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Stomping Grounds: Somebody had to be the brick and mortar in Greer's downtown renaissance

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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Lisa Garland's imagination was virtually her guide during her first days in Greer.
 

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Lisa Garland's imagination was virtually her guide during her first days in Greer.

 



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The front of the house at Stomping Grounds has adapted to customer's tastes and requests.
 

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The front of the house at Stomping Grounds has adapted to customer's tastes and requests.

 



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Lisa opened space for the Chocolate Toad to make its bakery home at the Stomping Grounds.
 

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Lisa opened space for the Chocolate Toad to make its bakery home at the Stomping Grounds.

 



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Stomping Grounds was a value to conduct studies and work while also enjoying a diverse food and beverage menu.
 

Stomping Grounds was a value to conduct studies and work while also enjoying a diverse food and beverage menu.

 



I was visiting with Robyn Zimmerman at the Stomping Grounds on Tuesday when she paused on the way out marveling at the quaintness of the multi-dimensional coffee shop, its décor and mostly the customer-friendly atmosphere.

I described Lisa Garland, owner/operator of Stomping Grounds Coffee House and Wine Bar, as the epicenter of Greer’s downtown renaissance. Lisa’s store is at 208 Trade Street.

There wouldn’t be enough time to describe how many lives and businesses Lisa has impacted. Not to mention the fact that she found a match in Grey Garland and married in Greenville with her innermost Stomping Grounds family attending.

Countless businesses, partnerships, relationships and cultural activities may not have occurred, or at least not as quickly, had not Lisa welcomed customers to her coffee shop to plan, negotiate and finalize their dream projects.

Artists found a temporary home. Musicians had a venue to perform. Entrepreneurs had a sometimes, long-term office. Dreams came true, others maybe not. Some downtown merchants enjoyed themselves stopping by, walking behind the counter and filling their daily bottomless coffee and teacups.

Boutique businesses were given space to bake their goods, or sell their farm-to-table products.

Some businesses, gasping to keep their doors open, may not have survived the latter parts of the recession had not the Stomping Grounds been a magnet for downtown visitors.

And who will forget Lisa virtually adopting Cliff Harpst, a congenial transplanted WW II veteran from Ohio. A sandwich, the “Cliff”, was named in his honor and Lisa helped Greer embrace Harpst as a hometown hero.

When Lisa first arrived, wearing her trademarked fur coat, she created buzz what a coffee shop could bring to downtown.

Empty storefront windows were papered, with most of them peeling from the tape they had been vacant so long. Greer’s businesses didn’t have to spend a long time deciding the most attractive storefronts at Christmas.

Along the way, businesses came and some went. During Lisa’s now 5-year investment into downtown and her steadfast determination to withstand an aged building that needed some costly upkeep, the Stomping Grounds became the heart and soul of Trade Street.

Lisa and her son, Jackson, settled in an upstairs apartment above her store. Since then downtown Greer is home to about a dozen residents and hosts an Airbnb. More apartments are being built above stores – the signature of downtown vitality.

Nine days ago on the steps of the newly named but 110-year-old CBL State Savings Bank, Mark Owens (Greer Chamber President/CEO) and Mayor Rick Danner proudly announced that Trade Street’s vacancy rate is zero percent.

A glance back at the rustic Stomping Grounds sign deserved a nod for its steadfast owner, Lisa Garland, nourishing the future of downtown Greer.

“Let’s meet at the Stomping Grounds” became Greer’s mantra to the future.

Read more on Lisa’s journey to Greer and her Stomping Grounds coffee shop.

Follow your nose to the Stomping Grounds.

• Vows: It helps to have the numbers perfectly aligned.

• Hot enough to fry an egg.

Storytellers hold court.

Chocolate Toad finds a home.

 

 

 

 

 

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