Member News | Nov. 15

Elliott Davis Internship Program Ranked Among Best in the Nation

elliott-davis-logoElliott Davis, LLC is pleased to be recognized for providing one of the Best Overall Internships in the country by, an influential source of ratings and insights for students and professionals. The Elliott Davis internship program ranks fourth, higher than any other accounting firms.

More than 500 organizations and their current and former interns were invited to participate. The organizations provided program details while current and former interns rated their experiences in five areas including quality of life; compensation and benefits; interview process; career development; and full-time employment prospects. These ratings are averaged to determine’s annual ranking for Best Overall Internships.

The Elliott Davis seven week summer internship program, Envision, is designed to give participants an opportunity to explorepotential career paths within Elliott Davis, build relationships throughout the firm and obtain valuable work experience in the public accounting field.

“Due to our firm’s growth, we recognize the need to recruit top students in order to serve the clients we continue to attract to our firm,” said Recruiting Manager, Megan Wright. “Our interns receive substantial exposure to firm leadership as well as to industry specialties.  As potential employees, they get a true sense of what it’s like to work at Elliott Davis. Envision is designed to make the transition from student to full-time professional as seamless as possible.”

Students begin their internship with orientation and training at corporate headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina. Throughout the summer, interns work in their local offices alongside Elliott Davis team members on career-related tasks, team presentations and community volunteer efforts. In addition, interns are assigned a team project to develop with their local group. This year, each group was tasked with creating a video promoting the Envision experience. The program ended with a celebration in Folly Beach, where each video was presented and a winner selected to be shown at recruiting events and posted to social media.

“Our program focuses on developing soft skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving and adaptability,” said Jeff Walker, a senior manager at Elliott Davis and a participant in the program’s development. “Technical skills are a must, but soft skills are just as important. Employees with these skills are able to quickly understand the task at hand, more fully engage and have a meaningful career experience.”

Additional training programs at Elliott Davis include Encompass, a student leadership program for undergraduate students, and Engage, an onboarding integration experience for first year staff.

“Elliott Davis strives to attract, retain and develop the best talent,” said Chief Human Resources Officer, Bob Wilson. “We have a passion for providing our employees and potential employees with rewarding experiences. It’s not just about giving people the tools to be successful in their profession but also to build strength in their personal lives.”

Elliott Davis has been named among the Best Places to Work in South Carolina by SC BIZ and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce for seven consecutive years. The firm was also named among the Charlotte Business Journal’s Best Places to Work and as one of the Healthiest Employers of Greater Charlotte.

About Elliott Davis, LLC
Elliott Davis is one of the largest accounting, tax and consulting services firms in the southeast and ranks among the top 50 CPA firms in the U.S.  With offices in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, the firm provides a wide range of accounting, tax, assurance and consulting solutions, concentrating on core industries, niche areas and emerging business sectors. Growing since 1925, Elliott Davis is a member of The Leading Edge Alliance, an international professional association of independently owned accounting firms.

Learn more at


Columbia Business Leader Shares Experience through Free Book

Local business owner Mike DuBose is passionate about helping others through community service and donations—but his latest charitable venture has a very personal touch.

DuBose is giving away free copies of his new book, The Art of Building a Great Business, to the public. The book combines lessons from his 30-plus years of experience as an entrepreneur and those he learned by reading 100 business bestsellers. Its 29 chapters cover topics like leadership, strategic planning, negotiation, budgeting, financing, decision-making, marketing, human resources, customer service, asset protection, and building fun into the workplace. Although the book focuses mainly on businesses, DuBose said its information is also relevant to nonprofits, government agencies, houses of worship, and many other types of organizations.

Although The Art of Building a Great Business took six years and more than 50 drafts to complete, DuBose said that he isn’t looking to make a profit—just to communicate his “mistakes, failures, and occasional successes” so that others can learn from his experiences. A free download is available on DuBose’s non-profit website

“The greatest teacher in my life has not been success—it’s been failure,” DuBose said. “Although those experiences were painful, the things I learned from them have helped steer my current businesses on the path of success. Since 2006, I’ve been determined to build great companies where employees look forward to coming to work most days and customer service is so good that all our referrals come from existing clients. This book shares what I’ve learned on our journey, which will hopefully make things easier for others!”

DuBose is the owner of five businesses headquartered in the Midlands: Columbia Conference Center, Research Associates, The Evaluation Group, DuBose Web Group (co-owned by his older son, Blake), and DuBose Fitness Center (co-owned by his younger son, Joel). He is a member of the Irmo, Chapin, and Columbia chambers of commerce. Mike and Blake DuBose contribute regular columns to Columbia Business Monthly magazine and the blogs and Their business, personal, and travel articles can be read at or


National Craft & Home Decor Retailer Hobby Lobby Contracts to Open in Columbia, SC

downloadHobby Lobby Stores, a privately held national retail chain of crafts and home decor stores, is pleased to announce it has signed a lease to open a store in Columbia, SC. Construction is underway on this 55,000 square-foot building located at 10258 Two Notch Road.

Hobby Lobby’s 13th store in South Carolina is projected to open in the first quarter of 2014, bringing about 35 to 50 jobs to the community paying $14 per hour for full time and $9.50 per hour for part-time associates.

“We are excited to expand our presence in Columbia and to continue to serve this vibrant crafting and home decor community,” stated John Schumacher, Assistant Vice President of Advertising. He added, “Each new Hobby Lobby location contributes to increased foot traffic, generates sales tax, and adds new jobs that enable us to become an integral part of the community while sharing in the growth of both the city and the state.”

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, began as Greco, a miniature picture frames company in 1970. When David Green moved his business from the family’s garage to a 300 square foot retail space in 1972, Hobby Lobby was founded. Today, Hobby Lobby has nearly 600 stores across the nation that average 55,000 square feet in size. This major Oklahoma City-based private corporation offers more than 70,000 crafting and home decor products in its stores. Departments include floral, fabric, needle art, custom framing, baskets, home accents, wearable art, arts and crafts, and jewelry, scrapbooking and paper crafting supplies. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. All Hobby Lobby stores are closed on Sunday.

For more information about Hobby Lobby, our weekly specials, coupon offers, store locations and online shopping, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook at



The Columbia retail market moved slightly over last quarter with its vacancy rate increasing to 7.5% from 7.3% in the previous quarter.  Net absorption for the quarter was negative 115,324 square feet, up from negative 40,957 square feet  in Q2. However, three of Columbia’s four historically strong retail submarkets have significantly lower vacancy rates with the Lexington submarket leading the way. We continue to see three of the Columbia area’s malls struggle as the industry contemplates adaptive reuse plans for these large, antiquated  enclosed malls made popular in the 1970’s.

A highlight of the third quarter was Piggly Wiggly shaking up the South Carolina grocery market by announcing it would sell 29 of its stores to Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter.  In the midlands, Bi-Lo will expand its brand by acquiring three Piggly Wiggly stores.  In addition, fast-casual restaurants continue to aggressively expand as the wave of the future locally and nationally.

Lexington – 3.1% vacancy rate with an average quoted rate of $14.14 per square foot. This continues to be our strongest  submarket with new tenants being drawn to this affluent suburb and its coveted schools.

Dutch Fork/Irmo – 6.1% vacancy rate with an average quoted rate of $11.33 per square foot. This submarket continues to show its desirability to national retailers with Academy Sports anchoring a new ±116,000 square foot shopping center planned to open mid 2014.  Barnes and Noble recently announced the closing of their Harbison store at the end of this year.  Costco is planning their first store in the Midlands market at Piney Grove Road and I-26 in the Dutch Fork/Irmo submarket.

Forest Acres – 13.6% vacancy rate with an average quoted rate of $10.53 per square foot. However, if Richland Fashion Mall is removed from the data, Forest Acres would then have a vacancy rate of 3.5%. The proposed redevelopment of the Cardinal Newman School site is a prime retail or mixed-use development opportunity worthy of close attention as plans unfold.

Northeast Columbia – 7.8% vacancy rate with a quoted rate of $13.80 per square foot. This submarket boasts the largest amount of square footage with 4.5 million square feet more than any other Columbia submarket. New construction is still underway on the Hobby Lobby off Two Notch Road with the shadow space undergoing pre-leasing at a quoted rate of $35.00 per square foot NNN.  Slated tenants to date are Aspen Dental, Sleep Number Beds and Sprint. In addition, The Forum I at Sandhills, a 171,160 square foot shopping center containing major retailers Gold’s Gym and Ulta, recently sold to Schottenstein Property Group out of Ohio.

Columbia Central Business District (CBD) – The downtown area continued to hold its own with a 7.7% vacancy rate and quoted rental rates of $14.72 per square foot.  Locally and nationally, the urban infill trend is strong, sustainable and here to stay.

Columbia’s retail market is beyond stabilization since the Great Recession and is thriving within proven submarkets. Although certain troubled properties have historically skewed the data in a less than favorable light, overall, the Columbia retail market is continuing to grow with new retailers coming into the area. There are several new projects on the horizon and the development projects currently under construction are being pre-leased at historically market-high rates.

The redevelopment of the  former Kmart on Garners Ferry Road near Fort Jackson Blvd is slated for large anchor tenants Marshalls, Michael’s and Petsmart. An additional 34,500 square feet is available in  Rosewood Crossing Center and currently undergoing pre-leasing. Urban infill developments should continue to grow in the future as the retail market embraces  an increase in stable incomes and higher education levels of in-town demographic profiles.

The 804 Gervais Street  (Adluh Flour property) redevelopment project has submitted plans to the Design Development Review Commission, with plans that include the possibility of an Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom as the new occupant. The Vista continues to be a premier location for retailers who are locating to Columbia for the first time or desire a single store as a regional draw, to capture the entire metropolitan market.

NAI Avant is delivering extensively renovated prime retail space in the fourth quarter at 807 Gervais Street as part of its headquarters relocation in the Dupre building located in the heart of the Vista.  Next door at 823 Gervais Street, the Hyatt’s 130-room hotel construction is underway and will entail a Gervais retail component.  The explosive influx of amenity-rich student apartments will continue to shape and strengthen the urban core retail in meaningful ways.  All eyes remain on Bull Street as the transformative, fully-entitled 181-acre urban mixed-use project proceeds with much anticipated construction over the next couple quarters.


Ruth Marie Embler, Senior Broker with NAI Avant’s Charleston office, recently represented the landlord, GS Midtown Apartments, LLP, in the lease of retail space at the Elan Midtown project located at 441 Meeting Street in Charleston, SC. The tenant, CHS Revolution, will occupy approximately ±2,228 square feet.  Elan Midtown will be the flagship location for CHS Revolution, an indoor cycling studio featuring high-energy New York-style fitness classes. The studio is scheduled to open in January 2014.

About Elan Midtown
Elan Midtown is a Class-A, mid-rise luxury apartment community in downtown Charleston, SC developed by Greystar in conjunction with Prudential Real Estate Investors. The 222,000 square-foot structure contains 200 studio, one and two bedroom apartment homes, plus ±7,000 square feet of first floor retail space, which provides additional amenities and services to residents. Elan Midtown is the first large scale mixed-use apartment development to be delivered in downtown Charleston in well over 25 years. The community is expected to be completed fall 2013.


NAI Avant broker, Nick Stomski, SIOR, represented the seller, Americast Inc., in the sale of a industrial facility and land at 1224 Two Notch Road, Lexington.  The property consisted of 5 parcels, a ±4,000 square foot office building, a ±13,000 square foot crane served fabrication structure and three other improvements.  The total site size comprises approximately 13.5 acres with ±2,000 linear feet of frontage along I-20 and was purchased by AOS Specialty Contractors, Inc.


NAI Avant broker, Macon Lovelace, represented 1337 Assembly Street Associates in the sale of their ±9,046 square foot office building commonly known as the Turnipseed Law Firm building.  Built in 1900 as the City’s first power conservation station, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The building was purchased by Swampfox Holdings, LLC, represented by Billy Way of Wilson Kibler, for $835,000.  The Turnipseed Law Firm will remain in their current location as a tenant and Swampfox Technologies will also occupy the building.

About NAI Avant
NAI Avant’s commercial real estate business is one of the largest in the Southeast.  With over 65 professionals, the firm provides comprehensive brokerage, leasing, development, property and project management services.  For nearly three consecutive decades, the group has had more of its brokerage professionals recognized as top producers or recipients of the top awards than any other firm in South Carolina. As a member of the NAI Global Network, NAI Avant is affiliated with over 350 offices and 5,000 professionals in 55 countries across the globe. NAI Global is the largest independent commercial real estate service provider worldwide and a wholly owned subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners. NAI Avant’s Property and Project Management Group currently manages a multi-million square foot portfolio of properties across South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Through its Avant Healthcare Division, the firm provides comprehensive services to hospitals, clinics, and physician groups. NAI Avant, founded in 1966, is headquartered in Columbia, SC with an office in Charleston, SC. Find out more about NAI Avant and its services at Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NAIAvant and like us on Facebook.


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