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Leadership Florence visits Locked Inn, builds teamwork skills

Leadership Florence visited Locked Inn – A Live Escape Room Experience as a part of their two-day team building retreat.

The class split into four teams and participants competed in a live action adventure game where they were “locked in” a room and had to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles to escape.

Thank you to the Locked Inn team for hosting Leadership Florence!

Junior Leadership Florence County students visit Lake City

Contributed Photos

On Oct. 23, the Junior Leadership Florence County class enjoyed a fabulous fall day in Lake City learning all about our history and growing our appreciation for the arts. Thanks to ARTFIELDS, Moore Farms Botanical Garden, Ron McNair Life History Center and The Bean Market for hosting. JLFC is a program modeled after the Florence Chamber’s Leadership Florence program, and is designed for public and private high school sophomores and juniors. It enables students to be able to develop leadership skills while also increasing their awareness of the community.

Junior Leadership Florence County consists of an opening retreat, followed by eight monthly sessions and seeks to provide an investment in the community’s future leadership by fostering interest in the county and inspiring students to become the leaders of tomorrow. This program is a joint effort between Florence County 4-H, The Greater Florence Chamber and Francis Marion University with support from local businesses.



Pee Dee Realtor Association host Business After Hours

By: Andrew Boardwine

Hundreds of business and community leaders gathered at the Pee Dee Realtors Association office Thursday, September 6th for an evening of networking and fellowship.

The Pee Dee Realtors Association, at 1375 Celebration Blvd., held a Business After Hours event in conjunction with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

Jennifer King, CEO of the association, said the Business After Hours gives members of the business community a chance to network.

“We are members of the chamber and we value that partnership,” King said. “This is sort of coming off the high point of buying season, so we thought this would be a perfect time to get together, mix and mingle and for all the people in the business community to come out and have a great time.”

Attendees were treated to live music, free refreshments and a chance to win some door prizes.

The association links real estate people together, provides education for those in the field and looks to support the community.

Mindy Taylor of Duke Energy will serve as the 2018 – 2019 Chairman of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce

By: Andrew Boardwine

Mindy Taylor of Duke Energy will serve as the chairman of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce board of directors for the 2018-19 term.

Taylor, the district manager for government and community relations, said the chamber of commerce is the “front door” to any community.

“One part of my job is to understand the community,” Taylor said. “The Florence Chamber of Commerce does such a great job and they’re so focused on supporting the local business community and providing relevant programs to businesses in an effort for them to be successful.

Fresenius Kidney Care expands in Florence

By:  Matthew Christian, Morning News

Shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dr. John Pittard cut the ribbon to mark the expansion of Fresenius Kidney Care in Florence.

Fresenius Kidney Care has expanded into a new facility that will allow more patients to be cared for individually. It had more clients than it could handle at its previous location.

The new facility is at 1453 Pamplico Highway.

Fresenius Kidney Care trains patients with end-stage kidney failure how to perform dialysis at home except for one visit per month to a kidney center. Dialysis is the process that attempts to replicate the removal of poisons from the human body that the kidneys normally perform. Fresenius Kidney Care offers patients with failed kidneys the opportunity to learn how to perform one of two types of kidney dialysis depending on their needs.

Being able to dialyze at home offers patients with end-stage kidney failure the freedom to continue to live their life.

“It’s tough,” Pittard said. “One of my favorite stories: I was coming back from Wyoming about four years ago, and I went to turn in a car at 4:30 in the morning. There’s a couple, a man and his daughter from Galveston [Texas], because of the flood problems, he has to travel 45 minutes to Houston to dialyze.”

Pittard said the man’s situation was even worse on vacation in Wyoming. In that state, near Jackson Hole, the closest place for him to go was in Idaho, an 85-mile trip across the southern end of the Teton Mountains.

“On top of it, the clinic he was supposed to go to messed up,” Pittard continued. “He didn’t have a spot. His vacation got canceled after four days. Had he been on home dialysis, there would have been no problem. He could have enjoyed his vacation.”

For more information on Fresenius Kidney Care, visit


Incubator on display at Florence Business After Hours event

By:  Andrew Boardwine

Florence-Darlington Tech officials showed off their Charles W. Gould Business Incubator office space Wednesday evening as part of the organization’s Business After Hours event.

Hundreds of ambassadors from the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce joined business and community leaders for a night of networking, fellowship and touring the facility.

The Gould Business Incubator offers a clean and modern environment for office-based and manufacturing ventures with affordable work spaces, free phone and internet service and the most modern shared support amenities.

Ashley Deaza, executive director of the SiMT Gould Business Incubator, said the business incubator is a great resource for those wanting to start or grow their business.

“I thought the Business After Hours would be a great way to make the community aware of the resource we have here at the SiMT in the business incubator,” Deaza said. “Many are still wondering what purpose the business incubator serves. It’s very simply put: We’re a great place to grow your business with all the resources you need. We’re open to working with all types of industries and it’s really exciting.”

The Gould Business Incubator was established as an extension of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology in 2012 to help ensure the success of new business ventures in the Florence-Darlington area, according to its website.

The incubator includes seven modern, furnished office spaces and 17 multi-use bays. All spaces are expandable and many offer large roll-up doors and 480 volt, 3-phase power.

Deaza said the incubator had four new companies, including female-owned companies, join this summer.

“There’s quite a variety of different business that have joined,” Deaza said. “We’re just really excited and things really tend to kick up in the fall and the spring. We do have a few spaces left ranging in sizes, so we may be the right fit for a company looking for a place.”

For more information, visit

Active Day of the Pee Dee joins Florence Chamber, snips ribbon to celebrate

By Andrew Boardwine, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. — Active Day of the Pee Dee joined ambassadors from the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Wednesday to celebrate the organization’s new chamber membership with a ribbon cutting.

Active Day of the Pee Dee, at 2120 Enterprise Drive, has been around for more than 18 years and serves disabled adults and seniors through many different services.

Tyra Jefferson, center director for Active Day of the Pee Dee, said the Pee Dee location is one of 13 centers in South Carolina. Nationwide, the organization operates more than 100 centers in 14 states and has been open for more than 20 years.

“We provide respite services and are a community resource for individuals who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism and special needs,” Jefferson said. “Our members are here for socialization. When they’re come here, they’re able to meet people and it helps with their care, health and living.”

Jefferson said joining the chamber will allow the organization to be more actively involved in the Pee Dee community. She said the organization plans to build and expand within the next few years as it continues to increase its footprint in Florence.

“I’ve seen the chamber do so many things in the community,” Jefferson said. “They do awesome work for community engagement and I think that fits our mission and our vision of where we’re going.”

Active Day cares for more than 7,000 members.

“The members are personal to me,” Jefferson said. “My son is autistic, so I get to come to work and do what I do at home. I’m a caregiver myself, so I get it both ways. I know what it’s like to provide the service and receive the service. I really love the members and our great staff.”

Active Day will be celebrating National Adult Day Health Services Week Sunday, Sept. 16, through Saturday, Sept. 22. The organization has a list of events on its Facebook page and welcomes volunteers.

For more information, contact Active Day at 843-665-1919 or e-mail You can also follow Active Day of the Pee Dee on Facebook or visit

2018 – 2019 Leadership Florence Meet & Greet

The Leadership Florence journey has started for the class of 2019. Today, we welcome our 35 member class of business and community leaders to Leadership Florence with the annual Meet and Greet event facilitated by Pivot10 Results.