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Columbia Business Monthly

#ColumbiaAgenda: Lexington Watchmaker Hook + Gaff Ditches Retail, SC Economic Survey Results, Lexington Medical, Dum-Dum Lawsuit, Fortnite's Staggering Population

Mar 22, 2019 09:57AM ● By Chris Haire

Lexington-based watchmaker Hook + Gaff goes direct-to-consumer: On March 15, Hook + Gaff Watch Company transitioned to a direct-to-consumer business model, eliminating its retail footprint. Founder Michael Sims says the change will benefit customers by cutting out the “retail markup” and offering a better value without sacrificing quality.

“In addition, we will have the opportunity to interact directly with our customers, enabling us to build closer relationships with our fans,” he said in a release.

Hook + Gaff was founded after Sims searched for a watch that could withstand days fishing on the open water, yet still look right for a night out. He partnered with designer and friend Gash Clayton to launch the brand, which offers watches, hand-assembled in the Carolinas, with unique features including a left-side crown placement, scratch-resistant sapphire glass, and lightweight titanium. 

More information is available at --Leigh Savage

The new Winthrop Poll is out, and South Carolinians have a positive view of the economy, both here in the Palmetto State and for the country at large: Seventy-six percent believe the U.S. economy is good or very good, while 75% say the same of South Carolina, the poll notes.

Meanwhile, the divide between those anticipating the worst and those expecting the best is far closer, with 54% believing the national economy will get better and 37% believing it will get worse. In South Carolina, 63% say the state economy will get better, while 24% say it's taking a negative turn. --Chris Haire

Boeing sold safety features as expensive extras for its 737 Max jets. Neither of the two planes that crashed recently had them (NY Times)


The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually (Digital Trends)

A banker’s guide to Facebook’s new advertising rules (American Banker)

Why the next tech boom will be led by a different type of founder (Medium)
Survey: Top CEOs Report Weaker Economic Outlook for 1Q (Manufacturing.Net)

Outgoing FDA chief says new CBD laws are preferred to regulations (Supermarket News)

How big is 'Fortnite'? With nearly 250 million players, it's over two-thirds the size of the US population (Business Insider)

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50 Most Influential
William Calloway
S.C. State Museum 
Executive Director

As executive director of the S.C. State Museum, William Calloway is responsible for a multi-disciplinary facility that includes four floors of gallery space, a 4D theater, a 55-foot digital dome planetarium, and a state-of-the-art observatory. The museum welcomes guests from all over the country and admits school children from across South Carolina for free all year. The S.C. State Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a distinction only 4 percent of the nation's museums earn. 

Under Calloway’s leadership in the past year, the museum has developed a new long-term strategic plan, created expanded educational outreach opportunities to make museum resources more accessible for classrooms across the state, and celebrated its 30th anniversary, which culminated in a birthday weekend that attracted 8,800 guests.  
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