Family Photographer in Columbia, SC

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We've all heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words". And photos really are a special way to help tell the story of our lives - who we are and what's important to us.

And, of course, some images speak to us more strongly than others. More often than not we love a photo not so much because it shows us how we look but because it captures a very human element that is hard to express in words – an authentic connection with those we love or with ourselves and how we show up or want to be seen in the world.

Whether you're looking to capture someone's attention with a professional headshot or want to commemorate the beautiful connection with your partner or family, I can help.

My name is Adam Chandler, and as a professional photographer in Columbia, SC. I truly find joy and fulfillment in the work I do. I love the adventure of photography and I continually immerse myself in learning and exploring how to improve my craft which includes learning new ways to connect with and capture my subjects. I truly understand that, for many people (if not most), even the idea of having your picture taken can cause a good bit of discomfort and anxiety. That's why I place so much importance on putting my subjects at ease while also really listening to any concerns or wants they have for their session.

I draw upon my technical knowledge of photography, my ability to connect with people, and my creativity to produce beautifully memorable photos for my clients. I believe that my unique creative vision and many years of experience combined with the way I strive to give my clients the most enjoyable experience possible sets me apart from some of the other great photographers in Columbia.

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Family Photography Columbia, SC  Photographer Columbia, SC

Testimonials

Now that you know a little about my background, let's take a look at some of
my most popular photography services in Columbia: My Mission Is To Exceed Expectations

 Portrait Photographer Columbia, SC

My Mission Is To Exceed Expectations

The importance of family is hard to overstate. From children to grandparents to nieces and nephews, families and the family dynamic can grow and change before you know it, with many beautiful milestones taking place along the way.

I think that one of the best ways to remember some of these important moments of togetherness is with a fun family photo session.

I absolutely love photographing families and, while no two families are the same, I always strive to give each session my all in order to best connect with and capture the uniqueness of each family. Even though each session is somewhat different, I approach each one with the same goal: to capture the distinct personality, affection, and energy of each family in order to provide authentic, engaging pictures and a joyful experience.

Whether you have a toddler that you want to celebrate or have grandparents in town for a visit, Columbia is an amazing city for family photography. There are so many locations in the Lowcountry that make for great family photography backdrops:

  • Beaches - Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island, Kiawah, Seabrook, Isle of Palms, Hilton Head, Edisto Beach
  • Popular Places - Washington Square, Broad Street, Hampton Park, Waterfront Park, Shem Creek, The Cistern at College of Columbia
  • Historical Sites - Columbia Battery, Fort Sumter, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Rainbow Row

Historical Sites - The Battery/Whitepoint Gardens, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Boone Hall, Fort Sumter, Middleton Place, Morris Island Lighthouse Whatever location you choose for family photography in Columbia, the Holy City is a wonderful place to explore and enjoy with friends and family.

As a family photographer in Columbia, one of the reasons why I love working with families so much (in addition to getting to meet some really awesome people) is the opportunity to combine my creativity with my ever-evolving technical skill. I also gladly accommodate the style preferences my clients are looking for - be it more traditional, posed images, or candid, playful pictures.

I use a clear yet relaxed style of direction to get you and your family engaged in our photography session, to help get authentic expressions that really show the unique dynamic and relationships of each family.

Here are just a few reasons why families choose Adam Chandler Photography for their family portraits:

Document Family Growth

Change, of course, is part of life and with each passing year families, too, change and often grow. Each stage is beautiful in its own way and having annual family photographs is a fun way to document the different seasons of family life. Be it a new baby, a birthday or anniversary or simply wanting to capture your kids at each special age, I'd be honored to be chosen to help tell the story of your family over the years.

Remember Milestones

With each year that passes, new milestones are reached. From a child's first steps to a sibling getting married, there is no better way to remember these wonderful occasions than with quality photographs. Whether you're welcoming a new puppy into your life, are celebrating an anniversary or finally have gathered your extended family together in one place, capturing these special times in your life is a great way to ensure you'll be able to enjoy and relive these moments years from now.

Create Memories

Many families tell me before their sessions that it's not often that they are all able to be together and they emphasize how special and important this session is. Or, perhaps, a mom or dad will talk about how fleetingly special a certain age of their child is and how they really want to capture their children's personalities. Even if you capture lots of great moments of your family throughout the year it's likely not very often that all of you are in the pictures at once (other than maybe having a stranger tell you to "say cheese" after you hand them your phone. Having a time that's dedicated to capturing the special bonds between family members - parents and their children, grandparents and their grandchildren, siblings and maybe extended family as well - is so important. We all know just how special these people and moments are and how we tend to treasure these memories more with each passing year.

Portraits And Headshots In Columbia, SC

A great headshot shows you at your best - whether you want to impress a prospective employer or need professional photography for your website. In today's digitally-intensive society, having a professional headshot or portrait of you or your team that stands out for all the right reasons is becoming a necessity. It's no surprise, then, that headshots and portraits are among the most popular genres of photography.

Headshots can be tricky, mostly because many (if not most) people don't like being in front of the camera (trust me, I totally get that). I know that for some clients, it can be hard to know what to do, what to wear or how to relax enough to let their authentic selves come through so that they can end up with a professional photo or headshot that inspires authenticity and confidence.

Fortunately, I have years of experience taking professional headshots of all types of people. No matter what your comfort level is with having your picture taken, I pride myself on being able to create the conditions necessary to help capture my clients as you want to be seen. Through lighting, posing and direct yet relaxed interaction I'll help guide you to great photos that you’ll be proud to showcase and share with others.

A professional headshot or portrait is an investment into your personal brand, and here is why:

 Portrait Photographer Columbia, SC
 Best Photographer Columbia, SC

Show Your Personality

Not all headshots should be approached the same way. Depending on your industry or how you'll be using the photos, there are certain things to consider. A great headshot reflects not just how you look but also how you show up in the world. It can help give people an idea of the kind of person you are before you sit down to meet them. Oftentimes, too, people may want a variety of "looks" to suit different needs and uses. My goal is to listen to your expectations and then deliver results that will serve you will in your professional and/or personal life.

 Beach Photography Columbia, SC

Show Your Professionalism

Clients, collaborators, investors, and employers are typically much more likely to interview you or to contact you or your business if you look professional. If you've taken the time to invest in your brand, in part by making the effort to arrange a professional headshot, people notice that. And who doesn't want to make a great first (or second or third) impression?

 Family Portrait Photographer Columbia, SC

Stand Out on Social Media

Many of my clients make appointments for headshots and portraits when they want to stand out from the crowd on social media. Whether you own a business and need to create new social media pages or you're looking to network with recruiters on LinkedIn or, perhaps, update your website, a professional headshot can definitely set you apart in the modern sea of selfies and snapshots that you often see out there.

 Wedding Photographer Columbia, SC

Show Off Your Current Look

None of us look the same as we did 10 or 15 years ago yet some of us keep the same photo up for decades. Having outdated headshots can send a message of inauthenticity. When you have up-to-date, professional headshots, you're showing clients and employers that you are confident, committed, and authentic.

 Headshots Columbia, SC

Qualities Of A Great Photographer In Columbia, SC

Being a great photographer means more than owning fancy equipment. While having expensive gear can be quite helpful, the real test of a professional, for me, has a lot more to do with being able to draw upon my deep understanding of the craft of photography so that I can focus more on connecting with and beautifully capturing my subjects without getting bogged down in figuring out the technical side of things. It's taken me many years to get where I am and I'm always striving to improve in order to continue to deliver the best pictures and most enjoyable experience possible for my clients.

Clients choose Adam Chandler Photography because my experience shows and they trust me to always give them the results and experience that they're looking for. Here are just a few qualities that my clients appreciate:

 Engagement Photography Columbia, SC

Imagination

I wholeheartedly consider photography to be an artform - one that requires lots of curiosity and imagination along with a good bit of technique. A great photographer knows how to get beautiful results no matter what the conditions or circumstances are and this only comes with experience and preparation.

Family Photography Columbia, SC

Passion

This quality might seem obvious but I can't tell you how many times I've seen photography that may be technically good but is missing something. My passion for photography largely comes from my passion for connecting with people in a way that helps them feel comfortable letting their guard down so they can enjoy the process. And this almost always leads to exceptional, authentic images.

 Photographer Columbia, SC

Patience

Patience can also be essential for great photos. As in life, there are many things that we just can't control. Sometimes the best photos come from patiently going with the flow and not trying to force something to happen. I find that when I'm patient yet prepared - ready to capture the right moment or expression when the time is right - that's often the best approach. As a professional with many years of experience, I understand the importance of having the patience to deal with whatever comes my way as well as the flexibility and preparedness to make the most out of any situation.

 Portrait Photographer Columbia, SC

People Skills

If ever there was a business where people skills were important I think portrait photography is definitely one of them. Knowing how uncomfortable many people can be when getting their pictures taken, I put every effort into helping ensure the best possible experience for my clients and communication is such a big part of that. I love interacting with my clients to build trust and rapport as well as a deep understanding of your expectations including any concerns you may have. As I've said, for me my job is not just about delivering beautiful images but also a wonderful client experience. That's why I focus so much on each and every interaction with my clients. Yes, people skills are a must in this business. Luckily for me, it's one of my favorite parts of the job!

Eye for Detail

As a professional photographer in Columbia, SC I am meticulous when it comes to details. Through my many years of photographing many different types of subjects under many different circumstances I've come to learn just how important details are. Whether it's finding or creating the best quality of light for my clients, eliciting a great expression or
adjusting the background or, perhaps, a piece of clothing, all of these things impact the overall look and feel of a photo. Whether I'm photographing a family, a business professional or a couple in love I always look for all the ways I can create the best image possible.

 Portrait Photographer Columbia, SC
 Best Photographer Columbia, SC

"As I hope you can tell by looking at my work, I really love my job. And most of all I love the people I get to meet and work with. I'd be honored and delighted to be chosen for your photography needs."

Adam Chandler

Ready to Get Started?

One of my favorite things to do is to talk to clients about what they're looking for and how I can serve them. If you are in need of professional photography, let's talk today about what you have in mind. Whether you're looking for family or couples' photography in Columbia or want great new headshots for you or your team, I'm here to help every step of the way!  

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15+ Free Things to Do with Kids in Columbia, SC

Looking for something free or cheap to do with your kids in Columbia, SC? We’ve compiled a list, packed full of ideas, for you. Grab your family and make some fun-filled memories together. Here’s our list of free things to do in Columbia, SC with kids!Free Things to Do Outside in Columbia, SCGo on a walk: Head to Cayce Riverwalk for a walk with your family. With more than 20 miles of riverwalk and trails, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. You can find shade under the tre...

Looking for something free or cheap to do with your kids in Columbia, SC? We’ve compiled a list, packed full of ideas, for you. Grab your family and make some fun-filled memories together. Here’s our list of free things to do in Columbia, SC with kids!

Free Things to Do Outside in Columbia, SC

Go on a walk: Head to Cayce Riverwalk for a walk with your family. With more than 20 miles of riverwalk and trails, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. You can find shade under the trees and bridges, and parking is free!

Have a picnic at the Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina: The Horseshoe at USC is a perfect place to have a family picnic and spend the afternoon. Bring some outdoor toys and bikes and enjoy the weather together. While there’s plenty of shade, you will need to bring a little money to park.

Play tennis: Head to one of Columbia’s public recreational tennis courts.

Cool off at a pool or splash pad: One of the most fun things to do in the summer is taking your kids to a pool or splash pad. While the Maxcy Gregg and Greenview Pools have a small fee ($3 – $4 depending on age), the splash pads and spray pools are free and open to the public.

Spray Pools and Pads in Columbia *Be sure to call the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department at 803-545-3100 or check online for operating hours.

Play at one of the local parks or playgrounds: What kid doesn’t love to run around at a cool playground? There are plenty of beautiful parks with great playgrounds in the Columbia area. The Community Park of Irmo, Elmwood/Roy Lynch Park, and the Owens Field Skate Park & Pump Track are all great parks with playgrounds and other amenities such as walking trails, ball fields, zip lines, and splash pads.

In West Columbia, Carraway Park has an amazing playground space!

Sesquicentennial State Park has lots of amenities, including $5 kayak rentals. Park admission is required unless you have SC State Park Annual Pass. If you do, admission is free.

Check out all the parks and playgrounds in Columbia.

Ride bikes: Grab your bikes and go on a bike ride. Download the Sprocket app, an app created by The Cola Town Bike Collective, to help you find the perfect, safe bike route for you and your family.

Go fishing: Enjoy free fishing thanks to the South Carolina Fishing Tackle Loaner program where you can borrow a rod, reel, and tackle box for FREE. Some fishing spots to consider are Lake Murray (head to Dreher Island State Park) or Saluda Shoals Park.

Go see an outdoor movie: The Icehouse Amphitheater in Lexington shows movies every now and then. Be sure to check their schedule for upcoming shows.

Head out for a hike: There are plenty of hiking trails in Columbia. From paved multi-use trails to longer, more rugged trails, you’ll find something for you and your family to enjoy.

Stroll down Main Street for Soda City Market: Every Saturday from 9 am – 1 pm, vendors gather on Main Street for a European-inspired street market for the Soda City Market. Everything sold is unique, hand-crafted, and produced in the Southeast. While strolling and perusing what the vendors have to offer, you’ll hear music and be able to do a lot of people watching.

Throw a frisbee around at one of the disc golf courses: Grab your disc golf frisbee and play disc golf for free. Udisc has a list of courses in the area.

Go on a public art tour: You can treat this as a scavenger hunt if you’d like, but there are plenty of public art installations around Columbia that you can visit for free. One Columbia has an interactive map for you to find art spots.

The art in Columbia includes the “world’s largest fire hydrant” sculpture located on Taylor Street in Columbia, SC, between Marion and Bull Street.

First Thursdays on Main: First Thursdays on Main include free live music and even free admission to cultural venues, like the Columbia Museum of Art on select First Thursdays. Food and other items are available for purchase.

Free Things to Do Inside in Columbia, SC

Go Bowling: There are several bowling alleys in the Columbia area where kids up to age 15 can bowl for free. You’ll still need to rent shoes or bring your own.

Anchor Lanes – 1000 Columbia Avenue, IrmoRoyal Z Lanes – 8512 Two Notch Road, ColumbiaStars and Strikes – 700 Columbiana Drive, Irmo

Head to the library: Richland Library and Lexington County Library both have children[‘s programs you can participate in and include storytime, crafts, and movies.

Grab a free DIY Kit from Home Depot: Home Depot has free Kids Workshop kits that you can pick up on the first Saturday of each month from 9 am – 12 pm while supplies last.

Head to Lowes Home Improvement for a FREE Kids Workshop on select Saturdays.

Don’t miss 10+ FREE Things to Do for Kids Across the USA.

Tour the South Carolina State House: Want to get a little education with your activity? Head to the State House for a free guided or self-guided tour. Tours are given every half hour from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm Monday through Friday when the chambers are not in session. The State House is also open for tours each Saturday. You do not have to make a reservation, but you can call ahead if you’d like to.

Kids Eat FREE in Columbia: While you’re out and about on your free things to do adventure, grab a cheap meal by taking advantage of these kids eat free deals.

Bonus! Are you a homeschooling family? The SC State Museum offers FREE admission to homeschooling families.

Looking for more fun things to do in Columbia, SC? We’ve compiled the ultimate Columbia list for you.

Columbia, South Carolina’s 10 highest-rated ‘cheap eats,’ according to Tripadvisor

WIth prices for everything rising because of record inflation, knowing where to get a quality, but relatively inexpensive meal would be helpful.Tripadvisor, an online travel company that collects user-generated content and compares retailers and restaurants, has plenty of data on what residents think are relatively inexpensive and good places to eat in the Columbia area.A visit to the website shows rankings of the best ‘cheap eats’ in the city...

WIth prices for everything rising because of record inflation, knowing where to get a quality, but relatively inexpensive meal would be helpful.

Tripadvisor, an online travel company that collects user-generated content and compares retailers and restaurants, has plenty of data on what residents think are relatively inexpensive and good places to eat in the Columbia area.

A visit to the website shows rankings of the best ‘cheap eats’ in the city. The ranked, inexpensive restaurants run the gamut of cuisine, from vegetarian to Mexican and BBQ.

Below is a list of the 10 highest-rated ‘cheap eats’ restaurants in Columbia, according to Tripadvisor.

Rating: 4.5/5 (52 reviews)

Detailed ratings: Food (4/5), Service (4/5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: Bar, American, pub

Address: 1200 Main St, Columbia

This popular subterranean bar at 1200 Main St., across from the South Carolina State House, has become known over the years for not only a solid craft beer selection, but for its diverse menu options, such as the Whig Chicken Sandwich and the Whig Burger.

Rating: 5/5 (31 reviews)

Detailed ratings: Food (5/5), Service (4.5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: American

Address: 1311 Bluff Rd, Columbia

This long-time popular restaurant is best known for its delicious fried chicken. However, the restaurant also has a limited breakfast sandwich menu with choices like egg sandwich and fried bologna. Bernie’s also offers other lunch and dinner items like hamburgers, hotdogs and sandwiches.

Rating: 4.5/5 (41 reviews)

Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service, (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: American, barbecue

Address: 8604 Farrow Rd Ste A, Columbia

Big Boy’s offers a variety of freshly-smoked meats, from pulled pork to chicken, ribs, beef briskets and turkey. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could try out their smoked pig feet. Even smoked gumbo is on the menu. The restaurant also offers your typical BBQ place sides, like macaroni and cheese and collard greens.

Rating: 4/5 (189 reviews)

Detailed rating: Food (4/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: American

Address: 7411 Nates Rd, Columbia

This restaurant got its start in Columbia more than 40 years ago and now has 14 locations. It focuses on traditional South Carolina home cooking, offering many choices, from steak and eggs and country liver pudding to southern fried catfish, hamburger steak, beef stew or chicken and waffles.

Rating: 4/5 (406 reviews)

Detailed rating: Food (4/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: American

Address: 818 Elmwood Ave, Columbia

No, this is not a mistake. Lizard’s Thicket is so popular that two of its restaurants made it into the top 10 list. Like the other spot, this location offers the same menu items. What we didn’t mention earlier is Lizard’s is still owned and operated by the children and grandchildren of the couple that founded it, Anna and Bob Williams.

Rating: 4.5/5 (103 reviews)

Detailed rating: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: Japanese

Address: 1004 Gervais St, Columbia

Like the name suggests, this Japanese restaurant specializes in Ramen dishes. Do you want some spicy ramen with pork? They’ve got it. How about ramen with chicken? Yep, got that too. If you’re in a noodle/soup kind of mood, this is definitely a place to check out.

Rating: 4.5/5 (189 reviews)

Detailed rating: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4/5)

Type of cuisine: Mexican, Southwestern

Address: 1301 Main St Corner of Main & Lady St, Columbia

Cantina 76 is a Mexican-inspired restaurant and bar with five locations in South Carolina, two of which are in Columbia. Get yourself a Peruvian shrimp taco to balance out the drinks. The place is a lively, popular hotspot downtown, but if you cannot find a spot inside, there’s usually some outdoor seating available.

Rating: 4.5/5 (238 reviews)

Detailed rating: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: American, barbecue

Address: 819 Harden St Colonial Drive., Columbia

Nestled in Columbia’s Five Points district, this barbecue restaurant specializes in sandwiches. For instance, the Avita sandwich features churrasco barbecue topped with grilled pineapples, grilled vidalia onions, and roasted red peppers on a buttered French roll with asada vinegar BBQ sauce. Or you could try the King Kahuna, which offers Luau barbecue topped with pineapple, grilled maul onions, cheddar and applewood bacon on a buttered French roll with yum yum BBQ sauce.

Definitely not your standard barbecue joint.

Rating: 4.5/5 (413 reviews)

Detailed rating: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: Mexican

Address: 2421 Bush River Rd, Columbia

At this Mexican restaurant, you can get classic quesadillas, fajitas and tacos, or you can choose from a selection of specialty burritos. There’s the California burrito, filled with carne asada, avocado slices, pico de Gallo and rice and beans. Another option is the diablo shrimp burrito, filled with shrimp sautéed with spicy chipotle sauce and rice, rolled in a flour tortilla and topped with queso sauce, avocado slices and a side of sour cream.

Rating: 4/4 (266 reviews)

Detailed rating: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5)

Type of cuisine: American, cafe

Address: 2617 Devine St, Columbia

Owner Jody Kreush started the deli with her son, Richard, after years of food industry experience accumulated around the country. She found success making sweetbreads in Hawaii, managing a food truck in Pennsylvania and crafting solid deli sandwiches in New York and New Jersey.

Customers can choose between an original cinnamon roll for $2.70 or one of several specialty rolls at $3.65 apiece, including apple cobbler, black pepper bacon maple glaze and banana foster, to name a few.

Meanwhile, a mini cinnamon roll comes with each sandwich order so customers can still share in the restaurant’s namesake without having to commit to an entire roll.

Gov. McMaster signs transgender sports bill into law

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ into law.Student athletes from elementary to college will be required to compete in events based on their gender assigned at birth. It prohibits transgender women from competing in women’s sports.Advocates with SC United for Justice and Equality issued a statement in response to the bill signing which reads in part,“It pains us to see lawmakers ignore thousands in SC – including paren...

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ into law.

Student athletes from elementary to college will be required to compete in events based on their gender assigned at birth. It prohibits transgender women from competing in women’s sports.

Advocates with SC United for Justice and Equality issued a statement in response to the bill signing which reads in part,

“It pains us to see lawmakers ignore thousands in SC – including parents, medical providers, faith leaders & trans people – who worked to #SupportTransYouthSC and reject this dangerous bill”

The Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer said in support of the bill signing,

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. We welcome South Carolina to the growing number of states that have acted to preserve fair competition for all females, whether in grade school or college. When the law ignores biological differences, it’s women and girls who bear the brunt of the harm. We’ve seen this in the increasing examples of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions when competing as females, capturing championships and shattering long-standing female track records. We commend the legislature and the governor for supporting this important legislation and ensuring that female athletes will not face those losses in South Carolina.”

The Trevor Project also issued a statement in reaction to the signing of the bill, condemning it. Sam Ames the Director for Advocacy and Government Affairs at the project said, “Like every one of the sports bans we’ve seen passed across the country over the last three years, this is a solution in search of a problem, and it will only work to increase the isolation and stigmatization of an already-marginalized group of students.”

McMaster issued a statement Tuesday afternoon. It reads in part, “We have to do everything we can to protect the young men and women in our state who choose to pursue athletic competition, and that’s why I proudly signed this bill into law yesterday.”

The Save Women’s Sports Act is now the law of the land in South Carolina. We have to do everything we can to protect the young men and women in our state who choose to pursue athletic competition, and that’s why I proudly signed this bill into law yesterday.

— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) May 17, 2022

RELATED COVERAGE:

Gov. McMaster has now signed the “Save Women’s Sports Act” into law. It requires athletes in SC schools from the elementary to college levels compete based on the gender they were assigned at birth, prohibiting transgender girls + women from competing in girls’ + women’s sports. https://t.co/FetrmDgcPh pic.twitter.com/YWcJEd4LUD

— Mary Green (@MaryGreenNews) May 17, 2022

Copyright 2022 WIS. All rights reserved.

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Columbia committee considers ways to grow small businesses

One idea is to no longer requiring businesses that are 7,500 square feet or less to have parking for customersCOLUMBIA, S.C. — Columbia City Council's Economic and Community Development Committee is considering several ways to ease burdens on new business owners.This as they look to revitalize communities from Main Street, North Main, to Two Notch Road and Five points.The committee ...

One idea is to no longer requiring businesses that are 7,500 square feet or less to have parking for customers

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Columbia City Council's Economic and Community Development Committee is considering several ways to ease burdens on new business owners.

This as they look to revitalize communities from Main Street, North Main, to Two Notch Road and Five points.

The committee is considering no longer requiring businesses that are 7,500 square feet or less to have parking for customers and redoing the way on-street parking is currently done.

"Columbia has 3,000 people living in the city center. Greenville and Charleston have 9,000 people living in the city center," said city councilman Joe Taylor. "Frankly, we need to replace some of these empty parking lots with buildings."

The committee also proposed creating a grease trap rebate program that would lower the cost restaurants pay to remove waste. The city hopes this program will bring more restaurants to the area.

When Rhett Elliot opened The War Mouth six years ago, the Cotton town area in Columbia looked more like a ghost town.

“In those six and a half years it went from 0 foot traffic to people everywhere," said Elliot.

Elliot attributes the foot traffic to small businesses like Curiosity Coffee Bar, Gardener's Outpost, Indah Coffee, and more that have opened and transformed the area.

"It's definitely coming up which is exciting because every little bit that comes this way, helps," said Elliot.

Elliot hopes the area continues to grow and said even the discussion of helping small business owners in Columbia is encouraging.

"Any help you can get while you're putting that much of your skin in the game is certainly welcome," said Elliot.

Owner of Indah Coffee Nick Hauser tells News 19 he knows all too well how hard it is to open a business in Columbia.

“It felt excessively burdensome with the tax and some of the different requirements and that kind of thing," said Hauser. "If we could find ways to get out of the way of entrepreneurs and creative types, Columbia could be a city that could rival the best cities across the country."

Council is also working to cut commercial property taxes through their Tax Modernization Committee. That committee meets again Thursday.

The committee's ideas are in the early planning stages as they will present to full city council in the coming weeks.

Former college bar to be transformed into bookstore, cafe in Five Points

One of Five Points’ signature college bars, now closed, could become the home of a new independent bookstore and cafe.The former Thirsty Parrot bar location is slated to be transformed into a bookstore and cafe with an outdoor patio area, according to plans submitted to the Columbia Design/Development Review Commission.The plans indicate that the first floor of the building at 734 Harden St., situated between the newly open...

One of Five Points’ signature college bars, now closed, could become the home of a new independent bookstore and cafe.

The former Thirsty Parrot bar location is slated to be transformed into a bookstore and cafe with an outdoor patio area, according to plans submitted to the Columbia Design/Development Review Commission.

The plans indicate that the first floor of the building at 734 Harden St., situated between the newly opened Swiff clothing store and the former Horseshoe nightclub, will be renovated for the new retail space and will have some of the 100-year-old building’s historic design features repaired and restored.

One of the oldest buildings in the Five Points district, the site originally was constructed in the 1920s by Columbia lawyer and developer Thomas Hair, according to documents submitted to the city by historic preservationist Janie Campbell. It has housed businesses ranging from The Valley Meat Market and Five Points Pharmacy to professional offices and Orkin Exterminators, according to Campbell.

Most recently, the building was home to the Thirsty Parrot bar and nightclub.

Like much of Five Points, the 700 block has been in a state of transition in recent years. A number of college-oriented bars have shut down, and those sites either remain vacant or have been transformed into new businesses, such as Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint at 711 Harden St. A small wave of new businesses have opened recently in the day-to-night shopping, dining and entertainment district, including Swiff and Botanica de Santee clothing stores, FuruSato Bento Japanese restaurant and Game Day Nutrition shake and tea shop.

The design plans for the proposed Harden Street bookstore and cafe do not include details about the business such as specifics about what it hopes to offer or when it hopes to open.

The plans for 734 Harden St. will be considered at the design commission’s meeting on Thursday, May 19. The owner is seeking approval for a special historic rehabilitation tax assessment known as the Bailey Bill.

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