Meet the female business owners of Freshfields Village

March 5, 2024

Highlighting local female retailers in celebration of International Women’s Day

Freshfields Village, an open-air shopping and dining destination located on Kiawah Island, is celebrating female business owners in The Village community in honor of International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, 2024. Each of these women whose remarkable strength, entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering dedication have not only crafted a vibrant shopping and customer service experience, but also have significantly contributed to fostering community growth, nurturing local economies, and creating inclusive spaces where all can flourish.

“Nearly half of our 34 local retail partners in the Village are women business owners,” says Catherine Bickford, Director of Leasing at EDENS, owner and operator of Freshfields Village. “Their contributions are not just about business success, they’re a strong narrative of women’s empowerment and we are lucky and proud to have them as part of our community.”

Meet six of the female-owned businesses that are making an impact at Freshfields:

Bea Shaffer of Café Eugenia (pictured): Shaffer’s love of the South has been a cornerstone of her business, infusing local flavors and traditions into her café’s offerings. Through her successful catering avenue, she embodies how rooting a business in the community and extending cuisine beyond her four café walls, creates a sense of belonging and gathering amongst locals in Charleston.

Nancy Whitmore of Holly & Brooks: Having been in business for a successful ten years, Whitmore has developed deep connections within Freshfields Village and has created an environment where women can feel empowered through a selection of curated clothing. Exemplified by developing partnerships with other local business owners like Charleston Shoe Co. and The Co-Op, Whitmore brings partnership and support to the community and customers.

Grace Cribbin of Aubergine Home Collection: From Ireland to Freshfields Village, Grace’s journey is a powerful narrative of entrepreneurship fueled by passion and resilience. Since 1988, her boutique, Aubergine Home Collection, reflects a unique style that infuses her coastal heritage into her home décor and lifestyle store offerings. Cribbin is dedicated to bringing the best access to Kiawah customers’ fingertips, curating a library full of fabric and wallpaper swatches from some of the top names in interior design.

Jaki DiGeronimo of Java Java: A local through and through, DiGeronimo’s contributions to the community go beyond the morning cup of coffee. Java Java has become a gathering spot, promoting local artists and serving as a platform for community events such as The Village’s beloved Cars & Coffee monthly car show. The story of her café is one of local pride, serving beans that are locally sourced from King Bean Coffee Roasters in Charleston.

Dr. Christie Wiles of Salt Marsh Animal Hospital: Making her way to Freshfields in 2021, Dr. Wiles’ dedication to animal well-being in The Village and beyond shows a commitment not only to her profession, but also to her community. Since opening her clinic, she has participated as a judge for the dog costume contest at Freshfields’ annual Dogtoberfest. Just last year she treated 1,300 pets, showcasing her unwavering commitment to fostering pet wellness and relationships between clients and furry family members.

Erica Hanks of Showroom: Since 2021, Hanks has revolutionized the shopping experience in Freshfields Village with Showroom Kiawah, introducing high-end fashion and personal styling to cater to the modern woman’s diverse needs. By leveraging her esteemed background and connections in the fashion industry, Erica is not just bringing luxury brands closer to home, but is also creating a personal and immersive shopping experience in the Lowcountry.

In addition to these six female business owners, there are ten other empowering female business leaders among Freshfields’ retailers: Staci Lantz of Imagine Home, Linda Malcolm of Indigo Books, Audrey Myers of Indigo Health, Avery Smith of Islands Mercantile, Martha Kong of Kiawah Nail Studio, Mariam Gulistan of Luminary, Glenda LaRue of Palmetto Scent Studio, Gabrielle Egan of Peyton William Jewelry, Kay Stanley of Spartina 449, and Sandra Lempesis of Urban Nirvana.

Freshfields Village serves as a central gathering place where community, retail and activity meet, and is proud to highlight the significant impact women-owned businesses have on the Charleston community. The leadership and dedication of these 16 women inspire a legacy of empowerment while they pave the way for future generations, champion community values, and embody the spirit of International Women’s Day.

For more information about Freshfields Village, retailers and community events, please visit



Freshfields Village is an open-air shopping and dining destination, ideally located at the crossroads of Kiawah, Seabrook, and Johns Islands, just 30 minutes from historic downtown Charleston. From casual and fine dining to salons and services, Freshfields has much to offer those visiting and those who call Charleston “home.” The sidewalks are lined with both local shops, high-end boutiques and regional and national retailers featuring over 30 unique shops and 11 dining experiences. The Village is bookended by luxury hotel, Andell Inn, and the beautiful Kiawah Island lowcountry landscape. Follow Freshfields Village on social media (Facebook: @FreshfieldsVillage; Instagram @FreshfieldsVillage) for upcoming events, itineraries, and more.


EDENS’ purpose is to enrich community through human engagement. The company owns, develops and stewards a leading real estate portfolio of more than 100 open-air retail and mixed-use places in high-growth markets coast to coast. Through intentional design, thoughtful curation and meaningful engagement, EDENS’ places reach an estimated 15 million people daily.