Buff City Soap, a rapidly expanding retail franchise known for its handmade, 100% plant-based soaps, bath bombs, body butter, laundry soap and other delightful products – is continuing its rapid growth throughout the South. The new Buff City Soap store opened early March in Hartwell Village. This store will be operated by longtime friends Rick & Joni Hayes and Tammy Swinney.
The Hayes’ currently have four Buff City Soap locations in Alabama including three stores in the Birmingham area and one in Montgomery. Since the Hayes and Swinney families have been close for many years, working together on new stores throughout the Upstate of South Carolina seemed like a perfect opportunity. The Clemson/Seneca store will almost be in the shadow of Clemson’s Death Valley and is an exciting first step for Rick, Joni and Tammy. This team is planning to open at least 20 additional Buff City Soap locations throughout the Upstate of South Carolina, the State of Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and Southwest Georgia.
This is certainly not the Hayes’ first experience as entrepreneurs and business owners. Rick is the founder of Ingenuity, Inc. based in Pelham, Alabama, which is the hometown of both the Hayes and Swinney families and where Rick served as city council president for the previous eight years. Ingenuity, Inc. is an information technology and energy/telecommunications optimization company. Tammy’s brother-in-law, Dabo Swinney, has been a member of the Ingenuity board of directors with Rick since the founding of the company almost twenty years ago.
Ingenuity has helped with Dabo’s ALL IN TEAM Foundation and the Clemson Football Camps for many years, but Rick’s ties to Clemson go all of the way back to his childhood when he started attending Alabama-Auburn football games every year with Clemson legendary football coach Frank Howard. “Coach Howard became good friends with my father via the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and I always felt blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with him. Naturally it was surreal when Dabo accepted the offer to come to Clemson, and I can’t tell you how excited we are to be opening our first business here with Tammy,” stated Rick.
When Rick and Joni first tried the Buff City Soap products and started considering opening a number of stores, they took samples of the soaps, laundry soaps, and body butters to the Swinneys to try. Since everyone loved the handmade products crafted in-store daily, Rick and Joni acquired two stores and started making plans with Tammy to open the stores in South Carolina.
“After using Buff City Soap products and seeing how everything is made right in front of customers, it became very clear that this is a truly unique concept,” stated Rick Hayes. “All of our friends and family could not stop talking about how good the products made their skin feel and how wonderful everything smelled,” added Joni.
Founded in 2013, Buff City Soap has created a high quality alternative to commercial soap products full of harsh chemicals, detergents, animal fats, and sulfates. By giving customers the chance to see the entire making process in each Soap Makery, Buff City Soap is shaking up the consumer goods industry by focusing on transparency of ingredients and process.