GSA Business Report - May 4, 2020

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MAY 4 - MAY 17, 2020 ■ $2.25



Double challenge for food pantries Managers grapple with surge in need and growth in donations. Page 9

With an avian flu scare damaging overseas sales and the restaurant industry on its heels, poultry supplier turns to the public to unload supply

Rising to the COVID-19 challenge Nephron Pharmaceuticals expands production. Page 3

Office space continues growth So far, working from home not affecting office space. Page 20

How to handle returning workers Labor and employment attorney offers insight. Page 23


Leading Off .......................... 2 SC Biz News Briefs ................ 3 C-Suite ................................ 4 In Focus: Commercial Real Estate ................................ 15 LIST: Commercial Real Estate Firms ................................. 19 At Work ..............................22 Viewpoint ...........................23

See story on Page 10 House of Raeford’s discounted chicken sales at Greenville’s State Farmers Market bring traffic to a standstill as the company sells its oversupply to the public. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)

Graham pledges to bring home medical supply chain By Ross Norton


s pleased as he was to see roughly 1.5 million face masks land at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in late April, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he doesn’t want to see it again. He doesn’t want it to happen again because he does not want America’s national supply of medical equipment and supplies to depend on sources from abroad. The load of masks represented a month’s supply for Prisma Health which — like health care systems across the country — is engaged in an ongoing struggle to keep personal protective equipment coming as its 30,000 employees play various roles in the battle to curb the new coronavirus. Graham said the job of procurement staffers and the frontline See GRAHAM, Page 6

A Boeing Dreamlifter touches down at Greenville-Spartanburg international Airport, importing about 1.5 million masks for use in Prisma Health facilities from the Upstate to the Midlands. (Photo/Ross Norton)

In Focus

Commercial Real Estate Organizations with big plans not losing interest during pendemic. Page 15

Leading Off


How well are we socially distancing?



ou probably think you’re doing a great job following the guidelines set by the government and your local officials ... not to mention your somewhat preachy family members who don’t want you spreading COVID-19 to them — or don’t want to spread it to you. However, a subset of mobility data from Unacast shows the Palmetto State is the worst in the nation for social distancing, as of April 28. Unacast delves into cellphone tracking data to determine how and where we travel, as humans have a habit of carrying their cell phones wherever they go. The data produced an essential travel grade and an overall grade which also considered factors including confirmed COVID-19 cases and reduction in average mobility, or traveled distances.

North Greenville University has established the Center for Faculty Excellence with a mission to model a Christ-animated vision of teaching, learning and living and to engage each academic discipline through the lens of Scripture.


Grading S.C. Counties

Overall grades for selected S.C. counties, along with grades for nonessential travel near the end of April.

If this were a standardized test, South Carolina wouldn’t be winning any awards, unless it’s for holding up the rear. Since social distancing began, we’ve dropped our non-essential visits by less than 55% statewide as the only state in the nation with a failing grade, trailing Georgia, Tennesse and North Carolina’s D-.


In the Upstate, Oconee, Spartanburg, Greenwood, Cherokee and Anderson counties have reduced their non-essential travel by less than 45%, an F rating for that metric on Unacast’s scoreboard. Greenville and Pickens counties have cut essential travel by more than 45% but still garner an F. Abbeville County doesn’t have any data to add for this category.


Overall Grade

Nonessential Travel













the American Council of Engineering




Companies to serve on the organiza-



















Melvin C. Williams, vice president with S&ME Inc., has been reappointed by

tion’s planning cabinet. Williams was also appointed to serve on the ACEC Transportation Steering Committee.

Source: Unacast Social Distancing Scoreboard Greenville-based Graycliff Capital



Partners LLC is developing Waterleaf

“In the fall we want the masks made in the United States. We don’t want to ever have to rely on China or anyone else for our basic health care needs.”

at Battery Creek at 669 Parris Island Gateway near Beaufort. It is a 212-unit, residential community offering one-,

— Sen. Lindsey Graham

two- and three-bedroom floor plans, as well as carriage homes.





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Staff Report, Charleston Regional Business Journal

Leaders from business and science to advise research authority board of trust SCRA has formed three business and science advisory boards to assist the research authority’s board of trustees, the nonprofit corporation said in a news release. The boards will include leaders from the industrial, biomedical and cybersecurity sectors, the S.C. Commerce Department, and participants from each of South Carolina’s research universities, along with the venture capital and angel investment organizations. “SCRA serves as a bridge between industry and academia,” said Christine Dixon Thiesing, SCRA’s director of academic innovations. “It is imperative that the applied research SCRA funds benefits not only its academic stakeholders, but also South Carolina’s industrial base.” The organization said the boards were formed to provide independent, unbiased expertise for the SCRA board to evaluate programs and performance and to identify funding opportunities.


Melinda Waldrop, Columbia Regional Business Report

FDA approves Nephron Pharmaceutical request to add production lines West-Columbia headquartered-Nephron Pharmaceutical Corp.’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has received an additional weapon. The Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s request to add a production line used in the manufacturing of bronchodilator albuterol today, Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy told the Columbia Regional Business Report. “We went from a regular month of about 80 million shipped to 193 million shipped in March. That’s just for the respiratory side,” she said. “For our sterile injectable medications that we make for all the hospitals in America that have drug shortage needs, that was up by like 22%. We’re seeing the same exact trend in April.” Kennedy said she expects to hear whether a second production line has been approved later this week. Kennedy recently petitioned the FDA to add up to six production lines moved to Columbia from the company’s previous Florida headquarters in 2019. Kennedy said the additional lines could help the sterile respiratory medication manufacturer keep up with unprecedented demand. Kennedy said March saw a 141% increase in the doses of inhalation solutions Nephron typically produces a month. BEST ADVICE Gillian Zettler, Charleston Wine and Food


Online review

DHEC food safety checks go virtual during pandemic. Page 2

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Part of the

Wilcox stepping down after leading transition at USC School of Law

MAY 4 - 17, 2020 ■ $2.25


Uncertainty hits state, local budgets

APRIL 27-MAY 10, 2020 ■ $2.25


Academic upgrade The Citadel prepares to replace Capers Hall with more modern building. Page 8

By Renée Sexton

Better days ahead

Hotel Trundle co-owner looks forward to reopening. Page 6

Federal funds

Unemployment benefits begin to arrive in S.C. Page 7

Getting creative Koss Creative T-shirts helping fight COVID-19. Page 9


Upfront ................................ 2 SC Biz News Briefs ................ 4 In Focus: Law..................... 13 List: Law Firms .................. 14 At Work .............................. 21 Viewpoint ...........................23


By Patrick Hoff


hen Robert Wilcox walks into the University of South Carolina School of Law, he enjoys the view of the Dale Chihuly sculpture and sometimes hears someone playing the lobby’s baby grand piano — most often, very well. “Every day when I walk in this building, my brain pauses and thinks ‘Wow, this is special,’ ” he said. “And that’s what I want law students to think every day — that they have an opportunity that is special and they have the opportunity to really do good things for people.” After nine years as dean of the law school, Wilcox is stepping down next month. Although Wilcox guided the law school through the construction of the new building, which included the installation of the Chihuly sculpture, he said he’s most proud of what’s within the walls. “The building was important,” Wilcox said. “But the building without all these other things in it would not have been enough.” After serving as associate dean for academic affairs from 2006 to 2011, Wilcox became dean in 2011. But his connection to the law school goes back to 1981, when he earned his law degree from USC. In 1986 he joined the faculty after


Airlifted aid

Boeing Dreamlifter used to bring face masks for Prisma Health, MUSC from China to the Upstate. Page 3

Long road ahead

Experts say full return of Charleston’s tourism industry may be years away. Page 15

Rolling on

Food trucks transition business from private parties to serving neighbors. Page 19


See DEAN, Page 20 Robert Wilcox is retiring as USC law school dean in May. (Photo/Kim Truett/USC)

An 1849 map shows the peninsula after construction of the High Battery sea wall. Over one-third of the present-day peninsula was “reclaimed” by landfilling the intertidal zone, which exacerbates flooding issues. (Map/Army Corps)

Holding back the sea

Army Corps presents potential solution to coastal flooding

Upfront ................................ 2 SC Biz News Briefs ................ 3 Best Advice .......................... 4 In Focus: Hospitality and Tourism ..... 15 List: Area Attractions......... 20 At Work .............................. 21 Viewpoint ...........................23

By Patrick Hoff


alfway through a study on how to protect the Charleston peninsula from coastal flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public input on

a potential solution: a wall around the city. The Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District began its $3 million coastal flooding study of the Charleston peninsula in October 2018 with funding from the federal See FLOODING, Page 6

he S.C. state budget is in limbo after the coronavirus pandemic short-circuited the General Assembly’s process in mid-March. The state House passed its budget at the end of February, but the General Assembly was sent home before the Senate could finish its deliberations and vote. The Senate passed a continuing resolution last month to keep the government open if a budget isn’t passed by June 30, when the fiscal year ends, but the House has yet to vote on that measure. Complicating the budgeting process is the uncertainty that looms over two of the state’s revenue sources: sales taxes and income taxes, which have slowed as more than 341,730 South Carolinians have filed for unemployment and nonessential businesses were closed for most of April. A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research institute based in Washington, D.C., said states could face up to $105 billion in budget shortfalls this fiscal year, which for most states ends June 30. Next fiscal year, the report said states could see up to $290 billion in shortfalls. In a separate report, the center said onethird of states are unprepared for a moderate recession. South Carolina was not one of them; according to the report, South Carolina’s reserves were about 16% of the state’s general fund, which are about where they should be. In general, the center said, states should aim for reserves equal to at least 15% of their budget. Still, the center said states’ reserves won’t

Driving forward

S.C. automotive industry prepares for a future of change

See BUDGETS, Page 5


Nod of approval

Nephron Pharmaceuticals receives FDA approval to add production line to ramp up COVID-19 response. Page 11

Horses on hold

SC Biz News 1439 Stuart Engals Blvd. Suite 200 Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

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.

Carriage companies struggle during peak season as COVID-19 halts in-person tourism business. Page 15

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Our “Coffee With…” page features an Upstate business executive sharing insights about their business, the industry in which they work and the community in which they live. Where’s the coffee, you ask? Well, that occurs in an accompanying video. We sit down with the executive – over coffee – to see what else is on their mind. Today, we’re “having coffee” with Gary Caldwell, President, Caldwell Constructors. You can check out Gary’s video on GSA Business Report’s YouTube channel or on one of our two e-newsletters, Morning Blend or GSA Daily (Monday – Friday). YOU ARE CELEBRATING 15 YEARS THIS MONTH. TO WHAT CAN YOU ATTRIBUTE THIS MILESTONE AND SUCCESS THUS FAR?

We live by a strong mission statement and set of core values, working diligently to make sure our team members are staying focused and delivering work for our clients accordingly. Our mission is to become the most sought-after contractor in the Upstate by providing exceptional service through unwavering integrity and creative problem solving with a tireless work ethic. Building relationships with our community, teammates, and clients is just as important as the finished projects we construct. Our core values include integrity, honesty, respect and communication, and we are incredibly committed to incorporating them into everything that we do on a daily basis. We have found over the past 15 years, each of these items contribute greatly to serving our clients’ needs to the highest potential. WHAT SEPARATES CALDWELL CONSTRUCTORS FROM ITS COMPETITORS?

Our active involvement with our design team partners begins in the conceptual design phase with thorough scope development, corresponding detailed estimates and schedules on every aspect of our client’s project. Many contractors wait to invest this much time in a project until design is much further along and often use “square foot pricing” which can be inaccurate and lead to uninformed decisions. We feel that significant effort early in a project’s design yields exceptional results and helps us thoughtfully consider different building systems and solutions. This is a very satisfying part of our role because we get to be intimately involved in critical decisions that lead to successful design and construction that benefits our clients for the life of their building. Through clear communication with our design team partners, subcontractors and vendors, we are all able to work more effectively through the entire project delivery process and deliver excellent results. Having a proven track record of repeatedly delivering our projects on time, on or under budget, and with high quality requires a significant investment of our resources, much more than the normal bid process, but yields excellent results. This fosters strong, meaningful relationships with our clients and leads to repeat business which is very important to us.


Greenville’s rapid growth has created great opportunities for both existing firms and ones new to our community. Growth in many sectors has strained some subcontractor trades due to the size and timing of those projects. This has impacted other construction market segments due to the demands on workplace staffing. However, it appears that many of those workers may be coming from outside of the Greenville market. We are blessed to have a very strong base of subcontractors across all trades that are very responsive to Caldwell Constructors. They have excellent teams of skilled workers that we depend on for the execution of our projects, and they have proven to be loyal to us. They appreciate our commitment to our core values, as that affects them very positively. They know they can count on us to have integrity, treat everyone with respect, pay them promptly, and communicate effectively to help assure the projects go well for all parties. We have been very intentional about what projects we pursue because we want to be certain that we can deliver on all our commitments. We would rather decline an opportunity than potentially not meet our internal standards of project execution. Our commitment to executing all aspects of our projects on schedule helps all our partners plan their staffing well. This increases their productivity and profitability and keeps them focused on helping us be successful for our clients!

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May 4 - May 17, 2020



CONFERENCE AND EXPO The Most Significant Manufacturing Event of the Year Presented by:

Discommon owner Neil Ferrier (right), who launched the effort to secure face masks for Prisma Health, talks with S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster as they wait for the shipment to arrive at GSP. (Photo/Ross Norton)

GRAHAM, from Page 1


October 28th - 30th, 2020 Greenville Convention Center Greenville, SC Join manufacturing suppliers and innovators across all industry verticals at South Carolina’s Most Significant Manufacturing Event of the Year. The 2019 Conference included: • 2,800+ registered attendees • 280+ Exhibitors • 16 courses taught by instructors from SCMEP • Manufacturing 4.0 Breakfast: The Rise of Technology • Aero/Auto Symposium and Industry Forecasts • Executive Women in Manufacturing and Apprenticeships in Advanced Manufacturing panel discussions For questions about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Melissa Tomberg at (864) 720-1220 or Visit for the latest updates

workers they outfit should not be so difficult. “We’re here celebrating a shipment of masks coming from China on a Boeing jet. You talk about a surreal moment,” Graham said shortly after the cargo arrived on a Dreamlifter supplied at no charge by Boeing. “To those who found these masks in China, thank you. To the Boeing Co. who brought them here, we appreciate it; they will go to good use.” Behind a podium with fellow Republicans Gov. Henry McMaster, Sen. Tim Scott and U.S. Reps. William Timmons and Jeff Duncan, Graham said, “But I think I speak for all of us up here: We don’t want to do this again. In the fall we want the masks made in the United States. We don’t want to ever have to rely on China or anyone else for our basic health care needs.”

The dearth of PPE has been filled partially by legions of companies and people stepping in to supply small and large batches of products to relieve the supply chain so that doctors and nurses can protect themselves. “Our new heroes are our doctors and our nurses and our EMTs and people stocking the shelves. I’ve never seen anything like it. These are the most unusual times. In times like this you begin to really appreciate those around you,” he said, turning to Prisma Health CEO Mark O’Halla. “And your folks have kept us safe and we appreciate that.” Rep. Timmons said the medical supply chain needs protection similar to that provided by the Berry Amendment, which requires the Department of Defense to give preference in procuring domestically produced products, in part to assure the makers of those products are sourced from home during a time of war.

“We’ve got to bring back our manufacturing capacity for things like this.” William Timmons U.S. House of Representatives

Graham said supply chain challenges revealed by the response to COVID19 has taught the country a lesson. “This pandemic has been a wakeup call to America —how much our supply chain on the medical side has gotten out of our control,” he said, pledging preparedness for the next wave of coronavirus. “So you have my commitment, and I think (the commitment) of all of us, that in the fall if this comes back — and it probably will — we’re going to be much better prepared and the medical supply chain is coming back to America.”

“To explain what happened to our medical supply chain you have to go back 50 years,” he said. “We lost it for a lot of reasons: stricter environmental standards, work laws, worker rights. … It’s just so much more affordable to go to China where there’s no rules and no regulatory burden.” With the Berry Amendment, he said, Congress decided that the supply chain for defense had to remain at home. Timmons said several bills are taking shape in Congress now that would do the same thing for medical equipment, supplies, pharmaceuticals and even the

May 4 - May 17, 2020 7

chemicals used in their manufacture. “We’ve got to bring back our manufacturing capacity for things like this,” he said. “Globalization has solved a lot of problems but right now it’s causing some.” The shipment of ear-loop masks was the result of some connections made by Neil Ferrier, the founder of Discommon, a Greenville industrial design company. He learned his connections in China could make medical grade masks. Ferrier contacted U.S. Rep. William Timmons who reached out to Prisma Health and soon the state’s largest health system had another source for PPE, according to a news release. Because delivery has been a problem across the country, Ferrier made use of connections from college, the Clemson University alumnus reaching out to friends at Boeing and soon he had a way to move the masks from China to Greenville. The Boeing Dreamlifter is one of several refitted 747 jumbo jets used to carry sections of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner across the world. The Dreamliner is built primarily in Everette, Wash., and in North Charleston. “I was standing off to the side on my own, a little in awe of it all,” Ferrier said shortly after the Dreamlifter touched down. “I own an industrial design firm and we say that great design is solving a problem beautifully. And I think what is so incredible here is that 50-plus peo-

U.S. Rep. William Timmons and Sen. Lindsey Graham greet with an elbow bump instead of a handshake at GSP before a ceremony celebrating a collaboration that brought three-ply faces masks for use by Prisma Health workers, patients and visitors. (Photo/Ross Norton)

ple and a whole number of companies have come together to solve a problem beautifully.” The shipment bypassed extensive delays and eliminated shipping costs, according to a news release from Prisma Health, which said the April 26 delivery was the largest single personal protective equipment delivery made to health care providers by Boeing as part

of its national pandemic response. Discommon was the importer of record for the shipment of three-ply ear-loop masks. Boeing donated the cost of the mission transport, with Atlas Air operating the flights on behalf of Boeing, according to the news release. “It’s a win-win for South Carolina health care providers and a perfect example of private companies working

with elected officials to help health care workers and the people they serve,” O’Halla said in the news release. “We very much appreciate Boeing’s support during these challenging times of securing necessary supplies. By standing together, we all stand stronger.” As a tribute to the Charleston area employees who made the Dreamlifter, Prisma Health plans to donate 100,000 masks to the Medical University of South Carolina. Prisma Health has been aggressively ramping up its supply inventory since January, according to the news release, but with a policy that requires everyone in a Prisma Health building to be masked — workers, patients and visitors — the 30,000-employee organization uses a lot of PPE. The April 26 shipment is expected to last about four weeks. “Boeing is proud to be part of this historic flight to bring vital PPE to health care workers across South Carolina,” Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of Boeing, said in the news release. “I want to offer my personal thanks to the Boeing team and our Atlas Air partners for what they’ve done to support this essential mission and ensure our frontline health care workers have the equipment they critically need.” Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222 or @ RossNorton13 on Twitter.

The American Heart Association ADVOCACY

is making an impact during the COVID-19 pandemic

We're working with federal and state governments to ensure ALL families have access to testing, care, and nutrition.

RESEARCH We're investing 2.5 million to fast track COVID-19 research related to cardiovascular issues. Our tech platform is helping accelerate the development of COVID-19 drugs.

BUSINESS We're providing Upstate businesses with resources to help their employees stay active and healthy.

HEALTH CARE WORKERS Our new job aids from oxygenation and ventilation of COVID-19 patients are helping health care workers.

For resources and info visit


May 4 - May 17, 2020


Shopper instinct to ‘hunker’ may cause glut in produce supply By Molly Hulsey

Anderson said he understands that people who are spacing out grocery trips have a “very different decision matrix” than those who are stopping in every few days for fresh produce and are more likely to favor proteins and nonperishables, thus affecting retailer purchase choices and prompting farmers in some parts of the country to destroy the food they can’t sell. As retailers’ sales skyrocketed up by 200% over the past month, Andersen saw tight labor at retailing distribution centers create a bottleneck in the supply system. He added that produce often takes more time to vet than nonperishables. Furthermore, sales at restaurants supplied by Fresh Food have seen sales drop


elon 1, a watermelon farm collective and importer that stretches across the Southeast and beyond, sources a number of melons from Jason Still Farms in Denmark, Bamberg County. Shipping 15,000 loads of the fruit in 2019, the company is the largest watermelon supplier in the country, according to co-owner Hamilton Dicks, and supplies Grey Court’s Country Fresh plant along with most chain grocery stores and wholesale retailers like Sam’s Club. Dicks is based in Barnwell, but he follows the melons up and down the East Coast as they ripen into season. Melon 1 had just begun its seasonal transition from South American exports to Florida fruits. He hasn’t seen the piles of squash and zucchini set ablaze by farmers here but is concerned that shoppers’ demands are shifting away from fresh produce as they make fewer grocery trips. “It really scared us quite badly, and as time has gone on, on our side, it is not as bad as it might be. Now I understand that there are some people in other commodities that are dumping produce. They cannot sell it now,” Dicks said. To date, Melon 1 has been able to bring everything grown to market. The demand for melons has not tanked, he said, yet it is early in the season and months ahead of when the Caro-

Bill Andersen, CEO of Fresh Food Group, said that as retailer sales mushroomed over the past few months, distribution centers with limited workforces struggled to keep up with the demand. (Photo/Kathy Hulsey)

Bill Andersen CEO, Fresh Food Group

“We’re going to see supply pick up. Whether demand goes with it, we’ll just have to see.” Hamilton Dicks Co-owner, Melon 1

lina crop is ready for harvest. Dicks has also heard of issues in the industry with getting the labor to ship produce out of the warehouse to market, along with farm workers being able to cross the Mexican border into the United States. He added that domestic farm labor is hard to come by today. “Our supply is going to increase about now,” he said. “We’re going to see supply pick up. Whether demand is going to go with it, we’ll just have to see. But so far,

“People got into this hunker-down, bunkerdown mindset, and what we saw was that the center of the store just got devastated.”

Shelves holding produce with longer shelf-lives were picked clean at Ingles in Powdersville the week after Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency. Leafy greens were the last to go. (Photo/Kathy Hulsey)

it’s been OK.” Later in the summer, watermelons from Denmark’s Jason Still Farm will be shipped to Grey Court’s Country Fresh plant and then on to retailers and restaurants across the Southeast. Bill Andersen, CEO of the Fresh Food Group, a parent company of the Country Fresh brand based out of Texas, said that his processing plants have stepped up cleaning and personal protection equipment practices. He said other plants that didn’t take action have been forced to close their doors. No positive COVID-19 cases had been

reported at South Carolina’s Fresh Food Group plants as of April 23, and Andersen said Fresh Food Group has had no issues with meeting customer demands. But demand has simply changed. “People got into this hunker-down, bunker-down mindset, and what we saw was that the center of the store just got devastated: Spaghettios and Spam just got ripped off the shelves,” Andersen said. Initially, he said, his sales were off by 50%, but over the past two weeks, people appear to be tiring of the frozen and canned goods, and Fresh Food’s retail sales are climbing to normalcy.

by 50% since COVID-19 closed dining room doors, but they make up only 20% of the company’s sales. Andersen hopes a reopened economy will release pent-up demand for fresh fruits and vegetables and he sees potential in online sales since more shoppers have hopped online during the pandemic. He also thinks the food supply chain will continue to localize, an ongoing trend bolstered by U.S. Department of Transportation mileage regulations for truckers, as well as a growing “buy local” movement. In the meantime, he lauds USDA’s response to concerns from the United Fresh Produce Association and others to bridge the gap. In a $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance program package announced April 17, $3 billion will be used to purchase fresh produce, dairy and meat products sent to foodbanks and other nonprofits. “Today, you see a number of good stories of how farmers are getting their stuff to the markets, and the government is paying for that to happen,” Andersen said. Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter.

May 4 - May 17, 2020 9


Food pantries deal with surge in demand and donations By Molly Hulsey


s the new coronavirus ravages more jobs and bank accounts by the week, Barry Phillips, executive director of the Upstate’s Harvest Hope food bank and distribution center, has been working 15 hours a day to distribute food to ever-lengthening lines of families in need. Waiting cars stretch longer than a mile beside the pantry’s curbside hand-off point. “Every hour, I try to walk the line and talk to them, and they’re so grateful,” Phillips said. “It’s just like kids at Christmas time.” Phillips reported that in the past, his food bank served about 160 to 180 individuals per day. Now, those ranks have swollen to 2,000 people. Soldiers from the National Guard have been deployed to stack, unpack and distribute goods to families in need at the curbside across the state. He said donations have been rolling in from all directions, inlcuding individual donors, the USDA and grocery stores, but he hopes with additional donations, Harvest Hope will continue to distribute

Barry Phillips, executive director of the Upstate’s Harvest Hope location, said recipient numbers jumped from 160 people to 2,000 since the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. (Photo/Provided)

healthy meal packages sampling from all food groups. The food bank was already short three drivers before the onslaught of new meal recipients, and doctor recommendations sent several vulnerable drivers home. Grocery pick-up has transitioned from a five-day occasion to a two-day event with larger truckloads. “We do our pantry drive-thru from 9 to 1, three days a week now. We started out five days a week, and we went to three days because we needed Tuesday and See PANTRIES, Page 12

National Guard members assist Phillip’s team of 15 people with stocking and distributing. (Photo/Provided)

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May 4 - May 17, 2020


Poultry industry wrestles with 2 viral threats By Molly Hulsey


s South Carolina lurched into a pandemic-sparked state of emergency on Friday, March 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state’s veterinarians and farmers thwarted yet another emergent virus in Chesterfield County — an outbreak that threatened to axe all U.S. poultry exports to the European Union. More than a month after the H7N3 avian flu outbreak bridged wild birds to several Carolina turkey flocks, the first highly pathogenic bird flu case since 2017, nine countries maintain a ban on all poultry products coming from South Carolina, according to Dr. Boyd Parr, South Carolina’s state veterinarian. China — one of 20 countries that initiated a ban on S.C. chicken – had only recently lifted its embargo on chicken from the Palmetto State following the 2015 bird flu outbreak, according to a USDA news release. The China market was worth $500 million to S.C. poultry producers in 2013. Parr and his team euthanized and buried the infected turkeys before they entered the food supply and USDA com-

An entire block away from the House of Raeford’s chicken sale on March 15, cars line up to purchase more than 280,000 pounds of chicken earmarked for restaurants and cafeterias. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)

pensated farmers for the losses, but Parr said the embargoes delivered a sucker punch to a poultry industry already reeling from an inability to send their meat to market due to unrelated COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced in an April 25 news release that it has established a National Incident Coordination Center to



help farmers find alternative markets to sell or, if necessary, depopulate their herds. “American livestock and poultry producers are facing an unprecedented emergency due to COVID-19, particularly with the closing of meat processing plants in several states,” the release said. Poultry is South Carolina’s number one agricultural product, with “broiler” chickens making up 40% of farm receipts,

according to a USDA state report. According to Parr, South Carolina is the fifth largest turkey supplier in the country. Parr, along with other experts on the forefront of South Carolina’s emergency agriculture response, argue the unrelated COVID-19 threat is unlikely to jump to livestock. COVID-19 infections have been reported in a lion, tigers and two New York housecats, but Parr said cats were some of the first domesticated animals to host SARS as well without any noted bridge to livestock Even if it did, the protocol established to stymie the spread of livestock-based diseases has been honed by decades of localized outbreaks such as the recent bird flu scare. Meat supply chain disruptions are more likely to stem from the closure of restaurants and meat processing plants he said — further depreciating the value of meat. “The U.S. system will adapt, I think, in time,” Parr said. “The challenge is, and I think that’s one of the things our leaders in Washington are trying to deal with — hopefully, successfully — is not let it get so bad that we lose our supply


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May 4 - May 17, 2020 11

FA R M TO TA B L E while these things are worked out. A lot of these farms, if they have a failure, they may not be able to go back into business when things are straightened out.” That, he added, would create greater reliance on imports that could be cut off during a similar crisis.

Traffic jams and bottlenecks

Around 9 a.m., Saturday April 15, Greenville’s North Church Street hummed with only a few passing cars and even fewer pedestrians — until it branched into Wade Hampton Boulevard’s intersection with Highway 281. A wall of vehicles barely moved as it wound for more than three miles around Wade Hampton and Highway 281 and rounded the corner to the Greenville State Farmers Market. Police lights flickered as they directed traffic and rerouted people attempting to cut the line from the opposite direction. Chicken processing plant House of Raeford was hosting one of many ongoing discount chicken sales to sell the 43% of its poultry that had been earmarked for now-closed cafeterias and restaurants with shuttered dining rooms. According to Dave Witter, manager of corporate communications of House of Raeford, the processing plant usually sells about 900 to 1,000 cases of chicken per trailer, or 40,000 pounds.

Retail meat sales spike but transition from the hospitality market remains a challenge. (Photo/Kathy Hulsey)

On April 17 House of Raeford staff loaded seven trailers full of meat to distribute to four lines of cars. Witter said securing labor, safety issues or transportation hasn’t been an issue for House of Raeford — he reported that none of the employees at the Greenville plant had tested positive for COVID-19 — but he does question how sustainable the discounted sales will be in the long run. For now, they are able to at least

“break even,” he said. He hopes the sales will lay the groundwork for a network of online ordering in the days to come. “The grocery stores were running out of things, and you have to realize to convert that type of processing and producing over to grocery store products is not a simple task,” said Tom Dobbins, director of Clemson Cooperative Extension and associate dean of outreach and engagement. “It is not as simple as you would

think, and that has created some disruptions in the food chain.” Logistical challenges aside, it can be difficult to reroute meat along the food supply chain since the criteria for a cut of chuck beef for McDonalds may look different from a grocery store butcher’s specifications. “Right now, we’re not in the best of shape in South Carolina in terms of our food chain, but we’re not in bad shape. I think if we can get through the COVID crisis, and the farmers and commodity prices rebound, I think that our food chain will not be interrupted because our farmers are going to dig back in and get the job done for us,” he said. Citing Happy Cow Dairy and Hickory Heel blue cheese makers, Dobbins sees that farms and processers that have developed a niche market – especially those that have bypassed the retailer and sell directly to customers — tend to be a better position right now than those with more complex supply chains. “The House of Raeford poultry processors, as you’ve seen, did supply a lot of restaurants with their chicken, and in order to keep their producers in business, they have traffic jams while selling 45 pound boxes of chicken for $45,” Dobbins said. Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter.


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May 4 - May 17, 2020


An assistant uses protective equipment to distribute food to Harvest Hope’s curbside line. (Photo/Provided)

PANTRIES, from Page 9


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Thursday to lick our wounds, you know: get food back in, get organized and to pick up stuff,” Phillips said. Economic insecurities created by the pandemic have only further chafed areas across the state dealing with existing food insecurity and problems with accessing fresh produce. According to 2016-2018 USDA data, 11% of South Carolina’s families report a limited quality or variety in the food they eat due to economic reasons. Around 4% have limited the amount they eat by skipping meals or stretching supplies. Post COVID-19, Feeding America expects that 17.1 million people across the country will face mounting food insecurity. Every Upstate county on the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control map includes swaths of land considered food deserts, where many low-income rural residents live 10 or more miles away from a grocery store, or where urban residents with limited transportation may be also be a half mile from their nearest supermarket. Healthy produce options are often limited or non-existent in these areas. “Certainly, that creates a barrier for many people,” said Michelle Parisi, director of Clemson University’s health and nutrition program. “They will have to drive a little further, and the fact that we’re trying to social distance and not use public transportation makes it difficult for people who don’t have cars to get to those food sources. This is where convenience stores, gas stations and dollar stores come into play.” She also fears that many food banks will be left vulnerable during the crisis as grocery store shelves are scoured by shoppers, since many pantries rely on grocery donations to distribute to families in need.

Ingles Markets, which has a program for sourcing produce from local farms, launched a hiring campaign in early April to ramp up its ranks by 5,000 people with $5 million in appreciation bonuses. “Our sales began increasing in midMarch when most schools and restaurants closed and various social distancing guidelines were put in place,” Ron Freeman, chief financial officer of Ingles, said in an email. “For the most part, demand increased in all our departments.” He added that restaurant and school distributors have jumped in to meet boosted retailer demand and that he feels “very fortune” to live near local food providers and farms. Florida-based grocery chain Publix has begun and then donating thousands of pounds of produce and milk directly to food banks across the Southeast. “Retailers have always purchased product from the farms,” Maria Brous, press representative for Publix’s South Carolina location said in an email. “However, with schools closed, many restaurants limited to takeout-only if not completely closed, and venues not operating, there’s a major gap with farmers. And while many farmers donate to food banks all year long, as does Publix through our perishable recovery program and through our foundation, Publix Charities, farmers are looking to recoup some of their losses.” The week of April 23, 1,980 gallons of milk and 40,400 pounds of fruits and vegetables were shipped to South Carolina’s North Charleston Feed America location, while plans are underway to shuttle food to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s Spartanburg and Anderson hubs, she said. Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter.

May 4 - May 17, 2020 13

Unemployment claims in S.C. drop for first time in 5 weeks Staff Report


outh Carolina saw a decrease in the number of people filing an initial unemployment claim for the week ending April 18 for the first time in more than a month. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said 73,116 people filed unemployment claims for the week ending April 18, a decrease of 14,570 from the week before. That is the first drop in claims since the week ending March 14, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to greatly affect numbers. In the five weeks preceding, 341,730 unemployment claims have been received, according to a news release from DEW. The agency said it has paid more than $351 million in a combination of state benefits and new coronavirus relief funds during that time period.

For the week ending April 18, Greenville County had the most unemployment claims in the state, with 8,894 filed. Horry County had 7,867, Charleston County 6,134 and Spartanburg County 5,457. Richland County saw 4,898 claims filed and Lexington County 3,481. “Our agency is heartened to see the first decrease in initial claims after so many weeks,” Jamie Suber, DEW chief of staff, said in the release. “We hope that this will begin to set a downward trend as individuals who have already filed continue to receive their benefits through this crisis and other claimants receive their funds through some of the additional federal programs we are still implementing. “We know that, as a state, we still have much to accomplish before we begin to feel a sense of normalcy, but our agency is actively responding to the needs of individuals and businesses as we work through this together.”

Charleston hospitality employees return from furlough By Patrick Hoff


vocet Hospitality Group brought more than 100 of its furloughed employees back to work at the end of April to complete online training in preparation for the reopening of its hotels and restaurants. Avocet owns and operates The Vendue in downtown Charleston, along with its Revival restaurant and rooftop bar; and Tides Folly Beach, Blu Beach Bar & Grill and Pier 101 Restaurant & Bar on Folly Beach. The hospitality group also owns and operates The Read House Hotel and Bridgeman’s Chophouse in

Chattanooga, Tenn. The company furloughed the majority of its employees the week of March 16 because of COVID-19. Furloughed employees were given all of their accrued paid time off as well as an additional two weeks of furlough pay. Avocet also agreed to cover all employee health insurance premiums until the end of furlough. Kris Altman, chief marketing officer for Avocet, said about 80% to 90% of furloughed employees in the Charleston area are returning to work this week. The online training will begin Wednesday. The training will focus mainly on safely serving guests and minimizing the risk of spreading or contracting the coronavirus. Courses will also cover continuing

education on systems, customer service and company policies, as well as cooking demonstrations and mixology classes. The training will be a mix of pre-taped videos and live training from managers and department heads. Altman said the trainings are intended to cover the employee’s entire workday. “The training courses are designed to make sure we do everything possible to protect our employees and guests,” Jonathan Weitz, owner of Avocet Hospitality, said in a news release. “Nobody wins if we open too fast without proper safety training and procedures.” Each hotel and restaurant will reopen in phases to accommodate customer demand without compromising anyone’s health.

Tides Folly Beach will reopen when the city allows overnight accommodations, as long as the online training courses are complete. The Vendue is expected to open a limited number of rooms on Friday because of a recent uptick in reservation requests, though the majority of Vendue employees will remain home to finish the online classes. “It’s a breath of fresh air to be able to bring a large part of our team back to work and put money in their pocket,” Weitz said. “There’s been a lot of uncertainty over the past several weeks surrounding the coronavirus, but we’re finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Reach Patrick Hoff at 843-849-3144.

Survey finds pandemic-related behavioral changes may last Staff Report

Nearly three-fourths of respondents to a survey conducted by marketing agency Chernoff Newman are concerned about being exposed to the new coronavirus, while one in five say the pandemic has put them into “meltdown” mode. The survey was conducted by phone April 13-20 and had a sample size of 500 and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, according to a news release from the agency. “The results reveal how South Carolinians have modified their behaviors in the

short term, but also how some of these behaviors might continue in the mid to longer term and the implications these changes may have on key industries and the broader economy,” Fenton Overdyke, director of research for Chernoff Newman, said in a news release. Most of the respondents said it would take until the end of the summer for things to return to normal, and 73% worried about coming into contact with the coronavirus. In addition, 60% were worried about their finances. More than half of households reported changes in work environment, such as working at home or having a household

member furloughed or laid off. However, 91% of respondents felt their jobs would be there when the pandemic ends. The survey indicated that some behavioral changes may be long-lasting. While 92% of consumers wanted to go out to eat, 67% planned to cook more at home, and 41% planned to order take-out once the COVID-19 crisis subsides. And while 67% missed going to movie theaters, 56% were more likely to stream movies at home. Respondents relied on local television news and major news networks for pandemic updates, and 45% felt the news they consumed was “fairly accurate.” Thirty-one percent said the coronavirus was

not being taken seriously enough, and 18% felt its threat was being exaggerated. Most respondents (84%) expressed confidence in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% felt confident in state health departments and 61% were confident in the World Health Organization. Two-thirds (65%) said they had already canceled or postponed travel plans, and 51% worried about current grocery availability. More than threefourths (79%) were satisfied with overall communication from children’s schools and 76% with the quality of online educational instruction.


May 4 - May 17, 2020


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In Focus

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LIST: Commercial Real Estate Firms, Page 19


Manufacturing & Aerospace

Upstate commercial real estate market pulses through COVID-19 By Molly Hulsey

Even as South Carolina’s economy continues to shutter under the weight of the COVID-19 shutdown, site selection, construction and new commercial real estate leasing press on across the Upstate — if not in new directions. “I’m not Pollyannish. It’s just in my world, I’m busy,” said Kyle Sox, vice president of industrial development of Spartanburg’s Economic Futures Group. “It’s coming from the Department of Commerce, it’s coming from site consultants, it’s coming from real estate brokers, it’s coming from real estate developers: the industrial market is strong, e-commerce, logistics, supply chain and parts and manufacturing that are part of a larger supply chain — they are all looking at how they can be more effective and resilient, because COVID-19 has exposed some real weaknesses.” Sox reports that since he and his team began to work from home in early March as new coronavirus cases began to crop up across the state, they have fielded more site queries than in the first quarter of 2019. “And 2019 was not a bad year,” he said, adding that Spartanburg has seen unprecedented levels in industrial growth over the past decade. While several new additions to the county’s lineup are in the works, Sox pointed to Tindall Corp. and Global Transplant Solutions, who are growing into larger facilities. Concrete manufacturer Tindall Corp. announced plans to build a utility division manufacturing facility off 2877 Fairforest Clevedale Road in mid-April, according to a news release. The $27.9 million project is expected to bring 20

Vermeer’s finished plant at the South Greenville Enterprise Park is expected in 2021. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)

new jobs once completed in early 2021. Global Transplant Solution, an organ preservation and transplant company, previously occupied an office at Spartanburg Community College’s Spark Center — the launching pad for more than 100 businesses, according to Sox. A 2018 S.C. Research Authority grant helped the Canadian-based company add products to the U.S. market as they awaited Food and Drug Administration clearance, according to a news release. The company’s products represent 99% of all organ preservations solutions used worldwide, the release said. Global Transplant Solutions moved into an 11,3000-square-foot flex space in the Corporate Center Business Park off Interstate 85 on April 1.

Keeping Green

Greenville County has also witnessed continued construction and development.

“Certainly, we’re not poised for the kind of years-long reduction in activity many people may have thought,” said Mark Farris, CEO and president of the Greenville Area Development Corp. “Who knows, there is still a lot of uncertainty associated with it, but in a time when I would have thought there would be no activity, we are still picking up certain projects, certainly at a slower rate, but the activity is still there.” He reported ongoing site selection queries, including one Italian company seeking to expand its American base. Even before COVID-19 began to spotlight weak points in the global supply chain, Farris saw an uptick in food processing plants interested in the Greenville vicinity. “The Upstate, and South Carolina in general, is not known as a food production or processing kind of state,” Farris said. “That has been the Midwest and West Coast to some extent, but a lot of



companies are interested in making sure that they have access to a food supply system that is regional in nature.” Vermeer’s planned $19.8 million manufacturing plant, the first project in Greenville County’s flagship South Greenville Enterprise Park, moves every day toward construction, according to Drew Stamm, a broker with NAI Earle Furman. The Iowa-based agricultural and industrial equipment manufacturer purchased 43 acres at the new park in December. “They haven’t really slowed down at all,” Stamm said. “They’ve graded the site, and Roebuck Builders out of Spartanburg is building the building. I’ve talked to those guys, and they’re still very much full-tilt forward with trying to deliver this building. They’re going to triple in size from 50 to 150 (thousand square feet) plus or minus,” Stamm said. Vermeer expects a completed building by the second quarter of 2021, he said. “If there was some real heartburn caused by the market or the coronavirus, just kind of the world we’re living in, you’d think they’d hit a pretty big pause on spending $15 to $20 million on a new building, but they haven’t done that yet, so it makes me think that the manufacturing side is still pretty active,” he said. Construction on a multi-tenant speculative property has also continued at one of Greenville’s pre-existing industrial parks, Augusta Grove. Stamm reports that the 158,886 square-footproperty, known as Grove Reserve, was built for maximum flexibility and is being marketed to both future distribution and manufacturing tenants. See REAL ESTATE, Page 16



REAL ESTATE, from Page 15

First Round Results

According to a Colliers International report for the first quarter 2020, 3.96 million square feet, comprised of 20 buildings, were under construction by the end of the quarter with 838,567 square feet being delivered to the market and 930,277 square feet being absorbed by tenants during this time. “Due to continuing demand, construction will be delayed but continues despite COVID-19 setbacks,” according to the report. Still, it warned that reverberations from the COVID-19 outbreak wouldn’t be felt until several quarters down the road. Despite the economic shutdown prompted by the virus, about 1.12 million square feet in construction has been proposed for the future, while the vacancy only increased by .06 percentage points, according to the report. Moreover, the report said that the overall weighted rental rate increased after the fourth quarter of 2019. Area sales included a $5 million 80,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to Connelly Builders and $184 million in Weston Inc. purchases across the Carolinas. While office workers operating from home during the outbreak may lend itself to a trend away from office space, the report notes that “essential” in-person workplaces still bustled with renewed activity as personnel delivered critical needs across the nation. Other industrial spaces housed stores of medical supplies. Garrett Scott, vice president of Colliers International’s Spartanburg office, said the landlord he represents at a 51,248-squarefoot building in the Fairforest Industrial Park has been willing to donate the space to those who could use it for efforts to combat the new coronavirus for the time being, whether for the manufacturing or storage of personal protective equipment

A 300,645 square-foot speculative building in Augusta Groves sits near new site. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)

or other critical needs goods. “I think we have an innate desire to try to help one another,” Scott said. “And this is this company’s way of doing just that.”

Social distancing, high ceilings and small footprints

Moving forward, Jon Good, CEO of NAI Earle Furman foresees greater movement to the periphery of the Greenville-Spartanburg market, especially in less-developed areas like Laurens and Anderson County, as labor shortages return to the industrial market. Office and retail space may experience a slow-down, but deurbanization, reshoring suppliers and stimulus money funneling into infrastructure will only boost and evolve industrial property development

and sales. E-commerce and distribution centers, especially along the Interstate 95 corridor, will be king, he said. “In the first Cares act, a tremendous amount of that $2.2 trillion, you know $300-something billion, went to replenishing the PPP,” Good said. Besides the Paycheck Protection Program, a lot of the rest went for infrastructure in areas such as airports, clean water, roads, government apartments and the postal service, paving the way for downturns in other areas. “So we think construction will have its slowdowns in office, maybe multi-family,” Good said, adding that he expects single-family developments to see growth after families experience months of social distancing. Similar to a flight of families from cit-

May 4 - May 17, 2020

ies following the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, Good predicts a migration to more rural and suburban areas, sweetened with greater potential for working online from home. Large retail spaces lying empty after the pandemic’s economic knell could be repurposed for ever-automating manufacturers in the years to come, he said. “Highly automated new buildings, they may have a smaller footprint, but they are going to have to have higher ceilings,” Good said. Stamm said he also has seen a trend over the past few months away from one-size-fits-all “big box shell space” to smaller, more specialized buildings. Farris also nodded to shrinking industrial space as an ongoing trend over the past few decades, a movement that could be sped by a social distancing era. “Manufacturers: their first duty is EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization). They’re trying to increase profits and reduce costs of operations, and they’re doing that through technology,” he said. Farris thinks that Greenville’s retail and hospitality economy will rebound to its former level but also believes that warehousing and logistics companies will experience an explosion of growth across the Upstate. The experts anticipate that medical and critical needs suppliers will have a jumpstart ahead of a reawakening economy. “In the mid to longer term, I believe the supply chains that service our consumptive needs are going to get noticeably deeper and more sophisticated, Scott said. “The resulting supply chain reconfiguration and augmentation and its related effects on the industrial real estate demand curve will likely shape our market for some time to come.” Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter.


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On April 15, 2020, upon motion of the Debtor, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina entered an order establishing bidding procedures for the sale of substantially all assets in the Ch. 11 Bankruptcy Case of Watertech Holdings, Inc. (“Watertech”), Ch. 11 Case No. 20-00662-jw. Watertech filed a Motion for Order Authorizing the Sale of Assets of the Debtor Free and Clear of Liens, Claims, Encumbrances, and Other Interests pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 363 for a purchase price of $125,000. The proposed sale is a sale of substantially all of the Debtor’s assets including contracts, permits, intellectual property, goodwill and all related documents and rights. A hearing on the Asset Sale will be held on June 26, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. at the U.S. Bankruptcy Hearing Room, 145 King Street, Room 225 Charleston, SC 29401. Any competing bids for Watertech’s assets must be submitted to Watertech’s counsel no later than June 16, 2020. For inquiries, you may contact Watertech’s counsel, G. William McCarthy, Jr. & W. Harrison Penn, by phone at (803) 771-8836 or e-mail at &


May 4 - May 17, 2020 17

Investment firm to develop Pepsi property on Upper Peninsula


Staff Report

hite Point Partners, a real estate investment firm based in Charlotte, has acquired a 5.6-acre parcel on the Upper Peninsula, intended to be the second phase of a 10-acre campus it plans for the area. White Point has been developing a 112,000-square-foot office building called The Belvidere on a 4.5-acre site adjacent to its newest parcel. The Belvidere is currently under construction. The 5.6-acre site was purchased from Pepsi for $8.05 million on a short-term sale-leaseback basis that will allow Pepsi to continue operating the distribution plant site until it relocates, according to a news release. White Point plans to build multifamily units, office and retail on the Pepsi site; conceptual plans are currently in development. Jay Levell, co-founder of White Point, said in the release that the Upper Peninsula is attractive to the firm because of its walkability to several breweries and to the Workshop food hall, as well as easy access to Interstate 26 and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. “The Upper Peninsula has been White Point’s focus for the last few years as we’ve

White Point Partners is planning a 10-acre, mixed-use campus on Charleston’s Upper Peninsula. The first phase of the campus, an office building called The Belvidere, is currently under construction. The second phase will be built on the site that White Point acquired from Pepsi. (Photo/Provided)

watched it become a dynamic live-workplay neighborhood,” he said. “With compelling growth, accessibility and existing neighborhood amenities, the ability to

add more office and multifamily makes it incredibly attractive.” The Belvidere, named as an homage to the nine-hole Belvidere Golf Links that

was located on the Upper Peninsula from 1902 to 1925, will include retail on the first floor, offices above, and an attached four-story parking deck.


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May 4 - May 17, 2020

Landmark Enterprises sees market pause, looks long term By Andy Owens


ason Ward, president of Landmark Enterprises, said diversification has helped the portfolio developer and commercial real estate company weather some of the COVID-19 fallout in recent weeks. Ward said the pandemic, and its required social isolation, is “something we’ve never experienced before. We’re all very collaborative. We’re a small team. We like to get into the same room and pass ideas around.” Landmark’s core business is development, property and asset management, and commercial brokerage. The company, located in Mount Pleasant, owns one of the most visible projects coming from Charleston to East Cooper — the Gateway office development. “From a business perspective, you know, we feel there’s definitely been a pause in the market,” Ward said. “We’re still trying to understand the impact of all this. The biggest question mark is when will life return to a normal level?” Ward said Landmark’s three main business lines are office, industrial and hospitality. He said hospitality is obviously the most impacted right now, but he thinks it’s possible that the COVID-19 outbreak could change how companies view, use and lease office space as well. Like a lot of companies, Landmark

sees a difference between the pandem-

can we help?’ as opposed to not returning

ic and the Great Recession that began in 2008, though some of the immediate concerns are comparable. He said banks understand that the hospitality sector needs the most help. “Banks are definitely working with us,” Ward said. “Contrary to the Great Recession, banks are calling us and saying ‘How

our phone calls. We’re all in this together. They get it.” This week, Landmark and Ward hired Jon Chalfie as broker in charge. Ward said the timing was coincidental to the COVID-19 outbreak, but it indicates the company is looking beyond the negative impact of the virus.

Landmark Enterprises owns the Gateway office project at the foot of the Cooper River bridge in Mount Pleasant. The company owns, manages, develops and markets commercial real estate across the Charleston region. (Photo/Landmark Enterprises)

“He is one of the the most experienced and capable brokers in the market,” Ward said. “He has a great deal of industrial and office experience in the market, but also brings a lot of third-party experience to our company.” Landmark has always had a line of business focused on selling and leasing commercial real estate for third-party clients since Gene Blanton founded the company in 1974, Ward said. He said the addition of Chalfie is simply the next step in growing that line of business. “He’s a rare commodity in the market, and he’s going to add experience to an already great brokerage team,” Ward said. “Our business plan, our service lines are not changing at all; we’re just bringing in new leadership to run that side of our business.” Ward said he feels strongly about the Charleston market’s ability to bounce back from the coronavirus lockdown. He said the market indicators show it might take up to 12 months to get back to what he would consider normal market conditions. “We really just don’t know,” Ward said. “I don’t think anyone knows what the long-term effect of this is going to be right now. We’re still very bullish about the projects that we have on our drawing board. Charleston is very strong. People want to do business here.” Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142.

Vilified in ’08, banks may emerge as heroes of coronavirus slump By Andy Owens

Chris Price, the president and owner of a boutique portfolio developer in Charleston, said that banks could be the champion of small businesses seeking a lifeline during the COVID-19 outbreak. Price, who opened PrimeSouth Group LLC in 1989, has 130 commercial real estate tenants. As a portfolio company, PrimeSouth Group develops viable commercial space and then holds on to the property as investments. Price said the space his company owns is about 40% office and 60% retail, including some larger chains along with food and beverage businesses that have been hit particularly hard during the shutdown. “We’ve been fully operational,” Price said. “We have reduced hours, and we haven’t been letting people in the office. We’re all kind of in this together.” Price said that during the Great Recession, which was sparked, in part, by risky sub-prime lending, banks had to be bailed

out. With the coronavirus outbreak, Price said banks will be the solution. “That’s a 180-degree turnaround from the 2008 recession,” Price said. “I hope people understand that. This chain reaction that’s going to occur, the banks have been a solution. We have a package of eight banks that we work with. All eight banks have been absolutely phenomenal. They have a clear-cut process that’s either deferral or interest-only that’s helping these landlords.” Price said his company is going through its portfolio of buildings and tenants to see where problems might occur or where businesses might need help. “We’re identifying those first to see how we can work with those tenants, get them over the 60-day, 90-day hump. It helps us help the tenant,” Price said. “If you can’t pay rent, we will figure out the reimbursement process. Don’t pay rent; we’ll help you out.” Like many other companies, PrimeSouth took lessons from the Great Recession and learned to structure their business in anticipation of the next downturn.

Even though he didn’t know it would be sparked by a health care crisis, the negative impact on business has been similar to the Great Recession in terms of cash flow and employment struggles. “The diversity between retail, residential and business has been a godsend for us,” Price said. “We are positioned to weather and hopefully take advantage of things. Office is kind of picking up the slack so we can work with the retail guys and restaurant guys.” Price said that commercial real estate sales are certainly going to slow down; people will be more cautious, and credit lending likely will tighten up as banks begin to evaluate risk. “We’ve had several deals fall apart because of this. I do think the banks are going to be more cautious as we go forward,” he said. “Credit markets are tightening up. You’re going to see more of that.” He said many projects have not fallen apart, including a large signature-asset restaurant that’s still on track to open. Price said that he has heard from archi-

tects, engineering companies and construction firms who want to make sure they’re top of mind when the COVID-19 lockdown passes. “My phone has been ringing for the first time from architects, engineers and construction companies — that hasn’t happened for months,” he said. “People are starting to look at their pipeline, to make sure they’re going to be busy going forward.” Price said he’s not nervous about the future, but a lot depends on how long the lockdown lasts and when people feel comfortable going back to a restaurant or opening a business. He said that PrimeSouth is definitely exposed but that he’s confident the company will make it through. “It’s going to be very interesting when we come out of this and see how much damage is done, especially on the restaurant side,” Price said. “There are going to be some big restaurants that are not going to come out of this.” Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142.


May 4 - May 17, 2020 19

Commercial Real Estate Firms Ranked by No. of Sale/Lease Transactions in 2019 Company

Phone / Website / Email

Broker(s) in Charge / Year Founded

NAI Earle Furman 101 E. Washington St., Suite 400 Greenville, SC 29601


Jonathan A. Good 1986

Spencer Hines Properties LLC 380 S. Pine St. Spartanburg, SC 29302


Lynn Spencer, Bobby E. Hines 1986

Gibbs Realty & Auction Co. Inc. 4891 S.C. Highway 153 Easley, SC 29642


Darrell Gibbs 1994

CBRE Inc. 101 N. Main St., Suite 1400 Greenville, SC 29601

864-527-6070 -

Colliers International 55 E. Camperdown Way, Suite 200 Greenville, SC 29601

2019 Transactions: No. / Value

Comm. Brokers / Current Listings / Upstate Offices Specialization

690 $574,340,000

67 606 3

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

412 $2,239,320

22 475 2

Agricultural, flex, health care, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

262 $34,777

17 42 7

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

Stephen B. Smith 1988

233 $296,531,945

15 194 1

Flex, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse

864-297-4950 Greenville

David M. Feild 1906

146 $177,225,877

14 263 2

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

BHHS C. Dan Joyner REALTORS Commercial Division 230 Buist Ave. Greenville, SC 29609


Matt Carter, Danny Joyner 1964

143 $82,000,000

24 182 1

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse, portfolio analysis, lease analysis

Langston-Black Real Estate Inc. 400 Memorial Drive Ext., Suite 100 Greer, SC 29651


Charles B. Langston Jr. 1992

122 $47,320,757

17 182 1

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

Lee & Associates Greenville / Spartanburg 101 W. Court St., Suite A Greenville, SC 29601


P. Randall Bentley 2005

106 -

11 145 2

Flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse

Coldwell Banker Commercial Caine 117 Williams St. Greenville, SC 29601


Brad Halter 1933

95 $76,304,806

13 87 2

Flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse

Avison Young – South Carolina Inc. 656 S. Main St., Suite 200 Greenville, SC 29601


Christopher B. Fraser 2013

65 $24,035,408

10 54 1

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer 15 S. Main St., Suite 502 Greenville, SC 29601


Brian J. Young 1913

56 $89,811,827

7 47 1

Flex, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse

Cardinal Commercial Properties 100 Orchard Park Drive, Suite 26262 Greenville, SC 29616


Robert Leland Brissie Jr. 2013

54 $10,500,000

1 35 1

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

KDS Commercial Properties LLC 340 Rocky Slope Road, Suite 302 Greenville, SC 29607


Michael W. Kiriakides 2001

46 $71,159,973

12 59 1

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

Pintail Capital Partners LLC 135 S. Main St., Suite 101 Greenville, SC 29601


Ross Kester 2015

46 $66,435,534

10 38 1

Flex, health care, income-producing, industrial, land, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment

McDaniel & Co. 446 Oak Grove Road Spartanburg, SC 29301


William A. "Bill" McDaniel 1983

45 $18,000,000

4 86 1

Income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse

Joy Real Estate Co. Inc. 309 E. Butler Road Mauldin, SC 29662


Craig Bailey 1975

4 $687,000

6 2 2

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

Carroll Properties Corp. 1989 S. Pine St. Spartanburg, SC 29302


Elizabeth C. Belenchia, Thomas A. Belenchia 1976

2 $1,250,000

1 12 1

Agricultural, health care, hotel, motel, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, warehouse, opportunity zone, new market tax credit, abandoned textile mills, historic, international specialist in FDI and site selection

The Burgess Co. LLC 37 Villa Road, Suite 200 Greenville, SC 29615


William A. Burgess, Grayson Burgess 2009


3 33 1

Flex, health care, income-producing, industrial, land, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse

Crawford Associates Inc. 2 Persimmon Lane Greenville, SC 29609


William D. Crawford 1986


1 1

Income-producing, land, multifamily

M.S. Shore Co. Inc. 904 N. Church St. Greenville, SC 29601


M.S. Shore 1985


2 50 1

Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

McCoy-Wright Inc. 109 S. McDuffie St. Anderson, SC 29624


Emory J. Williamson Jr. 1980


5 120 1

Flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse

Jeff Richardson Co. 3706 E. North St. Greenville, SC 29611


Caroline Richardson Mahaffey 1926


5 8 1

Agricultural, hotel, motel, income-producing, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, sports, entertainment, warehouse, transitional

Shaw Resources Inc. 126 Millport Circle, Suite 200 Greenville, SC 29607


Jack E Shaw 1954


2 50 1

Flex, health care, income-producing, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse

Vernon Co. Real Estate 6510 State Park Road Travelers Rest, SC 29690

864-834 9081

John O. Vernon 1980



Agricultural, flex, health care, hotel, motel, industrial, land, multifamily, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse, licensed residential building services

Windsor Aughtry Co. Inc. 40 W. Broad St., Suite 500 Greenville, SC 29601

864-271-9855 -

Jay Alexander 1988


12 90 1

Flex, health care, hotel, motel, income-producing, industrial, land, office, restaurant, retail, warehouse

Because of space constraints, sometimes only the top-ranked companies are printed. View the full list online at Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to

Researched by GSA Business Report staff



May 4 - May 17, 2020

Upstate office vacancy rate falls slightly in first quarter Staff Report

Target your market in an upcoming issue of the GSA Business Report

MAY 18

MANUFACTURING & AEROSPACE List: Manufacturers Bonus List: SC Aerospace Companies Advertising Deadline: May 4 JUNE 1

ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION (AEC) List: Engineering Firms Advertising Deadline: May 18 JUNE 15

MIDYEAR ECONOMIC FORECAST List: Largest Employers Advertising Deadline: June 1


acancy in the Upstate’s office space market has dropped 20 basis points to 8% since the last quarter, while retail properties face furrows in absorption and spikes in vacancy, according to a Q1 report from Avison Young. Industrial space vacancy across Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson area saw a more subtle drop at 6.2% overall, with Greenville County’s vacancy rate falling by 20 basis points since the fourth quarter of 2019 and Anderson County seeing a slight increase to about 2.5% vacancy despite a much smaller inventory than the other markets, according to the report. Spartanburg’s industrial vacancy rate for the quarter was 6.3%. Still, the report expects increased vacancy in Greenville due to uncertainty in the market. Twenty-nine industrial properties of more than 20,000 square feet were sold with 4.65 million square feet under construction, according to the report. The average rental price leveled at $3.81, a slight increase from the last quarter for the tri-county area, with sales prices averaging at $71.43 per square foot. New tenants absorbed 61,660 square feet of office space within the first quarter — the eighth quarter of positive office absorption — but reduced vacancy could also stem from a slow down in deliverables. Anderson, Greenville and Spar-

tanburg markets saw a respective 1.9%, 7.1% and 4.6% vacancy rate. Overall rent increased from the last quarter to $20.87 per square foot with average sales price at $130.22 per square foot, but the report noted that many landlords are trying to provide relief to tenants following the pandemic-created shutdown. More than 194,000 square feet of offices were under construction, notably Greenville’s 184,000-square-foot Camperdown site. Net absorption for office space peaked over 225,000 square feet in the fourth quarter of last year, while this quarter remains lower than the approximately 100,000 absorbed at the same time in 2019. Only 19 retail properties at 5,000 square feet and up were sold during this quarter across the Upstate, with the sales price averaging at $110.33. Vacancy rates for retail properties in Anderson County and Spartanburg County shot to a respective 10.4% and 9.0% vacancy rate, a sharp increase from an approximate 8% in the past quarter, while Greenville County’s vacancy dropped slightly to 4.6%. Rent also decreased from the past quarter from above $9 per square foot to $8.89. Absorption for the three markets has been negative since the first quarter of last year at an approximate negative-140,000 square feet. More than 105,000 square feet of negative absorption stems from the Anderson County market, according to the report.



List: Restaurants with Banquet Facilities Advertising Deadline: June 29

Corporate Center Business Park welcomes Global Transplant Solutions Staff Report


TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS List: Third-Party Logistics Providers Bonus List: Warehouse Services Advertising Deadline: July 13

For advertising information, call Rick Jenkins at (864) 720-1224


lobal Transplant Solutions, an organ preservation and transplant company with distribution centers in Toronto and Spartanburg, moved into an 11,300-square-foot flex space at the Corporate Center Business Park. The company, which moved in April 1, develops products used in organ donation around the world, according to a news release. “We are happy to have had a chance to work with Colliers International and Corporate Center to find a space for our growing company,” Tim Bruce, chief operating officer of Global Transplant Solutions, said in the release. “Everyone involved did

a great job finding a space that fulfills all of our specific business needs. We look forward to celebrating our company’s presence in Spartanburg with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony once the COVID-19 situation subsides.” Corporate Center is a roughly 400,000-square-foot business park near Interstate 85. “We are thrilled to welcome Global Transplant Solutions to our business park,” Peter Weisman, owner of Corporate Center, said in the release. “I have enjoyed learning about their company and working with them to create a space that will set them up for success.” The lease was negotiated through Richard Barrett and Brannan Hudson, members of Colliers International’s industrial and flex brokerage team.

At Work


Business Digest

program. Throughout the next year, United Ministries will clean up trash and litter, report vandalism or safety concerns, and assess whether there is a need for amenity upgrades.

J.M. Smith sells technology company From left: Tim Morrison, Madi Nalley, Kay Roper, Laura Coleman Nickles, Gina Smith and Michael McCullough.

Park logo earns award

The new logo for Cancer Survivors Park was recognized with a silver Addy Award in the 2020 American Advertising Federation Awards competition presented by the local AAF Greenville chapter. The logo, which features one of Greenville’s newest landmarks, was designed by Infinity Marketing. Cancer Survivors Park has been open to the public in downtown Greenville since 2018.

Francisco Partners, a technology-focused growth equity firm, announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Smith Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of J.M. Smith Corp. in Spartanburg. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Smith Technologies will remain headquartered in Spartanburg. J.M. Smith will continue to operate as the parent company for Smith Drug Co., RX Medic and SMS.

Spec building under construction

A third multi-tenant Class A speculative industrial building is under construction at Augusta Grove, an industrial business park on Augusta Road in Greenville County. The building on Grove Reserve Parkway will be 158,886 square feet and known as Grove Reserve. NAI Earle Furman is marketing the Grove Reserve building for lease.

Way’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Mary Black Foundation committed $25,000 as a matching grant to United Way’s United for All Fund. The United for All Fund is a disaster relief fund that has been activated in response to COVID-19. The fund directly supports individuals and families in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties through United Way’s Community Resource Coordinator program.

Converse adds master’s program

Converse College announced that its new Master of Management in Professional Leadership degree program will begin in the fall. This program is designed for working professionals and will focus on the application of leadership in a variety of fields. Classes are a hybrid of in-person and online, and may be taken on the Converse campus in Spartanburg or at Converse’s alternate location at the University Center of Greenville.

New restaurant planned on Hartwell

Hydradyne opens in Greer

Hydradyne LLC, a provider of fluid power systems, opened a branch at 1957 S.C. Highway 101, Greer. Hydradyne offers sales, service, repair and fabrication of hydraulic and pneumatic motion control products. The branch is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Triumph partners with PNC Bank

Greenville Triumph Soccer Club announced a partnership with PNC Bank for the 2020 Season that will feature a fan experience and community program benefiting the Overbrook Child Development Center. Through this relationship, PNC will make a donation to Overbrook Child Development Center for every Triumph corner kick taken at Legacy Early College, the Triumph’s home field.

United Ministries adopts bus stops

United Ministries is partnering with Greenlink to improve the bus stops located near the Learning Center at 503 Vardry St. through Greenlink’s Adopt-A-Stop

Lakeside Lodge Clemson, the soon-toopen condo/hotel located on Lake Hartwell, said it plans to open a restaurant and bar called Traditions on the Lake. Traditions on the Lake’s lunch and dinner menu will offer a mix of American classics and international favorites with a Southern twist using locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant will include seating for 160 guests along with private dining and events space. Lakeside Lodge Clemson is scheduled to open this spring. The condo/hotel has 118 residences on Lake Hartwell across from Clemson University.

VantagePoint launches platform

Greenville-based VantagePoint Marketing launched a new digital marketing and sales automation platform called VantagePoint 365. This platform offers automated sales, marketing and customer-service functions, including lead tracking, video conferencing, email marketing automations, social media scheduling, chat bots, and marketing and sales analytics.

Partnership support relief

The Mary Black Foundation and United Way of the Piedmont announced a new partnership to raise funds for United

manufacturing capacity to make and deliver more than 80,000 face shields to providers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The company worked with Multiplastics of Mt. Pleasant, the S.C. Department of Commerce and SCBio to put plans in place quickly. Humimic typically makes synthetic gel and medical trainer products. The company is working to develop nasal swabs and re-usable face masks, as well.

Senior living units to be built

Atlas Senior Living said it plans to add 110 independent living units at Fairview Park, a senior living community in Simpsonville with assisted living and memory care services. The independent living community will be called Legacy Reserve at Fairview Park. The expected completion date is summer 2021.

NGU receives national recognition

North Greenville University said its online general studies degree program ranked No. 13 in the 35 Best Online General Studies Degrees for 2020 list released by The general studies degree option prepares students for advanced work in a variety of fields.

Kopis adds accounting product

Greenville software developer Kopis has created a new product called Adept to help businesses transition from simple accounting systems to an Enterprise Resource Planning platform. Adept is an add-on for Dynamics 365 Business Central that helps keep common workflows for 90% of the accounting functions, which reduces the training burden that comes with switching. The product streamlines the onboarding process to reduce the initial start-up phase that hinders most people from using ERP in their businesses, the company said.

Humimic shifts to PPE

Greenville-based Humimic Medical said it repurposed its product designs and

Miracle Hills adds COVID-19 shelter

Miracle Hill Ministries said it partnered with local health systems, governments and other community partners to open quarantine space for the homeless population at Greenville Rescue Mission. The effort is an interim solution for this population until South Carolina’s medical surge plan is implemented by Gov. Henry McMaster’s Covid-19 response team, Miracle Hill said. The quarantine space, located in the gymnasium at Greenville Rescue Mission, has been outfitted with cots and supplies. The space initially will have the capacity to house several dozen individuals who have tested positive for the virus. Prisma Health will provide medical resources, and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System will provide additional supplies.

Submit items using our online submission portal: Publication is subject to editorial discretion.


May 4 - May 17, 2020

People in the News ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The U.S. Department of Commerce appointed Erin Ford, executive vice president of SCBio, as a member of South Carolina’s District Export Council for Ford 2020-2021. Ford was appointed by Ana Guevara, deputy assistant secretary for U.S. field operations in the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

EDUCATION Southern Wesleyan University announced the selection of April White Pugh as provost. Pugh has been serving as interim provost since June and previously served Southern Wesleyan as vice provost for academic affairs and associate vice president for academic excellence.


Marcus Guess joined Tri-County Technical College as chief of police. Guess, who has worked in law enforcement for more than 16 years, spent the last decade at the Albany State University Police Department.



Melvin C. Williams, vice president with S&ME Inc., has been reappointed by the American Council of Engineering Companies to serve on the organization’s Williams planning cabinet. Williams was also appointed to serve on the ACEC Transportation Steering Committee and the ACEC/American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Joint Committee

Kevin Laird was named executive vice president of engineering for Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood. Laird joined the architecture and engineering firm in BirLaird mingham in 2005 and moved to Greenville in 2007 to open its first office in the state.


an insurance adviser for the business sector. Lee is based out of Clemson and Greenville. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a certified insurance counselor.

April “A.J.” Hayes joined Turner Agency Insurance as a personal lines account manager. Hayes specializes in risk management solutions for homes, secondary Hayes properties, automobiles, valuable items, recreational vehicles, boats and umbrella coverage.



Miller Place Residential Care LLC hired Kelbie Bowman as residential manager. Wall



The Cliffs hired Ed Greene as food and beverage director at The Cliffs at Keowee Springs. Greene most recently worked as food and beverage manager of Patriots Point Links on the Charleston Harbor.


Lakeside Lodge Clemson named Echo Bostrom assistant general manager of the condo/hotel and appointed Savannah Russell special events director. Bostrom has worked for Southern Resort Group and at The Residences at Biltmore in Asheville. Russell is a graduate of Clemson University.

INSURANCE Turner Agency Insurance announced that Charles “Chuck” Lee joined the team as


Teresa Kays and Kiley Wall of Turner Agency Insurance attained the certified insurance service representative designation after completion of courses and exams covering insurance risks and exposures.


MANUFACTURING GreenWood Inc. hired Dean Swartout as site manager at the Honeywell Aerospace Facility in Greer to manage machinery preventive maintenance, industriSwartout al hygiene support, process waste-water treatment, plant engineering project support and safety. Sky Foster, communications manager at BMW Manufacturing, was named the 2020 South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Woman of the Year. The award was Foster created to honor an outstanding female South Carolinian for her contributions to the state’s manufacturing industry.

Garrett Scott, vice president of Colliers International South Carolina, received the Top 5 Industrial Transaction by Square Feet award from the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Lee Boling joined the company’s North Pleasantburg office as a sales associate. Boling Boling has 20 years of experience as a real estate investor, apprentice appraiser and real estate consultant.



Davis & Floyd Inc. announced that John Redfern Jr., CFO and vice president of accounting, has retired. Travis Smith has been promoted as the new CFO. He Redfern started at Davis & Floyd in 2017 and has 18 years of accounting, financial and tax experience.

Seth Withers joined KTM Solutions as business development leader. Withers has worked with large and small companies to develop new opportunities.




Submit items using our online submission portal: Publication is subject to editorial discretion.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Beth Blom joined the company as a sales associate at the Dodds & Associates office, 230 Buist Ave., Greenville. Coldwell Banker Caine hired A.C. Rodwell as a residential sales agent at its Greenville office. Rodwell has experience in auditing and business management. Coldwell Banker Caine named Andrea Owens Meadows the sales manager for The Reserve at Lake Keowee to lead a team of five onsite real estate agents. Coldwell Banker Caine hired Katie Reid as a residential sales agent at its Greenville office. Reid began her career in the non-profit industry before pursuing a real estate career.



Opening business and returning to work

Last month, we discussed ideas on how to manage a business and a workplace amid a pandemic. This month, we discuss opening up your business and returning employees to the workplace, from remote locations, furlough (unpaid leave of absence) or layoff (termination of employment with PHILLIP A. KILGORE recall potential). Some states are experiencing decreases in COVID-19 cases and are anxious to reopen. The White House has issued guidelines for states to consider when reopening. Citing DHEC projections that South Carolina was beyond the estimated peak in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Henry McMaster issued a new executive order on April 20, which allows certain “non-essential” businesses to reopen. Gov. McMaster also has formed a COVID-19 advisory team to consider and recommend economic revitalization plans assist in reopening South Carolina. There is every reason to expect that momentum to reopen will increase.

ing older workers or those with immunodeficiency issues, for example, to wait before coming back on the payroll may seem prudent, but it also could lead to age or disability discrimination suits. In choosing employees for return or rehire, employers should identify specific business needs and legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for the selections. Some selection factors may include skill sets needed, record of productivity, job criticality, cross training and seniority, among others. It also will be important to select appropriate decision makers and train decision makers on appropriate selection criteria and Equal Employment Opportunity principles.

Managing the reluctant employee

Protecting the Workplace

Employers which have remained open throughout the pandemic, albeit on a limited basis, are already familiar with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on protecting the workplace and assessing possible exposures. The CDC continuously updates this guidance and has added additional guidance, including what to do in the event of a confirmed or suspected exposure (search their site for “cleaning and disinfecting your facility”) and factors to consider in returning critical employees to work after a suspected exposure (“safety practices for critical workers with potential exposures”). In addition, the CDC has provided general community mitigation guidance which provides very helpful information on how to protect those present in various communities, including workplaces. Using these resources, employers can put together a plan, with reasonable measures, to allow a safe return of employees to the workplace, including: • Form a team to develop, implement and manage local protocols and logistics. • Take an inventory of and order

File photo

necessary sanitary supplies and protective equipment. • Develop and implement a site disinfection protocol, an isolation protocol to follow if an employee becomes symptomatic or reports a possible exposure, a process for receipt and disinfection of inbound materials, supplies and packages. • Maintain social distancing by use of techniques such as staggered shifts, alternative workweeks (e.g. Monday-Thursday and Friday-Sunday), and altering office layouts. Employers also should consider implementing measures for screening employees returning to the physical workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has now acknowledged that employers may implement temperature screening measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. EEOC also has confirmed that employers “may ask such employees if they are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, such as fever or chills and a cough or sore throat.” Moreover, EEOC has issued guidance that an

“employer may choose to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus.” Employers wishing to use these screening techniques should seek guidance from health officials, follow manufacturer’s directions and consult with legal counsel. As with any medical related inquiry, information gained from either of these screening techniques should be maintained strictly confidential.

Rehiring furloughed employees

Many concerns related to the initial hiring process likewise apply in the return to work or rehire context. Returning all furloughed or laid off employees back to full duty generally does not present serious legal risk. It is unlikely, however, that many employers will be able to bring back all employees at the same time. Employers should exercise caution in selecting those who come back in the initial waves. We all have learned that COVID-19 particularly affects vulnerable individuals and the instinct may be to protect them from possible workplace exposures. Tell-

In some sense, workplaces utilizing good sanitation methods and social distancing are safer than other settings, such as churches or grocery stores. There even have been press reports of a high proportion of COVID-19 cases arising from home exposures. Nevertheless, some workers who remained in active status while working from remote locations may be reluctant to return to a traditional physical workplace at this time. If employees can remain productive by continuing to telework, employers should consider giving weight to such preferences for the moment. Moreover, some employees may have complications from COVID-19 infections (e.g., pneumonia) or preexisting medical related conditions that may qualify as disabilities under the ADA, triggering the duty to provide a reasonable accommodation. In the context of a pandemic, some accommodations may meet an employee’s needs on a temporary basis without causing undue hardship on the employer. The reality is that the return to work process may take a while, so having fewer employees in the workplace may be beneficial. Over time, employers will be able to gradually learn and implement existing and newly developed processes. Phillip A. Kilgore has been in the practice of litigation and labor and employment law in the Greenville office of Ogletree Deakins since 1986. He is the office managing shareholder.

We want to hear from you Write: Ross Norton, Editor GSA Business Report, 35 Cessna Court, Suite A Greenville, S.C. 29607



May 4 - May 17, 2020

THE WADE FAMILY IS FINISHING THE TRAIL Members of the Wade family hiked and biked the entire Palmetto Trail from Walhalla to Awendaw in 2018. Our family’s experience showcased the importance of the Trail in providing the opportunity for all to appreciate the beauty and diversity of our State.

Blue Wall, Hub City and USC Upstate passages of the Palmetto Trail

For Palmetto Trail info, visit

The Wade Family Fund is pleased to support improvements to the Blue Wall, Hub City and USC Upstate passages of the Palmetto Trail. New boardwalks and signage have been installed on the Waterfall Loop of the Blue Wall passage, enhancing this hiking option on one of the most popular passages in the Upstate.The Hub City passage will be re-routed with new signage highlighting the beautiful corridor in downtown Spartanburg. Finally, .5 mile of new trail, a 30-foot boardwalk and new signage will make the USC Upstate passage an attractive gateway to Spartanburg. Together, Let’s #FinishTheTrail!

Want to help #FinishTheTrail? Call (803) 771-0870 | (803) 771-0590

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