Merritt McHaffie Brewer has been running the Five Points Association since the beginning of the year, and by all reports the merchants are happy with their new executive director.
What they are not happy with is the delay and the hassle and the business interruption that come naturally with any street improvements. The greater problem is there are a whole lot of street improvements.
Brewer can't let the street improvements impede her progress. She has a merchant's association to run. St. Patrick's Day was an unqualified success, and the Five Points after Five concert series begins on Thursday, April 6, and runs every Thursday night through June 1.
Described by the locals as young, hip, and passionate about her work, Brewer is probably the ideal candidate to bolster the market forces that make Five Points. Out of about 150 businesses, 75 are categorized as shops and services, and another 75 fall under the dining and nightlife descriptions. Even the new tattoo shop next to Sammy's suits in the shopping village.
As a LIFE Scholarship student at USC, majoring in public relations with a minor in business, Brewer waited tables and tended bar at Delaney's on Saluda Avenue for five years. In her last year she was their day manager.
A child of Greenville, Brewer also attended boarding school in Tennessee. Her father is a manufacturer's representative in Greenville, while her mother works in the county-wide school district. Her husband, Sergeant Kevin Brewer, spent six years with the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, N.C. He left the military for sales, but he re-enlisted soon after 9/11. It had been too long since he was in the service, and he had to go through basic training at Ft. Jackson for the second time. National Public Radio did a piece on him.
Until the first week of October, Sergeant Brewer is in Iraq. A member of the Signal Corps, he serves in the U.S. Regional Embassy at Al Hillah.
Back in Five Points, Merritt Brewer is working on the master plan, an architectural scheme for all of the property along Harden Street between Blossom Street and Gervais Street and west to Laurens Street. Also, Five Points includes Devine Street up to Heidt Street.
Working with her board and with architect Doug Quackenbush, Brewer points to the
appropriate infill of upper-level housing and structured parking and street-level retail, all holding to the existing village feel of Five Points.
The complete Five Points master plan, called Future Five, is the subject of a follow-up article in these pages. The obvious fortunate feature of the plan is the grand arrival of so much private investment accommodated by the city's infrastructure upgrade.
Last August 5, Brewer graduated from USC. By August 11, she was offered a job with the Five Points Association. On August 12, she married Sergeant Brewer.
With everything going on in Five Points, maybe this coming August is a good time for an update. Last August proved productive enough.