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Published on October 13th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


North Columbia Business Association Celebrates Six Years of Community Service

Pictured above from left: Sam Davis, Councilman, City of Columbia, Veronica Rodriguez, Board Chair, NCBA, Mel Wallace, Keynote Speaker and Sabrina Odom, Executive Director, NCBA. Photo by Calvin Reese, Millennium Magazine.

Annual Meeting featured Keynote Speaker Mel Wallace, SC State Regional Director of SBDC

Written By: Debra Young, PTTM Consultants

Columbia –   “Learning from the Past to Build for the Future” was the theme of North Columbia Business Association’s (NCBA) Annual Meeting held on Thursday, October 6, 2014. Founded by current Executive Director Sabrina Odom, NCBA’s mission is to “build collaborating partnerships and networks to ensure that businesses in the community remain viable and stable”.  Membership in the NCBA requires that business owners pledge to adhere to the four principles of business ethics; value all stakeholders, treat all persons with respect, act with integrity and compassion and understand that honesty, integrity and quality are vital for successful businesses.

The Annual Meeting provided an opportunity for the NCBA to celebrate their 2013-2014 accomplishments and recognize those businesses and community members that have been in the forefront of the fight to revitalize the North Main corridor.  In keeping with their Hawaiian theme, guests were greeted with aloha, a lei and a welcoming smile.  Columbia’s Assistant City Manager, S. Allison Baker, opened the meeting with prayer followed by a welcome from NCBA Board Member Andy Smith.  Councilmember Sam Davis brought greetings on behalf of the City of Columbia   Recalling the NCBA’s humble beginnings, he indicated that over the past six years NCBA has played “a major and significant role in the vision and future of the North Main community”.  As Davis reflected on their many accomplishments he acknowledged that when it comes to giving back to the community, even in their infancy stage, NCBA’s accomplishments have matched those of long established Associations.

Expressing appreciation on behalf of the City of Columbia, he commended Executive Director Sabrina Odom for her vision, love for children and commitment to be a voice for small businesses, stating that she “believes in the community”.  He concluded by reminding attendees that healthy communities plus healthy businesses equal improved quality of life for all citizens.  Despite previous commitments, Senator John Scott also stopped by to express his appreciation and pledge his support to the NCBA as they continue to make a positive difference in the North Columbia community.

As the evening continued Sabrina Odom expressed appreciation to NCBA’s loyal Association members, committed staff, dedicated Board members and faithful supporters whose tireless efforts contribute to the success of the Association. She celebrated the diversity of the Association and believes this is major contributing factor to NCBA’s success.  Looking back over this past year in retrospect, Odom highlighted NCBA’s accomplishments this past year some of which include:

  • Installed security cameras along identified “hotspots” on North Main Street.
  • Collaborated with community leaders to sponsor a safety forum calling for an end to the violence in the North Main community.
  • Sponsored Mayor’s Debate and Candidate’s Forum along with community partners.
  • Sponsored fall Halloween Party for local children in conjunction with Lenoire – Rhyme Lutheran Seminary.
  • Sponsored Breakfast with Santa featuring Mayor Steve Benjamin as Santa.  Christmas gifts collected were donated to Children’s Garden Daycare Center and other children in the local community.
  • Implemented Small Business Week activities in North Columbia during National Small Business Week to encourage residents to support businesses in their local community by shopping local.
  • Sponsored the Buddy and Benjamin Literacy Program Fish and Grits Social, raising funds to purchase books for K4 and K5 children.
  • Held the second annual Ms. Cornbread Pageant and Cornbread Festival providing an opportunity for their own members to participate as vendors and donating a portion of the proceeds and non-perishable food items to Harvest Hope Food Bank.
  • Sponsored the Mayor’s Economic Development luncheon which featured workshops and information for business owners on how to grow their businesses.
  • Initiated the first annual Trailblazer award presented to long standing businesses at the Annual Economic Development Luncheon.
  • Implemented the Shop Local Pumpkin Trail to businesses on North Main Street encouraging residents to shop local.
  • Offered weekly Coffee Talk Forums focusing on different topics each month that support business owners.
  • Collaborated with the VISTA, Devine Street, Five Points, and City Partnership Main Street Associations to sponsor a welcome reception for Columbia’s new police chief.  The event also provided an opportunity to market and showcase local businesses.
  • Sponsored a Farmers Market to bring fresh fruit and produce to the North Main Street community.

The highlight of the evening was keynote speaker Mel Wallace, SC State Regional Director of the Small Business Development Corporation.  Introduced by Ms. Veronica Roderigez, NCBA Board Chair,  Wallace wowed the audience with an inspiring discussion on “The Success of Failure”.  He began by stating that “running a small business is not about getting it right all the time”, pointing out that a part of success is being open to failure.  “The greatest victory, he continued, “is the one that is the most difficult”.  He cited one of the great inventors of our time, Thomas Edison, who failed 10,000 times before creating the prototype that worked.  When asked what it felt like to fail so many times Edison responded, “I didn’t fail 10,00 times, the light bulb was developed in 10, 000 steps”.  Despite the fact that we are a success driven society that sees failure as a deficiency, Wallace declared that business owners must be willing to take risks without reservation.  “To achieve our personal best and climb to greater heights”, he emphasized that, “we cannot fear failure”.  He went on to say that to get great rewards, embracing the possibility of failure is a must.  Wallace ended with the following seven tips for successful business growth: (1) Maintain a positive attitude; (2) Study the successes and failures of other businesses; (3) Stay motivated by controlling negative thoughts; (4) Do not become complacent but continue to innovate and take risks (5) Find ways to improve business; (6) Keep moving forward or die; and (7) whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP.

The evening concluded with recognition of two NCBA members, North Main Street Bakery and Carolina Kernels who received awards for their exceptional support of NCBA activities.

The NCBA is looking forward to another successful year of building partnerships and making a positive difference in North Columbia.  To find out more about NCBA or to become a member call (803) 786-7232 or visit


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