Clayton Homes, Vivid Network Solutions win People’s Choice awards at chamber cook-off

By: Matthew Christian

FLORENCE, S.C. – Clayton Homes and Vivid Network Solutions are the winners of the People’s Choice awards at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s Kickin’ Chicken Wings and Chili Cook-off.

The event was held Friday night in downtown Florence.

Clayton Homes won the wing competition.

Vivid Network Solutions won the chili competition.

People who attended the event cast their votes at

In the wings competition, the judges gave the first-place award to University of BBQ. Performance Food Services IFH and Clayton Homes finished second and third, respectively.

In the chili competition, the judges gave the first-place award to Nucor Vulcroft’s Steel Smokin’ team. Duke Energy finished second.

The Nucor Vulcroft team donated its prize money to the family of Florence police Sgt. Terrence Carraway, who was killed on Oct. 3 in the line of duty.

Kickin’ Chicken event draws people to downtown Florence for food, music

By: Matthew Christian

FLORENCE, S.C. – South Dargan Street was filled with the smells of chicken and chili Friday evening.

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Kickin’ Chicken and Chili Festival was held in the 100 block of South Dargan Street from 5 to 9 p.m. The festival drew residents from Florence and even tourists from Indiana to downtown Florence.

Jim and Kelly Lee were one couple attending the festival, which included music from the band Sideswiped.

Jim said they came because the weather was nice and the festival gave them something to do. Kelly said she had received an email alerting her to the event.

“The organization of the event was very good,” Kelly said.

The festival features a chicken wing cook-off and a chili cook-off. The winners determined by a panel of judges were University of BBQ in the wings cook-off and Nucor Vulcraft in the chili cook-off. People’s choice winners will be announced today.

Jim said his favorite wings were those from Performance Food Service, which finished second.

Dennis and Danielle Hoskins were visiting from Indianapolis and received information about the festival on their phones and decided to attend. They hadn’t eaten yet but were excited to walk around to the various booths set up along Dargan Street.

The chicken wings and the opportunity to have something to do on a Friday night also drew Tawala Milling, Lisa Tention, and Debra Hill to the festival.

Florence firm offers ‘creative way’ to meet companies’ needs

By: Andrew Boardwine

FLORENCE, S.C. — K. Hope Creative joined ambassadors from the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the organization’s new chamber membership with a ribbon cutting.

K. Hope Creative is a boutique consulting firm specializing in brand development, marketing and public relations.

Kim Bowman, president and CEO of K. Hope, said she began the firm about a year ago after a successful career in marketing and business development.

“I find a creative way to get where we need to go,” Bowman said. “If a client has a problem with sales, visibility, brand development or whatever it is, we’re going to find a creative way to do just that. I love working with people who need somebody to come in, or an outside objective look, to solve problems through that creative touch and approach.”

Bowman most recently served as the CEO of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics Foundation, where she was responsible for strategic direction, marketing, fundraising, outreach, and recruiting.

She has also held marketing and leadership roles with EdVenture Children’s Museum, Lake Murray Magazine, University of South Carolina, Policy Management Systems Corporation, and AT&T.

K. Hope works with several organizations, including business, education, lifestyle and nonprofit groups. The firm offers marketing, strategy, brand development, public relations, community relations, business development, project management and execution fundraising, campaigns and content, help with new ventures and events, and more.

“I don’t think ‘important’ is a powerful enough word,” Bowman said about the importance of business marketing. “If you can’t get your message out effectively, you’re not in business. It’s something that is done differently with every single different organization.”

For more information or to contact K. Hope Creative, visit or contact it at 803-240-6642 or by email

Leadership Florence participates in October session

The Leadership Florence journey continues, as the class had their October session on Oct. 9, Visual Arts and Media Day.

The 38 member class of 2018-2019 visited Adam’s Outdoor, iHeart Media, Morning News, FMU PAC, Florence Museum and Florence Little Theater.


Florence Chamber hosts annual golf tournament

The Greater Florence Chamber held their annual Fall Golf Classic at Traces Golf Club last Thursday, Oct. 4. The event was sponsored by Raldex Hospitality.

Local community leaders and business friends joined together as more than 100 players enjoyed great food and beverages during a great day on the links. Lunch was served at 11:00 a.m. and golfers hit the tees at 12:10 p.m. Everyone appreciated a course full of food and various hospitality hole vendors.

The first-place winning team was Cradles to Crayons with players Shane Grainger, Joel Oliver, Rick Reed and Bree Kullenburg. The second-place team was HopeHealth made up of Clay Oliver, David Ellis, Jamie Stanley and Noah Mims. Closest to the pin winners were Lisa Lee, Andy Haigler, Tim Bell and Trey Brown. Longest drive was Keith Young.

Florence Junior Leadership students learn about healthcare industry

Even though HIPAA did not allow for many pictures today, our Junior Leadership students learned so much about the healthcare industry on Sept. 28. Special thanks to Carolinas Hospital System and McLeod Regional Medical Center for their hospitality!