Thirty years ago, East and West Germany were reunited, Milli Vanilli was caught lip syncing, Bob Coble was elected to his first term as mayor of the Capital City, and Columbia Metropolitan was launched. When Emily and I moved to Columbia to start the magazine, we were young (not quite 30) and had one child — 2-year-old Margaret. At the time, I was working with the folks at Augusta Magazine, and Columbia was an expansion for the company. We had investigated other cities, but Columbia had all the right ingredients. A stable economy with a base of state government, the University of South Carolina, and Fort Jackson helped make Columbia one of the fastest growing cities in the country. We saw a city on the cusp of significant growth, and we wanted to publish CMM with the hope of capturing the personality and Southern flavor that Columbia embodies. We are greatly appreciative of this city, our loyal readers, and all the advertisers who have kept us going for three decades.
A lot has happened since 1990. Emily and I now have three adult daughters — Margaret, Mary, and Helen — two of whom, Margaret and Mary, play key roles in running the business. The Columbia metro area has almost doubled in population, and CMM has grown from a quarterly to a monthly magazine with a readership of around 100,000. The attitude Columbians have about their city has changed a great deal too. In 1990, we found many who wondered why we chose Columbia to start a magazine because they thought the city was stagnant with not much of a future.
Today, Columbia is reinvigorated with a bustling downtown and vibrant nightlife. The Lexington and Lake Murray area is booming, and the Northeast has new businesses and neighborhoods popping up on a continuous basis. A great sign for the future is that Columbia has become a favored city for young people to move to and stay. Columbians are optimistic about their city and realize it is a wonderful place to live. And although Columbia has seen significant growth, it has not lost its friendliness or neighborliness. This was best exemplified during the 2015 flood when neighbor helped neighbor through a long and difficult period.
The digital revolution has definitely shaken up the media world, but people still relish a good story told in high quality print with stunning photography. CMM strives to do just that. Many Columbia businesses support this effort through advertising with us. For a glimpse of our clients from the startup years whose businesses are still thriving, please see our special 30th anniversary ad display starting on page 27 showcasing those clients, some of whom share an original ad that ran in CMM during our first five years. We would also like to take you down memory lane on page 86 with a reflections feature honoring Jeff Amberg and Robert Clark, the two talented photographers who have been a part of our magazine all 30 years.
CMM wants to bring you the interesting people, businesses, food, homes, art, and so much more that is the true essence of Columbia and the surrounding area. That has been our mission since day one in 1990 and will continue to be, hopefully, for another 30 years. Thank you for your loyal and sustained readership.