Buy Local: 4 Ways to Support ILM


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.

Social media GIF

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

18 thoughts on “Buy Local: 4 Ways to Support ILM

  1. I think this was a really smart article to write especially with the holidays coming in the next couple of months! I have definitely seen a rise in the “shopping local” trend with emphasis on “small business Saturdays” every once in a while. Great job at keeping up with current events and movements.

  2. I loved this article, as I am a big believer in small, local businesses! I especially liked the tip about using social media to find businesses that I can support because often I want to support local companies, but don’t know about enough of them! I am excited to use the tips in this blog post and go shop local in Wilmington… especially at a cute coffee shop!

  3. I think this was a very well-thought out article. I have especially seen a rise in the amount of “shop local” campaigns so I think this post and the information it held was very current and very much needed. Great job!

  4. Great article! I’m a big believer in shopping local myself especially when it comes to buying food. For some reason a lot of the horror stories you hear come from corporate businesses who just look at you as a number. In my experience local restraraunts and farmers always go above and beyond for your business and you know your money is going towards the local economy around us.

  5. I personally loved the article. One of the greatest things about Wilmington is the amount of small businesses in the area and the amount of people that support them. In fact I have read a few articles that lists Wilmington as one of the top ten cities in the country to start a small business. The culture and demographic in Wilmington is also perfect to be able to support the local businesses here even if prices are slightly higher than other places.

    A personal example for me was when I first heard of the Blind Elephant. It’s a prohibition themed bar downtown right beside Front Street brewery. While the drink prices are high all of their bartenders make great drinks and each has their own personal touch so that no one drink is the same amount bartenders. I make sure that in the rare event I do go downtown to party I try and stop by for at least one drink before we move to someplace a little cheaper on the wallet. The only reason I found that bar was through a Facebook ad and I have tried my best to spread word about it through word of mouth so I guess I can finally say I’m a little bit of a Wilmingtonian myself.

    -Sukhdev Khera

  6. This is a very well thought out article and very inspiring. Not many people seem to be going to these “Ma and Pa” shops in the last couple years. I think local citizens should be creating hype about them and recognizing them to keep small local shops in business. Shopping local will just build up the community and culture around us.

  7. This article is absolutely fantastic!! I loved the part about “skipping the starbucks”, considering I try my very hardest to do this. My favorite coffee shop in Wilmington is Lucky Joes, and they have two locations. It definitely has the “mom and pop” vibe, and everyone is always so friendly. Plus, I always enjoy my coffee more knowing I supported local. I definitely think that promoting others to shop and support local ILM vendors will help others realize how important it truly is.

    – Haley Cissel

  8. I enjoyed this article very much. Shopping local will definitely help our community. I will definitely be checking out Wilmington’s Instagram account to find other local businesses that I have not yet heard of.

  9. I personally try to support local whenever I can. I love shopping local because a lot of what I’m buying is unique and thus, thousands of people do not have the same product as me. For example, there’s a Wilmington-based company called Mushpa and Mensa who sell their products out of a truck. I have a shirt from them that says “NC State of Mind” that is designed with Wilmington in mind. It is one of my favorite shirts and everyone always asks me where I bought it from. It’s a great feeling to know that the products I’m buying were made around town, rather than in a different country.

  10. Great article, and very well put together! I have always tried my best to be a “local shopping” advocate. I have a few friends who have started businesses here in Wilmington and am constantly trying to encourage others to help them out! I really like how you incorporated ways for “newbies” to get more involved and track down a local spot of their liking! We’ve got a great town here, and it will continue to prosper if we help our neighbors out!

  11. I think this is a very well thought out article. I believe the issue at hand is very important so I feel like it really catches peoples eyes. As I logged on here to read an article and comment I began to scroll and seen this article and was immediately drawn to it. I think that it is important to shop local because it shows support for the community. Also, I think there is a large amount of small businesses in Wilmington so it would be a good place to get started when trying to buy local.

  12. This article stated some really thought out points. I am from a small town where there are a lot of local businesses so I am a huge fan of continuing to be a supportive customer so the company can stay in business. Coffee from starbucks is most likely going to taste the same as a coffee from a pop up shop but people usually just want to have the big name brand item in their hand. In my opinion, local businesses make the city unique so it is important to keep their business up and running!

  13. I was not aware of this movement in the Wilmington area, but I enjoyed reading about it and want to take part in it! One of my roommates introduced me to Grinder’s Cafe, a local coffee shop about two minutes from campus, and it quickly became my new favorite study spot. Even my friends who attend NC State mention how much they like PCJ and always comment on how cool it is that it was founded in Wilmington. We are lucky to live in a such a cool and diverse city and we should take pride in it! Great article informing us of ways to support the area!

  14. I really enjoyed reading this entire article. I have lived in the Wilmington area my whole life and am always looking for new ways to spend my money locally. I thought the advice suggested was extremely helpful and provided me with a few new ideas. I really liked the point about shopping at local farmers markets. This is something I enjoy doing and have been to the Poplar Grove location. However, thanks to this article I look really forward to going down to the Riverfront farmers market and trying it out! Great informative article overall!

  15. Within the city of Wilmington, there are many local shops that no where else has and therefore when you are looking for a coffee or shopping for clothes, instead of going to your typical Starbucks or American Eagle, get out and explore your surroundings. Take an extra 20 minutes out of your day to walk up the street to find the “really good local coffee shop” or the “little shop that has the cutest clothes”. People tend to not ever leave their comfort zone and they do whatever they are familiar with, although, we need to expand our horizon and try new things. Take advantage of living in such a spectacular city, support the area you live in.

  16. I found it interesting that there is a movement within the Wilmington community that supports buying local products through using social media. Where in the past the promotion of local businesses was through word of mouth, and advertisements through radio, television, or newspapers, it is interesting to read about and take part in this sort of promotion through social media. I will definitely now look into buying locally and skipping Starbucks.

  17. I loved this post. I live in a small town in Delaware and I think everyone finds pride in their own town and why not spend money where you grew up. You are supporting your home in a way and the people around you who you care about. I really liked the part about staying connected on social media and something I could work on. I considered staying local just buying products form local places but staying connected on social media platforms shows a lot of support. Thanks for the post!

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