By VICKI BROWN
The South Carolina Artisans Center is planning to continue their promotional campaign to bring in more business.
At the July 6 Walterboro City Council meeting, Executive Director of the S.C. Artisans Center Kristin Mumford requested funds from the city to continue to promote and advertise the retail artisans center throughout the state.
According to Mumford, the S.C. Artisans Center is the largest single tourist attraction located in Walterboro, as established through visitor surveys. It is also the official folk art retail center for the Palmetto State.
Those surveys indicate that the most successful marketing tool for the center is billboards, and specifically those located on Interstate 95. Between January of 2021 and May of 2021, about 2,785 people visited the center, mainly because of advertising from two billboards on I-95, she said.
The tourists also referenced seeing banners in four of the S.C. Welcome Centers, which are located along Interstates 95 and 26. These banners and billboards were previously funded by city accommodations tax dollars and a SCPR&TT AG grant.
In the recent city council meeting, the S.C. Artisans Center requested the support of the Accommodations Tax Committee and City Council to strengthen visibility to tourists and visitors by continuing the leasing of the center’s three billboards on Interstate 95 and two Welcome Center banners.
Walterboro City Council voted unanimously to provide $15,600 to continue the leases, which promote the SC Artisans Center.
The center showcases the work of over 285 artists from across the state and provides educational programming. It also promotes community outreach to residents and visitors alike.
Approximately 372,000 people have visited the center over the past 26 years. According to information provided by the center, more than 95 percent of the center’s customers have traveled from outside of Colleton County and over 85 percent are visitors from another state.