Back in the day, when many of us were much younger and in grade school, things were very different. Most families had one car, if they had a car at all. Many didn’t have a TV, and if they did, it was black and white with only three channels. In the Sixties, color TV came along and everyone couldn’t wait to see Bonanza and the NBC Peacock. I will never forget seeing the first three-person American space mission live on TV and in color. We could not only hear the news, we could see the news in color.
We had limited transportation, TV, and other sources of information. Most did not have a telephone and of those who did, most had a party-line with two or more households attached to a single phone line. So, instant communication did not exist as we know it today. We had our local newspapers and snail-mail, as some call it today.
We did not have computers, iPhones, email, TVs with a million channels and news sources. There wasn’t ETV, the History Channel, PBS, BBC, Discovery channel and local educational channels. People had to rely on one another, the newspapers, the World Book Encyclopedia and old fashioned letter writing to get information.
Many of us, while studying South Carolina history, were assigned a particular county and we were to gather as much information as we could and present a report. One thing most everyone did was to write the Chamber of Commerce in that county. A few weeks later we would receive a package with lots of information. The package would contain maps, brochures of historical sites and points of interest, demographics, names of mayors and council members, county history, and business and industry information. The packet would also have information on parks and recreation and other outdoor opportunities such as hunting, fishing, lakes and rivers. The chamber was the primary source of information from a to z.
Today, the chamber is still the primary source of information for the county and its municipalities. The chamber still receives requests for all that information and more. Although requests for information come to the chamber primarily via email and telephone, letters from students still arrive rather regularly. Requests also come in the form of visitors who walk-in most every day, including Saturday and Sunday if someone happens to be in the office. Many people come by the chamber looking for general information, directions and suggestions as to where to go, what to see and where to eat. Lots of individuals come in looking for Marketing Statistics, Research Data, Directories, Census Information, and Contact Information for local groups, businesses, industry, churches, etc.
The Union County Chamber of Commerce, “Your Chamber,” makes as much of this information available as possible to anyone who asks. Most of the information can be found on the chamber website www.unionsc.com. The website is updated constantly to satisfy the needs of visitors and individuals who are relocating, local businesses and other businesses that are looking to locate here, as well as industries, tourists and others. The chamber serves tourists and visitors 24/7, 365 days a year.
This is only part of what Your Chamber of Commerce does. For more information contact the Union County Chamber of Commerce at 864-427-9039 or visit the chamber office at 135 West Main Street, Union, SC 29379.
Torance Inman is the executive director of the Union County Chamber of Commerce.