Alumni Spotlight: Dine on Trade Feat of Service

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Sharon Self on Trade Street in Greer, South Carolina

Photo by Dove Light Photography, used with permission

Downtown Greer saw the new streetscape of Trade Street transformed from thoroughfare to dining area in October 2020 and April 2021. Dine on Trade was the brainchild of 1995 BJU business administration graduate Sharon Self, Greer’s marketing and research director, and was born of a heart to help her community.

“It’s been such a difficult year for so many people,” Self said. “That fine balance of being safe and encouraging safety and at the same time getting people to come out — because small businesses were dying — that’s why Dine on Trade was created.”

The event returns this fall on Oct. 22.

See Also: Day Trip to Greer, S.C.

A Background of Stepping Stones

Though Self has worked in the marketing departments of a variety of employers, her position in Greer “takes me back to my roots,” she said. After graduation, Self worked with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, gaining experience in marketing, economic development and event planning.

“It was just a great broad base training of everything I took from there. I kind of fell into marketing in that career,” she said.

Self worked for a series of companies after the Greenville Chamber. She joked, “I like to tell people, I’m exhibit A, B, C, D, E and F that marketing gets outsourced.” Her positions ranged from local nonprofits to Fluor Corporation, a Fortune 500 company.

“God always has a plan, and I can look back and know that every job I was in was exactly where God wanted me to be at that time,” she said. “And even whenever (I was) between jobs, He’s absolutely helped me with every step of the way, paying the bills and getting through, and stuff of that nature.”

A Truly Civil Servant

When Self was laid off from Fluor in December 2019, she started consulting for First Tee of the Upstate and continued to do so once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In May, however, a friend connected Self with her current boss.

“(He) talked to my boss and told him that he needed to hire me. And he called me and told me I needed to apply for this job,” she said.

Self’s position is being a cheerleader and a servant to the merchants of downtown Greer. She has organized community events designed to bring customers to the small businesses such as Dine on Trade and the monthly sip and shop events. Her objective: bringing in business while keeping the community healthy.

“It’s been very rewarding for me to work with the merchants over this past year just to help them as they’re struggling to get customers in the door and to get the word out about their businesses,” Self said. One of her favorite comments to hear is that a merchant had a customer come back into their shop after an event to make a purchase.

“I’ve literally been able to help businesses. It’s very rewarding to see that and to know that I’ve been able to be a part of that.”

To find out more about what’s happening in Greer, visit the Greer Station website.