A Penny For Your Thoughts - St. Simons Land Trust

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Conversations with our dedicated Pennies for Preservation business partners

This Q&A initiative individually highlights our Pennies for Preservation partners so our island community can connect with and get to know each business further. Read below to learn some interesting facts about these dedicated preservation partners!


Helping businesses of all shapes and sizes develop or enhance their brand image is what Commonground Creative does best. “We’re a husband-and-wife team dedicated to bettering our community by serving others, in both business relations and volunteer efforts,” says Clay Caldwell, co-owner of Commonground Creative. While Clay leads the charge on all creative services, his wife Jenna manages marketing strategies.

After hearing their clients’ stories and understanding their needs, Clay and Jenna work closely with their clients to provide creative solutions that are not only special and unique to them, but also make a mark in their industry. “This is what we often refer to as ‘Finding Common Ground’.”



When we asked Chris Moncus of Chris Moncus Photography to share his business motto, we couldn’t help but smile!

“We photograph happy people at their happiest.”

And when you look through some of Chris’s photos, it’s easy to see how that motto has paid off. He further explained, “We want to help [our clients] remember the best times and share them with friends, family, or [their] customers. [Their] happiness is our happiness!”



Grinder to griddle is the Certified Burgers and Beverage mentality. This locally-owned establishment serves wholesome, fresh, and locally-sourced food ranging from salads to hand cut fries and fresh ground patties to thick, luscious milkshakes – all made in-house. The Certified team has created a warm, comfortable environment with excellent service, delicious cooking, and handcrafted cocktails.

The owners that brought you Certified Burgers and Beverage are happy to announce their newest business venture, and soon-to-be Pennies for Preservation partner, Certified Pantry and Provisions. The Pantry is a grab-and-go restaurant including a Five-Star dining approach to family meals.

Chef David Carrier (pictured), Bo Chambliss and Jessica Snyder are “extremely proud” of their team for their hard over the last six years and look forward to adding more staff and days of operation to both establishments very soon.



When we asked Owen Plant, owner of Lulu Entertainment if there was an interesting story behind his business’s name, we loved learning that his dog Lulu was the namesake! Owen’s first client was The Westin Jekyll Island. The hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Kevin Baker, jokingly referred to Owen’s business as “Lulu Entertainment.” Owen told us, “Kevin was taking me through billing protocols and said ‘then, LuLu Entertainment bills us.’ He was joking, but Lulu was our crazy Pomeranian mix dog. Her energy summed up my brain and company perfectly…a scramble for perfection!”



Mary Anderson had several coastal towns to choose from when deciding where to relocate and open her art gallery, Anderson Fine Art Gallery. When we asked why she chose St. Simons Island 24 years ago Mary said, “The welcoming [live] oaks gave me a feeling of stability, healing, and permanence…it was as if they enfolded me, and I knew I was home.” And we couldn’t agree more! There’s just something magical about an ancient live oak with sprawling, moss-draped limbs.

Throughout the last two decades, Anderson Fine Art Gallery has become a destination for the finest in original paintings. The gallery represents an outstanding group of professional and emerging artists with a selection of landscapes, still life, figurative, interiors and sculpture. And for 14 years the gallery has sponsored Painting Workshops taught by nationally recognized artists.



Sarah Callaway, our local bagel expert, and owner of Sandy Bottom Bagels said the favorite on St. Simons must be the ‘Everything Bagel’ because it is ordered most often. Sarah blew our minds when she shared that the Sandy Bottom Bagels team baked over 100,000 BAGELS in 2021. That’s nearly 2,000 bagels per week! In that same week, SBB makes an average of 90 pounds of cream cheese that will be served with those authentic New York style bagels.




What makes our community newspaper, The Brunswick News, unique? Publisher C.H. “Buff” Leavy IV proudly shared how The Brunswick News is one of the oldest family-owned, independent newspapers in Georgia and one of the few family-controlled newspapers left in the nation. Furthermore, Buff said that “The Brunswick News is blessed to have a very loyal readership that has stayed strong even during some of the most challenging times for the newspaper industry in the last 15 years.

“About 1,500 newspapers have shut down since 2008, while the majority of other daily newspapers have significantly cut their newsroom staff literally to the bone. In comparison – we have not cut back on our local coverage – our newsroom number currently has 12 journalists in the mix covering, in one form or another, all-different aspects of the community, including all our local governments, public safety, a large variety of life news, nonprofits, and then of course local sports.

“There is incredible value in having journalists who routinely cover government meetings and who check and report on police reports and other public safety functions. Often, citizens reflect on what is reported and major stories develop. Another value that has recently been lost in several community newspapers is the ability for local nonprofits and other groups or individuals to get the word out on upcoming events, challenges they’re currently facing, and important causes they’re raising money for. These community members can call on [The Brunswick News] and get news coverage to help them. I see this as an important and valuable service of a good newspaper. We do have limits, but I have seen through the years this newspaper and its team step up and do its best to help with so many different needs that come our way.

“I know we are blessed to have individuals working in all the different positions in our newsroom who truly have a compassion for news. Ultimately, I call this ‘community journalism’ at its best! It’s not taught in journalism schools . . . but the value of [The Brunswick News] to this community is tremendous!”


Ember Farm to Fire

One of the many reasons locals and visitors love Ember is that it’s far from ordinary. It all begins at the restaurant entrance with the solid white oak pivot door that rotates on a vertical axis. Then there is Beatrice, as owner Tyler Roberson explains as the “heart and soul of Ember.” “Beatrice is our custom-built wood fire oven built from the ground up by incredible local artisans. After being open for 6 months, Beatrice was not holding heat sufficiently, so we had to insulate the dome with a special blanket that is used in the space shuttles to deflect heat. It was a costly endeavor, mainly because we also had to retile the dome, but it kicks butt now holding heat around 850 to 1,000 degrees at times.”

Also far from ordinary is the Egyptian onyx bar that sits on an LED lighted tile system technology that Tyler explains was developed in California and guaranteed for 20 years. When you enjoy the metropolitan atmosphere at Ember you are also contributing to land conservation on St. Simons.



At Delaney’s Bistro and Bar, the Owner and Executive Chef, Tom Delaney, has a simple business motto: “work hard, provide great service, craft excellent food, and be good to your team.” And it has paid off! Most of his employees have worked for him for years, the cuisine is delectable, and many of his clients are regulars.





Hannah Showalter, owner of Café Frederica, shared that they served 21,627 PANCAKES last year. That’s a lot of flapjacks, but we are not surprised! For over 25 years, the Café has been a breakfast hot spot for locals and visitors alike.





Barbara Jean’s Restaurant & Bar

Barbara Jean’s is a family run restaurant best known for its Crab Cakes, She Crab Soup, and the mysterious Chocolate Stuff. What most people don’t know is that the Chocolate Stuff recipe was made out of necessity.

Owner Jim Barta said that “the heart of Barbara Jean’s is the very real Barbara Jean. She is the creative force behind the recipes we serve and work every day.” Jim explained how “Barbara is not a chocolate eater.” So, when they opened the restaurant they “broke a restaurant industries cardinal rule—having one chocolate dessert on the menu.”

Jim and a local customer encouraged Barbara to add a chocolate offering. Jim recalls “one morning, without fanfare, Barbara went back into the kitchen and less than an hour later announced that in about thirty minutes we would have a chocolate dessert to try. I tried it and so did some of the other folks who were working that day and it was killer, and that’s how ‘The Chocolate Stuff’ came about. I am almost positive though that Barbara has still never even tried it.”

Newsletter Sign Up