Sally Nichols, Social Media Coordinator
June 19, 2017
DUE WEST – On May 2, 2017, the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) and Erskine College were proud to host the second annual Business Plan Competition.
During this competition, students from various local high schools gathered at Erskine’s campus to present innovative entrepreneurial proposals in PowerPoint presentations to a panel of judges.
The preliminary round judges included Greg Graber, owner of GT Building in Due West; Paul Bell, CEO of The Renaissance in Due West; Lora Healey, former marketing executive at Capsugel in Greenwood; Jack Abraham, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Erskine College; and Harold Prince, member of the Abbeville County Council and general manager of Prince Motor Company in Abbeville.
The judges for the final round of the competition included Chanda Ferguson, owner of Uptown Girls in Abbeville; Mark Meyers, project manager and marketing coordinator for Abbeville First Bank; and Matt Wiggins, area manager of the Small Business Development Center in Greenwood.
Assisting in the competition was the Business Strategy class of Tracy McCurry, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Erskine College. This class not only helped plan and execute the event, they also participated in timekeeping, monitoring rooms, escorting competitors, and more.
In order for high school students to compete in this event, they had to first win their individual high school business plan competitions. The students presented their PowerPoint business proposals to their high school teachers, and, upon winning, submitted their PowerPoint proposals to Erskine College. The Business Strategy class then reviewed each proposal and ranked the high school competitors for the preliminary competition.
After the preliminary competition that morning in Reid Hall, the remaining participants were escorted to the final round held in Bowie Arts Center that afternoon. The final competition was followed by the awards ceremony.
The winner of the competition was Landon Gray with BGFT Apparel from Crescent High School in Iva. Landon plans to attend Wofford College where he will participate in the Entrepreneurial Launch Program to further expand his business. Following Gray was Hope Peeler in second place with The Red Elephant Café from Dixie High School in Due West. In third place was Payton Busbee from Abbeville high School with Bountiful Baskets, and Carson Burgin with Bubble Unlimited from Crescent High School.
All participating high schools were proudly represented by superb candidates who will surely change the future of business for good. The FCCF looks forward to the great things these young men and women will accomplish, and is hopeful for a bright future for all participants and their businesses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator
August 11, 2015
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.