Local shop becomes safe haven during pandemic

Dorchester County News

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A family-owned market selling a wide variety of items has become a staple and a local hotspot for the people in the small town of Dorchester.

Located off Highway 78, Ray O Sunshine Food and Garden is now a community hub for all things fresh and local.

“The town of Dorchester doesn’t have a significant food source,” said co-owner of the shop, Rachel Dubois. “Local supermarkets are 25 minutes each way so we were able to have a fresh food outlet.”

When the pandemic hit in March, Ray O Sunshine became just that, a ray of sunshine during dark times.

“We do have a lot of older residents out here and we were kind of just a safe haven so they didn’t have to go to that big box store,” said Dubois.

On Small Business Saturday, Dubois reflects on how thankful she is for the customers that support her shop so she cn support other local businesses.

“Half of our business is definitely that small little guy. So, if you buy from me, I’m buying from more of those little guys and keeping them afloat,” she said.

Earlier in the year, Ray O Sunshine Food and Garden received a $1,000 COVID-19 small business grant from Viasat, a satellite internet service provider. It was a nationwide program to assist small businesses affected by the pandemic. The Dorchester County shop was one of 10 small businesses to receive a grant.

Dubois says the grant helped her to continue to provide essential items during the tough times.

“I feel almost like the community hub out here. They come in and they get their coffee and they tell stories and it’s just…It’s really special out here,” she said.

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