By month's end, two grocery stores plan to open in downtown Beaufort, each with its own twist on providing local products.
Both Lowcountry Produce and Herban Marketplace had planned earlier openings, but both cited a variety of obstacles that included delayed delivery of refrigeration units.
"We're thrilled," said co-owner Noel Garrett. "We're just so ready to get in there. It's been an unbelievable experience, but it's also an unbelievable opportunity. I feel like we're waiting on the birth of a child and we've been put on bed rest."
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The Lobeco-based company focuses on local foods and dishes, and the store will have fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, cheese and prepared foods that include signature Lowcountry Produce items -- soups, sauces, relishes, jellies, etc. -- sold across the nation, Garrett said.
"The buzz is this is something Beaufort has wanted for so long, a grocer in the downtown, in the city hall," he said. "A place like in larger cities where you can go in and find the specialty products, it's just something that's not here."
Lynne and store manager Lois Smith are focusing on a niche they believe is overlooked.
"We were all carpooling to Charleston every two weeks to go to Earth Fare to buy groceries, and we just thought this is too much," Lynne said. "We need the opportunity to have an organic grocery store in Beaufort. We just thought it would be much better to have a local, mini-mini Whole Foods here and offer the community an option."
From produce, meat and bread to shampoo and household cleaners, the whole store will be organic, Smith said. Gluten-free and other allergen-free foods also will be available.
"A lot of the perception with organic is it's complicated, it's expensive, and it's not," Lynne said. "Our focus is to open an opportunity up for people to explore, see if it's something for them."
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Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.