ROCK HILL, S.C. — The fallout over the canceled Panthers headquarters project in Rock Hill continues, and small business owners are speaking out.
“Really after COVID and everything, the training facility was one of our great hopes to bring people back in," said Tara Rhoton with Forte Legato Coffee.
The coffee shop opened right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Located right by the facility's construction site in Rock Hill, they were looking forward to the business the development would bring. Now, Rhoton is trying to figure out what’s next.
“After that first announcement, it really was just like, ‘oh my gosh, what does that mean for us," she said.
The Panthers project included not just a state-of-the-art training facility, but also new headquarters, offices, entertainment, dining, and retail space.
Rock Hill entrepreneur and business owner Ryan Sanderson said small businesses would have benefited from that foot traffic. Now that the project has evaporated, he’s disappointed.
“I mean truly disappointed. From a small business standpoint, there was so much excitement and potential around what the Panthers headquarters would bring," said Sanderson.
Sanderson’s Knowledge Perk coffee roasting business even hoped to partner with the Panthers.
But as an entrepreneur, hope is something Sanderson never loses. The site and building are owned by Tepper, but the location is ideal for many different types of developments.
“There is still an excitement and a hope that this creates another opportunity for something else," said Sanderson.