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Gardening Industry Blooms During Pandemic

South Carolina Business Review
SC Public Radio

The pandemic brought many changes to our business community including positive ones. For example, in the gardening industry, some retailers saw as much as a 300 percent increase in their business. Bonnie Plants, the nation’s largest grower of plants for home gardens, estimated there were 20 million new gardeners in 2020. Our next guest has been right in the middle of that trend.

Mike Switzer interviews Wally Steinhauser, co-owner of Wingard’s Market, in Lexington, SC.

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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.