Local mom Jennifer Curry reviews the Hub City Bookshop, Little River Coffee Bar, and Cakehead Bakeshop in downtown Spartanburg. These three wonderful businesses are conveniently located right beside each other and provide the perfect place to read, drink coffee, and eat a treat! For more ideas of things to do in downtown Spartanburg see our guide.
Located in the heart of downtown Spartanburg in the historic Masonic Temple resides three thriving businesses. Anchored by the award-winning Hub City Bookshop, these local businesses have become a focal point for the booming downtown movement by creating a spot for local residents and families to gather, share ideas, and shop.
Hub City Bookshop
Hub City Bookshop is more than just a local independent bookstore. They are known for the wide range of regional books and creative nonfiction titles published through Hub City Press. Known for supporting local authors as well as quality pieces, Hub City Bookshop has gained quite a reputation in the literary community.
It all started 22 years ago, when three local Spartanburg writers (John Lane, Betsy Teter, and Gary Henderson) met to discuss the area’s struggles since the close of the textile mills. Rather than dwelling on the current difficulties, they formed the Hub City Writers Project (modeled after the Federal Writers Project). Together, they published the Hub City Anthology. The book was a success.
After, Hub City Writers Project continued to publish works specific to place – by people in the region about the region under Hub City Press books.
In the meantime, the only local independent bookstore in Spartanburg closed, so the three founders approached the mayor to see about forming a local independent non-profit bookstore (with all the proceeds going to support creative writing education and independent book publishing). He agreed. A location was decided upon and two other local businesses joined alongside the Hub City Writer’s Project to create a space for local events, coffee, and desserts. 7 years ago, they made history.
Currently, Hub City Bookshop not only sells books and host readings, they also run the Writers House Residency program where writers arrive annually to live in a writer’s residence in Hampton Heights and work in the Hub City Bookshop. This year, they are privileged to be hosting the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize – one the country’s largest writing awards. Coming up next will be the publication of Taste of Spartanburg – a book that features local Spartanburg restaurants and farm-to-table traditions.
Now that you understand the history and significance of our local bookshop, you should know that it is truly a wonderful store that offers a diverse range of books and book related products. In addition to featuring the Hub City Press works, they also sell popular bestsellers, new releases, children’s books, young adult books, regional authors, and more. If they do not have it in the store, they can order it for you.
Little River Coffee Bar
Another unique local business in the Masonic Temple is the Little River Coffee Bar. The establishment is known for selling Little River Roasters coffee – a local business that is socially and ethically responsible. From knowing the farms where the beans come from to roasting it locally, Little River Roasters is a Spartanburg favorite.
Since this coffee shop not only serves the best local coffee and cold brew, the fact that it is attached to a bookshop and bakery makes it stand out. The Coffee Bar has several different sitting options – perfect for individuals working or for groups of friends wishing to chat. In addition to serving excellent coffee, they also host open mic nights and other events.
One of Spartanburg’s premier bakeries is located in this same building adjacent to Little River Coffee Bar. They offer a delicious assortment of cupcakes such as The JR (devil’s food cake, peanut butter icing, chocolate ganache, and candied peanuts), chocolate raspberry, and Italian crème. I cannot go in without purchasing at least one cupcake. Thankfully, they offer cupcake happy hours for people like me.
In addition to the assortment of cupcakes and pastries they sell, they offer breakfast items and savory quiches. All their choices pair well with Little River Coffee Bar’s drink selection. Customers can choose a baked good and enjoy it in the adjacent coffee shop or outside on the patio.
Cakehead Bakeshop has also made a name for itself because of the outstanding cakes they make to order. Their cakes are not only delicious, they are also expertly decorated making them hits at birthdays and celebrations.
A Great Place for Parents and Kids
Hub City Bookshop, Little River Coffee Bar, and Cakehead Bakeshop are all great local businesses your family will enjoy supporting. Families can take time to peruse the outstanding collection of children’s books and young adult books at Hub City Bookshop. They applied and received a grant from the James Patterson Foundation for $6000 allowing them to increase the size of their children’s section (guaranteeing there will be a book your reluctant reader will love).
Families can purchase a book knowing they are supporting a local nonprofit, and then head next door for coffee and treats to support two more local businesses. These businesses are what make Spartanburg special and more reasons for you to love where you live.
What’s your favorite local business in Spartanburg?