December 2016 Partner of the Month: Salvation Army of the Midlands

Partners of the Columbia Chamber since 2011, The Salvation Army established a corps in Columbia, SC, in 1906 and has been serving people living in extreme poverty in the Midlands for more than 100 years. The Salvation Army, an international movement, works to ensure that human needs are met without discrimination.

Social Services programs provided by The Salvation Army focus on those living in the most extreme poverty in the Midlands. They work daily with those who are homeless and offer several homeless prevention initiatives. From serving daily meals to providing Christmas toys to families in need, The Salvation Army reaches out to those in our community who need assistance.

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The Salvation Army was a first responder during last year’s historic flooding and continues to be a key part of the recovery and restoration of the Midlands. Initially, officers, staff, and volunteers served 55,788 hot meals and 51,663 cold drinks to people all across devastated areas. They prayed with people who lost nearly everything. They provided clean up kits and other resources to aid in efforts to rebuild lives. And perhaps most importantly, they instilled hope and let people know that they were not alone. The response began locally, but Salvation Army units from outside the Midlands area quickly arrived on the scene to assist in the relief efforts.

This July, The Salvation Army of the Midlands provided a free summer camping experience to 52 local children, ages 6-12, at Camp Walter Johnson in Denton, North Carolina. The children attended the 5-day program developed to be a positive environment for children to grow, learn and be encouraged while striving to meet spiritual, social, recreational and educational needs. Since 1974, Camp Walter Johnson has impacted the lives of over 55,000 children throughout North and South Carolina.

The Leveraging Literacy Free Afterschool Reading Program recently wrapped up for the year with an exciting ceremony at The Salvation Army where 25 students received certificates of completion, books from Richland Library, and sneakers from Innersole. The program meets every weekday when school is in session with a focus on vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension to increase student success.

This year, The Salvation Army of the Midlands…

  • Helped serve 217,836 meals to the homeless
  • Helped 3,102 families receive emergency basic needs assistance including rent, utility, water, food boxes
  • Helped issue 953 clothing vouchers
  • Helped distribute 1,905 hygiene kits
  • Helped 3,833 children receive new gifts for Christmas
  • Helped 1,724 families receive Christmas assistance
  • Helped distribute 1,724 boxes of food to families at Christmas
  • Helped 232 children receive new, well-fitting clothes, shoes, and school supplies through the Clothes for Kids program
  • Helped 593 children and youth enjoy Salvation Army camp

Major Roger Coulson, an officer of the Salvation Army, is a regular attendee of the Chamber’s Issues Committee meetings, and a long-time proponent of a thriving Midlands. The Columbia Chamber would like to take the time to thank the staff and volunteers of The Salvation Army of the Midlands for their continued support of our community.

The Columbia Chamber is honored to present The Salvation Army of the Midlands as the December 2016 Partner of the Month.

To learn more about The Salvation Army of the Midlands, visit their website.

For more information about the Columbia Chamber Partner of the Month, or to nominate a current Chamber Partner, please visit our website.

November 2016 Partner of the Month: Alpha Media

Alpha Media is a growing radio broadcast media company that has a passion for outstanding radio and digital content. Their philosophy is to be smaller, faster, bolder, and work as a team at all levels.

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Alpha Media hires and retains skilled talent who can deliver a unique outlook and innovative ideas. The company believes in creating progressive products, world class events and building strong relationships in their community.

As Alpha Media continues to grow, the organization follows the philosophy of keeping radio Live and Local in each of their markets. Alpha Media stations work closely with local communities and advertisers, focusing on relationships with team members, clients and partners rather than negotiating deals. Whether it’s a 2-day music festival or a community fun-run, the team is relentlessly focused on innovation, efficiency and entertainment.

Last year, Alpha Media Columbia partnered with WIS-TV and the American Red Cross on a two day Radiothon/Telethon to raise $736,000 for those that were in such critical need after floods of historic proportion decimated most of central South Carolina.

Through the Columbia Chamber, Mike Hartel and the Alpha Media team have been very involved in supporting the local business community. Including, providing entertainment at the Chamber’s 2016 Schmoozapalooza Networking Expo and donating PSA’s over the radio waves for all of the Chamber’s major events throughout the year.

Representatives have attended countless Chamber functions, and Hartel also served on the Chamber’s Marketing & Communications Committee. In February, Alpha Media Broadcasting was honored as the New Partner of the Year at the Chamber’s Yellow Jasmine Awards. Alpha Media also sponsored the Chamber’s 2016 Annual Gala, for which they provided all of the voice-overs for our Annual Report videos.

Alpha Media is known for outstanding service to the community. The commitment to these communities and the radio industry is to never stop learning and recognizing opportunities for growth.

To learn more about Alpha Media Broadcasting, visit their website.

For more information about the Columbia Chamber Partner of the Month, or to nominate a current Chamber Partner, please visit our website.

LC17: Political Systems Day

The Leadership Columbia Class of 2017 is a group of 58 emerging and existing leaders in the region, who are dedicated to bettering themselves and their community. The 10-month skills-building program provides an educational experience with a strong emphasis on social and community awareness, while challenging the candidates to step out of their comfort zones and become involved in Columbia.

The Leadership Columbia Advisory Board, an alumni-based committee, organizes nine full-day class days, an orientation and a two-day retreat for the class. These class days focus on timely topics in our region ranging from economic development to criminal justice.

On Tuesday, October 11, current LC17 candidate Heather Cooper wrote a post detailing her experience during the class’ Political Systems Day:

“Networking Tip #1: Avoid discussions regarding politics, especially in the South.

As an outsider, that’s what I was taught. As a rising community leader, that’s a topic I seek out. Leadership Columbia is an opportunity driver, a vehicle for challenging the status quo, and a means of contributing to the growth and development of our community. That’s why I applied to the program.

heather-cooper-headshotWe [the class] are presented with varied perspectives each meeting. Political Systems Day was no different. Special guests ranged from investigative journalists to elected officials. A thorough review of political parties, the role of the media, the differing levels of government, the voting process, the Judicial branch, and the Presidential Election were the building blocks to this educational experience.

Most surprisingly, we heard of the grave disappointment many of the guest speakers felt regarding the state of our Federal Government and the parties involved. It was a consistent sentiment that was first expressed by Dick Harpootlian and Katon Dawson and later addressed by Will Folks and Ron Aiken. These aren’t regular people like you and I. These are professionals within the political industry, that have spent a lifetime building their name and pushing forward their beliefs. Although it may initially sound discouraging for the rest of the U.S. population, as their words settled I found the thought to be comforting. Inspiration surfaced as we engaged with Amanda Loveday, Scott Farmer, and Chief Justice Pleicones. Why? Well, because they didn’t just harp on the negative. Instead, the three individuals shared their thoughts on viable solutions after addressing a pending issue.

The very courage it takes to express your true feelings and be a positive voice for others, that is what a leader is made of. At this time in our country’s history, I find it imperative for more people to stand up.

Tip the scale and choose to play devil’s advocate when you can. Make an impact. Achieve something great through political service (like running for a board position or calling your representatives) or through genuine and consistent public conversations. Political Day reinforced the idea that if you don’t like what you see, do something about it. Although I don’t believe my calling to be related to politics, I do believe I have a responsibility to talk about politics more than I had previously. The key to opening discussion though, is making sure you’re educated first. Thanks to our day rooted in political discussions, I can now consider myself well-educated.

Additionally, I’m hopeful. Hopeful because there seems to be more self-awareness among citizens due to the 2016 Presidential Election campaigns. So much so, that Republicans and Democratic alike are yearning for compromise, teamwork, and unity. Columbia learned a short year ago just how strong a community can be when we all work together, regardless of background, race, political association, religion, etc.

We’re all in this together and together we’ll get better.

Networking Tip #1 REVISED: Go ahead, discuss politics whenever and wherever you can.”

– Heather Cooper, Leadership Columbia Class of 2017

October 2016 Partner of the Month: Schmoyer and Company, LLC

Partners of the Columbia Chamber for 21 years and counting, Schmoyer and Company, LLC is a firm of Certified Public Accountants that serves the state of South Carolina and the Southeast. Schmoyer offers a full suite of services including accounting, auditing, tax, small business, healthcare and much more.schmoyer-logo-600Schmoyer and Company combines solid experience with the flexibility to go beyond traditional accounting roles. The organization’s greatest strength is the ability to think outside conventional boundaries. Schmoyer and Company has the talent and experience to serve as your business consultant and advisor. You will find a team of professionals eager to discuss options with you and help you map out your best strategy.

Over the years, Schmoyer and Company has been a very active participant in Chamber programs and committees. Terry Schmoyer, President and Managing Partner, has dedicated many years of service to the Chamber’s Finance Committee and the Executive Committee. Each year, their staff attends the Chamber’s Golf Tournament and Annual Gala, along with countless other monthly events.

The company’s valuable contributions to the Chamber’s initiatives make programs, such as the Leadership Columbia Alumni Association Leadership Luncheon Series, possible. This year, Schmoyer also sponsored the Chamber’s Partner Engagement event at the new sea lion exhibit at the Riverbanks Zoo, as well as the Golf Tournament and the Annual Gala. They have also pledged to support the Chamber’s military initiatives and our troops at Fort Jackson.

Active in the community, Terry Schmoyer, Jr. chairs the Logistics Committee for the American Heart Walk of the Midlands and serves as Treasurer of Communities in Schools of the Midlands, which works to surround students with a community of support empowering them to stay in school. Schmoyer also serves on the Payment for Services Committee of the South Carolina Health Care Association and on the boards of the Ben Lippen Booster Club, Delta Upsilon Fraternity Alumni Corporation, Central Carolina Community Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The Columbia Chamber is honored to present Schmoyer and Company as the October 2016 Partner of the Month.

To learn more about Schmoyer and Company, visit their website.

For more information about the Columbia Chamber Partner of the Month, or to nominate a current Chamber Partner, please visit our website.

September 2016 Partner of the Month: Crescent Construction

Founded in 2012, Crescent Construction is a full-service General Contractor that specializes in roofing, remodeling, and renovations in the region. Deeply embedded in the community, Crescent has gone above and beyond for both their clients and neighbors.

Owner, Kevin Varnadore, is a believer in supporting local businesses by purchasing his materials from local suppliers and vendors, as well as utilizing local tradesmen and subcontractors. He also uses locally owned caterers, restaurant, event venues, and beverage distributors for company sponsored events, including an annual golf tournament for local non-profits such as Special Olympics of SC and Pets Inc.

The organization supports a wide range of charities and causes including the American Legion Post 6’s Patriot Guard Ride Scholarship Fund, WIS TV Military Salutes segment, Roofs for Troops, Pawmetto Lifeline, Hydrocephalus Walk, Lexington County Recreation, Columbia Parks and Recreation, Harvest Hope, 5 Points Association, Rosewood Merchants Association, Midlands Gives, US War Dog Memorial, SC ProAm, Chester Baptist Association, Lori North Foundation, Karen Walker Foundation, SC Federation of the Blind, numerous local schools, churches, and Chambers of Commerce in addition to donating materials and supplies to those affected by the October 2015 floods.

In 2013, the company was named the Irmo Chamber 2013 New Business of the Year Award Winner quickly followed by GAF’s Triple Excellence award in 2015 – exclusively awarded to GAF Master Elite Roofers (top 3% in the nation). For the past three years, Crescent has proudly been recognized as the “Official Roofer of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.”

Since joining the Columbia Chamber in 2014, Crescent Construction has been an active participant with Chamber events including the Annual Golf Tournament, as well as sponsoring and attending the 2015 Gala.

While Crescent Construction is trained in helping home and business owners with roofing and construction needs, the organization’s employees have a true passion for giving back to the community.

For these reasons and many more, the Columbia Chamber is proud to recognize Crescent Construction as the September 2016 Partner of the Month!

To learn more about Crescent Construction, visit their website.

For more information about the Columbia Chamber Partner of the Month, or to nominate a current Chamber Partner, please visit our website.

August 2016 Partner of the Month: Bluebird Property Management, LLC

Founded in 2008 by Tammy Davis, Bluebird Property Management, LLC is a full-service property management company headquartered in Columbia with properties in South Carolina and North Carolina. Specializing in single family homes and multifamily apartment management, Bluebird logo 2014 (640x203)homes for rent, properties for lease, rental condos, duplexes and rent-to-own options, Bluebird serves clients across the Midlands; including Camden, Elgin, Lugoff, Blythewood, Lexington, as well as the cities of Columbia, Orangeburg, Spartanburg, Charlotte, Greenville, and Rock Hill.

Bluebird holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, has a thriving resident retention program, and 4.5 out of 5 stars on the company’s Facebook page.

Since joining the Columbia Chamber in 2009, Bluebird Property Management has gone above and beyond to make the most of their Partnership. The organization remains actively engaged with the Chamber by attending various events such as Coffee Connections, the SchmoozaPalooza networking expo, and the Chamber’s Small Business Workshops.

Founder and CEO, Tammy Davis, is also a new addition to the Chamber’s Diplomat Link program, a volunteer group working to connect and engage Chamber Partners. Additionally, Bluebird has made use of the Chamber’s Partner Portal, posting Hot Deals and job openings within the company.

As a small business owner, Davis knows the importance of civic involvement, and makes a significant contribution to the region through an annual back-to-school drive for her residents. Davis serves her community on the United Way Flood Recovery Group, the Advisory Board for the Alston Wilkes Society housing re-entry program, and the Education Committee of the Apartment Association of Greater Columbia. Currently, Davis is a Certified Property Manager (CPM) Candidate with the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).

The Columbia Chamber is honored to present Bluebird Property Management as the August 2016 Partner of the Month.

To learn more about Bluebird Property Management, visit their website.

For more information about the Columbia Chamber Partner of the Month, or to nominate a current Chamber Partner, please visit our website.

July 2016 Partner of the Month: Gregory Electric Company, Inc.

After 65 years of business, Gregory Electric Company, Inc. has grown into one of the largest specialty contractors in South Carolina.  Headquartered in the downtown area of Columbia, Gregory Electric also has a presence in all major metropolitan areas throughout the state.

GECOMPAN.jpgGregory Electric is a diverse organization, covering all facets of electrical construction including electrical, mechanical, water features, and solar construction services. Their markets include commercial, industrial, utility and governmental agencies.  With over 350 employees, Gregory Electric provides varied work opportunities for all levels of experience and professional skills.

With an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau, Gregory Electric is known for their quality of service and customer satisfaction!

Gregory Electric has been a model example of a Chamber Partner. They are actively engaged in our Military Affairs Group and support the Chamber through event sponsorships, including our 2016 Annual Gala.

Their community involvement, however, does not end with the Columbia Chamber. Gregory Electric has made countless charitable contributions to regional organizations including the USO, National Guard Association, Red Cross, EdVenture, Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter, and Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital to name a few.

Owners Bob and Barbara Livingston have also demonstrated extraordinary leadership within the community through their support of the military and Fort Jackson. Serving on the board of advisors for USO, along with several other organizations, the Livingstons are dynamic movers and shakers in the Midlands.

To learn more about Gregory Electric  visit their website.

The Columbia Chamber is honored to present the title of Partner of the Month to Gregory Electric!

For more information about the Columbia Chamber Partner of the Month, or to nominate a current Chamber Partner, please visit our website.

June 2016 Partner of the Month: Brittons of Columbia

Brittons of Columbia is proud to sell the finest in men’s and women’s clothing and furnishings. The Devine Street shop’s motto is “First Impressions are Lasting Impressions,” and they specialize in helping the Midlands community create a memorable first impression. Brittons carries exclusive and one-of-a-kind items that ladies and gentlemen would be proud to own.

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The sales staff at Brittons has over 100 years of combined knowledge to offer clients. They take great pride in educating customers about making the right decisions when it comes to looking your absolute best.

Brittons has consistently been awarded the “Best of Columbia” by the Free Times and was named “Best Destination Shop in South Carolina” by Southern Living Magazine. In today’s age, there are very few specialty stores left; Brittons has a tailored niche that has enabled them to achieve a level of quality to meet every customer’s special demands and requirements.

With roots that run deep in Columbia, Brittons is highly invested in the local community. This fall, Brittons raised over $10,000 for the United Way Columbia flood efforts and hosts a myriad of events throughout the year benefiting all things local!

Head to Brittons on Devine Street today for a one of kind experience and excellent service!

The Columbia Chamber is honored to present the title of Partner of the Month to Brittons of Columbia.

For more information about the Columbia Chamber Partner of the Month, or to nominate a current Chamber Partner, please visit the website.

May 2016 Partner of the Month: Hall Marine Columbia

Hall Marine Columbia is one of six family-owned-and-operated marine dealerships in the Carolinas and Georgia. The Columbia location is off Broad River Road in Irmo and is a full sales, service, parts, and accessories dealership. Hall Marine technicians specialize in the servicing and repair of Mercury Marine, Mercruiser and PCM engines as well as boat detailing and fiberglass repair.HALL MARINE COLUMBIA jpeg

The sales department at Hall Marine has a wide variety of inventory including, but not limited to: Sea Ray, Harris FloteBote Pontoons, Boston Whaler, and Nautique Tow Boats. Hall Marine Columbia also has the ability to take boats in on trade as well as consign them through an in-house brokerage program.

The organization strives for excellence in everything they do and customer satisfaction is their number one priority! As a company, Hall Marine Group values honesty and integrity with customers, local business, and large entities that they work with on a day to day basis.

Being a part of the Columbia Chamber has only encouraged the organization to further integrate themselves into the community by partnering with other local businesses and having the opportunity to see how they can help others like them succeed and vice versa.

Being family-owned in an enjoyable and recreational industry gives Hall Marine the opportunity to meet and share the excitement their products bring to people all over the region. Having the ability to bring their company values to the lives of customers and business partners is simply a bonus to them. To learn more about Hall Marine Columbia, visit their website.

The Columbia Chamber is honored to present the title of Partner of the Month to Hall Marine Columbia.

For more information about the Columbia Chamber Partner of the Month, or to nominate a current Chamber Partner, please visit the website.