APRIL 12, 2019| VOL. 8 ISSUE 9
UPSTATE BUSINESS JOURNAL
BILLIAM JEANS MOVING FASHION FORWARD IN GREENVILLE
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We are pleased to announce that
| THE RUNDOWN
Wells Fargo Advisors Wells Fargo Advisors has joined our Greenville, South is pleased to announce that Carolin And is pleased to announce that J.P.formed Cullenthe
has joined our Greenville Office Cullen & Blanton and formed the Yarbrough Group We are pleased to announce that Cullen &Management Blanton Private Private Wealth G J.P.Fargo Cullen Wealth Management Group has joined our of Wells Advisors Wells Fargo South AdvisorsCarolina Off has joined ourofGreenville,
Greenville, South Carolina Office And formed the
Wells Fargo Advisors Cullen & Blanton Private Wealth is pleased Management to announce that Grou of Wells Fargo Advisors The Yarbrough Group Business and community leaders recently gathered for the third annual Spartanville Greenburg Classic. Robert Hughes III and Geordy Johnson started the golf tournament to increase relationships and foster collaboration between the neighboring cities. Greenburg scored its first win this year. The tournament was played at the Spartanburg Country Club and the Greenville Country Club. Photo provided.
has joined our Greenville, South Carolina Office
“We are exceptionally honored to welcome The Yarbrough Group to Wells Fargo
VOLUME With 8, ISSUE Advisors. over 9four decades of combined experience, the Yarbrough Group is Featured this issue: committed to putting their clients’ needs first. Their client centric philosophy and
experience in delivering exceptional service make4the Yarbrough Group an excellent The dish on Greenville’s newest restaurants............................................ “J.P. joins our South Carolina Complex with over Custom jeans maker embracing tech.......................................................14 match with Wells Fargo Advisors. We are joins excited to South supportCarolina this teamComplex as they continue “J.P. our with overarea 25investors. years of exper 25 years of experience serving Upstate Clemson students get a taste of Silicon Valley........................................16 to provide their clients with the sound advice they needJ.P.’s to pursue and realize their passion for helping clients their financial Upstate area investors. J.P.’s passion helping clients achieve thei “We are exceptionally honored to for welcome Theachieve Yarbrough Group to Wells Fargo financial dreams,” said Scott Spang, SouthAdvisors. Carolina Complex Manager. goals and dreams by providing personalized investment With over four decades of combined experience, the Yarbrough Group ise and dreams by providing personalized investment strategies and an committed to putting their clients’ needs first. Their client centric philosophy and WORTH REPEATING strategies and an exceptional experience a “J.P. joins our South Carolina Complex withclient over 25 years ofisexperience se
experienceUpstate is a testament toOgburn his exceptional tremendous success. We’re truly hon experience in delivering service make the Yarbrough Group an excellent James D. Yarbrough Kiefer areawith investors. J.P.’s passion for helping clients achieve their financia testament to his tremendous success. We’re truly match Wells Fargo Advisors. We are excited to support this team as they continu Financial Advisor in Training Managing Director – Investments J.P. Cullen to our team,” personalized said Scott investment Spang, South Carolina Compl and dreams by providing strategies and an exception to provide their clients to with the sound advice theyto need pursuesaid and realize their honored welcome J.P. Cullen ourtoteam,”
experience is afinancial testament to his success. We’re trulyManager. honored to w dreams,” saidtremendous Scott South Carolina Complex ® J.P. Cullen, CFP Scott Spang, SouthSpang, Carolina Complex Manager. Cynthia Pando George C. Howell, IV, CFA® J.P. Cullen to our team,” said Scott Spang, South Carolina Complex Mana “It’s a cross between a Senior Vice President – Investments James D. Yarbrough Kiefer Ogburn Client Associate Vice President – Investments J.P. Cullen, CFP® Financial Advisor in Training Managing Director – Investments church and a pub.” 35 W. Court Street, Suite 100 Senior Vice President – Investments Laura Blanton Cynthia Pando George C. Howell, IV, CFA® Greenville, S.C. 29601 Client Associate Vice President – Investments Senior Vice President – Branch Manager Laura Blanton James: (864) 370-5310 | George: (864) 370-5311 35 W. Court Street, Suite 100 Senior Vice President – Branch Manager Andrew Snavely, Page 4 35 W. Court Street, Suite 100 Greenville, S.C. 29601 Toll-Free: (800) 929-0380 35 W.370-5310 Court Street, Suite 100370-5311 James: (864) | George: (864) Greenville, S.C. 29601 Fax: (864) 370-2936 Greenville, S.C. 29601 Toll-Free: (800) 929-0380 “Everyone there almost seemed | firstname.lastname@example.org J.P.:J.P.: (864) 241-2782 Laura: (864) 241-2767 (864) 241-2782 ||Laura: (864) 241-2767 email@example.com Fax: (864) 370-2936 to celebrate failure.” Toll-Free: (800) 929-0380 firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com Toll-Free: (800) 929-0380 firstname.lastname@example.org || email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Olivia Burns, Page 16 Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used byby Wells Clearing Services, Member a registered Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used WellsFargo Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, LLC, Member SIPC, aSIPC, registered
broker/dealer nonbank Wells Fargo & Company. © 2018 Wells&Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. broker/dealer andofnonbank affiliate of Wells Fargo Company. Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Memberand SIPC, a affiliate registered Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo A1255 Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a re All rights reserved. CAR-0618-00921 IHA-552373_A1 broker/dealer and nonbank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. © 2018 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. CAR-0319-05185 broker/dealer and nonbank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. All rights reserved. CAR-0618-00921 A1255 IHA-552373_A1
4.12.2019 | upstatebusinessjournal.com
photo by KEVIN RUCK
Restaurants coming to Greenville n story by ARIEL TURNER| photos PROVIDED
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“The space is perfect for us.” That’s how Andrew Snavely and Joe Passalaqua reacted to seeing the yellow building at 1278 Pendleton St. in the Village of West Greenville. Dobra Tea, founded in 1993 in the Czech Republic as a collective of like-minded, tea-loving individuals, will open in that ideal space this summer as the first South Carolina location, with Passalaqua as operator and Snavely’s assistance as Dobra Tea national consultant for the United States. “I’ve known for years Greenville was perfect for us,” Snavely says. Rakan Draz of Avison Young, who executed the lease, reached out to Snavely months ago about bringing the concept to Greenville. “This gives a reason to activate that corner of the Village and draw more foot traffic,” Draz says. Stemming from the existing two Asheville, North Carolina, Dobra Tea rooms that Snavely operates and five others in the U.S., this new tea house will bring the culture of tea to Greenville in a way the local market hasn’t yet seen. “This is not a coffee shop,” Passalaqua says. As an Asheville resident, Passalaqua became introduced to Dobra Tea and Snavely and fell in love with the experience. “It’s a cross between a church and
a pub,” Snavely says. For Passalaqua, who just sold his Asheville home to move to Greenville, opening a Dobra Tea house is a way out of the corporate world and into a more relaxing and wholesome environment, he says. He plans to be in the tea room 365 days a year, especially on holidays, he says, remaining open when most businesses close to give people a place to gather and celebrate. Instead of a menu on the wall, Dobra offers an 85-page tea journal. Rather than ordering at a counter and
says the plan is to install moveable windows facing Pendleton that will allow them to open and create an open-air environment. “This is not an in-and-out place,” Snavely says. Dobra does offer to-go drinks, but he says the goal is for people to take a break out of their day to de-stress. “One drinks tea to forget the noise of the world,” he says. In addition to teas from around the globe, the Asian-fusion menu also includes lunch and dinner items. Overall, the environment is one of
FUTURE DOBRA TEA LOCATION
then taking a seat, guests will first sit, then ring a bell to alert the staff they’re ready to order. A platform area with traditional low seating will allow people to take off their shoes and recline. The 2,700-square-foot former Graphic Cow location that most recently has served as a temporary home for the Leaf Institute already has expansive windows, and Snavely
inclusion. The goal is for men, women, and children of all ages to gather, enjoy tea, enjoy conversation, eat healthfully, and leave feeling better than when they arrived, Snavely says. “We’re selling an experience, not just a cup of tea,” he says. Visit www.dobratea.com for a list of teas and to read more about the history of the collective.
photo by WILL CROOKS
rendering by JOHNSTON DESIGN GROUP
RAPID FIRED PIZZA
SIX & TWENTY DISTILLERY
Rapid Fired Pizza, a create-your-own pizza joint where your personal pie is baked and ready to eat in three minutes opened April 8 at 4100-B Pelham Road, near the Pelham Road and Interstate 85 interchange. The first Greenville location is in the redeveloped strip center that was formerly Atlanta Bread Co. The 2,550-square-foot restaurant includes seating for 74 and outdoor patio seating for 26. The Greenville franchise is owned by Pie Guys Restaurants LLC, which is led by Michael Kern and Chip Hurst, who also own the Spartanburg location and rights to all future locations in South and North Carolina.
A unique-to-Greenville, organic, farm-totable, fast-casual concept will open this May in the former American Roadside Burger location at 301 E. McBee Ave. that closed in February. The new restaurant, green fetish (lower caps intended), will be allergen-friendly, vegan-friendly, and refined sugar-free. The menu will feature 10-12 grain and greens-based bowls, acai and pitaya bowls, smoothies, toasts, wraps, superfood lattes, and vegan frozen yogurt, says operator Chris Yun. Backed by the family that operates Lieu’s Chinese Bistro and both locations of Otto Izakaya, this departure from the Asian-inspired menu is a complete about face from those gluten and fried-food heavy menus.
Six & Twenty Distillery, founded in Powdersville, has announced a second multi-use location to open this fall in the Furman Co.’s Poe West development in The Village of West Greenville. In addition to a cocktail lounge, Six & Twenty will feature cocktail classes, retail and event space, as well as full production. Guests will be able to tour and watch the distilling process while sipping a craft cocktail. Six & Twenty joins the anchor tenant, Greenville Technical College’s new Center for Culinary and Hospitality Innovation (CHI), Carolina Bauernhaus Brewery & Winery, and LaRue Fine Chocolate. Additional space is still available.
4100-B PELHAM ROAD
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NEED TO KNOW
Full Circle Funding
n story by STEPHANIE TROTTER | photos PROVIDED
6AM RETURNS TO NEX T VENTURE PITCH TO RECEIVE $200,000 It’s 9 a.m., and the 6AM City team is gathering for its morning content meeting. It’s the first and last task the digital media company accomplishes daily resembling a traditional newsroom. Breaking away from old-school print and broadcast norms, the Greenville-based startup (and Community Journals subsidiary) has exploded in less than three years, delivering content to 175,000 subscribers’ inboxes across six cities. “There was a gap in the market,” explains COO Ryan Heafy of launching GVLtoday in 2017. “Curating all that was going on, and delivering that in a conversational tone, in a way that people wanted to see it, we were able to fill that gap and take advantage of the opportunity.” This week, Heafy and CEO Ryan Johnston will return to NEXT Venture
Pitch to collect a check for $200,000 from SC Launch Inc. The duo first appeared at the entrepreneurial event last year, “pitching” 6AM to the soldout crowd of innovators and investors. “What’s cool about 6AM, it proves that all kinds of industries are right for disruptions and innovation,” says NEXT president & CEO John Moore.
FIRST ROUND Back in 2017, three angel investors (Erwin Creates, Sycamore Investments, and Venture South/Upstate Carolina Angel Network) covered a first-seed round of $700,000. GVLtoday started pushing daily newsletters to email subscribers, and COLAtoday and CHStoday soon followed. The 6AM team totals 24, with headquarters in Greenville and two multimedia journalists in each market, which now
includes Asheville, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Lakeland, Florida. Revenues in 2018 topped $1 million dollars and are projected to hit $2.5 million in 2019. “We were able to find the money, the faith, and trust in our business locally, and it’s been very rewarding that they’ve been able to journey
along the way with us,” Heafy says.
SECOND ROUND What’s even more rewarding is that all original investors have come in again for round two, as 6AM seeks to raise $800,000. The team plans to use the additional $200,000 from SC Launch to drive
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NEED TO KNOW
technology development to increase operational efficiencies. Heafy adds, “We are using technology to get smarter about how we cover content and what works in a local market.” Lee MacIlwinen mentors Heafy and Johnston through South Carolina’s Research Authority. The regional information-technology industry manager says 6AM’s innovative expansion is a primary reason it’s one of a dozen companies receiving SC Launch investment this year. “By the time they get to a city, they already have that revenue model, it’s already completely booked, or partially booked,” MacIlwinen says. SC Launch Executive Director Jill Sorensen elaborates, “We talk about learn, launch, scale, grow. We think 6AM is in that lane … You can normalize a lot of your operations by standardizing email outreach, but then personalizing city by city, so that community is defined.” Heafy looks at the SC Launch check as a full-circle opportunity. “They’ve placed a bet on us, and our ability to help influence, support, and impact
all of the other companies they’re investing in,” he says. “Our product is naturally giving back to each of them, and elevating brands as a whole in the state of South Carolina.”
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THE FUTURE Following a hub-and-spoke model, each month 6AM is adding an average of 1.25 full-time employees while experiencing an average 5 percent increase in newsletter subscribers. Part of the team is exploring possible cities for expansion, and others continue to press technology to maximize the experience for the publisher, advertisers, and consumers. Meanwhile, Johnston is looking far beyond 2020. “Media will look differently tomorrow,” he predicts. “It’s changing so fast. It’s our job to pay attention to the changing technology … and try to build a brand and understand what that brand represents in our community. That way we have those conversations where our audience is, whatever that looks like in 20 years, is where we hope the brand will be positioned.”
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ARIEL TURNER | STAFF
A P R I L
S E S S I O N
Design Review Board Urban Panel
Camperdown plaza entrances First up was another piece of the Camperdown development – the stairway entrances to the public plaza – which received approval with conditions that the final lighting scheme for the LED lit stairs be approved. Panelist William Crawford recused himself from the discussion and voting on account of a potential conflict of interest. Crawford’s wife, Marion, and her company Crawford Strategies are handling marketing and public relations for the Camperdown project. This portion of the Camperdown project is a public private partnership between developer Centennial
American Properties (CAP) and the City of Greenville. The water feature previously planned for the wall along the stairwell entrance from Main Street has been replaced with a light feature. The city chose to eliminate the water feature because of concerns about long-term upkeep. “We’re really trying to create something that is completely unique,” said Jason Tankersley of CAP. The replacement light feature is a replication of the night sky’s pattern when Camperdown Mill was built, Tankersley said, crediting architect and physicist Beau Welling
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UBJ | 4.12.2019
April’s City of Greenville Design Review Board Urban Panel public hearing led to three official approvals and positive informal feedback on two multi-family projects outside of the Central Business District.
rendering by BEAU WELLING DESIGN
with that plan. “Him, and the people in this room, will be the only ones who know,” joked panel chairwoman Carmella Cioffi. Tankersley replied that they plan to install an informational plaque
with the historical information about the pattern. Panelist Danielle Fontaine said she wished the water feature could have remained because it is visible both day and night, but she likes the current option as well.
ARIEL TURNER | STAFF
.408 Jackson It’s difficult to argue with a developer proposing to move the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum when he introduces the project in question like this: “I’m happy to introduce Lyles Davis who will be our intern on this project. Lyles is entering the Clemson Masters of Real Estate program. His family donated the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum,” said Brian Schick of Woodfield Investments. It was essentially a “mic drop” scenario, yet the presentation proceeded. Charlotte-based Woodfield Investments is proposing a class A, multifamily, mixed-use development for the site of the current “Blue Building” that sits at 24 Vardry St. next to Fluor Field.
Plans are for a five-story, plus basement, 237-unit apartment building that will include four retail storefronts and a six-story precast parking structure. The corner storefront could be a signature restaurant, Schick said. “I’m impressed by the quality of the presentation. All of the questions were answered there,” Fontaine said. Bordered by Field, Vardry, Augusta, and Markley streets, the triangular property is also the site of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum. With unanimous support from the museum, Woodfield Investments plans to relocate the building from the northeast corner to the western corner of the property.
rendering by THE HOUSING STUDIO
“Shoeless Joe has always looked like it was plopped down in the middle of a field. I think this is actually a great move,” Crawford said. The issue of preserving several mature trees on the property was raised. After learning that a few of them were leaning at a 60-degree angle
and likely weren’t viable, Cioffi quipped: “When people leave the stadium that’s how they are too.” Ultimately, a motion to approve the application was made and affirmed, with the condition that the courtyard transitional material be approved by two members of the DRB.
“SHOELESS JOE HAS ALWAYS LOOKED LIKE IT WAS PLOPPED DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIELD. I THINK THIS IS ACTUALLY A GREAT MOVE.” WILLIAM CRAWFORD PANELIST
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ARIEL TURNER | STAFF
Hoppin’ The large anchor restaurant space of Markley Station, previously approved by the DRB, came back with a redesign of the rooftop venue. Originally, the roof top structure on the second floor of Hoppin’, a tap room from Charlotte, was an open-
air pergola. Now, it’s a fully enclosed penthouse that will be used to house restrooms and an interior stairwell. The main point of discussion for the panel was whether the proposed brick exterior met the guidelines for structures of historic nature, which
states that an addition must differentiate from the original structure either in material or design or both. “Brick shouldn’t match if you use brick,” Cioffi said. All panelists agreed the brick, rather than a stucco option, was
the best choice of material, with Mitch Lehde and Fontaine recommending a darker shade to set it apart from the original brick. “If it were my building I would put brick there” Fontaine said.
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UBJ | 4.12.2019
full schedule at www.gvilleevents.com
ARIEL TURNER | STAFF
Harris Teeter site Almost 10 acres at 401 and part of 429 Roper Mountain Road make up the proposed site for an age-targeted apartment complex. The former Harris Teeter building and neighboring site along Frontage Road will be developed by Homes Urban into a multi-family development with a large club house and pool. Points of discussion and recommendations for the developer included adding first-floor exterior en-
trances to create a more welcoming environment, using more textured materials, and confirmation that the clubhouse rendering submitted showing a wooden storefront will actually be black. “The clubhouse is just definitely a little bit of a departure,” said Lehde. Crawford wasn’t at all sure the renderings showed only four colors or materials being used. “I feel it’s a little psychedelic,” he said.
East Broad & Doctor David C Frances streets A 38-unit condominium development on a sharply graded, almost-two-acre property is being proposed by developer Terry Birch. The angle of the building on the site near the Publix shopping center was chosen specifically to afford the best views of the city and Blue Ridge Mountains. All of the panelists were in agree-
ment at this initial surveying of the design plans: good selection of materials and colors, nice-looking landscaping, roof height was appropriately scaled to the surrounding structures, and the elevation without as many windows could use some visual interest either by adding more windows or in variation of the material pattern. rendering by JOHNSTON DESIGN GROUP
4.12.2019 | upstatebusinessjournal.com
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Take your shot at making a hole-in-one in the finals and win $1,000,000!
April 26 –April 27
$500 Prize Each Day for being closest to the pin and a chance to win a million dollars.
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C 19 MHIO Advertorial.qxp_Layout 1 4/3/19 4:13 PM Page 1
Win Big at the 2019 Million Dollar Sh otout! Come to the Haas Family Golf center at 8000 Pelham Road in Greenville, Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27 for a chance to win $1 million in Laurens Electric Cooperative’s and Touchstone Energy’s 17th Annual Hole-In-One Shootout. All proceeds from the event will benefit the LEC Community Impact Initiative.
the LEC Community Impact Initiative, a program that provides grants, not to exceed $2,000, to local charities for purposes that enrich the quality of life of the citizens in the communities LEC serves. Recipients will be chosen by their respective chambers and will be based on their projects that include innovative, creative, and practical solutions to current community needs.
10 players will qualify each day by being closest to the pin to compete in the finals, when participants have a chance of winning one million dollars by shooting a hole-in-one. Qualifying times are Friday, April 26 from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. The finals will follow on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Every dollar spent at the hole-in-one event is a dollar that will go to support the LEC Community Impact Initiative; it’s a fantastic way to contribute to the community and have a great time in the process.
Event proceeds to benefit the LEC Community Impact Initiative For more information about the Hole-In-One Shootout, visit the co-op’s web site at laurenselectric.com.
Other prizes include $500 each day to golfers with shots closest to the pin, and during the finals, $1,000 to the golfer closest to the pin, $500 for the second closest, and $250 to third. G R A N T P RO G R A M
Laurens Electric is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the citizens in the upstate and in the communities the cooperative serves. All proceeds from the Hole-In-One Shootout will benefit
H e l p i n g To F u n d Community Projects
Laurens Electric Cooperative a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, serves 54,000 member-owners in Laurens, Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Newberry, Union and Abbeville counties. Since 1939, the co-op has been dedicated to being the provider of choice for energy and related services in the Upstate.
Last year, golfers from around the area tested their skill for a shot at the 1 million dollars. The big 2018 winners (pictured across the top, l to r) were Jason Tate, who won $1,000 for the closest-to-the-$1 million-hole shot, C. W. Crawford, who won $500 for 2nd place and Brandon Fowler, who took home $250.
Laurens Electric’s employee volunteer their time to staff the event.
RETHINKING BILL MITCHELL
founder of Billiam
BILLIAM, GREENVILLE’S ARTISANAL JEANS MAKER, RESHAPES ITSELF STORY BY NEIL COTIAUX | PHOTOS BY WILL CROOKS
rom the textile looms of yesteryear to the automation found in today’s industrial plants, the Upstate’s economy has evolved and progressed as a result of hard work, craftsmanship, management commitment, and a willingness to innovate. That work ethic – to do things well, but to also try to do them better – is one reason the area remains a hotbed of manufacturing, both big and small. Ten years after he burst onto the scene as the founder of Billiam, Bill Mitchell, one of the Upstate’s current pantheon of artisanal manufacturers, is stepping on the pedal and stitching together a new look for his business. 14
UBJ | 4.12.2019
Sitting among an array of new and vintage sewing machines in his shop at 205 Wade Hampton Blvd. in Greenville, Mitchell, now 31, recalled how he emerged as one of the leaders of the local makers movement. He did so passionately and painstakingly, splitting his time between his parents’ basement and his college apartment in Clemson, tailoring T-shirts and sweatshirts before prodding himself to take on something more challenging. He settled on jeans, specifically denim jeans using fabric woven on midcentury looms at Cone Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina, and a
new made-to-order market was born. “It’s something that people find their identity in, how tight their jeans are, how loose they are, what color they are, all sorts of stuff,” Mitchell said. Mitchell found that “all ages, races, sexes, and all of those categories have a difficult time finding jeans” and that a steady stream of clients – “a majority of our customers is late 20s to mid-40s,” he said – were, and are, willing to pay $250 and up for the opportunity to collaborate with him on customized jeans from Billiam, a brand based on his nickname. Mitchell has also found that jeans have become more accept-
able in a variety of settings, creating more demand. “It’s the thing that you couldn’t wear to church, you couldn’t wear in all these different business atmospheres, and now it’s widely becoming acceptable in all markets,” he said. Billiam remains one of the few denim jeans makers in America that engages in every step of production in-house: designing, cutting, sewing, and finishing, all in one open space where visitors can peek at the action. The shop serves clients both in person and online, and while its apparel mostly finds its way into the wardrobes of local residents and tourists, it’s also
sold in boutiques in the United Kingdom.
Mitchell was intrigued by a book he read detailing Toyota’s manufacturing process and “how lean and smart they are … but one of the things that really stuck with me was the idea of spending your money on processes that add value and automating everything else,” he said. Within the makers movement nationally, “There’s the path where we are repeating the oldest, hardest way of work that they did in the ’40s. … As far as bringing in new technology that is cutting-edge technology into textile manufacturing, there are not many people at all that are doing that,” he observed. Now, after denying himself pay in the early years and employing interns before shifting to a more sophisticated production team, Mitchell is innovating. While he still uses 15 sewing machines to handle different aspects of production – a Singer makes waistbands, a Union Special sews in the round – Mitchell is switching out or
WE ARE, AS A COMPANY, BROADENING WHAT IS POSSIBLE FROM SERVICE-BASED MANUFACTURING.” BILL MITCHELL
adding equipment to widen capabilities and achieve greater efficiencies. Moving around his production space, Mitchell pointed to a new embroidery machine and to several others that he’s purchased from Juki, a global industrial sewing machine company based in Tokyo. “They’re the biggest. They’re the best. They’re moving forward with fully automated machines, CNC machines, really interesting things that people have kind of never seen before,” he said. Toward the front of the store, Mitchell gestured to a new laser cutter used to produce leather goods that can, he said, “cut out a threepiece wallet in two minutes with an exact logo on it.” “We are, as a company, broadening what is possible from service-based manufacturing,” Mitchell said. “I want to be able to say, ‘Here are three different colors of T-shirts. Do you want those to fit as well as your jeans fit? Would you like your belt to be custom-punched? Would you like your wallet to have your name on it?’ “And so, I want to figure out ways to
increase our capacity with machines and then also with the products that we offer,” he said. Billiam already produces leather belts and denim and canvas aprons for both personal and commercial use. As for denim jeans, Billiam’s signature product, Mitchell said that while his company has “fought for American-made” and had purchased selvage denim only from Cone Mills, the plant’s closing in late 2017 has led him to look to a plant in Mexico for supply. “And it is a better technology, a newer facility. In many senses, it’s a better-quality material,” he believes. Currently working with three fulltime and three part-time workers, Mitchell will be adding more styles to his line of from-scratch jeans for both men and women. Customization will remain his hallmark. After a decade in business, he said, his goal is “to have this thing be a Ralph Lauren, be a Calvin Klein” and build Billiam into a brand that will be worn and appreciated over the next 100 years.
205 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville
Billiam Jeans began in 2009 with a sewing machine from Goodwill. Now with a full shop in Greenville, they still design, cut, sew, and finish every pair of jeans in house, making them one of the few companies to do every step of themselves 15 4.12.2019 production | upstatebusinessjournal.com
Don’t Let Your Cell Phone Number Get Stolen!
NEED TO KNOW
Clemson alumnus funds Silicon Valley trip for students n story by ARIEL GILREATH | photos PROVIDED
IMAGINE THIS – SOMEONE WALKS INTO A PHONE STORE AND PRETENDS TO BE YOU WITH A FAKE ID AND YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. They want to switch carriers and walk away with control of your phone number. Although this is illegal, bad guys can steal your phone number, and transfer it to a phone they control. Once they have your number, they can authenticate your bank account because your bank will call the stolen number to verify your account. Likewise, with other accounts. And you may not notice there’s a problem for days. HOW DO YOU SECURE YOUR MOBILE PHONE NUMBER? • Be careful about who has your mobile phone number, and limit how often you share it with others. • Add extra security to your cell phone accounts. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all offer extra security that requires a password before any changes can be made. • Consider freezing your credit to help prevent new accounts from being opened in your name. • Keep your personal inbox clean- in case someone does access your account the information available is minimized. If you are a operating a business In the upstate, and want to learn more about cybersecurity, contact our office. Cybersecurity is much more complex than just “Antivirus!”
Contact Derek Davis for more information.
864-241-5401 Intelli-NET of SC 703 LAURENS RD., GREENVILLE SC 29607 16
UBJ | 4.12.2019
A small group of Clemson University students was able to spend a week in Silicon Valley after a 1990 graduate established the West Coast Connector Fund to make it happen. The biggest takeaway from the trip for many of the students was the attitude and culture Silicon Valley entrepreneurs seemed to have regarding failure. “Everyone there seemed to almost celebrate failure,” said junior industrial engineering major Olivia Burns. “There was one guy we met with and his LinkedIn bio said, ‘Failed at starting three companies.’” Gabriel Herman, a sophomore industrial engineering major, said job-hopping was not only common among the tech-startup entrepreneurs but also expected. “You talk to people there and they’re like, ‘I’ve had seven or eight different jobs,’ and they’re
in their 30s,” Herman said. “The average job life there is like, a year and a half to two years, which is really crazy to think about.” Alex Zheng, who graduated from Clemson nearly three decades ago, made the trip possible for a few of the students. Zheng gave the school $25,000 to fund an initiative called the “Spark Challenge” where students pitch inventions and are judged based on a series of criteria. Students who win first, second, and third place are able to attend the annual trip to Silicon Valley. Zheng is co-founder of Huneo, a health care technology company based in San Francisco. The West Coast Connector Fund also helps pay for students in the school’s University Innovation Fellows program to travel to Stanford University for an international meetup. “I learned a lot — some of it was
“EVERYBODY COMES TO A UNIVERSITY WITH ALL THESE IDEAS, AND THEN WE SYSTEMATICALLY BEAT IT OUT OF THEM OVER THE COURSE OF FOUR YEARS. SCHOOL GETS IN THE WAY AND LIFE GETS IN THE WAY — SO WE’RE GIVING STUDENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO KIND OF PULL OUT THEIR LITTLE IDEA BOOK AND WORK THROUGH SOME OF THEM.” JOHN DESJARDINS
associate professor bioengineering at Clemson the entrepreneurship scene, some of it was how to be more innovative,” said Ethan Bensman, a sophomore computer science major. Dial Devaney, who graduated in December with an industrial engineering degree, was able to attend the trip because he and another student, Silas Adams, placed first in the Spark Chal-
lenge with their invention of a portable, invisible dog fence. The fence would allow people to easily carry their dogs on a road trip while giving the animals room to roam outside in a contained area. But Devaney said he didn’t star t work ing on the pitch because of the Spark Challenge — he and Adams had actually been working on it for months before they knew the challenge existed. “We’re in the process of filing for a patent,” Devaney said. Sophomore computer science major Nathan Binkley won third place in the Spark Challenge for a chat bot his team initially pitched at a hack-a-thon event. All three said a passion for innovation is what drove them to try inventing products. “That’s the common denominator in successful entrepreneurs — they don’t give up,” Devaney said. John DesJardins, associate professor in bioengineering at Clemson, said a lot of students show up to the university with big ideas. “Everybody comes to a university with all these ideas, and then we systematically beat it out of them over the course of four years,” DesJardins said. “School gets in the way and life gets in the way — so we’re giving students an opportunity to kind of pull out their little idea book and work through some of them.”
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4.12.2019 | upstatebusinessjournal.com
PUSHING KOPIS CELEBRATES GROWTH ON ITS OWN TERMS STORY BY BOB CASTELLO | PHOTOS BY WILL CROOKS
Andrew Kurtz prefers to keep moving forward, which is a big reason he and his sof tware company, Kopis, have been highly successful. However, with the 20th anniversar y of the company approaching, Kurtz has taken a little time to look back and appreciate the growth: from 2,500 square feet, eight employees, and $1.5 million in revenue just a decade ago to five times those figures. “It’s a little mind-blowing,” he said. Especially when Kurtz, sitting in his office in the NEXT Innovation Center, thinks back on both the humble beginnings and the hurdles he and his team have
Proactive Technology. They had only two customers at the time, although the two were BMW and Fluor Daniel. The company, then in a second-f loor office in the Piazza Berga mo dow nt ow n, g rew quickly. By the middle of 2000, it had 15 employees. “It was a lot fast, and I thought I was brilliant,” Kurtz said. “The valuable lesson that I look back on and realize I learned was the convergence of Y2K and the emergence of the Inter net doesn’t happen very often.” Throw in the NASDAQ bubble burst, and there was a rough patch. “Then a year later, 9/11 happened,” he said. “After starting
THAT FALLS INTO OUR CORE VALUES, AND I WANT THAT FOR EVERY EMPLOYEE: ‘YOU’VE GOT TO WORK REALLY HARD, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I DON’T WANT YOU TO MISS THE REALLY PRECIOUS THINGS IN LIFE.’ ANDREW KURTZ owner of Kopis cleared over the years. A Furman University graduate, Kurtz tried public accounting for two years and then spent a year as a controller before he and another man star ted a company that did industrial automation. In order to help make ends meet, Kurtz began doing software development on a contract basis. By 1999, with software having become his passion and with his partner wanting to grow the industrial automation side, Kurtz sold his portion of the business to his colleague. Kur tz and two other men started a company then named
UBJ | 4.12.2019
this business, that was my first experience with, ‘Wow, we just hit a brick wall.’” The company dropped down to f ive employees and began gradually climbing back, taking a “much more stairstep approach to growth,” Kurtz said. With the recession in 2008 came a rallying point for the company. Kurtz gathered everyone around a table and discussed the possibility of having to make some difficult choices. “Every single person in the company came to me with some sort of give, a way that they could help lower the costs,” he said. “We ended up surviving
w ithout letting anybody go, which was amazing.” Meanwhile, the company had moved from the Piazza Bergamo to Ivey Square to a West End office, and eventually, in 2009, to the NEXT Innovation Center. Kurtz was on the ground f loor with the NEXT economic initiative in Greenville, and he said the organization ha s been
chief operating officer pivotal for numerous companies. “We need spaces like this building where these companies can co-locate,” Kurtz said. “You can talk to other business owners, the employees can talk to each other, and you’re not solving problems in isolation all the time. It kind of creates a community.” Kurtz and his team actually have two companies in the NEXT building. Since 2003, Kurtz also has been CEO of Vigilix, which operates on a subscription model. “The more they use, the more they pay,” Kurtz said. “It’s used by businesses who suppor t
point-of-sale systems.” With Vigilix, the combined revenues of the two companies are now nearly $10 million. In 2015, the company rebranded as Kopis, and Kurtz promoted Kevin Wentzel to chief operating officer and Adam Drewes to chief marketing officer. Kopis, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary April 29, has continued to grow but not with the intent of becoming a bigger company. “The intentional part of our grow th has been because we wanted to build a business that was a long-term, self-sustaining organization, not something that required supermen,” Kurtz said. In recent years, Kurtz made a couple of acquisitions — Acumen I T ’s E nt er pr i s e R e s ou r c e Planner Division and N W N’s Smar tGov Div ision — w ith which the company was “trying to get to a point where our revenue is right-sized for the organization that is self-sustaining.” That the company has gotten to this point organically provides a sense of accomplishment for Kurtz, as does the idea that the core values of the business are the same as those he’s always maintained. And the employees haven’t adopted those values; instead, he said, the company attracts those with such values. Along those lines, Kurtz said he has managed to keep a balance bet ween work and family. “I have a wife and two daughters, and during the process of building this, I was still able to get to every soccer match and every swim meet and, for the most part, every school event,” he said. “ That falls into our core values, and I want that for every employee: ‘You’ve got to work really hard, but at the same time, I don’t want you to miss the really precious things in life.’”
TO GET YOUR COPY OR FOR INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN BE IN THE NEXT ISSUE…
BTC 2019 Call Anita Harley at 864.679.1205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4.12.2019 | upstatebusinessjournal.com
LENS PHOTO CONT E ST
The Greenville Journal invites you to share your best photos of what the Upstate has to offer. Each month one lucky winner will win a $250 gift card to be used at any Rick Erwin’s Dining Group restaurant. Also during the month of April, Artisphere is offering a $100 gift certificate to be used for artwork on Artists Row. Three honorable mention photos will also receive a $25 gift card to an upstate business. Winning entries will be published in the Greenville Journal.
APRIL THEME: ARTISPHERE THROUGH THE YEARS
What is art? Ask that question to ten different people and you’re sure to get ten different answers. Upload your favorite photo from past Artisphere events & tell us what your artwork means to you.
For details on each month’s contest and to submit your photo, visit
UBJ | 4.12.2019
FROM THE COMMUNITY
Calling all men:
ATTENDING “SHE MEANS BUSINESS” EVENT IS A MUST-DO By STEPHEN ROSS director of business development Sherman Construction
Gentlemen, There’s an event coming up on Monday, April 29, called “She Means Business.” It’s specifically geared toward women in sales. But gentlemen, I think we should also attend. Here’s why: A few years ago, I was working as a sales trainer and consultant with Sandler Training. One client was a Fortune 1000 company with 250 salespeople around the country. As I traveled around the country and rode with their sales team, I became aware of a unique challenge faced by the women. In addition to the standard objections on a sales call like “your price is higher” or “we’d like to think it over,” these professional saleswomen also had to deal with “I’ll buy from you if you’ll go out with me this weekend” and other comments not fit to print. It was discouraging and shocking, to say the least. In response, the company with whom I was working did an outstanding job of creating women’s leadership and mentorship groups, educating sales managers on the issue, promoting women to leadership roles, and including it as part of their sales training. However, as #MeToo has clearly shown, there is an enormous cultural problem that exists across industries and regions.
I asked some professional saleswomen and business owners in the Upstate if they saw it as a problem here, too. The answer has been a resounding “Yes!” In fact, on a regular basis, I’ll see a post on LinkedIn along the lines of “LinkedIn is NOT a dating site.” As a father of four daughters (and a son), I would love to shield them from that harsh reality indefinitely. However, they’ll grow up and enter the workforce in some capacity and have to deal with bad behavior at various times. I want to equip them with the skill set necessary to deal with whatever this world throws at them. To that end, I’ve been excited to help organize “She Means Business.” Our two speakers, Lorraine Ferguson and Rebecca Heiss, travel the country speaking to business groups on related issues. I’ve heard them both and they are outstanding. Our panel discussion will tackle the challenge from the perspective of an attorney, a human resources consultant, and an entrepreneur. It’s the kind of event I’d want my daughters to attend. But as a father, a sales professional, a manager, and a sales trainer, it’s also the kind of event I want to attend. Gentlemen, I think you should join me, as well. We and our companies will be better for it.
SHE MEANS BUSINESS: A DIALOGUE FOR WOMEN IN SALES
When: April 29, 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Where: The Commerce Club, 55 Beattie Place, 17th floor, Greenville Tickets: $20, www.events.blackbirdrsvp.com/she-means-business
From the event at El Thrifty on March 27 Photos by Dove Light Photography NEXT EVENT
5:30 - 7:00 PM
1325 MILLER RD, GREENVILLE, SC
4.12.2019 | upstatebusinessjournal.com
ON THE MOVE |
NEW HIRES IN THE UPSTATE
has joined Greenville’s Jack Porter as the firm’s marketing manager. She is responsible for developing, implementing, and executing marketing plans and programs to support the firm’s client work. Previously, Dunlap was marketing and social media manager for McMillan Pazdan Smith.
has been recognized as a CoStar Group Power Broker Award winner for closing the highest overall transaction volume in the Greenville/ Spartanburg market in 2018. Carter, who’s worked with C. Dan Joyner since 1997, is the broker in charge of 30 agents.
has been named as CresCom Bank’s Greenville, South Carolina market executive and senior vice president. Earwaker will serve clients in the Greenville area. Previously, Earwaker served as senior Vice President and commercial relationship manager at Pinnacle/BNC Bank.
has joined HUB Carolinas, a region of HUB International, as client services consultant based in Greenville. In her role, she maintains commercial relationships in the Carolinas. She also coordinates clients’ needs for risk services and claims management.
has been named the vice president of human resources by OTO Development, part of The Johnson Group. She is responsible for leading and developing the human resources team. Beers-Kiepper has a diverse background in business, human capital strategy, and organizational development.
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UBJ | 4.12.2019
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jackson Marketing Group’s 25 Years 1988 Jackson Dawson opens in Greenville at Downtown Airport
1997 Jackson Dawson launches motorsports Division 1993
1990 Jackson Dawson acquires therapon marketing Group and moves to Piedmont office Center on Villa.
Chairman larry Jackson, Jackson marketing Group. Photos by Greg Beckner / Staff
Jackson Marketing Group celebrates 25 years By sherry Jackson | staff | firstname.lastname@example.org
Solve. Serve. Grow. Those three words summarize Jackson Marketing Group’s guiding principles, and according to owner Larry Jackson, form the motivation that has kept the firm thriving for the past 25 years.
Jackson graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in video and film production and started his 41-year career in the communications industry with the U.S. Army’s Public Information Office. He served during
Vietnam, where he said he was “luckily” stationed in the middle of Texas at Fort Hood. He left the service and went to work in public affairs and motorsports at Ford Motor Company in Detroit. After a stint at Bell and Howell, where he was responsible for managing Ford’s dealer marketing and training, the entrepreneurial bug hit and he co-founded Jackson-Dawson Marketing Communications, a company specializing in dealer training and product launches for the auto industry in 1980. In 1987, Jackson wanted to move back south and thought Greenville would be a good fit. An avid pilot, he
learned of an opportunity to purchase Cornerstone Aviation, a fixed base operation (FBO) that served as a service station for the Greenville Downtown Airport, providing fuel, maintenance and storage. In fact, when he started the Greenville office of what is now Jackson Marketing Group (JMG) in 1988, the offices were housed on the second floor in an airport hangar. “Clients would get distracted by the airplanes in the hangars and we’d have to corral them to get back upstairs to the meeting,” Jackson said. Jackson sold the FBO in 1993, but says it was a great way to get to know Greenville’s fathers and leaders
with a majority of them utilizing the general aviation airport as a “corporate gateway to the city.” In 1997, Jackson and his son, Darrell, launched Jackson Motorsports Group. The new division was designed to sell race tires and go to racetracks to sell and mount the tires. Darrell Jackson now serves as president of the motorsports group and Larry Jackson has two other children and a son-in-law who work there. Jackson said all his children started at the bottom and “earned their way up.” Jackson kept the Jackson-Dawson branches in Detroit and others in Los Angeles and New York until he sold his portion of that partnership in 2009 as part of his estate planning. The company now operates a small office in Charlotte, but its main headquarters are in Greenville in a large office space off Woodruff Road, complete with a vision gallery that displays local artwork and an auditorium Jackson makes available for non-profit use. The Motorsports Group is housed in an additional 26,000 square feet building just down the street, and the agency is currently looking for another 20,000 square feet. Jackson said JMG has expanded into other verticals such as financial, healthcare, manufacturing and pro-bono work, but still has a strong focus on the auto industry and transportation. It’s
2003 motorsports Division acquires an additional 26,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space
1998 1998 Jackson Dawson moves to task industrial Court
also one of the few marketing companies in South Carolina to handle all aspects of a project in-house, with four suites handling video production, copywriting, media and research and web design. Clients include heavyweights such as BMW, Bob Jones University, the Peace Center, Michelin and Sage Automotive. Recent projects have included an interactive mobile application for Milliken’s arboretum and 600-acre Spartanburg campus and a marketing campaign for the 2013 Big League World Series. “In my opinion, our greatest single achievement is the longevity of our client relationships,” said Darrell Jackson. “Our first client from back in 1988 is still a client today. I can count on one hand the number of clients who have gone elsewhere in the past decade.” Larry Jackson says his Christian faith and belief in service to others, coupled with business values rooted in solving clients’ problems, have kept
2009 Jackson Dawson changes name to Jackson marketing Group when larry sells his partnership in Detroit and lA 2003
2009-2012 Jackson marketing Group named a top BtoB agency by BtoB magazine 4 years running
him going and growing his business over the years. He is passionate about giving back and outreach to non-profits. The company was recently awarded the Community Foundation Spirit Award. The company reaffirmed its commitment to serving the community last week by celebrating its 25th anniversary with a birthday party and a 25-hour Serve-A-Thon partnership with Hands on Greenville and Habitat for Humanity. JMG’s 103 full-time employees worked in shifts around the clock on October 22 and 23 to help construct a house for a deserving family. As Jackson inches towards retirement, he says he hasn’t quite figured out his succession plan yet, but sees the companies staying under the same umbrella. He wants to continue to strategically grow the business. “From the beginning, my father has taught me that this business is all about our people – both our clients and our associates,” said his son, Darrell. “We have created a focus and a culture that strives to solve problems, serve people and grow careers.” Darrell Jackson said he wants to “continue helping lead a culture where we solve, serve and grow. If we are successful, we will continue to grow towards our ultimate goal of becoming the leading integrated marketing communications brand in the Southeast.”
2011 Jackson marketing Group/Jackson motorsports Group employee base reaches 100 people
2008 2012 Jackson marketing Group recognized by Community Foundation with Creative spirit Award
pro-bono/non-proFit Clients American Red Cross of Western Carolinas Metropolitan Arts Council Artisphere Big League World Series The Wilds Advance SC South Carolina Charities, Inc. Aloft Hidden Treasure Christian School
CoMMUnitY inVolVeMent & boarD positions lArry JACkson (ChAirmAn): Bob Jones University Board chairman, The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center board member, Gospel Fellowship Association board member, Past Greenville Area Development Corporation board member, Past Chamber of Commerce Headquarters Recruiting Committee member, Past Greenville Tech Foundation board member David Jones (Vice President Client services, Chief marketing officer): Hands on Greenville board chairman mike Zeller (Vice President, Brand marketing): Artisphere Board, Metropolitan Arts Council Board, American Red Cross Board, Greenville Tech Foundation Board, South Carolina Chamber Board eric Jackson (Jackson motorsports Group sales specialist): Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Advisory Board
November 1, 2013 Upstate bUsiness joUrnal 21
20 Upstate bUsiness joUrnal November 1, 2013
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NOVEMBER 1, 2013
ART & PRODUCTION VISUAL DIRECTOR Will Crooks
LEAD GRAPHIC DESIGNER Stephanie Orr
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Upstate Business Journal published for the Upstate of South Carolina. Designed and created by Community Journals. Visit us online at upstate...
Published on Apr 10, 2019
Upstate Business Journal published for the Upstate of South Carolina. Designed and created by Community Journals. Visit us online at upstate...