Mattress storein Johns Island, SC

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Sleep King - Where the Prices Are a Sweet Dream!

There are a lot of mattress companies in South Carolina that claim to have the perfect mattress for everyone. At Sleep King, we believe that every person is different and has different needs when it comes to their mattress. That's why our mattress store in Johns Island, SC, has a wide variety of beds and brands to choose from. That way, you can find the right mattress for your body and get the very best sleep quality possible.

As a family-owned and operated mattress store with more than 40 years of experience in the sleep industry, we know a thing or two about comfortable mattresses. Johns Island residents choose Sleep King because we provide our customers with a personalized shopping experience. When you walk through our showroom doors, we want you to feel comfortable - both on our mattresses and with our store associates. At Sleep King, you won't ever have to worry about pushy salespeople and limited selection. Instead, you will discover that we encourage you to take your time as you search for your next bed. Sleep is incredibly important, and by proxy, finding the right mattress for your body type is too.

When you visit our showroom in Johns Island, know that we are a full-service store with mattress experts ready to help. From questions about mattresses and their warranties to financing and mattress delivery, there's no question we haven't heard before.

We carry some of the most popular brands in America, and unlike other mattress stores in Johns Island, offer them at the lowest prices around, guaranteed. There's a reason why we were voted your #1 mattress store in the Lowcountry - because we truly care about our customers and their quality of sleep!

Looking for discounts? Need to buy your mattress on a strict budget? We've got you covered at our new mattress clearance center in Johns Island, where we have more than 50 models on display at 50-80% off retail value. Don't forget to ask us about our flexible financing options, where no credit is needed to make a purchase. Paying cash? We'll knock 5% off your bill!

As if that weren't enough reason to visit, remember that we provide free delivery, setup, and removal of your old mattress for FREE when you make a purchase at Sleep king.

What Clients Say About Us

Why Choose Our Mattress
Store in Johns Island, SC?

Our business model is simple - give customers quality beds from national brands at amazing prices, coupled with unmatched customer service. We know that your sleep is essential but also understand that normal folks aren't made of money. You need a solution that isn't going to break the bank, which is why we offer up to 75% off our products.

Mattress Company Johns Island, SC

When we say we have a bed for every budget, we're serious.
A few of our mix and match deals include:

Sets Prize
Twin Mattress Sets Beginning at $169.00
Full Mattress Sets Beginning at $199.00
Queen Mattress Sets Beginning at $229.00
King Mattress Sets Beginning at $449.00

Of course, a mattress would be incomplete without a headboard, footboard, and rails. For queen mattresses, those items combined are only $199. At our mattress store, we pledge to beat any competitor's price on similar product specs - guaranteed! Here are just a few of the benefits of shopping at Mattress King

  • *FREE* Bed Frame for Your New Bed*
  • *FREE* Same-Day Local Mattress Delivery to Your Home*
  • *FREE* Set-Up & Removal of Old Mattress from Your Home*
  • *FREE* Mattress Pad Included with New Mattress*
  • Rest Easy with Our 60-Day Comfort Guarantee
  • We Have the Best Selection of Mattresses in Johns Island with Five National Vendors
  • On-Time Delivery
  • Best Warranties in the Industry
  • Sleep King Will Beat Anyone's Advertise Price by $50*(on purchases $299 and above)
  • 0% Financing for 48 Months (APR, With Approved Credit)
  • *See Store for Additional Details
Our Selection of National Mattress Brands

Our Selection of
National Mattress
Brands

At Sleep King, we carry the largest selection of high-quality national brand mattresses in Johns Island.

 Mattress Store Johns Island, SC
 King Mattresses Johns Island, SC

Sleep King MLILY Mattresses

Often considered the best mattress brand in the world, innovation sets MLILY mattresses apart from others. Our customers love MLILY mattresses because they are expertly built through decades of research and rigorous testing. The folks at MLILY are committed to precision, meaning every detail of product detail they push is geared towards the ultimate satisfaction and comfort.

 Adjustable Mattresses Johns Island, SC

Sleep Restonic Mattresses

Restonic Mattresses: Restonic line of mattresses are multi-layered beds with cooling foam technology that adds resilience, support, and temperature control. The result is a cool, comfy sleep that leaves you refreshed and ready to attack the day.

 Bedroom Furniture Johns Island, SC

Sleep King Comfort Sleep Mattresses

Every mattress in the Comfort Sleep lineup has a great combo of support and comfort, making for a restful night's sleep. With heavy-gauge coils and high-performance materials, these mattresses are durable and built to last. Be sure to try one of these mattresses out in our showroom - our customers love the pocketed coils and minimal motion transfer.

 Bedroom Suits Johns Island, SC

Sleep King Golden Mattresses

The Golden brand is lesser known than some, like Tempurpedic. Still, it is a quality product with many foam and non-foam options that we think you'll love. Choose from standard memory foam, hybrid, and innerspring options while visiting our showroom in Johns Island.

Tips on Choosing the Best Bed

There's much more to choosing a good bed than how you think it will look in your bedroom. There's plenty to think about, from innerspring options to memory foam and even hybrid mattresses. At Sleep King, our priority is our customers. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service. We want to do right by you, which why we want to be sure you find the perfect bed when you visit our mattress store in Johns Island, SC. To help you get started, here are a few tips on choosing the best bed for your sleep needs.

Visit a Showroom

Visit a Showroom

This tip might seem like a no-brainer to some, but it's important that you visit a showroom so that you can lay on different beds to get a feel for what you like. At Mattress King, you will have the chance to explore different styles, designs, and shapes, and mattress materials. Finding a bed online at a price you can afford is great, but you should lie on the bed first, not just look at it on a screen.

 Full Bedroom Sets Johns Island, SC
Determine Budget

Determine Budget

Here's a surprising fact: just because a mattress costs more money, it doesn't mean it's going to be a better bed. Sure, more expensive beds might have newer technologies and materials, but not everyone has the budget to walk into a mattress store in Johns Island and spend $3,000. Figure out what price range you're comfortable paying and look at the best options for your bottom line.

 Furniture Store Johns Island, SC
Consider Bedroom Size

Consider Bedroom Size

Before you swing by our showroom and start trying out beds, it might be a good idea to measure the space where your new mattress will go. If your bedroom is on the small side, a king-sized bed might be too big. Similarly, a small bed in a huge room might make for strange aesthetics. Aim for a reasonable amount of room around your bed - enough where you can walk around comfortably. As mentioned above, get specific measurements of the area you plan to use. That way, you have peace of mind knowing your new mattress will fit in your bedroom.

 Furniture Showroom Johns Island, SC
Consider Bedroom Size

Choose a Mattress Material

This tip often comes down to personal preference. It will take a little bit of trial and error to figure out which material works best for your back - innerspring, memory foam, or latex. While your friend's and family's opinions matter, keep in mind that their mattress choice was subjective. What works for them won't necessarily work for you.

Need a quick refresher on different mattress materials? Here's a quick overview
 King Bedroom Sets Johns Island, SC

Innerspring

Also called coil mattresses, innerspring beds are probably the most well-known on this short list. Innerspring mattresses are often more affordable than their latex and memory foam counterparts. These beds are ideal for people who want a lot of support and a cooler night's sleep.

Latex

This material is known for its great cooling properties and overall comfort. With latex, there are no strange off-gassing odors like you sometimes get with memory foam. Latex mattresses are ideal for people who want a responsive, bouncy feel and may have problems sleeping hot.

Memory Foam

First developed by NASA in the 70s, memory foam is probably the most popular material in the modern mattress market. Memory foam conforms to every inch of your body, giving you maximum comfort and support. Memory foam is also know for its anti-motion properties. Memory foam can be a great choice if you tend to toss and turn at night and sleep with a partner who wakes up when you do. Memory foam mattresses are ideal for people who need pressure relief, good support, and refreshing comfort.

Think About Your Back

Think About Your Back

If you have a bad back, it's crucial that you find a mattress with proper support. Slat and spring beds often offer plenty of support, but latex and memory foam options have come a long way. If you want memory foam or latex but find the support to be subpar, consider an adjustable base instead of a normal platform. That way, you can always sleep in a comfortable position that benefits your back.

Mattress Company Johns Island, SC

Your Premier Furniture Store
Johns Island, SC

You read that right! Sleep King is the first choice for quality beds in Johns Island, but we also have a huge selection of furniture for your home. If you're looking for a one-stop-shop for mattresses and furniture alike, you have come to the right place. If you're shopping for a new mattress at the best price possible, why not throw in a bedroom suite at an amazing price too?

A few common furniture items that our customers love to add
to their mattress purchase include:
 Mattress Store Johns Island, SC

Living Room Sets - from traditional-style suites with classic textures to modern sets with attractive upholstery, we will help you find the best living room set for your home.

Bedroom Suites - our bedroom suites range from contemporary to classic and come in a variety of colors and styles to compliment your new mattress purchase.

Daybeds - from English-style daybeds available in espresso and cherry colors to multi-purpose beds with pull-out trundles, our selection of daybeds is unbeatable.

Futons - if you have younger children, they will love our futons. Who are we kidding? Adults do too! Futons are incredibly useful in small spaces and convert into comfy-cozy beds perfect for kids of all ages.

Bunkbeds - bunkbeds are another great option to consider if you have kids. Whether you have a classic-style home or an apartment, we have a style that fits you.

At Sleep King, we are proud to have the lowest prices in the Lowcountry

If you like what you see but don't have time to visit our mattress store in Johns Island, don't worry. Our online store is bursting with new items and deals every day. From mattresses and bedding to furniture sets and special sale items, Mattress King has got it all. With the highest quality mattresses, the best prices in Johns Island, a giant showroom with all the options, and a full team of helpful sales associates, you won't ever need to find another mattress and furniture store again!

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Latest News in Johns Island, SC

Oak trees in the crosshairs of development on Johns Island

Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.The grand c...

Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.

Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.

The grand classification means the trees are more than 24 inches in diameter, likely indicating that they are well over 100 years old. As a result, they are protected by city ordinance. Not only are the trees considered an aesthetic trademark of the once entirely rural island but they are also a key component of the area’s ecosystem and a natural flood prevention tool.

“The trees help us for resilience, absorbing water, supplying shade and wildlife habitat,” John Zlogar, chair of the community group Johns Island Task Force, told The Post and Courier. He is one of nearly 30 residents who submitted comments to the zoning board in favor of saving as many trees as possible amid development.

Final decisions

The board ultimately approved both tree removal plans with some caveats.

Developers of the first project, a 71-home planned community near Fenwick Hall Plantation, requested permission to cut down 21 trees. The zoning appeals board reduced that to 15. They also stipulated that the developers of the property must hire an arborist to create a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant 151 new native trees with at least a 2½-inch diameter.

The developers argued that after having an arborist evaluate the trees on the property, the ones slated for removal were already in poor health.

“We designed the proposed concept plan which ultimately preserves 36 grand trees and impacts grand trees only with a health grade ‘D’ or lower,” wrote Jenna Nelson in a letter to the zoning board. Nelson leads the development’s engineering team, Bowman Consulting Group.

If those trees fell naturally, however, they would have returned organic matter to the ecosystem, promoting other forms of plant life that provide food for animals and insects, said Philip Dustan, an ecology professor at the College of Charleston.

“When (the tree) falls down. it slowly rots and releases its nutrients,” he said.

Tree removals at the second project on Johns Island, called Wooddale, were also approved by the board. Instead of removing 172 trees as originally requested, the developers revised the plan to remove 124. They must also develop a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant about 500 native 2½-inch or wider trees. They also have plans to establish a conservation easement along the southern portion of the property, meaning it will be protected from development moving forward.

“Multiple layout alternatives have been explored by following the natural contours of the site by placing most of the density in the highest area to minimize the cut and fill needed as well as minimize the tree and environmental impacts,” wrote Jason Hutchinson, an engineer for the development with firm Thomas & Hutton.

The Wooddale project has been in the works since 2013 because of a lawsuit that hinged on disagreements between the city and the developer about how to zone the development. As proposed, it includes single-family homes, offices, an assisted-living facility and other amenities, according to site plans. Because it is south of the island’s urban growth boundary, it is subject to stricter limitations than the northern tip of the island. The boundary was established decades ago as a way to preserve the island’s rural origins.

The Woodale tract sits not too far away from Charleston Executive Airport where conservationists secured a win earlier this year. The Charleston County Aviation Authority signed off on a deal to place just under 100 acres in a legally binding conservation easement. An agreement with Lowcountry Land Trust will keep 94 acres from ever being developed there.

As growth continues within the boundary’s limits, some residents are trying to advocate for developments with as little ecological impact as possible on the southern side of the boundary line.

Dustan, who lives near Wooddale, is not pleased with the upcoming development. The most ecologically sensitive solution, he said, would be to build elevated homes on pilings and keep all the existing trees intact.

By removing the native trees, the surrounding area is robbed of parts of a centuries-old root network, which can affect the health of surrounding trees.

“A lot of the trees that you see are actually related to each other,” he said.

Although the development follows the city’s storm water standards, Dustan is concerned that runoff created by the new development will overflow nearby Burden Creek during major ran events.

After hurricane Ian came through in September, water was about a foot below breaching the banks of the creek, he said.

“The curious thing is ... if we keep building like this, we might start flooding the new communities, too,” he said.

Procedural changes

Johns Island is seeing a massive influx of growth in ways that is not possible in more developed areas of the city. As a result, the island is seeing a patchwork of new developments separated by stretches of farmland and forests. Longtime residents want to see the city use modern planning tools to lessen the impact of new development on the environment and flooding.

“The area inside the urban growth boundary is only 20 percent of the island, let’s contain the growth in that 20 percent to make sure it’s smart,” Zlogar said.

A citywide water plan, which is currently in the works, will look at the city as a whole to see what types of flood mitigation are needed most and where they would have the most impact. Instead of tackling flood concerns on a project-by-project basis, the city is looking at ways to stop development that increases flooding and identify which flood projects need to be prioritized first.

Instead of trying to drain water as quickly as possible, the city’s main strategy is shifting toward effectively storing floodwater, such as in detention basins, and letting it slowly disperse. One advantage of this approach is that it helps prevent a sinking effect called subsidence. Shifting ground levels due to the movement of groundwater threaten buildings’ foundations and worsen flood risk. Forrest are a natural asset in this type of flood prevention, Dustan said.

“The best way to solve a problem is preventing it from happening in the first place,” he said.

The water plan will be worked into a new citywide zoning ordinance that Charleston officials are also currently drafting.

In the new version, officials want the zoning maps — the guide for what can get built where — to be based on elevation. High ground near major roadways will be fair game for high-density development, in most cases. Low-lying areas and wetlands will be restricted to little or no use at all. The ground rules for development will vary in each area of town. It’s an opportunity to set the framework for how Johns Island can grow in a sustainable way.

As these changes come down the pipeline, Johns Island residents will also have a new advocate in City Hall.

From 2010 to 2020, census data shows the island’s population within Charleston city limits doubled from nearly 5,300 residents to almost 12,000. As a result, in recently approved City Council redistricting maps, Johns Island will get its own council member for the first time in 2024.

How the city approaches tree preservation will need to be tailored to Johns Island, too, Zlogar said. The existing tree ordinance was designed with more developed areas of the city, such as the peninsula, in mind. There, developers are typically requesting to remove one or two trees in an already built-out neighborhood. But on Johns Island, developers are purchasing lots with upwards of 100 acres of land.

“We have a tree ordinance but to my knowledge there is no forest ordinance and that is the problem,” Zlogar said.

Every tree removed affects the overall ecosystem of a forest. And replanting smaller trees, even of the same variety, doesn’t have the same ecological benefit.

“It’s the equivalent of tearing down an apartment building and putting up a woodshed,” he said.

The other concern from Dustan and other community members is that the tree ordinance does not take a holistic view of the island. Saving contiguous swaths of forest is more effective strategy than saving groups of trees on a lot-by-lot basis. Having interrupted clusters of forest reduces storm water absorption and splits up wildlife habitats as well.

“We’re not seeing the forest for the trees,” Dustan said.

Reach Emma Whalen at 843-708-5837. Follow her on Twitter @_emma_whalen.

Price tag for extending I-526 across Johns Island reduced slightly, to $2.2B

Charleston County has received a reduced cost estimate for the long-planned and controversial Mark Clark Extension project, but it’s a price tag that would still leave the county responsible for paying $1.78 billion.That’s about five times the county’s yearly general fund budget.Several council members who support finishing the Interstate 526 loop said the most likely path toward paying for it would be another half-percent sale tax increase that would require local voter approval.“We just have to ...

Charleston County has received a reduced cost estimate for the long-planned and controversial Mark Clark Extension project, but it’s a price tag that would still leave the county responsible for paying $1.78 billion.

That’s about five times the county’s yearly general fund budget.

Several council members who support finishing the Interstate 526 loop said the most likely path toward paying for it would be another half-percent sale tax increase that would require local voter approval.

“We just have to be willing to move forward and do it,” Councilwoman Jenny Honeycutt said. “Every day I get more and more calls.”

The project would create a 9½-mile, four-lane road from the current end of I-526 in West Ashley, to Johns Island and then onto James Island with a connection to the end of the James Island connector at Folly Road.

Most of the road would be elevated, with a proposed speed limit between 35 and 45 mph.

The marginally better cost estimate was delivered by S.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall in a letter to the county. The previous price tag was estimated at $2.35 billion, while the new estimate that followed a consultant’s study came in at $2.2 billion.

“I think initially there was some thought that maybe we have overinflated the numbers,” Hall said.

When the higher cost estimate came out in May, Bradly Taggart, co-founder of Charlestonians for I-526, told County Council members that a temporary spike in commodity prices was likely to blame. He predicted that “we could be looking at a project that costs half as much in six months’ time as the market rebalances.”

Instead, the estimate dropped by less than 7 percent.

Hall said the estimated $150 million reduction came mainly from reducing the cost of potential “risk elements” — surprises during construction, such as unplanned conflicts with utilities or unexpected poor soil conditions — and partly from reducing expected cost inflation.

“This estimate has built into it every possible contingency for things that could go wrong,” said Honeycutt, who said she thinks the actual cost will be lower.

Hall asked the county to develop “a financial plan that is rational and realistic” for the entire road project, which would be required in order to get final approval for an environmental review from the federal government. She also asked the county to approve $150 million in preliminary work, with the county paying half that cost, to keep the plan moving forward.

Honeycutt and Council Chairman Teddie Pryor both said they favor a new half-percent sales tax referendum as the best way to pay the cost. County voters previously approved two such sales tax increases, mostly to fund road projects.

Pryor said if there were another referendum, it could be entirely dedicated to funding the Mark Clark Extension. The most recent sales tax increase, following a 2016 referendum, was expected to raise $1.89 billion for specified road projects in the county, over 25 years.

The county received the new cost estimate for the Mark Clark Extension on Dec. 2, a spokesperson said, and has not had time to discuss it. The earlier higher estimate was delivered to the county in May.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry,” Councilman Henry Darby said at the time. “I would never, ever go with this.”

The Mark Clark Extension has lots of support, including the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the city of Charleston and the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, but also lots of opposition. The Coastal Conservation League said in May that the multibillion-dollar price tag “is a perfect opportunity for Charleston County Council to walk away from this project.”

A community organization called Nix 526 has also been fighting the extension, and Charleston Waterkeeper and the S.C. Wildlife Federation have raised objections.

Supporters say it’s necessary for traffic relief and possible hurricane evacuations, while opponents say it will increase development on Johns Island and harm the environment while providing little traffic relief at great cost.

New roads tend to provide traffic relief for a time but also spur development. The existing portion of I-526 from North Charleston to Mount Pleasant initially provided traffic relief and a new hurricane evacuation option, but it also accelerated development in northern Mount Pleasant and on Daniel Island. The state is currently planning to spend about $4 billion to widen that part of the interstate.

Here are some numbers to put $1.78 billion in context:

The S.C. Department of Transportation assumes that if the Mark Clark Extension project goes forward, litigation could delay it by two or three years.

Pryor blamed opponents for the rising costs of the project, and said it could have been built for far less years or decades ago. In 2015, the cost estimate was $725 million.

Unlike the even-more-expensive plans to widen and improve the existing sections of I-526 — for about $7 billion — the state in 2019 limited its contribution to the Mark Clark Extension project to $420 million and the county agreed to finance the rest.

“Our interstate program is focused on upgrading our existing interstates,” said Hall, and those plans are focused on moving freight and aiding commerce. The state is pursuing plans to widen all or portions of interstates 526, 26 and 95, and to redesign multiple interchanges.

County Council is expected to discuss options for the Mark Clark Extension at a future meeting. Hall did not put a deadline on her request for action.

Larger supermarket proposed to replace Harris Teeter between Kiawah and Seabrook islands

A longtime supermarket that serves shoppers of Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns islands could be relocated and enlarged under proposed plans.The existing 38,000-square-foot Harris Teeter Village Market grocery store could expand to nearly 54,000 square feet in a newly built store as part of a proposed retail development on a nearly 22-acre parcel behind the existing Freshfields Village Shopping Center.Property owner Riverstone Properties LLC of Richmond, Va., wants to rezone the undeveloped site on Kiawah Island Parkway from low-dens...

A longtime supermarket that serves shoppers of Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns islands could be relocated and enlarged under proposed plans.

The existing 38,000-square-foot Harris Teeter Village Market grocery store could expand to nearly 54,000 square feet in a newly built store as part of a proposed retail development on a nearly 22-acre parcel behind the existing Freshfields Village Shopping Center.

Property owner Riverstone Properties LLC of Richmond, Va., wants to rezone the undeveloped site on Kiawah Island Parkway from low-density residential use to a commercial planned development. The Charleston County Planning Commission recently deadlocked 4-4 on changing the land use and the effort failed.

County spokeswoman Kelsey Barlow said the commission only makes recommendations. The proposed change will now be considered by County Council’s Planning and Public Works Committee on Jan. 12.

Representatives of Riverstone Properties, which is affiliated with the owner of Kiawah Island Golf Resort, and Harris Teeter did not respond to requests for comment on the plans.

Planning commission member Logan Davis said developers indicated at an earlier meeting one reason the supermarket chain wants to relocate to a larger store is so the grocer will have better entry and exit space for deliveries.

Some planning board members wanted a new traffic study while others were concerned about a lack of clarity for the proposed connection to Freshfields Village. The shopping center is owned by Columbia-based Edens, which paid nearly $125 million for the property in June.

One board member expressed concerns that the connection to Freshfields appeared to be near the entrance to a convenience store off Hedgerow Lane and he was worried about the connection across a planted median on Freshfields Drive. He preferred a different connection point.

The development would allow drive-thrus for a pharmacy but not fast food under the current proposal.

The property proposed to be developed most recently was used as a parking area for people attending the PGA Championship Tournament at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island in 2021.

Site plans also show 10,000 square feet of retail space set aside for future expansion of Harris Teeter and 10,000 additional square feet of other retail space on the opposite side of the planned grocery store.

Another 46,400 square feet of retail space would be clustered in seven smaller buildings while a gas station also is part of the site plan.

Chris Corrada of Riverstone Properties told commission members the fuel site would be set 100 feet off of Kiawah Island Parkway and would be buffered by trees and other foliage.

An additional entryway into the site is planned off the parkway. No homes are being proposed for the property.

Free medical clinic seeking new patients in Charleston’s hospitality industry

Providing benefits like time off and health insurance for hourly workers is a relatively new concept at Charleston restaurants and hotels. Many still do not offer these services for non-salaried employees.Through its Hospitality Inclusion Project Initiative, the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island is helping fill a statewide coverage gap by providing free health care, referrals, emergency care and some prescription services to qualifying uninsured hospi...

Providing benefits like time off and health insurance for hourly workers is a relatively new concept at Charleston restaurants and hotels. Many still do not offer these services for non-salaried employees.

Through its Hospitality Inclusion Project Initiative, the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island is helping fill a statewide coverage gap by providing free health care, referrals, emergency care and some prescription services to qualifying uninsured hospitality workers in downtown Charleston, though you don’t have to be a hospitality worker to be eligible to receive regular clinic care.

Those who live or work on Johns Island, James Island, Wadmalaw Island, Folly Beach, Meggett, Ravenel, Hollywood and Walterboro can also receive care at the clinic.

“We want to make a medical home for them,” said BIFMC Medical Director Dr. David Peterseim.

What exactly does that mean? According to Peterseim, clinic nurses and doctors want to establish care with their patients and see them regularly. In addition to primary care, patients have access to doctors in 19 subspecialties, such as cardiology and gynecology. The clinic’s strategic partnership with Roper St. Francis Healthcare means patients can get free lab tests, cancer screenings and X-rays, along with emergency care at Roper, as long as they are enrolled before the emergency.

“You’ve got a quarterback and a quarterback with all kinds of support from pharmacy to radiology to invasive procedures that are all waiting to see what you need next,” Peterseim said. “You don’t have to chase the emergency room bill that’s going to come if you weren’t enrolled.”

A certified nonprofit, BIFMC’s workforce includes nine paid employees and 130 volunteers, including nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors.

“‘What’s the catch?’ is what some people think,” Peterseim said. “There is no bill generated from any care that’s delivered from the 37 doctors that work here every month.”

The center was opened in 2008 by two retired doctors, Arthur Booth and Charlie Davis, who wanted to establish a clinic that could treat working adults. Initially serving the Johns Island community and surrounding islands, BIFMC in 2018 opened a new clinic across the parking lot from the old one. With this state-of-the-art facility that has the look and feel of a normal outpatient doctor’s office, BIFMC has since expanded its areas of coverage, leading about 1,000 patients to its doors each year.

A member of the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, BIFMC follows the 299 percent poverty guidelines when deciding who qualifies for care. Uninsured individuals aged 18 to 65 in BIFMC’s service area must earn less than $40,634 annually to qualify, while couples who make $54,746 can visit the clinic. (Each additional person in a household adds $14,112 to the upward limit.) Patients must qualify every year.

BIFMC’s patient population was at an all-time high prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Clinic Director Brenda Falls, who said they’re biggest obstacle is raising awareness that they are there. With seven exam rooms, BIFMC has room to nearly double its capacity.

“We were just making a lot of traction, seeing some of our highest numbers that we’d ever seen, and then COVID hit,” Falls said. “If you’re not constantly creating awareness then people really don’t know that we’re here.”

“One of the biggest obstacles to getting patients is adults not realizing they’re eligible,” said Carrie Moores, BIFMC director of Development and Communications. “In my mind, those who work in the hospitality industry are kind of the perfect example of a person who would qualify in a clinic like ours.”

BIFMC can be a resource for the more than 100,000 South Carolinians who fall in the insurance coverage gap.

A decade has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court first upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but the court did so with a caveat. One of ACA’s central tenets — an expansion of the low-income Medicaid program to cover all adults who fall below the federal poverty line — became optional, with the court deciding states could not be compelled to participate in Medicaid expansion. Many states immediately decided the deal was too good to turn down, while several others, including South Carolina, opted out. The Palmetto State remains one of 11 states that have yet to expand the Medicaid program.

“Typically these lower income adults who rely on our services do not receive healthcare benefits via their place of employment, or they work multiple part time jobs without the benefits of any one full time employment. This is particularly true among those in hospitality,” Moores said. “I would say around 75 percent of our patients currently work at least one job, with many working as many as two to three jobs and still cannot afford to access health care.”

Many of the clinic’s volunteers are retired doctors who still have the urge to help those in need. Peterseim, who previously worked as a heart and lung surgeon at Roper for 15 years, was inspired to do more volunteer work after temporarily living with his family in Costa Rica, where he was performing surgeries at a free clinic.

“There are a lot of people that need care, so I got more involved in this project,” Peterseim said.

Some volunteers are active providers, including a dermatologist who closes their private practice every other week to work at BIFMC, while others are using their clinic work as a technical training ground as they pursue careers in medicine.

Diana Osorio has spent 165 hours caring for patients at BIFMC, work that will soon help her become a full-time nurse practitioner.

“You see everything from just regular visits to, ‘You need to go to the emergency room today,’” Osorio said. “What we do here is so meaningful to the patients that we see.”

Prospective patients can learn more about the clinic and fill out an application at bifmc.org.

Commentary: On Johns Island, a sixth road alternative will save our sense of place

Johns Island is much more than a traffic jam: It is a collection of people with deep connections to place and community. Many have been here for generations and have roots in the island’s agricultural history. More are new neighbors who moved to this beautiful Sea Island seeking a purposeful way of life.The island’s roads are in dire need of improvement, which is one reason Charleston County residents voted for the 2016 half-cent sales tax to fund necessary upgrades, such as improvements along the Main Road Corridor. Work ...

Johns Island is much more than a traffic jam: It is a collection of people with deep connections to place and community. Many have been here for generations and have roots in the island’s agricultural history. More are new neighbors who moved to this beautiful Sea Island seeking a purposeful way of life.

The island’s roads are in dire need of improvement, which is one reason Charleston County residents voted for the 2016 half-cent sales tax to fund necessary upgrades, such as improvements along the Main Road Corridor. Work on Segment A, or the flyover at U.S. Highway 17 and Main Road, is moving forward, and now the county is considering Segment C: improvements to Bohicket Road, from Maybank Highway to Betsy Kerrison Parkway.

All five alternative proposed designs create four- and five-lane highways through the southern portion of Johns Island, drastically changing its character.

Hence the formation of Rational Roads, a nonprofit advocacy group whose goal is to develop a more effective, less destructive solution to the five unacceptable options provided in 2020 for the Main Road Segment C project.

Change is hard. New ideas are often deemed “radical” or even “irrational.” But change is necessary. Too many highways in Charleston have cut through and destroyed communities due to a lack of creative visioning. Better, more local solutions for road improvements exist, and to get there, the community must be engaged. Because who understands the safety concerns and chokepoints better than the local community? Transportation planners, engineers and elected officials should rely on community members’ insight from the beginning.

Our grassroots methodology is steeped in community feedback and data. Rational Roads has hosted more than a dozen meetings in the past year via Zoom and at churches, breweries, community gatherings and farmers markets. We’ve engaged developers, conservationists, pastors, students, farmers and more. We have found that Johns Islanders are deeply connected to the soul and preservation of this island. And we know that 21st century problems can’t be solved with 20th century solutions, especially when it comes to road building.

At Rational Roads, we are asking County Council to update the “purpose and need” for the Main Road Segment C project; that’s what will guide the direction of the Segment C project. We feel strongly that the purpose and need should include safety. Johns Island needs a customized approach for our community that goes beyond a five-lane road from point A to point B, stripping our community of its character and missing a critical opportunity to address safety concerns and create a connected sense of place.

The holiday season is upon us, and that means it’s time to continue our beloved holiday traditions that have been passed on to us by our loved ones.

We raised funds to work with traffic engineers to develop a sixth alternative, one that addresses our island’s traffic needs by adding left-turn lanes, roundabouts and intersection improvements at key locations where accidents are happening and congestion is occurring. Our local traffic data revealed that the worst safety and congestion issues exist between Mary Ann Point and Edenvale roads.

Through our conversations with residents across the island, we heard loud and clear that the road should be aligned with the island’s rural character, so Alternative 6 includes safe and connected streets with infrastructure for all road users, including people on foot and on a bike.

These types of improvements, combined with upgrades to Johns Island’s community center, would improve our sense of place, reflect our community values and enhance our quality of life.

Choosing inclusivity over divisiveness, we have engaged County Council members, elected leaders at the city of Charleston, state lawmakers and county staff, and we are finding renewed hope that collaboration can lead to bold improvements. Our plan can be adapted to avoid wetlands, home relocations and trees. Working with County Council and staff, we will keep improving Alternative 6 to ensure that it is the least-destructive and most cost-effective approach.

As we update our design based on recent feedback, we ask County Council to include safety and context-based designs in the project’s stated purpose and need. We can either have a road that looks like Highway 17 cutting through our island’s rural heart or a series of street and traffic upgrades that work together to enhance safety and incorporate localized designs based on a cohesive community vision.

We have the tools to build better roads. Rational Roads is showing that working together every step of the way will help us do just that.

Kate Nevin is a co-founder of Rational Roads for Johns Island and a Johns Island resident.

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