Business

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…

Photo Gallery: Georgia couple opens Top Dawg Tavern in Village at Sandhill

  A husband-and-wife team of entrepreneurs have brought their Georgia homegrown restaurant business to Columbia. Brett and Renee Summers have opened Top Dawg Tavern in the Village at Sandhill. The couple opened their first restaurant in March 2013 in Bethlehem, Georgia, to develop a family-owned business that would allow them to spend time with family. Renee Summers comes from an…

Palmetto Health adds Tuomey Healthcare reps to board of directors

Palmetto Health and Tuomey Healthcare System are making progress on their future partnership. The healthcare systems are now joined through their boards of directors. Members of Palmetto Health Board of Directors and Palmetto Health’s two sponsoring boards, the Richland Memorial Hospital Board and the Baptist Healthcare System Board, unanimously voted Tuesday to make Tuomey a member of Palmetto Health. This decision…

Columbia athletic store starts students ‘out on the right foot’ with new running shoes

Thirty-three Wood Elementary School students arrived at Girls on the Run practice after school Thursday not realizing a big surprise was in store for them. Through a grant from Fleet Feet Sports, the Columbia Fleet Feet location is outfitting each girl with a new pair of perfectly sized running shoes. Girls had their feet measured so their new shoes allow…

Military veterans bring new business to Columbia

When Marcus Scarborough completed his service with the U.S. Navy, he decided to take on corporate America. Scarborough stepped into the world of entrepreneurship after four years working in marketing and recruitment for a financial banking institution then selling medical devices. Scarborough, a former nuclear submarine officer and now owner of Save-A-Lot on Harden Street, is one of several of…

Freight brokerage firm to create 100 jobs in downtown Columbia

A Cincinnati-based freight brokerage firm is setting up operations in downtown Columbia and bringing 100 new jobs. Total Quality Logistics is making an $565,000 investment that will establish a logistics and sales operations office in the Bank of America Financial Center at 1901 Main St. “We have experienced great success in South Carolina with our Charleston office. We’re excited to…

Photo Gallery: New dance studio opens in the Vista

  People are captivated with getting down on the dance floor, which is apparent by the popularity of shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With The Stars.” A local dance instructor has opened a new studio in the Vista to teach the professional movers and those with two left feet how to move. “I want people…

Chick-fil-A breaks ground on new location at Killian Crossing development

Chick-fil-A is bringing its popular chicken strips and Polynesian sauce to northeast Columbia. Restaurant officials and Richland County leaders broke ground Thursday on the new location in the Killian Crossing development off Interstate 77. Along with the Chick-fil-A mascot, Richland County Council Chairman Torrey Rush (center) and owner and operator Aaron Jackson (right) celebrate Chick-fil-A’s newest location on Clemson Road….

Hot Shots Archery combines elements of dodgeball, paintball

There’s a new game in town intended for kids and adults, and it combines elements of archery, dodgeball and even paintball. Hot Shots Archery combines dodge ball, archery and paintball all into one. (photo provided) Josh Rivers brought Hot Shots Archery Games to the Columbia area with his wife and co-owner, Christina. Rivers said he owes the inspiration to an infomercial. The…