Business

Temporary surface lot at former Exxon gas station in Five Points to open around Thanksgiving

Visitors to Five Points soon will have more places to park as Columbia Parking Department officials plan to raze the Exxon Mobil gas station at the corner of Harden Street and Saluda Avenue and turn it into a surface lot. Parking Services Director John Spade said the city is leasing the property where the gas station currently stands from local…

West Columbia officials discuss food truck regulations ahead of food truck court launch

West Columbia Planning Commission members spent the better part of two hours Monday night discussing how the city’s new food truck regulations should be written. Discussing the do’s and don’ts with the group were April McEntire of Outdoor Wood Furniture and Christina Suvarna, who plan to launch a food truck court in March next to Outdoor Wood Furniture on Meeting…

Lexington County Chili Cook Off brings community together after floods damage local businesses

  From sweet to spicy and everything in between, the first ever Lexington County Chili Cook Off was hosted by the Old Mill Brew Pub Saturday at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. John Clinger is the owner of the Old Mill Brew Pub and his business took a hard hit during the historical flood, but was able to open back…

International firm to bring 60 jobs to Richland County as part of company acquisition

An international insurance acquisition and management firm has acquired a Richland County-based insurance company and plans to add 60 new jobs over the next nine months. Enstar Group Limited, a company headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, acquired Companion Property and Casualty Insurance Co. through its U.S. subsidiary, Enstar U.S., and will invest $500,000 into its operations. Enstar U.S. has renamed the firm…

The Local Buzz pairs food with family in Rosewood neighborhood

  A longtime Rosewood resident has launched a new eatery that pairs homegrown dishes with a family-friendly atmosphere. Stephanie Bridgers started The Local Buzz out of her passion for hospitality. She spent her teen and college years working in local restaurants, doing everything from waiting tables to acting as a manager. “I want to be that person that makes someone…

Swamp Cabbage Brewery, Brewsky Brothers to bottle 1st beer as part of charity fundraiser

Halloween is a time for brewing spooky things and for enjoying tasty treats. Some Columbia beer enthusiasts are taking those ideas and adding their favorite beverage to the equation and all for a good cause. The Brewsky Brothers, Nick Gettings and Jonathan Gamboa, run a YouTube channel devoted to happenings in the local craft beer community. They are teaming up with Swamp…

Hunter-Gatherer Brewery to expand into Historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar redevelopment

The historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar at the Jim Hamilton-LB Owens Airport is being revamped, and part of that includes a move into the craft beer industry. Hunter-Gatherer Brewery will expand from its current location on Main Street to a second location at the airport next summer. Hunter-Gatherer at 900 Main St. was started in 1995 and has been a popular beer stop…

Conundrum Music Hall set to close this month

One of the Columbia area’s music venues is hosting its last show at the end of October. There’s just one month of shows left at Conundrum Music Hall on Meeting Street. (photo by Rachel Ham) Conundrum Music Hall owner Tom Law made the announcement last week and described the past several years as “a fun, if quixotic, undertaking.” Conundrum opened in 2011. “I…

S.C. Attorney General calls price gouging during flood a ‘criminal violation’

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has put out a warning to anyone attempting to artificially lift prices on goods. Wilson announced the state’s price gouging statute has been initiated amid Gov. Nikki Haley’s call for a state of emergency. “As we continue to recover from the catastrophic damage caused to our state, we will see many neighbors helping each other…

Blaze Pizza to to set up shop in Columbiana Mall this winter

Blaze Pizza is bringing it’s “Fast-Fire’d” food concept near Columbiana Mall in the Harbison area. The California-based pizzeria was founded by Elise Wetzel, wife of the founder of Wetzel’s Pretzels. Blaze Pizza offers guests artisanal pizzas crafted with fresh ingredients. (photo provided) “We’re taking pizza back to its roots: making dough in-house, carefully sourcing ingredients, and cooking by fire,” said Jim Mizes,…

Urban Cookhouse touts ‘farm-to-fire-to-table’ concept with new Columbia location

A new restaurant focused on providing diners a “farm-to-fire-to-table” experience is coming to Devine Street. Urban Cookhouse is set to open next year in Columbia, making it one of the newest locations for the young restaurant chain. Meals are prepared with ingredients sourced from local farmers. (photo provided) “It’s a really family-friendly place,” said Urban Cookhouse president and owner Will…

SC Works hosting Columbia job fair this week

Local job seekers are invited to check out available opportunities with Midlands employers at an upcoming job fair. SC Works and the Columbia Mayor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities are holding an employment event on Oct. 6 at the National Guard Armory on Bluff Road. Area companies will have booths set up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m….

Bring on the baklava! Grecian Gardens marks 30 years in West Columbia

Alex Koutrakos summed up his viewpoint on the American dream two years ago at a naturalization ceremony held in Columbia: “The beginning does not count, but the end does.” Koutrakos and his brothers George, Nick and Gus faced adversity and doubters as they opened one of the Midlands’ most popular restaurants 30 years ago this week. The Koutrakoses emigrated to the States in the 1960s…

Columbia officials push for sustainability with biodiesel

Taxpayers can save money and the environment by properly disposing old cooking oil and repurposing it for Columbia’s public vehicles. The 2015 Green is Good for Business Conference brought national and local businesses to the Columbia Convention Center on Tuesday to share ideas and strategies for being a sustainable business. The focus of this year’s conference was transportation. Officials with…

Cayce-West Columbia Chamber honors 100-year-old former mayor

  Just two days after his 100th birthday, W. Earle Williams was serenaded once again with “Happy Birthday” and received a standing ovation from the community he has served for decades. The former West Columbia mayor is the recipient of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber. Williams was on hand to pick up his award along…

Officials: Decker Center to be catalyst for international corridor

More than 100 residents came out Thursday night to get a first look at the future Decker Center. Richland County Council members Jim Manning, Gregory Pearce and Kelvin Washington held a community meeting to unveil plans for the the facility, which county staff has called the center of redevelopment for the Decker Boulevard International Corridor in the northeast. Rendering of…

Newfangled Consignments opens in West Columbia

A downtown spot in West Columbia once bustling with people and cars has been transformed into a place where people can discover unique and affordable finds for their homes. Newfangled Consignments can help you give your home a fresh look. (photo by Rachel Ham) Karen Hoover opened the doors on Meeting Street this week after months of renovation and collecting just…

Photo Gallery: Columbia senior care community celebrates grand opening

The Crossings at Columbia, an assisted living and memory care community, celebrated its grand opening Thursday. “The residents that are here already and the ones that will be moving in in the future are just special to us,” said Susan Vrbas, vice president of operations for Harmony Senior Services, the Virginia-based company which owns and operates The Crossings. “They’re a…

Freeway Music grooming future rock stars, classical musicians at two new locations

Lexington’s Old Mill shopping center is a little more rock ‘n’ roll these days with opening of Freeway Music’s new location. Freeway Music has arrived in Lexington. (photo by Rachel Ham) The locally owned music instruction studio welcomed the first students in late August. Freeway Music Lexington, in Suite A-2 in the Old Mill, is a place of hard work and dedication…

Midlands business community welcomes Fort Jackson’s new commander

The Midlands business community hosted a breakfast Wednesday morning to welcome Fort Jackson’s new leader to the city. Maj. General Roger L. Cloutier, Jr., commanding general at Fort Jackson, speaks to the crowd of business professionals and elected leaders. (photo by Rachel Ham) The Columbia Chamber partnered with the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center and the Midstate…

Goodwill breaks ground on new retail store, Job Connection center in West Columbia

Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina is expanding its presence on Sunset Boulevard with a new store in West Columbia. Goodwill’s new location will feature a clearance center in addition to traditional retail space. (photo by Rachel Ham) Company leaders broke ground Tuesday morning across from Fred Anderson Toyota where a 35,000-square-foot facility will be built. Once the store opens in…

Columbia City Council finance committee considers $100 cap on business license fees

Columbia City Councilman Cameron Runyan is not waiting for re-election to fulfill one of his recent campaign promises. The one-term at-large leader is fighting to reduce the cost of a business license fee in the city in an effort to keep businesses on this side of the Congaree River. “We survived without taxing small businesses that are trying to put…

Wells Fargo, Habitat for Humanity volunteers hammer first nails at local mom’s new home

Richland County resident Brittany Adams looked around at the houses she helped build with Habitat for Humanity and then grabbed a hammer for the “first nail” ceremony on her very own home. First day on site includes a race to see who is the fastest with a hammer and nail. (photo by Rachel Ham) The mother of 7-year-old La’nyiah began volunteering…

New restaurant on North Main Street to feature Midlands-inspired cuisine

North Main Street continues to expand and grow with a new restaurant that looks to celebrate Midlands cuisine. Rendering of the War Mouth, which will be at 1209 Franklin St. in the Cottontown neighborhood (photo provided) Former Free Times state government reporter Porter Barron and Charleston chef Rhett Elliott have teamed up to open the War Mouth, an eatery that will…