Ahead of Charleston's mayoral election on Nov. 5, Charleston City Paper has partnered with Lowcountry Local First to ask the six candidates running to be the city's leader about specific policies that affect small businesses in our community. Each week through Oct. 16, we'll publish the candidates' responses to one of those questions — to read the rest of the answers, visit charlestoncitypaper.com/llfquestions.
Q: The current business permitting process is cumbersome and difficult to navigate. How will you improve the process to better serve small business owners? -Allyson Sutton, co-owner, Sightsee Shop
Sheri Irwin: I have to be honest, I don't know enough at this time to say how I would improve it. Would love to talk with you directly and try to figure it out from there. Have sent an email and a note through Messenger. Would love to talk with you about this.
Maurice Washington: (no response)
Gary White: As a small business owner myself I have experienced the challenges first hand that exist with the business permitting process. As mayor, my plan is to improve this process in two ways. First, I will work with the city's process improvement team to identify ways to use technology to streamline the process and find opportunities to become more efficient. Second, I will create an economic development department within the city that will be charged with helping businesses thrive in our city. Staff members within the department will act as liaisons for business owners to help them navigate through city departments, including permitting, to ensure businesses are provided an efficient means of doing business within the city.
To read the rest of the questions, visit charlestoncitypaper.com/llfquestions.