HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Business is booming in Hartsville.
Over the last decade, city officials said Hartsville saw a 230 percent growth in business operations.
"We worked with what was our innovation center to start up the Start Up Hartsville program and so that program alone has placed six businesses in our downtown," said Quinetta Buterbaugh, president of the Hartsville Chamber of Commerce. "There are lots of opportunities, not so much in incentives, but other opportunities for businesses to open here in Hartsville."
Hannah Stanley is the owner of Hakuna Matuna in downtown Hartsville. Monday was her first day open.
Stanely said with the city's help, she was able to get her business up and running.
"There a lot of different resources here and all of them have been really instrumental helping me get started here," she said.
Stanley said she came up with the idea for Hakuna Matuna when she saw the need for more recreation in Hartsville.
She said nearby Presswood Lake and Black Creek are underutilized, so she started renting out kayaks. This year, they expanded the business to a restaurant.
"If you don't have a kayak or a John boat or any sort of vessel, you don't have a way to experience what we have back there in downtown Hartsville. So we're excited to be able to provide that," Stanley said.
Stanley is just one of many new business owners in Hartsville. In 2014, the city leaders said they had 384 active business licenses. Today, they have 582.
Buterbaugh said Hartsville is a very business-friendly city with programs like the Navigator, a one-stop shop for business documents and free counseling for entrepreneurs.
"They can go to the Navigator, apply for business licenses, permits all in one place. They don't have to go all over town, so that's been great, as well as I feel like the chamber has offered a lot to entrepreneurs," Buterbaugh said.
Buterbaugh added restoring downtown to a vibrant area contributes to the business growth. The city is a member of the Main Street South Carolina program that focuses on preserving and building downtowns across the state.
"Now we've got boutiques and really cool little bars to hang out and great restaurants and there aren't many boarded up store fronts, which make it even better," Buterbaugh said.
And they don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Buterbaugh said the city is also working on creating an industrial park.
"Our city gets it, out city government, our city leaders get it and they understand that the way to grow our community is through the growth in business," Buterbaugh said.
"A lot of people looking to do things in Hartsville and so there's a lot of foot traffic here Saturday mornings and during weekdays, and so we're really looking forward to being part of that," Stanley said.