“I think that’s the beauty of where we are, because we’re centrally located, we can pull from other areas.”

December 2020: Greer, SC

Multi-Tasking Mom

Nicole Hilton/Refresco Human Resources Business Partner

I wear a lot of hats. All of the primary functions of Human Resources fall on me, from employee relations, recruiting, vetting candidates, interviewing, benefits enrollment, event planning, plant meetings and dinners, oh and payroll! I do payroll. How did I miss that? That’s the benefit of being a Human Resources generalist and not a specialist. I kind of do it all.

I work for Refresco. We’re a beverage bottling manufacturer. You’re not going to see our name on any of the products that we bottle, but we co-pack, or partner with, all the major chains, grocery stores and convenience stores to bottle their store brand. They provide the recipe, or formulas, for the batches and we bottle it. We do all of the leg work. We do everything from blending it, to filling it, to packaging it, and shipping it out. We have close to 30 facilities in the U.S., and the majority of our sister locations do the carbonated drinks. Our Greer location bottles sports energy drinks and juices.

We’ve almost tripled in size since 2019, so it’s been a little crazy. We’ve had the opposite impact of a lot of places that have closed, or downsized, due to Covid.

“. If anything, we can’t make juice fast enough. We ended 2019 with 50 people, and now we have over 135 employees and we’re still hiring. We’ve added a new production line. We’re definitely in growth mode. It’s an exciting time.

I grew up in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson. I attended Clemson University and majored in marketing. When I was interviewing on campus, most of the job offers were for sales-type positions, and to me, that was not the path of marketing I was interested in. So, I ended up starting out as an HR assistant with Burlington Industries in Burlington, North Carolina. I was with them three years and got married. My husband was still in the Upstate, so I needed to find something closer to home to make it work for both of us. I got a position with Kemet Electronics and then Circor.I’ve stayed with Human Resources my entire career, over twenty years now. I’ve been with Refresco for almost six years as a Human Resources manager.

“I think the resources in Greer are pretty good. We’re in a nice niche of the market here, being close to Spartanburg County and Greenville County. We even pull from Anderson County at times, and Clemson and Gaffney. I think that’s the beauty of where we are, because we’re centrally located, we can pull from some other areas – especially when times are tough finding candidates out of Greenville. I think we could see more diversity in businesses, but overall, I’m hopeful and pleased with where we’ve gotten so far. As for an employment pool, we have a very diverse workforce here. I’m pleased to see that everyone gets along really well. We’re like a family. From a day-to-day work perspective, we have a lot of diversity here. When I ran a demographics report recently, we were exactly 50/50 when looking at minority versus non-minority employees. And our female population has grown and that’s good to see.

“I love this area because it’s proven to be very nurturing for me and my family. My husband loves it here. His family is down at the Coast, and my family is near Clemson, so it’s a nice central area. My goal was always to get back home. I never intended to leave South Carolina. My daughter loves it here. She’s 17 and really active in sports. She attends Riverside High and plays basketball and soccer. She’s very studious, creative and artistic. I’ve been pleased with the schools that we’ve been zoned for and that she’s attended. They’ve been pretty excellent and have given her plenty of exposure to try different things and meet some great friends and teachers.

Greer has definitely taken off as far as shops and restaurants and access to the day-to-day necessities. You can be wherever you need to be within 20 minutes, not just in Greer, but in Greenville County period. It’s pretty easy to navigate. I love downtown Greer.

“. It’s charming and reminds me of Charleston, or back in the day, the kind of town where you can one-stop-shop and do everything. We are very family-oriented and just enjoy spending time together. It’s enjoyable to stroll downtown Greer and not have to deal with traffic. Greer’s been this kind of hidden secret. I hope we can maintain a little bit of that aspect.

I think there are many growth opportunities and unexplored properties here and businesses can really thrive. There’s a lot of industry in Greer, and it’s a nice hub that supports other smaller towns in the surrounding counties. This could be an exciting time for someone new to come in and try to start a business, or move a family here. I feel like we have a lot to offer, just because of where we’re physically located. We are close to the mountains, the beach and the city. You have all you need within a couple of hours drive, and it’s safe, and it’s not so fast-paced that you exhaust yourself with the things you have to do. You have the option of partaking in whatever your heart desires. My heart is full.