Client Stories

Tim Waters

Tim Waters is the CEO of Elijah Craig LLC and is in the process of building a Save A Lot in the heart of downtown Florance, SC. Waters has been working of this project for almost 20 years and was turned down by 38 banks. He worked to pull together federal aid and grants over the years and is now slated to open his supermarket on July 14. COVID-19 has delayed the process, but Waters is pushing through to accomplish his goal. Optus bank came in and processed his PPP loan and Waters now fills out applications for others to be processed by us. He completed 12 applications through our portal that have been successfully approved.



Earl Cooper

Earl Cooper owns several businesses in the Columbia area including two restaurants and a hair salon. He got started with his pizza business after his landlord approached him and asked if he was interested in the space next to the salon. Earl is a huge pizza fan and has always wanted to open a pizza restaurant. After doing some research and taking the necessary steps, he went ahead and opened Slice of Columbia. Optus helped with financing the equipment needed to get the business going. His favorite part about opening his new business is learning all about the pizza industry and learning all the ins and outs of owning a pizza shop.



John Clark- Clark Law Firm

John Clark and his wife, Sharon Clark are personal Injury lawyers and have been practicing law since 1998. They were originally leasing a building during the city of Sumpter’s revitalization. For a 30-year period, there were no new buildings in downtown Sumpter, so the city put out incentives for businesses to build. The Clarks wanted to take advantage of this opportunity but needed funding. John met with Deborah Dawson, our Head SVP of Lending and Credit Administration, who put together a package for him to finance his new building. He was proud to use a black-owned bank and a black contractor to build his 6,000 sq foot building in downtown Sumpter, ending the 30-year drought. Since the buildings opening in 2005, they have been able to employ 8-12 people and expand their business. John Clark has even become a shareholder of Optus Bank.



Jeff Nates

Jeff Nates is a CPA at the Hobbs Group accounting firm. He works with his clients to get them the loans they need and deserve but also goes above and beyond to help them navigate through COVID-19. Since March, his clients have been struggling to make a profit and still receive an income. Nates has had to figure out and manage the next steps for several of his clients. Nates connected several of them with us because he knew we are looking to help businesses who have trouble at other banks. He became close with our board members and started pipelining his clients over to us to apply for PPP loans. Multiple of his clients have received PPP loans through Optus while being able to avoid layoffs. Optus has formed a strong relationship with Nates and his clients. Nates works extremely hard every day to ensure his clients will survive and blossom throughout COVID-19.



Harriet Lampkin

After working for corporate and inhouse law firms, Harriet Lampkin decided she wanted to do her own thing. So, in 2015 she started Lampkin Law firm and it was just her side-gig. Eventually, the firm grew and grew and by 2018 she wanted to buy a commercial space for the firm. Lampkin needed a loan and Optus gave her the best interest rate and lowest down payment option. After she settled in at the building her firm continued to grow, and she purchased a new commercial building with aid from Optus in 2020. She has also received her first PPP loan by applying through Optus and applied for the second draw. Lampkin has been practicing law for 11 years now is in the process of expanding her business, she is hiring more people and looking at opening a building in another city in SC. She is thankful to be able to grow her firm in the middle of a pandemic.



Barry Walker

Barry Walker started his career off as an entrepreneur on Main Street in downtown Columbia, as owner of Macs on Main, a restaurant he owned for 14 years. He began working with Optus to help with financing and customer relationship experience for his restaurant. Seven years ago, he retired from the restaurant business and became a Politician. Barry currently serves as the first African American Mayor of Irmo, SC. He is in the process of making new policies and ordnances to help the town get through COVID-19. They are also working on building a community garden, dog park and skate park. Walker highlights that Irmo is prime for growth and he works to network and make connections with people in the business community to expand the town.



Angela McDuffie – Midlands Fatherhood Coalition

Midlands Fatherhood Coalition helps fathers who are trying to rebuild their lives and relationships with their family. They take a holistic approach and look at a father’s entire situation. Education and various other services are offered and tailored to each father in hopes to bring them to their full potential. Midlands Fatherhood Coalition really targets three core areas: parenting, healthy relationships, and economic stability. They have expanded across the Midland country and in 2020, they were able to keep their doors open and help so many fathers cross the finish line. They also have acquired and built a new space where fathers and their children can come to connect and hang out. Their mission is to strengthen families through father engagement. The Coalition was able to receive a PPP loan through Optus and never had to stop pursuing their goals.



Calabash Tea & Tonic

Calabash Tea & Tonic is a tea house with two brick and mortar locations in Washington D.C. They also have a robust website where you can purchase their products. The business is run by, fifth generation master herbalist, Naturopathic Physician and vegan chef, Dr. Sunyatta Amen. A lot of the tea blends and recipes come from her Jamaican grandmother who taught her all about herbal healing. Calabash’s products are meant to connect people with food as medicine. Their online business saw a 400% increase in online sales since last year and they were able to bring in a new employee to fill orders. Check out their website!!



Women Engaged

Founded by Anita Garrett, Women Engaged, is a not-for-profit organization of inter-generational African American women that focus on leveraging their work, wealth and wisdom across South Carolina. As the first all black women’s giving circle in Columbia, they are focused on resource development for African American communities. They target economic empowerment, cultural awareness, social justice and civic literacy to contribute to the wellbeing of the larger community. They host events and have unique experiences to raise awareness about issues that affect the African American community while looking to educate and increase the engagement of African American women in areas that they are interested in. Women Engaged was birthed as a concept in 2015 and has continued to grow with its outreach and efforts ever since! Support them in helping develop better opportunities for African American comminutes across South Carolina.




Orlando Snipes

Orlando Snipes has successfully grown his commercial cleaning and landscaping business to include three full time employees and dozens of residential and commercial contracts. To assist him with a recent business expansion, we consolidated his equipment debt, lowered his monthly payments while financing additional equipment and providing a line of credit to pursue larger contracts. 



Kadenia Javis

Optus Bank had the privilege of serving Ms. Kadenia Javis with credit and banking services to help grow her successful Javis Financial Services business into a new facility. Ms. Javis shares the financial empowerment mission of Optus Bank and lives it by helping her clients live better financial lives. We encourage you to check out her story and services at https://javistax.com.



Mary Sparrow

Optus Bank and the City of Columbia partnered with Chestnut Cottage to provide financing.  When COVID-19 vaporized her revenues, Optus Bank stepped by helping Mary with applying for the Paycheck Protection Plan loan. 



Royal Auto

Royal Auto, a long time hard working customer of Optus Bank, had to pause their auto repair business due to COVID-19.  Optus Bank provided them with funds to restart and reopen their business.



Harp & Shamrock Croft

Harp & Shamrock Croft, is a homestead farm located in Spartanburg, SC. Optus Bank helped these entrepreneurs and as a result they have helped their surrounding community thrive.



Gail Wilson

As owner of Anchor Shred & Recycle Co., a female minority owned small business, Gail values the importance of giving back to the community. Hear her story on why Optus Bank is important to our community and how we support local small businesses.



Rob & Rachel Turner

Rachel and Rob Turner previously spent 12 years involved in church planting and refugee ministry in Turkey. The Turners are devoted to creating spiritual wealth through their ministry, and currently serve as leaders of the Arsenal Hill Presbyterian Church, a multi-ethnic church focused on bridging economic and racial divides in Columbia.


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