The Upstate SC

VOL12ISS2 2016

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Page 41 of 83

THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — UPSTATE SC | VOLUME 12 — ISSUE 2 40 MAULDIN Mauldin might be small but it thinks big. The progressive Upstate city (pop. 25,000) is just minutes from Greenville and promises a lifestyle more often associated with larger cities. The culturally minded city is gaining attention with events, arts and new programs. In October, residents were rewarded with an once- in-a-lifetime performance when "the President's Own" U.S. Marine Band came to town (one of only 11 cities). The prestigious national band that plays for the president of the United States is America's oldest continually operating band. The event proved that arts are more than an afterthought in Mauldin, part of the Golden Strip (Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn). The Mauldin Cultural Center is the nucleus of art for the community. Originally built in 1937 as an elementary school, the center hosts more than 30,000 people annually for various performances and more than 1,500 special events, Grammy award-winning concerts and more. One of its newest additions is the Art Haven School of the Arts. Throughout the week, Art Haven offers classes in pottery, watercolor, sketching, ink and pencil drawing, and other multi-media arts. In addition to visual arts, the cultural center continues to offer lessons in voice, guitar, woodworking, and ballroom dance. New fall and spring programming include Broadway Under the Stars, which showcases the talents of local theater professionals in the cultural center's outdoor amphitheater. The spring will bring a comedy series, the first of which will feature James Gregory, "America's funniest comedian." In December, the center will debut its inaugural Mauldin's Twelve Days of Christmas with twelve days (December 1 through December 12) jam-packed with events. Popular events held at the Mauldin Cultural Center include the annual train exhibit and SOOIE Barbecue Competition. The Trains, Trains and More Trains model train exhibit brings nearly 5,000 visitors to Mauldin annually. The free community event is a must- see exhibit held over two weekends each September. Hundreds of model trains are in the popular exhibit with as many as 200 at one time on the track. Also in September the city comes out to nosh on barbecue. Mauldin's heritage and music are in the mix but the South's favorite meat is front and center. SOOIE Mauldin Barbecue Cook-off event features up to 24 barbecue teams from all over the Southeast and includes a barbecue cook-off competition with a panel of certified 'cue tasters. Kicking off the event each year Mauldin BY LINDSEY GREY progressive, unique, and trains is the creative "Anything Butt" competition which includes anything but barbecue. Plans to expand the event are in the works for 2017. Fitness matters to locals and Mauldin continues to grow recreation opportunities through the Mauldin Sports Center, which features an indoor climbing wall and an indoor track. The center hosts group fitness classes as well as community sports for youth and adults. Seniors exercise mind and body at the Ray Hopkins Senior Center – with fitness classes, seminars and special events. More than 50 acres of parks and green space and a strong recreation program keep residents active with youth sport leagues and activities. Sunset Park is the state's first handicapped adult softball field in South Carolina, and adults in wheelchairs can play on the Mauldin Maulers softball team. In addition to these plans, the city continues to see great economic growth with the announcement of four new companies and more than 800 new jobs. Mauldin's business community is comprised of a mix of large employers across various sectors, and small businesses with more than 20 corporate headquarters located in Mauldin. Restaurant Depot, a national restaurant equipment service and food company chose Mauldin as its first location in the southeast and opened in August. The $5.3 million investment is expected to create 60 jobs. National insurer Esurance, Samsung and other major companies are located in Mauldin. The city is ranked as a "Top 10 Best Cities in South Carolina to Start a Business" and "Top 10 Best Cities for Home Ownership in South Carolina" by Nerd Wallet. In the midst of progress, family-owned and operated businesses are the backbone of the city. The anticipated opening of the Greenville-based Tropical Grille is in November. It will be the company's first freestanding space and the 3,000-square-foot restaurant will be the largest Tropical Grille to date, featuring outdoor patio seating and a drive thru. The family owned restaurant is located in a renovated building with history: the city's first general store. The restaurant is known for its made-from-scratch Cuban foods using local, all-natural, hormone-free meats and gluten-free and vegetarian meals. >>

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