Skip to main content

Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Telephone Calling

Jul 08, 2024 09:31AM ● By Donna Walker

(Image by

2024 Brings New 821 Area Code Overlay, Dialing Procedures for Upstate South Carolina

The Upstate region of South Carolina is receiving a new 821 area code that will supplement — but not replace — the current 864 area code.


An overlay is the addition of another area code (821) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (864). 


An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code but does require customers to dial the area code to complete local calls, according to the Public Service Commission of South Carolina.


Beginning July 19, 2024, all local calls made within the SC 864 area code must be placed using 10 digits (area code + the 7-digit telephone number). On and after this date, calls placed using just 7 digits will not be completed.


Beginning August 19, 2024, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 821 area code.


Key facts for consumers:

* Your current telephone number, including current area code, won't change.

* If you seek new phone service on and after Aug. 19, 2024, you may be assigned a phone number with the 821 area code.

* You will need to dial the area code + telephone number for all local calls, including calls within the same area code.

* You will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls.

* What is a local call now will remain a local call.

* The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services won't change due to the overlay.

* You can still dial just three digits to reach 911 and 988.  You can also dial three digits to reach 211, 311, 511, and 811 where available.


PSC officials urge you to identify your telephone number as a 10-digit number and include the area code when giving the number to friends, family, business associates, and customers, etc.


Customers should ensure all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment are reprogrammed to dial 10 digits if they are programmed to dial just 7 digits and to recognize the new 821 area code as a valid area code. 


Examples include life-safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, gates, ankle monitors, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions. 


Be sure to check your business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and your personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in your telephone number.


Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing.  Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use 7 digits. 


Contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing. 


Remember that all local calls must be programmed using 10 digits and add ‘1’ for all long-distance calls.


For additional information, contact the South Carolina PSC at 803.896.5100 or contact your local telephone service provider.

Whistle Express Car Wash Expands Presence Across the Carolinas with Acquisition of Fins Car Wash

Whistle Express, a leading brand in the rapidly consolidating car wash industry, is significantly expanding its portfolio in the Carolinas with the acquisition of Fins Car Wash, whose 15 locations will be converted to the Whistle Express brand.


Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


The newly acquired washes will more than double the brand’s presence in South Carolina's Greenville-Spartanburg and Charleston markets, as well as North Carolina's Triad, Raleigh and Wilmington regions.


Whistle will now have 31 locations across the Carolinas and 150 systemwide, making the company the 10th-largest car wash operator in the country, according to Conveyor Car Washes, and the second largest in its home state of North Carolina.


“As we forge ahead in the car wash industry, we're setting new standards and redefining what it means to provide an exceptional wash experience, but our goal is simple – to deliver unparalleled service and an unforgettable experience to every customer who trusts us with their car wash needs,” said Whistle Express CEO Jose Costa. 


Officials said each of the washes will be fully Whistle Express-branded later this year and the transition will involve investing in state-of-the-art wash technology and updated signage. 


The officials said all Whistle Express locations use state-of-the-art technology that reclaims 85 percent of the water used in a wash and uses 91 percent less water compared with a home wash.


Last year, the Charlotte-based company received a majority investment from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. to fuel its accelerated growth plan.

Girl Scouts of South Carolina - Mountains to Midlands: CEO Retirement and Search

Girl Scouts of South Carolina - Mountains to Midlands announced the upcoming retirement of President and CEO Lora Tucker. 


Tucker’s journey with GSSC-MM began in January 2020, just as the world was bracing for the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, but organization officials say Tucker guided staff and members with resilience, quickly transitioning to a virtual environment.


Tucker has more than 40 years of experience leading organizations through change and revitalization as well as initial infrastructure establishment.


Her background includes organizational development, strategic learning, diversity initiatives, membership and fund development, public policy, and legislative advocacy in both military and nonprofit sectors.  


Tucker served as the CEO of Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana and as a council consultant to Girl Scouts of the USA. 


Before coming to GSSC-MM, Tucker was CEO of CenterLink, a national nonprofit.  Additionally, Tucker is a retired Army Colonel and a lifelong student of executive leadership, development, and coaching. 


Tucker is a lifelong Girl Scout and Gold Award Girl Scout. Her military awards include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. 


Tucker is embarking on a new chapter in her life, focusing on her family, “My heart is filled with sadness and gratitude,” she said. “My time here has been extraordinary.”


Tucker’s last day with GSSC-MM will be Oct. 31, 2024.


A CEO search committee has been established, comprising current board members and community leaders, who will be working under the leadership of Vida Jennings as committee chair. 


Girl Scouts of South Carolina—Mountains to Midlands has partnered with Find Great People (FGP), an executive search firm headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, with additional locations in Nashville, TN, Charleston, SC, and Columbia, SC.


FGP will oversee the comprehensive search process to identify the next CEO.

What To Know When Buying A Used Car Online

Buying a used car instead of a new one might save you some money. But finding, researching, and negotiating to get a used car can be challenging.


Online sellers might claim to make buying a used car cheaper and easier, but some sellers use tactics that might end up costing you time and money, according to the Federal Trade Commission.


The law says dealers must put a Buyers Guide on every used car. The Buyers Guide tells you if the car has a warranty or is being sold “as is.”


And, for online sales, dealers must give people the option to cancel their order and get a prompt refund when their car doesn’t ship on time.


If you’re shopping for a used car, here are some steps to take:

Get a vehicle history report. Start at to get free information about a vehicle’s title, the most recent odometer reading, and condition. For a fee, you’ll get other reports with additional information, like accident and repair history.

Get help from an independent mechanic. This is a good idea even if the car has been “certified” or inspected by the dealer. You’ll have to pay the inspection fee, but it can help you avoid buying a car with major problems.


Learn more about buying and owning a car at FTC officials say if the dealer isn’t honest, let the FTC know at and tell your state attorney general.

Allow us to tell your company's Business Narrative. Send your press release to David Dykes or for more information email [email protected]