The Beaufort Gazette, January 6, 2013
A coupon book offering discounts at Hilton Head Island restaurants and a website promoting businesses in downtown Beaufort and Port Royal represent the latest attempts to lure Lowcountry diners and shoppers away from big-box retailers and chain restaurants and into locally owned shops and eateries.
Around the same time the coupon book was released, Picklejuice Productions, a locally owned Web design firm, launched Shop Local Beaufort, a website aimed at promoting shops and restaurants in Beaufort and Port Royal. The site, which was aimed mostly at holiday spending, features gift ideas from local vendors and research on shopping local.
Proponents of the “buy local” movement cite research by economists suggesting money spent at local boutiques, restaurants and other businesses are more likely to stay in the community than money spent at retail chains and restaurants.
For every $100 spent at an independently owned businesses, about $45 remains in the local economy, compared with about $13 per $100 spent at a retail chain, according to research by the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Austin, Texas, consulting firm Civic Economics.
The result, advocates say, is a more vibrant local economy and more jobs.
“I’m in the coffee business so if I get my coffee from local roasters then those businesses are more likely to spend their money in the community,” Cooke said. “By shopping local, you are supporting a lot of middle-class people and not CEOs and stockholders.”