- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

ROEBUCK, S.C. (AP) - You don’t need to be a golfer to own and enjoy a golf cart.

Just ask David Upshaw, industrial retail sales manager at Golf Cart Service in Roebuck.

“Many have a cart at home to drive to the pool or their neighbor’s,” Upshaw said. “At The Villages (retirement community) in Florida, every home comes with a cart. In South Carolina, you can be on the road with a cart with lights within five miles of your house.”

Founded in 1986, Golf Cart Service has grown so fast in the past couple years at its 5-acre location on South Church Street Extended that it is planning to invest $1 million and move to a new 7.5-acre site at Highway 221 and Southport Road by the end of this summer.

“Business is good,” Upshaw said. “We’ve been blessed.”

Upshaw sells new and used gas-powered and electric carts for personal, commercial and industrial use. The company has a service garage as well as a service truck that goes to wherever the customer is.

The truck, operated by George Summers, is fully equipped with all the tools needed to diagnose and fix a broken-down golf cart.

Upshaw said his business has grown as Spartanburg County has grown with its influx of new companies and people.

“Our business is growing at a direct ratio to the new businesses here - simply more people are moving here,” he said.

Companies such as Rite-Aid, Amazon, Adidas, BMW and Michelin all need golf carts for executives and workers to travel back and forth between buildings and even inside massive structures like Rite Aid’s 900,000-square-foot distribution center at Flatwood Industrial Park. Soon, Toray will open in Moore and they be a potential golf cart customer, Upshaw said.

Business in 2016 was double that of 2015, and if the pace continues it will double again this year, he said.

Upshaw’s father-in-law and Golf Cart Service owner Robert W. Morgan said when he bought the business 10 years ago, the previous owner had purchased 27 carts for the year.

Now, “We’ve bought over 1,000 carts,” Morgan said. “That’s tremendous growth. We don’t see that stopping anytime soon. Industry is bringing in jobs, people with better, disposable incomes. They move into neighborhoods with pools, and they want to provide transportation for their families. It’s a real snowballing effect.”

Upshaw grew up near Dallas, Texas. When his ex-wife moved to the Upstate with their children, he moved here to be near them.

He worked as a registered nurse with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, a job he really enjoyed. But after having a bad back and two surgeries, he decided the rigors of being a nurse might not be best for him.

His new wife and her father, Morgan, approached him about coming to work at the golf cart business in April 2014.

“I love it - nobody dies and it’s a growing business that I have a stake in,” Upshaw said. “I love the challenge of reaching out to the customers, the interaction.”

Construction will start soon on the company’s new location. It will feature a 12,000-square-foot building, which is nearly triple the size of the current one. It will also feature a showroom with new and refurbished carts, offices and eight service bays. The lot will have hundreds of carts for sale or rent.

Carts range from a basic two-passenger, two-bag cart with canopy to larger utility carts that are popular with maintenance departments at colleges and other institutions.

They range in price from under $3,000 to upward of $10,000 depending on the extras.

One of the fancier carts in the showroom is an electric Club Car Precedent that has six 8-volt batteries and is set up to accommodate a stereo with speakers. Some models have two-passenger rear-facing seats in the back.

The frame is rust-proof, corrosion-resistant aluminum, and the plastic canopy channels rainwater straight to the ground. It has a 404-cc, electronic fuel-injection engine that can power the cart up hills and travel at speeds of 19 mph.

Upshaw, who doesn’t play golf, said he’s excited about moving to a new location and possibly adding to the current staff of 11 employees to keep up with the area’s growth.

“South Carolina is a great place to retire. We’re halfway between the beach and mountains,” he said. “The possibilities are not limited.”


Information from: Herald-Journal, https://www.goupstate.com/

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide