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Jun 26, 2024

Shop Local This Summer

Celebrate Hilton Head Magazine

Photography By

M.Kat
One of the best things about a beach vacation is the unique shopping options that abound in coastal towns. 

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Every item purchased on vacation has a story – and when you gaze at it once you’re back home again, the mind floods with memories of a pleasant journey and the treasures found.

In the following pages, we highlight homegrown shops and boutiques and introduce you to the local people behind the brands.  

Gigis Bluffton

40 Calhoun St, Bluffton, SC 29910

Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, (843) 815-4450, gigisbluffton.com

As the granddaughters of a legendary Beaufort boutique owner, you’d imagine that Anna Pepper Hewett and Emily Burden would have been immersed in the world of fashion from a young age. And you’d be right. Sort of. 

In their youth, the pair of them spent many a day out shopping with their mother, Mary. That’s not to say they didn’t find room for improvement when out enjoying some retail therapy.

“My mom didn’t actually like shopping. And Emily didn’t like spending money,” said Anna Pepper, eliciting laughter from both sisters. “So, we always tried to find a store that had good price points and something for all of us.”

When they couldn’t find one that satisfied all three savvy shoppers, Anna Pepper and Emily decided to create their own. Naming their boutique Gigi’s to honor their grandmother, they opened their doors in 2008. 

“From the beginning— and this has been true for the entire 16 years that we’ve been open— we’ve been a store that we wanted to shop at with our mom,” said Emily. 

That meant finding lines that were not only endlessly fashionable, but ran the gamut from sundresses to fashionable tops.

“The key is wearable, because Bluffton is very understated and effortless,” said Emily. ”We don’t want anything that’s just going to sit in someone’s closet. We want them to get something that can be casual or dressy by accessorizing it in different ways.”

“We like to have higher end lines, but we also want to have a variety of prices,” added Anna Pepper. “We are all on a different budget and we want everyone to feel comfortable – we want to be somewhere approachable for everyone.” 

Striking that balance, according to Anna Pepper and Emily, is just a matter of paying attention. “Listening is key,” said Anna Pepper.

“For us, it’s all about relationships – with our customers, our employees, and with each other,” added Emily. “We want people to feel at home when they come into the store. We don’t want it to feel pretentious or stuck up; we really want it to feel comfortable, like anybody is welcome and belongs here.”

Sixteen years in, having survived the doldrums of the great recession and the gnawing uncertainty of the pandemic, that relationship with the customers has established Gigi’s as a bona fide Bluffton icon. It’s also given them a chance to build on the family tradition Gigi started. As they opened, Emily was pregnant with her first child. In the ensuing years, each sister has been blessed with four children. Now entering their teen years, those children are helping chart the boutique’s future.

“As I was driving here today, one of Anna Pepper’s girls called me with something we needed to carry because it’s sold out everywhere,” said Emily. “My oldest had us bring in an accessory she liked. I didn’t understand it, but those little $10 things have been selling like crazy.”

As the fourth generation prepares to put their own stamp on Bluffton’s stylish sensibilities, Gigi’s Bluffton continues bringing customers in and welcoming them to the family tradition.

The Haven Boutique

6 State Of Mind St, Bluffton, SC 29910

M-Sat 10-6pm, Sun 12-5pm, (843) 707-9198

At the heart of Bluffton’s burgeoning fashion district, The Haven Boutique represents something a little more daring. It’s a sensibility forged by the delicate materials and rich neutral tones of modern Southern flair, infused with a fearless streak of denim, and framed by approachable accessories for casual comfort that dazzles.

“Denim is my main vibe,” said owner Tracy Moss. “It really adds such a great casual element to an outfit that really elevates the entire look.”

Indeed, it’s an entire look that has come to define the fashion of Old Town Bluffton in this new era. She began curating this style half a decade ago, opening The Haven to serve women like her who were seeking that same balance of refined and laid-back fashion. Hitting the five-year mark this August, she has established her store as one of the vanguards of Old Town’s renaissance.

“We’ve grown along with Old Town. It’s become a real destination in itself,” Moss said. 

Joining her in this dream is a staff of seven who share her dedication to The Haven’s approachable elegance. “I’ve built this fantastic team who truly supports me,” Moss said. “None of this happens without them. I’ve started bringing them with me to market, and it’s something I want to start doing more of.”

Binya Gullah Gifts & More

556 Spanish Wells Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

Tues-Sat 11 am – 6 pm, (843) 715-9003,

There’s one word in the name of Lola Campbell’s shop, Binya Gullah Gifts & More, that carries more weight than one might realize. It’s the “more.”

Because, while you can meet Campbell at markets and pop-ups across the Lowcountry, it’s really when you step into her shop that you realize what “more” means. 

“It’s retail, it’s a shop, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the story and the experience you get when you come in,” Campbell said. “I find myself telling customers the story of why the shop is where it is – on land that’s been in my family for at least five generations.”

Through Binya, Campbell is telling her own family’s stories, and the stories of all the families who called this island home long before the first bridge. It’s the real story of Hilton Head Island, told by someone whose family was there from the first chapter. 

It’s also giving others a chance to tell their own stories, with Campbell stocking the shelves at Binya with locally crafted goods from artisans all over the Lowcountry. “We have so many talented people, but they can go to only so many of the markets,” Campbell said. “This is a way to give their items a permanent home, possibly their only permanent home.”

It’s retail. It’s a way for Campbell to tell her family’s story. And it’s a platform for sharing stories of families just like hers. 

That’s why the word “more” might be the most important word in Binya Gullah Gifts & More.

B- Jack’s Deep South Mercantile

16 Church Street, Suite 101, Bluffton, SC 29910, (843) 816-2624

When you venture out into the rivers and creeks that stretch away from Bluffton toward adventure, you’ll find a sportsman’s paradise. Salt water and freshwater fishing, boating, kayaking, golf courses galore, and sporting clays.

Finally, Old Town Bluffton has a place that prepares you for your next venture out into the local natural environment, B-Jack’s Deep South Mercantile.

“I’d been living in Old Town and was seeking a place where guys could get clothing like that,” said owner Michael Gonzalez. What clothing is that, you might ask? “Basically, all the stuff that I wear.”

An avid outdoorsman, Gonzalez named B-Jack’s after his sons Braeden (the sporting clays enthusiast) and Jack (the fisherman). And he filled his store with items that let guys and gals explore the wilds of the south, like Charleston’s Free Fly Apparel, rods and reels from Toadfish, golf wear from Bald Head Blues, items from Onward Reserve as well as extensive offerings from William Murray (founded by Charleston resident and comedy icon Bill Murray).

“We’re also a sip and shop with an extensive collection of bourbon,” added Gonzalez, showing that he understands what the Southern man wants (and many ladies). We want to hit the beach, the golf course or the outdoors in comfort and style. But we never say no to a sip of bourbon first.

Mojo’s Island Records

24 Palmetto Bay Rd Unit D1, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Tues-Sat 12pm-5pm, (843) 533-0725, mojosislandrecords@gmail.com

There was a time when music lovers had a place to hang out, play rare tracks, argue over which bands were legends and which were overrated, and simply bask in the soundtrack to their lives. They were called record shops, and somewhere in our mad rush to digitize, everything we seem to have forgotten how much our love of music was heightened by the experience of discovering it.

It’s something we didn’t even realize we’d lost, until owners Josh & Monica Duvall brought it back for an encore at Mojo’s Island Records. The shop’s name comes from the melding together of Mo + Jo, and like the name, the store perfectly blends  Monica’s sense of style and their mutual love of music.  The classic tactile experience of rifling through stacks of wax, looking for that rare release or album we haven’t heard in years. The joy of talking music with other fans (and, if you’re lucky, with the local musicians who spend the odd Saturday working the counter). Discovering new obsessions and sharing our own favorites. 

It’s an experience that we’ll simply never get from clicking “add to cart,” and you’ll find it here, fueled by Duvall’s massive collection of vinyl.

“I want somebody to come in here and see that we have a lot, where some record stores don’t,” Duvall said. “I choose the records that I would want to see when I used to go into record stores.

Pure Salt Studios

9 Harbourside Ln Suite B, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

M-F: 10am – 7pm, S: 10am – 4pm, S: By Appointment, (843) 715-2825, puresaltstudios.com

Since opening its Shelter Cove Marina location, Pure Salt Studios has given residents of the Lowcountry a chance to breathe in the healing magic that is pure Himalayan Salt, indulging in halotherapy that not only relaxes and soothes, but also provides a welcome respite from our area’s aggressive pollen.

“Halotherapy is great for the mind, body, and soul,” said Lindsay Sales, who took over as owner in April. “We use pharmaceutical grade salt that breaks down inflammation throughout the body, helping everything from asthma and allergies to digestive and skin disorders. Not to mention the incredibly deep relaxation and stress release you can feel after just one session.”

As an instructor, Sales’ yoga classes add to a menu of healing that includes meditation and chromotherapy, among other offerings. They also boast a retail spread that includes clothing, health and wellness products and natural goods, striving to be all American made. 

“At Pure Salt Studios, we are thrilled to offer services that directly impact our community’s overall health and wellness,” Sales said. “We consider it a real honor and privilege to serve both our fellow neighbors and island visitors on their journey toward better health.”

Come enjoy on Monday mornings at 9 a.m. for guided meditation in the salt room, and Wednesday mornings at 9 a.m. for yoga in the Shelter Cove Pavilion

Birdie James

28 Shelter Cove Ln #111, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

M-Sat  10-6pm, Sun  12-5pm, (843) 842-2622, thebirdiejames.com

Well known for its versatile fashions (as showcased extensively in the pages of this very magazine), the style of Birdie James has come to define Lowcountry chic. At its flagship Hilton Head Island location, it launched with lines that reflected the island’s laid-back sophistication, a subdued style that has evolved over the years to encompass some more vibrant pieces. 

It’s a style that owner Michelle Taylor will soon evolve once again, developing two distinct lines as she prepares Birdie James for a great migration to a brand new second location in Bluffton’s Washington Square sometime this month.

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“I’m excited to open out in Bluffton to let people see Birdie James in a different light, so they can see how multi-dimensional we can be,” Taylor said.

Regular shoppers might have noticed a bit more color over the past few months at the flagship location, which has served as a preview of sorts for the new shop’s brighter aesthetic. “Bluffton is going to be a little punchier and more vibrant, while we’re going to be taking Hilton Head back to its more seasonless, neutral-forward roots,” Taylor said. “From there, our goal will be to listen to our clients to know what they want more or less of, and what they dream of.”

HHI Golf Shoppe

890 William Hilton Pkwy Suite 66, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Mon – Sat 9am – 6pm, Sun 10am – 6pm, (843) 715-0427, hhigolfshoppe.com

There’s a long-standing stereotype that everyone who lives on HHI is a scratch golfer. While most of us fail to live up to visitors’ expectations of our low handicaps, our passion for the game more than makes up for our occasional bogey. 

However, one local’s passion for golf has brought a new store to the island. HHI Golf Shoppe owner Kyle Putkonen opened his doors in March 2023, continuing a career that started on the local links before moving into the retail world. He loves everything about golf and is happy to share his knowledge of the game, area courses, and new products with anyone who visits his store.

“We’ve been really well received on the island by residents as well as visitors,” Putkonen said. “Not everyone wants to go all the way to Bluffton to shop, so we’re saving people time and money.”

That’s time saved by having to travel only to the Fresh Market Shoppes where his store is located, and that’s money saved by the Golf Shoppe’s low prices on all the top brands, thanks to Putkonen’s extensive relationships in the golf world. They will match any competitor’s price on clubs, and even offer custom club fittings free of charge.

When you shop at HHI Golf Shoppe you’re saving time, you’re saving money and you’re reinforcing the island’s long-standing reputation as a home to passionate golfers – as well as supporting a locally owned small business.

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