The Catch-Up: SC Secretary of Commerce Addresses Lexington Chamber

By Kailee Kokes and Jordan Lawrence
Posted 9/21/22

S.C. Secretary of Commerce Henry Lightsey highlighted efforts to enhance the state’s business-forward qualities when he spoke in Columbia last week.

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The Catch-Up: SC Secretary of Commerce Addresses Lexington Chamber


S.C. Secretary of Commerce Henry Lightsey highlighted efforts to enhance the state’s business-forward qualities when he spoke in Columbia last week.

The talk was part of the Lexington Chamber’s occasional Business Over Lunch series and took place at the Columbia DoubleTree.

“We just need to continue to focus on growing that [current business] and making our people aware of the fact that they don’t have to leave the state in order to work in the technology sector, or to do exciting the genetic research or to do work and get the cutting edge of the aerospace industry, or the automobile industry,” he told the full and attentive ballroom.

After being introduced by Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy, Lightsey spoke about rebranding the state, mentioning perhaps changing or recasting the “Just Right” slogan that has held its spot for more than 11 years, and taking a more technology-oriented, tech-savvy approach to connecting with and attracting potential new businesses to the state.

He emphasized that businesses that move here can expect a lifetime partnership with the state government, as it looks to keep them in South Carolina. 

And he offered evidence that this approach is working — reporting that of the more than 500 companies that were actively looking at relocating to South Carolina this year, 93 have done so, creating close to 5,000 jobs, 500 of these coming to rural areas. 

“I think we can compete with anybody around the world for many of these jobs,” he said. “We certainly intend to do that.” — Kailee Kokes

WECO Sign to Be Refurbished

A West Columbia landmark is set to be refurbished.

The iconic WECO sign, which once marked the location of WECO Billiards and now stands beside the home of the Riggs Partners marketing firm, was taken down to be refurbished Sept. 20, COLAtoday reports.

“When our marketing firm ventured to West Columbia in 2007, we had billiard balls in our eyes and didn’t know it. (They’d been painted white.) Outsiders opined that the rusty, broken-down WECO sign was past its prime, but we knew the truth,” the company writes on its website. “That relic had stolen our hearts from day one. We were so in love, in fact, we vowed to someday restore the sign to its once-glowing glory.”

According to COLAtoday, the sign, which has grown rusted and discolored, will be down for between six and eight weeks for refurbishment, set to be unveiled in its spiffed-up form in November. — Jordan Lawrence

Openings and Closings

A new oil change location is set to open in Lexington County this week.

Cypress Development Partners LLC announced that an outpost of the Take 5 Oil Change franchise should open by Sept. 19 at 1846 S. Lake Drive in the Red Bank area.

“Red Bank is a growing and vibrant community in the Midlands, and Take 5 will offer folks in this area a fast and convenient option for their automotive care,” Tyler Baldwin III, development associate with Cypress, is quoted in the release.

In the Harbison area, a restaurant served its final meals Sept. 18.

The Columbia location of Willie Sue’s Food and Spirits closed “due to circumstances beyond our control,” according to a Facebook post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The eatery, which focused on wood-fired meats and opened in July 2021, was the second location for the Sumter-based restaurant.

The building, located at 380 Columbiana Dr. near the Columbiana Centre mall, was previously the home of the Twisted Kilt Pub and Eatery. — Jordan Lawrence and Kailee Kokes


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