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Columbia Business Monthly

#YeahTHATAgenda: Taco Bell Goes Loco for The Carolina Reaper, State Ports Authority Ends Fiscal Year Up, More Jobs in Marion, New Greenville Chamber Chair

Jul 16, 2019 10:46AM ● By Chris Haire
The Rock Hill-grown Carolina Reaper pepper is the star of Taco Bell's latest stunt-food campaign: In 2013 the Guinness Book of World records named the Carolina Reaper, the hottest pepper in the world. Clocking in at 2.2 million Scoville heat units -- a jalapeño tops out at 8,000 --- the Carolina Reaper was first grown by Smokin' Ed Currie, a Rock Hill pepper enthusiast and farmer.

Since that time, Currie's reportedly hallucination-causing Carolina Reaper has only grown in notoriety, while his Fort Mill-based company, the appropriately named PuckerButt Pepper Co., has grown in popularity, as one media organization after another has set their sights on the South Carolina-grown fire starter. 

But now Currie's creation has reached the summit of the pop culture peak, with Taco Bell unveiling its latest stunt-food concoction: the Steak Reaper Ranch Fries Supreme.

As the name suggests, you won't find raw Reapers on this puppy -- Currie himself says that eating one is idiotic and can make you throw up. Instead, the peppers are mixed with ranch dressing and drizzled on the fries.

The Steak Reaper joins the pantheon of stunt foods which have begun to dominate the fast food landscape, from The Bell's Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco to KFC's Cheetos Sandwich and Burger King's jet black Halloween Whopper, which turns your ... OK ... we won't go into that. 

As for the Carolina Reaper, well, it's no longer the hottest pepper in the land. That honor belongs to the UK's Dragon's Breath -- which comes in at a record-shattering 2.5 million SHUs.

The number of new jobs that are expected to be created when processed foods packer SOPAKCO completes a $12.5 million expansion of its Marion County facility. SOPAKCO offers packaging services for frozen and shelf-stable products. 

Founded during World War II, SOPAKCO got its start manufacturing MREs (meals ready to eat) for the U.S. Armed Forces, a service it continues to do today as one of the nation's top makers of MREs. (SOPAKO, S.C. Commerce Department)

2.4 Million: The number of 20-foot  equivalent container units (TEUs) that were handled by the S.C. Ports Authority during its July 2018-June 2019 fiscal year. The number marks an 8.8% increase in annual TEU container volume from the previous fiscal year.

Columbia Takes Steps to “Ban the Box” for Criminal History on Job Applications (Free Times)

Sen. Lindsey Graham joins MOX legal fight, presses Supreme Court to hear case (Aiken Standard)

Public Education Partners’ Ansel Sanders journeys to Finland to study possible school fixes (Greenville Business Magazine)

Conway, S.C.-made CBD products now available in all Earth Fare stores (Charleston City Paper)

Harpootlian blasts Richland County for voting to hire PR firm (The State)

‘Mexican fare with a Southern flair’: Popular Rock Hill brewery plans a second site. (The Herald)

New Greenville restaurant offers opportunity for sex-trafficking victims (Greenville News)

3 Anderson school districts will use eLearning days instead of make-up days (Independent-Mail)

Waste drum at Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory exploded, caught fire (Post and Courier)

Carolina Financial Corp. to acquire Carolina Trust (SC Biz)

Young's True Value Hardware Store close after 49 years (The State)

Food Lion to unveil new, easier shopping experiences in 92 stores in S.C. (WIS TV)

New Hires and Honors
S.C. Clean Energy Business Alliance has named four new board members: Mark Furtick, manager of Renewable Energy Program and Technical Services with Dominion Energy; Scott Hammond, manager of Member Programs with Central Electric Power Cooperative; Tripp Hathaway, manager of Sales and Marketing with Hannah Solar Government Services; Hamilton Davis, director of Regulatory Affairs with Southern Current.The group consists of representatives from Google, Lockhart Power, Pacolet Milliken, Duke Energy’s Piedmont Natural Gas, Dominion Energy, Spinx, and The Intertech Group, and seeks to grow the clean energy sector in the Palmetto State. (S.C. Clean Energy Business Alliance)

The International Society for Technology in Education has awarded Greenville-based Clear Touch with three Best of Show wins at the group's 2019 conference. Clear Touch is a "provider of multi-touch interactive flat panels for education and business." (Clear Touch)

Vox Media executive Stephen M. Swad has joined Charleston-based Benefitfocus as chief financial officer. Benefitfocus is a provider of a cloud-based benefits management platform and services. (Benefitfocus)

Today's Read
“People in mainstream media can just do things like fact-checking. They could avoid giving airtime or space to people they know routinely disinform and they can just avoid amplifying disinformation.” --Craigslist found Craig Newmark on the state of news media (The Guardian)

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