Story and Song, Indie Bookstore, Opening in Fernandina

You’ll find the new bookstore located in the heart of the island at 1430 Park Avenue in Amelia Park’s commercial district (former home of Artistic Florist, and before that, KP’s Restaurant.)

A general interest indie bookstore, “Story & Song” will offer nearly 10,000 new books for all ages with a variety of interests, the best selection of unique greeting cards in Nassau County, fun toys, and gifts for the reading lifestyle.

You’ll discover books, music, art, wine, coffee, and fresh food in a lively, friendly space – making Story & Song a favorite destination for friends and neighbors, especially those who understand the importance of supporting locally-owned businesses.

The peaceful neighborhood setting offers a relaxing, refreshing escape from ‘screen fatigue’ and the busyness of our lives.

Upstairs, “The Second Story for Arts & Creativity” will showcase art books and art by local creators and will be a place to come for programs and performances, story time and discussions. Area book groups and non-profit community groups will now have a mid-island gathering space.

Find them on facebook for the latest details.

Coastal Cottage Opens on Amelia Island


Pictured above from left to right are Melody Dawkins, Regan Westra, Dan Westra and Doug Oliver.

Coastal Cottage, Amelia Island’s new home furnishings, gifts and framing store, which is located in the Publix Shopping Center next to Staples, opened on November 22 once final inspections were completed that morning. Obviously, that was a sad date for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department as well as the entire county.
oliver-and-leeper The store has a horse mascot and had held a contest to name the horse that ran through the end of November. The winning entry, submitted by Melody Dawkins, was selected; and the nearly life-sized teak driftwood horse was named Oliver, in memory of Deputy Eric Oliver.  

On the night of the store’s grand opening in mid-December, the name was announced and a donation from the employees of Coastal Cottage was made to Deputy Oliver’s trust fund for his young daughter.

Sheriff Bill Leeper offered comments about Deputy Oliver and Deputy Oliver’s father, Doug Oliver, was in attendance for the naming of the horse at the ribbon cutting. Pictured with Oliver is Sheriff Bill Leeper.

Coastal Cottage is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 to 6:00 and the owners, Regan and Dan Westra, welcome you to come browse the store! 

Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner & Awards Gala

AMELIA ISLAND – Twenty-seven member organizations have been nominated for 2016 Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce Businesses of the Year awards, while 15 individuals were nominated for 2016 Customer Service Professional of the Year, Business Leader of the Year, and Young Business Leader of the Year awards.

The awards will be presented during the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner & Awards Gala on Friday, January 6, 2016, at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. In addition, the 2016 Chairman’s and Board of Director’s awards will be presented as will the Harry Halley Bowtie Award, which is bestowed annually on a longtime Chamber of Commerce supporter.

New this year is the Healthy Business Award, established to recognize a company which provides healthy workplace programs within their company and Leadership Nassau Outstanding Alumni Award presented by the Leadership Nassau Alumni Association.

Nominations are made by Chamber members and the community. Winners are selected by the Board of Directors, including a select nominating committee.

According to Donald Stamets, 2016 Chairman of the Board, “We are delighted with the number of nominees this year, many of which were submitted by customers. These award nominations are evidence of the commitment each one has to our community, business environment and the Chamber of Commerce.”

The 2016 nominees are:

Large Business of the Year (25 employees or more)
Day Spring Senior Living
Osprey Village
Publix Super Market #1406 (Yulee)
The Salty Pelican Bar & Grill
Quality Health of Fernandina Beach

Medium Business of the Year (11-25 employees)
Amelia River Cruises & Charters
Coastal Pizza
Magna’s – A Full Body Salon
Speakeasy Vaporium
The Palace Saloon

Small Business of the Year (10 or fewer employees)
Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen
P5 Productions
Precision Chiropractic
Publix Super Market Pharmacy #1406 (Yulee)
Select Tronix, Inc.
Shapiro Insurance Group

Nonprofit of the Year
Amelia Island Montessori School
Barnabas Center, Inc.
Family Support Services of North Florida
Micah’s Place
Nassau Alcohol Crime and Drug Abatement Coalition

Green Business of the Year
A1A Solar Contracting, Inc.
Color It Green
Fort Clinch State Park
Kayak Amelia
Select Tronix, Inc.
White Oak Conservation Holding, LLC

Customer Service Professional of the Year
Destiny Bramstedt, Select Tronix, Inc.
Shelby Burnsed, Precision Chiropractic
James Hiser, Speakeasy Vaporium
Ray Harrington, First Coast Payments
Lisa Leugers, John T. Ferreira Insurance

Young Business Leader of the Year
Kalia Eckers, The Palace Saloon
Dallas Hempstead, Northwestern Mutual
Dr. Kevin Lin, Precision Chiropractic
Carl Lindsey Jr., Select Tronix, Inc.
Dr. Jonathan Williams, Amelia Express Care

Business Leader of the Year
Kerrie Albert, Nassau Alcohol Crime and Drug Abatement
Lynda Dahl, Imetry, Inc.
Jason Hambrecht, Construction Solutions Inc. and Speakeasy Vaporium
Ron Heymann, Davis Capital Management
Gianna Suarez, Go Yoga Amelia Island

Mission Statement
The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based association of Nassau County businesses, professional leaders and individuals working together to provide leadership which will aggressively promote and defend responsible economic growth, employment opportunities, government and excellence in education and quality of life.

Responsible Beverage Server Training For Bartenders, Servers and Cashiers

Are you or your employees in the hospitality business? Do you operate a liquor or package store? Then this is important training for you and/or your employees and it’s FREE!

This two-hour course helps to develop practical ways retail establishments can prevent sales to minors and intoxicated persons.

The training is sponsored by the Nassau Alcohol Crime Drug Abatement Coalition (NACDAC) and the Fernandina Beach Police Department. Classes will be held at the Fernandina Beach Police Department Community Room, 1525 Lime Street, Fernandina Beach.

Two different training times are available for owners, managers, and employees of bars and restaurants on January 24; choose from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

For owners, managers, and employees of package stores and/or gas stations, training is being offered on January 25; choose from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please call (904) 994-2502.

To register, contact Suzanne Bass, Fernandina Beach Police Department at (904) 277-7342 ext. 224 or email to ensure availability for the scheduled training dates.

Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Opens The Lobby Bar Christmas Eve

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island hopes you will experience The Lobby Bar inspired by bourbon legends, featuring small batch spirits and craft cocktails. Theater and cocktail craft meld together with personal tableside infusions and lite bites, including freshly prepared sushi, sashimi and specialty rolls.

The Lobby Bar is open daily at 12 p.m. – a cocktail experience like no other.

Experience First Call when The Lobby Bar mixologist introduces the day’s small batch, house-infused spirit. The First Call infusion is available as craft cocktail until that day’s spirit is sold out.

Reserve the Legends Table, a private banquette with a personalized cocktail menu that includes a small batch tasting flight, signature cocktail, sushi presentation and rare spirits.

Request the Reserve Menu including the exclusive Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Advance reservations are required through Leisure Reservations, 904-277-1087.

Their sushi chefs prepare delectable sushi, sashimi and artful sushi rolls made with the freshest seafood available. House specialties include the Amelia roll with shrimp tempura and spicy tuna and lobster and scallop crudo.

Celebrate the New Year with a Gatsby themed party on New Year’s Eve in The Lobby Bar. Experience infused drinks, artful cocktails and the sushi bar. The night includes a DJ, complimentary champagne toast, party favors and fireworks. Dress in Gatsby-style clothing and enter the costume contest.

No cover charge, reservations not required.

On January 28th, Amelia Island’s Restaurant Week concludes with A Bourbon Affair event at The Lobby Bar. Sample small batch and house-infused bourbons and craft-cocktails while enjoying small plates from our fresh sushi and sashimi menu. The evening includes select wines and hors d’oeuvres, plus presentations from visiting mixologists, cigar roller and a glassblower with live demonstrations.

For reservations call 904-277-1087.

End your evening at The Lobby Bar for after dinner specialty drinks, house-made desserts, fine ports and cigars.

Salted Caramel Martini, a decadent martini with Absolut Vanilla, silky White Chocolate Godiva and salted caramel syrup. Espresso Martini, a combination of vanilla infused vodka, White Chocolate Godiva, espresso and Baileys Irish Cream blend together to create the perfect dessert martini.

You will find a variety of cordials that include everything from Hennessy to Louis XIII de Remy Martin to Baileys and Grand Marnier. Enjoy an after dinner port from a selection including Graham’s 1980, Cockburn’s Reserve and Warre’s 1985.

The Lobby Bar offers a variety of fine cigars; their selection includes: The Classic Churchill, a medium bodied cigar with a light, creamy and nutty flavor. The Davidoff Millenium Blend Toro, a full flavored cigar with notes of chocolate, caramel and a little spice.

If you’ve worked up an appetite, The Lobby Bar offers sushi and sashimi until 10 p.m

Hickox Now President of Florida Property Appraisers

Nassau County, FL – Property Appraiser A. Michael Hickox has been elected by his peers to serve as the President of the Florida Association of Property Appraiser’s.

The Florida Association of Property Appraiser’s (FAPA) is a statewide professional organization composed of locally elected, constitutionally authorized Property Appraisers. The mission of FAPA is to actively work with the Florida Legislature by providing technical assistance and advice in drafting ad valorem legislation affecting Florida citizens and property appraiser’s offices.

Hickox, took the position last month and is ready for the challenges ahead. “My goal is to ensure that property tax policies will benefit citizens throughout the state. Our organization will do this by effectively advocating for residential and commercial property owners.”

Hickox previously served as the organizations President-Elect and Legislative Committee Chairman where he met with legislators regarding proposed policies affecting property valuation and property tax exemptions.

A message to Small Business Owners from ScaleUp North Florida

Please note the ScaleUp North Florida 2017 application is open. Click HERE for the online link.

ScaleUp North Florida is an entrepreneurial growth program that is hosted by UNF and is fully funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. They help entrepreneurs increase sales, hire additional people, get government contracts, increase profitability and get access to the money they need to grow their businesses.

They’ve been doing this for two years and have graduated over 75 people from the program so far.

They accept up to 50 small businesses a year. The owners go through 24 hours of education and a business health assessment that gives them an action plan for their growth. Then, they connect each entrepreneur with a consultant from the Small Business Development Center at UNF who they work with closely to help them achieve their goals. The SBDC, also hosted by UNF, is also fully funded by the SBA and has been in business for over 30 years. They have a lot of experience!

The program is totally free to the participants but there are a set of qualifications they must meet. They must have been in business for a minimum of 2 years, have annual revenues of between $150,000 and $500,000 and be interested in growing. The next class will be selected in December of this year and start in January 2017.

For more information contact:
Yvonne Katzman
Administrative Assistant
ScaleUp North Florida
1225 West Beaver Street, Suite 116
Jacksonville, FL 32204
Phone (904) 265-0750, ext. 4011

Local Company Waxhead Energy Bars to be Sold at Omni AIP

Amelia Island, FL – Amelia Island’s Waxhead Sun Defense Company announced a retail agreement with the island’s premier luxury hotel, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, to offer resort guests Waxhead sun defense energy bars at various locations throughout the property, including the Omni’s Marché Burette market and deli, its state-of-the-art health and fitness facilities, and its nationally ranked tennis resort. Read more

New Vendors Want to Meet You at Fernandina’s Farmers Market

New Vendors Want to Meet You at Fernandina's Farmers MarketOpen every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the farmers market in downtown Fernandina Beach strives to bring you the best in organic, natural or homemade products, and we are thrilled to introduce you to some of our newest vendors at the Market Place including a bath and beauty products display, a goat soap vendor, a lemonade stand, a palm tree exhibit, and a new dog treat vendor.

One of our newest exhibitors is Aubrey’s Essentials. Aubrey specializes in personal bath and beauty products. Her most popular item is a lavender Stress Relief Bath Bomb. Designed to create a pleasant fizzing sensation as it dissolves in the tub, these bombs release essential oils in the water to soften and color your bath, while a fresh fragrance lingers in the air. Another popular item is her Black Magic Teeth Whitener. This all natural product contains coconut oil, activated charcoal, baking soda, and peppermint oil. This product is magic, and it is black, so don’t let that catch you off guard when first applied. She also has products for kids including a bath bomb with a surprise inside, and playful dissolving bath dough.

Soap-Crafters, a goat soap and lotion booth, has been with the Market Place for several weeks now and owners Adam and Rosalee add shea butter and avocado butter to all of their products. Their best sellers are their lotions in a variety of scents including grapefruit, honey almond, coconut, cucumber melon, blackberry and pineapple. Goat milk has lactic acid which naturally removes dead skin, and the added vitamin A moisturizes and replenishes skin. Soap-Crafters now offer their lotions in a new, 3 ounce travel size for carry-on convenience when you fly.

Another new vendor is Nesha, and her company Bark and Bake, a gourmet dog treat company. Nesha makes peanut better doggie donuts, and brownies (made with carob powder). Her treats made with fresh parsley, mint, and a calming lavender, are great for eliminating “doggie breath”. Other tasty specialties include cornmeal and ground oats shaped into seagulls, surfboards, tropical fish, dog bones, palm trees and more. The mini peanut butter and carrot cupcakes seem to be of particular interest to pups perusing the farmers market. (Well behaved, leashed pets are always welcome.)

lemon-sensations-july2016When you enter the farmers market from Centre Street, in historic Fernandina Beach, you will notice a new lemonade stand run by Team Lee, a brother and sister team who are happy to serve up a large, 32 ounce cup of fresh lemonade.

We invite you to join us as we welcome these new vendors, and say, “Hello”, to the other farmers market exhibitors you’ve come to know like Savannah Oatmeal, Blue Planet Organic, and Bacon Select Produce, who have brought back their seedless cucumbers.

Music this Saturday is provided by Spanish Guitarist Dennis Fermin, who will bring musical passion and romance from Spain and the Caribbean Islands, to Amelia Island. All American Gutter, our Market Place Sponsor, will be on-hand with a demonstration and to answer your questions.

We are open on July 16, 2016, rain or shine. For more information, or to learn more about becoming a vendor, please call Joe at (904) 557-8229.

Edward Jones Financial Advisor Brian Henning Wins Spirit of Partnership Award

Brian Henning of the financial services firm Edward Jones in Fernandina Beach/Yulee recently won the firm’s exclusive Spirit of Partnership Award for outstanding performance during 2015.

Jim Weddle, the firm’s managing partner, calls Henning a leader in the firm and an example of what a dedicated Edward Jones financial advisor can achieve.

“Brian has demonstrated unyielding dedication and enthusiasm for his business of serving individual investors,” Weddle said. “Brian has reached a benchmark in his career that deserves recognition, and the Spirit of Partnership Award provides that recognition. I am proud to call him an Edward Jones financial advisor.”

Henning said he is honored to receive the award.

“Edward Jones is a partnership. That structure is not just financial, it’s a philosophy,” Henning said. “We work together, help each other and all share in the rewards of working with long-term individual investors. That brings out the best in everyone.”

Henning was one of only 1,108 financial advisors out of the firm’s more than 14,000 to receive the award.

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company, provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm’s business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm’s 14,000-plus financial advisors work directly with nearly 7 million clients. Edward Jones, which ranked No. 10 on FORTUNE magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2016, is headquartered in St. Louis. The Edward Jones website is located at, and its recruiting website is Member SIPC.

What’s the Word on Fireworks in Florida?

What's the Law on Fireworks in Fernandina, Amelia Island, or in Florida?Here is a press release from Fernandina Beach Chief of Police James Hurley

As the July 4th holiday approaches many folks have been expressing concern about the annual ritual of backyard (non-permitted) fireworks displays. Suffice to say, if you’re planning a holiday fireworks show, you might want to brush up on Florida’s current fireworks laws. The bottom line is that just because you see it in a store or at a roadside stand doesn’t mean that it is legal to purchase, possess or use!

What Fireworks Are Legal in Florida?
The only fireworks legal for use by consumers who don’t possess a special permit are those that fall into the category known as “sparklers.” This includes items more commonly known as sparklers, fountains, snakes and glow worms. If you’re not sure whether a particular firework is approved for consumer use, the Florida State Fire Marshall publishes a full list of legal sparklers each year.

Can I Buy Other Fireworks?
Well, you can buy other fireworks, but it is illegal to do so. Stores and roadside stands who sell these fireworks are exploiting a loophole that allows them to sell the fireworks for legal, approved uses. When you buy them for your backyard fireworks show, you are breaking the law. And yes, even Roman Candles are illegal in Florida.

What If I Sign a Waiver?
If you try to purchase fireworks (other than sparklers), many stores and roadside stands will often ask you to sign a waiver form. If you read this form carefully, you will notice that you’re stating that you intend to use the fireworks for an approved purchase, such as use on your farm or at your fish hatchery to scare off birds or animals. This lets the store off the hook. If you’re lying to them, that’s your problem, not theirs, in the eyes of the law. The wavier protects the store, not you.

But Everyone Else Is Doing It!
It’s true that lots of people set off illegal fireworks in Florida. Lots of people also speed, jaywalk and break any number of other laws. You will be gambling that you won’t be the person who gets caught.

What Can Happen If I Set Off Fireworks Illegally?
Most importantly, you may be seriously injured or you may injure an innocent bystander or child. In Florida, possession or use of illegal fireworks is classified as a misdemeanor. If you violate this law, you can be arrested. If you are found guilty you can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to a year in prison.

Because of the increasing number of complaints, the potential for serious injury, and the time and cost of cleaning up, the Fernandina Beach Police Department has been tasked with addressing this problem. Please do everyone a favor and limit your fireworks viewing to one of the permitted displays already being planned for the area.

What about Filling the Loophole?
In the next few months the City will consider how best to address this issue, either by City Ordinance or through a state legislative initiative, effectively eliminating the roadside sale of illegal fireworks loophole.

Shop for July 4th Cook-outs at the Local Farmers Market

July-2016-cabbage-creek-farm-fernandina-farmers-mktAre you preparing for the 4th of July holiday? Well, the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market may have just what you need to celebrate Independence Day!

Start out with traditional appetizers such as Deviled Eggs made from farm fresh yard eggs found at booths by Naturals Springs Dairy (ten or 20 count) or Boatright Farms (available in 12 or 18 count packages). Simply Savory Gourmet offers over 40 flavors of easy to mix sweet, savory, or spicy dip packages. Pair one or two of those dips with a variety of freshly harvested vegetables found at any of our seasonal produce vendors and you will have a tasty platter that will delight, and impress, your guests.

If you want to show off why Fernandina Beach is famous for our local, wild caught shrimp, be sure to pre-order yours from Eddie or Debbie Chesser, of Chesser Seafood, at (904) 509-3337 or (904) 485-6853. This booth will sell out before 11:00 a.m.

Perhaps a steaming tray of homemade hot wings tempts your taste buds? Check out the B and D Hot Sauce Company booth. Danny, the “D” in B and D, has a simple recipe for cooking up 40 wings, with two sticks of butter, and 1/2 of a bottle of their “Hot” smoked bird pepper sauce, or Batch #5 (milder), for delicious wings. If you prefer to grill them, his spice rub is superb. Stop by their booth and Danny will give you the complete recipe.

All summertime picnics need fresh slices of tomatoes and cucumbers and you will find plenty at Kings Kountry Produce, as well as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon. To really impress your picnic partners, get to the market early and ask Tommy King if he has any yellow flesh watermelons. On the outside, this watermelon has a traditional appearance, but when you slice it open the watermelon is yellow – and every bit as tasty as you’d expect.

Finally, your 4th of July isn’t complete without a fresh baked pie. Stop by Me, Myself and Pies, and pick out your favorite savory, creamy, custard, or fruit pie. This week’s specialty is homemade apple pie.

The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., rain or shine, every Saturday.

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