'metro' status may be key to prosperous future
By DAVID GINN
President, Charleston Regional Development Alliance
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
8, 2009 -- Can the nation's metro areas save the U.S. economy? And,
closer to home, can greater Charleston's growing metropolitan profile
make it a winner in the global competition for jobs?
are the sorts of questions economists and futurists ask. And the
answers have a significant bearing on our activities at the Charleston
Regional Development Alliance (CRDA). Our role is to help advance
the area economy by positioning our three-county region to attract
investment by successful, growing companies.
a few years ago, the region's strategy for growth involved promoting
the cost savings that businesses received here. Cheap land -- and
lots of it -- coupled with low-cost energy, low labor costs and
other bargains fueled our economy. We face a very different reality
today. Happily, it's one our region is again poised to meet.
the world's economy craves -- and rewards -- innovation. Forward-thinking
businesses favor nimble intellect over strong backs. And their employees
crave connectivity -- both digital and human. They gravitate to
places that stimulate their brains. Quality of place has become
one of the primary drivers of new investment, worldwide.
a word, quality of place pays. Just see how well our region has
fared in the early stages of this emerging "innovation economy."
Attracting better jobs allowed our GDP to grow 40.4 percent between
2001 and 2006, while the nation's GDP grew slower at 30.1 percent.
We've seen bank deposits -- a measure of personal wealth -- grow
here by 108 percent between 2000 and 2007. Our wages grew twice
as fast as the national average in that same time period. But on
some key indicators, we still lag other successful regions. We can
By benefiting from the world's desire for the very assets we enjoy
While many of us prefer to think of this three-county region as
a collection of small and midsize towns, in reality we're a top
100 metropolitan area. And that's a good thing. According to the
Brookings Institution, 83 percent of Americans now live in metro
areas; these areas contain 86 percent of all U.S. jobs. (For the
purposes of this discussion, "metro" signifies all the
things that comprise an interwoven community -- jobs, hospitals,
colleges, transportation networks, etc.).
region "got it right" 15 years ago, when leaders
decided to stop competing with one another for investment,
and instead to unite in competition with other regions."
years ago, futurists predicted that new technologies and changing
demographics would allow us to disengage from specific places and
to work remotely from just about anywhere. Some predicted the demise
of the metro area.
we find that while technology may allow it, the marketplace does
not reward such disengagement. As the Brookings researchers note:
"In this current, global competition for investment, quality
place will win the 'big ones' every time."
the connectivity that today's worker prefers serves as a metaphor
for today's enterprise. More and more, density drives prosperity.
And smart economic development therefore focuses on the benefits
the Brookings researchers note: "The American economy has evolved
into a series of clusters - networks of firms that engage in the
production of similar products and the provision of similar services.
And firms within these clusters crave proximity to pools of qualified
workers, to specialized services like legal or finance that often
require face-to-face interaction, to infrastructure that enables
mobility of people and goods, to other firms so that ideas and innovations
can be rapidly shared. Density - the essence of urban places - matters
even more in the knowledge economy than it did in the industrial
economy," they conclude.
what does it all mean? In the realm of economic development, it
means a few things. Namely:
our region "got it right" 15 years ago, when leaders
decided to stop competing with one another for investment, and
instead to unite in competition with other regions.
our economic future means investing in our competitive assets
and ensuring that our educational, governmental, environmental
and cultural institutions thrive. We must focus on the core strengths
of our metro area and work together to make them even stronger.
must work to strengthen our shortcomings, the links in the chain
that can limit our future. In an economy defined by quality of
place, it will not be easy to ignore or brush aside difficult
truths. Committed, bold leadership will be key to our future success.
the end, the CRDA's work to build our base of leading-edge, sustainable
companies will rely on the shared commitment of us all. And, more
and more, our best future will depend on the quality of this place,
and the extraordinary talent it continues to attract.
Ginn is president of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.
knows scoop on serving ice cream with a local flavor
ANN THRASH, editor
8, 2009 -- For a business with some far-out ideas, Discovery Ice
Cream in Mount Pleasant is keeping its focus close to home. The
far-out part is a robot that serves ice cream and helps kids build
their own customized concoction of flavors. The part that's close
to home is owner Hubert Maughan's commitment to supporting the community.
opened in June in a shop next door to Belk in Mount Pleasant Towne
Centre. Maughan owns the cheery space with his wife, Robin; both
are retired from AT&T. The shop is now the flagship Discovery
Ice Cream franchise. The Maughans had seen the original Discovery
shop in Kingsport, Tenn., and it turned out that the owner there
wanted to move operations to Charleston, so the Towne Centre site
is now home base for the company. Maughan said Discovery is looking
for a franchisee to take over the Kingsport shop, and other franchise
locations are planned as well.
customers will see at Discovery that's different from other ice
cream shops is the robotic ice cream server. This is ice cream for
the touch-screen generation for sure. After a child inserts a card
into the machine, a computer screen lets him create his own six-layer
"Robofusion" sundae - three ice cream flavors (vanilla,
chocolate and vanilla-chocolate swirl) and three toppings (goodies
such as M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, Skittles, Nerds, etc.). Kids also
get to choose a character for the robot - perhaps ReiS, "the
bubbly female" and the most clever, or ReV, the mischievous
younger brother, or CiD, the unofficial leader of the group.
at Discovery Ice Cream holds out a cup of ice cream for toppings
to be dispensed. (Photo by Ann Thrash)
touch of the screen and the robot starts moving to a techy tune,
with each character having its own dance moves and music. Then it
reaches for a cup, holds it out while a layer of ice cream is dispensed,
then holds the cup under one of the twirly tubes that dispenses
the topping from clear canisters overhead. All the while, the robot
is doing a dance, bobbing and nodding at youngsters, even seeming
to be headed for the wrong topping dispenser at one point just to
keep the kids entertained. It's a fun show. (You can
see a little video here.)
says he has made a commitment to using Coburg products rather than
those from an out-of-state dairy, and he adds that customers have
responded well to the fact that the shop is working with the longtime
local dairy. In addition to the soft-serve ice cream that the robot
dispenses, the shop offers hard ice creams that are made on-site.
The cones are made in-house, too.
has reached out to local schools, donating to Jennie Moore Elementary
for an ice cream social and working with Palmetto Christian Academy,
whose football players regularly come by after games. Discovery
Ice Cream is also part of the "Cool for School" discount
card program. "We want to partner more with the schools in
the area," he says. Discovery is also taking part in the town
of Mount Pleasant's Children's Day Festival on Oct. 18.
minds behind Discovery Ice Cream are as agile as ReV and ReiS. Maughan
says company founder and CEO Allan Jones is a scientist with a background
in polymer chemistry who holds a number of patents. Maughan himself
spent 39 years with AT&T, working in electronics, fiber optics,
and digital and high-speed technologies. His wife worked in the
same areas for AT&T, retiring after 27 years. All that experience
- Maughan builds computers as a hobby - has come in handy dealing
with the robots, especially during the summer's lightning storms.
don't think it's just the computer side of the business that appeals
to Maughan. His father was a pastry chef at Goodyear Tire and Rubber,
working in the café and executive suites, and Maughan says
he learned a lot by watching him and helping him. He gets a chance
to put those talents to use by designing custom ice creams and working
with clients to come up with signature flavors - for example, for
a special-occasion birthday party or a wedding.
you want to learn more, go to Discovery's
Thrash, editor of CharlestonCurrents.com, can be reached at: email@example.com.
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public spiritedness of our underwriters and nonprofit partners allows
us to bring CharlestonCurrents.com to you at no cost. This issue's
featured nonprofit partner is the Lowcountry Food Bank, which was
founded in 1983 as a clearinghouse for donated food items. The Food
Bank, which receives more than 10 million pounds of donated food
annually, seeks to feed the poor and hungry of the ten coastal counties
of South Carolina by soliciting and distributing healthy food and
grocery products to nonprofit agencies serving the poor, and to
educate the public about the problems of and solutions to domestic
hunger. For more, visit the Food Bank online at: http://www.lowcountryfoodbank.org/.
Chamber to offer free candidate forums
League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area and the Charleston
Metro Chamber of Commerce are hosting several free candidate forums
this month to give the public a chance to hear from office seekers
in some of next month's elections.
forums will feature candidates for Charleston City Council Districts
8 and 12, and Districts 2 and 10; Mount Pleasant mayor and Town
Council; and Isle of Palms mayor and City Council.
the forums are free and open to the public. The formats will vary.
With the City of Charleston and Isle of Palms forums, each candidate
will be given time to make a brief introductory statement. Following
those statements, audience members can pose questions to the candidates.
The order of answers will be rotated throughout the forum. Audience
members can give their questions in writing to League volunteers,
who will be collecting them throughout the forum.
the Mount Pleasant forum, the first part of the program will feature
introductory statements from the three mayoral candidates, followed
by questions from the audience. The second part of the forum will
consist of a 3-minute statement from each of the 19 candidates seeking
a seat on Town Council.
are the dates and locations of each forum. Go to http://www.charlestonchamber.net
for more info.
City Council Districts 8 and 12: 7 p.m. Oct. 19, Charleston County
Main Library Auditorium, 68 Calhoun St. Council District 8 candidates
are Yvonne Evans and Michael S. Seekings. District 12 candidates
are Craig T. McLaughlin and Kathleen G. Wilson.
Charleston City Council Districts 2 and 10: 7 p.m. Oct. 21, West
Ashley High School, 4060 W. Wildcat Blvd. District 2 candidates
are William Blake Hallman Jr., Rodney Williams and Stephen Ziker.
District 10 candidates are Arthur L. Beane Jr., Dean C. Reigel
and Virginia (Ginger) Rosenberg.
Pleasant Mayor and Town Council: 7 p.m. Oct. 26, Mount Pleasant
Municipal Complex, 100 Ann Edwards Lane. Candidates for mayor
are Joseph M. Bustos, Gary K. Santos and William D. Swails. Town
Council candidates are Stephen G. Brock, Benjamin B. Bryson, John
W. Burn, Elton K. Carrier, J. Howard Chalmers, III, Paiam Etminan,
George A. Freeman, David P. Kent, Henry A. Middleton, Douglas
Benson Miller, Christopher W. Nickels, Kenneth J. Oubre, Linda
G. Page, Russell F. Read, Thomas E. Reilly, Roxanne M. Riccio,
Craig H. Rhyne, Jr., Phyllis J. Scheffer and Ted W. Summerford.
Isle of Palms Mayor and City Council: 7 p.m. Oct. 28, Isle of
Palms Recreation Center, 24 Twenty-Eighth St., Isle of Palms.
Mayoral candidates are Richard Cronin and Jimmy Ward. City Council
candidates are Barbara Bergwerf, Marty Bettelli, Ron Denton, Barbara
Gobian, Sandy Stone and Douglas A. Thomas.
Forum will look at sustainable development
growth and building sustainable communities will be the central
topics for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce's annual Growth
Forum on Oct. 20. The chamber's Developers Council sponsors the
forum, which will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Charleston
Marriott at 170 Lockwood Blvd.
of the city of Charleston's Green Committee (CGC), which includes
24 business, academic, nonprofit and government leaders, will give
an in-depth look at their plans and talk about their role in advising
the city on the creation of a local action plan for climate protection
and sustainability. The CGC's recommendations will be presented
to City Council in late October and are expected to have an impact
on development and construction in the city of Charleston, possibly
in the areas of building and zoning requirements or permitting processes.
Taylor, Charleston County deputy administrator, will provide an
update on a number of major road projects being funded by the half-cent
sales tax program. The forum will also discuss the re-launch of
the chamber's Sustainable Growth Ethic. A reception will follow
cost of the forum is $45 for chamber members, $60 for nonmembers.
To register or find out more, go
programs to offer resources on 'aging in place'
mark National Aging in Place Week next week, the S.C. Aging in Place
Coalition will host three free events that focus on resources and
information for older citizens who want to be able to safely, comfortably
and independently remain in their own home as they age.
programs are planned for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the following sites:
Oct. 12, Faith Sellars Senior Center in Summerville; Oct. 13, Christ
Episcopal Church in Mount Pleasant; and Oct. 15, Lowcountry Senior
Center on James Island. Each session will include music and refreshments.
Franklin, chairman of the board of the S.C. Aging in Place Coalition,
says information will be available on the five elements of successful
aging: healthy living, livable homes, financial and legal resources,
supportive relationships, and transportation.
we look to the future, most of us picture ourselves growing old
in our own homes," he said. "We imagine staying put in
a house that we love and where we feel comfortable. But the reality
is, it takes forethought and planning to age in place. The S.C.
Aging in Place Coalition joins the many resources -- nonprofit,
government, private sector, and geriatric research and health --
available to older adults."
and his wife established the coalition as a result of their own
experiences looking for resources to help their aging parents. "We
realized there wasn't a single place where we could access all the
available resources. What we have developed is a community service
organization that brings those services together and urges adults
and adult children to focus on planning. We encourage people to
make plans now, rather than to try to do so in a crisis when they
may not be able to take full advantage of all the options."
more information on the programs, call 789-1760.
us your opinion
If you have a review of a book, movie, restaurant or local arts
endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Ann
Thrash. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
the time of English colonization, the Edisto Indians were a tribe
living between the Savannah and Edisto Rivers. Originally inhabitants
of St. Helena Island, the tribe relocated in the late 1500s to Edisto
Island. The English captain William Hilton first contacted this
tribe when his ship, Adventure, visited St. Helena's Sound in 1663.
Hilton observed that the Edistos knew many Spanish words and had
regular visits from the Spaniards at St. Augustine. He also made
records of the Edisto villages, noting that each contained a round
house of about two hundred feet in diameter covered with palmetto
1666 Robert Sandford made contact with the same tribe. Sandford
was met by an Edisto chief named Shadoo, who insisted that the group
visit his nearby village. Touring the Edisto settlement, the Sandford
party described the same round council house as noted by Hilton.
The men wrote, "Round the house from each side the throne quite
to the Entrance were lower benches filled with the whole rabble
of Men and Women and children in the center." Of particular
interest to the group was the chief, a woman who extended great
hospitality to the group. The cultural exchange went quite well,
and the Edisto chief returned with Sandford to spend the night as
a guest aboard his ship.
Edisto land was acquired by treaty by the Carolina colony between
1670 and 1686, as were the lands of most smaller coastal tribes,
such as the St. Helenas, the Ashepoos, and the Stonos. Coastal tribes
such as the Edisto could not withstand occasional English slave
raids and epidemic diseases. Most tribes lost their identity, and
remnants were adopted by tribes further inland.
Excerpted from the entry by Michael P. Morris. To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
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Thanks to the
Charleston RiverDogs for this timely tip: 11 players in the Major
League Baseball playoffs spent part of their pro careers here in
the Lowcountry. Here's who to keep an eye on as the teams vie to
make it the World Series.
Phil Coke, Mike Dunn, Chad Gaudin and Phil Hughes, and outfielder
Brett Gardner for the New York Yankees (the current RiverDogs'
Rocco Baldelli and Joey Gathright for the Boston Red Sox.
Delmon Young and pitcher Carl Pavano from the Minnesota Twins.
Scott Eyre of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Jason Hammel of the Colorado Rockies.
a rule I recommend: Never practice two vices at once."
Bankhead, American actress (1903-1968)
Spirit": Various times, Oct. 8-Oct. 18, Sottile
Theatre at the College of Charleston, 44 George St. Charleston Stage
will present Noel Coward's classic ghostly comedy just in time for
Halloween. The plot in brief: Charles is celebrating his second
marriage when the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, shows up to join
in the celebration. When his old wife and his new wife cross paths
at a séance, spirits and tempers fly. Tickets: Online
or call 577-7183.
to Mom Sale: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 10, National Guard
Armory, 245 Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant. Sponsored by the
MOMs Clubs of Mount Pleasant, the sale features toys, books, clothing,
baby equipment, bedding, furniture and more from 100 different consigners.
The event also includes a special half-off sale from 12:30 p.m.
to 2 p.m. for all remaining items. Proceeds will benefit the Charleston
Autism Academy and Carolina Children's Charity. There is a $1 entry
fee to the sale. Send e-mail
for more information..
Bear Picnic: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11, Hampton Park.
Free, family-focused event hosted by the Park Angels, the volunteer
group of the Charleston Parks Conservancy. Events will include storytelling,
face painting, crafts, music, a parade with children and their dressed-up
teddy bears, and a booth where children can plant seeds. Food and
drinks will be available for purchase, or attendees can bring their
own picnic fare. More info: 724-5003 or visit
Charleston Style: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 30
through Nov. 18, Culinary Institute of Charleston's Palmer Campus,
66 Columbus St., Charleston. A series of short courses celebrating
the many facets of entertaining with a focus on Charleston style
and traditions. Guest presenters include hosts, event professionals,
authors, collectors, stylists and other specialists known for their
distinctive contributions to local hospitality and tourism. Light
beverage and cocktail samplings will be provided. Cost: $149. More
ONGOING AND SOON
Branding Seminar: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 12, Wescott Plantation
Clubhouse, 5000 Wescott Club Drive, Summerville. Sponsored by the
Summerville chapter of the American Business Women's Association
(ABWA), the program is open to the public and will ABWA members
Shauna Heathman of Mackenzie Image Consulting and Cheryl Smithem
of Strategic Marketing & Charleston PR, experts on personal
image, strategic marketing and public relations. They will be discussing
the significance of building an effective and appealing personal
brand to help you reach your career goals. Cost: $20 ABWA members,
$25 nonmembers; price includes dinner and tea or water. Register
by Oct. 3 by contacting Kathy Berman by email
or at 795-9751.
Third Thursday: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 15, Hutchinson
Square, downtown Summerville. The monthly Third Thursday event for
October features the bluegrass and gospel strings group Down the
River, along with extended evening hours at businesses around the
square. Sponsored by Summerville DREAM. More info: 821-7260 or http://www.summervilledream.org.
Shop Sale: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 17, Philadelphia Alley
next door to the Footlight Players Theater at 20 Queen St. The Footlight
Players recently cleaned out their vast costume shop and are selling
items to the public to benefit the theater. Items available will
include vintage hats, band uniforms, shoes, suits, evening and cocktail
dresses, everyday clothing and furniture.
Forum: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 20, Charleston Marriott.
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerces Annual Growth Forum
will have recommendations from the city of Charlestons Green
Committee (CGC), which is advising the city in the creation of a
local action plan for climate protection and sustainability. Charleston
County Deputy Administrator Kurt Taylor will provide an update on
major road projects that are being funded through the half-cent
sales tax program. Cost: $45 chamber members, $60 nonmembers. To
this Web page.
Great Presentations: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 20, Center
for Women, 129 Cannon St. The Entrepreneurial Woman Series, which
focuses on helping women create, manage and build businesses, will
look at how to make a great presentation and maximize your time
in front of a client or customer. Debbie Cooler of Dale Carnegie
and Claire Gibbons of Powerspeak Communications will lead the program.
Cost: $20 for CFW members, $40 nonmembers. Register
of Sleepy Hollow': 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 and 3 p.m. Oct.
24 and Oct. 25, Sottile Theatre, 44 George St. Charleston
Stage opens its Piggly Wiggly Family Series with Washington Irving's
spooky classic story about a headless horseman and his ghostly ride
through the hamlet of Sleepy Hollow. Family-oriented production
is described as "scary, but not too scary" by director
Marybeth Clark. Tickets: $19 adults, $15 students; call the box
office at 577-7183 or order
Picnic: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25, Dill Sanctuary, 1163
Riverland Drive, James Island. The Friends and Needed Supporters
(FANS) of the Charleston Museum will host their annual family picnic,
which includes nature walks, live bluegrass by the Eagle Creek Band,
a Lowcountry dinner (fried chicken, ham, red rice, etc.), a
touch tank with marine animals, games, hayrides and demonstrations
by experts from the Center for Birds of Prey. Cost (all-inclusive):
$15 FANS member adults; $20 nonmember adults; $7 for children; free
for ages 5 and under. Advance reservations are required; call 722-2996,
ext. 264, or register
online through the calendar.
Graham Dance Company: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, Gaillard Auditorium,
77 Calhoun St. The Charleston Concert Association opens its 73rd
season with the Martha Graham Dance Company, a modern-dance company
called "one of the seven wonders of the artistic universe"
by the Washington Post. Tickets: $25 to $99; on sale at the Gaillard
box office or order
online through TicketMaster. More info: http://www.charlestonconcerts.org.
Education Summit: 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 28, the College
Center at Trident Technical College, North Charleston. The Charleston
Metro Chamber of Commerce's Education Foundation will host the 14th
annual Business Education Summit. The theme is "Building the
Pipeline" within the public schools so that all students graduate
equipped with the knowledge and skills to further their education
or go directly into the workforce. A representative from the Ford
Motor Company's Next Generation Learning Communities program will
outline its national model and discuss why the nine communities
in the Ford network have been successful in transforming their schools,
and why Charleston has been invited into the network. Cost: $50
for educators, $85 for others. Registration
is online here.
Red Party: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 29, Old City Jail,
21 Magazine St. The American College of the Building Arts will present
the party, during which the always-spooky Old City Jail will be
transformed into a rich red venue. Attendees are asked to dress
in red and wear masks. The event features a raffle and silent auction
with items such as luxury trips to Africa and the Caribbean. DJ
Arthur Brouthers will provide music for guests to dance to on a
color-changing, illuminated dance floor. Open bar; food by Carolina
Catering. Tickets: $55 in advance, $65 at the door. To purchase,
call 577-5245, visit
online or e-mail
at the Museum: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30, Charleston Museum.
A special Halloween-season edition of the popular event will feature
glimpses of rarely seen animal mounts, fencing demonstrations, a
colonial nautical touch table, new historical figures, and an elaborate
scavenger hunt. Kids will be able to make Halloween crafts, learn
about the Museum's funerary collection, and more. Costumes welcome.
Cost: museum members, $10 per adult, $5 per child; nonmembers, $20
per adult, $10 per child; under 3 get in free. A light pizza supper
is included with the ticket price. Registration (required): online
or 722- 2996, ext. 264.
Polar Plunge prep
Homes for Christmas
Enjoy holidays sans lbs.
Instruments of Hope
Armas: Latin biz expo
Be a principal
Women at Gibbes
new food show
on car tags
way of tithing?
over on Sanford
off a little
is time for courage
place for prejudice
fun at Halloween
to old clunker
to squeeze in
on holiday lights
a tourist here
lists of year