McKissick Museum hosts ‘Selling the City’
An unashamed display of bribery took place on the Horseshoe Wednesday night.
Local restaurants, businesses and attractions gathered in McKissick Museum Wednesday to wine and dine 80 USC Ambassadors.
Their aim: to get the Ambassadors to recommend their businesses to tens of thousands of students and parents during university tours.
Thirsty Fellow and Village Idiot spearheaded the lobbying effort with boxes of pizza, and Carolina Cafe upped the ante with piles of bagels. Yesterdays brought grits, chicken fingers, collards and their famed bacon macaroni and cheese.
Ambassadors also took part in a free raffle for T-shirts from Andy’s Deli, gifts certificates to DiPrato’s and the Columbia Zoo, boxes of cupcakes from Cupcake and even a one-night stay at The Inn at Claussen’s.
The event, “Selling the City,” certainly had those at the event sold. Jonathan Peterson, a first-year biomedical engineering student, was bought by the Blue Marlin’s Shrimp & Grits. First-year public relations student Melissa Bjerke said she was swayed by Village Idiot’s quality food and great atmosphere and for a lower price range.
Ambassadors said they are asked daily by students and parents which restaurants and attractions they would recommend.
“Even cute little old alumni couples ask where to go,” said Shannon Bockmiller, a second-year public health student.
Harvey Etheredge, owner and operator of Fancy That! Bistro, located behind the Columbia Marriott, corrupted ambassadors and ethically unsound journalists alike with his ranch-Parmesan wings.
“I have the business people downtown, but I want to attract the students,” Etheredge said, placing more wings on ambassadors’ plates already loaded with food.
Terry Davis, a co-owner of Thirsty Fellow, touted her former university connections to get an edge.
“I used to be director of admissions for USC, so I have a great affinity for this university,” Davis said. “We have a full menu that can satisfy everyone in the family.”
Paul Inman, who works several positions, including cook, for Yesterdays, extolled his employer’s specialties and student-friendly location.
“There’s always something in Five Points, and Yesterdays is glad to be part of it,” Inman said.
But food and gifts weren’t the only thing given out Wednesday. Karen Griggs, marketing director for the Columbia City Ballet, was passing out culture.
“It’s very important for students to have an appreciation of the arts,” Griggs said. “... Once you see one of our productions, you’ll be back.”
Ellie Lewis, captain of professional development and training for the Ambassadors program, said she expected the delicious event to become annual or bi-annual.