Town Center News

When it comes to running a business and a family simultaneously, there’s no shortage of challenges. From balancing school schedules and business hours to changing diapers and menus, being a mom at home and a boss at work takes a special level of finesse.

To gain a little insight on what it takes to master both sides, we chatted with some seriously boss babes who run businesses around Beaches Town Center. From restaurants to retail, here’s what they had to say:

Emilie Christenson
Mom to Carlie, 21 and Devon, 19 and Owner of Jaffi’s Boutique

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Being a mom has changed my outlook on EVERYTHING! I quickly realized how precious life is and how much influence I have as an individual to hurt or help others - helping people became a passion for me both personally and professionally and motherhood made me see myself differently. At first my focus was on being a positive role model and setting the best possible example for my children no matter what. But eventually, I realized we are all "mothers" to someone, and I try to touch as many lives as I can in a positive and productive way.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business?
A: Balancing work and family is a challenge for sure - but when I went back to work after having our first child my Dad said, "don't worry honey, it's quality not quantity that matters - make the time you have count". I've found that to be incredible insight and amazing advice.  What rewards? The reward of being able to share my personal and professional life with my kids has been invaluable. Being self employed I get to manage my time, effort and energy to focus on what's most important to me and my family. My husband and I have also been able to show our girls that hard work can be lucrative, fun, and rewarding at the same time.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A: My Mom and her family were very hard workers and they taught me the importance of rolling up my sleeves to get the job done no matter what. She also taught me not to take no for an answer (if it's the wrong answer) and to be resourceful. My Mom never really "told me what to do" which motivated me to figure things out for myself when I hit roadblocks or had to navigate through unchartered territory. Thanks Mom! :)

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Make time for what's important and always be present  vs. wishing you were somewhere else and/or doing something else. Your work/customers and family will appreciate it - and so will you!  I remember when the girls were young it was hard to manage work... school... activities... home. I remember feeling overwelmed, frustrated and exhausted all the time - like there weren't enough hours in the day to get things done. Once I accepted the fact that at 2:00pm I turned into a pumpkin and the kids/family was my "job" for the rest of the day, I found life became more
enjoyable and I was able to cherish each moment better then ever. That little shift - of taking full responsibility for what my "job" was at different points throughout the day - helped me put things in perspective and EVERYTHING changed for the better from that point forward!

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: I hope they know they can do ANYTHING they choose and be ANYTHING they want to be. Henry Ford once said, "whether you think you can or you can't, you are right!" - and that is the greatest lesson I've learned from being a business owner.

Deanne Dunlop
Mom to Alec, 29 and Alivia 18 and Owner of Dunlop Photography

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Being a mother and female business owner has given me a different perspective on raising optimistic, confident children and the importance of being present.  Our studio byline is "photography to celebrate life" and being a mother has taught me to encourage other mothers to put down the camera and cell and get in the frame ~ celebrate life with their children.  Photographs solidify our memories - I don't  want to see a generation of moms missing from their family memories.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A: I think of active motherhood as a window that gets smaller and smaller as your children grow, so prioritizing my time has been really important.  Challenging you might say.  I have learned not to confuse what appears urgent with what is actually important at any given moment and that lesson has been a business reward as well.  And yes, it is even challenging for me to make time to have portrait taken of me with my children.  It's a good Mother's Day tradition.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?  
A: My mother taught me it's okay to blur the lines and include my children in my life's work.  She was a very inclusive person.  Thanks to her my children have experienced my passion for my work first hand.  

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?  
A: Prayer.

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?   
A: My hope is that my children have learned to serve others and to value the preciousness of others at all times.  I hope they will be risk takers, contribute to their communities, be passionate about their work and share their faith.

Whitney Toomer Canney and Michele Toomer
Whitney is Mom to Tallulah, 1, and Michele is Mom to Whitney, 31, and Joshua, 28
They are Owners of Sailors Siren

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Whitney - Having become a mom a year ago, I've just learned the lesson that you have to be intentional with your time across all aspects of life, but especially your business.
Michele - I was a Navy wife for 23 years, with two kids. Most military wives are the original "momagers." Juggling is a skill that takes practice and a whole lot of patience.                                                                                        

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A: Whitney - The challenge and reward is almost one in the same as it boils down to time management, but I control my schedule. It's a blessing and curse!
Michele - My challenge is being able to carve out time to be with my kids. Even though Whit is able to spend a lot of time here, her home base is in DC. My Son is in Southern California. Luckily we are together as much as possible.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A: Whitney - My mom and partner exposed me to everything I can attribute my aesthetic to; travel, culture, art, design, food, etc. She's also a list maker which helps in the day-to-day of running a business, so that passed down habit is vital!
Michele - My mom taught me about the arts, travel, and the love of reading. You can see that when you walk into our shop through the local artists we carry, coffee table and lifestyle books we carry and handmade items from makers we know.

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Whitney - My mom! We tag team when I'm in Florida so that when I'm in the shop or working she watches the baby most of the time. Couldn't do it without her!
Michele - Life is about balance. I've been a mom for a long time so this business is a lot like having another child. It requires time, effort, energy, and love! My biggest challenge is my fur babies. Boo is usually in the shop with me, but I couldn't do it without my husband who works mostly from home and can hang with them during the day.

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: Whitney - That you're in control of your own destiny and that you get back what you put in.
Michele - Anything is possible if you put your heart and mind to it. Don't be afraid to pave your own path, life is all about the journey.

Ashely & Robin
Mother and Daughter Duo and Owners of AshleGryre

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Ashely - In work and life, I've always been a "get it done yesterday" kind of person, so with becoming a mother and growing business that requires 24/7 t.l.c., challenges do present themselves and it can feel like a circus act checking things off the list. I'm not sure my level of patience has ever been one to model, but it's what works for me. Since becoming a mom, I try to take a bigger-picture approach and focus on time and consistency when I'm at the office, giving 100%. I'm my happiest when my plate is full.
Robin - Being the mother of two and owning a business is much like running a "start up" corporation... with each new customer - we add to our family and our life experiences.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A: Ashely - Being in both places at once! Understanding that when I'm at work or traveling for business, I'm provided the opportunity to do what I love, with my best friend and it provides me fulfillment making me a better mom.
Robin - The biggest challenge?  The "fear of failure"!  As mothers we're not suppose to fail...after all we're "MOM"...aka superwoman!  As a Mom- we network with our children... as a Mother owned business it can be daunting developing that peer networking group to help with the fear!  But, over the years in business "I have stopped worrying if people will treat me differently in business because of my
gender.  There is just no time for that in business.  The bottom line, if we're successful, no one cares whether your a mom, woman or a man!  

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A: Ashely - If you're going to do it, give it your all. Don't half-a$% it! People will talk, let them. Your dreams are worth going after. Moderation is key. Enjoy your own quiet time, no one can take that away from you. Never leave the house without making your bed.
Robin - My father was my Mom!  Thank god he stood by me and raised his only child.  Though not intentional on my fathers behalf- I learned to be very independent...taking care to get things done.  

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Ashely - It's a family effort. After coming from a rigorous corporate tenure, working for a family-owned and operated business has blessed me with the opportunity to still be present for milestone moments as a mother to a young toddler. Not sure I believe there's a perfect recipe for balance, but my mantra includes prioritizing, not being afraid to ask for help, and taking moments to breathe.
Robin - With two feet grounded by the support of a great husband and father!  Thank goodness Ashely and Josh are grownups now!  Back in the day...we kept to a structured schedule.  It kept us all sane!

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: Ashely - This adventure is still very new to me, but I pray that Aniston will grow up with a thirst for adventure and not be afraid to step out of her comfort zone.
Robin - Never forget that even as a business owner - we've got a "JOB" to do- take care of those that patronize you and do it well.   We're not perfect - but we should at least try to be!

Rachel Crismond
Mom to Two Boys and Part Owner of KYDS Boutique

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: My outlook on work has changed simply because I have two sets of little eyes watching everything I do. Work will always be around, but my boys are only little once and they’re my top priority- even if it means getting behind on work and having to go to bed a little later. My multitasking skills have soared to an entirely new level once I took on business ownership while having 2 young sons. With that said, things do slip through the cracks and I need regular reminders— thank God for my business partner, Melody Joy, who’s my twin sister.
I had always admired businesswoman who were also mothers and observed how they managed it all.
I think you can apply a lot of what you learn from raising children into business operation. Especially when it comes to patience...and that includes patience with myself. When my sons are learning a new skill, or make a mistake, I need to be understanding and encourage them a long the way. In the same way, remaining positive with myself and learning from my mistakes alleviates unnecessary and detrimental pressures.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A: I’d say the biggest challenges are finding balance—and learning to function optimally on limited sleep. Balancing schedules with my kids and making sure they’re not missing out on anything...and that I’m not missing out on priceless moments with them. All the while, making sure to stay on top of business responsibilities.
It’s rewarding to witness the time and energy you’ve invested pay off. It’s a great feeling to hear feedback from our valued customers when they tell us a gift they purchased from Kyds was a huge hit. Or when customers come in to pick out the perfect outfit for a special occasion. It’s also especially rewarding when we’re able to use our business to help raise money for local causes. Additionally, I find it rewarding that my boys can be involved at Kyds too! They’re some of Kyds top models and are an excellent test panel for the products we select. Gavin (my 4 year old), enjoys helping with the selection process off line sheets and product catalogs. Carson (3) is more interested in testing the durability of products.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A: My mother has many gifts and talents. She’s very creative, personable, and works hard. She excelled in a lot of what she did and her example taught me to strive to be my best and do my best in every area of my life.

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Balancing my kids, home, friendships, business has a constant ebb and flow. Sometimes I feel like I’m nailing it, and other days I wonder what in the world I got my self into. There are definite sacrifices made when trying to be a present/involved parent, yet also pushing myself to excel as a businesswoman. I take one day at a time and try not to get too anxious. My husband, Kevin, is very laid back and calming so he helps me to “chill out”.

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: There are so many things I hope my boys will learn through observing the way I handle my business. Teaching by example is very important to how I am raising them. I want them to develop a solid work ethic, to be honest and to live and work with integrity. I hope they learn to use failures as stepping stones towards their goals and dreams. I want them to see that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I desire for them to handle challenges and setbacks by creating solutions and learning how to efficiently solve problems with positive resolutions.

Being a mother to my two intelligent, beautiful boys, is such an indescribable blessing and they’re the ones that motivate ME on a daily basis to seek growth- for myself personally and in business!

Sandra Hanania
Mom to Ashley, 30, Daniel, 27, Patrick 23 and Owner of Joseph’s Pizza

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Being a mother and running a business definitely helped me be more organized with my time.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A:  The challenges are trying to be at every event, golf tournaments, dance, soccer, etc. Also owning a restaurant can be difficult because of the hours. The kids use to come after school to enjoy a snack and also do their homework. The customers enjoyed seeing them there. The rewards were seeing the kids appreciate what I do. They would always offer to help buss tables. This really helped them mature and to be comfortable with adults.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A:  My mother would always say family first. My parents often would say the restaurant business is too hard. They would discourage us from wanting to open others. We decided 2 stores were enough so we can have quality time with our families.

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Balancing running a business with children is hard but also rewarding. Seeing them grow and customer seeing the family grow from generation to generation is a blessing. Our customers are like family. They love seeing my kids and Mama Rose my mother at both locations. The heart warming part of being in business for over 60 years are the stories from customers. They are amazing!

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: The lessons are work hard in anything you do. Nothing is easy. Love what you do. Respect everyone. Remember the customer is always right.

Started by husband and wife duo, Hugo and Debra Saavedra, Saavy Naturals has been the Beaches Town Center community’s go-to for everything that smells good and is good for you. From all-natural body scrubs to luxurious soaps, their products are known as “a feast for your senses and food for your skin” and they’re careful to refer to themselves as “chefs, not chemists.” And it’s easy to see why-- with a background in culinary ventures, they’re experts on creating products so pure, they’re good enough to eat.

With their names on the menus of Spago, Patina and The Water Grill, the two have been mainstays at many 5-star restaurants in Southern California. After years of cooking and growing herbs and edible flowers, they started experimenting with them in new ways, creating the line of amazing products you know today.

And now, after years of hard work, the company is being featured in not one, but two amazing ways:

• Saavy Naturals named one of the latest innovators in the Beauty Industry by Forbes Magazine.
Click here to read the article.

• Saavy Naturals chosen as one of the 12 up and coming beauty companies to be featured at the Beauty & Money Summit in LA.
More info on that can be found here.

So stop in and sniff your way through their store and see what the well-deserved buzz is all about!

After taking over KYDS Children’s Boutique in 2017, owners and twin sisters Rachel and Melody were on a mission to make the space as fun and magical as can be. Before they knew it, their boutique was bursting at the seams with adorable merchandise—which is exactly why, when given the chance, they jumped on packing up and moving business across the Courtyard.

With the old First Street Gallery space available, they gave the store a speedy overhaul—and thus, the new KYDS was born!

To get a peek into their process, we chatted with them about the vision, doing boutique DIY and more below:

I. What was the main motivator for moving spaces? Were you daunted at all by the task of prepping your new space so quickly?

Our business grew beyond expectations. Consequently, our space could not accommodate growing customer demand. Our store carries 21 sizes in clothing for girls, 18 for boys and 19 sizes in footwear. Customers were increasingly drawn to KYDS because we listened to their requests for more in-demand items. However, the more we offered, the less space we had to display or access needed and desired items.  
We simply did not have the time to be “daunted” or overthink things---nor to even consider the “impossibilities” of such a significant move in such a short time. There were delays in confirming that we could, indeed, move to the new location—that gave us only 10 working days to prepare for the move from the old to the new store. The usual time allotted for such an extensive endeavor is a minimum of two months. We also had to simultaneously maintain our store operations while remaining open everyday. But, together, we have always been determined to overcome any extreme challenges and excessive demands-- despite the major sacrifices and considerable investment.  Also, with Rachel’s experience in interior design and renovations, she drew on her instincts and creative talents to make quick decorating decisions.  When we purchased our store, we knew that failure was not an option—and that is the same way we approached our move.   
Therefore, even though we only had an incredibly short time to make it happen--we knew that by drawing upon each other's strengths, talents, energy and skills--and engaging community support-that the transition to our "New KYDS" would be a joyful and positive experience.  Of course, we didn't sleep much for most of the transitional period with the need to select color schemes, coordinate laborers, order new fixtures and furnishings, paint, renovate and create an entirely new KYDS. But we were basically "unstoppable" --moving full speed ahead. With our tanks on empty we relied on pure adrenaline.


II. What "vibe" were you going for when you designed the store?  How do you hope people will feel when they come inside?
The vibe we are going for is “magical”. Our goal was to make it full of FUN---and comfortable, homey, going into a treehouse for a child. We did this by selecting rustic and renewable sources for shelving and mid century modern and retro furnishings, which complimented the elevated wood plank ceiling.  
We want people to feel so good- that it is like an extension of home for them. We want them to enjoy a magical experience in which they don’t want to leave and can’t wait to come back. We have added more comfy chairs for grandparents, parents and friends, which provide a place to relax when looking at merchandise. We also want to cultivate in our store a welcoming atmosphere where we get to truly know our customers—and they enjoy getting to know each other.
III. Tell us a little bit about all the cool DIY aspects in the store that you guys designed yourselves.
Since we didn’t have time to recruit a professional designer in such a short time, we had to rely upon our own creative resources to design the store ourselves which required many DIY projects. It was a family affair where we all helped. But one dear friend, Cristina Ludwig, who is an accomplished commercial designer-- also volunteered to generously give assistance in areas where we truly needed a more professional perspective. It was exhausting work-but truly a fun, rewarding and enlightening process.  
Our favorite DIY was to transform the sales counter into a "sparkly masterpiece."  We used special epoxy resin and glitter to cover the entire counter.  It took much more time- and elbow grease- than we would have liked, but the result was well worth it.  We also designed a multi-layered table to place our expanded toys and accessories area.  We added cedar cut disc shelves and created a "bow wall" so that our hundreds of girl’s bows can be easily seen and accessed.  We also figured out a way to display our necklaces and pendants by screwing hooks underneath the cedar shelves which keeps them from becoming tangled --and also displays them more effectively. We assembled and cleaned industrial pipes, sprayed them with lacquer-- and made them into hanging racks for clothing.


IV. What do you love most about your new spot?
There is nothing NOT to LOVE! It’s just a beautiful space!   It also accommodates our customer flow far better than possible in the other location. We absolutely LOVE the large windows that create a more bright, cheerful and engaging atmosphere-- and are a good place to display merchandise that we were unable to before. We also love having sufficient area to both display and stock inventory throughout. We especially love that customers are able to move around in the store much more easily ---and there’s plenty of room now for strollers!


V. What can we expect for KYDS and the new location in the future?
We are continuing to explore ways to provide the very best in quality children's clothing and accessories- by always listening to customers and keeping up with the most in-demand items.  We are also planning to expand our offerings of candy, toys and treats as we seek to make KYDS a unique, boutique experience.

We are continuing our passionate support of local charities benefiting children in the Jacksonville area. Our Grand Re-Opening event on March 21st will help support the "Kate Amato Foundation."  And, it will also be the "kick-off" for our "Dreams Come True" charity fashion show on April 21st.  Kate Amato's favorite store was KYDS.  She was also one of our KYDS models and "dreamers" that were supported through this annual event that was begun by -and is held in conjunction with --the former owner of KYDS and current owner of Jaffi’s, Emilie Christenson.   

We desire most of all for our store to be THE place for kids--and those who love kids---to gather and shop and create positive lifelong memories for generations to come!

Stop in and check out their cool, new space Monday through Saturday, 10am-6pm or Sunday, 12pm-5pm in the Courtyard at 200 First Street!

Thanks to you, your Beaches Town Center Agency is pleased to say that Coastal Carnival 2018 was a HUGE success! Take a few minutes to watch the Coastal Carnivale Video.

After nearly 100% merchant participation, it was a well-received party and successful fundraiser with amazing auction items, the super-popular Cash Blaster—a complete sell out with over 350 tickets sold!

Funds raised from the event will be going directly to landscape improvement plan

Many thanks to our sponsors as well. They are:
Neptune Beach Plaza
Tribridge Residential
Edward Skinner Jones
St. Augustine Distillery
One Ocean Resort & Spa

It’s no secret that Beaches folks are the smartest around—so it isn’t surprising that Beaches Town Center merchants swept the board this year in the annual Best in Jax polls!

From Best Burger to Best Boutique, the city spoke and let everyone else know just how award-worthy BTC is. And while all of our businesses are winners in our book, these are the ones that snagged the bragging rights:

Dance Trance Fitness
• Best Dance Studio – Folio Weekly
• Best Group Fitness Class – Jacksonville Magazine FabuList

Guaranteed to get your blood pumping, Dance Trance is a welcoming environment for people of all dance skills. Whether you’re a regular like J. Lo or more of an Elaine Benes, their skilled instructors will guide you through upbeat sets designed to encourage fun and shed pounds.

Visit Them When: you’re sick of the same old workout routine, or your palates instructor made you cry during your last session and you’re too embarrassed to go back.

Flying Iguana
• Best Girls Night Out – Jacksonville Magazine

Looking to try somewhere new for when your girl group of choice hits the town? Look no further than Flying Iguana, our friendly neighborhood taqueria and tequila bar. With live music every weekend, impressive handcrafted drinks and tableside guac, you can’t go wrong.

Visit Them When: you finally find a babysitter you can trust.

• Best New Restaurant at the Beaches – Jacksonville Magazine

Change is hard for some people, but trying something new isn’t so scary when it’s just so darn tasty. That’s why we’re so glad Hawkers picked the Beaches Town Center when they wanted to open a new location. From noodles to brews, they’re the coolest spot beachside when you want something a little different.

Visit Them When: you’re ready for something more adventurous than lo mien or fried rice, or when you need a FOMO-worthy shot for the ‘gram.

Island Girl Cigar Bar
• Best Bar/Lounge – The Beaches Leader

Kick back, relax and light up a cigar—Island Girl is the premier spot at the Beaches Town Center for unwinding. With 28 beers on tap, nightly specials and a large, walk-in humidor, they’ve got everything you need to blow off some steam in style.

Visit Them When: you want to look as cool as Al Pacino in Scarface.

• Best Clothing Shop – The Beaches Leader
• Best Boutique at the Beaches – Jacksonville Magazine

You know what they say—what you aren’t born with, you can always buy! And if you’re on the market for a sense of style, the friendly girls at Jaffi’s will be more than happy to help. From business casual to beach living chic, this Beaches Town Center boutique has been helping women look and feel their best for almost 17 years. Their huge selection doesn’t hurt either.

Visit Them When:  you’re a mom but you refuse to wear mom jeans, or when you realize the “cold shoulder” thing everyone’s talking about isn’t just what you give someone when you’re mad.

Joseph’s Pizza
• Best Takeout/Delivery at the Beaches – Jacksonville Magazine
• 11 Best Pizza Places in Jacksonville – Jacksonville Magazine

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you outgrow the $5 special at Little Caesars. As sad and as cost inefficient as it may be, it’s just a fact, people. Enter Joseph’s Pizza; the pizzeria that separates the children from the adults. Say sayonara to pepperoni and cheese-- the Gyro or the Joseph’s Special is where it’s at.

Visit Them When: you’ve always wanted to play bingo and eat pizza at the same time, or when you want to dine outside with your dog.

KYDS Children’s Boutique
• Best Kids’ Clothing – Jacksonville Magazine

Offering the freshest, hottest trends in children’s fashion, KYDS has been a staple of the Beaches Town Center community since opening its doors in 2001—and new owners Melody Snelen and Rachel Crismond are making sure it stays that way.

Visit Them When: you need a baby gift to knock someone’s socks off, or when your tween refuses to wear what you pick out. (Sorry, mom!)

Mezza Restaurant & Bar
• Best Italian – The Beaches Leader

If your idea of fine Italian dining is eating Spaghetti-Os out of a can, it’s time to up your game. A longtime member of the Beaches Town Center community, Mezza Restaurant & Bar has been serving up classic dishes done right. You know, the kind of pasta Mario Batali would be proud of.

Visit Them When: you want to recreate the iconic Lady & The Tramp spaghetti scene.

M Shack
• Best Burger in Jax – Folio Weekly

Look, everyone loves to say their burger is the best-- and maybe your mom told you yours was. But until you’re actually voted Best Burger in Jax, step aside and let the folks at M Shack do the grillin’. Their menu is filled with meaty delights that are always cooked to perfection, so take your pick—you can’t go wrong!

Visit Them When: you’re ready to graduate from your favorite dollar menu burger, or when your doctor tells you your iron count is low.

North Beach Fish Camp
• 9 Best Places to Get Seafood in Jacksonville – Jacksonville Magazine

Living in a city by the sea definitely makes folks choosier when it comes to picking where they get their seafood from, so imagine how happy we are that North Beach at Beaches Town Center made the list. From daily specials to decadent desserts, there’s no losing when it’s time to order.

Visit Them When: you’re ready to eat tuna that doesn’t come in a can.

Ocean 60
• Best Martini – Folio Weekly
• Best Date Place – The Beaches Leader

First dates can be hard, but your chance of scoring a second one is increased by 50% when you take them to Ocean 60. And since we can’t exactly cite that, you’re just going to have to trust us when we say that it’s pure, scientific fact. From expertly mixed martinis to impressive, but unpretentious bites, this martini room isn’t one to miss.

Visit Them When:  you’re trying to upgrade your definition of “ fine dining” from eating oreos off of grandma’s china because you forgot to wash the dishes again, or when you really, really like someone.

One Ocean Resort & Spa
• Best Mani-Pedis – Jacksonville Magazine’s FabuList
• Best Massage – Jacksonville Magazine

When it comes to getting beautiful at the beach, there’s no better place than the Spa at One Ocean Resort. From pretty, painted toes to massages and facials, they’re experts at maximizing relaxation.

Visit Them When: you can’t tell where your knots end and your normal muscles begin.

Poe’s Tavern
• Best Burger – The Beaches Leader
• Best Burger at the Beaches – Jacksonville Magazine

Look, we know M Shack also got voted Best Burger—but Beaches Town Center is big enough for the both of them. For the other best burger, make sure you stop by Poe’s Tavern. With classics and rotating specials, there’s a patty for every person.

Visit Them When: you think “gee, I really wish there was somewhere I could eat a burger and think about the literary works of Edgar Allen Poe at the same time!”

Sliders Seafood Grill
• 9 Best Places to Get Seafood in Jacksonville – Jacksonville Magazine

Seafood is an easy thing to fudge, so we’re glad Sliders Seafood Grill is consistently a good thing. A staple of the Beaches Town Center community for many years, its been the go-to place for locals in the know with no signs of slowing down.

Visit Them When:  one round of oysters just isn’t going to cut it.

Southern Grounds & Co.
• Best Coffee Spot – The Beaches Leader
• Best Coffee Shop at the Beaches – Jacksonville Magazine

Whether you’re a coffee snob or a faithful pumpkin spice follower, Southern Grounds & Co. has a brew to satisfy all types of coffee lovers. Their cozy café is perfect for working on your next novel (you know, the one you keep saying is the “next Harry Potter”) or your college thesis. And their food isn’t half bad either.

Visit Them When: you can’t remember the difference between tall, grande and venti, or the cute barista you had a crush on at the other coffee spot quit.

Whit’s Frozen Custard
• Best Ice Cream/Yogurt Store – The Beaches Leader
• Best Desserts at the Beaches – Jacksonville Magazine

If chocolate or vanilla just doesn’t cut it for you, Whit’s is the answer. Boasting a rotating calendar of custard concoctions every month, there’s always something new. Which, now that we mention it, is the perfect excuse for daily ice cream consumption…

Visit Them When: you need to bribe the kids, or when the dollar soft serve at your local drive thru just isn’t cutting it anymore.

The art of combining old and new is no easy task, though you’d never know it walking around Red Daisy.

On every shelf and surface, elements of years gone by coexist peacefully with their shinier, newer counterparts. Rusted cheese graters long out of commission find new purpose as a display for colorful rows of earrings; grandma’s china lives on, reimagined as a necklace. Around here, owner Tracy Raymond makes sure everything gets a second chance at life.

Self-described as “always selling something”, Raymond started her first business when she was 16. A cocktail cleanup crew called ‘The Party Slaves’, they tidied up after the soirees of family and friends. From there, her path led her through various ventures: sales associate, travel agent, caterer, florist and stay at home mom— when at last, Red Daisy was born.

Red Daisy Banner

To find out what goes into running such a cool business, we chatted with Raymond about antiques, being your own boss lady and more:

Q: When did you decide to venture out and open you own store? What was the process like?
A: The decision to open my own shop was kind of made for me. I had put in an offer to purchase an existing gift shop and that fell through. My current space became available and Red Daisy was born. The process was so exciting! How could it not be-- I was shopping for my favorite things! And I knew the location was special. The Courtyard at 200 First Street is the perfect spot for Red Daisy because of its location and surrounding retail businesses.

Q: Where did your love of vintage kitsch come from? How do you make these items current and fresh for a modern clientele?
A: My love for antiques and vintage came from my maternal grandmother and her sister-in-law. While at a family reunion in Missouri and Kansas, Grandma and Aunt Marge took me on a "Huntin' and Gathererin’" trip. I learned so much-- how to smell furniture, china markings and furniture styles... Those two gals opened a whole new world for me and I was only 23 at the time!

I don't think it's so much about keeping the vintage items current, after all they AREN'T current... they're old. I think it's about balance and combination. The mix of old with new is something that surrounds us daily. I try to educate our customers about antique and vintage items. And then incorporate a fresh new item that compliments their vibe. A vintage tobacco tin canister is a great planter or a sleek, modern glass decanter filled with antique beads is piece of art. Old family items have "soul" and I feel, make your house a home.

Q: When it comes to being a successful businesswoman, what traits are a must-have?
A: Dedication and a positive outlook. I have always been a "glass half full" kind of person. There are always going to be pitfalls in any business, but how you interpret them determines the outcome.

Q: What do you love most about being your own boss and calling the shots? What's the most challenging part?
A: What I absolutely love the MOST about being my own boss is the TIME I get to spend with Red Daisy's customers. I love spending time getting to know our clientele. Our customers are what drive me to find new items. Making the call that I've found the perfect gift a customer has been searching for is the biggest perk. It's why we spend the time getting to know our shoppers.

The most challenging part is finding the TIME to do the dirty work-- the NOT so fun part of the business. The paperwork, back office stuff, heck...finding time to clean out the storage room is hard! Red Daisy is open 7 days a week and some evenings, so the re-arranging and "fluffing" has to be done way after or before hours. Most Sundays you'll find me in my shop at 6:30am doing all the dirty work, but I still love it and wouldn't have it any other way!

Q: If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give yourself when Red Daisy was just getting started?
A: Going back in time I would have listened and paid more attention to people. You can learn so much if you just listen. My father used to always say “listen louder”.

Q: What do you hope to achieve with Red Daisy in the future? What's your vision?
A: Going forward I hope to add to Red Daisy's charitable giving, be able to give all my awesome Red Daisy Gals yearly raises and continue meeting and helping customers find unique and treasured gifts.

My vision is to go global! Franchise Red Daisy! Make it a household name! Have a Red Daisy reality show! Anything is possible... I just need to find time to vacuum the shop!

You can catch Tracy and her menagerie of new and old at Red Daisy
Mondays through Saturdays, 10am-6pm or Sundays 12pm-5pm
For more info, visit their Facebook page here or call (904) 339-0137

Jam-packed with things cute beyond comprehension, it’s no wonder why KYDS Children’s Boutique has remained consistently busy since opening its doors.

Within seconds of walking through the giant, green doors, you’re immediately consumed by adorable-- teeny-tiny outfits for baby, funky styles for tweens and blankets so cuddly, you’d want to buy one for yourself. Forget about walking out empty handed; it’s nearly impossible.

All of these great things coupled together made the decision to acquire the business an easy one for twins Rachel and Melody. When the opportunity to buy arose, they grabbed the baton and ran. The fact that they had no prior experience as business owners didn’t matter-- they were going to make it work.

To get to know the two bubbly blondes better, we asked them a few questions about what goes into taking over a business:

Before taking over KYDS, the two of you were professional tennis players. Does your professional athletic background benefit you as business owners?
To succeed as a pro athlete, we had to be committed to never give up, to keep our eye on our goal of being the best we could be no matter what. We embraced the understanding that success does not come easy—but failure was not an option. We also could not listen to those who told us we could NOT become professional athletes- and focused on HOW best to do so.  These lessons we learned during our tennis careers prepared us for what we needed to do as business owners. In our tennis careers, we succeeded by constantly focusing on seeing what could be accomplished….and now, as business owners, we are focusing on the unlimited possibilities of success.  Also, when we started tennis, we knew nothing about how to become professional athletes. But, we knew that through constant study and discipline we could do so.  This is exactly our approach as business owners.  We know that with perpetual learning and discipline we will reach our goals ---as we will not give up.

What was the most challenging part about taking over a preexisting business?
We knew we had to ensure that the customer base and stellar reputation developed by the former owner was maintained.  However, we also wanted to make necessary improvements to create a fresh, new and contemporary venue. Our biggest challenge was how best to introduce our own vision for the business without compromising the integrity or diminishing the value of operations of the former owner.

On your journey as new business owners, what has been the best advice you’ve received?
To learn and grow one day at a time.  To pray for wisdom and understanding and embrace the advice of multiple counselors.  To recognize that change is good and to realize when change is best.  To constantly study and learn how to improve business operations and customer enthusiasm.

People always talk about the unbreakable bond twins share. How does that play into being business partners?
We know each other better than anyone else.  Therefore, we do not have to go through a learning process of how to get along.  We are keenly aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and understand best how to accomplish any task. We encourage and support each other without fear of condemnation and judgment. We know that with every conflict, we will always work things out for the best of our business as we are together forever.  We can always count on each other in any situation.

What has been the most rewarding part of operating a business in the Beaches Town Center?
It is a charming and trendy shopping experience for customers in this beachside venue.  The energetic atmosphere and camaraderie between shop owners creates a unique dynamic of fun and support. It is especially rewarding to operate a business that offers an alternative, more personalized relationship with customers than can be experienced in a large retail environment.

When you think about KYDS’ future, what is your vision? What can we expect?
We want to explore ways to better serve the unique needs of our customers with fresh new lines and brands of quality merchandise. We are also exploring possibilities of creating new experiences for our clients with new services and new types of merchandise beyond clothing and accessories.
We are excited in knowing in our hearts the best is yet to come as we seek to be the best for our customers.

If you’re looking for the hottest trends in youth fashion, or maybe you just want advice on how to perfect your tennis technique, make sure you stop in to KYDS and say hi.

10am-6pm Monday through Saturday.
12pm-5pm on Sundays
Call (904) 595-5092 or visit

Hurricane Irma has caused much devastation across the state of Florida, including the destruction of Dance Trance’s San Marco studio on September 10th.

The studio was submerged in 3-5 feet of water and was considered a total loss and will thousands of dollars and months to get it back up and running on its feet. The money collected will go towards bills and damages of what the storm claimed.

Jay and Beth Handline, the creators and owners of Dance Trance and beloved staples of the Beaches Town Center community, have sunk every penny into creating the studio and dance fitness program as a whole.

If you are able, we hope you’ll consider a donation to help re-open the studio’s doors, but to also help the Handline’s keep the program in operation for many Jacksonville students.

In addition, the Dance Trance Neptune Beach studio will be selling tops for $10 and pants for $20 in the DT shop to help raise funds. The shop will be open during class hours.

For more information, visit their YouCaring page here

For a dance class schedules and DT Neptune Beach shop hours, visit here:

Kim Rogers wasn’t always immersed in the world of retail.

Originally a restaurant owner in St. Louis, it was a desire to return to Jacksonville that drove her to sell the business and move to Neptune Beach. And through a happenstance business venture proposed by friends, she dove headfirst into the challenge of buying with no prior experience.

The product of this partnership, of course, was Bali Cargo Company- a tiny slice of exotic locale stowed stateside that you could visit without the expensive plane ticket. Behind its doors lays a business that beautifully blends the rich, ornate culture of Bali with the laidback, chill lifestyle of Neptune Beach.

To get a feel for how the gears behind this cool business work, we chatted with Rogers’ about bringing Bali to the Beaches Town Center, the art of buying and more:

How did you become interested in the world of Bali and its incredible culture?
Before Bali Cargo Co., I had only visited Thailand a few times so my knowledge of Asia was very limited.  My business partners traveled to Bali for a surfing trip and upon returning were ready to begin the import business. They approached me and I gave myself a crash course in the business of retail and importing!

The pieces you purchase are products of the “cottage style” industry- meaning they’re made in homes or small, communal workshops. How do you go about communicating with these communities of artisans?
When I first traveled to Bali I would wake up at the crack of dawn, shop all day, return late to the hotel, eat, sleep and repeat! I noticed other buyers sitting with store owners enjoying coffee, relaxing and chatting… I would think to myself “how in the world do they have time for that?” Now, after 10 years and over 20 trips to Bali I am able to enjoy that Bali coffee.
The buying process has become a bit easier although always a challenge, just a bit more relaxed. Contacts come through communication. Both the Balinese and other buyers have shared contacts with me. The goal is to keep lasting relationships with the families so that they will work with me on my designs and ideas to keep our product fresh and current.

When you started, did you ever worry that an American audience might not “get” certain design aspects of the Balinese culture and aesthetic? Why do you think your store has translated so well?
Bali is truly an international marketplace. People from all over the world travel there and the Indonesians are very open to new ideas. If I have an idea for a carving, they can make me a sample within minutes. I sit with business owners and design jewelry for hours. Their adaptability in the marketplace is the key to their longevity. Some of their traditional crafts don’t always translate but because of their business savvy we can take a traditional design and make it contemporary with a few tweaks here and there.

What, for you, is the most rewarding part of owning such a unique business?
You can ask any small business owner and they will give you the same answer when it comes to the benefits of owning your own business. Flexibility, creating jobs and using your creative juices everyday in everyway  - but in my case throw in a few trips to Bali and you have the best job ever!

You can pick up a piece of Bali at 200 First Street in the Beaches Town Center.
Mon–Sat. 9am-8pm
Sun 9am-7pm
Call (904) 270-2254
Or shop online at

For the past year, Mother and Daughter duo Michele and Whit have kept Beaches Town Center stocked with Southern, salty home and entertaining goodness at Sailors Siren.

Nestled in a cozy loft off of 1st Street, the space is a visual treat— bright, warm and exploding with color. Tables topped with beautiful book spreads dot the room, while the shelves display things like delicate dishes and cards with cheeky sayings. It’s a one-stop shop for everything entertaining-- a hostess’ haven, for sure.

If you’re unfamiliar with this bubbly, bright pair of boss babes, read on— to
celebrate their brick-and-mortar’s One Year Anniversary at BTC (and to get to know them a little better) we picked their brains on some different topics:

The North Beaches Art Walk got its start in 2007 when Beaches art-industry professionals JoAnne Adams, Alice Gartland and Linda Stewart came together in hopes of recreating the popular art walk atmosphere of Downtown.

Through their nurturing and dedication, the event has grown considerably since its infancy. And on every third Thursday of the month, the streets of the Beaches Town Center erupt with creativity.

What was once a small pool of carefully selected artists has now become a bubbling ocean of art, a place where woodworkers comingle with jewelry designers and musicians play into the night. Welcoming to locals and out of towners alike, to say it’s a communal event would be putting it lightly; it’s an experience.

Now, ten years later, the ArtWalk is gearing up to celebrate with a special anniversary bash.

This upcoming Third Thursday, October 19th, attendees will be in for a treat with a performing acrobat team, as well as a caricature artist and two exciting raffles. In addition, a nonprofit team will be launching a campaign to help people understand how valuable teachers are to the Jacksonville community. Adults and children will be able to make art themselves, as they’ll be encouraged to create a visual representation of their favorite teacher.

Tell me about your business:
Red Daisy has been in business for 9 years at The Beaches Town Center. We are a boutique gift shop that combines vintage items with new merchandise.

How long have your participated and why have you continued to support NBAW?
Red Daisy has participated in NBAW for every one of those 9 years!

How does it benefit your business?
We've said it so many times it sounds like a broken record—“Wow, we had so many people in the shop tonight that had never been to a NBAW." So naturally, we love having all the new customers in our shop every month.

How do you see it benefiting the community?
Events that promote local artisans and businesses can only help. Money spent at these events goes right back into the helping the community it comes from!

As business owner, are you happy with the growth and direction the NBAW has taken in the last 10 years?
As a business owner, I love that the artists rotate their "spots" every 3 months. It gets the people actually "walking” around the Artwalk -- seeing the artists and the businesses that monetarily support the ArtWalk.

What do you want us to know about the NBAW?
ArtWalk is more than artists setting up their wares on the street; it's an organized, highly thought out event that takes hours of preparation. There are security issues, insurance issues, safety issues-- a whole myriad of things that make ArtWalk what it is. And it takes a lot of volunteers to keep it going!

Favorite artist, memory, or part of NBAW?
My favorite part of ArtWalk is that it is a juried event of extremely talented artists. So many street fairs will allow anyone to purchase a booth to sell their crafts. NBAW isn’t like that-- the diversity is what keeps the people coming. And the fact that the brick and mortar shops that are here year ‘round keeping the BTC a viable community for all makes for a well rounded and balanced event. Something for everybody—food, fun, art and shopping!

Tell me about your work/medium:
I am a jewelry designer, and use natural gemstones and sterling to create my pieces.  I try to find the most stunning stone colors and cuts to mix and create one-of-a-kind pieces that my customers view as treasures.
How long have your participated and why have you continued to show for (almost 10 years) at NBAW?  
I’ve been with the ArtWalk since its very first day. My first table was set up at the Sun Dog Diner. I was invited to show at the establishment by Curtis and Kim Winter. I still owe them a gratitude for helping me with my start. I love the sense of community that we have in Beaches Town Center. It has always been a great place for supporting the arts and improving the social experience. The Artwalk draws a large crowd each month, and everyone is in great spirits. It has been a pleasure to participate for these past ten years.
How does NBAW differ from other Art Shows you have been involved with?
North Beaches Art Walk has a very special feel to it because of its location.  The Beaches Town Center is the heart of the area, and full of life all year long.  The Artwalk is just an extension of that feeling and a part of the beating heart.  I feel lucky to be a part of the organization for so long.  I volunteer to help out in any way that I can.
As an artist, are you happy with the growth and direction the NBAW has taken in the last 10 years?
As an artist, I am very happy with the direction the North Beach Art Walk is headed.  In today’s age, digital networking and marketing are all the rage and the fact that our Director makes frequent posts on Instagram and Facebook is a huge plus.  As a non-profit organization, there is a very miniscule budget for advertising and most of the money brought in serves to pay the insurance for the event, and operating costs.   In this way, the use of social media creates a great opportunity for inexpensive advertising.  I believe it helps boost our attendance and also promote the venues that support our event.  It is a win/win for all involved.
What do you want people to know about NBAW?
The NBAW is always evolving and new artists come to join all the time.  I want the crowd to know that we are always trying to keep it fresh and updated.  Any support for our event is always welcome.  It is a volunteer based organization and we welcome help and participation from the community.  We often get help from students at Fletcher, in fact.  We are currently seeking business sponsors who might like to help us make this event the best it can be.
Favorite artist, memory or part of NBAW?
I think that one of my favorite things about Artwalk is that people get so creative, not just the artists, but the crowd.  We have had people walking around with costumes, we’ve had acrobats, we have had dogs in costume.  This is just an example of the festive spirit that the event evokes.  It really brings out the best in everyone.

A little bit about your business:
In 1973, when I was just 17 years old, I opened my store in the Beaches Town Center. Next to Pete’s Bar, my store is the oldest business here. I specialize in creating custom, one-of-a-kind pieces all by hand. Nothing I make can be reproduced or created by a computer.

How long have you participated in the North Beaches Art Walk? Why do you continue to support the event?
I was an avid supporter of the North Beaches Art Walk from the get-go. My main reason for supporting was to drive traffic into our community and to help it thrive. I continue to support it in hopes that it will grow and nurture art.

How do you see it benefitting the community?
ArtWalk is great for drawing in a clientele that appreciates and supports the arts, in turn bringing more creativity to the community.

As a business owner, are you happy with the growth and direction the NBAW has taken in the last 10 years?
I appreciate with the ArtWalk is and what it has accomplished, but I do believe it has room to grow and improve. Keeping the show juried is an important part, as well as remaining selective.

Favorite artist, memory or part of NBAW?
I always got a kick out of seeing my various customers’ wears, such as Judy Pino’s paintings or Smitty and Jennie Smith’s photo coasters.

Tell us about your business in BTC and your background:
I have been the owner of First Street Gallery for 12 years now. Before being in charge, I was a participating artist that sold in the store when it opened its doors in 2000.

Whose idea was it to start the NBAW and why?
ArtWalk came to be when myself, Alice Gartland and Linda Stewart came together in 2007. We wanted to create an artistic atmosphere in our own backyard, much like the scene that was already thriving downtown.

How did it benefit your business?
When ArtWalk began, we saw an influx of people that had never been to the Beaches Town Center before. It was a great tool for bringing people in and exposing them to our businesses.

How did you see it benefitting the community?
ArtWalk was the perfect opportunity for giving a chance to local artists a chance and a platform to showcase what they can do.

BTC went through various location changes, from the Adel Grage Center to where it is now. Was that a challenge to orchestrate between so many businesses?
To put it mildly—it was a challenge, yes. It took a while for people to get into it and participate. And then there were a few that never got into it at all.
Looking back, what would you have done differently in the start-up phase?
Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. I’m extremely happy with how successful it was and continues to be!

Are you happy with the growth and direction NBAW has taken in the past 10 years?
I think ArtWalk has become one of the premier destinations at the beach for a nice family evening—it’s just good, clean fun that benefits the community and those that live in it.

Favorite artist, memory or part of NBAW?
One of my favorite parts about ArtWalk was participating in the party planning for our anniversary celebrations—they were always such a good time!

Following a 9 month renovation of the historic Palms Inn, the owners behind Hotel Palms are hoping their private courtyard and patio space becomes an event venue for locals to use for happy hours, birthday parties, family reunions, trunk shows, weddings, rehearsal dinners, etc. The space, which fits 125 people, is complete with an outdoor fireplace, access to the hotel's beer and wine lounge, and wooden rocking chairs. Click Here To Visit Their Website.

Stevan Brown
(904) 226-8782

100% Natural, Vegan, Cruelty-free—what more could you want? Saavy Naturals are experts in handcrafted beauty, so you know their new Bay Rum & Hemp scent has to be good. A classic scent for men, but great for women too, this scent is packed with amino acids and nutrients to deeply nourish hair and skin. Score this yummy scent in a few different forms: soap bars, bath salts, body cream, bath bombs, salt scrubs, body wash, shampoo and conditioner.

Stop in and shop their store in the Beaches Town Center today!

This spring, the Beaches Town Center Agency issued a friendly contest to all BTC employees: make a 3-5 minute video of the do’s and don’ts of employee parking that was both creative and entertaining.

After much outstanding work and effort, the winning video was selected and the amazing team at Peterbrooke took the prize! As winners, the team split $500 and will receive VIP parking for one month.

Watch their incredible video.

Sliders has a new K9 for Warriors puppy namesake!


K9's for Warriors

Sponsored by the Fletcher High School Interact club. Sliders Seafood Grille has hosted five fundraisers for K9's for Warriors which has raised $50,000. This cute 8-month-old Black Lab is our namesake SLIDER. An owner-surrender, Slider is now being fostered by our very own staff member Samantha Epstein!
Luckily Slider is now also the subject of her new blog, Sliding into Service. In it, she chronicles both the journey of this special pup to becoming a service dog and her own discoveries about the unique and challenging process. Keep up with his AND her progress at and sharing it with your followers!

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