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Growing Tea in the Upstate

South Carolina Business Review logo

You probably know about the big tea plantation in the Lowcountry of our state.  But probably not many know that tea is becoming big business in the Upstate, as well.  In fact, our next guest says that the southern Appalachian climate is ideal for growing tea leaves.

Mike Switzer interviews Steve Lorch, CEO of Table Rock Tea Company in Pickens, SC.

After almost 20 years, Mike Switzer retired from Wells Fargo Securities in 2001 as Senior Vice President/Investment Officer and Certified Portfolio Manager. In 1999, he and his wife, Maggie, purchased and operated for eight years the Baskin Robbins ice cream store on Forest Drive in Columbia. They grew the store from a bottom-tier operation in the Baskin Robbins franchise system to one in the top 5% nationwide within three years, tripling sales along the way. While operating the ice cream store, Mike and Maggie received patents for a portable ice cream sink and fold-down sneezeguard they invented and in 2002 started Magnolia Carts, an ice cream cart manufacturing company, which they sold in 2013.