Derry takes helm at Darlington Chamber

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer,

Newly appointed executive director of The Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce, Sabrina Derry says she’s happy to be working in her hometown of Darlington, and looking forward to helping the local business community.

Daughter of Lucille and James Hudley, Sabrina grew up in Darlington County, graduated from St. John’s High School, and attended Francis Marion College (before it became a university). She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in business administration, and spent the next 25 years in the mortgage banking industry.

Sabrina Derry

Sabrina and husband Reginald have two children – Anja an 18 year-old freshman at the University of South Carolina, and Harlan, a 15 year-old attending Wilson High School.

For the past decade, Derry worked with J.P. Morgan Chase in Florence, but when that job ended and a friend recommended applying for the Chamber directorship, Derry wondered if it might be time for a change.

“I wasn’t really sure at first because it was something different,” Derry recalls. “I’ve been in the corporate world for so long, and this was something totally out of that area.”

She took a chance and interviewed, and realized during that process that many of her skills and experiences in the world of finance and business would be assets in running a Chamber of Commerce.

“When I got the call, I said I guess my prayers were answered. I think this is where I’m supposed to be right now in my life,” says Derry. “Being in Darlington just seems right; it’s coming home again.”

Job acclimation has been swift, aided by help from Chamber board members. Derry says her first weeks have been spent making phone calls and visiting with area businesses, and she’s energized by the revitalization already in motion on the Public Square and around the city. New eateries and coffee shops are in the works, ranging from Sweet Jane’s on The Square to a new Taco Bell on the 52 By-Pass, and construction on the Wal-Mart Supercenter is humming right along.

Derry adds that the return of the Bojangles’ Southern 500 to Labor Day weekend is another boost for business, with the added appeal of nostalgia.

“When I was growing up, we always had the Southern 500 Parade and the big race on Labor Day. Bringing that back is wonderful. I feel like I’m getting involved just when a lot of things are improving in Darlington,” Derry says.

The Greater Darlington Chamber is also charged with supporting commerce in the neighboring towns of Lamar and Society Hill, and Derry says she looks forward to teaming with those communities and assisting their businesses so the entire county can thrive.

“I want to get out and get to know all the Chamber members, recruit some new members, and do whatever I can to make it really great to do business in Darlington County,” says Derry.

Upcoming events for the Chamber include the “Toast of Darlington” moveable feast-style celebration, an all-inclusive evening of delicious food and drink staged outdoors at area homes and businesses. This year’s Toast is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5, and should provide a nice opportunity for decompression after Election Day.

To inquire about ribbon cuttings, Business After Hours events, or membership with The Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce, call (843) 393-2641 or drop by the office at 38 Public Square in Darlington.

Author: Duane Childers

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