Let’s be blunt, people in Greenville have very strange habits. We will jump in the car and drive to the farthest points of Pickens County to go hiking, but we won’t drive to Spartanburg to visit the Chapman Cultural Center. We think nothing of going to Travelers Rest for pizza and beer on the weekend, but driving to Fountain Inn for dinner is not even on our radar. Greer has an amazing downtown, but few people ever get past the airport to experience it. Lakes Keowee and Hartwell are summertime fun spots. Lake Robinson, which is in Greenville, is not.
Now, none of these are absolutes and there are people who break our non-strict rules of Greenville procedure all the time. But all of these are mostly true of everyone who likes to think of downtown Greenville as the epicenter of the Upstate. The question is not just why, but how can we change these habits?
If you have lived in the Upstate any length of time and pay attention to local politics and economics, you will know that it all comes down to a bizarre sort of territorial jealousy. The people in City A don’t like the people in City B, and neither of them ever go to City C, which is fine by those people because they really want to be like City D whose residents don’t go to Town E unless their kid goes to school there and Town E, of course, is worried that a lot of the kids are now going to school in Town F.
But, we in Greenville, like to put ourselves above the pedantic squabbling. We are not. We are guilt of not exploring the other parts of the Upstate just like everyone else.
Of course, the letters that matter are J-O-B-S, and the people who decide to create them in the Upstate look at the region as a whole and don’t care about city or county boundary lines. They look at the talent pool in the ten-county area to see if and where they will locate. That is why we have groups such as the Upstate SC Alliance and Ten at the Top that are promoting regionalism instead of isolationism.
So what can you do to help break down these walls? Well, explore more of what is happening in the Upstate. Go to Spartanburg for a day. Check out historic Abbeville. Visit Downtown Anderson. Do something.
Of course, something you may want to check out is a Complete Public Relations certified event that’s sure to be great, Ten at the Top’s Pique event on March 7. This event is for young professionals from across the region to come together to learn and share ideas. If you are a YP, check it out. If you are not a YP, go because those YPs can use your experience. As an added bonus, local super entrepreneur Tammy Johnson of Liquid Catering is one of the key speakers.
So go to it, find someone from outside your Greenville comfort zone, and then explore.