Michael Hicks took his first behind-the-scenes restaurant job at the age of 15 as a dishwasher for Applebee's. But since being an electronic appliance is an exhausting occupation, he soon realized his interest really lay in cooking, and he moved from the sink to the cutting board. He went on to hone his skills at Capri's and The Blue Heron before enrolling at the Culinary Institute at Carolina in 2003. At DeLucca's Italian Grill, Hicks and his tight-knit crew concoct sumptuous entrees such as slow-roasted osso buco, veal parmesan, and pumpkin ravioli made by hand. They also hand-toss pizza and whip up warm soups such as chicken with gnocchi. An inviting space with ruddy hardwood floors, candles flecking tables, and ochre walls, the dining room falls in line with the elegance of Hicks’s food.
"We use the best soaps, solvents and equipment available to the industry. We do not take short cuts," Tripp Penninger told Columbia Metropolitan in 2011, one year after the magazine's readers voted Tripp's Fine Cleaners as the best dry cleaners in Columbia. Grandson of the couple that founded the business in 1987, Tripp and his staff of nearly 100 employees have earned their prestige; as Sanitone-certified master dry cleaners, they've carefully cleaned thousands of garments and have been trusted with preserving the wedding gowns of brides in South Carolina and beyond.
They clean regular laundry with low-temperature water, ensuring that nothing shrinks or becomes misshapen, and they use special procedures for high-end garments, making sure to wine and dine Chanel suits before removing wine or dinner stains. Tripp’s seamstresses are on hand to remedy ill-fitting garments, usually returning alterations in about three days. The staff picks up and drops off items free of charge in specified areas and offers complimentary seasonal storage with the purchase of cleaning.
Before looking through the camera lens, the expert photographers at Picture People spend time getting to know their subjects and establishing a strategy for conveying their personalities in print. Then, film-ready clients pose in the bright camera room, airing teeth amid colorful backdrops and creative props. Following snapshots, subjects make their way to the selection station to choose their favorite poses from their session, which may be treated with sepia tones, color accents, and decorative borders to suit any wall, wallet, wallpaper pattern, or trophy walleye.
Picture People offers a variety of creative tips to help enhance mantel-dominating final results. The studio ensures satisfaction with a 100% guarantee on finished products.
Animal Supply House's staff each have extensive knowledge of critter care and behavior, which they use to help pet owners optimize their furry friends' diets. As part of a local business, the staff prides itself on approachability, answering questions about how much to feed a puppy or at what age a cat should learn to read. The house brand of dog food—Apex—is specially formulated to soothe irritable stomachs and reduce shedding. Owners can also peruse pet conditioners designed to soften coats and pet toys to keep animals active. Bunnies, gerbils, and hamsters can be found around the shop, frolicking in their enclosures or quietly studying the sheet music for Don Giovanni.
Computers mean many different things to their owners, whether they are a workstation, a party line for keeping in touch with friends and family, or a portal into the magical fantasy world of "Europe." Whatever the purpose, Carolina Computer Repair's technicians turn their electronic expertise toward keeping systems in working order and up to date. Whether wiping systems of malignant viruses or transferring files to new drives, the team safeguards precious hardware and data. The technicians also maintain a collection of laptops, desktops, and servers for sale, and can be enlisted to build custom systems to the client's specifications.
“It’s like having Mr. Rogers teach your child to swim,” said one parent who left it up to The Swim Lessons Company’s Jim Reiser to show her child the secrets of not sinking. A third-generation swim teacher and coach, Jim approaches his pupils from a gentle, comforting angle that’s especially calibrated to meet the needs of infants, preschoolers, and adults disguised as Toys 'R' Us kids, employing fun activities and drills to impart skills. His friendship with water began in elementary school, and it was a friendship destined to last. To pay for college, Jim leased the university pool and used it to train young swimmers; he went on to teach aquatic courses at the University of South Carolina and lead multiple swimmers to state championships. "The Swim Professor"—a nickname Jim earned after founding Swim Lessons University, an online learning resource loaded with educational videos—now spends his days sharing the magic of swimming with people of every age, imparting the tips and tricks they'll need to survive in a pool, from holding their breath to performing a proper backstroke and catching Marco Polo.