Throughout its history, Hartsville has been home to innovators and creative businesspeople. Entrepreneurial spirit continues to make Hartsville a guiding light in the region. The proof is in the plethora of new and unique small businesses that have opened their doors in the last few years. The City of Hartsville is especially committed to providing the support and guidance needed to help continue this trend of successful commerce. We recognize the benefits new business brings to our community.
In addition to the obvious ways new business strengthens Hartsville by providing employment, these establishments also help emphasize a community identity. Our downtown exemplifies how a new generation of entrepreneurs can revitalize a city center while showcasing what makes the municipality unique. Business can reinvent the look and feel of a city. New business also correlates to greater community involvement through event and charity sponsorships, and partnerships with the local government.
Of course, the expansion of new businesses also means greater financial benefits to our area in the form of increased Hospitality and Accommodation taxes. The number of Commercial Renovation Permits rises each year. From 2006 to 2017 new businesses in Hartsville grew from 243 to 535. Over a span of five years, gross sales in Hartsville climbed from $412,000,000 to $489,000, 000. In response, community funds from City Accommodation taxes doubled. Funds for our municipality, collected through City Hospitality taxes, have leapt 30%. Hartsville saw $199,701,064.81 in taxable sales in 2017. The City of Hartsville serves as the hub of economic activity in the area.
These numbers are impressive, and they are not an accident. Resources provided at the City’s Business Navigator have aided this growth. Located in City Hall, the Business Navigator is a one-stop shop for permitting, zoning, and other business needs. The implementation of this department has definitely helped make starting a new business in Hartsville more efficient. Resources found on the City’s website have also played a role, especially in the Business Assistance Guide which includes important contact info for government agencies. Additionally, the Business Assistance Guide features information on development support, investment in infrastructure, and a timeline for starting a new business.
Main Street Hartsville, a partnership between the City of Hartsville, Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville and Main Street South Carolina, has played a crucial role in building up many of our most vibrant downtown businesses. They also have a Sign and Paint Replacement Program that provides funding for the renovation of exterior signage and facades for businesses located in downtown districts. Those interested can learn more about Main Street Hartsville in person by visiting their offices located at The Key to Your Hartsville, the Hartsville visitors center, at 106 East Carolina Avenue next door to City Hall, or visit mainstreethartsville.org.
The Hartsville Chamber of Commerce contributes greatly with its many business resources. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) serves as a facilitator of business advice for small business owners. The Hartsville chapter of SCORE is available to all small business owners in Hartsville who are looking to optimize their business by expanding, adding new product lines, increasing profits, reducing costs of business, adding market share. SCORE counselors are available the first and third Wednesdays of every month. In addition to SCORE, the Chamber of Commerce can connect entrepreneurs to representatives from the SC Small Business Development Center for business counseling. Each of these free and confidential resources are available by appointment.
Another aid is the Startsville’s StartUp Hartsville Competition that offers funds and other incentives to help local entrepreneurs establish their own businesses. Businesses eligible for the competition include ideas for new startups, franchises, re-locations of existing businesses from other communities, as well as established Hartsville businesses looking to significantly expand into additional business concepts. The competition has been running for three years in a row and this year’s finalists will be announced May 17th. To learn more about the competition and the other ways in which Startsville serves local entrepreneurs visit startsville.com.
There are so many tools available to help new businesses get started and navigate through the process. The City is proud of the expansion of our business community and how the growing numbers of entrepreneurs are helping to redefine what makes Hartsville special. We will continue to offer further resources to those with new ideas. We will continue to encourage those with vision to meet the needs of residents, because we recognize the connection between booming businesses and a thriving community.