Dreaming - what's stopping us from becoming a destination
What’s stopping us from dreaming?
We received an e-mail notice about an event coming to the convention center in tiny Richburg, South Carolina, recently and it just set us off on dreaming.
The event is this: Rural Strong Expo, Richburg, SC, SBA, USDA Rural Development Bring Small Business Resources to North-Central South Carolina Rural Entrepreneurs.
These are some of the details:
ROCK HILL, SC – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region IV Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development South Carolina State Director’s Office have designed the Rural Strong Small Business Expo to help spur economic development efforts across the state. The initiative’s next stop is Chester County today (Wednesday, April 3). As part of the half-day event, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn how to start or grow their small business through programs and services offered through SBA, USDA, SCORE, the Small Business Development Center and many more resources. Over 20 resources will be on hand to assist South Carolina rural entrepreneurs. The Rural Strong team will provide information on loan programs, counseling for small businesses, access to government contracting, exporting and more.”
So, this conference runs from 8:30 a.m. until noon, and then participants are on their own to tour around Richburg. For the uninitiated, it’s on I-77 between Columbia and Charlotte and, back in the day, there was little there except a McDonalds.
Then, an industry moves in and - wa-la! - the highway is widened, hotels and restaurants pop up, a convention center is built and it becomes “a destination.”
Everybody wants to be “a destination.”
Destination enhances business. Destination puts money in people’s pockets. We could be the destination for this conference next year. And, you know why - because we have a convention center.
Cotton Loft The Venue had its grand opening last Saturday, and the gala affair was attended by 400 people. It was an unveiling party unmatched by any venue and support staff in South Carolina. Right here, in rural Clinton, South Carolina. As much as Cotton Loft is a place for weddings, anniversaries and receptions, it is adaptable to host conferences.
Now, we are not so bold as to envision something to rival the Convention and Visitors’ Center in Columbia.
Also, we know people want to go to the beach. But for a central location, no place is better than Clinton-Newberry. There must be some convention planners out there whose clients are tired of fighting “big city traffic,” no matter the other amenities.
Trouble is, we have to market.
That is not our strong suit.
We have no unity of purpose. Nothing we can all get behind. We’re so afraid if somebody gets something, somebody else is going to be left behind. In Clinton, we’ve already discovered we’re going to have to do things ourselves. If we can, again, embrace that common purpose. We’re not saying Cotton Loft The Venue is the be-all of local attractions, but it’s a start. We certainly can see the PC fraternity and sorority gatherings there. Small conferences, teachers’ meetings, regional planning sessions - yes.
Let’s dream a little bigger - the Pioneer Football League’s annual presidents’ meeting. Educational sessions in Neville Hall at Presbyterian College, golf at Musgrove Mill, destination shopping at Tapestry, drop-it-like-it’s-hot party at Cotton Loft. Fly out of the Laurens County Airport (OK, too much, go to GSP). It’s all here - it just needs to be packaged.
So, for clients like the SBA and myriad others looking for a particular kind of venue (rural, central, great service), let us show you what we’ve got.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.