GSA Business Report - January 2023

Page 1

Towering proposal

Proposed building in Greenville would change the skyline with a new tallest structure.

The story behind this bank’s $50M Greenville HQ relocation

When United Community Bank chairman and CEO Lynn Harton and his wife moved to Greenville in 2007, they both quickly fell in love with the city.

So much so that Harton decided to relocate the company’s headquarters to Greenville.

Its welcoming vibe, great amenities that make it feel small enough to get to know people, while being close to the mountains and maintaining a vibrant culture, were all catalysts for Harton to make the move.

And the company chose a prime location.

The new headquarters is under construction on Camperdown Way in downtown Greenville next to the Grand Bohemian Lodge.

“It really happened over several years,” said Harton. “When I joined the bank, I didn’t want to leave Greenville, and I was the first UCB employee in South Carolina at that time. I had this great opportunity with a company that is known for outstanding customer service and culture, we took two years to fix processes to make it scalable and started acquiring companies in higher growth markets.”

And it’s easy to attract talent to Greenville, he said, for all the same reasons he was attracted to it.

“Banks are a reflection and continue to be an amplifier of economic growth wherever they are,” said Harton. “If the community does well, the bank will do well, especially with the right leadership. We project we will grow a $120 million in net new growth in Greenville alone and all that lending activity is helping people meet their hopes and dreams. Any time you can have a strong financial institution embedded in any given market they will both do well.”

The publicly traded multibank holding company, which is worth more than $23 billion as of September, announced it would move its headquarters in February 2021 from Blairsville, Ga., to Greenville. UCB is also the largest bank headquartered in South Carolina. The legal move of the headquarters took place in July 2021. The executive team has been working out of the ONE building since 2016 while the new building is under construction. The new building will serve as the physical headquarters upon completion.

“United Community Bank’s relocation of their headquarters to downtown Greenville

Economist: Expect ‘inevitable’ recession by 2024

Business owners should expect a recession to hit the U.S. economy in the first half of 2024, a Daniel Island economist said during an annual economic forecast in December.

Stephen Slifer, a former chief economist for Lehman Brothers and former senior economist for the Federal Reserve, told hundreds of business owners, professionals and government officials in Charleston that the national economy continues to remain strong even with rising inflation fears and a looming recession.

“The stock market has gotten whacked pretty good this year,” he said. “Yet, the economy keeps hanging in there.”

If a recession does come in 2024, businesses could experience a recovery during the second half of that year, he said.

Slifer, who writes a column for SC Biz publications and operates a data analytics firm in Charleston, said several indicators that economists watch are predicting a recession.

“When are we expecting some sort of a recession?” Slifer said. “I don’t want to oversimplify this, but there’s a couple of things that I’m looking at. There’s all sorts of leading indicators.”

Slifer said the real funds rate and the yield curve, along with specific federal policy changes, give economists a reason to think a recession will occur in 2024.

The real funds rate is essentially the real interest rate with a subtraction for inflation, which indicates the actual cost of borrowing money and what a lender might expect as a return for lending money. Along with the real funds rate, Slifer said economists also look for an inverted yield curve.

“It’s just the difference between long rates and short rates,” Slifer said. “Usually, long rates are higher than short rates, so the thing slopes upward. But then the Fed comes along and they start raising rates up,

Home Pitch

After four seasons of growing an enthusiastic fan base, the Triumph has a new place for home games.

INSIDE Leading Off 2 SC Biz News Briefs 3 In Focus: Workforce and Staffing 14 LIST: Professional Staffing Agencies 17 LIST: HR & Payroll 19 At Work 20 People in the News 21 Viewpoint ........................... 23
Milliken continues to buck industry trend with $27.4 million expansion. Page 4 A look ahead Economist Stephen Slifer sees a recession around the corner. Page 11 Focus Staffing
the workplace. Page 14
Textile growth
expert talks about how COVID permanently changed
Page 6
VOLUME 26 NUMBER 1 ■ GSABUSINESS.COM JANUARY 2023 ■ $2.25 Part of the network
United Community Bank relocated its headquarters from Georgia to Greenville last year and has a new $50 million headquarters building under construction near Falls Park. (Rendering/ Harper General Contractors)

Locating SC’s employment centers

The Great Resignation continued to apply pressure to unemployment rates through the last few months of 2022 across

South Carolina and the U.S. From June to November, South Carolina’s jobless rate averaged 3.2%, going no higher than 3.3% and as low as 3.1%, data from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce show.

South Carolina had a monthly average of 2.3 million workers employed through 11 months of last year, state and federal data show.

The latest numbers from November show 78,153 unemployed workers from a labor pool of nearly 2.4 million, giving the state a jobless rate of 3.3%, the same rate as the previous month. Federal economists say an unemployment rate of between 3% and 5% generally indicates a healthy labor climate, with the Federal Reserve considering anything below 4.1% to be full employment.

South Carolina’s three largest metropolitan areas had more than half of all jobs located in the state, according to data from the SCDEW. Manufacturing, health care, hospitality and retail were the top employment sectors across all of the state’s largest regions, the data show.

The state agency identifies 21 job sectors as the primary employers in South Carolina. Five of those sectors account for more than half of all jobs in the state, including the largest job sector by employment: health care. The top five, respectively, are health care, manufacturing, retail, hospitality and tourism, and education.

Regional employment across SC

South Carolina’s three largest metropolitan areas had more than 52% of all jobs located in the Palmetto State in November, data from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce reported


employment sectros in SC metros

Five of South Carolina’s job sectors account for more than half of all jobs in the state, including health care, manufacturing, retail, hospitality and tourism, and education, respectively. Below are the top job sectors in each metro area in the state.

Metro Area


Job sector Employment

Manufacturing 60,328

Columbia Health Care 53,469

Charleston Health Care 48,351

Spartanburg Manufacturing 37,366

Myrtle Beach Hospitality/Tourism 33,338

Florence Health Care 16,696

Hilton Head Hospitality/Tourism 14,386

Sumter Manufacturing 6,828

Source: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce

Leading Off
“They want to be happy with their jobs and feel connected, they want to understand the mission of their company, they want to be developed, they want proper communication, and I think they have no problem looking elsewhere if their current company can’t provide those things.”
— Herb Dew, CEO of HTI
0 100,000 200,000 300,000
400,000 Source: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, November 2022 state report

SC Biz News Briefs

Convenience store chain opens new store in historic King Street building

Refuel Operating Co. LLC, a retail and wholesale fuel distribution and convenience-store business, has opened a new store at the southwest corner of King and Calhoun streets.

The flagship store is the latest in Refuel Market’s three new-to-inventory stores for 2022 and marks the 207th location nationwide, a Refuel news release stated.

“We’re excited. This location appeals to locals, the city’s robust tourism, and college students,” CEO Mark Jordan said in the release. “The King Street district has existed for 200 years and Refuel is honored to have a presence in this community. We hope the new location is a cornerstone to the vibrant historic street.”

A ribbon-cutting event is planned for Jan. 23.

The building where Refuel is located was constructed in the 1870s, according to the release. Refuel Market preserved the original interior brick and the Italiante style exterior design features of the historic William Enston building. The King Street location offers locally made snacks, gifts, a complete deli program and standard convenience store offerings.

Commerce Department says SC had record year for industry recruitment

The S.C. Department of Commerce has released its 2022 industry recruitment overview, which reflected historic economic activity for the state.

From January to December 2022, the state announced total capital investment of $10.27 billion, the single largest year in the state’s history. That investment represents 120 projects and the creation of more than 14,0000 new jobs, according to the report.

“It's no accident or surprise that South Carolina is breaking economic development records,” said S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster in the Commerce Department new release. “We have consistently proven that our people are among the most talented and hard-working in the world, that we’re committed to fostering a competitive business-friendly environment, and that there is no better place to live, work and raise a family. These historic achievements are a direct result of the South Carolinians who make our state great and understand the value of hard work.”

With publications in the Upstate, Columbia and Charleston, as well as a statewide magazine, SC Biz News covers the pulse of business across South Carolina.

Above are excerpts from our other publications. 3 January 2023
Columbia Charleston Charleston Regional Business Journal
Columbia Regional Business Report INSIDE Page Overnight upgrade old Days site downtown. Developers settle on plan for iconic Old Jail LOCKED UP B pretty good this year,” said. “Yet, the yield curve, along with specifi federal er might expect return for lending Economist: Expect ‘inevitable’ recession by 2024 W 2015, they collaborated how about coworking. alternative way work. coworkINSIDE Walmart site See what happens when Midlands pleasure latest construction projects. School project earns honor R Plans revealed for $100M Richland Mall renovation COVID-19 pandemic brings work alternative to the forefront SHARING SPACES The Best Relationships Start With Trust We work hard every day to go beyond what’s expected; to prepare the businesses we serve for whatever tomorrow might bring. Let us help you always be ready for what’s next. 8599 Pelham Rd., Greenville, SC 29615 499 Woodruff Rd., Greenville, SC 29607 221110-1032294626 Strong leaders & engaged teams grow profits 3x faster than their competitors. Are you tapping into the power of your people? Decisionwise, 2022 The new Refuel store is located in a circa-1870s building. (Photo/Refuel)

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Milliken & Co. announces $27M expansion in Cherokee County

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Milliken & Co., a diversified global textile manufacturer headquartered in Spartanburg with more than 70 locations worldwide, is expanding operations in Cherokee County.

The company’s $27.4 million investment will create 75 new jobs, according to a news release from the South Carolina governor’s office.

Located at 157 New Milliken Road in Blacksburg, Milliken’s Cherokee County expansion will include newly added production lines to increase manufacturing capacity, the release stated. Known as the Magnolia Finishing Plant, the facility specializes in

workwear, military and flame-resistant apparel.

“Expanding Magnolia Plant made perfect sense to us as a company,” Milliken president and CEO Halsey Cook said in the release. This plant is on the cutting edge of manufacturing excellence and innovation, and Cherokee County’s support is vital to its operation. We’re grateful for the partnerships with this community and the state, and we’re proud to call South Carolina home.”

Related content: Milliken & Co. names new Textile Business president Milliken is a materials science expert with a diverse portfolio serving the textile, flooring, specialty chemical and health care industries, the release stated. South Carolina is home to more than 25 Milliken locations, including textile

and chemical manufacturing facilities, showrooms and the company’s corporate headquarters in Spartanburg.

The expansion is expected to be complete by year-end. Individuals interested in joining the Milliken team can visit the company’s careers page.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a $200,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF) grant to Cherokee County to assist with costs related to this project, according to the release.

“Milliken has been a great partner and community member for more years than I care to remember. We are excited for them and hope our great partnership continues way into the future,” Cherokee County Council Chairman Tim Spencer said in the release.

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Milliken & Co, based in Spartanburg, remains a significant player in the textile industry, partly by producing spcialty products for the industry. (Photo/File) South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth

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January 2023

New building would tower over Greenville

Anew mixed-use development planned for downtown Greenville would add hundreds of residential units as part of a 19-story tower.

Developers submitted plans to the city of Greenville’s Design Review Board for the proposed 19-story Canvas tower that would sit at 301 College St., right at the corner of North Academy and College streets, adjacent to Buncombe Street, framing the Canvas Lofts and its iconic mural of former Greenville County educator Pearlie Harris.

The project was recently presented to the Greenville Design Review Board, at which, they “conceptually approved the height, massing, and articulation” of the proposed building, according to the city of Greenville.

Developer on the project is Charleston-based The Beach Co., alongside Chicago-based architecture firm Antunovich Associates including Brasfield and Gorrie as the general contractors, landscape architecture from Design Works, and civil engineering from Seamon Whiteside.

The building would consist of 264 apartments and 2,000 square feet of retail space, according to Tim Cotter, The Beach Co. development manager.

“The building will create an elegant architectural anchor at this important location on the new Cultural Corridor,” said Cotter.

The building will also include a full complement of residential amenities including a roof-top terrace with a pool, meeting facilities, exercise area, bicycle storage and repair, and multiple levels of parking for approximately 480 vehicles, according to Cotter.

The estimated project cost is undisclosed.

SC Biz News sent an email request for comment to Antunovich Associates but

the company declined to comment on the project.

According to Cotter, the building project would create hundreds of jobs supporting its construction, improve pedestrian connectivity from Main Street to Heritage Green, and increase access to the many museums and attractions along College Street.

“Future residents will contribute to the economic vitality of downtown, supporting local dining, retail and other small local businesses,” said Cotter.

Following the design review board’s approval on Jan. 5, The Beach Co. is working toward a late summer construction start date, said Cotter.

Reach Krys Merryman at 864-640-4418.

Food distribution company invests $35M in Spartanburg expansion

Highland Baking Co., a wholesale bread baking company, is expanding its existing facility in Spartanburg County.

The company’s $35 million investment will create approximately 80 new jobs, according to a news release from the South Carolina governor’s office.

Located at 7001 Asheville Highway in Spartanburg, the company will upgrade its existing building and infrastructure to support a new full production line, the release stated. The expansion will also allow for a potential additional produc-

tion line in the future to ensure the company efficiently meets increasing supply demands.

“Our home in Spartanburg, South Carolina has been a central part of our success over the last decade,” Highland Baking CEO Stu Rosen said in the release. “This additional investment demonstrates not only our belief in the business moving forward, but our confidence in the staff of our Spartanburg bakery and the community in which it resides.”

Established in 1984 and based in Northbrook, Ill., Highland Baking Co. specializes in producing and distributing custom bread products for national and international restaurant chains, accord-

ing to the release. The Spartanburg facility, in operation for 10 years, currently produces 17 different bakery products including pan bread varieties, buns and sub rolls.

In addition to serving some of the company’s largest customers on the East Coast of the United States, products from the Spartanburg plant are also exported to Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America, the release stated.

The expansion is expected to be complete by October 2023.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development awarded a $100,000 Set-Aside grant to Spartanburg County to assist with costs of site preparation and

building improvements, the release stated.

“There’s something special about announcing business expansions, and celebrating companies that have found success here in Spartanburg,” David, Britt, chairman of the Spartanburg County Councilman and Economic Development Committee, said in the release.

“And the facility where Highland Baking is holds a special place for me, as it was where I worked during my first job in Spartanburg, as a management trainee and division HR manager. I speak for many people when I say we’re happy Highland Baking will expand its national reach of products made right here in Spartanburg County.”

6 January 2023
The project would consist of 264 apartments and 2,000 square feet of retail space. (Rendering/The Beach Co.) The project frames the Canvas Lofts and its iconic mural of former Greenville County educator Pearlie Harris. (Rendering/The Beach Co.)

Greenville pro soccer teams to have new home

The Greenville Triumph and Greenville Liberty will play their home matches at Furman University’s Paladin Stadium in 2023 as the soccer club works toward construction of a multi-use stadium to host matches as early as 2024.

“We are proud to call Furman University the official match home of the Triumph and Liberty,” Chris Lewis, president of the Greenville Triumph Soccer Club, said in the release. “Furman has been a fantastic partner as the training site for the Liberty. Furman’s sophisticated athletic facilities, resources and core values make it a perfect fit for our organization and playing our home matches at the stadium only builds on that relationship.”

Since its formation as the Upstate’s professional soccer club, the Greenville Triumph men’s team has played its first four seasons at Legacy Early College in West Greenville, according to the release. The Greenville Liberty pre-professional women’s team joined them at Legacy Early College for their 2022 inaugural season.

Greenville Triumph Chairman and owner Joe Erwin praised Legacy Early College and its founder, William

Brown, for their hospitality.

“Though we originally planned to stay just two seasons, the school graciously accommodated us for two more years,” Erwin said in the release. “We will be forever grateful for the memories created on that pitch, the school administrators and staff with whom we worked, and the incredible scholars we’ve met along the way.”

The Triumph will continue its Legacy Early College internship program and donated a scoreboard, field improvements and stadium amenities to the school, the release stated.

“At Furman, the team will continue to build on the fan experience the organization has committed to providing since its inception,” Doug Erwin, vice chairman and chief brand officer for

the Triumph, said in the release. “Fans can look forward to the improved amenities and greater capacity of Paladin Stadium.”

Furman will continue as the training site for the Greenville Liberty, and the Greenville Triumph will continue to use Bob Jones University as its training site.

“Furman University is honored to partner with the Greenville Triumph and Greenville Liberty, and we are thrilled to host them on campus this season,” said Vice President for Athletics Jason Donnelly in the release. “Their mission to use soccer as a platform to inspire unity and create joy in a way that unites the people of Upstate South Carolina and beyond both complements our university’s goals and helps us to extend our Paladin reach.”

The Greenville Liberty competed in the USL W League’s inaugural season in the summer of 2022, finishing undefeated at home. Greenville Triumph men’s professional team began play in 2019 in the USL League One. The men’s team has appeared in three league finals, including winning the USL League One Championship in 2020.

The Greenville Triumph kicks off its fifth season at home against the Richmond Kickers on March 25 and will release the full season schedule Jan. 11.

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Paladin Stadium will be home to the Greenville Triumph SC and Greenville Liberty until the organization builds its own stadium, which could be as soon as 2024. (Photo/Furman University)

Dabo helps give Walk-On’s a start in Clemson

Asports restaurant has opened its doors in an iconic Clemson landmark.

Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, a sports restaurant that cultivates an “underdog” culture, Louisiana-inspired menu and family-friendly atmosphere, announced in March that two-time National Championship football Coach Dabo Swinney would become its newest franchisee as part of a multi-restaurant development agreement in the Carolinas. Swinney is part of the Pavilion Group — affiliated with Pavilion Development Co. — which is a real estate investment and development company based in Charlotte, led by its president, Rich Davies, as well as retired Wells Fargo executive Kendall Alley.

The restaurant is located in the former Astro III theater building at 403 College Ave. in Clemson.

The location was chosen by Davies and Jason Sadowski, CEO of Carolina Eats and operating partner of Walk-On’s Clemson, following Swinney’s initial request for its inception, said Davies.

“Dabo is a partner of ours, and he initiated the entire concept,” Davies added. “After his suggestion, I reached out to Jason to start the process. Dabo has always been a champion of those with special needs, stemming from his football days at Alabama. Given what we are doing at the Sheperd Hotel, Walk-On’s was an easy decision for Jason and me to make while continuing our efforts to support the ClemsonLIFE program.”

Davies, who is one of the franchise’s investors, was also part of opening the Shepherd Hotel, which empowers students of the ClemsonLIFE program to pursue their dream jobs in hospitality.

Sadowski said the franchise presented a $6,100 check to ClemsonLIFE during the grand opening as part of the franchise’s partnership program. The funds were the proceeds from training nights with the staff, 75% of which is students.

The ClemsonLIFE program at Clemson University offers a collegiate experience that prepares young men and women with intellectual disabilities for competitive employment and independent living through a combination of academic coursework and career exploration. The program is designed for students who desire a post-secondary experience on a college campus. The program incorporates functional academics, independent living, employment and social/ leisure skills in a public university setting with the goal of producing self-sufficient young adults.

Erica Walters, ClemsonLIFE program director, said Walk-On’s has been a great addition to the Clemson community, especially with hiring ClemsonLIFE stu-

dents through internships and regular paid positions.

“We are honored to partner with them to meet our goals,” said Walters. “As time goes by, we believe that number of our students hired will grow. Ultimately, for me as a community member and as director of ClemsonLIFE, we are thankful for the opportunity they have provided to our students and to show the community exactly what our ClemsonLIFE students can do as contributing members of the community.”

Walters said it’s special and exciting to watch people come into town and see their students demonstrate their employment skills, because it changes a misperception people may have about those with intellectual disabilities.

“They can see the abilities of these incredible individuals as they bring joy and new skill sets to their workplace,” Walters added. “The reality is we can’t do it all on our own, so having partners like Walk-On’s is helping change the world with our vision.”

This Walk-On’s location is an iconic location that has been a part of the Clemson community for decades, said Davies.

“It’s near and dear to many who went to Clemson as well as those who are a part of this community,” he added. “By revitalizing this location with a vibrant sports bar while keeping the original look of the theater, people can enjoy it once again and make new memories. It’s a place that will bring people together in downtown Clemson.”

The old Astro is also where Davies and his wife of 35 years went on their first date nearly 40 years ago.

“The structure and the form are the same,” he said. “From a design standpoint, it’s very similar now to what was there before. I am excited to see new memories formed here in this building that has been responsible for a lot of good memories over the years.”

Sadowski said when Davies and he started their partnership nearly two years ago, Davies shared the history of the location along with his personal story.

“I love it, and with a lot of student housing going up it makes sense for this underserved community when it comes to the social scene to receive this unique location that fits our niche,” said Sadowski.

The location is between the core of downtown Clemson and Highway 123 with on-site parking and easy access to the highway, which shows a massive traffic count, said Davies.

“It’s a great location for people who live around Clemson, and it’s close to campus, so students and faculty can have easy access to the restaurant by simply walking over but also caters to anyone driving along Highway 123,” he added.

The restaurant opening will also provide approximately 100 jobs, Sadowski said.

“This … opening weekend was a huge success, and we look forward to hosting more people to come,” he added.

One other thing that attracted Davies to investing in Walk-On’s, besides good food and atmosphere, is a spirit of

over-achievement and the continuity of striving to do and be better.

“Being part of a great sports experience such as Walk-On's was a no brainer for me as I believe in their core values and their connection to the community,” said Dabo Swinney in a March press release. “Brandon Landry and the story behind Walk-On's is something I resonate with as a former walk-on wide receiver. I am excited to join the Walk-On's team and help bring that Louisiana flavor and hospitality to more markets across the Carolinas.”

All partners of Walk-On’s — except Alley, who still embodies the spirit of a Walk-On’s in wanting to overachieve — were all walk-ons themselves, said Davies.

“With a two-time national championship head coach, a developer with years of experience building restaurants and a franchise operator with multiple WalkOn's already in business joining forces, I'd call this the dream team,” said Landry, Walk-On’s founder and CEO, in a March press release. "We're excited to see the brand grow in the Carolinas and bring more of the taste of Louisiana to the East Coast."

As of March, Walk-On’s was named in by ESPN the “No.1 Best Sports Bar.”

Walk-On's already calls the Carolinas home with restaurants in Myrtle Beach and Fayetteville and Wilmington, N.C.

Based in Baton Rouge, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux was founded in 2003 by Landry, who is a former LSU walk-on basketball player.

8 January 2023
Founded by a walk-on basketball player, the Louisiana-inspired menu at the restaurant in Clemson has been attracting fans of food and sports. (Photo/Ross Norton)

ECONOMIST, from Page 1

up, up, up, up, go short rates. Eventually short rates get to be higher than long rates and now the curve shows slopes downward. That’s known as an inverted yield curve.”

Slifer said that an inverted yield curve is typically a sign that Fed policy has become “too tight.” He said historically, going back about 50 years, when economists detect an inverted yield curve, a recession is about one year away.

“So both of my warning signals are telling me that something is going to happen by the middle of next year, so for that reason I’m looking for a recession in the first half of 2024,” Slifer said, adding, “No recession for now, but I think it’s inevitable.”

In a year that saw continually rising interest rates, inflation, a battered stock market and late-year massive layoffs, particularly in the tech sector, Slifer’s annual economic forecast sold out.

With several questions coming about federal policy, student loan forgiveness and the status of entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, federal pensions, including veterans’ benefits, he said the U.S. needs to do better with its monetary policy, including finding the political will to deal with looming insolvency


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Daniel Island economist Stephen Slifer gives his annual economic forecast during a packed room of business professionals at the Daniel Island Club in early December. (Photo/Andy Owens) See

issues with some of those programs. He said the Obama Administration had a possible plan in hand that could have tackled these issues but decided against going forward. He said given the division in Washington, it’s unlikely any lawmakers would have the will to take on such thorny, difficult and costly issues.

Slifer said the status of the economy, with ever rising inflation but not a residual reduction in spending, can be found in the data and monetary policy decisions. Because inflation is tied to the real funds rate as an indicator of a recession, understanding how to navigate and mitigate that could become critical to emerging from an economic downturn.

“The last couple of years, I think that fiscal and monetary policy that we’ve got in this country has gone seriously off track,” Slifer said.

He said our current monetary issues can be traced back to a government overreaction beginning in March and April 2020 with shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and gross domestic product dropping 30% for the quarter.

“In dollar terms, that’s about $2.1 trillion, right? And yet it wasn’t consumers, it wasn’t businesspeople that did any of that. This was on the government. They did it,” Slifer said,

referring to the shutdowns. “I think they felt a responsibility to make people whole.”

Slifer said that the first stimulus of $2 trillion might have made sense, but the money kept coming with stimulus payments coming to businesses and individuals, in addition to the federal government buying debt.

By the time the stimulus packages had ended, the $2 trillion in economic aid had nearly quintupled. He said a lot of people likely paid down debt, giving them the ability to spend more now, which has resulted in a strong economy even with rising inflation based on consumer spending and a willingness to go into debt.

“Add it all up, we had $9.5 trillion

worth of stimulus for Pete’s sake,” Slifer said. “We were trying to solve a $2 trillion problem. That just seems like gross overkill to me, and we’re sitting here wondering … ‘I wonder why inflation is so high.’ Well, here’s a start.”

Slifer also said the Fed underestimated the depth and causes of inflation. He said when he was at the Federal Reserve, politics did not figure into Fed policy, and he’s reluctant to say that has been happening now. He said instead he wanted to think it was just a miscalculation based on circumstances that were difficult to predict.

Slifer said the Fed thought inflation initially was just temporary, and said inflation was simply a result of supply disruptions and other things that had taken place during the pandemic. He said they just expected inflation to go away.

“They stuck to that theme for a year and a half,” he said. “They didn’t give up until December of last year, and then they finally said, ‘Uh, oh, you know this inflation is just not as temporary as what we thought. We’ve got a problem here, and by the way, we’re way behind the curve and we’re going to start raising rates.’ The Fed, in my view, was about 18 months too late. That’s a long time.”

Being slow to react to inflation and an overreaction with stimulus payments going through March 2021,

even though the pandemic recession ended in April 2020, has had a ripple effect that impacts inflation, fiscal policy, real estate and investments along with difficulties in the labor market, Slifer said.

“It absolutely was totally unnecessary in my view,” Slifer said. “There are consequences to that stuff. That’s why we’re sitting here looking at these really high inflation rates, interest rates have risen dramatically, (and) government debt has exploded.”

One audience member asked if the Charleston area might be somewhat “insulated” from the recession he predicts a year from now considering that the region typically does not to fall as far and bounces back faster than other areas during economic downturns.

Slifer said with the strength of the housing market at different price points and the demographics of the many people who continue to move into the market, he does not expect to see the decline in housing, GDP, and the labor markets that other areas might experience. But he said while there might be a diminished impact for the Charleston region, he said he would not use the word “insulated.”

“Are we going to be insulated and not see (home) prices drop? I don’t think so,” he said, adding, “We are not insulated. We’re going to move in the same direction, but I guess with a lesser degree.”

Nomination link:

Deadline: January 30, 2023

10 January 2023
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from Page 9
“The last couple of years, I think that fiscal and monetary policy that we've got in this country has gone seriously off track.”
Stephen Slifer, Economist


Former Lehman Brothers economist takes a look at 2023

A recession is coming sometime in 2023 or 2024. We do not expect it to arrive until the first half of 2024. Why so late? Several reasons.

First, the real funds rate is likely to remain negative until the middle of 2023 which means it will have little bite and not slow the economy much until that time. Second, the economy is still producing more than 200,000 jobs per month which is keeping the unemployment rate near a 50-year low. Third, despite a precipitous decline in sentiment, consumer spending continues to climb at a moderate rate. Fourth, the housing market has taken the brunt of the Fed’s tightening but with home prices now declining the housing market should soon stabilize and sales should begin to climb somewhat in 2023. At the same time, with rents rising at a 7.0% pace, wages climbing rapidly as

January 2023 11 January 2023
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workers try to counter falling real earnings, and oil prices likely to climb somewhat as the drawdown of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve comes to a halt, inflation will only slow gradually in 2023. To encourage slower growth the Fed will raise the funds rate from 4.4% currently to 6.0% by the middle of the year. That will (finally) raise the real funds rate into positive territory and produce enough of a drag on growth to trigger a mild recession in the first half of 2024. Once the recession arrives and inflation begins a rapid descent, the Fed will allow the funds rate to decline quickly in the spring of that year. The real funds rate. The Federal Reserve boosted the funds rate from 0% at the end of 2021 to 4.4% at the end of this year. That is a lightning fast pace of tightening, but still leaves the real funds rate in negative territory. With the funds rate at 4.4% and the core CPI at 5.8% at yearend, the real funds rate remains negative at -1.4%. Going back to 1960 the U.S. economy has never gone into recession until the real funds rate was positive. For example, it was +3.0% prior to the 200809 recession, and an astonishing +8.0% in the 1979-80 period when the double-digit inflation rate was well entrenched. The current -1.4% funds rate will not slow the economy enough to bring inflation back under control. For that reason we believe the Fed will raise the funds rate to 6.0% by mid-2023. At that time inflation will have slowed somewhat to 4.6% so the real funds

rate will have become positive at +1.4%, which may be enough to induce a mild recession in early 2024.

Jobs growth. Given the extent of Fed tightening in 2022 one might have thought that jobs would be declining. Not even close. In the most recent 3-month period the economy has generated 270,000 jobs per month. Earlier this year the economy was producing 600,000 jobs per month so jobs growth has slowed from on fire to merely hot. Firms are still struggling to find enough bodies to fill open positions.

Because the labor force has been growing more slowly than jobs, the unemployment rate fell 0.4% in 2022 to 3.5%. The Fed believes the economy is at “full employment” when the unemployment rate is 4.0%, at which point anybody who

wants a job has one. The labor market is still extremely tight. To have any meaningful chance of raising the unemployment rate and thereby reducing wage pressures, the Fed needs to create some additional unemployed workers by inducing a mild recession. A 6.0% funds rate and a +1.4% real funds rate by the middle of 2023 may be enough to make that happen. Once that occurs wage pressures will diminish and the inflation rate will subside.

Consumer sentiment and spending. Consumer sentiment has plunged since the beginning of last year as the fear of higher inflation and higher interest rates has spooked consumers. Sentiment is on a par with where it was in the so-called “Great Recession” of 2008-09.

Given the degree of consumer angst,

one might have thought that consumer spending would plunge. It has not. In fact, real consumer spending has risen 2.0% in the past year. Compare that to the precipitous drop in spending in 2020. Why haven’t consumers cut spending? First, they do not seem to have any fear of losing their job. The unemployment rate is 3.5% which is below the full employment level of the unemployment rate which is 4.0%. In the midst of the 2008-09 recession the unemployment rate was hovering at around 10.0%. Without the fear of losing their job, consumers have little incentive to cut spending.

Second, it appears that a portion of the proceeds from the stimulus checks distributed in 2020 and 2021 were used to pay down debt. The total monthly payments on a consumer’s rent or mortgage, auto loans, car loans, credit cards and student loans as a percent of income is far lower now than it was prior to the 2008-09 recession.

To maintain a moderate 2.0% pace of spending consumers have run up their credit card debt. That is not sustainable over the long haul, but it is manageable for some time to come simply because consumers had so little debt at the beginning of last year. Consumer spending will eventually slow, but it has not yet done so.

The housing market. The housing market has taken the brunt of the Fed’s tightening initiative as home sales have plunged since the beginning of the year.

The catalyst for the drop in sales was a

12 January 2023
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dramatic increase in mortgage rates which climbed from 3.0% at the end of 2021 to the 7.0% mark before recently retreating to 6.4%. If the Fed raises the funds rate to 6.0% by midyear mortgage rates may once again climb to 7.0%, but a further increase of 0.6% in mortgage rates pales in comparison to the 3.3% increase in 2002.

More important is the fact that home prices are beginning to fall quickly. After consistently rising by 1.0-1.5% per month for two years, the rapid decline in sales is causing prices to fall by 0.5-1.0% per month and they should continue to decline steadily throughout 2023.

Combining a modest increase in mortgage rates with a sizable decline in home prices, housing affordability should climb in 2023. That will likely boost home sales slightly by the spring. That is in sharp contrast to the 35% drop in sales in 2022.

.GDP growth. Pulling all of this together we look forward to 2.0% GDP growth rate in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by 1.0% growth in 2023 which is somewhat faster than the 0.5% pace envisioned by the Fed. If the Fed boosts the funds rate to 6.0% by June and the real rate reaches +1.4%, that should be sufficient to produce a mild two-quarter recession in the first half of 2024, followed by a recovery in the second half of that year.

Inflation. We anticipate a slow path back to the 2.0% inflation target for several reasons. First, rents continue to climb. In the past 12 months the shelter component of the CPI has risen 7.1%, and it is unlikely that it has reached its peak. Given that this category represents one-third of the entire CPI index, it is difficult to imagine how inflation can quickly shrink when one-third of the entire index is rising at a 7.0% pace. Because the rent component of the CPI lags the change in home prices by about a year, rents may not begin to decline until the fall of 2023.

Second, the continuing tightness in the labor market is causing firms to bid up wages in an effort to steal workers from someone else. As a result, average hourly earnings have risen 4.6% in the past year. But because inflation has risen even faster, real wages have fallen by 2.1%. Whenever real wages decline there is an incentive for individual workers and unions to seek even bigger wage gains. The recently averted strike amongst rail workers was all about higher wages. Airline pilots for United and American Airlines settled for roughly a 20% wage gain spread over two years. Other unions will follow suit. Given that wages represent about two-thirds of a firms total costs, higher wages are bound to translate into higher prices and faster inflation.

Third, gasoline and crude oil prices have fallen sharply since March when President Biden chose to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for 1 million barrels of crude oil every day for six months. But that drawdown is complete and 1 million barrels of oil per day are now off the market. The

reduced supply could be offset by faster production. However, the EIA expects oil production to rise only slightly from 12.1 mbpd currently to 12.3 mbpd by the end of 2023. The 0.2 mbpd increase in production will not come close to offsetting the 1.0 mbpd drop in supply. That should translate into higher energy prices in 2023 which is in sharp contrast to the $35 drop in oil prices since March of this year.

Given all of these factors we envision a slow drop in the core CPI inflation rate from 5.8% this year to 4.3% by the end of 2023. Unfortunately, that is still double the Fed’s targeted rate of inflation of 2.0%. With the inflation rate still that high, the Fed cannot back away from the additional rate hikes that are required to bring inflation back to target.

Given GDP growth of 3.2% in the

third quarter and a likely 2.0% increase in the fourth quarter, the economy still has considerable momentum. For that reason we expect the Fed to raise the funds rate to 6.0% by mid-2023 which would finally create a positive real funds rate of 1.4%. That should be high enough to produce a mild recession in the first two quarters of 2024. That, in turn, will cause a more rapid slowdown in inflation to 2.5% by the end of 2024. As the economy slips into recession and inflation approaches its target, the Fed will allow the funds rate to decline quickly in the first few months of 2024. By year-end 2024 the funds rate will have dropped to 2.5% which the Fed believes is a “neutral” funds rate. And, after rising to a peak of 4.6% during the recession, the unemployment rate will decline to 4.3% by the end of 2024 which is close to the full

employment threshold of 4.0%. All of the distortions created by COVID — the initial shutdown, the dramatic amount of fiscal and monetary stimulus, and the resulting supply chain difficulties may finally wash through the system by the end of 2024. Unfortunately, the end of 2024 is still two years down the road. It would be nice if the recession were to occur sooner because as long as the specter of a recession looms, it will be hard to generate robust GDP growth and equally difficult to reignite the stock market.

Stephen Slifer of Number Nomics is a resident of Daniel Island. From 1980 until his retirement in 2003, he was the chief economist for Lehman Brothers in New York City, directing the firm’s U.S. economics group and responsible for the firm’s forecasts and analysis of the U.S. economy.

January 2023 13 January 2023
from Page 12


How staffing firm helps employers navigate post-COVID hiring

With more people wanting to work from home post-pandemic, HTI Employment Solutions is a workplace staffing firm navigating their own staffing issues in addition to finding top talent for their clients.

Herb Dew, CEO and one of the firm’s founders, started HTI in 1999 in Greenwood with co-founders John Knight and David Sewell.

The company started as a white-collar headhunting group with a focus on manufacturing, Dew said, and now boasts locations in Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and Illinois in addition to South Carolina. Their clients include companies such as Bosch and Michelin.

HTI is headquartered in downtown Greenville and has been since 2001. The staffing company has grown from a boutique technical recruiting group to a company with several operating divisions: hiring placement, manufacturing project management, temporary staffing, human resources consulting, and workforce culture-building and talent development.

When the partners made the decision to move their headquarters to Greenville, it was during a time when the city was transitioning from a textile town to a city with a booming manufacturing base, in which they saw potential.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way they had to do things — along with the way they did business with their clients also struggling to hire and retain top talent.

Across HTI’s locations, they have experienced hundreds of job openings left unfilled through the span of 2022.

“We are putting a lot more money into advertising and recruiters ourselves,” said Dew. “All locations are experiencing the same issues with high turnovers.”

Starting in 2019, the unemployment rate saw a drop, said Dew. If you look at the unemployment rate and it’s around 3%, about a third of them can’t pass a background check or a drug screen, which leaves a practical rates of 2%.

“Everyone is competing to try and hire within that 2% of those unemployed,” he added. “I would say the market is still really tough. Hourly pay rates

(nationwide) have gone up around 25% over the last two years and white-collar salaries as well, but the labor competition, specifically in South Carolina, remains stiff.”

The last two years have been the most unusual Dew has ever seen in the job market, but in a way, he thinks it’s a good thing because it has challenged employers to be willing to change.

“We realized we were helping all these companies with their hiring and what we also needed to do was to help companies understand what they needed to do to be more attractive,” he said.

During the pandemic, all of sudden people were working from home, and it remains a common practice.

“Hybrid work is now the norm,” said Dew. “It’s not uncommon for workplaces to require maybe two days in the office and three days out of the office. But I don’t think companies were positioned on how to work through that.”

One of the changes HTI made as a result was to launch a new division — workplace strategies — to help companies retain their top talent.

“We still wanted to do our core work, which is to help people hire, but we

also wanted to help them develop their strategy on how to keep those people, which in turn helps us hire better,” Dew added. “Our focus has shifted from being a labor provider to being a strategic partner on what our strategy is for employee retention.”

Companies spend a lot of time on recruiting but sometimes don’t stop to think much about first impressions, said Dew. For example, the first week an employee is on the job, how are they being handled and set up for success? Are supervisors also listening to their overall career goals?

“This is really important in the hiring process, but most companies don’t do that,” said Dew. “Having this new division speaks to not just hiring 100 people but focusing on the best strategies to actually keep them.”

Dew’s company is working on a hybrid schedule for HTI employees as well. Each department head meets with their team and decides for themselves what is most effective for their work schedules, Dew said. Some departments do require workers to be on-site every day but for others they can work remotely nearly 100% of the time.

“I think what COVID did was cause everybody to sort of rethink what they want out of work and what do they want out of their personal life,” he said. “I think it reset completely how we view work. And I think all companies are just trying to figure that out and adjust to it.”

One of the benefits HTI added to their employee packages last year, Dew said, which has been successful, was a “wellness benefit.” They gave every employee $500 to use at their discretion and two half days on top of their PTO to use as wellness days.

“I think pre-COVID that’s the sort of thing that would have been a benefit we would have never thought of,” Dew said. “But I think post-COVID, it has to do with work-life balance. I think balance is what younger employees are looking for and want to feel connected to their employer and community, family, what they’re doing on the weekends. We also help other companies do packages like this as well.”

In addition to staffing, another challenge HTI has faced over the last few years is people wanting more communication and professional development,

LISTS: Professional Staffing Firms, HR & Payroll, Page 17, 19
See SWIMMING, Page 15
Herb Dew co-founded HTI in 1999 and has followed trends in staffing ever since. (Photo/Provided)

which is why they added a $1,500 stipend to their benefit package for those employees wanting to take a class that would help them develop in their current roles.

Another challenge they are facing is simply that there are more jobs available than there are people to fill them, said Dew.

More than 4 million Americans decided to retire early, and then families with two incomes decided to go to one income post-COVID, according to Dew. In other cases people went back to school, cutting down the workforce significantly in a short amount of time.

In previous generations, such as Baby Boomers, it was normal practice to start a job and stay until retirement, said Dew. But people under 40 don’t think that way now.

“They want to be happy with their jobs and feel connected, they want to understand the mission of their company, they want to be developed, they want proper communication, and I think they have no problem looking elsewhere if their current company can’t provide those things,” said Dew. “So that leads to more flexibility and mobility, and I don’t see that changing, so that’s a change companies have to adjust to. The companies that don’t find themselves adjusting to the wants of employees are going to not retain the people that help them grow.”

South Carolina technical schools are adjusting well to matching the skills employers need for future generations, Dew said.

“We also need to go into high schools and speak to more students,” he added. “There is a misconception that students need four-year degrees, but they can go to technical colleges if they like working with their hands and can make $35 an hour right out of the two-year program.”

Dew said the labor pool is getting a boost from an increase in people moving to South Carolina, but he thinks employers will continue seeing these challenges for a long time.

Also a member on the S.C. Chamber of Commerce board, Dew said their biggest topic of conversation has been workforce development, whether manufacturing, hospitals, banks — whatever industry, people are experiencing the same challenges with finding and retaining good talent.

“As companies, we need to create cultures in which people want to join the team and stay,” said Dew. “And then as a state, we have to train and educate the workforce to be ready or think about how we attract people to come to the state to work. In the sectors we support, most of them have felt short-handed, so they are having to pay overtime or have disruptions in business that are caused by labor shortages, which results in the loss of billions of dollars nationwide,” Dew said.

Bella Vision celebrates opening of new location

Staff Report

Nine months after breaking ground, the doors are officially open at Bella Vision’s expanded location on Fernwood Drive. A ceremonial ribbon-cutting event was attended by state and local leaders Dec. 9.

Officials in attendance emphasized continuing development in and around Spartanburg County and extended gratitude to businesses like Bella Vision for contributing to and serving that growth.

“I thank you for your investment in this community, and for all you do,” said John Kimbrell, chief business affairs officer with OneSpartanburg. “We certainly welcome you and congratulate you on this facility here.”

The 7,200-square-foot location, which opened to patients Oct. 3, is a response to nearly a decade of steady growth and increasing demand at Bella Vision’s original location, according to a news release.

“What this expansion means to me is that our team can provide the advanced level of eye care that our community deserves,” Bella Vision owner Dr. Janet Wilson said in the news release. “Thanks to the appropriate space, advanced technology and

the continued educational growth of our team, we can do more to contribute to the overall health of our community.”

The design objective of the new location was to merge the original office’s aesthetic with an elevated and clean, coastal palette. Every detail is purposeful, down to the glass light fixtures which represent eyes and lenses.

The office incorporates new technology and modern features with five exam rooms, specialized testing and contact lens fitting areas, dry eye treatment rooms and 1,500 square feet devoted solely to the practice’s optometric vision therapy program.

“When I’m in our vision vherapy clinic, it kind of blows my mind that the department alone is larger than our entire office was at the old location,” Wilson said in the release.

The vision care team has grown to include 15 members, including two optometrists – Wilson and Dr. Rachel Tanner, who joined the practice as an associate doctor in January, specializing in ocular disease management, specialty contact lenses and primary care with a particular interest in pediatric care and glaucoma management. 15 January 2023 IN FOCUS: WORKFORCE/STAFFING
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Fujifilm deal goes through, preserving 300 jobs

Greenwood’s Fujifilm campus is officially in the hands of investors in a deal that helped the Japanese manufacturer preserve 300 jobs at the once-sprawling plant.

A pending sale of the property was announced in July after Phoenix Investors leased 1.1 million square feet back to Fujifilm.

Phoenix said in December that an affiliate of the Milwaukee-based commercial real estate firm has closed the deal for an undisclosed sum.

The property spans more than 2.7 million square feet over 500 acres. Fujifilm, which has been the only occupant of the site since 1988, has leased back approximately 50% of the campus, according to a news release. The investors intend to find tenants for the rest.

Constructed in a tier-one manner over the span of 17 years from 1988 through 2005, the campus is comprised of 11 buildings and has heavy power and infrastructure. Approximately 1.4 million square feet of space will be marketed for lease to new tenants.

"We were pleased to complete our acquisition of Fujifilm's Greenwood Campus," Frank Crivello, founder and chairman of Phoenix Investors, said in

the news release. “Fujifilm is a worldclass company; the buildings were built to its high standards and impeccably maintained over their lifetime in the same manner. We are excited to make this campus our first of many future acquisitions in South Carolina to support the needs of our growing tenant base."

"We look forward to working with Phoenix Investors to create a productive and enjoyable working environment for our valued employees," Jun Higuchi, president of the Fujifilm Holdings America Corp., said in the release. He also is president and CEO of the Fujifilm North America Corp. and chairman of the Fujifilm Healthcare Americas Corp.

“For over the last 12 years, we have successfully redeveloped single-tenant manufacturing campuses like this one into successful multi-tenant facilities,” David Marks, president and CEO of Phoenix Investors, said in the release. “The result will be a win-win outcome for Fujifilm, our new industrial tenants, the local Greenwood community, and Phoenix Investors. It was a pleasure working with the Fuji team on finding a creative solution to allow Fuji to continue to operate with a smaller footprint within the campus while making high-quality industrial space available to new potential employers within the region.”

The transaction was brokered by James

Medbery, Doug Faris and Shaun Kirchin of Binswanger.

Last year, Fujifilm planned to streamline production by outsourcing its manufacturing capacity to sites in Europe and Asia.

The recent transaction will allow the company to continue manufacturing for its Personalized Photo Products Group, as well as warehousing and distribution and administrative support functions, a July announcement said.

Fujifilm decided to maintain and increase manufacturing assembly of its QuickSnap one-time-use-cameras, due to the rising U.S. demand driven by Gen Z consumers, according to the release.

“We are pleased to continue our manufacturing assembly operations of QuickSnap one-time-use-cameras and with the increased demand for color film, we’ve recently added a second shift with 15 additional positions,” Bing Liem, division president of Fujifilm North American Corp.’s Imaging Division, said in the July news release. “We will also continue our personalized photo products operations here, where we provide fulfillment of photo prints and photo gifts for customers across the country. We have built strong relationships with the community to fill nearly 1,000 seasonal positions annually during our busy holiday season and are proud to be one of the largest employers in Greenwood.”

When Fujifilm first announced plans to end production in Greenwood, area leaders feared all jobs would be lost, leaving behind an empty facility. (Photo/Stock) Nationally Connected, Locally Committed. OpSource Pro is a professional and executive recruiting company that specializes in mid-level management and C-suite leadership positions. Free email newsletters: Sign up now at Fear of Missing Out? Cure work FOMO with a daily dose of news! Finance and Commerce will keep you up-to-date and on the leading edge of information when you sign up for our daily newsletters. • You’ll always know the latest industry news with our daily email newsletters. • Up-to-the minute notifications from breaking news alerts will keep you among the best informed - so you can act fast! • Keeping tabs on the success of colleagues — and competitors — will be a snap with our event notifications • Round-the-clock website access keeps digital content at your fingertips, whenever and wherever you need it.

Professional Staffing Agencies

Ranked by In-House Staff Members in the Greenville Area


HTI 105 N. Spring St., Suite 200 Greenville, SC 29601

Find Great People LLC 15 Brendan Way, Suite 140 Greenville, SC 29615

Hire Dynamics / EmployBridge 101 Verdae Blvd., Suite 550 Greenville, SC 29607

Phillips Staffing 55 E. Camperdown Way Greenville, SC 29601

OpSource Staffing 1600 John B. White Sr. Blvd., Suite 1007 Spartanburg, SC 29301

Southeast Technical Personnel Consultants Inc. 118 Seminole Drive Greenville, SC 29605

Godshall Recruiting

310 University Ridge Greenville, SC 29601

Recruiting Solutions 124 Verdae Blvd., Suite 103 Greenville, SC 29607

Kester Search Group LLC 25 E. Court St., Suite 301 Greenville, SC 29601

Job Impulse 1010 E. North St., Suite C2 Greenville, SC 29601


10 Patewood Drive, Suite 400 Greenville, SC 29615

The Newell Group 2082 Woodruff Road, Suite B Greenville, SC 29607

For vis Executive Search 11 Brendan Way, Suite 200 Greenville, SC 29615

Personnel Associates Inc. dba First Staffing 423 N. Granard St. Gaffney, SC 29341

Labor Finders 1003 Poinsett Highway Greenville, SC 29609

Medustrial 1 51 Concourse Way Greer, SC 29650

Condustrial Inc. 51 Concourse Way Greer, SC 29650

Chase Staffing 517 S. Pleasantburg Drive, Suite D Greenville, SC 29607

I.K. Hofmann USA 955 W. Wade Hampton Blvd., Suite 11A Greer, SC 29650

MedFirst Staffing LLC 226 Wall St. Piedmont, SC 29673

PrideStaff Greenville 609 Haywood Road Greenville, SC 29607

Perceptive Recruiting LLC 5 Creekside Park Court, Suite G Greenville, SC 29615

Spherion Staffing & Recruiting 1200 Woodruff Road, Suite C15 Greenville, SC 29607

Lovelace Search Group 21 E. Washington St., 3rd Floor Greenville, SC 29601

The Kidder Group Inc. 6 Timber Lane Greenville, SC 29609

Sawyer Staffing Inc. 307 W. Antrim Drive Greenville, SC 29607

Carolina Legal Staffing

330 E. Coffee St. Greenville, SC 29601

Smart Work Network Inc. 500 E. McBee Ave. Greenville, SC 29601

Phone / Website / Email













864-297-0990 www.for vices/executive-search











Top Local Official(s) / Year Founded In-House Staff Avg. Workers per Week

Accntg./Fin. Admin./Clerical IT/Tech. Med./HealthCare Mgmt./Exec.

John Knight David Sewell Herb W Dew 1999 102 2,400 2% 3% 1% - 34%

Vicki Peek, John Uprichard, Betsy Anthony 1982 78 161 20% 30% 20% 10% 10%

Laura Moody Kim Wallace 1992 65 2,500 - 10% - - 5%

Jonathan Rhodes, Donna Gaddis, Ed Parris, Blanton Phillips 1968 49 1,000 5% 20% 5% - 5%

Bruce Alexander 2007 36 825 1% 4% 2% - 3%

Louie D. Smith 1997 22 - 5% 5% 20% 5% 15%

Julie Godshall Brown 1968 21 255 20% 20% 10% 15% 15%

Cam Varner, Debbie Varner 1992 19 2,456 10% 20% 5% - 5%

Lee A. Kester 2013 17 2 - - 5% 70% 25%

Kyle Bevel 2013 15 550 5% 10% 5% 15% 5%

Amanda Box 1996 15 225 - - 100% - -

Dannie A. Newell 2001 13 3 5% 5% 5% 15% 50%

Suzanne Malo, Mark DeVerges, Brad Ledford 2001 12 3 40% - 10% 10% 40%

Michael C. Coyle, Kevin J. Coyle, Teri C. Blanton 1983 11 300 2% 15% - - 2%

Lynn Ray 1975 10 275 10% 25% 10% - 10%

Greg Stiltner 2002 10 - - 10% - 90% -

Harr y Batson 2002 9 160 - 15% 70% - 15%

Melissa Duffie 2000 8 80,100 25% 41% 2% 5% 2%

Wendy Brooks 1985 8 325 5% 25% 5% - 20%

Capers A. Easterby, Julie Eagan 2003 8 140 - - - 100% -

Gar y M. Brons 1978 8 135 5% 10% - - 5%

Jill Rose 2014 7 10 - - 90% - 10%

Craig P Roberson, Diane H. Roberson 1988 7 235 10% 20% 5% 10% 5%

864-416-1565 2011 6 - - - - 90% 10%

864-414-6744 gar




Gar y Tompkins 1998 5 1 10% - 5% - 85%

Rachel Touchet, Randy Sawyer 1991 5 10 1% 4% - - 10%


Jane Allen, Doug Garner 1999 2 2 10% - 10% - 80%

Because of space constraints, sometimes only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. For a full list of participating organizations, visit Although ever y effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to

• 1 A ser vice of Condustrial Inc.

January 2023 17 January 2023 IN FOCUS: WORKFORCE/STAFFING
Lassiter 1997 2 5 10% 15% 10% 10% 45%
Researched by Paige Wills

will house more than 300 employees, including all company executives,” said Caroline Meis, Harper General Contractors proposal and marketing strategy manager. “This project will also be the first WELL-Certified building in South Carolina, meaning the building approach is focused on health and well-being in the built environment.”

UCB employs nearly 3,000 people company-wide, 700 being in South Carolina with 193 total branches, 35 of which are in South Carolina.

Greenville-based Harper General Contractors partnered with McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, BPA Engineering, and RMF Engineering on the project.

The project, which is estimated to cost $50 million, is anticipated to be complete in spring 2024. The four-story, 118,000-square-foot headquarters will feature a branch area, three-story parking deck, a rooftop patio, 314 workstations and two outdoor terraces, according to Meis.

Harton said he is ready to have everyone in one place again, as the bank thrives on connectivity.

“We intentionally designed the building to increase interpersonal interactions,” he added.

McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture Principal K.J. Jacobs said the whole building is designed around the concept of connectivity to not only the commu-

nity but to the employees as well.

For example, everyone must enter the building through the lobby together to create initial point of contact every day. The new headquarters will also feature a welcoming wall, which will be used to announce who is having a work anniversary, special guests that day, or what’s special going on in the company. The building will feature nooks set aside for conversation areas.

There will also be an opportunity to grab a coffee and gather at the communicating staircases between levels 4, 5, and 6 with views of Falls Park. Employee spaces will be available for use spanning

many different tasks from small-to-large group collaborations or if an employee needs time working alone. The designed spaces will allow for both virtual and face-to face interactions, according to Jacobs.

“The bank really focuses on the communities each location is in,” he said. “The building design is intended to maximize face-to-face interactions, and the creativity and efficiency that comes with being together. As work today is fast paced, it’s important to have a workplace everyone can convene in to allow decisions to be made quickly, especially at the leadership level.”

Since the new headquarters is a LEED building, Jacobs said, it shows Harton’s commitment to sustainability and to his employees.

“He invests heavily into his people and empowers them at all different levels,” he said. “This is going the next step to invest in everyone in the building, a holistic employee-centric program that is more people-focused than just on the real estate. It’s special for a leader of a company to have strong opinions when it comes to the design of a building with his employees in mind.”

The architecture firm hopes employees and visitors feel it’s a welcoming environment when they walk through the doors, much like the city of Greenville is.

“South Carolina itself is such a connected state, and through connectivity, we try to create something special here,” said Harton. “The market supports each other, and we are excited to be here and can’t wait to see what growth continues to happen.”

Jacobs said they were also mindful with collaborating with local landscape groups, complementing the bank’s close proximity to Falls Park while remaining sensitive when it comes to the park and honoring the legacy of its location and adjacency to the park.

Harton was recently awarded the Order of the Palmetto by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. The award is the state’s highest civilian honor for outstanding service to the state and outstanding achievements.

One company. Many people solutions. Search Professional & Executive SOLUTIONS Staffing Temporary & Contract Consulting HR Consulting, Coaching, & Outplacement SPECIALTY AREAS Accounting & Finance Engineering & Construction Executive Public Sector Office Administration Sales & Marketing Technology WORKING WITH COMPANIES IN 46 ACROSS 26 INDUSTRIES STATES FGP.COM Healthcare Human Resources Manufacturing Nonprofit IT’S TIME TO BINGE BUSINESS Subscribe to SCBIZtv and stay in tune with what’s happening across South Carolina. Coffee With This ongoing video series features business executives sharing insight about their business, the industry in which they work and the community in which they live. What’s New and What’s Hot! Check out our new content as well as our trending videos on this ever-changing playlist.
United Community Bank has 193 branches, including this one in Pendleton. (Photo/Ross Norton)

HR & Payroll Companies

Ranked by No. of W-2s issued in 2021


Quality Business Solutions Inc. 280 Hindman Road Travelers Rest, SC 29690

Propel HR 669 N. Academy St. Greenville, SC 29601

Payroll Medics 1201 West Poinsett St. Greer, SC 29650

Paysmart Payroll Ser vices LLC 108 Frederick St. Greenville, SC 29607

Suggs Johnson LLC 107 Edgebrook Drive Anderson, SC 29621

Lindley Pettigrew & Co. CPAs LLC 1907 N. Main St. Anderson, SC 29621


110 E. Court St., Suite 500 Greenville, SC 29601

Saunders O'Dell P.A. 210 E. Trade St. Simpsonville, SC 29681

Cline Brandt Kochenower & Co. P.A. 145 Rogers Commerce Blvd. Boiling Springs, SC 29316

The Hobbs Group P.A. 125 W. Stone Ave. Greenville, SC 29609








864-233-3981 kathr




Executive(s) / Year Founded W-2s issued / % of Business in Payroll Ser vices Offered

David Evette 2000

99,048 100%

Lee Yarborough 1996

21,305 95%

Jennifer Murray 2014 9,700 100%


Offering integrated PEO/ASO ser vices, including HR, payroll and benefits administration, unemployment management, insurance, WC and tax reporting

Professional Employer Organization (PEO), payroll, benefits, technology, compliance, human resources

Payroll and HR solutions for both big and small businesses to manage the entire employment life cycle

1991 1,800 33%

John Gonella 1947 1,532 5% Audit

tax advisor y and transfer pricing, state and local tax advisor y, credits and incentives, business valuation transaction advisor y ser vices and litigation support

Marc Saunders, Benjamin O'Dell 1976 1,200 25%

Tim S. Blake 1950 1,000 4%

Tax, accounting, audit, QuickBooks consulting, reviews, payrolls

Auditing, bookkeeping, compilation, review, payroll processing, taxpayer representation, financial planning, estate planning, individual, partnership

Mark T Hobbs 1986 500 25% Full ser vice accounting firm;

864-232-5204 864-877-3525 br

1996 Br yan Jeter, Quentin Benjamson 1972 10 4% Tax preparation and consulting, financial statements and write up, probate ser vices, consulting and bookkeeping Wells & Associates CPA LLC 1218 John B. White Sr. Blvd., Suite C Spartanburg, SC 29306

101 Roper Creek Drive Greenville, SC 29615 864-233-8449 www.montgomer team@montgomer

y 1994

Montgomer 864-574-6768 Randy W Wells 2003 2 5% Accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, tax planning, preparation and representation Because of space constraints, sometimes only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. For a full list of participating organizations, visit Although ever y effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to Researched by Business Report staff

January 2023 19 January 2023 IN FOCUS: WORKFORCE/STAFFING
Phone / Website / Email
C. Stokes 2004 7,500 100% Payroll ser vices Chris Halkowitz Brian Johnson Gray Suggs 2005 3,300 2% Advisors, consultants to businesses and individuals; emphasis in income, estate and trust tax planning and compliance; spectrum of industries; audit and assurance James Lindley, James H. Lindley Individual tax returns, corporate tax returns, bookkeeping, payroll, small-business advisers y Bekaert and assurance, tax planning and compliance, international
specialize in tax, auditing, small business ser vices, litigation support, business consulting and more
Provide accounting, tax, consulting and audit ser vices for small and medium retail ser vice businesses
CPAs PA 775 Spartan Blvd., Suite 202 Spartanburg, SC 29301 864-587-0667
Salil Mathur Bharti Mathur 2010
Larr y J. Finney, David Phillips
45 10% Tax planning and compliance; outsourced accounting, advisor y and payroll; audits, reviews and compilations; advisor y ser vices
y & Co. CPAs PA
Joseph F Montgomer
Greene Finney Cauley LLP 211 E. Butler Road, Suite C6 Mauldin, SC 29662 18 7% Bookkeeping, consulting, tax preparation, tax planning, exam representation, compilation, review and information technology for small businesses Jeter, Lloyd, Benjamson & Booth CPAs LLC 404 Memorial Drive Ext. Greer, SC 29651

At Work


United Bank parent report increase in income

United Bankshares Inc., the parent company of United Bank, report earnings for the third quarter of $102.6 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, up from $95.6 million, or 71 cents per diluted share, for the second quarter. Annualized loan growth, excluding Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans, for the third quarter and first nine months of 2022 was 16% and 15%, respectively, the company said. Third quarter net interest margin of 3.78% increased 40 basis points from the second quarter.


Free play zone added at School

for the Deaf and the Blind

Greenville Tech recognizes donors

The Greenville Tech Foundation recognized Bank of America and Arthur “Buddy” Rowley Wallace as Champions for Student Success. The two honorees have supported programs and scholarships for Greenville Technical College students. Bank

BASF donates to equine therapeutic center

BASF’s site in Seneca donated $1,000 to the Wild Hearts Equine Therapeutic Center in Oconee County. The donation will be used to provide low or no-cost services for people with physical, intellectual or emotional challenges, including people dealing with trauma, behavioral or social issues, at-risk youth and victims of abuse, as well as active duty military personnel and veterans.

Salvation Army accepts digital donations

The Salvation Army of Greenville said it is now able to accept donations paid with Apple Pay or Google Pay at its Red Kettles. The Salvation Army has placed smart chips and QR codes on Red Kettle signs across the Upstate, allowing shoppers to simply “bump” or scan their phones to make a digital donation. Shoppers will be directed to a custom donation page that accepts Apple or Google payment options. The funds will then be distributed to The Salvation Army of Greenville, and an email receipt will be sent directly to their phone.

of America has focused on the economic mobility of students through scholarships, strategic program support and additions to campus facilities totaling more than $329,000. Wallace created an endowed scholarship in his mother’s memory.

Rotary Club supports after-school program

North Spartanburg Rotary Club presented Spartanburg Housing and Wofford College with a Imagine Award Grant of $3,000 to support the afterschool program that provide homework assistance and enrichment programs to elementary and middle school students living at the Prince Hall and Camp Croft housing developments. Wofford College sustainability students contributed to the growth of last year’s programming with the addition of arts-based curriculum. Cierra Kelly from Spartanburg Housing has served as Wofford students’ community partner since the initial phases of this program in January 2020.

Paveway Express to expand operations

Paveway Express said it started an expansion of its Greenville facility at 10 Broadway St. The trucking company cleared about an acre of land to expand its parking facilities with the long-term goal of adding 10 new trucks in 2023. Work is expected to be complete by April. The company currently has 25 trucks and 42 employees and runs routes in South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana and Georgia.

Lovely Big O moves to The Block Audacy announced the addition of Lovely Big O to its weekend lineup on The Block (WFBC-HD2) in Greenville. “The Lovely Big O Show” can be heard Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lovely Big O joins The Block after spending the last eight years as a local on-air host for 107.3 JAMZ (WJMZ-FM) in Anderson. Listeners can tune in to The Block (WFBC-HD2) on 96.3 FM in Greenville and on 104.5 FM and 107.7 FM in Spartanburg, as well as nationwide on the Audacy app and website.

Seneca BASF recognized for veteran support

BASF in Seneca said it was recognized for its support of area veterans and their families with the Hammer Award, a national honor distributed by Purple Heart Homes. Purple Heart Homes provides housing solutions for disabled and aging veterans. The Hammer Award recognizes organizations for their commitment and dedication to helping veterans and their families with projects that allow them to safely remain in their homes. #

A former tennis court at Cedar Springs Academy (CSA) on the campus of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind has been repaved and repurposed into a free play zone. The Freedom to Play project provides students with free play spaces in safe, outdoor areas while being supervised. Funding for the Freedom to Play project was provided by the Barbara Stone Foundation, Costco Wholesale, Foundation for the Carolinas - The Longleaf Fund and Wholespire.

First Citizens donates to Governor’s School

First Citizens Bank and First Citizens Wealth Management announced a $20,000 donation to the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities over the next two years. Donations provide financial support to the school’s students, fund professional development in under-resourced counties across the state and help bring guest artists to the school for master classes.

PTAC assists with $1 million in government contracts

The Procurement Technical Assistance Center of South Carolina (PTAC SC) said it assisted South Carolina businesses in receiving more than $1 million in government contracts during the past year. PTAC SC clients were awarded contracts from various agencies, including the Department of Veteran Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, S.C. Department of Corrections and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. PTAC SC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. Partners include the University of South Carolina Office of Innovation, Partnerships and Economic Engagement and the S.C. Department of Commerce.

Business Digest
Ann Wright of the Greenville Tech Foundation, left, and Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College, right, honor Michelle McCallum, second from left, representing Arthur “Buddy” Rowley Wallace and Stacy Brandon of Bank of America, second from right.

5 members join Prisma Health Upstate board

Staff Report

Prisma Health has added five new members to its Upstate board of directors. Members Robert Dye, Jack Ellenberg, Tee Hooper, Adela Mendoza and Beverly Ward began a three-year term on Jan. 1.

“We are fortunate to have each of these candidates join our Upstate Board,” Margaret Jenkins, chair of Prisma Health’s Upstate board, said in a news release. “Their collective professional experience complements our existing members and represents a diverse range of leadership.”

Clarence Sevillian, chief operating officer for Prisma Health, added, “Prisma Health and the communities we serve will benefit greatly from the knowledge and expertise of our new board members. I look forward to working with them as we work to improve health outcomes across South Carolina.”

Robert Dye  has served more than 20 years in the banking industry, culminating in the role of chief financial officer of Peoples Bancorporation, a holding company with community banks in Greenville, Pickens, Ander-

People in the News


son and Oconee counties. He is now retired. Dye has served on the Baptist Healthcare System of South Carolina board since 1999 and currently serves on Prisma Health’s Midlands board of firectors. He is a current member and past president of the Easley Rotary Club, volunteer for United Way, past chairman of the Pickens County Friends of Scouting, past member of Easley YMCA board of directors and Boy Scouts board of directors and recent treasurer of First Baptist Church in Easley.

Jack Ellenberg  has more than 25 years of experience in economic development with the Department of Commerce, S.C. Ports Authority and Clemson University. Currently, Ellenberg serves as associate vice president for corporate partners and strategic initiatives at Clemson University. His previous roles include senior vice president, strategic projects, at the S.C. Ports Authority and deputy secretary for new investment at the S.C. Department of Commerce. Ellenberg is responsible for recruiting more than $35 billion in new investment and more than 100,000 jobs to South Carolina.

Tee Hooper  is a co-owner and

board chairman of FGP International Inc., a nationally recognized talent acquisition and human resource consulting firm. Before his current role, Hooper was the co-owner, CEO and board chairman of General Wholesale Distributors and Modern Office Machines. Hooper is active in his community, serving on boards for Southern First Bank, Verdae Development Inc. and Upstate Warrior Solution. He was awarded the Order of the Palmetto in 2009 for his efforts in reforming the Department of Transportation as chairman. He also served active duty for the Army Corps of Engineers from 1971–1974.

as executive director of the Hispanic Alliance of South Carolina, which unites the largest network of agencies and individuals to advance Hispanic communities in the Upstate. Mendoza is a native of Veracruz, Mexico, and a long-standing advocate for the Hispanic community, previously serving as statewide program manager of the South Carolina Immigrant Victim Network. She currently serves

on the boards of Ten at the Top, Legacy Charter Early College, Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Artisphere. She is a member of the Duke Energy S.C. Upstate Advisory Board, Aspen Global Leadership Network and is a Liberty Fellow.

Beverly Ward  is a retired professional with more than 35 years of experience in human performance improvement, process reengineering and large-scale program initiatives. Throughout her career, she held senior positions with IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lehigh University and Exxon Mobil. In retirement, Ward is an active member of the community, currently serving on the board of the Community Foundation of Greenville, is a past member of the St. Anthony School Advisory Board, is one of four co-chairs of Greenville Women Giving and is a Furman University women’s basketball team mentor.

These members will join the current Upstate board members Margaret Jenkins, chair; Robert T. Nitto, vice-chair; Michael Cumby, Charles Dalton, W. Michael Ellison, Annmarie Higgins, Tracy Lamb, Joe Salgado Jr., Andrew White, and Nancy P. Whitworth.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Christina DeBoskey joined the company’s Anderson office as a sales associate.

Tudi Holmes Realty announced that Coreshia Walker joined the company as a real estate agent.

Spectrum promoted Charlie Agius to regional vice president of field operations for the company’s south region, which includes the Upstate. Agius succeeds Henry Pearl, who announced his retirement in October. Agius, who will be based in Greer, served most recently as area vice president of field operations for the company’s Northern Manhattan management area in New York City.



ScanSource Inc. announced the retirement of Mike Grainger from its board of directors, effective Jan. 26. Grainger has served as a director since 2004.

CarolinaPower hired Chip Wilson as project manager. Wilson brings more than 10 years of project leadership, purchasing and estimating experience in commercial and industrial electrical contracting.


United Community Bank has added banking veteran Abraham Cox as chief marketing officer. Cox will be responsible for amplifying the company’s brand promise through effective digital marketing, branding, advertising and communications. He will lead the bank’s marketing and communication strategies supporting the company’s strategic goals, accelerating United Community Bank’s efforts across all channels. Cox will report directly to United Community Bank Chairman and CEO Lynn Harton.

Eric Lysak has joined Fidelity Bank’s team in Greenville as vice president and business development officer. In his new position, Lysak is responsible for developing and managing business banking relationships within the community as well as contributing to the sales efforts of the Fidelity Bank Greenville branch at 105 East North St. He

has 13 years of financial experience. Prior to joining Fidelity Bank, he worked for First Reliance Bank as a business banker.

The Countybank board of directors has appointed Kevin Duncan, Tremayne Lee and Dayle Mumford as senior vice presidents. Duncan, Greer city executive, joined Countybank in 2017 and is responsible for leading the commercial banking team and related activities within the Greer market area. He has more than 15 years of experience in the banking industry. Lee, financial controller, joined Countybank in 1999 and is responsible for the financial operations of the organization. This includes managing the accounting department as well as establishing and executing internal controls over the company’s accounting records, financial procedures and budgets to mitigate risk. Mumford, professional and executive banking relationship manager, joined Countybank in 2001 and is responsible for developing new professional and executive banking relationships as well as helping existing clients with their financial needs. She has more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry. 21 January 2023
Adela Mendoza  serves DeBoskey Walker Agius Cox Wilson

Food distribution company invests $35M in Spartanburg expansion

Highland Baking Co., a wholesale bread baking company, is expanding its existing facility in Spartanburg County.

The company’s $35 million investment will create approximately 80 new jobs, according to a news release from the South Carolina governor’s office.

Located at 7001 Asheville Highway in Spartanburg, the company will upgrade its existing building and infrastructure to support a new full production line, the release stated. The expansion will also allow for a potential additional production line in the future to ensure the company efficiently meets increasing supply demands.

“Our home in Spartanburg, South Carolina has been a central part of our success over the last decade,” Highland Baking CEO Stu Rosen said in the release. “This additional investment demonstrates not only our belief in the business moving forward, but our confidence in the staff of our Spartanburg bakery and the community in which it resides.”

Established in 1984 and based in Northbrook, Ill., Highland Baking Co. specializes in producing and distributing custom bread products for national and international restaurant chains, accord-

ing to the release. The Spartanburg facility, in operation for 10 years, currently produces 17 different bakery products including pan bread varieties, buns and sub rolls.

In addition to serving some of the company’s largest customers on the East Coast of the United States, products from the Spartanburg plant are also exported to Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America, the release stated.

The expansion is expected to be complete by October 2023.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development awarded a $100,000 Set-Aside grant to Spartanburg County to assist with costs of site preparation and building improvements, the release stated.

“There’s something special about announcing business expansions, and celebrating companies that have found success here in Spartanburg,” David, Britt, chairman of the Spartanburg County Councilman and Economic Development Committee, said in the release. “And the facility where Highland Baking is holds a special place for me, as it was where I worked during my first job in Spartanburg, as a management trainee and division HR manager. I speak for many people when I say we’re happy Highland Baking will expand its national reach of products made right here in Spartanburg County.”

Growing Spartanburg group sets new restaurant goal

Staff Report

Eggs Up Grill, a breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant chain based in Spartanburg, is way ahead of its 2021 goal to double what was then a 50-restaurant company.

With deals underway for 60 new locations, the company has 150 Eggs Up Grills open, under development or under commitment by franchise partners, according to a news release from the company. The new goal is to exceed 200 restaurants by 2026.

The brand recently signed development commitments for 30 restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and its second largest agreement for 10 restaurants in Nashville, Tenn. Eggs Up Grill also signed its first franchise partner in Mississippi, according to the news release.

2022 was also a record year for sales growth for Eggs Up Grill. At its recent Franchise Owners’ Conference, CEO Ricky Richardson recognized more than 40% of its restaurant locations for

exceeding the system average sales volume of $1.2 million in 2022, including three franchise groups with sales exceeding $1.7 million.

“We are ending a year filled with lots of success for our brand and franchise partners,” Richardson said in the news release. “These record new commitments only affirm the proven business  model that’s in place, allowing our franchise partners to grow the brand in their communities.”

Contributing factors to Eggs Up Grill’s increasing annual unit volume are surges in dine-in guest counts, strong take-out sales, a refreshed catering offer, the growing popularity of its adult beverage platform and the roll out of Eggs Up Grill’s virtual brand — Biscuits, Bowls & Burgers.

Chris Skodras opened the first Eggs Up Grill in Pawleys Island in 1997. WJ Partners, a private equity firm in Spartanburg, acquired the company in 2018.

22 January 2023 FEBRUARY 20 HOSPITALITY/TOURISM Lists: Hotels/Event Space Advertising Deadline: February 6 MARCH 13 ARCHITECTURE/ENGINEERING/ CONSTRUCTION Lists: General Contractors, Engineering Firms Special Section: Under Construction Advertising Deadline: February 27 APRIL 17 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Lists: IT Services, Security Firms Special Section: Electric VEhicles Advertising Deadline: April 3 For advertising information, contact Ryan Downing at Target your market in an upcoming issue of the GSA Business Report



Rural South Carolina: Building healthier communities

As we celebrated National Rural Health Day, we were reminded that a strong community is rooted in its people. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to serving those who live in the rural areas of this country, like the small towns and communities right here in South Carolina. At the United States Department of Agriculture, we are hard at work offering the resources to the rural and agricultural communities that feed and fuel our nation and provide the everyday essentials upon which America depends.

As I’ve traveled across South Carolina, I’ve seen firsthand the unique challenges people in rural communities and remote parts of the state have in accessing the health resources they need and deserve. We at S.C. Rural Development are committed to “going the extra mile” to ensure our programs and the benefits of our programs are equitable and accessible to all who call rural home.

At USDA Rural Development, we are committed to making sure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health care services like urgent care, primary care and dental care. That’s why I’ve been a proud champion of programs like the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants, which was created by President Biden’s historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. In the last year, this program has helped rural health care organizations across the

state purchase supplies, deliver food assistance, renovate health care facilities and provide people with reliable medical testing and treatment.

Just recently RD has announced four projects that we funded which will help expand access to health care infrastructure and resources via the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants. For example:

Voorhees College received $770,250 in grant funding to make critical renovation upgrades to Voorhees University Health Center. This improvement will allow Voorhees University the needed assistance for food distribution, transportation, and mobile health care to provide expanded opportunities to members of the University community based on CDC guidelines. Through the Emergency Rural Healthcare Program Voorhees University will better position itself to provide adequate healthcare and expand the scope of its services. Through the University Health Center, the university provides primary health care services to its students. However, the onset of COVID-19 has caused the unit to extend its reach to the greater community to ensure that residents of Denmark and Bamberg County have free access to COVID testing and vaccinations.

Lee County Council of Aging Inc. received $117,500 in grant funding to purchase vehicles that will assist with food distribution, meal deliveries (approximately 600 meals per week), provide transportation to medical and business appointments for Lee County Council of Aging Inc.’s clients, repaving and expanding a parking lot, and paving a fitness track at the facility. Upgrading the vehicles will provide a more economical and practical way of supplying much needed services to the most vulnerable citizens of Lee County. Lee County

Council of Aging provides services for homebound, elderly and disable citizens of Lee County.

The vital Aging of Williamsburg County received a $1 million grant which will be used to construct the Murdaugh Senior Center in Kingstree.  The facility is a 14,000 square foot facility which will provide seniors of rural Williamsburg County access to medical care, tele-medicine, food distribution, COVID 19 vaccines and testing, exercise and nutrition, health and wellness instructions as well as daily meals and companionship, and transportation to medical appointments.

The Denmark Technical College received a $975,000 grant which will be used to expand the Denmark Technical College Nursing Program. The project expands the medical care services they provide to the students and community members including COVID vaccination/ testing, mental health services, immunizations, health and nutrition services, general medical care,  transportation to medical appointments and advanced specialized care.

People in remote parts of the state often need to travel greater distances to see a health care provider, are less likely to have access to high-speed internet to utilize telehealth services and are more likely to live in an area that has a shortage of doctors, dentists and mental health providers.

Through programs like the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants Program, we are making it easier for people living in rural areas to access health care services remotely.

RD is continuing to help expand access to health care infrastructure and resources via the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program.

Health is about much more than medical care. Access to modern, reliable water and wastewater infrastructure is a critical necessity for the health and well-being of every American.

In South Carolina, we continue to work hand-in-hand with our partners and local community leaders to promote a healthy community and environment through our Water and Environmental Programs.

These programs help rural communities obtain the technical assistance and capital financing necessary to develop clean and reliable drinking water and waste disposal systems. Safe drinking water and sanitary waste disposal systems are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of rural America

Through these programs, we make sure people, children and families across the state have clean water and safe sewer systems that prevent pollution and runoff.

USDA Rural Development is a partner who invests in keeping rural people healthy. Join us this National Rural Health Day, Thursday, Nov. 17 as we celebrate the power of rural.

You can learn more about our programs by visiting our website, and clicking on “programs and services,” or by calling 803-765-5163.

Saundra Glover is the state director of USDA Rural Development in South Carolina.

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Write: Ross Norton, Editor GSA Business Report, 35B Cessna Court Greenville, S.C. 29607


January 2023

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