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Book Spotlight: The New Pioneers

Posted on Sep 01, 2017 in The New Pioneers , Sundog Books , September-October 2017 , Beach Read

Written by award-winning editor and journalist J.P. Faber, “The New Pioneers” is the story of American entrepreneurs — millennials, immigrants, artists and beyond — working around obstacles to create wealth and revive cities across the nation. It’s an optimistic look at how we can best use local and national resources to simultaneously rebuild cities and jump-start our country’s small business economy — and Seaside, Fla., is prominently featured in the book as an example of that pioneer spirit and community growth.

Faber focuses on the positive, sustained growth of Seaside, with emphasis on “the economics of slow” alongside small and green living.


Ask Robert Davis why he created Seaside, and he will tell you that it was to re-create the summer vacations of his childhood, when his parents would take him and his siblings down to the Alabama coast to stay in seaside cottages. It was a place where the world was palpable, where you walked and ran and swam and got covered in sand and salty water.


“We started with a shrimp shack,” says Davis. “It was a kind of a roadside attraction, since there was nothing for miles in either direction. We served boiled shrimp and cold beer. And when people stopped and asked what we were up to, I used it as an opportunity to tell the story of Seaside. Because that’s all we had to sell at that point, the story of the community that we were going to build.”


Like the Seaside retailers who began in small spaces and gradually grew larger, the building of homes in Seaside proceeded incrementally, one piece at a time. It was almost as if the community began as a sketch, slowly coloring itself in.


It is the successional nature of Seaside that is most exemplary of lean principles. It is a foundation for both the intricate, organic nature of the build out and for the economic model that made it possible despite lean beginnings. It is a concept that Davis calls “patient capital.”


“The New Pioneers” (hardcover) is $24.95 and is available at Sundog Books in Seaside.

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