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.

Young Professionals to Host Yappy Hour

Join YPF for our annual Yappy Hour event! Bring your pet out to mingle and enjoy great beer and music at Seminar on Thursday, October 21st beginning at 5:30 pm! This event will benefit the Florence Area Humane Society! Below is a list of items they are accepting as donations. Anything you may be able to bring would be greatly appreciated!

For more info, click here.

Tawanda’s Mobile Notary Services Hosts Ribbon Cutting

Tawanda Hanna held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, October 18th for her new business, Tawanda’s Notary Services and Accessories LLC. The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce participated in the ribbon cutting in the James Allen Plaza behind the Chamber office. Chamber ambassadors joined in the celebration, along with family and friends. Hanna has been in business since February. Hanna works out of her home and car, taking her business to her clients. She also performs small weddings and is a notary license signing agent. Services provided include loan documents, power of attorney, bill of sale, bank forms and more.

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The Legacy Agency’s Grand Opening Includes Ribbon Cutting

Jennifer C. Dunleavy is carrying on a legacy as she starts the next chapter of an Allstate agency in Florence. The Legacy Allstate Insurance Group on Cherokee Road is celebrating its grand opening this week. A ribbon cutting was held on Wednesday, September 29th with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce at the agency location at 1801 Cherokee Road in Florence. Rufus Brown opened the agency in 1967, after having worked for Allstate in the old Sears building downtown. It was his vision to start a neighborhood agency, Dunleavy said. Dunleavy said Brown moved to the current location in the ‘90s. His son-in-law, Richard Liles, eventually took over the business when Brown retired. Liles was nearing retirement age, Dunleavy said, when she came across information about the business. She was ready to return to her Pee Dee roots. She grew up in Hartsville and moved when she was 15 years old with her parents when her father was transferred with CP&L to Raleigh, North Carolina. Dunleavy said she attended Hartsville High School but graduated in Raleigh and attended Western Carolina in North Carolina. “I wanted to come home. I have been here since January,” Dunleavy said. Dunleavy acquired the Allstate agency in May.

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Florence’s Hope Village Celebrates Opening with a Chamber Ribbon Cutting

With a few words, a reading from the Gospel of Matthew, a prayer, an admonition about the sharpness the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s ribbon cutting shears and then a quick slice of those shears, Hope Village was officially opened for business Thursday, September 30th. Of course, though, it wasn’t that easy. There were several years of work to get the village of 240-square-foot homes to the ribbon-cutting stage with the whole project paid for at completion. “This project began as a vision of one, Bryan Braddock, our Executive Director, spread to a vision of the House of Hope leadership team, then as a vision to the House of Hope board then ultimately as a vision toward our community,” said Dick Powell, Secretary for the House of Hope Board of Directors. “Hope Village is an example of this community’s generosity, their prayers and their hands to accomplish something unique in this region,” Powell said. “To those who gave generously, prayed fervently and worked diligently we want to, as a board, say thank you to you.”

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