Taylor's Mill Fall Festival
Taylors Mill's Fall Festival was a feel-good celebration of local music, local food, and local artisans. Meet the man behind the mission to facilitate community in Taylors, on this and every other day of the year.
Exclusive Photography: FishEye Studios, Greenville, SC
When you step foot on the property of Taylors Mill, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe. Built in 1924, the mill has approximately 800,000 square feet under ceiling, and the Taylors Mill team is slowly but surely building out that space and filling it with tenants. So far, various artisans, a coffee shop, and an event venue are just a few of the businesses to call the old mill home.
The architecture is looming and impressive, but the mission is humble and good intentioned: to facilitate craft and commerce for a new generation. While some tenants, like Due South Coffee, serve customers 7 days a week, others have built workspaces rather than storefronts.
Whatever the goals and needs of each tenant may be, Taylors Mill strives to enhance and facilitate their businesses. That mission may take different shapes and forms, but most recently, it looked like 1,500 people gathering for local music, food, and artisan goods at the Fall Festival.
When we wanted to learn more about this event, we knew exactly who we needed to speak to: Alex Reynolds. In the past four years alone, he has served as a full-time staff member of Taylors First Baptist Church, launched and led Taylors TownSquare (a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the Taylors community), organized regular Taylors Farmers Markets and, most recently, spearheaded the Fall Festival at Taylors Mill. Did you have a hard time following all of that? Don’t worry—so did we.
Alex has done more for his community in four years than most do in a lifetime, but he is quick to steer any conversation about his accomplishments back to the people he serves. He told us, “I’ve been around Taylors Mill for a long time, but really, my job is to tell the story of what’s going on down here, to get the word out that we are a place that exists to facilitate craft and commerce for a new generation.”
As part of that mission, the mill hosts weekly farmers markets in the summer. Alex explained that this is an opportunity for Taylors Mill tenants and other local artisans to get their products in front of the public. He said, “It provides a great touch point of community in everything we’re doing.”
To cap off a successful summer of weekly markets, Taylors Mill recently held its first Fall Festival, drawing even more attention to the local artisans and businesses who were involved. At the event, food trucks and bands gathered to provide food and entertainment to those taking in vendors’ beautiful displays of homemade jewelry, spices, artwork, and more.
The bustling crowd stood in stark contrast to the scene Alex remembers from even a few years ago. He told us, “This building, for years, has sat here unoccupied. I remember years before Due South Coffee even opened, you’d be down here and feel like you were in the middle of a post-apocalyptic scene.”
Katie Cotton, OTGG’s favorite makeup artist, working overtime with a line of children that lasted the entire day. Way to go Katie!
Don’t miss Chris Jones’s “Happy Arsenal” jewelry, where his love for natural metals inspires each unique piece created.
Alex shared his long-term vision for Taylors Mill, but (not to our surprise) he remained humble, responding, “I struggle when people ask me what my vision is for any one particular thing, because ultimately I believe vision is something that has to be owned by the community.”
Only time will tell how the community will continue to shape the mill, but one next step is already decided— 13 Stripes Brewery is preparing to open right next door to the quaint and quiet coffee shop. We can’t wait to see what else is in store for this charming space and lively community.