The Stories of the Upstate™ #339 - R (Eddie Brown) "I learned to speak Vietnamese."

                                             Eddie Brown with SwaimBrown brings us Story #339 - R


                                                                     To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #326: (Hugo Montanez) "My friends and I would skip class in high school,climb palm trees and eat coconuts."

                          Story #326 comes from the owner of Spartanburg's Burrito Hub, Hugo Montanez.


His mother is an amazing cook.  His brother, the person who's like a mentor to him,  owns two restaurants in Pittsburgh, so it should come as no surprise that Hugo Montanez makes his living bringing Mexican cuisine to Spartanburg.  As the owner of Spartanburg's Burrito Hub, Hugo serves traditional Mexican fare, but he does so with his own take on the classics.  Knowing that more customers are eating healthy, Hugo has created vegan and vegetable forward versions of the Mexican foods we all love.  He even has three different guacamole, including with bacon and blue cheese. 

                                                                   Follow Burrito Hub on Facebook.

The Stories of the Upstate #312: (Teresa Hough) "I was the female James Dean in high school, a definite rebel."

                  Our 312th story comes from the Executive Director of Ballet Spartanburg, Teresa Hough


"Ballet is music in movement, interpreting music through dance," says Teresa Hough, Executive Director of Ballet Spartanburg,  While Teresa loved to sing and dance as a child, her career path wound through the education field rather than the theater.  She told us that her 24 yrs as a first grade teacher were invaluable preparation for her current job at Ballet Spartanburg. The organizational skills, focus and interpersonal relationships that were basic necessities for teachers aid her running Ballet Spartanburg where dance education, outreach programs occur alongside the professional ballet performances.

                                                                          To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #311: (Taylor Correll-Greer) "Being a part of my high school marching band turned me into a social butterfly."

                     Taylor Correll-Greer, the owner of Events With Taylor brings us our 311th story.


"I carry stress well, " answered Taylor Correll-Greer when we asked him why we should have him plan an event for us.  He wants his clients to leave the organizing and the stress to him and simply show up to their event and enjoy it.  Ten years working in the restaurant industry and a couple years working for a Charleston, SC horse and carriage company helped prepared Taylor to start his own business, Events With Taylor.

                                                                         To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #295: (Mary Norris) "Sometimes I communicate using animal noises rather than using English."

                                      Spartanburg singer-songwriter, Mary Norris delivers Story #295


"I text myself lyrics," Spartanburg singer-songwriter, Mary Norris told us as she explained that she finds inspiration all over the place, often while she is doing something else, like driving.  She has a song about love inspired by watching birds with her Grandmother and thinking about the beautiful bird we put in cages.  The love of music struck Mary early.  Her parents recall that as a toddler, she insisted on watching the end credits of a TV show or movie because she was fascinated by the ending music.  These days she gives an outlet for that love of music through her solo singer-songwriting and being the lead singer of Hot As A Pepper.

                                                                     Follow Mary Norris on Facebook.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #248: (Jamie Hughes) "I love comic books and superheroes."

Our 248th story comes from Jamie Hughes, College Outreach Educator for Spartanburg's SAFE Homes Rape Crisis Coalition, and Founder and Facilitator of Writing for Well-Being, therapeutic writing courses.


"Difficulties don't have to define you," is something Jamie Hughes tells lots of the people he works with daily.  But that saying is more than just words for the College Outreach Educator for Spartanburg's SAFE Homes Rape Crisis Coalition, that saying personifies Jamie's life.  At the tender age of 8, he lost his mother.  Her loss was devastating and a family court judge compounded the tragedy by refusing his grandparents petition to raise him, deciding instead to send him to live with his father who he had never really known.  Most of his young life was lived with a dad and family who treated him as more of a burden than a part of the family.  Teen years brought risky behavior and bad decisions.  But as his saying goes, he didn't let difficulties define him.  Jamie reaches out to college students to bring awareness of domestic violence and sexual abuse in order to prevent it and to help those who are victims.  In addition, as the Founder and Facilitator for Writing for Well-Being, Jamie uses therapeutic writing to help people overcome the struggles they have in their lives.

                                   To learn more about SAFE Homes Rape Crisis Coalition, click here
                                         and to learn more about Writing for Well-Being, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #239: (Allen Smith) "In 5th grade, I was Elvis."

Our 239th story,  a GSA Business Report Q&A. comes from the President and CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce.


The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce is unique in South Carolina.  The President and CEO, Allen Smith tells us that Spartanburg's Chamber of Commerce is the only Chamber in the entire state that houses county wide economic development, county wide tourism promotion and the county chamber.  For Allen, the mission of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce is to be an agent of change in the lives of the people of the Spartanburg community.  Allen highlights one thing that the Chamber has done to illustrate both their uniqueness and their being an agent of change: the Hub City Farmers Market.  Unlike most communities, the Hub City Farmers Market is not located in the glitzy Main St area.  The Chamber located the Hub City Farmers Market in the most blighted, poverty stricken area of town because it was deemed a food desert, an area where people did not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  

                     To learn more about the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate #235: (Dirk Van Hyning) "I’ve taken things that my kids discarded and turned them into art, like a New York subway map made with Tinkertoys."

Our 235th story, a GSA Business Report Q&A, comes from the CEO of Alexium International, Dirk Van Hyning.


Alexium International creates flame retardant and thermal regulating products.. According to Dirk Van Hyning, CEO of Alexium, legacy flame retardants that have been used for decades can be toxic to the environment and the body. Alexium sells alternative products that are safer and still effective flame retardants. Key to Alexium's success and core to who they are is their research and development department which is constantly looking for the safest, most eco-friendly and most effective technologies to reduce heat and prevent fires.

                                                  To learn more about Alexium International, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #234: (Todd Horne) "From birth until now, I've moved 12 times."

Vice President for Business Development for Clayton Construction, Todd Horne delivers our 234th story.


If you have a passion for connecting people, bringing people with needs together with people who can meet those needs, what do you do?  Well, if you're Todd Horne, you find a job that allows you the opportunity to fulfill your passion and use your abilities to connect people, a job like Vice President for Business Development for Clayton Construction.  As VP of business development, he connects people looking to build a building with an architect, someone needing funding with a banker. But if you are really passionate about connecting folks, like Todd Horne, you don't just stop at a job, you look for ways to connect more people across the business community which leads to becoming the Chairman of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce. And if you are truly, completely committed to connecting people across your community, you run for mayor, at least that's what Todd Horne is doing, running for Mayor of Spartanburg.

    To learn more about Todd Horne, click here and to learn more about Clayton Construction, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate #207: (Glenn Strange): "When I was a kid, my daddy gave me corn flakes and a bowl of sugar and called it Frosted Flakes."

                               Spartanburg comedian magician, Glenn Strange presents Story #207

"People don't normally like being tricked, but when you add humor or music to illusion, you get great entertainment," says Spartanburg comedian magician, Glenn Strange.  It might surprise Glenn's audiences to find out that he was shy as a child. Humor has always been a big part of his life and combining that with the magic he learned as an adult, Glenn has found his passion and is bringing laughter and wonder to audience in Spartanburg and all across Upstate SC.

                                               To learn more about Glenn Strange, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #204: (Amanda Mathis) "I won $1000.00 in a national recipe contest with my recipe for Smothered Kickin Chicken."

              The Executive Director of Christmas In Action Spartanburg, Amanda Mathis shares Story #204

 A person with a background in government, public relations and social media can do a wide variety of things.  What is Amanda Mathis doing with her experience?  She's following Grandma's advice to give back to the community as the Executive Director of Christmas In Action Spartanburg, a wonderful non-profit rehabbing homes for the elderly, the disabled and veterans.  Christmas In Action Spartanburg has provided around 900 families the feeling and experience of Christmas all year long. 

                                       To learn more about Christmas In Action Spartanburg, click here.