Five years ago, Mike Cruice was just enjoying his usual breakfast at Sully’s Steamers when three strangers entered the restaurant, looking for information about how to explore Greenville. Always ready to help someone in need, he offered to show them the area in his own vehicle, and Make Greenville Yours was born.
After that first tour, Cruice saw a need that had not been filled in Greenville. People were coming to the area with an idea of moving here but had no guidance on where to start.
“I want people who have an interest in Greenville to leave with a love for Greenville,” said Cruice.
He knows the feeling. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Cruice moved to Greenville in 1986 with his wife, Susan, and four young children in order to attend seminary at Bob Jones University. After earning his degree, he joined the staff at Hampton Park Baptist Church as the pastor for singles and senior citizens. Over his years as a pastor, he formed a bond with many of the business owners and citizens of Greenville. Now, Cruice, being semi-retired from the ministry, wants to show off the city that he has come to love.
“When I started the business, the city planners were getting ready to tear down the old Greenville News building,” said Cruice. “And now we’re seeing the Camperdown Project nearing completion.”
As the years have progressed, Cruice has highlighted the changes that the city of Greenville, as well as its surrounding cities, has made. He stays in contact with key people in Simpsonville, Mauldin, Greer, and Travelers Rest and occasionally attends the Taylors Townsquare meetings in order to stay abreast of where each city is headed.
“On my tours, I like to tell the story of all the local towns—to tell everyone what is being projected and seeing it come to a conclusion,” said Cruice. “It looks like nothing is changing, and then one day, there’s equipment there, and things are starting to be built.”
One of the highlights of Make Greenville Yours tours is the focus on local businesses.
Cruice has developed a working relationship with many area businesses, working to highlight these establishments on his tour.
“I’m an active proponent of local businesses,” said Cruice. “Folks on my tour will hear of the precious Mom and Pop shops in our area.”
In fact, Cruice begins each tour at Sully’s Steamers, a great place he claims to get a steamed bagel sandwich and enjoy the friendly atmosphere created by Robert Sullivan and his team. And if you’re looking for a place to stay, he might recommend Pettigru Bed and Breakfast, which is known for the outstanding breakfast Lori Donaldson and her crew provide their guests. For a taste of Greenville’s history, Cruice recommends Northgate Soda Shop, where owners Iris and Ren Bell will gladly serve you lunch or dinner from the city’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, established in 1947. Or for a great slice of pizza, he can point you to Todaro Pizza in downtown Greenville or, for a broader Italian cuisine, to Elvino’s near Furman University or DellaVentura in Greer. If you’re in the mood for Mexican, Cruice will direct you to Molina’s in Travelers Rest or Anita’s Mexican Restaurant in Simpsonville (the second oldest Mexican restaurant in South Carolina). And of course, being a foodie area, Cruice has recommendations for many other culinary venues.
Make Greenville Yours offers relocation tours to help people make the decision to move to the Greenville area. Cruice focuses on creating a tour that meets the needs of each visitor.
These tours are more than just history tours. Guests can choose an hour-and-a-half Get Acquainted tour, which includes a stop at Falls Park and the Cancer Survivors Park in downtown Greenville and then a drive that showcases the downtown area and all its glories. Or for visitors considering possibly relocating to the area, the three-hour tour to check out Greenville, Mauldin, Simpsonville, Taylors, Greer, and Travelers Rest is the better choice.
“I want people to remember why they’re becoming a part of the Greenville community,” said Cruice. “I hope to encourage them to come with the intention to embrace what we have here and enhance it.”
Even Mayor Knox White says, “Whether you’re thinking about making Greenville your new home, or just want to feel like a true local, get to know Mike. His tour is the perfect place to start.”
In just five years, more than a couple thousand people have enjoyed Make Greenville Yours tours, and many have made Greenville their home after finding this hidden gem in the foothills of South Carolina.
According to Cruice, “My business is more than about giving a tour—it’s about connecting people. I take great satisfaction in truly helping you make Greenville yours.”
For more information or to book a tour, visit www.makegreenvilleyours.com or call Mike at 864-363-8628.
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