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Small Business Opportunities in Local Forests

Kelly Updegraff
Mike Switzer/SC Public Radio

The US government can be a source of contracting opportunities for many small businesses across our state and across many different government agencies.  Our next guest represents one of those agencies, one, however, that you may not think of as offering business opportunities.

Mike Switzer interviews Kelly Updegraff, a contracting officer with the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Columbia, 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.