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Visiting Ally’s Learning Lab in Greenville

 

Ally Coffee has had a specialty coffee office and cupping lab in Greenville, South Carolina since 2013. In 2017, we relocated to a new facility, giving us expanded space for our growing team’s offices as well as more room for our learning program, where we open up opportunities for professional development by hosting and leading classes, workshops, CQI courses, and communities of practice.

Learning Lab

The building that houses Ally’s offices and Learning Lab in Greenville is an example of our involvement in the community and Ally’s commitment to sustainable practices. As part of the The Heddle at Greenville Trade Park, the buildings on the former Steel Heddle Manufacturing industrial property would have been left abandoned and unused without businesses to inhabit the spaces.

The Heddle is an award-winning Brownfields Redevelopment Project success story, where repurposing and retrofitting 40 acres of a previously industrial site mitigates negative environmental impacts, uses less resources than new construction, and creates local employment. Calling this office our home connects us to Greenville’s past and has many parallels to the multi-purpose spaces our producing and exporting partners at origin similarly call home.Ally is a global company, in that we have offices and team members in North, South, and Central America as well as Europe and Africa, but our US Specialty Coffee Headquarters in Greenville runs and feels very much like a small, local business. COO Ricardo Pereira has lived in Greenville since he attended college here and has been a local entrepreneur for almost as long. Ally’s Greenville team is actively involved in the community, from coordinating events with the local library to hosting throwdowns and participating in the region’s active culinary and beverage scene. The murals on the exterior and interior of Ally’s offices were painted by local artist Adam Schrimmer.

Getting to Greenville

Greenville is a vibrant community located in Upstate South Carolina, close to the North Carolina border, in the region’s rolling mountains. Greenville is easily accessible via the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, located just 20 minutes from Ally’s offices. The city is situated off I-85 and just over an hour from Asheville, NC, and two hours from Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA, other options for air travel. The Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP), Charlotte (CLT), and Atlanta (ATL) airports have rental car counters for many agencies and ride sharing companies gladly pick up passengers from the GSP airport for the quick trip into Greenville.Downtown Greenville’s riverfront public green space.

Greenville Accommodations

Greenville has many options for accommodations in all price ranges, from affordable hotels to luxury options with all the amenities. The Holiday Inn Express is a great option in downtown Greenville, and a cluster of hotels near the Haywood Mall between Greenville and Ally’s offices includes La Quinta, Hilton, and Courtyard hotels.

The Swamp Rabbit Inn and Pettigru Place on either side of downtown and Pecan Terrace Inn are just a few of the locally owned bed and breakfast options for those looking for a more homey place to stay.

Most hotels and inns are about a 15 minute drive from the Ally’s offices and Learning Lab at The Heddle, easily accessible by local taxi, ride share service, or rental car. There is plenty of free parking in the lot in front of our office!Greenville’s business district.

Eating and Drinking

Greenville is equal parts southern charm and upcountry outdoors, with trails for hiking, biking, and exploring as well as BBQ joints and restaurants where you can roll up your sleeves and dig into brisket or sit back and savor craft cocktails garnished with local herbs.

While you might be traveling to Greenville for the coffee at Ally, you will certainly stay (or be back!) for the food. Chefs in Greenville have been featured on all sorts of food and travel shows and are award winning in all categories. There are local craft breweries, bars with games, and farm-to-table restaurants galore. Husk, Jianna, Rick’s West End Grille, and Bacon Brothers are great places to treat yourself.South End of Downtown Greenville.

Each team member at the Greenville office has their favorite local spots, from gluten-free pizza to loaded ramen or fusion sushi. While many of our Learning Lab events include lunch (they all include coffee, mostly like made by you and your peers!), we are happy to provide recommendations for dining based on what you love or what you want to try that’s new.

Some solid stand-bys: Asada Restaurant, Arayana Afghan Cuisine (make a reservation!), Sasha’s Cafe, Bulgogi Korean Grill, and Mekong Restaurant.Reedy Falls at the center of downtown. Hotels and recreation paths are part of the revitalized city center.

Sights to See and Things to Do

Greenville’s main street in the downtown area is filled with local shopping and art, including galleries and the Peace Center theater with touring Broadway musical productions. The main downtown attraction is the Reedy Falls, which is traversable by suspension bridge and lit at night. The Radio Room and Velo Fellow have live music most nights each week.

The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a product of the national Rails to Trails project converting unused railroad beds to multi-use public trails, and local bike shops rent wheels by the hour or the day. Bring your walking/running shoes and see the greener side of Greenville, with miles of paths to wander, all the way from Greenville to Traveler’s Rest, where there are plenty of post-workout brunch destinations.Come in the summer months for outdoor performances!

Come Visit!

All in all, Greenville has something for everyone. If you’re considering coming for one of our upcoming courses or workshops at the Learning Lab, we suggest you make a trip of it, so that you can enjoy everything else Greenville has to offer beyond world-class coffee professional development. We are proud to be part of the local coffee, arts, and culinary communities of Greenville and the greater Southeast, as well as part of the larger global specialty coffee community.

We make these recommendations based on our own experience; our sales teams and producer partners have been traveling to Greenville for years and have tried every combo of road trip, air travel, homestay, hotel, restaurant, and recreation. We invite you to get to know Greenville and see what sets our Learning Lab apart. The doors to our home are open; come see what you’ve been missing and sign up for one of our learning courses today!

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