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Business Black Box

Quarter 3 • 2013

The Lowcountry’s Boilin’ up a good time.

New Date:

March 6-9, 2014 Tickets on Sale:

September 18, 2013 To get involved or for more information, email:



The Palmetto Bank Commercial team continues to grow, offering your business more robust cash management services than ever before. Take advantage of our best-in-class treasury management solutions and trusted financial expertise so you can improve your operational efficiencies and build your business.

Equipment Financing • Treasury Services Asset-based Lines of Credit • Remote Deposit



Member FDIC



I S S U E . . .


Business Gone Wild

From the Ground Up



BOX For more from Business Black Box visit




Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

Food on the Move


Q3/2013 E V E R Y

I S S U E . . .

23 42


Launch: Local Food Manufacturing

Speed Pitch: Latrice Folkes

12 15 16 28 56 60



Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

Trailblazer: Erin Ouzts


11 Questions: Emmanuel Hodencq




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26 30 40 44 55 58 64 72


What Matters: Ashley Warlick






Jordana Megonigal

OUR STORY... Whether planes crash or crews overcome obstacles to successfully complete flights, airlines go to the black box to discover secrets, answers, and missing information to explain what happened and learn for the future. That’s the mission of our magazine, our connect events, and our interactive platform. News of businesses succeeding, failing, merging, hiring, firing and more are reported everyday, all over the Upstate. But in business, the real power is not just hearing the news, but about going behind the scenes, discovering, connecting, and learning from those that made it happen. At the heart of every event, every blog, every magazine issue, and every documentary Business Black Box produces, you’ll find a relentless passion for connecting, advising and growing Upstate business.



Geoff Wasserman





Peter Barth Marc Bolick Andy Coburn Noelle Coyle Chip Felkel Steven Hahn Tim Hahn Leslie Hayes Evelyn Lugo Walker McKay Chad McMillan Josh Overstreet Alison Storm



Chad McMillan


Annual Subscriptions are $20 and include four issues of Business Black Box, as well as one year of full access to our website, Think someone you know would like to receive Business Black Box? A complimentary gift card will be sent with each order indicating who the gift is from and when the recipient will receive their first issue. If you have a question about your subscription, call us at (864) 281-1323, ext. 1010, or reach us via email at C HANGE OF ADDRESS

When contacting us about changing your address, please provide us with both the old and the new addresses, as well as any other informational changes. The post office will only forward Business Black Box for 60 days, so make sure you let us know as soon as you have your information ready.



GRAPHIC DESIGNER Catherine Roberts

When available, back issues of Business Black Box are available for $9 by mail or for $7 for pick-up through our office.

PHOTOGRAPHY Wayne Culpepper, Fisheye Studios Nill Silver Photography TRAFFIC COORDINATOR Jessica Riddle



Local talent is what keeps us moving. If you’d like to write or photograph for Business Black Box, please contact the editor at or by mail to Business Black Box, c/o Freelance Opportunities, 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607. REPRINT / PHOTO / VIDEO REQUESTS

If you’d like to request a copy or a reprint of a photo or an article you’ve seen in Business Black Box, or of a video we’ve done for your event, please contact us for info and pricing at info@ or by mail to 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607. EVENT MANAGEMENT / SPONSORSHIP


Business Black Box (Vol.5, Issue 3) is published four times per year by ShowCase Publishing, 1200 Woodruff Rd. Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607; phone (864) 281-1323; fax (864) 281-1310. Business Black Box is a registered trademark of ShowCase Publishing 2013. Content may not be reproduced without written permission of Business Black Box. Excerpts may be reprinted, provided that credit is given to the author and to Business Black Box magazine.

Brooke Holder Daniel Lovelace Charles Richardson Jessica Riddle

Business Black Box hosts events monthly from Business Connect networking held at local businesses to sponsoring events for other local organizations. If you’d like to find out more about hosting an event with Business Black Box, or about working with us to sponsor your event, please call our sales team at (864) 2811323, ext. 1018, or email


David Nichols Table 301



an elegant space for hire

Definitely not Business as usual You know us for our spectacular weddings and elegant cocktail parties, but did you know we have hosted outrageous events for BMW, GE and others? Let Zen host your next business meeting, seminar or client function. Take full advantage of our modern facility with state of the art services. Be creative. Isn’t it time you thought outside the box?

924 S. Main St. Greenville • 864-235-5770





1 2 4

7 5 9



10 8 12






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For complete bios on our advisory council visit




amy wood, anchor, wspa



tony snipes, business coach & entrepreneur

chip felkel, ceo, the felkel group



coleman kirven, commercial banking executive, the palmetto bank

julie godshall-brown, president, godshall staffing


13. todd korahais, operating partner, keller williams realty

andy coburn, attorney, wyche law firm


14. terry weaver, ceo, chief executive boards international

maxim williams, director of community relationships, bon secours st. francis


15. sam patrick, ceo, patrick marketing & communications

tiffany hughes, director of marketing, meyco products


16. matt dunbar, managing director, upstate carolina angel network

michael bolick, president, lab 21



john deworken, partner, sunnie & deworken

greg hillman, upstate director, scra/sclaunch



bill west, managing partner, the atlantic partners

ravi sastry, vp of sales & marketing, immedion


19. steven hahn, director of entrepreneurial systems, spartanburg chamber of commerce

jil littlejohn, president, urban league of the upstate 10.

Q3 2013 // Business Black Box




The Green Equation

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ou are what you eat. You’ve heard it before, but what you probably haven’t thought about is that your business is likely only as good as your employees’ last meal, too. I’m gonna call it, for the purposes of this little rant, a “green in-green out” equation. Meaning, the better you eat (some green), the more money you make (also green). A stretch, you say? Impossible, you swoon? Okay, let’s wade in slowly. It’s long proven that a healthy diet can reduce stress and help maintain better levels of concentration, but lesser known is that it can also increase productivity. In fact, for those of you who don’t quite believe me, researcher Ray Merrill was quoted as saying in a recent study, “Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77 percent of all such loss, and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses.” The study, which ran in Population Health Management last year, also shows that employees aged 30 to 39 are the most likely to suffer such a loss of productivity. Let’s pit this information against data from the fast food industry, which rakes in $110 billion in annual revenue and serves 50 million Americans daily. Statistics show that these eaters will consume 37 percent of their daily calories in fast food; 14 percent of these eaters will consume fast food three or more times a week. Some industries are more affected by the green equation—say, those in the service or transportation industry. (Not impressed yet? Imagine your IT guy or massage therapist after three Big Macs and no sleep.) So although there is no direct correlation, it’s pretty easy to assume that eating better—not just you, your employees and peers, too—is a better way to go for a productive, stress-free (or as close to it as possible) workplace. It explains why, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, 40 percent of U.S. businesses have policies or practices in place to encourage healthy eating in the workplace. It also explains why a business magazine like Business Black Box would do an entire issue based on the food economy in the Upstate, and the people who are moving the needle in their respective fields—from restaurateurs to local co-ops and food waste reduction. We’ve got a huge food and hospitality industry in the Upstate. These are businesses related to the simplest of decisions—what we choose to put in our mouth. It’s important—in a physical sense, in an environmental sense, and in an economical sense. In the simplest form: it matters. And not just to you.

Editor, Business Black Box | 864/281-1323 x.1010 | megonigal Photo by Wayne Culpepper/Fish Eye Studios


Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

I N S I D E B L A C K B O X . C O M



So, we commit to you that:











Individual Photographs Used


Photoshop Layers

original photo

subtle photo edits... take a close look!

added the background



Chris Heuvel

Wayne Culpepper Fisheye Studios

color balance For more from Business Black Box visit

For more Layers of Thought visit


Production Hours


Teri & Chris Noel Limestone Farms Q3 2013 // Business Black Box








WHAT: Introduction to PULSE WHERE: Greenville Chamber Greenville, South Carolina WHEN: August 6, 2013, 5:30 p.m. You are invited to attend an Introduction to PULSE to learn more about PULSE, its membership benefits and the services provided. Committee chairs will speak about their committee’s events. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, potentially get involved with committees and mix and mingle with other PULSE members. Light refreshments will be served. Please pre-register for this event by visiting the Greenville Chamber’s website. This event is open to current PULSE members as well as non-members and provides a great opportunity to see how PULSE could be a fit and how you can get more involved. Attendees will be able to join at the event if they choose to.

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WHAT: Women in Business Conference WHERE: Converse College Spartanburg, South Carolina WHEN: August 8, 2013 The Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Women in Business Conference in August at Converse College, sponsored by Spartanburg Water. Featuring a number of seminars throughout the day, as well as success stories and practical applications for women in all industries and sectors, this event is a great fit for an end-of-summer conference. FOR MORE INFO: Call Yvonne Harper at (864) 594-5032 or visit the chamber website at


Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

No Time Off for Techies

While the rest of the world takes a break during the summer, one group that you can count on every month is Tech After Five (or Ta5, if you’ve been before). It’s easily one of the biggest and best networking events around, and you can join in Greenville, Columbia, Charleston, Asheville, Charlotte, and even Atlanta, Savannah and Raleigh! Registration is easy, and some cities have a small registration fee, but it’s worth every cent. Take a look at for cities, dates and registration links.

“When times are bad is when the real entrepreneurs emerge.”





Follow that Food Truck!


Neue Southern

Pies R Squared

Print Still Reigns…For Kids More than nine in 10 parents of minor children say it is important to them that their children read print books, according to a survey completed by the Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project.

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After reading about the issues surrounding food trucks in our article “Food on the Move” (on page 66), you may want to know how to get your hands on some of this tasty, mobile fare. Here’s a quick list of our local food trucks, with links to their websites, Facebook and Twitter pages. (Just check their site to find out where you can find the truck on any given day).

A study says

1 in 20 now have food allergies, a 50 percent increasefrom the late 1990s.

Q3 2013 // Business Black Box





Check This App Tripit


The Iron Yard

Okay, business travellers, this one is for you. We’ve been travelling a lot this year, and we know that a lot of our readers are frequenting the roads and air in search of that next big deal, too. In our search for something to keep us organized, we found Tripit. We really liked it because we didn’t have to book anything through the app—we just added in the details of our itinerary as we created them and it kept all our stuff in one place. Here’s what we liked: • You can create a number of trips to maintain at the same time, and add to your itinerary simply by forwarding confirmations through email. • You can share details with others (group trip for that big conference? Meeting a client out west?) • You can track your reward points within the app (on a Pro version, with an annual cost). • Make dinner reservations, buy movie tickets, and it works with rail and rentals, too.

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But don’t just take our word for it. Check out the video that explains way more than we can by scanning this cool QR code.



Or, just visit the site at

Now that our first and favorite accelerator program can be found in both Greenville and Spartanburg, it’s hard to keep up with what startups are coming out of the Iron Yard program. But there’s much more to the program than just start-ups, so take a look at the Iron Yard site to keep track of Demo Days, who’s in the new class, and signup dates for applications to participate in coding classes and more.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”



Q3 2013 // Business Black Box




America’s Gluten Fascination What is Celiac Disease? Celiac Disease is a genetic condition that damages the lining of the small intestine due to a reaction to eating gluten.

Celiac Disease has

quadrupled in the past 50 years.*

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Currently, there is no cure.

* “Gluten-free food business is making a lot of bread” by Jonathan Berr, ** “Prices of Gluten-Free versus Regular Foods - What to Do?” by Tina Turbin,


Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

EvEry EvEnt hErE is a homE run. Fluor Field makes special events more special. With so many versatile spaces, we’re able to accommodate just about any event you can dream up. Whether it’s a rehearsal dinner in the luxury suites, a community fundraiser throughout the concourse, a wedding reception in The 500 Club, a holiday party in the clubhouse, or even a road race with the finish line behind home plate, we promise a professional, fun and unique event experience unlike any other.

For more information, call the drive at 864.240.4517.

tickets at


DOTTIE’S TOFFEE DARK AND MILK CHOCOLATE TOFFEE made by dottie’s toffee spartanburg, sc




for more info, visit Photo by Nill Silver Photography

From S.C. to the World










made by leopard forest coffee co. travelers rest, sc

made by palmetto olive oil co. greenville, sc

made by dark corner distillery greenville, sc

SON OF A PEACH PEACH FLAVORED WHEAT ALE made by rj rockers spartanburg, sc

b a

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d Photo by Nill Silver Photography


Q3 2013 // Business Black Box









made by blue moon sauces spartanburg, sc

made by poppington’s greenville, sc

made by thomas creek greenville, sc


DARK CHOCOLATE DARK CHOCOLATE TOFFEE made by dottie’s toffee spartanburg, sc




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Q3 2013 // Business Black Box





man lived way out in the woods and had to feed his family. All day, every day he worked to hunt and shoot five or six squirrels. Every day he skinned them, cleaned them, cooked them, and then fed his family one meal. One day he realized that this was not working. He was having to go farther and farther to find squirrels, was tired of working so hard to provide one meal, and his family was tired of eating only squirrel meat. So he changed his strategy. He announced that he was going to kill an elephant. He could kill one and feed the family for two years! The next day he gathered all the stuff necessary to kill an elephant, walked out the door and was gone. As he walked away, his son rolled his eyes. There were no elephants nearby, they would be hard to kill, and Dad was more likely to get killed by one than to kill one himself. Drag a five ton beast back? No way. The son knew that there were lots of deer in the woods, so he climbed a tree, got lucky and shot a deer that afternoon. He was able to drag the deer back to the house, skin it, clean it, and have enough meat to feed the family for two weeks. 10 days later, he headed out and shot another deer. You know why I am telling this, right?


About the author...

All you do is help them figure out what’s real. It’s not just a business philosophy, it’s a life mantra for Walker McKay. Innately curious, disarmingly honest, and—let’s just say it-liable to say anything at any time to any one—he’s a trusted coach and mentor to entrepreneurs and business owners across the state. Walker is a proud graduate of Washington and Lee University. Prior to serving as president of Sandler Training, he worked in commercial real estate, a career choice for which he says he was “wildly unprepared.” That led to his interest in helping other high achievers learn the skills they need to effectively navigate a business world in which everything can become a negotiation.


In sales, you should categorize your prospects and customers as Squirrels, Deer, or Elephants, and note, there is nothing wrong with any of them. Squirrels are the ones that are small.They are highly service intensive, but even when charging high margins, it is hard to make squirrels profitable. A book of squirrels keeps you busy, but that’s not the same as making you money. Elephants are the other end of the spectrum. They are the large ones that take forever to close. We have to make all kinds of promises like “better service at lower prices” and then have to staff up to handle them. Elephants demand a lot of attention, but will ultimately leave you high and dry. Someone else will spend a ton of time and money to get their business from you, promising “better service at lower prices.” The cycle never ends. The Elephant is in charge and will continue to play this game forever. Define an Elephant as any customer who makes up more than 20 percent of your revenues. Deer are the ones in the middle. Right in your sweet spot. There are hundreds or more of them in your marketplace. If you had between 20 and 100 Deer customers, your business would be rolling. When you lose a Deer, there is not a huge impact on your revenues and there are plenty more out there.You don’t need extra staff or services to handle a new one. (What does a Deer look like for you now? A thought: in three to five years it should be bigger.) When prospecting, identify, target, and go after the Deer. Put your marketing and sales efforts towards those prospects that already fit in your sweet spot of profitability and effort required. Don’t shun Elephants and Squirrels, but see them for what they are: customers that put your time and value at risk. Go through your existing book of business and categorize your current customers as Squirrels, Deer, and Elephants. Consider raising prices on your squirrels by 25 to 50 percent. Half will leave, and your revenues will stay the same. You will now have more time to work the Deer for more referrals to others like them. While you’re at it, minimize the impact of an Elephant’s eventual departure by closing more Deer. More on deer later, but until then, happy hunting…

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How Much Is Too Much? It seems that every day there’s a new restaurant opening up, and it made us wonder:

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Can a market be oversaturated with restaurants? And if so, how can you tell what that point is?


Q3 2013 // Business Black Box


Others are taking note of the vibrant City dining scene, so it is our hope that this recognition continues. What this results in is more and more people choosing to either relocate to Greenville or to visit, which ultimately creates additional demand for restaurants. We certainly hope that this activity continues.

Mary Douglas Hirsch, AICP

Downtown Development Manager | Economic Development City of Greenville I would assume that business economics would say there is a point where any market reaches critical mass, but as long as we continue to deliver unique dining experiences downtown I think we are well positioned to support the growth in retail and office space downtown to create a vibrant central business district.

With having a background in the restaurant industry, traveling the way I do and my love for food, a week does not go by that I do not get asked to make a restaurant recommendation. The conundrum seems to defy the laws of supply and demand. There are only so many people. Shouldn’t they disperse? Doesn’t something have to give? Greenville continues to add large numbers of people moving into town monthly, and one of the first things that they do is eat out. I can think of several new restaurants that come to mind in just the past year: Roost, Culvers, Twin Peaks, Bacon Brothers, Carolina Ale House, Wich Which, Genghis Grille, Grille Marks, VooDoo BBQ, Ricks Deli, SIP, The Velo Fellow, Blackstone American Bistro, La Parilla, Ruth’s Chris,Twisted Kitchen, Cheddars, Southern Culture, Jets Pizza, Tavern 24, Tablefields, Tupelo Honey, Macs Speed Shop...and the long list continues. A few large ones that are coming to Woodruff Road alone are Chuys, Toby Keith’s, Dave and Busters, ThunderBirds and there are continued rumors about the CheeseCake Factory.

“Others are taking note of the vibrant City dining scene, so it is our hope that this recognition continues. What this results in is more and more people choosing to either relocate to Greenville or to visit.”

While working some years ago in Boston I saw a Dunkin’ Donuts on each corner of a four-way intersection and was amazed that all of them had lines at them. When someone built the second one I’m sure they were asked about building across the street from another one and saturation—imagine the conversation when the other two went in. So my conclusion is that the market will determine what it needs and if business can be in touch with that voice it will supply it.

Jason Fletcher

Owner, High Street Hospitality Group: Certain markets can be oversaturated, of course, but we don’t think Greenville is—at least not when it comes to fresh TexMex. Besides close attention to the standard population and demographic metrics, the process that Chuy’s goes through to select new locations really revolves around whether there’s another restaurant like us in town. The answer is almost always no. Chuy’s is not your “typical Mexican” restaurant. We offer a menu of fresh and authentic, made-from-scratch Tex-Mex in a fun and eclectic atmosphere that sets us apart. Chuy’s will be the first of its kind in Greenville, and we feel that the quality and value of our food, along with the fun, friendly culture at Chuy’s make us one of a kind no matter how many new restaurants open in the future.

One would think that adding all of those to the same area of Greenville would saturate the market. I say not for a minute. They will all take some of the business away from the others in the area, but that is a normal occurrence anytime a new location opens up. When Twin Peaks opened it was doing over $200,000 per week—there is no other restaurant other than the Ale House downtown that would even come close to that. Woodruff Road is what they consider “clustering” and most restaurant owners that run a strong brand welcome more restaurants near them as it brings more customers past their doors who will eventually try them, as well.

With people relocating in large numbers with more foodies to feed, the economy improving, tourism continues to flourish with such a vibrant downtown and prime geographic location, I do not see Greenville being oversaturated any time soon. The goal for any restaurant is to simply be on someone’s list and in the restaurant rotation and top of mind when a dining choice is made. No one person will ever eat at any one location all of the time and here, there are a lot of places to add to their lists . I am sure that there are smaller communities that become oversaturated, but I do not have a good indicator and or way to tell you when this occurs. I think that you just know from living and eating in those communities. If Travelers Rest got all of the restaurants that Greenville has over the past year, I think that it would be oversaturated, but not for long, as s the weaker ones would soon close their doors.

Patrick VanEvery

Sales & Market Manager RSC Bio Solutions

Michael Hatcher

Director of Real Estate and Development Chuy’s Q3 2013 // Business Black Box


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What we strive for here in the City of Greenville is a healthy mix of restaurants, office, retail, and residential uses. Having this wide variety contributes to an overall balance which adds to Greenville’s quality of life. Cultivating all of these uses takes attention, recruitment, and retention, and we are working on all of that here. This is a large priority for City Council, and they spend a great deal of time and energy ensuring that our business conditions are favorable for these uses to thrive.




he federal healthcare reform law creates a lot of anxiety, in large part because it is so complex that people really don’t have a clear idea of how they will be affected. One key part of the reform that has many employers concerned is the so called “pay-or-play” employer mandate.The proposed regulations are over 100 pages long, but we can provide a brief summary, offer a few key points and outline a game plan for tackling the mandate. What is the mandate and which employers are subject to it? The reform law requires large employers to offer certain minimum health benefits to their employees or such employers are required to pay a penalty to the federal government. An employer generally is a “large employer” if it employs more than 50 employees. For purposes of determining whether a company is a large employer, full-time equivalents (FTEs) are taken into account. The number of FTEs is calculated based on all of the hours worked by part-time employees; a full-time employee is generally an employee working at least 30 hours per week. What is the penalty if an employer does not comply with the mandate? If a company is subject to the mandate and does not offer any health care coverage, the company must pay a penalty of $2,000 per year for each full-time employee (excluding the first 30 full-time employees) if any full-time employee enrolls for health care coverage through one of the health insurance exchanges


As an attorney with Wyche, Andy regularly represents clients in mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, structuring of joint ventures, securities offerings and other financing transactions. He has extensive experience with growing companies and private placements of securities.Andy also advises and assists public and private company clients in the design and implementation of executive compensation arrangements, equity compensation plans and broad-based employee benefits. Outside of his legal profession, Andy is on the board of the Greenville Little Theatre, a project leader for Habitat for Humanity, and serves as a Business Black Box advisor in law.


that are to be established under the health reform law. If the company offers health care coverage but it does not meet the minimum federal requirements, the company must pay a penalty of $3,000 per year, but only for each full-time employee, if any, that has enrolled for coverage through a health care exchange. No penalty is due with respect to part-time employees, regardless of the health care coverage that the employer provides or fails to provide. Some key points: • If you don’t have 50 employees (including FTEs), you are not subject to the mandate. • Many employers with good health benefits already offer coverage that meets the requirements of the mandate, so they will not pay any penalty or have to make any changes to their health care coverage. • If you have one or more companies that are related to each other (generally through common ownership or control), consult with an attorney to see if the companies will be considered a single “employer” in determining whether the mandate applies. • Not all full-time employees will be eligible to enroll for coverage through an exchange. Eligibility is restricted by certain income and other requirements. • If you are in a business that uses a lot of part-time or contract workers (for example, staffing, hospitality, construction), you should consult with a healthcare reform expert on how the mandate may apply to you. Plan of attack: • Determine whether you are subject to the mandate or not. • If you are subject, determine whether you already offer health benefits that meet the mandate requirements. • If you are subject to the mandate and don’t offer coverage that meets the requirements, determine your options and the advantages and disadvantages of each. • Make sure you get expert advice in determining whether and how the mandate may apply to you. The proposed rules are highly detailed and technical, and many in the health care field do not fully understand how the rules apply. For more on this topic visit

Walk into Saskatoon Restaurant on any given night, and the warmth of a northwestern lodge will greet you. Warm wood, antlers and game trophies decorate the small restaurant that still sits off of Haywood Road— for what is its eighteenth year.

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If you’re lucky, you’ll be celebrating an occasion and will see your name scratched onto the chalkboard just inside of the front door. But even if it’s not a special occasion, be prepared to pretend that it is.You’ll be called by your name the entire evening, served as if you were in a friend’s home, and leave after eating some of the most unique food found in the Upstate. But make no mistake—while the ambiance of Saskatoon is unique, this is no restaurant review. After all, a restaurant is nothing without the vision of its leader and the hard work of its employees. And to claim Saskatoon as merely a great local restaurant is to ignore how it was built, and by whom.

Edmund Woo was only four when he began working alongside his mother and father in the New China restaurant off of Poinsett Highway. For over a decade, the restaurant was the first and only Chinese restaurant in the area; his parents some of the first Asian-born couples to choose the Upstate as home. While the building now sits dark and empty, recently surrounded by a Publix shopping center near Furman, for Woo, the memories are still vivid. “On the window, back in the day, they had printed on the glass,” he notes, as many restaurants did in the late ‘50s. “It read air condition...frog legs…and Chinese food.” But after growing up in the restaurant industry, working alongside his family, there was one thing that Woo was sure of: he wanted out of the family business. “Because I grew up in the restaurant business, I didn’t want to be in the restaurant business,” he says. In fact, his parents wanted a different life for him as well. “They wanted me to be a lawyer, an orthodontist—anything but a restaurant owner,” Woo remembers, describing how he chose, instead, a path through Clemson University. But upon graduating in 1980, he realized that in the real world, there were no alternatives to hard work. 34

Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

“When I graduated from Clemson I was appalled that they were not hiring me to be the president of Wachovia,” he remembers jokingly, illustrating how even then, a new graduate has a hard grasp of how much work it takes to build a career. “Why wouldn’t they? I’ve been making all these big board decisions using a computer simulator.” Without the Wachovia presidency or board chair as a viable option, it wasn’t long before Woo found himself right back in the family business, although in a different location.

NEW STARTS The Haywood Road area was booming, and Haywood Mall was just nearing completion when Woo’s nephew convinced him that opening a New China Express in the mall would be the perfect opportunity for two budding entrepreneurs. But even after opening his first restaurant, Woo still wanted something different, so he went back to school, earning his masters at the University of Georgia. By the mid-‘80s, he was selling real estate in Atlanta. Still, you can’t escape what lies in you, and Woo found himself restless in Georgia. “I didn’t realize that the restaurant business was still in my blood,

Q3 2013 // Business Black Box


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and I had all these ideas from all these restaurants I saw in Atlanta,” says Woo. So, he decided that when the lease ran out in the mall location, he would open something new further down on Haywood Road. Shortly after, Woo’s, A Hong Kong Café opened, becoming what many saw as the penultimate Chinese restaurant in Greenville for years. At the same time, Chinese restaurants were booming—in a matter of years the number of restaurants rose from 10 to 70. “Any Chinese guy worth his salt that could cook was basically just biding his time to open his own restaurant,” Woo notes. “For a long time, every Chinese restaurant in Greenville that came about, came about either through our family, or through the Wongs, over at Dragon’s Den.” Becoming bored, Woo decided it was time for a change. Looking to a few mentors—locally, George Stathakis and his brother, Frank, and in Chicago, Richard Melvin—Woo found his answer in the ownership of multiple restaurants with different concepts. Multiple concepts allowed restaurateurs to diversify, providing options in a crowded market and safety in a risky one. So, Woo followed suit, opening a diner off of Augusta Street called the Plaza Diner, and a family-style Italian restaurant called Chow Baby’s Little Italy across from the Hyatt in downtown Greenville. But running multiple restaurants began to take its toll, and Woo found himself at the diner constantly—running shifts from 6 a.m. until midnight or 2 a.m. on weekends. At the same time, his mother’s health began to fail, and he began taking care of her more and more. It was during this trying time that Woo traveled to Taiwan and met Renee Chang. Widely travelled, Chang seemed to balance Woo’s “big picture” visions with a detailed plan of execution, and the two clicked. Upon returning to the U.S., Woo returned to the grind, with Chang taking a place beside him— eventually as his wife. They travelled when they could, and filled the rest of the time within the walls of the diner. “I was very lucky, because I don’t think I was smart enough to find a person that complemented me so well,” Woo says of Renee. “People ask, ‘How did you make your money?’ The answer is, I married well.” As the daily grind again took its toll, andWoo found himself straining for more hours in the day, something different was happening, not far from his flagship restaurant. A new restaurant concept called Outback had appeared on the other end of Haywood Road, and the model was intriguing to Woo.

“They were open only five hours a day, only in the evenings, and they had a higher check average because it was dinner time,” he says. “Because of that, they could hire a whole bunch of superstars. I told Renee, ‘If we are going to stay in the restaurant business, which we do have a passion for, we have to follow something like that, because another five or 10 years of this 18-hour thing just won’t work.’” They knew the concept had to be different—after all, “You can’t outback Outback,” says Woo—and so they came up with idea based on their travels out west and to the Grand Canyon. “When you’re in the Grand Canyon and you’re in some of their restaurants and lodges, you actually feel transported,” Woo says. “You’re there and you’re not just transported in location— you’re transported in time when you’re in a place like that. I said, ‘We need to create an ambiance like this…that sort of lodge, outdoors, far away, north woods kind of atmosphere, and then we need to go find a menu that fits.” In 1995, Saskatoon restaurant opened for business. Following the model he saw in Outback, the restaurant opened for evening hours only. The lodge feel inside was accentuated by a menu of wild game that included bison, trout, ostrich, alligator, and even kangaroo—risky choices even in an established, adventurous market, and radical in the Upstate during the mid-‘90s. “Even then, I wasn’t sure about alligator and kangaroo,” Woo says. “But I was very sure that a mom and pop place could not be vanilla. I wasn’t sold on wild game, but I knew that we would not be able to compete otherwise—we didn’t have the money for the number one location like some of these people did…we didn’t have the money to build these million dollar structures.

On the Side Almost instantly, the restaurant began to gain attention for its unique approach to food and hospitality.The fare soon garnered the attention of a locally-based, nationally-recognized ad agency, who asked to do Saskatoon’s marketing pro bono. Not long after, a billboard went up advertising the restaurant. “There’s plenty of room for all God’s creatures. Right next to the mashed potatoes.” Many laughed at the twist, but what some saw as a creative take on the menu, others saw as offensive. 36

“There was a huge backlash,” Woo remembers. “I had people calling me, they would leave nasty messages….I went home and said ‘Honey, I think I’ve done it again. I think I’ve stepped in it again.’” Eventually, Woo let it be, realizing that there was nothing to be done about it at that point. But as negative feedback grew, something unexpected happened. The slogan—also printed on t-shirts—started taking off. “The next thing I know, I’m getting lit up with t-shirt sales,” he says. “At that point we had a secondary business that was selling— we were selling thousands on the internet.We had two or three good years where t-shirts were a major part of our sales.” With or without t-shirts, the new restaurant continued to gain steam and ward off the PR challenges, and the other restaurants continued to thrive (Woo’s Hong Kong Café was eventually re-designed into the French-cuisine Farmhouse Grille). But Woo’s mother’s health continued to fail. With added time caring for her, and the addition of a new family, he knew that something had to give. “All of a sudden I found my full time job was being a caregiver to my mother,” he says. “That, coupled with the kids, and I slowly sold each restaurant until I was just left with the one.” Only Saskatoon remained, with the fewer hours no doubt playing a part in the decision. For years,Woo maintained the one restaurant, realizing that to go back to long hours was no longer an option for him and his family, even after the loss of his mother in 2007, and as his daughters—now 6 and 13—grew up. His priorities had shifted, and increasing the hours in a kitchen was no longer attractive. Woo liked the option to work in the kitchen—provided his daughters could be around—and the freedom to hit the gym, something he had grown accustomed to since finding it a haven when caring for his mother. In fact, it was the gym that would provide his next entrepreneurial inspiration. After helping launch the first CrossFit in town—CrossFit being a workout program that dedicates itself to high-level strength and endurance training—Woo realized where he felt most comfortable. He revisited his roots in martial arts (he holds a number of black belts in various martial art forms, and a purple belt in the rarer and more intense Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), and began teaching classes. As he

became more and more involved with the CrossFit culture, his business partner began prodding him to take on what would become his next business venture. “My partner kept pushing me, about two years ago, to start cooking Paleo,”Woo says.“In the CrossFit world, people are big about diet and eating clean. And a big diet is Paleo—the caveman diet. So I thought, ‘Maybe I should make a business out of this.’” Logically,Woo was one of the most likely candidates to work with the Paleo, which is based on a diet of primarily wild plants and animals. Now, every week,Woo and his team will prepare and package approximately 1,200 Paleo meals, which around 100 customers will pick up on Monday. While there’s no wild game included in the weekly menu, due to the expense, it has boosted Woo’s top line by about 40 percent.

Just Desserts Today, you can catch Woo and his entire entire family at the restaurant from time to time—Edmund in the kitchen in his signature black socks and black chef ’s jacket (“It’s hot back there,” he says), Renee up front greeting diners by name, and the girls moving between the two, helping where they can. The team is complete when you add in the veteran staff in both the front and the back of house. “We hire maybe one server every two or three years; most of my servers have been there for 10 or 12 years,” Woo says. “Same thing in the kitchen, too…so when we talk about being a successful place, that’s who we’re really talking about… None of us are successful alone.” It’s part of the aura Woo has worked hard to create, and a direct replication of what he hopes diners will feel when they visit. “The thing that drives us at Saskatoon is what we call hospitality. It’s me taking care of you because you honored me by coming to the restaurant. When you come to my restaurant, all the servers will ask you what your name is. I view us not as servants, but as inviting you into our home,” he says. It’s this focus on true, home-based hospitality that has sustained Saskatoon all these years, especially among all the competition in market in the Upstate. “There are a lot of things that attract people—not necessarily food—to restaurants,” he explains. “One is location,

another is ambiance…and I didn’t have either of those. I didn’t have the location; I created a pretty nice ambiance, although I could have done a lot better job if I had a couple million more dollars. So I knew I had to do it with the food. “Not just the food, but with the hospitality. Because when you talk about service—service is having things come on time, serving food from the left, bussing from the right, holding the glass from the bottom third when you refill a drink— those are service things. That is what everybody needs to have just to stay in the game, and if you don’t have those things—especially in Greenville, especially now—with so many choices…. It’s not like 40 years ago where you could open anything and be a huge success.” Although there is a loyal following for the restaurant now (his mailing list to loyal members numbers around 10,000), there was a day not too long ago where the thought of a casual fine dining restaurant that served things not normally found on a farm was a mind-blowing risk. “The problem is, as an entrepreneur, you always expect everything you do to be hugely successful, and most of the times, that’s not the case,” Woo says. “I can’t tell you, looking back, how many times I thought I had a cannot miss idea…maybe the idea was good but my execution wasn’t good, who knows…but as far as Saskatoon being a success, I am very thankful, and very grateful, and very blessed.” But Woo, while hesitant to claim any venture a true success, does admit that Saskatoon has managed to stand out in a highly competitive market, and a lot of that is due to his team and a lot of hard work. “Sometimes, you have a time where God comes down and hits you on the head and says,‘You will be great,’” he says with a smile. “For the rest of us, we can’t necessarily be great, but we can be as good as we can be.” 37



ast issue, we talked a bit about the Top Five People Mistakes that companies make. Rather than leaving you hanging with all problems and no solutions, I’d like to discuss some fixes in this issue that you can implement to keep your People Mistakes from taking over your company.

#5. Too many policies and #4. Too few policies. The solution to both #5 and #4 is to work with the team (or a subset of the team) to create some general operating guidelines. Be sure to define and communicate the overarching principle or belief behind the policy, rather than simply stating the ‘rule.’Then, when situations come up in the future that are unclear, the principle can help management make decisions about when to bend and when to hold fast.


#3. Improperly evaluating risk. The answer to this one is complex, but here are a few tips. 1. Be crystal clear on the potential for the risk to occur. People typically do not sue us because they were treated illegally­—they sue because they perceive that they were treated unfairly. Are we treating people unfairly? Or fairly but differently?

THE TOP FIVE PEOPLE MISTAKES— SOLVED 2. Be certain there is a business reason to undertake the risk. It’s a good idea to bounce that business reason off of a confidential, objective third party. Do they see the situation in the same way? About the author...

Professional Coach, Workplace Educator, HR Consultant and Author, Leslie Hayes has used her Psychology degree from Harvard University to spark a diverse career. Beginning as an abuse investigator and counselor, Leslie transitioned into Corporate HR, building HR teams from the ground up. The Hayes Approach, formed in 2007, provides a platform to assist clients large and small in all areas of workplace effectiveness and productivity.


3. Understand the consequences if the risk does occur. For example, many companies take risks in the area of exempt vs. non-exempt classification either because they do not understand the issue or they think none of their employees would ever “do” anything. My advice to these companies is uniformly that the potential of the risk to occur might be small, but the consequences are huge. Wage and hour issues can eliminate profits and even shut companies down. In this case, however small the likelihood, the consequence is simply too great to take the chance. #2. Separating “HR” from the business. When small to mid-sized businesses do not have an HR executive on the leadership team, the responsibilities typically fall to someone who already is wearing many hats. It is critical for that individual to take the HR component of his or her job seriously and seek out assistance to make sure he or she is asking the right questions and helping align the people initiatives with the business plan. Organizations like can provide helpful insight. #1. Refusing to treat employees as adults. Life is not for the faint of heart. There are tough messages to deliver and sometimes situations don’t work out the way we’d like, but ignoring or sugar coating the situation never works. Instead, share as many of the facts as you can and encourage employees to participate in the solution. Sure, some of them may dissolve into puddles like Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West, but most of them won’t…and you may find they have answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask.

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While a long history of experience with startups prepared her for a life of entrepreneurship, Erin Ouzts’ position with the Hub City Co-Op would serve as her most challenging project yet.

Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


TRAILBLAZER. “Are we going to be the kind of place to have grapes from Argentina in the winter?” This, of course, is a completely reasonable question to ask when starting up a grocery store, as Erin Ouzts has discovered since deciding to oversee the development of the Hub City Co-Op, a cooperatively owned grocery store in the heart of downtown Spartanburg and the first grocery store of its kind in the state. But even for Ouzts, who has loved startups since graduating college, the Co-Op provides new challenges for the Spartanburg Community. Born and raised in Spartanburg, Ouzts decided a change was needed, and left the community to attend the University of Texas at Austin. There she received her Bachelor’s in Organizational Communication and moved to Atlanta and worked with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. After later getting her Master’s degree in International Business from Georgia State University, she began work with a firm that managed emergency medical practices. It was there that she discovered her passion. The group of practices she was assigned was one of the lower performing groups, but once there, Ouzts found a love for new business ventures and the adventures that come with startups and the challenges they present. “My father was a business owner; we always talked about business at the dinner table, and so I just wanted to work with folks who were starting their own businesses,” she says. “There is such a liberation that comes with that.” So, Ouzts began cultivating entrepreneurs as part of her career. “I started teaching an entrepreneur class [at Georgia State], then we added more classes...then MBA classes, and then it was a certificate, then a concentration in entrepreneurship, then the Herman Russell Center for Entrepreneurship.”

Eventually, Ouzts began working with non-profits and assisted them with her drive to take things that are not working and fix them and make them run better than ever. It was a fateful move—not long after returning to Spartanburg, Ouzts would be given another opportunity to put that experience to work. In 2009, she was approached to help guide the start-up of the Hub City CoOp and soon found herself in the central role of guiding the fledging venture in the right direction. A cooperatively owned business, or co-op, is a for profit business model, but instead of a single person or shareholders investing in the business, it is invested in by a group of owners. The returns on their investments come in the form of rebates, which are directly influenced on how much the store sells, therefore creating a self-sustaining business model. “The return on your investment is multi-faceted, it’s not just measured in dollars. Its measured in the strengthening of the whole community,” Ouzts says. “Already right now we have so many different people from all walks of life who come over to our open houses and they all chit chat and visit they all have something in common—that they all own it, together.” But with no prior examples to take leads from, it was challenging. “It’s a hard project, especially when you don’t know how to do it,” Ouzts says. When the process got underway and meetings were held, a variety of voices and opinions were shared—all differing—but they all united under two distinct ideas. The first was that the grocery shopping experience needed to be more personal and not impersonal, when compared to the stark grocery stores that permeate the market. But above that, the store needed to not just be in Spartanburg, but be Spartanburg. To this end, because of the diverse population of Spartanburg, different

parts of the community all have a say in the running of the store, the stock it carries and the general direction it takes. And, because of the local “indie spirit,” Spartanburg is the ideal place for the the state’s first full-service grocery co-op, says Ouzts. As a rule of thumb, co-op grocery stores are skewed towards carrying more natural and organic foods than other stores and also supplement that with stock from local and regional sources, and Hub City Co-Op will continue that trend.The plans for the Hub City CoOp include featuring not only meats, produce and groceries, but also a café and deli. “We have an amazing amount livestock, vegetable and fruit production in our area,” Ouzts says, adding that the co-op will also provide an outlet for regional farmers from North Carolina and reach all the way down to the coast for seafood. “You can feel comfortable that what’s on the shelf is going to be better for you.” Currently, the Hub City Co-Op is in the fund-raising stage, selling more and more ownerships with the current number at about 1014. At the end of May, a $571,000 loan from the Lowcountry Housing Trust was approved, allowing the Co-Op to finally purchase the building—an abandoned building across from the Chapman Arts Center being revitalized as part of the initiative to reinvigorate the community through the store. Once final funding is reached, it will only take eight to 10 months to officially have the Hub City Co-Op open for business and become the poster child for “co-op business development” in South Carolina. “It’s okay to step out on our own and take it in our hands; we don’t have to wait for somebody else to do it,” Ouzts says. “That’s not ok—to wait. If we want it, let’s just step up and do it.”

Q3 2013 // Business Black Box


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By Josh Overstreet



he words “entrepreneurism” and “start-up” often conjure up images related to the digital space and Silicon Valley. But long before Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, there was another entrepreneur named Ray Kroc who built a small empire called McDonald’s. Once America’s entrepreneurial poster boy, Kroc went from rags to unfathomable riches through a little idea and a lot of hard work. And today, food is still is one of the leading areas where business success can be realized. But, the concept of the restaurant is constantly changing—that is to say, where we get our prepared meals is certainly not where Mom and Dad went. Have you noticed that fast food joints now offer “gourmet” dishes, while high-end restaurants feature “to-go” on their menu? Supermarkets now make sandwiches and sandwich shops sell cookies. A place that calls itself a “bread factory” features soup, and the “deli” just added pasta. Anything goes! But fortunately, this blurring of boundaries invites, demands and rewards innovation and efficiency. Some businesses thrive on one simple concept—prepare high quality food that customers take home, heat and serve. As an example with several locations in the Upstate, Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake Pizza provides their customers the convenience of frozen pizza without the compromised taste. A few times a month, many of us can now purchase lunch from a van parked on the curb—some


About the author...

Steven Hahn is a former partner in a management consulting firm, and has launched several successful businesses. He presently serves as the Director of Entrepreneurial Systems at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce.


of the best examples of entrepreneurs in our area. Food-based incubators are popping up around the country. These facilities provide commercial kitchens which start-up companies can use as they grow towards independence. While the tech guys have succeeded in bringing every corner on the planet as close as the end of your fingertip, it was food that helped bring the world closer first. Think Chinese and Italian food... and it was food that gave America its first wave of start-up global superstars ! Along with entertainment and sports, food is one of our country’s most important exports. There are now only a handful of major cities in the world where you cannot enjoy a Big Mac, and the friendly face of Colonel Sanders smiles down on avenues the around the globe. And so, in our collective effort to strengthen the spirit of entrepreneurism and innovation in the Upstate, don’t forget to stop in and have lunch at that new place that just opened down the street from your office. Stop in, wish them good luck, then bring your friends next time. After all, foodies are entrepreneurs, too. By the way, all these food startups are eventually going to need apps. Quick, someone call a geek!

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No matter how we each got started in business, there is always one thing in common: each story has its own lessons to be learned. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a small business owner, a real estate mogul, or a nonprofit, START is the place for you to share your start-up story. Get in on the ground level today, and contact us at for more information on how to tell your story.


ne Saturday morning in 2010, Chris and Teri Noel were manning their booth at the farmer’s market, as they had done all summer. It was a normal day, greeting new and old friends alike and selling their farm’s eggs, when a new customer approached. After a discussion about the Noel’s chickens and their freshly laid eggs, he walked away with a dozen and a promise to give them a try. Three years later, that customer—executive chef of the Westin Poinsett Hotel, Curtis Wolf—continues to use the Noel’s eggs in his restaurant. Meanwhile, the Noel’s and their farm, Limestone Farms, now has contracts with five Upstate restaurants and three groceries. The farm-to-table movement is a trend that’s sweeping the nation, and the Upstate is no exception. While shoppers and restaurant patrons look for healthier eating options, business owners and chefs have discovered they don’t need to look any further than their own community to provide those options. But it’s not only healthy for our bodies — it’s also proving to be healthy for the state’s economy.

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The impact of South Carolina farms on the state’s economy is evident by numbers provided by the state’s Department of Agriculture. The direct impact—in cash receipts — includes broilers, turkeys, eggs and peaches. The indirect impact encompasses businesses that provide services to the farms, such as processing and packaging plants. In 2009, the combined impact on the state was $16.7 billion. By 2011, that number increased to $17.9 billion. Spencer Thomson, executive chef at Devereaux’s, explains that by buying local, restaurants can take part in a continuous cycle that keeps money circulating in the state.

“It’s a wonderful cycle where the money you’re spending on the produce and the money used to grow the produce is going back into the community,” he says. It can be more expensive, Thomson says, to buy local because many of the farms are using seeds that are a higher quality and not mass produced, but the higher costs are worth it. “Here at Devereaux’s, we have a quality control where we only want to purchase the best, and when you have the best variety of something right in your back door that’s a bit more expensive, it’s worth that extra cost to translate that quality onto the customer,” he says.


Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

The economic growth is also evident in the increase and popularity of farmer’s markets, of which there are more than 120 community-based farmers markets in the state, according to Kelly Coakley, public information director for the S.C. Department of Agriculture. There are also three state-run farmer’s markets, including the Greenville State Farmers Market. (Although the state is not in charge of the smaller community farmer’s markets, Coakley says they offer training and guidance to any community needing assistance.) When Wolf took a few steps outside his kitchen at the Westin Poinsett Hotel to the farmer’s market, where he came upon the Noel’s booth, he took the dozen eggs they gave him back to the restaurant and cooked them side by side with other eggs. The difference was clear. “You could tell the difference in the yolk itself,” he says. “When you crack it, it’s just so much more beautiful [than other eggs]. When you crack an egg that you get at the grocery store and one of theirs, it’s so much brighter. It has a fuller taste­—not earthy, but you can tell it has a smoother flavor to it.” “The freshness and the quality makes all the difference,” Teri Noel says of local farms’ products. “We call eggs the gateway drug to local food. Eggs make the most difference as far as taste in baked goods and all your dishes. Once you’ve tasted an egg that’s been laid in the last couple of days versus the last six weeks, you just can’t go back.” These days, Wolf orders anywhere from 30 to 45 dozen eggs from the Noels each week, peaking with up to 90 dozen for holidays like Mother’s Day. He likes the eggs so much, he says, his family has made the switch at home, too. He says he likes using local farm products, including blueberries from Gentry Farms and goat cheese from Split Creek farms, because they are a higher quality and much fresher than what you would receive from a mass produced supplier. “You can’t get any fresher unless you’re growing it yourself,” he says.

From Seed to P late

Gina Boulware, director of marketing and public relations at Table 301, says that all of the group’s restaurants use local products in some capacity. At Devereaux’s, for example, Thomson picks up his orders from many of the farmers he works with from their booths at the market. “It’s not a surprise to see him on Main Street early Saturday am with a large, wooden cart (that his Sous Chef made), picking up his products for the weekend,” Boulware says. “A few of the local farmers he supports include Jeff Isbell (Izzy’s Heirlooms), Beechwood Farms, Jackson Farm, Broken Oak, Greenbrier Farm, Bethel Trails Farm, Happy Berry Farms, Bio-Way Farms.” But the group’s flagship restaurant, Soby’s, not only uses local produce­—it actually grows its own. Executive Chef Shaun Garcia publicly expressed interest in operating a farm, and soon

after was approached with an offer from a local landowner to operate his own farm on nine acres of land in Travelers Rest. In exchange, he agreed to not use any pesticides, and to leave the land in the same condition or better when he stopped using it. Table 301 owner Carl Sobocinski gave Garcia the go ahead and even bought him a tractor for the farm, where Garcia grows a variety of produce, including tomatoes, corn, okra, squash and beans. “Chef Shaun oversees the farming of the land and does a majority of the work personally, with the assistance of a few volunteers to support him,” Boulware says. “This is more of a labor of love than a business model. Chef Shaun loves the idea that he has nurtured that tomato or squash from a seed to plate that he serves it on in Soby’s.” Tablefields in Greenville also serves food prepared from local ingredients. The restaurant, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in July, uses a variety of local farms and producers, including bread from Southern Baking in Greer, certified angus beef from Yon Family Farms in Ridge Spring, grits from Adluh Mills in Columbia and eggs and produce from Limestone Farms. General Manager Maria Vieira says the owners opened Tablefields in response to customer feedback for healthier options. She says she would advise any restaurant in the Upstate to join the movement. “With the way that society is being more health conscious and eating better, it would just make sense to do it,” she says.


In Spartanburg, Joel and Lenora Sansbury took advantage of an opportunity other restaurants in the city were not fully acknowledging when they opened The Farmer’s Table in March 2012. The restaurant—open for breakfast and lunch—started with six local vendors and now has more than 25 local farms represented on their menu. Their menu contains products ranging from feta cheese and buttermilk from Happy Cow Creamery in Pelzer; produce from Mountain Berry Farms in Landrum; peaches and corn from Belue Farms in Boiling Springs; eggs from Joyful Sounds Farm in Spartanburg; and goat cheese from Split Creek Fams in Anderson, just to name a few. Eating food from local farms, Joel says, is “healthier, as it doesn’t have as many additives, preservatives or hormones. It was not frozen three weeks ago and just now made it to the table in front of you.

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“In the long run, once you get yourself on that kind of diet, it helps your mood, your energy level increases, you start getting better sleep, start functioning better... it’s all around better for your mind and your body,” he adds. But the benefits extend far beyond a feeling of personal wellness. According to Mary Walsh, co-owner of Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery in Greenville, buying from local farms also helps give restaurant and store owners peace of mind. “We interact with the person growing or making the food,” she explains. “We know we can trace where it came from and know more about it. It’s difficult to see what kind of practices (out of state) farmers use, so there’s more accountability.” Walsh and her business partner, Jac Oliver, opened Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery a year and a half ago. The business features more than 150 local vendors, including more than 40 farms. Walsh agrees with Thomson that a continuous cycle can form as farmers put money into their farms, restaurants spend their money on local crops, and restaurant patrons continue to eat out. “You’re supporting (the farms) and the farmers are supporting you,” Walsh says. To further support these efforts, the S.C. Department of Agriculture created the Certified S.C. Grown program in 2007, Source: SC Department of Agriculture and USDA Economic Research Service


Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

to encourage residents to buy from local farms . The program now has more than 1,200 voluntary members, and 50 percent of each member’s product must be produced in South Carolina. Shoppers can find product sold by these members by looking for the “Certified S.C. Grown” label. In addition to farmer’s markets, these products can be found at more than 500 retail locations statewide. More recently, Coakley says, the department has formed a restaurant phase of the program called “Fresh on the Menu.” To qualify, at least 25 percent of each restaurant’s menu must be sourced from South Carolina, she says, but they encourage an even greater percentage than that. To encourage public participation with these restaurants, the department unveiled a free “Fresh on the Menu” app for use on the iPhone and iPad, to help residents find restaurants that participate in the program. Searching by restaurant name, city or zip code, someone can find a wealth of information including a description of the restaurant, chef bios, recipes and a section called “Roots,” which will show users a description of and how to find the farms whose products are used at each restaurant. “Folks are more in tune with wanting to know where their food comes from, and that gives restaurants a huge advantage because people are looking for (more local and healthier options) and they know and recognize Fresh on the Menu and Certified SC,” she says. “I think you’ll only see more and more restaurants getting on board with visiting their local farms and seeing what is available.”

In the Upstate, there’s no shortage of great farms or locally grown produce. So, it’s easy to get the farm-totable feel in your own house, no matter where you are. Here is a short list of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture—buy in at the beginning of the season and then get a share) or local farmer’s markets.

Buy In (CSAs) Good Things Grow Here

Manna Cabanna

(864) 992-6987

(864) 884-3262

(828) 817-2308

Clemson Sustainable Agriculture Program

Greenbrier Farms

Mini Miracles Farm

(864) 855-9782

(864) 438-7147

Hollidays Veggie Patch

Parson Produce

(864) 940-6302

(864) 833-4742

Hub City Farmers Market CSA

Welch and Son Farm

(864) 585-0905

(864) 275-8801

Bio-Way Farms


Furman Farm (864) 640-3729

Gibson’s Healthy Harvest Produce (864) 903-1823

Pay-Per-Play (Farmer’s Markets) Upstate Locally Grown : Open Year Round | Anderson County

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(Farmer’s Market) 402 N. Murray Ave., Anderson, SC Thursdays & Saturdays, 8AM-1PM (through May) Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, 8AM-Noon (June 2-November 22)

(Market Pavilion) 409 N. Main St., Anderson, SC Fridays, 7AM-Noon (June 3-October 28)

Abbeville Trinity Street Livery Stables, Downtown, Abbeville, SC Fridays, 7AM-Noon (June 3-October 28)

Parking Lot in Front of City Hall 205 N. 1st St., Easley, SC Saturdays, 8AM-Noon (May 7-October) Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

Hub City Saturday Market

Main St., Greenville, SC Saturdays, 8:30AM-12:30PM (May 4-October 26)

The Depot Magnolia St., Spartanburg, SC Saturdays, 8AM-Noon (May 11-November 9)

Fountain Inn


102 Depot St., Fountain Inn, SC Saturdays, 8AM-Noon (June-September)

Greer City Park City Park on the Promenade 301 Poinsett St., Greer, SC Sundays, 1PM-5PM (September 11-October 9)

Hub City Wednesday Market



Downtown Greenville TD Saturday Market

North Trade St., Landrum, SC Saturdays, 7AM-10AM (May-Sep)

Simpsonville 300 South St., Simpsonville, SC Thursdays, 3:30 PM-6:30 PM

Slow Food Upstate Earth Market Michael McDunn Gallery 741 Rutherford Rd., Greenville, SC

Dunbar St, Between Church & Magnolia Traveler’s Rest St,, Spartanburg, SC Corner of 276 and Center St., Traveler’s Rest, SC Wednesdays, 11AM-1PM Saturdays, 9AM-Noon (June 5-September 25) (May 11-September 28)



e have been through some hard times, and the U.S. economy still has a long way to go to full recovery. With bad economic news still dripping in from many corners of the world, you might wonder if there’s such a thing as the American dream any more. And yet…the economy is recovering and things are starting to feel a bit more normal. The interesting thing is, there are some good reasons to be optimistic that the American dream will come back stronger than ever. Consider what the U.S. has going for it: • The American dollar is still the world’s reserve currency of choice. This makes our earnings go further in purchasing foreign goods and services, not to mention keeping our government running on vapors for longer than most. • We speak English, still the language of choice for most business transactions. Oh, and a growing part of our population is truly bi-lingual, speaking Spanish fluently, the second most widely spoken language on the planet behind Mandarin (English is third, by the way). • The U.S. economy is still roughly 2.5 times the size of our nearest competitor, China, on a GDP basis. We are the second largest exporter behind the Euro area countries (on a country basis, we are the first ahead of China).



In terms of natural resources, the shale gas revolution has pushed the U.S. to become the top natural gas producer in the world. That, combined with being third in oil production and second in coal production, puts the U.S. in a position of energy competitiveness that many could have barely imagined just five years ago. So, what does all this have to do with sharing the American dream? Just two weeks after taking power, the new leader of our biggest global competitor, Xi Jinping, began openly talking about what he referred to as “the Chinese dream.” Like many slogans in one-party China, there are nuances in what is meant by the Chinese dream; anything from military superiority (nationalists), to more economic freedom (the wealthy middle-class). Should we feel threatened by this Chinese dream? Perhaps we should be wary, but it is likely that the Chinese dream is more about a country aspiring to better things for its people, than tyrannical world domination. It’s a dream of prosperity and a better life for future generations. That brings us back to the current state of America, to the fact that, if you are reading this, you likely live and work in the United States, and you enjoy an immeasurable level of fortune just by virtue of being part of this dynamic and vibrant society.You have plenty of room to dream, and there’s no reason to be threatened by other people’s dreams. The U.S. sits in a historically pivotal position, and there are many sound reasons to think that we will fully recover from the Great Recession reinvigorated and stronger than ever. The American dream is alive and well. It’s also something that is “open source,” an idea, and we should be happy for it to spread and inspire others to more prosperous futures.

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About the author...

Marc Bolick replanted his native roots in Greenville after living in Europe for 13 years. He has worked in all aspects of product and service creation for companies ranging from Fortune 100 multi-nationals to mid-sized European firms to startups. For the past nine years he has run Dmarc8 International, a consulting firm that helps clients to qualify, plan and implement innovative growth strategies.




By Josh Overstreet

The old adage says “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” and Joseph McMillin, founder of Junk Matters, has taken it to heart. A Spartanburg native, McMillin recently graduated from Wofford College, where he became involved in the Success Initiative Program— now called the Space to Launch. The program allows students to initiate entrepreneurial projects, in hopes of them gaining momentum and becoming full-fledged startups. After a family friend inspired him with an idea of cutting down overhead spending by taking a second look at his waste, McMillin was inspired. “The next semester I proposed a business project centered around a recycling company.” Thus, Junk Matters was born. Initially, it started as a recycling service that offered consultation on waste and what can actually be recycled, versus what was actual trash. Using contacts in the local Spartanburg school districts, McMillin started recycling collection programs in several schools, before expanding outward to other areas. But recycling collection was only the beginning. After reading an article on zero waste

initiatives, McMillin decided to expand the initial vision of Junk Matters. “Basically, we did recycling for two years, then I went to the Carolina Recycling Association’s Southeastern Food Waste Conference in Asheville last year,” McMillin says. “That kind of put the last piece in the zero waste program.” Hearing more and more about zero waste and composting, McMillin decided Junk Matters needed to be as comprehensive as possible, being able to not only pick up recycling but also see to most of their client’s waste needs. So Junk Matters designed a zero waste program, meant to divert 90 percent of a business’ waste through single stream recycling, such as plastics, metals, and papers, and also by composting the organic materials. They also offer to find buyers for any waste that another business can find useful in its processes. “We go in and pitch our Zero Waste programs to business in three ways: [you can] reduce solid waste build up by 20 percent; you can market it; and, it’s environmentally friendly, so you can apply for green hospitality.” Junk Matters’ first major success with the zero waste

program was with Little River Roasting, where they now offer commercial services to all three of Little River’s locations: the downtown location, the roasting warehouse and their drive-up window. “That was big for us to have three locations that do three different kinds of work.” Today, Junk Matters now offers services on three fronts: commercial, residential, and also through M.E.S.S, a recycled product line. “With our commercial services, we do an initial consultation—a waste audit— we take the business’ trash and dump it out then we separate what is recyclable, what is organic, and what is actually trash,” McMillin notes, adding that they also provide staff training and are present for the first few days of implementation, to make sure things go smoothly. They also offer the same services to residential clients, with single stream recycling cans and compost bins that they will collect. The residential service serves as a “next step” for McMillin and for Junk Matters. “We really want to break into the residential realm, perhaps starting with apartment complexes,” he says.

Finally, through M.E.S.S, Junk Matters offers a product line that offers wallets, totes and duffels made from extremely durable recycled materials. As with most startups there are still challenges ahead— ones that McMillin is looking forward to taking on. One such challenges is the local one of processing compost. “In the Upstate we don’t have any permitted composters,” he says. “We haul our compost into North Carolina.” McMillin sees this as an opportunity for Junk Matters in that they can become the first in the Upstate to offer compost processing services, and he sees it as one more opportunity to close the loop for his business. “It goes back to closing the loop—from the front end of distributing a product to our customer all the way to composting it.” Despite the challenges, McMillin is confident moving forward with Junk Matters and also looking forward to a day in which he himself will come full circle. “I want to get to a point where I am successful enough to help young entrepreneurs, whether that would be through Wofford in the Space or help develop more programs.”

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What started as a college project soon took on new life for Joseph McMillan. Now, as founder of Junk Matters, and proponent of a “zero waste” lifestyle for businesses and restaurants everywhere, he’s poised to turn trash into cash.



e have just completed the first half of the regular session of the 120th South Carolina General Assembly—a gathering unremarkable, even by Columbia’s standard. Sessions are two years long, with the legislature meeting from the second Tuesday in January through the first Tuesday in June, giving us one of the longest part-time legislatures in the country. A two-year session means that if a bill is still alive in a committee, or not addressed by both bodies, it can be carried over to the following year without having to be reintroduced. Let’s take a look at what they’ve been up to in Columbia since mid-January. (By the time you read this, and with some luck, the Conference Committee will have agreed on provisions for the creation of a Department of Administration (getting rid of the antiquated Budget and Control Board) that will let our governor actually govern like a chief executive, and passed the much-needed Ethics Reform.) The Conference Committee did, in fact, agree on a budget. However, it did nothing about the way state aircraft are used. Senators originally had sought to sell two state-owned aircraft following controversies involving how legislators and governors have used the planes. They did, however, limit the use of the planes by state universities for recruiting trips. The budget rejected $2 million that Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee) had requested to set up a fund for victims of a 2011 amusement park train accident in Spartanburg that injured 28 and killed one. Spartanburg County owns the train and, because of a state cap on payouts, the injured,


Chip Felkel is a veteran public affairs strategist, media relations expert and advocacy innovator with over two decades of experience in the State and National arenas. Felkel’s extensive political resume includes roles with Campbell for Governor, the South Carolina Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, as well as the 1988 Bush-Quayle Campaign (Executive Director, Georgia), DeMint 2002 Congressional Re-elect (campaign manager) and in strategic and communications roles with Bush-Cheney 2000 and 2004. He also serves as a political analyst for WYFF (NBC).


almost all children, had to split $600,000 to help cover their medical expenses. Education received $26 million to expand the state’s 4K program for at-risk children into 17 additional high-poverty school districts. Thankfully, in a long overdue move, our roads will finally get some attention. The committee agreed to borrow up to $500 million to fix the state’s interstates and primary roads, spend $41 million collected from the half the sales tax on motor vehicles on the state’s secondary roads, and another $50 million in one-time surplus money on bridge replacement and rehabilitation (The State). Another bill that is getting some traction in the Senate is one that will shorten the Legislative Session. A shorter session not only could save tax dollars but also force the legislature to work more efficiently. It did not pass this year, but a very big topic in next year’s race for governor between incumbent Governor Nikki Haley and her former and current challenger, Sen.Vincent Sheheen will be the expansion or lack of expansion of Medicaid. She is against it; he is for it. Most of the House of Representatives are against it, but many are taking a look at how we might offer a state-based solution that would tackle the issue, as it affects our state’s ability to successfully compete for economic development projects. The data breach fiasco will also be a topic in 2014 as will the need for continued funding for free credit monitoring for those affected (all of us). The question is: how long will the state cover that cost? Will it be for another two years, or 10? That will likely depend on just how many instances of fraud are reported that can be accurately attributed to the breach. A very positive outcome of this session is the passage of the Angel Investor bill which provides tax credits to those who invest in new ventures in S.C. These investments will go to assist in the funding of start-ups which are approved through the Secretary of State’s office. This bill will go a long, long way in promoting innovative ideas, and creating new jobs. Credit should go to Bill Wylie, the former Upstate representative who championed the bill initially, and who passed away in 2010. Of course a good bit of time was wasted in the House and Senate this year, too. In the Senate a lot of that was, due to the antics and tactics of a group of senators who refer to themselves as the William Wallace Caucus. They tied up the budget, the ethics bill and other matters pontificating ad nauseam about nullification. It was as if the ghost of John C. Calhoun himself had somehow come alive from his state house statue, and made his way into the Chamber. The Senate ultimately adjourned without taking action on the bill allowing the ghost of Calhoun to get some rest…at least until January. I am sure Mr. Calhoun appreciated that. I sure did. For more on this topic visit

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Adapted from: “The greatest business decisions of all time” Alex Taylor III



arlier this year, the Iron Yard started an intensive code education program. Over the course of three months, we teach people the ins and outs of front end web engineering, and help place them in a job when they graduate. Helping people start or transition into successful tech careers has been really exciting. Dipping our toes into education and job placement has highlighted the significant changes happening for both job seekers and companies who are hiring. The most common question about our course is the type of certification we offer upon completion, and many people are shocked by the answer: we don’t. Why? In the world of programming, your actual code is your certification. Most people hiring developers at tech companies don’t care where you went to college, or even if you went to college, in many cases. They want to know about the projects you’ve worked on and the things you’ve created, and collaborative technology is making it easy to show them. The standard method of sharing for coders is a service called GitHub. Along with serving as a version control system for software that is changed or updated, it keeps track of the code each user has contributed to a project. For companies hiring, it’s better than certification. It’s a real-life display of proficiency.


Peter went to Vanderbilt University, where he studied computer engineering. After school he moved to Manhattan to become an options and securities principal at Duke & Company (and later Morgan Stanley). A few years on Wall Street reminded Pete he was a hacker at heart, so he packed up and headed to Indianapolis to develop software for SinglePoint, an enterprise payroll service. With technical expertise, he worked his way up to CTO and purchased a stake in thebusiness. In Greenville, Peter has taken leadership roles in the development of NEXT, the NEXT Innovation Center, InternGreenville, and the southeast’s startup accelerator, The Iron Yard.


There are also venues for more subjective skills like design. Communities such as Dribbble and Behance enable designers to share their work, ask for feedback, and offer suggestions to others. Portfolios are still important, but social tools have introduced both critique and peer validation to an ongoing body of work, providing a more insightful perspective for viewers. This pattern of collaboration and documentation is spreading into other professional arenas as well. LinkedIn led the charge by giving users the ability to request recommendations, and their recent endorsement feature promotes affirmation of people’s specific skill sets., a company The Iron Yard invested in last year, is taking it several steps further. Their product will gather people’s entire work life into a living, breathing, participatory CV. In their words, “charting your professional path is now an ongoing process,” and they want to record every step, skill, project and colleague along the way. While technology can never replace time-tested job seeking skills like networking and interviewing, it is giving an entirely new meaning to “dusting off ” your resume.

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the Travelers Rest Historical Society, a place near the Swamp Rabbit Carnahan was known Trail where he’ll now park every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Carnahan is so pleased with the reception he’s received in Travelers Rest he’s in his social circle for considering opening a brick and mortar restaurant in the city. “There’s a lot of potential there,” explains Carnahan. “[Travelers Rest wants] to be known as a haven for food trucks.” making incredible pizza, a hobby he picked up at Speed Bumps age 12. “People for years Food trucks are rolling into nearly every metropolitan area across the country. There’s Gourdoughs, a roving doughnut shop in Austin; have said, ‘why don’t you Boston’s Grilled Cheese Nation sells a gourmet take on a childhood favorite; and Meatloaf-A-Go-Go in Chicago pedals meatloaf cupcakes from a converted cargo van. Far from the “roach coaches” that once sell your pizza?’” says capitalized on construction sites and baseball stadiums, food trucks today are hip and modern, bringing flair, creativity and quality to the Carnahan, now 48. $160 billion fast food market. But finding out how to fit these mobile Pizza was on the back burner for 25 years while he started and ran his company, Legal Eagle, a Greenville-based document management support firm focused on the legal industry. But last year he decided to go for it, and while opening his pizza food truck, Pies R Squared, has been exciting, it’s also been unpredictable. “It has been one curve ball after another,” he says. The challenges started with his wood burning pizza oven, which he ordered from Italy. “It was supposed to be Inca red,” explains Carnahan. Instead, what showed up was a 5,500-pound, bright orange oven. Fortunately, “everyone loves the color because we’re so close to Clemson,” he says. But before he could use the fancy imported piece of equipment, he knew he had to get approval from the Department of Health and Environmental Control. With his background in the legal world, Carnahan wanted to follow the rules before revving up his food truck.The problem was, there weren’t any that fit his business model of operating a portable wood burning pizza oven. “DHEC was like, ‘Uh, we don’t know what to put you under,’” he recounts. “They initially said ‘You’re not going to do this.’” Determined not to let anyone put the brakes on his dream, Carnahan worked his way up the chain of command until South Carolina’s DHEC Director Sandra Craig said yes. “I think the average person probably would have given up,” says Carnahan. “I’m not bragging, but you’ve got to be persistent.” But the challenge of simply getting started was still far from over. Carnahan’s next obstacle was finding a place to park his food truck. Rules in the city of Greenville kept Carnahan—and every other food truck—out of downtown. So Carnahan tried to gain exposure by serving pizza at Fall for Greenville, but his application was denied. Bob Munnich, managing partner of Larkin’s on the River and Chairman of the Fall For Greenville Restaurant Committee, says applicants to the downtown festival are categorized into six priority levels, but food trucks fall into the lowest priority level because they are not considered full-service restaurants. “I wish we could get everyone that applies in,” he says. “There are more applicants than space.” But, Munnich adds that plans for this year’s Fall for Greenville include adding a food truck court to accommodate this growing sector of rolling restaurants, and he says he hopes Carnahan applies to be a vendor again. Frustrated by the fact that he wasn’t welcome in downtown Greenville, Carnahan found other options. He signed a contract with 68

Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

businesses into established ordinances and existing legislation has been a challenge for cities nationwide—including those in the Upstate. Recently, Greenville has kept a handful of mobile entrepreneurs in park while it works out a plan. Originally, Greenville city officials considered regulations that restricted food trucks to private property at least 250 feet away from any existing restaurant, a rule that would have essentially wiped out any opportunities to capture business downtown. Greenville’s Mayor Pro Tem, David Sudduth, whose district includes the central business district, admits he’s very protective of restaurateurs who have invested big money into downtown. “I think, to begin with, we probably—and I won’t apologize for this, because it was the right thing to do—but we may have been more concerned about the restaurants than we were about providing access to food trucks,” he says. “Grill Marks sells hamburgers and they’re on Main Street. It wouldn’t be fair for a hamburger food truck to park right in front of Grill Marks and sell hamburgers.” But while Greenville is only approaching the subject now, other cities have been working through their challenges for years. As an example, Charleston put rules on the books more than two years ago when food trucks started rolling into town, for the most part keeping them out of downtown. Cody Burg started selling from his mobile barbecue truck in Charleston two and a half years ago, back when the city didn’t have any rules in place for food trucks. “The local government didn’t know what to do with us at first,” he says. His business, called Hello My Name is BBQ, still isn’t allowed in Charleston’s city center. “We’re pretty much shut out of downtown,” he says, unless he’s invited to sell at a special event.“Their argument is parking has always been an issue and they can’t be clogging it up more than it already is.” Meanwhile, hot dog and Italian ice vendors are permitted. “I think since Charleston is one of the culinary Meccas in the country, it’s a shame that they don’t give us more availability,” says Burg, who has no way of accessing tourists. “We can’t get to them. We’d like to be able to reach a greater audience.” There are currently 10 members of the Charleston Food Truck Federation, a group Burg helped form in order to create a united front for the industry. Jeff Filosa, part owner of the Low Country Creole food truck, is also a member, and carries seven business licenses—one for each municipality where he parks his truck. “We’re starting to figure it all out, but some of it had to be figured out in making mistakes,” says Filosa, who owned a restaurant for 15 years.“If I had to do this all over again I probably wouldn’t because it’s so hard.”

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Sudduth, specifically noting NOMA Square near the Hyatt, the new One office development next to Piazza Bergamo and the newly renovated Peace Center amphitheater. Renderings of a new park planned for West Greenville along the Swamp Rabbit Trail include a designated place for food trucks—proof that the city is working to include this growing industry. “We’ve never been anti-food truck,” says Sudduth.“[This ordinance] is going to promote food trucks while at the same time allowing those brick and mortar restaurants to continue to be successful.”

Rules & Regulations

A Proactive Approach

The ever-changing rules and regulations seem to hint at the fact that the food truck trend isn’t really a trend at all—it’s staying put. According to data from research firm IBISWorld, the food truck trend reached its peak in 2010, experiencing a growth rate of 12.7 percent and hitting $1.2 billion in sales. Growth is expected to continue, although a bit slower, as by 2017, IBISWorld predicts food trucks will generate about $2.7 billion in revenue. Those numbers seemed very appealing to Lauren Zanardelli, a first grade teacher-turned-mobile entrepreneur who, alongside a business partner, opened Greenville’s Neue Southern Food Truck in September of 2012. All of the other cities they considered— Charleston, Charlotte and Asheville—already had established food truck cultures. “Greenville was lacking completely so we thought this was a good place to start from the bottom,” says Zanardelli, 31. “That was something that steered us to Greenville.” She says Greenville officials did not consult her when originally drafting a food truck ordinance, but later invited her and another operator to meet with city staff. What came out of those talks was a slightly more relaxed list of rules, she says. Zanardelli admits that while Greenville’s food truck ordinance is not ideal, she’ll continue to roll with it. “It’s not going to be a detriment to our business if we can’t be downtown or park on public property on occasion,” she says. After Zanardelli met with city officials, they modified the rule that keeps food trucks 250 feet away from other restaurants downtown. As long as the food truck gets permission from impacted restaurant owners, they can park on private property even if there are restaurants nearby. “As far as we know, most of the restaurant owners are not opposed to our presence and in fact, welcome it,” says Zanardelli. “I’m hoping that’s the case. I’m hoping there’s no ill will.” Food trucks will be required to get a city business license, DHEC certification and pass a visual inspection, similar to the way taxi operators function currently. Workers will be required to undergo criminal background checks and anyone driving the food truck will need a 10-year certified driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles—all rules that other businesses face, says Sudduth. And while he hopes establishing clear guidelines will encourage more food trucks to drive into Greenville, he says we shouldn’t expect to see them on the main drag. “We’re not going to allow food trucks to park on Main Street. It would be a traffic nightmare,” he says. “We’re trying to encourage development and activity one or two blocks off Main Street, so having food trucks there would make a lot of sense.” Still, Sudduth says, exact locations where food trucks are permitted won’t be written into the ordinance to allow for more flexibility. “It would be nice to find a spot for food trucks that is in fairly close proximity to public spaces we have downtown,” says

Food truck operators face more lenient rules in Spartanburg where leaders, also vying for food truck business, are rolling out the welcome mat for operators. Cate Ryba, city councilwoman and executive director of HUB-BUB, a non-profit focused on building the city’s creative culture, has been working to bring food trucks to Spartanburg for six months.“We really want to be encouraging to as many new businesses as possible, whether they be mobile or bricks and mortar,” says Ryba. “Having worked in economic development, more is more. If we have food trucks parked downtown it will encourage foot traffic which will bring more business to everyone.” Spartanburg created a pilot program that serves as a roadmap for food truck owners on how to operate within the city limits. Ryba says so far the city doesn’t have any, but that didn’t stop officials from designating six city-owned downtown locations where food trucks are welcome, prime spots including one in front of a public park, one next to USC Upstate’s business school campus and another near Denny’s restaurant headquarters. Ryba even says it would not be out of the question to give a food truck a downtown development grant to help them start their business or to provide free access to a commercial kitchen inside a city community center for food prep. “I think rather than being reactive once you have a presence and some issues it’s better to be proactive,” says Ryba. “Hopefully within the next year we’ll have some coming from Greenville or Asheville on a regular basis.” But if you want a slice of wood-fired organic pizza, at least for now you’ll have to truck it to Travelers Rest. Carnahan can’t imagine driving away from the opportunity he’s discovered there. “I’m just going to go somewhere where they’re receptive to what we’re trying to do,” says Carnahan. “Greenville is missing out.”

UPDATE: On Monday, June 10, Greenville City Council passed an ordinance that will allow food trucks in downtown Greenville. Although trucks will not be allowed to set up withing 250 feet of existing restaurants without written permission of the restaurant, there will be five possible locations food truck parking. Q3 2013 // Business Black Box


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Just like Charleston and now Greenville, cities across the country are working out the kinks in food truck ordinances. Officials in Washington D.C. are currently considering new regulations that would identify a limited number of food truck parking spaces, assigned based on a lottery with winners getting access to the space as long as they pay a fee, according to Washington City Paper. In New York, the city’s food truck free-for-all could end under new rules that would create 450 designated parking spots, preventing food trucks from parking anywhere else, according to New York Daily News.




na cámara de comercio es una forma de red de comercio. Los dueños de comercios y empresas de una región forman estas sociedades locales para proteger sus propios intereses. Los empresarios locales son miembros, y eligen un cuerpo ejecutivo para hacer funcionar la cámara. Son organismos extendidos por todo el mundo, usualmente regulados por ley. En los Estados Unidos, las cámaras de comercio son entes jurídicos de gran poder e importantes para el desarrollo y crecimiento de los empresarios. Las cámaras de comercio son entidades sin fines de lucro que desarrollan programas de educación, velan por las políticas públicas que afectan el sector empresarial y a diferencia de nuestros países latinoamericanos, no son regidas por el gobierno. Encontramos unas 200 cámaras de comercio hispanas en los Estados Unidos. En el estado de California existen unas 40, y le sigue Nueva York con 30, Texas con 17 y la Florida con 10. Estos mercados son tradicionalmente hispanos y la actividad comercial y de negocios ha conducido al desarrollo de éstas. En la Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Carolina del Sur es nuestro derrotero el servir a nuestra comunidad, reconociendo la necesidad de educar y apoyar al empresario. En nuestros seís años de existencia hemos desarrollado el “Entrepreneur Empowerment Series” que se ofrece en ambos idiomas (español e inglés). Esta serie basada en módulos, se ha llevado a las ciudades de Columbia y Charleston.Al igual que a Greenville, SC.


Evelyn Lugo is the founder and President of the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SCHCC). With a background in business administration, Ms. Lugo obtained additional experience in working with corporations such as Eastman Kodak, Abbot Pharmaceutical and 3M. Her motivation is to help entrepreneurs, identify business growth opportunities, and help others to overcome challenges during their business development. The South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in August 2007 and designated a 501(c)6 nonprofi organization in June 2009 by the IRS.


Reconocemos la importancia de las redes comerciales y ofrecemos reuniones trimestrales, ya sean en conjunto con otras cámaras o grupos, dirigidas a conectar individuos y negocios. En el sector público colaboramos con el Departamento del Trabajo, la Comisión para Asuntos de las Minorías, el Departamento de Rentas Internas, el Departamento de Rehabilitación del Empleado y nuestro propósito principal es el conectar sus servicios con el mercado hispano. Este año 2013 ha sido uno de mucho trabajo y continuo crecimiento. Nuestro sitio en la Internet, el “Weekly-Connection” y “Newsletter” se han convertido en un instrumento importante de comunicación e información para miembros y no-miembros por igual. Hemos estrechado los lazos de comunicación con los oficiales electos, tanto a nivel local, estatal y federal. En estos momentos estamos en el proceso de solidificar un acuerdo importante con la Cámara de Comercio de Cali, Columbia siendo este el comienzo de nuestro enfoque en el desarrollo de relaciones con cámaras de comercio en Latinoamérica. Desde el 2009 celebramos nuestro cierre de año con una gala corporativa, un evento que nos permite hacer un recuento del año que pasó y la oportunidad de mirar hacia el comienzo del próximo con optimismo y renovadas fuerzas. La Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Carolina del Sur (SCHCC) es una organización sin fines de lucro, fundada e incorporada en el 2007 y designada 501(c)6 por el Departamento de Rentas Internas de los Estados Unidos. Nuestra misión es el educar y apoyar a los empresarios en el desarrollo de sus negocios. Si necesita más información o desea ser parte de esta organización, favor de comunicarse al (864)643-7261 o visite nuestra página en la Internet

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Thank you, but the position has been filled.





Executive Chef


he Rolling Stones song says “you can’t always get what you get what you need.”Too often, elected officials from both the left and the right seem to think that what they want from their own ideological point of view is all that matters, and not what the public wants or for that matter needs. They seem to forget that what the public wants and needs, more than anything else these days, is confidence that their government can actually work, that elected officials are committed to getting things done, and clear proof that the citizen-taxpayers interest are being served. It’s true in Columbia and it’s true in Washington. To borrow from another musical artist, the general mood of the electorate seems to be calling for “a lot less talk and little more action.” AND MARKET Finally, we have before us a good example of getting what many wanted and what was certainly needed. This comes in the passage of the Governor Haley’s Department of Administration bill that gets rid of the Budget and Control Board, an unbelievably antiquated entity unique only to South Carolina. The governor will rightfully take credit for this in the upcoming 2014 elections and her anticipated opponent, State Senator Vincent Sheheen (sponsor of one version) will do the same. And


Chip Felkel is a veteran public affairs strategist, media relations expert and advocacy innovator with over two decades of experience in the State and National arenas. Felkel’s extensive political resume includes roles with Campbell for Governor, the South Carolina Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, as well as the 1988 Bush-Quayle Campaign (Executive Director, Georgia), DeMint 2002 Congressional Re-elect (campaign manager) and in strategic and communications roles with Bush-Cheney 2000 and 2004. He also serves as a political analyst for WYFF (NBC).


to that I say, who cares? It is a step in the right direction, one that the S.C. State Senate finally got behind after years of debate. So, in my book, we scored one for the good guys, the taxpayers and citizens of the Palmetto State. Farewell, Budget and Control Board and, oh, good riddance. Still, there is a lot of work left to do in this year’s session. Important issues remain that must be addressed such as ethics reform, election reform, and hopefully tax reform, too. There is also the question of how to use an anticipated surplus of $167 million. The governor has proposed that all if not most of those dollars should be used to replace, repair or upgrade our numerous dilapidated roads and bridges. It is a serious issue, one that affects not just safety but economic development and yes, even perception. So, while others will always find something they think is more important, it is hard to argue with Governor Haley given the situation, and a clear unwillingness (the governor also falls into this group) to consider raising the gas tax. The expansion of Medicaid continues to be a highly divisive issue in the state. This battle pits Governor Haley and her Administration squarely against the S.C. Hospital Association membership— as the governor and the GOP majority are opposed while the hospitals maintain this is more about politics and ideology than it is finances. At the center of the debate is Haley’s unwillingness to accept $11 billion in federal funds to expand the Medicaid program, money that the SCHA suggests would offset anticipated cuts and help to create 44,000 jobs. House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White (R-Anderson) is proposing an $83 million alternative that would discourage unnecessary emergency room visits and offer support for rural hospitals and free clinics. Proposals for strong ethics reform will be addressed and hopefully, some measure of tax reform will take shape as we get closer to the end of the Session in June. And last but not least, as usual, there is a bill that is well intentioned, but is in fact, not the answer, a bill that penalizes those who are not the problem. This is the case of a bill sponsored by Greenville Senator Mike Fair and Lexington House member Kit Spires that would require you to have a doctor’s prescription in order to purchase any medicine that contains pseudoephedrine­—your allergy medicine. There is no doubt we must do more to tackle the plague of meth in our communities but this bill has some other ramifications that will mean you or your child will have to see a doctor, miss work or school, get a prescription, and then go to the pharmacy when seasonal allergies kick in. Not For more on this topic visit

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Emmanuel Hodencq is more than a Chef. He is a French-born “culinary star,” who brings with him 37 years of experience—as well as a coveted Michelin Star, which he kept at his celebrated restaurant in Clermont-Ferrand, France, for 12 years. (Though internationally fluent in the kitchen, Chef Emannuel speaks very little English. So we asked his lovely wife Vivien to help interpret his answers. They do make a great team.)

[1] What was your first job?

[8] What is your plan for the future?

A cook. Can you imagine that? (Ha!) It was in the French Alps; I was 17 years old.

Right now, we want to make Rick’s Deli & Market “the place to eat” in downtown Greenville. We are much more than a deli—we are unique and offer desserts, pastries and items you can’t get elsewhere. Long term, we have dreamed of opening a “true” French Restaurant in the states. And Greenville is the perfect place for that, with the international business community.

and developed early on?

I learned right away to be a perfectionist. To respect what I was creating, and to use only the best products, making sure the quality was perfect.

[3] How do you strike a balance between

[9] If you could do anything else besides being a Chef, what would it be?

I don’t! There is no balance; just ask my wife. I am a Chef. It’s not only what I do, it is an expression of who I am.

I would make wine; I’d be a vintner. I love the process and subtlety and creativity that goes into making wine and how grapes grown in one area, in one environment, can produce very different expressions of wine.

[4] What were some challenges early in

[10] What is one challenge you are working

The main challenge was to open my own restaurant and create my own style. I wanted people to see this is the food I enjoy creating and have people see that and appreciate it.

Well, besides learning to speak better English, I would say trying to educate people that we are much more than a typical Deli. We are also open at night and the ambiance is completely different than in the day. We offer elegantly prepared dinner plates and have some wonderful wines and a great ambiance. People who come for dinner really enjoy it.

your personal and professional lives?

your career?

[5] What’s the hardest thing about your job here?

To balance true French cuisine with American tastes.There are lots of differences in terms of sugar, salt, spices. I try to combine parts of American recipes with a French flavor or twist.

[6] What is one of your favorite hobbies? The bicycle. I love to ride. My father makes bikes in France— he used to work with Jacques Anquetil, the great Tour De France champion. They were partners. It is nice to see that biking or cycling is so popular in Greenville.

to overcome as a Chef here?

[11] Why did you choose Greenville? We have friends from Michelin who introduced us to the city. We fell in love right away—we love the people, the climate, the charm, the relaxed pace. Greenville and the surrounding mountains here very much remind us of Clermont-Ferrand, France. Vivien and I—and our daughter Pauline who is in high school—all felt at home right away and look forward to many years together here. We couldn’t be happier.

[7] What is an interesting fact about you that not many people know?

Hmmmm…..that I’m not quiet! I talk all the time, I just don’t speak English well. Q3 2013 // Business Black Box


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[2] What are some of the skills you learned





THE PITCH: People want to get healthier and they need convenient, exciting ways to do it. The most effective way to get healthier is for them to change what they eat. Plant-based lifestyles have touted benefits for years, such as increased energy, glowing skin, clearer thinking and reduction of your chances for major illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Plant-based lifestyles are now becoming more popular with the advent of films such as Forks Over Knives, as well as popular celebrities and mainstream personalities proclaiming the benefits of a plant-based diet, like Bill Clinton. Lifeit Cafe, a fast casual, plant-based restaurant, makes eating healthy a little easier. A fast casual restaurant is a type of restaurant that does not offer full table service, but promises a higher quality of food and atmosphere than a fast food restaurant. Lifeit is a play on the word diet and encourages patrons to change their diet into a “lifeit” by eating more fresh foods. The focus is to make healthy food taste good, which removes one of the major barriers, taste, that prevents some people from jumping on the healthy food bandwagon. Lifeit’s cuisine specializes in mostly raw, plant-based food as well as a few cooked and gluten-free options, using as many organic and local ingredients as possible. Lifeit Cafe is not just a restaurant; it is a place for education, connection, and healing. The Cafe also incorporates classes to help people change how they eat, as well as offer personalized services such as a weekly meal service and detox programs to help customers reach their specific health and weight goals. The Lifeit social environment connects and engages its customers, providing a venue for cultural expressions such as poetry and live music. Lifeit Cafe helps make people happier, healthier, and sexier. Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios




However, the restaurant business is a notoriously difficult one, so I would encourage Ms. Folkes to seek out other restaurateurs who can share their insights on mistakes to avoid and their secrets to success in a crowded marketplace. Surely one of those secrets is to make the food taste great, so I think the pitch for Lifeit would benefit from a stronger, more descriptive appeal to unique menu items that sound—and taste­— delicious. If the idea is to attract a broad clientele that isn’t already dedicated to eating a plantbased diet, making sure the food tastes great will be key to attracting and keeping patrons. One of the other key’s to success for a restaurant tends to be the ambiance of the place, so the art and music and education classes could all be part of an attractive vibe for the cafe. However, one of the classic challenges for any entrepreneur is focus, so I would caution Ms. Folkes not to do too much too quickly. For instance, she should consider moving slowly into the personalized service offerings mentioned in the pitch until the core restaurant is operating smoothly. While great customer service is key to a great restaurant experience, customization for many customers will require significant resources that may be difficult to support in the early going.

Although I’m not a vegetarian or plant-based dieter, I would certainly be interested in trying out a convenient healthy dining option, so I wish Ms. Folkes the best of luck with Lifeit Cafe.


Managing Director Upstate Carolina Angel Network

Your pitch seems to be written for a wide and general audience. This is a very common mistake that many entrepreneurs make. Effective presentation should always be constructed specifically for the listener. I suggest you re-edit your pitch to tailor the person (or group) to whom you are directing the message to. For example, if the presentation is meant for prospective investors, more focus should be put on the positive financial outlook, rather than the business concept. For more from Business Black Box visit

The Lifeit Cafe sounds like a unique and intriguing restaurant concept. The health food market continues to grow rapidly, while the locavore movement has substantially increased interest in locally sourced foods. Providing consumers with convenient access to those types of foods as an alternative to existing fast food choices seems like a potentially winning combination in today’s market.

On the other hand, if the goal is to attract attention from members of a progressive community, then numbers are boring and the unique nature of the concept is key. Best of luck.


Director of Entrepreneurial Systems Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce

Q3 2013 // Business Black Box



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hen is the last time you really looked at the plate of spaghetti in front of you? e have been through some hard times, and the U.S. economy still has a long way to Really looked at it and considered it— go to full recovery. With bad economic news still dripping in from many corners of like it’s a painting or a poem, with nuances and the the world, you might wonder if there’s such a thing as the American dream any more. structures.What is the cook trying to communicate And yet…the economy is recovering and things are starting to feel a bit more to you through their creation? normal. The interesting thing is, there are some good reasons to be optimistic that the American It may seem funny to consider as one dream food will come back stronger than ever. would butL the truth is that forConsider Ashley Warlick, G L Oart, BA what the U.S. has going for it: all food tells a story. • The American dollar is still the world’s reserve currency of choice. This makes our earnings Warlick is the editor of Edible go Upcountry, further in purchasing foreign goods and services, not to mention keeping our government among many other things. As a novelist by vapors for longer than most. running on trade, in addition to teaching writing at Queens • We speak English, still the language of choice for most business transactions. Oh, and a growing University in Charlotte and locally, atpart the of South our population is truly bi-lingual, speaking Spanish fluently, the second most widely Carolina Governor’s School, Warlick is language no spoken on the planet behind Mandarin (English is third, by the way). stranger to stories. • The U.S. economy is still roughly 2.5 times the size of our nearest competitor, China, on a But to her, as both consumer and food GDPexpert, basis. We are the second largest exporter behind the Euro area countries (on a country what really matters about food is basis, the “home we are the first ahead of China). kitchen”—“People returning to making their own food and making food from the beginning of the process as opposed to relying on things already manufactured somewhere else.” She uses pasta sauce—a jarred staple for many— as an example. What kind of story should it tell? That it was bought in a jar at such-and-such store? Or that you grew the tomatoes, garlic and onions, in your backyard and made it yourself? • know In terms “So you grow that tomato, so you how of to natural resources, the shale gas revolution has pushed the U.S. to become the top make that marinara and it actually tastesnatural good, gas and producer in the world. That, combined with being third in oil production and second in coal production, puts the U.S. in a position of energy competitiveness that many nine times out of 10 it will be better for you than About thepurchase a store,” Warlick could notes. have barely imagined just five years ago. anything you’d So, what does all this have to do with sharing the American dream? Just two weeks after taking “Nine of 10 you’ll be surprised how easy Marc times Bolickout replanted his power, the new leader of our biggest global competitor, Xi Jinping, began openly talking about what it is roots to make.” native in Greenville after living in Europe for 13 years. he referredopens to asup“the Chinese dream.” Like many slogans in one-party China, there are nuances The process—while educational—also He other has worked in all of in and whatrelationships is meant by the Chinese dream; anything from military superiority (nationalists), to more avenues ofaspects communication product and service creation economic freedom when you become more intimately involved in (the wealthy middle-class). for companies ranging from we more feel threatened by this Chinese dream? Perhaps we should be wary, but it is likely that your food and its production. YouShould develop Fortune 100 multi-nationals the Chinese and more relationships with others involved dream in the is more about a country aspiring to better things for its people, than tyrannical to mid-sized European firms world domination. food process and become educated about food,It’s a dream of prosperity and a better life for future generations. to startups. For the past nine brings where what’s goodThat to do withusit,back to the current state of America, to the fact that, if you are reading this, you yearsithecomes has runfrom, Dmarc8 likely work in the United States, and you enjoy an immeasurable level of fortune just by how the actual crop is, and what willlive be and available International, a consulting firm virtue of being part of this dynamic and vibrant society.You have plenty of room to dream, and there’s laterhelps on. clients to qualify, that plan and implement innovative no reason to be threatened by other people’s dreams. “Talking to the guy who is selling the tomatoes, growth sits the in a historically pivotal position, and there are many sound reasons to think that we the stories and strategies. relationships you The buildU.S. from will fully from the Great Recession reinvigorated and stronger than ever. person who grew it, you learn what they recover like to do Thecoming American with it, how they like to eat it, what’s nextdream is alive and well. It’s also something that is “open source,” an idea, and we should be happy for it to spread and inspire others to more prosperous futures. week, or what’s coming next month.” The more and more you delve into learning about the food you buy, grow, cook and eat and the more knowledge you gain in the process not only enriches your life, but also those around you. Recipes are no longer simply a process, but a story that you can tell. To Warlick, the plate of spaghetti in front of you isn’t just sustenance, it’s a work of art.


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Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


Q3 2013 // Business Black Box

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Business Black Box - Q3 - 2013  

Upstate South Carolina's Premier Business Magazine

Business Black Box - Q3 - 2013  

Upstate South Carolina's Premier Business Magazine