State Farm Agent Austin Wilson Holds Ribbon Cutting

Austin Wilson State Farm on Second Loop Road in Florence held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the agency’s opening and membership in the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, October 20th. Celebrating with Wilson and his staff were Chamber staff and ambassadors.  Wilson said he worked at State Farm for about five years before opening his office at 1625 Second Loop Road in 2020.  “I have been open here about a year,” Wilson said.  Wilson is a native of Florence and graduate of South Florence High School and Francis Marion University with a Bachelor of Science degree. He said State Farm makes it easy to convince customers of its value. He said it has a good reputation.

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A Great Day for the Chamber’s Fall Golf Classic

The rain held off for The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Fall Golf Classic being played at Traces Golf Course on Thursday, October 7th. The shot-gun golf event was presented by First Bank.
Thirty teams comprised of 119 golfers played for the first and second place trophies, along with many other prizes, while enjoying a day filled with great food, beverages and giveaways throughout the golf course. In the end, there was a tie for first place. The Adams Outdoor team made up of Jon Weiss, Sr., Jon Weiss, Jr. and Dan Straub; First Bank Team with Matt Kimrey, Matt Moody, Paul Seward and Billy Early and the Wilcox Office Mart team of Luke Wilcox, John Coble, Pete Gioldasis and Levin Lynch all tied with adjusted scores of 51 for 18 holes. The Chamber thanks First Bank for being the presenting sponsor and the many hospitality hole sponsors: A & I Fire & Water Restoration, Dilmar Oil Company, Dixon Golf, First Bank, Floor Boys, Raines Co., Pepsi of Florence, Raldex Hospitality Group, Rytech of the Pee Dee/Myrtle Beach, ServiceMaster Fire & Water Restoration, Synovus Bank and WBTW TV-13.

To view photos from the tournament, click here.

Trinity Auto Glass Celebrates Opening Storefront Location with Ribbon Cutting

Trinity Auto Glass held a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, October 19th celebrating its new storefront location on Irby Street in Florence. Sharing in the event were the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and staff. Brian Hatchell, Owner, said he has been at the 1231 S. Irby St. location for about four months. The business was started by his brother, Chip Hatchell in 2005. Brian said his brother had a stroke and had to close the business. Hatchell’s brother operated a mobile business with a shop in back of the current location. Hatchell and his wife, Tiffany, have opened the business back up with the storefront location. He said business has been great so far. “We replace and repair any and all auto glass,” Hatchell said. “We do auto camera recalibrations.”  Hatchell said he uses the technology of John Bean ADAS Tru-Point that can calibrate within 1 millimeter of when the car was purchased. He said the nearest other place that does this is in Charleston.

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HopeHealth Earns National Recognition for Blood Pressure Control

HopeHealth has been recognized by the American Heart Association and American Medical Association for its commitment to improving blood pressure control rates, earning Silver level recognition as part of the 2021 “Target: BP” Recognition Program.  The Silver Award recognizes practices that have demonstrated a commitment to improving blood pressure control through measurement accuracy.  “Being recognized by the AHA and AMA for our efforts in the treatment and management of high blood pressure is a tremendous achievement” said Tammy Garris, clinical data controller at HopeHealth.  “The providers and staff of HopeHealth have taken on the challenge of treating hypertension in our patients through evidence-based care that includes medications, nutrition counseling and physical activity counseling. Recognition at this level, during a global pandemic and at a time when so many medical staff are overwhelmed, brings with it a renewed sense of accomplishment and purpose, something we all need after the last year.”

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McMaster Recommends $300M from State for Building I-73

Governor Henry McMaster traveled to Myrtle Beach on Monday, October 11th to announce he will recommend the state dedicate $300 million dollars toward the building of I-73.  “I believe I-73 would be a transformative component in South Carolina’s future economic prosperity,” Governor Henry McMaster said.  The governor made the announcement surrounded by dozens of local, state and area leaders.   US Congressman Tom Rice says he has been fighting this battle for a decade. “Finally, after all this time, we’re shovel ready,” Rice said at the announcement.  Rice added that “this will give us an opportunity to attract diversified industry. We need to protect tourism but we need more industry with steady high paying jobs.”  Gov. McMaster said the completion of the project is expected to create about 29,000 new jobs.

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SC Supreme Court Rules on Federal Unemployment Benefits Case

This week the SC Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the case challenging Governor McMaster’s decision to end additional federal unemployment benefits. In August, the SC Chamber and SC Restaurant and Lodging Association submitted an amicus brief in support of the Governor’s decision in both the lower court and state supreme court.  Since Governor McMaster announced his decision in May of this year, the state’s unemployment rate has decreased from 4.6% to 4.2%. Additionally, over 25,000 more South Carolinians are working now than in May.

OSHA Employer Vaccine Mandate Update

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor submitted to the White House for final review a draft of an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that will force many private-sector companies to require employee vaccinations or COVID testing.  The regulation requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to mandate workers get fully vaccinated or be tested weekly for COVID. It also asked for the rule to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated and to recover from any side effects.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent the draft rule to the Office of Management and Budget which normally can take months to conclude its analysis. However, President Biden called for an expedited process, which could mean the office will give its approval within days. While employers in many states will have to implement the ETS immediately, South Carolina is one of 21 states that has a state OSHA plan giving an additional 30 days from publication in the Federal Register to develop an alternative plan.   Lawsuits are also expected by several states once the rule is finalized, including in South Carolina.

Chamber’s 2022 Leadership Class Holds October Sessions

The Florence Chamber’s 2022 Leadership Florence Class saw their journey continue last week with the October session, Visual Arts and Media Day.  The 34 member class visited Adams Outdoor, The Morning News, FMU Performing Arts Center, Florence Museum and The Florence Little Theater. Thank you to all the presenters, Adams Outdoor for breakfast and The Morning News for lunch.

To view photos from the session, click here.

Small Business Accounting 101 (Online Workshop)

The Florence Chamber & Francis Marion University’s Kelley Center for Economic Development are happy to join forces to present an online workshop being held on Wednesday, November 10 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.  The workshop will be led by William R. Barefoot, CPA.  Many helpful topics will be covered during this free workshop.

To see the full list of topics or to register, please click here.

Chamber’s Legislative Breakfast Date Announced

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Legislative Breakfast is scheduled for Tuesday, November 9th. There will be three speakers at this year’s Fall Legislative Breakfast at Florence Center.  Lethonia Barnes, Florence City Council At Large, Roger Kirby, SC House Representative—District 61 and Jay Jordan, SC House Representative—District 63 and Chairman, House Ethics Committee, will address the breakfast attendees.  Individual tickets for the breakfast are available for $20 and special reserve tables of 8 for $180. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m., and the program will begin at 7:45 a.m.

To register, click here.