Our Team


 

Colleen Kaney Smith

Founder

Meeting Colleen (Co) Smith feels a lot like coming home. Her smile, positivity and demeanor are genuine through and through as reflected in every nook, cranny and nuance of Cohen’s Retreat.

A retired educator with a passion for creative endeavors, Co’s present-day job description is to promote peace, harmony and creative growth in the conceptual development of Cohen’s Retreat.

Who wouldn’t want that every day?

Co’s role at Cohen’s Retreat is a sentimental one, as she has fond memories as a child visiting the residents when the estate was known as “The Cohen’s Old Man’s Retreat”. She remembers the quirky characters and the intriguing life stories they told her under the oak trees on the orange benches, which continue to grace the campus today.

In 2012, when the estate became available for sale, Co and her husband, Sidney (affectionately known as her real-life Prince Charming) purchased it and today’s modernized version of Cohen’s Retreat was born. With a desire to continue the legacy of Percy Cohen, one of Savannah’s generous philanthropists, the main building still bears his name as a respectful tribute to the past. Moving into the future, Co’s vision for Cohen’s Retreat is the creation of an eclectic destination capturing the spirit of the South with fabulous food, unique shopping, charming cottages and memorable celebrations of each and every day.

Outside of Cohen’s, Co is a proud mama duck of three grown children, Bo, Kaney and Gracie; mama duck-in-law to Gabby; and grand-mama duck to Bonnie and Hazel.

Chances are, when you visit Cohen’s, you will undoubtedly bump into Co bustling about while you meander the halls, break bread with friends and browse the Brown Dog Market. But even if you don’t see her, you will feel the presence of the very heart and soul of this enchanting lady and her beloved Cohen’s Retreat.

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Will Herrington

Executive Chef

While working in kitchens throughout college, Chef Will Herrington decided instead of getting a traditional bachelor’s degree in business that culinary school felt more like home. It didn’t take long to confirm he made the right choice. Chef Will went on to complete an apprenticeship through The Gaylord in Nashville and from there worked throughout Georgia, Tennessee and Florida before returning to his Savannah home. His passion is the food he grew up eating: Low Country fare. Chef Will appreciates the fact that while most areas aren’t able to grow fresh produce year-round, here he has access to a 12-month bounty of local goods, and works with area farmers and fishermen with great regularity. Self-described as “not a big over-doer” Chef Will is very in tune with the essentials of cooking yet still likes to experiment with new ingredients and techniques to keep the menu at Cohen’s sprinkled with mouth-watering surprises. As Chef Will puts it, “It’s good food, it’s just – good, that’s what we emphasize. We’re heavily based on ingredients within a 75-mile radius so when you leave, you’ll know what Savannah cuisine is all about.” As the epicurean master of Cohen’s Retreat, Chef Will oversees all menus – including Saturday Brunch and special-events catering. No matter the occasion, when you’re in front of Chef Will’s creations, be assured, you’re about to taste the very best of Southern staples (and you’ll want to come back for more).

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Gabby Ballance

Director of Special Events & Cottage Rentals

When she’s not keeping up with her two young daughters, Bonnie and Hazel, in the park, or cheering on Clemson football (while husband Bo, roots for the Georgia Bulldogs), you will find Gabby Ballance happily planning pitch-perfect events at Cohen’s Retreat.

A 2010 graduate of Presbyterian College, where she was an art major, Gabby has been with Cohen’s Retreat since the beginning in 2012 and is your go-to gal for festive celebrations and Cohen’s cottage rentals. From a full-blown wedding (bachelor and bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception), to bridal and baby showers, milestone birthday parties, retirement parties, company gatherings and more (so much more!), Gabby will help you plan everything – tables, chairs, flowers, décor, food – believe us, she’s the expert you need to help your event at Cohen’s Retreat come together fantastically! Gabby considers it her personal mission to ensure all guests make the most of the ‘retreat’ that is Cohen’s Retreat, after all, it’s her family’s business.

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Lindsay Morin

Director of Retail Services

May 2014 marked a milestone time in the life of Lindsay Morin in more ways than one. That’s when she graduated from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising and also when she was first hired by Cohen’s Retreat (which, at the time, had only been open to the public for three months). She’s done a little bit of everything in her time at Cohen’s, from working in the Brown Dog Market to serving as interior design assistant with Curry & Co (look at our artists’ listing for more on them), as well as creating one of Cohen’s first websites, overseeing social media, and her latest endeavor, launching Cohen’s monogram shop. Thankfully, she draws plenty of inspiration from the creativity that surrounds her at Cohen’s and it shows in every artist’s installation and pop-up shop she masterfully orchestrates. Outside of work, her loves include her boyfriend, Tyler, miniature dachshund, Bennett and reenergizing herself with sun-kissed ocean breezes at the beach. In case you hadn’t guessed, Lindsay is a multi-talented, multi-faceted asset to our Cohen’s team (and the genius behind that just-right item waiting for you in the Brown Dog Market…we can’t wait for you to see it)

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Sean Goggin

Pitmaster

When it comes to job titles that rank high on the cool-factor scale, no doubt ‘Pitmaster’ has to be up there! Especially when that Pitmaster is Sean Goggin. A first-generation American born of English parents, Sean graduated from Mercer University with a B.A. in Psychology and then took the most logical next step: returning to his past experience of working in kitchens. “Hey, it was 2010,” he quipped, “what else was there to do?” He moved to Savannah on a whim and got a job at a local farm-to-table restaurant that sparked an interest in all things grilled. Over the years, his grill work morphed into a fascination with BBQ, which eventually led him to Cohen’s Retreat where he is now in charge of the BBQ program and all things restaurant related. Today, his real passion is wood-fired BBQ “while still getting a little weird” he added, just to keep things interesting. When he’s not manning the cooker, Sean spends as much time with his family as possible and though his roots may be English, Sean is happy to say he now loves the Low Country for the water, abundance of local foods and its people. Come taste his BBQ and you’re gonna’ love Sean right back!

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