Lowcountry Local First is a non-profit created to promote locally owned businesses in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties. There are more than 500 member businesses in the network. Locally owned franchises are not eligible for membership. The non-profit made a presentation at the monthly West Ashley James Island Business Association (WAJIBA) meeting at Bessinger’s.
The organization is in the midst of its annual Buy Local campaign, which encourages people to patronize locally-owned businesses during the holiday shopping season. The campaign runs until December 15.
The group’s Community Manager Larry Downey notes that 45% of the revenues at a locally-owned business remain in the local economy versus 15% for national retailers and franchises. He cites better customer service and personal relationships between the owners and their customers as reasons why people like to shop at locally-owned businesses. Downey also notes that local retailers usually hire local service providers, including marketing firms, accountants, web designers and attorneys.
Lowcountry Local First holds monthly member mixers hosted by member businesses. The group’s annual meeting will be held Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30 pm at the Mercantile & Mash Cedar Room on 700 East Bay Street (the old Charleston Cigar Factory), which is open to the public. Those interested in attending may RSVP at http://www.LowcountryLocalFirst.org