Columbia’s River Town Charm Is Growing Online


Columbia’s River Town Charm Is Growing Online

Columbia is a historic river town on a historic rise – not in river levels, but in its digital footprint for local businesses. Since the spring of 2023, the ability for local businesses to be found online based on its products, services, food offerings, or activities has grown across all segments.

The growth online over the last 2 years

The local tourism growth in Lancaster County is certainly a contributing factor thanks to organizations like,, Fig Industries, and news coverage from outfits like NBC10 and Telemundo62 – but the fact that people are finding businesses based in Columbia is a win for our river town.

Places to Eat in Columbia

There are many places to enjoy for breakfast in Columbia, lunch at local indoor and outdoor seating venues, and places to enjoy dinner with the family. There is an increase in searches for places to eat and local establishments with websites are benefiting from the interest in enjoy a bite to eat in our historic downtown. Here’s a quick glance at a sample of website stats at Hinkle’s Restaurant as a sample of how the constant growth of their results on google for people looking for places to eat in Columbia:

Places to Shop in Columbia PA

With some many places to shop – from small gift shops, to artisan and vendor stores – it means that google has a lot more to show perspective customers! Storefronts are available to rent and lease, and the local Columbia Economic Development Corporation keeps a list of available properties to rent if you are considering “putting out your shingle” in Columbia, PA.

Now let’s be honest: running a small business today is not easy no matter where you plant and try to grow, but the small business community in Columbia, PA is supportive and has resources for small business owners from the CEDC’s grants or the Merchants Association of Columbia that helps drive foot traffic to local stores.

Here’s a sample of the growth of a local place to shop that features various artisan retailers:

Places to Antique, Vintage, and Thrift Shop

Antiquing has been a key part of our town’s growth as a destination for shoppers – attracting people from the entire east coast which you can see just by scanning license plates on a weekend (or any other day for that matter). However, the recent rise in vintage and thrift and repurposed retailers in the downtown area has shifted our town in the minds of decorators, designers, and vintage lovers. Recently, Columbia was featured in FIG’s issue celebrating the vintage destinations in Columbia. There are many places to explore and find one-of-a-kind treasures at antique stores in Columbia – but now there are plenty of vintage destinations too.

Here is an example of how google traffic to one local business has grown consistently – and the other retailers websites show the same trends over the last 2 years.

Coffeeshops in Columbia

Who doesn’t love meeting a friend at a local coffeeshop? Maybe a half-way point for a business meeting or a catchup spot with a friend. Well, there’s plenty of new and “been here” coffeeshops downtown and along the river.

Popular places to enjoy a cup of coffee are (all pictured above):

  • Garth Cafe
  • Home Goodies Cafe
  • Coffee & Cream
  • Prince St Cafe Columbia

The good thing about having many options for coffeeshops, is that many people who pop into a coffeeshop also take time to explore local stores, community event boards, and get a pulse on the town. The friendly “coffeeshop wars in Columbia” showcases different places to grab a cup-o-joe (or tea) and the stats on this local coffeeshop show that google is loving showing people are places to get caffeinated!

Enjoy a Night Out in Columbia, PA

If you are looking for some after hours destinations with your friends, there are multiple places to enjoy some adult beverages. Microbreweries have grown in their popularity and Columbia is no exception. We also now feature a distillery. Each place has its own flair, fun, and there’s great people and a unique atmosphere you have to see to enjoy.

There are also new places like Keystone Artisan Werks that features a game room you can reserve and enjoy axe throwing, golf simulators, shuffleboard, darts, or the big game on a big screen! They also have some great escape rooms in Columbia you can enjoy as a company outing or getaway with your friends.

Things To Do In Columbia

Columbia’s riverside placement makes it a perfect destination for outdoor lovers. If you’re looking to walk, jog, ride bikes, try out e-bikes, kayak, fish, or hike – it’s all here at your fingertips. There are plenty of museums in Columbia and family friendly activities, but there’s also more outdoor opportunities and google is realizing this unique feature of our town and local businesses are benefiting.

Here is an example: Let’s Roll E-Bikes bike shop offers e-bike rentals in Columbia – as well as new ebike sales – and their growth in organic search shows that google is loving the experience people are having that it sends to their website. The more outdoor destinations market their unique services along the Susquehanna River, the more people will come to the region, enjoy food and drink at local establishments, and share the great charm of our town with their family and friends.

Growth of Columbia destinations online

The exciting thing for Columbia is that whatever your business, the growth in our town’s digital footprint is increasing the viability of our town as a place to live, work, play, and visit!

Recent growth on this website’s traffic and key terms shows that there are many reasons why Google wants to put our town in front of people – take a look at what people are searching online and finding Columbia for:

It’s not just “local search” that is landing here either.

The data shows that Columbia is rising as a destination for visitors from Philly, New York, New Jersey, and that growth is happening in places we would not even have considered (like Ohio) as key feeder cities for Columbia. Cities like Columbus, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia are sending just as many visitors to our website as local places like Ephrata and Harrisburg.

If you’re excited about our present and optimistic about our future, then you are in the right place!

When we say “the tide is rising”, we mean it! It takes everyone sharing the great things about our town to shift and change the perspectives of this historic, revived river town.

Even the local government websites and grant-giving organizations like the local CEDC are growing in their online reputation. The Columbia Economic Development Corporation recently (2023) starting giving grants to local business owners to both improve their digital presence and their physical storefronts (facade grants). Along with the MAC (Merchants Association of Columbia), there is a lot in place to help local businesses be successful.

You can see from the graph below that it is just in the last two years that businesses and interest in the region have began to take root with google searches to allow for local services and product based businesses to benefit.

Please share the good news and let others know there is much to love in Columbia.

You can also plan a workation or overnight stay at the historic Freedom Home in the heart of downtown. It has private gardens, sleeps up to 10 people, and is a great spot to enjoy a unique working environment or weekend getaway with friends.

Sharing this article will help others discover what many already know: Columbia is rising!