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Good afternoon. South Carolina's film industry got some good news this week: Danny McBride's series "The Righteous Gemstones" will be back for a second season. The first season is still airing, and you can catch it on HBO. (Make sure you check out the Gemstones-themed mural in Avondale, too.)

THE ONE TO WATCH: How startup costs in SC stack up

Soco co-working space Vista Columbia (copy)

SOCO, a Columbia-based coworking company, offers two sites in Columbia and is expanding its presence soon in the city's Vista District. File/Provided/Bill Grant/Cinema Couture

The most affordable city in South Carolina for startups — and one of the most affordable overall in the U.S. — is Columbia, according to a new analysis released Thursday by the financial planning site Smart Asset.  

Columbia ranked fourth overall on the list, with an average total startup cost of $246,833. That put the S.C. capital just behind Greensboro, N.C. 

Chattanooga and Wichita took the first and second spots, respectively. 

According to the study, it costs about $17,811 to rent 1,000 square feet of office space for a business's first year in the Columbia area. Over that same period of time, payroll costs for five full-time employees average around $223,392. Utilities cost about $1,801 for the year. 

Charleston also made the list, coming in at No. 17 with an average startup cost of $260,159. The estimated cost to rent an office for a year was notably higher compared to Columbia, at about $24,500. 

Columbia ranked well in 2018, too, coming in fifth among the 80 cities analyzed. Total estimated startup costs were about 2 percent lower last year, at almost $241,000.

All but one of the top 10 cities in the study are in the South, and three of them are in Tennessee. The bottom 10 cities, meaning those where it's most expensive for startups, are mostly major coastal hubs like San FranciscoNew York City and Boston

The costliest place for startups, according to the rankings, is San Jose, Calif. where it takes an average of over $452,000 to get a business going. New York City had the highest average cost for office space, almost $76,000 for a year.

The rankings are based on average costs for five different business expenses — filing fees, office space rentals, utilities, legal and accounting fees and payroll for five employees — estimated over the first year a company is operating. 

Columbia is host to a wide-range of startups, from a tech company that designs robots that teach math to elementary students to a mobile hunting app that recently got its brand on the shelves of major retailers like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

For startups that opt to share office space rather than rent their own, options have been expanding in the Columbia area for coworking venues.

SOCO, a Columbia-based coworking company, plans to open a nearly 11,000-square-foot entrepreneurial hub in the city's Vista district this fall. The new facility will accommodate up to 150 "hustlers, creatives and innovators," according to the company's website. 

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  • Discount retailer Fred's is closing all of its stores, including eight in S.C.
  • The fourth Halls Chophouse is opening in Summerville's Nexton area. 
  • The sports footwear shop Sneaker will close this month on King Street
  • The Slaughterhouse BBQ & Brew is opening any day now in Ladson
  • The cosmetics shop Bluemercury has leased space in Mount Pleasant.


  • An S.C. judge ruled that Amazon owes the state sales tax on goods that third-party merchants listed on the retailer's website. (Post and Courier)
  • Hurricane Dorian cost Charleston's tourism industry an estimated $58.6 million, compared to $111.3 million during Florence. (Post and Courier)
  • Complaints that Boeing Co. fired workers for supporting a labor union will still be heard, despite a ruling this week from the NLRB. (Post and Courier)
  • South Carolina is among the states that launched an investigation this week into “potential monopolistic behavior” by Google. (Associated Press)
  • The share of Americans without health insurance rose in 2018. S.C. coverage improved, but is still worse than the average. (Associated Press)


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Chinese investment (copy)

China Jushi executives and other officials break ground on the company's $300 million fiberglass operation in Richland County. The manufacturer is located alongside the county's Shop Grove Commerce Park. Provided

"Hey boss, did you know about 40 percent of new industry locations announced in South Carolina have been on certified sites?"

In an attempt to up the inventory of industrial acreage, the S.C. Department of Commerce is accepting applications for a new certification program. The state has already identified more than 64,000 acres worth of potential sites.


  • Heidi Nowak joined Kiawah Island Golf Resort as director of sales and marketing. Previously, she held the same position at Hotel Bennett
  • John Dodson joined the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments as a planner. Dodson had been a transit service planner for GoTriangle in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill areas. 
  • The director of advancement at the Lowcountry Land Trust is now Amy Carter. She has 17 years of experience in conservation fundraising, marketing and grant management. 

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Reach Emily Williams at 843-937-5553. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

Emily Williams is a business reporter at The Post and Courier, covering tourism and employment. She also writes the Business Headlines newsletter, which is published twice a week. Before moving to Charleston, her byline appeared in The Boston Globe.