On any given morning, anyone stopping by Sully’s Steamers may not notice the “regular” customer checking emails and catching up on phone calls at his usual table. But for semi-retired pastor Mike Cruice, this is where his retirement plans began to take shape.
One October morning, he was eating breakfast at his favorite spot when three people from out of town came in to ask for suggestions on touring the area. That’s when Cruice’s passion for Greenville and love for people came together; and before he knew it, he was offering to take the couple for a tour of the area in his own vehicle.
From that one unique encounter, a business idea began to form in Cruice’s mind. His youngest daughter, Bonnie, saw the potential for the business as well and invested her own time and money to see it become a family business. Now, Make Greenville Yours offers tours to people interested in moving to the Upstate. A three-hour “Get Moving Tour” will take you over 60 miles of the Greater Greenville area, beginning with a stop at another one of Cruice’s favorite iconic places, Amanda Henry’s Popcorn Parlor (where owner Jennifer Chambers will give you a sample bag of your favorite flavor) and then a drive through Greenville, Mauldin, Simpsonville, Taylors, Greer, and Travelers Rest, highlighting the history and vision of each community along the way.
“Come with an interest in South Carolina, leave with a love for Greenville,” promises Cruice.
If you’re short on time, you can also opt for the “Get Acquainted Tour,” which only takes an hour and a half to show you the highlights of the city of Greenville. Or you can choose a customized tour that specifically meets your needs and interests.
“One of the benefits of this service is connecting people with the key people in the surrounding areas,” said Cruice, who moved here over 30 years ago with his wife, Susan, and their four children.
Cruice has spent 26 years serving on the pastoral staff at Hampton Park Baptist Church. But a few years ago, he began to experience physical challenges, which resulted in quadruple bypass surgery, prostate cancer surgery, and a subsequent round of radiation.
“For my own health, I had to step back from the ministry,” said Cruice, who now serves the senior citizens as a part-time pastor.
But finding a way to pursue his passions has only helped Cruice live a longer life. He never meets a stranger and enjoys sharing his love for the area.
“I hope that after the tour, people will appreciate the Greater Greenville community and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” said Cruice. “I came here because of a love for the Lord, and that flowed over into a love for the people. I am meeting people where they are and serving them.”
For more information on getting a personal in-depth look into the Upstate or to have your business included in the tour, visit www.makegreenvilleyours.com or make an appointment by calling 363-8628.