BMW’s ripple effect in Spartanburg County: Local businesses eager to get regular customers back

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A glimmer of hope. At least that’s what some upstate leaders are saying about the BMW plant resuming production on May 4th.

Denise Vandenberghe is doing what has become the norm at her restaurant, preparing pick-up and delivery orders.

But right now she’s missing a chunk of customers she typically relies on for lunch and dinner.

“We have a lot of birthdays, going away parties, just a lot of functions they host here,” said Wild Ace Pizza and Pub Owner, Denise VandenBerghe.

She’s talking about BMW employees, and she’s far from alone. A few miles down the road from the BMW plant is South House.

“That’s half of our customers that come in, we definitely felt it,” said South House Waitress, Mindy Stewart.

But with plans to get things back up and running in just a matter of days, restaurant owners told us they’re optimistic.

And that’s not just limited to the food industry.

“Everything from church donations on Sunday morning, the laundromat, things that have nothing to do with BMW but that ripple effect that goes throughout the county,” said Spartanburg County Council Member, David Britt.

Spartanburg County Council Member David Britt told 7 News business from the plant goes far beyond the county, it trickles across the entire state.

He told us having the plant open again could be the first step to getting things back to normal.

Greer Mayor, Rick Danner agrees.

“It’s sort of the light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of people. It might seem like a sense of return to some normalcy for our community just knowing the plant is up and running,” said Greer Mayor, Rick Danner.

Even though dining in isn’t an option right now, restaurants located near the plant told us they’re ready for the uptick in pick-up orders they’re anticipating from BMW employees.

A spokesperson at this plant told us new guidelines and procedures have been implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That includes required face masks for any employee who can’t maintain the required six foot social distance.

The plant started its production break on April 3rd. During that time of being closed, a spokesperson said they have been using a variety of deep cleaning methods.

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