Why Buy in Columbia
Columbia is the state capital and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The population was 116,278 according to the 2000 census (2007 population estimates put the city at 124,818). Columbia is the county seat of Richland County, but a portion of the city extends into Lexington County. The city is the center of a steadily growing metro area of 728,063. The city's name comes from a poetic synonym for America, derived from the name of Christopher Columbus.
Located just 13 miles (21 km) northwest of South Carolina's geographic center, Columbia is the primary city of the Midlands region of South Carolina, which comprises several counties in the central portion of the state. As such it is centrally located to the rest of the state. Founded in 1786 as the site of South Carolina's new capital city, it was one of the first planned cities in the United States. The area is often cited for its high quality of life offerings, with its many cultural amenities, parks, and recreational features. At the confluence of two major rivers, Columbia is one of the best destinations in the country for kayak and canoe enthusiasts. It is also known for its large number of independent theater groups.
One of America's Most Livable Communities
Columbia was recently one of 30 communities named "America's Most Livable Communities." The award was given by the Washington-based non-profit Partners for Livable Communities and honors communities that are developing themselves in the creative economy. Columbia has also been named a top midsized market for relocating families in the nation. Increasingly, Columbia is becoming recognized as an ideal city for retirees. Where to Retire magazine listed Columbia as one of its 25 best choices for retirement as a "budget town" in its January/February 2007 edition. A RetireHomeSmart.com survey of retirement cities lists Columbia as America's second best retirement city.
Columbia has quite a diversified economy, with the major employers in the area being South Carolina state government, the Palmetto Health hospital system, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC, Palmetto GBA, and the University of South Carolina. Columbia is also home to the headquarters of SCANA, a Fortune 500 company which supplies energy to parts of the Carolinas and Georgia.
Other major employers in the Columbia area include Fort Jackson, the U.S. Army's 2nd largest training installation behind Fort Bragg, Richland School District One, Humana/TriCare, and the United Parcel Service, which operates its Southeastern Regional Hub at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Major manufacturers such as Square D, CMC Steel, Spirax Sarco, Michelin, International Paper, Pirelli Cables, Honeywell, Westinghouse Electric, Harsco Track Tech, Trane, Intertape Polymer Group, Union Switch & Signal, Solectron, and Bose Corporation Technology have facilities in Columbia.
Business in Columbia SC
The business climate in the Columbia region is a very solid one. There are over 70 foreign affiliated companies and fourteen Fortune 500 companies in the region. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the Columbia metropolitan statistical area as of 2005 was $26.3 billion, the highest among MSAs in the state.
Several companies have their global, continental, or national headquarters in Columbia, including Collexis Holdings, Inc., a software development company; Colonial Supplemental Insurance, the second-largest supplemental insurance company in the nation; Holopack International, a German-owned company that provides a wide range of services to the pharmaceutical industry; First Citizens bank, the second largest state-based bank; South Carolina Bank and Trust; Spectrum Medical, an international medical software company; Wilbur Smith Associates, a full-service transportation and infrastructure consulting firm; and Nelson Mullins, a major national law firm.
Many reputable publications and institutes recognize the strength and potential of the city's economy. In Forbes 2009 "Best Places for Business and Careers" list, Columbia ranked 34th overall among the 200 large metropolitan areas ranked. Forbes also named Columbia as one of the nation's top 100 cities for jobs in its 2008 listing . Bizjournals ranked Columbia 25th of 105 medium-sized labor markets for young adult job seekers and 15th of 77 metropolitan areas in its "Jewels of the Sunbelt" ranking, which ranks cities according to "blend of comfortable lifestyle and warm weather".
Inc.com's 2008 Boomtown rankings, which is based on job-growth data as supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, listed Columbia 19th among midsized metropolitan areas nationwide. Entrepreneur.com, Inc. listed Columbia eighth of 63 midsize metropolitan areas nationwide in its Entrepreneur and NPRC's 2006 Hot Cities for Entrepreneurs rankings.
CareerBuilder.com named Columbia as one of the nation's best cities for jobs based on job openings per resident. Expansion Management, a high profile company dedicated to helping companies evaluate future locations, listed Columbia as one of America's 50 hottest cities for corporate expansion and relocation for its 2007 list, a top 20 midsized metro area for business recruitment and attraction, one of America's top business opportunity metros out of 70 metropolitan areas nationwide, as a "Five-Star Knowledge Worker Metro," which reflects the area's highly educated population, and as a "Five-Star Business Opportunity Metro" which is a "Best of the Best" ranking of metro areas that have achieved solid ratings across the board in the company's numerous studies during the past twelve months. POLICOM, a company that specializes in studying the dynamics of local economies, placed the Columbia metropolitan region in the top 20th percentile among the 361 U.S. Census Bureau-designated metropolitan statistical areas nationwide (and first among metropolitan areas in the state) in its 2008 economic strength rankings.
Columbia's economy is set to be revolutionized within the next few years with the establishment of the University of South Carolina's research campus, dubbed Innovista. Spreading out over 200 acres (0.8 km2) in the historic Congaree Vista district downtown and combining 5,000,000 square feet (465,000 m2) of research labs, office space, mixed-use retail and affordable residential housing, research will be aimed at the emerging technologies and intellectual clusters?biomedical, environmental, nanotechnology, and future fuels?that companies will find extremely valuable in the global economy. Phase I of the campus is presently under construction. In March 2007, the campus's first major private sector tenant, Duck Creek Technologies, an insurance software and services company, was announced; the company expects to create a minimum of 200 new high-paying jobs with an average salary of $85,000.
Why Buy a Certified Pre Owned Vehicle in Columbia?
New vehicles depreciate at a rate of about 20% a year. This is what makes buying a CPO a worthwhile investment, because, despite the additional cost involved in the inspection, refurbishment and warranty, it is still a good deal. Certified used cars include only vehicles that are under 5 years and have a mileage of under 100,000. Only vehicles that have had no major bodywork from prior accidents are used. Some programs offer cash incentives, low interest loans, and an exchange policy. Finance and lease deals are being extended to a used vehicle. This was virtually unheard of in the past, and is what really separates certified pre-owned vehicles from other used cars. This new option for used cars is one of the reasons that has persuaded new car buyers to enter the used car realm.
South Carolina Used Car Inspections
Every CPO will undergo an inspection with 75 to 140 points, all programs work differently and some will even include more than this. You should assume that the vehicle has been refurbished in these areas if it passed the inspection to get a certification. Looking at these points you can identify any major work that has been done, that otherwise would have been very expensive to fix. Some of the key inspection points are: suspension (alignment, tire wear, tie rods, ball joints), interior check (airbag functions, interior light function, audio system, etc.), Road Test (transmission issues, clutch, steering, brakes/ABS, and gauge performance), the VIN Inspection, which includes emissions regulations, any possible recalls, and VIN code issues, brakes (hydraulics, brake lines, rotors), fuel systems, which covers the fuel lines, the pump, and oil pressure, exterior check (frame/ past accident damage), and the Powertrain, looking for any fluid leakage, oil issues, timing belt and cylinder efficiency.
Although not everyone will find the added price worthwhile, CPOs offer an excellent new alternative to buying new, especially with the economy the way it is today. Many organizations have come on board to sell CPOs, including the more traditional automotive manufacturers, but also dealers and third-party suppliers. Certified used cars are part of the used car future, they give consumers an affordable option for warranties and financing, but most importantly, a peace of mind that is unique throughout the used car buying process.