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Edition Highlights: Political forum set for April 15 City appoints new DDA members Lanier Tech welcomes VP of academic affairs Steel fabricator cleared to expand

April 2014

The Member Newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce

Post Office Box 299 44 Commerce Drive Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 265-6278

Group tours innovative business Amerivap Systems has spent decade in Dawson County By David Renner

Dawson County is home to many businesses and industries, but what may have been one of its better kept secrets recently opened its doors to the Dawson County Chamber of

Commerce. On March 28, Amerivap Systems welcomed the chamber’s Ambassador Program, giving a comprehensive tour of the building at 31 Successful Way that serves as both office and creative development lab for the company. “We sell, distribute and repair steam generators,” said Dave Sellers, special projects manager at Amerivap. “We offer small and large commercial units for cleaning and sanitizing.” See TOUR | 2


Carlos Bustamante, right, and Hunter Collins, left, demonstrate a powerful steam cleaning apparatus created by Bustamante.

David Renner Dawson Community News

gloria wyatt

Chamber Ambassadors spread goodwill Who are these wonderful people who work so hard representing our chamber in the community? This group of special members serves as “ambassadors” to our organization. They are an informed, select group who are enthusiastic about the chamber and serve as the liaison with the chamber’s membership.

You will see them at Business After Hours, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, fundraisers and special events. They also are instrumental in obtaining possible new members and making personal visits to businesses within our community. They are the group who, when asked ­— “What is the chamber doing for me?” — can effectively

address this question. Through their communications within the membership, and with the community, it allows the chamber to address the needs of our members and the business community. The benefits to the individual who serves as an ambassador include networking and meeting new people. These individuals are

an active part of the dynamics of a growing business community. If you would like to find out more information about becoming an ambassador, call the chamber office at (706) 265-6278. I personally want to thank our ambassadors for the outstanding job they perform for our chamber and community.



APRIL 2014

Teachers make a difference When you think about all of the teachers you have had in your years of schooling, is there one that sticks out in your mind that had a great impact on your life? I have had a number of teachers that I really believe were all-stars, but there’s one who often sticks out in my mind. Ms. Lewis was my gifted teacher in fourth and fifth grades (more years ago than I wish to count). She was a teacher that constantly encouraged her students to think and to be innovative. She challenged me as a student more than any teacher I had ever had. She also loved her students.

Now, I know some people may say that all teachers love their stuHaynes dents, but Ms. Lewis not only said it — she lived it through her actions. The small group of students who had her for those two years have remained close over the years. When we left elementary school for middle school, Ms. Lewis made sure we believed in ourselves and had a love for learning. When one girl in our group tragically passed away in high

school, Ms. Lewis was there to support us. When many of us graduated from the University of Georgia together, Ms. Lewis attended our graduation ceremony to cheer us on just as she had on our last day of fifth grade. Even now as that group of students has entered the professional world, every so often we receive notes of encouragement and support. I believe that teachers like Ms. Lewis are rare but their impact is greater than they will ever know. Celebrating our Teachers of the Year at our upcoming membership luncheon is such an honor for me and the chamber. These teachers

may have taught you or your children at one of the Dawson County Schools. They exemplify passion and commitment and most of all, a genuine love for teaching and for the students they teach. They impact our Dawson County students the way Ms. Lewis had impacted me. These Teachers of the Year provide shining examples, not just for our students, but for our entire community. I look forward to honoring and thanking them for all they do. We hope you will consider joining us. Christie Haynes President

Chamber of Commerce 2014 Board of Directors Brooke Anderson

Etowah Water and Sewer Authority

James Askew

United Community Bank-Dawsonville

Charlie Auvermann

Development Authority of Dawson County

Jennifer Baker

United Community Bank-Dawsonville

James Bearden

Bearden Funeral Home

Mike Berg

Dawson County Board of Commissioners

Carla Boutin

State Farm Insurance

Calvin Byrd

Byrd’s Mini Storage-Dawson 400

Jeb Chatham

Chatham and Rea, Attorneys at Law PC

Chris Gaines

Taylor, Turner & Hartsfield

James Grogan

City of Dawsonville


Tour The company, which claims to be the “industry pioneer in commercial and industrial dry vapor cleaners,” was born due to coincidence more than 20 years ago. “[Owner Werner Diercks] was in the steel industry and sold his business back in the ’60s. One day, he was sitting in an airport watching a barista clean lipstick off of a glass with steam from the cappuccino machine,” Sellers said. “He remembered seeing steam cleaners in Europe, but noticed there were none in the states. After doing some research, he purchased 500 units from Europe and

started selling them here. “ With world-wide clients such as General Electric, Kellogg’s and Bimbo Bakeries, Amerivap Systems offers industrial and commercial steam cleaners as well as conveyor belt cleaners for large factories and production plants. “In Europe, steam cleaning was a big business, but not here. Some businesses use steam cleaning here, but they have massive, immobile boilers,” Sellers said. “We have portable generators that can be moved around plants and used for a wide variety of cleaning applications.” Located in downtown Atlanta for “a number of years,” the company purchased the old 84 Lumber building in Dawson County in 2004, seeking a larger

Christie Haynes

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, tourism development

Peter Hill

Hill Design Associates Architects, Inc.

Steve Melching

Big Canoe Homeowners Association

Keith Porter

Dawson County Board of Education

Mandy Power BB&T David Renner Dawson Community News

Amerivap Systems owner Werner Diercks, far right, Dave Sellers, center and Sigmund Scheuer welcome the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors to the business, located off of Ga. 400.

office for the growing business. However, Sellers said that, no matter the size, Amerivap wants to keep its policy of openness and community. “Our company philosophy is an open door policy.

If people have an issue, we want to make sure they can get in to see us,” he said. “Even though we aren’t open as a supplier to the general public, if people come up, we’ll invite them in, say hi and tell them what we do.”

Denny Putlak

Denny Insurance Group

Libby Smith SleeveCo Inc.

Carol Tyger Individual

Mike Underwood

First Citizens Bank of Georgia

Gloria Wyatt, Northside Hospital-Forsyth Seanie Zappendorf Discovery Parts Inc. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 3

APRIL 2014

calendar of events April 15-May 13: SBDC Maximum Marketing Seminar Series at the Chamber, 11 a.m-1 p.m. Maximum Marketing will provide you with the training and tools necessary to compete in a crowded marketplace. It is an interactive course designed to familiarize participants with the basics of marketing, including target market selection, distributions, promotion, advertising, and sales. Series cost - $59 for members, $79 for nonmembers. Price includes materials and lunch. Class size is limited, reserve your seat today. Call (706)265-6278 or email April 5-May 4: Spring at the Bowen Exhibit. Bowen Center for the Arts, 334 Highway 9 North, Dawsonville, GA. For more information, visit April 9–11: Let’s Hang Out, Spring Break at the North Georgia Zoo & Farm will be on from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 12 and 10 a.m.6 p.m. April 13. Take a wildlife walk or one of our many encounters with a wolf, otter, fennec fox and more. Spend the day with us, bring a lunch, and enjoy the picnic area. For more information, visit or call (706) 348-7279. April 10: April Membership Luncheon — Teacher of the Year and Administrative Professionals Appreciation, sponsored by Northside Hospital Forsyth, will be at noon at Peach Brandy Cottage. We will be honoring the Teachers of the

Year for each school, as well as, the system wide Teacher of the Year. We will also be honoring our local Administrative Professionals. The price for those not preregistered $15. Visitors are invited to attend and pay a visitor fee of $15. Visit www. to register or call (706) 265-6278 to make your reservations by phone. April 11: The Holly Theater presents: The James Taylor Experience and The Fire and Rain Band with Special Guests Woodstock: A Tribute to Crosby, Stills and Nash, at 8 p.m. The James Taylor Experience (JTE) featuring the Fire and Rain Band recreates the intimate energy of a live James Taylor Concert from his heyday in the late 70’s/early 80’s. April 12: Redneck Race 5K and Doo-athlon, 8 a.m. Silver City Baptist Church. Registration fees start at $25. For more information or to register, visit April 12: Chestatee Regional Hospital invites you to the Masquerade 5K Run/ Walk, 7:30 a.m. at Lumpkin County High School. Rain or shine. Visit for online registration. April 14 and 24: Family Connection of Dawson County invites you to learn how to be a Steward of Children. Trainings are held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 14 and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 24. For more information or to sign up, call Nancy Stites at (706) 2651981.

April 15: Dawson County Candidate Forum, 6 p.m. at Dawson County Middle School. Meet and greet at 6 p.m., Forum at 6:30 p.m. Come to hear from candidates that will be on the primar y ballot on May 20. Candidates for County Commission, School Board, State House, and State Senate will be present. You must be registered by April 21 in order to vote. We need member input. There will be candidate forums in the races that have more than one candidate: County Commission District 1 and State House District 7. If you have questions for either of those races, email them to c. We want to ensure the voice of the business community is being heard. April 19: The 28th Annual Community Egg Hunt, presented by Dawson County Parks & Recreation, K.A.R.E. for Kids and The Church at War Hill. Activities begin at 11:30 a.m. Egg Hunt begins at 2:30 p.m. sharp at Veterans Memorial Park Football Field. Free admission, prizes on the field, face painting and train rides, Easter Bunny photos, hot dogs and much more. For more information, call (706) 344-3646. April 19: Keep Dawson County Beautiful Electronics Recycling Day, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Walmart Shopping Center. For more information, visit

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Business owners Kevin Redd, left, and Adam Shepherd helped promote the Small Business Development Center in Gainesville during last month’s chamber luncheon.

Luncheon features small business speakers By Michele Hester

As a startup small business owner, Adam Shepherd knew there were aspects of entrepreneurship that he would need guidance in developing and maintaining. So he turned to the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center in Gainesville for their assistance. The Georgia SBDC Network provides low cost training and free consulting services including assistance with business plan development, market analysis and marketing strategies, financial analysis, compliance and legal issues, and preparation of loan submissions for individuals who want to start their own businesses or expand an existing one. Shepherd is the owner of Dawsonville-based Sheer Imagination, one of the top 10 toy retailers on with more than 3,000 products online. He was one of several guest speakers at last month’s Dawson County Chamber of Commerce lun-

cheon promoting the center and the success he’s received with the training he gained there. “The classes that they have are fantastic,” he said. Among those offered is a seminar series devoted to maximizing marketing strategy, an interactive course designed to familiarize participants with the basics of marketing, including target market selection, distribution, promotion, advertising and sales. The five-week course meets from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. each Tuesday at the chamber office, located at 44 Commerce Drive, Dawsonville, beginning April 15. The cost is $59 for members and $79 for nonmembers. Reserve your seat by calling the chamber at (706) 265-6278. Reservations are also requested for the chamber’s next luncheon that will be held at noon April 10 at Peach Brandy Cottage. The special guests will be the Dawson County School System’s teachers of the year, who will be recognized for their service and accomplishments.


APRIL 2014

Steel fabricator cleared to expand Bigger space will add jobs By Michele Hester Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Fuse Hair Studio manager Neysa Kohler cuts a client’s hair. The salon held its grand opening March 14 with a ribbon cutting along with members of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce.

Salon offers high-end styles at affordable rates By Michele Hester

Fuse Hair Studios is where style meets value, according to owner Siva Doraisamy. “You can have a high-end studio and still offer great services and affordable prices,” he said. The Dawsonville salon, at 6625 Hwy. 53 E Suite 400 in the Kroger shopping center, is Doraisamy’s fourth location. He also has studios in Buford, Suwanee and Cumming. “Coming from a different country, every step is an achievement for me. Opening a shop is an achievement, because when I grew up in India, I had no clue if I was going to be successful or not,” he said. Stylists at Fuse are committed to mastering hair design from the classic styles to the most current fashion forward styles. “My thinking is run the company with

‘My thinking is run the company with affordable pricing and employees as part of the family and grow with them.’ Siva Doraisamy

Owner, Fuse Hair Studios affordable pricing and employees as part of the family and grow with them,” Doraisamy said. “I have great employees here. When you treat an employee like family, how could you go wrong?” A full-service salon for the entire family, Fuse is open 9:30 a.m.- 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Appointments and walk-ins are available by calling (706) 216-6115.

A local steel fabricator received clearance to move forward with an expansion that will bring new jobs to Dawson County. The Dawson County Planning Commission approved a building variance March 27 that will allow Impulse Manufacturing to add nearly 50,000 square feet to its current manufacturing operation off G.W. Taffer road at 55 Impulse Industrial Drive, near Ga. 400. The variance was needed, since the plant sits within the Ga. 400 corridor, which has specific guidelines for exterior lighting, architecture, landscaping and facades, among others. Karl Baysden, director of sales and marketing with Impulse Manufacturing, said the company is excited to move forward with the $7.5 million expansion. “The primary purpose of the expansion is to put in a state-of-the art paint line. We have a very nice paint line.

This is an upgrade to that. It handles larger parts, paints more efficiently and it’s more environmentally friendly as well,” he said. Over three shifts, the expansion will initially bring about 24 new employees, ranging from engineering and chemistry positions, to daily laborers such as painters, according to Business Development Director Clay Reiser. “This is a finishing department. It’s an autophoretic paint line and it uses chemistry to bond a paint to a substrate, and we do a powder top coat,” he said. Impulse is set to break ground in April with an estimated six to eight month completion. “We need to be operational by the first week in September,” Reiser said. The 150,000-squarefoot plant currently employs more than 200 workers over three shifts.

Office: 706-216-4806 Fax: 706-216-4807

‘The primary purpose of the expansion is to put in a state-ofthe art paint line. We have a very nice paint line. This is an upgrade to that.’ Karl Baysden

Director of sales It produces parts for several small excavator models, including a new Caterpillar production facility in Athens. The expansion calls for an additional 50,000 square feet of space to house a new paint line and more than $5 million in equipment. The overall expansion would create 75-100 new jobs within 18 months.

P.O Box 1096 137 Prominence Court Suite 240 Dawsonville, GA 30534 | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 5

APRIL 2014

Lanier Tech welcomes VP of academic affairs By David Renner

Lanier Technical College has added an administrative position in its continued endeavor of making its college experience the best for its students. Dana Nichols will serve as the first ever associate vice president of academic affairs for the college. The placement was announced in March. According to Tavarez Holston, vice president of academic affairs, the position was developed to “provide academic leadership across all five of Lanier Tech’s campus locations.” “Dr. Nichols is an exceptional collaborator who will excel in engaging our col-

lege community and community partners,” Holston said. “There are great things on the horizon for our college because we are blessed with great leaders. Dr. Nichols is one of those people.” Nichols will be responsible for providing vision and oversight to curriculum, libraries, distance education and dual/joint enrollment across the college’s five campuses. Formerly the dean of academic affairs for Lanier Technical College’s main campus, she has more than 14 years of experience in higher education in both the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia.

“I am thrilled to serve the college in this capacity,” Nichols said. “I look forward to expanding dual and joint enrollment opportunities for our students and to ensuring that our curriculum and course offerings meet the needs of our area business and industry partners.” Nichols holds dual bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish from Mercer University and received her Ph.D. in English from Georgia State University in 2006. She is a member of South Hall Rotary Club and actively participates in professional conferences and regularly contributes to professional literature.

For the Dawson Community News

Dana Nichols advises students on what classes are right for their college path.

NGMC named one of best in nation, state’s top From staff reports

Northeast Georgia Medical Center is one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals according to a study released by Truven Health Analytics and Georgia’s No. 1 Hospital according to a recent study by CareChex, a rating service of COMPARION. Truven Health compiles the 100 Top Hospitals report by researching acute care, non-federal hospitals across a five-year period to select hospitals demonstrating both top performance and consistent, accelerated improvement. They use public information from the Centers for Medicare and

Medicaid Services (CMS) to evaluate performance in 10 areas, such as mortality, expenses, patient safety and patient satisfaction. The study names top hospitals in five different categories — from Major Teaching Hospitals to Small Community Hospitals — and NGMC is one of only 20 Large Community Hospitals selected from across the nation. In fact, NGMC is the only hospital in Georgia in the Large Community group for 2014, just as it was in 2013. NGMC was first named to the 100 Top Hospitals list in 2009, when it won the study’s Everest Award which rec-

ognized 23 of the 100 hospitals for demonstrating top performance and accelerated improvement compared to the other elite institutions. “Ever yone in our organization — clinical staff, physicians, board members, volunteers and more — focuses solely on our mission to improve the health of our community in all we do,” said Carol Burrell, president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System. “We concern ourselves with accomplishing that mission, not necessarily to win awards, but, thankfully, one naturally leads to the other.” The CareChex study

includes virtually all general, acute, non-federal U.S. hospitals and measures them across several categories including quality of medical care, outcomes of care and patient satisfaction. The 2014 study rated NGMC No. 1 in Georgia for Overall Hospital Care, Overall Medical Care and Overall Surgical Care — thus earning the distinction of Georgia’s No. 1 Hospital. The study also rated NGMC as No. 1 in Georgia for the categories for surger y hospital, heart hospital, women’s hospital, pulmonar y hospital, neurology hospital for patient safety and number

six in the nation for medical care. “Being recognized in these studies reflects our medical staff’s commitment to Health System initiatives like our Quest for Excellence,” said Ronald C. Lewis, MD, chief of NGMC’s medical staff and a general surgeon with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Surgical Associates. “Quest for Excellence implements best practices to improve processes, which ultimately leads to improved quality and better patient outcomes — which is exactly what every person wants when they come to a hospital.”


APRIL 2014

Development authority opens Dawson GigCenter From staff reports

The Development Authority of Dawson County has rolled out a new start-up concept that will bring the county into the ranks of the state’s best Gig Villages. The DADC has established a multi-faceted joint venture that utilizes gigabit capacity, 100 percent fiber technology, to help small business and start-up firms compete from a rural setting. The new service makes the Premier Office Park located on Prominence Court a true GigCenter. “This is more than just offering high speed and high capacity internet access to our new entrepreneurs,” said Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the authority. “We are offering problem solving, financial awareness and expertise designed to help young start-up companies realize their

full potential.” According to Auvermann, a number of Gig Villages have appeared in municipal areas across the state, but very few have opened in true rural areas. These villages bring together young entrepreneurs, business consultants, venture capitalists and high-speed internet capabilities in a common location with the goal of accelerating the growth of small business. Examples of such villages include the Maker Village in Rome, the Atlanta Tech Village, Four Athens near UGA, the Atlanta Start-Up Village near GA Tech and the Clubhouse located in Augusta. All of the entities nurture start-up, hightech oriented businesses. “There is no reason why all of the new ideas have to come from urban areas. There are many great ideas that spring

from rural Georgia and we are here to help those ideas flourish,” Auvermann said. The Dawson GigCenter is a partnership with the Premier Office Park Association in conjunction with the Georgia Communications Coop, the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Connect North Georgia amongst other organizations. It will work closely with the academic business expertise at the University of North Georgia’s Mike Cottrell College of Business and with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center located in Gainesville. “The Dawson GigCenter is powered by GCC Trailwave which allows the office spaces to operate at very high internet speeds across the pure fiber NGN network directly to the internet hub located in Atlanta,” Auvermann said. “That means

Gaines among State Auto’s PaceSetter agents From staff reports

Chris Gaines of Taylor, Turner and Hartsfield Insurance in Cumming, know known as PointeNorth Insurance Group, recently became a member of a very select group of independent agents with State Auto, known as PaceSetters. “The goal of our year-long PaceSetter program is to form a sales/ marketing partnership with each agent to improve service to all our customers,” said President Robert P. Restrepo Jr. “This group is truly our cream of the crop, and we’re proud to have members of Chris Gaines caliber in the group, representing State Auto in

Georgia.” In the coming months, State Auto sales personnel will work closely with PaceSetter agents like Gaines in forming a true sales alliance and Gaines providing professional assistance and feedback, as necessary. “We were very selective in choosing our PaceSetter agents who come from only our very top agencies,” said Restrepo. “The program was designed to make a good thing even better, and that’s what we hope to accomplish during the program period.”

start-ups that use significant computing capacity or that want to have a nationwide scope can be served without having to locate in expensive and congested Metro Atlanta office space.” The Dawson GigCenter becomes part of the Premier Office Park effective immediately. The DADC will provide a cash incentive to help reduce the fiber connection costs for any firms locating to the Dawson GigCenter. The Authority will also provide support on development hurdles new businesses encounter as they grow. According to Auvermann, this is not just a financial incentive to locate in the Dawson GigCenter, but rather the desire to build long-term relationships so that young companies will realize they can grow in Dawson County and even

become major corporations while still enjoying the natural amenities this region has to offer. “I talk to young business entrepreneurs all the time that spend hours commuting down to Atlanta each day then face massive traffic jams to get back home,” he said. “They are wasting their time, money and talents when they could be growing their businesses right here.” The Dawson GigCenter is designed to provide high capacity pure fiber internet plus the business contacts that are so vital to new companies. The authority is bringing everything new business needs here so that they have a true fiberhood in the middle of our lakes, streams and mountains” Auvermann said. “The Dawson GigCenter is the community that will power your innovation.”

Membership Works “We have been Dawson County chamber members for seven years this year.” This has been a great tool getting to know our community and meeting people who have been a very important part of growing our business. It would have been so hard to meet all the other business people in Dawsonville without the chamber. Every time we got a referral, it grew into other referrals — now we have a great business. Thank you Dawson County Chamber! - Jay and Vickie Hood, Citrusolution Carpet Cleaning Dawson/Lumpkin, (678) 231-2090

Listed are some of the benefits that Citrusolution has taken advantage of since joining the chamber of commerce: •Referral services The staff of the chamber is well-trained and knowledgeable about the local businesses and community. We only refer chamber members •Brochure and business card displays Members’ brochures and business cards may be displayed in the chamber lobby. •Directories All members are listed in our online directory, which is updated daily, and in our printed directory, which is published every two years. •Business After Hours Network with chamber members throughout the area at different host location around town on the fourth Tuesday of every month, from 5 to 7 p.m. •Monthly membership lunch Introduce yourself to a group of local business people and hear from speakers on topics that impact your business and life on the second Thursday of the month, from noon to 1 p.m. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 7

APRIL 2014

Local author, business owner pens new book By David Renner

Local author and business owner Barbara Roberts has written another book, which is available on Kindle and other e-reader devices. The e-book is titled: “Poison On Your Plate: How to Eat Healthy for Those with Gluten Intolerance.” “Many people know they are sensitive to gluten, but others may have no idea,” Roberts said. “If you suspect that you are gluten sensitive, or simply would like to try going gluten-free, this book will tell you how.” Roberts explains in her book a few ways to identify gluten sensitivity. “If you have gastrointestinal distress in the form of gas, bloating, cramps, loud rumblings or


loose stools, you may be gluten intolerant or at least gluten sensitive,” she said. “If you are, then gluten will be a poison on your plate for you. There are lots of other things that might be poisons for your body as well, and these are listed.” For those that are gluten intolerant, the book explains why this is happening to you and what you can do about it. It details how to tell if you are eating the right foods for your individual body type and what else may be adversely affecting your health and shows how to get energy back, get rid of brain fog, and fix those nagging aches and pains that plague you, according to Roberts. The book is available through’s Kindle

Anderson Family Medicine

Books online store. Amazon Prime customers can borrow this book for free on a Kindle device through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. If you don’t have a Kindle, that’s no problem, Roberts said. “You can download a Kindle app for your PC, tablet or phone and then you can read the book there,” she said. “Leaving a review on Amazon would be greatly appreciated when you do get the book.” Roberts also has videos of how to eat healthy, which can be viewed on her blog at and more info on healthy eating at her website, www.

Dr. Larry Anderson has been proudly serving the Dawsonville Community for nine years as your neighborhood doctor. Our friendly, experienced staff provides excellent care for the whole family. COME SEE US AT OUR NEW LOCATION: 81 Northside Dawson Drive, Suite 205 Dawsonville, GA 30534 Convenient location • Same day appointments available Accepting new patients • Accepts most insurance plans Call (706) 265-1335 to schedule an appointment today. Walk-ins welcome.


APRIL 2014

Spring art show around the corner By David Renner

Artists and artisans from across the North Georgia area will soon be gathered in Dawsonville for what has become a yearly tradition. The 13th annual Art in the Garden Festival, sponsored by the Dawson County Arts Council, will be held at the Bowen Center for the Arts from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on May 3 and 4. “The council’s aim is to promote and cultivate an appreciation for the arts and artistic spirit of Dawson County with this arts, crafts and garden event,” said Bowen Center for the Arts Executive Director Ginny Greenwood. Attendees will be able to shop from a variety of handcrafted goods,

including furniture, jewelry, leather purses, pottery, woodcrafts and homemade soaps, all produced by local and regional artists. For those that prefer an outdoor medium, a variety of bedding plants, shrubs, vegetables, tools and supplies will be available. In the gallery, visitors are welcome to roam through the art exhibit featuring local artists’ paintings and sculptures. “There will be roving musicians, great food and an old-timey ice cream machine to entertain and please your palate,” Greenwood said. For more information on the event, call (706) 216-2787 or visit www.

File photo

Gourd artist Sandy Taylor explains various pieces of her work to Ron Carrabotta during last year’s Art in the Garden.

Discover Dawson Forest Apartments, where you will find a convenient and comfortable lifestyle seldom found in an apartment community. Whether you’re relocating to the area or searching for the perfect place to call “HOME,” Dawson Forest is the place for you. As you relax in our swimming pool or “sweat it out” in our fitness center you will realize why Dawson Forest is the right choice. You will also love the location as we are seconds from the Georgia 400 and the North Georgia Premium Outlets

Prices range from $699 to $1100 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartment homes

Community Amenities: • Large Living Spaces • Washer/Dryer Connections • Fully-Equipped Kitchens • Garden Tubs with Tile Accents • 24/7 Fitness Center • Gated Community

• Resort style Swimming Pool • 24/7 Cyber Café • Playground • Lighted Tennis Court • Car Care Center • Garage and Storage Units 706-216-4292 • 100 Green Forest Dr, Dawsonville, GA 30534


APRIL 2014



Chamber Chronicle is the monthly newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. The editorial content includes Chamber News and goals of interest to the business and residential community. The Chamber will keep the community informed about ribbon cuttings, business expansions, chamber functions QUICK TAKES and events, community events and the benefits of Chamber membership through Chamber REASONABLE RATES Chronicle. Advertising offered only to

Chamber members. Delivery...Dawson Community News Subscribers, Plus All Dawson County Chamber Members Size...10” X 9.5”

The Chronicle is mailed to all subscribers of the Dawson Community News, plus all Chamber members. Additional copies are available at the Chamber office.

Frequency...Monthly 2nd Wednesday of Every Month Deadline: Monday One Week Prior to Publication

Call Jennifer Lyness at 770-205-8962 for rates


APRIL 2014

Dawsonville: around the square

City of Dawsonville plans bond issue for water By David Renner

After almost a year of talks and planning, the city of Dawsonville is finally ready to issue bonds aimed at restructuring debt on outstanding Georgia Environmental Finance Authority and United States Department of Agriculture loans. During the authority’s June meeting last year, the Dawsonville Downtown Development Authority voted to draft bond proceedings to

aid the city in refinancing $4.9 million in water infrastructure debt. According to City Attorney Dana Miles, the city is projecting a sizable savings. “We are taking all of the city’s water and sewer debts and combining it into one debt,” he said during a previous city meeting. “Most of that debt is in the 4-6 percent interest rate. By going through the DDA, we will be getting a lower interest rate.” By consolidating the debt into one location, the city will

only have to pay on one set of interest, as opposed to the six to eight sets of debts, according to Miles. This will consolidate the city’s debt into one source that will be paid off over the course of 22 years. According to the city, its “AA Stable” rating from Standard and Poors on the bonds will allow the city to save approximately $1.95 million, or $684,000 on a present-value basis, about 14 percent savings as a percentage of refunded bonds. The city voted during a spe-

Development authority members welcomed By David Renner

James Grogan. “I’m really excited about that and I know they are The city of Dawsonville excited to get started. I has appointed new think we’re going to see Downtown Development some wonderful things Authority members to fill happen over this next the spaces left by the year.” Gaines Simrell expiring terms of the previFollowing the city’s ous members. meeting, the DDA voted During its March 26 during their special special called meeting, the called meeting to city voted unanimously to appoint Simrell as chairappoint City Councilman woman and Chris Gaines, Dawsonville Zappendorf as Antiques owner Colleen Secreteary/Treasurer. Simrell, Atlanta Porter Zappendorf The four will join curMotorsports Park owner rent DDA members Keith our new DDA group. I Jeremy Porter and Stone, Phil Goodson and think we’ve put together a Discovery Parts owner Gordon Pirkle each month group that’s going to make to make decisions about Seanie Zappendorf to the things happen in our city,” the development of downauthority. town Dawsonville. “I am just overjoyed at said Dawsonville Mayor

‘We are taking all of the city’s water and sewer debts and combining it into one debt.’ Dana Miles City attorney

cial called meeting on March 26 to allow the bonds to go to market on March 31. The DDA voted to also allow this during a special called meeting the same day. On April 2, in a joint meeting between the city and the DDA, the two entities voted

unanimously, respectively, to allow supplemental bond resolutions and bond purchasing agreements for the 2014 bonds. These resolutions will allow the two organizations to begin paying back the bonds when they reach maturity in five years.

Site sought for outdoor venue By David Renner

With parks and green space becoming a popular feature for municipalities, Dawsonville is working to acquire property between the Municipal Complex and library to use as an activity center. “The plan is to turn this land into what we’ve dubbed ‘The Main Street Park’ project,” Mayor James Grogan said. “Within that, we hope to have a small amphitheater, a splash pad and a park area for kids and a walking/running track around the entire facility.” The topic was first broached during an October meeting, at which time the council gave the mayor power to enter talks with the property owners, Rialto Banks. “The bank indicated 18.18 acres, but we’ve looked at it and done the layout, and it doesn’t show to be that much property, so we’re in the process of coming up

with a price,” Grogan said. “We’ve made a tentative offer based on acreage rather than a lump sum price.” He said the city wanted to preserve the remaining land after the bank sold a nearby 3.3-acre tract to Whitley Engineering Inc. for about $60,000 per acre. The firm plans to build a 26,000-squarefoot assisted living center. “That’s our goal for this,” Grogan said. “We want the land preserved for the city’s use rather than it be sold off in small chunks and be broken up.” Citing the ongoing negotiations, he declined to comment on a possible price tag. “Currently, when we get ready to have a music festival, we have to get permission to be able to use the land,” he said. “With this new area, we have a lot of uses for it and we feel like we should own it. “That way, we can offer concerts to draw in more people to the city.” | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 11

APRIL 2014

member renewals - march Foothills Republican Women Tax Help Doctor, LLC Bastuba, Jim and Phyllis Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Forsyth First Baptist Church of Dawsonville Lily Creek Lodge Visiting Angels of Lake Lanier Brand, Gordon and Jeanette Bodyplex of Dawsonville Dawson Community News The Ship in a Bottle 400 North Board of Realtors Best Western Hill Design Associates Architects Inc. Home Instead Senior Care McClure, Cliff and Arlene SunTrust Bank Superior Arbor Management Inc. The Dawson Clinics Cook, Doris and Rick Weddings and Wellness Enterprises Crystal Falls Lake and Golf Club Living Impulse Manufacturing Inc. ACCARES Wellness Center K.C. Fuller and Associates LLC Servpro of Forsyth and Dawson Counties Big Canoe Chapel Terraces Amphitheater Disharoon Automotive Inc. JER Group Inc. Joh, John and Jane The Blue Bicycle Goodson’s Pharmacy JTC Jerry Townley Concrete The Longstreet Clinic P.C.

new members Five Star Architectural LLC 68 Grogan Drive Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 265-7284 Fax: (706) 265-3861

El Jinete Mexican Restaurant 100N 400 Centerlane Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 531-0012 Fax: (706) 531-0013

BK Sports 83 West First Street Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 265-4487

monthly totals Walk-in visitors: 150

Referrals: 105 Newcomer packages: 30


APRIL 2014

Political forum set for April 15 By Michele Hester

The Advocacy Committee of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce invites the community to meet and hear from candidates vying for local elected office. The political forum is set for April 15 at Dawson County Middle School. A meet and greet session with candidates starts at 6 p.m. followed by the forum at 6:30 p.m. Candidates invited to participate include those running for County Commission District 1, County Commission District 3, State Senate District 51, State House District 9, State House District 7, At-Large School Board and District 3 School Board. Candidates running without opposition are invited to briefly introduce themselves to the public. Opening statements, questions and closing statements will be held for candidates seeking election in State House District 7 and County Commission District 1. Citizens had their first chance to hear from candidates vying for the county’s District 1

Commission seat on March 25 during a political forum held by the Dawson County Republican Party. Sharon Fausett and Corey Gutherie fielded a variety of prepared questions, many focusing on their views of issues currently affecting Dawson County. Incumbent District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby also participated in the forum. He is running unopposed. The forum touched on topics such as the upcoming tax extension vote, future land use as it pertains to conserving the rural aspect and sustainable growth along Ga. 400, as well as the county’s relationship with city leaders and the notion of term limits for elected officials. Detailing their qualifications to the audience of nearly 50 attendees, Fausett, 63, touted her lifelong Dawson County residency while Gutherie, 36, focused on bringing a younger perspective to the board. “If I hadn’t loved it here, I would have left. I have been here all my life. It has served me so well,” said Fausett, a former teacher who later served as director for the Dawson County Department of

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

County commission candidates Jimmy Hamby, from left, Sharon Fausett and Corey Gutherie highlighted their qualifications during a political forum March 25.

Family and Children Services for nearly a decade. She currently runs an agritourism destination on the county’s west side, a notion she considers an asset for the commission. “We were twice Farm Family of the Year, because of our conservation practices. I have been so fortunate and so blessed to spend so many years [here],” she said. Gutherie, a Dawson resident since 2010, previously served

as an engineer for the county government before resigning in 2013 in anticipation of running for public office. “As the county engineer, I got to know what makes Dawson County tick. I also got to know what ticks off Dawson County. I think that’s an important thing to understand,” he said. “I can add to our commission. I can bring new, fresh thoughts and new ideas, but still maintain those same values that make Dawson County so

special.” The seat is currently held by Gary Pichon, who is not seeking re-election. Kevin Ellison, who is also running for the post, elected to skip the forum after a disagreement with local party leaders. “The citizens of Dawson County are the most important issue in this campaign. I do not want to take away from that top priority,” he said March 31. “I have a serious issue with the leadership of the Dawson County Republican Party. An issue that is fundamentally wrong but is accepted by the majority does not make it right. “I’m seeking office as a Republican, but I will not participate in party activities.” Ellison said he will participate in the chamber’s forum. In all likelihood, the race will be decided at the conclusion of the May 20 General Primary, as no Democrats qualified, though a second qualifying period for independent candidates will be held June 23-27 at the local board of elections and registration office on Academy Avenue.

Insurance agency joins PointeNorth group By David Renner

Two local insurance agencies have joined forces to serve customers better. As of March 1, PointeNorth Insurance Group and Taylor, Turner & Hartsfield Insurance have merged, operating as PointeNorth Insurance Group.

The merger is the second transaction of the quarter for PointeNorth and continues the insurance agency’s strategy of seeking like-minded partners with complementary offerings. Along with 4,300 plus households and business clients, Taylor, Turner & Hartsfield brings additional locations in Cumming and Dawsonville.

Established in 1988, the agency has brought a depth of insurance and financial services expertise in its community-based approach to its clients. “We share the philosophy of being trusted consultants to our clients,“ said President Dwight L. Taylor. Taylor will continue as a shareholder and serve as a

senior vice president of PointeNorth. He joins PointeNorth with other Taylor, Turner & Hartsfield principal, Mark Verbeke, who will serve as vice president. “With Taylor, Turner & Hartsfield’s community-based approach to serving its constituency, we continue to expand our presence in Georgia, while

reinforcing what differentiates us from our peers,” said PointeNorth CEO Bill Skeeles. Taylor, Turner & Hartsfield will continue its operations in Cumming and Dawsonville and PointeNorth will combine its current Alpharetta location with the Cumming office in late May. For more information, visit | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 13

APRIL 2014

chamber spotlight destination dawson

businesses of the week

Outside World offers equipment, training

Each week, the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce randomly selects a chamber member as “Business of the Week.” The business is spotlighted for one week and will receive an announcement every Monday on the chamber’s Facebook and Twitter pages and is placed on the front page of the chamber website, as well as highlighted in the Chamber Chatter e-newsletter

By David Renner

Located in a shopping center off of Ga. 400, just south of the outlet mall, is a store that sets itself apart from the usual beige spackle and brick buildings around it. The Outside World, easily identified by its log exterior, specializes in equipment for hiking, backpacking, kayaking and more. “There are a couple of things we do that other places don’t. We stock more kayaks than anybody in the state, and sell more, too,” said Brent Troncalli, The Outside World’s owner and president. “Some of the kayaks and paddle boards that we stock, we are the only dealer in a very large area. We have people traveling down here just to buy them, from Greenville, S.C., Augusta, Macon, Douglasville, places like that.” But it’s not just the nationwide price matches and selection of goods that bring people from across and out of the state to the store. “When we opened the store in 2004 at this location, we wanted to do

that is sent to the entire membership each Tuesday. The “Business of the Week” program is an opportunity to show the chamber’s appreciation to its members for supporting the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and investing in the community. Businesses of the Week for March are:

Chick-fil-A of Dawsonville

David Renner Dawson Community News

The Outside World is stocked with all of the essential items needed for backpacking, hiking, kayaking and more.

something here that was going to be different,” Troncalli said. “Most people, when they take kayaking classes, end up having to go to a river. That works great in June or July.” The Outside World features a one-of-a-kind service that makes it a destination for whitewater enthusiasts. “We are the only store in the world with an indoor simulated river. If people come in here wanting a kayak at any time of the year, even in January, we can just flip on the machine and teach the basics of whitewater kayaking,” Troncalli said. “It lets people test drive the kayaks. We can put people in the boat they want and then in the

water so they can see how it feels.” For those that don’t know how to kayak or backpack and want to start, The Outside World has a solution for that, too. “We teach classes here. Some of them are paid and some of them are free. We do different classes depending on the year,” Troncalli said. “We have kayak classes, free backpack fitting clinics, how to cook backpacking food, things like that.” The Outside World is located at 471 Quill Drive in Dawsonville, off of Ga. 400, just south of Premium Outlet Mall. For more information, call (706) 265-4500 or visit

The Chick-fil-A of Dawsonville has been serving up chicken sandwiches and waffle fries to the community for 11 years. According to Chick-fil-A, it is in the “quick service (chicken) restaurant business” with a goal of serving “great tasting food, quickly, by friendly team members.” The local branch says it tries “to be relevant to our community and have a presence at local events with our food.” The restaurant is at 231 Power Center Drive, off of Ga. 400, across from the outlet mall. For more information, call (706) 265-4997.

A Christian Counseling and Relationship Wellness Center For 20 years, ACCARES has been on a mission to help as many people as it can to regain and maintain optimum health and wellness, emotionally and physically, naturally. The center offers traditional counseling methods for all ages and problems, including EMDR, Emotional Freedom Therapy, Splankna (subconscious mind), bio-feedback, and personalized essential oil therapy combating PTSD, ADD, depression, anxiety, addictions and relationship issues. One more unique health program offered for regaining physical and emotional health is nutrition response testing, a non-evasive, precise system (through the body’s neurological reflexes) to determine the underlying causes of ill health and to design a personalized, clinical nutrition program via organic whole food supplements and herbs. Clinic tries to connect to the community with an open doors policy to serve as a successfully established professional counseling practice that offers free workshops on topics of need of mental and physical health from the spirit, soul and body understanding, such as relationship healing, stress and fatigue, emotions and nutrition, and detoxing chemicals and heavy metals. The office is at 786 River Bend Road in Dawsonville. For more information call (706) 216-6356, email or visit


APRIL 2014

chamber spotlight KNOW your chamber member

Know Your Ambassador

Cavalry Insurance

David Jordan

Located in downtown Dawsonville, Cavalry Insurance has been a Dawson County Chamber of Commerce member for two years. The insurance agency combines more than 30 years of insurance experience with its agents Danny Brock and Bobbie Naylor. “We love how the chamber supports business and the community and wanted to be involved as much as possible,” Brock said. ”The chamber has provided a lot of local community information. We have met many other local business owners and residents, and made great lifelong friends and customers.” Cavalry Insurance handles Medicare and health insurance plans as well as specializing in helping senior citizens with their Medicare needs with Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplements, and Part D Prescription Drug plans.

While only a Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador for just over a month, Grace Presbyterian Pastor David Jordan has already become well acquainted with most of the business leaders in the county. “As an ambassador, you get to meet people that you wouldn’t otherwise,” he said. “Already I have come across people that were actually more interested that I was the pastor of a church rather than an ambassador for the chamber. I didn’t anticipate that.” Jordan said that being an ambassador for the chamber has broadened his social horizons. “One of the reasons that I participated in the chamber in the first place was to be involved in the community in some fashion. “As a pastor, you have constant exposure to the people that come to you, but it’s not always easy to know how to get involved in the life of those who don’t,” he said. “The chamber has really opened an opportunity to interact with a demographic that I would have never had the opportunity to interact with otherwise.” Jordan said it’s the interaction that he likes best about the program, as

‘We love how the chamber supports business and the community and wanted to be involved as much as possible.’ Danny Brock

Insurance agent Cavalry also offer individual and family health insurance, long-term care insurance, critical illness and life insurance plans from major carriers. “I most definitely would recommend others to join the chamber. They do an outstanding job of bringing businesses together along with bringing the community together,” Brock said. “Anytime that you can be

involved in making the community that you work and live in to be a better place it’s a ‘win’ for all involved, and the chamber consistently does that.” Cavalry Insurance is located on Hwy. 9 South in downtown Dawsonville. For more information or to get a quote, call Danny Brock or Bobbie Naylor at (706) 531-9971 or email

‘The chamber has really opened an opportunity to interact with a demographic that I would have never had the opportunity to interact with otherwise.’ it gives him a chance to be a “lay man” instead of a pastor for a bit. “I really like interacting with the other ambassadors. I’ve loved getting to know the people that I’m with. They get us together fairly frequently and we get to build on relationships,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of things outside of the church that allows me to form friendships and relationships with others that don’t have anything to do with me ministering to them. The ambassador program gives me a chance to interact with people in a non-ministry context.”

Know your board member James Grogan Business/organzation: City of Dawsonville An ex-officio member of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan has served as the city’s voice for four years. Grogan’s goal on the board is to “help sell Dawsonville as a nice, friendly community where you can live, play and do business.”

ism,” Grogan said.

He is also a member of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Board of Directors, the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission and the GMRC Revolving Loan Fund Committee. “As a board member, I want to make Dawsonville a destination point for tour-

He said that the city itself has a wide range of destinations to offer visitors to the area. “We have so much to offer — mountains, lakes, lots of green space, the outlet mall, the moonshine distillery, the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, Atlanta Motorsports Park, Burt’s Farm, a historic cemetery and all the arts and entertainment you could ever want, just 35 minutes away,” Grogan said. “This is a great place to work, play and raise a family.” | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 15

APRIL 2014

Vein institute new member By David Renner

For the Dawson Community News

Staff and administrators at The Oaks at Hampton joined the Dawson and Lumpkin County Chambers of Commerce to cut the ribbon on Feb. 27 after the business joined the Dawson chamber.

Senior living center joins the chamber By David Renner

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce joined with its Dahlonega/Lumpkin counterparts to welcome an assisted living center to its membership. While located in Cumming, The Oaks at Hampton held its ribbon cutting for joining the Dawson chamber on Feb. 27. “Senior living options is a topic that consistently comes up when the issue of what people would like to see in our community is discussed,” said chamber president Christie Haynes. “We are proud to have The Oaks at Hampton as a member. We believe that they provided a greatly needed service in our area and we look forward to working with them.” The center offers amenities such as

assistance with daily activities, nutritious meals and snacks, housekeeping and laundry services, private, one-bedroom apartments, free Wi-Fi, transportation to shopping and other errands, medical supervision and an onsite barber and beauty shop. “It is never easy to place a loved one in someone else's daily care. For that matter, it is difficult to admit they need to be there in the first place,” said Nelson Salabarria, founder of the Oaks Senior Living Services. “The Salabarria family understands this and strives to ensure families are as comfortable with our retirement communities as the residents are themselves.” The Oaks at Hampton is located at 5610 Hampton Park Drive in Cumming. For more information, visit www.

A specialist in leg health has cut the ribbon on its new center in Dawson County. The North Georgia Vein Institute held a ribbon cutting on April 2 to celebrate the opening of its Dawsonville offices. “We’re really excited to be in Dawsonville. Our doctor, Peter Wrobel, has been practicing veins for the past 19 years and brought his business to Cumming about four years ago,” said Barbara Smart, the manager and marketing director for the institute. “But Dawsonville is a place we want to be and build our business.” According to Smart, the center specializes in “problem legs.” “That is a wide span of pain, burning, itching, varicose veins, spider veins,

David Renner Dawson Community News

Members of the North Georgia Vein Institute and the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce gathered in the institute’s Dawsonville office on April 2 to cut the ribbon on the center.

reticular veins and restless legs,” she said. “These are the kinds of things we work on and fix.” The institute’s main goal, according to Smart is to “renew the way that you look and feel.” The chamber extended its warm welcome to the office. “We’re very proud to have the North Georgia Vein Institute. We’ve been

working with Barbara [Smart] for the past couple of months and she has been a joy from the beginning,” said chamber president Christie Haynes. “We’re excited to celebrate the opening of this office.” The North Georgia Vein institute is at 6002 Hwy. 53 East, Ste. 100. For more information, visit www.NorthGeorgiaVein. com.

David Renner Dawson Community News

NOA celebrates opening

The staff of the No One Alone Dawson Office gathered with the chamber of commerce during the March Business After Hours to hold a ribbon cutting. The abuse shelter recently opened a Dawson County center at the Kenneth Long building off of Hwy. 53 West in downtown Dawsonville.


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APRIL 2014


Chamber Chronicle April 2014

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