Lowcountry Local First

Keep Austin Weird. Asheville Grown. Two shining examples of how two communities reminded their citizens within and citizens around the country why where they live is so cool…and what they and all of us need to do to keep it that way.

LLF coverHere in the Lowcountry, we’ve got our own brand of local cool and local economic intelligence courtesy of the fine folks of Lowcountry Local First. I had the chance to do some writing for this stellar organization (thanks to LLF Board Member/Blue Ion Partner Robert Prioleau for that) as part of a re-branding exercise and new website with the talented minds at Little Highrise. Do check out the re-imagined identity and new website: of note, the incredible, intuitive Business Directory and local search engine.

And, before I share some of the writing, please, do yourself and your community a favor: support local businesses. Not only are you reinvesting money in your own community, which helps to lower taxes and pay for city services, you are affirming and supporting everything that makes your community unlike any other. Special thanks to Jamee Haley and Kate Gebler for their help, kindness, and general enthusiasm.

Here then, is what Lowcountry Local First is all about:

Lowcountry Local First is an alliance committed to educating and encouraging the public to invest in their local economy with their dollars, their voices, their votes and their hearts. As lovers of the Lowcountry, we understand that we have a choice in what we buy and from whom we buy it. We have a choice in what we eat – and from where and by whom it’s grown. Collectively, our choices have great power. To build or break a life. A business. An economy. A city. A culture.

We the people of Lowcountry Local First offer a simple solution: choose the Lowcountry. It’s an understanding that if we choose to neglect the Lowcountry, something beautiful, meaningful, and unique fades away.

Lowcountry Local First is a way of life that celebrates and supports what we love most: the local, independent businesses and farmers who reflect the unique character, flavor, and culture of the place we call home.

You have a choice.

So, choose – with everything you’ve got.

LLF manifestoAs the holidays approach, Lowcountry Local First and I invite and implore you…to break up with the box stores and love local. Feel free to use the letter below, penned just for the occasion.

Dear Big Box,

It’s not me. It’s you.

You haven’t changed. It’s just that I have.

At first, I loved your bravado and confidence: your loud, aggressive signage, your expansive aisles, your willingness to offer 39 different varieties of whatever it was I wanted.

I remember the fun we had staying up 24 hours a day. Actually, that wasn’t really fun for me. Unless I had a presentation the following morning, or we were partying. Otherwise, I’m not certain anyone should be available 24/7. I mean, unless lives are at stake. Honestly, I think a solid eight hours of sleep might do you good.

Even after all this time, I don’t feel like I know you. Sometimes when I called, you seemed so distant – like you were in a completely different country. And I didn’t like that our calls were monitored, even if it was for “quality assurance.” Because honey, I didn’t feel so assured.

Oh, and for the record, I never wanted to start celebrating the holidays in late September.

In trying so desperately hard to appeal to everyone, you somehow end up disappointing everyone.

I’m sorry. The truth is, I’ve met someone else. Someone…local.

He understands what I need in a way you never will. You don’t get that value doesn’t just come from a price tag. It comes from making people feel good by providing quality goods and services, by remembering that the things they say and do are important. It comes from knowing that the choices I make matter to people where I live.

I don’t care what your stockholders demand, because this is about you and me.

Actually, this is about me. Saying goodbye to you.


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