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Greenville Business Magazine

Thoughts on Small Business, Home Renovations, and the Presidential Primaries

Jun 13, 2023 04:04PM ● By David Dykes

Monthly musings…

It wasn’t an outright endorsement, but The Wall Street Journal said in April that U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s optimism might stand out in the presidential primaries. 

In a Review & Outlook opinion piece, the Journal wrote: “One regrettable reality of today’s politics is that a left-right condominium is preaching that America is a failed experiment. All the more reason to welcome GOP Sen. Tim Scott as a presidential candidate running on better days ahead and a ‘new American sunrise.’ The question is whether he can refine his aspirational politics into a credible agenda for national renewal.”

It also noted the South Carolinian has been a senator for a decade, “which isn’t an asset in an era when most of the country dislikes Washington. But he has been largely a constructive force, as Senators go. He helped build the GOP coalition for tax reform in 2017, and he rightly says the Tax Cut and Jobs Act built ‘the most inclusive economy’ in recent U.S. memory, with record low unemployment for Black and Hispanic Americans.”

Further, the Journal said, “The GOP is better for having a U.S. Senator who can speak cogently on race in America. Worth revisiting is Mr. Scott’s 2016 speech about being pulled over seven times in a year while driving. He describes how his brother, a sergeant major in the Army, was stopped because a cop assumed his Volvo might be stolen.”

And it concluded, “Mr. Scott is a powerful fundraiser, but he has never had a tough Senate race, and his political skills have never been tested on the national stage. If he can make it through the GOP primaries, he could be formidable in a general election as the candidate of national revival for a country that sorely needs it.”

With former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley also in the race, the presidential primaries no doubt will be interesting to watch.

Cheering for small business

Not often you hear such excitement as occurred May 4 when CommunityWorks and the Greenville Chamber hosted the Seventh Annual Excellence In Entrepreneurship Small Business Awards to honor six local businesses.

People stood and cheered, loudly and liberally, as more than 150 guests gathered at Embassy Suites by Hilton Greenville Golf Resort and Conference Center to celebrate small businesses and enjoy a reception followed by the program and awards presentation.

Tim Pecoraro, founder of Uphill Strategies, served as the emcee. Ebony Sullivan, chief operating officer of Cassy Electric, a full-service electrical contractor, delivered the keynote address. The event was sponsored by 17 companies, and the awards were selected by an expert panel of local business leaders and past award winners.

Pecoraro cited the importance of changemakers. Everyone can make a difference, he said, adding it takes a leader with vision to help people with their dreams.

For her part, Sullivan told those in the audience she was taking them to “small business church” by sharing what she learned along the way. It’s been a journey, she said, that wasn’t a straight line.

Gratitude is the attitude, she said, and your business is a distinct reflection of who you are.

In a Facebook post earlier this year, she told ABC Carolinas Chapter that her advice to a young woman entering the industry would be to “Be tough, don’t back down, stay strong, and lean on your network to help you overcome any challenges and barriers that are in your way.”

“Grabbing the fear of the paycheck by the horns and deciding to take on the entrepreneurship throne in full force,” was another recommendation.

A couple of others: Life is a book, you are the author, you control your destiny, and you turn the pages. Also, failure is part of success even though it hurts.

The awards, and award winners included:

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by SCTAC, honors young business owners who combine their sense of community, today’s technology, and innovative business models to create some of Greenville’s most unique small businesses. The Young Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to Lakesha Quarles, owner of Sunflower Births.

The Minority-Owned Business of the Year, sponsored by NHE, Inc., honors those who commit to building communities as well as their businesses and strive to serve as leaders and visionaries to create change. The Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year Award was presented to Blue Eye Soft Corp and accepted by owner, Srikanth Kodeboyina.

The Woman-Owned Business of the Year, sponsored by Truist, honors a female entrepreneur who has experienced the rewards and difficulties of owning a business. This award was presented to His Daycare, LLC and accepted by owner Ruth Buckmire.

The Entrepreneurial Success Award, sponsored by Surcee, recognizes the power of small businesses to use innovation to create jobs and expand their business model. This year’s winner is Group Therapy Pub & Playground, owned by Matthew Hubbard.

The Small Business Champion Award, sponsored by Greenville Technical College, is given to a business that fulfills a commitment to serve small businesses and entrepreneurs through innovative services and support. This year’s Small Business Champion Award winner is Bridge City Coffee, owned by Greg Ward.

The My Favorite Small Business Award, sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas, is also voted on by the selection committee and recognizes a business that excelled across many different award categories. This year’s award recipient is C.O.R.E. grow strong, owned by Currie Gossett.

The sponsors for this year’s event included:

Presenting sponsors: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Wells Fargo.

Keynote address sponsor: Count On Us Controller Services.

Media sponsor: Greenville Business Magazine.

Gold sponsors: Greenville Technical College, NHE, Piedmont Natural Gas, Truist, Surcee, South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center.

Silver sponsors: Cowart Awards, GrayCliff Capital, and South State Bank.

Bronze sponsors: Business Development Corporation, Greenville Area Development Corporation, South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development, Southern First Bank.

Women forming more of the home-based workforce

Women, already the majority of home-based workers in 2019, increased to a slightly larger share of a growing home-based U.S. workforce in 2021, after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States Census Bureau reports.

Census officials said the percentage of home-based workers in the United States tripled from 5.7 percent of all workers in 2019 to 17.9 percent in 2021 — an increase of nearly 19 million workers, according to American Community Survey (ACS) one-year data.

In four out of five occupation groups, women made up a larger share of home-based workers than of all workers.

Census Bureau officials say the shift has had social and economic impacts, including on caregiving roles, actual or perceived workplace productivity, professional advancement opportunities, and commuting burden.

In service occupations and sales and office occupations, around 64 percent of home-based workers were women, compared to 56.7 percent and 62.2 percent of all workers, respectively.

Women were similarly over-represented among home-based workers in natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations; they accounted for around 5 percent of all workers and about 9 percent of home-based workers in those occupations.

The most popular home renovations

And new data reveals that bathroom renovations are the most popular type of home renovation among Americans.

The data compiled by Contractor Growth Network, analyzed numerous search terms related to home renovations, remodels, extensions, and contractors across every U.S. state to establish the areas of the home that each state wants to remodel.

The data found that the bathroom was the most popular area of the home to remodel, with all 50 states searching for this area more than any other. The national average for a bathroom remodel currently stands at $11,365, but that depends on the size of the bathroom. Across America, there are an average of 305,160 searches made each month in relation to bathroom renovations with the states searching for bathroom renovations the most being Colorado, Texas, West Virginia, Michigan and New Jersey.

Kitchen renovations and remodels are the second most popular type of renovation among Americans. For all 50 states, the kitchen was the second highest searched area in relation to renovations, with a national average of 187,651 monthly searches being made for kitchen renovations. The states where kitchen renovations and remodels appeared to be the most popular are Colorado, New Jersey, West Virginia, Connecticut and Indiana.

The third most popular type of remodel is a basement remodel. Americans search for terms relating to basement remodels and renovations at a rate of 27,499 searches per month. The states searching for terms related to basement remodels the most are Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin and Florida.

Shower remodels and renovations, including wet rooms, are the fourth most popular home improvement among Americans, with an average monthly search volume of 25,643. The states that are most interested in a shower remodel or inclusion of a wet room are Arizona, Texas, Delaware, Nevada and Florida.

Following in fifth and not too dissimilar from shower renovations are bath remodels and renovations. The states searching for a bath remodel or renovation the most are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Vermont. Overall, across America there are 17,765 average searches made every month for terms related to bathtub renovations.

South Carolina? The four most popular aspects of the home to renovate were bathroom, kitchen, shower, and bath. The fifth was mobile home.