For those of you who have never met Brian and Sassy Henry, they are the sort of people who instantly make everyone feel at ease around them. Their success, both personal and professional, is inspiring, as well as their determination to make their community a better place for everyone.
This past November, Brian was elected mayor of the small town of Pawleys Island and immediately took office. When I asked him what he hoped to accomplish during his two-year term, he said, “I believe Pawleys Island was headed in a direction that could possibly change the town over the next ten years. I couldn’t sit on the sidelines and hope for the best – it is too important to so many people to preserve this island. There have been some subtle changes over the past 30-40 years, and we hope to hold fundamental changes at bay.” Brian went on, obviously passionate about the future of the beautiful island. “Financially, Pawleys Island is facing debt from the much needed beach renourishment currently underway. I hope to help provide oversight and fiscal responsibility to keep our town solvent.”
Sassy supports her husband and business partner in his new role. “When he was asked to consider throwing his hat in the ring, I knew he was the right man for the job.” Sassy is also involved in the town’s future through her place on the Pawleys Island A-tax committee, and they are each other’s sounding board. “We help each other process, improve and make plans for the future,” Sassy said.
Originally from Atlanta, Brian and Sassy moved to Pawleys Island in 2002 with their two young daughters, May May and Camille, to take over as Innkeepers of the iconic Sea View Inn. The years of hard work and dedication to their customers and employees have paid off. Sassy’s skill as a soux chef and Brian’s marketing genius led to the creation of Palmetto Cheese, a delicious pimento cheese now available in grocery stores throughout the United States. They also opened Get Carried Away, a takeout restaurant featuring some of the mouth-watering food served to guests of the Sea View Inn and eventually expanded the business to include catering. The couple also partnered with artist, Susan Albright, to create Happy Places, a design company featuring unique, colorful art incorporated into home and clothing items.
“It wasn’t an easy journey,” Brian told me with a laugh. “But I remember driving across the South Causeway one morning and thinking, ‘What an adventure it is to be in this beautiful place.’”
Sassy continued, saying, “Our friends in Atlanta couldn’t believe we took such a huge leap moving here, but today they are so happy we did.”
“From the beginning, we didn’t sit on the sidelines,” Brian said, remembering the early years. “We became involved in Lowcountry Day School, organizing fundraisers, helping raise funds for the school as well as other organizations we support. Here, we discovered we could make a real difference – it was empowering and eye opening – we’ve never looked back.”
The couple is almost always together – working, planning, and raising their children. Sassy believes their move brought them closer. “We had to depend on each other when we were working so hard to build our lives here. And now we are closer than ever and have very few disagreements. We just decided to move on and enjoy life – together.”
Brian and Sassy are definitely living their best life. With both girls now away at college, the couple has more time to devote to themselves and their adopted home. “We have a wonderful group of employees who take pride in helping us move our vision forward. They are more like family than employees,” Brian said with pride, and Sassy voiced her agreement, saying, “Because of their dedication, we have more time to devote to helping everyone in our community live their best life.”