Parrish explained his reasoning like this: for starters, several key tourism indicators are coming off strong performances last year. State park revenues, admissions tax dollars, and revenue per available lodging room all set new records in 2013. On top of that, Parrish cited stable gas prices and a recovering economy as additional reasons to feel bullish about the industry overall, especially considering close to 80 percent of South Carolina’s visitors are from out of state.
Also contributing to the rosy outlook is a $2.5 million ad campaign touting "Undiscovered South Carolina,” which is designed to raise the awareness of smaller towns such as Conway, with its river walk and historic district.
Bonding and Contracting Symposium
To raise awareness of the kinds of opportunities available from the City of Columbia and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a Bonding and Contracting Symposium is set for this week at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Designed specifically for contractors, the event is set to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m.
Representatives from the SBA will be on hand to talk about their bonding program and speak directly with local contractors, who will also have the opportunity to network with other professionals from their field. The symposium is free, and the city is encouraging all small, women, and minority owned general contractors and subcontractors to attend.
South Carolina-based Website Rolls Out Prescription Drug Comparison Tool
In the name of helping consumers navigate the murky waters of the nation’s health care system, an Easley-based web developer has introduced a tool designed to help consumers compare the new prescription drug pricing introduced by the federal Affordable Care Act.
Pill-Fill, a site that allows users to aggregate their prescription drug information in one central location, went live late last year, the Charleston Post & Courier reported. Michael Ramirez of Easley developed the site after he saw consumers needed an easy way to compare and manage prescription drug pricing, coverage, and interaction information. Pill-Fill hooks into many of the country’s more popular pharmacies and is available on mobile devices.
And just recently, Pill-Fill made waves when it introduced a tool called Formulary Compare, which allows users to enter a list of their prescription drugs and find out which federal insurance policy is the best fit for their needs. Ramirez said he wanted to give consumers a leg up on the March 31 deadline to choose their plan.
"You have to go into these ridiculous documents [on healthcare.gov] that are sometimes hundreds of pages long. They're all coded differently," Ramirez told The Charleston Post and Courier. "I wanted to provide a simple way."
City Hosting Business Tax Incentive Workshop
The City Of Columbia is teaming up with the Columbia Empowerment Zone, Inc. and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce to host a tax credits and incentives workshop for business owners on Thursday, Feb. 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, located at 930 Richland St. The workshop is free and open to all business owners and tax preparers. To RSVP, visit columbiataxincentivesworkshop.eventbrite.com.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Trustus Theatre Presents Evil Dead, The Musical
This musical version of Sam Raimi’s cult classic films promises to serve up more humor than horror. You can read more and purchase your tickets here.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local restaurants serving locally grown food during Palmetto Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast, July 11-18:
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info