The Aiken Chamber MEANS business

Shop Small on November 30 
It's a big deal  

Small Business Saturday is just around the corner -- and Aiken is ready to shop Aiken.
The Aiken Chamber has partnered once again with the U.S. Chamber, Facebook and American Express to promote the national movement encouraging everyone to shop for gifts, services and dining at local, independently owned merchants the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is now a key piece of the major holiday shopping day trifecta.

In 2018, U.S. consumers reported spending a record high of an estimated $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday. Over the years, Small Business Saturday spending has now reached a reported estimate of $103 billion since the day it began in 2010.

"Local businesses create jobs, boost the economy and preserve our communities," said Aiken Chamber President J. David Jameson. "They are the heart of America and the foundation upon which this country was built. Small businesses are what make our community unique."

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Economic Council, over the last two decades, small and new businesses have been responsible for creating nearly two out of every three net new jobs.

Small business's local importance extends even further. According to Civic Economics, the impact that "shopping small" has on local communities is profound: for every $100 spent at a locally owned small business, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

"Let's rally behind small business in Aiken and Shop Small on November 30 and make a pledge to continue supporting local businesses every day," said Pastor Paul Bush, Aiken Chamber Board Chair. "This campaign is just one way to show our appreciation to our small business community and also helps deliver the one thing small businesses need most...more business."
For more information and to join this year's Small Business Saturday movement, visit

Chamber leaders visit D.C. 

Chamber leaders visit D.C. - Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, 2020 Chamber Chair Julie Whitesell, 2019 Chamber Chair Pastor Paul Bush visited our nation's capital October 22-24 to gain insight from lawmakers and government officials on issues impacting our community. The trip was part of the 24 th annual CSRA Leadership Trip which included 40 business leaders from the  public and private sectors and is a collaborative effort with the North Augusta, Augusta and Columbia County Chambers of Commerce.

The Aiken Chamber 
MEANS business

Chamber members are invited to grab a cup of joe and join the Aiken Chamber for "Caffeinated Conversations" each Tuesday in November.  Click image to learn more. 

Sponsored by: Village Cafe and Dunkin'. 

Record success in 
Aiken County schools

The academic gains of school report card ratings by the South Carolina Department of Education show Aiken County Public Schools are succeeding at record levels as all three instructional levels saw marked improvement in the latest report card issued October 1.

This level of growth in the Aiken County Public School District (ACPSD) is made all the more impressive by its timing. The gains come at a moment when the state has revised performance criteria to more rigorous levels as part of the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This means the difficulty of exceeding year-to-year school performance has increased in an effort to better prepare South Carolina students for the 21st-Century workplace, the college classroom and a global economy.

"Obviously, we're thrilled with the significant increases in overall performance ratings," Interim Superintendent King Laurence commented. "It's clear evidence that we're delivering on the promise that in Aiken County there will be no 'have and have not' schools. Performance has increased at every single level - elementary, middle and high school - and for the first time in a very long time, we have no schools rated as 'Unsatisfactory' in Aiken County."

State report card ratings from 2018 showed there were seven Aiken County schools rated in the bottom two categories of "Below Average" and "Unsatisfactory." This year, there are no "Unsatisfactory" schools in the District, and only one school is rated at "Below Average," missing the "Average" cut point score by just three points. These gains mark a 150-percent improvement year over year.

The Aiken County Public School District, South Carolina's emerging premier school district, is helping all students develop the World Class Skills of the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate by ensuring that all students from Kindergarten through twelfth grade are on a clear trajectory to College and Career Readiness.

The Aiken County School District was recognized as the very first school District in South Carolina to receive the 'Purple Star' School District designation. The Purple Star is a national program aimed at distinguishing District's that make a significant commitment to support military connected students and their families transition to new schools and support them as they relocate due to deployments or duty assignments as well as other transitions and challenges faced by military families.

The Aiken County Public School District is a literacy-focused school system distinguished by rigorous, personalized learning opportunities; safe, state of the art learning environments, highly effective, service-driven professionals; and mutually beneficial partnerships. A strategic focus on increased rigor, a challenging, coherent curriculum and instructional delivery model has resulted in an overall steady increase in the metrics used to monitor the overall success of our district in achieving our mission.

Aiken County provides challenging, authentic and personalized learning experiences for all students including thematic programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Beginning in Kindergarten students may elect to join German, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish dial-immersion programs. Several elementary schools are undergirded on a Leadership Model through the Leader in Me school model to prepare students with college, career, and life-readiness skills that are necessary to thrive in today's ever-changing, fast-paced environment.

Aiken County high school's offer Advanced Placement Academies open to all students at South Aiken High and North Augusta High, and the rigorous Cambridge International program at both Aiken High School and Schofield Middle School. There are several opportunities for high school students to earn college credits while still in high school through the Early College program at Midland Valley High or through admittance to the Aiken Scholars Academy, which allows high school students the opportunity to earn an associate degree before graduation. The Aiken Scholars Academy is a partnership with the University of South Carolina where students take accelerated classes during their freshman and sophomore years and then take USCA classes to earn college credits during their junior and senior years.

The Aiken County Public School District serves 24,000 students in 45 schools - 21 elementary, 11 middle, 8 high schools, a career and technology center, 2 charter schools, an adult education center, and an early learning center.

On September 30, City Billiards celebrated the re-opening of its night hours with a launch of a brand-new dinner menu. Diners can now enjoy their signature burgers and hot dogs, as well as salads and fish and chips M-F 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sat. from 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Holding the scissors is owner Michael Allen. He is joined by  Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, daughter Terra N. Allen, Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon, and Aiken County Chairman Gary Bunker. They are joined by members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team. View the menu at .

Car Cave celebrated its grand opening with a car show and a ribbon cutting October 12. Pictured among the Car Cave family are Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, Aiken County Chairman Gary Bunker and Car Cave Owner Christopher Swindle holding the scissors. Stop by their exquisite show room located at 1120 Edgefield Highway or visit them online at 

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor Jamin King celebrated the renovation and expansion of their offices in the heart of downtown Aiken on October 15. Pictured left to right: Market Executive Joe Powers, Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, Associate Resident Director Jamin King, Resident Director Assistant Heather Harris, Financial Advisor Sam Tyson, spouse Ashlee King and son Wyatt King. They are joined by friends and members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team. Stop by 308 Park Ave SW to see their new space, or call (803) 845-6141 to speak to a Merrill Lynch representative.

Austin & Pethick Law Firm
cut the ribbon on its newly constructed office in the Village at Woodside October 17. Pictured are Olga Alvarez, paralegal; Amy Wills, administrative assistant; Curt Hanna, executive director; Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon; Aiken County Chairman Gary Bunker; Partner Attorney Chris Austin; Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson; Partner Attorney Kevin Pethick; Sue Hogue. paralegal; Kellie Pinkard, finance director. Not Pictured, Michelle Fort, paralegal. Make sure to stop by 115 Hearthstone Drive to say hello or visit their website to learn more about their services.

The Western Carolina State Fair Foundation kicked off it's 2019 festivities with a ribbon cutting to announce the completion of its new security entrance October 18. From left to right are: Stewart Builders President Nathan Stewart, WCSFF Board Member Tony Rickard, Aiken Chamber Ambassador Chair Jeremy Stevens, WCSFF Board Member Richard Mixson, and Aiken County Chairman Gary Bunker. They are joined by the Security and EMS Teams of WCSFF and deputies of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office. Stay up to date on all of the events at the fairgrounds by visiting

Aiken's House of Beauty celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting on October 25th. Pictured left to right are Jessica Hammond, Maddalyn Jordan, Katrina Jamison, Kevin Pflieger, Aiken Downtown Development Association Executive Director Haley Knight, Aiken House of Beauty Owner Olivia Jennings, Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, Brooke Robinson, Taylor Griffith, Aiken Chamber Ambassador Brad Crain, Byron Bush and Tierra Wise. Stop by 118 Park Ave. SE on November 2 from 3 -5 p.m. for Aiken's House of Beauty's grand opening. 
Visit  to learn more about their services and hours.
Upcoming Events   
November 1
Newberry Hall
Sponsored by: Austin & Pethick Law Firm
7:30 to 9 a.m.

November 5
King Laurence, Interim Superintendent Aiken County Public School District
Aiken Chamber of Commerce
Sponsored by: The Village Café & Dunkin'
8:30 to 10 a.m.

November 11 - Chamber Office Closed

November 12
Gary Bunker, Chairman, Aiken County Council
Aiken Chamber of Commerce
Sponsored by: The Village Café & Dunkin'
8:30 to 10 a.m.

November 19
Eugene White, President, Aiken County Branch NAACP
Aiken Chamber of Commerce
Sponsored by: The Village Café & Dunkin'
8:30 to 10 a.m.

November 21
Sponsored by: Advanced Oral & Facial Specialists
5 to 7 p.m.

November 26
Mayor Rick Osbon, City of Aiken
Aiken Chamber of Commerce
Sponsored by: The Village Café & Dunkin'
8:30 to 10 a.m.

November 28 & 29 Chamber Office Closed

December 6
Newberry Hall
Sponsored by: Atlantic Broadband
7:30 to 9 a.m.

Visit to register for events.

Car Cave, LLC - Automotive Dealer
1120 Edgefield Highway
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Chris Swindle
Phone: (803) 262-4742

Carolina Screenprint - Screenprinting
156 University Parkway, Suite 101
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Patti Plunkett
Phone: (803) 226-9152

Changes Day & Medical Spa
- Spa
Day spa services: massages, facials, waxing, foot detox, mails and more. Medical spa services: Botox, disport and dermal fillers.
2645 Whiskey Road, Suite 106-A
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Brenda Boyer
Phone: (803) 642-8511

Classic Collision Aiken
- Automotive Paint & Body Repair
We provide high-quality auto body repairs. We hold several manufacturer certifications and factory-direct training which makes us a leader in collision repair.
3980 Richland Avenue, W
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Richard Boatwright
Phone: (803) 641-8031

Easy Street Marketing Company, LLC
- Marketing
A southern "boutique" marketing agency - built by business-people - for business-people - where our goal is to get your business real results! We are a full-service marketing agency focused on you.
137 Old Market Street, Suite 102
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Colen Lindell
Phone: (803) 520-7918

Freeloader - Transportation (Personal)
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Norman Dunagan
Phone: text "ride" to 555-888

Game Time LLC - Entertainment and Activities
Luxury limo-style game theater on wheels offering multi-player gaming at its best!
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Donavon Larkin
Phone: (803) 442-0664

Insurance Masters - Health Insurance
516 Silver Bluff Road
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Mario Roker
Phone: (803) 761-0222

Merrick & Company
- Engineering (Nuclear)
Architect & engineering professional services firm, providing design and engineering expertise to NNSA and DOE sites across the region.
137 Old Market Street
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Bill Taylor
Phone: (803) 369-7699

Mobile Mentors
- Technology Consultant
Service based business that makes technology easy for businesses and individuals.
Waynesboro, GA 30830
Contact: Christopher Crozier
Phone: (706) 871-4458

Stories and Stills
- Video Production
Videography and photography company specializing in business commercial video production, social media and web videos, photography of all kinds and bringing ideas to life.
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Robb Underwood
Phone: (803) 474-0508

ZY: Body Work
- Massage Therapy
Massage, acupuncture and herb therapy
219 Silver Bluff Road
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Jun Zhan
Phone: (803) 998-8458