Inman: 2013 was a very good year for Chamber of Commerce, Union County

Charles Warner Editor

January 7, 2014

UNION COUNTY — For the Union County Chamber of Commerce and Union County, 2013 was a very good year according to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Torance Inman.

Inman said 2013 saw not only the chamber grow, but Union County as well.

“It was a very good year for the chamber and Union County as a whole,” Inman said. “We saw our chamber membership top 220 and we’ve had a very successful year through our Business After Hours. Our HR Cafe series was presented by Winters law firm and the chamber hosted How to Start a Small Business and Understanding Your Credit 101 workshops. In addition, we will continue providing additional workshops this year starting with Putting Your Business Online.”

Another example of the success the chamber enjoyed in 2013 was it succeeding in getting Gov. Nikki Haley to serve as guest speaker at its Annual Member Banquet in April.

“We had a very successful event recognizing our industry, business and community leaders with Gov. Haley as our guest speaker,” Inman said. “We had a record attendance of over 350.”

Inman said the success enjoyed by the chamber did not occur in isolation, but was part of the success enjoyed by Union County in 2013. He said the county enjoyed a great deal of economic growth in 2013, including the opening and/or announcement of new businesses.

“We have seen, for example, the opening or preparations for the opening of Shoe Show, Founders Federal Credit Union, Great Clips, Jewelers Workshop, Cherry Blossom, Extreme Wings, Ace Rentals, Dawkins, Pete’s Steakhouse Restaurant, Waffle House, Zaxby’s and others,” Inman said. “All this has occurred just this year alone.”

Another sector of the local economy that grew in 2013 was motorsports with the county attracting a number of races including Big Buck and Enduro contests. Inman said there are plans to bring these and other events back in 2014 as well as host national competitions as well.

In addition to new businesses and the growth of racing, Inman said non-profit and government service organizations expanded their presence in the county in 2013.

“We’ve also seen the opening of the non-profit partnership center which provided the Red Cross, the United Way, and the Alzheimer’s Association each with a presence in Union County,” Inman said. “In addition to that we’ve seen S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation open a center in Jonesville.”

In addition to gaining new members, Inman said the chamber worked to expand the community events it sponsors throughout the year. He said the chamber is looking at further expansions as well as marketing the downtown area and the Bypass.

“The chamber this past year expanded its efforts with Halloween Downtown, Open House, and Summertime Music Fest that we hope to expand even further this summer,” Inman said. “We’re also working with some potential developers in retail and food services about marketing both downtown Union and the Duncan Bypass.”

Inman said another sign of the success the county enjoyed in 2013 was the decline of its unemployment rate to below 10 percent for the first time in years. He attributed this and other milestones of success the county enjoyed to the hard work of and cooperation between its various local government and economic development agencies and other groups.

“We have seen Union County’s unemployment rate drop from as high as 22 percent to November’s rate of 9.4 percent,” Inman said. “When you look at the overall accomplishments that have been made by Union County, the City of Union, the Economic Development Board, the Chamber, and other partners, we can only conclude that Union County has some bright days ahead.”

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com.