Next month's issue of Family Circle magazine includes some familiar Lowcountry faces, as Bluffton Oyster Co. owner Larry Toomer and his family will be highlighted in a spread about Fourth of July cookouts.
The article, "All Star Summer," showcases the family's Independence Day celebration, with a menu featuring Lowcountry boil, barbecue and banana pudding, Toomer's wife, Tina, said. After a nearly 10-month wait to see the final version, the Family Circle spread was unveiled Monday at a breakfast hosted by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce in advance of next month's issue.
The Toomers met with Family Circle for the article at Palmetto Bluff in August.
The Chamber of Commerce had pitched the Toomers to the magazine, which was looking for multi-generational, family-owned businesses, chamber communications director Charlie Clark said. The Toomer family -- Larry, Tina and daughters Jessica, Jamie and Jacqueline -- fit the bill, Clark said.
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The Toomers had no idea they had been pitched to Family Circle until Clark contacted them last summer to let them know they had been selected.
"We were overwhelmed and excited by it," Tina Toomer said.
After scouting locations around Bluffton, the magazine chose a setting inside Palmetto Bluff for a photo shoot in August.
"We've never had makeup done like that," Tina Toomer said. "They had a wardrobe person helping choose our outfits. It was kind of like being on a movie set."
Although they could tell family and friends they would be in Family Circle, they weren't allowed to take pictures or post information from the August photo shoot. It wasn't until Monday that they could see the final product. The magazine has a circulation of about 4 million, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.
Clark said the article brings national exposure for Bluffton in a magazine in which a full-page advertisement costs $300,000.
"The Toomers are Bluffton through and through," she said. "It was a great way to spotlight the town. Exposure like this is really phenomenal."
The Toomers said they were honored to be chosen and happy they could give some publicity to Bluffton and the Lowcountry through the national magazine.
"I'm really humbled by it," said Larry Toomer, who in November was elected to a seat on Bluffton Town Council. "It went over my head at first at how big a deal this is, when you consider how much it costs to advertise and how many millions will read it. It's really amazing that many people will be reading about Bluffton. I'm proud to be a part of promoting Bluffton and our area."
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.