FCCF Business Plan Competition

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

April 20, 2016

DUE WEST — On May 9, 2016, Erskine College and the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) are proud to host their first ever Business Plan Competition at Erskine College.

During this competition, students from various high schools will present innovative entrepreneurial ideas in a PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges. These judges will consist of successful local businessmen and women.

The competition will take place from 9:00am to 2:30pm. The Business Strategy class of Erskine’s business professor Tracy McCurry will assist in the planning and executing of the event. These Erskine students will carry out various tasks, such as timekeeping, greeting, monitoring rooms, and escorting, among others.

In order for high school students to compete in this event, they must first compete and win in their high school competitions. The students present their PowerPoint business proposals to their high school teachers and then the winners submit the PowerPoints to Erskine College. The Erskine business class students will then review the slides and notes and rank the competitors for the preliminary competition.

The preliminary competition will take place in Reid Hall on the Erskine Campus, and then the participants and their teachers will be escorted to Erskine’s Bowie Arts Center for the final competition. Following the final competition will be a guest business speaker from the FCCF, and then at 2:30pm the awards ceremony will take place.

Both Erskine College and the FCCF are excited to be a part of this competition. The community is welcome to come observe the competition and learn more about business ideas and how they become successful. The FCCF looks forward to the competition and to working with the business department of Erskine College.

The business students of Erskine College that will plan, host, and execute the upcoming Freshwater Coast Community Foundation Business Plan Competition on the campus of Erskine College.

The business students of Erskine College that will plan, host, and execute the upcoming Freshwater Coast Community Foundation Business Plan Competition on the campus of Erskine College.

Interns Making an Impact

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

January 8, 2016

ABBEVILLE— The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) is proud to have funded the internships of multiple college students, from English majors to agriculture and business majors. The goal of the these internships is not only to further the work that the FCCF is accomplishing, but also to personally teach and lead by example the next generation of entrepreneurs, business men and women, and, ultimately, community.

Destin Nichols, a senior accounting major at Erskine College, worked closely with the FCCF throughout last fall in an internship specifically for accounting majors. Destin went to many business meetings and gained hands-on experience about how to approach the business world. Destin said, “When I applied for this internship, I had no idea it would teach me so much about business, communication, and how to make dreams a reality.”

Destin worked under Will Ferreira, the Community Coordinator for the FCCF, and positively impacted the program with his fresh accounting skills and mind for business. Each intern for the FCCF brought different skillsets that have furthered the FCCF’s cause of improving the communities that surround it.  Part of Destin’s work included designing a new Excel program for Wes McAllister, owner of McAllister’s Sons, that will simplify inventory control. Wes McAllister said, “[Destin] took a very objective point of view at helping deal with the beginning of business software for me and my businesses, and helped with developing some real-world information that I could gather about the furniture business.”

Not only has Destin designed this new Excel program, he has also provided internal financial management advice for Penny Richie, owner of Talk of the Town Catering and Eatery, as well as creating an online community survey for Heather McNally, director of the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah (MACK). The survey provided the MACK with valuable information about how to improve the MACK and the community.

As Wes McAllister said, “[The FCCF] has benefitted the communities, the WcTel purpose areas, and it’s been great for those communities that are needing some advice and touching that will make their businesses and ideas fresh and objective.”

Destin will be able to take the knowledge he has learned and take it with him into his career and future. Concerning the internship, Destin said, “I learned more than I ever thought I would know about Excel; I learned how to conduct business meetings; I learned how to be a leader among peers by watching Will Ferreira; I learned how to initiate projects; I learned how to make things happen.” That is what the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation is about.

Destin Nichols teaching a business finance workshop at Piedmont Tech in Abbeville, South Carolina.

Destin Nichols teaching a business finance workshop at Piedmont Tech in Abbeville, South Carolina.

Farm Business Workshops in 2016

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

December 8, 2015

ABBEVILLE — The Freshwater Community Coast Foundation (FCCF) is excited to teach a series of training workshops for farmers throughout the year 2016. These workshops will give farmers the opportunity to learn more about production systems, marketing strategies, record-keeping, organic production, and more.

Each class will teach a different subject, pinpointing certain relevant areas of agriculture. The classes are as follows:

 

  • Pasture Management – January 14th
  • Farm to School – January 21st
  • Soil Sciences – February 18th
  • Pest, Disease, & Weeds – March 17th
  • Farmers’ Market Strategies – April 14th
  • Backyard Poultry – May 12th
  • Sustainable Small Farming – August 18th
  • Drip Irrigation – September 15th
  • How to Grow Organic Crops – October 13th
  • Farm Financial Recordkeeping – November 10th
  • Farm Production Costs – December 8th

 

Each workshop will be taught by an expert on the given subject, ensuring the best possible advice and instruction. The goal of these workshops is to increase and improve agriculture in Abbeville and McCormick County and the Starr-Iva area of Anderson. The FCCF desires to strengthen farmers and their production knowledge, ensuring the continuation of the locally-grown and harvested products.

These workshops are just one aspect of all of the progress the FCCF is making in the surrounding areas for agriculture, entrepreneurship, and education. The FCCF understands the importance of locally-grown crops and the strong need for farmers, so the FCCF desires to help, inform, and promote agriculture as much as possible.

Due West Community Enrichment Meeting

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

October 29, 2015

DUE WEST — Last Monday, at the Renaissance LLC Retirement Community, the community of Due West gathered with small business owners and experts to learn how to make Due West successful both in business and in creating community.

After enjoying a dinner catered by The Renaissance, the meeting began with an enthusiastic welcome from Will Ferreira and updates on how the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) plans to enrich Due West.

“Our goal is to promote Erskine College,” Will stated. Due West is a college town, and businesses and community alike must take advantage of this asset.

The town of Due West also plans to eventually build a Community Enrichment Center, a place that will provide everything from education to fellowship.

Will then introduced Rusty Burns, Administrator for Anderson County, who spoke about Due West’s greatest assets and the areas that the town could grow and flourish in. “You really have a beautiful town to start with,” Rusty encouraged.

Rusty sees great potential in even more economic growth through Erskine College and with public-private partnerships. Erskine notoriously sends many students to medical school and should play up this trait, while Due West should focus on creating good locations for buildings that could be used by potential business owners.

Next, Matt Wiggins spoke about opportunities for small businesses. Matt is the Area Manager and Business Consultant for the South Carolina Small Business Development Center (SBDC) stationed at Lander University, and he discussed the different areas of his free consulting services. Business planning, financial options and management, business growth, sales and market strategies, and business seminars are just a few of the areas that Matt and the SBDC serve the communities in South Carolina with.

To close the meeting, Heide Trull, owner of Grits & Groceries in Belton, spoke about her journey to success and how she stays successful by utilizing social media advertising and giving back to the community. She spends 80% of Grits & Groceries’ money within a 100 mile radius, buys from local growers, and has her employees write 25 thank-you notes every day. “We only want to promote what’s great about Due West,” Heide said.

Due West has many areas to improve in, but it has even more areas of success. The community in and around Due West is ready for growth, and the FCCF plans to do just that through promoting small businesses, building a Community Enrichment Center, and promoting Erskine College.

The Due West community gathers together to learn how to enrich Due West through economic development, small business opportunities, and social media.

The Due West community gathers together to learn how to enrich Due West through economic development, small business opportunities, and social media.

Let’s Talk About It: Business is Booming

From your hardware to your bank account, the Freshwater Coast’s local businesses have you covered for life – literally. Harris Funeral Homes, the First Bank of Abbeville, Stoll Fireplace, and Pettigrew Hardware are just some of the businesses in our community that serve every need, from a warm cozy fireplace to the death of a loved one.

Stephen Pettigrew at home behind at the counter at Pettigrew Hardware in Calhoun Falls.

Stephen Pettigrew at home behind at the counter at Pettigrew Hardware in Calhoun Falls.

Stephen Pettigrew is the owner of Pettigrew Hardware and Supply in Calhoun Falls, South Carolina. Pettigrew Hardware celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and Stephen could not be more proud. Stephen is a native of Calhoun Falls and now lives in Clemson, South Carolina. Although Stephen travels 50 miles to work every day, the distance does not stop him from knowing just about every face that passes through Calhoun Falls. A face seldom passes through the town without a quick “hello, good to see you again” from Stephen. His parents began Pettigrew Hardware and passed it on down to Stephen who now works with his own son. Stephen says that the best part about working in this store is that “It’s not routine,” and that he has the best customers. As far as the progress of the store, “We’ve kind of evolved as situations have changed,” Stephen stated. He said that one of his favorite aspects of running the shop is that it is a family association. “You know everybody and feel comfortable around them,” Pettigrew said regarding his community and customers. Such loyalty is appreciated in the small-town business world, especially at The First Bank of Abbeville, a place of warm people, trusted service, and guaranteed satisfaction.

Abbeville First Bank sits right outside of the famous square in Abbeville, South Carolina.

Abbeville First Bank sits right outside of the famous square in Abbeville, South Carolina.

The bank is fully community-based in every aspect, even the name of the bank, which the community voted upon. “We are 100% invested in Abbeville,” Andy Timmerman mentioned, “We give back to the community when we can.” Personal service is a strong point at Abbeville First Bank. Every call is answered by a real person on the other end of the phone, ready to meet the needs of customers, people who the workers usually know personally! “Everyone seems to know everybody,” said Andy when asked what his favorite part about working in the Abbeville community is. Just as the bank knows everyone, everyone knows Brad Evans, owner of Harris Funeral Homes. Andy Timmerman, the current president, moved to Abbeville from Columbia with his family when he decided to make the transition to a small-town bank.

Harris Funeral Home is established in a building that was originally built in 1904.

Harris Funeral Home is established in a building that was originally built in 1904.

Evans was born and raised in Abbeville, where he spent his high school summers washing cars at the Harris Funeral Home. Since then, Brad has come a long way in the funeral home business. But as he says, “I wouldn’t change a thing about how I’ve gotten to be where I am today.” Brad’s faith and lifestyle color his position at the funeral home. The very components of running the business depend on Christianity, integrity, and hard work. “We’re all about service,” Evans says, “We want to raise the bar in funeral home service.” Brad believes in hard work, persistence, and prayer as areas that must be covered in order for Harris Funeral Home to run successfully. This company is all about the people they serve. “I believe being involved with the community is vital,” Evans mused.

Part of Harris Funeral Home’s objectives in serving the Abbeville community is ensuring that they are doing everything they can to help make Abbeville the best place to live and the most comforting place to celebrate the life of loved one. As Brad said, “Abbeville is a great place.” The location is great for Harris Funeral Home and the community is even better. Another company that greatly contributes to the community is Stoll Fireplace Inc. in Abbeville, South Carolina.

People work hard at Stoll Fireplace, whether they are cutting metal or exacting measurements.

People work hard at Stoll Fireplace, whether they are cutting metal or exacting measurements.

This company is run by Gary Yoder, grandson of the founder of Stoll Fireplace. William Stoll began the company in 1969 after he created his own fireplace to put into his new home once he and his family moved to Abbeville from Virginia Beach, Virginia. After creating his first masterpiece, folks began requesting he make theirs, too, and Stoll Fireplace Inc. was born! This business benefits the community through many ways, one of which is by providing jobs for around sixty people in Abbeville County. Gary is proud of his employees, and he understands that Abbeville provides a “good work force.” The community and the atmosphere of Abbeville make Stoll Fireplace a great place to work, and also provides Gary and his team with everything they need. Whether it’s technology, improvements, or other things, Abbeville stays up to date, an essential aspect of any successful business. Gary loves running the business because he loves the creativity put into designing and making the fireplaces. “We stress customization,” said Gary. When asked to what he owes his success and the success of the company, Gary says “To God, first of all.” The company runs on honesty, the golden rule, friendship, and quality. As Mr. William Stoll once said, “Honesty is not a question, and to correct mistakes is an opportunity to show integrity.” They have over 1,000 dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Each dealer goes through training, Part of the reason Stoll Fireplace maintains so many friendships is that they have prayer time every morning at 8:30. This office-wide prayer time often involves praying for prayer requests from dealers all over the United States. This is something that is unique to Stoll Fireplace. Faith-based and faith driven, God provides the success for Stoll Fireplace Inc.

For the people in the Freshwater Coast, community is everything. Small businesses generally thrive because of the surrounding community, but in Abbeville County’s case, the community thrives because of the local businesses.

McCormick Small Business Night Success

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 26, 2015

MCCORMICK — The town of McCormick was excited to host its first Small Business Night, and even more excited to see its success. Many people gathered together last Thursday night in McCormick Middle School’s cafeteria to listen to speakers, ask questions, and strategize the growth of the town.

The meeting opened up with talk about the need for a central hub for tourism in McCormick, as well as other ideas that could promote tourism.

Small businesses must decide what their market is and understand how rural tourism applies to them.

Visitors look for entertainment, excitement, and education, and McCormick could easily produce all of these for rural tourists.

Southern hospitality was then discussed as the secret to tourism in South Carolina. No other place is known for being as courteous and familial as the communities in South Carolina, a trait that must be continued and embraced by the McCormick community.

Signage was also brought up as a factor that could change the face of rural tourism in McCormick. Signs drawn attention, keep attention, and guide onlookers to where their attention may be transformed into entertainment, excitement, or education.

Lauren Ponder then took over the meeting, promoting SC Great Outdoors, a website that is dedicated to preserving and promoting the historicalness of our counties, facilitating grants, and creating a sense of place. As Lauren said, “Development will happen, you just have to plan it.”

Lauren discussed potential changes that would enhance McCormick, such as new lighting, multimodal transportation, and more.

Next on the agenda was speaker Matt Wiggins. Matt talked about how to put small businesses on the map worldwide, primarily through web services. Matt said that “online presence is key,” and he offered his website skills to everyone at the meeting.

McCormick’s Small Business Night was a smashing success; now, the community eagerly awaits to see the fruits of this productive meeting.

Whether augmenting the structure of the town, creating new local businesses, or putting current businesses on the map, McCormick is on the brink of becoming a successful county of rural tourism.

The community of McCormick County excitedly discusses the potential of local businesses and how to improve McCormick through new local businesses and new strategies of promotion.

The community of McCormick County excitedly discusses the potential of local businesses and how to improve McCormick through new local businesses and new strategies of promotion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About It: A Community that Grows Together…

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 12, 2015

A Community that Grows Together… Ripe tomatoes, sweet strawberries, fresh corn on the cob, southern okra, butter beans, and juicy watermelon are just some of the fresh farm produce being grown in Abbeville County’s backyard. Are you hungry yet?

Delicious vegetables grow in their assigned rows at Vince Maloney’s farm.

Delicious vegetables grow in their assigned rows at Vince Maloney’s farm.

Produce is not just for the cold section in the grocery store. Fresh, locally grown produce is found right in the backyard of your community, and one of these backyards happens to be Vince Maloney’s in Donalds, South Carolina.

After living in Spokane, Washington for many years, Vince opted for a change of pace and decided to move to Donalds to farm. He worked in the aviation industry for many years, honing his business acumen which he now applies to the business of farming. Vince farms not only because he loves working with his hands, but also because he wants to leave behind something valuable and sustainable for his own family and also for the community around him. As Vince says, “You won’t find a friendlier neighborhood.” He loves farming here, and Donalds loves having him here!

Vince benefits the community not only with his skilled farming but also with his knowledge in the business world. Vince brings more to the horticulture table than just his fresh fruits and vegetables. He knows the ins and outs of the business of farming and so helps those around him when he can.

Just a few of the ripe, beautiful products grown at Parisi Farms.

Just a few of the ripe, beautiful products grown at Parisi Farms.

Speaking of fresh produce, Parisi Farms in Abbeville, South Carolina is known for their pesticide-free and chemical-free plants. Penny Parisi owns this farm and began it when she moved from Florida to Abbeville, South Carolina. When she moved here, she found that the food in Florida compared quite differently to the food in South Carolina. So, she decided to use her knowledge of Floridian produce and grow her own fresh food.

Parisi Farms is one of few farms that grows crops completely free of pesticides or chemicals. This farm started in 2007 and since then has blossomed into many acres of the good food and plants that the community loves to buy. They sell many products, including squash, watermelon, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and their best-selling tomatoes. Parisi Farms’ crops are grown according to the season, ensuring that customers get the best quality of that season’s produce.

By being pesticide and chemical free, Penny Parisi serves the community through teaching those who visit her farm about the harmful effects that some sprays and chemicals can have on plants and therefore on the consumer’s body. The farm also gives back to the community whenever they can by donating to soup kitchens, food pantries, and more. Whether she is growing or giving, Penny knows that her farm provides good food for the good people in our community. Like other growers and sellers in Abbeville County, Penny Parisi loves the people that surround her farm: “The people are kind and humble…I love it here.” The more Parisi Farms grows for our community, the more the community grows together and towards self-sustainment.

Larry Posley and Cindy Adams show off the fresh fruits and vegetables and various other products at the Produce Patch.

Larry Posley and Cindy Adams show off the fresh fruits and
vegetables and various other products at the Produce Patch.

If you cannot quite make it out to these farms, let the farm come to you at Ferguson’s Produce in Abbeville, South Carolina. Carold Ferguson began the business and then passed it on to his son and daughter, Buster and Janet Ferguson. Ferguson’s Produce’s reputation is just as favorable as the fresh, delectable fruits and veggies that they sell. This shop features some of the best produce available in Abbeville County, along with plenty of other products and groceries.

Austin Wilson stocks fresh tomatoes at Ferguson's Produce.

Austin Wilson stocks fresh tomatoes at
Ferguson’s Produce.

Ferguson’s sells to local restaurants as well as to the public. Both Janet and Buster truly enjoy the relationships with their patrons, whether they are long-time regulars or individuals that are new to their market. “Everybody knows everybody,” said Janet with a smile. Like most people in Abbeville County, Janet loves the small-town feel surrounding her. Not only does everybody know everybody, but everybody knows Ferguson’s Produce! “We try to provide the best quality available,” commented Janet. The store stocks new products weekly, sometimes even twice a week, guaranteeing that the shelves will be packed with fresh food.

Just as Ferguson’s Produce is dedicated to selling quality products, the Produce Patch in Due West, South Carolina likewise sells some of the best food around. The Produce Patch is the first grocery store to set foot in the college town of Due West. Cindy Adams is the owner, and began the new Produce Patch much to the small town’s delight. Now that Due West has a grocery store, business is booming for Cindy and her team. Even the look inside the shop is warm and welcoming. “I want it to look really, really old,” Cindy remarked as she talked about her grandfather and his old tobacco barn, the inspiration for the unique look of the Produce Patch. The vintage-look of the shop is the only aged quality in the store. Everything else is fresh and new, from the milk and cheeses to the fresh vegetables and fruit placed in the homemade produce stand that greets you when you open the door. Although she gets her products from reputable places all over South Carolina, Cindy buys from many farmers that go to her directly with their products. “This is for the people,” Cindy said as she looked around her successful store.

As farmers and store owners continue to grow and expand their businesses and products, so does the community of the Freshwater Coast continue to grow economically and agriculturally.

Let’s Talk About It: The Patchwork of a County

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 12, 2015

Specifically designed, painstakingly stitched, and frequently overlooked, quilts are more than just the old cozy blanket thrown across an easy chair that provides warmth in the cold winter months. Here in McCormick, South Carolina, quilts are inspiration for art, memory, and tourism.

Shaaron Kohl, owner at the Red Rooster Emporium and coordinator for the McCormick Quilt Tour, displays a quilt panel, a piece of artwork in progress at the shop.

Shaaron Kohl, owner at the Red Rooster
Emporium and coordinator for the McCormick
Quilt Tour, displays a quilt panel, a piece of
artwork in progress at the shop.

 

When the McCormick County Quilt Trail formed in 2011, America was already booming with quilt tours. The idea for a quilt tour sprung up in Ohio when Amish folk first put the squares on the front of their barns. Now, almost every single state in the US features a Quilt Tour. Many even contain more than one. Each quilt tour is specific to its own county.

The McCormick County trail covers the whole area of McCormick County and visitors may begin and end wherever they choose. The trail is available for viewing all day every day. A quilt tour consists of travelling, history, and art. These hand-painted panels are replicas of specific squares from significant quilts. Quilt panel #1 in McCormick tour, featured on the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah (MACK) building, is a square that was inspired by a quilter named Sallie White, a woman who lived in Plum Branch and started her quilt in 1904. Just as this panel has a story behind it, each quilt panel is rich with history and significance, whether to a single family member or to an entire town.

The first quilt panel ever painted for McCormick County is featured on the front of the MACK building. The beautiful design and bright colors make the building stand out and often draws a crowd. Not only does this panel express family history, it enhances viewer’s enjoyment of the environment.

A panel located on the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah building, this Indian Paintbrush quilt pane is sponsored by Savannah Lakes Village Quilt Group in honor and memory of Linda Marx, a MACK volunteer who was a very skilled quilt maker.

A panel located on the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah
building, this Indian Paintbrush quilt pane is sponsored by Savannah Lakes Village Quilt Group in honor and memory of Linda Marx, a MACK volunteer who was an exceptional quilt maker.

 

The McCormick County towns that feature quilt panels include Plum Branch, McCormick, Willington, and Parksville. All 14 quilt panels in McCormick County have been crafted in the Red Rooster Emporium, a charming antique and art shop that has a little bit of everything.

In order to make a quilt panel, one must bring in the original square or a picture of the square and a group of volunteers will design and create the quilt panel. Volunteers first prep the panel so the measurements are all exact and then they help choose the colors. The Red Rooster uses only the best quality paints available for these works of art. Once the paint is dry, the panel is primed with a high-quality, weather-resistant sealer that keeps the colors bright and the patterns distinct. Shaaron Kohl and her team work hard to make the colors vibrant and the size complimentary to the design. The bigger, the better! Prices for making a quilt panel depend of the desired size, ranging from 2’ x 2’ to 8’ x 8’. Cost includes any and all materials needed to make the panel, even the volunteers! Anyone is welcome to the shop to come see this process of making a quilt panel.

The McCormick County Quilt trail itself begins and ends wherever and whenever you decide! The locations include the Cotton Gin building, Willington History Center, and the McCormick County Library. These squares contribute to the community and often evoke an emotional response. They are also just plain pretty to look at! These are just a few of the warm, colorful examples that are displayed by this tour. Many of these quilt panels are double sided as well and hung rather than mounted.

A beautiful quilt panel pops with color on the old Cotton Gin building in McCormick.

A beautiful quilt panel pops with color on the old Cotton Gin building in McCormick.

Janice Grizzard constructed one quilt panel that featured two squares of quilt that were made from each of her grandmothers. As Shaaron stated about the quilt tours, “It’s an intersection of history, art, community, culture, and pride.” Total, there are 14 quilt panels around McCormick County, each with its own story to tell. As each quilt contains unique, beautiful patterns, so does McCormick County contain many different lives that have left their mark upon society.

Whether emotional or educational; historical or just for fun, these quilt panels contribute to the culture in McCormick and add a touch of beauty and vivacity wherever they are placed. Art is most beautiful when significant, and these quilt panels certainly accomplish this.

A vibrant panel representing a quilt made by Sarah White, on display on the front of the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah.

A vibrant panel representing a quilt made by Sarah White, on display on the front of the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah.

Whether you are in town visiting family, camping out at Hickory Knob State Park, or visiting the charming Red Rooster Emporium, the colorful panels on this town’s old buildings will certainly draw not only your eye but also your heart.