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40 new businesses open on Trade Street

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, February 3, 2012

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Carrie Flanagan puts some finishing touches at her boutique Friday at The Grapevine. She is among the 40 businesses that have leased space at the store on 211 Trade Street.

Carrie Flanagan puts some finishing touches at her boutique Friday at The Grapevine. She is among the 40 businesses that have leased space at the store on 211 Trade Street.



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Wanda Garcia checks where shops are located at The Grapevine. Small businesses have secured 40 of the 50-52 spaces with six month leases.

Wanda Garcia checks where shops are located at The Grapevine. Small businesses have secured 40 of the 50-52 spaces with six month leases.



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Julie Stephens, left, and Jessica Moore have displays next to each other at The Grapevine. Stephens boutique is McArver's and Moore has Access to Baggage.

Julie Stephens, left, and Jessica Moore have displays next to each other at The Grapevine. Stephens boutique is McArver's and Moore has Access to Baggage.

Downtown got a lot busier Friday as The Grapevine welcomed 40 boutique owners to its new location at 211 Trade Street.

The newly designed building, formerly the Pumponator’s shipping warehouse, features 3,000 square feet of retail space for a maximum 50-52 retail boutiques. Jewelry, handbags, bath and body, handcrafted items, home interiors, repurposed furniture, children’s gifts and toys and a dog boutique are some of the boutiques shoppers can visit.

“Just the past two days the amount of people who have walked in the door asking when we were opening was exciting,” said Wanda Garcia, general manager of The Grapevine.

The historic building’s integrity is kept intact. The Grapevine features slate flooring, white floor-to-ceiling columns, larger display areas, more room to navigate among the boutiques plus a central area to pay for merchandise. There are at least nine artists featuring their work. A wooded painted sign remains to be positioned on the façade.

“I was concerned that I had reached my income and space ceiling in the other store,” said Garcia. “My needs were how to expand my business and profit. I wondered if I should close the store and just travel to trade shows.”

Donna Ramere, the building’s owner, had moved her granddaughter’s multi-million dollar Pumponator toy business to Jacksonville, Fla. Garcia and Ramere crossed paths frequently since they were business neighbors. “She (Ramere) said for me not to sell my business, suggesting I needed a larger space and more businesses. The next day Donna came in and gave me the schematics, told me how much to charge, for how long and did all the work it would have taken me too long to do.”

Ramere has mentored Garcia on marketing and branding ideas.

Carrie Flanagan wanted to expand her business with more display space. “I had one little shelf of watches,” at the former Grapevine location. “I was thinking about buying a small house and opening my own shop. The more I thought about this (The Grapevine) the more perfect this place seemed to be. I didn’t have to go through hiring people, there’s no overhead and responsibility for opening and closing.”

Flanagan said she plans on being at the shop 5-10 hours a week. She spends 15-20 hours a week working her business online. She has shelves of handbags and jewelry that cater to bridal, proms and pageant customers. Eco Snoopers and Paw Parazi, toys for children, are on another display.

“I am also going to have a Collegiate Sports line of clothing and merchandise,” Flanagan said. She will have merchandise representing Clemson, University of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida State, Florida, Tennessee and University of North Carolina merchandise.

“I want North Greenville, Furman and Wofford but they won’t release the licensing for me to have their merchandise, yet,” Flanagan said.

Gail Pruitt is The Grapevine’s assistant manager and will handle day-to-day transactions, work with customers and boutique owners.

Store hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 879-4222 for more information. A grand opening is scheduled for mid-March.

Boutiques and business owners

Access 2 Baggage, Jessica Moore

Artist, Allyson McPhaul

Artistic Dezigns, Diane Leger

ArtisTree Revealed, Jacob Brandon

At Home, Susan McNamara

Bobbie J Designs, Bobbie Jamison

ButterBath Co, Lynn Scott

Creative Woodcrafts, Wayne McCormick

Dorothy’s Dolls, Anne Nauman

Fabulosa Jewelry, Valeria Gerkey

Flockadelic, Sandi Denkers

Floral Designs & More, Nancy Clark

Glass Affects, Toni Santa Barbara

Quilts n’ Quaints, Jeanne Brown

Heaven Sent Interiors, Mary Bennefield

Head 2 Toe 4 Kids, Connie Crosby

McArver’s, Julie Stephens

Mx2, Jan Munafo and Karen Mitchell

Redeemed Furniture / DDP Designs, Debbie

Serendipity, Carrie Flanagan

Stained Glass Art, Kristin Scott

Salvage Interiors / The Grapevine, Wanda Garcia

Terri’s Treasures, Terri Simandl

Business TBA / Emily Fowler

Business TBA / Patricia Chambers

Businesses mentioned in this article.

City of Greer, Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, Shoppes at the Grapevine, The Davenport

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