"Buy local" isn't just some catchy phrase in Charleston. It has more than 500 storefronts of weight behind it.

From toy stores and clothing shops to nurseries and bookstores, the Lowcountry is blessed with a bevy of locally owned places to keep those dollars rolling through the Charleston economy.

Studies show for every dollar spent locally, it ripples through the local economy about three times, helping mom-and-pop stores buy a dance lesson for their daughter or a baseball glove for their son.

So here are a few places around the Lowcountry that are locally owned and offer shoppers a chance to help their money grow local jobs and businesses.

In downtown Charleston, shop for fine clothing at Berlin's, browse the book collection at Blue Bicycle Books or gaze at the shiny baubles at Croghan's Jewel Box.

Shoppers can also pick up prescriptions at Delta Pharmacy, rent a bike at Holy Spokes or go bowling at The Alley.

In Mount Pleasant, Abide-a-While nursery offers a cornucopia of colorful plants, Consigning Women & Men sells slightly used clothing and Celadon will furnish your home.

Also in East Cooper, GDC brings homes to life with eclectic pieces, Gwynn's puts fashion in clothing, Coastal Cupboard feeds every kitchen need, and Half Moon Outfitters will outfit the novice or diehard with backpacks and camping gear. 

Also look for a taste of the past at Pitt Street Pharmacy, Haddrell's Point Tackle and Eclectic Finds Antiques and Interiors.

On James Island and in West Ashley, Hausful can fill your house with furniture, Hyams Garden & Accent Store will plant seeds of imagination in your yard, Tiger Lily Florist will create the perfect centerpiece and The Terrace Theater offers an escape for a couple of hours at a time.

In North Charleston, customers will find a large selection of commercial kitchen needs at restaurant-supply shops Berlin's and FRS, western wear at The Bootjack, and awesome pizza at EVO.

Also look for a nice selection of reads at Itinerant Literate Books or a soft place to rest a weary body at The Charleston Mattress.

In Flowertown, that's Summerville for you newcomers, Scout Boats will put you on the water, Palmetto Sun Kettle Corn offers something slightly salty or slightly sweet, and Rita's Roots Backyard Harvest will help home gardeners grow organic vegetables. 

And for all those parents looking for a locally owned toy shop, Wonder Works offers four locations across the Lowcountry to satisfy any child's playful desires.

The above selections of locally owned shops are by no means an exclusive list. Dozens of others across the Lowcountry offer something for just about every whim.

There also are loads of locally made food offerings, locally owned services and locally owned attractions.

For a lengthy list of most of what the Charleston region has to offer through local merchants, go to the business directory at lowcountrylocalfirst.org.

Warren Wise is famous at The Post and Courier for finding every opening and closing of businesses for his retail column. 

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.