My wife and I rode from Sumter to Hilton Head, SC with Joseph and Anita Tobiere. They were both successful entrepreneurs in Sumter who exhibited a real passion for their hometown.
Anita was born and raised in Sumter while Joseph was born in St. Croix but lived most of his life in St. Lucia, a small island just north of South America.
Anita worked as a speech pathologist in the local school district while Joseph was a team leader in maintaining the F-16 fleet at Shaw AFB. Both had worked for over 10 years in their respective jobs but decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge a couple of years ago.
Anita told me, “Our families thought we were crazy. They told us that we were throwing away all of the years of retirement that we had each accumulated.”
Their first endeavor, a coffee shop, didn’t work out and had to be closed but their computer services shop (Joseph) and financial planning office (Anita) are both growing and adding people.
And, Joseph told me, “It was the best decision that we ever made.”
We need more entrepreneurs in our small towns. Sumter is fortunate to have two like the Topieres.