Greyhound Flats, Main Street Beaufort USA Win Statewide Awards

Kevin and Rosemary Cuppia's renovation of a former Greyhound bus station into a two-suite hotel that pays homage to the site's history has garnered them a statewide award.

Main Street South Carolina selected the Cuppias' project in downtown Beaufort for its Gaines Jontz Rehabilitation Award, to be presented next month at the Municipal Association of South Carolina's annual meeting on Hilton Head Island.

Main Street Beaufort, USA -- which submitted the Cuppias' renovation for consideration -- also will take home Main Street South Carolina's Outstanding Promotion/Event award for its work on the 16th annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival.

The festival teamed with the S.C. Shrimpers Association to promote the local shrimping industry.

It also partnered with the Independence Fund to bring more than 50 severely wounded veterans to town for an all-expenses-paid, four-day trip. To thank the community for supporting veterans, actor Gary Sinise and his 13-piece Lt. Dan Band opened the festival with a free concert.

More than 400 volunteers helped put on the event, and about $175,000 was raised, according to a news release.

"This was the second year since (Main Street Beaufort) took over hosting the Shrimp Festival, and we're excited for the recognition," said LaNelle Fabian, the organization's executive director. "We were the only community to win two awards."

The Cuppias purchased the old Greyhound station on Scott Street in March 2009 and began a complete renovation that took about five months, Kevin Cuppia said.

The two suites measure almost 600 square feet each and can each sleep six people, according to the Cuppias, who also own Modern Jewelers on Bay Street.

The decor, while modern, pays tribute to the building's past.

"That old station is really where the inspiration came from," Kevin Cuppia said.

Bus scrolls bearing names of local streets and neighborhoods hang on the walls, and headboards are upholstered in fabric with a gray and black Greyhound design. Outside, gray concrete greyhounds sit atop columns looking out over the Scott Street parking lot, where buses would drive up under an extended roof and pick up passengers.
It last served as a bus station in 1968, the Cuppias said. After that, it was used for storage.

During their work, the Cuppias uncovered separate waiting spaces with whites-only and blacks-only water fountains outside that were once the bus station's segregated bathrooms, Kevin Cuppia said.

The Cuppias opened the suites last year and have hosted everything from weekend visits to a three-month-long stay, they said.

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