By the time the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce closed its 2020 Annual Celebration, it no longer existed.
Now called the OneSpartanburg Inc., the newly structured and focused organization includes the Spartanburg Convention & Visitors Bureau and Spartanburg Economic Futures Group.
The unified development entity has been dubbed OneSpartanburg Inc., and according to Allen Smith, CEO of the new group, has been more than a year in the making.
The three groups, along with the city’s development organization, have already been operating under one umbrella for some time as the “the only set up of its kind in South Carolina,” but Smith expects the fusion to of the three groups to allow for a more streamlined, collaborative approach to business, tourism and economic development in the county.
“About 18 months ago, we said, ‘We’ve got something good, but we want to make it better. We want to bring higher efficiency to what we do, and we want to create one organization that’s centered around one thing and that’s development,’” Smith told GSA Business Report.
A number of chamber organizations across the country are seeking to consolidate resources and rebrand, thanks to adjustments brought on by COVID-19, but plans for OneSpartanburg Inc. were formulated long before the pandemic, he said.
The past year has been spent preparing for the shift.
Staffing has been restructured to support the three groups under one centralized mission support group, Smith said, and no staff members were laid off in the process.
“This is much more efficient, much more effective, and it also gives our business community and our investors, stakeholders, a much stronger return on investment and makes it much more inclusive,” said John Kimbrell, executive vice president of Spartanburg’s chamber team.
During the virtual event, hosted today from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on YouTube and Facebook Live, Smith spotlighted the county’s retail, residential and economic development growth despite economic upheaval across the country.
“Economic development continues to be Spartanburg’s bread and butter with more than $354 million in economic development coming into our county next year. That capped off an incredible decade that saw more than $6 billion invested, creating nearly 15,000 jobs across Spartanburg County,” said Smith, adding that the county had fielded more project requests in the first two quarters of 2020 than during the same period in 2019.
Almost 850 building permits were granted in June alone, while 1,500 multi-family residential units are under construction or in the pipeline within the city.
The awards ceremony recognized 24 business and community leaders with the following honors:
Teachers of the year included: