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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Home Grown in Statesboro
Businesses team up to promote shopping locally
Georgia Grown Statesboro Web
Home Grown in Statesboro participants, pictured front row, left to right: Laura Franklin Cooke, Jonny Womack, Kim Kaiser and Phillip Klayman. Back row, left to right: Franklin Dismuke and David Cork. - photo by DeWAYNE GRICE/Staff

A group of Statesboro businesses have teamed up to promote shopping local in a unique way. 

Kim Kaiser, owner of Kim’s Cheese Straws and Laura Franklin Cooke with H.L. Franklin Healthy Honey began working together to promote their local products. They were both certified “Georgia Grown” businesses and began traveling to trade shows together as part of this program.  Through the Georgia Grown program, Kim and Laura became connected with other great businesses from Bulloch County that were also selling products which not only were Georgia Grown, but homegrown in Statesboro.

Kim and Laura’s products, cheese straws and honey make great gifts for customers looking for a local product that represents the south and our community. Once they started working together to market their products, they discovered that others may benefit from this, also.

Kim’s sister-in-law, Ryan Marsh, owns Bellies and Babies on East Main Street in downtown Statesboro. They partnered with Ryan to add a “Home Grown in Statesboro, Georgia” section to her store. This allows customers a storefront to stop in and purchase their products since they both primarily sell their products online.   

In a few weeks, the idea had taken off and now the store includes a large selection of certified Georgia Grown and Home Grown in Statesboro local products. You can purchase the items individually or together in prepackaged gift boxes or baskets.

“This makes it super simple for anyone who wants a great gift of local products,” Kaiser said. “We know that people are looking for local gifts for employees, family or guests who are visiting our community. Our goal is to provide a great selection of local products in one place.  Our shop prevents you from having to drive all over town to get great gift items featuring local products.”

In addition to honey and cheese straws, they have a selection of Braswell’s products, coffee from Three Tree Coffee, kettle corn from Cork’s Kettle Corn, Bobby Joe Cason BBQ Sauce, cookie’s from Big Boy Cookies and gift certificates to Eagle Creek Brewery and Honey Too Catering.  They hope to continue adding great local and certified Georgia Grown products.

The Georgia Grown program is a marketing and economic development program of the Georgia Department of Agriculture.  

Commissioner Gary Black saw an opportunity to revamp and expand the program creating a focus on marketing and economic development. The goal of the Georgia Grown program is to bring together producers, processors, suppliers, distributors, retailers, agritourism and consumers in one powerful, statewide community.

There are dozens of other businesses in Bulloch County that are certified under this program including Ag South, Freeman Mill and Hunter Cattle, plus many others.

“We are grateful for the high quality businesses that are supportive of the Georgia Grown brand and focused on supporting shopping local,” said Tom Neville, Georgia Grown Southeast Marketing Manager.  Bulloch County is one of our larger supporters of Georgia Grown. Because of Bulloch County’s strong agriculture roots, it is no surprise this program is so successful there.”

Not only does the Georgia Grown program create a brand with deep roots in sustainability, quality and integrity but it also provides a lot of expertise for local businesses, including branding, marketing, networking and education.

“One of the greatest benefits of Georgia Grown for our business is the ability to work together to scale our products,” Cooke said. “In doing so, we are able to participate in trade shows and other key marketing venues that would be unobtainable for most small businesses.

“This, combined with the networking opportunities, allows us to share ideas and resources with each other. This gives us a leg up in marketing and managing our products. We love Georgia Grown and are thrilled to be part of this successful program.”

If your own a local business and want to learn more about the Georgia Grown products you can visit their website at  

Stop in Bellies and Babies at 43 East Main Street and check out the great selection of Home Grown in Statesboro products and gift ideas in addition to a great selection of children’s clothing and accessories.  

Shopping local every day helps make our downtown and community great.


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