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      Connection between counties helps boost Grand Strand economy

      Wednesday, business owners and leaders from three counties attended a Regional Economic Outlook Forum in Georgetown County focusing on the importance of counties working together to build a stronger economy.

      "When you piece together our strengths and weaknesses as individual counties, there are some gaps but when we come together and we present ourselves as a single region, we offer a much more complete product whether it's quality of life, whether it's workforce, whether it's infrastructure," explained Brian Tucker, Director of Economic Development for Georgetown County.

      Tucker added that this idea of synergy between Williamsburg, Georgetown and Horry counties helps their marketing efforts as well.

      "Most businesses that come down here, they don't recognize us as political, county boundaries. They know they want to be in this general area," Tucker said.

      One business that's been helped by this strategy is Mercom, an IT company with more than 55 employees serving major government and commercial corporations nationwide.

      Mercom's Vice-President, Larry Mercado, moved his business to the area from Washington, DC more than 13 years ago.

      "For us, if they're working together to recruit industry, then that's more opportunities for us to grow the local base," Mercado explained.