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Irmo Recycling Company Takes S.C.'s Top Small Business Honor

Release Date: 
Monday, March 31, 2014
Release Number: 
Advisory Number: 
Anna Huntley, 803-253-3753

Rock Hill Staffing Firm Named Runner-Up

The U.S. Small Business Administration has named Nancy Ogburn--founder and president of Irmo recycling company Tomato Palms, LLC--the 2014 South Carolina Small Business Person of the Year. Tomato Palms provides Midlands businesses with fully integrated commercial recycling services, from collection to sorting to monthly weight tracking of the recycled materials.

Melissa Gladden--president of Rock Hill-based staffing firm Carolina Recruitment, LLC--was selected as the runner-up Small Business Person of the Year.

Ogburn started Tomato Palms out of her home in fall 2008 to offer commercial recycling services as a cost-effective and convenient alternative to the landfill. Today, Tomato Palms occupies a 3000 square foot warehouse and office space and serves 125 clients in four counties. To date, the company has saved more than 1.5 million pounds of waste from the landfill.

"Your innovative solution to South Carolina’s low recycling rate has fueled a business that contributes just as much to our state’s environment and community as to the economy," Elliott Cooper, district director of the South Carolina District Office, told Ogburn in his congratulatory letter to her.

Ogburn serves on the executive board of directors of the South Carolina Recycling Council/Recyclonomics SC. She has been named one of the 2013 Influential Women in Business by the Columbia Regional Business Report and, in 2012, received the Greater Women's Business Council's Trailblazer of the Year award.

Runner-up Small Business Person of the Year Gladden established Carolina Recruitment in 2001. With a permanent staff of 11 and a temporary staff of more than 300, Carolina Recruitment serves more than 50 businesses throughout the Rock Hill and greater Charlotte metro area. In his congratulatory letter, Cooper stated that the business had become "an invaluable asset not only to our state's economy, but also to the wider community."

The SBA will recognize Ogburn and Gladden during the annual Salute to Small Business event on Wednesday, May 7, in Columbia. Ogburn will also represent South Carolina during the National Small Business Week celebration in Washington, D.C., May 15-16, where she will compete with winners from every state and U.S. territory for the title of National Small Business Person of the Year.