The Aiken Chamber MEANS business
Smell the charcoal 

The Aiken Chamber of Commerce is celebrating business, its members and its 100-year anniversary with a members-only AllStar cookout and mini-trade show Friday, June 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Aiken Chamber.

Members, this event is a special way for the Chamber to say thank you for your continued investment in Aiken's future.
"Our members are the backbone for creating jobs and economic prosperity for area citizens, and we want to recognize and show our appreciation for their contributions," said 2018 Chair-elect and Vice-Chair of Membership Services, Pastor Paul Bush, Concerned Ministers Fellowship.  
The Aiken Chamber Board of Directors will be grilling hot dogs and serving up an AllStar picnic in the garden.
In addition to lunch and networking, members can stroll through the AllStar tents and visit the mini-trade show featuring the goods and services of fellow members.

The debut performance of the band OGR (pronounced ogre and occasionally referred to as Old Guys Rockin') will make sure the Chamber's Centennial is celebrated in musical history. The group includes Chamber board member Gary Sullivan, Allen Cooke and Ernie Lambert.

"The cookout and trade show are popular with our members because the event gives them an opportunity to network and enjoy having fun with fellow members," said Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. "It's always a great day for business when our members can get together and share business-to-business opportunities."

Members who visit every both will qualify for a drawing to win one of two grand prizes - a set of four Bridgestone tires from Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and a Sonus One from X-treme Audio. Chamber members may also enter for a chance to win a door prize with a $50 or higher value at each exhibitor's booth. That is more than $3,000 in door prizes and many chances to win. This truly is an AllStar event.


Chamber Board of Directors news

The Aiken Chamber Board of Directors is the leadership body of the 1,000-member business organization. The Board consists of a seven-member executive committee and three classes of six business and community leaders each serving a three-year term.
 
Jordan assumes new role

Dr. Sandra Jordan, Chancellor of USC Aiken, has been appointed to the Aiken Chamber's Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. Jordan will serve as the Vice Chair of Public Affairs, a position previously held by Vance Reynolds, former CEO of Aiken Regional Medical Centers who has recently moved out of the area.
 
Jordan has served on the Chamber's Board of Directors since 2016. She was asked to lead the Compelling Place to Live Task Force in 2017, a group tasked with developing recommendations to attract and retain families with children to the Aiken area. Jordan was the feature speaker at the Chamber's State of Our Community event last August and presented the group's report to a sold-out crowd of area community and business leaders.
 
Chamber Chair Joshua Stewart, J.E. Stewart Engineering, said, "Dr. Jordan is known for her leadership skills and for building connections and partnerships across the community. We are pleased that she will continue sharing her talents with the Chamber as we build Aiken's future."
 
Jordan began her tenure at USC Aiken in 2012 as its fourth chancellor. In this role she is the chief executive officer and principal representative for the University. USC Aiken is a comprehensive university in the University of South Carolina system, offering undergraduate and master's degrees to more than 3,500 students in 50 programs of study. USC Aiken is ranked the #1 public regional college in the South by U.S. News & World Report's guide "America's Best Colleges," has received numerous honors for its support of veteran and military students and contributes more that $281 million to the local economy.
 
An active member of the community, Dr. Jordan serves on numerous local, state and national boards and is active in developing future higher education leaders by mentoring cabinet level professionals through the American Academic Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C.

Mike Thomas appointed

Mike Thomas, CEO Alison South Marketing Group, has been appointed to fill an open position on the Aiken Chamber Board of Directors.  
 
Thomas co-founded South Company in 2010 and has led the company, now Alison South Marketing Group, to become one of the largest advertising agencies in the CSRA with offices in Aiken, Augusta and Columbia. Clients range from local businesses to national organizations, and the agency's work has won international, statewide and regional awards, including Gold and Silver Addys for print and television ads, and the SC International Association of Business Communicators' Advertising Campaign Excellence Award.
 
Prior to establishing Alison South Marketing Group, Thomas was a marketing specialist at the USCA Convocation Center. While earning his degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina, Thomas was recognized nationally for his marketing concepts and planning by winning the National Direct Marketing Education Foundation Championship and a Gold Addy from the Columbia Ad Club. He established himself as an entrepreneur by creating a multimedia talk show, Teen Forum.
 
Thomas believes in giving back to the community and has done so through volunteer leadership on the Aiken YMCA board, as President of Aiken Sertoma, and by participating in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year fundraiser. His company also gives back through its annual Fit for School event, providing health screenings and school supplies to more than 2,000 children each year, and Creative Dash, providing a branding package to a non-profit organization. Alison South also contributes scholarships to Aiken Technical College and USCA.

Tour Tuscany, Italy 

Leave everyday life behind and escape to Tuscany! Known for its beautiful landscapes, its rich artistic legacy and vast influence on high culture, Tuscany is widely regarded as the true birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and has been home to some of the most influential people in the history of art and science. 

Visitors to Tuscany come for many reasons. Many come in search of fine art, others to explore the extraordinary countryside with charming medieval hill towns and sweeping hillsides full of vineyards.

You are invited to join an international travel group from the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, led by President/CEO J. David Jameson and coordinated by Aventura World Central Holidays West, as we explore the endless opportunities that Tuscany has to offer- March 12-20, 2019. Sign up now to receive the early-bird special price $2,949 air and land, 9 days, 7 nights including hotels, meals, day trips and airfare from Augusta.

Contact Information Services Coordinator Alex Shearn at 803.641.1111 or ashearn@aikenchamber.net  to request a complete brochure.

TUSCANY DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS
Extended stay in one location * Explore medieval town of Montecatini
Terme * Enjoy scenic drives through gentle rolling hills of Tuscany *
Admire Renaissance art and architecture of Florence *Marvel at
legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa * Visit Piazza dei Miracoli, a World
Heritage Site, including Pisa Baptistery of St. John & Duomo
* Visit medieval towns of Lucca, Siena & San Gimignano *
Experience magic and spectacular scenery of Cinque Terre, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site * Discover Chianti Classico wine region
* Enjoy wine tasting * Tour eternal city of Rome * Discover amazing
Vatican City, including Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel

A look back to 2008 

As the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce approaches its centennial birthday, what a great time to reflect on its success. Travelling around Aiken, the evidence is everywhere. The Chamber has played a signifi cant role in the growth, long term vibrancy and prosperity of the Aiken community.

My involvement with the Chamber dates back more than a decade, and I served as the Board of Director's Chairman in 2008. It's hard to believe a decade has passed, and I'm still proud and impressed by our initiatives that enhance our quality of life to this day.

The challenge then, as it is now, was to meet the Chamber members' real-time needs and to prepare for Aiken's future economy. We implemented several quality events and programs and created new initiatives to prepare for that future. Just a few of our successes include-

  • Hiring an executive to serve as the business community's eyes and ears at local government meetings.
  • Supporting the recommendations of the Savannah River National Laboratory's Blue Ribbon Panel, leading to strong advocacy for the Lab's future.
  • Launching the Aiken Young Professionals Group.
  • Forming the Aiken Transportation Council, which recommended many ideas to decrease traffic congestion and leading to improvements to Hitchcock Parkway. 
  • Implementing a Small Business Development Summit, which brought a new education and training program to the Chamber.

Developing the new Welcome Aiken community guide and membership directory with a distribution of 8,000 and receiving 2 communication excellence awards.

Yes, 2008 was a successful year for the Chamber. We accomplished much in underpinning the growth of our community. I'd like to thank the Board of Directors, professional staff, members and the many volunteers that supported the Chamber in 2008. We succeeded in our goals and hopefully exceeded them.
Of course, times and needs change, and challenges can appear without notice. I believe the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce is uniquely positioned to keep our community great and ahead of the curve. Based on the last 100 years, I am confident this will be the case.


Allen named 2018 S.C Veteran Small Business Person

Richard Allen was selected as the 2018 South Carolina Veteran Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. He is the President & CEO of Eagle Corps Services, LLC as well as a co-founder of The Citizens Park Office & Conference Center located in Aiken. 
Richard and his wife Mary attribute much of their success to the business counselling received from SCORE, a partner with the Aiken Chamber of Commerce.



SCORE to offer workshops in June 

What to know about starting a business
Friday, June 8
10 a.m. to noon
Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E.

Individuals thinking of starting a business are invited to attend a free workshop presented by SCORE at the Aiken Chamber of Commerce. Certified SCORE counselors will discuss the local small business environment, the personal qualities that help drive business success, requirements to start a business and identifying first steps for turning a dream into reality.

Topics covered will include:
* naming and registering the business
* identifying and pricing your product or service
* understanding your buyer
* researching your competition
* developing a marketing approach
* establishing the business structure
Attendees will also be introduced to the importance and components of a formal business plan, and to basic business financials. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Register at www.greateraiken.score.org or by calling the Aiken Chamber office at (803) 641-1111.

Getting a business loan
Friday, June 22
10 a.m. to noon
Aiken Agricultural Center, 1555 Richland Ave. E.

Growing a small business sometimes requires financing. This information session will provide attendees with the requirements that must be met before applying for a loan from available financing programs in the CSRA.
Several local banks work with government programs to guarantee small business loans. These programs, the application process and requirements will be discussed by Dr. Brent Hoover, business consultant for the SC Small Business Development Center (SBDC). A formal business plan, complete with business financials and income projections, forms the basis for the application.
The US Department of Agriculture also has several loan programs designed to support economic development in rural areas, and most of the CSRA qualifies for these loans. It is important to note that a business does not need to be farming or agriculture related to take advantage of these programs. Jesse T. Risher, business and cooperative program director for USDA Rural Development, will present information on several programs available in the CSRA, including:
* Business and Industry (B&I) Guarantee loan program
* Intermediary Relending Program (IRP)
* Rural Microentrepreneur Program (RMAP)
* Rural Economic Development Loan Program (REDLP)

There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Register at www.greateraiken.score.org or by calling the Aiken Chamber office at (803) 641-1111.

Greater Aiken SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow and succeed in Aiken, Allendale, Bamburg, Barnwell and Edgefield counties. SCORE is a partner with the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce and has provided no-cost mentoring to small-business owners in the area since 2004. Modest annual funding from the Small Business Administration is augmented by generous contributions from local SCORE business sponsors, including: Alison South Marketing Group, Fifth Third Bank, Floyd & Green Fine Jewelers, Security Federal Bank, South State Bank and TD Bank.


 
RIBBON CUTTINGS


ServiceMaster Janitorial of CSRA celebrated the opening of its new clean business at 1623 Columbia Highway, N with a ribbon cutting April 24. Cutting the ribbon is franchise owner Ron Felder, Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker and Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. Joining in the celebration are Felder's wife, Deborah Felder-Carolina, employee Mario Williams and many of the Aiken Chamber Ambassadors. Contact Servicemaster at 803.226.0535 for any commercial cleaning needs or visit www.servicemasterofcsra.com.    

Participating in a groundbreaking ceremony for Westminster Memory Care of Aiken , from left, were Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon, Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, owners of Westminster Memory Care Joy and Skip Deupree and grandson Evan Anderson, Vice President of Westminster Memory Care Michael Anderson, Jenna Anderson and Keven J. Bennema of Charter Senior Living. Due to inclement weather, the celebration took place at the Aiken Chamber of Commerce. Visit www.westminstermemorycareaiken.com to learn more about this new 48-bed memory care community coming to South Centennial Avenue in late spring 2019.
 
 

The Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons held a ribbon cutting for its new location at 254 Beaufort Street, NE. Present for the ribbon cutting were Cumbee Center staff, Cumbee Center Board of Directors and Aiken Chamber Ambassadors. Pictured from front left are Jessica Coach, Cumbee Center, Director of Projects, Carole Anne Taylor, Board Member, Chief Charles Barranco, Aiken Department of Public Safety, J. David Jameson, President/CEO of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, Susan Seldon, Executive Director of the Cumbee Center, Strom Thurmond Jr., Solicitor for South Carolina's second Judicial Circuit, Sheriff Michael Hunt, Aiken County Sheriff's Office, Mayor Rick Osbon, Margaret Logan, Board Member, Dennis Gmerek, Board Member and Chief John Thomas, North Augusta Public Safety. Visit www.cumbeecenter.org to learn more about the Cumbee Center's mission.   

 
UPCOMING EVENTS
 
June 1                  First Friday Means Business
                                    Newberry Hall
                                    Sponsored by: Consolidated Planning, Inc.
                                    7:30 to 9 a.m. 
 
June 15                 Membership Appreciation Cookout
                              Aiken Chamber of Commerce
                                    Sponsored by: Aiken Staffing, AllStar Tents & Events, Manpower
                                    11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 
June 21                Aiken Young Professionals (AYP)
                                    Third Thursday
                                    Sponsored by: AllStar Tents & Events
                                    5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
 
June 28                 Business After Hours
                                    Sponsored by: The Reserve Club at Woodside Plantation
                                    5 to 7 p.m.
 
July 4                     Fourth of July - Chamber Closed
 
July 6                     NO First Friday Means Business
                         
                

 
NEW MEMBERS

Anderson Insurance Associates, LLC
Insurance 
Independent insurance agency operating in South Carolina for over 30 years. Our goal is to insure the future while preserving the past.
228 Richland Avenue, W. Suite 4
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: John McMichael
Phone: (803) 335-2594
 
Mosquito Joe 
Pest Control 
We eliminate mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, flies, gnats & spiders from your yard, Guaranteed results, no contracts. 1st treatment only $39.99 - call now. 
603 E. Main Street 
Lexington, SC 29072 
Contact: Trey Powell 
Phone: (803) 223-7916 
www.mosquitojoe.com
 

Pelican's SnoBalls of Aiken 
Ice Cream/Snow Cones/Yogurt
Traditional New Orleans SnoBall which combines smooth fluffy snow over 100 bold flavor options.  
210 East Gate Drive 
Aiken, SC 29803 
Contact: Kristi Gibbs 
Phone: (803) 413-8007 
www.pelicanssnowballs.com  

Premier Networx
Computer Consulting and/or Services
Managed IT services for any size business. 
4332 Wheeler Road, Suite 105 
Martinez, GA 30907 
Contact: Jennifer Davis 
Phone: (706) 426-6313 
www.augustaitguys.com

Southside Gallery 
Art (Framing & Printing)
Custom framing, photography, custom printing, art reproduction, art installation, banners & displays, photo restoration, custom designed art work, publishing, graphic design, family owned since 1981 
2258 Whiskey Road 
Aiken, SC 29803 
Contact: Thom Abbott 
Phone: (803) 226-0554