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!

Gavin Sellers Creative

We love learning more about our Pennies for Preservation partners and we hope you do, too! When we asked Gavin Sellers, owner of Gavin Sellers Creative, to share an interesting fact about himself, we learned that he’s a third-generation entrepreneur.

“My father started his lawn care business in 1988 and my grandfather opened his auto shop in 1962; both still in business today,” Gavin shared. “Growing up in my dad’s business taught me the invaluable lesson that hard work and persistence outweighs the challenging nature of owning and operating your own company.”

Gavin’s story began in 2017 when a friend of a friend asked him to film his wedding. “At the time, I had recently purchased an entry level DSLR camera from Walmart and installed Adobe Premiere Pro with a deep fascination of arranging video clips in a way that told a story. This hobby quickly turned into a creative outlet for me and later, a full-time job.” In 2023, Gavin will be celebrating his 6th year in business and he “couldn’t be more excited for what’s ahead.”



Electric Coast

We asked our Pennies for Preservation partner Ross Smith, owner of Electric Coast, about his business’s motto. Here is what he said!

“You could say our motto is ‘E is for Everyone.’ At Electric Coast, the belief is that electric bikes (‘e-bikes’) are truly for everyone, removing barriers to bike riding and encouraging adult riders of all ages and abilities to spend more time actively enjoying the outdoors. There are many benefits to being active more often from improved mood to sleep quality to cardiovascular and muscular health. E-bikes provide a great opportunity to enjoy those things because they’re simple, accessible, and affordable. Plus, they’re tons of fun and put a big grin on the face of almost every customer we have!” Electric Coast handles e-bike sales, service, and rentals.



Sea Island

We asked our partners at Sea Island Resorts to share one of their most exciting updates from the year so far. Without hesitation, the team was thrilled to share the success of their sea turtle nesting season. They shared that in 2022, “Sea Island recorded its biggest nesting season in the last 30 years with 144 nests! This led to a total of 8,733 hatchlings and counting.” As the resort celebrates this record year for sea turtles, they are also celebrating a record-setting year for their Adopt-A-Nest program. “All donations raised as part of the program, which topped $58,000 in the 2022 season, go directly to the Wildlife Conservation Fund within the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.”



Fuse Frozen Co.

Have you ever wondered where the name “Fuse” comes from? Justin Henshaw, owner of Fuse Frozen Co, told us that the name comes from the verb: to become one by blending or melting together. Justin added, “Not only is that what our product is – swirled flavors of yogurt and favorite treats mixed together – it’s what we all do when we go to Fuse together. If [these] past [couple of years have] taught us anything, it is that we’re all better together, and we’ve come to realize just how important being together is. As a community, we have come together to make our home a special place and preserving properties like Oatland Hasell North through the Pennies for Preservation program helps make that happen.”



CPM Event Services

When we asked Chris Morgan, owner of CPM Event Services, what separates his company from its competitors, he explained, “We pride ourselves in hospitality, personality, and years of professional experience. We provide five-star service to our clients while matching their special date with the talent it deserves. We love celebrations and like Gretchen Wilson says, we’re “Here for the party!””



East Beach Yoga

Traci Lee, owner of East Beach Yoga on St. Simons, recently shared with us why her partnership with the Land Trust means so much to her. She explained that as a child, she envisioned growing up to be an environmental lobbyist. “For the love of nature and space to connect with others, I feel this partnership with SSLT has allowed that dream to manifest in a very special way . . . . Rather than a petition for protection in [Washington, D.C.], I have the opportunity to educate, encourage and advocate for my home while also sharing with others a lifestyle practice that can transform a physical body, mind and heart.”


Dulce Dough Donuts & Bakery

Have you ever wondered how to accurately pronounce Dulce Dough? We asked owner Ryanne Carrier to settle the debate and share the meaning behind the name of her charming bakery on St. Simons.

“It seems as though everyone has their own unique way of saying our shop’s name,” Ryanne said. She shared that most often, patrons pronounce the name as “Dol Chee” or “Dool Seh.” She further explains, “Technically the name has Latin roots and should be pronounced “Dool Seh” Dough. However, the shop is named after my daughter, Dulcimer. Her given nickname is Dulce, Spanish for Sweet or Gentle. Which was extremely fitting for her because she was the most loving child you could imagine.”

Ryanne adds, “When [Dulcimer] began attending kindergarten in Oak Park, Illinois, [her nickname] quickly went from the proper pronunciation to a very Americanized with nasal Chicago inflection, “Duhl See”. It took just a few weeks at school to solidify the pronunciation change. As a tribute to my daughter, the shop pronunciation is “Duhl See”.”



Our partners at Dorothy’s Cocktail & Oyster Bar celebrated their one-year anniversary in April. With their first year under their belt, we asked owners Claire and Daniel Auffenberg if they would share any lessons learned. Daniel shared, “When we first opened Dorothy’s, we did not anticipate the multitude of challenges that we would end up facing over the first year, but through those challenges we have grown and honestly we could not be happier with where we are in our journey at the moment. At times, it has been hard to find the motivation to push forward, but what has kept us going is the overwhelming support of so many of our regulars, as well as first time guests, and the hard work and dedication of our team.”

Claire and Daniel shared that operating a restaurant has taught them how to be better guests at other establishments. “We know everyone in our industry is trying their best and what’s most important is to be kind to each other and to give grace when needed.” The Dorothy’s couple loves this community and they hope to see you in their dining room soon!



If you ask Bob Thompson, owner of Creative Printing Inc., what the key is to establishing a strong and meaningful relationship with clients, his answer will always be “Collaboration.” Forty-two years ago, Bob opened Creative Printing with the promise to provide the best integrated printing solutions possible. Today, this locally owned and operated company is a premier commercial sheetfed and digital printer that serves businesses all over the nation! And while this success is something to be very proud of, Bob reminds himself often that. “…it is members of the Golden Isles community who helped start and continue to sustain [us].”

The team at Creative Printing produces a wide variety of marketing materials for the businesses they work with such as menus, brochures and flyers, letterhead and envelopes, signs and banners, postcards and so much more.

In addition to supporting the Pennies For Preservation program, Bob has served up mouth-watering low country boil at the Land Trust’s annual Oyster Roast for more than twenty years!



The story behind Pier Village Market on St. Simons is an interesting one! Chris Morgan, owner of PVM, shared with us that the idea came to light after talks of a proposed development was approved in the Pier Village in 2019. The plan included demolishing the “huts” known as “Pier Village Market.” Chris explained that this demolition “would cause a number of businesses to lose their homes and [would] add to the growing need on [St. Simons] for commercial real estate.”

Not long after, Beachview Books, a Pier Village staple for more than 50 years, closed its doors at historic 215 Mallory Street. “With patience, elbow grease, and a lot of LOVE we remodeled the 2,200 square foot building into a multi professional floor plan with ten rentable Suites throughout.” Today, these Suites are home to retail shops, real estate offices, take out restaurants, and general office spaces.



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