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HomeBusinessSmall Business CouncilSmall Business Achievers2014 Small Business Achievers


                                       Small Business Person of the Year & Small Business Achiever:

Sally Thomas, Thomas Gymnastics
Sally Thomas1
Sally Thomas is originally from Norman, Oklahoma and was a gymnast at the University of Oklahoma along with teammate and Olympian Bart Conner. She moved to South Carolina in 1983 were she ran Sally’s Gymnastics Centers. In 1998 she was name the South Carolina Coach of the year. Then in 1992 she opened Thomas Gymnastics in Rock Hill, SC. Over the past 23 years they have moved to several locations and grown to be the largest gymnastics club in South Carolina. They have expanded to include the Gold Medal Afterschool program as well as the Rock Hill Volleyball Club. In 2012 and 2013 Thomas Gymnastics was named the South Carolina Club of the Year.

She is a sustainer in the Junior Welfare League and a lector for Saint Anne’s Catholic Church. She received her degree from Winthrop University in Physical Education in 2013 and was elected to the Distinguished Alumni for Winthrop University. She is the President of the Non-profit organization, The Crown of the Carolinas. Their purpose is to give college and local gymnastics scholarships to young children who enjoy the sport of gymnastics. To date, they have been able to provide over $250,000 in scholarships to children in York County.

She is married to Mark Bonsky and is the proud mother of Ashleyanne and Triston. She enjoys being a very active person. She loves playing golf and going snow skiing. She is a huge Carolina Panther and Oklahoma Sooner football fan. She enjoys spending time with her family.

Thank You: I would like to take this opportunity to thank the York County Chamber of Commerce.  York County has a lot of successful small businesses so to be recognized among these is a tremendous honor. I would also like to thank my amazing staff and all the supportive families that have trusted their children with Thomas Gymnastics over the 23 years we've been in Rock Hill.  I especially want to thank and couldn't do it without my family, especially my husband Mark Bonsky and my sister Marilyn Eddy. Most of all I want you to know how much this recognition means to Thomas Gymnastics and to me.  Thank you so much for this distinguished award.



                                                            Small Business Achievers:


Britt Blackwell, Blackwell Eye Associates
Britt Blackwell1Dr. Britt Blackwell graduated from Northwestern High School in 1974 and Clemson University in 1978.  He obtained his Doctor of Optometry degree from The School of Optometry, The Medical Center, and University of Alabama in Birmingham in 1985.  His solo practice, Blackwell Eye Associates, PA, was started in 1987 in a small 800 square foot office.  Today he has over 16,000 patient charts in a 4,000 square foot office.  Recently he merged with MyEyeDr, a large group of over 140 practices in the Southeast where he can refocus on patient eye care.  Britt was elected to the Rock Hill School Board in 1994 and 1998 where he fought social promotion and taxpayer waste and pushed for administration accountability and transparency.  

Our legislative delegation appointed him to the State Board of Education in December 2006, where he served until being elected to the York County Council in 2010. He now serves as Chairman of the York County Council.  He also serves as the first Chairman of the I-77 Economic Alliance.  Britt also serves on the RFATS Board and the Council of Governments Board.  Dr. Blackwell served on the South Carolina Optometric Physician Association Board for 3 years and served as President of the Catawba Optometric Society.  He was the second optometrist in the nation to achieve Level V, Certified Medical Investigator with the American College of Forensic Examiners.  Britt was the first optometric physician in York County to achieve Diplomatic status with the American Board of Optometry.

He loves hunting, the outdoors, and football. His greatest joy is pending time with his family. His daughter, Christina, is a neonatal nurse in Raleigh. Her husband, Jonathan, a retired member of the 82nd Airborne, is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual. His son, Phillip, is a senior at Savannah College of Art and Design majoring in Interactive Game Design. His wife, Martha, is a graduate of Northwestern High School and Winthrop College. His granddaughter, Haidyn is 5 months old.

Thank You: When you look at our community and our business leaders this award is a testament to all of us. Leadership put forth by our business leaders will ensure our future and our children's futures. I am very honored to receive this award from my peers in this business community.

Matthew Sy, Comfort Systems of York County
Matt Sy1Matthew Sy was born and raised in Buffalo NY. He graduated from Lockport High School and Niagara County Community College in 1999.He started a career in Restaurant Bar Management and has had two Drinks published in Bartender Magazine. Transition careers into Heating and Air Conditioning in 2004 and was Chief Operating Officer of a large HVAC company in North Central Florida and Purchasing agent for two HVAC companies in Nassau and Abaco Bahamas. He has been married to his Wife Tara a Special Education Teacher at Lewisville High School for 14 Years and has a Son Cameron and a Daughter Lyvia.

He moved to Rock Hill in spring of 2009 to become General Manager of Comfort Systems Inc. and eventually purchased and become Owner/President in 2012. Has a HVAC license in North and South Carolina as well as numerous certifications in Air Balancing, Green Building, EPA Lead Renovation and many more. After taking control of Comfort Systems the company has been voted as best in York County for Five Consecutive years. A notable recent accomplishment is relocating from the White Street location where the business was operated for 49 years and moving into a newly renovated property on 3 acres of land just past the Newport Wal-Mart celebration 50 years of consecutive business.

Outside of work he is a Parishioner, Lecture and sits on the Visionary Committee at St. Mary’s Church. Has served on the Chamber of Commerce Leadership York County Board, Buy Local Committee and the Rock Hill Area Council. He loves spending time with his children and is an Assistant Scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 205.

Thank You: Thank you so much for honoring Comfort Systems with the Small Business Achiever award; we are truly humbled. The honor is for the entire Comfort Systems team that serves our wonderful customers and always striving for 100% Customer Satisfaction. We are truly blessed and enjoy being active Members in the York County Chamber of Commerce. We grow as the county grows and promise to be your locally owned and operated Heating and Cooling Company and will always give back to the community that supports us.


Tommy Pope, Elrod Pope Law Firm
Tommy Pope
Tommy Pope is a managing partner of Elrod Pope Law Firm in Rock Hill, South Carolina bringing an extensive litigation background of over 30 years of law enforcement and prosecution experience.  From 1993-2006, Tommy served as Solicitor for the 16th Circuit (Union & York Counties, SC).Under his guidance, the 16th Circuit consistently led the State in caseload management, providing effective and timely prosecution of criminal cases. He is most often recognized for his 1995 prosecution of Susan Smith in Union County, South Carolina, who made national headlines for the drowning deaths of her two children.  Today, he is frequently called upon by various national and international media outlets to provide legal commentary on cases involving parents who kill their children.

Tommy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of South Carolina in 1984 and a Juris Doctorate from the School of Law in 1987. He also attended the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy where he graduated with honors. In 1999, Tommy Pope received the Silver Compleat Lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina Law School Alumni Association, recognizing competence, integrity, ethics and superior performance in his profession.  In 2008, Tommy was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, our state’s highest civilian honor for his dedication and service to the people of South Carolina.

Tommy currently volunteers as a mentor for the Supreme Court of South Carolina Lawyer Mentoring Program.  He has also served as an instructor for the National College of District Attorneys at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina and also has lectured to State Prosecutors’ Associations across the country. Additionally, Tommy has been called upon by the South Carolina Chief Justice to serve on numerous committees regarding the administration of justice in our state.

Since 2010, Tommy has served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives for District 47.  He is currently assigned to the Judiciary and Ethics committees and was assigned to the Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs committee from 2010-12.  He also serves on the House Republican Caucus Ethics Reform Study committee, the House Republican Caucus Tax Study committee and as a House Republican Floor Leader.Tommy was recognized in 2011 by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce as a recipient of their Business Advocate Award for commending key legislative votes on critical business issues.  The American Legion of South Carolina named Tommy as their 2012 Legislator of the Year.

Tommy was also selected to the 2013 and 2014 South Carolina Super Lawyers list. This prestigious honor is awarded to less than five percent of South Carolina lawyers. Selection is based on outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. He was also an honoree for the South Carolina Lawyers Weekly’s Leadership in Law Award in March of 2014.

Thank You: I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce for recognizing Elrod Pope Law Firm as a Small Business Achiever. We take pride in our efforts to serve the York County community, helping those in need to work through what are often the most difficult times of their lives. Since, 1980, we have always strived to let our clients know that they are valued and can trust in us, and are thrilled that our hard work has not gone unnoticed. Thank you to the Chamber of Commerce and all our local supporters. We are honored to be among the small businesses recognized, and will continue to do our best to make a difference in York County.  

Alice Mangum, Styletrends Barber & Hair Academy
Styletrends Barber And Hairstyling Academy, Inc. was founded in October 1995 by the area’s most tenured industry educators Richard and Alice Mangum. Styletrends was fully operational by May of 1996.  Under the direction of Charlene McCleod, the academy received national accreditation in May of 2003 by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences.

The academy was founded upon a pledge that it would render the highest quality of education possible to each student enrolled. For we feel there is more to barber-styling than just cutting and/or styling hair. For this reason, we take the approach of meeting inner needs first in order to bring out the best in our students.  By training our students and teaching them to meet inner needs, finding that niche helps us to produce a well-rounded and diverse barber-stylist.  It is always our goal to supersede ordinary/traditional teaching and training techniques of the trade.

This year, 2015, marks a combined 35 years of post-secondary Barber and Hairstyling education rendered to Rock Hill and surrounding areas by Richard and Alice Mangum. Through their watchful eyes, their legacy continues on through their daughter Charlene McCleod.  When asked what has kept them here this long….the answer was: “It’s our Hearts that bound us and the Love we have for this community which keeps us”. 




116 E. Main St. | Rock Hill, SC 29730 | Tel 803/324-7500 | Fax 803/324-1889 | Email