In 2002, Dan and Elisabeth McNiel purchased the abandoned, direlect building in downtown Bennettsville. "When we started the project, I know some people had to think we were crazy. There was a hole in the roof big enough to drive a small truck through. Rain water had been pouring in for a couple of years. It was a real mess," says Dan McNiel.
The roof was immediately repaired but further work was delayed almost a year while the interior of the building dried out. In the fall of 2003, Frazier Construction Company began turning 208 and 210 East Main Street into The Skye.
The department store sales floor was partitioned into two large meeting rooms, a kitchen and two restrooms. The original hardwood floors were repaired and new front windows were installed. A modern heating and air conditioning system was installed, as well as new lighting.
"We chose the name for the building first because of the old hotel that had once occupied the site. Also, we both are interested in our Scottish heritage. The beautiful Isle of Skye is where my McLeod ancestors came from so it just seemed really appropriate," says Elisabeth McNiel.
Finally, on New Year's Day 2005, The Skye hosted its first event, an afternoon wedding reception. Since that time, the building has hosted over 200 functions annually, both public and private. Some notable uses include:
- The ground breaking reception of the Marian Wright Edleman Public Library of Marlboro County
- Campaign stops for Presidential candidates Joe Biden and John Edwards
- A photo shoot for Glamour magazine featuring actress Liv Tyler
- Since April of 2007, the site of the Rotary Club of Bennettsville's weekly meetings
The Skye was awarded the Rehabilitation Award from the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association in 2005. In the spring of 2006, the McNiels received the South Carolina Municipal Association Gaines Jontz Rehabilitation Award.
In 2006, the second meeting room was completed by Graham's Carpentry and made available for rent for larger events. As well as adding 1,500 square feet of additional floor space, the room has a nook that makes the ideal place for a bar.