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undiSCovered: Community Rallies Around Midlands, South Carolina Pizza Joint

In its sixth decade in Palmetto State capital, LaBrasca’s at risk of becoming Covid-19 casualty …

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If you haven’t signed up for our daily newsletter yet (ahem), you may not know that our media outlet is launching a new format in the coming weeks entitled “undiSCovered.” The primary goal of this series is to draw attention to worthy South Carolina small businesses, nonprofits and other organizations/ attractions/ destinations/ locations – with an emphasis on how these various entities are navigating the Covid-19 economy.

In keeping with our previous coverage, we want to tell their stories, talk about their challenges, share any tips they may have for other businesses and (most importantly) empower people within their communities who want to help them be successful.

Through Covid-19 and beyond ...

Another objective of “undiSCovered” is highlighting South Carolina to our broader regional and national “First in the South” readership – showcasing the state’s best kept secrets (in dining, culture, history, etc.) as well as its raw, accessible natural beauty.

Which is one reason our newsletters have been focusing on these angles as well …

Unlike failed crony capitalist destination marketing scams which have continued to produce diminishing returns (even before the Covid shutdowns rocked our tourism economy), we want to draw attention to South Carolina’s real allure … and do so organically.


Finally, we wanted “undiSCovered” to offer some balance to our political coverage – which tends to focus on the maddening, repetitive failure of our state’s governing class to allow for meaningful progress (and prosperity) for our citizens. Perhaps the more attention we draw to the many things that are right with South Carolina, the harder those working toward better outcomes will fight for it.

And fight for each other …

Anyway … we did not intend to get too deep into this series until 2021, but late Tuesday evening we stumbled upon a Facebook post from Charleston Laffin, a prominent S.C. State House lobbyist who lives in Columbia, S.C.

Laffin’s post attracted our attention (and the attention of more than 1,200 people who have shared it since yesterday evening) to the plight of a restaurant our founding editor Will Folks recalls with fondness from his formative years in Columbia: LaBrasca’s Pizza.

(Click to view)

(Via: LaBrasca’s Pizza)

An institution in the Palmetto State capital for more than half a century, LaBrasca’s – located at 4365 Fort Jackson Boulevard in Columbia – has been significantly imperiled by the current economic climate. Founded back in 1966, the restaurant is currently owned and operated by Brett Wilson and Milly Knuckley Wilson.

To say things are not going well would be an understatement … to the point one of its owners took to social media late Tuesday with a grim prognosis for the establishment’s future.

“Well folks, looks like COVID is going to win this battle,” Milly Wilson wrote on Facebook. “Not looking good for us at LaBrasca’s. Not sure how much longer we can hold our heads above the water. Our cost(s) have almost tripled and sales have been cut in half. Not a good time for small mom and pop businesses for sure.”

Sadly this story is not unique … even after massive aid programs intended to help small businesses survive the Covid-19 crush.

Wilson’s post prompted Laffin to spring into action, though, organizing her own “Save LaBrasca’s” campaign on social media.

(Click to view)

(Via: Facebook)

“LaBrasca’s is a Columbia gem and they need our help more than ever!” Laffin (above) wrote. “This is the time to help a local small business that has been part of our community for decades! Order takeout, eat in, get dinner for friends or family and drop it off, get lunch for another small business and surprise them! We can do this!”

Laffin put her mouth where her mouth was, too … stopping by the store to pick up dinner for her family.

“Guys, it’s almost Christmas … can you imagine what they are feeling??!” Laffin added. “It’s good to be blessed, it’s better to be a blessing.”

Her appeal worked … or at least it’s working for now.

LaBrasca’s was reportedly humming at lunch on Wednesday and getting steady dinner and takeout orders into the afternoon. Hopefully this momentum will be sustainable … and not just for this particular pizza joint, but for thousands of similarly situated restaurants across the state.

“This is about helping our community,” Laffin told us.

Indeed it is …

We have reached out to the owners of LaBrasca’s in the hopes they will allow us to feature their restaurant as one of our first “undiSCovered” stories. Also, we look forward to introducing our readers to all sorts of hidden gems as we roll out this new series over the coming weeks and months.

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Got a small business, nonprofit, organization, attraction, destination or other entity/ location you think would be a good fit for this feature? Email us …

[email protected]

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