A Grand Opening celebration for the new Lowcountry Produce Market & Cafe took place this past Wednesday at their new location on Carteret Street, and where people once stood in line to pay their business license fees, happy foodies now stand in line to buy local produce, handmade, and hand-packed goods.. The former Beaufort City Hall has new life and downtown residents once again have a small market within walking distance.
Lowcountry Produce, a local specialty food company that’s been spotlighted by Oprah Winfrey and The New York Times, celebrated its grand opening today after a weeklong “soft opening” to work out the kinks.
“This is a magnificent day for us all – the owners of Lowcountry Produce, City Council and the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission, and especially the people who live and shop downtown,” said Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling.
The 1917 structure, beside the county library in the heart of Beaufort’s historic downtown, served as Beaufort City Hall until 2010 when staff moved to the new facility at the intersection of Ribaut Road and Boundary Street.
“We are absolutely thrilled to see Lowcountry Produce up and running in this building,” said Jon Verity, chairman of the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission. “Adapting the former City Hall to their use, and restoring the building to its early glory, is a huge win for Beaufort. Plus, the food inside is amazing,” he said.
Originally built as a post office, the structure has undergone multiple renovations in the past 90 years.
Lowcountry Produce, led by Noel Garrett, his brother Dwight Garrett and Seabury Thorp, is a purveyor of specialty food products distributed to over 1,500 stores across the country. The Garrett’s parents, Martha and Dwight Garrett, founded the company and still serve as its main cheerleaders, the Garrett brothers said.
All products are handmade and hand-packed using only all-natural ingredients. The products are made locally at the farmstand in Lobeco. The farmstand is the original “company store” where customers can find local fruits and vegetables as well as a great hamburger at the grill. That facility will remain open.
In six years, Lowcountry Produce has been mentioned by 0 Magazine for inclusion in Oprah Winfrey’s Christmas 2010 “0-List,” and has been featured in an article in The New York Times. Country Living Magazine named them one of the “Best American Pickle Brands” in July 2010.
Their products have been talked about on “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show, and last summer the company earned the Civitas Award for Excellence in Free Enterprise from the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The company, Redevelopment Commission and City leaders negotiated a lease for a combined 10-year period in increments of an initial three-year term with renewals available for three and four years. The company was responsible for making – and paying for — all improvements to the structure.
For more information about Lowcountry Produce, visit www.lowcountryproduce.com.