Entrepreneurship Academy

Lindsay Costner, Marketing Coordinator

June 2, 2016

MCCORMICK — On May 26, 2016, the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) partnered with McCormick County in hosting an Entrepreneurship Academy. This class was taught by professionals that were brought in to help provide information on starting a business and how to keep their business thriving.

Wilder Ferreira opened up the meeting with an introduction of the speakers, Matt Wiggins from the Greenwood Area Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and David Mueller from Community Works.  Charlotte Tallent, Executive Director for the McCormick County Chamber of Commerce, encouraged the participants to keep an open mind upon starting the class, and discussed how entrepreneurship projects will “bring opportunities to the community.”

Each participant discussed why they attended the course, and the common interest was overall the same. Participants were looking for more information and wanted to further the potential of the community.

Ferreira began the course by teaching leadership skills, problem-solving and the definition of an entrepreneur. A short lesson on accounting was also presented.

Wiggins informed the participants on the basics of starting their own business, and how to keep it going with publicity and marketing. To go along with Wiggins, Mueller taught how to finance your business, and discussed opportunities that Community Works offers for these new small businesses.

After the entrepreneurship academy, Sabrina Searles a local of McCormick County, says that she “got a lot of information on how to get things started.” This course helped her gather some new ideas for what she might want to do for her future business.  She is excited about starting her own business, and helping her hometown of McCormick plus the surrounding areas.

Multiple individuals said that they received helpful information that can apply to not only their new business/current business, but to other parts of their life.

Altogether, the entrepreneurship academy was a big success for the participants, and provided a networking opportunity. With the help of the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation, we hope to see many great businesses be started in our local areas and a community that can grow and thrive together.

Matt Wiggins informs the participants of the Entrepreneurship Academy on why you should start your own business and being fearless when it comes to the business you want to begin.

Matt Wiggins informs the participants of the Entrepreneurship Academy on why you should start your own business and being fearless when it comes to the business you want to begin.

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: 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.

Due West Chamber of Commerce Meeting

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 11, 2015

Due West Chamber of Commerce Meeting Media

Will Ferreira, Matt Wiggins, David Earle, Cindy Adams, David Krumwiede, Susan Jackson, and Charles Angel listen as Alanna Angel discusses strategies that could better the community of Due West.

DUE WEST — Last week, a meeting was held at the Renaissance in Due West to discuss  how the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) can strategize to enhance the town’s community, agriculture, and small businesses.

The meeting began with discussion about what the FCCF is accomplishing through the website, public relations, feasibility studies, and more.

It was decided that the best way to improve the community in Due West is to first find out what the community cares about. This point led to the planning of the “Community Enrichment Night,” an event dedicated to bringing the community together to voice the town’s needs and interests.

Many ideas were brought to the table, including a new pool, a community development center, mentorship, a town survey, a fitness center, computer training for adults, a neighborhood crime watch system, and other ways to enrich Due West.

Plans were made to meet again in August to discuss the now-upcoming “Community Enrichment Night” on October 19, 2015 at 6:00 PM.

Due West is a family-centered, faith-based town that has great potential to become a destination for many besides those that grew up there locally. The FCCF is excited about enhancing an already wonderful town to its highest potential.

Upcoming Small Business Night

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 11, 2015

MCCORMICK — McCormick South Carolina County Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the first “McCormick Small Business Night” on August 20, 2015 at 6:00pm. This event will take place in the McCormick Middle School Cafeteria:  6979 SC HWY 28 South, McCormick, SC 29835.

This will be an evening dedicated to encouraging future business opportunities and to promoting small business growth in the community.

All business ideas are welcome at this meeting. The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation and the Small Business Development Center desire to help any feasible business ideas that come through this meeting and to listen to any community concerns or needs that that are brought up.

Whether someone desires to start a new ice cream parlor or has an idea to install a hotel, this business night wants to hear these ideas and encourage creativity and share knowledge of what it takes to start up a personal business.

Come celebrate the small businesses that already exist and learn more about the exciting things that are happening in McCormick County. Contact Charlotte Tallent or Heather McNally to RSVP or to learn more information regarding this event.

Complimentary sandwiches and ice cream will be provided, so your RSVP is necessary to ensure that there is enough food for everyone.

We look forward to hearing the community’s future business ideas and are excited about the progress that has already been made in McCormick County.

mccormick_mack_quilt_tour_media

The McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah building in the middle of McCormick, South Carolina.

 

 

Growers Alliance Meeting

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

July 29, 2015

ABBEVILLE — On Thursday, the Freshwater Coast Community Food Alliance (FCCFA) held a meeting featuring guest speaker Mike McGirr, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Feed & Seed in Clemson, South Carolina.

The purpose of this meeting was to brainstorm ideas about how to enhance growers’ businesses and increase agriculture in the Freshwater Coast.

Mike McGirr spoke about the progress that he has made with Feed & Seed and with the food hub in Clemson. “We want our farmers to be profitable so that our farms remain in place,” McGirr noted regarding the future of agribusiness in the area. A high potential of productivity exists in the area, and the multiple acres of open pasture encourage advancement.

Mike McGirr leads discussion on agricultural enhancement of the Upstate with Lee Logan, Matt Wiggins, Stephanie Turner, Penny Parisi, Frank Love, Tim Hall, and others during the Growers Alliance Meeting.

Mike McGirr leads discussion on agricultural enhancement of the Upstate with Lee Logan, Matt Wiggins, Stephanie Turner, Penny Parisi, Frank Love, Tim Hall, and others during the Growers Alliance Meeting.

Organizations such as Ten at the Top and the Regulatory Services division at Clemson support agricultural growth and may be used for the benefit of the quality of life in Abbeville and McCormick counties and the Starr-Iva area of Anderson.

The meeting discussed options that would enhance the area, such as group GAP certification, the need for auditors, a food hub, a new farmer’s market system, a food truck, and a community event dedicated to locally made food and products.

The meeting concluded with forming new committees dedicated to making progress happen and following up on new ideas. The meeting determined that Growers Night will be on August 27th at 6:00 p.m.

Exciting things are happening in the community of business owners and farmers, and the FCCF looks forward to sharing these progressive steps with the entire Freshwater Coast community.