October 23, 2017
Caroline Davis doesn’t call herself an entrepreneur, but like the adage goes: Actions speak louder than words.
The 31-year-old Greenwood native is still in the infancy of living out a dream to run her own business, six months ago opening Fig in Uptown Greenwood, a stationery store specializing in personalized invitation located in the Greenwood Building.
“I really say that this is exactly what I envisioned and I’ve been blown away by the amount of support. It kind of all came together,” Davis said. “I can’t imagine it any different.”
Davis, who graduated from Greenwood High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in education from Clemson University in 2008, said her inspiration was born out of childhood memories shopping Uptown.
“I’ve been thinking about this about five years. I just thought there was a void and we needed it here, kind of a younger gift shop. People haven’t had a place to go for invitations in a few years now and I knew they were excited about it,” Davis said. “There’s probably about two to three invitation orders a week, and I was not expecting that.”
Davis is among a wave of young investors who are putting money into Uptown’s continued renaissance. She’s just a few dozen feet from Think Tank, a business incubator with Main Street retail space. Just down the block, The Mill House continues its expansion.
There’s also the addition of Fat Daddy’s BBQ to the Shoppes at Hampton Place.
Uptown Greenwood Manager Lara Hudson said Davis’ presence adds a dash of dynamism to the area.
“We love to see young entrepreneurs invest in Uptown. Caroline was already a familiar face to Uptown while she was at Blossom, and now she brings a refreshing, stylish and unique shopping experience at Fig,” she said.
If someone asks Davis whether she views herself as an entrepreneur, there’s a long pause before her answer.
“I don’t know, it’s something I ever thought of,” she said. “I’m not one looking for attention or wanting to be in the spotlight. I’m just very unassuming, but I thought there was a need for this and it’s something I enjoy doing and I needed to transition.”
Davis spent the past five years working as an events planner in Savannah, Georgia, but wanted to come home to spend more time with her family.
“I was ready to move back to Greenwood, or closer to Greenwood, and this just kind of happened,” she said. “I have learned a lot, and there’s way more to learn. I’m learning something new every day.”
With her sights set on teaching, Davis quickly changed her goals after graduating from Clemson in 2008 and into the teeth of the Great Recession.
“When I moved home, Greenwood was actually under a hiring freeze, so I couldn’t get a job,” she said.
Davis got her start in Uptown working at Blossom Shoes and Such, a Main Street boutique. The store’s owner, Kimberly Thomasson, fostered Davis’ goal, helping her with site selection and offering money saving tips.
Now, Davis has ambitions to expand her 650-square-foot store and has hired a part-time employee.
“I felt that I took my time, and I’m not the type to take a big leap. That’s why I took plenty of time,” Davis said. “People really have turned out and been so supportive.”
As a small business owner, Davis said she has benefitted from Uptown’s emphasis on providing quality products to nurture local spending.
“They like the local, they like the one-on-one interaction — especially when they taught me kindergarten or knew me growing up,” she said.
Finding a home in Greenwood Building brings Davis full circle. Her grandfather worked for Greenwood Development and her father was with Greenwood Mills — both had offices in the iconic Uptown structure.
“It just kind of came about one day. They said they had a space available that I should look into, and you really had to walk in and envision it,” Davis said. “It very much was an office.”
Now, Davis has the further advantage of owning a store in one of America’s great places of 2017 as recognized by the American Planning Association. “I think it’s definitely the place to be. When I was opening, I never looked elsewhere,” she said. “This is the best place to be, especially for a small business. All of the owners are so supportive of each other and bringing people Uptown. This was the best fit.”