13 Oct 2023
Local is all the rage right now, and for good reason, as I mentioned in the recent blog about fresh produce at nearby Boone Hall Farm.
And if you’re looking for other things like artisanal products, gifts and souvenirs - well, there’s a whole slew of reasons why local is the best way to shop. You’re helping to support small businesses, folks who have talents to share and families to support. They put their heart into their products, and it shows.
Plus - and this is a big reason - local products are reflection of the unique qualities of a particular place on the planet.
When you are travelling, you want to bring back something representative of where you’ve been, something unique and cool that brings back memories of your trip. It brings a little of that vacation vibe home with you.
While visiting here on the Isle of Palms, you’ve got some great options - including a really neat rather new one that is quite close by.
Of course, farmers markets are a great place to find local food and artisanal products. You have three main options, which are:
Isle of Palms Farmers Market
The third Thursday of the month, 4:00 – 7:00, from June through October. Located at the Rec Center in the middle of the island. Read more about it here.
Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
Each Tuesday afternoon from 4:00 – 7:00, from April through September, plus a holiday market in December. More here.
Charleston Farmers Market
Saturday mornings from 8:00am-2:00pm, March through November, with special holiday markets in December. Check it out.
Another good option is the historic City Market downtown, on Market Street between Meeting and East Bay. It’s a good place to find souvenirs. Parts of the market is enclosed and air conditioned, while most of it is covered but open-air.
Those are nice, but…
The downside to farmers markets is that they are seasonal, weather-dependent, and limited to certain days of the week/month. The last one for 2023 on the IOP is coming up shortly, and the Mount Pleasant regular market season is already over for the year.
And while the City Market is a popular outing, it involves a trip all the way downtown. Plus it can get quite hot in the summer.
Thankfully, there’s a new kid on the block. And it’s just a short drive from the Isle of Palms...
A Great New Option: Sweetgrass Mercantile!
(photo credit of truck: Sweetgrass Mercantile Facebook page)
Head over the IOP Connector, turn right on Highway 17. Go a little ways north till you see 3008 N. Highway 17, on your left.
You’ve found Sweetgrass Mercantile.
It’s a new vendor marketplace and artisan mall filled with loads of locally made goods. Actually, it’s much more than that, all wrapped into one cool compound.
It’s indoors, air conditioned, and open six days a week, year-round.
What is a Mercantile?
Here’s how the people behind it, describe it: “From the earliest days of commerce, merchants gathered together to form places that would act as a nexus for trade and community. The mercantile was born. Serving New Mount Pleasant, Sweetgrass Mercantile offers the community a place to gather, eat, avail themselves of services, and browse the wares of more than 30 local vendors.”
It’s comprised of…
Royall Sweetgrass ACE Hardware
(brought to you by the same family who created the iconic Royall Hardware on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant). It’s a hardware store in the grand old tradition, where you can find an eclectic mix of useful things like plumbing parts or lightbulbs, hard to find metal polishes, fun toys for the kids, rope by the foot, paint, pet food, you name it. Get keys duplicated, or your tough DIY questions answered by the super knowledgeable and friendly staff;
An extensive garden center with a vast variety of annuals, perennials and edible plants;
A convenient branch of the U.S. Post Office;
Linda Page’s Estates & Auctions
Linda is a Lowcountry legend, auctioneer extraordinaire, former mayor of Mount Pleasant, whose family created the famous Page’s Thieves Market and Page’s Okra Grill (also on Coleman);
Not Just Franks Café
With great made-to-order breakfasts or lunches, like pimento cheese grits topped with an egg, the Carolina Burger, Haddrell’s Melt, brats and dogs, pulled pork BBQ, and ice cream.
And last but not least - the vendor marketplace!
Some vendor highlights…
With 30 different vendors, you’ll find quite the array of merch to peruse. Eclectic is a good word to describe it. You’ll find vintage things mixed in with coastal chic. Things to wear, or the perfect gift to bring home to your petsitter.
It’s quite fun to stroll through the different sections, the different styles, read their personal stories and business credos, and get inspired. So many of the items exemplify the beauty and fun of Lowcountry living.
A couple highlights that caught my eye (see photos)…
Kimi Cole’s Half-Pint Designs - Kimi hand paints scenes of the Lowcountry, and prints them on fabric, from pillow to tea towels. (The tea towel with her painting of Charleston’s Rainbow Row, at just $12, is a terrific hostess gift or memento from the Holy City).
Charleston Apparel designs T-shirts with beautiful graphics of palmetto trees, coastal maps, Labrador retrievers, loggerhead and flounder, with names of area towns.
Charleston Marsh Designs is a faith-based company that makes luscious organic soy candles named after Lowcountry locales. They have a custom scent for each of the area islands including Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Danial Island and Kiawah. Their candles are all natural, free of all phthalates and toxins, and are poured in small batches, with love.
Aflluent Dogs’ owner Ellen has created a line of very luxe and colorful dog collars, fit for the finest canine. She is a huge dog lover who is a big supporter of area rescues and shares tips and nifty info on her “dog blog.”
Funky things like a giant palmetto frond bowl centerpiece made out of driftwood.
To find out more…
You can read more about Sweetgrass Mercantile on their website. Or, check out their Facebook page, which they update regularly with specials and new products. Case in point: they just got in a new shipment of high quality Charleston Rice Steamers, a three-piece cooker & steamer set. Because if you’ve eaten much Lowcountry cooking, you know we love our rice. And we love it cooked perfectly.
But best thing to do is to just go by in person and check it out. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger