BUT SERIOUSLY

The Street’s Not All Fun and Games

Development. Credit. Spiritual and physical health. Not exactly the words that leap to mind when you’re heading for a Greenville happy hour, but the street is vast; it contains multitudes, not all of them party animals. Meet some of Greenville’s more serious, unlikely inhabitants.

They stay up late at The Chilton Corp., but nobody will confuse Chilton with Confetti. As one of the nation’s leaders in credit reporting, check verification and authorization and debt collection, Chilton put together 16.8 million credit reports in 1984. They maintain records on approximately one-third of the nation’s consumers and sell their reports in 49 states. They’ve got 5,000 field terminals linked by a 50,000-mile national telephone network. In other words, there’s no escape. Two of Chilton’s largest customers are Sears and American Express (maybe that’s how they got your name). Fittingly, Chilton waits near the end of Greenville Avenue, as if to say that the bucks-and the fun-must stop here. If you find yourself overextended at Gershwin’s or Pinky’s, these folks may put the Big Chil(ton) on your spending sprees.

Just down from the Prospect Grill is something new in this part of town. Prospect Park, the stylish creation of The Drexel Group, is the first multi-structure garden office complex in the Lower Greenville area. The Drexel Group is the brainchild of Bruce Jones, who already owns the building that houses DiPalma and Banno Brothers. When the third and last building in Prospect Park is finished this fall, Jones will offer more than 50,000 square feet of attractive single-level or studio office suites. He’s keenly aware that Lower Greenville has its own look and feel. “The buildings north of Mockingbird Lane are more the steel and glass type of structure,” he says. “Since we’re the first of our kind down here, we wanted to create a business environment more in keeping with the easy, accessible feel of this area.”

The National Center of The American Heart Association, one of the largest nonprofit associations in the world, employs 260 people who serve staff and volunteers in 55 AHA affiliates in every state of the union. From their imposing building on Greenville (which won an award of merit from the American Institute of Architects), the AHA coordinates fund-raising efforts such as Jump Rope for Heart and conducts programs on “heart-healthy living” through better nutrition and blood pressure control. Needless to say, they’re down on smoking, which is not allowed at the Center or anywhere on its grounds.

The Unity Church is as different from the average church as Greenville is from Gaston Avenue. “We practice no condemnation in any way,” says Frank Pounders, co-minister with his wife, Margaret. “We emphasize living joyously, successfully and healthily right now.” The Pounders’ flock numbers around 687, average age 38-40, and runs the economic gamut from the unemployed to the drivers of Lincolns. The Unity church has no creed, dogma or tenets that must be believed; it’s a “spiritual smorgasbord,” according to Pounders, where people are free to choose some ideas and leave others on the table. They’re less puritanical than, say, the Church of Christ, but less activist than the Unitarians. And they have nothing against material wealth, as long as it’s not the only goal. “If you become successful with yourself, you’ll be successful otherwise,” Pounders says. “There’s no way to stop it.”

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