A little over 100 people came together for the Edisto Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Event hosted last month at the Edisto Beach Civic Center. The event is typically held on a warm summer afternoon in June (with a cool breeze and cold drinks!) as the culmination of the fiscal year comes around. It’s a thank you to the membership, a chance to mingle and give out a few important awards, and an opportunity to provide a summary of the work the Chamber has done over the past year.
Business of the Year Award
The first award given out was the 2022 Business of the Year Award.
The Business of the Year award is given by the Edisto Chamber of Commerce each year to recognize a business in the community that goes above and beyond. Our Board selects five nominees within the community and then the Chamber membership votes to determine the winner. Criteria for being nominated as the Business of the Year include the following:
- Must be Chamber member
- Supports Chamber events
- Supports community organizations, programs, and government activities
- Encourages employees to volunteer at Chamber and community events
- Has a genuine interest in the welfare and future of Edisto
Katherine and Brandon opened their flagship restaurant Ella & Ollie’s in 2016 and have been a chamber member since then. If you haven’t been (we recommend putting them at the top of your list of Edisto restaurants to try!) Ella & Ollie’s is a southern seafood-inspired restaurant focused on delivering fresh local ingredients. Their second restaurant on Edisto Beach, E&O Taco, opened in 2018. Their third restaurant, and newest concept, is The Briny Swine which opened in 2020. Katherine and Brandon work hard to showcase local purveyors and it’s extremely important to them that they support other local businesses as best they can. They use local shrimp from Edisto Seafood, as well as fruits and vegetables from local farmers on the Island. They can proudly say that several of the dishes at their restaurants come from within ten miles.
In 2020, they started Sleigh Bells, a philanthropic organization formed in the midst of COVID to give back to the community. Sleigh Bells works alongside Jane Edwards and helps the families during the holidays with food and making sure that everyone in the family wakes up Christmas morning with gifts under the tree. They’re expanding this year and plan to have a day where the kids can come by and “shop” with gifts and wrapping stations set up so that they can pick out presents to give their families as well.
In addition, Ella & Ollie’s donates to/supports multiple organizations throughout the year such as:
- Chicken Man Tournament
- Animal Lovers of Edisto (ALOE)
- Edisto Island Open Land Trust
- 4th of July Golf Cart Parade
- Movies in the Park popcorn sponsor
- 2022 Turtle Tide Art Project Sponsor
- Business After Hours sponsor
- Movies in the Park sponsor
Thank you, Katherine and Brandon, for all you do in support of the community and the Chamber!
Martha Whetstone Service Award
The second award given out that evening was the 2022 Martha Whetstone Service Award.
This award was created in honor of Martha Whetstone and has been awarded annually by the Chamber since 2005. Martha was active at Trinity Church, mentored at Jane Edwards Elementary School, was an active member of the Edisto Art Guild and the Edisto Chamber of Commerce, and she was very involved with the community. This award is given to honor a business, group, or individual that has provided exceptional service for either the community or the Chamber. The Chamber Board of Directors nominates and selects the recipient.
ALOE has been active in the community since 2010. It’s an organization dedicated to supporting Edisto Island and surrounding communities.
Founded in 2010 by Margaret Towe and Ken Korpanty, ALOE is a 501C3 non-profit that serves the community through the rescue, care, and homing of adoptable stray, abandoned, or found dogs. As a no-kill canine rescue, on average they rescue approximately 50 stray dogs and reunite 20 lost dogs with their families each year. In 2021, ALOE took in 56 dogs and was able to find loving homes for ALL 50 before the years’ end (the other six have since been adopted!). Animal Lovers also “pulls” dogs from Colleton County Animal Shelter (CCAS), to help them reduce their euthanasia rate.
ALOE also supports residents in the community who need to surrender or re-home their pets and provides veterinary assistance and pet food to people in Edisto with economic needs. Most stray dogs are suffering from a variety of medical conditions when they first arrive at Animal Lovers and require a great deal of vetting before they can be adopted. Rescues are also kept up-to-date on vaccines, preventative, and medical care. To further support their efforts, ALOE utilizes foster homes and has developed a relationship with Southside Animal Hospital, which offers reduced rates for many medications, tests, and procedures. Despite these discounts, Animal Lovers vet bill alone averages $25,000 per year, and operation costs last year totaled $36,000.00.
Over the course of Animal Lovers’ existence, they have vetted, spayed and neutered, and found loving homes for nearly 600 dogs, including several disabled dogs and dogs recovering from abuse and neglect. Animal Lovers relies on donations to operate, but they strive to ensure that all funds received are put to work right here in the community they serve. This organization has a huge heart for all the fur babies out there and was well deserving of this recognition! Visit their website to learn more and help support them.
Honoring the Chamber President
This year, a special recognition award was given out to honor the Board’s (now retired) President Peter Beck! This award was presented as recognition for six years of outstanding service on the Edisto Chamber Board of Directors. During his time on the Chamber Board, Peter displayed exemplary leadership, service, and dedication to the community. Peter has been a member of the Chamber since 2016 and President of the Board since 2018. His business, Green Boat Discount Liquor, is known for its generosity and support of the community. He’ll be passing the torch to our newest President, Leslie Hurley, of Carolina One Edisto Real Estate and Vacation Rentals.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Annual Event! None of this would be possible without the continuous support of the members and the Edisto community. And, thank you to some important vendors/supporters: Charleston Catering for the delicious food, Carolina One Edisto Real Estate and Vacation Rentals for the beautiful flowers, Sea Spirits Liquor for the gift bags, and SK Signs, Designs, and Marketing for the photos!
Year in Review
At the Chamber, the year begins and ends in July, so a large part of the Annual Event involves summarizing the previous year’s performance!
MARKETING & ADVERTISING
-Chamber focus = off-season advertising, most efforts focused on the 4-6 hr drive time from Edisto
-Advertising outlets = a variety of different media outlets across 4 mediums – Audio (Spotify), Print, Digital, Social Media
-Website Traffic = up 109% over last year
-Social Media: Instagram followers up 8.5% & Facebook followers up 13%
With support from local businesses, the Chamber hosted four (4) Business After Hours, five (5) Movies in the Park , the annual 5K Road Race, and the Edisto Fall Festival. The normal Christmas Parade got an upgrade into a Christmas Weekend in conjunction with the Town of Edisto Beach. Shop Local Week happened again around the holidays and the first year of the Turtle Tide Art Project got underway with success! Two additional events will be associated with the art project: a Turtle Tide Art Reveal event (in conjunction with Turtlesfest) and a Turtle Tide Art Auction, which will happen this coming October.
The Edisto Chamber’s Annual Event was the perfect time to catch-up with friends and fellow business members on a beautiful afternoon over food and drinks. Awards and talks from Chamber Director Chelsea Harrison on future goals for the organization were just an added bonus! Thank you to everyone who came out in support!