SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Small businesses continue to recover from the economic hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new store in downtown Savannah is showcasing local merchants to help them do just that.
Tonya Rintye and her husband already own another small business in Savannah and wanted to give artisans a platform to grow theirs. Locally Made Savannah features the work of more than 150 merchants in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.
“Small businesses are the ones that support our community,” co-owner Tonya Rintye said. “They are the ones who give to your little league teams, they’re the ones who give baskets to your charity auctions. It’s just so important to support your neighbors and your community. This store helps do that and helps spread the word for these businesses who might not have been able to get on a bigger platform.”
Tonya and her husband got the idea back in February 2020 while walking on Broughton Street, one of the city’s busiest shopping areas.
“Ironically, we actually overheard a gentleman talk to his wife and say ‘are there no locally-owned stores or items down here because all we see are chain stores,'” Tonya said. “My husband and I looked at each other and were like ‘oh my gosh, well there’s our sign right there.’”
The Rintyes had to put their idea on hold due to the pandemic, but officially opened the doors to Locally Made Savannah on St. Patrick’s Day. Since opening, Tonya said new merchants and customers are coming in every week.
Tonya hopes to offer tourists and locals an oasis of locally-made treasures, including a ’50s-inspired soda and milkshake bar. The store’s retro vibe is intended to remind people of a time before the commercial boom of chain stores and online shopping.
“People come in here and they’re so thankful that they can take literally a piece of Savannah home with them,” Tonya said. “We are showing what Savannah’s made of, that’s kind of our motto.”
You can find Locally Made Savannah at 223 W. Broughton St., just two blocks behind City Market off of Jefferson Street.