Just a decade ago, a mention of Greenville, South Carolina, in most social circles may have been met with befuddled looks and indifference. But today, Greenville ranks as the fourth fastest-growing city in the country with no signs of slowing down, and minority businesses of all shapes and sizes are taking note.
From burgeoning retail and food industries to large companies like Rhino Linings, Magna International, and WYNIT Distribution establishing operations in the area, Greenville is quickly becoming synonymous with the ideal place for minorities to grow their businesses.
A study from United Van Lines indicated that South Carolina is ranked 2nd for having more people moving into than out of the state. Greenville is scooping up its fair share of out-of-state transplants and local relocators alike, having gone from under 60,000 people in 2010 to more than 67,000 as of 2017. And that’s without accounting for the other 433,000-plus citizens in the surrounding areas.
In addition, Greenville has proclaimed $1.2 billion in new capital investment and nearly 9,000 new jobs in the last five years.
“Greenville is the center of Interstate 85 between Charlotte and Atlanta and has a wealth of business growth opportunities,” says Jil Littlejohn, Greenville Mayor Pro Tem and President & CEO of Greenville City Council & Urban League Upstate. “I welcome those who would like to help expand and grow one of the South’s best kept secret cities into the next big thing.”
Beija-Flor Jeans is doing its part to make Littlejohn’s vision happen. Having grown their roots in 2005, the company’s mission to design jeans to fit real women’s bodies has now expanded into Greenville’s Main Street. The women-owned, socially responsible premium denim company features four core designs and a limited edition capsule collection each season. All of the jeans feature memory stretch, advanced-technology fabrics with a contoured mid-rise and a no-gap waist. Beija-Flor’s flagship retail store opened in 2012 in Greenville, where the company is headquartered.
Southerners know how to eat and you’ll find no shortage of restaurants here, ranging from home cooking to high-end cuisine.
Restaurants like Henry’s Smokehouse and Smoke on the Water serve up some of the south’s most mouthwatering barbecue. If you prefer natural and fresh flavors, Caviar & Bananas offers a large variety of made-from-scratch small plates, sweets, charcuterie & cheese, and a collection of craft beer and wine.
The businesses and industries in Greenville are as diverse as the cultures of the people living here. The city is the foundation for over 245 international companies hailing from 20 different countries, and it contains the largest concentration of German-based businesses in the state.
As the “Greenville Chambers Minority Business of the Year” and “SC State Chamber Small Business of the Year,” Jordon Construction Company serves as one of the backbones of Greenville’s development, connecting culture with business growth.
For an immersive cultural experience, stop by St. Anthony’s Church in the West End district. The church welcomes people of all religions and cultures, and offers a worship experience in African American Catholicism. It also serves as a K3-6 school that explores diversity with the foundation of worship.
While Greenville has its share of typical family-friendly activities like mini-golf and indoor play centers, families can find other kinds of kid-friendly adventures in and around the city–like the Poppington Parlor, a custom popcorn palace in downtown Greenville that’s brimming with flavor and fun!
If you’re planning to spend the day downtown, make sure you include a visit to the Greenville Zoo or the Children’s Museum of the Upstate. Hop aboard the free, open-air Downtown Trolley and do a little sightseeing on your way to each destination.
Downtown Greenville has no shortage of nightlife and entertainment. Overlooking the Reedy River you’ll find Blues Boulevard Jazz, a swanky upscale lounge featuring some of the best live blues and jazz acts from around the country.
The city is also home to nearly a dozen performing arts venues, such as the elegant Peace Center, which showcases orchestras and theatrical shows (like the upcoming Broadway production of Hamilton). Then there’s the Bon Secours Arena, which hosts sporting events and large-scale concerts, and the Carolina Ballet Theatre, home to Greenville’s own ballet company.
No matter what you’re looking for, you’re likely to find it in Greenville. The city’s rapid growth is only expected to continue, which makes it an attractive place to live, work, and play.