The Aiken Chamber MEANS business
An open letter from the Chamber Chair
 On May 1, the Aiken County Public School District will ask voters to say yes to   a $90 million-dollar bond referendum to finance school construction. The   board of directors of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce unanimously supports   the bond referendum, and as the chair of that board, I am proud of this   endorsement.
 Today, however, I write to you   from my perspective as a father.

 The bond referendum is   important to me personally for   three reasons - Parks, Ansley 
 and Connor - my three children.

I want my children to learn in modern, safe schools and to do that, we must speed up the process of updating and maintaining our current facilities and build new facilities.
The community stepped up and supported a penny tax for our schools in 2014, but that tax is simply taking care of the most urgent needs. The list of needs is long and if we continue using only the penny tax, the six projects being discussed in this referendum will not start until 2024 and will not be completed until at least 2032. My oldest will have graduated by that time. If the bond referendum passes, these same projects would start next year and be done when he is starting 5th grade.

Our schools should be a source of pride in our community from the inside and the outside, but to do this we must move into overdrive and catch up with surrounding areas. We can not sit by and deal with the day to day problems without taking the time to look to our future.
The cost to the taxpayer would be $20 per year on a $100,000 home-- $60 a year if your home is worth $300,000. That's about five dollars a month. A small price to pay for our children.
I hope you will join me in voting yes on May 1.

Bond need explained at First Friday 
Superintendent of Aiken County Public Schools, Dr. Sean Alford, will be the featured speaker at First Friday Means Business April 6. Alford will present information regarding the current facility needs of Aiken County Public Schools.

Modern, safe schools are key in attracting and retaining families and businesses. Upgrading our public school facilities will create a stronger, better educated workforce that will attract business investment. Alford will share the statistics regarding growth in the district and safety concerns with the current facilities.

In addition to sharing the district's needs, Alford will share the various financing methods considered by the school board and the timeline associated with each option. He will educate attendees on how the upcoming school bond referendum can meet the schools' needs in a timely manner.

The sponsor for the April First Friday Means Business breakfast is AT&T. Members who wish to attend may register here

Building Aiken's cyber future 

The Aiken area is ramping up initiatives to accommodate the needs of the expanding Cyber District centered around the U.S. Army's Cyber Command at Fort Gordon where two-thirds of the U.S. Army's construction budget is being spent to build the Cyber Command headquarters by 2022.

"It is imperative that Aiken recognize the importance of the cyber ecosystem that is building in the region and deploy a local strategy to attract investment and job creation related to current opportunities," said Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. "There is also the opportunity to sell Aiken's livability and close access to Augusta and Fort Gordon to those
 families relocating to the area."  

The Aiken Chamber's Compelling Place to Live Task Force recommendations and work were originally completed to address the need to attract working families to replace jobs open because of the large number of retirements expected in the area. However, the task force's purpose and recommendations also apply to this new need, to attract and retain business investment, jobs and working families in the growing cyber ecosystem. campaign excelling at six months is the innovative new directory featuring the over 1,000 members of the Aiken Chamber. showcases Chamber members through a stunning and interactive grid layout designed to make it easier for people looking for products and services in the Aiken area.

A digital marketing campaign was launched September 1 and was designed to reach residents of the CSRA as well as the Washington D.C. metro area. The D.C. area was included to reach the individuals and families relocating to the area for jobs in the cyber industry.

The first six months of the campaign consisted of two elements that were designed to build initial awareness. The first was a Google Ad Words campaign (also known as paid search). This element ensured the aikenhasit website appeared at the top of the search page results when people are looking for information on the Aiken area. The second element leveraged user lifestyle and demographic data on Facebook and provided the Chamber the opportunity to highlight the many attractive qualities of Aiken.

Read Full Article Here 
A look back to 2010

The Aiken Chamber is celebrating its
centennial year in 2018. Each month
in the Commerce Report we will take a
short look back at its history.
This month Dr. Liz Stewart, a former
Chamber Chair, looks back at 2010.

The Chamber accomplished many important initiatives in 2010 including major equine initiatives, expansion of AYP (Aiken Young Professionals), introduced the "Shop Aiken" campaign, and launched the "Bright Futures" initiative whose goal was to showcase business and technology to the future workforce and to provide information on how to prepare for different careers. The goal of all these programs and initiatives is to support the business community and attract and retain our young professionals.
The Aiken Chamber supported the Aiken County School Bond Referendum because we understood that how a community supports education reflects it determination to provide a better future for everyone who lives here. We knew that business and industry are attracted to locations where good schools create a well-qualified workforce and a higher standard of living. Students in the 21st century need even more education to compete successfully for good, technology-based jobs. Because of our diverse population we knew that everyone - young professionals to retirees - benefits from an educated workforce. The voters did not agree; however, the Chamber has continued to support our public education's needs. At the very least, the referendum heightened awareness of these needs. The Chamber continued to support education by endorsing the 2014 One Cent Tax for education and the results are visible. Now, there is another opportunity to support this continued effort to make Aiken County Schools the best and safest environment possible for educating our future citizens.

Join the Aiken Chamber of Commerce and SCORE for Your Big Bold Brand, a workshop focusing on branding as the foundation on which marketing and sales are built. Successful branding helps a business build loyalty with the customers it wants to attract and keep.
 A great brand g ives a business clarity, helps manage image and reputation, creates a foundation for great marketing, sets customers' expectations and positions a business in its market.

Attendees at this workshop will
  • learn why branding is important,
  • identify the critical elements of the branding process, and
  • understand the role of your business brand.

Benton House of Aiken cut the ribbon at its new facility at 530 Benton House Way in the Villages at Woodside March 9. Pictured on the front row left to right are some of the Benton House of Aiken staff Mike Allard, Sandy Cooper, Kyle Diekmann, DeAnna Hoyt-Zoeller, Jennifer Brewer and David Hubble. They were joined by Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, Mayor Rick Osbon, Aiken County Council Chair Gary Bunker, staff, friends and Chamber ambassadors. Benton House is a beautiful senior living community where independence thrives but help is just a call away. Visit  for more information.

Club Thrive celebrated the grand opening of its unique senior activity center at 944 Dougherty Road with a ribbon cutting March 20. Joining owner Karen Poteat in cutting the ribbon are Lieutenant Governor Kevin L. Bryant, head of the SC Office on Aging, Mayor Rick Osbon, Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, family, staff, friends and Chamber ambassadors. Club Thrive cures boredom for seniors who need a little help in planning their day. Thoughtfully planned activities entertain but also help seniors meet the crucial needs of successful aging. Visit  to learn more. 
Marble Works in Aiken held a grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration at its new location at 2153 Whiskey Road March 20. Cutting the ribbon is owner Brett Mauldin and his family. They are joined by Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, Aiken County Council Chair Gary Bunker and members of the Chamber's ambassador team. Marble Works offers a variety of products for your kitchen and bathroom needs including marble, granite, cultured marble, silestone, cambria, solid surface, poured granite and concrete countertops. Visit their showroom or go to to learn more.

Click on the event to register 

March 30
Good Friday - Chamber Closed

April 6
Newberry Hall
Sponsored by: AT&T
7:30 to 9 a.m.

April 18                      
Aiken Chamber of Commerce
Sponsored by: Southeastern Insurance Consultants, LLC
8:30 to 10 a.m.
April 19                                   
Third Thursday
Location TBA
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

April 26                                   
Sponsored by:  Cumberland Village Senior Living Community  & Right at Home
5 to 7 p.m.

May 4                          
Newberry Hall
Sponsored by: Alison South Marketing Group
7:30 to 9 a.m. 

May 17                        
Third Thursday
Location TBA
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

May 24                        
Sponsored by:  Crossroads by Jensen Communities
5 to 7 p.m.

May 28                        
Memorial Day - Chamber Closed             

Aiken 2 Escape - Entertainment & Activities
2557 Whiskey Road
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Christy Lynn
Phone: (803) 500-1508

The Bluecoat Group, LLC - Weight Loss & Wellness
Working with clients to develop strategies for life enhancement through wellness, weight management and personal growth, supporting clients in the pursuit of these goals.
126 Park Avenue, SE, Unit B
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Patricia Read-Hunter
Phone: (803) 455-4297

Brenda's Angels
- Service Agency
Exists to provide well-being and financial support to pancreatic cancer patients in need to fund pancreatic research and to promote pancreatic cancer education with the desire to make a difference.
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Marie Mulllis-Durrett
Phone: (803) 270-1074

DEFDIESEL.COM LLC - Fuel/Oil Supplier
National distributor of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). DEF is utilized in diesel powered large transport, construction, and agricultural vehicles and equipment to eliminate harmful exhaust emissions.
1046 Toolebeck Road
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Guy Cannady
Phone: (803) 642-0113

Energy Employees Compensation Resource Center - Community Services
1708-B Bunting Drive
North Augusta, SC 29841
Contact: Debra Butler
Phone: (803) 279-2728

The Highland Park Grille
- Restaurant
Food is made fresh and served in a casual atmosphere featuring a covered deck overlooking a beautiful golf course. Best View in Aiken! Located close to downtown, catering is also available.
555 Highland Park Drive, SW
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Michelle Scott
Phone: (803) 641-2094

Jacobs - Engineering (Nuclear)
Premier global consulting, design, engineering, construction, operations & Maintenance and technical services firm delivering advanced solutions for a more connected, sustainable world.
1041 East Butler Road
Greenville, SC 29607
Contact: Tanya Springmeier
Phone: (720) 286-5632

VIP Luxury Nailbar & Footspa, LLC - Nail Salon
Beautifying and enhancing women's and men's nails. We offer mani/pedi, acrylic/gel nails, paraffin wax, sugar scrub & foot massage. Individual rooms & relaxing nailbar. Diabetics welcome!
953-A Dougherty Road
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Deirdre Balde
Phone: (803) 226-0432