Over the past several years, towns and cities across the country have been encouraging their residents to keep their money local. The goal is to support small, locally run businesses, which results in economic growth. This initiative quickly spread to the Cape Fear region, and many residents took an interest.
Gayle Tabor, a local Wilmington resident, responded to this interest and began a group called Buy Local ilm. The group uses social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about local businesses and share the latest news in the Wilmington area. They even have an online newspaper to boost awareness. With over 4,700 “likes” on Facebook and over 7,100 “followers” on Twitter, the initiative has grown quite the following. Their campaign continues to gain traction. Local businesses have also jumped on board, including the hashtag #buylocalilm in many of their social media posts as well as “shout outs” to other local spots.
Buying local isn’t always easy, especially if you are not familiar with the area. To fix this issue, here are 4 suggestions to help you stay local:
1. Find your local farmers’ market or grocer.
Start with baby steps, friends! Wilmington has plenty of farmers’ markets and local options in nearly any part of town–the Riverwalk, Wrightsville Beach, and Poplar Grove to name a few. During the warmer months, you can find an outdoor market almost every day of the week. Not to mention, Port City Produce is open 7 days a week from April to October, and if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for healthy, organic options, Tidal Creek Co-op is a lifesaver. Find your nearest market and begin there. You’ll save money and support local residents… Win-win!
2. Stay connected on social media.
I know. I know. The last thing we all need is another reason to be glued to our phones, but let me explain. Many local restaurants and shops use social media as their major form of marketing and self-promotion. Facebook and Instagram are great places to find out about the best haunts in town and about any sales or giveaways. If you’re looking for a place to start, search Wilmington’s official Instagram account (@cityofwilm) and take a peek at who they follow. Spoiler alert: Most are local businesses. Sometimes there is a good reason to pay attention to your phone.
3. Skip the Starbucks.
Like I said before, start small. Don’t get me wrong with this one. I love a good Starbucks, but there are so many small coffee and/or tea spots in Wilmington. You may think it’s only one cup of coffee, but those cups add up! Next time you’re craving a caffeine fix, google your closest small coffee shop. When all else fails, check social media. (See tip #2.) Grab a cup of joe and work on that homework you’ve been avoiding. *Local tip: SUNdays, Luna Caffe, Tama Tea, and Bespoke Coffee are all great options.
4. Get out and explore!
Sometimes you just have to get out there. Social media is a great way to find out what’s out there, but you won’t know until you go out and try it. Wilmington has so much to offer, and small, family-run businesses do very well here, which speaks to the loyalty of us Wilmingtonians. On your next free day, I challenge you to find one new local spot that you haven’t yet tried. Maybe it’s ice cream at Boombalatti’s or finding a local surf shop. Whatever you choose, know you are supporting your community.
The moral of the story is this: Wilmington has heaps of excellent shops and restaurants, and they need our support. Get connected, both online and offline. It’s worth it. What are some of your favorite ways to stay local?
– Morgan Garrett