The West Ashley – James Island Business Association
meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month.
11:30am to 1:00pm at Bessinger’s BBQ, 1602 Savannah Hwy
Free for all WAJIBA Members, $20 for Non-Members
(includes lunch buffet)
As leaders in the promotion and enhancement of the West Ashley/James Island business community, WAJIBA provides members with information, advocacy, education, and networking based on a foundation of integrity, social responsibility, and excellence.
The West Ashley/James Island Business Association Story
The West Ashley-James Island Business Association (WAJIBA) was founded by a small group of civic-minded businessmen and women from the West Ashley and James Island communities of Charleston. Seeing great change on the horizon for their parts of town, WAJIBA founders began organizing the group as a way to help usher in this change in a way that would not only be positive for the local business community, but for the greater community as a whole.
More than a networking group, WAJIBA was founded as a group where business professionals and community stakeholders could come together and help share ideas and plan for a better West Ashley and James Island.
In March of 2011, WAJIBA held it’s inaugural meeting at Jason’s Deli on Savannah Highway. City of Charleston’s then-Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. was the guest speaker. Many attended the event, not only to hear the mayor’s vision for the area west of the Ashley River, but to see what this new business group was all about.
Over the next several years, WAJIBA continued to grow its membership and continued to offer engaging and informative programs, ranging from major highway and development issues to lighter topics the “Business of Barbecue” and the “Business of Beer.”
After changing from meeting for breakfast in Founder’s Hall at Charles Towne Landing to a lunch meeting at the top of the Holiday Inn Riverview (aka The Round Holiday Inn), WAJIBA now meets on the banquet side of long-time West Ashley restaurant Bessinger’s BBQ. Besides the informative programs, business networking, and comradery, there’s also a delicious barbecue buffet offered at every meeting.
Beyond its regular monthly meetings, there is also a social element to the group. WAJIBA has met at the West Ashley Farmer’s Market, held oyster roasts, hosted happy hours, and even created an Oktoberfest-themed event at a local brewery.
As a non-profit, WAJIBA has also given back to the community, donating thousands of dollars to local charities, including the Charles Webb House, Big Brothers Big Sisters – Carolina Youth Development Center, YEScarolina, the Charleston Basket Brigade, as well as the West Ashley High School’s DECA program. WAJIBA has also given thousands of dollars in scholarships to local students.
While its board of directors and meeting times have changed over the years, WAJIBA’s mission has remained the same: “As leaders in the promotion and enhancement of the West Ashley/James Island business community, WAJIBA provides members with information, advocacy, education, and networking opportunities based on a foundation of integrity, social responsibility, and excellence.”