Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tom Prioreschi honored at Village Appreciation Celebration

Tom Prioreschi was recognized recently at a gala to honor a group of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Columbia’s neighborhoods and business community. Prioreschi is the founder and principal of Capitol Places, LLC, as well as chief operating officer of US Development.

E. W. Cromartie, II, Columbia city councilman, District II, and chairman of the Village Appreciation Celebration Advisory Committee, presented the welcome and explained the purpose of the celebration.

He said to recipients that because of their commitment to serving the community, they are all extremely deserving of such recognition. Over the years, he said, they have voluntarily sacrificed their time, energy, services and resources to ensure that Columbia thrives like never before.

Greetings that evening were given by Mayor Bob Coble, who welcomed attendees and recipients: “You have all been strong pillars within our communities. I thank you for your hard work and dedication. You have put your effort towards serving the people of this great city, and our service as your elected officials would be a wasted effort without your support.”

Prioreschi expressed his appreciation of the recognition. “I consider myself privileged to be a part of this esteemed group,” he said. “Columbia is my home and business base, and I only do what I consider my responsibility to make this fine city a great place to live and work.”

US Development is currently expanding its business model in the Southeast and is scheduled to soon open offices in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. As in Columbia, the company is focused on historic buildings in or around the center of the business district. The structures then are redeveloped into residences and for mixed-use purposes.

“We wholeheartedly believe the current trend of people moving downtown will continue many years into the future,” Prioreschi said. “Councilman Cromartie has been a vital part of Columbia’s center city growth and bringing about the positive improvements we see today in our state capitol.”

District II, Councilman Cromartie’s constituency, is composed of downtown neighborhoods. The city center corridor – Main, Assembly and Huger streets – also are a part of this district.

Councilman Cromartie was instrumental in developing the Charles Drew Wellness Center. He also is involved in the revitalization and development currently underway along Harden Street.

“I consider Councilman Cromartie one of the true visionaries of our fine city,” said Prioreschi. “He has worked tirelessly to improve the downtown area and make it more appealing to both residents and business owners. I have worked with him through the years and witnessed firsthand his commitment to the citizens of our capitol city. I feel like I should be giving him an award, rather than being on the receiving side.”
The awards were presented before a packed house Oct. 8 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Lincoln Street. Other program participants included Cynthia Hardy, Maxim Communications Group/Total Carolina Care, who served as mistress of ceremonies and introduced the honorees; and Reverend Rodella Burns, Bishop’s Memorial AME Church, who gave the invocation and Blessing of Food.

Reverend Dr. Blakely Scott, First Nazareth Baptist Church, led the Veneration of Our Ancestors and delivered the benediction. Entertainment was provided by Benedict College Concert Choir Director Dr. Linda Kershaw, and the Benedict College Concert Choir.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shop Proud, Shop Columbia

This is a new campaign dedicated to bringing awareness to Columbia citizens and encouraging them to think before they shop in other cities or online. You will be surprised to find that most everything you need can be found right here in Columbia!

Know your facts: If each employed person in the Columbia area spent $100 each month in a retail business, it would generate more than $32 million in revenue. Based on a study commissioned by the Andersonville (Chicago) Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce, for every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, marketing, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain located in our community, at least $43 stays in the local area. Spend it in another city or online and nothing comes home.

There are many unique and exciting locally-owned businesses right in the downtown area. Explore areas such as Devine Street, the Vista, and Five Points. Think before you shop.