• A Word from the President

  • Jan. 28, 2019

    Good morning everyone,

      The last few weeks have been extremely successful for your Chamber of Commerce while at the same time focusing on what is coming up the first half of this year. To start, I want to share with you some of my thoughts from the 2019 Chamber Retreat that took place a few weeks ago in Hilton Head, SC. The entire weekend was a huge success and thanks to everyone that helped make it, per many of the attendees, “one of the best retreats if not the best in a long time”. Granted this was only my fourth, but hey, I will take that kind of feedback anytime. The weekend started off with a Low Country Boil & Barbecue on the Pavilion deck at the Sonesta Resort with a steel drum band entertaining the attendees. Special thanks to Duke Energy and Thompson Family of Companies for sponsoring the event and allowing us to make it memorable. In previous years, Friday consisted of a reception immediately followed by dinner on your own. After receiving feedback on one of the main benefits of attending the retreat, we felt it would be more valuable to host an event that involved everyone. Personally, I think the Friday night event was what made the most difference and we look forward to including this annually in the future. 

    With the theme of the Retreat being “Celebrate Sumter” the Saturday morning sessions included updates from various community partners presenting their recent successes featuring retail and hospitality growth, how energy has helped grow Sumter, how Law Enforcement is on our side, and positive updates from Economic Development. The afternoon featured extra curriculars such as attendees enjoying an escape room, shopping, and a Golf Tournament. Saturday evening we celebrated by “Dressing For the Decades” with entertainment provided by Elijah Bradford and the Valentino’s, a local band out of Dalzell. Saturday evening’s event was sponsored by Black River Electric and Sumter Economic Development Group. Also, a special thank you to SAFE Federal Credit Union for sponsoring the band and to everyone who participated in the evening’s theme. We saw some great outfits that will be remembered for quite some time.

    The positive vibes continued during Sunday morning’s sessions which included an update from the Young Professionals of Sumter, recent successes in higher education, our progress in K-12 education, economic development and local government. Thank you to all of our Retreat sponsors who helped make this a true celebration of Sumter, we couldn’t have done it without you!

    Now, we must focus on what is in front of us. You will be hearing much more about this soon, but the next few months will be a very busy time for Chamber Staff and our volunteers. On Friday, March 15 we will host the 2019 Rub O’ the Green golf tournament to be held at Sunset Country Club. This is always a great time and we know this year will be no different. The following week the Chamber will be conducting the “Celebrate Success” membership campaign with a goal of 150 new partners joining our organization. On Thursday, April 4 the Chamber will hold our Annual Gala once again at La’ Piazza downtown. We are also planning some great programs and events during Small Business week in early May to include a Small Business Celebration on May 9 at the new Patriot Park facility. Please be sure to put these dates on your calendar and join us as we continue to Celebrate Sumter!

    Have a great day,

    Chris Hardy, CCE, IOM
    President & CEO

    Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce


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