Pickens is Perking Up

By: Mary Spearman

Pickens, like most small upstate towns, has been in transition over the last few years. Our little town has experienced great growth. With the loss of the once thriving textile mill, Pickens had to change with the times, and amazingly it is becoming the caffeine utopia I always dreamed of. I can remember a time when the only coffee was the drive through at Hardee’s.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is not a thing wrong with Hardee’s, but having worked in Greenville for a number of years, I took a liking to the finer points of a Latte’, my drink of choice when indulging in a high end cup of java. To me the latte is best because I still taste the coffee, without it being so strong it sets my nerves on end. Also, the milk content balances out the acid in the coffee and is easy on the stomach. A latte can be flavored with your favorite syrup or honey or just by sprinkling raw sugar on top, or no flavoring at all. I can order a latte to match any mood or current diet. Needless to say, I was thrilled when our first coffee shop, Bee Well Natural Market opened.

Bee Well Natural Market was already up and running, selling honey, spices, and natural foods when they decided to offer coffee. Their coffee is locally sourced and roasted. Bee Well has also started offering grab and go bagel sandwiches. They have their bagels flown in fresh all the way from New York!  And the cheesecake and desserts are to die for!  I guess Bee Well has become a local favorite. They have jam sessions every Thursday Night, where folks come out and play music and have a good time. Bee Well is right next to Doodle Park, so it is an easy walk over to grab a coffee and go back and watch the kids play. Kerry Owen is the owner and founder of Bee Well and this is their 25th year in business. He grew up in the mountains of North Carolina but made his way into TV and Radio for Clear Channel and then when that job ended, he went back to his roots of farming, and started keeping bees and trading in honey. After talking to Owen, it is clear his true talent lies in service to others.  He told me they keep changing to give customers what they want and need in our community.  “They grow with the flow.” said Owen. So, as times change so does Bee Well. Currently, they have started work on an agritourism venue that will be located on West Main Street in Pickens. I can’t wait to see what happens next with Bee Well!

Brandie Bray came to Pickens about three years ago. She wanted to start a business to serve others and focus on health and wellness after her mother died. Her shop, Rivyve Juice Bar and Boutique is the newest addition to the Pickens coffee scene. The coffee is great, and her other offerings of healthy eating and juicing are the main attraction. This small but interesting business is so worth the time. They have great coffee, juices that are freshly pressed, and they have some of the best Chicken Salad in the upstate! Their sandwich menu is refreshing and a great alternative to fast food. Yes, and sidewalk seating can now be found right on Main Street! The boutique side of the business is great for small gift items, and you can look around while you are waiting for your order to be filled. What can be better than shopping for a purse or the latest fashions while getting my Java?

A few years back, Tunkie Lecroy decided to buy a historic bank building in Pickens and open a Coyote Coffee there. Most people are familiar with the small chain of coffee shops in the upstate that started in Easley. I really enjoyed my coffee in the old bank building, but now Lecroy has moved a few doors down the street to the old gas station she has remodeled.  This place is so hip, and the coffee is delicious as well. Outside there are corn hole boards for people to gather.  Inside there is WIFI and plenty of seating. The pastry treats are also delicious. One of the things Coyote is famous for is their protein smoothies. Drinks like the Rattlesnake Bite can really get you moving. The best thing is that Coyote

is located right on Main Street across from the Amphitheater. So, when there is a show, it is easy to get your coffee to go and listen to music.

Pickens is changing so much that sometimes I feel like I am living in a new town. I love all the choices we have now, and I won’t even mention that large national chain located out by the Wal Mart. Why visit them, when you can have a more authentic experience found in a small coffee shop? However, if you haven’t been to our town in a while, you will find other great shops on Main Street that offer unique and vintage gifts and collectables. Like most small towns, Pickens is always evolving. Many folks from the Upstate are familiar with our flea market, but on the way there, be sure to check out our great businesses on Main Street!

You can find more information about Bee Well Honey Natural Market on their website

You can find more information about Rivyve Juice Bar on their website

You can find more information about Coyote Coffee on their website