From left, Glenn Sellers, Mayor Knox White, Stewart Spinks, Martha Spinks, Steve Spinks, Stan Storti, Greg Minton Photo Credit: Michael Gibbons Media

Jan. 23, 2017

SPINX Opens Village of West Greenville Store with Community Garden

The gateway into the Village of West Greenville arts district is clearly marked now with the arrival of a re-imagined Spinx convenience store at the corner of Pendleton and Academy streets that will include a community garden as part of the area's revival.

The store, which opened on Dec. 30 after closing in the summer for demolition and rebuilding, will operate in cooperation with the not-for-profit Feed & Seed organization, which helps connect the product of local farmers with the Upstate.

A host of elected, community and business leaders gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the store's grand opening, which company founder Stewart Spinks said is an effort to reinvest in the area after its first store opened in 1972. Mayor Knox White held up the Village of West Greenville as an example of the city's westward revitalization, a wave that began 10 years ago with the investment in the Fluor Field baseball stadium in the West End and the decision to locate the Kroc Center on the "other side" of Academy Street.

The city's new signature park along the Reedy River signals a further expansion that will ultimately connect downtown with the arts village, a district envisioned years ago by local artists and entrepreneurs. Right now, the area is little more than mud covered with straw, but it will be cultivated with raised beds and provide a place where food is grown and sold on site, Feed & Seed executive director Mike McGirr said.

The village will join other cities such as Charlotte, Knoxville and Indianapolis with an arts district on the west side of town. "Ours is going to be better than all of those," he said, pointing to the Spinx remodel as an important gateway anchor. "We're going to get it right."

The village Spinx concept is similar to one the company once proposed at the Buncombe Street gateway where Gene's restaurant once stood. That project failed when the City Council declined to approve a rezoning request.

The new store features a sign along Pendleton Street that marks the approach to the Village of West Greenville. The sign was designed by local blacksmith Ryan Calloway.

A community garden is planned along the Academy Street side in cooperation with the Feed & Seed organization. Right now, the area is little more than mud covered with straw, but it will be cultivated with raised beds and provide a place where food is grown and sold on site, Feed & Seed executive director Mike McGirr said.

The garden and healthier food sold in the store will help the area's children and public service insitutions, alleviating a "food desert" with few grocery options within walking distance, he said.