointment scheduling to accommodate even the busiest clients. You deserve a fresh new style, and we're here to help when the time is right for you.

The Top Hair Salon in James Island, SC

If you're looking for a hair salon that offers high-end styling without expensive pricing, you're in the right place. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and leave you feeling beautiful, whether you need a touch-up or a total makeover. We offer a relaxing salon atmosphere, skillful stylists, and only the best in professional brands. When it's time for your next haircut, highlight session, or eyelash extension, look no further than Chroma Hair Studio & Spa.

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Latest News in James Island, SC

‘The whole world changed:’ James Island woman hosts 2 Ukrainian refugees

Anna thought the name “Kitty” for her cat was pretty creative. It wasn’t a word you heard often where she lived. In Kramatorsk, everyone spoke Ukrainian or Russian.Now, the only memory she has of Kitty is a Polaroid photo.When Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February the Polaroid was one of the few things Anna put in her one, hastily packed suitcase. Since then, the Polaroid has traveled with her to Poland, Latvia, Mexico, Texas, New York and finally South Carolina.In the months since the invasion, An...

Anna thought the name “Kitty” for her cat was pretty creative. It wasn’t a word you heard often where she lived. In Kramatorsk, everyone spoke Ukrainian or Russian.

Now, the only memory she has of Kitty is a Polaroid photo.

When Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February the Polaroid was one of the few things Anna put in her one, hastily packed suitcase. Since then, the Polaroid has traveled with her to Poland, Latvia, Mexico, Texas, New York and finally South Carolina.

In the months since the invasion, Anna and her husband Eric, have traveled some 9,500 miles seeking a new home. They have asked not to share their last names to preserve their safety.

“We decided to move very far,” Anna said. “I want to have a family, grow children and just be safe.”

She packed some winter clothes for the bitter Ukrainian and Polish temperatures they first encountered, her laptop and a couple of the children’s books she had illustrated back when she had a seemingly normal life. She had a job as a graphic designer and an apartment with Eric.

“We moved to Kramatorsk because it had better conditions for us and we decided to stay there. But the whole world changed. All our plans we built, our apartment,” Eric said. “We miss our home.”

At one point the couple was separated at the U.S.-Mexico border while seeking asylum. They read from bloggers that it was the best route to take to receive a special visa specifically for Ukrainians. Eric was sent back to Reynosa, Mexico, while Anna was allowed to stay across the border in McAllen, Texas. The couple, married for two years, weren’t sure when, or if, they would see each other again.

“We were very upset and I had no way back,” Eric said. “I had no connections, no service, nothing. I don’t speak Spanish. I had stress because I didn’t know what happened with Anna and I didn’t know what I needed to do now.”

Anna went to stay with a family friend in New York and met with an immigration attorney who told her she could add Eric, who is originally from Latvia, to her asylum application. When they got back in touch with each other, Eric came to meet her on a tourist visa.

Eric and Anna are two of an estimated 6.6 million people who have fled Ukraine since February, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. As of April, there were an estimated 15,000 Ukrainian refugees in the United States, the Associated Press reports.

But entry through Mexico is no longer accepted except in “extreme circumstances,” the AP reports. Instead, the U.S. began a new program that requires people or organizations in the U.S. to sponsor Ukrainian refugees before they may enter. The goal is to accept 100,000 refugees into the U.S.

“A lot of Ukrainian people still stay in Mexico and don’t have any opportunity to come here because now it is different rules to come to America,” Eric said. “We’re lucky.”

Choosing Charleston

Some 800 miles away from Brooklyn, Julie Uhler was reading headlines about the war in Ukraine from her home on James Island when she came across a website called www.UkraineTakeShelter.com. Divorced, with her two adult daughters living on their own, Uhler felt compelled to offer up a room.

“I had a couple of friends that were like, ‘what are you doing,’” Uhler said. ”’And I’m like, ‘you know, I don’t know. But how can I not? I’m a mom.’”

Two FaceTime calls with Eric and Anna later and the pair were boarding a plane to Charleston. They knew nothing about the Lowcountry but Anna said she found common ground with Uhler who is also an artist.

The first day was awkward, Uhler admitted with a laugh. She had two strangers in her home, worlds away from the life they knew, still practicing their English.

But it didn’t take long for the trio to settle in. Eric and Anna call Uhler their “American mom.”

With no specific plan in place, Uhler started chipping away slowly at tasks that might be helpful while also trying not to overwhelm the couple. She posted on the neighborhood social media app NextDoor asking for clothing donations that were better suited for a South Carolina summer than a Ukraine winter. One neighbor donated a pair of bikes.

“Day by day. That’s how we’re living,” Uhler said.

Most days over the last two weeks at Uhler’s house, Anna and Eric have worked on Anna’s asylum application and caught up on news of the war with friends and family now scattered throughout Europe. Anna can only communicate with her father and stepfather through text message because they are in the Ukrainian military.

But the couple is forging ahead in Charleston getting more comfortable. Uhler has cooked meals, taken the couple to downtown Charleston, helped find Eric a barber shop and learned to use Google Translate. They also made their first trip to Folly Beach.

“Now we are thinking about being surfers,” Eric said.

The couple can’t find work until their visas are approved, so in the meantime Uhler set up a fundraiser and plans to host them for as long as they need. If given the opportunity, she said she’d do it again.

James Island woman founds housing nonprofit to help single moms going back to school

JAMES ISLAND — Rebekah Lambooy knows the financial burdens single mothers face living in the Charleston region where housing costs have risen dramatically in recent years.Lambooy, a single mom of three — two boys and a girl — struggled after her divorce in 2012 to make ends meet. At the time, she had been paying just under $1,000 in rent. She didn’t qualify for government assistance because her income was just below the federal threshold.Lambooy decided in 2012 to return to college and complete her bache...

JAMES ISLAND — Rebekah Lambooy knows the financial burdens single mothers face living in the Charleston region where housing costs have risen dramatically in recent years.

Lambooy, a single mom of three — two boys and a girl — struggled after her divorce in 2012 to make ends meet. At the time, she had been paying just under $1,000 in rent. She didn’t qualify for government assistance because her income was just below the federal threshold.

Lambooy decided in 2012 to return to college and complete her bachelor’s degree to advance her career. In 2016, she obtained her business degree from the College of Charleston, earning her a raise at her job as a paralegal.

But Lambooy also used her business knowledge to establish a nonprofit that seeks to help other single mothers in similar situations. The James Island resident formed HerIndependence, which provides affordable housing for single mothers obtaining post-secondary education.

Lambooy said she’s grateful to be able to help provide some financial relief for mothers making an effort to advance their education in order to provide for their families.

“I’ve been there, done that,” she said. “I want to help somebody with just a portion of assistance that I can do.”

Lambooy got interested in housing while in college, and the interest inspired her to get a real estate license after graduating. She had also been noticing the rising costs of rent that had taking shape over the years, and she saw affordable housing as a path that could help families in need.

HerIndependence now owns three houses. Two had been abandoned buildings before the nonprofit refurbished them. They house two families where single mothers are heading back to school.

A third home is currently being redone for a new family.

The organization said it has relied mostly on federal housing funds funneled through the city of North Charleston. But as construction costs rise, Lambooy fears it could impact her organization’s ability to provide housing. She eventually wants the group to expand and host multiple projects across the region.

Donations can be made online at herindependence.com.

“This isn’t a handout,” said board member Jennifer Abrusia. “This is a way to help people who want to help themselves.”

Abrusia and Lambooy are friends who initially bonded over shared experiences. Like Lambooy, Abrusia was a single mother who struggled at times financially. The two also share the fact that they each received strong support from relatives.

“We both have kind of walked this path a little bit,” Abrusia said.

Lambooy recalled the difficult journey of balancing classes, children and a full-time job.

She scheduled her college courses at 8 a.m. so she’d be home in time to take her children to school. She’d then go to work, and then pick them up from school in the afternoon. Her day wasn’t complete until she’d finished taking them to their sports and other extracurricular activities.

Lambooy, too, said she’s thankful for those who stepped in and gave her a helping hand.

“I have a lot of supportive friends and family,” she said.

What’s it mean to be a coastal grandmother in SC? Whether you’re 22 or 73 you might be one

You don’t have to be a grandma, or anywhere close to it, to achieve this title. In fact, you can be any age and live practically anywhere to channel your inner coastal grandmother. Chances are if you live in South Carolina, you might be one.Exactly what is the coastal grandmother aesthetic?To be a coastal grandmother here in South Carolina means to live a lifestyle based primarily out of necessity — a natural way of living, but for many, it is an aspirational lifestyle inspired by Nancy Meyers films, or more specifi...

You don’t have to be a grandma, or anywhere close to it, to achieve this title. In fact, you can be any age and live practically anywhere to channel your inner coastal grandmother. Chances are if you live in South Carolina, you might be one.

Exactly what is the coastal grandmother aesthetic?

To be a coastal grandmother here in South Carolina means to live a lifestyle based primarily out of necessity — a natural way of living, but for many, it is an aspirational lifestyle inspired by Nancy Meyers films, or more specifically the romantic comedy, “Something’s Gotta Give.”

“Coastal grandmothers are those who are effortlessly stylish (but in a comfy way), have a put-together presence (without trying too hard), know how to be the best hostess (while never breaking a sweat,) and appreciate the finer things (yet still feel approachable,)” according to Southern Living Magazine.

The lifestyle embodies the love for clean, light, simplistic beachfront properties, white button-down shirts, Ina Garten, cozy interiors, fresh flowers, white wine, going to bed early and a laid-back, minimalistic, coastal feel. For those here in South Carolina, it’s an instinctual way of interior style and dressing relative to the climate.

Epitomized by Diane Keaton’s linen-clad 2003 movie character, who frequents farmer’s markets and drinks white wine in an all-white kitchen and oceanfront Hamptons estate, the coastal grandmother style is one that is chic, comfortable, light and airy.

The style has recently monopolized trends and lifestyle goals, ranging from fashion to interior design, to a whole perspective on life and way of living.

The typical coastal grandmother does not decorate her home as a maritime museum, but rather, he or she gravitates toward coastal neutrals, light-colored breezy linens, minimalistic style and light-colored, chunky knit sweaters.

When it comes to creating a home that fits this coastal aesthetic, luxury furniture and accessories maker Serena & Lily describes the coastal grandmother style as “white knits, ocean blues, classic designs mixed with relaxed rattan.”

Rattan is a good accent choice to pair with neutral decorations as sold by Serena & Lily and offered in many South Carolina furniture boutiques, and investing in some freshly cut flower arrangements, like hydrangeas or peonies, would offer a further coastal grandmother aesthetic similar to the home featured in “Something’s Gotta Give.”

As for fashion, the coastal grandmother is described as being chic yet simply arranged. The pieces in his or her closet are ones that could always be in style. White jeans are a must, as are knit sweaters, cashmere, linen, tortoiseshell hair clips and straw hats. Whites, blues, khakis, creams and pale neutrals are the go-to colors. Comfort and appearing effortless are the two most important things to remember when dressing like a coastal grandmother. Looking comfortable, clean and put together as though ready to relax on the back patio, dock or garden with your favorite glass of white wine is the goal.

“That 45 and up woman around here is, it’s all about three things. Staying cool because it’s so hot here. Being stylish, but they want to look effortless. Every woman wants to throw it on and they don’t want to be too fussy about their hair and their accessories. They want it to kind of look like they just woke up like this,” said Hilton Head Island’s Birdie James owner and creative director, Michelle Taylor, when asked about the coastal grandmother style in South Carolina.

Birdie James can be found in Shelter Cove Towne Center at 28 Shelter Cove Lane, Unit 111, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928.

“I’ve noticed around here, 70 and 80 years old on Hilton Head is like no other place I’ve ever seen. These women are busy, and they’re fit. They are golfing, they’re lunching, they’re volunteering and fundraising and so they want to be dressed for every occasion.”

“Our clients typically come to us for our monochromatic collection.” Taylor continued. “We have some color and we have picked up patterns and pops of color. Currently, we’re the most colorful we’ve ever been.”

“I really feel like Birdie James was really strong in that sort of grays, beige color scheme and so we have collections that offer those beiges, grays, light blues, light greens, anything that’s really sort of like minty but sort of cloudy.”

While you can be a coastal grandmother anywhere, the mantra fits in seamlessly with that of the Palmetto State and its warm, coastal climate and classic timelessness that the state represents. One cannot usually help but be caught up in the simplicity of life among the breezy salt marshes, beautiful landscapes and ocean views.

This story was originally published June 8, 2022 5:00 AM.

Charleston honey company’s growth could help more regional beekeepers

Six local beekeepers supply Charleston-based Apis Mercantile with honey that is bottled on James Island and shipped to consumers and retail stores throughout the Southeast.One of them is Farrin Tucker of Horsecreek Honey Farms.Tucker has been making honey for over half a century. Based in Holly Hill, he sells about 2,500 pounds of honey per month to Apis Mercantile, the small business Tucker has been working with for five years.&...

Six local beekeepers supply Charleston-based Apis Mercantile with honey that is bottled on James Island and shipped to consumers and retail stores throughout the Southeast.

One of them is Farrin Tucker of Horsecreek Honey Farms.

Tucker has been making honey for over half a century. Based in Holly Hill, he sells about 2,500 pounds of honey per month to Apis Mercantile, the small business Tucker has been working with for five years.

“Of course, it gives us more business and the service they provide is how you want your honey to be treated and done,” he said. “They don’t add things to it that’s bad for honey or bad for people.”

Apis Mercantile partners with small apiaries like Horsecreek Honey Farms throughout the state to source honey that’s bottled in the company’s James Island space. Founded in 2017 by College of Charleston graduates Liam Becker and John Berdux, the company strives to provide access for small and mid-sized producers like Tucker, helping them get into markets that are too-often dominated by imported honey.

“We try to be as transparent as possible with where all the honey is coming from,” Berdux said. “We make no illusions that we are the beekeepers ourselves.”

Apis initially launched as a hemp-infused honey company — products it still offers — but Becker and Berdux have since placed an emphasis on selling raw honey. Tupelo, Orange Blossom and Southern Wildflower honey are all available on the company’s website, along with infused honey.

Apis partnered with High Wire Distilling Co. to create its line of bourbon barrel-aged honey and recently launched a fermented garlic honey, made by soaking garlic in apple cider vinegar and straining it into the honey.

“It’s probably the product that we’re most excited about,” Berdux said.

On its website, Apis shares facts about bees and honey (Did you know that a single honeybee only produces about one-twelfth of a teaspoon in their life?) along with information about how the honey is cared for when it reaches the business. Moving forward, they plan to provide more details on the actual beekeepers themselves.

“We have six partner beekeepers in the Southeast,” Becker said. “We really want to start showcasing them as well … to make it very personal for the end customer.”

According to Tucker — one of the six — Apis makes a concerted effort to do business with the community.

“They keep the local guys involved in their product,” Tucker said. “They want local honey (and) they want good honey.”

Berdux says the mission of Apis Mercantile goes beyond just turning a profit. The proliferation of centralized agribusinesses means consumers are detached from their food sources.

Apis is aiming to change that.

“Apis Mercantile firmly believes that the food systems of the future are regional, regenerative and decentralized,” Berdux said. “In order to address climate change, help the pollinator population and ensure greater regional food security, we need to, as a society, reexamine how food manufacturers operate in the world.”

By partnering with regional farmers, Apis Mercantile reduces the “food miles” between the honey source and the end consumer. Moving forward, Berdux and Becker are planning to scale the business while staying true to their mission. They are currently looking for another production facility that has a bigger footprint to meet their growth.

Eventually, they want to open bottling facilities in different regions across the country.

“Apis Mercantile works exclusively with beekeepers in the Southeast, and when we expand outside of this region, we will open subsequent bottling facilities and grow our network of partner-beekeepers to reduce food miles and to serve the communities we expand to,” Berdux said.

To an outsider, the honey industry might seem like a small piece of the climate change puzzle. Berdux and Becker instead view bees and honey as agents of change.

How Roper St Francis is innovating and expanding health care in the low country

As Roper St. Francis Healthcare crests toward the anniversary of its second century on the Charleston peninsula, it’s making plans to serve growth in the entire Lowcountry. The healthcare system will embark on plans to build a new hospital more central to the Charleston region and expand services in surrounding areas. The move will make healthcare more convenient, accessible and clinically integrated for residents in downtown as well as those in farther reaches of Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties.Dr. Jeff DiLisi, pre...

As Roper St. Francis Healthcare crests toward the anniversary of its second century on the Charleston peninsula, it’s making plans to serve growth in the entire Lowcountry. The healthcare system will embark on plans to build a new hospital more central to the Charleston region and expand services in surrounding areas. The move will make healthcare more convenient, accessible and clinically integrated for residents in downtown as well as those in farther reaches of Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties.

Dr. Jeff DiLisi, president and CEO of Roper St. Francis Healthcare, and Melanie Stith, vice president & chief human resources officer, spoke to the Charlotte Business Journal about growth plans, quality of care, and commitments to patients and employees.

Q: Tell me about plans for the new hospital?

DiLisi: Our mission is to provide convenient, high-value and clinically integrated care to all. The centerpiece of that mission is to move Roper Hospital off the Charleston peninsula so patients can more easily access care closer to where they live and work. We have been downtown since 1850, which had been the center of Charleston for quite some time. But we have had tremendous growth in Summerville, James Island, Mount Pleasant and other areas so the new center of Charleston is now where I-526 and I-26 meet. We hope to build as soon as we can. We are finalizing the purchase of the land and are in design. We hope to be in the new property in five to six years. The new building will be technologically and structurally upgraded.

Stith: This strategic plan by far is our most ambitious and it comes at a time when Charleston is seeing a tremendous explosion of growth. With that comes the need for additional healthcare services. As we build new assets and expand our services, we are going to be able provide top-quality, cutting-edge services.

Q: What does convenience mean for patients?

DiLisi: We are committed to a strong presence on the peninsula and we want to get patient care into the communities. There are 20,000 people on the peninsula, but the Charleston area is close to 1 million people. The closer we get to those million residents, the better. On the peninsula, there’s traffic and the parking is not great. Convenience is a big part of the plan.

Q: And convenience for employees?

DiLisi: When we have gatherings of teammates, I often ask them to raise their hands if they live on the peninsula. I might get one hand raised. When I ask if you live along I-26, half the room raises their hands. Almost all of our teammates will have an easier commute to work. And patients will find it easier to get in and out, find it easier to reach a doctor for a virtual visit.

Q: What other investments is Roper St. Francis making in the community?

DiLisi: In 2019, we opened Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital in what was then a healthcare desert. There had not been a hospital in that area for 40 years, despite its population growth. Our Berkeley Hospital was a $117 million investment in a 50-bed hospital. And now we needed to expand it yesterday because there is so much demand there. We are also making investments in cancer care and orthopedics.

Q: Tell me about your emphasis on quality.

DiLisi: In the most recent grading by Leapfrog Hospital Safety, three of our four hospitals receive a grade of A. Only 120 hospitals nationwide receive that recognition. We think it’s a really important designation since Leapfrog is a national accolade recognizing hospitals for protecting patients from preventable harm or error. We have a dedicated physician leadership structure that stems in part from Bon Secours Mercy Health and the Medical Society of South Carolina agreeing to purchase Roper St. Francis Healthcare in 2019. We are constantly evaluating and investing in ways to improve quality for patients, including implementing a new electronic medical record. I am a physician CEO, and I want to run a healthcare system that I would to send my family to in order to receive the best care.

Q: What makes Roper St. Francis a best place to work?

DiLisi: We were recently named one of Modern Healthcare’s best places to work for the third year in a row. To get that award in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic speaks volumes about our teammates.

Stith: Our mission is embedded in everything we do. When you walk the halls you can see we are carrying out our mission of “healing all patients with compassion, faith and excellence.” It’s a simple mission statement, but we live it every day. When other healthcare systems were laying off people during COVID, Roper St. Francis had a wage continuation program that allowed us to not lay anyone off. Our compassion included partnering with the local school district for daycare options for employees’ children when all of the daycares were closed. Our teammates saw more death and dying in the last two years, especially of young people, and that was hard. We focused on providing more mental health resources, counselors, wellness apps and ways to surround our people with love and support.

Q: What’s the culture like?

Stith: When people join our organization, they talk about what a difference it is that when you walk our halls and people smile and say hello and ask what they can do to help you. It sounds like common sense, but it’s not commonly practiced in healthcare across the board. We try to find joy in our work and have fun at work. We treat each other like family and lift each other up.

Q: How are you recruiting and retaining your workforce amid the Great Resignation?

Stith: We are not immune to the effects of COVID and the Great Resignation. We have nurses who went off to be travel providers because there were a lot of financial incentives to do that. But we are seeing a number of those folks coming home. We have high levels of teammate engagement. Even in the darkest days of Covid, we had 80 percent employee engagement and before COVID we had 90 percent employee engagement. Engagement is really a measure of how invested you are in what you do and the pride you have in your organization and whether you see yourself staying over time. When you are engaged, it just makes your job more enjoyable.

Q: Tell me about your Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts.

Stith: We have a strong focus on DE&I work, not only from a hiring and teammate perspective but also from a health equity perspective. We look at how we meet the needs of the underserved in our communities. With our teammates, our goal is to be reflective of our community. We hired a DE&I officer last July and are focused on that work for our 6,000 employees at four hospitals and over 100 sites and locations of physician and specialty practices.

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