Biz Beat

Jiujitsu, Shaved Snow, and a Flamingo: Creativity at the Heart of Anderson’s Rising Small Businesses

By: Leanne Cobb

Anderson is home to many thriving and dynamic small businesses owned and operated by entrepreneurs who are dedicated to pouring their heart, soul, expertise, and love into our town. Creative and inspired, these small businesses offer products and services that are one of a kind. Let’s get to know a few of these small businesses and their owners. 

Renzo Gracie Brazilian Jiujitsu School
1632 N. Main Street, Anderson

Owned by husband and wife PJ and Allison Higgins, Renzo Gracie is the only school of its kind in Anderson. The Higgins family relocated to SC from Massachusetts with plans to open the business in Clemson. But with guidance from their realtor, they decided to do business in Anderson. Their current location was the first and only place they looked, and they signed a lease immediately.

PJ Higgins has trained in Jiujitsu since 2008. His business is unique because they specifically train in Brazilian Jiujitsu and offer a schedule that accommodates all three work shifts, so there is a class for everyone. The students have already taken a first-place team trophy in a local competition. Renzo Gracie offers a women only class and a kids class for children as young as 5.  

“Do not be intimidated to walk through our doors. Jiujitsu folks are the nicest people you will meet. We love Anderson, live in Anderson, and think this town is the bee’s knees.” – PJ Higgins

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One Fine Day Event Planning

Denise Marie is the proud owner of One Fine Day Event Planning, run from her home. An Anderson native, Marie worked in corporate event planning before going into business for herself. She plans weddings, showers, birthdays, and any occasion to celebrate. She describes her business as one based on building lasting relationships and supporting clients in good and challenging times. Marie also makes floral arrangements for simple gatherings and grazing tables as well as centerpieces and bouquets.

“My clients are much more than a transaction. I love celebrating people, seeing smiling faces, and knowing we played a small part in someone’s special moments. Every celebration is a fine day to celebrate.” -Denise Marie

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Vampire Penguin
118 Commons Parkway, Anderson

Possibly the most unique name in Anderson, Vampire Penguin is owned by mother and son team, Tina Tharp and Matthew Duffie. They offer a shaved ice dessert that cannot be found anywhere else in Anderson. Open since September 2020, Vampire Penguin is still one of Anderson’s hidden treasures. Tharp and Duffie brought Vampire Penguin to Anderson through a franchise in California. Tharp presented the opportunity to Duffie, who was in construction, and he jumped at the chance to take on a new challenge. 

It takes three days to prepare one flavor of this one-of-a-kind dessert. It tastes like a high-calorie and sugary dessert but contains only 90 calories and less than 10 grams of sugar. Vampire Penguin is open Tuesday-Sunday 12:30pm-8:30pm. 

“You have to taste it. It blows the mind of every customer who has ever walked in the door.” –Tina Tharp

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White Flamingo
812 West Whitner Street, Anderson

Owners Hannah Spake and Katie Kay have been friends since attending grade school together in Anderson. They share a belief of inclusivity in fashion, so in December 2022 they launched White Flamingo, first as an online boutique, but as of late January, they will open a physical location on Whitner Street, open on Saturdays from 10am-2pm with plans to expand hours in the future. White Flamingo is a unique boutique because it offers regular and curvy sizes in all collections (tops, dresses, outerwear, bottoms, and intimates). Spake and Kay bring a take on fashion that is trendy, elevated, and thoughtfully curated. White Flamingo offers personal styling sessions, and if the item you want isn’t in the store, Hannah and Katie will find an outfit that matches your vision.

“We aspire to make White Flamingo a place a place that inspires women to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin.” – Hannah Spake and Katie Kay

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Plant A Seed Cards

Inspired by her mother and the scripture Matthew 17:20, Brea Robinson created her online business, Plant A Seed Cards in 2019. She began with a set of 25 greeting cards with a mustard seed inside each, reminding the recipient would be reminded of the scripture. Next, she created bracelets, all original designs, with a charm of faith on the front and a real mustard seed on the back. In addition to selling her products online, Brea sells her products at craft shows and women’s church conferences all around SC. Her mission is to plant a mustard seed of faith.

“I hope my story has inspired you and I give all thanks and glory to God!” – Brea Robinson

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Small businesses are at the heart of every community’s economic growth and stability, and Anderson is experiencing both thanks to these dynamic businesses and the entrepreneurial spirits behind them. We will feature more exciting small businesses in the March edition of Anderson Magazine.  And remember — every time you shop small, you make your neighbor’s dream come true.