Discounts, special promotions are directed at visitors and locals

Bailouts. Stimulus. The stock market. It’s hard to go anywhere these days and not hear about the state of the economy.

The good news is many businesses are listening and acknowledging that consumers are spending differently. When they do spend, it’s deals and discounts that lure them in. For instance, many business are offering deals through M Specials in this magazine (see page 18).

“Residents and visitors alike are looking for value now more than ever,” said Charlie Clark, vice president of communications for the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.

South Carolina and Beaufort County are no strangers to the waves of relocating retirees, the kind that settled Hilton Head Island 50 years ago and have filled in communities from the island to the mainland.

But, according to the Center for Carolina Living, a group that researches and publishes information on retirement trends, the retirement market could still be an untapped resource of economic development for the area.

About 74 million baby boomers are starting to think about retirement, and as much as 27 percent of them — a record high — say they are willing to relocate during retirement, said Patrick Mason, co-founder of the Center for Carolina Living, which produces publications, conducts research and does advocacy work to push the state as the ideal place to retire.

Local businesses offer special needs high school students real-world experience

Bluffton High School students stuff envelopes for Hilton Head Monthly as part of a community work program.Riley Lewis glows and a huge smile spreads across his face when he talks about his work helping stuff, label and seal thousands of envelopes for Hilton Head Monthly. “They said we did good!” the 19-year-old Bluffton High School special needs student said.

Riley is one of approximately 30 students who took part in BHS’ Community Based Instruction program during the 2008-09 school year. The program is intended to give Beaufort County’s special needs high school students real-world experience at local businesses.

English Brown, the school’s job coach, coordinates the BHS program. “The students have a sense of, ‘I’ve really accomplished something,’ when they’ve finished a job,” said Brown. “The other side is getting them out into the community and letting the general community see that these people are productive and valuable.”

Builders praise report that says new homes have positive impact

Study: Growth has ripple effectBUILDERS IN BEAUFORT COUNTY have sometimes found themselves maligned as public boogey monsters, blamed for contributing to over-development and adding too much burden on the area’s fragile roads.

But this summer, builders are arming themselves with a new report that aims to dispel some of the myths of new home construction, and give the county’s home builders data that show the exact impact they have on the area’s economy.

The Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association commissioned a study earlier this year from an economist at the National Association of Home Builders to look at exactly how much impact fees, tax revenue, jobs and ripple-effect impact is created by each new home that’s built in Beaufort County in one year.

Health care facilities are addressing growth in Southern Beaufort County

Health care facilities are addressing growth in Southern Beaufort CountyAfter 11 successful years as a physician in his home state of Indiana, Dr. Stephen Luther gave up a prestigious hospital post to start a primary care practice at the newly opened Beaufort Memorial Bluffton Medical Services.

For the first 12 months, the board-certified doctor worked out of a small office and one exam room. Today, he’s seeing patients in a new medical suite that is part of a major expansion of the Bluffton center.

The 8,000-square-foot addition, which was completed earlier this year, provided enough space for a rehabilitation center for physical, occupational and speech therapy, a large waiting room and a dozen exam rooms. Luther and his staff share their new digs with the staff of Beaufort OB/GYN Associates.

Longtime Porcupine owner has prospered, even in tough times

Avis Rollison: Fashionable FixtureWhen the economy was slumping in 1976, just as now, Avis Rollison and her thenhusband bought the Porcupine Craft Shop, a gift store in Coligny Plaza. Rollison, who had moved from her native New England, worked days at the gift shop and nights at a restaurant. Those early entrepreneurial days were lean ones, even for a resilient 20-something.

“It was so bad,” Rollison recalled. “We sold both our cars and rode bikes to work.”

Back then, the island had relatively little development compared to now, which had created an area of pioneers. “In the ‘70s, you had to make a job,” she said.

The Bluffton Branch Library is hosting a Resume Writing Workshop from noon to 2 p.m.  on Saturday, May 16 in the Large Meeting Room.

Marketing pros share advice for kick-starting your business now.

Making Your MarkSolid, strategic marketing despite a volatile economy not only helps your business make the mark, it helps your business make its mark in the eyes of your consumer. Leading marketing professionals give their two cents on how your business can improve the bottom line in these challenging times.

  • “It’s clearly documented that the companies that continued to spend wisely through the 75-78 recession and the inflation crisis that ensued, and again in 81-82, increased sales substantially over their competitors once the recovery began. Do a couple of things well. Pick out the most important aspects of your plan, get really talented people involved and execute like crazy.”
    —David Anderson, Anderson Communications Group

Multi-faceted Patty Catalano combines business and family with success.

Multi-faceted Patty Catalano combines business and family with success.Vision, coupled with artistic and business foresight are the brilliant facets that have brought so much success to Heritage Fine Jewelry.

Sparkling gems loosely gathered by custom pieces efortlessly attest to the design talents of owner Patty Catalano.

Sea-life inspired jewelry by son Patrick incorporates oceanic treasures — black pearls, golden shells and sea horses arrayed in the showcase window highlight the versatile collection within.

Now in its 20th year at Pineland Station, Catalano’s family business incorporates the talents of her three children, designer Patrick Safe, skilled engraver Doug Safe and gemologist Jennifer Lance.

Communications company Hargray aims to stay connected to customers.

Andrew Rein, left, and Chris McCorkendale are committed to top-notch service for Hargray customers.THE TWO EXECUTIVES IN charge of getting the word out about Hargray’s services say that the homegrown company is boosting its commitment to the community even during the current economic downturn.

Andrew Rein is the vice president/general manager for Hargray residential sales and marketing and Chris McCorkendale is the vice president/general manager for Hargray business sales and marketing.

“The most important thing that we’re focusing on is a quality of service that exceeds their (customers’) expectations, that is reliable and on the cutting edge of technology today,” Rein said. “And if/when they (customers) do have a question or a problem, they want someone to fix it quickly, whether they’re working on the Internet or watching television.