A new program in Greer is helping residents find locally made products of all sorts and help them realize just how much is much is made in their community, from bowties to bourbon to BMWs. A program of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, GreerMade is a certification designed to identify, recognize, and promote locally produced items.
As stated on its website, Greer, a former mill town turned international manufacturing hub, has proven itself a community of diverse innovation that creates, builds, or produces on both the large and small scale.
The initiative launched in February of this year. The campaign, which highlights locally made goods, won the best national campaign piece from the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives, a national professional organization.
According to Mark Owens, President and CEO of Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, anyone or any business can apply to be certified. Applicants do not have to reside in Greer; however, the business or product must be in Greer. Certification requires that at least 60 percent of the product is made in Greer.
Owens is excited to not only showcase locally made products but also help close the skills gap that plagues many of Greer local businesses. A skilled workforce is a common problem, said Owens. As new manufactures and suppliers move to the greater Greer area, the need for more skilled workers grows, and Owens sees opportunities for schools to involve students in acquiring diverse skills in manufacturing, mechatronics, technology, industrial, and service or food areas that will further the workforce growth and economy of greater Greer.
Owens points out the economic benefits to local businesses and buyers in the community when a company has license to carry the GREERMADE logo. Those benefits include marketing and promotional materials, a company profile, recognition on GREERMADE website, opportunity to participate in trade shows, and access to local resources. On the other side, certifying a company or product as GREERMADE allows consumers to recognize locally made products.
Through partnerships with local schools, career centers, colleges and universities, students have opportunities to understand the GREERMADE brand. Through unique trainings and apprenticeship and internship opportunities, students will gain exposure to careers that are in demand as manufacturing grows in Greer. Students taking welding courses at Greer’s J. Harley Bonds Career Center created a large metal version of the logo, which Owens described as an exciting contribution to the initiative.
The application process only takes a few weeks for an advisory board to review. The five-member board includes individuals from BMW Manufacturing Company, Greer Development Corp, Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, Greenville Technical College, and J. Harley Bonds Career Center. Upon approval, there will be a licensing agreement that allows the use of the GREERMADE logo—a registered trademark that shows the products come from Greer. Funding partners include Greer State Bank, Owens Insurance, Ten at the Top, Upstate WIB, and SMB. Currently certified products include Associated Packing Inc. (corrugated packaging), BMW Manufacturing (BMW X series) Century Printing and Packaging (Adhesive Labels), and Empire Ltd Studio (Bowties).
Article by Yvonne Vinson. Photos courtesy of GREERMADE.