A view down Main Street from the state house steps. | Photo by COLAtoday
More than 460,000 people (and thousands of businesses) contribute to the Columbia metro area’s $48 billion economy. But have you ever wondered about the Capital City’s heaviest hitters?
Consider this Columbia Business 101 — your guide to our region’s five key industries and major employers.
Note: When we say Columbia metro area, that refers to the Central SC Region that includes Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Richland counties.
The key industries
Five key industries represent ~55% of the Columbia metro area’s economy, based on data from Central SC. We’ve listed them in order of employment numbers.
Health care and social assistance | 14%
Prisma Health Midlands + Lexington Medical Center together employ over 21,000 individuals. The services in these industries are delivered by trained professionals and include establishments providing medical care, health care, and social assistance.
Fun fact: According to the latest tourism data from Experience Columbia, visitation increased from 15.1 million in 2021 to 15.8 million in 2022 and visitor spending increased 12% over the previous year to $1.7 billion.
Of the $1.7 billion spent in Columbia, food + beverage spending accounted for $487 million — that’s 29% of each visitor’s budget.
The Public Administration sector consists of establishments of federal, state, and local government agencies that oversee and manage public programs. In total, the state of SC employs over 30,000 in the Midlands, the top two being the SC Department of Corrections and the SC Department of Social Services.
Click the button below to read through the major players, top employers, open jobs, and more.
Beginner Calligraphy Class | Tuesday, Sept. 19 | 6-7:30 p.m. | Graduate Hotel Columbia, SC, 1619 Pendleton St., Columbia | $65 | In this workshop, you’ll be learning an introduction to modern calligraphy with a pointed dip pen and ink.
The Nature of Fall with Rudy Mancke | Tuesday, Sept. 19 | 12-1 p.m. | McKissick Museum, 816 Bull St., Columbia | Free | Join USC’s Naturalist-in-Residence for an in-depth look into the natural changes that accompany the autumnal equinox.
Thursday, Sept. 21
The ART of Real Estate’s Karma Keg Social | Thursday, Sept. 21 | 4:30-7 p.m. | Craft and Draft, 2706 Devine St., Columbia | Free | Show up, make a donation, enjoy free beer, and celebrate the community by supporting a local nonprofit.
Concert in the Gardens | Thursday, Sept. 21 | 5-7 p.m. | Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens, 1615 Blanding St., Columbia | $20 | Bring your own blanket or chairs, and pack a picnic if you’d like.
Design/Development Review Commission (D/DRC) Meeting | Thursday, Sept. 21 | 4 p.m. | City Hall, Council Chambers, 1737 Main St., 3rd Floor, Columbia | Free | Visit the Design/Development Review Commission page for this week’s agenda for Columbia’s upcoming projects.
Friday, Sept. 22
Columbia Job Fair | Friday, Sept. 22 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. | Virtual Job Fair, Columbia | Free | Connect and interview with top employers at this virtual job fair.
Saturday, Sept. 23
USC Gamecocks vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs| Saturday, Sept. 23 | 7:30 p.m. | Williams-Brice Stadium, 1174 George Rogers Blvd., Columbia | $75-$130 | Head to Willy B. and watch the Gamecocks take on Mississippi State at home.
Wednesday, Oct. 11
South Carolina State Fair | Wednesday, Oct. 11-Sunday, Oct. 22 | Times vary | SC State Fair Grounds, 1200 Rosewood Dr., Columbia | $10-$15 | Mark your calendars for the SC State Fair — purchase tickets by Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Circle K stores or on the State Fair website.*
Richland County is progressing on a multimillion-dollar plan to repurpose Columbia Place Mall for government offices, including a family services center. They are considering issuing $70 million in bonds to fund the project. The move is in response to legal requirements to provide office space for several state agencies. (The State)
The Donut Guy is expanding with a new location in the Village at Sandhill (430-6 Town Center Pl.) The business began at local markets, later operated as a food truck, and opened its first brick-and-mortar on Lincoln Street. The Donut Guy will host a grand opening on Sept. 23 + 24. (The Post and Courier)
Prohibition, a 1920s-themed bar + restaurant based in Charleston, is opening a location at 1556 Main St. in October. The new location mirrors the Charleston venue with an expanded kitchen and an Italian pizza oven. It’ll plan for a full-service bar, live music stage, and private event space. (The Post and Courier)
Sterlite Technologies — a Fiber optic cable manufacturing company — launched its $56 million manufacturing facility, “The Palmetto Plant,” in Lugoff. The plant focuses on sustainability, is 168,000 sqft, and employs over 150 people. (Cola Daily)
“Therapalooza: The Greatest Show in the Southeast” will take place on Friday, Sept. 22, and supports The Therapy Place, aiding special-needs children + their families. The event features live music, food, and tickets will benefit Therapy Place programs. (Cola Daily)
USC’s women’s basketball is hoping to sell 16,000 season tickets for the 2023-24 season through the “16 for 16" campaign, celebrating Coach Dawn Staley’s 16th season. They’ve introduced a “Community Supporter” program, allowing ticket purchases to be a form of donation. (Gamecocks Online)
Calling all real estate agents. Want your home listing featured for free? We are looking to highlight homes for sale in the Midlands area that are $300k or under. Tell us about your listing and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.
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Heads up Gamecock fans — USC will face off against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m., as announced by the SEC. This rivalry game follows the Gamecocks’ surprise victory over the Vols last year. Let’s see if we can repeat last year’s win, this time in TN.