Female-empowering carpentry shop, Caribbean restaurant add to Cayce arts district

By Natalie Szrajer
Posted 5/13/23

The River Arts District in Cayce was formerly filled with vacant buildings and lonely streets.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get 50% of all subscriptions for a limited time. Subscribe today.

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Female-empowering carpentry shop, Caribbean restaurant add to Cayce arts district


Brandy Smoak was tired of walking into home improvement stores and being looked down at by the men who worked there. As a lifelong do-it-yourselfer, she’s used to working power tools and revitalizing furniture.

So it was a natural fit for her to open her shop, Salvage Sisters SC, located at 2006 State St. in Cayce’s River Arts District. Her shop will be a mismatch of sorts, but together, it flows with a variety of vintage and retro finds.

She called her store “a place for sisters and sometimes misters,” not wanting to exclude anyone and welcome all.

“This will be a women’s carpentry shop meant to empower women to be self-reliant,” said Smoak. “A lot of women tell me they’re waiting on a man. I’m going to show them how to do it themselves. I’m not going to do it for them. I’m there 100 percent but I’m teaching them how they can do it on their own.”

Workshops will be in the back, which Smoak still has to get ready, holding about five people to allow space to work on projects and have space for tools.

In the front of the shop will be items Smoak has found in vintage shops. There is an eclectic selection of furniture and household items such as chairs, an old fridge and antique desks.

Smoak will have items people can buy as is or she’ll customize and revitalize them to their liking.

The owner of Cayce shop has a lengthy list of friends who have small businesses, something she wants to highlight.

“I want to host events. I want to have a space for people to have events,” Smoak said.

“I want all artists and creators to be here,” she added, motioning to some entrepreneur friends in attendance at her May 6 grand opening.

Nector Soto owns Candita’s Boriken Delish, while Shamika Pichey owns Sebastian Harper.

Soto’s business is dedicated to his late Puerto Rican grandmother using her recipe for a spice blend meant to “enhance cooking,” he said.

“I wanted to bring my grandma’s recipe to reality,” said the Puerto Rican born and bred Soto.

Soto explained the spice combination can be used with meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes, and all it takes is one tablespoon to enhance dishes.

Pichey has known Smoak for about a decade. Pichey has her own essential oil shop, utilizing the oils in bath and body products. Some of her items will be available in Smoak’s shop for purchase.

Pichey said Smoak has always been into refurbishing furniture.

“She’s always been like, ‘Let me do this myself,” Pichey added.

In addition to refurbishing furniture and other retro pieces, Smoak also teaches aerial yoga and has a small handful of aerial yoga swings in her store. She said she’ll host small classes at the shop.

The process of getting the formerly vacant building took time, and Smoak said there was much to do.

“I started last September with my former business friend. We had drop ceilings we redid,” she said, noting that she initially had a partner in the endeavor, who helped in preparing the space.

The shop will be open Wednesday through Sunday with loose hours from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. 

Caribbean restaurant opening down the street

Smoak is just one entrepreneur taking advantage of the River Arts District in Cayce. Smoak’s business neighbor is Sullange Soloman who is looking to move into 2008 State St. and open her Caribbean restaurant, Trini Lime Caribbean Café.

Soloman said she is hoping for an early summer opening. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago and eventually settled in Columbia. While she’s side-hustled in the catering business, owning a restaurant made sense as she’s always had a passion for cooking thanks to her grandmother.

“My grandma had a school café in Trinidad and Tobago,” said Soloman, who inherited her grandmother’s passion. “Our food is full of flavor and it’s not spicy. It’s filled with different herbs and seasonings.”

She makes all the food herself using recipes her grandmother taught her.

There will be a variety of authentic Caribbean dishes as well as specialty drinks such as sorrel mimosas and passionfruit mimosas. One of her favorites is a dish from back home called coocoo stewfish and calloo.

She describes it as a stew-like dish with coconuts and pumpkin or butternut squash sautéed in a gravy.

Soloman actually stumbled upon the building by accident when she was driving for Lyft, one of her other side hustles. In December 2021 she saw the rental sign and in March of 2022 she started the demo work on the former Helping Hands building. 

The restaurant will have rotating menus — one for Tuesday and Thursday, one for Wednesday and Friday, one for Saturday — with Sunday reserved for special events.

The restaurant will be open Tuesday-Saturday (10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.).

Part of the plan

The River Arts District in Cayce was formerly filled with vacant buildings and lonely streets until Cayce Mayor Elise Partin got the ball rolling after being invited to the Mayors Institute on City Design in 2015.

“This was the original hardware city,” said Partin, noting that time wor one, and eventually, “Everything was shuttered.”

The institute got her thinking about possibilities for the area.

“I learned about pre-vitalization,which is the art of what’s possible. I had to help people see what’s possible,” Partin said.

The mayor encouraged building owners to clean out the vacant spaces, and eventually the first city-organized Soiree on State block party happened in 2017, which she aid was an “economic engine” to get people to bring something special to this unique area.

Thanks to local artists, murals and artwork were painted on buildings, and slowly businesses gave life to rundown buildings. Grants were also utilized to bring the arts district up to date.

In addition to Salvaged Sisters and Trini Lime, a host of businesses have taken root in the district in recent years, including Piecewise Coffee, the gallery State of the Art, the restaurant/bar Henry’s, and the bicycle shop Dialed.

cayce business, river arts district, Trini Lime Caribbean Café, salvaged sisters sc


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here