Greater Cottageville Chamber of Commerce ready to thrive

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By VICKI BROWN

Cottageville residents have seen change in their community in the last few years, and now the Greater Cottageville Chamber of Commerce is ready to encourage more improvements.

Frank Santorella, a resident of Cottageville, said he is proud of the small town and wants to showcase its beauty, friendly people, and excellent location.

“We want to create a chamber of commerce here. We already have a 501-3C non-profit status, Maryann Blake is serving as our attorney, and we are ready to roll,” said Santorella. “We have ‘Friends of the Park’ which is comprised of people who helped develop the park into what it is now.” He says there are also plans at the park to install a memorial with engraved bricks to honor veterans. This will be accomplished by applying for grants and accepting donations.

Santorella, who plans to initiate the chamber, will serve as a temporary director. He says he already has seven merchants who are interested in joining.

“We want to make Cottageville a destination. Red Brick Pizza and Beer Garden is the anchor store for starting the chamber,” said Santorella. “It’s a one-of-a-kind business in the entire region. Once the chamber officially opens, we want to pick a member of the chamber and promote that business each week, and once a month promote everyone. There will be a rotation, and this will be good for everybody.”

He went on to say that the brick-and-mortar stores are the life of Cottageville, not the transient businesses. He feels that transient businesses will not want to invest their funds in the chamber, but the stationary businesses are here to stay.

“I think the people of Cottageville will be positively affected by the chamber and will accept it with open arms. Hopefully, this will bring even more businesses our way. Our only option now is to travel to Summerville or Walterboro to purchase some items. That’s between 15 to 20 miles away. Cottageville has a lot of people in the rural areas, and though our local gas stations try hard to serve the needs of the community, it would be nice to have boutique shops here. We already have a new vape store that has a coffee bar. So we are starting off well,” said Santorella.

He is hoping to have the new chamber up and running by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

“There will be a fee for stores to become part of the chamber,” said Santorella, who gathered ideas and patterned the Cottageville chamber after the City of Walteboro’s. “I received ideas on how to structure the fees. They won’t be impressive because social media provides a lot of free advertising. We will have a website and newsletter for the community. We will be out there,” he added.

Anyone interested in joining the new chamber can write to: Greater Cottageville Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 464, Cottageville, SC, 29435. Businesses can also contact Santorella on Facebook at Friends of the Park or call The Vape Stop at 843-701-4262.

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