Upstate Pride SC serves the LGBTQI community in northwestern counties of South Carolina, providing valuable resources and programming to an underserved and underrepresented population. In 2015, we began serving our community in a new and exciting way.

Due to the ever-increasing rise of documented discrimination toward non-heteronormative people, many feel it necessary to be selective about businesses they patronize to ensure their public safety. This is why Upstate Pride SC has created the Friendly Business Initiative – a safe way to recognize local businesses that are open to patrons of all sexes, genders, and orientations.

A 2014 study by CreditDonkey reports that nearly two-thirds of gays and lesbians are more likely to purchase products and services that are marketed specifically to them, while a third reported boycotting companies that did not share their values. The same report showed a high retention and sense of loyalty amongst LGBT patrons.

Our initiative is a system that will connect the Upstate Pride community to businesses that guarantee equal treatment–a win-win situation that gives LGBTQI patrons a sense of security and businesses an increased loyal customer base.

Short-Term Benefits & Deliverables

If your business is a “Friend” to the Upstate Pride community, it will receive a cling-on, no-mess sticker to display in a visible location along the storefront. This sticker is designed to be recognizable to people in the Upstate Pride community but still innocuous to unknowing patrons. In this way, participation will reap the benefits while retaining support from unsupporting customers.

Your business will also be listed in an online directory on our website (below), as well as mentioned on Upstate Pride SC social media (unless requested otherwise), to achieve widespread visibility and awareness.

Long-Term Benefits & Expected Outcomes

As statistics show, LGBT patrons are highly likely to frequent businesses they know provide quality products or services and non-discriminatory treatment. Witeck Communication’s 2013 study reported that 78% of LGBT people, as well as their friends and family, would switch to a brand or company they discovered that are known to be “friendly.” Though the Upstate represents only a small portion of the Pride population’s collective $800 billion buying power, local businesses could see an economic impact by simply showing support.

Participating in the Friendly Business Initiative will also provide free advertising in the form of web and social media sharing, leading to increased awareness amongst an ever-growing Upstate community. Participation will also be acknowledged by other local non-profits that empower minority populations, resulting in your business being a priority venue for meetings, public outings, events, and general patronage.

Please note that this initiative is still in its pilot stage, but other benefits and outcomes are expected. In the future, Upstate Pride SC could see a system for partnering with participating businesses to provide discounts, print advertising in Pride publications, additional merchandise, etc.

Participating Business Expectations

Upon written acknowledgement of participation in the Friendly Business Initiative, your business is expected to adhere to the following terms:

  • display initiative sticker in a visible location along the storefront

  • provide consent to having your business name displayed on our website

  • treat customers of all sexes, genders, and orientations equally

  • remain in good standing with the Upstate Pride community

To add your friendly business, email us at info@upstatepridesc.org.