Retail and restaurant venue new to Rail Trail


Photo by S. McMeekin

Construction has begun on the venue’s Rail Trail location in hopes of being completed by the end of Spring.

Sarah McMeekin, News Editor

Coming to the Mary Black Rail Trail this Spring, the new Fretwell venue will provide a range of amenities. The area will consist of a 7,500-square-foot building housing Little River Roasting Co.’s operations, a trailer coined the SpartanBar that will act as a permanent food truck and a performance stage with a shared green space. The goal of the location is to provide a relaxed, neighborly location for bringing families or meeting friends to enjoy casual dining, music, and coffee.  

According to, City Communications and Marketing Manager Chris George looks forward to the potential of Fretwell.  

“We’re incredibly excited to see the Fretwell project get underway,” George said. “As the first commercial development aimed specifically at capturing the increases in activity we’ve seen along the trail in recent years, Fretwell will serve as a fantastic example of the economic development trails and greenways can have in our community.” 

The project is led by five Fretwell partners, including Little River Roasting Co. owner Gervais Hollowell and Spartanburg councilwoman Laura Stille. According to, the City of Spartanburg plans to spend $50,000 to connect The Fretwell to the Rail Trail with a paved path and landscaping. City Marketing and Communications manager Christopher George estimates total costs of the project to be $2.4 million.  

Spartanburg city leaders, developers and Fretwell partners gathered at the 101 Fretwell St. location on Sept. 22 to officially break ground on the project. According to, there is no official opening day yet, but phase one of the project is aimed at opening in late spring or early summer of 2022.  

As explained by Fretwell partner Laura Stille in an article from, due to the renting nature of the venue, development will continue in phases responding to business development. 

“In the next additional phase, there may be two additional buildings with some sort of retail and restaurant possibilities,” Stille said. “We are not sure of the timeline. We want to see how people use the space.” 

The Little River Roasting Co. building will include a café and restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch with both outdoor and indoor dining. Here, Rail Trail visitors can stop for a pastry or coffee while walking the trail or listen to live music on the connected stage. The restaurant will sell familiar favorites from downtown’s Little River Coffee Bar and Pharmacy Coffee, including signature coffees and fresh sandwiches. 

Fretwell will join the series of Rail Trail attractions, including the Vic Bailey Subaru Bike Park, the Carolina Panthers Play60 obstacle course and the Rail Yard Community Park. The Rail Trail has grown in popularity in recent years. According to, in 2020, the Rail Trail was used by more than 200,000 visitors, an increase from 160,000 visitors in 2019. This trend is predicted to increase in the coming years, contributing to the growing development of the area.  

Florian Sloan (12) visits the many Rail Trail amenities frequently. 

“I enjoy going to the bike park and walking on the rail trail,” Sloan said. “Fretwell will make me want to run on the Rail Trail more.”