Shop-worthy Bluffton, SC!

The Storybook Shoppe, located on Calhoun Street in Old Town Bluffton carries a wonderful selection of books for children from infants through young adults.

Traveling throughout the South, it’s all too simple to lose your mooring amid the commercial thicket of the same old fast-food chains and big-box stores.  But push on a few miles beyond the interstate exit, and you may discover a town that’s anchored by a distinctive “Main Street” — one with unique architecture, eclectic small businesses, and community-oriented features like a park, theater, marina or the like.

Often it thrives thanks to locals who have made diligent efforts to fight any general decline of their “Main Street” and hold on to what is distinctive and often times, irreplaceable. For the visitor reaping the rewards, this can lead to both the unexpected and the tempting. Nowhere is this more true than right here in Bluffton, SC.

Stock Farm Antiques’ selection of fine English and American antiques is the best in the area. You can count on Emmett and Teddy McCracken for attentive service and a nice chat too!

Walkable, lovable, irreverent Bluffton lends itself to a stroll beneath stately live oaks so heavily slung with Spanish moss that one often needs to brush it from your path. Don’t be surprised by the treasures found within the confines of Old Town Bluffton either, with opportunities to shop for English and American antiques, fine linens, vintage and designer clothing, one-of-a-kind artwork created by professional artisans, and more.

Browse at the Lowcountry’s only dedicated “children’s only” bookstore, The Storybook Shoppe, for award-winning titles sure to please the infant, toddler, or school-age child in your life. If you’re an antique hound, Stock Farm Antiques is the place to peruse fine quality 18th and 19th Century English and American furniture, Oriental rugs, porcelains, artwork and more. Owned by former Bluffton Mayor Emmett McCracken and his wife, Teddy, stop in for visit – there’s no better place to find out what’s going on in Bluffton! The Complete Home carries the special touches that make a house a true ‘home’, with eclectic tabletop accoutrements, gourmet food, artwork and more.

The Complete Home, Bluffton, SC

Housed in a renovated cottage (next to The Storybook Shoppe) The Complete Home offers that ‘just right’ decorative item for your home, or someone else’s – a great spot for unique gifts!

For the artist or the art aficionado, be sure to check out Four Corners Art Gallery & Fine Framing where you’ll find a true collector’s gallery. Owner Charlene Gardner and a selection of nationally and internationally recognized artists keep the walls awash in fine photography, watercolor, oil and acrylic paintings, sculpture and mix media pieces.

The non-profit Society of Bluffton Artists (SOBA), located in a quaint refurbished cottage at the corner of Church and Calhoun Streets, rotates its hanging gallery every six weeks and promotes art education and appreciation throughout the greater Bluffton area. Down the lane at No. 10 Church Street, you’ll usually find “Bluffton’s tallest potter” Jacob Preston at his pottery wheel, or spinning a yarn or two in his studio with visitors, or a cadre of local pals.

If fashion-forward is your mantra, a stop at Gigi’s Boutique and Outfitter is must for designer clothing and accessories from Desigual, Michael Kors, and CP Shades. Eclectic

Gig's Boutique, Bluffton SC

Stop in at Gigi’s and swoon over the latest women’s fashions that are both stylish and casually chic!

is word at Eggs-n-tricities, one of the most talked about shops in the Lowcountry for those looking for a unique piece of jewelry, some funky, casual clothing or that perfect bit of Bluffton ‘state-of-mind’ for the home! Just give yourself plenty of time here, as it takes a few passes through this ex-1950’s filling station to take in all the vintage “eccentric-ci-ties” offered here!

If you’ve shopped ‘til you dropped save room for lunch at The Cottage Café, Bakery & Tea Room or nosh on some incredible eats like seared ahi tuna, rustic pizza, or antipasta platter AND a glass of fabulous wine at Vineyard 55. Both the Old Town Dispensary and 9

Promenade (across the May River Road in the Promenade) offer the opportunity for frosty adult beverages and live music. If your tastes run gourmet-at-home, then travel a little further afield to The Village Pasta Shoppe for homemade pasta and gourmet Italian specialties. Drop by R & D Wine Boutique and allow the helpful folks match the perfect wine to your meal!

Vineyard 55, Bluffton SC

Relax after your shopping jaunt at Vineyard 55 with a glass of vino and a delicious bite to eat al freco on their front porch – their antipasta platters are scrumptious!

  • Flora Lal Ghosh

    I have had 20 years of retail experience, & there are a few major factors that make or break success or failure of a retail business.

    First factor is fixed overhead.
    If a building owner charges a modest $1 per square foot, the business has a chance of making it. If the building owner decides to increase rent when the lease is up to $1.50 a square foot, the business owner will struggle. If the building owner increase the rent to $2 a square foot, the business will fail.

    Most people do not realize that small businesses do not even make enough money to support the business owner”s family, that small businesses are usually a hobby venture because of proportionately high overhead, mostly in the form of rent, electricity, & insurance. It gets to the point where it is not even worth the struggle & the many hours of hard work to keep doors open when all you are doing is handing over 50% or more of your profit to greedy landlords, to paying electric bills that are just as high as rent, & paying exorbitant amounts of insurance when 95% of small businesses never put in a claim. The rest of your profit goes mostly towards cost of goods (buying merchandise). To make a 15% profit, perhaps only a few hundred dollars a week, is hardly worth the enormous time & effort, and constant worry.

    Factor 2 is that most small townspeople simply do not support their small businesses. They spend 99% of their disposable income at major chain stores. Tourism keeps the majority of small business alive.

    Get to know small business owners & they will all tell you the same story. Only if a business owns the building does it have any real chance of success. High volume in an exclusive, high-end venue does not equal high profit, because those stores pay up to $20 to even $40 per square foot. Only the property owners are getting rich, the business owners struggle to maintain even a middle-class existence.

    This is my experience based upon 20 years of owning retail businesses.