By Guest Contributor Mark Owens| Vice President of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce
Decades of leadership laid the foundation for Greer’s advancement
Imagine a city in the picturesque foothills of South Carolina. You’re sitting at a charming courtyard restaurant table finishing a four-course meal. As you head for an after-dinner walk through the city, the air is filled with a mix of music and church bells.
A train whistle suddenly overtakes the music, and you’re reminded of the city’s prosperous past and promising future at the same time. Slowly making your way through downtown admiring the history painted on the sides of beautiful brick buildings, you’re welcomed to City Park by an enchanting fountain spouting water that appears to be dancing to the beat of the city.
Did you picture Greer?
Nestled between Greenville and Spartanburg, Greer is the second fastest growing city in the state of South Carolina. With a 50 percent growth rate since 2000, numerous people and businesses call Greer home. Companies such as BMW, Michelin, Mitsubishi Polyester Film and Honeywell have all found their home in Greer alongside the countless other businesses, both large and small, that make up the fabric of the Greater Greer business community.
How did they get here? Glad you asked. The answer is simple: strong roots.
Heritage, pedigree and a robust foundation are words often used when describing a successful entity. Greer embodies all of those characteristics; but how did that happen? Since incorporation in 1876, Greer’s community leaders have worked tirelessly to lay the groundwork on which the city now stands.
It is easy to revel in the success Greer enjoys today, but it is critically important to acknowledge the roots that have made continuous growth possible. It is the 90-plus year-old businesses still in operation today, the successful farms, educated workforce, welcoming community, churches, schools, volunteers and city officials who have created the strong root system that attract families and new businesses to Greer.
We all know roots without the right conditions produce no growth. For an area to develop, many things need to fall into place. Located with access to two multi-state interstate systems, an established rail system, a cutting edge international airport and most recently, an inland port providing daily access to the port of Charleston, Greer has the land, air and water to foster growth. Amenities such as two first-class hospital systems, state leading schools, access to outdoor activities, a competitive job market, a quaint but vibrant downtown and the all-important affordable housing, are the true fruits that Greer now enjoys. Our community offers amenities of a big city with the charm and hospitality of your hometown.
What is next for Greer?
Split between both Greenville and Spartanburg counties, Greer is experiencing substantial growth in the residential and commercial sectors. Over 1,750 new residential housing lots are currently in development, while new major retailers, diverse restaurants and specialty retail shops are under construction. The foundation has also been laid for future development with existing industrial growth and available Class A spec space. BMW’s recently announced $1 billion investment will make their Greer plant the largest BMW plant in the world. As growth continues, it is vital Greer works closely with both Greenville and Spartanburg counties to ensure this process is done the right way to cultivate and enhance our roots.
My wife and I recently watched a remarkable video created by the Greater Greer Chamber in the late 1940s, which showcased a lively and exciting downtown. Our favorite line was “You need not leave Greer for the finer things.” As we watched this film, it was exciting to see recognizable business names, knowing we are experiencing the fruits of their labor.
The roots of our community from years past have truly provided a flourishing present, proving that message is still true today. As we continue to grow, it is comforting to know our foundation is strong.
This UBJ edition features a “spotlight on Greer,” but I will take it one step further, and encourage you to look closer and truly experience Greer.