Susan Botts-Petty and Jim Petty of Greenwood have bought the Belmont Inn, the iconic Abbeville hotel.
They purchased it from Edie New and Re’nee Smith of Abbeville on April 1.
“I’ve been employed here for a year,” said Susan. “I began working here on April 1, 2019.”
She has worked as front desk clerk, events coordinator, and most recently general manager.
Before she worked at the Belmont, “I was a retired grandmother,” she said.
“Jim and I previously owned a marketing company--National Automotive Sales,” she said.
Susan grew up in Calhoun Falls and graduated from Calhoun Falls High School in 1973. At Calhoun Falls high she was a cheerleader. “I was just involved in a lot of clubs and activities at Calhoun Falls,” she said.
Jim, meanwhile, grew up in Irmo, on the outskirts of Columbia, and graduated from Irmo High School in 1972.
Jim went on to attend the University of South Carolina.
“He was a member of the USC band,” she said. “He played the trumpet.”
Jim has extensive restaurant experience, having worked as area manager with Bojangles and Wendy’s in several states.
“He is currently employed with Quality Nissan Kia Used Cars as an automobile salesman,” she said.
“We share a large family living in South Carolina and North Carolina,” she said.
Jim and Susan have never owned a hotel before.
“This is our first experience,” she said.
“I am very excited even in the midst of all this uncertainty,” she said. “I feel like the economy will bounce back, and we’ll again enjoy having guests in our restaurant and bar, Tinker’s Alley, and the many guests who have visited and will soon visit.
“We’ve had guests from all over the world here,” she said. That includes Sweden, China, Iceland, Mexico.
There was a couple from Switzerland traveling around the South because of their interest in the Civil War, she said.
“And we’ve had many visitors that are associated with the industries in town,” she said.
The hotel has provided accommodations for entertainers performing at the Opera House, hosting many after parties.
“We aim to carry on the traditions of the Belmont, providing the perfect venue for weddings, family reunions, business meetings, and many other special occasions.
“We have local organizations who meet here,” she said.
“We have 25 rooms, which includes a suite with a balcony overlooking the Square, and a full service kitchen with a bar,” she said, adding that the hotel has about 14 full and part time employees.
Currently, the Belmont is operating with a skeleton crew, given the concerns of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We continue to have guests booking rooms at the inn,” she said.
“I’d like to thank Edie and Re’nee for allowing us the opportunity to keep the Belmont alive, and such an important part of Abbeville, and Abbeville’s history.
“We will be adding some of our own personal touches,” she said. “Visit us soon, and see how we have made it our own.
“This journey began by a friendship started awhile ago at a community Bible study,” she added.
Susan praised her friendship with Nicole Matthews, Re’nee’s daughter, who she said inspired her to come and work at the Belmont--she noted that she and Nicole had met at the community Bible study in Greenwood. “It’s a worldwide Bible study group,” said Susan.
“I feel like this was God’s plan--to share my love for people at the Belmont Inn,” she reflected. “I appreciate the support of my husband Jim and my family and friends through this endeavor.
“Stay well and hope to see you all in the future” she closed by saying.