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Charleston Business

#YeahTHATAgenda: Milliken Announces Singapore Plant, More Poke for Columbia, The 25 Fastest Growing Companies Revealed, Nightclubs of Myrtle Beach's Past

Aug 29, 2019 04:32PM ● By Chris Haire

Spartanburg-based Milliken & Company To Build New Plant in Asia: With locations in Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul, Milliken & Company has long maintained a presence in Asia. But now the Spartanburg chemical manufacturing giant is looking to further expand its Far East operations with the addition of a new chemical manufacturing plant in Singapore. The reason: to better serve its Asian customers.

Although the announcement comes at a time when the trade war between the U.S. and China is escalating, the company says that the decision to build the new plant "was being considered well before the trade war and it is central to Milliken’s long term commitment to the Asia market." 

In fact, an official says that "Asia is Milliken’s largest and fastest growing market for plastics additives."

Scheduled to begin production in first quarter 2021, Milliken's new Singapore plant will make plastic additives and colorants used in "home and laundry care, personal care, industrial and institutional cleaners, and polyurethane foams," according to a company release announcing the project. 

A Milliken spokesperson also says that no operations in the U.S. will be affected by the new plant.

(The photo is of the Merlion, a major attraction for visitors to the island city-state of Singapore. William Cho [CC BY-SA 2.0 (])


Chicago-based Aloha Poke Co. to Expand to Columbia: As anyone who has ever visited Hawaii can attest, poke remains one of the 50th state's signature culinary delights. It is also one of the most surprising, if not the most popular, new food faves on the mainland, spawning a host of local, regional, and national restaurants based around the ultra-fresh island staple.

Now one of the nation's top poke franchises is eyeing a move to the Capital City: Aloha Poke. 

With 18 locations under its belt, the Chicago-based Aloha Poke hopes to enter a Columbia market where two other poke franchises have already set up shop, the 24-restaurant Poke Bros. and Soda City's own Freshe Poke, which has three locations of its own. 

But as with previous franchise trends -- whether its froyo, burritos, smoothies, or, going way back, subs -- it's never clear which will last and which will fall by the wayside. Time and time again, the record has shown that mid-sized markets like Columbia, Greenville or Charleston can handle more than critics predicted.

Unlike some other poke establishments, Aloha Poke asks customers to not only order but pay up front. And instead of having a worker place individual ingredients over the top of the entire bowl, the items in each Aloha Poke container are separated from each other -- giving customers a choice of how they want to mix the ingredients, that is if they want to mix them at all.

Aloha Poke has yet to chose a site in Columbia, but it is "actively looking" at a range of sites, from those as little as 250 square feet in size to locations of 1,200 square feet or more. They are also courting franchisees with prior experience. 

The Official 2019 SC TOP25 Fastest Growing Companies Are Announced: Now in its 18th year, this competition recognizes the achievements of top-performing private and publicly owned companies that have contributed to South Carolina's economy through exceptional increases in revenues and employment. SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies was founded as a way to honor the state’s most dynamic businesses and their contributions to our state’s economic vitality. 

The Official SC TOP25 Fastest Growing Companies program, presented by The Capital Corporation, and co-sponsored by Integrated Media Publishing (publisher of Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly and Charleston Business Magazine), A.T. Locke total accounting, PNC Bank, and HUB International Carolinas, has evolved into South Carolina’s most sought-after recognition for rapidly growing companies. 

This year’s TOP 25 highest ranking companies, S.C. Excellence in Business Awards and S.C. Economic Impact Award will be honored at a statewide luncheon to be held October 22 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia. Rankings from 1-25 will be announced at the event. 

2019 Award Winners in alphabetical order:

9 Round
Advantage | ForbesBook
Blue Haven Pools
North Charleston
Cantey Foundation Specialists
Clear Touch Interactive
Diesel Laptops
North Charleston
H&W Electrical Corporation
Harper General Contractors
Integrated Biometrics
Intellectual Capitol
JEAR Logistics
Mount Pleasant
Jeff Cook Real Estate
North Charleston
National Land Realty
Orange Bees
Plus – Plus USA
Preferred Home Services
North Charleston
Quality Business Solutions
RealOp Investments
Springhill Construction
Sunny Days Entertainment
Swampfox Technologies
The Hiring Group
THS Constructors

Event details:
Tuesday, October 22 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center: 1101 Lincoln St.
Keynote speaker: Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette

To purchase tickets or for more information click here or call Lori Coon at 864.335.5080. For more information regarding South Carolina Business Awards please visit

$3.6 Million: The amount of money Newberry County-based Big Gun Robotics, LLC, will invest as it expands its robotic welding operations, creating an estimated 16 jobs over the next five years. 

Big Gun Robotics "welded assemblies are used in heavy equipment manufacturing," according to the company website. (SC Governor's Office)


City of Aiken plans to invest $12.5M to redevelop old Aiken hospital property (AIken Standard)

Bethea Retirement Community breaks ground for $23 million facility in Darlington (SCNow)

Charlotte-based seafood restaurant The Seafood Connection to open in Columbia (The State)

How Columbia’s Meet Your Cremator Makes Hot Sauces With Fire And Flavor (Free Times)

Owner of The Whig on Main Street to open beer garden in West Columbia (The State)

With McCrady’s Tavern closed, Delaney Oyster House readies to open in Charleston next week (Post & Courier)

Nightclubs of the Past: These Myrtle Beach-area party spots have come and gone (Myrtle Beach Online)

$4.5 Million: The amount of money Bluffton-based Salt Marsh Brewing will invest in the opening a second location, this one in Port Royal. 

The new Beaufort County facility will include an automated canning line and offer an extensive sour beer program. An estimated 43 jobs will be created. (SC Governor's Office)

Hires & Honors
Greenville's wine bar and wine shop Foxcroft Wine Co. has announced James Alford as general manager and Ryan Karrer as retail wine manager. (Foxcroft Wine)

Alex Johnson and Bobby Balboni are set to join the commercial real estate firm NAI Columbia's brokerage team. (NAI Columbia)

Leah Johnson is joining Columbia-based marketing agency MPA Strategies as their director of association management. (MPA)

East Cooper Medical Center in Mt. Pleasant has named Ellie Hart the newest Daisy RN Award Winner. (East Cooper Medical Center)

Greenville television station WYFF 4 has named Chris Justus their new chief meteorologist. (WYFF)



Summerville retail center Nexton Square welcomes a new business: Southern First Bank, the third largest bank based in South Carolina. (Nexton)

This article is written by Chris Haire, editor of Greenville Business MagazineColumbia Business Monthly, and Charleston Business Magazine.