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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: New Soda City Identity

Apr 22, 2024 09:19AM ● By Donna Walker

City of Columbia Unveils New Identity: Together, We Are Columbia

The city of Columbia, South Carolina, unveiled a new brand identity this week to instill, officials said, a better sense of community pride and optimism.


Prior to now, Columbia had used the city seal, first created in 1912, as its logo.


Last year, Columbia officials said they recognized the need to better showcase Soda City attributes to move the city forward.


They embarked on a nine-month journey to define the city in a more significant way for both current residents and future development.


South Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, thanks, officials say, to its warm weather and hot economic climate.


Employment is projected to grow 12 percent with a gain of 263,000 new jobs by 2030 according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.


“We want to ensure Columbia continues to attract businesses and talent, while maintaining its rich sense of character, culture and quality of life,” said Mayor Daniel J. Rickenmann. “This means thinking about the city not just as a place, but as a brand worth building and promoting.”


The city engaged S.C. based marketing and communications agency Crawford to evaluate the brand through a series of workshops and audits.


This helped inform the refreshed strategic direction and tagline Together, We Are Columbia., logo redesign and brand guidelines to create a more consistent and identifiable brand.


In total, the city paid $69,300 for the work. By comparison, the City of Franklin Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb, spent $81,500 on their new logo in 2019 and North Carolina’s capitol Raleigh, spent a reported $226,000 on their logo in 2017.


In addition, work has also been performed for an economic development pitchbook, outreach for national media coverage, social media content development, and creative support which includes graphic design/image enhancement.


Crawford will continue to provide communications and marketing services throughout the implementation of the new brand strategy process.


The new logo pays homage to Columbia’s rich heritage and promising future.


Drawing inspiration from the South Carolina State Flag and the prominent letter “C,” the design incorporates elements that represent the capital city’s unique identity.


Additionally, the depiction of the three rivers — Broad River, Saluda River, and Congaree River — accentuate the city’s geographical significance and natural beauty.


“We believe that this new look not only captures the essence of Columbia but also reinforces our commitment to progress and innovation,” said City Manager Teresa Wilson. “It is a testament to our collective aspirations for the future.”


The rollout of the city’s new look will begin in April 2024 and will be implemented across all departments, communication materials, signage, properties, and merchandise.

Xanadu, South Carolina Quantum Establish Partnership to Build Quantum Workforce of Tomorrow

Xanadu (, a leader in photonic quantum computing, and South Carolina Quantum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing academia, industry, and entrepreneurs together to build a sustainable quantum ecosystem, have formed a partnership to develop practical, hands-on educational materials and grow a quantum-smart workforce in South Carolina.


Xanadu is on a mission to make quantum computers useful and available to people everywhere.


In 2022, Xanadu made the strategic decision to partner with academic institutions and organizations focused on quantum education to help build a global quantum computing workforce.


As part of its long-term vision to support quantum education and research in the U.S., Xanadu expanded its operations by opening a dedicated U.S. entity in March of 2024.


SC Quantum's goal is to accelerate the future of a quantum ecosystem through developing relevant quantum education across all levels of education to inspire a professional quantum-smart workforce, creating an environment for innovation and opportunity for entrepreneurs, and engaging with industry and tech to bring real world, complex problems for research opportunities to challenge students critical thinking and provide access to quantum technology.


"The quantum field is growing rapidly and the next generation must be highly skilled in a range of tools and approaches. We're excited to partner with SC Quantum to accelerate quantum education and research in the State of South Carolina and across the United States," said Xanadu Founder and CEO Christian Weedbrook.


Officials said PennyLane, Xanadu's open-source software framework, will be a pillar of this partnership.


With support from the team at Xanadu, researchers in the SC Quantum network will use PennyLane to design and develop next-generation quantum algorithms and to test them on simulators and Xanadu's photonic quantum hardware.


Xanadu's technology will also be used as a foundation for developing hands-on educational experiences to be integrated into SC Quantum's growing university network.


"Our mission is to champion the advancement of quantum talent and technology in South Carolina. To succeed in this mission, we need to partner with world-renowned quantum companies with cutting-edge technologies, making Xanadu an obvious choice for one of our first partnerships. We look forward to the research and training that our network will benefit from," said Joe Queenan, executive director, South Carolina Quantum.


SC Quantum, a 501(c)(3), was established in 2022 in Columbia, South Carolina, to champion the advancement of quantum talent and technologies in South Carolina. 

New Supply Increases Vacancy Ahead of Hugh Leatherman Impact

The Charleston industrial market saw a slight decrease in performance metrics as 1,687,035 square feet of new supply delivered, according to a Q1 2024 Commercial Real Estate Research & Forecast Report from Colliers.


Despite overall net negative absorption of 1,020,170 square feet and an increase in vacancy to 14.22 percent, overall lease rates remained flat but may decrease with growing sublease space availability, the report said.


While performance was not as strong in the first quarter, optimism exists for the second quarter following the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) in February, Colliers said.


It said the ruling allows a federal requirement that newly constructed ports be unionized to take effect, ending the dispute between the SC Ports Authority (SCPA) and the ILA.


The Supreme Court ruling could allow Hugh Leatherman Terminal to begin normal operations, Colliers said.


The SCPA also announced plans to expand capacity at the Port of Charleston with the purchase of the former WestRock paper mill, Colliers said.


It said the key changes to the Port of Charleston will enhance Charleston’s port status on the East Coast and provide strategic advantages for industrial users.


Colliers | South Carolina is the largest full-service commercial real estate firm
in South Carolina with 62 licensed real estate professionals covering the state
with locations in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg. 

Attorney General Announces State Receives More Than $70 Million In Tobacco Settlement Funds

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced April 19, 2024, that the state secured $70,453,028.48 in its share of the annual tobacco Master Settlement Agreement payment.


In 1998, the Attorney General’s Office joined 45 other States, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories in settling claims with the then four major U.S. cigarette manufacturers.


The MSA is the largest financial recovery in legal history. Since the MSA was signed in November 1998, about 50 other tobacco companies have signed onto the MSA and are also bound by its terms.


The settlement imposes major restrictions on the industry’s advertising and marketing, and it provides states with annual payments in perpetuity to help reimburse the states for healthcare costs and harm caused by tobacco use.


South Carolina’s payment primarily goes to the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services for the Medicaid program. 


Wilson sis tasked with enforcing the tobacco statutes that were enacted pursuant to the MSA and works with the attorneys general across the country to actively and successfully enforce the provisions of the MSA.


Since 1998, South Carolina has received a total of $1,984,561,831.17 in its share of tobacco MSA payments.

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