The former three-story flour mill in downtown Fountain Inn is getting a facelift.
The revitalization project — The Mill at Fountain Inn — has officially broken ground at the corner of Ellison and Wall streets.
The Mill at Fountain Inn developers and co-owners, Bryan Beal and Nate Tomforde, said they were drawn to the historic location “for the opportunity to take something old and make it new again.”
There are three existing buildings on the site, which previously served as a flour mill, auction house and vehicle repair shop. The pair plans to restore all three while preserving the buildings’ history and repurposing as much of the original material as possible.
“About two years ago, the flour mill was the last location we saw when we were scouting properties,” said Beal. “We knew right away it was the site that matched our vision, and it’s been a long road to get here but beyond excited to be a part of this community and its growth potential. It is an honor to bring this community gathering space to downtown Fountain Inn. We are incredibly grateful to the city, the chamber, and all the local leaders who are helping make it possible. We are thankful for the support and partnerships that got us to this point. We can't wait to see our vision for The Mill at Fountain Inn come to life."
The renovation will include a new two-level, 5,000 square feet brewery concept from Nate Tomforde, who also owns Southernside Brewing Co. and Double Stamp Brewing. The brewing equipment will be installed on the ground level, along with cold storage, a bar area and seating on the main level. The second floor will be used for additional seating and special events. The bar will feature around 15 taps, with a wide selection of house-brewed beers, as well as wine and cocktails.
“I’ve always been drawn to historic locations, and I love seeing what new business development can do for communities,” said Tomforde. “What I love about breweries is we’re not just selling beer, we’re providing a family-friendly environment for people to relax and unwind. We’re creating a community gathering spot to hang out with friends and neighbors and meet new people. You might grab some food or a beer while you’re here, but we don’t expect that to be the only reason you come.”
The middle building will become a nearly 3,000 square feet common area with indoor seating and access to the outdoor greenspace, which will include additional seating and an outdoor screen for movies, sporting events, and live music. The milling equipment will be refurbished and put on display at the front of the building, to pay tribute to Fountain Inn’s textile history.
On the far side of the property is the former repair shop building that will become a 6,00- square-feet food hall with multiple local restaurant tenants, which are yet to be announced. The brewery will likely be the first to open, with the full development projected to be open for full business by early 2024.
“We have sourced local restauranteurs who are all community-driven, and we wanted to keep it all close to the heart of the Upstate,” said Beal. “All tenants are Upstate locale.”
The Mill at Fountain Inn will be a central hub with great restaurants and a large gathering spot that has been missing in the city, said Beal.
“This site will be in the heart of future downtown development,” he added.
Tomforde said he’s been living in this area and watching it grow for the past 18 years.
“We’re excited to bring this unique concept to the Fountain Inn community,” he added.
Other partners on the project are architects Project Plus and P+F Construction as the general contractors.
Construction of the estimated $8 million project is slated to begin in the next six to eight weeks, said Beal.
“I can’t articulate enough how excited we are about this project and how our great partners have been supportive in our efforts to bring something special, that can be a part of this community for many years,” said Beal. That’s not lost on us any day of any week and proud to see this project come to fruition.”