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Rutland is turning her full attention to family

Nurtured Greer's growth as member of GDC team

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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Angela Rutland is leaving the Greer Economic Development Corporation to spend more time with her family. Elliott, 5, enjoyed the company of her mom Monday when her daycare closed early due to repairs.

Angela Rutland is leaving the Greer Economic Development Corporation to spend more time with her family. Elliott, 5, enjoyed the company of her mom Monday when her daycare closed early due to repairs.

 

 

Elliott Rutland was meticulously drawing a two-story structure she described as her home. She drew the windows and penciled in the doorknob.  It was left to the imagination if it was Elliott’s symbolism recognizing her mother, Angela, was within days of becoming a stay-at-home mom.

Angela Rutland, the Commercial Development Director for the Greer Development Corporation (GDC), has decided to become a stay-at-home mom for Elliott, 5, and Emma, 8. A life event convinced Rutland and her husband, Vernon, she was making the right decision for her family.

“This was a very sad and difficult decision to make but it’s the right decision,” Rutland said. “It’s time for me to step back and focus more on (Elliott and Emma).”

Rutland, a native of Greer, said she’s looking forward to the summer when school is out and her full attention is steered toward her daughters. 

“We work very hard here and it takes a lot of energy,” Rutland said. “At times I would get home and, honestly, feel tired. I didn’t feel like I was giving my girls one hundred percent of me.”

Rutland’s 8-years at GDC has seen Greer double its population, saw City Hall relocated to a state-of-the-art venue and park, a housing boom that developed several new communities, business and industry stretch the city’s boundaries, and downtown development at its most active pace in memory.

“I am happy to see downtown growing and empty store fronts being filled. I’m proud to be part of that change,” Rutland said.

Reno Deaton, Greer Economic Development Executive Director, got to see Rutland’s value quickly when he joined Greer’s leadership team. “Angela has been a tremendous asset to the Greer Development Corporation.  When I first started, Angela was a great resource.  She helped me to become familiar with the Greer Community, to understand our history, and to appreciate the hard work that had gone into the evolution of Greer. 

“Throughout (Angela’s) time with us, we have depended on her tireless effort, her creativity, and her professionalism.  She has helped not only the Greer Development Corporation, but also the Greer Station Association (GSA), the Partnership for Tomorrow (PFT), and she has been a fixture in helping to plan and execute some of Greer's most successful events.”

Part of the downtown’s growth can be attributed to the GSA Rutland has helped nurture to a viable economic arm in the city’s business and residential growth. GSA was partly organized by downtown merchants to increase a marketability it felt the Greer Chamber of Commerce didn’t embrace with the same enthusiasm.

“Two years ago we (GSA) had a liaison in place to address issues within the city. Last year we had all six issues resolved. GSA can go to whoever we have a concern and work together to get it resolved. If we are unified we can address our concerns with the proper people.” Rutland quickly acknowledged Deaton’s aggressive support. “Reno worked hard with us and the GSA. It’s all about relationships.”

“I think our downtown merchants would join me in applauding Angela’s efforts,” Deaton said. “We have been blessed with a fantastic downtown and merchants who are eager to work together for the good of the whole community.” 

Rutland and Mark Owens, director of programs/events at the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, were in Leadership Greer Class 29, and formed a bond that enabled them to accomplish moving local organizations forward. “The Chamber and GSA both want the business community to succeed and we worked together to try to make that happen any way we could,” Owens said.

“I think Angela was uniquely suited to help merchants harness that energy and those great ideas into a workable plan that focused on improving individual businesses by promoting the Greer Station brand,” Deaton said. “In our community, Greer Station plays a very important role.  For many, downtown Greer has become the symbol of Greer's vitality.”

Lisa Suber, owner of The Stomping Grounds Coffee and Wine Bar on Trade Street, has become Rutland’s personal cheerleader. “I explained to Angela what I wanted to do and she helped me locate my business. Everything fell into place from there. I live on the same block, have an attorney in town and all the vendors are Greer connected. I talked with people in Greer and nobody had one negative thing to say. That’s very unusual. People downtown supported each other.  This has been an awesome experience.”

Downtown merchants were, in years past, less than enthusiastic with the Greer Family Festival occurring on Mother’s Day weekend. They said it interfered with a higher than usual sales volume weekend with the vendors overlapping the downtown sidewalks. The GSA and the Chamber moved the festival dates one week before Mother’s Day. The Festival organizers also moved food vendors to the City Park promenade.

“Angela has been an instrumental part of the Greer Family Festival and has done a great job to relay the thoughts and ideas the downtown merchants convey on how we can improve the festival for our community,” Owens said.

The GSA embraced BIN112 owner Jason Clark’s initiative with the Boxcars on Trade project. Greer’s founding at a railroad depot is emphasized with downtown businesses sponsoring a boxcar that is painted by area artists and displayed throughout Greer Station. They are auctioned annually at the Chamber’s Oyster Roast.

Rutland said Greer’s future is wide open for business growth. “Kohl’s coming into the are is huge.  It’s a game-changer. It’s been years since the Kmart building has been occupied and filling that in with Kohl’s will attract other businesses to the area,” Rutland said.

Walmart Neighborhood Market will open at the former Winn-Dixie, another darkened big box that will be renovated. Rutland said she foresees the former Allen Bennett Hospital and Huntington Rehabilitation property eventually housing a health-related industry. “It’s too valuable a property not to have something there,” Rutland said. The property is currently undergoing foreclosure proceedings.

Greer’s location between Greenville and Spartanburg, Rutland said, places it in an advantageous position working with both counties recruiting new business and industry. “It makes you have a good relationship with each other,” Rutland said. 

Rutland likens Greer to the description Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo described during his 2-hour visit covering then-presidential candidate Rick Perry last month. Caputo wrote about a supporter who, “chatted up Perry in the (Wild Ace Pizza) restaurant and, later on Trade Street, a post-card perfect stretch of mom-and-pop shops nestled among red brick buildings.”

“That was perfect,” Rutland said with a wide smile.

A farewell social for Rutland is planned at the GDC today between noon and 2 p.m. 

“We will miss Angela greatly.  She has been an integral member of our team,” Deaton said. “I have appreciated that she knows how to lead and how to follow.  I have admired her tireless dedication and hard work, and we will continue to celebrate all that she has done to make Greer the very best that it can be.

Many attendees will walk through picturesque and family-friendly City Park adjacent to a City Hall hailed by communities for its vision and centerpiece representing the future. Some people will stroll along the tree-lined downtown sidewalks past those mom-and-pop shops draped by the Greer Historic District that defines Greer’s storied past.

Today, Angela Rutland will be their center of attention. Just as she has helped make Greer.

People mentioned in this article. Click a name to view more articles for that person.

Reno Deaton

Businesses mentioned in this article.

City of Greer, Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, Greer Development Corporation

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