Great day

Tonia Stephenson

September 4, 2013

Recently we had a special visitor in our community and it was an exciting day.

The secretary of the Department of Commerce, Sharon Decker, spent a day in our city and county and it was a great time for us to show off to her what a great place Scotland County is to live, work, and play.

She began her visit with city leaders, then spent time with our Economic Development leaders, and ended the day with leaders throughout the entire community. This was our time to talk with her, ask her questions, and learn about the re-organization happening in Raleigh. It was very enlightening and she was a very impressive speaker. One message that she presented loud and clear is that rural North Carolina has not been forgotten in Raleigh and support will still be there for our community in the future.

There were five pillars she discussed, which attract people and businesses to the state and specifically to a county. The five pillars she discussed were health care, education, arts/culture/tourism, economic development, and quality of life. She complimented Scotland County and Laurinburg for having all of these pillars. During her time with us, she had the opportunity to see some of the jewels that we have in Scotland County. She was able to visit Richmond Community College’s Honeycutt Center, St. Andrews University and the Equestrian Center, the Thomas Walton Manor, our downtown, and our Small Business Innovation Center.

More importantly than the buildings she saw, she had the opportunity to meet some of the finest people in the world. I know for me, that was what attracted me to this community more than anything. I am so proud of our community for the hospitality shown to Secretary Decker on this special day.

I want to say thank you to the businesses along South Main Street who put a note of welcome to Secretary Decker on their marquee signs. Making these calls was a great opportunity to talk to these owners, managers, and employees. Even if they could not change their marquee, they were so kind and professional. I really appreciate that type of treatment and I know that local citizens and visitors appreciate it too. That type of attitude and professionalism is one of the things that make me thankful to now be a Scotland County citizen.

With Secretary Decker’s visit, the activities happening among our existing businesses, the work being done by our Economic Development Corporation, and so much more, this community has a lot to be excited about for our future. The economy has hit our nation and our county has suffered greatly, but because of the great people and companies, many have weathered the storm and will be stronger for the experiences.

Please share with someone this week something you love about Scotland County. It is a great place to live, work, and play.

Stephenson, serves as president of the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce