Small Businesses Growing in Colombia

One idea is to no longer require businesses of 7,500 square feet or less to have parking for customers

COLUMBIA, SC — The Columbia City Council’s Economic and Community Development Committee is considering several ways to ease the burden on new business owners.

This as they seek to revitalize the communities of Main Street, North Main, Two Notch Road and Five Points.

The committee plans to no longer require businesses of 7,500 square feet or less to have customer parking and to redo the way on-street parking is currently done.

“Columbia has 3,000 people living downtown. Greenville and Charleston have 9,000 people living downtown,” Councilman Joe Taylor said. “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 reduce the cost restaurants pay to dispose of 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 of ​​Colombia looked more like a ghost town.

“In those six and a half years, it went from 0 pedestrians to people everywhere,” Elliot said.

Elliot credits foot traffic to small businesses like Curiosity Coffee Bar, Gardener’s Outpost, Indah Coffee, and many others that have opened up and transformed the area.

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“It’s definitely coming, which is exciting because every little bit that comes that way helps,” Elliot said.

Elliot hopes the region will continue to grow and said even the discussion about helping small business owners in Colombia is encouraging.

“Any help you can get while you’re putting so much of your skin into the game is definitely welcome,” Elliot said.

Indah Coffee owner Nick Hauser told News 19 he knows all too well how difficult it is to open a business in Colombia.

“It seemed overly burdensome with the tax and some of the different requirements and that sort of thing,” Hauser said. “If we could find ways to move away from entrepreneurs and creative types, Columbia could be a city that could rival the best cities in the country.”

The Council is also working to reduce commercial property taxes through its Tax Modernization Committee. This committee meets again on Thursday.

The committee’s ideas are in the early planning stages, as they will be presented to the full city council in the coming weeks.

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