Band of Oz to Headline Florence After Five Concert Series this Friday

(Image courtesy: Florence Downtown Development Corp.)

The Final Friday of each month from April to October, the Florence Downtown Development Corporation and City of Florence host a FREE concert on S. Dargan Street between Evans and Cheves Streets in Historic Downtown Florence.

This week’s event will feature the music of the Band of Oz and a free Kids’ Zone!

The event starts at 5:30 pm and the band starts playing at 6 pm.

Food and Beverages are available at the event.

All food and beverage sales are made via tickets which can be purchased at the ticket booth located near the driveway at 135 S. Dargan. Look for the giant white ticket flag.

For more information, visit:

Florence After Five Concert Series


Use Technology to Track Data in Your Small Business

(image courtesy:

New technologies make it very easy to track everything in your small business- from what makes your employees productive to what engages your customers…Why not take advantage?

Take a look at this article from Forbes on tracking data in your small business and the difference that it can make.

According to the article, “tracking is one of the key pillars of a successful business. Without tracking, the business owner simply cannot know what works and what does not. It is also difficult to see where the inefficiencies are and how they can be improved upon.

The best way to become a data genius is to get into the habit of tracking everything when it comes to your business, and that includes the website, customers, and employees.”

To read the full list, click on the link to the article below: web article: Tracking data in your small business

Tuesday Runoff Will Determine Future of Florence District 2 Seat

(Image courtesy:

An important runoff this Tuesday will determine the Florence City Council District 2 seat.

The position has been vacant since the untimely death of long-time City Councilman Edward Robinson.

Florence School District 1 board member Pat Gibson-Hye Moore and Florence County Democratic Chairwoman LaShonda NeSmith are both now vying for the position.

Read more about their stances, the race itself and what it will mean for the City of Florence in the article below from the Morning News: web article- 2016 Election Coverage

PDRTA Considers Rate Changes for Florence Area Transit System

(image courtesy: PDRTA)
The PDRTA is considering a proposal that would keep full bus fares at $1.50, raise all-day pass rates from $4 to $5 but decrease 10-ride pass rates from $15 to $13. Under the system, a 20-ride pass would decrease from $30 to $25 and a 30-day pass would provide a “limitless” number of rides.
The transit system operates buses throughout Florence, South Carolina and the surrounding Pee Dee area, including Darlington, Lake City, and all the way to Myrtle Beach. The PDRTA recently also introduced routes in Coward, Lamar, Olanta, Scranton and Timmonsville.
You can read all about the proposal and what it would mean for the transit agency by clicking on the link below to the Morning News article:

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Edward Jones: Janelle Walters


The Florence Chamber was proud to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony this week for one of its newest members, Edward Jones: Janelle Townsley Walters!

Whether you’re planning for retirement, saving for college for children or grandchildren, or just trying to protect the financial future of the ones you care for the most, the Edward Jones office of Janelle Walters can work together with you to develop specific strategies to help you achieve your goals.

The business can also monitor your progress to help make sure you stay on track or determine if any adjustments need to be made. Throughout it all, Janelle and her staff are dedicated to providing you top-notch client service.

For more information on this Chamber member, visit their offices at 140 W Evans St #201 or give them a call at: (843) 669-9299.

For a look at the Morning News’ coverage of the ribbon cutting ceremony, click on the link below:

Morning News Gallery: Edward Jones Ribbon Cutting

Chamber Recognizes Outgoing Board Members, Chairman


The Florence Chamber was honored to take a few moments today to recognize our outgoing Board members Dennis Hempstead, Tyron Jones and Mike Skarupa and our outgoing Board Chairman, Tim Norwood.

We thank each of you so much for your service to the Florence Chamber and to the Florence community as a whole!

For more information on the Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, click on the link below:

Florence Chamber Board of Directors

Emerging Leaders Summer Institute Begins

The Emerging Leaders Summer Institute recently kicked off with an orientation at the Florence Chamber.  The program is designed to generate professional training and development, mentorship, community engagement and recruitment opportunities. The purpose is to identify, develop and empower “Emerging Leaders”, specifically minorities, small business owners and innovative professionals poised to move into the next level of community and business leadership.
Stay tuned for updates on this exciting Chamber program as it continues over the next couple of months! You can also find more information on the program by visiting the FB event page below:

(Special thanks to Toyinda L. Smith for the images from the most recent event)


Florence Chamber Welcomes Northwestern Mutual: Wayne Catoe

The Florence Chamber was proud to help officially welcome one of its newest members this week- Northwestern Mutual: Wayne Catoe. The business offers financial and insurance services through Northwestern Mutual, from their office at 319 S. Irby Street, Suite 100 in Florence.

Backed by the strength of Northwestern Mutual, Wayne and his team provide you with a balanced approach to achieving your goal of financial security, assuring that your intentions have been understood and your needs are being addressed. And when it comes to implementing solutions, the full capabilities of Northwestern Mutual are leveraged to provide you with exclusive access to a comprehensive variety of products and services.

For more information, give them a call at: 843-629-0370.

Fair Labor Standards Act: Lunch & Learn Opportunity

The new (Fair Labor Standards Act) overtime rule could impact you personally, or could impact your overall finances and employees if you’re a business owner. So what exactly will the new rule mean, who qualifies for the changes and how will it impact your business? Join the Florence Chamber and the Young Professionals of Florence for a Lunch & Learn Program that will provide you with some of the answers.

The program will take place on Wednesday, July 20th from 12-1:30 pm in the Stukes Meeting Room of the Florence County Library and will feature presentations and Q&A with a variety of speakers on the new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.) Lunch will also be included.
The cost to attend is $15 for Chamber and YP members, $20 for non-members and $15 for non-profit employees.

To register or for more information, click on the link below or call the Chamber at (843) 665-0515.

More information on the FLSA:

The Overtime Rule
In 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update the overtime regulations to reflect the original intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act and to simplify and modernize the rules so they’re easier for workers and businesses to understand and apply. The department has issued a final rule that will put more money in the pockets of middle class workers – or give them more free time.
The final rule will:
Raise the salary threshold indicating eligibility from $455/week to $913 ($47,476 per year), ensuring protections to 4.2 million workers.
Automatically update the salary threshold every three years, based on wage growth over time, increasing predictability.
Strengthen overtime protections for salaried workers already entitled to overtime.
Provide greater clarity for workers and employers.
The final rule will become effective on December 1, 2016, giving employers more than six months to prepare. The final rule does not make any changes to the duties test for executive, administrative and professional employees.

Emerging Leaders Summer Institute Program Kicks Off

The Emerging Leaders Summer Institute program kicks off this evening with an orientation and reception for class members.
The program is designed to generate professional training and development, mentorship, community engagement and recruitment opportunities. The purpose is to identify, develop and empower “Emerging Leaders”, specifically minorities, small business owners and innovative professionals poised to move into the next level of community and business leadership.
Program Strategies:
– Visit with community leaders and businesses
– Professional and personal leadership development and civic engagement
– Extensive networking with a diverse group of peers
– Discovering your strengths and how to apply them
as a leader
Program Dates:
– Tuesday, June 14: Orientation & Reception –
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
– Wednesday, June 15: Session 1 – Retreat
– Wednesday, July 13: Session 2 – Technology, Innovation & Industry
– Wednesday, July 20: Session 3- Education & Leadership Development
– Wednesday, August 3rd: Session 4 – Government/Civic Engagement
– Graduation – TBA-6 pm – 8 pm
Program Sponsorship and Cost:
Cost includes lunch and materials. While many candidates are sponsored by their employer, a limited number of partial scholarships are available.
Non-profit $200
Small/Minority Business $250
Corporate $500
For more information, contact:
Les Echols, Director of Community & Minority Enterprise, Florence Chamber: (843) 665-0515 or visit: