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Empowering Minority Businesses

South Carolina Business Review
SC Public Radio

After 29 years of operations, our next guest was forced to stop printing a directory of minority-owned businesses and services known as the Black Pages due to the digitization of the print media industry. However, he decided to continue with another of his long-time ventures, the Black Expo, an annual economic empowerment summit that takes place in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Mike Switzer interviews Darrin Thomas, of Thomas Media in Columbia, SC, organizer of the 2021 Black Expo Economic Empowerment Summit.

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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.