Our Approach

Lowcountry Local First is a nonprofit advocate for local, independent businesses and a resource for the communities they serve. We’re working to create jobs and grow the Lowcountry economy by empowering local makers, growers and service providers.

Who We Work With

We work with a diverse range of partners from the nonprofit, private, and public sectors.

* Local-independent businesses
* Policymakers
* Local, state, and national nonprofit and governmental partners
* Donors and funders who share our values

What We Do

Our programs implement a new model of local economic development – integrating advocacy, education and training, and relationship-building toward a more equitable, diversified economy.

Why We’re Different

We develop innovative models for sustainable and equitable local economies. Our work leverages our understanding of our over 500 local business members and 16,000 employees across all sectors, and is informed by staff with expertise and on-the-ground experience in local economy building, innovative economic development, entrepreneur support, sustainable agriculture and food systems. We are connected to local economy and sustainable business organizations throughout the country, working both in other cities and at a national level, allowing us access to the best models, case studies, and thought leaders.

2015 was our most exciting year yet. Here’s a recap of the year in numbers – highlighting the best projects, programs, events, and people that blew our hair back and left us raring to do even MORE in 2016.

Foxworthy Studios Photography
Foxworthy Studios Photography


voice to represent the 520 member companies comprised of 16,000 workers that are the heart and soul of Lowcountry Local First

Foxworthy Studios Photography
Foxworthy Studios Photography


hat-tip from the U.S. Small Business Administration honoring Lowcountry Local First as the 2015 ‘Small Business Ally of the Year’ for South Carolina



Local Community Priority District proposed to proactively protect the character of the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood business district in the City of Charleston

Courtney Hinton for Palmetto Brewing
Courtney Hinton for Palmetto Brewing


brewers-in-residence at Local Works, our coworking space that provides affordable workspace for more than 42 businesses of all sizes and across industries

Susan Lloyd Photography
Susan Lloyd Photography


dreamers joined our staff of avowed local economy advocates



new farms building their businesses at Dirt Works Incubator Farm, where they sell wholesale, at farmers markets and to local restaurants like Glass Onion, Hominy Grill, FIG, Cypress, Xiao Bao Biscuit, La Tela Pizzeria, McCrady’s, Frothy Beard Brewing, Virgil Cane Distillery, EVO, The Daily, COAST Brewing.



OHM radio shows “Small Talks, Big Ideas” highlighting the many accomplishments of our members

Foxworthy Studios Photography
Foxworthy Studios Photography


home states of attendees who traveled to Johns Island for our inaugural two-day workshop on how to build a successful Farm Incubator program



articles published in Charleston Regional Business Journal by LLF staff on issues facing locally owned businesses and creative solutions for addressing them



workshops hosted for local farmers on topics ranging from soil health to permaculture design



weeks of Q&A with the Charleston mayoral candidates on issues including quality of place and support for local businesses appeared in the City Paper as a lead-up to our forum



local businesses included in video story that highlights the importance and impact of local business relationships

Foxworthy Studios Photography
Foxworthy Studios Photography


member mixers held at different businesses to build ties among our amazing local business community



percentage of growth in Lowcountry Local First membership across all industries including business services, manufacturing, farms, product developers, creative & tech, retail, and F&B



woman-owned businesses which have built their companies at Local Works since launch

Zing Zheng Photography
Zing Zheng Photography


eatUP food truck lunches held at Local Works in partnership with Enough Pie

Adam Chandler Photography
Adam Chandler Photography


artisans and makers of locally-made goods connected with over 1,000 community members at our Buy Local Block Party



new employees hired by Local Works companies

Sarah Poe Photography
Sarah Poe Photography


percentage of funds that go directly to building our programs, garnering an “Excellent” rating from Charity Watch

Sarah Poe Photography
Sarah Poe Photography


future farmers and food system advocates graduated from our Growing New Farmers Program since 2010

Foxworthy Studios Photography
Foxworthy Studios Photography


new business relationships formed at Local Works, thanks to our community of supporters including: City of Charleston, Charleston County, and U.S. Small Business Administration

Tanya Boggs Photography
Tanya Boggs Photography


business owners and decision makers convened at the Good Business Summit for a SOLD OUT day of inspiration and tactical learning

Foxworthy Studios Photography
Foxworthy Studios Photography


attendees at our Mayoral Forum where the 6 City of Charleston mayoral candidates shared their vision for the future of the city



pots of locally-roasted coffee consumed at Local Works

Compost In My Shoe
Compost In My Shoe


pounds of fresh local produce grown on our teaching acre at Dirt Works Incubator Farm and donated to Lowcountry Food Bank

Brennan Wesley
Brennan Wesley

dollars shifted to support local farms and food during April when 625 community members took the Eat Local Challenge


dollars paid to locally-headquartered businesses by Local Works companies


dollars in annual revenue from Local Works companies that will be reinvested back into our community

Thank you to our 2015 Board of Directors for their leadership and support:

David Thompson,
David Thompson Architect CHAIR

Jon Yarian,

Harold Singletary,
Luxury Simplified Group TREASURER

Alyssa Maute Smith,
Vestige Communications  SECRETARY

Christy Allen,
Wills Massalon & Allen LLC

Gary Collins,

Lee Deas,
Obviouslee Marketing

Julie Dombrowski,
Ted’s Butcherblock

Robert Hull,

Andrea Limehouse,
Limehouse Produce

Jennifer Murray,
South State Bank