Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Summer Institute Held Their 2019 Class Graduation

Congratulations to The Chambers 4th Emerging Leaders Summer Institute Class of 2019.

A graduation ceremony and reception was held on Wednesday, August 28 and sponsored by Honda of SC in Timmonsville.

The 18 members of the 2019 Emerging Leaders Summer Institute Graduating Class are:

Nanaefua Eshun, Future Entrepreneurs Foundation
Dojibria Casey, Florence County E-911
VeyounderBrown, Lighthouse Ministries
Leondra Fields, Harvest Hope Food Bank
Adalia Ellis, Aroha Arts Collective
Martha McCall, Pee Dee Coalition
Chasity McClam, Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc.
Tabitha Hanna, Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc.
Brenda Bradley, Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc.
Emily Griffin, Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc.
Robin Mack, Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union
Barbara Bryant, Assurant, Inc.
Alex Law, QVC, Inc.
Faith Akins, The Care House of the Pee Dee
Floria Porter, Family Promise of Florence
Vicki Dixon, Pro Business & Tax Service
Arthenius Jackson, One Touch Transformation
Sharon Ackerman, Edward Jones

Mercy Medicine Cuts Ribbon, Prepares for October 17 Gala

by Ardie Arvidson

Mercy Medicine Free Clinic celebrated its membership in the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday morning and held an open house throughout the afternoon.

Chamber ambassadors, friends, clients and staff participated in the event.

Angela Robinson, healthy options program coordinator at Mercy Medicine, said they wanted to commemorate their 25-year anniversary, which is in October, and celebrate their chamber status while acquainting the community with their services.

“We want to get the word out that we are open for services and here for the community,” Robinson said.

“Mercy Medicine Free Clinic believes that in supporting the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, the clinic benefits from its large network of corporate and nonprofit members,” said Wayne Jackson, executive director. “The chamber supports Mercy by always being willing to publicize our public relations and fundraising events and by offering various educational and networking opportunities for Mercy and its employees and volunteers.

“Also, the chamber officers are always willing to offer tangible advice on ‘how to get the word out’ and best ways to integrate into Florence’s corporate community. It is a great organization that strives to help our community grow economically and socially, and Mercy is proud to be a member.”

Robinson said Mercy Medicine is a nonprofit medical and dental clinic that serves the homeless and uninsured.

‘Unknown to many is that the Mercy Medicine Free Clinic does a very substantial amount of basic dentistry services for its clients,” Jackson said. “Mercy’s geographic focus for medical care is Florence and Williamsburg counties and several other counties in the Pee Dee area for dental pain or infection cases.”

The clinic operates without any funds from patients, insurance or federal programs.

“Mercy Medicine Free Clinic is funded solely by generous donations from individuals and local corporations and from various local and state grants such as the United Way of Florence County, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Department,” Jackson said. “The clinic also receives hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in in-kind services and cash support from the two large health care systems in Florence-McLeod Health and MUSC-Florence.

“Mercy does not receive any funding from private health insurance reimbursement nor from any of the federal government’s health care funding programs. Most important is that Mercy never asks or accepts any payment from any patient regardless of the quantity or complexity of the services rendered.

“Mercy first and foremost is a Christ-based organization and accepts patients in the age range of 18-64 that must meet certain income thresholds and not have or qualify for any other health insurance to include Medicaid.”

Mercy Medicine has planned a 25th anniversary gala for Oct. 17. The gala is a major fundraiser for Mercy Medicine. It will be held in the Waters Building in downtown Florence.

Tickets are $75 each. Various sponsorship levels are available from $500 to $10,000.

There will be music, food and fun for a good cause.

For more information, contact Mercy Medicine Free Clinic at 843-667-9947.

To read the full article on SC Now, click here.

Young Professionals of Florence Hold 90s Trivia Night with Local Motive Brewing

Last Thursday, August 22, Young Professionals of Florence hosted their 90s Trivia night at Local Motive Brewing. Thank you to all of the Young Professionals who joined us for this evening and made our FIRST trivia night so successful and memorable! We had over 55 folks in attendance and it could not have been a more exciting evening. Young Professionals, strangers and friends, joined in on different teams as they networked and made connections while playing. “Team work is fastest way to build a long lasting friendship.”

Big Thanks to Local Motive Brewing for providing the location that so many loved, great spirits and delicious food. We had over 10 teams that played 6 rounds of trivia. The excitement throughout the night was contagious. The team who won called themselves “I thought this was the 1890s.”

Thank you to our Young Professional board members for coordinating these socials every month. Without the great team work, these events would not take place. Making a difference means making a way to see the end result through and that is just what these folks do.

Consider the Lilies Owners Join Florence Chamber, Snip Ribbon

by Ardie Arvidson

Consider the Lilies’ new owners, Angela and John Pecca, celebrated their membership in the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday afternoon.

The business, located at 184 W. Evans St. in Florence, was packed for the occasion with well-wishers, chamber ambassadors and staff. A reception was held after the ribbon cutting.

The Peccas took possession of the business June 3.

The outdoor display windows are decorated with flowers, pumpkins and other fall accessories.

Those attending the ribbon cutting could be overheard saying how good the shop looks and smells with its flowers, candles and other fragrant items.

The shop offers flowers, gifts, antiques, jewelry and accessories.

“I have been in and out of the floral business since I was 16,” said Angela, who recently retired from the Florence Police Department, where she worked for 18 years. She was the accreditation coordinator and grants manager and worked with IT.

“It has been fabulous so far,” Pecca said. “I come to work with a smile on my face, and I leave the same way.”

She said she is truly excited to be in business, serving the community. She said it is so different from her past job.

“We do weddings, funerals and other events,” Pecca said.

They deliver.

Pecca said she has a floral designer, Maria Anderson, who is very creative.

Other employees are Chandler McIntyre and Jordan Lochart.

“I have a best friend, Patti Wright, who said I had to have a ribbon cutting because I deserve it,” Pecca said.

She found out that joining the chamber was one way to do that. She said she also discovered there were other advantages to being a member.

One way she has been getting people’s attention has been sending complimentary flowers to various groups of people in town.

Consider the Lilies now offer classes every month. The first was how to make a simple bow. The next one will be how to make a bud vase.

Shop hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information, call 843-472-5202.

To read the full article on SC Now, click here.

Housing Authority Cuts Ribbon to Celebrate Joining Florence Chamber

by Ardie Arvidson

A ribbon cutting was held at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce office on Tuesday morning celebrating the Housing Authority of Florence’s joining the chamber. Chamber ambassadors participated in the ribbon cutting. The Housing Authority is located at 400 E. Pine St. in Florence.

The Housing Authority offers affordable housing opportunities for three counties – Florence, Chesterfield and Marlboro.

The Housing Authority serves about 1,500 families in Florence with a housing and vouchers program, formerly called Section 8.

Clamentine Elmore is the executive director. She said the authority also has vouchers available for homeless veterans and manages other housing properties for private partners.

Elmore said she wanted to join the chamber to bring awareness to the community about their services.

“I wanted to become an integral part of the community,” Elmore said. “It is important to align ourselves with others in the city to assist our residents.”

In 2018, the Housing Authority celebrated its 50th anniversary.

“We are quasi-government [agency] funded by HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development),” she said, “And housing laws by the state of South Carolina.”

Elmore came to the Housing Authority from HUD.

“She is the best,” said Linda Becote, chairman of the board of directors. “We are so happy to have her here. She came in 2017, and she has been an asset to the housing authority, up grading programs and writing grants.”

Members of the board participated in Tuesday’s ribbon cutting.

“She has changed the whole real of things for the Housing Authority,” Becote said.

To read the full story on SC Now, click here.

Hampton Inn Hosts Business After Hours

by Ardie Arvidson

The Hampton Inn and Suites Florence -North I-95 was filled with music and a large gathering of Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce members on Wednesday night.

They were attending the chamber Business After Hours hosted by the Hampton Inn and Suites. The hotel is at 1735 Stokes Road.

Chamber members enjoyed food, music and fellowship.

Prizes were awarded at the end of the evening. Julie Cord was the recipient of a new 55-inch television. Other gifts include gift certificates, gift baskets, grill and more. Guests took a tour of the hotel as a way to participate in the prizes.

The hotel is at Exit 164 on I-95, less than three miles from the city center. It has 136 rooms.

For more information about the chamber and its events, contact the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce at 843-665-0515.

To read the full article on SC Now, click here.

Buc-EE’s Store Coming to Florence County

by Matthew Christian

Project Clean is expected to be identified as Buc-EE’s at Thursday’s Florence County Council meeting.

Buc-EE’s is a Texas-based gas station and convenience store chain. It is known for its large-format stores and clean restrooms.

The Florence location would be the company’s second location outside Texas. The first location is near Mobile, Ala.

Three ordinances, two involving Project Clean and one involving Project Squid, are up for third reading at the meeting.

When ordinances involving projects with placeholder name come before the council on third reading, a council member usually makes a motion to change the name from the placeholder to the company involved.

One of the ordinances involving Project Clean expands the joint metaphorical industrial park between Florence and Darlington counties. The other authorizes the development and delivery of a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the company.

A fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreement between the county, Buc-EE’s of South Carolina LLC, and the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation is included in the information provided to the council ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

The foundation owns the land upon which the Buc-EEs location will be constructed.

The land is at the northeast corner of the intersection of Interstate 95 and S.C. 327. For people traveling along S.C. 327 away toward and over Interstate 95, the Buc-EEs will be located on the right.

The ordinance involving Project Squid expands a joint metaphorical industrial park between Florence and Marion counties.

Project Squid is likely MobileFleet’s development of an industrial facility in Marion County.

Information provided to the Florence County Council at the July meeting indicated the Project Squid property is at 2914 Spartan Place in Marion.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce previously announced that property as a new location of MobileFleet Inc., a company that builds custom storage solutions for public service providers, including fire and police departments and government municipalities.

The announced investment in South Carolina by MobileFleet is $6.3 million and will result in the creation of 64 new jobs. The location of MobileFleet will include the company’s manufacturing division and distribution operations.

The three ordinances were approved on first reading in June and on second reading in July.

The council is also expected to hold first reading of another ordinance and the reading of a resolution involving “Project CanCan” at the meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. in the County Council Chambers of the County Complex at 180 N. Irby St.

To read the full article on SC Now, click here.

Jr. Leadership Held Successful Retreat

The Jr Leadership Class of 2020 enjoyed their over night retreat at Camp Bob Cooper. The class has 26 students from not only public and private schools in Florence County, but home school institutions as well. This programs is a partnership between Francis Marion University, The Clemson Extension, and the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce. 

Here’s to a great year of helping to build Leaders!

Chamber Welcomes Nominations for Business Person of the Year

From Staff Reports

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 2019 Business Person of the Year.

Area business and community individuals can submit names of those individuals who have managed a successful business with a record of responsibility toward employees, customers and members of the community, said the chamber.

“We are extremely fortunate to have so many local business owners and leaders that have previously been recognized as the business person of the year,” Florence Chamber President, Michael Miller said. “They have helped set the standard for our future leaders and business owners. Making this list of noteworthy individuals is an important acknowledgement within our community.”

Last year’s recipient was Schipp Johnston, the owner of Crown Beverages in Florence. The award is sponsored each year by Wells Fargo and presented at the Chamber’s Fall Membership Luncheon. This year’s luncheon will be held on Oct. 10 at the Florence Center. Florence Mayor Stephen J. Wukela will be the keynote speaker.

To be eligible for the Business Person of the Year Award, the person must be an accompanying business member of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and be associated with a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or professional practice in the Florence area. Elected officials and employees of government or not-for-profit organizations are ineligible, unless they are also involved in business and meet all other eligibility requirements.

To submit a nomination or for more information, email or call Susan Farver at or 843-665-0515. The deadline for submission is Aug. 23.

To view the full story on SC Now, click here.

Chamber Member of the Month – King Cadillac Buick GMC

by VIP Magazine

39 Years in Business

     Last month King Cadillac Buick GMC celebrated 39 years in business. While the foundation of the business has always been to offer the highest quality vehicles at the best prices, owner Reamer B. King also understood the importance of being an integral part of the community. This included joining the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce where the business has been a member since infancy.

     Back in 1984, when the company was just starting out, there were 26 employees. These days the dealership is a vital part of the community by employing 104 people. Employee’s positions range from the sales department, service department, parts department, and administration. One important observation to note is the lack of turnover within the company. “We invest in our employees, making sure they have the best and most current training to accommodate our customer’s needs,” says Woody Truluck, King’s Vice President, and General Manager. With the demand for service technicians continuing to rise, being a dedicated employer is key. Woody goes on to say that the majority of their employees have been with the company for more than 10 years, many of those being there for more than 25 years. “This also has a positive effect on our customers. When they come in for oil changes and checkups, it’s comforting to them to see the same faces. Our customers have grown to trust the men and women in our service department.”

     Reamer B. King and Woody Truluck believe that they are the best dealership around and they know that’s due to their award-winning team. Every person on the team contributes to their success.

     This month the Florence Chamber chose King as their business of the month because of them being a superior role model in the business community.

For more information on King, visit them online at and

To view the full story in VIP Magazine, find a copy at many of our local Florence businesses or read it online here.