The Greenville, SC Chamber's Blog

Welcome to the Greenville Chamber's blog. Here you will be able to find Chamber news and happenings as it happens. Comments and responses to our postings are encouraged. Please, get connected with us, so that we can get connected with you (other social media links can be found below to the right). For more information on the Chamber, please visit us at or give us a call at 864-242-1050.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Congrats to the September SBOM

Congratulations to PLUS INC Business Solutions for being recognized as the Greenville Chamber's Small Business of the Month for September 2009.

Each month the Greenville Chamber recognizes a local small business for its accomplishments by honoring it with the Small Business of the Month Award. To view a complete listing of all 2009 Small Business of the Month award winners, visit There, you will also find a link to register an organization for this prestigious award.

For more information on this program, contact Claudia Wise at 864-239-3728.

About PLUS INC Business Solutions
PLUS INC Business Solutions is proud to have served the Upstate of South Carolina since 1958. Plus Inc was founded by Herb Carson and originally sold typewriters and adding machines (hence the business name which is derived from the plus key on an adding machine). Over half a century has passed, and today Plus Inc specializes in the latest technology such as Konica Minolta and Ricoh digital copiers, multifunction systems, document management, fax machines, business computers, printers and networks. Services offered include troubleshooting and repair of office machines, consultation, hardware upgrades and virus protection, troubleshooting and repairing business computers and network servers and configuring Windows-based networks.

Today, David Carson, President of Plus Inc, strives to continue the tradition of customer service that his father instilled in him when he first started working for the company in 1974. After his father’s death in 1995, David and his two brothers took ownership of the company, and today the company is owned and managed by a partnership of five who are all active employees in the company. Plus Inc’s owners love what they do and are very committed to remaining locally owned and involved in the community. Plus currently has 28 employees.

Plus Inc is an Authorized Dealer for Konica Minolta and Ricoh products and has won many manufacturers awards over the years for outstanding sales and service performance. Plus Inc is an authorized Microsoft Partner and a reseller of Nexlink computer systems and servers. They are authorized resellers of Toshiba and HP notebook computers through their distribution relationships with Ingram Micro and Synnex. Recently, they partnered with another local company to provide their customers with a remote backup and recovery service.

As a local company, Plus Inc understands that community is extremely important and encourages its employees to get involved in their local community, organizations, and churches through volunteer work and donations. Last Christmas, Plus Inc allocated $100 for each employee to donate to a local non-profit organization or church. Plus Inc also provides business services and equipment at a donated or reduced rate on a regular basis to non-profit organizations and churches. Community involvement includes volunteer work or donations for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Taylors Free Medical Clinic, Greenville County Disabilities and Special Needs, Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, local schools, and various food preparation and serving in soup kitchens for multiple churches. Plus Inc also has an internal recycling program as well as a recycling program for customers for toner cartridges and trade-in equipment.

Continuing its dedication to customer satisfaction, Plus Inc is having an open house on October 14 to assist their customers and prospective customers in gaining knowledge about document solutions that can help increase productivity and improve workflow. Workshops will be held to demonstrate scanning solutions, document workflow solutions, electronic account tracking and PDF file conversions. The latest technology from Konica Minolta and Ricoh will also be demonstrated. Please visit their website at for further details.Plus Inc’s focus is on having a professional and family-oriented environment for its employees so that everyone can enjoy their job and love what they do. Plus Inc is proud of the customer service they provide and of the recurring recognition by their customers for satisfaction. You will often hear the owners reminding their team members about having a sense of urgency by stating “Plus Inc is EMS for technology!”

Monday, August 31, 2009

UPSTATE CHAMBER COALITION LAUNCHED - Coalition Formed to Unify Upstate's Voice of Business

The Greenville Chamber today is pleased to announce that it has joined the newly formed Upstate Chamber Coalition. The Upstate Chamber Coalition is an alliance of ten chambers of commerce in the Upstate, which joined forces to better unify its message of the needs of the Upstate to its Upstate legislators and to the entire General Assembly - needs that must be met that will create better jobs, lower the unemployment rate, and raise the Upstate's per capita income. The ten Chambers consist of over 8,000 member-businesses and over 200,000 employees.

"We are excited to join with other chambers to better have our voices heard by more legislators throughout the state," said Chamber President Ben Haskew. "Though we have a responsive and effective delegation here in Greenville County, it is important to increase our effectiveness by pulling in other delegations to fight for more and better jobs, as well as a brighter future for businesses and their employees here in the Upstate and throughout South Carolina."

The Coalition is a contractually bound group of Chambers that are served by lobbyists John DeWorken and Sunnie Harmon. Chambers included in the Coalition are Greenville, Spartanburg, Greer, Anderson, Greenwood, Cherokee, Laurens, Clemson, Walhalla, and Westminster. Besides advocating on behalf of these Chambers through the Upstate Chamber Coalition, DeWorken and Harmon will lead the development of each Chamber's legislative agenda, their grassroots and grasstops programs, and other public policy-related initiatives.

"The Coastal area is largely driven by tourism; the Midlands is driven by government and businesses; the Upstate's economy is driven by business. Knowing that, our needs are unique from other parts of the state," said Upstate Chamber Coalition Lobbyist John DeWorken. "The Upstate Chamber Coalition will be a vehicle by which the Chambers can unify and voice its needs better."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Congrats to The Graphic Cow - July SBOM

The Greenville Chamber announced today that The Graphic Cow is the Chamber’s July 2009 Small Business of the Month.

Each month the Greenville Chamber recognizes a local small business for its accomplishments by honoring it with the Small Business of the Month Award. To view a complete listing of all 2009 Small Business of the Month award winners, visit There, you will also find a link to register an organization for this prestigious award.

For more information on this program, contact Claudia Wise at 864-239-3728.

About The Graphic Cow:
The Graphic Cow designs and produces custom screen-printed and embroidered apparel such as t-shirts, polos and caps. Typical customers are collegiate student organizations, companies, schools, churches, non-profit organizations and many others. The Company was founded in 1994 and has enjoyed revenue growth in each of the past 15 years. The total number of employees working in Greenville and Liberty has increased by over 40 percent in the past 2 years to 40 total employees. The Graphic Cow’s success is simple to explain: They make it simple for their customers. By providing innovative services such as Cow Tagging and T-Banker, The Graphic Cow has changed the way people buy custom apparel.

When customers choose to have their shirts “Cow Tagged,” each shirt is delivered folded, bagged, and labeled with each individual customer’s name and size. This makes distribution of shirts after delivery much easier. Organizations that take advantage of “T-Banker” are able to focus on the fun aspects of the work, like choosing designs, since The Graphic Cow’s software collects all size and order information, then collects payment from each individual customer through PayPal. These services eliminate countless hours of collecting information, payments, processing, and distribution.

Need shirts in a hurry? The Graphic Cow also boasts of industry best lead times, which comes standard with competitive pricing and truly extraordinary customer service.

CEO David Carter explains that “Enhancing the customer experience is our top priority. Our company culture is built around that concept.”

While the commitment to the customer is impressive, the commitment to the community should be recognized as well. The Graphic Cow has made financial and in-kind contributions to 9 different local non-profit organizations in the past 12 months, and employees are encouraged to make an impact. A great example of this community spirit was on display on June 11, at Flour Field, when Andy Coyne, director of corporate sales, broke the World Record for most t-shirts worn at one time by a human being (the new record is 229). The Guinness Book of World Records sanctioned the successful attempt, and all the proceeds were split between The Ronald McDonald House and the Greenville Chapter of The Special Olympics.

For more information on The Graphic Cow, visit or call 800-472-3269.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chamber's 2010 Legislative Survey

By Sunnie Harmon
Sometimes it is hard for one to realize what an impact a business owner or an employee can have on the state legislature, but when a constituent calls his legislator, that phone call makes a difference. Though each member of the General Assembly is aware of who your public policy team represents, it truly hits home when they hear from you, the “real people,” working day in and day out to be successful.
Over 90% of the Chamber’s membership is made up of small businesses. Many large businesses and corporations have in-house lobbyists to act as their voice at the SC State House. Small businesses are not afforded that luxury. That is where your public policy team comes in. We can act as your voice at the SC State House.
Now is the time we begin shaping our 2010 Legislative Agenda. Please complete our legislative survey by visiting the link below. Because the Chamber membership is made up of predominantly small businesses, it is those businesses that determine what issues the Chamber addresses.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Congrats to the June Small Business of the Month -

The Greenville Chamber announced as the June 2009 Small Business of the Month.

Each month the Greenville Chamber recognizes a local small business for its accomplishments by honoring it with the Small Business of the Month Award. To view a complete listing of all 2009 Small Business of the Month award winners, visit To nominate an organization for this award, click here. For more information on this program, contact Claudia Wise at 864-239-3728.

Intrigued by the notion of creating original, ready-to-hang artwork from personal photos, drawings, and memorabilia, Betsy launched in March of 2006. A booth at the 2006 HBA Southern Home Show proved to be an excellent starting point for . Soon afterwards, CanvasOne was chosen to produce canvases depicting signature shots of the Cliffs Golf Courses, as well as pop art canvases of celebrities for the BMW Charity Golf Tournament. Also in 2006, CanvasOne collaborated with British artists, Wyllie-O’Hagen, to produce “The Hope that Surrounds Us”, a canvas celebrating ovarian cancer survivors, in support of the South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

Artist, Greg Joens, has been with the company since its inception. Greg creates original pencil drawings from photography, pop art, digital paintings, restorations, collage-art, colorizations and also commissions original religious art for churches. Greg’s commemorative canvas of Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, was recently chosen by the Fuller Center in Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate Mr. Fuller’s life’s work. Greg’s art on canvas has been presented to former President Jimmy Carter, Jack Black, Gary Player, and the most recent 2009 GROW conference keynote speaker, Stephanie Shaeffer.

Over the past three years, CanvasOne has expanded to create unique partnerships with other companies in the Upstate, offering turn-key art solutions to their clients. For example, Pazdan-Smith Group architects called on CanvasOne to produce fine-art giclĂ©e canvases from the works of Greenville photographer and conservationist, Tommy Wyche; Mr. Wyche’s photography is featured in the new IMA Associates Building. Additionally, CanvasOne partners with Food Equipment Company providing original and affordable artwork to the restaurant industry. The Village at Pelham Hospital and The Cascades feature canvases from local, fine-art photographers, Kevin Silvey and Lynn Pilewski. Providing secure installation of canvases and guaranteeing their quality, has contributed to CanvasOne’s reputation as not only a strong local business, but one that enjoys a wide range of both national and international clients.

A philanthropic mindset has led Betsy to ensure that CanvasOne returns a portion of its profits to the community. To that end, CanvasOne has donated canvas to support the American Cancer Society, Bridges From Augusta, The Greenville Humane Society and numerous other area charities. CanvasOne has also donated canvas portraits to families of pre-mature babies, in association with Indigo Skye Photography.

An active member of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Betsy participated in the 2009 GROW Conference. She is an active member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church and currently serves on the legislative committee of United Methodist Women. She also serves on the Board of Wade Hampton High School’s PTSA as the head of the newly-formed Business Partner’s Program. She volunteers with the Wade Hampton High School Cross Country Team, the Greenville Fine Arts Center Drama Program, Paris Elementary PTA, as well as several other organizations. These organizations benefit not only from Betsy’s time and energy, but also have been recipients of donated CanvasOne artwork used in fundraising campaigns.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


The Greenville Chamber announced today that Merge was recognized last month during the Chamber’s Board of Directors meeting as the May 2009 Small Business of the Month.

Each month the Greenville Chamber recognizes a local small business for its accomplishments by honoring it with the Small Business of the Month Award. To view a complete listing of all 2009 Small Business of the Month award winners, visit For more information on this program, contact Claudia Wise at 864-239-3728.
About Merge:
Since founding Merge in 2002, Adam Landrum has focused on building the leading digital strategy firm in the southeast by providing digital marketing and strategy services for established, mid-sized companies.

In 2007 Merge moved from Atlanta to Greenville. A 1996 graduate of Clemson University, Adam knew the Upstate would also be a great place for him and his wife Shely to raise their four children. That decision turned out to be a great move not only for the Landrum family, but for Merge as the company continued to experience great success and progress thanks to the wealth of resources and potential the Upstate offers mid-sized businesses.

Because of Merge’s commitment to excellence, the company has experienced tremendous growth both in revenue and in staff. Since Merge’s 2002 launch, revenue has increased by more than 50% each year. Merge has created eight new jobs for the local economy since relocating to Greenville.

The Merge team has worked on a variety of projects with a client list that includes T&S Brass, Furman Co, Oobe, and Table 301. With each project, Merge commits to creating not only a great functioning and well-designed website, but an online presence that aligns clients’ web objectives with their business objectives in order to reach their business goals.

Merge’s good fortune has allowed the company to give back to the community through volunteer work with a variety of organizations including Hands on Greenville, The Rotary “Read to Me” Program, Holiday Lights, Meals on Wheels, The Frazee Dream Center, The Greenville Chamber of Commerce and PULSE. Merge has also provided free and discounted web services for non-profit organizations.

In the future Merge will continue to serve the community and grow its business in Greenville. Future plans include adding as many as fifteen more positions within five years while striving to be the leading digital strategy firm in the southeast.

About the Greenville Chamber:
The Greenville Chamber is the largest business organization in the Upstate, serving more than 2,200 members. The Chamber's mission is to build one of the premier business communities in the world by: Leading through collaboration, building community prosperity, being the voice of business and enhancing quality of life. For more information on the Greenville Chamber, call 864-242-1050, or visit

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

David Chamberlain, Ambassador of the Month

Each month the Greenville Chamber highlights one of its ambassadors as the Ambassador of the Month. David Chamberlain was recognized in April 2009.
David was born in Maryville, TN. He attended UTK and majored in agriculture. He has 28 years of sales marketing and management experience in the fields of agriculture financial services and food services. In November of 2002 he started Integrity Business Solutions and after buying out his partner, he is now the sole owner. David has coached baseball at the Mauldin Recreation Department for the last 8 years and serves on the advisory board of the Greenville office of Easter Seals. David attends Disciples Unites Methodist Church where he sings in the choir.
Congrats David!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Legislative Update

While the Legislature is in session, the Greenville Chamber sends out a Legislative Update each week to those members interested. Not receiving the updates, but interested? Contact Sunnie Harmon or John DeWorken at 864-242-1050 or by e-mail ( or

Below is this week's update from Columbia:

Point of Sale Passes out of Committee
A bill that changes the way in which homes are assessed passed out of a Senate Finance subcommittee this week. Currently and as a result of Act 388 (Property Tax Bill that passed in 2006), homes are assessed when they are sold or when they go through major renovations, which is called “point of sale.” The bill would provide that homes’ assessment at the point of sale could not increase more than 15 percent over its last assessment. The property will then be reassessed every five years and would only be able to increase their value on the books by 15 percent over that five-year period. The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

General Assembly to Adjourn Early
Because of budget restraints to the operations of both the House and Senate, the General Assembly will adjourn early this year by two weeks. The last day of session, called sine die, will be May 21. The House and Senate are expected to return the third week of June to take up Governor vetoes.

Anti-Employee Free Choice Passes Major Hurdle
The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston), passed out a bill sponsored by Rep. Eric Bedingfield (R-Greenville) that would constitutionally guarantee the rights of South Carolina workers a secret ballot vote when voting for or against unionizing at the workplace. Current law provides for secret ballot votes, but a federal bill called the Employee Free Choice Act, that is moving through Congress, which would strip the rights of a secret ballot vote for workers. The bill now goes to the full Senate for its consideration. The bill must receive a two-thirds majority to pass since it amends the state’s constitution.

House to Take Up Port Restructuring Bill Next Week
When the House Returns next week, it will take up a bill that will restructure the SC Ports Authority Board. The bill provides that the Governor would no longer be able to remove Ports Board members without cause. It also extends Board members’ tenure to five years.

House Takes Break this Week
The Senate was the only chamber in session this week, as the House, trying to save operating dollars, took this week off. They will return next week, before both chambers adjourn May 21.

Cigarette Tax Amended in Senate Finance
The Senate, was unable to agree on how the revenue generated from a cigarette tax increase should be spent. Senate Democrats would like for part or all of the monies go towards Medicaid, so the Federal government’s three-to-one match would be guaranteed to South Carolina. Most Republican Senators like the House’s plan to use the money to offer premium assistance to small employers and their employees. Since the majority agrees in implementing the tax, Senator Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee) proposed an amendment Thursday that would increase South Carolina’s lowest in the nation cigarette tad by 50-cents. The revenue would be placed in a Health Care Trust fund for one year at which time, House and Senate members would be given the opportunity to repeal, increase or decrease the tax. After a year they would also have a chance to vote on how the tax money should be spent. The House has vowed to refuse any Senate amendments to the Speaker’s legislation. The Speaker of the House has already expressed his distaste with the Senate’s version. The Senate is set to debate H. 3584 on the floor next week.

Budget Expected to be Sent to Governor’s Desk Next Week
It is the will of House and Senate leaders to send the budget to Governor Sanford’s desk by the close of next week. Leaders in both bodies are trying to compromise on a few provisions before approving it. If they are unable to reach an agreement, a conference committee will be assembled.

For more information visit

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


The Greenville Chamber announced today that among the 309 urban areas that participated in the first quarter 2009 ACCRA Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living in Greenville, SC was at 89.2 percent of the national average. The national cost of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan), NY to just over 17 percent below the national average in Pryor Creek, OK.

The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is published quarterly by C2ER (Council for Community and Economic Research) and measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Small differences should not be interpreted as showing a measurable difference.

The composite index is based on six components - housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services. The indices - relative to the US average of 100 - for the components in Greenville were:

Composite 89.2Grocery Items 104.5Housing 73.0Utilities 84.7Transportation 89.7Health Care 99.0Miscellaneous 97.8

"This continues to show that Greenville is well-positioned to compete for talent from across the country and world by providing an unsurpassed quality of life at a reasonable cost," said Hank Hyatt, vice president of economic development at the Greenville Chamber. "The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is widely used by economic developers, real estate professionals and others to objectively gauge cost differentials. We are not surprised to see these results and are glad to know that others will see these as well."

For additional information on the ACCRA Cost of Living Index results, contact Hank Hyatt at either or 864-239-3714. To subscribe to the quarterly ACCRA Cost of Living Index or for information on the COLI Web Calculator or the COLI Historical Index, go to

The Greenville Chamber is the largest business organization in the Upstate, serving more than 2,200 members. The Chamber's mission is to build one of the premier business communities in the world by: Leading through collaboration, building community prosperity, being the voice of business and enhancing quality of life. For more information on the Greenville Chamber, call 864-242-1050, or visit



The Greenville Chamber announced today that its premier small business event, Grow Expo ‘09, presented by Business Black Box, Carolina First Center and Entercom Upstate, will be held during the 2009 National Small Business Week, on May 19, 2009, from 11:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Carolina First Center, located at One Exposition Dr. in Greenville.

Grow Expo ‘09 will provide networking and learning, in addition to an opportunity for area businesses to showcase to vendors, clients and talent in the exhibitor hall.
Regional networking will be provided as four Upstate chambers have partnered with the Greenville Chamber for this event (Fountain Inn, Mauldin, Simpsonville and Greer).

“The Greenville Chamber is striving To build one of the premier business communities in the world,” said Chamber Chairman Tim Justice of Rescom Construction. “In order to do so, we must Lead through Collaboration, which means working together not only with our members and the Greenville business community, but with all the Chambers throughout our region to provide our community the best resources available.”

In addition to networking, starting at 12:00 p.m., Grow Expo ‘09 will provide attendees with a variety of learning opportunities to grow business.

“GROW Expo ’09 is designed for attendees to grow their thinking, their relationships and their influence,” commented Brenda Laakso, vice president of entrepreneurship and small business with the Greenville Chamber. “By providing best practice forums, this event will take attendees and businesses to the next level—ranging from CEOs of emerging businesses, fast-growth technology entrepreneurs, women business executives, human resource leaders, non-profit directors, sales professionals, and young professionals.”

From 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Grow Expo will feature the keynote speaker, Stefanie Schaeffer, winner of NBC’s 2007 The Apprentice to Donald Trump.

Throughout the day, over 100 Upstate businesses will showcase their businesses through the Grow Expo Exhibitor Hall. In addition to these businesses, a small business resource center will also be available.

“One of the most exciting parts of the 2009 Grow Expo is the opportunity for our local small businesses to showcase their products or services,” said Steve Bailey of Merus Refreshment Services, and the 2009 SBA Small Business Person of the Year for South Carolina. “As a Grow Expo exhibitor, your company will experience maximum exposure to the event participants, with the potential for tremendous impact on your business.”
Admission is free to those business leaders who register in advance. To register, visit the events page at For more information, contact Ginger McKenzie at 864-239-3708 or

Click here to view the day's agenda.

The Greenville Chamber is the largest business organization in the Upstate, serving more than 2,200 members. The Chamber's mission is to build one of the premier business communities in the world by: Leading through collaboration, building community prosperity, being the voice of business and enhancing quality of life. For more information on the Greenville Chamber, call 864-242-1050, or visit