E-Commerce Report
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December 29, 2022
2023 Chamber board of directors set to lead
The Aiken Chamber of Commerce recently announced its leadership team for the upcoming year. A diverse, dynamic group, the board of directors represents a cross section of the Chamber membership and offers a broad perspective on business and community related matters. These leaders will work throughout the year in guiding the organization to create viable, proactive mechanisms that become a driving force for Aiken’s prosperity in the 21st century.
The Chamber believes it is essential for business and the public sector to seek out common ground and to find ways to bolster each other. Policies and practices that help strengthen a free enterprise system are those that allow business to grow and thrive.

The Chamber continues to educate and engage the general public and business community about the components necessary for business growth and job creation, raise awareness that business climate is the #1 factor of a successful community and encourage the community’s long-term prosperity through taking risk, rewarding success and growing families.
Aiken shoppers on Santa's Nice List
Campaign tops $1.75 M in sales
We love the Buy Aiken - Red Ticket Campaign. I think it is probably the best thing helping Aiken retailers for the whole year.  
Holly Segar   
A Fox’s Tale

“As a locally owned and operated business in Aiken, Meybohm was excited to sponsor the Buy Aiken Red Ticket Campaign. We value our community and our local businesses.
Julie Whitesell
Meybohm Real Estate

“Bridgestone was pleased to sponsor the Buy Aiken Red Ticket Campaign. Supporting our community and small businesses makes for a stronger more vibrant place to work and live.”
Monica Key
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations

“We were thrilled to once again sponsor the Buy Aiken Red Ticket Campaign. As a local, family-owned business, we definitely believe in supporting community events and really like the uniqueness of this one. It’s such a great way to showcase Aiken’s businesses!”
Wayne Morgan
Master Chevrolet

“Thumbs up all the way to the Chamber of Commerce for coming up with this little idea; I love it so much. People come looking for the tickets and spend just a bit extra to make sure they maximize their chances. We have seen a huge increase in the number of local shoppers since the Chamber started this last year.
Bobby Ard
Beyond Bijoux
The BUY AIKEN – RED TICKET campaign wrapped up Monday, Dec. 19 with the drawing of 4 grand prize tickets each worth $1,000.

The BUY AIKEN – RED TICKET campaign urged shoppers to spend money in Aiken, and rewarded shoppers and store owners with the chance to win cash prizes. For each $25 in purchases of goods or services from participating businesses, shoppers received a numbered red ticket that was entered into the drawings for over $5,000 in cash prizes. 
The BUY AIKEN – RED TICKET campaign began in 2021 following COVID to encourage shoppers to stop clicking a computer mouse to shop and start walking through the doors of Aiken’s small businesses. The campaign was so successful in year one that the Chamber brought it back in 2022. The goal remained the same - spending dollars locally and stepping back from online shopping.
Year two was double the fun and double the success. Aiken Chamber Director of Membership Services Jim Tunison reported over 70,000 numbered red tickets were given out during this year’s 7-week campaign. This represents over $1.75 million in sales in the 60 local participating businesses.
“Aiken’s small businesses are what gives our community its character and charm,” said Tunison. “It was wonderful to see everyone rallying around small business during this holiday shopping season.”
The Chamber thanks the community for choosing to BUY AIKEN and encourages everyone to continue to BUY AIKEN all year long.
The BUY AIKEN – RED TICKET campaign was sponsored by:
Master Chevrolet Cadillac, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, Meybohm Real Estate, ByFarr Design, Breezeline, Aiken Standard, WRDW TV, Inc.
Demographics key to planning
Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG), established in 1967, serves Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties. It is one of ten regional planning organizations in South Carolina which coordinates cooperative development among local governments and seeks regional solutions for common problems.

The LSCOG, recently released an economic assessment of the six-county region completed by the Division of Research, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina. The assessment gives a detailed review of various economic and demographic data documenting the long-run economic history of the region as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also gives an overview of identified potential growth opportunities for the region based on existing industry and workforce composition.

A few key findings of the report in relation to Aiken County are:

While South Carolina’s population has increased by 46.8 percent since 1990, the LSCOG region has seen total population growth of just 15.6 percent, with Aiken County being the only county in the region to have experienced any population growth, 39.5 percent, since 2010. More generally, Aiken County appears to be a positive outlier across many economic and demographic metrics that can be observed for the region.

·        Between 2020 and 2035, South Carolina is expected to see population growth of approximately 28.2 percent based on historical trends. The Lower Savannah region is expected to grow 8.7 percent with most growth concentrated in Aiken County which has a projected growth rate of 20.7 percent.

·        The median household income in the U.S. is $62,843 compared with $53,199 in South Carolina and $44,989 in Lower Savannah. In the region, Aiken County enjoys the highest median household income at $51,399.

The LSCOG area maintains several competitive advantages, including its strong geographic position. South Carolina and the broader Southeastern United States are projected to have among the highest rates of growth in the coming years. As such, there is perhaps no better time to strengthen efforts to improve the ability of the LSCOG region to attract and retain business activity and workers.

The following set of recommendations highlight the potential areas of focus that LSCOG can pursue to capitalize on existing and future growth trends.

A focus on advanced manufacturing and logistics
·        Both sectors are likely to be among the primary industry segments that will drive growth for South Carolina’s economy over the next decade, meaning that the growth and development of business sectors that can support these larger industries throughout the state will be advantageous

·        These sectors also maintain higher than average employment multiplier effects in the LSCOG region. This implies that an expansion of these industry sectors would generate a relatively higher employment return in the region for any given level of investment.

A focus on warehousing and distribution-based businesses
·        The LSCOG region maintains competitive advantages in the general availability and cost of land, making any type of business with land-intensive operations more attracted to this region.
·        Additionally, various modes of transportation – including proximity to the Port of Charleston and multiple interstate highway systems – make this region well-suited for these industries

A focus on aligning higher education and local employment opportunities
·        Ensuring that education programs are available to prepare students for currently open jobs
·        Coordination between LSCOG economic development and workforce development initiatives to ensure availability of educational programs and graduates that match industry needs
·        Incorporate soft skills training into all existing higher education and workforce programs, as this is an identified area of concern of local businesses

A focus on assisting businesses with expanding referral networks
·        Large scale, impersonal recruitment efforts are not cited by local businesses as the most effective tools for hiring workers.
·        Most survey respondents believe the most effective hiring originates from word of mouth, personal referrals, and connections through individual social networks.

A focus on mitigating long-run demographic shifts, including an aging U.S. population
·        Identifying opportunities to keep older residents in the labor force; this may include more flexible shifts and/or hours.
·        Improving K-12 education performance as a strategy to attract younger workers and their families who may have previously left the region to pursue higher education, job opportunities, or military service.

A focus on incentivizing resident retention and recruitment
·        Although there is a long history of providing incentives for business location and expansion, this strategy can also be applied to residents.
·        Such a strategy could take the form of financial incentives targeted towards recruiting younger individuals to live and/or work in the region (e.g., assistance with student loan relief, housing down payments, etc.)
·        Ensuring that post-pandemic working norms are generally available in the LSCOG region
  • Widespread reliable broadband access
  • Streamline and simplify the local requirements for starting a small business
  • Determine the demand for communal work spaces to support new small businesses and remote workers
According to Dr. William Molnar, executive director of Lower Savannah Council of Governments, “The Assessment is a key piece in developing a regional economic and workforce strategic plan for the region. Over the next few years, the Council will use this information, along with other current demographic and workforce reports, to build achievable goals and strategies that the Council, the region’s local governments and partners can use to bolster business opportunities and support positive population trends within the Lower Savannah Region.”

The Aiken-based council received a 2022 Aliceann Wohlbruck Impact Award from the National Association of Development Organizations for the Economic Assessment of the Six-County Region Report. The full document may be viewed at https://www.lscog.org/economic-development
A Fox’s Tale owners held a ribbon cutting on December 22 to celebrate the opening of their brand-new, independent bookstore, Caroliniana Rare Books. Located at 127 Laurens St. S.W. in the heart of downtown Aiken. Caroliniana Rare Books specializes in antiquarian and collectible books, primitives and antiques. Readers of all levels will find treasures at the store. Book lovers can stop by Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cutting the ribbon is owner Jeffrey Rovenpor, along with owner Holly Segar. They are joined by Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team, fellow business owners, friends and family.
NOLA Coffee held a ribbon cutting ceremony December 2 to celebrate its official grand opening. NOLA Coffee features French roast cold brew and New Orleans favorites like beignets, along with bagels, muffins, regular brewed coffee, frozen coffee, hot tea, iced tea and hot chocolate for kids and kids at heart. NOLA Coffee is located at 2555 Jefferson Davis Highway in the Food Lion shopping center near Aiken Technical College. Pictured cutting the ribbon are NOLA Coffee owners Jake and Mallory Adkison along with Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. They are joined by family members and business professionals from the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team. NOLA Coffee is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 7 a.m. to noon and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.drinknolacoffee.com.
Freitas Wealth Management Group held a ribbon cutting December 6 to celebrate the opening of their new office building located at 114 Greenwood Street. Freitas Wealth Management Group is a client-focused wealth management and financial planning firm, open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To view a full list of services, visit their website https://freitaswmg.com/, or call (803) 393-2441 to speak to a representative today. Pictured are Darshna Sharma, strategic partner; Naresh Sharma, managing partner; Robert Freitas, partner; and Melissa Freitas, client relationship manager. They are joined by Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker, Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson and members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team.
Crane & Owen Financial Solutions held a ribbon cutting December 8 to celebrate the formation of their new partnership and the opening of their new office building at 445 Silver Bluff Road. Crane & Owen Financial Solutions is a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC . To speak to an expert staff member, call (803) 989-7096. In the center cutting the ribbon are Gerry Owen, financial advisor; Jason Crane, certified financial planner, and Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. They are joined by family, friends, clients and members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team.
Aiken Master Gardener Association Education/Community Support
Master Gardeners of the AMGA provide research-based information to citizens of Aiken County on lawns and gardens and offer free educational programs.
1555 Richland Avenue, East #500
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Edna Mills
Phone: (803) 649-6297

Chinese Natural CuresHealth & Wellness

Fall Line Reliable ServicesWaste Disposal
We provide residential and commercial junk removal, demolition, downed tree and brush removal and dumpster rental services to customers in Aiken and all over the CSRA. We are local, veteran-owned, fully licensed, bonded, and insured family business that is trusted by homeowners, real estate agents, house flippers, investors, property managers, and contractors.
1514 Stevens Creek Drive
North Augusta, SC 29860
Contact: Michael Juhan
Phone: (803) 599-4329

Britt Jackson, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Realty Real Estate
Top-rated, top-producing REALTOR® serving buyers, sellers, and investors within the CSRA and beyond. Britt’s skillful execution of real estate transactions is paired with sincere professionalism and dedication to deliver exceptional service.
108 Laurens Street, NW
Aiken, SC 29801
Phone: (803) 386-4944

Junior Achievement of Georgia Nonprofit Educational
Our purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. JA of Georgia focuses on high-impact programs that drive long-term outcomes in areas of financial literacy, career readiness, and fostering the entrepreneurial spirit. Together with the business and education communities, we can cultivate future-ready students with the mindsets, competencies, and confidence to flourish.
4395 Riverwatch Parkway
Evans, GA 30809
Contact: Ashley Whitaker
Phone: (706) 691-9276

Top Mop Cleaning Services, LLC – Janitorial Services
Provides professional, affordable high quality cleaning services to all commercial businesses, doctor’s offices, as well as industrial facilities. Our slogan is “Cleaning with Meaning”! We aim to please every client with top notch customer service.
Barnwell, SC 29812
Contact: Beulah Davis
Phone: (803) 571-0739
Instagram: @topmopcleaning1

Wild Wing CaféRestaurant
The go-to place for chicken wings, burgers, and unique fried creations that’ll make your mouth water. While you enjoy your food, take in live music from local DJs and bands nearly every weekend. Plus, enjoy our dog-friendly outdoor patio with friends.
470 Fabian Drive
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: James Reeves
Phone: (803) 508-7780
Food, music, theatre, equine activities and even drag racing are just the beginning when it comes to things to do in Aiken.

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