Less than two miles from Main Street, The Village of West Greenville has been quietly expanding and gearing up for its moment in the spotlight. Thanks to a master plan started in 2014 to make the area more pedestrian and visitor friendly, the area is emerging as what some are calling the SoHo of Greenville with a heavy emphasis on the arts and independent creative businesses. Home to 30 unique restaurants, galleries and shops, new businesses continue to relocate to the district.
The Greenville Center for the Creative Arts anchors the Village is helping to transform the neighborhood with monthly First Friday open studios events attracting hundreds while also offering weekly art classes in a range of mediums. Local artists like Patricia Kilburg, Darin Gurke and Sunny Mullarke have their studios in the Village. Kilburg says, “Greenville, South Carolina, our home since 1990, is rich with cultural offerings. In this place there is a synergy between visual art, music, dance and theater in combination with the natural beauty of mountain, wood and water. Each day I experience an abundance of stimulation that generates ideas and compels me to paint.”
Other artists and galleries include: Art & Light Gallery; The Artistry; Kate Furman Jewelry. Throughout the year, the GCCA provides more than 10,000 visual art experience through a rotating gallery featuring more than 200 artists from ten states. The annual Member Showcase featured 136 artists from the area.
Restaurants like The Anchorage, Bar Mars, the Village Grind, and Kuka Juice draw diners seeking some of Greenville’s best. Unlocked Coffee Roasters, run by the Colombian husband and wife team of Andres Camargo and Rocío Salazar, uses the shop and roastery to empower local women in shelters and support Colombian farmers while providing high quality coffee. Carmargo says, “Our goal is to bring the best flavor and aroma of each coffee bean, giving our customers a real connection to the farmers and the origin of the coffee they are drinking. Our roastery and coffee shop are focused on specialty coffee, distributing coffee as a wholesaler and retail store. We were both born and raised in Colombia, that is why coffee is running in our veins.”
Carolina Bauernhaus Ale, a farmhouse brewery and winery, features hand-crafted ales, ciders, and meads. It pays homage to the rich agricultural resources of upstate South Carolina by using locally sourced malt, grains, yeast and hops. While brewing techniques may be Belgian inspired, beers are by no means reverent to tradition. LaRue Fine Chocolate owner Elizabeth McDaniel launched her artisan chocolates business after spending years in the wine industry and as a hobbyist chocolatier. She developed her skills as a student of the Ecole Chocolat and is a maître chocolatier. LaRue Fine Chocolates is a purveyor of handcrafted, small-batch, artisan chocolates that feature local and organic ingredients such as Bee Well honey, Happy Cow Creamery butter, Bulls Bay sea salt, Queen’s Cupboard sugars and Nellie T’s peanut butter. Six & Twenty Distillery, one of South Carolina’s premier craft distilleries, will also present classes and tours along with an extensive menu of cocktails and flights.
Center for Culinary & Hosptiality Innovation– with weekly cooking classes (both participation and demo) open to the public, the incubator space will also serve to help train professionals for the hospitality industry locally.
The West Village Lofts at Brandon Mill have helped attract residents to the community and attract even more restaurants and retailers to the transforming area. West Village Lofts houses a variety of residential spaces that maintain the charm of the old building while enhancing it with the power of contemporary interior design. Spacious floor plans, luxurious features and unique amenities create this one-of-a-kind place to call home.
Once the epicenter of the city’s textile production, the Village of West Greenville has transformed itself into a vibrant arts and entrepreneurial district. Visitors to Greenville are well advised to spend some quality here in order to soak up the friendly atmosphere that permeates throughout the region.