I drove past The West Village lofts at Brandon Mill, passed several decrepit gas stations, and J-walkers. It is a relatively quiet area compared to the nearby hustle-and-bustle of Main Street in Downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Eventually, I pulled onto Pendleton Street in The Village of West Greenville, where there is a true industrial feel. The area is home to talented artists, galleries, restaurants, two local communication companies, and other growing businesses; it is a small, developing community with lots of hope for the future.
While many of the businesses in The Village bring something special and new to the table, one little shop is a favorite to many, including me. Cleverly named The Village Grind, the quaint coffee shop is located at 1263 Pendleton Street. The shop serves your go-to, freshly-ground, hot cup of joe but also offers its customers scrumptious lattes, iced mochas, tea, and other speciality drinks. On Sundays, The Village Grind is full of customers wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth with a decadent Eat GB&D doughnut. Eat GB&D, to serve homemade and that all-American grub we love, is a new restaurant coming to The Village soon and is owned by Lindsey George Montgomery’s, one of the owners of coffee shop, brother and father. Lindsey George operates The Village Grind along with her friend, Jim Bolt, and his college roommate, Carl Chambers.
I walked into the shop around 4:15pm on a Monday afternoon. I was greeted by relaxing music and Lindsey’s sweet smile and personality. She immediately offered to make me a cup of coffee, which I eventually took her up on before leaving. If there’s one thing I learned from meeting Lindsey, it is that she certainly knows how to make her customers feel at home and that is something truly unique about The Village Grind. The shop had just closed for the day and we had the entire place to ourselves. The sunlight peaking through the large, wall-sized windows warmed the coffee shop. I was excited to learn about Lindsey’s story and the coffee shop that keeps me going on long afternoons at DFS Creative Concepts, my workplace located right around the corner from The Village Grind.
Our introduction took an interesting start. Lindsey told me that she would be getting a hedgehog and that she wanted to name it Oliver. The next time I’m in the shop I’ll have to get an update on her newest family member. Right off the bat, I knew Lindsey was an interesting person and that I’d take something away from meeting her. Lindsey gave me the basics of her background; she grew up in Greenville and has always considered it her home. I simply started with, ‘What’s your story?’ Lindsey stated with heart, ‘From a very early age, I wanted to have a coffee shop. So…it was always something I wanted to do and um, I think a lot of my coffee background came from my family because my mom, her whole side of the family drinks coffee and there’s not a family gathering without coffee…We’ve always made it in our house. My mom’s always had a cappuccino maker and she would always make us coffee before elementary school…So it’s just been a very prominent part of my whole growing up.’ While Lindsey’s dad thinks coffee ‘tastes like burnt water,’ she is a true coffee lover and wants to share her love for coffee with each person that walks into The Village Grind. Trust me, you’ll fall in love with the coffee and the shop itself. It’s a humble little place that’ll inspire you to follow your dreams, especially after meeting Lindsey and hearing her story.
Her dream of owning a coffee shop all started with something called “the purple octopus.” Lindsey reminisced on her childhood turned lifelong dream, ‘I would say I was maybe eleven or ten, my cousins and I all got together and we were at a coffee shop and we were playing this dumb game of, we would say a name or a word and what color reminded us of that word…Somebody said octopus and we all said purple and we decided that was a great name for a coffee shop. So all through growing up, I always believed I would have this coffee shop named ‘the purple octopus.’ Lindsey added that in high school, when her family moved to Georgia, she frequently sketched out all of her creative ideas for “the purple octopus” and would proudly tell her friends that she would own a coffee shop one day. She is a walking testament of how your lifelong dreams can become a reality with persistence and believing in yourself: a life lesson that we all should apply to our own lives.
Eventually, her family moved back to Greenville and she started working three jobs to save up for her coffee shop. Lindsey loved The Village of West Greenville and knew this was the perfect spot for her shop; she loves how this area has so much potential and character. It just a matter of time before someone had heard of Lindsey’s dream and reached out to her with ‘the key to the space.’ That special space is where The Village Grind stands today. After agreeing on the space at 1263 Pendleton Street, she began planning out her business plan. The owner of the space said she her old business partner had always wanted a coffee shop too. That man who shared that same dream as Lindsey is named Jim Bolt and his college roommate, Carl Chambers, also hoped on board for the business venture. Lindsey is more the face of The Village Grind, while Jim and Carl are more “behind the scenes” and there for support. When Lindsey and crew brought their passion, drive, and love for coffee to The Village, not much was around but they wanted to be established and settled when the area soared to new heights. Seeing The Village thrive was a part of their vision and they have wanted the shop to contribute to the area’s growth. Their vision is certainly coming true today.
Lindsey adores her spot on Pendleton Street and all the relationships she has developed from being in The Village community. So what does she love specifically about Greenville and The Village? ‘So what I love about Greenville is how it changes so much year to year. For example, when I moved away to Georgia, I came back six years later and it was completely different. So it’s just incredible to see Greenville transforming and being this great city and it’s also so beautiful. What I love about West Greenville specifically the village, my neighbors. The people down here are incredible. The artists are incredible and like, just getting to know the small businesses here, like y’all coming in. And the restaurant (Roots Smokehouse) and knowing them and their names and how it feels like such a community is what I adore, I love it.’
In addition to being a great barista and friend to all, Lindsey is also an artist; yet, she is not confined to one type of art. Lindsey lets her artistic skills and creativity take her wherever she is inspired to go. In fact, she designed the coffee shop herself and put a ton of thought into its creative design. The wooden beams, metal bar stools lining the front of the store’s window, and black leather couch gives it a very hip, industrial feel. Yet with the soothing background music and coffee aroma, there’s a very relaxed, comforting vibe. Customers come for casual work meetings, get-togethers with friends, and for light studying…all occasions a cup of coffee, of course.
So why should you take a trip down to The Village of West Greenville and treat yourself to coffee at The Village Grind? Lindsey explains what makes The Village Grind so unique, “We take very much pride in the customer so when they walk in, we know their drink. We know their car and know to start their drink and knowing people by name is very important to us and just giving them, from the moment they walk in, them feeling like they are very welcomed and loved and we care about them and their life and want to make them great coffee. I think the relational aspect is what I try to focus on and be great at.” So you get the picture; go down to The Village Grind one afternoon and treat yourself. You won’t be disappointed. Lindsey also admitted that she’s learned valuable lessons from being a business owner, ‘You’ve gotta be here all the time, which is wonderful and very tiring at the same time. But I think just being here and being present and you’re giving it your best or not taking any customer for granted or good thing for granted has been something I’ve learned and I do have great help but I am working 60-70 hour weeks so it’s a little crazy but it’s going to be worth it and I know it will be.’
As for Lindsey’s favorite drink on the menu: ‘My favorite drink is not really what I drink daily. What I drink daily is either a pour over or an Americano. But my favorite drink, like as a treat, is the Lavendar Mocha. Make all syrups homemade so it’s a homemade lavender syrup with our homemade dark chocolate sauce as a latte…that’s something people come back for.’ Her description of the Lavendar Mocha had my mouth watering and I had to try it right then and there. It is as delicious as it sounds and brightened my day that much more.
The Village Grind is Lindsey’s dream and passion coming to life. The shop serves tons of people each day and each customer leaves with a smile and a delicious cup of coffee in hand. The shop’s Instagram account has almost 5,000 followers, which is a major drive of business, and Lindsey has exciting ideas she hopes to execute in the future. The Village Grind is already off to a great start yet she and her colleagues are just getting started. All in all, Lindsey’s story taught me about how believing in yourself and in your goals will result in great success and happiness. Lindsey perfectly ended our conversation with wise, simple words, “If you work hard, you can make it happen.”