The Upstate SC

VOL12ISS2 2016

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Page 52 of 83

VOLUME 10—ISSUE 1 51 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — UPSTATE SC | VOLUME 12 — ISSUE 2 ANDERSON/LAKE HARTWELL atmosphere and great local/regional craft beers are emphasized. "When our bartenders see customers coming, we ask them what type of beers they like to drink and prepare a tasting for them," said Kinley. "For first- time guests we want to get to know them – what are their drink preferences, etc. and give them a great experience." "I'm a fan of all downtowns and how they are part of the equation in creating a sense of place for a community," said Dan McKinney, property and business owner. "I retired from my 'day job' early so I could pursue being part of that context. After serving on the Anderson County Planning Commission, The Economic Development Committee for the Main Street Program and Keep America Beautiful, I wanted to be part of the downtown community as a property and business owner. I find that showing the way 'by doing' is more effective than just talking about it." Developer Steve Kay is also credited with much of the success of the booming downtown by building a boutique hotel. The developer/owner of the restored historic Bleckley Inn has protected history and rejuvenated the area by bringing guests downtown. The inn has a Tesla charging station for guests, appropriate for "The Electric City." "We have a neat, walkable downtown, and we want people to know that you don't have to go to the coast to get away," said Kay. "We're available, we pay attention to detail and there's a story for every room." Creating energy and pride in the city is the Church Street Heritage Project. The pocket park, a destination green space and a slice of history, was once a thriving center for African-American commerce in Anderson. The buildings were torn down to make way for a parking lot. The lives and memories of the professional business owners and citizens of Church Street are chronicled in the film "Trading Church Street: Pride, Prejudice and a Parking Lot." The historically significant project has gained national attention. The City of Anderson, along with its partner the Anderson Arts Center, were recognized for the only project in South Carolina to attract funding from the National Endowment for the Arts during the 2016-2017 funding year. Business boot camps, startups and traditional industry all have a home in Anderson. The E-Spark business boot camp, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center, is offered to startups and existing entrepreneurs, and "Lunch and Learns" are held monthly on a variety of business topics. The city of Anderson sponsors nearly 60 annual events to educate and inspire business professionals. With the initial round of $250,000 in grant money from the South Carolina Department of Commerce and a gift of $150,000 from AT&T, as well as business leader's support, Craig Kinley started e-Merge @ the Garage. Entrepreneurs who participate in the boot-camp style incubator receive guidance from experienced mentors, along with funding. Once the entrepreneurs complete the 12-week program, they are encouraged to find a permanent space in downtown Anderson to continue their success. Cyber summer camps, coding robotics and prototyping for grade school children, and high school programs with regional education partners are also promoted. FUN FACT: Anderson is called the Electric City for Anderson native William Church Whitner who built the first hydro-electric plant in the southeast — the first city in the United States to have a continuous supply of electric power and the first in the world to create a cotton gin operated by electricity. []

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