Cindy Mixon is one of Fountain Inn’s newest residents, but she is busy recruiting others for downtown, small-city life.
Whether their families have called it home for generations or they just moved to a historic house in town, Fountain Inn’s residents and business owners find themselves part of a family that prides itself on both tradition and progress.
Mixon came to Fountain Inn by way of the stage.
“I really came via The Center for Visual and Performing Arts and the theatre company, FIRE,” she said. “A friend of mine, Anita Sleeman, is the artistic director.”
Mixon auditioned for FIRE – the Fountain Inn Repertory Experience – and soon became an active member of the group. When her adult son moved out of state, she began to reassess her needs.
“I had been living in the Greenville area and wanted to downsize,” she said.
She soon found the perfect place in the middle of Fountain Inn’s downtown.
“I think what I like best is that it has big-city appeal and a hometown feel,” Mixon said. “I love walking to the farmers’ market on Saturday, walking to the library, walking to the theater. It’s small enough that people know your name.”
Mixon has become an avid patron of local businesses – Tony’s Pizza and Every Nook and Cranny are favorites.
“There’s nothing like having a pizza delivered 10 minutes after you call,” she said.
Mixon looks forward to Aunt Het Day and the Spirit of Christmas Past.
“I’m very excited about being there during Christmas,” she said. “I will be in the thick of it.”
Mixon sees the city as an arts destination and she touts the available variety of visual and performing arts as a prime reason for making Fountain Inn a home or a retreat.
“Every weekend since I’ve been there, I’ve been trying to bring in family and friends,” she said. “There are so many unique opportunities that you wouldn’t normally see in a town the size of Fountain Inn.”
But far beyond the arts calendar, Mixon is finding the city’s heart is in its people.
“Everybody in Fountain Inn has made me feel like I’m at home, from the first day,” she said. “It feels like I was always supposed to be here.”
Debbie Alphin, who co-owns Backstreet Flea Market with her friend, Selena Riddle, grew up in Fountain Inn. She recently returned to the city as a business owner because she found it to be a perfect fit.
Alphin said her business, currently an outdoor flea market, will expand to have indoor booths and a seasonal shop that suits the pedestrian traffic cultivated in the city’s downtown.
“With Aunt Het and the Christmas festival, we thought that would complement what we are doing,” Alphin said.
She also hopes to offer traditional, skilled crafts during downtown events.
“Because of what is happening with the community and the revitalizing of Fountain Inn, when people come to town, we will have one more thing to offer,” she said.
Like Mixon, Alphin said it’s the family atmosphere that brought her back.
“That’s where we started out, Selena and I both grew up here,” she said. “We have come full circle and come back to our roots. Here, you’ve got your friends and neighbors and everyone else you grew up with.”