GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Nine new businesses will open this year in the Village of West Greenville. It’s an area that’s received a large amount of funding from the city and has grown significantly in the past year.
Fashion designer Carolina Torres is the newest business owner there. Monday she’s opening her eveningwear and bridal boutique Carolina Soma, which will also serve as a workshop for her creations. “Every dress I make is one of a kind,” she says.
Torres is new to a neighborhood that has seen over a dozen new businesses in the past year, including the Mailroom Barber Co., Carol’s Ice Cream, Van’s Chocolates, Alchemy Fine Hair, Revival Butchery, The Village Grind’s new location and edgy women’s boutique “RockerBelle’s.”
Other recently opened shops include Young Sook Park’s art studio, featuring contemporary abstract paintings, Savereign Plants, an exotic plants shop, and Beautiful Demise, a screen-printed clothing shop.
“Everything is independently owned which is really exciting,” says Beth McPhee, President of the Village of West Greenville Business Association and co-owner of The Anchorage. She says the businesses are working together to develop common hours of operation for retail shops, in order to encourage steady foot traffic that will benefit the community as a whole.
On Pendleton Street, there are even plans to open a large indoor food hall with restaurants, retail shops and a brewery.
Opening in late 2019 is Poe West, a 60,000 square foot mixed use development on Perry Avenue that once was Poe Hardware & Supply Co. The development is currently at a 50% occupancy, with commitments from Six and Twenty Distillery, Larue Fine Chocolate, Carolina Bauernhaus Brewery and Winery, Unlocked Coffee Roasters and Greenville Tech’s Center for Culinary and Hospitality Innovation.
The Greenville Tech Center for Culinary and Hospital Innovation was brought into fruition after talking to many restaurant owners in Greenville who expressed a frustration with a shortage in trained servers and restaurant staff.
“The growing restaurant and hospitality industry needed additional support,” The Furman Co.’s Robert Poppleton says. “It’s going to have a lot of different opportunities but everything from server training to knife skills.”
City officials and developers hope the training facility will create many jobs for the nearby residents of the Village of West Greenville.
“It’s better for those training opportunities to be in the neighborhoods,” Tracy Ramseur, Senior Economic Development Project Manager for the City of Greenville says. “A lot of them can probably walk.”
The city says its shared vision with business owners for the Village is primarily centered around the preservation of existing character and the creation of a unique commercial district that is attractive to local businesses and supports the needs of nearby neighborhoods.
That’s all good news for business owners who are excited to see more foot traffic.
“Definitely in the last 6 to 12 months we’ve seen a huge difference down here,” McPhee says. “We’ve had more customers for our Sunday brunch especially.”
Over the past several years, the city of Greenville has invested over $1 million in public infrastructure improvements, including a new pedestrian plaza, streetscape improvements along Pendleton Street and Perry Avenue and a public parking lot in the Village. In a partnership with Artisphere, the plaza now features a new public sculpture entitled “Spindle” by artist Blessing Hancock.
City planners say they’re in the process of entering into a development agreement for the enhanced streetscape improvements to include public on-street parking and decorative lighting.