ChamberLink Radio

Bill Lynch, owner of Asset Technology Group, joined ChamberLink radio this weekend to share information on their services addressing multiple tiers of IT systems, including managed firewalls, network security, backup & disaster recovery, email & spam protection, VoIP, Website design, hardware, software, and more.

You can catch ChamberLink Radio each Sunday from 12:00-12:30pm on LIVE 95.3FM in Florence, SC.

Florence Downtown Development Celebrate The Great American Main Street Award

We want to congratulate the Florence Downtown Development folks as they celebrate the Great American Main Street Award win. The Chamber is thankful to the FDDC, and for all the amazing businesses that help bring residents and visitors to Downtown Florence. Proud to be part of downtown Florence.

Darlington Dixie Plant To Host Ribbon-Cutting For $145M Expansion

Georgia-Pacific and Dixie Darlington are celebrating the completion of their multi-million dollar expansion in the Pee Dee.

A $145 million investment expanded and enhanced the Darlington Manufacturing site.

They are now able to make more Dixie plates and bowls, constructed a new distribution center and installed a new printer.

They will host a ribbon-cutting event at the end of the month to unveil the expansion.

To read the full story, click here.

Workforce Woes Continue in SC

South Carolina businesses continue to suffer from workforce-related issues. From a national workforce shortage to a growing skills gap, Palmetto State employers do their best to keep their factories, stores, and operations staffed. The Post and Courier recently reported on manufacturers’ struggles to find qualified workers who can pass a drug test and background check in a stagnant and shrinking labor pool.

The article explained that companies are eligible for lower insurance premiums for complying with the State of South Carolina’s Drug-Free Workplace Act and that any company that accepts incentives must comply with all local, state, and federal laws, including the Drug-Free Workplace Act. The act lists marijuana as a banned controlled substance in South Carolina. Quest Diagnostics’ most recent Drug Testing Index showed that 4.6 percent of job seekers tested positive for drug use in 2022, and most were related to marijuana. Drug tests are becoming a more prevalent barrier for employees to achieve and retain jobs as drug use rises across the country, especially marijuana.

Additionally, background checks continue to be a barrier for many in the state’s workforce. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s Labor Force Participation Task Force uncovered that a criminal record was the tenth largest barrier – 11 percent of respondents – for those who are not working and able to. South Carolina leaders are working to reduce this barrier with legislation such as H.3605 to make occupational licenses more attainable for previously incarcerated individuals, which was signed into law on May 10, 2023.

Drug tests and background checks are not the only nor the most significant barriers for South Carolinians. Transportation, childcare, training, healthcare affordability, and many other obstacles keep our available workforce out of the market. The SC Chamber continues to look for ways to strengthen and grow the state’s workforce and labor force participation rate by working with businesses, partners, and other groups to identify and push for solutions that help the state’s business community have the workforce they need to be prosperous.

“Project Mimosa” Coming To The Pee Dee

A manufacturing company could soon bring a $20 million investment and 29 new full-time jobs to Florence County.

Florence County Council members unanimously passed a resolution to give the company, currently identified as “Project Mimosa” to protect its identity, a tax incentive to come to the county.

“This is another exciting economic development announcement,” said County Administrator Kevin Yokim.

To read the full story, click here.

The PACK Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The PACK (Pisgah After Care Kids) is the childcare ministry of Pisgah Methodist Church. Pisgah has been a continuous faith community in Florence since 1806. It has deep roots for strong growth.

Each day, students have an opportunity for devotion, homework time, outside free play, arts and crafts, games, puzzles, and snacks. Chapel is held weekly, and field trips, guest speakers, mission projects, and special events are planned throughout the year.

To read the full story, click here.

Chaplin To Serve as Chamber Chair, Carsten Chair-Elect

Drew Chaplin of Palmetto Commercial Real Estate will be the new chairman of the 2023-24 Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce board of directors, beginning July 1.

Chaplin replaces Paul Seward of First Bank, who will serve as past chair during the upcoming fiscal year.

The chamber chair-elect will be Jamie Carsten of Anderson Brothers Bank.

Completing the chamber executive board is Brian Fast of First Citizens Bank serving as treasurer.

Other chamber board changes include eight new board members:

Kirby Anderson of Raldex Hospitality, Lethonia Barnes of the city of Florence, Linward C. Edwards II from the Law Office of Linward Edwards, Amber Fort of Raines Co., David Fountain with UPS Stores, Jay Hinesley of MUSC Health Florence, Dr. Brian Sang of Palmetto Smiles, and Amber Sellers with Wells Fargo.

To read the full story, click here.

Leadership Florence Class of 2023 Holds Graduation

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Florence Class of 2023 held a graduation ceremony on Tuesday night at Victors in downtown Florence. The commencement speaker was Donna Isgett, President and CEO of McLeod Health.

Isgett gave the Leadership Florence class tips and quotes for leading in organizations and in the community.

Grey Strait of GE Healthcare was voted Outstanding Participant by the class. 2022 Outstanding Participant Monica Hanna was on hand to present the award the Strait.

To see more photos from the evening, click here.

April Labor Update: National & State

The United States saw positive job creation in April, and the labor force’s size finally passed pre-pandemic levels. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated that 253,000 jobs were added to the economy in April, far beyond the predicted 180,000 jobs. A growing labor market is favorable. However, it is also a qualifier for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates as they did on May 3rd from 5 percent to 5.25 percent. Due to record inflation and slow economic growth, the Federal Reserve has rapidly raised interest rates in anticipation of the labor marketing cracking. However, as the Wall Street Journal reported, it has not.


Although there was growth in total jobs, there are still 3.75 million more job openings than unemployed workers. Job openings remain high, and quit levels do, too. Employers are continuing to face a workforce shortage. In the Palmetto State, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce that the number of people working increased to 2,330,701 in April and the state’s labor force participation rate went up to 56.3 percent from March’s rate of 55.1 percent. DEW also reported that the amount of unemployed people decreased to 75,653 brining the unemployment rate down to 3.1 percent from March’s rate of 3.2 percent.

To read the full story, click here.

FMU Performing Arts Center Announces 2023-2024 Spotlight Series

he FMU Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce its 2023-2024 Spotlight Series featuring diverse offerings including county, rock, Motown, Broadway, and more.

The season kicks off with country music icon Crystal Gayle followed by Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone of “I’m Into Something Good” fame; one of rock’s most dynamic and purposeful bands, The Wallflowers; “American Pie” singer Don McLean; RUMORS: A Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band; Forever Motown featuring former members of The Four Tops, The Temptations, and the Marvelettes; The Barricade Boys with their West End party musical mashup; and An Evening with Roger McGuinn, founding member of The Byrds.

For more information on each show or to purchase your tickets, visit