Masterworks Choir Winter Concert

The Masterworks Choir will present their Winter Concert on Sunday, March 13th at 4:00 pm at Central United Methodist Church.  The concert will feature great works for choir and organ.  There is no charge to attend, and all are welcome!

For more information, visit their website.

SC Chamber Statement on Chairman Peeler’s Tax Reform Proposal

In response to SC Senate Finance Chairman Harvey Peeler’s tax reform proposal, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Morgan released the following statement:

“Chairman Peeler’s tax reform proposal would offer much needed relief to businesses and residents across South Carolina. We are encouraged to see that lawmakers recognize the importance of reducing tax burdens on individuals and manufacturers to make our state more competitive, and we will continue to work with them to ensure a strong tax cut bill makes it across the finish line.”

Read the full 2022 Competitiveness Agenda here.

VIP Bridal Expands to Include Event Planning and Celebrates with Chamber

VIP Bridal Showroom in Florence celebrated joining the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, February 15. Owner Ellen Visel and Store Manager Cara Dowling and staff were joined by Chamber staff and ambassadors for the ribbon cutting.

Visel said they were also celebrating a new phase and expansion for the business, VIP planning services. The business will now help brides not only find the perfect wedding dress but help them in the planning of their very special event.

Visel said she has been at the 1826 Sally Hill Farms Boulevard location for a year. Prior to opening VIP Bridal Showroom she owned Juliet’s Bridal and Formal Wear for about three years.

VIP Bridal Showroom has an extensive collection of wedding gowns, bridesmaids, mother-of-the-bride and flower girl dresses, as well as prom and pageant evening gowns and tuxedo rentals.

To read the full story, click here.

Cheney Brothers Establishing Operations in Florence County

For Immediate Release

February 23, 2022


Cheney Brothers establishing operations in Florence County

$66 million investment to create 280 new jobs


COLUMBIA, S.C. Cheney Brothers, a leading broadline food distributor, today announced plans to construct a new distribution center in Florence County. The company’s $66 million investment will create 280 new jobs.

Family-owned and -operated since 1925, Cheney Brothers offers more than 16,000 different products including food, paper and chemicals.

With locations in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, Cheney Brothers is locating its newest facility at Pee Dee Commerce City East Industrial Park in Florence to meet the growing demand of the region. The project will consist of a modern 400,000-square-foot refrigerator/freezer distribution facility, over 45 loading docks, a Cheney Express and exquisite culinary kitchen.

Individuals interested in joining the Cheney Brothers team should visit the company’s website.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.


Cheney Brothers’ market share continues to grow across the Southeast, and it was important to us to meet our customer demands in South Carolina. Florence was the logical choice to locate the new facility, considering the great access and the superior interstate system of transportation. The city, county and state have been very supportive and easy to work with throughout the process.” -Cheney Brothers CEO and Chairman of the Board Byron Russell

“South Carolina has a rich culinary heritage and our thriving food distribution industry helps ensure our tradition continues to grow. We welcome Cheney Brothers to Florence County, and we look forward to a successful partnership.”-Gov. Henry McMaster

“South Carolina has continued to show that it is the right place for companies to do business, especially for companies looking to move products efficiently to customers. Our state continues to see its distribution and logistics sector grow, and today’s announcement by Cheney Brothers is another indication of that success.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“We are excited to welcome Cheney Brothers to Florence County. Distribution companies continue to recognize the strong logistical and supply chain advantages to locating in Florence County, namely Florence County’s location at the intersection of I-95 and I-20. The creation of 280 new jobs by Cheney Brothers will yield a positive impact in our community.” -Florence County Council Chairman Willard Dorriety Jr.


  • Cheney Brothers is establishing operations in Florence County.
  • $66 million investment to create 280 new jobs.
  • Cheney Brothers is a leading foodservice distributor.
  • Locating at Pee Dee Commerce City East Industrial Park in Florence, S.C.
  • Individuals interested in joining the Cheney Brothers team should visit the company’s website.


The School Foundation Makes $130,000 Available for Major Grant

The School Foundation seeks grant requests that align with the five areas of focus: Literacy, Mathematics, Early Childhood, Technology or Fine Arts. $130,000 is available for grants this cycle.

Grant applications for the 2022 – 2023 school year will be accepted from Florence 1 Schools Educators until April 28, 2022.

Grant Categories

There is one grant category this year, Major Grants, which should seek to have a broad impact across the entire school district and help prepare our students for success in a worldwide economy. The Foundation will not be able to fund all requests due to budgetary constraints. This does not mean that a rejected request is inappropriate or unsatisfactory.

To learn more, visit their website here.

Three New Gas Stations Being Built in Florence

Florence residents will soon have more choices to fill their vehicle tanks.

Three gas stations are under construction in Florence. An On The Go station is being constructed near the intersection of West Darlington and North Irby streets, a Fastrack is being constructed at the intersection of South Cashua Drive and Jefferson Drive and construction continues on the Buc-EEs off Interstate 95’s exit 170.

The Florence Design Review Board voted unanimously in December to approve a plan allowing for the construction of a gas station with seven pumps and a convenience store with access from both Darlington and Irby streets at 221 West Darlington St.

To read the full story, click here.

Job Openings Remain High in SC

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor released the December jobs report indicating continued strain on the labor market with a record level of 10.9 million job openings, up slightly from the previous month.  Meanwhile, the number of times workers quit fell to 4.3 million in December, from a record 4.5 million. Hiring slowed to 6.3 million, down from 6.6 million.

Of the country’s four regions, the South – including South Carolina – has the highest number of job openings at over 4 million. Industries facing the highest open job rates are hospitality, healthcare, and transportation.

In South Carolina, 103,000 jobs are currently available, with Charleston, Richland, and Greenville counties advertising for the most jobs as reported by SC Works.

To learn more, click here.

The Citizens Bank to Acquire Sandhills Bank

Sandhills Bank will merge into The Citizens Bank, the banks’ holding companies announced Monday, January 31st.

Citizens Bancshares Corp. is the holding company for The Citizens Bank. Sandhills Holding Co. Inc. is the holding company for Sandhills Bank.

Sandhills Bank will merge into The Citizens Bank and Citizens Bancshares Corp. in an all-cash transaction. The combined company is expected to have more than $1 billion in total assets, including more than $500 million in total loans and nearly $900 million in total deposits as of Dec. 31. The transaction is expected to occur early in third quarter 2022. It is subject to regulatory approval and approval by Sandhills Holding Co. Inc. shareholders.

To read the full story, click here.

FDTC 5000 Building Walkway Construction Set to Launch in February

Construction on Florence-Darlington Technical College’s (FDTC) 5000 Building walkway will get underway on Monday, February 7.

The highly anticipated construction project is expected to be completed by August 15, just prior to the Fall 2022 semester; however, the speed of the project will be largely dependent upon weather and other unforeseen factors. The walkway that leads from the upper parking lots and into the 2nd and 3rd floors of the 5000 Building has been inaccessible due to structural damage.

All offices in the 5000 Building will stay in-place throughout the duration of the construction project. The Student Life Department will hold its events in other various buildings on campus. Due to the construction, parking and access points to the 5000 Building will be modified.

2022 Outlook Luncheon

The featured speaker for the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce annual Outlook Luncheon on Wednesday, March 16th will be S.C. Secretary of Commerce, Harry M. Lightsey, III.

The luncheon will be held at the Florence Center with the program beginning at noon.  Doors will open at 11:30 a.m.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce works with statewide partners, including our local economic development groups, to advance business services and create industry opportunities in the Pee Dee region and the state of South Carolina. Mr. Lightsey will talk about what the forecast is for our region and the state in the coming years.

The business luncheon will include the announcement of the Small Business Person of the Year, which is sponsored by Dedicated Community Bank, and the Public Servant of the Year, which is sponsored by Francis Marion University. The Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year will also be recognized.

Community and local business leaders are invited to attend. Make your reservations early since this program can sell out in advance of the event date. Tickets will not be sold the day of the program.

Tickets are $30 for chamber members, $40 for nonmembers and $450 for a reserved table of eight.

To register online, click here.