South Carolina’s Economy Expected to Continue Growing

refugees-1020118_1920There’s more good news for the Palmetto State! According to a study conducted by economists at the Darla Moore School of Business, University of Southern Carolina, the state’s economy is ready to enter a seventh year of economic growth by July of this year. This is the first time since the Great Recession that there are more jobs with higher wages being created while other workers are collecting higher wages from their current employers. This combination is healthy fuel for consumer spending, and economists predict this trend will continue into 2017.

There are two markets driving the growth of our local economy. Thanks to advanced manufacturing in the state’s automotive and aerospace sectors, South Carolina and the southeastern U.S. now have one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The employment growth rate of the state has increased from 2.3 percent in prior years, to 2.8 percent today. This growth can be observed in many of our state’s industries. The sectors that have experienced the most growth includes professional fields like engineering, computer software design, and legal services. This is the first time this has happened since the Great Recession, and has significantly contributed to higher wages for both new and pre-existing jobs. Employment in the retail market will stay strong this year due to an increase in consumer spending, caused by an increase in discretionary income. South Carolina generally has a higher average personal income than the rest of the nation, and all of us will continue to reap the benefits. Personal income is expected to grow nearly 5 percent this year. This is higher than the national growth rate, which is expected to be 4 percent.

The real estate market has already started to feel the benefits of this economic growth. Last year, the number of homes constructed surpassed the number of homes remodeled. This is the first time this has happened since the Great Recession, and it is due to the increasing rate of employment and wages across South Carolina. As the research division director, Doug Woodward states, for the first time “in 28 years of forecasting our state’s economy, rarely have I seen our economy in such good shape and on such steady footing.”  Looking forward to the gains ahead of us!

Charleston Real Estate Market Named 2nd Hottest to Watch

pineapple-891984_1920When we talk about Charleston’s allure, we think about the antebellum architecture, and of course, the local Southern charm and hospitality, but, now Charleston’s real estate market is starting to draw new life to a city that was once a significant colonial seaport. Others have started to notice too, so as a result Charleston was recently named number 2 on Trulia’s “10 Hot Real Estate Markets To Watch In 2016.” And while Trulia may not have had our colonial landscapes in mind when they compiled this list, there’s no doubt that Charleston real estate is on the rise.

The list, put together by Trulia’s chief economist Ralph McLaughlin, examined each city’s affordability and job growth, in addition to other factors like vacancy rates, to determine ranking. Charleston nearly claimed the top honor, but was beat out by Grand Rapids, Michigan. McLoughlin says Grand Rapids claimed first place since it ranks as the 14th most affordable city in the U.S., and has experienced the nation’s 22nd strongest job growth over the past year. Charleston on the other hand, ranks in 6th place for job growth in country. While the rates of affordability and vacancy make have dropped our ranking on this list, Charleston is still a growing city that will achieve the rates to top any list.

The Charleston real estate market is continually growing, as demonstrated by new complexes being built in the area. At the moment, there are two workforce housing apartment complexes in development. The two complexes will fulfill some of the demand for affordable housing, but there is no doubt that residential development won’t stop there. The Armada Development of Summerville’s president, John Gantt told The Post and Courier that they will build a $30 million, 300-unit rental complex in Lincolnville, and are beginning construction of a $35 million, 336-unit apartment complex nearby in Goose Creek. Nonprofit organization Atlantic Housing Foundation of Dallas is also bringing more affordable housing to the Charleston area The tax credits they receive as a nonprofit will also benefit future renters. These projects will be similar to others currently in development in the Charleston area, but the rents will be more affordable. Rents will be based on 80% of a median family of four’s income, within a five-mile radius. The developments will be a welcome solution to house Charleston’s growing workforce.

walking-68704_1920While Charleston may not top this list, there are still plenty of other things drawing new home-buyers to our city. As McLaughlin says, “There are lots of reasons why so many people love the Lowcountry. Charleston is a serious foodie destination, with 11 restaurants earning nominations for coveted James Beard Awards in 2015 alone, and the popular Charleston Wine + Food Festival, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2016.” Our list of attractions is only growing, as is the real estate market, so make sure you grab a piece before you miss your chance!

Smart Charity

There are millions of charities in the world, each with their own mission and problem to solve. In 2014, more than $350 billion was donated to nearly one million charities, but how many of those were reputable. In the flurry of holiday feelings, a crafty thief can easily profit off of the kindness of strangers by using names of mega-charities for their ill-gotten gains. What are some smaller charities that are deserving of your attention, and can ensure that your dollar goes far as possible.

Arcadia: An interesting take on the traditional non-for-profit, Arcadia’s approach is one that benefits us all. Research clean, renewable forms of energy, this small company in Rockport, Maine, has big dreams. With the right amount of help, we could help make the world better for our children, and their children’s children.

Pediatric Cancer Foundation: Children are the best of us. Innocently unaware of the world, youth affords an ignorance of hardship, but sadly not everyone is able to enjoy it. The Pediatric Cancer Foundation raises money for children battling cancer. Funds are used to help afford the best doctors and their flights to the children, ensuring they get the very best care.

Alpha House Tampa: A brilliant charity offering aid to women during their most vulnerable, Alpha House has several programs to help women who are expecting. Whether finding affordable medical care or vocational programs to help them get back on their feet, Alpha House wants to do everything they can for the next generation of mothers.

David Mantek

No matter who you choose to support, contributing to a charity brings its own set of returns. The feeling of giving without expectation of return, aiming to improve someone’s life, is a gift all on its own. So when choosing which charity is deserving of your hard-earned money, consider the little charities. A dollar given for a better world is a dollar for us all.

Philanthropy: Does it really work?

Philanthropy is a tricky business. We demand so much out of our willing givers, asking them for the utmost transparency and the promise that our money will be going where it belongs. But why do we hold our philanthropists, possibly the only people among us concerned with our collective well-being, to an impossible standard? Though this conundrum sounds strange, we wouldn’t impress the same restrictions on those looking to go our and earn for themselves, why have we decided to do it to those looking to help?

People have turned “overhead” into a dirty word, assuming that somehow an organization with hundreds of participants should run on peanuts as opposed to fuel. How can change be made if we’re not supporting our agents of change? We are taught that first, to avoid becoming a charity case we must find work, and earn for ourselves. Why then can’t that same position be at a charity? It’s because on average a CEO of a major non-for-profit will earn a fraction of what a fellow CEO would earn at a for-profit. Ask yourself, as a college student, still wet behind the ears, would you choose the option that offered so little?

When we’re not properly supporting our philanthropists, we’re not supporting their work. A staggering statistic shows that from 1970-2009, of the existing nonprofits to pass the $50 million barrier into legitimacy, only 144 made it. However, for-profit organizations make up 46,136. Why do we donate and donate but never make a difference? The poverty rate in this country has remained 12% for years, but why?

David mantekIt’s important to understand that non-profits, while geared for humane work, are still very much a business. How can you reach millions of eager, like-minded people if you’re crucified for spending money on advertising? Freeing a charity to operate more like a business and less like some unique, self-sustaining martyr machine will benefit all of us.

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South Carolina: Open Arms

South Carolina has always been a place of unity, acceptance, and neighborly smiles. It should come as no surprise then that refugees from war-torn Bosnia have made their way to the comfortable safety and warm embrace of Charleston, and locals willing to open their homes and arms to those seeking respite.

David MantekRecently announced at a press conference, Obama stated plans to welcome 10,000 refugees as they escape the Syrian civil war. The conflict, burdened with dark tones of racial and religious entanglement, has cost over 22 million people their homes. Though the decision to bring over refugees, especially in the wake of the Friday the 13th Paris attacks, has been fraught with antipathy. Some governors going so far as to forbid refugees from making a home in their states.

However, spurred on by the urge to do kindness, several smaller counties have issued statements welcoming the refugees to their towns. Though there is more work to be done, several cannot resist the call to help those in need. Meeting the beleaguered travelers at the airport, Charleston families have demonstrated an incredible sense of empathy. Regardless of ethnicity, it’s not difficult to put yourself in the shoes of those who’ve given everything to survive just one more day at the expense of a lifetime’s worth of memories.

There’s little we as Americans can do to understand what those fleeing Syria have experienced. Though no stranger to violence, American citizens have never known the distant thump of constant bombardment or plastering over freshly strewn bullet holes in the front of your home. Luckily, these innocent people aren’t asking us to carry their burden, only help shoulder it.


Run for Charity

South Carolina has been home to many things, but an Aiken County woman may just be the latest hero to emerge from this humble, southern state. Lesley Koppert, in an effort to raise money for two charities, will run across the state over four days. Her 140-mile journey has drawn the attention of the entire state, and she hopes that her drive will inspire others to help out.

Over thanksgiving, the Koppert family will be spending their time away from a table filled with food. With her backpack stuffed with peanut butter sandwiches, Lesley and her husband Lowell will be on the road.The time of this epic journey is certainly not an accident, either. Lesley and Lowell look to remind people of the spirit of Thanksgiving.

David MantekStarting in Tega Cay and moving all the way through the state to North Augusta, this journey will be a test of mind and body. With proceeds from her titanic task going to the Salvation Army and Mt. Salem Ministries homeless shelter, Lesley’s vim and vigor are beyond reproach.

During a holiday where families pack themselves with good food and surround themselves with love, Lesley hopes to give something to those who have none of either. An experienced runner with years on the road, this undertaking is still more than anything she’s ever attempted. With 35 miles to cover a day, it will be like running back-to-back marathons in some very cold weather.

Unshaken in the face of her greatest challenge to date, Lesley is nervous but ready. Running for more than just herself, she has shouldered the weight of anyone who is without someone to give thanks for. Surely, this holiday season, Lesley’s act of selflessness will have many giving thanks to her.

Charleston Ranked #1

It has long been known that Charleston, South Carolina is where you go for culture and a good time. Whether taking one of the many walking tours around the city or exploring the dozens of art galleries, Charleston has more to offer than any little city in the United States. It’s exactly because of this that for the fifth year in a row, Charleston has won the greatest award you can give a bustling mini-metropolis.

David MantekThe reigning champion of the best small city award, Charleston has been voted the number one small city for tourists to enjoy and explore when visiting South Carolina. Based on a scale that considers all a city’s amenities, over 128,000 people participated in the voting. Local culture, friendliness, shopping and scenery are all taken into account during the voting process. Crushing their competition, Charleston has blown past New Mexico, Santa Fe, and Park City. Since 2011, Charleston has rested in this coveted position atop this list, and there are several contributing factors that make this feat a possibility.

One of the greatest draws to the America’s south is the rich and storied architecture. Buildings that date back to the century’s turn line the streets like common suburban houses in Charleston. Calling thousands every year to take a journey back to America’s past, The Battery is where many go to taste a piece of what life was like all those years ago. Bed-and-breakfasts, Civil War relics, and views of the water that will stop you in your tracks; It’s no wonder South Carolina is such a destination for so many.

Looking to continue the tradition of offering their visitors everything they could want, Charleston remains a staple of American tradition. Echoing a bygone era of antiquity and grace, this southern belle is sure to entertain any who are willing to wander into its loving embrace.

Best Hotels in South Carolina

Have you found yourself in South Carolina with no place to stay and plenty more to see? There are dozens of hotels scattered across this beautiful state just waiting to show you a pleasant evening, but collected here are the best. The top five hotels in all of South Carolina will not only supply all the comforts of The Palmetto State but will have you coming back again and again.

The Wentworth Mansion: A house of antique beauty and modern comfort, the Wentworth Mansion is where you go to escape the 21st century. Built in the 1800s, the decor echoes a bygone era with rich colors and a scent of old mahogany.  The Old World rooms are spacious, with fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and a porch for taking in the summer moon. With evening brandies and sherries, the mood is one of relaxed elegance and refined southern charm.

The Restoration on King: Exposed brick with hardwood floors and simple furnishings, the Restoration on King has everything a traveler could want in a rest stop. Sitting on the historic King Street right near the center of town, this hotel is nestled in the beating heart of Charleston. Explore the comfort of Charleston, or stay in for a nighttime wine and cheese reception at the Restoration.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Gold Resort: Perched on the shores of the Atlantic, The Sanctuary is where you can go to escape the noise of life. As its name suggests, The Sanctuary is home to some of the world’s most renowned golf courses. Rooms sport massive marble showers with balconies looking out over the ocean or the rolling dunes. On-site activities other than gold include spas and swimming areas, making this hotel a destination unto itself.

David MantekThe French Quarter Inn: Flanked on all sides by the best of Charleston, The French Quarter was converted from a home but lost none of its comforts. Rooms come equipped with modern comfort in a classic setting, with carved bed frames and flat-screen television TVs. The French Quarter Inn offers a complimentary breakfast with a variety of choices to prepare you for a day of exploring Charleston, along with an in-house restaurant that comes highly praised by local food-critics.

Belmond Charleston Place: Another comfortable spot close to the center of Charleston, the Belmond is ideal for those looking to do some sightseeing. Surrounded by galleries and museums, this spot is ideal for embarking on day trips to explore Charleston. Pops of southern color adorn the interior of this charming spot and blend nicely when combined with the plush robes and soft beds. The spa and massive indoor/outdoor pool helps to take this southern-fried experience to the next level.

David Mantek Joins Coldwell Banker


David MantekDavid Mantek has joined Coldwell Banker Commercial Atlantic as a broker specializing in retail and investment properties. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Central Michigan University. Mantek has worked as a real estate investor for the past 21 years. – See more at:

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“The Coldwell Banker brand is the oldest and most established residential real estate franchise system in North America. In fact, in many ways it was the original real estate “start up.” Founded by young entrepreneurs Colbert Coldwell in 1906 and later Benjamin Banker, Coldwell Banker changed the way people bought and sold homes across America, ultimately becoming one of the most trusted real estate brands in the world. More than 100 years later, the Coldwell Banker network is still continuously recognized for its innovation and leadership across 3,000 offices in 49 countries and territories.”

5 Historic Homes in Charleston

Charleston Historic Homes

Charleston, South Carolina is full of history and likewise full of beautiful historic homes that represent the beautiful architecture styles that have been shaped along with the history of this state. Many of the homes are as old if not older than our very nation. Here are the top 5 Historic Homes in Charleston, SC that are a must visit:

1. Heyward-Washington House, 87 Church St. Charleston, SC 29401

This house predates the founding of our nation as it was built in 1772 as the home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., who was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The furniture in the home is Charleston-made and features an 18th century garden.

David Mantek


2. Middleton Place House, 4300 Ashley River Road Charleston, SC 29414

Middleton Place House was built in 1755 and was the house of generations of influential members of the Middleton family. They were rice barons who shaped the history of the United States from its foundations all through to the Civil War.

David Mantek


3. Drayton Hall, 3380 Ashley River Road Charleston, SC 29414

This magnificent house happens to be the oldest unrestored plantation house in the United States that is still open to the public. The land that it sits on is breathtaking and visitors get to explore many of its areas.

David Mantek


4. Edmondston-Alston House, 21 East Battery Charleston, SC 29401

This house dates back to 1825 and has many of its original paintings belong to the Alston family along with a great view of the harbor from its second floor.

David Mantek

5. Nathaniel Russell House, 51 Meeting St. Charleston, SC 29401

This is a grand federal townhouse that was completed in 1808. Over generations, the Russell House has changed hands on various occasions, including having been owned by a previous Governor of SC and also serving as a school.