Today, as always, is a great day in Bluffton. The traffic I see in the old town is heavy but not overwhelming. I try to walk around over my lunch break and chat with folks I don’t recognize. Candidly, I guess I’m interviewing people with an eye toward a little market research. What I hear is never startling or astonishing—it’s almost the same every time. If people are visiting, they are always pleasantly surprised by the variety of shops and restaurants. If they have just moved here, often they have made a run at the big boxes and just gotten tired of the crowds and the sameness, the artificial urgency and the impersonal service. What they experience here is the exact opposite. Most of our businesses are sole proprietorships and the people behind the counters are interested in not only selling merchandise, but also making sure the shopper has a good experience which will likely repeat itself.
Let me follow up just briefly on last week’s comment about the new location for Jim Buser’s business, Sports Addiction. We had quite a few people, mostly Sun City Cyclers, call in about the new store in the Food Lion shopping center by Sun City. The comments were good and most appreciated the heads up on the new place. Both the good weather and Jimbo’s great mechanics keep those bikes on the road.
I know I beat the “Shop Local” drum hard and often, but it wouldn’t matter how pleasant a visit to old town was, if the shops, galleries and restaurants did not do good business. While the docents at the Heyward House and the Church of the Cross are volunteers, those of us that have a more commercial interest may seem like docents sometimes, but without paying customers, our great little community would not be nearly as interesting.
Today is also a special day for a more personal reason for me. It is my beautiful wife Mary’s birthday. She is the center of my personal universe and I don’t have nearly enough opportunities to demonstrate my gratitude and my husbandly regard. Consequently, I try to make it a special time and remind her that she is truly one-of-a-kind. All her birthdays are very important but this one is something of a milestone. All I can say is she is over thirty, but not by much. People have always teased me a bit for being something of a cradle robber when we are together in public. In truth, it has always been a mystery to me how she can be so elegant and so gracefully put together, regardless of the event, be it a formal venue or an oyster roast at the Toomer’s.
It has been kind of a slow week as far as constituent contacts, with only 272 here at the office, including calls, emails, and walk-ins. I image it will probably remain slow for the next week or so, then pick up considerably right before we go back into session. Also, I want to remind you we will be closed a half day for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and closed on Christmas and New Years Day. Regardless, we do check email and calls, and try to get back to folks the same day, if at all possible.
Finally, at the risk of seeming to be a nag, please be responsible about your holiday celebrations. Our local law enforcement personnel are focusing their efforts on alcohol violations until after the first of the year, for which I am grateful. Getting a DUI is bad, but far, far from the worst things that might happen if you don’t have a designated driver.