West Columbia experiences boom in new business
Business is booming in West Columbia and it shows in the number of business licenses being issued.
West Columbia issued 2,306 business licenses in all of 2017, according to Ellen Ravenell, who oversees business licenses.
As of Thursday, 2,295 business licenses had been issued. The numbers were about the same but there are still five more months to go in 2018.
Richard Skipper, executive director of the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce sees the impact new business is having on West Columbia.
“The City of West Columbia is heading toward an era of growth like nothing it’s ever seen in the past,” said Skipper. Then he gave his determination as to why.
“The City of West Columbia leadership, including the elected officials and city staff, do a great job in highlighting the features, new and old, the city has to offer.”
West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton said people are coming for several reasons.
“I have talked to people who have relocated their business to West Columbia and they tell me we are so easy to do business with,” said Horton.
City officials know the inside story. Bill Mooneyhan is on West Columbia’s Planning Commission. He said he is aware of a lot of activity among major retailers eyeing West Columbia as a location to place franchises.
“We’ve had inquiries in Triangle City in West Columbia and the River District,” said Mooneyhan. “We have been real close on landing some of them, and some will be coming back. It’s just a matter of time.”
Mooneyhan said a large grocery chain is one of the types of stores that is looking to open. Restaurants are another possibility to open in West Columbia.
Horton said the general mood, and other factors, are why so many businesses are considering, or are coming to, West Columbia.
“We offer a good atmosphere for business. We welcome new business. The level of service in West Columbia is high,” Horton said. “A low rate of taxation and the lower cost for city utilities is another reason the city attracts business.”
Mooneyhan said some businesses are taking advantage of their proximity to West Columbia’s City Limits and choosing to annex into the city. He cited the Westland Square shopping center on Sunset Boulevard (where Food Lion is) as an example of a series of stores coming into the city’s inventory.
In addition to more business in West Columbia, Mooneyhan, who owns Mooneyhan’s Auto Repair, said the volume of business is higher for existing entities. “My volume is up by 25 percent this year, compared to last year,” said Mooneyhan. He said he has added personnel and Mooneyhan’s is planning an expansion because of the increase in activity. “Our business is growing and that is a good problem to have.”
Horton said location helps.
“It’s a combination of assets that give us an advantage,” Horton said. “We’re adjacent to the capitol city. We have three interstates around us. We have a hospital. There is an ease of access because of our physical location that gives us an advantage.”
Skipper said there is something of a domino effect, too.
“The new (multi-million-dollar) Brookland facility (being built at State and Meeting streets) will bring additional residential space along with entertainment and retail opportunities into the River District. This will also spur growth along State Street. We are starting to see more interest in the Meeting Street corridor and I think the creation of the new interactive park on Meeting Street behind Terra’s restaurant will substantially increase foot traffic in the area,” Skipper said. “West Columbia’s future enabling park will be located down in the River District and draw people from all over the Midlands. As these types of parks draw new people to the City of West Columbia, our merchants will have an opportunity to earn the consumers business and hopefully make a connection that will keep them coming back.”
And it’s not just the River District.
“Triangle City has several businesses which have been the backbone of the area for decades, such as Zesto’s or Compton’s Kitchen,” Skipper said. “But we are also seeing new business growth like Tylar Rose (formerly Trendy Kidz), Mad5 Fitness and Attic Fanatic recently added another location in the area. The antique shopping options along Meeting and State Street has become a destination attraction for the entire Midlands area.”
He said it’s a special time in the city’s development.
“West Columbia has a core of special citizens that have built a base for a magnificent future for this community,” Skipper said. “Unlimited opportunities are now on the horizon. Get some pictures now so you will have a record of the before. The after pictures, in the near future, will be a joy to behold.”