"R" is for R.L. Bryan Company. The publishing firm of R.L. Bryan Company is Columbia’s oldest industry. It began in 1844 when Richard Lather Bryan of Charleston began to operate a newsstand and stationery shop on Richardson Street. The business was destroyed by fire in February 1865, but quickly recovered. In 1884 the company added a printing department. It began printing bills and journals for the General Assembly in 1898, beginning a long association. At the turn of the last century, the company became the state’s textbook distributor. In 1985, the closely held corporation established an employee stock plan and by 1991 was one hundred percent employee owned. In the twenty-first century, the R. L. Bryan Company, ever shaped by technology, maintained a core business of printing, office furniture and design, and children’s books.