small businesses help give back to the community

Wilmington, a beautiful coastal town that receives a big portion of its annual revenue from tourism. During the hot summer months, the city is full of vacationers from all over the country hoping to soak up the sun in this southern beach town. It’s safe to say that tourism is a big piece in Wilmington’s economy. 


Picture of Wrightsville Beach from Cape Fear Visitors Guide

Some of the largest employers in the town are the New Hanover Health Network, New Hanover County Schools and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Wilmington is a city that balances both big business and a laid-back lifestyle, including many locally owned businesses.

In a coastal city with a large amount of tourism, small businesses often thrive during the summer months. Still, for many of Wilmington’s local businesses it is important to give back to their community year-round. 

Island Passage, a local clothing boutique located in Lumina Station, Downtown and on Bald Head Island, prides themselves on giving back to local organizations whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

Image result for island passage lumina station

Island Passage located off Eastwood Road in Lumina Station

Not only do they participate in small business Saturday during the holiday shopping season, they also donate to local charities all year round. For example, during the month of December Island Passage is collecting food items for Nourish NC, a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to “Provide healthy food to hungry children, empowering them to succeed in the classroom and in their community.”

Island Passage has dedicated the month of December to collecting dry-food items for Nourish NC. The boutique invite its customers to kindly bring in four items for Nourish NC, and in return receive 15% of a clothing item. 

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Picture from Island Passage of food collected for Nourish NC

The idea is for local to support local, since small businesses are an important part of every community, including ours. Small locally owned business are not only vital for the economy of the country but for many individuals as well.

In these small businesses, employees usually work closely with consumers and learn firsthand about their needs and wants. Personal connections are often established and people find their favorite local spots to shop at. Residents of the community often pride themselves on supporting local businesses. 


In the end, everything comes together full circle. Local business such as Island Passage who donate to local charities such as Nourish NC, and also give local and loyal customers a discount for their contribution. It’s a win win for everyone! 

If you want to learn more about local charities in Wilmington please visit, and search for Wilmington, NC.


– Olivia Nilsson

5 thoughts on “small businesses help give back to the community

  1. I agree, it’s awesome to see things come back in full circle. I love Island Passages- the clothing and their choice to give back! Great research and article.

  2. Like many students that attend UNCW, I came to the school fairly unfamiliar with the area/local businesses. It is definitely a change from where the part of North Carolina I used to call home. Before coming here, many people told me that Wilmington is a very friendly and outgoing town, and I have noticed how that definitely resonates within their business community. I am heavily involved with the assistance dog training program here, and during puppy socialization outings, I have come across many local businesses that support paws4people in similar ways to Island Passage’s philanthropy. Many of the businesses that we visit with the dogs are known as “Official Training Venues” — they regularly donate as well offer promotional items that benefit the program during their business hours. Offering “giveback” opportunities is a great method of branding for these businesses, and is very effective (for me, at least) in attracting new customers/clients.

  3. I come from a small town where it is very evident that the idea for local to support local, is noticed easily. Being in Wilmington for almost two years now, I have yet to notice the significance of small businesses here, until reading this article. I think it is cool when small business owners want to give back to the community in every way possible. Not only does it create great IMC for them, it also gives back for a greater cause! — Awesome article. Now that I know about Island Passage I will have to donate!

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