Lexpo 2014 – A “Must Attend” Event

LEXPO 2014

The Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center 2014 Business Lexpo will be held on Thursday, August 21 at the Radius Conference Center on Main Street. Vendor-to-vendor networking will take place from 10-11 am, and the event is open to the public from 11 am until 2 pm.

This is a “must attend” event if you’re serious about your business. With businesses from all over Lexington County attending and exhibiting, this will be an exceptional networking opportunity, regardless of the size of your organization.

This anticipated event is the perfect opportunity to learn about products and services to help you in both business and in your everyday life. You will have a chance to find new products, discover innovative technologies, network with other professionals and establish new contacts or reconnect with old ones.

Don’t miss this opportunity to stay ahead of the competition.

Make sure you attend Lexpo 2014. It’s free.

Thanks to the following sponsors of the event: Lexington Medical Center, BB&T, North Lake Construction, Palmetto Health, Lexington Mortgage Center, All South Federal Credit Union, Global Xchange, The Palm and The Dude, Celebrations, Woodmen of the World, Comporium, Lesesne Industries.

Woodmen of the World will be grilling hamburgers and hotdogs during the day.

To read more about the event, click here.

Sponsorships are also available and range from $500 to $2,000.

For sponsorship information, contact Sondra Gettys at 803-359-6113 or sondra@lexingtonsc.org.

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Cottrell & Co., Inc. Celebrates Membership With Greater Lexington Chamber

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Cottrell & Co., Inc. recently celebrated its Greater Lexington Chamber membership with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 20. Cottrell & Co., which employs eight people, has been in business in the Lexington area for nine years. The company’s mainstays … Continue reading

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1 Million Cups Columbia SC

1 Million CupsHave you recently started your own business, or do you have the next great idea?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, you may be interested in a relatively new program designed to engage, educate, and accelerate communities of entrepreneurs.

It’s called 1 Million Cups (1MC), and it happens every Wednesday morning from 9:00-10:00am all around the United States, including right here in our own backyard.

Cromer’s Pnuts, located at 1700 Huger Street in Columbia, has been hosting the weekly 1 Million Cups Columbia meetings since March.

The program’s mission is “to create the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of entrepreneurs possible.”

Agata Chydzinski, a transplant from France, is leading the efforts with 1MC at Cromer’s.

“Cromer’s may be a 79 year-old business, but we still treat it as a startup. We innovate and rethink on a daily basis,” Chydzinski said. “As a matter of fact, not only are we the host, but we were also a presenter: how to stay relevant in 2014 when your date of birth is 1935.”

On average, about 30-35 people attend the 1 Million Cup meetings at Cromer’s. The one-hour meeting is followed by networking time that is often prompted by the discussion, according to Chydzinski., who’s first career was directly connected to entrepreneurship.

Each week, two entrepreneurs give a six-minute educational presentation then have 20 minutes of feedback and questioning with an audience of mentors, advisors and other entrepreneurs. This provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to “gain insight into possible ways they can improve their businesses, gather real-time feedback, connect with a community that truly cares about their progress, and walk away feeling like they have advanced their business,” according to the 1MC website.

For more information, visit www.1millioncups.com. You can also like the program on Facebook at 1 Million Cups and follow on Twitter @1MillionCups.

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Let’s Celebrate with Celebrations


Celebrations, LLC had a ribbon cutting ceremony and hosted the Greater Lexington Chamber & Visitors Center’s monthly Business After Hours function in June to celebrate a new beginning.

The West Metro and Irmo Chambers were also in attendance.

Lee Pitcovich, who owns and operates Event Management, LLC, a company he started three years ago, recently took over Celebrations, which has been in business for over 30 years.

“Setting up events is our main service,” said Pitcovich, who also indicated the two businesses would remain separate. “Anything from tents, tables and chairs, to dishes, linens and lighting is what we specialize in.”

But that isn’t all they do. The business is capable of handling many more aspects of an event.

“We can take care of the other items that may be needed that we don’t carry in house,” said the Celebrations COO. “If we need to handle port-a-johns, sound, power needs, etcetera, we will take care of it so the client truly has a one-stop-shop experience.”

Celebrations, which employs 13 people, was originally located in Richland County, but moved about seven years ago to its current location in Lexington County because of the great position on Highway 378.

Pitcovich is looking to continue growth in the area of products offered, gain market share and possibly expand to other areas. Currently, Celebrations serves the entire state of South Carolina and can handle an event of any size.

“Setting up events is creating in a way. Taking a blank canvas such as a field or a parking lot and turning it into an atmosphere where people can have fun is very gratifying,” he said. “Seeing people smiling and having fun in an environment created by us what it’s all about.”

Please provide your website address, Facebook page and Twitter account.

For more information, visit www.CelebrationsSC.com, and like Celebrations on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Celebrations-of-Columbia/132966220100360. You can also follow the business on Twitter @CelebrationsSER.

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Consultants in Gastroenterology – Welcome Dr. Singh

Erick R. Singh MDCOLUMBIA SC — Consultants in Gastroenterology and the South Carolina Endoscopy  Centers in West Columbia and Northeast Columbia welcome Erick R. Singh MD to their clinical team.

Dr. Singh graduated from The University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC and received his medical degree, completed his residency, and obtained his certifications and fellowships in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Clinical Research from USC’s School of Medicine in Charleston, SC.
Dr. Singh is affiliated with Lexington Medical Center, Palmetto Health Richland,
Providence Hospital and Providence Northeast. He is accepting new patients and
appointments may be scheduled by calling 803.794.4585.

Consultants in Gastroenterology has four convenient offices in West Columbia,
Northeast Columbia, Irmo/St. Andrews and Lexington with accredited
Endoscopy Centers in West Columbia and Northeast Columbia. With the
addition of Dr. Singh, the practice has nine board certified physicians and
four nurse practitioners with most insurances being accepted.

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Going, Going, Gone – Almost

LEXPO 2014

The Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center’s annual Lexpo business exposition will be held on Thursday, August 21 at the Radius Conference Center on Main Street, presenting businesses with a unique marketing and networking opportunity.

The 2013 version of Lexpo was called a “world-class event” by AGG’s Scott Adams, who also said, “It’s incredible how far the Chamber has come in only a few years. It will be fun to watch you all hit it ‘out of the park’ next year!”

Well next year is here, and the Chamber is swinging for the fences.

Fewer than 15 booths remain available, so if you want to hit a home run for your business, it’s time to step up to the plate and reserve your spot at Lexpo 2014.

“Numerous people said it was our best one so far,” Chamber Vice President Sondra Gettys said of last year’s event. “A lot of our vendors said they got some real leads, not just people walking around collecting trinkets.”

To reserve your booth, click here:

Booths, which have already been booked, will highlight businesses ranging from makeup to country clubs to banks and insurance agencies. Every business and business type can benefit from the exposure.

Regardless of the size of your organization, this is an exceptional opportunity for you and your business. Networking allows you to reach existing and potential customers without spending excessive amounts of money on advertising. Lexpo also promotes building invaluable business relationships with face-to-face interactions.

The event gives business owners a chance to promote their business, not only to the public, but also to other business owners, and the setup is ideal for networking. Vendor-to-vendor networking will take place from 10-11 am, and the event is open to the public from 11 am until 2 pm.

Sponsorships are also available and range from $500 to $2,000.

For sponsorship information, contact Sondra Gettys at 803-359-6113 or sondra@lexingtonsc.org.

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Ambassador Spotlight – Jana Medlin

Jana MedlinAmong their many volunteer duties, Chamber Ambassadors contact members to see how the Chamber can help their businesses. In this monthly Q&A, members get to know a little about them.

Who: Jana Medlin, Wingate by Wyndham – Columba/Lexington – Director of Sales

How long have you worked there? Six years

What do you like about working there? The connections and relationships that I get to build with the community and our guests.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism Management, University of South Carolina

What do you like about living and working in Lexington? I really like the community. It is a very warm and welcoming community.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you as an ambassador? I’ve enjoyed being an ambassador and meeting people who live and work in the community.

Favorite movie: Good Will Hunting

Favorite musician: I don’t have all-time favorite… but I do like John Mayer. I like a very wide range of music.

Last book read: The Longest Ride

Favorite Lexington hangout: I enjoy dining at many of Lexington’s restaurants and spending time at the lake.

What are you really good at that most people don’t know? I wouldn’t say I was great at this, but I really like photography.

What are you really bad at, that you don’t mind telling people? Singing and Dancing, but that doesn’t stop me from doing them.

To contact Jana:

Work number – 803-957-5000

Email – jmedlin@lexingtonwingate.com

Business website – www.lexingtonwingate.com




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One-Stop IT Shop – Palmetto PC Solutions, LLC


If you have technology needs, whether large or small, there is no need to look any farther than Palmetto PC Solutions, LLC. That’s what company owner Jenny Altman and President Chris Altman strive for every day.

“We provide IT service, but we pride ourselves on being a one stop shop in the technology industry,” Chris Altman said. “From networking your business computers together, all the way to making your home technology run smoothly.”

Palmetto PC Solutions, which employs two trained professionals and has been in business since September 2009, recently celebrated its Greater Lexington Chamber membership with a Ribbon Cutting ceremony.

One of the business’s primary focuses is communication and getting a true understanding of customer needs and not just making a sale, according to Altman, who is driven by the motto of treating others the way you want to be treated and with great Christian ethics.

Altman envisions Palmetto PC Solutions growing to a point that will allow them to service the East Coast with the concept of a “one stop shop experience.” But it all starts right here in Lexington.

“I see a big potential in the Lexington area that needs a good technology specialist,” he said. “There are very few within the SC area that work with multiple lines of technology. We focus not just on computers.”

The company’s IT services include internet security, phone systems, technical support, networking, installation and more. Altman enjoys all aspects of the job, especially being on the cutting edge of technology and the interaction with customers.

“I don’t work when I hit my office door. I am at play all day,” said Altman, who loves keeping up with the most modern gadgets, tools and equipment. “When my head hits the bed at night I sleep knowing that I did a great job for my customers.”

Palmetto PC Solutions offers a 10% discount on all services to fellow Greater Lexington Chamber members, as well as military and the elderly.

The business is located at 2526 Emmanuel Church Road in West Columbia, and the phone number is 803-661-1881.

For more information, visit www.palmettopcsolutions.com, and follow the business at www.facebook.com/palmettopcsolutions and at https://twitter.com/scpcsolutions.


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Pick Your Flavor and Chill – Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

Menchie Yogurt

With the hot summer weather already upon us, it’s a great time to cool off with a frozen treat.

The place to do it is Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, located at 5580 Sunset Blvd next to Kitty’s Hallmark. Menchie’s, which will be celebrating two years in business in August, employs between eight and twelve people, depending on the season.

The business recently celebrated its Greater Lexington Chamber membership with a Ribbon Cutting ceremony in May.

“We are both local South Carolinians and wanted to invest in the growth of Lexington as we believe in its values and way of life,” said Jorge Gonzalez, who owns and operates Menchie’s along with his wife Megan. “Lexington perfectly aligns with Menchie’s focus on families and community.”

Menchie’s has been involved in the community, participating in multiple Fall Fests, Kid’s Days and numerous school fundraisers.

The store offers “16 rotating flavors of Menchie’s Private Label Collection, ensuring the highest grade of pro-biotic benefit while remaining 100% RBST hormone free,” according to Gonzalez. There are also options that are gluten free, no sugar added and non-dairy. And the flavors are always changing. Menchie’s debuts a newly-developed flavor each month.

The business also has a private event room, which is great for birthday parties, youth sports award ceremonies, church groups and more.

“Offering the wonderful community of Lexington a place to connect with friends and family in a fun relaxing environment,” is one of the most rewarding aspects of the business, according to Gonzalez. “It is truly gratifying to see how much everyone enjoys their experience at Menchie’s and fulfilling our mission statement ‘We Make You Smile.’”

The plan is to continue building on their success from fundraisers and field trips with local schools, churches and day cares, and Gonzalez would like to expand the Menchie’s experience to senior living centers and special needs programs as well.

Find Menchie’s on Facebook at www.facebook.com/menchieskittyskorner.


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Army Strong

General BeckerBrigadier General Bradley A. Becker received two standing ovations during his address to the crowd at the GLC&VC’s July breakfast, which was sponsored by LICS.

Becker, who is the 46th Commanding General of the United States Army Training Center and Fort Jackson, discussed Fort Jackson’s mission and its significant economic impact on the Midlands. Becker also touched on potential downsizing due to budget reductions and sequestration.

Being the nation’s largest initial entry training site, Fort Jackson has a tremendous economic impact on the state of South Carolina, falling somewhere between $2.6 billion and $3 billion, according to Becker.

Fort Jackson is the site where approximately 75,000 soldiers are trained annually. About 45,000 of those go through basic combat training, which is the “heart and soul of what we do at Fort Jackson,” according to Becker, who also oversees 3,500 active military and 3,500 civilian employees, of which about 40% live in Lexington County and go to work every day at Fort Jackson.

“The whole process we consider a transformation,” Becker said. “We’re taking civilians who come into Fort Jackson with no military experience and in ten weeks, we transform them into American soldiers, where they will go out to their advanced individual training and then their first unit of assignment.”

Buses haul 600-800 soldiers onto Fort Jackson at the beginning of each week, and they are immediately under total control of the drill sergeant. During this first phase of training, which they refer to as the Red Phase, soldiers learn Army values, the warrior ethos, basic military customs and courtesies, and they start physical training. Soldiers are also given a weapon within the first 48 hours, and they begin the “immersion process with their individual weapon,” Becker said.

The White Phase is next, and this is when the soldiers really hone their warrior skills. They also continue their physical training, get medical training, weapon training, learn individual soldier skills and participate in warrior tasks and battle drills.

The final portion of the training is the Blue Phase, which involves tactical training. They finish with a five-day stint living in the woods and performing different missions as they operate out of a patrol base. That’s the culmination of the ten-week training regimen, which is followed by graduation.

Fort Jackson graduates between 600 and 1,200 soldiers every week, and visitors come in from all over the U.S. for the ceremonies. Becker said the visitors are always amazed at the transformation their family members have undergone during the ten weeks of training.

The Army has three other initial training sites, but Fort Jackson handles more than the other three combined with 54% of all soldiers who enter the United States Army going through basic combat training right here in the Midlands. The other three locations train the other 46%. The disparity is greater among women with 61% of all females entering the Army coming through Fort Jackson.

But basic combat training isn’t the only thing going on at Fort Jackson, which houses numerous other programs including a chaplain school for all branches of the service, a wheeled vehicle mechanics course, the Army’s master fitness training school and more. About 2,000 sailors come through Fort Jackson every year to train as soldiers before being deployed to support army units. The US Army drill sergeant school is also at Fort Jackson, so every drill sergeant at all four locations is trained here.

“Things are going well at Fort Jackson. The last round of sequestration didn’t hurt us too bad,” said Becker, who also pointed out that they do face challenges.

Some of the numbers are bound to drop with the mandated downsizing. The Army will downsize in active duty numbers from 570,000 to about 490,000 by 2015. The goal is to be at 440,000 by 2017. At that number, the Army will still be capable of supporting the national security strategy, but it would be at high risk. Anything below that number, and the national security strategy would need to be looked at.

The hope is that Congress will take action in the near future to avoid any of these potential downfalls.

“If there is no action in Congress between now and 2016, sequestration level cuts that went into effect a couple years ago will go back into effect, because the 2015 budget will be over,” Becker said. “If those go into effect, the Army could go as low as 420,000 or even lower. At that point, I think we could see some significant impact at Fort Jackson.”

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