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Charleston Business

The Business Narrative: Looming Change

Nov 09, 2023 12:55PM ● By Donna Walker

SC Department of Agriculture to Take Over Restaurant Inspections, Other DHEC Food Safety Responsibilities

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is preparing to take on some important regulatory duties currently handled by the Department of Health and Environmental Control, better known as DHEC.


State officials said that starting July 1, 2024, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) will handle all retail food safety inspection, including restaurant kitchens, school cafeterias, caterers, grocery stores, some convenience stores and more. 


SCDA is also taking over DHEC’s Manufactured Food Programs, including soft drinks, cheese and dairy, bottled water, and ice; as well as the Milk Inspection Program and Laboratory.


The South Carolina General Assembly entrusted SCDA with these new responsibilities as part of S.399, a bill that restructures DHEC and divides its oversight among new and existing agencies.


State officials say the food safety transfer is a natural fit. SCDA has regulated wholesale food manufacturing for nearly 50 years.


The agency also regulates animal feed safety, specialty food producers, and produce farming, and has well-equipped specialized labs that conduct a variety of regulatory testing.


“The South Carolina Department of Agriculture has a great reputation for protecting the public and working with South Carolina businesses,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers.


Weathers added, “These new duties will strengthen our ability to assure food safety while also streamlining services for businesses, some of which are currently regulated by both SCDA and DHEC. This is good news for farmers, too: We’ll have even more involvement in every step of the food system, from when it’s grown to where it’s eaten. We look forward to serving our state in new ways as we affirm our longstanding commitment to food safety and a strong agriculture industry.”


SCDA and DHEC are working together with the South Carolina Department of Administration to assure a smooth transition for customers, employees and the public. SCDA will roughly double in size, with about 115 positions transferring over from DHEC. 


DHEC food safety staff will join SCDA’s existing Consumer Protection Division, which includes all the agency’s regulatory departments.


“The food safety regulations aren’t changing, but the public will see some changes — and not just a new logo on the restaurant door,” said Assistant Commissioner for Consumer Protection Derek Underwood. “South Carolina consumers and the businesses we inspect can expect a responsive team dedicated to helping improve food safety. We look forward to continuing to earn public trust with these new responsibilities.”


Over the next eight months, SCDA will post regular updates on the transfer at

Volvo Car USA, Canada Reports Sales of 12,446 Cars in October

Volvo Car USA and Canada sold 12,446 cars in October, up 26 percent over the same period last year, with sales of plug-in hybrid and fully electric ‘Recharge’ vehicles up 34 percent and 13 percent, respectively, during the month, company officials said.


For the first 10 months of 2023 the region sold 113,672 cars, an increase of more than 26 percent compared with the same period last year.


Sales of Recharge models—those with a fully electric or plug-in hybrid powertrain—grew nearly 34 percent compared to October last year and comprised a 30 percent share of the total.


The U.S. alone sold 11,296 cars in October, up 19 percent over the 2022 figure. Sales of Recharge models quadrupled from the same period last year to secure a 27 percent share of overall volume in the country.


In the first 10 months of 2023 US sales of fully electric vehicles increased more than 48 percent over the same period last year and rose 20 percent in October, reaching 11 percent of total sales for the month.


The XC60 compact luxury SUV was the top selling model in the US with 3,307 cars sold during the month, followed by the XC90 midsize luxury SUV (2,999 cars) and XC40 small luxury SUV (2,764).


Canada sales reached 1,150 cars, up 41 percent over October 2022, with about half (48.2 percent) being Recharge models. Sales of fully electric cars accounted for more than a third (33.4 percent) of sales in October, which saw the most Recharge cars ever sold in Canada in a single month.


The XC40 was the most popular model in Canada with 481 cars sold in October, followed by the XC60 (246 cars) and XC90 (185).


Headquartered in Mahwah, N.J., Volvo Car USA LLC (VCUSA) ( is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group of Gothenburg, Sweden (Nasdaq Stockholm VOLCAR B), providing sales, marketing, parts, service, technology, and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States since the 1950s.


Operations also include a manufacturing campus in Ridgeville, S.C., that company officials say underlines the company’s long-term commitment to the U.S. as a key market.

AnMed Piedmont to Bring Emergency Care, Services and Jobs to Area in Need  

AnMed Piedmont is under construction to bring life-saving emergency services and more to an area in northeastern Anderson County that’s among the fastest-growing communities in Upstate South Carolina. 


The new Piedmont location of AnMed will meet increased demand for health care and the needs of a growing population due to an investment of more than $35 million. 


“This facility will make South Carolina better,” said AnMed CEO William Kenley. “It will plant emergency care right in the heart of the I-85 corridor. It will bring other needed services much closer to people’s homes. It will make it so much easier for so many to be healthier. Better starts here.” 


Primary care and specialty physician offices, physical therapy, and laboratory and imaging services that include X-ray, CT and ultrasound will join the emergency department at AnMed Piedmont.


The facility will cover at least 40,000 square feet. 


More than 50 high-paying jobs are projected to be created by the facility when AnMed Piedmont opens in early 2025. 


Additionally, AnMed and Anderson County are exploring the development of an EMS substation and an Anderson County Sheriff’s Office substation on the AnMed Piedmont campus.


The substations could include living quarters and an ambulance garage for EMS, office facilities and a base of operations for the Sheriff’s Office, and they’d further enhance public safety. 


The campus is the first new AnMed location to open since AnMed Young Adult Primary Care opened in August, becoming the first practice in the Upstate to focus on the health-care needs of people ages 18 to 35.  


Founded in 1908, AnMed is an independent, not-for-profit health system serving Upstate South Carolina and northeast Georgia.


It is licensed for 601 beds and anchored by AnMed Medical Center, a 508-bed acute-care hospital that has earned the prestigious Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


The system also includes AnMed North Campus and AnMed Rehabilitation Hospital in Anderson, AnMed Cannon in Pickens and more than 60 physician practices. More than 30 specialties are represented on staff. 


Named one of the nation’s 153 “Great Community Hospitals” by Becker’s Hospital Review, AnMed has more than 370 physicians and 3,600 employees, and it is Anderson County’s largest employer.

GHF Announces 88-unit, All-Affordable, The Riley at Overbrook

The Greenville Housing Fund, Schaumber Development, and Douglas Development broke ground Nov. 1, 2023, on an 88-unit apartment community that will be affordable to renters earning less than 60 percent of the area median income. 


The Riley at Overbrook, located on Lowndes Hill Road, will be near Interstate 385, downtown Greenville, and the growing neighborhood commercial hub on East North Street.


Nineteen of the project’s 88 units will be affordable to households earning 30 percent or less of the area median income.


“Housing vouchers committed by The Greenville Housing Authority, allow us to reach this deep level of affordability.


For example, a three-member family earning under $25,000 annually, will find a beautiful and highly affordable home at The Riley,” said Bryan Brown, president and CEO of the Greenville Housing Fund.


Brown also noted that Greenville Mayor Knox White, as well as Councilwoman Dorothy Dowe and Greenville’s S.C. State House Representative Bruce Bannister, were instrumental in helping to secure support for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program at the state level, which provided critical financing for The Riley. Construction is expected to take approximately 18 months. 


Holly Douglas Schaumber, representing private sector development partners Schaumber Development and Douglas Development, recognized the challenges faced during the two years the project has been in development.


“Many affordable housing projects around the state have died on the vine because of cost increases or external market conditions,” she said. “But on The Riley, when we've run into a roadblock or obstacle, every member of the team has rolled up his sleeves and sharpened her pencil to find a way forward. The Riley is proof positive that quality, safe, sanitary affordable housing is a priority for the city, and it's a great example of what can arise from a true public-private partnership.”


The Greenville Housing Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to championing a future of thriving and affordable neighborhoods across Greenville’s diverse communities.


Through lending, investing, advocacy, and land-banking, it works with community stakeholders, developers, municipalities, and many other partners to preserve and increase the supply of safe, accessible, high-quality, affordable housing for all citizens of Greenville County. 


In the five years since its inception, the Greenville Housing Fund has invested over $9 million and leveraged $200 million in creating or preserving over 1,330 units of housing in Greenville County, many affordable to households living on as little as 20 percent of area median income.


It recently announced a partnership with the City of Greenville and Truist Bank to invest $12.4 million to generate over 549 units of affordable housing in Greenville’s Special Emphasis Neighborhoods.


Learn more at

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