The words “economic development” evoke a myriad of responses. Economic development is often confused with “development” or “real estate development” and for many, it is synonymous with business recruitment. But literally, “economic development” means the development of an economy.

When I learned that the theme of this month’s Hilton Head Monthly is “Luxury,” I decided to take a look at the definition of the word. Webster’s Dictionary says luxury is a noun and means: “A condition or situation of great comfort, ease and wealth; something that is expensive and not necessary; something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually or always available.” My reaction was, “Yep, not much of a surprise there.”

From an economic, or business, point of view, how do we indulge in luxuries here on Hilton Head Island? Let’s start with the premise that by living in such a beautiful place, we are blessed daily with the luxury of our environment. We have the luxury of walking our beaches, enjoying our mild climate, breathing in the freshness and scents around us, and having a community that is focused on protecting these gifts. Some of life’s greatest luxuries may not easily fit Webster’s definition.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As part of Monthly’s yearlong 30th anniversary celebration, we are highlighting 30 years of different industries in each issue. This month, we feature the financial experts and institutions that helped shape Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and the surrounding Lowcountry.

Hilton Head, Bluffton have always been good places to do business

Hilton Head Monthly has undergone many changes over the past 30 years. What started as a 16-page, black-and-white newspaper in 1985 has grown into the 207-page, glossy magazine you hold in your hands today. The publication’s ownership, format and name changed several times over the past three decades, but its mission to serve readers has not.

The winner of the business pitch competition will receive funding and professional support to help launch their startup or expansion.

The Hilton Head Island Economic Development Corporation is looking for the next big idea — and has created a business pitch competition to give entrepreneurs a chance to compete for the opportunity to bring their business ideas to life on Hilton Head Island.

The “Bring Your Business Idea to Life” competition is being launched during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 16– 22. Beginning on Nov. 16, local entrepreneurs and others will be able to submit their new business or business expansion idea to the HHIEDC. Six finalists will compete in the final business pitch competition, which will be held on Hilton Head Island on Feb. 23. 

Summer is usually a volatile time for the stock market. After all, summer is vacation time and Wall Street high rollers love to head for the beach. Vacationing portfolio managers lead to significantly reduced trading volume, and thus greater opportunity for stock price swings as floor specialists look to match buyers and sellers. One of my favorite indexes to watch is the CBOEVolatility Index (VIX).

Boasting a beautiful waterfront deck, a menu packed with flavorful Lowcountry favorites, regular live entertainment and a lively island atmosphere, the Salty Dog Cafe is one of Hilton Head Island's most popular dining spots. It's not just the location, menu and great atmosphere that keep patrons coming back again and again — the restaurant's colorful T-shirts have proved immensely popular throughout the years.

The T-shirts started out as a uniform of sorts for Salty Dog staff members, but it wasn't long before customers began asking where they could purchase their own Salty Dog shirts. In response to the high demand, the owners of the Salty Dog Cafe opened the Salty Dog T-Shirt Factory, where they lovingly silkscreen the shirts for eager customers.


The past 60 years have seen, to put it mildly, incredible change on Hilton Head Island. And Coligny has been there through all of it. Starting as a single corner market, Forest Beach Market, Coligny’s story begins on an island with just a single-lane dirt road and no bridge. Just six short decades later and that little market has kept pace with the island’s growth to serve as downtown to a bustling resort paradise.

CONFEDERATE FLAGNot many of our readers know Elihu Spencer, so in view of the subject of this article, I need to provide a little personal background.

The Spencer family hails from the South. The first Elihu Spencer (one of many with that name) graduated from Yale in 1746 with a degree in divinity. He was sent to the “New York frontier” (and it really was) to be a missionary to the Six Nations of the Iroquois.  Later, he served as a Presbyterian pastor to churches in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Jamaica Queens, New York, where he became active in the “patriot cause.” In 1764, the Presbyterian Synod of New York sent him to the Carolinas to organize Protestant congregations in support of the growing movement for independence from England.

Curtis Shubert admittedly thought he knew it all about Hilton Head Island. He has been a resident for nearly three decades and makes his living sharing that knowledge as manager of Yellow Cab Tours on the island. 

But he was pleasantly surprised to find out he was wrong.

As my regular readers know, I have often written about access to credit, the consequences of the federal Dodd-Frank Act, the impact of Federal Reserve policy on housing demand, how demographics affect local housing demand, and how these factors influence our lives in southern Beaufort County. I hope to provide some insight into the long-term prospects of what for many of us is our largest single asset — our homes.