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It’s more than just a zip code

Letter to the Editor: LOCAL Life asked Christian Fyfe to share his thoughts on what it means to be local. Fyfe is co-owner of Palmetto Running Company, a specialty running and active lifestyle boutique located in Bluffton. LOCAL Life welcomes letters to the editor and comments to our website. Write to [email protected].


When my wife Mallory and I moved here in early May 2012, Bluffton was already well on its way to establishing itself as one of the fastest growing municipalities in the state. What was once a quiet and quaint coastal town, filled with as much Southern history as Spanish moss-draped live oaks, has evolved into something more than we could have ever imagined. No longer just a “pass through” to Hilton Head Island, or the home of one of the largest retirement communities in the country, the town of Bluffton has become an incubator for blossoming local businesses.

With larger and inspiring neighboring cities like Charleston and Savannah to our not-so-distant north and south, and the comfortable and serene slow-country lifestyle our safe small town emits, Bluffton has continued to attract new like-minded and motivated residents all searching for a similar goal; a chance to succeed in their career. Whether you’re a recent college graduate, a young professional moving from an overcrowded city, a couple with plans of starting a family, or a semi-retired adult looking for a fresh start, Bluffton offers a place for entrepreneurs to thrive. But it’s not just our location that allows local businesses to succeed, it’s a shared common thread — compassion for our community.

As the co-owner of Palmetto Running Company, and lucky enough run my business alongside my father Rob and sister Keri, I have been fortunate to experience this “phenomenon” firsthand. Now in business for over nine years, I credit much of our success in the Lowcountry to running our stores with open hands. In life, we can choose to be closedhanded or openhanded. It’s very easy to fall into the tendency of looking at our lives, aspirations, accomplishments, and possessions and put them in a closed hand. This is my career, this is my money, and this is my stuff. But closed hands cannot receive. It is with that mindset and mentality that we, as a local business, spread compassion for our own community. Whether through our annual Student Athlete Scholarship, our school-based info sessions, our PRC Eco-Initiative — a commitment to sustainable business practices, products, and a portion of all store sales donated to the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, or the half of a million dollars we have raised for local charities through our race events, Palmetto Running Company has thrived because of our dedication and commitment to taking care of our local community and environment.

Being a local business is more than just being based locally. It’s more than just a zip code. It’s more than just being owned and run by a family of local residents. It’s about opening your hands to our local community. A community that supports small business. A community that understands money spent in Bluffton stays in Bluffton. A community that shares compassion for other locals and wants to see each other succeed in everything we do. That’s what makes a business a local business.