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Charleston Market
Charleston, S.C. Market - Mrs. Virginia Smalls

If you have never been to Charleston, South Carolina you must make it your next vacation destination. It is a culinary city full of history, culture, and amazing architecture.  It is the model of the romantic South.

This city also happens to be where much of the history of Bone Suckin’ Sauce resides.  My mom came up with the name Bone Suckin' Sauce on the way to Charleston to find me an apartment for my sophomore year at college.  As a student at The College of Charleston, I would drop off jars of Bone Suckin' Sauce for local stores to sample.  I would then tell them that I would be back to get an order the following week.  It was during this time that I met Mrs. Virginia Smalls, a Gullah woman, selling her wears at the Charleston Market. 

Charleston Baskets

Mrs. Smalls became our first out-of-state customer. She was excited when she saw the Bone Suckin' Sauce and immediately wanted to sell it at the market. She has been granted the only exclusive in the world: she is the only person allowed to sell Bone Suckin’ Sauce in the Charleston Market. She is a prominent member of our history and a good friend. You can still visit her in the market in Charleston, SC. Just find the Bone Suckin’ Sauce and you will find Mrs. Smalls. We would have a picture of her but her religion won't allow it. You'll have to go see her for yourself!

Mrs. Smalls also gave us the idea to create a “Hot” version of the barbecue sauce. One day I noticed something really funny. Although we had only developed one style of Bone Suckin’ Sauce, the original, Virginia was selling 2 varieties of Bone Suckin’ Sauce, Hot and Original. She found that she could sell 2 jars to the same customer if one was regular and one was “hot.” We came out with Hot Bone Suckin’ Sauce six months later.

In her many years of selling she had figured out how to read the customer and shared her insights with us. If a person had their hands in their pockets they were not going to buy. If they had their hands out of their pockets handling products they were a potential buyer. At the time my dad had his hands in his pockets and my mom was wide open and ready to shop.

Old City Market is located on Market Street between Meeting Street and East Bay Street. It is a high traffic tourist destination near the waterfront. Teaming with people, the Market is home to more than 100 vendors that sell everything from local foods to souvenirs. Virginia Smalls is a market vendor and one of the best sales people I have ever seen. I used to go to the market and just watch her interact with customers. She was a true sales person because her livelihood depended on the sale. During one visit I took my parents to meet Mrs. Smalls; after all she was our only out-of-state customer at the time.

The Charleston Heritage Federation stated it most simply and on target when it said, “Charleston, is a place where history and heritage are still very much a part of everyday life. Inside a city that seems untouched by the ravages of time and nature is a 300-year-old culture of Europeans and Africans that permeates the city's architecture, the visual arts, and its customs. For the past three centuries Charleston has survived wars, fires, earthquakes and hurricanes - and despite it all, retained both her beauty and her dignity.  Today, Charleston stands as a model of historic preservation, restoration and artistic expression.”

Sociology/History Lession of the Day
Gullah is a culture, language, and accent derived from Africa and the Carribean islands which originated in some early colonies (S.C.) where Africans were brought to the new world through the middle passage. Gullah was created to fulfill the need for salves to adapt to the English language and culture, but still keep their traditions and custom of their homeland. Thus a Gullah dialect and accent were created and they are still spoken today. Gullah is a language that is uniquely and solely spoken in the peninsula of Charleston South Carolina and the surrounding islands and districts.

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