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0215-Business-CrystalBallWelcome to 2015 and year five of the recovery from the Great Recession! It is that time of year when the pundits — those with the education and skills to forecast as well as those who just take it upon themselves to profess — offer up their versions of what will happen in this year. One of the beautiful things about economics, and forecasting in general, is that rarely does anyone listen or keep score. So here is my outlook for 2015 and what it might mean for us living on Hilton Head Island.

0215-Dining-PortPig1After spending most of her professional life working for local restaurants, Ivy Burdick has branched out and opened a place of her own. The popular waitress, bartender and manager is now the proud owner of Porter & Pig Hilton Head, a new gastropub located in The Village at Wexford.

0215-Business-StLukesOn Jan. 11, Hilton Head Island’s St. Luke’s Episcopal Church officially marked 50 years with a special celebration service and anniversary event.

Although the Pope Avenue church has officially marked 50 years of services, its local heritage is closer to 250 years old. St. Luke’s is a name that has been associated with faith in the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton areas since the 1700s. Back then, the Church of England officially managed church life in South Carolina, and our present-day counties were known as parishes. In the year 1767, St. Luke’s became its own parish name, carved out of St. Helena Parish. It covered what is now southern Beaufort County.  

January is a perfect time to reflect on the past year and use that knowledge to plan for the coming year.  
And what a year 2014 was. Interest rates remained at historic lows, equity markets continue their march upward, inflation is non-existent and consumers have returned to their traditional role in economic activity.

We make financial adjustments in our life all the time, at all ages. And it’s a good thing we do because we have many years of practice ahead of us to make decisions, big and small, now that Americans are living longer than ever: 76.2 years for males and 81 years for females.

The holidays are over, 2014 is in our life’s memory bank, our eyes are open wide to the opportunities that lay ahead this year, and we can sleep easily at night knowing that all is good.

bobmastelerHow did a world-class jazz venue come to exist on Hilton Head Island?

It’s a fair question, until you actually get to spend five minutes with The Jazz Corner owner and founder Bob Masteller.

The love of sharing jazz as a fine art form has always been in Bob Masteller’s blood. He just got sidetracked with being a Hilton Head Island pioneer for a while.

Masteller and his wife Lois came to Hilton Head in 1973, as Bob was hired to serve as vice president under Charles Fraser in his Sea Pines Development Corporation. Masteller spent years working with Fraser to carve a resort destination out of a wildlife-fi lled forest on the water. So the visionary part of his resume was already full before he ever dreamed of launching a jazz club here.

South of the Mason- Dixon line, we aren’t known for our wines and there is a very good reason for that. We have a strong tradition of whiskeys and corn liquor in our fair South. But we do produce good quality wines from our thick-skinned native grape known as the Muscadine. When most people think of wines they think of California and thinskinned grapes similar to table varieties. No one thinks of the barely cultivated grape South Carolina is known for.

This ugly and perfectly round grape looks more like over-sized buckshot than a wine grape. Growing up here I called them “bullets” for this very reason. That old name has been around for quite some time in these parts, but today, there are wineries in our state producing top quality wines from these long ignored treasures.


The year started slow, gained momentum and is ending slower than expected. Our local market has felt the same wave. We will report on the final number for the year in January.

Today’s buyer should be prepared when shopping in today’s market.

With lower inventory, multiple offers are not uncommon. If you require a mortgage, the first order of business is to start the application and qualification process with a lender before you begin to search for a property.

Local volunteers are the superpowers behind Hilton Head Heroes, a nonprofit that gives families with critically ill children a week’s vacation from hospitals and heartbreak.

It’s no surprise caring about children is central to the lives of Gregg and Lindy Russell. For decades, Gregg has entertained families under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town with his original songs.


Gregg and Lindy Russell are shown with the Tillotson Family earlier this year. The Tillotsons have twin girls, both with Down’s syndrome. Both are being treated for leukemia.