Southwest Airlines and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau threw us this: The Dallas-based discount airline plans to start service at Charleston International Airport some time in the spring.
That means as early as March 20 or as late as June 21. Further details were not disclosed, but early spring obviously is an ideal time since that's when the local tourist season begins.
Southwest announced last May its plan to launch local service in 2011 but has not released any other details since then. CVB officials said late last week that they and the airline will announce in late fall which cities Southwest will connect with Charleston.
The speculation is that Chicago tops the list. That makes sense given that it's home to Boeing Co., which is rapidly becoming a huge employer locally. It can't hurt that Southwest flies only Boeing 737s.
Baltimore is said to be the other most likely candidate.
Tourism officials estimate that Southwest will save Charleston International Airport travelers $180 million a year in fares. The airline potentially will bring 200,000 new passengers through the local concourses annually, and prices from competing carriers likely will plummet.
Seeking a buzz
Daniel Island restaurateurs have long known island residents alone cannot fully support them and that they must draw from residents in Charleston, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston to remain in business.
To that end, four island dining businesses -- Daniel Island Grille, Hammett's Landing, Two Rivers and Vespa -- plan to attract off-islanders through an aggressive radio campaign through Clear Channel, which operates top-rated radio stations in the greater Charleston area.
The four-month campaign is expected to start in early September with the possibility of extending it and looking at other advertising venues in months to come, said Bo Hammett of Hammett's Landing.
The restaurants hope to partner with the Daniel Island Business Association to market the campaign.
Other promotional ideas include initiating A Taste of Daniel Island, a Daniel Island Restaurant Week and a pub crawl, Hammett said.
"It will help make us a destination place," he added.
How many groups can use Boeing Co. 's North Charleston investment as an endorsement of the Palmetto State's business climate? Yet another one has joined organizations like the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and the S.C. Chamber of Commerce in promoting the aerospace giant.
The S.C. Power Team, an economic development entity funded by utilities across the state, has launched a new campaign with the theme, "Why Did Boeing Choose South Carolina?" Their advertisement debuted in the most recent issue of Area Development Magazine, and spokesman Rusty Reed said the promotion will live on at conferences and trade shows.
"The bottom line is we want to get companies in our service areas and sell them electricity," Reed said, noting that business clients keep residential rates low.
Reed said he didn't know the cost of the campaign but said it would run indefinitely.
A better ride
Yellow Cab of Charleston wants to polish its image and make the ride a little better.
Because of complaints from dissatisfied customers, the local taxi company established in 1962 is launching a new campaign to hear about riders' experiences.
Called "A Part of Your Journey," the campaign aims to connect with customers to hear about their travels, apologize for poor service and learn how it can improve by getting to know customers more personally.
"Whether it's going to work, a date downtown, home from the airport or rushing to the hospital, ... each person who rides with us is on their own journey and deserves to be treated well and taken care of, " Yellow Cab's Ernie Crosby said.
A link to the Facebook page (facebook.com/YellowCabofCharleston) and the customer relations phone number will be posted in all of the company's 70 taxis.
Santee Cooper honored James W. Sanders of Gaffney, the lone minority on the state-owned utility's 11-member board of directors, with a resolution last week. Sanders died July 6. Gov. Mark Sanford can nominate a replacement, who must be confirmed by the South Carolina Senate.