My Savannah with Ted Dennard. Photo by Jeremiah Hull
What brought you to Savannah?
Saltwater, warm weather and the fact that my brother lived here. I grew up on St. Simon’s Island and was living in Colorado before moving here. Savannah was close to my hometown, but not too close.
What keeps you here?
Right after I moved here I was walking through the squares and I just knew I could live in this town forever. If you knew the gypsy travels of my younger days, you’d know what a huge revelation that was. It was like falling in love with my wife. And neither conviction has changed.
What work are you most proud of?
I have been able, with tremendous amounts of help from others, to grow Savannah Bee Company from its humble beginnings in my kitchen to a business that employs more than 150 people, helps more than 100 beekeepers stay in business, and nurtures tens of thousands of beehives and their residents inside. We, along with those individual beekeepers, are the champions of the bees, keeping them healthy and helping them thrive when their population has been at risk in recent years. Secondly, I hold The Bee Cause Project near and dear to my heart. It’s our nonprofit that installs beehives in schools, helping teach the next generation to understand, love and protect the honeybees. It started when I put a beehive in an elementary school in Charleston, and it has grown from there. In four years, we’ve installed beehives in 300 schools in all 50 states and five countries. The credit really goes to the hardworking Tami Enright, executive director of The Bee Cause Project, but I still feel like it’s my baby. It makes me tear up talking about it.
What neighborhood do you call home?
Wilmington Island and the amazing Wassaw Sound.
Describe your perfect Savannah day.
It begins before sunrise with an inspirational book and a cup of tea that I make with Yunnan tea, from E. Shaver’s Tea Room. Then I make a quick breakfast for the family from our yard eggs and some charcoal black bread from the Forsyth Park Farmers’ Market. Next up, we hop on paddle boards and stand up kayaks and take off from our dock into the early morning sun. Later, when we pull up to a barrier island, it’s a picnic of Back in the Day Bakery sandwiches —which are better than anything we can make at home. After a show from all the birds, fish, oysters, crabs, shrimp, terrapins, turtles and dolphins, it’s home for a nap. Then it’s back out again with my wife, this time by truck, with a smoothie stop at a hidden Wilmington Island gem, Good Greens. Next, we head downtown to Local 11ten to eat on the upstairs terrace, Perch, and finish the day with a stop at Pinkie Masters for a game of darts.
What does “Savannah style” mean to you?
Character and Southern charm. You see things happen in Savannah that are very different than the straight and narrow of Anywhere, USA. Savannah harkens back to a time that seems simpler and more wild.
What Savannahians do you most admire?
General Oglethorpe’s forward thinking has left Savannah with the beautiful legacy of the city’s layout—his vision and blueprint makes us proud to call this place home. There are too many people who have added to the city to name them all, but it is my hope that moving forward we can rally together and create a modern model that continues to retain the beautiful parts of the past, just as Oglethorpe did.
How will you leave Savannah better than you found it?
I want to make Savannah proud to be home to a company that exhibits a mutually beneficial business model. The products we sell are good for you, and by buying them you support all of us who are supporting the beehives and bees, which in turn have a positive impact our environment and the food we eat.
Savannah’s motto should be…
Relax, let go and enjoy life!
Tell me a story or describe a scene that made you think to yourself, “That’s so Savannah.”
Where to begin? The old skinny man in the pink suit tap dancing under a street light on an empty Duffy Street corner. Ordering a gin and tonic to-go. Laying back and staring skyward on a warm summer boat night.