Palmetto Scene | A Business of Purpose
♪ Hello I'm Beryl Dakers. Welcome to Palmetto Scene. As we head into what we now call the new normal, we'll continue to bring you the many unique stories that make South Carolina so special. One such story started, just as the pandemic began to wreak havoc on our state and nation.
Here's Palmetto Scene's Bradley Fuller with more. >> 15 months ago, the COVID-19 pandemic caused chaos in almost every aspect of our lives. Businesses and schools shut down, and our health care system was pushed to the limit as we all sought ways to battle the spread of this deadly virus, but out of the dim economic outlook for our nation came a ray of light as two young entrepreneurs joined forces to meet a pressing need for protective equipment.
♪ <Gavin Jackson> Today in South Carolina news, DHEC confirmed 397 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths today. >> It makes me feel really good. Not only is it protecting me as a parent, but it's also protecting so many other students and parents.
He is always thinking of a new way, always thinking of a new plan to get people what they need. If he's up and he's awake, he's on the phone and he is on email, he's figuring out a way to keep you safe. >> At Rhino Medical Supply, we're a fully integrated medical distributor, in essence. It's an important distinction because we are actual distributors and not brokers.
We work direct with manufacturers. In most cases as U.S. manufacturers. That's kind of how we were able to create a lane for ourselves and be different, where most of the supply chain was coming from overseas, mostly China, we developed relationships with U.S. manufacturers.
This time last year during the start of the pandemic, February-ish March of 2020, hospitals were scrambling and the bigger states, the bigger hospital system having a priority over what they were able to receive versus the smaller states and smaller systems. So, if you were a smaller state, like South Carolina or some of the smaller rural hospital systems, you didn't really have many opportunities or options to go to. If I'm being honest, the entry was pretty low. You just had to have trust and you had to have the ability to deliver.
Now it's more challenging because we're in it. So, we're swimming with the sharks now which is what we want and we transitioned ourselves from a brokering model to a true distributor model last year, That was really Elliott Haynie, that was instrumental in that transition. <Elliott Haynie> I came shortly after the company started. So I didn't know any better.
I knew manufacturing. I had over ten years experience in manufacturing. I knew kind of how that worked and how we needed to set up a distribution for different products that we were serving or the customers that we were serving. So really, we didn't know any better. We just leaned on people that have been in the industry for a while and just gained knowledge as we went.
I always say it's like drinking through a fire hose. We really didn't know anything, and so we learned everything for the first time. When you think back then - the issues that were happening, you had hospitals and healthcare systems, small hospitals in rural locations that didn't have the supplies that they needed. When you really start thinking about people, underserved communities didn't even have access to a mask.
I remember watching CNN and they walking you through how to create a mask with a towel, and a washcloth with rubber bands. I just thought it was an important need for us to get involved with. ♪ <reporter> A Columbia based company Rhino Medical Supply and U of SC students who are members of the Zeta Epsilon chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity dropped off more than 30 thousand masks Thursday at Greenview Elementary.
They will be divided up among five Richland One schools. >> The masks are extremely helpful. The masks allow the kids to be safe, because they are underneath the age of 12 and they're unvaccinated. So the masks give that protection, that layer of protection for students, because they're not able to get the vaccine right now. For me, it has been something that's been very helpful because I'm an adult; and I'm able to get the vaccine to protect myself.
With these kids, we have to make sure that we're doing things that protect them and masks are essential when it comes to protecting ourselves from Coronavirus. >> This wave has been much more devastating than the last one we saw, When we first started to learn about COVID and how it would affect people. It was probably very scary, the first time, because we didn't know anything. This time we really know more, right! We know more information about how the virus spreads and what we can do to protect ourselves.
For Rhino, masks and PPE, gloves and gowns have been their way of being able to help hospital systems, school systems. People that are going to school, people that are going to work and people that really need to continue their day to day have the ability to do so with the masks. <Elliot> For me it's about one, you know making sure that teachers and educators and staff members have products that they need to help one, protect them and then two, just make it a safe environment for the students. We have to be there for them.
I think that's what's really, really important. >> We started out in a room, literally it's just a room outside of my garage. I play PlayStation and that should tell you how small it is. We had some things in my garage, what I could store and then we moved into our warehouse, because that's how our business grew. So, we were experiencing exponential growth month over month. It got to the point where we went from zero to 35 states within about 60 days, and now we're in all 50 states and three provinces in Canada.
>> So, Lance is not an eight to five worker. He brings the kids to work. He's had them out there packing boxes. They give him what he needs. I think it's important for them to see work ethic. I think it's important for them to see how working in a team environment with people that you care about, with people that share a common goal is valuable.
>> Lance and Elliot are doing amazing things. They're offering life saving resources that are helping the students and teachers and parents be able to survive the pandemic; and their purpose and mission is really transcending when it comes to how they say they put people at the forefront of everything that they do and they truly do. <Beryl> Join us now as we travel to a unique place in the upstate that focuses on the needs of the planet. Mushroom Mountain near Easley focuses on developing innovative fungal solutions for world hunger, pest control and fighting disease through the power of the mushroom >> We do just about everything you can think of with mushrooms around here. Think of it like Disneyland for fungi. ♪ I started Mushroom Mountain in 1996 and then Olga and I met in about 15 years ago and we had a idea to start a mushroom farm in South Carolina.
We moved here from Florida and started a mushroom farm at our house. We ran out of space and now we've picked up this piece of property, 17 acres with buildings, and we have 300 different species of mushrooms in our laboratory now. What we do is learn how to grow mushrooms, teach mushroom cultivation, about mushroom identification, and also all the cool things that people can do with mushrooms for food, for the environment, even building materials. Typically, the average day around here is laboratory work in the morning when everyone's clean and then pasteurizing saw dust and grain to actually produce mushrooms, to shipping.
So, we have a full time shipping department and we ship five days a week, year round to spawn so people can grow their own. People can plant at their house or a small commercial farm. We also make extracts, which is a medicinal food supplement and we do mushroom extractions in the lab. It's like a concentrate that someone can add to their coffee or their tea and get all the wonderful medicinal benefits. >> I worked in a hospital for a really long time in a laboratory.
I was in a room all day with no light. No one knows - No one even knew we were there. It just felt like very sad and depressing and like I wasn't really doing anything for the world, so I quit that job. It just feels more rewarding to do something that has no negative attributes for the world.
Everything I'm doing here is good for the earth. >> We are finding things out about fungi that no one else has really discovered yet. For instance, these fungi are out here in the woods and we find ants with mushrooms growing out of their brains. I mean, it's insane. We found some growing on German cockroaches.
There's a fungus that grows on mosquitos. And these are fungi that grow locally here. So, we can clone them, amplify them and develop products that can help us reduce or eliminate pesticides, and that's huge.
We need to eat food that's not sprayed with pesticides. We need to figure out that these fungi can help. This place is so odd. It's not just a mushroom farm. It is an idea factory. We do a lot of tours here and when someone comes here for the first time they have no idea what they're in for. They just think they're coming to see mushrooms growing in a farm.
When they reach the end of the tour, and they see all these different applications that we as a society can use mushrooms for. They're just walking away with their minds open. They're going to learn about the life cycles of fungi, how we grow mushrooms, the laboratory, to how we compost, how we make building materials, how can we use mushrooms to make the world a better place and people are very open and receptive to this, because they've never been exposed to this. Mushrooms and fungi is the second largest kingdom on the planet.
There's insects and there's fungi. There's millions of species of fungi out there and we have no idea what they do. It doesn't surprise me if tomorrow, there's another big discovery, because there's just so much. I'm expecting to see a lot of jaws on the ground, and that's why I'm so passionate about it is because I see an awakening. I see this spark of hope in people's eyes when they are going through this tour and it's complete like a transformation. >> The last time we were here, he was advancing what he was doing and he's even getting more educational and doing more important things for the environment, which is super important.
We definitely need all the help we can get. This last room where he showed the progression of the mushrooms from yesterday where there was none and today they are getting bigger; I thought that was informative. ♪ >> The lab space is the heart of the farm. It's not just designed to make spawn for us to grow mushrooms. It is a fully functional microbiology lab and you could take one little mushroom from the woods and just create millions of them in there.
We can go in there and we can do trials with bacteria and we could figure out applications for what can these mushrooms be used for in industry or agriculture. For instance, I had a fungus on a petri plate. I cut it and it turned out to be a good substitute for rubber. Things like that. Things that are biodegradable that we need. There's almost nothing we can't do with fungi. Albert Einstein said, if we look deep, deep into nature, we'll find the solutions for everything.
>> I started using lion's mane sort of as a supplement on the side as a tincture. I saw a lot of noticeable differences with my memory overall or just my focus and clarity like just from a brain health standpoint and then over the last month I ran out and I could notice like sort of some of my memory component starting to slip, as well. So, I got back on it recently.
So, I just wanted to come out and learn a little bit more about like cordyceps and some of the other components; because I've noticed firsthand what some of these things can do for you. >> A mushroom can be opportunistic it can be territorial another day. It can be symbiotic and mutualistic. Mushrooms create heat, carbon dioxide and they sweat. I tell people what else does that. I was like, me.
Mushrooms they like to mine resources until they're gone and then they take over a whole new territory and start all over again. Sounds like human civilization. Sounds like people. So I try not to dwell on the negative aspects, of what fungi might do and more of the positive things.
If we don't work together as mushrooms and humans, then we might; we might have some issues. So, we have to put them to work; by helping them, They're going to help us. ♪ >> Who knew? And now we have more from the great outdoors, with it's fun and dynamic trails, Harbison State Park has been a go to area for avid mountain bikers for years catering to all levels of riders; but don't be fooled. This is a challenging sport and upkeep of the trail plays a huge role in keeping the forest both fun and safe.
♪ >> I'm Neil Brown I'm a CPA, a CFP, a tax and finance guy. Been seriously mountain biking for about 5 years picked up the hobby probably the 8 years ago and just love it and enjoy doing it. ♪ [relaxing music] ♪ We got a lot of different trails.
Obviously, we're standing in front of Harbison State Forest, right now. More of a cross country, easy trail system. You've got Sesquicentennial State Park on the other side of town.
The cool thing about that is you got a lot of different variety of soil. So, when it's muddy at Harbison, you got the sand over there the drains real well. But quite honestly, my favorite's probably here at Harbison, consider it my home trails. I get to come out here about three or four times a week, thankfully. ♪ [calming music] ♪ >> You have to be very careful when you come out here as a biker or as a hiker. The trail systems, they're multi-use so you got to exercise some trail etiquette.
Typically, uphill is going to get the right of way versus downhill. Hikers get the right away over bikers. So, we're last, but you just got to exercise some etiquette and make sure everybody's safe. >> The name's Harry Mathis. You can see behind me. We actually have a work crew.
We're building a new section of trail in Spider Woman. The trail system exists in cooperation with the forest activities. Harbison is a state forest, not a park. It's a working forest. The trail systems usually in really good shape. If it needs to be closed.
It'll be closed to protect it. Sometimes it's closed because they're doing logging or a prescribed burn. I've been a ranger out here for probably about 10 years maybe, working weekends. It fits well with doing the trail work, the volunteer work I do with Friends of Harbison. Being a ranger gives me a little more access to the forest and have little bit better understanding of some of the issues that we need to deal with as Friends of Harbison. I started riding mountain bikes seriously right around 1990.
So, I've been riding about 30 years and racing mountain bikes all over the southeast. The trails give us a lot of variety because we have trails that are built by the newest standards. We have single track trail. We have double track, technical trails, flowy trails. The trail work we do now is based on the standards developed by the International Mountain Bike Association, IMBA.
They do trail training for trail crew workers. We've done those. We've had two events here at Harbison. They taught us how to build the trails, the right way. That's the first thing. We want to make sure that we're using the right design criteria; then we lay the trail out to meet those criteria to avoid creating more problems or building a trail that's worse than what we're trying to fix and so we'll start with a basic idea and we'll flag the route that we want to follow and then we get a crew and basically start building it within 30 minutes of most people's homes they have access to some of the best mountain bike trails in South Carolina. It's a great variety and we have about 25 miles of trails.
We really encourage everybody to come out and take advantage of the Harbison Trail System. It's an incredible resource, one to be protected, but also enjoyed. >> I am with Service Saturday. It is an organization at University of South Carolina under the Leadership and Service Center.
Once a month, out of a Saturday we go into different organizations to help volunteer. This is my first time working with Friends of Harbison State Forest. but while I've been here, I have really enjoyed my time so far. Community volunteers, come on out. It's a great opportunity. It's actually pretty fun. I've been having fun since I've been here.
I don't mountain bike, but I do want to come back and see like all my heart that I put in and how the trail turns out and actually walk the trail. >> I'm Kory Griggs. I have not been mountain biking that long, a couple of years.
I'm really new at this. I find it to be really fun and you can also get a lot of exercise doing this. Ever since my friend got me out here, it's been great. These experienced riders out here
really help you out. You get to meet people, learn everything they have to offer and share. It just makes you want to come back. I don't consider myself an avid biker but I love just getting out here and experiencing nature. <Neil> It runs the gamut from young to old, men and women. It's just an easy sport to get into at whatever level you try.
Picked out some good friendship out here and a couple guys, we ride together all the time and we're pretty serious in what we do but there's a whole different level of people who come out here: families or mid level riders or extreme riders. It just depends. One of the real good things about biking is even if you can't get out here with your friends, we do a lot of activities through an app called Strava. What that does it's kind of a social messaging app for hikers and bikers but we could come out here and track our GPS and track our times and actually compete against all of our friends on Strava and other people who might not be your friend. You can see the top leader boards to see where you pair against other people. We also use an app called trail forks to map things out and put it into our GPS systems for turn by turn location.
You can get lost in the woods, so it really helps. One of the reasons I got into mountain biking is because I like to exercise. So, a lot less wear and tear on my body than running. So, being able to remove myself from the world for an hour or two hours a day to get out here to relax enjoy the nature and really just get away and enjoy life. A lot of people come out here with headsets. That's fine. But I come out here to get away from the world.
It's a lot of cardio work. It's great exercise. It's just something that's fun to do so If I could kill two birds with one stone, why not. >> Here's another sports update. Did you know there's a resurgence among the roller skating community in South Carolina. Well, with their quad roller skates in the nostalgically turned to outdoor fun, local skaters are literally taking it to the streets and parks. Recently, a couple of friends started a local Facebook skate group and they became part of the international skate organization CIB.
Let's roll on over to Owen's Field Skate Park to learn more about CIB Soda City. ♪ >> Skating, just in general, is one of the most freeing feelings I guess, cause you're on wheels, and you're flying through there. >> It's like a roller coaster minus the safety. I don't know it's like very freeing. ♪ >> A feeling of euphoria and freedom when you're in the bowl you don't think of anything else. It's you in the moment. >> It's one of those things that, once you start, you're just kind of hooked.
You just want to keep improving. Keep getting better. ♪ The CIB. is an international group of roller skaters that primarily focuses on bringing roller skaters to the skate park. So they have chapters all over the world.
♪ The chapter in Columbia got started basically through me and one of my best friends. We had like just a very kind of I guess like chill group of just people who already skated, that we were just post when we're coming to the skate park. >> When more interest started showing with our friends and things like that, then it started to be like, "Okay, well why don't we make something of it" and then that's when Carly and Shana decided "Well, let's make a group." and then I group turned into them applying for an actual CIB chapter.
If you're in an area that doesn't have a CIB chapter you just apply and you get approved pretty quick. Once we got approved, we made a Facebook group and started hosting meet ups. Well, Owen's Field is Columbia's skate park. So, that's where we come. Columbia has a very well established skate scene already that really helped us build our community at the skate park. >> At the beginning, my mom and I just kind of went in the morning and we skated here just to get comfortable with skating at a park and then all of a sudden we came here one day and it was just like all these roller skaters here which was CIB.
and so I was like okay that's kind of cool and it was just like a really good community because they just taught me a bunch of new tricks and they kind of just helped me slowly go into park skating on roller skates. ♪ >> We do have a lot of new skaters who come and join. We try and help them out with the basics.
Make them feel comfortable being at the skate park. We've also established a flat skate for people who have just started skating and quite aren't ready for the skate park so they can get comfortable with skating forwards, backwards, transitions that sort of thing. >> It's good to see the new numbers now growing because there's only just a few of us out here.
This community is really inclusive. Everyone's welcome. We have people from all levels. I do kind of weird stuff out here, but we have people out here just learning drop in. It's nice to have a different set of people to skate with every day and just to have someone there to cheer you on, in case you fall, you have someone to help pick you up. ♪ [ indistinct dialogue ] [applause] We like to start everyone off with pumpings. So, just getting used to skating on an incline, because a lot of people even experienced skaters, if you're coming from skating flat.
It's a little bit of an adjustment. So we start everyone off with pumping, learning to carve, and then from there it's just, you know, learning how to drop in, learning toe stops stalls, regular stalls. There's so many tricks that you can do.
So, I learned like a whole bunch from Youtube videos from CIB members It's just like a whole bunch of stuff like coping tricks. I did spine transfer and then just like other tricks like on the transition park. ♪ Dropping in is basically you have your ramp, your quarter pipe or your bowl and you literally inch up to the edge of the bowl and then you put one foot in you just go. ♪ My motto is trust your pads. You're not going to die. So, I'm very willing to fall. It's part of the
process. It's one of the first things you should probably learn out here, because we have knee pads on and everything. At the end of the day if you fall properly, it doesn't hurt and it's a pretty smooth ride. When you finally hit that trick you've been working on, the euphoria of finally seeing all your hard work pay off in your own time.
Unlike sports and other things, you're never going to feel pressured. If it takes you a month to hit a trick, it's fine and it feels even better when you land it. ♪ >> Everyone cheers everyone on. If you're a beginner and you're just learning how to pump or you're experienced, you have a group that is cheering you on for celebrating your accomplishments and just happy to see you thrive.
>> Basically, the whole CIB team those are my friends now. >> Actually these are my closest friends that are out here right now that I've met through skating. >> It kind of is, like a social sport, because you got to be around like other people. For me, it's like more fun, because you can learn from other people. You could teach other people and it's just a good vibe, whenever there's other roller skaters here. <Aubrey> We have so much fun out here.
You can learn at your own progress. All you need is a decent pair of skates, a helmet and some knee pads, if you like your knees and we can help you do the rest. >> If you are 14, if you are 60, you can come skate with us. As long as you're willing to try it out, we're here to support you and give you help and just give you a sense of community.
♪ For more stories about our state and more details on the stories you've just seen, do visit our website at PalmettoScene.org and of course don't forget to follow us on social media, whether Facebook, Twitter and / or Instagram at SCETV # Palmetto Scene. For all of us here, at Palmetto Scene. I'm Beryl Dakers. Good night. Stay safe and thanks for watching. ♪ ♪