19 Aug CEO Jon Cartu Reports – Best of Columbia 2020: Services | Free Times
Best After-School Program – Columbia Martial Arts and Fitness
Second Place: Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands
Columbia Martial Arts and Fitness offers a host of classes and programs across several disciplines, for adults and youngsters alike. But its afterschool program for kids has proven particularly popular. The program allows kids to learn the core martial arts tenets of respect, discipline and perseverance, in a fun setting. It gives kids a physical outlet after a day in class, and offers an active alternative to video games and computers.
Honorable Mentions: East Point Academy, Legacy Martial Arts
Best Bank — Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union
Second Place: Founders Federal Credit Union
Credit unions took first and second place with our readers for a reason: They’re customer-owned, service-oriented institutions that have big bank capabilities with a small-bank feel. Everyone who banks at Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union has a share in the institution, and that promotes a family feel that other banks can’t provide.
Honorable Mentions: First Community Bank, First Citizens Bank
Best Charter School – SC Whitmore School
Second Place: East Point Academy
The SC Whitmore School was doing virtual learning long before it became a buzzy idea amid COVID-19. The school has been around since 2011, and offers students flexibility in their education. And the results are there: More than $1 million in college scholarships were doled out to the school’s graduating class in 2018. And, as a charter school, there is no cost to attend.
Honorable Mention: Timmerman School
Best Cleaning Service — Palmetto Commercial Services
Second Place: Heavenly Scent Cleaning Service
Not to bring anybody down, but it’s really important that your business stays clean right now. And Palmetto Cleaning Services offers an array of ways to do that, from janitorial services to carpet and hardwood care to allergen reduction and deep cleaning. If you need a good scrubbing for your business, Palmetto Commercial Services can throw on the rubber gloves and get to work.
Honorable Mentions: Heather’s Helping Hands, Cleaning To Perfection
Best Continuing Education Institution — University Of South Carolina
Second Place: Midlands Technical College
The University of South Carolina is the biggest education brand in the Midlands, and it’s dominant in this category, too. Continuing education options include personal interest courses, professional education and certificate programs and test prep. Keep learning.
Honorable Mentions: Columbia College, Mota Enterprises Crosslinking Business Center
Best Credit Union — Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union
Second Place: AllSouth Federal Credit Union
Palmetto Citizens took two top prizes this year, and it’s because they offer great customer service and provide a community bank feel with big-bank muscle. There’s a lot of stiff competition credit-union-wise in our area, and Palmetto Citizens has risen to the top of the heap by putting people first.
Honorable Mentions: Founders Federal Credit Union, SC State Credit Union
Best Dry Cleaner — Tripp’s Fine Cleaners
Second Place: $2.50 Cleaners – Main St.
Some clothes need extra special attention, like dry cleaning, and those clothes are often the extra special ones themselves. Not every dry cleaner is worthy of handling such items, but Tripp’s Fine Cleaners is the only certified master dry-cleaner in the Midlands, so why trust anyone else? Attention to detail, friendly service, plus free delivery nets them the designation as the best.
Honorable Mentions: Eagle Cleaners, Ben’s Cleaners
Best DUI Law Firm or Attorney — J. Taylor Bell
Second Place: Randy Hough
Ok, let’s be really clear up front here by saying that you should not drink and drive under any circumstances. However, if you’ve gotten yourself into a DUI pinch, J. Taylor Bell is the lawyer to call. A DUI offense has serious consequences, so you’ll need a good attorney to help you out, and our readers think Bell is the best.
Honorable Mentions: Dayne Phillips, Judah VanSyckel
Best Electrician — Creations Electric
Second Place: Mr. Electric of Columbia
Shocked that your home’s electricity is on the fritz? Give Creations Electric a call. The Blythewood electrician will rewire your house, repair lamps and chandeliers and handle any electric work you may need.
Honorable Mentions: Easy Electrical Solutions, Sunrise Electric
Best Escape Room — Escape Plan Columbia
Second Place: Escapology Escape Rooms Columbia
Do you feel like taking control of a pirate ship? Fancy investigating a hotel where strage activity has been happening? Want to go back in time and into legend to save the famous wizard Merlin? You can choose any of these adventures at Escape Plan Columbia, where solving the puzzles also means choosing your own adventure.
Honorable Mentions: The Final Door, The Great Escape
Best Event Venue — 701 Whaley
Second Place: Koger Center for the Arts
The lovingly restored early-20th-century events space has long been the go-to for a wide variety of functions thanks to its deft blend of historic charm and industrial chic that allows it to split the difference between traditional and modern, corporate and arty. That the space also has plenty of adaptability and parking while being minutes from downtown just seals the deal.
Honorable Mentions: Twelve Oak Estate, New Brookland Tavern