MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A year after its founding, the Grand Strand Chamber of Commerce says they are continuing to grow and are now serving 200 businesses in the area.
As a founding member of the chamber, Moozie's Closet in Myrtle Beach says they are as happy as ever with what the Grand Strand Chamber is offering their store.
"To be a new venture it's been wonderful," Alicia Piner said. "We've gotten a lot of business by being a member."
When they cut the ribbon in September 2009, the chamber's office was located just off of Kings Highway in the same building as Piner's, but now that location sits vacant. Todd Cartner, President of the chamber, says they are looking to move to a new location in Carolina Forest.
"This is the area that we are looking to move to because we feel that we can better serve the Grand Strand here in this area," Cartner said.
He says they chose Carolina Forest because of its centralized location and because it is one of the fastest growing areas in the county. For now though, their temporary office is located in a bank building off the US-17 Bypass in Murrells Inlet.
"It's just a matter of preference" Cartner said. "The building that we were in just didn't suit our needs."
Cartner says the past year for the chamber has been about finding their footing and place on the Grand Strand.
"It took a few months to get things in place, to get the right key people in the right position," Cartner acknowledged. "Now that we're in that position our membership is growing tremendously."
Cartner says they continue to seek a niche market of small, local businesses to serve through networking opportunities, marketing options and discounts. He says they have grown from 70 members at the beginning of the year to more than 200, including businesses like Ship on Site in Surfside.
At Ship on Site they say their local clientele makes them a good fit for the Grand Strand Chamber.
"I'm focused not just on the tourists, but the people who live here," Frank Espinal said. "As a small business, I have to have somebody that advocates my concerns."
Like Piner, Espinal says he is looking forward to continuing that relationship as the chamber moves and grows.
"We've got a lot of members that are wonderful, our board is tremendous, and we're here to stay," Cartner said.
Cartner says the chamber is looking to move to a more visible location off of US- 501 hopefully sometime in late summer or early fall.