On July 5th, Members of Main Street Rotary Club (MSRC) of Columbia assembled to highlight the revitalization of Main Street district to visiting Consulate-General of Japan, Mr. Takashi (Thomas) Shinozuka, who is also a fellow Rotarian from Atlanta Rotary Club. Mr. Shinozuka was in Columbia to meet with Representative Joe Wilson. As the Consulate General of Japan, Mr. Shinozuka is tasked to strengthen economic and cultural relations between Japan and the United States, particularly with the four states in his jurisdiction: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Mr. Shinozuka reports that more than 1,300 Japan-related businesses are located within the Southeast, and some 20,000 Japanese national have chosen to call the Southeast home.
The hosting group included the following members of MSRC: President Matthew Morrison; Karel Givens, Jeremy Becraft, Scott Middleton and Patricia Junqueira. Karel Givens is Vice President of Administration and Development with City Center Partnership, a nonprofit organization that promotes downtown economic development. Jeremy Becraft is Mast General Store Manager, Main Street district ‘s pioneer retailer. He is also on the board of City Center Partnership, and First Thursday on Main. Scott Middleton is the founder and chief executive of Agape Senior and LTC Health Solutions, headquartered on Main Street. He is also a major catalyst/developer for Main Street district with restaurants (Michael’s, Good Life Café), retail (Shops on Main), wellness studio (ReVive), entertainment (The GRAND) amongst other businesses spaces on the 1600 block of Main Street. Patricia Junqueira is Vice President of Business Services with First Community Bank, with an office in the Main Street district.