Lewis Plaza and Caine’s History of Innovation

Lewis Plaza and Caine’s History of Innovation

bubber caine

Bubber Caine

As locals look forward to the opening of Harris Teeter in Lewis Plaza off of Augusta Road, we’re dusting off old photos and news clipping to take a stroll down memory lane.

Bubber Caine, founder of the Caine Companies, was well known for his innovative approach to real estate and development. By the time Bubber was 30 years old, he’d earned a name for himself as a self-made businessman. Of all his accomplishments, perhaps his crowning achievement was the concept and development of Lewis Plaza – the first regular shopping center in Greenville.

Built in 1946, the development of connected storefronts and adjacent apartments was said to be years ahead of its time. The shopping center was paired with the Plaza Apartments (48 units) and Lewis Village Apartments (96 units) behind the center. Today, it seems that multi-family units in close proximity or connected to retail are around every corner, but in that time, the urban concept was nothing short of radical.

Lewis Plaza

Lewis Plaza under construction

Bubber’s inspiration was drawn during his time in the naval reserve, as he was stationed on the West coast during WWII. He took note of the strip shopping centers being built and dreamed of bringing one to his hometown of Greenville. After Lewis Plaza was complete, other developers followed suit, and plazas and shopping centers became commonplace. Bubber also developed the first strip shopping center in Greenville, the “Tuten-Mart” on Cleveland St, along with the Pleasantburg Shopping Center, Calhoun Towers, and Richland Mall in Columbia.

Today, Lewis Plaza still stands, and Coldwell Banker Commercial Caine remains the leasing and management partner. Locals frequent the plaza for popular restaurants, shopping, banking, and soon – the high-end grocery, Harris Teeter. Having been involved in Lewis Plaza for almost 70 years, we can’t help but be grateful for the rich history of innovation the Caine Companies have held in the Upstate…all beginning with Bubber Caine’s willingness to take risks.

Harris Teeter Lewis Plaza Greenville, SC


Shirley Halter, Caine’s daughter, said of her father, “He was very forward-thinking in the development and redevelopment of downtown – he was a hard worker, who wouldn’t take no for an answer. He would go up against impossible odds.” Bubber’s legacy of hard work has trickled down not only into Coldwell Banker Commercial Caine, but into the growth that Greenville enjoys today.