Controversial flyers claim local government is too involved, business owners don’t see it that way


AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – More controversial flyers targeting Aiken leaders were put up over the weekend.

The ads claim the Mayor and city council are trying to shut down several local businesses.

The people behind the claims say the local government is too involved, however local business owners don’t see it that way.

Natalie Carlisle is the owner of Newberry Hall in Aiken, S.C. Carlisle said her catering and venue service is currently on a 5 year lease-option that could potentially keep her in business until 2028.

“We also have first right of refusal for purchasing the building,” Carlisle told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Carlisle says many other areas of Downtown Aiken have been revamped, so it came as no surprise there was talk to sell the property, where her business is located on. She says getting the City of Aiken involved in the redevelopment of this historic area makes the most sense.

“If they have one person or one entity that’s really controlling the way most things look, I think, it could really look well.” She said.

The owner of Newberry Hall says the flyers claiming the City of Aiken is targeting businesses, including hers, seem more like an attempt to start unnecessary rumors.

“I’m hoping we can talk to the developer,” Carlisle said. “Whoever they chose, to come in and revamp things, if that’s what’s going to happen.”

The owner of Warneke Cleaners tells WJBF NewsChannel 6 off-camera the idea of having the property, where their business has been located for more than 80 years, sold is concerning. The even bigger issue is the City of Aiken is becoming involved in the deal.

However, Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon says that’s not the case.

“I think, the thought is that the city wants to immediately close any businesses that’s in that area. That’s not at all what’s happening,” Obson told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Mayor Osbon says City Council wants to embrace change.

Still, to keep the downtown feel the city purchased a $5,000 dollar Transferable Option. That gives city leaders the ability to control what a developer builds on that block of Newberry Street.

“It’s ultimately still going to end up in a developers hands, of some sort,” Obson said. “But now at least we have a say.”

Warneke Cleaners is the Osbon’s Cleaners biggest competitor, that’s why the Mayor says he’s going to recuse himself from this vote.

At this time, developers have not started bidding on the property.Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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