There’s a reason that Coligny Plaza has the look and feel of a small village — it’s because it started as one.
Before the four-lane bridge to Hilton Head, before Harbour Town or even Sea Pines, a young entrepreneur named Norris Richardson decided that Hilton Head needed a grocery. How did he know? He had vacationed on the Island with his family, and had seen the potential in its rustic charm and sandy streets. He knew it would be a logistical challenge; at that time, everything that had ever arrived on Hilton Head’s shores had traveled by boat.
Richardson set up his Forest Beach Market on the Island’s South End in 1955, and it was apparent right away that his assessment had been correct. The Island was in need of all kinds of services, and his shop (whose very first customer was none other than Charles Fraser) became the nucleus of a hub for services. These included many of Hilton Head firsts: a bakery, laundromat, pharmacy, restaurant, ice cream parlor and more.
Sixty-five years later, Coligny Plaza functions as the Island’s downtown.
Its eclectic mix of shops is an essential part of the Hilton Head experience. Here you can eat fresh oysters by the lagoon at FISH Casual Coastal Seafood, try a killer Crab Cake Benedict at Skillets, pick out a kite from the Coligny Kite and Flag Company, sample South Carolina’s largest selection of ice cream and browse the latest fashions at Island Girl or Fresh Produce. You can also find aromatic teas and spices, fresh coffee and pastries, popsicles and fudge, hot sauce, jerky and souvenirs for anyone unlucky enough to have been left behind! Other pluses include plenty of parking, public restrooms, protection from the sun and rain and the plaza’s prime location just steps from the beach.
Perhaps best of all, Coligny Plaza is still in the Richardson family, which remains deeply committed to the long-term well-being of Hilton Head. And more than 90% of Coligny’s businesses are still local. These fun and funky shops and restaurants are owned by amazing Hilton Head locals who know everyone on the Island.
With live music at every turn, friendly shopkeepers and an organic, downtown atmosphere, Coligny Plaza is as much a place to hang out as it is a place to shop. After 65 years, it stands as a testament to the entrepreneurial dream and the pride of generational ownership, but it’s also just a really fun place to be.
This holiday season, shop local!
The awesome shops at Coligny Plaza are open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Come see us!
Coligny Plaza Shopping Center
1 N. Forest Beach Dr.
Hilton Head Island
By Dani Ray