Wednesday, July 31, 2013

From the House

Bluffton Today

We have experienced a major uptick in activity at the office the last few weeks. One of the areas having the biggest increase is the number of applications for Notary Public. We usually have 10 or 15 a week, but the numbers have been up around 60 for the last several weeks. My speculation is that this is connected to the revival in the real estate sector.

The processing of Notary applications is one of the legacy functions of the delegation, dating to the time before home rule when many of the functions of local government were handled by the legislative delegation. We take the applications, along with the $25 filing fee, verify the information through a fairly complicated but thorough inspection, then pass them along to the office of the Secretary of State. Over my years as head of the delegation, we have worked out a very efficient system to place the verified applications with the Secretary of State with a minimum of delay and a maximum of accuracy. Our delegation office has a stellar reputation with not only constituents, but also the state offices with whom they routinely communicate.

At this writing, we are still planning a meeting with both Beaufort and Jasper County delegations, along with the governing board of the Academy of Career Excellence (ACE), with an eye toward its governance and funding, and possibly to take a look at the direction in which this institution might need to proceed.

In older times, ACE would have been known as a trade school. It is where young people, for the most part, go to learn a trade. While there is still some validity to that definition, the fact is that most trades are now so technical, much of what is taught at ACE is highly technical, bearing no resemblance to trade schools as they used to be. When we can finally get our meeting organized, I will give you an update on how this valuable job-filling resource is progressing.

Turning to Bluffton events and business, we are experiencing a surge in building in the Promenade. The new Moon Mi Pizza is hitting stride with a good number of regular customers. Wells and his crew are turning out some serious pies for folks who know what pizza should be about. Within a week or two we will have whole grain and gluten-free pizza doughs, as well as some new, very creative chicken dishes.

With the addition of the upscale dress shop Chica’s and Danielle’s fabulous Salon Karma to the Promenade family, weddings and showers are becoming a big part of the local offering. This is complemented by the fact that the mysterious Midnight Baker is finally permanent in the upper section of the neighborhood.

Finally, I want to say a few words about a fairly new business in Bluffton over in Bluffton Village. It is the Village Pasta Shoppe, owned and operated by Connie Rockwell. Connie does a great business in frozen pastas, breads, and specialty Italian spices and condiments. Some of her Sun City customers asked about some low salt versions of her great products. Connie got with her suppliers and came up with no-added-salt ingredients for sauces and toppings, which she adjusted to maintain proper taste and balance. Get on her email list, and when a batch of the low-salt fare is available, get yours.

Friends, I am a businessman, not an economist. That said, these business stories illustrate how the market responds to demand. In Bluffton, we take time to chat with our customers. We listen to what they want and how they want it. A good conversation with a potential customer is worth a hundred market surveys. In Bluffton, we prove it every day.