Today’s Coligny is known far and wide as Hilton Head’s Downtown, offering a dazzling array of the best shops, the best dining and the best entertainment on Hilton Head Island. Locals and visitors alike have flocked here for generations looking for live music, fresh seafood, and endless boutique shopping.
And while Coligny has become Hilton Head Island’s best destination for shopping, dining and entertainment, one of its most surprising treasures is its rich history. The story of Coligny, to put it mildly, is the story of Hilton Head Island, and it all starts with the vision of one man, Norris Richardson, and the Richardson family who has carried on his legacy.
Norris Richardson started his career quite literally at the bottom – sweeping floors in a grocery store as a young man. Through tireless drive and determination, he built an empire, rising first in the ranks into management then staking out on his own as an entrepreneur. Before long, he and his beloved wife, Lois, owned and operated a chain of five grocery stores in Thomasville, Georgia.
But it was his time away from his burgeoning empire that would lead to his greatest achievement. After frequent vacations to Hilton Head Island with his wife and three children, Mary Katherine, JR and Collins, Norris saw opportunity among the wild dunes and dirt roads of a young Hilton Head Island.
So it was in 1956, before Charles Fraser would build his fortune at Sea Pines, before Hilton Head Island would gain fame for its beaches, golf and resorts, Norris and his family set up a shingle on the island’s South End. There was no bridge at that time, so Richardson had all the materials to build his first venture, Forest Beach Market, shipped in by barge. It was the first grocery store on Hilton Head Island, and its first customer was Charles Fraser.
More firsts followed. As Forest Beach Market expanded into Coligny Plaza, it included Hilton Head Island’s first bakery, hair salon, clothing store, laundromat, dry cleaners, car wash, ice cream parlor, south end post office, bike rental, fast food (a short-order restaurant called The Fin & Feather), and even the first Hilton Head Island real estate office. Coligny Plaza even had the island’s first pharmacy, completed, and stocked before the island’s first pharmacist had been hired. Fortunately, Joe Capin, who would become the island’s first pharmacist, was visiting the area and noticed the “pharmacist wanted” sign in the shop’s window.
Monday :10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday :10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday :10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday :10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday :10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday :10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday :10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
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