The Edisto Chamber of Commerce hosted their Annual Event on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, where over 100 members and guests showed up to celebrate the past year. What’s normally the front yard at the Edisto Beach Civic Center was quickly transformed into a beautiful outdoor space for members to catch-up while sipping some cold beverages and listening to live music. However, as typical behavior for June at Edisto, the storm clouds starting rolling in right at game-time, and the bottom decided to fall out as soon as everyone was starting to trickle in.
Not to worry though, as our community does so often in times of need, everyone pitched in to grab something – tables, flowers, the bar(!) – as the party got unexpectedly moved indoors. It was a welcome gathering for so many people who hadn’t seen one-another over the last year; they were again able to show-off their smiles and happy greetings while catch-up with each other.
Year-in-Review: Membership and Local Business
This past year saw the addition of 20 new members to the Edisto Chamber, bringing our membership total to 206. Achievements for the year included several Shop Local Edisto events encouraging everyone to support/shop local with incentives and giveaways, increased efficiency and communications, including a member-facing account where members can update their website information and list events, a member Facebook group for business discussion, and a feedback/idea forum.
Year-in-Review: Tourism Marketing
The majority of our focus for the past year was directed at the drive-time (4-6 hours) market. We advertised with 20 different publications across three different mediums – print, digital, and social media. We saw a huge increase in the amount of leads we received as a result of our advertising, our website traffic was up 36% this year, and our social media followings (Instagram & Facebook) saw an increase of 22%.
Awards & Recognition
Each year we give out an award for the Chamber Business Member that has gone above and beyond for the year and a service award, the Martha Whetstone Service Award for an individual or business that has provided exceptional service to their community for the year.
2020-21 Business of the Year Award
Our board selects five (5) nominees within the community and then the Chamber membership votes to determine the winner. This year’s recipient of the award was Green Boat Discount Liquors who has been a loyal chamber member since 2016. Green Boat supports Chamber and community events, they offer sponsorships and donations to many local organizations, and you can always see their entire family out in the community supporting local businesses and community events. Green Boat never closed during the pandemic, and continuously came up with new ways to support the community during COVID. They opened their home to host home-school for local kids with working parents and they hosted the Halloween Trunk or Treat & Scavenger Hunt. They offer tremendous support to the Chamber and any new businesses in the area.
Green Boat is always willing to be on board with community outreach efforts and to host fun community get-togethers that give us all something to look forward to.
2020-21 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. The Martha Whetstone award is given to honor a business, group, or individual that has provided exceptional service for either the community or the Chamber. The recipient is nominated and chosen by the Chamber Board of Directors.
This year’s recipient was Lindsay Young who is a long-time business owner with three successful businesses on Edisto (Edisto Watersports & Tackle, Edisto Kennels, and Edisto Bike Rentals), each offering something unique to both tourists and locals throughout the year. She served on the Chamber Board from 2010-2013. Lindsey is an active member of the community who takes it upon herself to educate tourists and the local kids about the ecosystem and history of our Island town. She hosts several fishing tournaments throughout the year to support tourism. She has served as a board member for the Edisto Chamber of Commerce and played an integral role in getting our Road Race off the ground its inaugural year. she volunteers at the Edisto Island Open Land Trust as a board and committee member, she is a young naturalist volunteer at Jane Edwards Elementary, and a supporter for their many events and activities. She is an avid kayaker and donates many tours to local events. She teaches the finer points of kayaking to special needs students. She is a frequent volunteer and supporter of Animal Lovers of Edisto, offering space at the kennel to help out during hurricanes and storm threats.
In addition to all the wonderful things already listed, Lindsay and Dillard have also been a member of the Edisto Chamber since 2002…that’s 20 years!
Certificate of Service to the Chamber
Lisa Harrell was recognized for her service to the Chamber as Executive Director from 2016 to 2020. She retired from the Chamber last year and was unable to get the recognition she deserved in the wake of COVID. In addition to 24/7 business and member support, she was also responsible for starting the Movies in the Park summertime event, she oversaw the re-design of the website and the re-branding of the Chamber. She spearheaded the design and installation of the Edisto Welcome Sign, she saw the need for digital advertising and a social media presence and got all of that off the ground. In addition, Lisa saw a 20% increase in membership during her time here.
Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the Edisto Chamber at the annual event! Check out the gallery below for more photos from the event!