MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW)- The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce recently introduced a Business Diversity Council. The purpose of the new council is to address the needs of diversity-owned businesses in Myrtle Beach.
The council is broadly defining the word minority to include women, veterans, disabled, ethnic minorities including African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American.
“We wanted to try to figure out a way to reach out to those people and be able to help them in business and in their professional career,” Diversity Council Chairman Terrance Herriott said.
Mike Chestnut owns Big Mike’s Soul Food Restaurant in Myrtle Beach. The business celebrated its four-year anniversary last month. Chestnut says there are challenges associated with owning a small business.
“You know it’s really challenging for a small business, whether it’s labor costs or whether it’s inventory costs or getting through the slow times,” Chestnut said.
That’s where the new diversity council will come in, to help provide small, minority-owned businesses with the resources needed to thrive.
“The help is going to look like things in the form of business owners and what they need. We’re talking about trying to find funding for them from the federal level. We’re talking about any type of professional development that their employees may need. You have to remember our target here is minority owner businesses and minority professionals,” Herriott said.
The biggest thing those business owners would like to see is more promotion to get tourists in their doors.
“I think it’s important to get the word out that there are minority-owned businesses in town so people coming in. We host over 16-17 million tourists we want to come in,” Chestnut.
Lisa Coombs owns Diva’s Hair Design in Myrtle Beach. She recently moved to a new location on Broadway Street and hopes the new location and Chamber efforts will help foot traffic.
“One of challenges is being found. You know, I’ve been here for 20 years and I sometime get people coming to my salon that say I didn’t know you were here,” Coombs said.
The Business Diversity Council is a collaborative effort of MBACC members and non-members. Currently the committee is compiling a list of minority-owned businesses to reach out to. If you would like to add your name to the database, you can contact the Chamber at 843-626-7444.