The Hollands were instrumental in the development of the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Bernard operated the local hardware store. In 1909, he with a group of businessmen, filed with the State of Virginia to incorporate the town of Virginia Beach. Bernard was also the Mayor of the City of Virginia Beach, twice, in 1909 and 1914. Emily operated the first lending library in Bernard’s hardware store. The library later expanded to the first free standing library operated by Emily Johns whose husband operated Johns Brothers Heating and Cooling. That library building now stands on the grounds of the de Witt Cottage. Emily also operated the dry goods section of the hardware store—she was quite the salesperson!