City wants more businesses on rail trail
Help offered to get new ventures going
By Trevor Anderson
Published: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 12, 2010 at 7:58 p.m.
A group of local activists are hoping to attract entrepreneurs to one of the city’s recreation magnets — the Mary Black rail trail
— with a new program.
The 2-mile multiple-use path runs along a deserted stretch of train track between Pine and Union streets from East Henry Street
to Country Club Road. An extension of downtown Spartanburg’s business district, the area surrounding the trail experienced a
period of decline.
But activity has been sparked recently by increased foot traffic and other developments, such as the city’s Skate Park, Little
River Roasting Co.’s coffee roasting facility and a planned renovation of the Pine Street Y. And supporters of the trail are
hoping to keep the momentum going.
“We want to offer all of the people who are lining up to look for jobs a potential bridge to entrepreneurism,” said Elizabeth
Belenchia, president of Spartanburg-based Carroll Properties Corp. “We’re focusing on the rail trail area. There’s the potential
for this to be Spartanburg’s ‘it factor.’ ”
The program will feature three free sessions that will include 12 eight-minute presentations.
Presentations will include technical information on starting up a business from the city of Spartanburg, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Appalachian Development Corp., Clemson University Extension Small Business Development Center, SCORE
and local banks.
There will also be motivational presentations from entrepreneurs and businesses already operating on the trail.
Participants will receive materials and will have the opportunity to network with other attendees after the presentations.
A full-day entrepreneur day camp will be held in August for participants who complete a simplified business plan outline,
which will be provided at each session.
The sessions will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at Morningside Baptist Church; 2 to 4 p.m. July 22 at Cornerstone Baptist
Church; 2:30 to 5 p.m. July 29 at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
“This might be the chance for someone to find out what it is they really want to do,” Belenchia said. “We tried to put all of the
tools in place for people to shift gears.”
For information, call Belenchia at 949-5250 or e-mail