Samantha Fulmer & Abigail Hall // Co-owners of Kuka Juice
By M. Linda Lee
A three-month backpacking trip to South America right after college introduced childhood friends Samantha Fulmer and Abigail Hall to the concept of drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
“That trip changed our food paradigm,” Abigail says. When the pair returned to the States, they started experimenting with juicing, amazed by the health benefits they realized.
That spurred Samantha, who had a degree in exercise science from USC, to go back to school for nutrition at Winthrop University. After she earned her second degree, Samantha started a juice bar in Greenville, and talked Abigail, who was working at a restaurant in Charleston at the time, into moving back to be her business partner.
They built a faithful customer base at the TD Saturday Market, which eventually led to a brick-and-mortar shop. When the duo opened Kuka Juice—named for Kukamama, the Andean goddess of health and joy—in downtown Greenville in 2015, it reigned as the first cold-pressed juicery in South Carolina. In December 2017, Samantha and Abigail moved Kuka Juice to the Village of West Greenville and expanded their staple juice and nut-milk menu with a plant-based food program that Abigail designed. Both love the sense of community they feel in the Village. “We’re proud to be a part of Greenville,” declares Samantha, who follows a plant-based diet herself, “and to spread the word about the importance of good nutrition.”
Lindsey Montgomery // Co-owner of The Village Grind
By Sarah Polite
On most mornings for the last four years, you’ve seen Lindsey Montgomery behind the counter of The Village Grind on Pendleton Street.
She floats behind that counter grinding beans, filling cups with homemade sweet syrups, pulling espresso shots and steaming milk for drinks. In between taking orders and making those drinks, topping lattes with dried rose petals and lavender, something else beautiful happens—she talks to customers that have become familiar and close to her just like she’s become to them. There’s a gentle power of genuine conversations and connections when Lindsey talks to you and talks with regulars that have become old friends. It is familiar, welcoming, and comforting. She has created a space for enjoying coffee and being a part of a community. A community she cultivates in the way she serves.
Her hope when first opening the café was to have a space where the artists and business owners of the Village could come together, a space for meetings, meet-ups, and introductions. A place where so many relationships begin, stories start, and friendships continue at her tables. A refuge, a second home for many including herself and her family. What starts at The Grind continues on long after the cup of coffee is finished.
As the neighborhood around her has changed, and the shop has grown, so has her life and family. This past year, while she moved The Village Grind across the street to 1258 Pendleton Street to expand into a bigger space, she also became a first-time mother to her son, Jack. While she was home with him those early days, she was also planning the move. Her first outing with Jack after he was born was to meet the contractors for the new space—and he has been with her at the shop ever since. Most mornings you can find him behind the counter with his mom, in her arms as she makes drinks, talking to customers in that beautiful way she does, as he learns what it is to create community from her firsthand.
One day not long after the new shop had opened there was a small, yellow Post-it note left behind on a table, for Lindsey and her staff to find.
The note said: “Thank you for cultivating a place of community. Loneliness is always defeated here.” Yes, it is.
Diane Kilgore-Condon, Teresa Roche & Cherington Shucker // Owner and artist, Art Bomb; Owner and artist, Art & Light Galley; Executive Director, Greenville Center for Creative Arts
By M. Linda Lee
In 2001, Diane Kilgore-Condon quit her job as visual merchandising director at Belk and started hunting for a place to pursue her art career full-time.
Driving through West Greenville one day, she spied the “For Rent” sign in the window of the former general store for the Brandon Mill. “At the time, this area was still the wild, wild West,” Kilgore-Condon recalls. “But even abandoned and boarded up, the neighborhood still had a charm to it.” Before she knew it, the Florida native, who holds a fine arts degree from Bob Jones University, had purchased the century-old building and begun its loving renovation, carving out studios for the first 12 artists who signed leases. Nearly 500 people attended ArtBomb’s opening in spring 2001.
Diane now shares studio space with 13 other artists in the 10,000-square-foot building, where she pursues her endless artistic quest for beauty. “That’s what I’m trying to capture,” says the painter, “moments when I see things and it goes all the way in, to the place where poetry lives.”
Though Kilgore-Condon didn’t realize she was pioneering the Village arts scene when she established ArtBomb, her pluck inspired others, including Teresa Roche, who established Art & Light Gallery in the Flatiron building on Pendleton Street in 2007. Despite a rocky start in the transitioning Village, Roche and her husband now reside here and have relocated her gallery to a house they own on Aiken Street. In space she once rented out as artists’ studios, Roche now displays the rotating works of 19 artists, 70 percent of which are local. “I wanted a gallery where the work was affordable and accessible,” Teresa says, “and I never wavered [in that pursuit].”
Roche, an abstract painter whose relationships, travels, and day-to-day experiences appear often in her work, has taken the business and marketing skills she gleaned from her early career in the corporate world and applied them to promoting visual arts and mentoring young artists setting up their own businesses. For more than 12 years, Art & Light has provided a place for talented Upstate artists, who Roche is proud to call friends, to exhibit and sell their work.
A visual-arts hub that brings a year-round program of classes and exhibitions to the Village, the Greenville Center for Creative Arts (GCCA) opened in the circa-1900 Brandon Mill cloth building in May 2015 with Cherington Shucker as its executive director. Shucker, who holds a master of science in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University, moved back to Greenville from New York City in 2014, bent on affecting positive change in her hometown. She sees her role at GCCA as champion of the arts and “creative problem-solver.” Although she never manifested her love of the arts on paper, both of Shucker’s grandmothers were artists. One, coincidentally, was a student of Carrie Burns Brown, one of the center’s founders. “At GCCA, we are in the business of transforming lives,” asserts Shucker, who lives in the Village with her husband, potter Darin Gehrke, and their seven-year-old daughter. “That’s why I’m so passionate for the next generation of Greenvillians to have a place where they can gather and stretch their minds and their creative juices.”
Beth McPhee // Co-owner of The Anchorage
By Kathryn Davé
“Restaurants are their own language,” Beth McPhee laughs. She’s two years into co-owning The Anchorage, the James Beard–recognized restaurant tucked into the heart of the Village, and it sure seems like she’s been fluent from the start.
While McPhee is quick to credit Greg McPhee, her husband and The Anchorage’s co-owner/chef, for the original vision for the restaurant, her fingerprints are also all over what it has become, from the handcrafted light fixtures to the smart pop-up dinner series marketing plan that fanned community interest during buildout.
Marketing and PR is not new to the Atlanta native who spent nearly a decade in New York City working in fashion marketing and event planning for brands like Lacoste and Zac Posen before she moved to Charleston and met Greg. Their dynamic—she the extrovert to his introvert, the yin to his yang—has held fast as they’ve carefully nurtured The Anchorage, both quickly realizing that McPhee’s full-time involvement was more essential than they originally forecast. From payroll to PR, marketing to private events, she’s the balancing force to Greg’s culinary brilliance, grounding yet also helping give shape to the pair’s big dreams for the company.
“When people don’t want to leave at the end of the night, it means we’ve created the environment we wanted to. That to me is very gratifying,” McPhee says.
Katie Hughes // Co-owner of Indigo Flow & Art
By Angie Thompson
For a devotee of movement, Katie Hughes is really good at being still. On this early February afternoon in her sun-steeped yoga studio, she folds her blue legging-clad limbs under her and flips her blonde hair over to one side.
The easy way she sits in full presence with me could almost trick you into believing she doesn’t have classes to teach, a business to run. It’s as if we’re the only people in the world, sipping tea and cracking life’s lessons wide open.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Katie’s keen sense of presence led her to yoga, but she would tell you it took her a while to “connect the dots, though all the dots were there.” The clear-eyed yoga instructor and owner of Indigo Flow & Art walks me through her story—from a grounding, colorful childhood, through dance training in high school and studying law in Columbia, to moving back here to plan local music festivals. Elevating Greenville’s art scene wasn’t the only thing that called Katie back. She lives with and cares for her “Gamma,” Pat, whose very name sets Katie’s face aglow. As she talks, it’s clear that a big love of family is what drives her the most. It was her mom, Village-based painter Julie Hughes-Shabke, who suggested Katie attend a meditation retreat after a period of burnout. She went, and felt herself opening up, learned the pivotal truth that “all the love that we have to experience comes from us first.”
Katie returned from the retreat with a vision—to deepen her own yoga practice and to guide others more deeply into theirs. In March of 2018, Katie brought that vision to life when, having completed yoga teacher training, she and her mother re-opened Julie’s longtime studio as Indigo, a joint yoga studio and gallery. Katie weaves her own work to her mother’s, explaining that the teacher and the artist each open themselves to “love and criticism.” Katie’s vulnerability invites her students to be vulnerable, as well, and to open themselves to the gifts that presence has to offer.
Midway through our talk, a little girl walking by the studio presses her face to the glass of the door, her wild curls waving as she stretches her neck to see inside. Katie smiles and calls out, “You can come in here and dance!” I know in that moment that Katie would drop whatever she was doing to let that girl twirl freely in the spacious studio. This is her heartfelt invitation to the whole community—come in, come move, and be moved.
Emily Pence and her team at Sixpence Salon and Spa in The Village of West Greenville provided hair and makeup services for the women photographed for this feature. Many thanks to Emily and her team, Trei Helms (makeup) and Hope Erwin (hair). For more on Sixpence Salon & Spa, go to sixpencesalon.com.