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April 26, 2024

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.—The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) and Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) held its 85th annual meeting on April 25, 2024, at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort. The event was an opportunity for the chamber’s members, board of directors and staff to celebrate achievements from last year as well as honor those who worked to make their community stronger.

“This year, the chamber celebrates 86 years of serving the Grand Strand and our annual meeting provided the prime opportunity to mark the occasion and affirm our commitment to promoting, protecting and improving the business community at The Beach. We are very proud of the accomplishments and pleased to honor the distinguished local businesses and individuals who exemplify the chamber’s mission,” said Karen Riordan, MBACC and CVB President and CEO.

In 2023, the chamber and CVB surpassed its membership goals by holding a 94 percent member retention rate and welcoming 401 new members. In addition, Grand Strand Young Professionals increased its membership by 26 percent.

Additional accomplishments for 2023 included:

  • Committing to member development by holding 290 events, including 144 ribbon-cutting ceremonies and 46 networking events;
  • Improving community sustainability by adding an EV charging station through a Santee Cooper grant, hosting 11 Keep Myrtle Beach Beautiful cleanups and being recognized by Keep America Beautiful with a President’s Circle Recognition Award;
  • Debuting the first season of the hit “Cooking Channel” show “Chef Swap at The Beach,” which was viewed in more than 600,000 homes, and
  • Receiving a Chamber of the Year award from the Carolinas Association of Chamber Executives.

The following professionals and businesses were honored:

  • Mark and Jennifer Kiskunas, Citizens of the Year, presented by A&I Fire and Water Restoration
  • Diane DeVaughn Stokes, Ashby Ward Pioneer of the Year, presented by Carolina Cool
  • The Lovely Law Firm, Small Business of the Year, presented by Carolina Limousine & Coach
  • Barnabas Horse Foundation, Nonprofit of the Year, presented by United Bank
  • Tom Narducci, Chamber Ambassador of the Year, presented by Four Star Plumbing & Air Conditioning
  • Michelle Griffin, Volunteer of the Year, presented by The Lovely Law Firm
  • Akeem Hemingway, Champion of Diversity
  • Project Golf, Business Innovation Award, presented by CRM Services
  • Weston Dowell of Palmetto Hospitality Services, Entrepreneur of the Year, presented by Truist
  • Pet Wants South Myrtle, Community Service Award, presented by The Soto Sawyer Crosby Group of Merrill Lynch
  • Hager Vaught of the Dayton House Resort, Hospitality Employee of the Year, presented by Best Western Ocean Sands and myBeach Vacations.
  • Shanon Detzler, Leadership Grand Strand’s Ann DeBock Leadership Award
  • Stephanie Warren, Grand Strand Young Professional’s Ambassador of the Year
  • Olivia Elswick, Grand Strand Young Professional’s Young Professional of the Year

In addition, 18 local high school seniors from 14 area schools were recognized for their leadership and accomplishments through the chamber’s Educational Scholarship Foundation and contributions from local business, including Ron Jon Surf Shop. A total of $29,000 in scholarships was awarded to the following recipients:

 

  • Academy for Arts, Science and Technology: Lindsey Beam
  • Academy for Technology & Academics: Peyton Basso
  • Aynor High School: Kinley Jones
  • Carolina Forest High School: Alexa Halling
  • Conway High School: Derek Grant
  • Early College High School: Faith Mercer
  • Green Sea Floyds High School: Eric Crawford, Jr.
  • HCS Scholars Academy: Jacob Mijalli
  • Loris High School: Aubrey Anderson
  • Myrtle Beach High School: Macie McMillan, Amari Rhodes & Maura Wilson
  • North Myrtle Beach High School: Shaw Ashley, Jessica Nguyen & Gracelyn Tester
  • Socastee High School: Ava LiVigni
  • St. James High School: Justin Williams
  • Waccamaw High School: Grace Gibson

The annual meeting was made possible through the following sponsors: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Santee Cooper, A&I Fire & Water Restoration, Carolina Cool, HTC, The Lovely Law Firm, myBeach Vacation Rentals, Best Western Ocean Sands, Carolina Limousine and Coach, CRM Services, Four Star Plumbing & Air Conditioning, The Soto Sawyer Crosby Group at Merrill Lynch, Truist, United Bank, Boys & Girls Club of the Grand Strand, Brookgreen Gardens, Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union, Dayton House Resort, Golf Tourism Solutions, Hickey’s Interactive Adventures, Horry-Georgetown Technical College Foundation Inc., KingOne Properties International, Marriot Resort Myrtle Beach Grande Dunes, ProjectGolf.org Myrtle Beach, Synovus, Tidelands Health with MUSC Health, Waccamaw Community Foundation, MyHorryNews.com, and Coastal Engravers.

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