As family and friends gather for barbecues and cookouts, one local business is making that a little easier and a lot more fun.
Southern Smoke Market in downtown Harlem held its ribbon-cutting with the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday after its third week in business, and the “barbecue boutique” is already drawing crowds from Columbia County, Dearing and Thomson to its location on North Louisville Street.
The shop carries rubs, barbecue sauces, brines, pellets and cooking utensils and accessories to make outdoor cooking easier. The store also has home decor as well as soaps and fragrances.
“We have a little bit of everything,” said co-owner Ginger Logue, of Grovetown.
More:Guide to all things barbecue
Logue and co-owner Stephanie Lewis, of Harlem, wanted to bring something unique to Harlem, especially with the tremendous growth the city has seen in recent years. Logue’s brother competes in barbecue competitions in Florida and suggested a store that carries barbecue items.
“Every town needs something for everyone,” Logue said. “Barbecue brings people together naturally. When people are in the store, they talk about barbecue. Even though they’re from every walk of life, when they get together in here they can talk barbecue.”
Although she lives in Grovetown, Logue has been an elementary school teacher and part of the Harlem community for 21 years. Lewis has been a lifelong resident of Harlem and once owned a boutique downtown before selling it to spend more time with family.
The smoke market is one of the many businesses that has moved into downtown recently as the city’s population has nearly doubled over the last 20 years. The city boasts an ice cream shop, coffee house, salon and even a scuba diving supply shop.
“Our secret is getting out. This is a good place to be,” Mayor Pro Tem John Thigpen said at Thursday’s ribbon cutting.
The shop can also make custom laser-engraved items, embroidered gifts, and made-to-order gift baskets with various items throughout the store.