Get the scoop on what it's like to be a local in Greenville.
Welcome to The Cost of Living Diaries. How much does it cost to live in Greenville, South Carolina? What’s an average mortgage, a cocktail, or a week’s worth of childcare? Keep reading because we asked a Greenville local to tell us all about the cost of living in this thriving city!
Step just one foot in Greenville, and you’ll soon notice that a plethora of career opportunities collide with an enviable lifestyle. Think an exquisite public art scene, great eateries, a highly walkable downtown and fun outdoor recreation — making it “oh, so attractive” to even the pickiest of people.
To become more familiar with the area, including the impact it has on residents’ wallets, we sat down with Leyly Bagherof, a Greenville native who moved to Rochester, NY, to get her master’s from the Eastman School of Music but returned in 2020 and opened Sun and Soil Plant Parlor, a boutique dedicated to houseplants, in 2021.
Q: What made you want to move back to Greenville?
A: It was actually a little more of a situational kind of deal. I finished (my master’s) right when COVID started, so I was actually planning on staying up in Rochester and starting a doctoral degree, but then COVID was really taking off, and so I decided I was going to come back and put a pause on that degree because I didn’t want to do it online.
Q: How did you decide to start a business in the city, and what was your experience like?
A: I had this concept for Sun and Soil, and there are a lot of great nurseries in the area, there are a lot of great garden centers, but there wasn’t anything that focused entirely on houseplants, and with that, I like the idea of having the boutique aspect, so things that are houseplant related. It was scary, but we went for it, and it’s been great ever since.
Everyone is so supportive on social media, and the turnout in person — I really think that’s a testament to the type of people that Greenvillians are. We are supportive of each other and uplifting.
Q: What do you love about living in Greenville?
A: I love that depending on what you’re wanting to do that day, you can either grab brunch with your friends and stay in the city and just do like a “city girl” vibe, or if you want, you can also just hop in your car, and you can get to the mountains or the lake within an hour. There’s just so much to do in every direction, and I think Greenville is one of the best food cities ever. Obviously, there aren’t as many options as New York City, but the quality of the restaurants that we do have is just phenomenal.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant, and how much would dinner and drinks be for two people?
A: One of my favorite places is called Coral. It’s a new fine dining, seafood restaurant downtown, but they also have a really phenomenal bar area, so you can do the more formal, sit-down dinner, or if you just want to hang out at their bar, it’s definitely a really fun place like on a Friday night to go. And for two people, you could do it for like $65 or $70.
Q: What was it like buying a house in the area?
A: I bought a house exactly a year ago, and I’m probably in one of the most desirable areas of Greenville right now — Augusta Road. I’m in a three-bedroom, two-bath for $1,200 a month.
Q: What’s something unexpected about Greenville?
A: Greenville is a very, very dog-friendly city, like a lot of places — breweries have a lot of outdoor seating, and restaurants are very open to having pets, and like the Swamp Rabbit Trail (a 22-mile walking/biking trail), and our store is also dog friendly.