Getting Down to Business: Garvin Design Group

Sitting down with Scott Garvin, president

(803) 212-1032


How did your business begin?

Garvin Design Group was founded in 2003 in the Vista and currently has 16 talented staff members. The firm is managed by four partners — Scott Garvin, Mark Timbes, Terry Buchmann, and David Sickinger — and each of us is very involved with project design and construction.


What is the mission of your business?

Our strategic focus has been to develop a collaborative design process with owners and contractors so that everyone has total ownership in the final product. We work in multiple markets all over South Carolina including higher education, private schools, hospitality, athletics, retail, and multifamily residential. 


What differentiates your business from other specialists in the field?

One of our niches is historic preservation, and we have been involved in the restoration of numerous historic properties in downtown Columbia. Past projects include Olympia and Granby Mills, 701 Whaley, Mast General Store, and City Market. Our greatest achievement in the historical realm is the Palmetto Compress Warehouse, a 360,000-square-foot cotton storage facility with sloping floors and small windows. Many developers and architects tried to develop a strategy for the building’s reuse, but the common declaration was that “it couldn’t be done.” Working closely with PMC Properties and Triangle Construction, we revitalized the old warehouse into a daylight-filled complex of luxury apartments. Our expertise in historical research and tax credit approvals helped the project become a financial success, as well as another catalyst for growth in the Innovista area.


What do you like best about your line of work?

At Garvin Design Group, we are having more fun than we deserve. We work with the most talented individuals, and it makes our job so invigorating. We have been so fortunate to work on projects that transform the downtown fabric. It’s very rewarding to interject new life into these old buildings — their innate charm does the rest.