Efforts Underway To Increase Ridership At Florence Regional Airport

On December 12th, The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce organized a luncheon with area business & industry leaders to discuss the Florence Regional and American Airlines flight schedules.

Part of the discussion included ways to improve commercial ridership from area businesses on flights in and out of the FLO airport and how we might improve daily flight frequency to Charlotte Airport (CLT).

Greg Atkins, Airline Consultant & Director at AilevonPacific, addressed the invitation only group of 20-25 business leaders that included representatives from Honda, Assurant, FMU, McLeod, FDTC, CVC, WestRock, GE Healthcare as well as county and state representatives. Mr. Atkins shared airport and flight statistics showing that American Airline flights in and out of FLO represent good performance and comparative or better to all other surround commercial airports when connecting in CLT.

Gregg Robinson, CEO of Florence County Economic Development Partnership shared the importance of growing the FLO airport flight schedules for our future economic development needs.

For more information on the airport discussions, please contact Mike Miller at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

F1S Employees Exceed $50,000 Giving-Goal To Seven Community Partners

For the first time in history, Florence 1 Schools exceeded its giving-goal and provided over $50,000 to seven partner organizations. $17,475 to The School Foundation; $8,471 to CEF; $8,383 to the House of Hope of the Pee Dee; $5,431 to Good News Clubs; $4,097 to the UNCF; $3,563 to Habitat for Humanity; $3,288.04 to the United Way of Florence County.

Small Businesses’ Confidence in the Economy Dip – But There’s Good Side

Recent data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife’s Small Business Index (SBI) shows small businesses’ confidence in the economy dropped to 61.3 percent in the 4th quarter (Q4) of 2023, down from a recent high of 69.2 percent in Q3. According to the data, less than 25 percent of small businesses surveyed say the U.S. economy is in good health which is down eight points from Q3.

On the positive front, about two-thirds (64 percent) of small businesses say the health of their business is very or somewhat good. Over two-thirds (67 percent) of small businesses say they are somewhat or very comfortable with their current cash flow.

In South Carolina, the Palmetto Business Barometer measures business conditions and attitudes every month to better understand the conditions South Carolina employers are facing. Similar to the Q4 results of the SBI, the November results of the Palmetto Business Barometer showed that the business average performance rating stayed at 7.1, down from peak levels in late summer/early fall, which shows that confidence in the economy may have slightly dipped. Positively, over two-thirds (68 percent) of businesses surveyed said that their revenues either exceeded or met expectations over the past month which is up from 63 percent in October.

Find the results of the Palmetto Business Barometer here and take the December survey today.

German Manufacturer Investing Half a Billion Dollars, Creating 300 Jobs In Sumter

A German manufacturer of magnets used in electric vehicles is set to create 300 new jobs and invest over half a billion dollars.

Sumter will be home to the first U.S. facility for e-VAC Magnetics, which produces rare earth permanent magnets. CEO Erik Eschen and Gov. Henry McMaster made the announcement at a press conference Dec. 13.

The manufacturing plant will be placed on an 85-acre lot at Pocotaligo Industrial Park and is expected to be completed by fall 2025.

The announcement comes after the Department of Defense in September announced plans to expand domestic manufacturing of rare earth permanent magnets. The DOD plans included a $94.1 million award to e-VAC. The magnets, aside from being used in EVs, are used in the creation of military vehicles such as the F-35 plane and unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a DOD press release.

To read the full story, click here.

McLeod Health To Host New Trades Program

McLeod Health will play host to a new apprenticeship program, run by an education nonprofit, that will show students the jobs available at hospitals beyond just doctors and nurses.

The apprenticeships, set to begin in spring semester 2024, will be a partnership with local school districts to give high school students real-world experience at the hospital system in their chosen trade. The program brings together organizations in South Carolina and beyond that are interested in education and it will serve as a test-run of the educational model.

Power:Ed is a philanthropy of South Carolina Student Loan that gives grants to nonprofits, colleges and local organizations to break down educational barriers and prepare students for their life with the skills they need to succeed, according to its website.

To read the full story, click here.

Nominations Now Open For The 2024 ATHENA Awards

The SC Chamber is excited to announce the opening of nominations for the highly esteemed 2024 ATHENA Awards. These awards recognize exceptional women who have not only achieved remarkable success in their professional lives but have also dedicated their time and efforts to positively impacting their communities.

The ATHENA Leadership Award is awarded to an individual who exhibits a high level of professional competency. This award is a symbol of reverence for those who have not only reached the pinnacle of their careers but have also gone above and beyond to uplift women and inspire them to achieve their own leadership aspirations.

In addition to the ATHENA Leadership Award, we are delighted to present the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award. This award aims to celebrate talented young women who have exemplified excellence, creativity, and initiative in their respective fields. The award not only recognizes a recipient’s professional accomplishments but also their role as exceptional role models for aspiring young women. This is the perfect opportunity to commend rising female leaders across all industries in the Palmetto State.

Now is the time to acknowledge and applaud those who have made lasting contributions, both professionally and personally. If you know of an individual who fits the criteria for either the ATHENA Leadership Award or the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, we encourage you to submit their nomination.

For more information, click here.

Carolina Career Fair Returns January 25, 2024

The Carolina Career Fair is coming up on Thursday, Jan. 25th from 11a-3p at Staybridge Suites (150 Westpark Drive, Florence)! This is your chance to meet face to face with Pee Dee region residents who are looking and ready to work!

A limited number of exhibitor booths are still available – for more info on how your company can be part of the Career Fair, email CareerFair@CommBroadcasters.com!

To view the full flyer, click here.

Fellows In Education Visit Brockington Elementary School

Last week the Fellows in Education Group visited Brockington Elementary School in Timmonsville. School principal, Ms. Wanda Williams-Parrott and staff, shared the afternoon in a school walk through along with discussions of the world-class learning environment they offer.

The staff works hard at cultivating a culture of learning that enhances academic growth and achievement for all students. It was obvious the staff works diligently in establishing high expectations for students by utilizing various instructional strategies to facilitate mastery.

Each month the Fellows In Education program focuses on a different educational experience that is unique to the classroom. It offers opportunities for community leaders to contribute to the development of better education policies in the communities in which they live and work.

The Fellows in Education Program is a partnership between The School Foundation, Florence 1 Schools and The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

To view photos from the day, click here.

Young Professionals Of Florence To Host Christmas At Cru

You will not want to miss our Christmas event at Cru Wine & Tap on Thursday, December 21st from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.  They will be taking up supplies for Lighthouse Ministries and ask that everyone attending bring an item that is listed on the flyer. They cannot wait to see y’all there.

To view the full flyer, click here.

Florence City Center Farmers Market To Be Open December 23rd

The City Center Farmers Market will be open on Saturday, December 23rd. Shop with them for all your grocery needs and fulfill your Christmas wish list.

From fresh fruits and vegetables to handcrafted wooden plaques, there is something for you and your loved ones at the market, guaranteed to spread holiday cheer!

They will be open during regular market hours, 9 am to 1 pm, at 200 Sanborn Street.