Thursday, November 3, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
AUG. 22, 2011 - A recent trip to Asheville demonstrated what the future of the local movement in Charleston could be. The signs in the windows of the nearly all local-independent businesses that reside in the booming downtown, say "Local, it's the new black." This partnered with the "Love Asheville, Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is" shows the loyalty and commitment of a community to local independent businesses.
While the support of local independent businesses has greatly increased with the Buy Local movement initiated by Lowcountry Local First in Charleston, we still have room for improvement. The idea of purchasing food from local farmers has become more than a trend but a way of life for many. When LLF first started almost 5 years ago there were no Community Supported Agriculture programs in the area. We now have over 14 farmers and fishermen participating in CSAs and over 3,000 members of our community now receiving the direct benefits of their labor.
How do we translate the same connections with growers in our area to other local businesses? We support area farmers and fishermen because we want to know who grew our food; the fresh products taste better and we want to play a part in the preservation of our farmland and seafood industry. These same desires can be translated to supporting local independent businesses: We typically receive better service, we can meet the shop or business owner, and we want to keep our area unique.
The benefits of supporting these local businesses are 3 times that of supporting a national chain. Local business owners live here, pay taxes, support our schools, parks and arts, and are engaged in the community. According to a study done by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, nonprofits receive an average 350% more support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses.
So, I believe we have a great opportunity here to stop chasing the elephant that so many in our communities see as the answer to economic recovery. The idea that the huge corporation is going to come into the area and solve all of our economic woes is dated to say the least. But I often have to remind myself of the Buckminster Fuller quote, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." The existing model is obsolete and we as a community have the opportunity to create the new model by investing in the people who already are invested in our community.
Charleston's rich history, natural beauty and understandable pride can be enhanced by being a little more like our friends in Asheville. The recognition Charleston receives as a Top Destination city in the country is not because we have national retailers on King Street, but because of the wonderful dining and shopping experiences that visitors and locals alike have when seeking out the those truly special experiences.
Lowcountry Local First is now over 400 members strong and our network of local business owners and community members is growing at a rapid rate. We continue to develop programs and ideas that ease the process of supporting our local independent businesses by offering discounts and promotions through the Buy Local card, establishing a new website with a more robust searchable directory, our 5th Buy Local campaign coming this holiday season and more.
The great thing about this movement is that it is one that everyone can get behind. It falls neither on the left or the right of the political line and establishes the new model that will sustain us for the long haul!
Monday, August 1, 2011
We have all been there at one point or another, or maybe you're there right now: strategically planning your back to school shopping. There is no better time to BUY LOCAL, visit your favorite local spots for clothing, school supplies, art supplies and all the good stuff to start the year off with a bang. Check out the promotions below and make your Back to School Shopping experience more enjoyable, save some money and support your local economy.
Check out the GREEN SCHOOL SUPPLIES
Use the account code: 21 and password GREEN for special savings and easy ordering.
Gift of the Month: Locker Lookz- starting at $9.99. Want to be the coolest person in school? Transform your school locker from basic to beautiful with these wonderfuntastical locker decorations that make it easy for you to have an amazing locker in no time! Only LockerLookz gives you the power to express yourself through unique mix-and-match locker design collections of wallpaper, accessories, flowers and rugs.We have all your back to school needs covered! Nap mats, book bags, lunchboxes, pencils and carrying cases. Clothes, monkey bar buddies (aka…panty covers) and much, much more. All Buy Local Card holders get 10% off every purchase. This weekend is tax free weekend. All cash and check purchases get an additional 2% off! Could amount to a total of 20.5% off every purchase.
Country Bumpkin Arts and Craft Supplies
10% off to students of all ages taking an art class, including CCSD School of the Arts, and high school art students. Discount applies to stretched canvas, paints, brushes, mediums, paper pads, drawing/sketch supplies, etc. Just show us your supply list to receive discount.
Friday, July 1, 2011
This fall we will be producing a "kid friendly" version of the poster for Charleston County Schools!
Remember to celebrate your Independence by supporting your Independents this coming week and all year through!