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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: New Economic Development

Jan 29, 2024 09:54AM ● By Donna Walker

$23.75 Million Investment to Benefit Sumter County

Nova Molecular Technologies (Nova), a high-purity solvents manufacturer, said it is expanding its operations in Sumter County.


The company’s $23.75 million investment will create 20 jobs, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.


Founded in Texas in 1991, Nova is a leader in high-value solvent recovery technology. The company’s Recover and Return model launched in 2017 and helps customers reduce their environmental impact by recovering chemicals that would otherwise be sent to waste disposal.


Nova also manufactures and markets chemicals that are used in the biopharma, analytical and agricultural markets.


Said Nova Molecular Technologies CEO Chris Adams: “We are grateful for the partnership with Sumter Economic Development and support from our local and state government partners as it allows us to move into our next phase of expansion in Sumter that supports our long-term growth objectives.”


Since establishing its South Carolina operations in 2014, Nova has expanded to four Sumter County locations, including two production facilities.


The company later sold its Texas facility to concentrate manufacturing operations solely in South Carolina.


Nova’s latest expansion will add additional square footage to its existing facility located at 1123 Race Track Road, which will enable further development of the processes and technologies needed to meet growing customer needs, Commerce officials said.


The expansion is expected to be complete by 2028. Those interested in joining Nova should go to the company’s careers page.


The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to the project.


The council also awarded a $100,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to Sumter County to assist with the costs of infrastructure improvements.

Yard Alliance Announces Partnerships With Two Additional Companies

Yard Alliance announced the recapitalization of Per-Fect-A-Lawn in Norcross, GA, and the acquisition of Palmetto Landscapes in Charleston, SC.


Officials said the two companies are the second and third additions to Yard Alliance and serve to expand the platform to Atlanta, GA, and accelerate the growth of its existing business (YardWorks) in Charleston.


Per-Fect-A-Lawn was founded in 1986 and serves residential clients in north metro Atlanta with lawn maintenance, turf care, irrigation, design, and installation services.


Palmetto Landscapes was acquired by YardWorks to increase scale and density within the markets it is currently serving, officials said. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Bill Agey, YardWorks general manager, said, "It was a great opportunity for us to be able to help the owner of Palmetto to transition out of his business and for us to continue taking care of their former clients and employees."


Yard Alliance has acquired three businesses since its founding in Q4 2022.


Yard Alliance said it continues to look for new partnerships in its existing markets and across the broader Southeast.

Wreaths Across America’s Mobile Education Exhibit National Tour Makes SC Stops to Honor Veterans, Supporters

Wreaths Across America (WAA) said its Mobile Education Exhibit (MEE) national tour will be heading to South Carolina to honor those who served and welcome home Vietnam veterans. 


 “The mission of Wreaths Across America is to Remember the fallen, Honor those who served, and Teach the next generation the value of freedom,” said Karen Worcester, executive director.


Worcester added, “The Mobile Education Exhibit provides the unique opportunity for communities to come together and share the stories of those who served and sacrificed. Through our partnership with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, the exhibit also serves as an official ‘Welcome Home’ location for our nation’s Vietnam veterans.”


Officials said the MEE provides an opportunity to unite the local community, veterans, active-duty military, and their families through interactive exhibits, short films, and shared stories.


The officials added the exhibit serves as a mobile museum, educating visitors about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes. 


The stops in South Carolina:

FORT MILL, SC – Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 – Cabela’s will host a local stop for the WAA Mobile Education Exhibit national tour. The MEE will be free and open to the public locally at 1000 Cavelas Drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


SPARTANBURG, SC – Tuesday, Wednesday, Feb. 13-14, 2024 - Wreaths Across America Supporters will host a local stop for the WAA Mobile Education Exhibit national tour. The MEE will be free and open to the public locally at 140B Venture Boulevard, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


CLEMSON, SC – Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 – Lowes will host a local stop for the WAA Mobile Education Exhibit national tour. The MEE will be free and open to the public locally at 608 Issaquena Trail, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


EASLEY, SC – Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 – Walmart will host a local stop for the WAA Mobile Education Exhibit national tour. The MEE will be free and open to the public locally at 115 Rolling Hills Circle, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


When the MEE pulls into the area, all veterans, active-duty military, their families, and the local community members are invited and encouraged to visit, take a tour, and speak with WAA representatives and volunteers.


To host the MEE in your community, whether it be for a parade, a school-related or veterans’ organization, or a public or private event, go to to make a request.


You can sponsor a veteran’s wreath anytime for $17 at

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. 


The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, and thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. 

CFPB Proposes Rule to Stop New Junk Fees on Bank Accounts

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed to block banks and other financial institutions from one potential source of new junk fee revenue – fees on transactions declined right at the swipe, tap, or click.


The proposed rule would prohibit non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees on transactions that financial institutions decline in real time. These types of transactions include declined debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals, as well as some declined peer-to-peer payments.


Officials said the CFPB’s proposal is part of the agency’s proactive approach to protect consumers, and it would cover banks, credit unions, and certain peer-to-peer payment companies.


“Over the years, large banks and their consultants have concocted new junk fees for fake services that cost almost nothing to deliver,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra.


Chopra added, “Banks should be competing to provide better products at lower costs, not innovating to impose extra fees for no value. The CFPB will continue to rid the market of junk fees today and prevent new junk fees from emerging in the future.”


When a consumer tries to make a payment, but does not have enough money in their account, generally one of two things happens. One outcome is overdraft – the financial institution extends credit to cover the difference and permits the transaction to go through. Generally, the institution charges a fee for the overdraft loan.


The other outcome is that the financial institution simply declines the transaction for insufficient funds. Generally, the institution only charges a fee for insufficient funds transactions that are processed and then declined – i.e., checks or electronic authorizations, like Automated Clearing House transactions.


CFPB officials said financial institutions almost never charge fees for transactions that are declined in real time at the swipe, tap, or click.


For example, a $100 grocery purchase with a debit card may be declined in real time because the account only has $90. These types of transactions are not processed like Automated Clearing House transactions, and are generally not assessed fees.


The CFPB said it is taking proactive steps to ensure that financial institutions don’t impose these fees, which can occur for a host of reasons that are out of the consumer’s control.


Specifically, as technology advances, financial institutions may be able to decline more transactions right at the swipe, tap, or click, CFPB officials said. These transactions include ATM, debit or prepaid card, online transfer, in-person bank teller, and certain person-to-person transactions.


The officials said banks have previously increased fees when technology provided an opportunity.


Overdraft fees are a prime example, and the CFPB has proposed a rule to close the overdraft loophole that had allowed banks to capitalize on technological changes and charge consumers billions of dollars in overdraft fees every year.


The CFPB’s proposed rule would consider fees for transactions declined in real time to be unlawful under the Consumer Financial Protection Act.


CFPB officials said the proposed rule is also just one part of the agency’s work on protecting consumers from unlawful NSF and other junk fees.


In early 2022, the CFPB launched an initiative to scrutinize junk fees. Following the CFPB’s junk fee work, many banks and other financial institutions reduced or eliminated excessive NSF fees. The CFPB expects consumers to save $2 billion annually from these changes.

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