In his position for a just a short while, town of Cheraw Tourism and Marketing Director Dale Davis is not new to the town or to some of his responsibilities.
“I’ve been a resident outside of Cheraw, but I did a lot of things here,” Davis said. “I owned a business here for some time as well, TrueBlue Advertising.”
The business started in 2006 and joined with the town to help with its branding strategy and marketing campaigns.
Davis said that makes him uniquely familiar with the vision and the goals the town is working toward. He plans to continue building on the foundation that David Sides started. Sides worked with the town prior to Davis coming aboard.
“I am very enthusiastic about the different opportunities that’s available here,” Davis said. “I want to expand and do additional development to Cheraw’s rich history.”
He plans to tap into agricultural tourism a little bit more.
“All in all, I want Cheraw to become more a destination than a pass-through,” he said. “Obviously, the town’s got a lot going for it.”
Very familiar with the town’s history, Davis talked about how Gen. William T. Sherman fell in love with Cheraw and because of that, he didn’t burn it down during his famed March to the Sea. That’s why there are a lot of antebellum homes that have been restored to their original splendor.
He recognizes history is important, but he also plans to look at the progressive side of things as well. One thing he plans to do is bring the community together through events and festivals.
One of the biggest things he has been working on for this year is the Christmas festival. It will have a parade boasting more than 100 floats and should draw in at least 1,500 people.
Also on Davis’s to-do list is harnessing the power of social media.
“I understand that is an advertising platform that we are missing out on,” he said. “Of course we have a website and Facebook, but there is so much more that we can do.”
The beginning of the year is when Davis hopes to start Cheraw’s social media campaign in earnest.
He describes some of his essential functions as developing, implementing and evaluating the town’s marketing and tourism plan to sustain and increase town tourism through branding and special events. He’s also tasked with developing and managing advertising and marketing budgets for campaigns, media buys, print collateral and events.
Davis will also be maintaining the town’s website.
In his new role, he will be creating and managing an image and video library for the town of Cheraw. He also serves as a liaison between the town government and the Greater Cheraw Chamber of Commerce.
Davis is a native of Chesterfield County. He went on to Coker College in Hartsville and received his bachelor of arts degree in graphic design. His career began at A.C. Moore and Sons, where he served as creative director for 11 years. He then went on to start TrueBlue Advertising, which he is still maintaining.
The recession caused TrueBlue to downsize and close its studio downtown, but the business remains in operation.
Davis’s 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter attended the public schools for some years but are now both homeschooled by his wife, a former Chesterfield County teacher.
Davis said his position is vital for working with the community and stakeholders in the tourism sector, such as the Greater Cheraw Chamber and local businesses.
He hopes to enhance what is already here and bring it to the forefront so it is not overlooked from day to day.
“Living here in Cheraw, a lot of times we take for granted what we have, the jewels of the city,” Davis said. “I want to bring light to do that and by doing that, I hope to attract some attention. We want to be attract the family to shop, to stay, to enjoy the history of Cheraw.”
He wants to do more with the Pee Dee River as well. Sharing a little background about the river’s rich history, he mentioned that the river was deep enough for steam engines but too shallow to go up further north, so it was the last stop.
Because of that, Cheraw developed a thriving trade. Cheraw also was home to the second-largest bank in South Carolina when First Citizens Bank held that title.
“I’m definitely working with the businesses and community to enhance what we already have, not to change anything,” Davis said. “I would really like people to understand that — I’m just to come in here and work with and not to change anything.”
Davis holds office hours at the town of Cheraw from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. He encourages visits and calls, saying he doesn’t want to be a one-person show.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 843-537-5261.