Micro Chamber’s of Commerce.

Thursday The Neighborhood caravaned to the quarterly luncheon hosted by the Central Carolina REALTOR Association. The place was packed.

I knew both of the guest speakers and was excited to see them as part of the program. Carl Blackstone serves as President/CEO of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, and Otis Rawl serves as President/CEO of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce.

Both presentations were interesting as you could feel the camaraderie as they face many of the same challenges, and also the different ones, respectively.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know about the tax challenges Richland County endures. Think of it: 63% of the property in Richland County is not on the regular tax roll. Military bases, colleges and universities, state government, hospital property, and churches enjoy a certain tax status. Who picks that up? The business and investor community.

The University of South Carolina owns close to 500 acres in Downtown Columbia. Fort Jackson is about as large as Columbia itself, geographically, and state government is the largest employer.

We love all of these assets and are fortunate to have them. Carl explained how USC is growing at a clip of 1,000 students a year, and how every new battalion added at Fort Jackson is roughly 1,000 soldiers. I believe he said there are currently 11, and that every week a graduation ceremony brings an average of five people to the Midlands to watch and celebrate each graduate. That’s a lot of hotel rooms and meals.

In all, as a REALTOR, I’ve often perceived the profession of being on the very front line of recruitment opportunities for the Midlands. We are, in effect, hyper-local/micro Chambers of Commerce for our community. This part of the job comes with a level of responsibility and I hope my REALTOR friends feel the same.

The clock on my screen is showing 3:50AM so I probably need to stop typing, but I’m happy Carl and Otis were on the microphone today.

Thank you!

Franklin Jones



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