The energy level at the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce is through the roof and it is resulting in tremendous growth and a higher-profile for the Chamber and its members.
In the last 12 months, the Chamber has added 77 paid members. In all, there are 378 Chamber members and those members are active. The level of participation is evident in the Chamber’s monthly business meeting. That event typically attracts an attendance of 110-to-125, more than twice as many as before.
In 2022, the Chamber achieved the designation of Accreditation from the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Accreditation recognizes the adherence of high standards to professionally perform Chamber activities. The Chamber has also received the Excellence in Communications Award for its “Where’s Tim” – “love local” campaign from the CACCE. “This is very special, as our Chamber was in competition with so many other Chambers,” said former Board President Hayley Bowers, VP of MB Kahn. The Chamber received the Excellence in Communications Award again in 2023 for its Business Watch Program.
Tim James, the Chamber’s president and CEO, said there is a reason the organization is experiencing so much success. “We have put a lot of effort into growing our partnerships and developing as many networking opportunities as possible,” he said. “Our members greatly appreciate the attention we’re devoting to them and they are finding true value in their association with us. I attribute the increased attendance and participation from our membership to the fact that they appreciate what we’re doing.”
Thomas Tafel is Lexington Medical Center’s Community Outreach Manager and the most-recent past president of the Chamber Board. He gives a lot of credit for the Chamber’s ascension to James.
“We have a dynamic leader in Tim James,” Tafel said. “He is always pushing forward for the business community and the members of the Chamber.” Tafel also said It’s a good sign for the community as a whole “if the Chamber is doing well.” And he added that another reason for the success is “a very active Board of Directors” that serves the whole community.
Lindsey Miles, VP of Quality at Nephron Pharmaceuticals, is the Chamber’s current Board President. She said the Chamber’s programs and the people of the Chamber are what is appealing to her. “I love being a part of the Cayce-West Columbia Chamber because of all the exciting and informative events,” she said.
What are the programs?
“Business Watch” is a partnership between the Chamber and the police departments of Cayce and West Columbia that was established to increase the safety and security of businesses. The Chamber also conducted an 8-week Leadership Cohort that resulted in 16 graduates.
Some Other Chamber Events:
- Chamber’s Community Expo & Career Fair drew 60 companies
- Chamber’s Gala and Awards Ceremony
- Chamber’s Annual Golf Tournament
- Chamber’s “Holiday Parade of Lights”
- Chamber’s Parade Day Business Shuttle visited over 35 local businesses
Miles also said the Chamber’s Board is very engaged and she’s thankful for the people who contribute to the Chamber’s rising profile, including James. “I’m proud to be on a team of dedicated board members and Tim James is an amazing leader,” she said.”
The business community is thriving and you can tell by all of the recent ribbon-cuttings.
More evidence of the Chamber’s progress can be found in its finances. In 18 months the Chamber has gone from financial uncertainty and an empty bank account to financial stability and a steady stream of revenue. Because of the level of security, the Chamber Board is confident of moving forward and building on the current success.
“We hold an annual planning session in December,” said James. “That’s where we review the success of the prior year and move to implement positive initiatives that everyone buys into. Because of that agreement from everyone, our chances to succeed, and get even better, as a Chamber are increased.”
Tafel and Miles said they anticipate the progress of the Chamber to continue.
“I expect the Chamber to keep it up,” Tafel said. “We have plans to help the business community to continue to grow.”
Miles thanked the community for its strong support for the chamber and she said: “The momentum is unprecedented and it will just get better as we move forward.”