Jump to Main Content

South Carolina District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

"Listening" to His Business Key to Success for CEO of Award-Winning S.C. Business

Know thyself. And in the small business world, know thy business. As Rich Hagins, CEO of Upstate firm US&S, Inc., has realized, that's the basis for business success.

A retired Navy commander, Rich started his business in 2003 as Universal Supplies and Services with an initial $25,000 investment and two unpaid employees based out of a two-room Greenville office. Its initial focus was on janitorial and various other services, like security and maintenance.

Two years later, in May 2005, the business was accepted into the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, designed to help small disadvantaged businesses better compete for procurement opportunities in the federal government arena.

Over the next few years, the business grew by diversifying into additional industries and adding qualified and experienced employees to the team. By 2008, with 15 employees, the company’s capabilities had grown from its janitorial roots to include services like minor... Read More

Myrtle Beach Real Estate Broker Wins S.C.'s Top Small Business Title

In 2007, the housing market imploded. The real estate industry went into a tailspin. And Radha Herring – the 2012 South Carolina Small Business Person of the Year – started Watermark Real Estate Group in Myrtle Beach.

Radha had wanted to be an entrepreneur ever since she was a child growing up in Myrtle Beach. “I always wanted to have a successful business,” she says. “I think the concept of building something from scratch is exciting.”

And Radha had wanted to run a real estate company ever since she bought her first house in 1999.  “Real estate is the only investment you can enjoy with your family while waiting for it to appreciate,” she explains.

After a ten-year corporate career in telecommunications, Radha was ready to make her small business goal a reality in her hometown of Myrtle Beach, part of South Carolina’s famous Grand Strand. One of the first steps she took was reaching out to SCORE. SCORE–an SBA resource partner that provides free,... Read More

Last October, Rhonda Jordan’s husband asked her what she wanted to do with her life. “Run a fabric store,” she answered. “Write a business plan,” he told her. So she did.

In March 2012, Rhonda’s plan became a reality when she opened Tabby Fabric and Studio in downtown Beaufort.

Fast forward to the summer, and bolts of fabrics line the shop’s left wall and sit in stacks on a cutting table. In an adjoining room that serves as the studio, a large table sits across from a row of sewing machines. Just months after starting, the business is already breaking even.

Rhonda credits three factors with Tabby Fabric’s successful start: the business plan, SBA financing and her own ingenuity.

Business Plan

Five years ago, instead of returning to her nursing career, Rhonda decided to enroll in the Savannah College of Art and Design. She had intended to study painting but soon found herself drawn to textiles instead and changed her focus to fabric... Read More

Hilton Head Entrepreneur Finds Success with Local Focus, Nationwide Growth

In 2002, Ramona Fantini traveled to Italy and got her first taste of real gelato – Italy’s own smoother, more flavorful version of ice cream. Hooked, Ramona developed a three-a-day gelato habit during her trip. She also found a calling: Bringing the authentic gelato experience to the U.S. In 2004, she started Pino Gelato, a retail gelato store in Hilton Head that served its own made-from-scratch flavors.

Eight years later, Pino Gelato is thriving thanks to its unique business model that allows it to be both a community-focused small business in Hilton Head and a rapidly expanding brand throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.


Community Focus

In its first few years, Pino Gelato was establishing itself as a vacation tradition for summer visitors to Hilton Head, a popular resort area. Around five years ago, Ramona considered expanding and running a Pino Gelato store in another part of South Carolina. Unsure of how she would market Pino Gelato to... Read More