The Upstate SC

VOL12ISS2 2016

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — UPSTATE SC | VOLUME 12 — ISSUE 2 26 GREENVILLE Greenville BY LYNNE BRANDON Kathy Moca and daughter, Emilie Whitaker, have tapped into the booming "athleisure" trend in apparel in a city that is as unstoppable as their brand, Beija-Flor (hummingbird in Portugese). The two women have walked a path cut by previous generations in the textile industry in a city once solely defined by manufacturing. Today the city is on the national radar as the poster child of reinvention. The two women launched their denim brand in 2005 with cutting edge technology and a unique marketing plan that started with jean parties, e-commerce and eventually their brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Greenville. The company's environmentally conscious (recycled eco-friendly Repreve) and advanced technologies like Emana, a smart yarn with infrared technology, has earned the company national attention and the Innovator Award from Apparel magazine in 2016. Beija-Flor is one of many new businesses coming to the progressive city. The momentum and energy of the town is clear – it's on the fast track and showing no signs of slowing down. The city that feels like a town and built on the backs of past generations who toiled in mills is unrecognizable from its former self. The city that was once the King of Textiles in the South was going down the wrong tracks as it headed for decline. Transplants from other parts of the country realized Greenville's potential and the city sprung to life teeming with new restaurants, museums and outdoor assets – many located downtown. The energy is contagious and particularly in the focal point of the city – downtown. Restaurateurs, entrepreneurs and business owners are behind the transformation of the downtown some compare to a European city for its manicured streetscapes (featuring trees and angled parking), entertainment and dining venues, and pedestrian-friendly climate. A crowning achievement of the downtown is the Liberty Bridge, a pedestrian only swing bridge that rewards with breathtaking views of the falls on the Reedy River, once valued more for its use with factories and mills perched on the banks of the river. The focal point of the downtown is a popular photography site where people gather to make lasting memories. "I would say that working in downtown Greenville is a dream come true and all of us feel so fortunate to live here," said Moca. "I recently had visitors come here from Brazil and you can't believe how proud I was to show off not only our little boutique on South Main Street but the whole city. You can actually see the Beija-Flor store right from the pedestrian bridge overlooking the beautiful park. Sometimes we have our staff meetings in the park - just to get inspired!" Carl Sobocinski is widely credited for starting the transformation downtown by bringing in world class restaurants to a city suffering from name recognition. He had a vision for what the city could be and in 1997 he opened Soby's restaurant featuring "New Southern" cuisine. Others followed his lead and now the city is a nationally recognized culinary destination. Sobocinski's food empire, Table 301, is now made up of 11 restaurant concepts ranging from fine dining to a gastro pub, food truck and event space. Restaurants represent the melting pot of residents and diverse venues in the Upstate serve cuisine from all corners of the globe. Mexican, Brazilian, Japanese, Korean and other ethnicities mix with Southern comfort food, burgers and pizza. Eateries soon-to-join the extraordinary culinary landscape include Husk, the award-winning restaurant from Charleston that serves a modern take on Southern classics; Menkoi Ramen House – an authentic Japanese Ramen house; and Basil Thai – an award-winning restaurant based in Charleston. >> progressive, melting pot, extravaganzas

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