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.
When Redic Earl Robinson started making house calls in 1919, he visited his customers by bicycle. Each family knew him as "Mister Ed," and they bundled their laundry for him to take back to the shop on Gervais Street. Meanwhile, Myrtle Beckham Robinson, Mister Ed's wife, warmed an iron with a coal-fire stove as she awaited the shipment. Together, they soaked the garments in buckets and worked stains out on scrub boards.
Today, Redic Earl Robinson Jr. carries on the family tradition with modern equipment. Twice weekly, his team travels by motorized horse to pick up laundry and make deliveries. They utilize custom cleaning solutions for specific fabrics and offer specialty services for leather, suede, quilts, and comforters. In addition to stain removal, Ed Robinson Cleaners offers alteration services at its 2551 Forest Dr. location.
The staff members at Seven Oaks Animal Hospital aren’t just trained professionals—they’re pet owners themselves. Because of this, they dote on each four-legged patient as if it were their own, whether they are administering shots, grooming nails and ears, or reminiscing about the days when gentlemen wore collars. Of course, Seven Oaks is a go-to destination for more serious pet health problems as well. The hospital's veterinarians and assistants perform blood tests and ultrasounds to diagnose diseases, and if necessary they operate using patient-specific anesthesia protocols. They even run behavioral-counseling sessions for puppies and for adult dogs exhibiting abnormal tendencies.
The American Red Cross of South Carolina is part of an international, politically neutral movement that has delivered humanitarian care since 1863. It provides relief to survivors of national and manmade disasters in the forms of shelter, food, clothing, medication, and counseling. The organization also works to prevent future emergencies, and prepares community members to respond to them when they occur.
In South Carolina, the Red Cross collects blood donations, provides resources for the armed forces, and hosts health and safety training programs for citizens, including lifeguard and CPR training. Its volunteers also provide physical and emotional aid to survivors of disasters such as fires.
Dr. Katie Searle, a veterinarian who has performed more than 1,500 surgeries, heads a team of creature caretakers specializing in general medicine and surgery for both large and small animals, including all breeds of dogs and cats. Located inside the Irmo Animal Supply House plaza, Palmetto Animal Health’s team tends to furry and feathered friends with services such as vaccinations and digital x-rays. While not included with this Groupon, Dr. Searle also offers in-home services for animals who prefer their leopard-print chaise lounges to an examination table.