Help the USC Alumni Association spotlight alumni-owned businesses and nonprofits that are still open during this time.
Are you a USC alumnus(a) who owns a business or nonprofit? Or do you want to help support alumni-owned businesses? Please fill out this form to spotlight a business (alumni status will be verified).
Below are alumni-owned businesses that are still operating during the Novel Coronavirus pandemic:
72 Coffee Company
This company is a mobile bar service that offers coffee/espresso beverages, handcrafted cocktails, beer and wine. It isn’t just a typical bar service, and provides an event experience unlike any other in the Columbia area. The mobile bar is served out of a renovated 1972 camper and is the perfect compliment to any wedding or event. Follow on social media: @72company
Alumna Owner: Brittany Koester ’15
Alumni Owners: Forrest Alton ’04 and Heather Brandt ’03
Forrest and Heather established 1000 Feathers in 2016 to bring the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors closer together – in both vision and strategy. Their shared passion for serving communities, combined with their personal experiences working with nonprofits, government agencies and philanthropists informs everything the firm does. The firm brings a unique approach to serving social service organizations and those who fund them and takes great pride in helping clients maximize their impact, no matter the sector. The 1000 Feathers approach is carefully tailored for every client.
Blue Marlin is a classic Southern seafood restaruant made with locally sourced, sustainable fish, in contemporary environments. The establishment is committed to serving customers throughout this difficult time for curb side take-out. The full menu is available for delivery online and free delivery is available within 10 miles of the Lincoln Street store.
Alumnus Owner: Bill Dukes ’64
Cantina 76 is a lively, independently-owned restaurant and bar that specializes in Mexican-inspired cuisine and hand-crafted margaritas, providing a fast yet satisfying dining experience in a casual, upbeat atmosphere that encourages guests to hang out before, during and after dining. Follow on social media: @Cantina76
Alumni Owners: Chad Elsey ’94, Robert Ward ’94 and Craig Wyatt ’93
Columbia Craft Brewing Company
Columbia Craft is an independently owned production brewery and tasting room in downtown Columbia, SC. It was founded on the desire to bring more quality, South Carolina-brewed beer to the patrons of the greater Columbia area. Follow on social media: @ColumbiaCraft
Alumnus Owner: Richard Strauss ’78
Craft and Draft
Andrew Johnson and Kellan Monroe met at USC and were roommates. They always talked about starting a brewery together and five years ago, that dream turned into Columbia’s first craft beer store. Craft and Draft pours local and regional brews from 12 taps, rotating the lineup daily, and stocks more than 300 beers on their shelves.
Alumni Owners: Kellan Monroe ’07 and Andrew Johnson ’07
Cypress Design Works
The company builds lifetime quality solid wood furniture that will last for generations. It also helps replace cheap, constantly replaced furniture with long timeless furniture that can be handed down for generations. Follow on social media: @cypressdesignworks
Alumni Owners: Evan Valardi ’14 and Nicole Valardi ’15
Dayne Phillips Attorney at Law
South Carolina criminal attorney Dayne Phillips has one singular goal in every case: to get the best result possible for his clients. Through a combination of hard work and open communication, Dayne has been able to successfully represent people charged with a variety of different crimes.
Alumnus Owner: Dayne Phillips ’10
The Flying Biscuit Cafe
The Flying Biscuit Cafe, located on 936 Harden Street, offers breakfast, brunch and lunch, Southern-style.
Alumnus Owner: Kevin White ’05
Homeless No More
Homeless No More is a nonprofit organization that believes family homelessness is entirely solvable. Their continuum of care – from emergency services to transitional and affordable housing – keeps each family together and meets their needs at the right time with the right services. By providing the support to move each family toward a permanent, self-sufficient solution, the organizations seeks to eradicate family homelessness and help parents and their children achieve lasting independence. Follow on social media: @HomelessNoMoreSC
Alumna Owner: Lila Anna Sauls ’93
Intrepid Eagle Finance
Intrepid Eagle Finance is a virtual firm that offers ongoing financial planning and investment management. The firm tailors service for Christian families and lets them work with a financial professional from the comfort of their home. Follow on social media: @IntrepidEagleFinance
Alumnus Owner: Charles Thomas ’15
Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles
This restaurant serves delicious, homemade soul food dishes to raving customers. Best known for its signature dish — four crispy fried chicken wings seasoned to perfection on top of a warm, Belgian waffle — the restaurant also serves a variety of home-cooked meals, from fried green beans and sweet cream corn nuggets to smothered pork chops and salmon patties. The entire menu is available via takeout and curbside pickup at the Parklane location. The Bower Parkway location is temporarily closed. Follow on social media: @KikisChickenandWaffles
Alumna Owner: Kitwanda “Kiki” Cyrus ’09
Serve & Connect
Serve & Connect is a South Carolina nonprofit dedicated to the mission of igniting positive change through police and community partnerships. Working directly with law enforcement, community stakeholders, and citizen leaders, the organization aspires to improve neighborhoods challenged by poverty, crime, and neglect by building trust, optimizing collaboration, and fostering a shared sense of pride. Follow on social media: @ServeAndConnect
Alumna Owner: Kassy Alia Ray ’19
Steel Hands Brewing
Inspired by the surrounding hard-working industries that have shaped the founding principles of commitment to quality products, Steel Hands Brewing is dedicated to serving the highest quality beer with exceptional consistency. Follow on social media: @SteelHandsBrewing
Alumnus Owner: Darryl Frick ’84
TrackCred is a collaboration platform for athletes, founders, investors, executives to capture emerging opportunities in the large, dynamic mass participation sports economy by capitalizing on innovation and digital disruption at the intersection of technology, media and services.
Alumnus Owner: Denis Cranstoun ’15
The Grand is a boutique bowling alley, restaurant and bar in in Columbia, SC perfect for fun, food and activities. It’s where a piece of history on Main Street meets fun and inspires something GRAND! Call the establishment at (803) 726-2323 to grab dinner to-go. Follow on social media: @TheGrandOnMain
Alumnus Owner: Scott Middleton ’95
Serving coffee, tea, beer, and wine, as well as locally sourced pastries and to-go meals, The Front is a place for people to gather, connect and appreciate our community in Canalside, Columbia and beyond. Follow on social media: @thefrontcoffeeandtap
Alumnus Owner: Sean Powers ’19
Tidy for Good
Using sustainability and a spiritual perspective, Tidy for Good helps people clean and tidy their homes mindfully and reduce waste. Follow on social media: @tidyforgood
Alumna Owner: Jacqueline Chiari ’16
Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s menu boasts bold, flavorful smoothies with a healthy appeal, all made-to-order with quality ingredients. Toasted wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads and quesadillas are made to suit your individual tastes with quality meats, fresh produce and flavorful sauces.
Alumni Owners: Leslie Duffy, MSW ’95, owns the business with her husband Dave, PMBA ’18, in three South Carolina locations: Harbison Blvd, Sunset Blvd in Lexington and 650 Lincoln near the Colonial Life Arena.
United Way of the Midlands
The United Way of the Midlands COVID-19 Response Fund was created to help Midlands residents meet basic needs including food, shelter, rent/utility assistance, and hotel vouchers due to lost wages related to COVID-19. United Way will distribute 100% of these funds to Community Impact Partners serving individuals in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Newberry, Orangeburg and Calhoun counties. Any funds not disbursed to respond to this pandemic will be reallocated to support UWM’s relief efforts for future disasters and/or emergencies. Follow on social media: @umidlands
Alumni Staff: Joey Wallace ’04 and Melissa Laine Dunn ’07
Village Idiot Pizza
A restaurant and bar serving New York style pizza since 1990. The establishment will be open for FREE delivery, take out and curbside pick up orders from both its Forest Drive and Olympia locations from noon – 9 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday. The Five Points location will be closed temporarily.
Alumna Owner: Kelly Glynn ’97
YardWare gives others the opportunity to display pride with a high-quality product that is built to last, while giving back to the communities that the company supports. Signs are manufactured entirely in the United States, precision laser-cut from 12 gauge steel, and powder coated to withstand the elements.
Alumnus Owner: Jonathan Aharon ’15
Za’s on Devine
Za’s is a full-service, locally owned neighborhood restaurant and bar in the Devine Street shopping and dining district in Columbia, S.C., specializing in wood-fired pizza, Italian-inspired classics and fresh, substantial salads featuring free-range organic chicken and house-made sausage, sauces, dressings and more. Follow on social media: @ZasOnDevine
Alumni Owners: Chad Elsey ’94, Robert Ward ’94 and Craig Wyatt ’93
Zesto of West Columbia
The establishment is known for its famous broasted chicken, hamburgers and ice cream and strives for excellence in customer service, food freshness and food quality. Take-out is available from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Alumnus Owner: Pete Manos ’89
West Main & Co.
Developed by chemist Shanice Joyner, the West Main & Co. elixir is a moisturizing hair oil with anti-fungal, anti-dandruff and scalp stimulation properties.
Alumna Owner: Shanice Joyner ’16