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TROUP trends LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce

February 2015

Harvey Thornton:

Blue Ribbon Entrepreneur www.lagrangechamber.com 1

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TROUP trends

February 2015 VOLUME II, ISSUE I A publication of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce 111 Bull St./P.O. Box 636 LaGrange, GA 30241 (706) 884-8671 www.lagrangechamber.com EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Libby Willingham, Chair Mallory Agency

Eric Blackman, Chair-Elect Emory at LaGrange Grey Bell, Secretary/Treasurer J.K. Boatwright & Co. Robby Burch, Immediate Past Chair Interface Page Estes, President Casey Smith, Vice Chair for Leadership Development LaGrange Banking Company Cliff Meeks, Vice Chair for Business & Entrepreneurial Development Georgia Department of Labor Chunk Newman, Vice Chair for Talent Recruitment Batson-Cook Company Richard Ennis, Vice Chair for Membership New York Life

4 | A Letter from the President

30 | Horace King and Sons

6 | Harvey Thornton: Every Dog has his Day

31 | LaGrange Walking Tour App

10 | Movers, Shakers, Risk-Takers 12 | Tourism Talk 14 | Don't Let the Tax Tail Wag the Dog

32 | Business Spotlight – Striffler Hamby Mortuary 34 | Nonprofit Spotlight – Lafayette Society for Performing Arts 36 | Spotlight on West Point

JJ Kuerzi, Vice Chair for Travel & Tourism Troup County Parks and Recreation

16 | Be Hard. Be Strong. Be Ready.

38 | Spotlight on Hogansville

Patricia Rogers, Vice Chair for Marketing & Communications West Georgia Health

18 | Meet our Chairman

40 | Chamber Ribbon Cuttings

19 | 2014 Annual Report

41 | HYPE

23 | Nonprofits Making a Difference

42 | Step Back to Step Forward

26 | 10,000 Steps

44 | Upcoming Events

Cheryl Magby, West Point Business Council City of West Point

27 | A Word with our Commission Chairman

46 | Advertiser Index

This publication is produced by the LaGrangeTroup County Chamber of Commerce. Reproduction in whole or part of this publication without express written permission is prohibited. All claims, materials and photos furnished or used are, to the publisher's knowledge, true and correct. Publication of any article or advertisement is not an endorsement by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.

28 | Youth Leadership Program Provides First Step to Success

Gayle Devereaux, Hogansville Business Council Blue Train Books Joanne Mabrey, West Point Business Council Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc.

Troup Trends is published quarterly by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. Please send news items, suggestions, advertising requests and comments to: Trey Wood Director of Communications P.O. Box 636 • LaGrange, GA 30241 trey@lagrangechamber.com

On the Cover Local entrepreneur Harvey Thornton owns Ashley's Diner on Union Street and Teaching, Loving, Caring, Learning Daycare on Depot Street. He is also a champion beagle trainer, shown checking the stance of his American Rabbit Hound Association Hall of Famer Shiloh's White Sox.

www.lagrangechamber.com 3

From the President


ear friends: 39. Thirty-nine is a great age, especially to those of us that have reached that milestone! We still have the energy to pour into our companies, businesses, schools and organizations, but we’re old enough to have acquired some expertise and judgment to make wiser decisions. Being 39 has its advantages. We’ve lived a lot of history. We can claim to have perspective. While we are still hopeful to have new experiences and new opportunities, we are also at the point that we’ve been around long enough to know that some things do not need to change. At 39, we should know who we are and where we’re going. We still have time to make a difference. Last month, our Chamber gathered to celebrate our 104th year. It was a special morning when we celebrated the accomplishments of our volunteers under the visionary leadership of Chairman Robby Burch. Be sure to review our milestones on pages 19-22 and congratulate our award winners! Robby passed the gavel to Chairman Libby Willingham who has been a stalwart Chamber champion for more than 20 years and who has an aggressive program of work for us to accomplish this year. Learn more about Libby on page 18. Our speaker, Bill Graham, challenged us to harness the wisdom, the passion and the generous spirit of our community. And he told us a story about the late Martin Luther King Jr. As I was listening to Bill and studying the faces of those in attendance, I had one of those uneasy feelings. You know the kind—when your heart races and your stomach flutters. My mother and I just had a conversation about the movie Selma and her experiences growing up in a racially divided South. We had just observed the MLK Day holiday. And it hit me. He was 39 when he was killed. What would Dr. King think about our community if he visited us today? I know he would be proud of the accomplishments of noted African-American entrepreneurs like Harvey Thornton (pages 6-8) and future leaders such as KeShun Freeman (pages 28-29). He taught us that the more diverse our population, the more vigorous our area will be culturally, creatively and economically. I think he would be pleased to see the diversity of ideas that are showcased throughout the magazine. But I also hope he would be patient as we still strive to fulfill parts of his dream. Just before Bill spoke, Annie Greene, Troup County’s beloved and world-renowned yarn artist, surprised me by presenting the Chamber with an exquisite piece of her work. It depicts LaFayette Square from our view at the Chamber. The water is flowing, the sun is shining and the sky is bright blue. Mrs. Greene created the work in memory of her sister and longtime Chamber volunteer, Ida Florine Tarver Jones. It is the perfect representation of our organization and our community. The individual strands of yarn are all different in color and texture. Strategically arranged on a canvas, they unite to form a masterpiece. There is much work to be done in 2015, and I invite you to experience the journey with us as we make Troup County an even better place to work, live and raise a family. As we lead our businesses, let’s remember Dr. King’s words: “We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade ... and the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. ... Don’t give it up. ... Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.” Warm regards,

Page Estes, President LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce pestes@lagrangechamber.com 4 February 2015

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Cover Story

EVERY DOG has his



By Trey Wood

ocal business owner and champion beagle trainer Harvey Thornton splits his time between being the entrepreneur behind Ashley's Diner and Teaching, Loving, Caring, Learning Daycare; being the father of two daughters and three stepsons, and training 22 dogs to properly hunt rabbits. He has won most every trophy there is to be won in the American Rabbit Hound Association for progressive pack, and he has no plans of stopping. He has more dogs to train, more trophies to win and more customers to serve.

6 February 2015

"It’s how much you want to put into anything. You have to work hard at it and be mindful of your environment."

Harvey Thornton


hen Harvey Thornton goes to the woods, he means it. The business owner and beagle trainer likes to spend his free time on a piece of hunting ground off Smokey Road, on the eastern side of Interstate 185. He hops in his Nissan pickup and heads out from his home on Hammett Road with six of his 22 dogs loaded up in a custom kennel in the bed. Thornton takes the long way down Hood Road, one of the last dirt roads in Troup County, to show all the different places his family has called home over the years. When he arrives, he unlocks the roped entrance and travels deep into a clearing. He opens the kennel, and the beagles – some young and some old – know exactly what to do. They run off and search for rabbit trails. They latch onto scents, markings, whatever they can find and begin howling to call the rest of the pack. “Yeah, they know what to do,” Thornton said. The spry 72 year old knows the capabilities of each of his dogs. When the young ones need a little more training, he sends them off with some of the older dogs so they can keep up. They learn all the ins and outs of rabbit trailing from their predecessors, who were all given their skills from their owner. Thornton has been training beagles since he was 16 years old, but he’s been working with dogs since he began hunting with his father at 6. “I was raised as a country boy, raised on Hood Road right off Big Springs Road. I’m the son of the late Harvey Thornton and Mammie Stinson Thornton,” he said. “I’ve been living in Troup County my whole life. It was a family of eight of us, three boys and five girls.” He received his first beagle from a man at Georgia Power who asked him to run the dog during the summer to get him in shape. The dog had been hunting all night and caused the dog to perform poorly when the owner went to check on his progress the next day, so “He gave him to me, and I’ve had beagles ever since,” he said. Not only just an owner, Thornton is a renowned trainer of beagles,

winning more than 600 trophies in progressive pack competitions across the United States. He’s entered several into the American Rabbit Hound Association’s Hall of Fame: Thornton’s Ashley, named after his daughter; Shiloh’s White Sox, and May’s Lady. White Sox earned the U.S. Championship, and Lady was named the AHRA Hound of the Year in 2013. “I guess it was around 2013, I had won everything they had to be won in progressive pack,” he said. His love of beagles carries over into everything he does. Inside Ashley’s Diner at 206 Union St. in LaGrange, he has a collection of some of his favorite trophies on display. He has a large number of first- and second-place trophies in a shed behind his house, and everything else he’s won he either let the dog clubs keep or he gave to his children and grandchildren. “My wife said I needed to do something with them,” he said with a laugh, so he decided displaying them in the restaurant named after his daughter was a great place. Ashley’s Diner first opened in 2002 after Thornton left Pike Electric after almost 35 years as a master lineman following working with Troup EMC, then Diverse Power. It wasn’t his first business, however. Thornton opened Teaching, Loving, Caring, Learning Daycare at 411 Depot St. in 1995. He and his wife, Thomasina, bought the property attached to the daycare center and discussed opening a farmer’s market. The diner is what materialized. “I said we might need to focus on something else, so we did the daycare center. This will be our 20th year (with the daycare),” Thornton said. “We purchased this property right here, and I had some thoughts about having a little farmer’s market. Then I thought about it and said I think I’d rather have a restaurant. In 2002, that’s what I went into. “We did well up until the economy went flat. That was back in 2007, going on 2008. Then we just closed it down and rented it out for different events, up until we started back up in September of last year.” Training 22 beagles to hunt rabbits www.lagrangechamber.com 7

Cover Story Top left, Thornton meets with two patrons at Ashley's Diner; bottom left, Thornton's collection of trophies in his shed, and below, Thornton walks the woods with one of his beagles.

is a full-time job in itself, along with regular cleanings and outdoor time. Add in being father to five children, grandfather to 17 grandchildren, great-grandfather to several great-grandchildren and owner of two separate businesses as well as a few rental houses, and Thornton is nothing less than a master of time management. “It’s how much you want to put into anything. You have to work hard at it and be mindful of your environment. Make sure you associate yourself with the right type of people, first of all. When you do that, most of it is just trust in God that He’s going to see you through,” he said. “That foundation, right there – if you don’t have that foundation, you’ll be in the wrong path.” “You have to have people you can trust and have people willing to work. That way, in the long run, you’ll come out successful.” His success is well earned. Having the fortitude to open a restaurant, close it, and then reopen it a few years later is dedication. It wasn’t an easy decision, however. It comes back to the work he was willing to put into it. “I built this building, I did most of the work myself, and I just put too much sweat in here for it to just sit and do nothing,” he said about the diner. “It was doing a little something, but it wasn’t doing enough. The economy started picking up, so I tried again." “You don’t want to see it go down; you want to put all the effort in it you can to make it work. I have faith that it’s going to be better this time; it’s just going to be a matter of time.” Tasting the sweetness of the collard greens or the spice of Chef Ed’s jerk chicken is proof enough he’s making it work. The restaurant serves up a variety of delicious 8 February 2015

Southern food, from cornbread to meatloaf. The daycare has grown to the point where Thornton has added onto the building three times, giving it the capacity of teaching and caring for 170 children. To care for and feed 22 dogs, Thornton is willing to do what’s necessary, and it can be, to say the least, hectic. That’s why he loves the wilderness, loves letting his dogs run through the wooded pines of eastern Troup County. It’s where he can relax and let it all go. “I enjoy it. I love to carry six or seven of them and just sit down on my little stool and watch them run and listen to them. That’s how I relax. That’s where I relax at right there, because in business and trials and things, it’s not always easy, by no means. It’s the effort you’ve got to be willing to put in,” he said, “so for relaxation, I grab them dogs. We go to the woods, and I sit down and just enjoy that. That’s what I do.”

Trey Wood is the Director of Communications for the Chamber and serves to provide print and online support to members. Reach him at trey@lagrangechamber.com.

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MOVERS, SHAKERS, RISK-TAKERS honored 381 hospitals across the nation by measuring patient safety outcomes in 14 areas.

Vernon Woods Retirement Community was recently recognized by Grace Management Inc. for the highest customer satisfaction scores for 2014. Residents and family members were surveyed in areas based on assisted living service and quality. Receiving the award were Vernon Woods Wellness Department associates Chasity Boyd, Cindy Cook, Cheryl Messer, Theresa Harper, Shelley Haynes, Jan Phipps and Shanna Hill.

Jim McLaughlin was named the 2014 Code Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Troup County Board of Commissioners. McLaughlin also serves as vice chairman of the Keep Troup Beautiful Board of Directors. Tim Ellen, a New York Life agent in LaGrange, has earned membership as a Qualifying and Life Member in the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) for 2014, for the 19th year. Achieving membership requires superior professional knowledge, experience and client service. MDRT membership represents the top life insurance and financial service professionals worldwide. 10 February 2015

A 2WR of Georgia Inc. project, the Harris County Community Center, was featured in the December 2014 national publication, Metal Architecture. The magazine features the AIA-Georgia Award-winning project in its "Top Honors" article. The community center also received the Citation award during the Georgia Design Awards held at the in Atlanta. An Affair to Remember recently was selected as a 2015 winner of The Knot Best of Weddings, an award representing the highest-rated wedding professionals as reviewed by real couples, their families and wedding guests on The Knot. In 2015, only 2 percent of the 250,000 local wedding professionals listed on TheKnot.com have received this distinguished accolade. West Georgia Health is one of only eight hospitals in Georgia to earn the Healthgrades 2014 Patient Safety Excellence Award™, a distinction that places it within the top 10 percent of all hospitals nationwide for its performance in safeguarding patients from serious, potentially preventable complications during their hospital stays. West Georgia Health actually placed even higher by earning a spot in the top 5 percent of hospitals for the second consecutive year. The 2014 Healthgrades award

DanRic Homes was awarded the Builder of Choice™ award for demonstrating excellence in managing their trade and supplier relationships. To receive the award, builders needed to reach an average score on the trade contractor feedback surveys of at least 90 percent across 68 criteria that have been sub-divided into 10 categories based on their trade and supplier relationships across all levels of their organization. West Georgia Technical College named Ashley Wilson, a Radiologic Technology student on the LaGrange Campus, as its 2015 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership winner and LaGrange Campus Biology instructor Dr. David Wortham as its Rick Perkins Award winner. GOAL is a statewide program of the Technical College System of Georgia which honors excellence in academics and leadership among the state’s technical college students. The Rick Perkins Award is designed to recognize and honor technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership. Amber Bullard and Judy Thomason joined Coldwell Banker Spinks Brown Durand Realtors realtors' team. Curves of LaGrange welcomed trainer Kay Scarbrough to their group. Tracy Gynther, RN, BSN, has been named West Georgia Health’s Director of Nursing. In her new position, she is responsible for the administrative leadership and oversight of all nursing care services, which includes coordinating patient care services and programs.

Providing Residents with: • Family Self Sufficiency • After School Care with the West Georgia STAR Program • Affordable Housing The Housing Authority of the City of LaGrange, Georgia has been providing income based housing for Troup County and the surrounding area since 1953. Led by our Executive Director, ZsaZsa Heard, we are focused on providing safe, sustainable housing for families in need.

We are accepting applications Monday through Thursday.

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www.lagrangechamber.com 11

Tourism Talk

Sport Tourism Hits a Grand Slam by Dave Marler


port tourism has a positive financial impact that reaches across the retail, dining, lodging and shopping segments of our local economy. And while there are winners on the field, our community is always champion when these tourists come to town. Nearly every weekend, from March through November, hundreds of baseball, softball or tennis players, along with their family and friends, converge on Troup County to participate in tournament play. During 2014, there were 29 events with an average of 1,048 participants and 2,671 supporters per week. The total economic impact was $6,098,400 or an average of $225,867 per event. To help you and your business be prepared for our visitors, the tourism bureau will be sending regular e-mail updates with details on each tournament. If you’re interested, send a message to dave@ lagrangechamber.com and you will be added to the distribution list. Working together, we all can provide the best experience possible for these important visitors. Help identify the next Tourism Service STAR Customer service is an essential element of any business, especially in the tourism and travel sector. The best front-line employees can create a lasting positive impression for customers and guests that translates into loyalty and return business. Each year, the LaGrange-Troup County Tourism Bureau recognizes one front-line employee in the tourism and travel industry who has truly proven to be a star in his or her 12 February 2015

field. As always, we need your help in identifying this individual through submission of nominations. Any front-line employee in the tourism and travel industry who has exhibited legendary customer service is eligible. Nominees for the Tourism Service Star Award should have shown tremendous initiative, provided remarkable customer service and/or demonstrated a creative approach or

surrendered to Grant seven days prior. Fort Tyler was the last Confederate fort captured by the Union, giving it the distinction, "Last Fort to Fall." March 27-31 – 2015 Georgia Bass Federation Top-Six State Championship More than 300 top anglers from around the state of Georgia will assemble at Pyne Road Park in pursuit of the state championship.

leadership. Nominations must include a letter stating the reasons you are nominating this individual, a biography of the nominee, including the number of years spent in the tourism industry, and letters of support or recommendation if desired. Please submit your nominations to: Tourism Service Star Award, PO Box 636, LaGrange, GA 30241. You may also submit by e-mail to dave@lagrangechamber.com. The nomination deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13. April 18 – Fort Tyler Day On April 16, 1865, Union troops attacked the earthen fort in West Point. Many soldiers lost their lives that day, unaware that Lee had

April 18 – Rod Benders 10th Annual Homecoming Bass Tournament Nearly 200 fishermen are expected for this annual one-day tournament on West Point Lake. Organized by Rod Benders Bass Club of Atlanta Inc., this tournament is part of the club’s effort to stimulate public awareness of bass fishing as a major sport. LaGrange-Troup County Director of Tourism Dave Marler is determined to make Troup County a top travel destination in Georgia. Reach him at dave@lagrangechamber.com.

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Don’t Let the Tax Tail Wag the Dog by Grey Bell


will be the first to admit that paying taxes is not fun. We pay a lot in taxes no matter what our income levels are, especially when you take into account all the various types of taxes there are. We pay them daily, monthly, annually or as a one-time "exit" tax. Some of the taxes we pay include federal income, state income, FICA, Medicare, property, sales, use, luxury, gas as well as death taxes, when applicable. In essence, they get you coming and going. When you add it all up, it is substantial. But, the thought of not taking advantage of a good opportunity to make money because you are afraid of the potential tax bill is not a sound approach. In other words, don’t let the tax tail wag the dog. While a CPA routinely uses the tax code to the taxpayer’s advantage, helping to mitigate their client’s tax liability and maximize savings wherever possible, in some instances, it is just better to take the money you earned and pay the tax. By doing this, you then can use the remaining funds to save or invest for the future and life’s uncertainties. You might decide to develop wealth by creating other types of tax favored income. You would pay fewer taxes over time with capital gain property versus ordinary income property. Or you might pay down debt to free up cash flows for future uses such as gifting money to future generations. Your strategy can actually help provide the recipients with a head start on creating their own generational wealth. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when it makes sense to act from a tax savings perspective. For example, if you are planning future equipment purchases, you may consider making the purchase a year or two earlier in 14 February 2015

order to negate your upcoming liability, especially if you know that the equipment will eventually be needed to help increase operating efficiency and increase your production outputs. Other examples include selling off some loss stocks at year end in order to offset other gains you may have had, or accelerating deductions and deferring gains wherever possible in order to control your tax brackets from year to year. However, trying to save just a little more in taxes by merely spending money or buying deductions at the end of the year – actions you would not normally take – is not sound tax or financial planning. Spending a dollar just to keep from paying a 35-cent tax bill is not a good approach when you could have just paid the bill and kept 65 cents in your pocket. Remember, tax planning is extremely important, especially in today's world of a la carte taxes, but it is just one piece of the financial puzzle. If you have a chance to make money, take advantage of it, and by all means, try and minimize the tax burden wherever possible. But don’t let taxes be the only branch in the decision tree hindering you from executing a good financial plan. Always remember, in the world of tax and financial planning, it is always better to be proactive versus reactive. So don’t be afraid to seek advice before you make a financial decision as the results are sometimes not always what they seem. Grey Bell is a CPA and manager of J.K. Boatwright & Co. He specializes in tax planning and return preparation for corporations and individuals. Reach him at grey.bell@boatwrightcpa.com.


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Small Business Development

Be Hard. Be Strong. Be Ready. T

by Mark Lupo

he story goes that a U.S. Army Ranger unit was conducting a night operation over the skies of Central America. This particular unit had, as its mission, to parachute into a hostile drop zone and retake an airfield from enemy forces. The only illumination in a military night jump are red lights marking that the plane has not reached the drop zone. The sound of the engines of the C-130 are almost deafening as the jump doors are opened. As the Ranger leader took his place, looking out at a night sky now being illuminated by the tracers arching their

would be worthy to be considered in the year ahead. As we look toward the opportunities and challenges that face us in the coming year, my thought to each of you reading this article is, “Be hard.” Not hard with a coldness of spirit but with a hardness of integrity, finding that place inside each of us that comes with a clarity of purpose and mission not easily broken or swayed. We have seen the accounts – both from our fellow business owners and from our own experiences – of the situations that some of us will encounter as we go forward to build our businesses. The

way to the sound of the plane, the door light went green, signaling the time to exit the plane into the fray below. The Ranger leader turned to his men and in a booming voice, yelled to them, “Be hard, Rangers. Be hard!” and then jumped, leading his men into the darkness. In 2010, I began a 13-month course of training to become certified as a law enforcement officer in Alabama, graduating from the academy in mid-2011. As part of my role in the class, I gave a short talk to the graduates and about our training experiences and thoughts on how we should approach future challenges we would face. The theme of my talk originated from that story of the Ranger team jumping into Central America. The takeaways from that talk are applicable to the challenges and threats that each of us, especially business owners, face today and

temptation to cut corners – to unethically conduct business because it is the easy way – will always be there. When we find ourselves there in those difficult, frightening and really tough situations, where we are unsure which way to go, always remember, “Be hard!” Second, be strong. As human beings, as individuals, as business owners, we must build and develop an internal strength of our physical bodies as well as our emotions and faith. There are times that owning a business can be a lonely pursuit, where the weight of the decisions we have made in the past, and those facing us in the future, rest heavy on our shoulders. Many of us have been, and will continue to be, faced with challenging situations that, for some, will be some of the most difficult life has to offer and some of the most painful to encounter. There will be

16 February 2015

times where we will question where the humanity is in this situation. Be strong in those times. Be strong emotionally, be strong physically, be strong in your faith. “Be strong!” And finally, be ready. As we know, there is tendency to think that each day will proceed like the one before it, that those we encounter in our daily life will respond to us as we would respond to them. With each new week, there is a news report of violence, the overwhelming challenges that mother nature can bring and the unexpected turns that the future holds. Whether it is the eighth time you have had to close up your shop late, to the third call from an irate customer, to weather reports streaming in about the upcoming cold front approaching, be ready. We never know when that one instance will be the one where we are called on to make a split-second, life or death decision. “Be ready!” Some years back, my wife and I traveled to Kentucky up I-75. There is a small town just south of Lexington by the name of Corbin. We detoured to a side road, 25 West, which used to be the major thoroughfare prior to the interstate system being built, and located a small restaurant there. I am reminded of this quote, written by someone who, at the magical age of 65, had an idea for a business and developed a successful, profitable company. It is titled, “The Easy Way.” “It is comparatively easy to prosper by trickery, the violation of confidence, oppression of the weak, sharp practices, cutting corners – all of those methods that we are so quick to attribute and condone as business shrewdness.

It is difficult to prosper by the keeping of promises, the deliverance of value in goods, in services and in deeds – and in the meeting of so called shrewdness with sound might and good ethics." "The easy way is efficacious and speedy – the hard way arduous and long. But, as the clock ticks, the easy way becomes harder and the hard way becomes easier. And as the calendar records the years, it becomes increasingly evident that the easy way rests hazardously upon shifting sands whereas the hard way builds solidly a foundation of confidence that cannot be swept away." "Thus we builded.” This was copied from a plaque placed at the original site in Corbin of the first Sanders Courts and Café, later Kentucky Fried Chicken, penned by Colonel Sanders. As we move into this new year, let us be reminded of the lessons learned by those before us: To be hard in our integrity in the face of uncertainty and danger; to be strong in our physical bodies, our mental and emotional being, and in our faith, and to be ready for the unexpected challenges and opportunities we may face. It has been said that, "Success happens when opportunity and preparedness meet." We can never be sure what is just around the next corner. Let's resolve to be ready. Mark Lupo has been with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Columbus since 2005. Reach him at mlupo@georgiasbdc.org.

Downtown LaGrange Development Authority invites you to discover Splash in Downtown LaGrange Meet Cathy and Sandy Winslow and Splash’s award winning design team. When it comes to Kitchen and Bath design, they are among West Georgia’s best. Stroll into their showroom in the historic Coca-Cola building on Broad Street to inspire your imagination, whether you need an accessory for the home or to create the kitchen or bath of your dreams. Splash honors Downtown LaGrange gift certificates too. DLDA gift certificates can be purchased Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DLDA office, 200 Main St., Suite 1 B. Visit Splash Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 9 to 6. Saturday, 10 to 4.

Find them at Facebook.com/ SplashKitchens 115 Broad St., Suite 103 (706) 884-8803 www.SplashKitchens.com www.lagrangechamber.com 17

2015 Outlook


Meet our Chairman

or Libby Willingham, She has chaired multiple the chairman of the committees and program LaGrange-Troup County divisions before being elected Chamber of Commerce’s Board Chairman at the Chamber’s of Directors, 2015 is going to annual meeting in January. be a great year for growing Willingham sees this the Chamber’s membership, coming year as one for completing ambitious goals and, growth. Utilizing new staff most importantly, having a good brought on by the chamber time doing it. will allow for greater potential “This is a challenge, within chamber programs but I look at it as a learning and technology, and molding experience,” Willingham said. new leaders to pick up the “As we go through this year, I mantles of others will serve the want there to be the structure chamber well through the next and the accomplishments, but generation. we should also have fun doing it. “We have a new People are drawn to fun, and if generation of leaders coming you’re asking people to volunteer up who can add some energy their time, they should enjoy and also carry the Chamber what they’re doing and believe in through to the next level,” she Libby Willingham, chairman of the the work.” said. “There are leadership LTTCOC Board of Directors After she was born in Hawaii, qualities in everyone. We are Willingham’s family located here to help those who want to the northeast area of Troup to get involved find their way County. She attended Rosemont and point them in the right Elementary School and Troup Junior direction, whether it’s helping with High School before being a part of the final Troup High a non-profit, serving on a board, or whatever it might be. School graduating class when it was located at what is now There are many out there who are leaders and don’t realize Whitesville Road Elementary School. they are.” She joined Rick Mallory at the Mallory Agency in 1997, Her wealth of knowledge and inspiration speaks becoming vice president of operations. She credits her boss volumes toward the direction she wants to see the Chamber for allowing her to volunteer her time, but her bedrock is grow. Through strong leadership and membership, her husband, Mike, who “always encourages me when I Willingham sees the sky as the limit for what the group can want to tackle new challenges,” she said with a smile. accomplish. Willingham is no stranger to leadership. She has “What I’d like to bring this year, while looking to our always strived to become a leader in everything she does, goals and strategic plan, is a sense of teamwork and pride from being a first chair trumpet player for the Troup High in accomplishing our goals. And I’d like to make it a fun School Tiger Marching Band in 1986 to joining Leadership year. You have to find the fun, the blessings and the good Troup and serving on that board beginning in 2006. in anything you do.”

The purpose of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce is to facilitate community leadership to create economic prosperity.

There’s never been a more exciting time to live and do business in west central Georgia. Business and community leaders are working together to create momentum and spread the message that LaGrange, Hogansville and West Point are on the rise.

Why the Chamber?

The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber is the leading business advocate in west central Georgia. Our members represent some of the region’s most important and influential entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, small business owners, young professionals, educators and others. As a nationally-accredited five-star chamber with more than 900 dues-paying members, the Chamber keeps one priority at the heart of its operations – meeting and exceeding member expectations.

2015 Goals

• Advance the Region’s Economy: Promote and enhance a vibrant, diverse and sustainable economy. • Improve the Quality of Life: Foster a high ranking quality of life for residents and visitors. • Enhance Member Success: Provide targeted programs that add value, services, opportunities and recognition for our members • Improve Organizational Capacity: Position the organization and the staff for long term success by operating the chamber with excellence, innovation and efficiency.

LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce is committed to this community, and we encourage everyone to get involved. Working together, we all can play a role in making Troup County a great place to be! 18 February 2015

2015 Outlook

14,366 2014 BY THE NUMBERS miles traveled to visit Korean member businesses in April 2014



amount of gifts pledged to date for our capital campaign

visitors to our website (lagrangechamber.com)

81 new members joined the Chamber in 2014

6,700 people attended the LaGrange Powerboat Grand Prix on West Point Lake

2,167 tourists 3,563 attended our breakfasts & major events

stopped in our Visitor’s Center for information about the things to do and see in Troup County


business booths at the annual Resource Troup Expo



staff members that implement our program of work

Troup Trends magazines distributed throughout the business community

water level that the Chamber advocates the USACE should maintain during the winter in West Point Lake

of members of the Chamber at the end of 2014




909 total number

dedicated Chamber board members Rolls and M&M bags 4,200 Tootsie that our diplomats delivered

1,800 holes played during our annual golf tournament



753 members to say

thank you for your membership

movies filmed in Troup County in 2014

That’s 1 incredible year! www.lagrangechamber.com 19

2015 Outlook

BELONG The collaborative spirit of our region allows West Central Georgia to thrive economically. The Chamber’s work is made possible by our members, who are driving our region’s future. Through Chamber events, programs and initiatives, our members have grown their businesses, taken leadership roles in the community, mentored each other and helped Troup County grow and prosper.

Special thanks to our 2014 corporate sponsors!

We welcomed 81 new members in 2014!


2 Big Feet, LLC 2WR of Georgia, Inc. A. Drew Ferguson IV, DMD, PC Adminitor Ambit Energy American Medical Response America’s Mattress Ashley’s Diner Autumn Ridge Apartment Homes Azalea Drive Films LLC Berney Office Solutions Capital City Banc Investments Country Financial Country Financial - Davis & Hosick Craft Master Fine Furniture Divine Bakery, LLC Dry Fall Outfitters F.F. Gleaton Auctioneers FMJ Armory Freeman & Associates, Inc. Girl Power & Emerging Women Good Ol’ Country Buffet Grammy’s Quillows HealthMart Pharmacy of Hogansville Heart of West Georgia, Inc. Highland Marina Resort Hillside Montessori of LaGrange, Inc. Hogansville American Legion, John I. Todd Post 152, Inc. Hogansville Hummingbird Festival Hurst Accounting & Financial Services Inbalance Massage Therapy Industrial Machine Fabrication, Inc. It’s Time to Go Transportation Jaeger, Dennis & Linda Jeffrey W. Brown, Inc. LaGrange Personal Aid Lakeview Capital Partners LLC Liberty Technology Living Hope for Honduras LM Unique Photography Mama Sherry’s Homestyle Buffet 20 February 2015

Maximum Staffing Solution Millennium Vapors, LLC Momma’s Kitchen Nerium Independent Brand Partner Panaprint, Inc. Paxxo, Inc. Pizza Villa Randstad Refresh Me Center for Dental & Facial Rejuvenation Salon & Spa Remodeling Unlimited Serendipity Shoe Junkie Smith Brothers Service Co. Smoke Stop Vape Shop SOS Cleaners South Georgia Vapor Southern Industrials Sales & Service, Inc. Southern Life Insurance Group Sovereign Grace Church of LaGrange St. Marks Episcopal Church Step-Up AV, LLC Stevens & Co. Takco, Inc. The Newnan Times Herald The Sauers Group thINC College & Career Academy Tire Pro, Inc. Tournesol, LLC Troup County Living Troup County News Troup County Republican Party U.S. Renal Care UGA Troup County Extension Weathers Honda Sales West Georgia S.T.A.R. West Point Development Authority Whimzey Wildland Management Services LLC Williamson Auto Parts Wolf Specific Chiropractic



Sewon America, Inc.



2015 Outlook

PROSPER Being a chamber member is about much more than the bottom line of a single company. Together, we are thousands of businesspeople who support our communities by creating jobs, volunteering and fundraising for worthy causes, mentoring our youth and future leaders, and marketing our communities to future businesses and residents. Our strength and success arise from the number and quality of our connections to each other.

In 2014, we celebrated the accomplishments of these members and volunteers. LARGE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR EMS CONSULTANTS, LTD EMS Consultants has been in business in Troup County since 1988. Defying the odds, the business has consistently created new jobs for the region at a time when the unemployment rate was at its highest. The company’s staff grew from 25 employees in 2008 to 91 employees today. They have also created internship opportunities for students at the University of West Georgia, West Georgia Technical College and the Everest Institute—and they’ve hired many of these graduates full-time! As a software developer to the ambulance industry


across the southern and eastern United States, EMS Consultants has a client base of more than 250 ambulance providers.




Rather than continuing to do business the way he had for the previous 30 years, Jerry Cleaveland has evolved his business plan for the past three years and reaped business success. With an aggressive marketing and community relations plan, the firm conducts regular SWOT analysis to establish sales goals and benchmark customer service. With the front desk team member serving as CEO of First Impressions, this year’s winner will continue to excel in customer service satisfaction.


Beginning in a small building just outside of LaGrange in 1963, Mountville Mills currently maintains more than 640,000 square feet in manufacturing plants and employs more than 600 associates, almost 400 of which are employed in LaGrange. Now global, they operate divisions in China, Belgium and Canada. They are the largest manufacturer of rubber-backed mats in North America. Still a family-owned business, the company has been recognized as the top supplier in their industry and as the State of Georgia’s Family-Owned Business of the Year. Truly a “home grown” company that is creating jobs and future opportunities for our local residents, Mountville Mills also creates opportunities for students through their Internal Management Trainee Program.

A relative “newcomer,” locating in Troup County in 2010, Powertech America’s business performance has been stellar. With an over capacity of demand, the company has been able to adapt their production processes to meet that demand and still deliver a quality product on time while creating more than 500 new jobs. They have quietly supported area education and community non-profit organizations through financial and volunteer support, including being one of the first businesses to support the local college and career academy initiative. Their commitment to develop a top quality workforce through individualized staff development plans that recognize each employee through their self-driven skills matrix and career path is impressive.

Dave Murray and the team of The Meridien Companies may be termed “small” in terms of the number of employees, but their business is global. With its headquarters in a historic downtown LaGrange home and sales office located world-wide, this company’s sales doubled in 2013 and are projected to increase 50 percent over last year in 2014. Despite its success, the company states that it is at a crossroads. Reaching its original business plan that centers its brand identity on doing business here in the USA even though they manufacture (continued next page) www.lagrangechamber.com 21

2015 Outlook and sell hospitality products and furnishings around the world. This recipient epitomizes the term “glocalization”—doing business globally but remaining committee to its local team and community.


Jackson Heating and Air is a second generation family-owned business that has introduced new business practices and technologies into a well-established firm. With a 70 percent local market share and sales up 28 percent in 2013, this winner converted fleet vehicles to run on alternative fuels. This conversion saved the company $65,000 last year. Already accomplishing its 5-year business goals established in 2011, this company continues to raise the bar. Moving from the 8th largest product dealer in the state to the 3rd, we’re pleased that this company is named “#1” as our Small Business of the Year winner.


COACH KENNY MOORE Tourism Visionary Award

In 1991, Coach Kenny Moore began an invitation-only high school tennis tournament with 17 participating teams. Today, over 80 teams from all over the State of Georgia play in the “Granger Invitational.” Annually, the two-day tournament brings more than 1500 people to Troup County. Over the past 23 years, Coach Moore’s efforts have brought thousands of tourists and their spending dollars to the community. The Granger Invitational has grown to become the largest invitation only high school tennis tournament in the State of Georgia.

22 February 2015


Tourism Service Star Award As an executive with Georgia Power, John Asbell has harnessed the energy of all the power plants in the state and put them in one body—his! He has served on the tourism advisory committee for three years, attending all of the meetings and always advocating for legendary customer service, relationship building and proof of return on investment with tourism dollars. As chairman of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Fishing Tournament, he raised more than $30,000 in sponsorships and led the 30-member volunteer committee to host a tournament that ESPN2 broadcasted to the world.


Ida Tarver Jones Volunteer of the Year Award

Cliff Meeks of the Georgia Department of Labor was selected the recipient of the 2014 Ida Tarver Jones Volunteer of the Year Award. The Chamber Board created the award in 2013 to remember Mrs. Jones, a servant leader who represented the Chamber throughout Troup County, the nation and the world on her numerous travels. Mrs. Jones’ daughter Traci Jones, sister Annie Greene and brother-in-law Oliver Greene presented the award to Mr. Meeks.


Otto Korth Diplomat of the Year Award

Otto Korth of Re/Max Culpepper was honored for his decades of service as a Chamber Diplomat, a volunteer who represents the organization at events, recruits new members, and visits existing members to thank them for

their membership. The Otto Korth Diplomat of the Year was created by the Chamber Board this year to honor Korth’s service. The inaugural award was presented to Nancy Sue Laminack, Curves of LaGrange.

J. ROY SPINKS Jane Fryer Award

Established in 2009 in honor of the former Chamber President, the Jane Fryer Award is presented annually to a community leader who has gone the extra mile to get involved in programs that benefit the community and who exemplify the dedication, worth ethic and community service that Jane Fryer showed in her 35 years of service to Troup County through her efforts at the Chamber. Patrick Crews, Troup County Commission Chairman, presented the award by illustrating how Spinks served as a great teacher of life lessons. “He regarded public service as an honor and privilege that should never be tarnished by personal gain,” Crews noted. “In his every action, he showed us that we must always take the high road—doing the right thing for the right reason.” Crews added that Spinks was a consensus builder in the community. “Many times those around the table would only have one thing in common and that was their trust in and respect for Roy.” Chamber Board Chairman Robby Burch echoed Crews’ sentiments by saying that “Roy lived by a very simple motto—to put faith, family, the future or this community first and to do business with unquestioned integrity.” Accepting the award in his memory were Spinks’ wife Tracy Spinks, son Patrick Spinks and daughter Jennifer Upshaw.

Nonprofits Making a Difference I

Giving Back

by Sherri Brown

stood in the middle of the lobby, among 500 other conference-goers, absently checking my phone for new emails. I opened one from a name I didn’t recognize. Just a few sentences into the message, I was back in time – nine years ago – in an interview with a woman I’ve never met, but who had a profound affect on me. By the time I finished reading, I fought back tears and was inspired again. It was 2006 and I wrote for LaGrange Daily News. One story had turned into a series about domestic violence in our community. In this story, I told about "Renee,"

When I talked to her years ago, I was impressed by her intelligence and her strength. She broke stereotypes I’d found in myself – believing that somehow women who stayed in a relationship like that could just walk out. I didn’t understand the pull of believing in love, the isolation of a woman in an abusive relationship, the danger in leaving. “Renee” helped me understand that and more. I was thrilled that she had taken the time to find me and update me. And, again, I was reminded that it takes an entire community of support to help people change their lives. While Harmony House was key in providing those

Valerie Williams, a self-described domestic-violence over-comer from Roswell, shares her experience of being shot by her now ex-husband after a domestic dispute during a Harmony House vigil in downtown LaGrange. Photo courtesy of Tyler Jones with the LaGrange Daily News.

although that isn’t her name. She had moved from several states away to Georgia with her husband. He had been abusive, but wanted to make a fresh start, he said. So they moved into a house outside the city limits of LaGrange. It wasn’t long before the new beginning wasn’t new at all. He wouldn’t allow her to work, would disable the car when he was gone so she couldn’t leave with the children. He kept her isolated from other people, gave her no access to money. When he tried to kill her, she called 911. With support from Harmony House and others, she was able to take her children and return to her family in another state. When I talked to her in 2006, she was in the raw stages of healing. Her message last week to me was that she had eventually been successful in that healing. It was terrifying, but she was able to testify against her husband and see him go to jail. She and her children took the steps to move past the trauma. Eventually, she found a man who loved her well.

first resources for Renee and her children, I knew there were also many hours from volunteers, therapists, church members, schoolteachers and more. It took financial resources to help her land on her feet, find a job, find a way to move back home and begin the long and often exhausting way to healing. People can and do change their lives. Whether it’s moving out of poverty, leaving a destructive relationship, or breaking an addiction, they are able to do it. But not alone. Our community has many nonprofit organizations that offer resources, but they can’t do it alone. They all require volunteer support and financial support. And, sometimes, they need to be reminded that it all can make a difference. Sherri Brown is the Director of Circles of Troup County, a high-impact approach to address poverty, and a certified Bridges Out of Poverty trainer. Contact Sherri at sbrown@troupco.org.

www.lagrangechamber.com 23

24 February 2015

www.lagrangechamber.com 25


From left, District 4 Public Health Director Dr. Olugbenga Obasanjo looks on as coding and billing supervisor Beth Crocker uses the walking desk at the clinic site on Gordon Commercial Drive. The department has made active efforts to increase wellness by moving during work rather than sitting.

*Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. *mayoclinic.org 26 February 2015

10,000 Steps T

here is a general belief that 10,000 steps a day is an ideal number of steps for cardiovascular health and fitness, as well as mood and sleep hygiene. Ten thousand steps is a nice, simple figure to remember, and studies have shown that that number of steps a day does contribute to fitness and overall health. When combined with a sensible diet program, these 10,000 steps can also contribute achieving and maintaining ideal body weight. The challenge for most is how to achieve these desired numbers of steps daily given the reality of the sedentary nature of modern life. The same modernity that has condemned us to spending a majority of life staring at a

by Dr. Olugbenga Obasanjo screen has also invented ways to compensate for the lack of movement from this activity. Here at District 4 Public Health, we are constantly exploring all available methods to increase our movement and steps to help improve physical health and relieve any monotony that may threaten to set in. We stop twice a day to move; we have an exercise room in the district office, and many of the health departments in the district and staff are allowed up to 30 minutes a day to use the facilities in the exercise rooms. In furtherance of the districts drive to encourage healthy living, I have exchanged my sitting desk for a walking desk. I walk one mile an hour all day while workingfrom

my desk. At this pace, I am walking at a slow stroll, but at the end of most work days I have walked upward of 6 miles and have taken close to 20,000 steps! I can report so far that the touted effects of walking on mood and sleep are not exaggerated. I am not recommending my walking desk for everyone, but I hope it will encourage recognition of the multiple ways that good health can be achieved, even with the challenges of modern living. Olugbenga O. Obasanjo MD, PhD, MPH, MBA, is the District Health Director for District 4 Public Health. Previously, he served for more than five years on the front lines of public health in Africa. He can be reached at (706) 845-4035.

Local Leader

A Word with the Commission Chairman

While campaigning efforts, the chamber helps for the position of Troup to provide members with County Commission Chair, information they need to grow Patrick Crews ran on a their businesses. platform of continuing Tourism is an important to seek economic segment of our local economy development opportunities, and the chamber works advocating at the highest tirelessly to attract visitors levels for West Point Lake to our community. Whether and ensuring the highest it’s a sport tournament, a possible quality of life bus tour or a family coming for all residents of Troup for a peaceful week on West County. Point Lake, tourists create a Patrick Crews, chairman of the Troup Troup Trends sat down positive economic impact for County Board of Commissioners with Patrick to get his first our hotels, restaurants and impressions on the work attractions, and they contribute ahead and to discuss his goals for the greatly to our tax revenues. continues its transition from a textilecoming year. Troup County would suffer based economy to one focused on Why did you run for County without a strong Chamber of advanced manufacturing and other Commission Chair? Commerce. I look forward to sectors that comprise today’s global My wife Pam and I have lived in continued collaboration with the staff economy. I will work with my fellow Troup County for more than 30 years commissioners to fine tune our economic and board of directors. and we believe strongly in the future How can residents get involved? development plan to ensure that we of our community. We had chances I know that strong, effective are seeking the right kind of business to move elsewhere, but we chose to leadership involves listening to the opportunities, economic growth and jobs remain here to raise our family. Our residents to determine needs and that will be beneficial for all of Troup children are now raising their children County. working to build consensus that here, so I have a vested interest in the benefits all of Troup County. In the How does the Chamber of long term success of Troup County. coming months, I will be holding town Commerce and its membership We are on the verge of exciting growth hall meetings to collect comments contribute to the community? and opportunity, and I wanted to As a former chair of the Chamber of and ideas from citizens across our contribute in any way I can to help community. I want to know what is Commerce, I know the important role continue the positive momentum important to them and their families the chamber can play in many areas. created in the last few years. and how the commission can help. Through their education and advocacy What are your priorities in 2015? I understand the value of allowing qualified staff to complete their duties, so, first and foremost, I want to ensure that county employees have what they need to carry out their daily responsibilities and meet the needs of Growing & Caring for the Next Generation our citizens. I am a long-time advocate for West Point Lake and understand the role it plays in growing the local economy by creating jobs and economic value for our citizens. With James Emery at the lead, we must continue to work with all parties to secure the optimum lake levels needed to maximize the economic impact for all of Troup County. It is very important that Troup County continue to be a desirable place to do business as the county

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Youth Leadership Program Provides First Step to Success


eadership education is an important component of the programs offered by your Chamber of Commerce. The Youth Leadership Program, offered each fall, identifies emerging leaders among upperclassmen from Callaway, LaGrange and Troup high schools as well as LaGrange Academy, Lafayette Christian School and the Troup County Home School Association. Nominated by teachers, administrators or community leaders, selected students participate in an organized program that provides training in the skills necessary to act in leadership capacities. When they complete the program, students are ready to address issues they may face in their personal and academic lives, extracurricular and community activities. One member of the 2012 Youth Leadership Program, KeShun Freeman, has used the skills and experiences he gained as a foundation for his academic and athletic pursuits at the Georgia Institute of Technology. After graduating early in December 2013 from Callaway High

Photo courtesy of Danny Karnik.

School, KeShun enrolled at Georgia Tech in January 2014, getting a head start in the classroom and on the football field. Described by his high school counselor as “a natural and gracious leader,” KeShun credits his youth

leadership experience for helping him make an important decision about his college career. "Being a part of the Youth Leadership Program was very exciting. It gave me a chance to do some things I had never done before," Freeman said. "I placed a big emphasis on teamwork and really tried to make the experience about the others in the program. As time passed, I tried to be very encouraging to others and help others feel comfortable in that environment. I also learned to reach for my goals, and it helped me decide to enroll early at Tech.” Being an early enrollee at Tech allowed KeShun to adapt to the rigorous academic environment while easing into his athletic responsibilities as a member of the Yellow Jacket football team. Now in his fourth semester, KeShun is well on his way to earning his degree. As one might expect, KeShun is just as impressive in the classroom as he is when tracking down opposing running backs or quarterbacks in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He has learned to balance his time by

At top, Georgia Tech freshman and Yellow Jacket defensive end KeShun Freeman. Above, Freeman was named to ESPN's True Freshman All-America Team and USA Today Sport's Freshman All-America team after leading all defensive linemen with 54 tackles, including 37 solo, and leading defense with 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

Photo courtesy of Austin Foote. 28 February 2015

communicating with his professors, taking advantage of tutoring services and finding helpful students who are quick to help out a member of the USA Today Freshman All-American team. While majoring in business administration, KeShun also is pursuing a pre-health minor with the goal of enrolling in medical school. "I want to be a pediatric anesthesiologist. A few years ago, my little brother had some health issues, and we spent a lot of time at (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston). I got to meet many of the doctors and came to admire their work." Not only was KeShun inspired by his brother, he received encouragement from the other young patients. "I realized that if these kids who were very ill could be happy, so can I." Known as one who does his best, whether in the classroom or on the football field, at church or working in the community, KeShun credits his coaches for keeping him grounded while attending Callaway High School.

"They kept me motivated and the community encouraged me to continue doing what I was doing," Freeman said. For many, high expectations may seem to be a burden, but not to KeShun. "It’s a blessing to have people look up to me and have parents ask me to talk to their kids. I am honored, and it keeps me humble to talk with young kids." When he has free time, KeShun is just a big kid at heart as he enjoys playing other sports and watching comedies. He also follows the exploits of his role models, Jeremiah Attaochu, a former player at Georgia Tech and a current member of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, and actor Tyler Perry. "Jeremiah knows the challenges we face here at Tech. He always takes time to talk and encourage me to keep working hard. Tyler Perry is such a funny man, and he is so supportive of others. Whenever I need a laugh, I know I can turn on one of his movies and it always makes me smile." Above all else, KeShun is invested in the future of our youth. Reflecting on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther

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King Jr., KeShun is grateful for Dr. King’s leadership. "His work is paying off. It has made it possible for students of different races to attend great schools and work together." He also has strong words for any detractors, saying, "I think it is shameful to be unappreciative of his efforts." He translates his appreciation of Dr. King into his encouragement for others, saying, "I let kids know to not limit themselves, to branch out into other areas of interest. But most importantly, I urge them to fight for what they believe in. I tell them don’t stop, keep reaching for their goals and turn the doubters into supporters." Inspirational words from an impressive young man. For more than 10 years your chamber has sponsored the Youth Leadership Program, producing a generation of future leaders. KeShun Freeman is just one of many outstanding students who will one day be doing memorable work across our community, ensuring Troup County will continue to stand as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all.

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A Nod to History


Horace King and Sons by Clark Johnson

orace King and his four sons (Washington, Marshal, George and John) were all well-known and respected businessmen and citizens of Troup County. Their cumulative careers in Troup County stretched over 90 years: from 1837 when Horace built the first bridge over the Chattahoochee at West Point until John died in 1926. In addition to bridges, they built schools, churches, factories, public buildings and homes all over LaGrange. Horace King was born a slave in Cheraw, SC, in 1807. He died in LaGrange in 1885, the most venerated architect and respected local builder of the area. Horace was a volunteer in the Creek Indian War of 1836. He was responsible for many major bridges over the Chattahoochee in Troup and other counties, especially Muscogee, and over every major river in the Southeast. He had a hand in the construction of Confederate naval vessels as well. During his long career, Horace lived in several places up and down the Chattahoochee Valley but finally settled with his family in LaGrange about 1872. One son, Marshal, died in 1879 and another, Washington, moved away to make his fortune. The other two, George and John, continued in their father’s footsteps in LaGrange and dominated not only area bridge-building but the construction trade itself until John's death in 1926. They participated in every aspect of life in LaGrange, being contributors to the early cotton mills, active in support of their church and leaders in education. Every building on the east side of LaFayette Square was constructed by Horace or John King. The northern façade of the building across from First Baptist Church on Broad Street is an example of George King’s handiwork as is the southern wing of Smith Hall at LaGrange College. A few homes and churches still survive, too, to attest to this family’s ability. The life story of Horace King has become a romantic icon. Famous, even in his own lifetime, his history

represents the genius and accomplishment of an individual and his sons. It is a classic tale of the “Great American Success Story.” The story is even more remarkable because they were black men who succeeded in the South, before, during and after the War Between the States. Their selection of LaGrange, where race relations were better than most any other place, North or South, was part of their success, but their own genius, business acumen and productivity helped them break racial barriers in business and society. Honor came to Horace King in his own lifetime with the local press often hailing him as “Prince of Bridge Builders” and “Venerable Architect.” In 1888, LaGrange paid the highest tribute a small town can bestow when it named King Street in memory of Horace and his son Marshal King. One hundred years later, a new bridge on that street was dedicated to Horace and a historical marker placed. In 2004, authors John Lupold and Tom French, Jr. published a biographical history of Horace and his family called Bridging Deep South Rivers. Composer Lee Johnson wrote a symphony in tribute to Horace King with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the latest of many posthumous celebrations of this remarkable man and his family. It received its world premiere with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra in October 2011, followed by a reception at the Legacy Museum on Main in LaGrange that includes a section on the Kings in its permanent gallery. The Troup County Archives preserves several files and photographs related to the Kings and has published numerous articles on them. Troup County Historian Clark Johnson is a retired Troup County educator with a master's in History. He is the author and co-author of over 17 volumes on Troup County. Reach him at clark@trouparchives.org.

Every building on the east side of the town square was built by Horace and John King. The event shown was a protest over the low price being paid for cotton by area farmers who vowed to leave their bales in warehouses until the price rose. Photo courtesy of the Troup County Archives. 30 February 2015

LaGrange Walking Tour App


he new Historic Downtown LaGrange Walking Tour App is exciting because it is fun and easy to use. But, if you only use your smartphone for talking, if your tablet is really just for reading, or if you’re like my mom, and have never downloaded an app before, no worries! Just follow these simple instructions and soon you’ll be learning more about this great town of LaGrange! Downloading the App The app will function on mobile devices, including smartphones that use Android software or Apple tablets and phones that operate using iOS. First, to get the Walking Tour onto your device, follow the instructions below. Please note, an internet connection is required to download the app, but once it has been downloaded, the app does not need a connection to be used. iOS Instructions With your Apple device in hand, launch the App Store by finding a blue square with a white circle containing the letter "A." Tap that "button." Once the App Store has opened, locate the search bar, marked with a magnifying glass, and type “Downtown LaGrange Walking Tour” into the bar. This will return several options; select the appropriately named app and touch the button that says "FREE" or "GET." It will become a green button that says "INSTALL." Touch this to install the app. A dialog box will appear, requiring a password. Once your password is entered, the app will automatically download and will appear on the home screen. It will be grey and display an image that looks like a timer until the download completes. Android OS Instructions Using your Android smartphone, open your


by Shannon Gavin Johnson collection of apps by touching the Apps icon, which resembles a 4x4 square grid of dots. Find the app labelled "Play Store," resembling a briefcase with a triangle. Touch this icon to open the Play Store. Once inside the Play Store, touch the magnifying glass icon to search. Type "Downtown LaGrange Walking Tour;" then select the app of the same name. The next screen will provide a description of the app. On the right side of the screen, locate a button labeled "Install." Touch this button to begin the installation, and then press "accept" when prompted. A status bar will appear to indicate progress. Once the app has finished installing, a button labeled "Open" will appear. Touch it to open your new app. App Instructions After completing the download, tap your new app to open the Home Page and Introduction. Tap the arrow button at the bottom of the page to listen to the introduction After the introduction, touch the list tab at the top of the page. This will display the tour stops. Select a stop by touching one of the locations. To listen to the audio narration, simply tap the

arrow play button. Narration is also written at the bottom of the screen; to read more, scroll your finger up and down within the text. To better view the pictures, the text may be reduced by tapping anywhere on the picture. Simply tap the picture again to bring the text box back. At each tour stop, find more pictures by using one finger to swipe from right to left across your screen. The picture also swivels as you tilt your device, showing more of the image. Another neat feature is the map which can be accessed from the home page by tapping the “map” button, or from each stop’s page by tapping the map pin at the top right of the screen. Tapping this icon will immediately take you to the map, displaying where each of the stops are located. To return to the stop’s page, just tap its number on the map. Happy walking! Shannon Gavin Johnson is an archivist with the Troup County Archives. Shannon processes and maintains collections, helps with reference and maintains the archives' web presence. Email at shannon@trouparchives.org.

www.lagrangechamber.com 31

Business Spotlight From left, Striffler-Hamby Mortuary Manager Dwayne Fuller and Office Manager Kathie Suttles.

Striffler-Hamby Mortuary 32 February 2015


1010 Mooty Bridge Road, LaGrange


Partners with the Dignity Memorial Network that includes over 1600 funeral homes and more than 500 cemeteries. Being partners in the Dignity Memorial Network enables us to provide services and exclusive benefits to our families anywhere they need them.


In 1929, what is now known as Striffler-Hamby Mortuary began as Hammett and Groover Funeral Home in LaGrange. In the mid 1950’s Hudson Maddox bought Hammett and Groover Funeral Home, and the name changed to Maddox Funeral Home. Hudson Maddox operated the funeral home at 118 Church St. until his retirement in 1973, when he sold the business to Joseph E. “Gene” Page and Hudson’s brother, Charles Maddox. The business continued as Maddox-Page until 1986, when Mr. Page sold the business to StrifflerHamby Mortuary from Columbus, GA, and Maddox-Page Funeral Home was relocated to 1010 Mooty Bridge Road. In 1989, the name was changed from Maddox-Page Funeral Home to Striffler-Hamby Mortuary.

Number of employees

16 (5 full time and 11 part time)

What we do

We handle every detail for our families related to the funeral service/ memorial service of their loved one. We create a seamless meaningful, loving tribute for our families and their loved ones.

How we’re different

We are part of the Dignity Memorial Network, and through the network we can assist families here locally or where their needs may arise. All funeral homes with the Dignity logo are networked together, and we all offer the same exclusive products and services. And the local Dignity

Memorial funeral home where the family lives can help them with any products and services that we provide here. Being part of a larger group gives us plenty of benefits because we can offer unmatched, exclusive benefits and products to our client families that other funeral homes can’t provide because they don’t have the multitude of resources that we have available to us. Our entire staff consists of local people from LaGrange. We are your neighbors, friends and church family.

My business journey

I graduated from LaGrange High School in 1990. I began serving my two-year funeral/embalming apprenticeship and then went to Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science, graduating in 1994. I worked for Hunter-Allen-Myhand Funeral Home from January 1991 to August 1997. I then began working for Striffler-Hamby Mortuary. Striffler-Hamby Mortuary has three locations in LaGrange, Columbus and Phenix City, AL, and I worked at the Columbus location until 2006, commuting daily. I returned to the Striffler-Hamby location in LaGrange in 2006. I have been the manager since January 2015.

Future plans

The team at Striffler-Hamby Mortuary will continue to serve with the best service we can provide and be as active and supportive in the community as we can.

Business motto

Treat every family like a member of our family. Treat them with the utmost integrity and respect, and treat every person like I would want to be treated.

Most rewarding customer service experience

I was working at StrifflerHamby Mortuary in Columbus, and we had a deceased that was born disabled. Because of this, his facial look was very disfigured. I spent a

lot of time and effort trying to get his facial appearance back as normal as possible. The entire preparation from start to finish took me about five hours. but when I was finished, he looked normal with no disfigurement anywhere. I was personally satisfied with my accomplishment and that I was able to achieve a great lasting memory for the family. But what was most touching to me was when his brother came and asked who did the preparation. I explained to him that I had and was expecting something to be wrong because he was crying, but he went on to thank me with the most heartfelt thanks I have ever received and explained to me that he and his brother were twins – not identical twins but fraternal twins – and he had always wondered what his brother would have looked like had he not been born mentally challenged. Because of the time and effort and care that I took with his brother, I was able to give him the one thing he had always wondered – what his brother would look like had he been born without a disability. This is a personal memory that I keep with me, and I remember it daily to keep me in the mindset that every family, every deceased person, deserves the very best of everything that we have to offer and can provide.


T. Dwayne Fuller 1010 Mooty Bridge Road / P.O. Box 399 LaGrange, GA 30241 Phone: (706) 884-8636 Fax: (706) 884-9537 Email: tommy.fuller@ dignitymemorial.com

Want to see your organization spotlighted in Troup Trends? Come to the Early Bird Breakfast to be entered into a drawing to win as the next business or non-profit feature! www.lagrangechamber.com 33

Nonprofit Spotlight

The LSPA combines several art forms together, including, at left, ballet and dance; above top, storytelling, and, above bottom, theater and performance.

Lafayette Society for Performing Arts 34 February 2015


214 Bull Street, LaGrange 1981


Number of employees

Five on staff, plus countless volunteers.

Who we serve

Troup County, West Central Georgia and East Central Alabama.

Why we do it

To insure that patrons in the region, and the youth in particular, have the opportunity to enjoy and participate in the performing arts and to insure the arts are alive and well for future generations.

How we are different

Being multi-disciplined, LSPA provides training and artistic expression in live theater, dance and storytelling, giving the community a variety of performing art forms to choose from.

A measure of our success

Our continued growth and expansion of programs. Our dance school, the Lafayette Dance Academy,

has grown to 400 students and the audiences for our live plays have grown more than 300 percent in the past three years.

How that success happened

Quality productions and artistic training are the key, along with providing the community with great value for their money and making them want to come back.

Our goal

Help grow LaGrange and Troup County into a region-wide performing arts community that attracts patrons from outside the area as well as within.

A tip for non-profits

Have a backup plan for when things don’t go as imagined. Saves a lot of time in trying to regroup after “Murphy” strikes.

Things to avoid

Over-extending and uncontrolled growth.

Future plans

Create a Theater/Drama school.

Next performances

Neil Simon's God's Favorite, 7:30

p.m., Feb. 12-14 and 20-21, and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 22. Azalea Storytelling Festival, 7 p.m. March 13-15. Beauty and the Beast, 7 p.m. March 13-14 and 2 p.m. March 15.

Our partners

LSPA enjoys many partners on a variety of levels, and every one of them is important to us. Our partners include our patrons, volunteers, donors, corporate sponsors and foundations that provide us with funding.

Why LaGrange works for us

It is ideally situated and enjoys a community where the value of the arts is passed down from one generation to the next.

Favorite quote

Just do the right thing. You can’t do more and shouldn’t settle for less.


Michael Burks, Executive Director (706) 882-9909 214 Bull St. LaGrange, GA 30240 Lafayettesociety@bellsouth.net

www.lagrangechamber.com 35

Spotlight on West Point

Elementary -school students at West Point CARES have a little fun before beginning lessons. The program began in 2011 and provides after-school and summer programs for local students.

For theof Love


When the 34 elementary students attending the West Point CARES after-school program first enter the West Point Youth Services Center on O.G. Skinner Drive, they know exactly what to do. They come in and put their coats and school supplies in their assigned cubbies. Next, they line up to get their snack and head into the gymnasium to eat. Students in kindergarten through third grade then head over to Community Development Specialist Monica Barber where they start on homework assigned by their teacher. If they have no assignments, they are given work based on what they are learning in class. Students in fourth and fifth grades stay in the gym and sit down for class with volunteer Willie Brooks. After that, the students enjoy a little recreation and fun activities before heading home with their parents or 36 February 2015

guardians that evening. Similar activities are planned for the 10 middle school students who attend the CARES for Teens program later in the day. It’s all in a day’s work at West Point CARES, an acronym for Creative Academic Recreational Enrichment Services. Created in 2011, the program serves as an after school program during the academic year and a summer program when school’s finished. “We certainly treat it as an academic program,” Barber said. “We’re a working city. We’re a city of working parents. That’s one of the great things about having this recreation department and a youth center where kids can come and do things. They now have something to occupy their minds rather than the other things that may be out there to attract them.” Barber has been at the heart of the program since its inception. She’s constantly looking out for new programs and activities that can attract students to CARES. Currently, only serving elementary and middle school students, she has considered the idea of hosting a high school program as well. Students have set activities they participate in each day to instill within them a sense of responsibility. They treat the Youth Services Center like a second home, cleaning up after themselves, pushing chairs in, doing their homework. The older students also act as peer mentors and tutors for the younger students, allowing the youngest to read with them or work on math together. Students at Point University have also contributed to the success of the program. Whether working on programs for class or doing community service, the college students are doing their part to help fulfill the Point commitment to

serving the community “Some of them are coming in to do internships for classes, some are doing community service hours and some just stop in because they want to, and that’s just great,” she said. The next phase for CARES is a little more playful – the city wants to give the students and the community a place where they can play. Barber recently received a $15,000 grant through KaBOOM! and Snapple to foster play in children and a $35,000 grant from the Friends of the City of West Point that will allow work to begin on phase one of a planned playground outside of the center. Barber currently is attempting to raise $100,000 to go toward odds and ends associated with phase one as well as a planned phase two. “There are additional expenses. That’s why we’re short,” Barber said. “You don’t really think about it when you think of a playground.” The KaBOOM! grant requires the playground be a community build, to include volunteers in the project. The initial build has been scheduled for Feb. 26-28. When completed, the playground at 1128 O.G. Skinner Drive will be the second one in West Point. The existing playground, located at the West Point ballfields, is not convenient for many of the area children. This project will be a benefit not only for the children but all residents of West Point. “There are so many obstacles that keep children from playing, and there’s only that one option,” she said. “Now they’ll have two.” Anyone wishing to donate to the playground project can do so online by visiting www.crowdrise.com and searching “West Point GA.” Donations can also be made by contacting Barber directly at (706) 645-3502. “I want to commend the council because they were like ‘We’ve got to do something,’ and many times, young residents of a city or area they don't feel like they have a voice. It’s important to speak for them and listen to them, and I think West Point youth have clearly said, ‘We need something in our area.’ ”

Above, top left, program coordinator Monica Barber passes out snacks to students, and, bottom left, volunteer Willie Brooks watches after fourth- and fifth-grade students as they do homework in the Youth Services Center gymnasium.

www.lagrangechamber.com 37

Spotlight on Hogansville

"Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future." Ray Bradbury

New Hogansville Library

a New Chapter

When the residents and leaders of Hogansville put together a comprehensive plan in 2010, there were several things that required attention. There was infrastructure work with water and sewer upgrades, streetscapes and walking trails for community use, government building changes and renovations – the list was lengthy, and they began tackling it piece by piece. The one thing high on the list that always seemed out of reach was a new library; one that could cater to the large number of visitors the current Hogansville Public Library was experiencing as well as provide the technologies necessary to sustain the community for years to come. What was once a grand idea, almost a dream, soon will be a reality. “This is a remarkable project because to me, this is a true example of a community-led, grassroots project from day one,” said Kay Durand, a board member for the TroupHarris Regional Library (THRL). “This has been something that has been screaming at us.” The current library on East Main Street has experienced increased use and an overflow of records for 38 February 2015

several years, serving residents in Hogansville as well as Meriwether, Coweta and Heard County residents. “It was a perfect project because of the use,” Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said. “It’s a regional concept. It does serve four different counties, and it’s just an ideal project. It’s a good use of public funds.” The new library will be located in Johnson Street Park near B.C. Granger Memorial Park at Johnson and Keith streets. To be designed by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture of Spartanburg, SC, the facility is expected to be four times the size of the current library, which is about 3,000 square feet, and include more versatility for community functions. It will have advanced technological capabilities, including self check-in and check-out services and 3D printing, along with many new computers. And there will be community meeting areas expected to be utilized by the Hogansville City Council. “One of the things I’m going to insist upon is that we have space for council chambers because that will allow us to build a smaller city hall,” Stankiewicz said. “The current council chambers take up a lot of space that’s not very useful except for council meetings, whereas in the library, that space will be convertible where it can be used for council meetings only two or three times a month.” A playground sits just behind the planned library site, making the area the ideal spot for picnics, gatherings, meetings and more. It's all a part of the city's future vision, but securing the necessary funding would be a challenge. Using public funds and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the city's infrastructure has been updated to accommodate the technology needs of the proposed new library. However, the Georgia legislature was not ready to approve the $2 million needed to complete the

project. “In order to even have a prayer of being in the state budget, you have to be in the top 10,” Durand said. In 2013, Hogansville was number 38 on the list. In 2014, they were number 26, far from being in the top 10. The county earmarked about $1.1 million through special-purpose, local-option sales tax – or SPLOST – funds. The county then bonded the funds necessary to get the library off the ground, and Hogansville jumped to the necessary number 10 spot. But the library board learned no library projects were placed in the budget through the state House of Representatives “We would have been dead in the water,” Stankiewicz said. Understanding the process, Durand and her team contacted the legislative delegation representing Hogansville to state their case for the project. Senators Josh McKoon and Mike Crane, along with Representatives Randy Nix and Carl Von Epps, played critical roles at the state capitol and were instrumental in having the $2 million included in the state budget. Sure enough, they made it in the budget, and the $2 million needed from the state was theirs. “We are so very grateful for the unfailing help and support of our local state delegation in helping us to secure state funding for the Hogansville Library project,” THRL board Chairman Carol Todd said. “Without the assistance of Senators Josh McKoon and Mike Crane and Representatives Randy Nix and Carl Von Epps, we would not be here today with planning for a new library for Hogansville – they were the key factors in obtaining state budget approval for our project.” Now, all they have to do is design it. THRL Director Keith Schuermann held two public meetings on Jan. 29 and 30 to bring together ideas from the community on what needs the new library should fill. “The community has been involved in this project from day one,” Stankiewicz said. “The current library has 17,000 books. The new facility is going to be four times larger yet

will have only 20,000 books because of the technology that comes with being part of the PINES program.” The Georgia Public Library Service’s PINES program, or Public Information Network for Electronic Services, allows PINES cardholders free access to books and materials available across all 275 libraries and other services in the state, more than 10 million books and materials in total. Books can be delivered free from other libraries and returned to any participating PINES library. Books can also be renewed and have holds placed on them online. “Technology is going to drive this library,” Stankiewicz said. Durand provided ample thanks to many who helped make the library a reality, including Todd, Schuermann, former Hogansville councilman Jack Leidner and Nathan Rall, director of Library Planning and Construction with the Georgia Public Library Service. Library construction is planned to begin in the fall of 2015 with the opening set for the fall of 2016. Left, the new Hogansville library will be part of the state PINES program, Public Information Network for Electronic Services, allowing cardholders access to free books across 275 libraries, and, at right, the library will be attached to B.C. Granger Memorial Park and will include the playground located on the property.

www.lagrangechamber.com 39

Chamber Ribbon Cuttings

r e b m Cha n o b b i R s g n i tebrating our Cut s in cel Join u


DASH's Hillside Market 625 Jefferson St. • LaGrange

Refresh Me Salon & Spa 307 Church St. • LaGrange

Statewide Mortgage Group 316 S. Lewis St. • LaGrange

Ashley's Diner 206 Union St. • LaGrange

Legacy Museum - Recalling the End: the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War 136 Main St. • LaGrange

Walmart Neighborhood Market 955 Lafayette Parkway • LaGrange

40 February 2015

HYPE – Helping Young Professionals Engage HYPE is a high impact group of diverse young professionals working together to showcase Troup County as a unique and fun place to work and live. HYPE provides its members with opportunities for building relationships with community and business leaders and cultivates an atmosphere for building personal relationships and a sense of purpose within the community.

Member Spotlight Brandon Eley

How long have you lived in Troup County? I was born in LaGrange. Other than a few years in elementary school, I've lived here my entire life.

•Upcoming Events• HYPE Annual Kick-off Meeting Join the HYPE Board of Directors for food, beverages and a load of fun inside Legends Tavern at the Lafayette Garden Inn at 1513 Lafayette Parkway. HYPE provides its members with opportunities to network, learn, volunteer and mingle while gaining the many benefits of connecting with the community. Learn how you can get involved in HYPE for 2015, gaining tips and tricks along the way!

•Events in Review•

Where did you live previously? I lived in Irmo, SC, briefly. What is your profession? I own 2BigFeet.com, an online retailer of large size shoes for men. I also write, speak and consult on e-commerce and online marketing. What are your hobbies? I love cooking, and I love to travel. What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday? I don't care as long as I'm spending time with family and friends!

Photo courtesy of Tyler Jones with the LaGrange Daily News.

Describe yourself in 3 words. Entrepreneurial, ambitious and honest.

Young Professionals Chat Young professionals from across Troup County joined speaker and facilitator Bill Graham for a Young Professionals Chat on Jan. 21, discussing ideas that can make the community more attractice to young professionals.

If you had $1,000 to give away, how would you do it? I would give it to Circles of Troup County, a local organization that helps people work their way out of poverty.

Christmas Tacky Sweater Party HYPE's young professionals brought out their tackiest Christmas sweaters possible to watch the annual LaGrange Christmas Parade from Del’avant’s rooftop on Dec. 4.

Connect with HYPE

Interested in knowing more about how you can get involved? We’ve got more opportunities to help you get connected: • We have just launched a new website. Check us out at www.hypelagrange.com. Be sure to check out our upcoming events section where we'll have all our HYPE events posted! • Sign up for our weekly email! By registering on our website at www.hypelagrange.com, we’ll be able to send you weekly updates of HYPE Happenings. These emails not only include upcoming events, but also points of interests and recaps of recent gatherings. • Like our page on Facebook for real-time updates. We regularly update the page with news and notes from HYPE and from around the community. Stay in the know! www.lagrangechamber.com 41

Reinvent Yourself

Step Back to Step Forward by Renae Willis

The days of spending your entire career at a single company are virtually a thing of the past. In this rapidly evolving global economy, with even faster changing technology, the need to reinvent ourselves every few years will become crucial to remaining viable in the job market. Whether you are looking for a new challenge, tired of your current career path or find yourself among the “rightsized,” now may be the perfect time to reinvent yourself and your career. We’re not talking about just polishing your skills, we’re talking about hitting the reset button. And it’s never too late. "We have to modify our identities as we go through life," said Ravenna Helson, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. She directed the Mills Study, which followed some 120 women over "We have to modify 50 years, examining our identities as we go personality traits, social influence and personal through life. Even at development, and 60, people can resolve proving in the process that it's never too late to to make themselves reinvent yourself. "Even more the people they at 60," Helson said, "people can resolve to would like to become." make themselves more Ravenna Helson the people they would like to become.” If you’re thinking that now may be the time for a reinvention in your own life, here are some guidelines: 1. Google yourself. Do you know how you’re currently perceived? Look at the information that you find about yourself and ask: what impression would a potential employer get about me if this were the only information they had? You could also ask your boss, your trusted friends and colleagues to tell you truthfully about your strengths and what areas you might need to improve upon. Hopefully, they will give you feedback that could prove invaluable. 2. Ask yourself a lot of questions. Spend a few minutes thinking about each of them, then write down the answers. What would I do if I had only a week to live? Or a month? Or a year? What would I do if I only had five years to live? What would I do if I only had a life left to live? Then ask yourself, “How can I design my routine to more closely align with these answers.” The answers may surprise you with what you really consider priorities in your life. 3. Dream and dream big. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Do you want to shift gears completely or take a new path in your existing industry? Have you ever wanted to live somewhere else? Do you want to own your own business or work for someone else? You need to visualize what you want your future self to be. Use your imagination to think about what that would look like. 42 February 2015

4. Ask yourself what you do well. Do you have exceptional leadership skills? Are you organized and detailoriented? Do you like to multi-task? Do you prefer to work by yourself or as part of a team? Before you can reinvent yourself, you have to know who you currently are. "People need to understand their strengths, their weaknesses, their passions, and their own story," said Robert Steven Kaplan, a Harvard Business School dean and the author of What You're Really Meant to Do. "Then they can look at what's going on in the world and try to match themselves up to opportunities." 5. Set real goals, take real action. As you're planning your reinvention, be as realistic as possible. You don't want to be overly optimistic in the inital phase, because you might pick the wrong goal. If you can take specific, practical actions to reach your goal, you're in good shape. If it will require winning the lottery or overcoming challenges like health or geography, think twice. You may want to test drive your new career choice before jumping in head first. 6. Expect setbacks. When you reinvent yourself, you may have to downshift in the short term – maybe taking a pay cut in a new field or having to take on additional projects to prove yourself. Don’t stress out: if you’re moving in the direction you want to go, it’ll pay off in the long term. To stay positive and motivated, seek ways to track your accomplishments as you go. Studies have shown that if you write down a goal, you're more likely to achieve it. 7. Continue to re-evaluate and reassess. The dreams you have today may no longer be your goals two, three or five years from now. Even if they are, the progress you're making toward them today may not satisfy you in the future. Plus the skill set you have today may not be in demand in the future. Continue to learn and be relevant, and take stock of your reinvention progress every year. Reinventing yourself could mean an overhaul in what you believe and how you currently do your job. If you’re up for that, then right here, right now, you can start. Your reinvention will likely require creating new positive and constructive habits to take you out of those routines you've been following for years. But when you break down a reinvention plan into actions you can do every day, you're more likely to integrate long-term goals into your present. If you don't work on them a little bit every few days, you're probably going to lose them. Reinventing yourself might not be easy – but in the end, it will be well worth it to move on in your career to something you’re more passionate about. Renae Willis is the Vice President of Business Development & Marketing at the Chamber. She is a longtime education advocate and former chairman of the Chamber board. Reach her at renae@lagrangechamber.com.

New Homes | Great Locations | Affordable Prices

Visit all of our great neighborhoods in Troup County! Lakemont

LaGrange, Georgia

Cameron Pointe

LaGrange, Georgia

• Located on the north side • 1200 - 2600+ sq. ft. homes • Starting in the $140s • LaGrange High District • 100% Financing Available

• Northside of town • 2400 - 3400+ sq. ft. homes • Starting in the $250s • Tennis Courts & Pool • LaGrange High District

Stoney Creek


LaGrange, Georgia

• Inside the city limits • 1200 - 1500+ sq. ft. homes • Starting in the $120s • LaGrange High District • Off New Franklin Road

Now building in five new home communities in Troup County! Choose from homes ranging in size from modest to magnificent! Visit our website to view all of our available homes for sale!

LaGrange, Georgia

• Inside the city limits • 1400 - 1900+ sq. ft. homes • Starting in the $150s • LaGrange High District • Off Mooty Bridge Road


West Point, Georgia

• 1.5 miles from KIA Plant • 1200 - 2600+ sq. ft. homes • Starting in the $140s • Troup High District • 100% Financing Available


DanRic Homes | 89 Durand Road 706.882.7773 | www.danric.com

*Buyers subject to credit approval and lending guidelines. 100% Financing available for qualified buyers through USDA Rural Development Program. All information herein subject to error, omission and/or change without notice. Equal housing opportunity. Listings held by Coldwell Banker Spinks Brown Durand Realtors 706-884-5681.

Find Your

We fill over

SHINE! but the most important ones are YOURS. elwoodstaffing.com

Locally owned and operated! Open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (706) 884-2566•307 Vernon St.

We wash cars at 20 degrees and above!

LaGrange Office 1504 Lafayette Parkway, Suite C-4 T. 706.882.2150 www.lagrangechamber.com 43


Things to See and Do LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce RECALLING THE END: THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CIVIL WAR Feb. 10-May 28 Legacy Museum on Main LegacyMuseumOnMain.org - (706) 884-1828


3RD ANNUAL DOWNTOWN LAGRANGE CHILDREN’S ART SHOW Feb. 12–27 Downtown LaGrange Development Authority Downtownlagrange.com - (706) 298-4534 “FOUR SEASONS OF LOVE” – A VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER DANCE CONCERT Saturday Feb. 14, 6 p.m., Highland Country Club The Choral Society of West Georgia and Fidelity Jazz Quartet www.choralsocietyofwestgeorgia.com A FUNNY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE Feb. 12-14 This deliriously funny new Jones Hope Wooten comedy is all about that four letter word: L-O-V-E. So, open your heart to romantic mayhem and come join the fun! New Horizon Theatre - nhct.org - (706) 643-7529 GOD’S FAVORITE A COMEDY BY NEIL SIMON Black Box Theater (Picnic Theater) Feb. 12-14, 7:30 p.m. – Feb. 15, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 20, 21, 7:30 p.m. – Feb. 22, 2:30 p.m. One night a messenger from God, Sidney Lipton arrives, and, as in the biblical story, goes through all manner of temptations to get Joe Benjamin to renounce God. When he refuses, he is visited by all the afflictions imaginable. He stands firm and the messenger has to admit defeat. Lafayette Society for Performing Arts – lspaarts.org – (706) 882-9909 3D JOURNEYS LECTURE Feb. 23, 10 a.m. “Let’s Eat Croatian”, Jeremy McCosh, Aramark LaGrange College – Dickson Assembly Room (706) 880-8244 or 3DJourneys@lagrange.edu EAT, LEARN AND GROW: MAGNIFICIENT MUSHROOMS Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hills & Dales Estate - HillsandDales.org (706) 882-3242

44 February 2015

VICTORIA BELLE BRIDAL OPEN HOUSE Feb. 28, 2-4 p.m. Touch, see, hear and taste your wedding day at Victoria Belle's Open House & Bridal Tasting. FREE for the Bride and Groom, additional guests $25 each. Reservations are required and must be made before Feb. 20. Victoria Belle Mansion & Vintage White Barn www.victoriabelleweddings.com/vb-open-house/ A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM By William Shakespeare Feb. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m. – March 1 at 2:30 Foolish mortals and mischievous fairies will romp and frolic through the woods looking for love in all the wrong places. Price Theater – LaGrange College Box Office (706) 880-8080


FOLLOW THE CROSS WALKS March 3 through April 3, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Open Tuesday through Saturday. Explorations in Antiquity Center ExplorationslnAntiquity.com - (706) 885-0363 AZALEA STORYTELLING FESTIVAL March 6, 7, 8 A weekend of nationally acclaimed Storytellers to delight and entertain the entire family at the Callaway Auditorium. Lafayette Society for Performing Arts – lspaarts.org – (706) 882-9909 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, (Ballet) March 13, 14, 7 p.m. – March 15, 2 p.m. Troup High School Fine Arts Auditorium Lafayette Society for Performing Arts – lspaarts.org – (706) 882-9909 REPTILES ON THE ROAD March 14, 10 a.m. to noon Hills & Dales Estate - HillsandDales.org (706) 882-3242 A TEA PARTY FOR ALL March 21, 2-4 p.m. Come enjoy our first annual afternoon tea with a historical theme and highlight famous women in American history. Wear your Sunday best. $50 for each pair, perfect for mothers and daughters, age 8-12. Registration required. Hills & Dales Estate - HillsandDales.org (706) 882-3242

Calendar CREATIVE YOUTH ART LEAGUE March 22 LaGrange Art Museum www.lagrangeartmuseum.org - (706) 882-3267 3D JOURNEYS LECTURE March 23, 10 a.m. “Christianity in Croatia,” Dr. John Cook, Religion LaGrange College – Dickson Assembly Room (706) 880-8244 or 3DJourneys@lagrange.edu


EASTER BUNNY AT THE SQUARE – DOWNTOWN LAGRANGE April 4, 1-4 p.m. Downtown LaGrange Development Authority Downtownlagrange.com - (706) 298-4534 GOOD FRIDAY REFLECTION WITH SOUND AND LIGHT PRESENTATION April 3, 7 p.m. Explorations in Antiquity Center ExplorationslnAntiquity.com - (706) 885-0363 HOLY SATURDAY SOUND AND LIGHT PRESENTATION April 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Explorations in Antiquity Center ExplorationslnAntiquity.com - (706) 885-0363 SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ April 9-11 This Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award-winning tribute is a celebration of 40 of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest hits. New Horizon Theatre - nhct.org - (706) 643-7529 “CELTIC SPRING” – AN IRISH INVITATION TO SPRING CONCERT AND DINNER Saturday Apr. 11, 2015 – 6 p.m., Highland Country Club The Choral Society of West Georgia and Bel Canto LaGrange Women’s Ensemble with Karl Drake School of Irish Dance. www.choralsocietyofwestgeorgia.com PERMANENT COLLECTION Mid-April through Mid-June LaGrange Art Museum www.lagrangeartmuseum.org - (706) 882-3267 IVY TOPIARY April 18, 10 a.m. to noon $35 per person. Registration required. Hills & Dales Estate - HillsandDales.org (706) 882-3242 SONS OF LAFAYETTE SPRING CONCERT April 18, 7:30 p.m., and April 19, 3 p.m. The Sons of LaFayette Male Choir present a Spring Concert at First Presbyterian Church. www.sonsoflafayette.org

NANCY HARTS TEA April 19, 3 p.m. LaGrange Woman's Club will be hosting a Tea at Bellevue following the Nancy Harts Reenactment. The cost will be $10 per person. Bellevue - (706) 884-1832 THE MISANTHROPE BY JEAN BAPTISTE MOLIERE Apr. 22,23,24,25, 7:30 p.m. – April 26, 2:30 p.m A comedy of manners satirizing hypocrisy and deceit among friends and lovers. Price Theater – LaGrange College Box Office (706) 880-8080 GREAT ANNUALS FOR THE GARDEN April 24, 10 a.m. to noon $40 per person. Registration required. Hills & Dales Estate - HillsandDales.org (706) 882-3242 3D JOURNEYS LECTURE Apr. 27, 10 a.m. “Post-War Croatia’s Entrepreneurial Vigor: The Economic Rebirth After the Independence” Dr. Mariangela Vecchiarini, Business LaGrange College – Dickson Assembly Room (706) 880-8244 or 3DJourneys@lagrange.edu LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR A COMEDY BY NEIL SIMON, Black Box Theater (Picnic Theater) April 30-May 2, 7:30 p.m. – May 3, 2:30 p.m. May 8, 9, 7:30 p.m. – May 10, 2:30 p.m. Max Prince is the star of The Max Prince Show, a popular comedy-variety series that is a major hit on the East Coast, but network executive insists that it's too sophisticated for the Midwest, and urges Prince to dumb down his act. Lafayette Society for Performing Arts – lspaarts.org – (706) 882-9909


PONY RIDES, OLD FASHIONED GAMES AND A MAGIC SHOW Saturday, May 9 - 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Admission to the garden is free for everyone who brings a picnic basket and blanket. Hills & Dales Estate - HillsandDales.org (706) 882-3242 FLOWER ARRANGING FROM THE GARDEN May 16, 10 a.m. to noon $35 per person. Registration required. Hills & Dales Estate - HillsandDales.org (706) 882-3242

www.lagrangechamber.com 45

Advertiser Index

Thank You Advertisers Berney Office Solutions: pg. 29 berney.com

Elwood Staffing: pg. 43 elwoodstaffing.com

Software Made Simple: pg. 15 softwaremadesimple.net

CharterBank: pg. 15 charterbank.net

Emory at LaGrange: pg. 48 emoryclarkholderclinic.com

Surge Staffing: pg. 29 surgestaffing.com

Childress Dental Center: pg. 9 childressdentalcenter.com

Explorations in Antiquity: pg. 13 digging4it.com

Commercial Bank & Trust: pg. 5 combanktrust.com

Hills & Dales: pg. 13 hillsanddales.org

Troup County Health Department: pg. 47 troupcohealth.org

Dan-Ric Homes: pg. 43 danric.com

LaGrange Car Wash: pg. 43 (706) 884-2566

Diversified Trees: pg. 27 diversifiedtrees.com

LaGrange Housing Authority: pg. 11 (706) 882-6416

Downtown LaGrange Development Authority: pg. 17 downtownlagrange.com

Precision Roofers: pg. 15 lagrangeroofing.com

Vernon Woods Retirement Community: pg. 35 vernonwoods.com West Georgia Health: pg. 2 wghealth.org West Georgia Physicians: pgs. 24-25 wgphysicians.org

Mrs. Evelyn Mansour

Through the good years and the bad, the best economies and the worst, Mansour's has been a staple of downtown LaGrange. To honor the contributions made and memories created by the Mansour family, the 2014 Chamber Christmas ornament featured the department store known as a LaGrange landmark. "Mansour's touched the lives of thousands of people from across the area in its 92 years," Chamber President Page Estes said. "The city of LaGrange recently purchased the building, and before any changes are made, the 46 February 2015

Chamber wanted to commemorate Mansour's and the Mansour family. It’s vital to have this permanent reminder of how important the department store was to the residents of Troup County and to give everyone the opportunity to remember Mansour's in their own way.” Mrs. Evelyn Mansour, shown with the ornament and iconic Mansour's shopping bag, was humbled by the honor. “We have always loved LaGrange and are very thankful for the generations of families who demonstrated their trust by shopping in our store,” Mansour said.

Health Checks Women’s Health Senior Companions Foster Grandparents Vital Records Health Education Environmental Health Emergency Preparedness and much more!

Troup County Health Department 900 Dallis Street, Suite A LaGrange, GA 30240 (706) 845-4085 www.troupcohealth.org Hours: M-F, 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. www.lagrangechamber.com 47









303 SMITH ST. LaGRANGE, GA 30240


1610 EAST 10TH ST. WEST POINT, GA 31833






48 February 2015


Profile for LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce

Troup Trends - February 2015  

Troup Trends - February 2015