Olive Garden, the restaurant that so many have been wanting for at least the full 20 years I’ve called Greenwood home, might not be on the horizon, but that’s OK with me.
You want Olive Garden? Use it as an excuse for the Depression Era-esque shopping you can do at Costco in Greenville. Bulk load up on toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, “it’s the end of the world as we know it” 100-pound bags of rice, drinks and the like.
Rather than yet another restaurant rising on the Greenwood horizon — or at least along the bypass — how about some buildings get occupied? And no, not a one of them is likely suitable to be retrofitted to become your beloved Olive Garden.
The trim is falling off the building and the tarp covering the sign is tearing loose, but still no signs of any business coming to the old Ruby Tuesday site. Kmart became a lovely Y’all-Haul spot. Ironically, its parking lot is a storage bin for its storage bins. Oh, and remember Shoney’s? Yeah, if the Big Boy were still around he’d be mighty gaunt if he stood waiting in line for that place to open again.
Up the way toward Abbeville there is a building that once housed several businesses. The remaining one is, by all accounts, about to snuff out its last good-smelling candle and close up shop.
Take a ride around Greenwood and you’ll find plenty of empty spaces. Or, if you want to be more optimistic like that Mazda commercial in which the perfect couple sets out on their own and opens the perfect restaurant, look at the buildings as opportunities.
Perhaps that sounded too pessimistic. They do represent opportunities. If you have the right vision, a marketing plan and some capital.
I have a bit of a vision, and although I’ve yet to get that cataract surgery I yet lack the marketing plan or analysis with which to roll out that vision. And I definitely lack the capital. Jerry Stevens and David Tompkins have suddenly had to take calls when I’ve approached them. Maybe it’s just coincidence.
Anyway, let me know if you want to go in on a cigar bar in Greenwood. Let me rephrase that. Let me know if you have the money to foot the bill to open a cigar bar in Greenwood. I mean, if we can support a craft beer brewery and, rumor has it, possibly another in the near future, can’t we find enough closet cigar smokers who would finally be brave enough to own who they are and support such a place?
Sure, I understand why people living in Greenwood venture to the coast or even as close as Greenville to visit those so-called gentlemen’s club, but come on. You don’t have to go out of town to enjoy a good stick and beverage. Do you?
Most of the cigar smokers I know are relegated to the outdoors at home. Sure, it’s enjoyable having a relaxing smoke on the deck or screened porch. In the spring, summer and early fall. Not so much during winter and when all these weekend monsoons hit with sideways rain.
Maybe the old Ruby Tuesday would be the place for a cigar bar. Unless the bar is no longer in there, but even then it can get retrofitted. But you know how sometimes some sites are cursed once the original occupant withers away. But a cigar bar is not a restaurant replacement, so maybe it’d stand a chance. Of course, Y’all-Haul might have to be willing to share some parking spaces.
Oh well. Just saying it would be nice to see some of these vacant spaces getting filled up. Nothing against churches, mind you, but we really don’t need more storefront places of worship. Heck, we still have room for folks where we attend church, and we’re about to turn 250 years old.
Hey, maybe that’s an idea.
Many people currently enjoy Hymns and Hops at The Mill House. Perhaps potential investors would see value in the idea of a cigar bar that sometimes includes religious activities. Enjoy a smoke, but don’t burn in ...
Yeah, I told you I did not have a marketing plan.