Member Spotlight: Chanticleer Athletic Foundation

CAF LogoThe Grand Strand area has one of the fastest rising NCAA Division I collegiate athletics programs in the country … in its own backyard. Coastal Carolina University student-athletes daily compete against, and often beat, the best on a national scale – in spite of the fact these ACC, SEC, PAC 12 or other Power 5 universities have enrollments and athletic budgets six and seven times our size (seriously, ponder that). Want a few more tidbits to consider? Try these. In the span of a little over a calendar year:

  • We have had two Chanticleer student-athletes compete directly against World #1 ranked athletes in their respective sport; Andrew Dorn in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst and Jabor Al-Mutawa in the Qatar Tennis Masters against Novak Djokovic.
  • On the eve of the NFL Draft, consider this – our nationally ranked football team had more 2014 NFL Draft picks than Ole Miss, University of Texas, Oklahoma State, NC State, Michigan State, Mississippi State and Wake Forest to name only a few.
  • Through the 2014-15 fall and winter sports seasons we’ve had five Chanticleer teams represented in NCAA Division I Championships (Football, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Cross Country and Men’s Basketball). Stay tuned – we’ve still got the spring season to go.
  • Out of more than 340 NCAA Division I schools, Coastal Carolina is ranked 18th (through April 9th, 2015) in the Men’s Capital One Cup standings. And yes, that far outpaces many of the ACC, SEC, BIG Ten and PAC-12 schools you might be greatly familiar with. Regarding both men’s and women’s sports at Coastal Carolina, comparisons to other schools go FAR beyond the borders of this state alone.

Let’s not forget that success for a student-athlete and his or her university is not simply determined by the results on the field or court of competition. Although some might indeed achieve the professional ranks of their respective sport, a majority of NCAA student-athletes will in fact go “pro” in something other than sports. Look around – our Chanticleer student-athletes are serving as leaders in this community, annually contributing over 3,200 hours of community service, mentoring to Horry County students by participating in the United Way Community Reading Program, donating over $3000 in school supplies and donating 25 Thanksgiving meals to wanting local families. AND, with over 217 student-athletes posting at least a 3.0 GPA and 53 of these aforementioned garnering the President’s List distinction with perfect 4.0 GPAs, their commitment and leadership is evident before they ever suit up for competition.

Here’s another fact for consideration. What does approximately $452 million mean? This is the ANNUAL economic impact Coastal Carolina University has on the Grand Strand area. If focusing strictly on athletics, consider this – every time we host a game or tournament, many are televised and we have a unique opportunity to showcase not only the beautiful campus and athletic facilities but also the Grand Strand and surrounding areas. Supporting CCU is unquestionably in this grand community’s best interests. Simply put, Chanticleer wins lead to greater exposure on a national scale and a greater influx of visitors lodging, dining and playing in the area establishments. There’s a reason (correction: numerous reasons) we are the fastest growing collegiate institution in South Carolina. Come visit us and take a tour of not only the athletic facilities but also the entire campus. You might even run into one of our nearly 450 Chanticleer student-athletes. In the meantime … get in, strap in and hang on – this is going to be a fun ride!

The above article was published in The Sun News, Letters to the Editor, April 27, 2015

by Rhett Graham, director of development, Chanticleer Athletic Foundation, Coastal Carolina University

April 30, 2015 at 7:05 pm Leave a comment

Leadership Grand Strand now Accepting Applications for Class XXXVI

Leadership Grand Strand

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s 10-month leadership program, Leadership Grand Strand, is now accepting applications for Class XXXVI. The upcoming program, sponsored by MBACC, will begin in August 2015 and run through May 2016.

Leadership Grand Strand explores topics like Grand Strand history, tourism and economic development, government and politics, education, law enforcement, human services and the arts. Alumni serve on community boards and commissions and in key decision-making positions throughout the Grand Strand.

Leadership Grand Strand is open to citizens who have resided in Horry or Georgetown County continuously for at least one year prior to the application date. Candidates may be nominated by an organization or may nominate themselves. Program participation is limited, with selection reflecting the demographic, geographic and professional diversity of the Myrtle Beach area.

Criteria for selection include evidence of leadership abilities, potential to provide leadership to the Grand Strand, interest in community affairs, desire to volunteer and commitment to become more involved in the Grand Strand community. Participants and their sponsoring organizations must be willing to invest the time required for members to fully participate in the program, which includes a two-day retreat in September, a full day of classes the first Thursday of each month and 100 hours of community service. Regular attendance is imperative and mandatory.

Applications, which require three letters of reference, are due by June 30, 2015. Applications are available at Tuition is $999 per person.

Scholarship opportunities are also available through the William F. Pritchard Scholarship fund. Those interested in applying for a scholarship are encouraged to visit the Leadership Grand Strand website and fill out a scholarship application.

For more information, visit or call 843-916-7222.

April 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

Shopping Days Return to Myrtle Beach Area

Residents of the Myrtle Beach area are encouraged to keep their dollars local this Easter season.

Myrtle Beach Shopping Days returns Easter weekend, April 3 through April 5, 2015. Residents and visitors are encouraged to hit the sidewalks of Myrtle Beach, where they’ll find huge sidewalk sale bargains.

During this 72-hour window, outdoor displays and sidewalk sales will be allowed at retail locations, subject to certain limitations. An extra 32-square-feet of signage will also be allowed, and customers may camp on-site (with the property owner’ permission) for up to 24 hours prior to the first shopping day.

Those businesses wishing to participate are encouraged to submit their discounts. Contact Amanda Blomquist, executive membership coordinator with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, at if your store will take part in Myrtle Beach Shopping Days. Please include the name of the business, the business’ physical address, a telephone number, a contact person, URL and what offer or discounts customers can expect to enjoy. The deadline for submissions is April 2, 2015.

March 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

Member Spotlight: Richard Heath & Co.

With tax season in full swing, the accountants at Richard Heath & Co. near Surfside Beach are already working to help individuals and businesses file this year’s returns.

Richard Heath & Co. expects to file about 300 individual tax firms and 200 business returns, said Ronda Fania. She said they work to ensure every deduction available is used.

Two accountants – Fania and Richard Heath – with more than 40 years combined experience lead the firm which started in 1991. A certified public accounting firm, Richard Heath & Co. provides tax, accounting, auditing and review services.

Heath is licensed for practice in both North Carolina and South Carolina. His focus is in small businesses and their owner’s, particularly those in retail and wholesale distribution industries.

The Affordable Care Act is chief among common questions this year, Fania said, particularly about the penalties imposed for noncompliance.

Fania said accounting services don’t begin and end with tax season and Richard Heath & Co. can help businesses with financial solutions year-round. In general, the company focuses on small businesses, she said and can help make sure the bookkeeping is in order. Fania said the firm also offers financial statements for businesses on a monthly basis as well as payroll processing.

Located at 1971 Glenns Bay Rd., the office is convenient for those on the South Strand. For more about Richard Heath & Co. or to see other accountants, visit

by Amanda Blomquist, executive membership coordinator, and Brad Dickerson, media communications manager, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau

February 9, 2015 at 5:03 pm Leave a comment

Member Spotlight: ESA Fitness

Terrance Butler has seen his business really kick in to high gear during these first few days of 2015.

That shouldn’t be too surprising, as Butler is a personal trainer and the owner of Enhanced Speed and Agility (ESA) Fitness in the Socastee community.

Since the No. 1 resolution each new year is to shed a few unwanted pounds, gyms across the country are filled to capacity right after those Jan. 1 doldrums pass and the chilly winter air make spending time on a treadmill more appealing.

Inevitably, however, many break that resolution after a few weeks, and there are fewer crowds at the gym. Butler and his business certainly are not immune to this.ESA_Logo

“I don’t want your money if you don’t want to be here,” Butler said.

He looks at physical fitness as a better type of investment. Instead of investing in large doctor bills, Butler said, one should invest in their health to decrease the risk of serious illness.

Helping adults lose weight and tone muscles isn’t Butler’s only area of expertise. He also works with a lot of local student athletes.

A former member of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes, Butler also was invited to the Elite Pro Football Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.

When his pursuit of an NFL career ended, Butler realized he wanted to help train others who were interested in the same pursuit.

His hands-on training extends beyond the gym and the field; Butler said he has also taken athletes on college recruitment trips and to NFL combines.

The reward is when his clients get selected by that elite university or professional team. Recently, Coastal Carolina grad and ESA client Lorenzo Taliaferro signed a contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

“It’s a lot of satisfaction,” Butler said.

So, whether you’re resolving to drop a few pounds and improve your overall health, or have dreams of NFL glory, Butler and ESA Fitness are ready to help you achieve your goals.

To learn more, go to

by Brad Dickerson, media communications manager, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau

January 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

Member Spotlight: Simply Savvy Boutique

If you still haven’t found a gift for the special women in your life, you may want to head to Simply Savvy Boutique in Carolina Forest.SimplySavvy1

There’s no shortage of unique at Simply Savvy Boutique. The clothing and accessory retail store opened in the Food Lion Shopping Center at 4036 River Oaks Dr., Unit 6 in August.

She operates the store with the help of two of her daughters, who both influence the clothing selections. That means there are options to suit most women from mid-to late teens to those in their 50s.

She said she looks for unique, high-quality pieces from vendors she’s learned to trust.

“First and foremost we want items that are different,” Squires said. “We don’t want to have the same thing that everybody else has.”

Prices are reasonable for a boutique though more expensive than other retail clothing stores.

“We try and make our prices more reasonable,” Squires said. “If a teenager is coming in I want them to be able to afford to buy something.”

SimplySavvy2Most items come in sizes small, medium or large. Occasionally items come in extra-large.

The accessory counter alone is worth a trip to the store with affordable fashion rings, bracelets and necklaces. One of the most popular items is leather wrap scripture bracelets.

Sales recently expanded online. Visit Simply Savvy Boutique’s Facebook page at for details.

by Amanda Blomquist, executive membership coordinator, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

December 22, 2014 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Myrtle Beach Area CVB Receives Accreditation  

The Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) has awarded the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau with a four-year renewal of its Destination Marketing Accreditation Program.

This prestigious honor recognizes CVB destination marketing organizations who meet a high level of quality and performance standards within the industry.

“The entire Myrtle Beach Area CVB staff is exemplary, and their hard work and dedication has led to this wonderful distinction,” said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB. “This application process is very intensive, and requires a lot of attention to detail. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without the contributions of not only our staff, but our board of directors, committees and councils. The Myrtle Beach area is a world-class vacation destination, and our goal remains to find new and cutting-edge ways to market it to first-time visitors.”

DMAI represents approximately 1,350 members from more than 600 destination marketing organizations throughout 30 countries. Of those 600 DMOs belonging to DMAI, only 180 are accredited.

For more information, go to

December 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

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