The best countertops make a statement in your home that other features cannot. You've worked hard to incorporate unique designs and flavors throughout your home, so why should your countertops be any different?
At Real Deal Countertops, we aspire to combine the beauty and durability of natural stone with unrivaled, personalized attention to all customers. With the highest quality materials and the most helpful customer service, we give our clients the opportunity to make informed decisions that they feel good about for years. Our story in the countertop fabrication and manufacturing industry began more than 19 years ago, when Rafael Quedevez started out as a sales representative in Massachusetts. Working his way up through the ranks, Rafael soon made his way to South Carolina to open and manage his own companies. In 2013, we created real Deal Countertops. Since that time, we are proud to have served more than 5,000 customers in South Carolina and beyond.
Our leadership team combines more than 40 years of experience in the home remodeling service industry. Always striving to create a better product for our customers, we use the latest in robotics technologies and the sharpest minds in the business to craft countertops of unparalleled quality. Unlike other countertop companies in Columbia, SC, we only source the finest stone slabs in the world.
At Real Deal Countertops, we offer a wide range of styles and materials to choose from, including:
We are committed to ensuring that granite, marble, and other unique, exotic stones are attainable to all who desire them. If you're in search of a trustworthy counter company with a team of knowledgeable, helpful experts, you have come to the right place!
Most Popular Countertops in Columbia, SC
Choosing the best countertops for your kitchen is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be a hard one. One of the best ways to narrow down your search is to find out what kind of countertop material you'd like to use. While it's true that material and style trends change over time, there are several counters that have always been top sellers.
Some of the most popular countertops we sell include:
Marble Countertops in Columbia, SC
There's no way around it - marble adds jaw-dropping beauty to just about any room and is known for its good looks. It is a dense stone that comes in many different hues like greens, browns, pinks, greys, whites, and more. While marble countertops often have otherworldly beauty, they can be susceptible to stains and cracks. Marble is also considered one of the most expensive counters to choose from, though the truth is marble comes in a wide range of qualities and prices.
- Pros: Stunning beauty, plenty of beautiful choices.
- Cons: Not always used in kitchens due to chance of staining.
- Popular Colors: Portinari, Shadow Storm, Super White, Lumen, Calacatta Linconni, Nobulato Honned, Shadow, Grey Imperiale Honed.
Granite Countertops in Columbia, SC
When it comes to popularity, granite countertops take the cake. Granite countertops usually contain a blend of quartz, feldspar, mica, and other minerals. Granite can add an edge of elegance and even a country-chic feel to your kitchen, making it a well-rounded stone. Granite is durable and scratch-resistant, though it can require sealing and DIY chip repair.
- Pros: Luxurious, rich look featuring natural stone that is durable, heat resistant, and scratch-resistant.
- Cons: Hard material that may require DIY chip repair and sealing.
- Popular Colors: Blue Jeans, Creama Pearl, Alure, Galaxy White, Luna Pear, Steel Grey, Ubatuba, Oro Brazil.
Quartz Countertops in Columbia, SC
Quartz is a manufactured material that represents one of our favorite four-letter words: easy! If you're looking to add a high-end feel to your kitchen or bathroom, quartz is an excellent material to consider. Like granite, quartz countertops can add a decadent vibe to any room. Unlike granite, you may not have to seal quartz quite as often (if ever).
- Pros: Quartz countertops come in plenty of colors to choose from and are easy to clean. They are also strong, scratch-resistant, and don't require sealing.
- Cons: Quartz is not as heat resistant as other materials like granite counters. Sharp corners tend to crack, but that can be remedied with rounded corners.
- Popular Colors: Noble Grey, Raw Concrete, Frosty Carrina, Shitake, Pebble, Pietra Grey, Sierra Madre, Arctic.
Silestone Countertops in Columbia, SC
A manufactured material made from quartz crystals, Silestone countertops are equal parts gorgeous and practical. Known for being a durable, non-porous choice, Silestone is resistant to stains, scratches, and even some forms of bacteria. Homeowners who choose Silestone do so because they can get a high-end look without having to worry too much about maintenance. Silestone counters look great in many different homes, from contemporary abodes with modern accents to vintage-looking kitchens.
- Pros: Silestone countertops are non-porous, meaning germs and bacteria can't lodge themselves inside this material. This makes Silestone counters great for kitchens and bathrooms alike. This material also comes in a wide variety of colors and resists scratches and chips. Overall, Silestone is an excellent choice if you want to make a solid long-term investment without much upkeep.
- Cons: While Silestone is great if you're looking for a low-maintenance counter option, it can be sensitive to harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. Silestone is also not recommended for outdoor use since the resins used to make the material do not do well with UV light.
- Popular Colors: Daria, Gray Expo, Lagoon, Calacatta Gold, Arctic, Blanco City, Gris Expo, Desert Silver
Quartzite Countertops in Columbia, SC
Not to be confused with quartz countertops, which are manmade, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is quarried much in the same way that granite is. If you're a fan of marble counters, quartzite mimics its looks without as much upkeep. Like granite, it is a very durable choice and adds an upscale feeling to almost any room you choose.
- Pros: Since it doesn't require any special cleaners, quartzite looks great without much maintenance. When it gets dirty, soap and water should be all you need to clean. Quartzite is also a great long-term option since it doesn't wear down quickly at all.
- Cons: Heat is required to form quartzite. However, you should avoid putting hot pots and pans on your quartzite countertops. Because quartzite comes in many different varieties, some forms of quartzite need to be sealed more often than others.
- Popular Colors: Maya, Fusion, Locomotion, Callacata, Airy Concrete, Cocada White
Which Countertop is Right for You?
If you're just beginning your search for new countertops, it can be a little overwhelming trying to whittle down your options. We've got good news - with over 19 years in the industry, our team of experts has learned a thing or two about countertops. When you come to the Real Deal Countertops showroom, one of our goals is to educate you about our products and your countertop options, so you can make an educated purchasing decision.
How Will You Use Your Countertops in Columbia?
The first and perhaps most crucial part of your countertop choice should stem from how you and your family use your countertops. For example, if you have kids, your counters will probably see a lot of activity. Between standard eating times and "in-between" meals that teens are known for, your counters might double as food prep stations. As such, you might need a countertop material that is resistant to most food and beverage stains. If you own a rental property that sees a lot of foot traffic from strangers, you might want to consider an economical material that is also durable.
- Do you cook a lot?
- Do you host a lot of parties?
- How long will you be living in your home?
- How long will you be living in your home?
Once you figure out exactly how you'll be using your countertops, you can begin to narrow down your choices.
How Much Upkeep Is Too Much?
Be realistic and honest with yourself about this question. Before you fall in love with how a countertop material looks, be sure you understand how much upkeep is needed. Some materials require more care, while others don't need much at all.
Keep these points in mind:
- Materials like quartz only need to be wiped down occasionally.
- Materials like granite, marble, and limestone will need to be sealed at least once a year.
- Some materials may be durable but aren't stain resistant.
The bottom line is this: Assess the maintenance demands that come along with the materials you're looking at. Marble countertops in Columbia, SC are elegant, but if you'e unwilling to keep them looking their best, why bother buying the material?
You should be aware that most countertop materials will require some form of upkeep, even if it' minimal. To help keep your counters in pristine condition, consider these care and precaution tips:
- Many common foods contain acids that will dull or even damage the surface of stone countertops.Use coasters to protect your counters, especially if you'e drinking something with citrus juices or alcohol.
- Do not place scalding hot pots or pans directly on your countertops.
- Use mats or trivets to place under hot dishes.
- If you spill liquid on your countertops, blot the spill with a paper towel ASAP. Wiping the spill will cause it to spread.
- Use mild soap and plain water to clean up stains.
Which Colors and Materials Match Your Home's Aesthetics?
For many homeowners, this question is almost always top-of-mind. After all, you want to choose colors and materials that fit well with other features in your home. When selecting your countertop materials, try to choose a tone that contrasts with your other amenities, like your cabinets. Don't go for a perfect match. As an example, black granite is a beautiful contrast to white cabinets.
Consider these questions when choosing your countertop materials:
- Are there one or two colors that you love more than others?
- Does your choice go well with the color of your kitchen's walls?
- Do you want to switch up your kitchen's style or keep it the same?
- Will you be painting your kitchen a different color in the future?
- Will you be replacing your appliances soon?
Real Deal Countertops Pro Tip:
Because your home's accessories and paint job may change with time, your countertops should have a versatile color. That way, you won't have problems matching them with new paint colors or appliances.
Countertop Remodeling Done Right
At Real Deal Countertops, our #1 priority is your satisfaction. Unlike some countertop companies in Columbia, we make it a point to exceed our customer's expectations. We strive for excellence with every transaction we complete and pledge to faithfully implement innovative techniques to ensure that our products remain affordable. With the help of Real Deal Countertops, remodeling your kitchen and bath will be painless and easy.
The appearance of a kitchen or bath depends on the right countertop selection, proper fabrication, and expert installation. Are you interested in granite countertops in Columbia, SC? Maybe quartzite is a better choice for your family. Whatever you choose, know that our skilled installers and fabricators will make a template so that all custom pieces fit perfectly in your home.
What Clients Say About Us
Countertop Installation for Sue Gregory
Custom Countertops for Ellen Bowdon
Granite Countertops for Holly Washington
Kitchen Countertops for CFR Williams
Quartz Countertops for Judy Galuppo
Countertop Installation for Emma Fitzpatrick
Laminate Countertops for Carla Greene
Countertop Replacement for Barbara Piper
New Countertop for Daney Herrera
Custom Countertops for bob shafer
Granite Countertops for MrMunsters1313
Kitchen Remodel for Barbara Piper
Kitchen Countertops for Carol Moura
Quartz Countertops for Shoshanna Richek
Marble Countertops for David Glunt
Quartzite Countertops for Jim Brennan
Bathroom Remodel for Cody Griner
Countertops for Pam Kemmerlin
Countertop Installation for Al Walters
Granite Countertops for Amy Marion Langstone
Kitchen Countertops for Jose Feliz
Quartz Countertops for Mark and Marilyn Atanasoff
Laminate Countertops for Sandra Bryson
Countertop Replacement for Paul Scott
New Countertop for Steven Barbieri
Latest News in Columbia, SC
Tee it up at these Columbia golf courses
We can’t think of a better way to soak in Columbia’s greenspace than spending some time on the links. Whether you’re looking to connect outdoors with friends or you’re honing in on the perfect swing, here are 22 golf courses to make a tee time at around the Soda City.Members onlyColumbia Country Club, 135 Columbia Club Dr., Blythewood | This club offers a championship golf course, dining, swimming, and...
We can’t think of a better way to soak in Columbia’s greenspace than spending some time on the links. Whether you’re looking to connect outdoors with friends or you’re honing in on the perfect swing, here are 22 golf courses to make a tee time at around the Soda City.
Columbia Country Club, 135 Columbia Club Dr., Blythewood | This club offers a championship golf course, dining, swimming, and various sports programs. Home of the 121st U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion Jensen Castle.
The Country Club of Lexington, 1066 Barr Rd., Lexington | Recently awarded “Club of the Year” by the SCGA, this top-ranked course offers a full-service driving range, short game practice facility, two putting greens, an Olympic-size swimming pool, seven tennis courts, and banquet/meeting rooms.
Forest Lake Club, 340 Country Club Dr., Columbia, SC | Established in 1923, this 18-hole course offers 6,385 yards of golf, tennis courts, swimming pools, and dining venues.
Solina Golf, 200 Indian River Dr. | Solina (SOuth caroLINA) Golf course is currently being renovated and is accepting membership applications. This course was a public course named Indian River.
Spring Valley Country Club, 300 Spring Valley Rd., Columbia | PGA accredited golf professionals and full practice facilities including unlimited range balls, large practice green, short game area, private teaching tee, and multi-tiered range tee.
The WildeWood Club, 90 Mallet Hill Rd. | A neighborhood club offering not only a beautiful golf course, but a tennis facility with lighted clay + hard courts, and a seasonal swimming facility.
The Woodcreek Club, 301 Club Ridge Rd., TKTKTK | This is a Tom Fazio-designed course with features that include a two-tier tee setup and top-quality practice facilities.
The Woodlands Country Club, 100 Norse Way, Columbia | This is a Russell Breeden-designed 18-hole Championship Golf Course that opened in 1974. The course is situated on 188 total acres. The course has hosted notable events and offers individual instruction, clinics, and various tournaments throughout the year.
Charwood, 222 Clubhouse Dr. #2589, West Columbia | Rates — $35+ for 18 holes. The course takes full advantage of its location along a 15-mile sand strip with naturally sandy “waste areas” that create a unique challenge for players.
Cobblestone, 1298 University Pkwy., Blythewood | Rates — $70+ for 18 holes. Golfers will find rolling hills, panoramic views, and oak and pine trees on this 27-hole course.
Fort Jackson Golf Club, Fort Jackson, Columbia | Military facility managed by U.S. Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation, featuring two golf courses including the 18-hole “Old Hickory” course with 6,624 and the wildcat course playing 5,426 yards.
Golden Hills Golf and Country Club, 100 Scotland Dr., Lexington | Set in the heart of Lexington, this 18-hole championship course offers beautiful trees and lakes, four lighted tennis courts, an outdoor Junior Olympic pool, children’s wading pool, driving range, chipping area, putting green, and a clubhouse with banquet facilities, Scottish tavern, golf shop, and locker rooms.
Hidden Valley, 147 State Rd. S-32-1144, Gaston | Situated just outside Columbia, this public 18-hole par 72 course offers a fair challenge and a premier experience with 6,800 yards of secluded layout.
Linrick, 356 Camp Ground Rd., Columbia | Columbia’s municipal golf course features eight ponds and rolling hills on 257 acres.
The Spur at Northwoods, 201 Powell Rd, Columbia | Designed by P.B. Dye, son of world-famous architect Pete Dye, the course winds through wooded areas with several ponds.
Oak Hills, 7629 Fairfield Rd., Columbia | Located on a 160-acre tract of land outside with gently rolling hills surrounded by oak, pine, and dogwood trees.
Timberlake Country Club, 222 Timberlake Dr., Chapin | Located on Lake Murray, Timberlake is a scenic and challenging 18-hole course.
The Windermere Club, 1101 Longtown Rd. E., Blythewoood | Designed by Pete Dye, this course offers a challenging golfing experience with different tee positions, subtle elevation changes, and fairways bordered by hardwood trees and water hazards throughout.
Just puttin’ around
Par Tee + Par 3 Course, 3209 Charleston Hwy., West Columbia | Experience a scenic driving range overlooking the Cola skyline with mini-golf, lessons, club fitting, and a unique 3-hole Par 3 Loop
James Clyburn Golf Center, 2091 Slighs Ave., Columbia | A full-service golf practice facility and learning center located off Harden Street in downtown Columbia
LJ’s Par And Grill, 381 Pilgrim Church Rd., Lexington | Enjoy a lighted golf driving range and putting green, offering tasty food, ice-cold beer, live music, and an ice cream parlor. It’s a perfect place to enjoy golf and entertainment.
Riverside Golf Center, 1600 Garner Ln., Columbia| The 9-hole riverside par-3 course features 1,100 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 27 and a driving range with an automated ball dispenser.
Take it indoors
Player’s Club Academy, 1626 Main St. STE 300 | An indoor golf facility with cutting-edge simulators, offering virtual courses, membership benefits, and a relaxing bar + lounge.
Pro Swing, 105 Snapdragon Ct., Chapin | Pro Swing features Golfzon’s Two Vision golf simulators, providing golfers with a realistic experience. Play and compete on famous courses, take lessons from experienced instructors, or host an event in a climate-controlled environment.
Here are the 20 best things to do in Columbia SC, Southern Living says. Do you agree?
Columbia might not have the beaches of Hilton Head or the rich, historic charm of Charleston, but it still has plenty to offer.The Soda City is home to the state’s capital, the University of South Carolina, a tasty food scene and its own collection of historic sites. Often described as a big city with a small town feel, much of Columbia, particularly its downtown core, is extremely walkable, making it a regular gathering spot for various events and activities.The nationwide publication ...
Columbia might not have the beaches of Hilton Head or the rich, historic charm of Charleston, but it still has plenty to offer.
The Soda City is home to the state’s capital, the University of South Carolina, a tasty food scene and its own collection of historic sites. Often described as a big city with a small town feel, much of Columbia, particularly its downtown core, is extremely walkable, making it a regular gathering spot for various events and activities.
The nationwide publication Southern Living recently compiled a breakdown of what it considers the 20 best things to do in Columbia this year. Southern Living broke its list down by categories, including food, sporting events, culture and the outdoors.
Here are a few highlights from the list. For the full breakdown, click here.
Southern Living had several choices for the best foods and drinks to sample in Columbia. If you’re a coffee drinker, Southern Living suggested the best place to go is Drip in Five Points. Along with a healthy selection of drinks like espressos and matcha lattes, Drip offers quick breakfast and lunch options to grab on the go.
If you attend Columbia during football season, one of the best things you can do is attend a USC football game, Southern Living writes. The atmosphere of a Gamecocks night game at Williams-Brice Stadium is something to behold.
While strolling through Columbia’s Main Street on most days will offer plenty of places to shop and eat, Saturdays during the Soda City Market are the best, Southern Living writes. Each Saturday, Main Street is transformed into a lively street market filled with artists, food vendors and local farmers selling their latest produce.
Besides the market, one of the best things visitors to Columbia can do is schedule their visit around a festival, Southern Living adds. There’s the Rosewood Crawfish Festival in the spring, the Columbia Shrimp and Grits Fest in June and the South Carolina State Fair in the fall, just to name a few.
One of the best things about Columbia is, while it’s a bustling city, it’s near a wealth of outdoor splendor and activities. Southern Living suggests some of the best things to do include taking a boating or fishing trip on nearby Lake Murray or practice your golf swing on one of Columbia’s public courses, such as Oak Hills Golf Club and LinRick Golf Course.
And then there’s Congaree National Park, which is about 18 miles from downtown Columbia. The park features an old-growth bottomland hardwood forest and is filled with wildlife, from alligators to river otters. The park is also one of the few spots in the U.S. where visitors can watch a synchronous fireflies event each year —wherein countless male fireflies gather to put on a dazzling display in search for a mate.
This story was originally published August 7, 2023, 6:00 AM.
New school year looms for Columbia-area students, teachers, parents
COLUMBIA — Students and teachers will soon be back in the classroom in Columbia, as the capital city area’s five school districts prepare for their first days of school in the second and third week of August.Some campuses will see changes, such as increased safety measures, free breakfasts and lunches and a new superintendent heading the area’s largest school system.The first students to head back to class will be in ...
COLUMBIA — Students and teachers will soon be back in the classroom in Columbia, as the capital city area’s five school districts prepare for their first days of school in the second and third week of August.
Some campuses will see changes, such as increased safety measures, free breakfasts and lunches and a new superintendent heading the area’s largest school system.
The first students to head back to class will be in Lexington Two, whose 8,600 students in the West Columbia, Cayce and Pine Ridge areas will start class Aug. 7.
Next will be the 28,500 students of Richland Two, who will return to their northeast Richland campuses Aug. 8.
On Aug. 9, Lexington One’s nearly 28,000 students will be back behind their desks at the start of the year for state’s sixth largest district, serving the town of Lexington, plus the Gilbert and Pelion areas.
The next week, Lexington-Richland Five’s 17,500 students in northwestern Columbia, Irmo and Chapin will head back Aug. 15.
A day later on Aug. 16, Richland One’s roughly 22,000 students in Columbia and Lower Richland will be the last Columbia-area students to say goodbye to summer break.
Thousands of students in Richland One and Two will have to navigate increased security measures when they arrive on the first day of school, as the county’s largest districts expanded their metal detector screening programs over the summer.
In Richland Two, that means daily screening at all five of the district’s high schools, with multiple entrance points as students arrive in the morning and one at the main entrance, which will operate all day.
The district has asked student drivers and car riders to arrive to school early to avoid “possible wait times in line,” and for students to take computers, three-ring binders, and any other metal objects out of their bags before the screening stations.
Richland One already has previously operated metal detectors at all of its high schools, and is now aiming to have them ready at middle schools before school starts, thought its staffing levels were stymied thanks to budget cuts triggered by Richland County Council’s vote against the district’s requested property tax increase.
Its schools normally go over safety and emergency procedures during the first day of classes, according to a district statement.
“Parents should make sure to talk with their children about making good decisions and if they see something, say something,” the district asked.
While U.S. families had enjoyed a reprieve from paying for school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the federal government’s relief efforts, that aid ended during the summer of 2022.
However, dozens of schools across the Columbia area will still provide school breakfasts and lunches to all their students for free thanks to another federal assistance program, including 31 campuses that just became eligible for the program this summer. The schools with free meals include the entire Richland One and Lexington Two districts, as well as some campuses in the remaining three systems.
Columbia-area Barnes & Noble store to move out of longtime mall spot. Here’s where it’s going
A national bookstore that has been part of Richland Mall for more than a quarter-century plans to move to a new location in Columbia. The move comes as developers are in the nascent stages of a years-long,...
A national bookstore that has been part of Richland Mall for more than a quarter-century plans to move to a new location in Columbia. The move comes as developers are in the nascent stages of a years-long, $100 million overhaul of the Richland Mall property.
Barnes & Noble senior director of store planning and design Janine Flanigan confirmed Thursday morning that the Richland Mall store, located at 3400 Forest Drive in Forest Acres, will close in January or February 2024, and the store will move to the Shoppes at Woodhill shopping center at at 6090 Garners Ferry Road.
Flanigan said the Garners Ferry shop would likely open a couple weeks after the Richland Mall location closes. She said Barnes & Noble would stay at the mall location until construction and preparation is complete at the Garners Ferry spot, then make the move.
The Barnes & Noble will be moving into a space that formerly was occupied by a Bed, Bath and Beyond. The Shoppes at Woodhill shopping center on Garners Ferry is anchored by a Target store and has several other businesses.
Flanigan said the Richland Mall Barnes & Noble has been open since 1997. Outside of the University of South Carolina campus bookstore, the Richland Mall store is the only other Barnes & Noble in the Midlands. While Flanigan admits it is bittersweet for the company to leave the Richland Mall site, she said Barnes & Noble is excited to be moving into a new space in Columbia. She said the store will have a fresh look.
“We have a brand new design,” Flanigan said. “If you’ve been in our stores, you know the furniture is the dark wood, and there’s the green carpet. It’s been typically that tone. Our new design is very different. It’s a light-colored wood, which we call Victorian lace. It will be very bright, with high ceilings.
“And we will organize the fixtures differently, creating these really fantastic book rooms. It just really invites someone in to explore each of the different genres and sections.”
Like the store in Richland Mall, Flanigan said the coming Garners Ferry Road Barnes & Noble will also have a cafe that serves Starbucks coffee.
Barnes & Noble’s announcement that it is moving comes just one day after department store Belk confirmed it is closing its location in the Richland Mall in September. Those are the last two national retailers left in the mall in its current form.
However, there is a plan moving forward that looks to breathe new life into the sprawling mall site.
The mall property had been owned by Century Capital LLC and Forest Holdings LLC. However, in January, Augusta development company Southeastern officially purchased the property. It has pledged to overhaul the 32-acre site with a more than $100 million plan that is set to include a 100,000-square-foot grocery store, more than 500 apartments, a public park, a brewery or taproom and more.
City officials have said the coming redevelopment of the mall site will be the largest single economic development investment in Forest Acres in nearly four decades. The redevelopment of the mall site will be a years-long process. The bulk of the current mall building ultimately will be demolished to make way for the overhaul.
Southeastern is no stranger to major developments. The company has numerous retail, residential, hospitality and other business developments in its portfolio, with projects across the South. Among its developments is the mixed-use Shelter Cove Towne Centre in Hilton Head.
This story was originally published August 10, 2023, 12:41 PM.
This company brings goats to mow your lawn. Will Columbia allow it to operate?
Pumpkin is an individual, but she’ll get her work done, Jacob Porter assures.“You hot, honey? Your water is over here if you want it,” he coos to her.Pumpkin’s colleag...
Pumpkin is an individual, but she’ll get her work done, Jacob Porter assures.
“You hot, honey? Your water is over here if you want it,” he coos to her.
Pumpkin’s colleagues — Sage, Paisley, Sally and Hot Mama — are already fully engrossed in consumption. As Pumpkin lazes under a tree to escape the mounting heat, Sally and Hot Mama are focused on the full, rounded leaves vining out before them.
The five goats will eat day and night for the next five or six days, working to clear weeds and overgrowth from a backyard on a residential street in Gaston, S.C.
Porter’s Green Goat Land Management promises to be an alternative to traditional landscaping. Hire goats to clear your weeds naturally, rather than using pesticides and heavy equipment, the sales pitch goes.
The idea has resonated, and Porter’s business has grown. But for Columbians wanting the Green Goat treatment, there’s a slight problem.
A lack of clarity in city code has meant operating in Columbia is a gamble for Porter. Goats aren’t technically allowed. He’s been allowed to operate by city officials, he says, unless someone complains.
On two recent jobs, somebody did. He had to pick up the goats, refund the customer and lose a day of business.
Now, he wants something written down. He’s asking the city to create new language to allow either a temporary use permit or some other consideration in city code that would allow his goats to work in the city.
Marilynn Fitzpatrick knew her yard was getting out of hand. So did the city — she was racking up Columbia code enforcement violations because of the overgrowth.
She needed an undeveloped lot and her backyard taken care of. She called a landscaping company and was quoted $1,800 for just the lot.
Dismayed, she hit the internet and stumbled across Porter’s website. She was quoted $500 for the whole job.
“I loved the idea, and as I shared it with other people, they loved the idea,” Fitzpatrick said.
She liked the idea of the goats for more than the reduced price tag. The goats were not loud, they didn’t smell, and they created an opportunity for a new experience, she said.
Porter is adamant on this point. The goats make little noise and don’t smell like a barnyard, two common fears of prospective customers. The animals also neutralize seeds once eaten, Porter explained, meaning their waste isn’t contributing to a new crop of weeds once they go.
“Goatscaping” is a growing industry nationwide. It’s been written about by academics and advertised by big businesses. Companies similar to Porter’s are popping up all over the U.S., and Porter’s isn’t even the only goatscaping company in South Carolina.
“Everybody tries to reinvent the wheel. ‘Oh, there’s a newer, better way. Look at this fancy chemical I made in the lab.’ Well, nature designed (goats) to fight invasive species,” Porter said.
Porter and his employees are fastidious about the goats. They have mineral water, and customers are given activated charcoal just in case a goat gets sick.
Before the goats came to Fitzpatrick’s property, two of Porter’s employees showed up to measure her yards and make sure there wasn’t anything poisonous to goats. The company also sets up fabric netting with a low-wattage electrical current to keep the goats corralled and to protect any trees or plants the goats aren’t supposed to eat.
Fitzpatrick was excited for the goats to arrive, and so were her friends, who were eager to come by and meet the animals.
On their first day at her house, she brought them Saltine crackers. She’d never interacted with goats before and was surprised to find they each had their own personalities.
Fitzpatrick doesn’t know who complained, but Porter was told the city received a dozen calls about the goats. A day after dropping them off, Porter had to return to collect them.
The goats did not have the time to finish Fitzpatrick’s yard, but she’s still eager to hire Porter back.
“He wouldn’t even have to call me,” she said.
Green Goat Land Management has around 500 clients — Porter gives this estimate by recalling that he sends each client a Christmas card and a square of goat-milk soap each holiday season, and this year he sent about 500.
He didn’t plan to run this kind of business. When he retired from the military, he planned to buy and flip property. He had some land he planned to tidy up and flip first. He bought eight goats to take care of the overgrowth, but before his property-flipping dreams took off, one of his neighbors noticed the goats.
“As soon as I sold that land, before I could buy some more, somebody asked me, ‘Can I use (the goats) for my backyard?” he said. Then another neighbor asked, then another.
“Then somebody in Camden said they needed 15 acres cleaned up, and it just never stopped,” he said.
Most of Porter’s business growth has been from word of mouth.
He’s worked steadily in Columbia for years, despite the murky city code. But not knowing if he’ll have to cut a job short due to local complaints has complicated accepting jobs in the area, he said.
Porter has a business license, liability insurance and an LLC, but city ordinance doesn’t allow goats or other farm animals. It also doesn’t expressly allow the type of electric netting he uses to keep his goats contained.
He said he’s been allowed to do business in Columbia as long as he informs animal control of his location, how many goats he’ll have and how long they’ll be there. But, if neighbors complain, he has to collect the animals.
About a year ago, he dropped his goats off for a job in Columbia, and then the next day he was called to collect them — the neighbors had complained.
He tried to get momentum then for an ordinance change, but nothing happened. This July, he dropped his goats off at Fitzpatrick’s house, expecting them to take several days to clear her property. Instead, neighbors again complained, and the goats had to be retrieved.
So, he started a petition to publicly ask the city to change its code. As of Aug. 1, the petition had just under 200 signatures. Over the last few weeks, he’s also been in touch with city officials, including City Council members. He has at least two members of council in his corner.
Council members Howard Duvall and Will Brennan plan to co-sponsor an ordinance change to unambiguously allow Porter’s business, Duvall said. When reached by phone Monday, Duvall said the city’s legal department was already working on the language.
Porter plans to go before City Council Aug. 15 to plead his case to the rest of the body.
This story was originally published August 2, 2023, 10:53 AM.