Summer In The City Coming to Downtown

Jordan Braddock Uncategorized

For Immediate Release – July 13, 2015

Downtown Hartsville to stay open late for Main Street Hartsville’s Summer in the City celebration

Hartsville, S.C. – Sidewalks won’t be the only things sizzling in downtown Hartsville next Thursday, July 23, as local shops and restaurants will open their doors past their regular hours and well into the evening.
Summer in the City, Main Street Hartsville’s annual girls’-night-out downtown shopping extravaganza featuring special deals and events, is giving shoppers a chance to sample the treats, tastes and discounts of downtown from 5 to 9 p.m. As the event is a cross-promotion of retail and restaurants, every participating retail store will offer not only special sales and giveaways, but also a food or beverage sampling from one of downtown’s restaurants.
“Summer in the City is a great event that gives everyone a reason to rediscover our transitioning downtown and all the great things it has to offer, while supporting the shop-local initiatives that Main Street is all about,” Suzy Moyd, Executive Director of Main Street Hartsville, said.
These participating Main Street Hartsville partners will be welcoming customers for Summer in the City:
• Army-Navy Store, 122 W. Carolina Ave.
• Bizzell’s Food & Spirits, 137 E. Carolina Ave.
• blush, 153 W. Carolina Ave.
• Brandi’s on College, 108 E. College Ave.
• Crema Coffee Bar, 136 W. Carolina Ave.
• Dizzy Dancin’, 129 E. College Ave.
• Frets & Necks, 138 W. Carolina Ave.
• Groucho’s Deli, 146 E. Carolina Ave.
• High Cotton Homes, 116 E. Carolina Ave.
• Indigo Salon and Spa, 115 N. Fifth St.
• Klick ‘n Flair, 104 E. College Ave.
• Minnie’s Giftique, 142 E. Carolina Ave.
• Midnight Rooster, 136 E. Carolina Ave.
• Rambo’s Shoes, 126 E. Carolina Ave.
• Sophia’s Pizzeria, 128 E. College Ave.
• Tin Can, 103 W. College Ave.
• Totally Paws, 201 N. Fifth St.

About Main Street Hartsville
The Main Street Hartsville program, a partnership of the City of Hartsville, Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville and Main Street South Carolina was established in 2013, and seeks to build a vibrant downtown in Hartsville, focusing on thriving businesses, community and historic preservation. Learn more about the organization at www.mainstreethartsville.org.
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A Prosperous Public Parking Post

Casey Uncategorized

Hello, Main Street Partners and Enthusiasts!

Big changes rolling out next week on East College Avenue! As these improvements progress, remember to allow ample time for parking and walking a little bit more than we have been accustomed to.

And if you work downtown, try not to be a “Shopper Stopper,” remember to leave spaces closest to your shop available for customers! Your FitBit will love you for it!

If you are an employer, think of an incentive for employees to walk a little bit further. Everyone’s bottom line will benefit! The illustration here should help with creative solutions on where to park while we develop and improve our downtown!

college-ave-parking-poster

 

Around Town: June 19, 2015

MSHartsville Uncategorized

“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. #prayforCharleston

Can’t make the ribbon cutting? Join Hazel’s Delights for a Grand Opening Celebration on Friday, July 3 at 12 PM!

FiA Hartsville Launch

FiA is Females in Action and is officially launching their group in Hartsville. Join us tomorrow, June 20 at 8:15 AM in Burry Park, 131 Cargill Way for faith and fitness team building. It is a free event, so come and invite a friend to join the fun! For more information, check outwww.fianation.com. #FiAStrong

There will be a special prayer time for Charleston, also.  #prayforCharleston

Hartsville Farmer’s Market

The Hartsville Farmer’s Market will return to Carolina Avenue on Saturday, July 11 from 9 AM until 1 PM! The Market will have locally sourced produce as well as unique, handmade and homemade quality products, made by local artists, chefs and farmers. We will also have a Community Corner, where non-profits are welcome to use the market as a forum for informing their neighbors about their fundraising efforts and programs. Visit our this page for more information or call 843.383.3015.

 

The Boxtrolls sponsored by Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center

  • Saturday, June 27 at 8:40 PM
  • Burry Park, 131 Cargill Way
  • For more information, click here.

Dixie Ponytails Softball World Series Returns to Hartsville

The 39th Annual Dixie Ponytails Softball World Series will take place at Byerly Park from July 24 to 31, 2015. Players and fans from 12 states will call Hartsville home throughout the week, creating a positive economic impact on our city. We look forward to welcoming players and fans to Our Hartsville. If you would like more information on this event, please contact Phil Gardner atphil.gardner@hartsvillesc.gov.

Cobras Welcome Here! Program

The Cobras Welcome Here program offers incentives to students and faculty at Coker College to encourage them to explore our downtown and beyond! If you have participated in the past, and want to continue offering your incentives, just let us know. We’ll be sure to update your information on the website before August. New to the idea? Let us help you get started. Main Street Hartsville and The Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce are working with Coker College to reenergize this program. Stay tuned for more details!

The Great Payments Shift

There’s a lot going on in the world of payments: new credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, chips, PINs, and on and on and on. You’ve heard about it, but there are enough jargon and acronyms involved to drive the savviest of technophiles crazy, though. No worries. We’re here to help. Read more.

Does your business exist on the internet?

Casey Uncategorized

 

http://searchengineland.com/google-maps-yelp-local-seo-2015-210846

 

Things to do now

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/help/257661877677443/

Step 1. Set Up Your Google My Business Account

http://www.google.com/business/

The most important thing is to make sure you’re listed and your information is correct. You can do this for Google maps via Google My Business. Google My Business provides an easy way for a business owner to create a listing or claim an existing one, allowing them to ensure that their information is accurate and complete. Best of all, it’s free.

If you were signed up and verified through Google Places or Google + Pages, you should automatically be moved over to Google My Business.

 

 

Things to do next

Step 2. Get Started With Yelp

https://biz.yelp.com/
Claim your business listing on Yelp. Once you’ve claimed your business, you can update information, respond to reviews, upload photos and more. Yelp is the most popular consumer review site, and as such, it’s important to ensure your information is present (and accurate) on their site.

 

Apple Maps

https://mapsconnect.apple.com/

 

Bing Maps

https://www.bingplaces.com/

 

Urbanspoon https://owner.urbanspoon.com/  and TripAdvisor https://www.tripadvisor.com/Owners

 

http://www.singleplatform.com/

http://www.yodle.com/marketing-essentials#local-search-placement

 

https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local-listings (note that there’s several paid options for Yahoo Local Marketing management services, but there’s a free option as well.)

Things to continue doing

 

  1. Business Name
  2. Phone Number
  3. Address
  4. Map Location (you can move a pin on the map to fix)
  5. Place Status (i.e. is the business open or closed down)
  6. Categories (you can select 3 top level categories and a sub-category for each such as Pets > Animal Shelters). You can also suggest categories.
  7. Open Hours
  8. Business website
  9. Yelp page
  10. Facebook page
  11. Twitter page

When it comes to digital marketing and SEO for your business, it’s important to look beyond just your website. For local businesses, a strong online marketing effort requires an investment in local directories, maps and review sites, too.

If all of your optimization efforts are spent on your site, you’re likely missing out on opportunities.

Google’s Pigeon algorithm update, released in July 2014, gave more prominence to local map and directory sites such as Yelp. In many instances, Yelp listings now rank above the business’ website.

For example, when you search on the query [bakery phoenix], you have to scroll past three map listings and three organic listings before you finally see a local business website listing. That first local business website is in position 7, essentially.

Bakery Phoenix SERP Listing

How many potential customers are going to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to find your actual website? Nowhere near as many as are likely going to click on the map or directory listings that are more prominently positioned at the top of the search results page.

Thus, it’s important to make sure you’re watching these listings on a regular basis and optimizing your presence in the map and directory sites.

 

 

Step 3. Optimize Your Listings
Once you’ve claimed your listings and verified that your contact information is correct, it’s time to optimize your business information. You can add photos, hours of operation, contact information, your URL, and other information to make your listing more robust (allowing it to stand out from the crowd). You can also create deals, respond to reviews and more.

Step 4. Gather Reviews
Gather great reviews on your listings. I know, that’s easier said than done; this is one of the more critical and more difficult tasks to coordinate.

There are a few methods you can use to generate reviews. Some will advise you to “just ask for them,” but honestly, that’s not very organic. Yes, you can ask people to write reviews or offer an incentive to someone who reviews your business; however, you should be cautious with that type approach, as many review sites (including Yelp) discourage review solicitation.

As with everything else, Google wants to provide the best information to their customers (searchers), and that means it wants honest, reliable information. If you offer great products, provide great service, and take care of your customers, they’re going to be inclined to review you on these sites whether you ask them to do it or not.

Step 5. Engage With Customers Online
Respond to reviews. It’s likely you will have a mix of both good and bad reviews on Google Maps and Yelp. That’s normal.

Unfortunately, customers are often more inclined to leave negative feedback than positive — that’s why it’s critical that you respond.

There will of course be some customers that can’t be satisfied, and in certain instances you may feel that you were in the right and they were in the wrong. However, if you have multiple negative reviews that all talk about similar issues, that might warrant double-checking the situation to see if maybe what they’re saying is true.

In any case, respond, acknowledge their concerns and try to make them right where you can. It’s not necessary to air the entire concern publically; rather, respond and provide an email address or phone number where they can contact you further to work to resolve the situation.

Final Thoughts
By now, you understand the importance of working with local maps and directories such as Google Maps and Yelp. In today’s post-Pigeon world, this type of site will often rank above your own website — as such, you must be present there.

Managing your business on these sites needs to be part of your ongoing SEO strategy — in other words, it is not a one-time task. This “set it and forget it” mentality could leave you with outdated information, negative reviews that are unanswered, and other issues.

It’s likely that more customers will be exposed to your business through these sites than your actual website, at least initially. By including these sites in your overall strategy, you will be able to build your customer base and, hopefully, grow your business.

Hey! must be the money! A payments primer

Casey Uncategorized

The Great Payments Shift

The terms and technology for buying and selling stuff in this Brave New World.

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There’s a lot going on in the world of payments: new credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, chips, PINs, and on and on and on. You’ve heard about it, but there are enough jargon and acronyms involved to drive the savviest of technophiles crazy, though. No worries. We’re here to help.

Background

We’ve been using credit and debit cards with magnetic stripes on the back of them for about 40 years. It’s an old technology and it’s broken. The United States is pretty much the last major market to still use magnetic stripe cards. The rest of the world has moved on to chip cards. More on that later.

Why has (almost) everybody moved away from magnetic stripe cards? Fraud. Magnetic stripe cards are easy to clone/hack/steal. Canada lost CA$245 million to credit card fraud in 2008. Then, they switched to chip cards and by 2013 the fraud had dropped to CA$111 million—more than half. By comparison, The United States had $5.3 billion in credit card fraud in 2013 and it’s rising every year. Half of the world’s credit card fraud happens in the US but we only process a quarter of the credit card transactions. That’s a big problem, but there’s a solution: chips.

On Thursday, October 1, 2015, the United States will take it first major step in moving from the old magnetic stripe cards to the new chip cards (and other new technologies: mobile payments). That’s when the “Great Liability Shift of 2015” happens. More on that later, but let’s just say that the liability shift is what you call kind of a big deal, especially to merchants.

Let’s start this off with a little bit of vocab:

Glossary

Magnetic stripe cards are what you and I have in our wallets. The stripe on the back of our cards is pretty much just like the magnetic tape in an audio cassette of Michael Jackson’s Bad (which, incidentally, is his best album, but that’s a different blog post).

If you really like to nerd out, you’ll appreciate knowing that, just like a cassette, there’s a bunch of tiny flecks of iron oxide (rust) in that stripe. Your credit card number is encoded in those flecks of rust by making some flecks point up and some flecks point down. Whatever. If you don’t like to nerd out, you’ll want to know this: the data in the stripe is static.

The credit card number and other details don’t change and aren’t secure. I can steal that information with a $20 gadget I bought on eBay. Of course, I can also steal your information by taking a picture of your card with my phone or even (elementary-school-style) doing a rubbing of the numbers on the card with a piece of receipt paper and a pencil. But that’s old school; we’re talking about TECHNOLOGY here.

EMV – EMV stands for Europay-Mastercard-Visa. That’s the companies that formed a consortium to develop chip cards. But that doesn’t matter. “EMV” technology is a hard way of saying “chip” technology, so we’ll just call them chips.

Chip cards – This is a “chip.” You’ve seen them and you might have them:

EMV-Chip-Technology-Is-the-Future-of-U.S.-Payments-Get-the-Facts-in-New-EMV-Migration-Forum-Infographic

The “chip” in a chip/EMV card.

That little chip stores your credit card info in it, but it’s different from the stripe. The information in the card changes over time, so your “credit card number” changes every time you use your card, and when you use your card the payment terminal checks the chip’s information with your bank’s computer to make sure it’s legit.

Dork time: Not only does the information change all the time, but it’s encrypted. If the information in the chip reads “123ABC,” the information read from the chip (and transmitted to your bank) might read something like “AB765F7a6dC66D81AEB” and only your bank has the “encryption key” to read that junk. Once it translates the code it checks to see if it’s right. If it is, the bank sends a thumbs up back to the credit card terminal and your transaction goes through and now you own a new pair of pants. Disclaimer and Debbie Downer: no encryption is perfect; everything can eventually be hacked. But in the case of these chips, it’s really hard and really time-consuming to hack it. Thus, it’s much safer.

These chips require that the card be “plunged” into the credit card terminal. It’s not wireless like NFC (See below). The use of the chip is accompanied by the customer scrawling a signature or entering a PIN (Personal Identification Number). More on that later.  This is how you plunge a chip card:

Chip-Card-Plunge

You “plunge” a chip card. It’s the same a “swiping” a magnetic stripe card, but different.

Chip transactions can be authorized with either a signature or a PIN. The US will be using chip-and-signature for a while before moving to chip-and-PIN because we’re more used to signatures. Making a chip-and-PIN credit card transaction is just like making a debit transaction, so it won’t big deal.

Fun fact: Chip-and-pin is also better. If I got my hands on your credit card I could use it and sign your name. Or Michael Jackson’s name. Or even “XOXO.” I do this all the time with my mom’s card when she asks me to do some shopping. It doesn’t matter what I sign because odds are that literally no one will ever look at that signature. Big companies don’t check signatures because it’s cheaper to just eat fraudulent charges than it is to pay people to manually check the validity of signatures.

Chips are better than magnetic stripes, and the USA is in the process of moving to chips. But, of course, there’s more going on:

NFC stand for Near Field Communication. That’s a technology for sharing information between one thing and another wirelessly–without contact. Also known as “contactless payments” or “tap-to-pay.” So, you can pay for with an NFC card (or smart phone) by just holding the card (or phone) near the payment terminal.

If you like to nerd out, you’ll be interested in knowing that this works by induction. NFC payment terminals emit a small electromagnetic field around the terminal. When you hold an NFC-enabled card (or mobile phone) near the terminal, the field energizes the NFC chip in the card (or phone) and allows the chip to transmit your info wirelessly to the terminal without having a battery in the card.

This only works over a distance of a few inches, though. Notably, the “credit card information” is always-changing and encrypted just like the information in the chips we just talked about. It’s sort of like magic money.

Mobile payments are various ways that a customer for pay for something using their smart phone (or watch!). There have been mostly proprietary software solutions from companies like PayPal, Square, Starbucks, Subway, Flint, Domino’s, and the kitchen sink. People tried a ton of different ways to do mobile payments. That was fun for us nerds, but it was kind of a mess for everybody else, though. Now on the 6th day, Google and Apple (and PayPal, et. al.) are all converging on NFC technology, and thus that is the way of the future, and it is good.

Mobile payments based on NFC are as or more secure than a chip or NFC card payment. This is primarily because, with a smart phone, you can add more layers of security. Biometric authentication (ie, a fingerprint scan) replaces a PIN and things like tokenization make it even harder to steal payment data. It’s also really convenient.

Nerd term 1: Biometrics are unique physical, biological characteristics of a person that can verify that they are indeed who they say they are. One of the most common types of biometric authentication is the finger print. Iris scans, facial recognition, voice recognition, and even palm scans have been used as well. Fingerprint scanners have gotten good enough now, though, that they are becoming the dominant method.

Nerd term 2: Tokenization is a security feature you might have heard of when Apple Pay was launched. The technology has been around for a while, but Apple improved it a little and brought it to the big stage. The technology behind tokenization is a little complicated but, in short, the token is a unique, encrypted code that gets transferred over the wires when a payment is processed. Only the payment processor can verify that it’s correct and the data is useless if it’s stolen along the way. What all this boils down to is simple: tokenization is an extra layer of security that all happens in the background so you really don’t need to worry about it. Just be glad it’s there.

Look for this logo on payment terminals. It’s the universal logo for contactless payments–both NFC and mobile.

Why are mobile payments convenient? Almost all of your customers have a smart phone. Mobile payments are quicker than traditional ones because they dispense the whole card swipe/plunge interaction and you can even eliminate paper receipts. All of this, and more, matters because taking friction out of the payment process is critical to making money. Merchants should make paying for something so easy that it’s an afterthought and capitalize on impulse buying. Plus, security and fraud protection is important to everyone.

The liability shift is what’s driving all the change. Because fraud is so high in the US, the government, banks, and other interested parties all chipped in to help drive the adoption of chip (aka EMV) cards to cut down on fraud. The “liability” in this is all about who’s responsible for fraudulent charges, and the rules for that are changing on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Right now, if you sell pants to someone who’s using a fraudulent credit card, the bank eats the cost and you as a merchant aren’t liable. In October, however, merchants will become liable for some transactions. Here’s how: If a customer uses a chip card for a transaction and you swipe the magnetic stripe on that card, and then it turns out that the charge isn’t legit, you are liable for the cost and would have to pay it out. We don’t want that to happen.

What does it all mean?

What does all that mean? It means you probably need a new credit card terminal and you’ll want to go ahead and get in the habit of plunging cards instead of swiping them. When you go looking for a new payment terminal, be certain to ask for one that supports contactless payment standards as well as chip cards. You may want to specifically ask for confirmation that the terminal works with Apple Pay and Google Wallet, as those are the two largest players, potentially with Samsung joining them, and they will be for quite some time.

You can call your current credit card terminal provider or payment processor for more information. You can also check out options from Square, Clover, Shopify, and LightSpeed. Note that some of those providers don’t have mobile-payment-friendly hardware out yet, but have announced that it’s coming later this year. There will be many more options, too. Still, those companies offer great information on payments for small businesses, and were the source of much of the information in this post. Check ’em out.

See, you thought it would be complicated but you just didn’t give yourself enough credit.

Newsletter – April 16, 2015

Casey News, Newsletter

Main Street Hartsville Newsletter – April 16, 2015

Don’t get our Newsletter? You’re missing out! Subscribe here.

Listen to George Clooney by This Frontier Needs Heroes while you read this. They’re playing at our Downtown Block Party on April 23!


 


 

Teacher. red apple resting on the book with chalk board as backg

 


Coker Cok

On Saturday, April 18th, from 11:00 am – noon, hundreds of Coker Freshmen for the Fall of 2015 will be touring our downtown with their families. This is a great opportunity to give a warm, Hartsville welcome to our next generation of community leaders.

(This is the same day as Hands On Hartsville, where volunteers will be taking on special projects around town.) For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 


 

damassimo-lunch

Da Massimo Ristorante Italiano is now open for lunch at 11:30am Tuesdays through Thursdays. Follow them on Facebook to see their delicious specials!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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country-jamboree-2015


So excited about local, native This Frontier Needs Heroes coming to Hartsville for our Downtown Block Party!

Want your business promoted in this Newsletter? We are always happy to help! Let us know how!

Main Street Hartsville Newsletter – April 10, 2015

Casey Newsletter

Turnip for what? The first Hartsville Farmers Market is tomorrow!

Don’t get our Newsletter? You’re missing out! Subscribe here.

Coming soon to a Carolina Avenue near you: we are happy to announce a “sold out” show this Saturday, with over 40 great attractions for you to come out and enjoy, like Farm Bureau’s Ag Simulator. Sit inside it, and pretend like you are harvesting a soybean field on a combine in South Carolina!

Enjoy live music by Frets & Necks (why yes, we do have a local luthier in Hartsville! And he happens to be a great guitarist who teaches lessons in our downtown, also!) And the One Hartsville Drum Circle will be demonstrating their soulful beats.

We have booths of deliciousness, including: Ovis Hill Farms, McCarley’s Bakery, Sunny Cedar Farms, 5th Street Farmer’s Market, Sans Gluten Bakery, Hazel’s Delights and Crema Coffee! And Jazzy Lils dog treats are the perfect reward for that new furry friend needing a forever home, who you can adopt this weekend on-site from the Darlington County Humane Society!

We will have vendors of creativeness: simply too many arts and crafts talents to name here, but if you’re looking for jewelry, ceramics, acrylics, homegoods, soaps, candles, artwork, and hand-crafted gifts, you won’t want to miss Saturday’s show!

Our service clubs and non-profit presence includes Hartsville Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, Pilot Club, and Guardian Ad Litem. You’ll also enjoy North Hartsville Baptist, First Baptist and St. Luke United Methodist working on their missions and ministries.

We’ll also have the YMCA, Black Creek Arts and Kalmia Gardens promoting their fantastic upcoming programs. Friends Of The Library will have great books for you to read poolside this summer! And Sandhill Connextions will be there showing us what 4GLTE fast high-speed internet looks like!

It’s supposed to be 79 and sunny, what a great day to spend shopping our downtown stores and boutiques, and lunching at our great restaurants! #showsomelocallove

The fun starts at 9am, outside of City Hall at 100 East Carolina Avenue, so make plans to get there early and stay all day!

Many thanks to our sponsors, who have made this a great community event: Wells Fargo, Sonoco, Annie’s Project, Arbor One Financial and MBW Accounting. We couldn’t have done it without you!