7 Strategies to Make Your Small Business Website Stand Out

Many of you small business owners and entrepreneurs likely have to create or update your own websites.

The job of a small business owner is never done, right?

Well, check out these great tips on how to make your website work for you…even if you don’t have a background in coding or marketing.

Read the entire article on Forbes.com by clicking on the link below:

Forbes.com web article: 7 Strategies Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know to Make Their Website Stand Out

Duke Energy Open House Scheduled for Tonight

Don’t forget about this great open house opportunity THIS evening in Florence:

Duke Energy Progress is hosting open house events for their customers.

This will be an opportunity for customers to talk with different subject matter experts from Duke Energy in such areas as customer service, vegetation management, energy efficiency, power delivery, lighting, and the Robinson Nuclear Plant.

Today’s event will take place from 4-7 pm at Carver Elementary School, 515 N. Cashua Drive in Florence.

The event is open to the public.

Dolce Vita Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Chamber and many of its ambassadors were happy to help officially welcome Dolce Vita into the Chamber family today, with a ribbon cutting ceremony!
The business opened its doors as a chocolate and wine tasting room on S. Dargan Street and today, ushered in a new era with the addition of breakfast items to its menu.
Special thanks to the Morning News and Joe Perry for coverage of today’s event. To find out more about Dolce Vita, visit their Facebook page at:
You can see this gallery online at SCnow.com as well by clicking below:

Chamber Holds Graduation for Emerging Leaders Summer Institute

On Thursday, August 11th, The Florence Chamber held a graduation ceremony for our Emerging Leaders Summer Business Institute program.

The graduation provided an opportunity to speak with and recognize participants in the program who have gotten a behind-the-scenes look at the Pee Dee business community over the course of five sessions this summer.

The Emerging Leaders Summer Institute is a program designed to generate professional training and development, mentorship, community engagement and recruitment opportunities. The purpose is to identify, develop and empower “Emerging Leaders”, specifically minorities, small business owners and innovative professionals poised to move into the next level of community and business leadership.

Congratulations to these leaders all they have and will accomplish in our community.

View the entire graduation gallery on Facebook:

Emerging Leaders Graduation

School Begins Monday for Students in Florence District One

It’s back to school time starting Monday for many students across the Pee Dee, including those in Florence District One.

Click on the link below to see some tips on what you can expect on the first day of classes, find out when schools start and dismiss each day and learn how the school year will impact traffic patterns:

FSD1 First Day of School

Weekend Events & Activities in Downtown Florence

From Downtown Florence’s Facebook Page:

Downtown Florence has a lot going on this weekend!

The City Center Farmers Market will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the City Center parking lot on Cheves Street.

SoulART Festival 2016 heads downtown on Saturday for a full day of visual art, music, and more! Head over to SOUL art‘s Facebook page for a complete lineup and schedule! Saturday night, make sure to head over toAfter Dark Jazz Café for a full night of incredible music featuring SOUL art‘s Ezra Brown.

The Renaissance Dining Courtyard will host Modern Disruption on Friday night beginning at 8 p.m. and Tastes Like Chicken hits the stage on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Randy Turner will play at Victors Friday night at 6:00 p.m.

Looking for somewhere to unwind and dine? Downtown Florence has a variety of culinary experiences from casual BBQ to fine dining! Don’t miss Sunday brunch at Town Hall!

FMU nursing program named a national “Center of Excellence”

(Image courtesy: Contributed/SCnow.com)

From the Morning News:

“FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University’s Department of Nursing has been named as one of 15 new Centers of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, the nation’s premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education.

NLN Centers of Excellence exemplify the League’s core values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence, and faculty at designated institutions bear a responsibility to share their experience, knowledge, and wisdom for the benefit of everyone in nursing education.

Schools and programs that receive NLN Center of Excellence recognition must meet high standards of excellence in nursing education. Each school is recognized for a particular trait that is critical to superb nursing education.”

Read the article in its entirety by clicking on the link below:

SCnow.com web article- FMU Nursing Program

Family Day to take place Saturday at Florence County Museum

(image courtesy: Florence County Museum Facebook Event Page)
Looking for something fun to do with your family this weekend? Check out Family Day at the Florence County Museum this
Saturday, August 13th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
The event is free and you can get all of the details below and by clicking on the event link:
From toddlers to grandparents, Family Days at the Florence County Museum are sure to offer something for everyone. Join us the second Saturday of each month from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm for Family Day at the FCM. No registration required. Free of charge.
Exploring Light and Shadow
Shadow Puppet Theater
Art Studio
Bring your imagination to life! Create moveable shadow puppet characters to act out your favorite story.
Silhouette Landscape Painting
Art Studio
Travel back in time to the Cretaceous Period, when dinosaurs roamed the Pee Dee. Participants will create a vibrant landscape painting with silhouettes of dinosaurs from this region.
Outdoor Shadow Art
Museum Courtyard (Weather Permitting)
Capture the beauty of cast shadows in our Courtyard. Participants will create an artwork using dynamic shadow shapes.
This entire event is free and no registration is required.

Duke Energy Invites You to Community Open House Events

Duke Energy Progress is hosting two open house events for their customers next week.

This will be an opportunity for customers to talk with different subject matter experts from Duke Energy in such areas as customer service, vegetation management, energy efficiency, power delivery, lighting, and the Robinson Nuclear Plant.

One event will be held in Sumter on Monday, August 15, at Central Carolina Technical College Health Sciences Center, 133 S. Main Street.

The second event will take place on Tuesday, August 16, at Carver Elementary School, 515 N. Cashua Drive in Florence.

Both events will be open to the public from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


Entrepreneurship Training Offered for Pee Dee Healthy Food Businesses

Feeding Innovation Flyer Florence_

To view the flyer in full size, click below:

Feeding Innovation Flyer

In an effort to improve access to healthy, fresh food in our city, the City of Florence and the SC Community Loan Fund will host entrepreneurship training for people or entities interested in developing or expanding healthy food businesses in our area that focus on underserved areas. Accepted applicants will receive entrepreneurship training at no charge from an NxLevel-certified instructor in the areas of business organization, planning, research, marketing, financial planning, negotiations and deal making.   NxLevel Entrepreneurship Training is known to be one of the largest and most effective entrepreneur training networks and was established in 1994.

The application process to receive the free NxLevel entrepreneurship training (valued over $500.00) is competitive and applications are due no later than August 26, 2016 to anna@sccommunityloanfund.org.

Applications are available by email request (anna@sccommunityloanfund.org) , in person on the second floor of the City Center (324 W. Evans Street) in Florence, or online at Florencedowntown.com (click on “food access training”).

Applicants will be notified by September 1, 2016 of their selection to participate, and the training program will begin September 12 for nine consecutive Monday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Florence. Participants who complete the program will walk away with a completed business plan reviewed by professionals and access to business mentors.

Additionally, participants will pitch their business plans to a panel of judges on December 12, and the first place winner will receive a $12,500 seed grant. First and second place winners will also receive bonus points towards a Tenant Up-fit Downtown Redevelopment Grant in the downtown Florence area.

The training program is open to individuals, non-profits, and businesses with an idea, start-up, established project, or expansion in the region. The application process is competitive and up to fifteen (15) participants will be selected. Note that it is  open to folks across the Pee Dee region to apply.