The Aiken Chamber MEANS business
Working for our members

Businesses throughout Aiken County are being affected in different ways by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. During this time of uncertainty, business operators have been able to turn to the Aiken Chamber of Commerce for assistance in navigating the changes.
Here is a little insight into the work of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce during this time.   #00D7FB
  • Aiken Chamber Chair, Julie Whitesell, Meybohm Real Estate, and Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson conducted 18 virtual meetings to discuss the "lay-of-the-land" with members. Approximately 200 people were invited to participate with a 50% participation rate.

Brenda Quick image "It was helpful to know how other businesses in the area (different than my own) were navigating the shutdown period. Unlike my salon, most of them were not affected by the opening of Georgia businesses, but they had interesting insights into how their business was impacted which was very enlightening. I've missed the contact with other business owners via our Chamber monthly breakfast event so this was a great opportunity to reconnect."
Brenda Quick, Owner/Manager
Bloom Salon Spa Boutique

  • Created "Ask the Expert" and produced 8 podcasts to provide up-to-date information to our members. Conversations were held with experts from the SC Chamber, Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Austin & Pethick Law Firm, the City of Aiken, Atlantic Broadband, and others. These may be viewed at
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"Our firm was recently "lucky enough" to participate in the Chamber's "Ask an Expert" series where one of our attorneys, Kevin Pethick, joined a panel of other individuals to discuss the issues facing small business owners during this difficult season. Specifically, how to take advantage of the recently created Payroll Protection Program. We are always excited to support our community through participation in the Aiken Chamber, and we hope the discussion panel was helpful to our local small businesses. We look forward to many great days ahead for Aiken, SC."
Curt Hanna, Executive Director
Austin & Pethick Law Firm, PC

  • With a steady flow of changing information from the White House and the US and SC Chamber, the US Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration, the Aiken Chamber's website was updated several times a day to include the latest information on loans, employment, taxes, reopening guidance and other pertinent information. This resource continues to be updated daily.
Wayne Heath Image
"The Aiken Chambers web site was vital in allowing me to navigate through this difficult time. I depended on it daily as my go to site! Thank you, Aiken Chamber!"
Wayne Heath, Owner
Wayne Heath Automotive Company

  • Participated as a guarantor in the City of Aiken Revolving Loan Fund. This program was a lifeline for the 47 small businesses that received funding. The total amount loaned was $444,042. We have received positive feedback from businesses for becoming a partner. Communities throughout South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia have reached out and expressed interest in how they can create a similar platform to help their small businesses.
Bill Cunningham Image "I was amazed and thankful at how quickly and efficiently the Chamber, the City of Aiken, Security Federal Bank, and the Aiken Corporation banded together to make this assistance possible. Speaking to small business friends located in other cities made it clear that the type of aid we received in Aiken was not being duplicated most other places. I immediately wanted to support these organizations in return for supporting me in an unprecedented time of need."
Bill Cunningham, Owner
Bill Cunningham Fitness

  • The Aiken Chamber professional staff have called on members for one-on-one conversations (450 to date). This has allowed us to help connect members to resources and information on a personal level. The conversations have been far more positive than expected. Aiken is a strong community.

Heather Dorries Image "Jim reached out to Trinity to check in on our residents and staff in the midst of the pandemic. He wanted to make sure we were doing ok and had the proper PPE we needed to take care of our residents. We appreciated the genuine concern for us and what we do in the community."

Heather Dorries, Community Outreach Director
Trinity on Laurens

  • Created a "Good News" social media campaign so Aiken Chamber members can announce that they are open, reopened, or opening soon. SRP Federal Credit Union is the sponsor of this very successful campaign. Visit one of the Aiken Chamber's social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to view Aiken's "Good News." Members who wish to participate should contact Director of Membership Services, Jim Tunison at or (803) 645-0144. There is no charge to participate.Dustin Ennis image
"The Aiken Chamber has always been a great resource for me and my business, especially during these uncertain times we're going through. The Aiken Chamber is forward thinking, and they care about the businesses here. Thank you for always supporting small business."

Dustin Ennis, Financial Advisor
Edward JonesĀ® Financial

David Jameson image
"It's our responsibility to help business survive, then grow again and thrive. Working with our partners, we're going to make this a great day for business again in Aiken, South Carolina."

David Jameson, President/CEO
Aiken Chamber of Commerce

  Paycheck Protection Program
loan forgiveness application released

Hundreds of thousands of small businesses that took Paycheck Protection loans finally have a path to getting their loans forgiven, but much delayed guidance released by the federal government is nowhere near final.
ppp loan forgiveness
The U.S. Treasury and Small Business Administration recently released the 11-page loan forgiveness application with instructions on how to complete it. The document clarifies many administrative queries, such as when, exactly, does the eight-week covered period begin, but it does not tell us how quickly forgiveness will work. The agencies also noted that the SBA would "soon" issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers and lenders. There is no timeline for this next release.
The good news is there is no need to rush to apply for forgiveness. You will not be able to apply for forgiveness for at least 56 days after you receive your PPP disbursement.
What the forgiveness application does shed light on:
1. Shows a more flexible view of the eight-week covered period.
The eight-week, or 56-day, covered period begins as soon as the loan funds reach a borrower's account. But in practice that does not always make sense - particularly for businesses whose pay periods may not correspond to that loan disbursement date. The forgiveness application allows some wiggle room. For "administrative convenience," the SBA says borrowers can now elect an "alternative payroll covered period," which would be timed with the first day of the next pay period following their PPP loan disbursement date.
For example, the SBA notes that if a business owner received her PPP loan proceeds on Monday, April 20, and the first day of the company's next pay period begins Monday, April 27, that constitutes the first day of the alternative payroll. Note that the alternative payroll covered period does not apply to non-payroll costs.
2. Affirms that costs incurred--but not paid--during the covered period count toward forgiveness
Businesses do not have to contort their normal bill-paying and payroll processes to conform with PPP. For business owners who pay rent on the first of the month, but do not get their PPP disbursement until mid-month, this next point should be reassuring.
The forgiveness loan application says eligible, non-payroll costs must be paid during the eight-week covered period or incurred during that time and paid on or before the next regular billing date, even if the billing date is after the covered period. Similarly, eligible payroll costs incurred but not paid during the eight-week period are covered if paid on or before the next regular payroll date.
3. Clarifies the timing of when a PPP loan must be spent
Prior to the application's release, it was not clear if a business owner had to spend the full amount of her PPP loan within the eight-week covered period to receive any forgiveness. Indeed, strict interpretations held that loan forgiveness depended on a business owner's ability to spend 75 percent of a loan's proceeds on payroll costs within the eight-week covered period.
That is not the case. Instead, the application confirms that any amount spent during the covered period on allowable expenses, like payroll costs or rent, may be forgiven. But not all a loan's proceeds must be exhausted during the eight-week period.
4. Confirms the level of reduced loan forgiveness for noncompliance
If a company's head count or payroll costs do not match pre-crisis levels, the amount of forgiveness will fall in most cases. Prior to the current application's release, however, accounting firms were merely guessing about how much forgiveness would be reduced if a business failed to meet those two requirements.
The actual calculation is based on a number of factors such as employee head count, if lower than pre-crisis levels, and employee pay, if wages drop by more than 25 percent for workers who earned $100,000 or less in 2019. There is a complicated worksheet for calculating forgiveness, but at least now the numbers are firm, and businesses can ascertain what their level of forgiveness might look like in their own unique situations.
To access the PPP loan forgiveness application visit /covid19resources.html.

Good news! 
Aiken is open for business
Good News image
We are so excited to see our members open for business. We want to share the good news with everyone. The Aiken Chamber's Director of Membership Services, Jim Tunison, has been busy capturing short videos of members as they shout out the news - Aiken is open for business!

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The "Good News" social media campaign began on May 7 and has had phenomenal results. Thirty-four businesses have participated, and more are scheduled. To date, the Chamber has reached over 31,000 people for local businesses. The Aiken Chamber has over 6,000 followers on Facebook and that number continues to grow daily.

Make sure you follow the Aiken Chamber's social media accounts so you can stay up to date on the latest business openings. Help us celebrate and spread the good news by reacting to, sharing, and commenting on each post. Every positive action helps our business owners get back on their feet. So spread the news, support local and continue to be Aiken Strong.

Members interested in participating should contact Jim Tunison at (803) 645-0144 or

The Good News campaign is sponsored by SRP Federal Credit Union.
SRP logo  
participants list
Communicating with your customers

If your business is ready to reopen after COVID-19, you will need an effective communication plan to spread the word to customers.

Business owners must not only update their audience on hours and product/service availability, but also explain any new health and safety protocols that are in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Getting customer communications right is critical to your business's success in a post-pandemic world, as consumers are looking for businesses that make them feel safe and secure.

In a recent survey conducted by Aiken Downtown Development Association, the four most important factors that customers are considering before returning to businesses are confidence in the business owner, employees wearing masks properly, notice of safety measures being taken, and the number of people in the business. 

Consumers say graphic

The results of the survey are at and are an excellent resource to help business owners understand local customer preferences.
Other tips for communicating with your customers:

* Use multiple channels to ensure your message is widely received and reinforced.

* Demonstrate that customer interests are a priority and address their concerns directly.

* Create and share an FAQ document outlining specific questions around your supply chain, your health and safety practices and potential risks to your customers if they continue to patronize your business.

* Reach out to affected customers and offer assistance where appropriate.

* Visit the COVID Resource page at for printable signs and further resources.

Customers need to be confident that the businesses they patronize have created an environment to which they can safely return. Businesses need to both say and demonstrate this in a way that provides consumers with confidence in the business's safety programs.

Get LIVE advice from small business experts

Navigating this unprecedented crisis is new for small business owners, so it helps to have trusted mentors who can provide guidance along the way. You need advice quickly and this new method of mentoring shortens the time a client connects with a SCORE mentor from days to minutes.
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The new Real-Time Mentoring platform connects small business owners with SCORE mentors LIVE Tuesdays and Thursdays 2 to 5 p.m.

Mentors are available in the virtual Mentoring Hall to answer your small business questions and offer personalized advice in the following categories:
  • Funding & Finance
  • Recovery & Growth
  • E-commerce & Technology
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Startup & Business Plans
  • HR & Operations
Better Together: Peer Networking Discussions
Facing the same issues and questions, your fellow small business owners are a huge resource to draw upon. In the Peer Networking space within the online platform, you can "meet" and discuss concerns with business owners like you.
Networking rooms are available for these discussion groups:
  • Covid-19 Issues & Recovery
  • Startup Entrepreneurs
  • Women Entrepreneurs
  • Minority Entrepreneurs
  • Partners to Help You Through the Coronavirus Recovery
SCORE partners are also lending a hand to small business owners in virtual booths in the Exhibit Hall. They can answer questions and provide product solutions to help you propel your business forward.
The Real-Time Mentoring Platform is sponsored by SCORE, Constant Contact and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Register at

Jowers Technology Solutions, LLC - Computer Consulting and/or Services

Delivering IT and Cyber Security services for residents and businesses in the Columbia-Aiken-Augusta area. We pride ourselves in giving you the best service possible in the industry and know the importance of taking care of our customers.

100 Grace Hopper Lane, Suite 3718
Augusta, GA 30901
Contact: Dillon Jowers
Phone: (803) 507-7768

STTAS, a UPS Company
- International Trade Management Services

Provides international trade compliance services focusing on government and industry laws, regulations, rules and practices connected with the movement of goods across borders.

2031 S. Centennial Avenue
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Mandy Sims
Phone: (803) 502-7168

member thank you rocks