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May 2019




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May 2019

WellStar Medical Group Family Medicine 1497 Lafayette Parkway LaGrange, GA 30241 706.880.7335

May 2019 VOLUME VI, ISSUE II 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 CHAIRMAN: Marlene Rhodes, Renasant Bank  PAST CHAIRMAN:  Casey Smith, Colony Bank CHAIRMAN-ELECT:  George Bailey, City of Hogansville SECRETARY/TREASURER:    William Stankiewicz, William & Mary’s Antiques PRESIDENT:  Page Estes, Chamber VICE CHAIRMAN FOR DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: Cynthia Culbreath, JB Legacy Enterprises VICE CHAIRMAN FOR BUSINESS ADVOCACY:  Dale Jackson, Jackson Services VICE CHAIRMAN FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT:  Meghan Duke, City of West Point VICE CHAIRMAN FOR INVESTOR RELATIONS:  Patricia Rogers, WellStar West Georgia Medical Center VICE CHAIRMEN FOR TALENT & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT:  Jamey Jackson, Malone Workforce Solutions Brandon Eley, 2bigfeet.com/EleyDigital VICE CHAIRMAN FOR MARKETING & ADVERTISING:  Rob Goldstein, Wild Leap Brew Co.

CONTENTS 4 | A Letter from the President 6 | Cover Story

A Winning Team

10 | Manufacturing

Made in Troup County, Sold Around the World

12 | Education

Communities in Schools Celebrates 30 Years

14| Spotlight on West Point

21 | Education

WGTC's Callaway Center Culinary Expansion

22 | Mystery Traveler

A Surprising Tuesday Night in LaGrange

28 | In the Know

A Look at the Local Housing Market

30 | Movers, Shakers, Risk-Takers

New Pop-up Market & Career Resource

34 | Chamber Events


16 | Small Business Spotlight

WellStar WGMC


18 | Spotlight on Hogansville

VICE CHAIRMAN FOR TOURISM: Jignesh Patel, LaQuinta Inn & Suites/Baymont Inn


Five Star Painting Victoria Belle

40 | Member Spotlight 43 | Small Business

Three Things that Every Entrepreneur Should Know

46 | HYPE (Young Professionals)


Jayme Ogles


Shelley Strickland This publication is produced by the LaGrange-Troup 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.


JJ Kuerzi, Troup County Parks and Recreation Photo credit: Blencoe & Co. Photographic Arts

Troup Trends is published quarterly by the LaGrangeTroup County Chamber of Commerce. Please send news items, suggestions, advertising requests and comments to:

Dave Marler P.O. Box 636 • LaGrange, GA 30241 dave@lagrangechamber.com




Dear Friends,

I am a Kentuckian, born and bred! There is a debate on whether the Bluegrass state is best known for fast horses or smooth bourbon. I’m a fan of both and recently indulged in an afternoon of racing and mint juleps on the first Saturday of May. Much will be debated about the decision that overturned the results of this year’s Kentucky Derby. Many believe the results should remain with the first horse across the finish line declared the winner and allowed to move forward in his quest for the Triple Crown. Some think interference is just part of the sport—especially on a muddy track—and the survival of the fittest, again the fastest horse, should be victorious. But then there are a few of us that believe that rules exist for a reason— to keep the competition fair. The steward made a tough call in arguably the biggest race in the sport, and I stand by her decision. As businesspeople, we have rules too. They are our values, our ethics, our principles. The Chamber Board of Directors recently adopted a new four-year strategic plan. Our operating principles— our rules of business--are ones that we adopt on your behalf as well. They state that we are “committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct and respect of our members. We pledge to: 1) listen first, communicate clearly and act according to our word; 2) provide quantifiable value, 3) maintain the highest professional standards; 4) improve continuously and 5) take well-researched risks.” Those principles will help us achieve our vision to “be the catalyst for business growth, the convener for leaders and influencers and the champion for stronger communities that ensures our region is an economic hub and the most desirable place to live, work, visit and do business in the southeast.” My favorite equine champion is, of course, Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner. Arguably the greatest racehorse of all time, Secretariat can teach us some lessons about being the best and how to win fairly in business. Have a winning attitude. In the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, most thought the short distance racer could not win the longer Belmont, but he crossed the finish line 31 lengths ahead of the nearest competitor. One would imagine that jockey Ron Turcotte had to whip Secretariat to get him to push harder, run faster. But he didn’t. Not even once. Secretariat set a track record that has never been broken because he had the right attitude and wanted to win as much or more than any other horse in the field.

Love what you do. Secretariat was bred for speed, so the experts did not think he would have the endurance to win the three races over a grueling 5-week schedule. Most trainers rest their horses after the second race, but trainer Lucien Laurin ran Secretariat hard in preparation for the Belmont. Why? The horse loved to run and loved to compete! Do you love what you do? Do you love your industry? Can you maximize your potential to see how far you can distance yourself from your competitors? Be your own horse. Copying perfection will not result in perfection. Just ask the breeders who tried to match Secretariat to the perfect mare to produce a foal that could outrun his dad. Of the more than 600 offspring, none came close to achieving what he did. In the context of your business, are you breeding your own success or riding on someone else’s horse? There is a saying in the animal kingdom that hints at how you differentiate prey from predators: “Eyes on the front, born to hunt; eyes on the side, born to hide.” A lion’s eyes are on the front of his massive head—a clear signal that the king of the jungle is a hunter. A horse’s eyes are on the side of his head, and they tend to be prey in the wild. A horse has great peripheral vision which can help them survive, but it can also make a horse run off course unless he is made to remain focused. Often a racehorse will wear blinders so it will not be distracted by what is next to or behind it; the horse stays focused on what is ahead. Where are your eyes? And are they focused on the finish line?

Warm regards,

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

Special Thanks to Our 1911 Society Presenting Sponsors!


May 2019







May 2019



ith two children competing in athletics, JJ Kuerzi has spent many weekends at the tennis complex and softball fields cheering them on to victory and providing support to their respective teams. Her dedication also fostered a keen understanding of the willingness of family members to travel from city to city supporting their children and the positive impact sportsrelated tourism has on the host cities. Tourism is economic development in Troup County, and sports tourism, in the amount of more than $9 million annually, contributes to the positive economic impact generated each year for the community. Through a partnership between the Chamber and Troup County Parks & Recreation (TCPR), Kuerzi is an integral member of the sports tourism team. Each year, Kuerzi attends important sports conferences around the country where she has the opportunity to meet with organizers seeking locations for their events. Meetings such as S.P.O.R.T.S.-The Relationship Conference, an exclusive event designed to bring together sports event owners and rights holders with host organizations, and the annual meeting of the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), provide a marketplace for event organizers and prospective host cities. It is during these sessions that both parties become familiar with the needs and expectations each entity has when beginning discussions about possible collaborations. “I am proud of the relationship between the Chamber and TCPR. The support provided by the Chamber makes it possible for me to attend these important industry meetings,” explains Kuerzi. “Being face-to-face makes it much easier to develop the close relationships


that are necessary with rights holders and vendors looking for quality destinations with experience in hosting events, to land some of the major events.” In addition, during these meetings, Kuerzi can learn more about new events and make a determination on which groups are producing quality events that will ultimately generate a positive return on investment. She says, “The sessions are also informative as we talk about best practices and leading trends that are happening in the ever-evolving world of sports events. “From baseball to softball, fishing to karate, and scores of other sports in between, if there is a competition tournament, we want the organizers to consider Troup County when selecting a site.” Dave Marler, VP for Marketing and Tourism with the Chamber, says: “JJ works to recruit tournaments in many sports to Troup County. She has developed relationships with many key tournament organizers throughout the region.” As the Facilities Director for Troup County Parks & Recreation, Kuerzi is very familiar with the venues and amenities available in our community. “We have exceptional bricks and mortar facilities that are suitable to host a variety of sports events but we can’t forget what a tremendous resource we have in West Point Lake,” she says. It was through a relationship developed at one of the annual conferences that West Point Lake and Troup County was selected to host the 2017 Fishers of Men tournament. That group was so pleased with their experience that they have decided to return in September 2019. Other fishing tournaments that have already taken place or are on the schedule for the remainder of 2019 include the 14th annual Rod Benders Bass Club Homecoming Tournament, the Georgia Bass Federation Top Six Championship and Georgia Florida Semi-Final www.lagrangechamber.com





May 2019

Championship and a tournament for high school teams from around the state (see sidebar for more events). “Fishing is a major component of our sports tourism mix,” says Kuerzi. “The addition of a proposed permanent building at Pyne Road Park will only enhance that venue and make it easier to attract larger, more prominent fishing events in the coming years. My goal is to become a regular destination for the major events as they plan their three- to five-year event schedule.” While there is a good variety of existing events, the tourism team is always seeking new opportunities. Renovations at McCluskey Tennis Center have created a facility ready to host larger, more prestigious tournaments

on the amateur and collegiate levels. Other options may include a collegiate invitational softball tournament, major adult softball competitions and non-traditional sports such as disc golf, skills competitions and more. The popularity of soccer and lacrosse continue to grow but, until additional rectangle fields come online, the possibilities of hosting large tournaments in either of those sports are limited. Visitors to these events and other attractions in our community are a reminder that tourism is big business in Troup County. Any time a major sports event is taking place, the community stands to enjoy a tremendous economic impact as the visitors stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our



The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Tourism team and Troup County Parks and Recreation, in collaboration with LaGrange College, hosted the 2019 USA South Spring Sports Festival, April 25-28. As one of the oldest Division III conferences in the nation, the USA South has 18 member institutions stretching from Alabama to Virginia. Competition venues included baseball at Cleaveland Field and Point University, softball at Shuford Field, tennis at McCluskey Tennis Center and LaGrange College, and lacrosse at Callaway Stadium. Champions were crowned in baseball, softball, golf, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s lacrosse during the festival. The student-athletes were honored for their achievements during the annual USA South Awards Banquet at Sweetland Amphitheatre. “This was the third year in a row that the USA South Softball Championship was played at Shuford Park, and it just gets better every year. As the Umpire-in-Chief responsible for the officials I want to thank the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and Troup County Parks and Recreation for their work. Their hospitality was outstanding and the softball fields were always in perfect condition. Thank you for three years of great experiences.” stores and refill with gas and snacks on their way to and from the competition venues. According to data provided by the Georgia Department of Economic Development for 2017, the tourism industry supported 1,214 local jobs with a total payroll of $29.6 million, generated $167.3 million in direct tourist spending (including the more than $9 million directly attributable to sports tourism), created $6.91 million in state tax revenues and generated $4.6 million in local tax revenues. “At the end of each tournament, a champion is crowned on the field of play and I know that championships come through teamwork,” says Kuerzi. Continued contributions from every member of the team – lodging partners, retailers, restaurant owners, Parks and Recreation, the Chamber, the cities and the county – are essential to the sports tourism efforts. With JJ Kuerzi at the helm, there are many prestigious events and championships to come.

Mickey Call USA South Athletic Conference Coordinator of Softball Officials


MEN’S TENNIS............................. NC WESLEYAN COLLEGE WOMEN’S TENNIS...................... NC WESLEYAN COLLEGE MEN’S LACROSSE...............................PIEDMONT COLLEGE WOMEN’S LACROSSE.........................MEREDITH COLLEGE BASEBALL........................................... LAGRANGE COLLEGE SOFTBALL............................................MARYVILLE COLLEGE GOLF..............................................HUNTINGDON COLLEGE




Made in Troup County, Sold Around the World


rom the footage used in one of the most acclaimed commercials shown during Super Bowl LII in February 2019, to the voiceover that told the story, to the vehicles rolling off the assembly line at the rate of nearly 60 per hour, almost every aspect of the new Kia Telluride has been made in Troup County.

the auto company’s new 2020 Telluride SUV. It featured beautiful shots of the rural landscape by Serial Pictures’ director John Hillcoat and dramatic portraits of some of West Point’s 4,000 inhabitants by worldacclaimed photographer Martin Shoeller.

Nine-year-old Korbin is emblematic of the Great Unknowns. “We are not famous," he says in the opening frame of Kia Motors’ 2019 Super Bowl commercial. "There are no stars in a sidewalk for us. No statues in our honor. We’re just a small Georgia town of complete unknowns."

Quality is the word you hear over and over again in any conversation with Stuart Countess, and it's the word you'll hear repeated when talking to any of the 2,700 workers employed at Kia's West Point plant. The Telluride's introduction this spring brings a renewed, more intense focus among the workforce, partly because West Point is the only Kia plant in the world producing this dynamic three-row SUV.

The 90-second ad, created by Los Angelesbased agency David&Goliath, showcased "The Great Unknowns" who worked on

Countess, who is chief administrative officer at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), says quality has been Job One


May 2019

M A N U F A C T U R I N G here since 2009, when the first U.S.assembled Kia Sorento midsize SUV rolled off the line. “I know every one of our team members is proud of Kia being recognized four years in a row by J.D. Power as the Highest Ranked Mass Market Brand in Initial Quality, and that the Sorento we assemble here in Georgia has topped the midsize SUV rankings in Initial Quality two years in a row,” he says “At West Point we don't just have a small team of specialists ensuring these high standards. We have 2,700 team members dedicated to delivering consistently highquality vehicles.” As Kia’s first entry into the three-row SUV market, the Telluride is Kia's largest and most technologically advanced vehicle to date. Initially designed with the U.S. market in mind at Kia's design studio in California, the Telluride travels down the same manufacturing line as the award-winning Sorento. Powered by a 291-hp 3.8-liter V6, with available active on-demand all­wheel drive, the Telluride is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds. “Telluride is extremely important to this plant. It is a new vehicle for us in a key segment of the market,” says Countess. “Every one of our own team members and the thousands of people working at our local suppliers are thrilled to see it in production. They've put their heart and souls into making it the very best it can be.” The first of Kia's new Telluride vehicles were loaded for export February 26 at the Port of Brunswick. The eight-person SUVs are destined for ports around the Arabian Peninsula. The automaker plans to export approximately 3,000 Tellurides per year. During a board meeting held at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) recognized a decade of partnership between Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia and GPA. “Kia is one of our largest customers at the Port of Savannah, and a stellar example of the kind of advanced manufacturing going on across Georgia,” says GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “At Georgia Ports, we are proud to support the positive impact Kia has on the state’s economy.” Over the past decade, the automaker has

Governor Brian Kemp at the KMMG plant as the first Telluride rolled off the assembly line shipped nearly 350,000 20-foot equivalent container units through the Port of Savannah in support of the West Point manufacturing plant. As one of GPA’s largest container customers, Kia’s volumes support thousands of jobs throughout Georgia’s transportation and logistics supply chain. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp applauds the expansion of Kia models made in America: "The company's decision to build the Telluride here in Georgia is a testament to the caliber of hardworking men and women at the company’s West Point, Georgia, plant. Having created more than 14,000 jobs for Georgians, Kia is an outstanding corporate citizen, and we commend them for their commitment to innovation, quality and growth. “From Kia’s initial investment of more than $1 billion to today, KMMG has proven a

valuable asset to the strength and diversity of our economy. With the recent export of the first Kia Tellurides via Brunswick, the carmaker is opening up new global markets for goods made right here in Georgia.” KMMG President and CEO Jason Shin says, "The launch of the Telluride is a major accomplishment for the KMMG team, bringing this great new vehicle to the market from the ground up. And now our Georgia plant is the worldwide home that will supply the Telluride around the world." Countess adds: “KMMG being the sole plant producing the Telluride is a testament to our team members’ hard work and commitment to world class quality. The success of the Telluride is also a direct result of the support this community has shown from day one. KMMG’s great unknowns are proud to call Troup County our home.” www.lagrangechamber.com











Communities in Schools Celebrates 30 Years

Ann Kramer; Carol Lewis, CIS of Georgia President/ CEO; Tabitha LewisCoverson, Executive Director CIS of Georgia in Troup County; Neil Shorthouse, co-founder of Communities in Schools and Past President of CIS of Georgia

Troup County staff, students, parents and advisory board members


ho’d ever think a pack of Sharpie pens could turn a child’s life around? But that’s exactly what happened to one Communities in Schools (CIS) student in Troup County. CIS Executive Director Tabitha Coverson says her favorite success story is about one young woman who was failing every class. When asked what it would take to encourage her to bring her grades up, she said she would like a pack of Sharpies. She was presented a pack of the colorful markers after pulling her grades up incrementally, which encouraged her to bring them up even more. By the end of the semester, the student had all As and Bs. Coverson says it’s the small things. CIS is about relationships, not programs. Celebrating its 30th year in Troup County, CIS is planning an event on May 16 at Del’avant to look back at their successes. Communities in Schools germinated from an idea presented by


May 2019

Frederick Stanley, Unsung Hero and 2019 CIS of Georgia Site Coordinator of the Year Winner the Leadership Troup class in 1989 as a way to address the high dropout rate in the county. Initially called Cities in Schools, it became affiliated with Communities in Schools in 1993. At the time of its founding, CIS was the first affiliate in the country in a non-metropolitan area. Its purpose: to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and succeed in life. Coverson, whose mother Carol Lewis was the long-time executive director in Troup County, was a volunteer in high school and college before taking over the program seven years ago. Her mother now serves as the President/CEO of Communities in Schools of Georgia. CIS serves students at each middle school in Troup County, as well as Berta Weathersbee Elementary. They will soon have a site coordinator for Callaway High school. Last year, they served more than 2700 students.

E CIS provides wrap-around services ranging from academic assistance, mental and physical health services to behavioral intervention. In addition, they are focusing on parent engagement through their Parent Café, in which 592 parents participated last year. Other programs include “Reality U” which teaches students about personal finance in an interactive and engaging way. And their Emerging Leaders group offers peer mentoring, field trips and career exploration. The CIS summer enrichment program promotes academic, social/emotional well-being and exposure to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Communities in Schools’ biggest need is volunteers to mentor the students. Coverson says many people have the misconception that they have to spend 10 hours a week with their mentee, when just 30 minutes a week having lunch or a conversation with the student is all that’s needed. “A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult is so very important,” Coverson adds. The anniversary celebration on May 16 will include a pictorial timeline of CIS history in Troup County, as well as presentation of awards to the Most Improved Student, Humanitarian of the Year and Students of the Year. Coverson is grateful for the help she’s received from the community during her tenure. “Thank goodness for United Way. They believed in us and kept us going through some difficult times,” she says. But it’s the staff and volunteers who have helped CIS students achieve a 96 percent graduation rate. “Sometimes a little bit of a push is all that’s needed to make a world of difference.” To volunteer for Communities in Schools, contact Tabitha Coverson at tcoverson@cisgeorgia.org

Carol Lewis (left) is the current CIS of Georgia President/CEO and a former mentor, board member and executive director for CIS Troup County; she is pictured with Executive Director Tabitha LewisCoverson.

CIS Troup Alum Frederick Bailey, currently a CIS of Georgia board member and Milliken Fellow in Washington DC, pictured with Markayla Moore

Frederick Stanley, Site Coordinator at Long Cane Middle School, with Keaton Irvin, Champion Finalist 8th grade LCMS









COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS 2018 Report Card • Provided case management to 368 students in high need of support to be successful in school • Reached 2,649 students through whole school services • Supported 592 parents through Direct Services and Parent Engagement • 61% of CIS middle school students who were failing academically improved their grades • 88% of students missing 10 or more days prior to CIS improved their attendance, on average gaining an additional 11.16 days of school attendance per year • 76% of students with a history of behavior resulting in suspension improved their behavior • 24% were suspension-free while participating in CIS • 100% of middle school students were promoted • 45 community volunteers including 18 mentors provided support to CIS • CIS volunteers logged 1,080 hours of service to students

Stephanie Williams, Site Coordinator Callaway Middle School, and Champion winner Markayla Moore, 8th grader at Callaway Middle

• Services in 2018 included Case Management, Academic Supports, After School Programming, Tutoring/Homework Assistance, Basic Needs, Behavior Supports, Bullying Prevention, Life Skills, Mentoring, Personal Skills, Parent Engagement, Physical and Mental Health, Sight 4 Students, Mental Health Services, College and Career Readiness, Community Service/Service Learning and Enrichment Activities www.lagrangechamber.com



Something New Popping Up in Downtown West Point

op U P p M A RK E T Downtown





op-Up Markets, featuring handmade, homemade and homegrown goods, are coming to Downtown West Point in May, June, July and August. An open-air artisan and farmers market, each will showcase locally crafted fine art and premium goods and produce. A pop-up shop is a short-term, temporary retail space where brands—usually ones without a physical presence—can interact in person with current customers and communicate their message to potential new ones. Pop-ups are also an accessible way for businesses of all sizes and budgets (digitally native brands in particular) to test the waters of physical retail before making a large investment. During the Pop-Up Market days, Downtown West Point will also experiment with “micro-retailing.” This will allow small, independent, entrepreneurs, familyowned businesses or “makers” who work and sell products from their home via the Internet an opportunity to have a storefront on Main Street for a day. Pop-Up Markets will be held the last Thursdays of May through August, 5:00 to 8:00 pm on the 3rd Avenue sidewalk in Downtown West Point. For additional information, contact Meghan Duke at meghan.duke@cityofwestpointga.com.

Career Resource Rolls into West Point


or those on the hunt for a job, help is rolling into West Point once a month. Starting in May, the WorkSource Three Rivers Mobile Career Unit will be available every fourth Wednesday of the month, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, at the West Point Technology/Training Center on O.G. Skinner Road. The mobile career unit allows individuals to conduct job searches, complete job applications, create a resume and search for training programs at no cost. Another tool available is the website, Threeriversworks.com. Developed by Avalanche Consulting, LaGrange-Troup County Chamber and the Three Rivers Regional Commission, this interactive website will help job seekers and students learn about careers that are a good fit for them.

Threeriversworks.com provides: • Up-to-date county-level job demand and education data • Top careers ranked by salary and growth • Careers filtered by level of education required • A list of education institutions and their certificate and degree programs • A two-minute survey that lets users pick their top skills and see a list of matching careers For more information, or to schedule an in-depth presentation about Threeriversworks.com, contact Renae Willis at renae@lagrangechamber.com.

West Point Business Council, June 20 For more information, contact Leslie Traylor at leslie@lagrangechamber.com or 706-884-8671 14

May 2019

Jackson Services is pleased to provide our Georgia and Alabama communities with our conditioned tent. We hope that its convenience and accessibility caters to everyone attending that particular event. One unique feature of our tents is the privacy area, also known as "Colin’s Room." Inspired by Dale Jackson’s son, Colin, the privacy area was created to help accommodate individuals with special needs and their families.

Our ambition for the tents and privacy areas is to provide families in our community with a suitable environment to not only escape the outdoor climate but also respond to any unforeseeable situations. The privacy areas are available to anyone needing to respond to private matters, such as changing clothes, changing diapers, nursing babies, or addressing medical needs. It is so rewarding to see individuals in our community come together to support each other in various events, such as the annual Chili Cook-off, Relay for Life, Dragon Boat Race, Special Day for Special People, and so much more. Our participation in these community events is something we look forward to every year!

Jackson Services is thankful for all our loyal customers who depend on us for their home service needs!


1411 Whitesville Street LaGrange, GA 30240 706-884-3351





FIVE STAR PAINTING Here are a few details that create the Five Star Experience:

Curt Snider, Donna Snider, Adah Chhum and Ted Striblin

• Licensed • Insured • Expectations set • Professional expertise • On time • On budget • Exact measurements and detailed quote • State-of-the-art software • Superior quality • Introduction to crew leader • Crew leader on-site daily • Job checked daily by estimator or project manager • Daily update with customer • Daily crew cleanup • Agreed cleanout area picked


he painting industry has been fragmented for many years, with lots of painters but little consistency. So, you never know what you are going to get. At Five Star Painting, we’ve set ourselves apart – providing a true painting experience for all your residential, interior and exterior or light commercial jobs.

We understand the importance of color. From a fresh exterior paint job that improves the curb appeal of your home or business, to interior paint that brings style and feeling to your daily life, paint can make all the difference. Don’t put off that painting project any longer, call the professionals at Five Star Painting and start enjoying your quality paint job sooner rather than later.

• Our corporate code of values • We have a system for success and take it seriously and focus on it • Final walk-through with customer, crew leader and estimator • Written warranty • We have more details that we will explain as we go through your quote At Five Star Painting, we believe we’re a step above the competitor. Your FREE estimate starts with exact measurements of your project and is then followed up with a walk-through with our customer. When your job is complete, we provide you with a two-year warranty. We pride ourselves in going the extra mile on each job to ensure you have a Five Star Experience! Anyone can throw paint on a wall, but great paint jobs come from great details. Don’t trust your most valuable asset to the cheapest guy around. A cheap price can never overcome a bad paint job! If walls could talk … they would say … Choose the Professionals at Five Star Painting!

Curt.Snider@FiveStarPainting.com (706) 594-2811 FiveStarPainting.com/North-Columbus Members may reserve one of four Small Business Spotlight articles during the 2020 Total Resource Campaign scheduled for September – November 2019.


May 2019

New jobs have a powerful effect. Every factory or tech firm that opens its doors makes surrounding communities that much stronger. That’s why Georgia Power works hard to bring new businesses here, creating over 134,000 new jobs in the last 10 years alone. And showing people across our state more possibilities than ever before. To see how we’re generating opportunity, visit GeorgiaPower.com/growth.

We show businesses why their future is brighter in Georgia. ©2019 Georgia Power. All rights reserved.

Here. For you. At Synovus, we truly understand what matters to you; that’s why we’re doing all we can to help you grow. Not just a bank, we’re your neighbors and friends. People from here who understand here. And we’re here. For you. 1-888-SYNOVUS | synovus.com

Synovus Bank, Member FDIC.




VICTORIA BELLE A Storied History of Romance and Success


ravel back in time nearly 120 years, coming up to the turn of the century in Hogansville, new commerce and construction were on the rise. After the Civil War, those who survived were left to face a grave economic situation in the small Georgia town, but during the Reconstruction years that followed, Hogansville became a center of commerce for Troup County. In 1897, businessmen from Atlanta and Hogansville chartered the Hogansville Manufacturing Company, and a mill town was born. Also, in that same year, the “Daniel Mansion” was constructed on East Main Street – today, that stately home is the perfect marriage of past, present and future as the wedding venue, Victoria Belle. With its storied past, the home has been the starting point for the lives of hundreds of couples since 2001. After the Daniel family owned the mansion, General Milton Arnold, the first airmail carrier to fly across the United States, lived there. General Arnold was also known as a look-alike of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and was used as a decoy when the president traveled. According to legend, Eisenhower even played chess with Arnold

in the mansion on numerous occasions. Since those days, the home has had only one other owner, Vickie Brown. A fan of the movie “Gone with the Wind,” Vickie spotted her own Tara driving through Hogansville one summer weekend in 1999 with her husband, Roger. They were in the market for property to build their dream home when she fell in love with the late Victorian mansion on the hill. Three weeks later, it was hers. Vickie says, “History and old homes were one of my favorite things growing up. I think, for me, this began when my 3rd grade teacher took me to the Fox Theater to see ‘Gone with the Wind.’ From that moment, the fiery passion of Scarlett and the grandeur and beauty of Tara would become a road map of what was to come in my life.” The mansion underwent extensive renovations inside and out before it could be reimagined as Vickie’s dream business, Victoria Belle, known as one of the best places in Georgia for weddings. But more than that, it’s also become a symbol of growth and commerce in Hogansville. Vickie (along with her team) stays very involved in the local community,

chairing the Hogansville Downtown Development Authority, serving as an active member of the Hogansville Business Council, supporting HYPE (Helping Young Professionals Engage) and other organizations. In fact, she recently hosted HYPE at Victoria Belle, providing a tour of the venue, as well as an update on the business of Hogansville and a forecast of what’s to come. “Hogansville is better than ever,” she told the group. “The town has grown in leaps and bounds since I’ve been here during the past 20 years, especially in the last two or three.” She credits this growth to a younger generation moving here and getting involved and investing in their community. “There is new energy and changes that are in store. It’s exciting! “Progress stood still for a while here, but now it’s our turn.”

HYPE visiting Victoria Belle

Hogansville Business Council, June 13 For more information, contact Leslie Traylor at leslie@lagrangechamber.com or 706-884-8671 18

May 2019

“It’s exciting to see the new sense of optimism and hope among the businesses in Hogansville,” says Leslie Traylor, Director of Member Engagement for the Chamber. “There is an obvious spirit of innovation and collaboration across the community. I look forward to helping our members grow and thrive as the future unfolds.”




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May 2019










WGTC Breaks Ground on Callaway Center Culinary Expansion


est Georgia Technical College (WGTC) is expanding its Callaway Conference Center to include a commercial kitchen. The new kitchen space will be available for clients who rent the space, but also will be used as instructional space for culinary arts classes. WGTC broke ground on the 2,300 square foot expansion April 19 in conjunction with the Callaway Foundation, which is providing a grant to make the growth possible. About 1,000 square feet of existing space will be reconfigured to accommodate the expansion. “Culinary here in LaGrange is something that needs expertise. We have that expertise,” WGTC President Scott Rule said. “It needs an instructor. We have an instructor. It needs student interest. Well, when we were trying to find a caterer for our Black Tie & Boots event, we heard from Tulla White, a local caterer right here in LaGrange, who said, ‘Boy, I just need more help. I need somewhere where people can be trained to do what I do.’ We’ve heard that loud and clear. He’s not the only voice. He’s just the most recent one I’ve heard, but that is the need that we have here.” WGTC hopes to serve that need by focusing on a part of the culinary field that is already in demand locally with a certificate program at first, though the program could expand over time. “We are looking at offering a technical certificate of credit, which is 25 credit hours in baking and pastry,” said Dr. Kristen Douglas, vice president of academic affairs. “We looked at the data for this specific area of LaGrange and Troup County and noticed that there are significant needs in grocery stores … and specific restaurants that are looking for people who have baking specialization as well as pastry skills.” LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce President Page Estes said that the culinary field is one of the areas expected to see job growth in the area in coming years.

“In the top 25 jobs that we need in the next 10 years in this community, hospitality, food service preparation and food service will be at the top of those lists,” Estes said. “Whether it is at Great Wolf or whether it is at the hospital. It is in some of our small businesses throughout this community. Everyone gathers around the concept of food.” Estes also recalled when the Callaway Conference Center opened 24 years ago, thanks to the Callaway Foundation, which is also making the expansion possible. “To the trustees of the Callaway Foundation, please know how grateful we are for your investment in our institution, especially in this beautiful conference center,” said Kelsey Jones, the executive director of the WGTC Foundation. “Your generosity will certainly fill this entire conference center for years to come, and I can’t wait to see how it overflows out these doors and into our community. I am excited to see our graduates serve you as you work, live and play in Troup County, whether it be on your stay-cation at Great Wolf Lodge, or at your daughter’s wedding at Del’avant, or during an important business meeting at lunch downtown.” Callaway Foundation President Tripp Penn spoke on the expansion as an investment in the local workforce and the American value of hard work.

“There is a measurable value in getting up and going to work, particularly in an area of service to others in a profession such as the culinary arts, and everyone here — you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t believe this — West Georgia Technical College — is a great institution for preparing people to either enter or re-enter the workforce,” Penn said. “It is our privilege to join with the college in supporting this noble mission.” He also noted the value the expansion will bring to the area. “This expansion is going to support the training of countless leaders and specialists in the food and hospitality industry throughout the region — not just in Troup County,” Penn said. “[Our region] especially Troup County has seen significant growth in recent years with the addition of several large and small industries. These organizations continue to bring jobs and families and visitors to our area. That is just a wonderful thing for the region.” Construction on the expansion is expected to be complete in time to register students for classes beginning in January 2020, but WGTC also has plans for the expansion to be used by caterers for events at the college and possibly cooking demonstrations. To learn more about West Georgia Technical College, visit westgatech.edu.







ost any town worth its spot on Google maps has something fun to do on a Saturday night. This time of year, weekend festivals, special events, concerts, competitions and celebrations abound. But what about a week night? Is there anything interesting to do? Not every community can pass, say, the Tuesday Night Test. Can LaGrange? Join this mystery traveler for a truly surprising Tuesday night on the town. A lot of people are surprised to learn that a small city like LaGrange has a flourishing symphony orchestra. Plenty are surprised, too, to discover a flourishing craft beer scene. Perhaps most surprising, you can enjoy both in a single, memorable Tuesday evening. At first blush, Beacon Brewing Company and the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra (LSO) would seem an unlikely combination. Other than geographic proximity – Beacon at 700 Lincoln St., the LSO less than half a mile away in Callaway Auditorium – what could the two possibly have in common? You may be surprised. Again. My Tuesday night outing found the brewery and the LSO to be a harmonious combination. What they have in common is a passion for what they do. And cool places


May 2019

in which to do it. The folks at Beacon are plenty passionate about their beer, their food and their heritage. It shows in the originality of the menu, the smooth individuality of the beer, the laidback yet lively vibe of the rustic, restored storefront-turned-brewpub. The place has Character, capital C. Similarly, the LSO is passionate about enriching the community through music with its varied concert series, exceptional youth programs and inspired educational outreach. It shows in the originality of their programming (earlier this season, they dedicated a whole concert to Women in Music), in the enthusiasm of board and volunteers, in the impressive turnout of loyal listeners. LaGrange College’s Callaway Auditorium, with its world-class acoustics, has Class, capital C. And then, there’s artistry. A brewery and a symphony are both hands-on operations. Brewmasters, chefs, conductors and musicians have different skill sets, but similar qualities: deep feeling for the product, dedication, creativity, an expert touch. People who know beer consistently praise Beacon’s brews as “well-balanced, deceptively complex and always intriguing.” Reviewers make similar comments in describing the orchestra. So back to that Tuesday night. It all started with a short drive to Beacon – no need to fill the gas tank, no hassles, no hurry.

It said a lot that all the inside tables were filled at 6 p.m. on a weeknight. There was space in the outdoor “beer garden” but we chose seats at the counter, the better to observe the friendly, fast-moving staff and admire the original wall art – distinctive and nostalgic black and white images taken from old issues of the Callaway Mills newsletter, known as the Beacon. The décor is appropriate. Father/son founders Charles Hudson Jr. and Chase Hudson are descendants of Callaway Mills’ founder Fuller Callaway, whose textile mills were once the heart of the Hillside district. It just seemed right to order a beer called Fuller’s Earth, a light, farmhouse ale style with a beautiful golden straw color. It was easy to like and paired well with the inventive menu featuring Asian cuisine with a Southern flair. Think pork belly sliders with braised greens as a side. Ramen bowls and yaki soba. Hot dogs made from Wagyu beef and tempura dogs, battered and served with napa cabbage kimchi. My tasty taco had Ahi tuna, seared with sesame and siracha and served with wasabi aioli and napa cabbage slaw. Definitely not your grandmother’s tuna casserole. My companion had confit duck sliders (pulled whole duck, roasted garlic duck sauce, cucumber kimchi and alfalfa sprouts) and a smoked pork taco made with local pasture-raised pig from Sims Pond Farm, topped with a yummy watermelon barbecue sauce.

MYSTERY TRAVELER We sat and sipped agreeably until nearly concert time, then slipped over to the auditorium for the much-anticipated closing performance of the LSO’s 30th season. Yes, 30 years. In an era when several larger cities have seen their symphonies fold, LaGrange Symphony Orchestra is celebrating milestones. And successfully tackling ambitious music. In 1916, the same year Fuller and Ida Callaway built Hills and Dales Estate, an English composer named Gustav Holst completed a seven-movement suite called “The Planets.” Conductor Richard Prior used words like “epic” and “colossal achievement” to describe it.

Corey Wyble

The “out-of-this-world” composition is Holst’s interpretation of the seven non-earthly planets then known to exist. In her excellent program notes, Betsy Schwarm points out that Pluto had not been discovered, much less demoted, at that time. “His inspiration came not from astronomy, nor even mythology,” Schwarm writes. “Rather, astrology, as in horoscopes, drove Holst’s imagination.” Whatever the source, the results were remarkable, even to my untrained ears. The warlike spirit of Mars, the peaceful, romantic stirrings of Venus, the spirited (and short) strains of Mercury, came through clearly as Dr. Prior led the orchestra through changes in mood (Jupiter’s jollity, Saturn’s ominous tones) and emphasis. I overheard a concertgoer remark that she had been moved nearly to tears at some points and to cheers at others. For me, a favorite part of live performance is the chance to watch the musicians – the flourish of the percussionist, the intensity of the double bassist, the grace of the harpist’s fingers moving skillfully over the strings. Symphonic music transports with its sights as surely as its sounds. As the final notes sounded and the audience rose for a thunderous ovation, I found myself thinking it a little otherworldly to have experienced one of the world’s musical treasures right here in LaGrange. Which brings me back to another thing Beacon and the LSO have in common. They are affordable and accessible, right here in LaGrange’s back yard. And they are not alone, just shining examples of what the community has to offer. Who knows what some future Tuesday night will bring.

The Heart of the Matter


ucked away in the Hillside neighborhood, Beacon Brewing Company offers an expanded menu of delicious Asian inspired southern cuisine, while enhancing the local obsession with craft beer in LaGrange.

Using Iron Horse versus canning in-house was an easy choice according to Beacon owner, Chase Hudson. “This early in the process, something is bound to go wrong while canning, so why not have the experts at Iron Horse there to help!”

Since November 2018, Beacon has been canning their Belgian and Bavarian style beers with the help of Iron Heart Mobile Canning. Rolling into town in a box truck once a month, the team at Iron Heart spends all day at Beacon canning, labeling and packaging the beers.

The mobile canning line can produce more than 500 cases per day. Once the process is complete, the cans are specifically calibrated and hand packaged ready for to be enjoyed. Pick up a six-pack of Fuller’s Earth, Alice’s Hands or Clem the Clown at grocery and convenience stores around the area.

MEET MISTY REE My tourist gene runs deep. I love to go, to see, to do. I am always ready to eat, shop, play, listen, view, wander or try something new. I want you to go along with me, at least in spirit. We’ll visit some familiar places and others off the beaten path, from one end of beautiful Troup County to the other. To make our journeys more interesting, I am going incognito. You won’t see me coming. You won’t know where I am going next. If you have a suggestion of a place I ought to visit, just drop a line to my buddy Dave Marler, VP of Marketing and Tourism at the Chamber. (dave@lagrangechamber.com). Tell him you have a message for Troup’s Mystery Traveler, or use my nickname: Misty Ree. www.lagrangechamber.com


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A Look at the Local Housing Market


n 2018, Troup County experienced the strongest year with respect to residential home sales since the housing market collapse in 2007. The market increased 4 percent, with 896 units selling, compared to 858 units in 2017. Existing homeowners continued to be the beneficiary of improved market conditions with 88 percent of sales activity being resale properties, compared to 12 percent new construction. A county record for residential resales was set with 784 units selling (up from the previous high of 775 units in 2017).    Now that the numbers have been finalized for the first three months of 2019, it appears that the local housing market will be flat for the year. (Q1 finished down 2 percent, from the same three months in 2018.) A lack of available inventory for purchase is putting a strain on sales volume while effectively driving up the residential home sale price.

homeownership is expected to continue in Troup County. Based on prices recovering, economic growth, changing demographics, and home preference availability, the issue of a significant expansion in new construction is not a matter of if it will happen, rather when and at what velocity.

Inventory levels are at historic lows, with only 209 existing homes on the market and 65 new construction homes available (with only 18 move-in ready). This represents a 3.8-month supply of homes. With low inventory, prices continue to rise with average home prices now at all-time highs for the area. Average home prices are now 21 percent higher than the market peak, coming in at $166,335. 

At F.L.I. Properties, we recognized the trend toward low inventory back in 2014, and therefore invested locally through development projects to aid in stimulating growth in home ownership in our area that will benefit the entire community. F.L.I. Properties is committed to strengthening the communities we serve, one relationship at a time, by empowering individuals with knowledge

Looking ahead for the remainder of 2019, we do not see a significant shift to the current trend continuing. New construction home sales will lag the historical build rate, and the resale home market will continue to be strong, aided by a lack of pressure from new construction.

Family. Lifestyle.  Investment.  Contact F.L.I. Properties to learn more about local and regional market trends that affect you, your Family, your Lifestyle, and your Investments.

Kendall Butler, Owner (706) 298-2712 or kendall@fliproperties.net

Members may reserve one of four In the Know articles during the 2020 Total Resource Campaign scheduled for September – November 2019.

With local job creation increasing and mortgage rates now expected to remain flat for the year, the pull toward Kendall Butler

May 2019

If you are looking at buying or selling, we encourage you to contact F.L.I. Properties to discuss your needs and objectives. We have a decade-long record of success in saving our clients time and money that is unmatched in the market place. Through education, analysis and active communication, our clients are able to achieve their goals within their desired timeframe with superior results.

For more information, contact

It is a great time to be a seller of an existing home. Home prices will continue to rise. For the last three years in Troup County, low inventory has been the primary cause for modest growth, rather than too few buyers. 


to fully engage in the success of the community. We invest in people and the communities that we serve. And we help families to find the lifestyle that allows them to invest in their future.



MOVERS, SHAKERS, RISK-TAKERS (l-r) Alex Whatley, Susan Whatley

Colony Bankcorp Completes Acquisition of LBC Bancshares and Opens Mortgage Loan Production Office in LaGrange Colony Bankcorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBAN) ("Colony" or "the Company") recently announced that it has completed the acquisition of LBC Bancshares, Inc. ("LBC"). Following completion of the acquisition, LBC's subsidiary bank, Calumet Bank, was merged with Colony Bank, with Colony Bank as the surviving bank. Calumet Bank has two branches – one each in LaGrange and Columbus. At the LaGrange location, the bank is also opening a mortgage loan origination office, which will serve the LaGrange and Newnan markets. In connection with this expansion, Colony has recruited The Whatley Team to lead this office. Led by mother and son Susan and Alex Whatley, The Whatley Team is one of the area's most experienced mortgage lending teams. Susan Whatley, a Troup County native, has worked in the banking industry since 1981 and has been in mortgage banking since 1988. Alex Whatley, also a Troup County native, has more than 20 years’ experience in the mortgage banking industry. Since 2008, he has been a top-producing mortgage banker in the Coweta and Troup County markets. Commenting on these announcements, President and Chief Executive Officer Heath Fountain said, "We are pleased to complete these acquisitions, which demonstrate our interest in strategically growing our Georgia footprint and the scope of our capabilities. Calumet Bank presents an attractive opportunity to expand our reach in West Georgia and build our customer base in and around LaGrange and Columbus. Additionally, it offers an attractive entry point to the Atlanta market via Calumet's loan production office there. "We are excited about the new opportunities for this new loan production office and our ability to attract the Whatleys – a highly successful family team with deep roots in the community – to our mortgage banking operations. These initiatives plant new capabilities in the LaGrange market previously not offered by Calumet and, thus, will add momentum to our expansion into Western Georgia and subsequent growth across new markets."


May 2019

Wild Leap Brew Co. Named Best New Brewery in the U.S.

Wild Leap Brew Co. has been named Best New Brewery in the United States by USA Today’s 10Best Readers Choice Awards! Less than 18 months after opening their doors, they have developed a customer base that is committed and passionate about the beer they are brewing. The USA Today’s 10Best announced their top 20 Best New Breweries in the US at the end of February, revealing Wild Leap Brew Co. as a contender to be number one. Nominees were chosen by a panel of relevant experts that included editors from USA Today, editors from 10Best.com, relevant expert contributors, and other sources from these publications. “When we first discovered we had been nominated, we were ecstatic,” explains Anthony Rodriguez, Wild Leap Co-Founder. “Many of the breweries that have been on this list in prior years are ones we have admired due to their amazing beer and contributions to the craft beer movement.” “The most incredible thing to see has been the passion and enthusiasm from our fans and customers,” shares Rob Goldstein, Wild Leap Co-Founder. “We’ve heard a number of stories of people setting alarms in their phones to remind them to vote each day, and accounts all over Georgia have printed materials to encourage customers to vote. In addition, seeing how many people constantly shared the voting link across their social media channels has been truly humbling to see.”


Hall Honored by AMC Institute

The AMC Institute (AMCI) recently announced that Charles Hall, Founder and CEO of Association Services Group, is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Glenn W. Bostrom Award for Service, Quality & Excellence. Through this honor AMCI recognizes colleagues with distinguished lifetime career accomplishments and noteworthy contributions to the association management company (AMC) industry. Nominees must be current/past AMC Principals whose individual accomplishments have been clearly visible and significant within the industry. “Charles Hall is a force in our industry, and we’re so proud to recognize the extraordinary leadership that has led to his numerous professional achievements and his invaluable service and support to our Institute,” said Jeanne Sheehy, AMCI Chair. “He defines what we all aspire to be - a trusted advisor to clients, colleagues, and friends.”

New Ventures Board of Directors names Wilson as CEO/President The Board of Directors for New Ventures Inc. is pleased to announce the promotion of Mike L. Wilson to the position of CEO/ President. Mike joined in 2011 and most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer. Past CEO/President Dave Miller will be available on an interim basis. “On behalf of the Board, we appreciate the work, commitment, and leadership Dave provided during his 26+ years. The impact of services provided, the scope of those impacted by him, and his sincere concern for others never wavered. We are very grateful to him for his service and leadership to Troup County and New Ventures, and we sincerely wish him the best in the years to come,” said New Ventures Board Chairman Wayne Bartley.

Guy named second vice president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Georgia orthopaedic surgeon Daniel K. Guy, MD, was named second vice president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' (AAOS) Board of Directors at the organization's 2019 Annual Meeting. His new role is the first in a four-year term of volunteer service that includes his serving as president of the Academy in 2021-22. Dr. Guy specializes in hip and shoulder surgery, and sports medicine. He is in private practice at Emory Southern Orthopaedics in LaGrange and is on staff at WellStar/West Georgia Health System.

Henderson Honored at Georgia Minority Business Awards Kevin Henderson, President & CEO, Troup Hauling Company LLC, was honored recently at the Georgia Minority Business Awards (GMBA) dinner in Atlanta. Henderson received the Trucking Industry of the Year Award for his contributions to the field. “I accept this award on behalf of my Troup Hauling Co. team and those who have supported my vision to be the best dump truck company in the state of Georgia,” said Henderson. “Without them it would have been only a vision, but they executed the plan and we are doing it together One Team One Fight bringing dignity back to the dump truck industry. We give God all the praise all the Thanks and all the Glory. Thank You Troup County we love you.”

(l-r) Kevin Henderson and Chamber Chair, Marlene Rhodes (Renasant Bank)

Creed W. Pannell Jr., CEO of GMBA, spoke on behalf of the organization saying, “We congratulate Mr. Henderson on receiving the trucking industry award and acknowledge the excellent work he is doing in LaGrange and Troup County. We wish him more success in the future.” www.lagrangechamber.com



Boys & Girls Clubs of West Georgia and Chambers County Names Cain as President/ CEO

Charis Acree receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Charis Acree, vice president and chief operating officer at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center has been honored with the Georgia Hospital Association’s 2019 Hospital Heroes’ Lifetime Achievement Award. GHA honors eight individuals annually, including six Hospital Heroes, one Physician Hero, and one Lifetime Achievement winner. The winners are selected from nominations submitted from hospitals across the state. The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award honors a hospital employee who has dedicated at least 30 years of service in the healthcare profession and has made a significant impact in enhancing hospital operations and patient care.

Kevin Cain is the recently appointed President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Georgia and Chambers County. Cain spent 18 years at West Georgia Technical College and brings managerial experience, budget oversight, fundraising expertise and community connections that will play a vital role as he works to position the Boys & Girls Clubs as a key partner in each of the communities The Club serves.

Five Star Food Service Gives away Audi to One Lucky Customer

Beth Beavers of LaGrange recently won a brand new Audi as part of Five Star Food Service’s micro market promotions. “Our customers are vitally important to us – serving them well is what keeps us in business. We host promotions in our micro markets as a way to give back and show our appreciation to our customers and help their employers (also our customers) create an engaging and exciting place to work,” said C. J. Recher, Vice President-Marketing for Five Star. “We partner with employers to create a destination in their workplace (the breakroom micro market) where their associates can relax, get away from their work, get something good to eat or drink, and head back to work reenergized.” “Micro Markets are the future of providing refreshment services to employees,” explains Scott Hale, Vice President – Southern Region for Five Star. “Not only do Markets allow us to execute promotions such as giving away an Audi, but they also provide employees with a greater variety of products and healthier options.”

Through the years, her uncompromising yet caring leadership has propelled WellStar West Georgia’s ability to respond to our community’s health and wellness needs through new facilities, advanced care service lines, and safety and quality-of-care initiatives that have improved the lives of individuals throughout west Georgia and east Alabama for four decades.

Beth Beavers with the team from Five Star Food Service - LaGrange


May 2019

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CHAMBER NAMES LARGE BUSINESS & MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR The Chamber recently recognized Duracell with the 2019 Large Business & Manufacturer of the Year Award. The Duracell team was recognized for the company’s excellence in leadership, performance, profitability and workforce relations, and they were honored for their contributions to the region’s economy and overall community spirit. Duracell has been an employer of choice in Troup County for 39 years. Despite heavy competition from global competitors, volume is still expected to increase 30% this year compared to last year. With an economic impact of $172 million per year to our local economy, Duracell not only provides generous monetary contributions to local nonprofits and schools. In the past two years, the company has almost doubled their local footprint. They now produce the company’s two largest volume categories and supply raw material to other facilities in North America and China.

Pictured (L-R) Colby Watford, Rich Harkabus, Robin Daniel, Laurie James, Pat Bowers, Steve Rutter, Richard Williams, Bill Leonard and Harley Ballew

This year, Duracell formed a partnership with West Georgia Technical College to provide job specific training in mechanical operations. They are committed to training the future workforce through support of summer camps and teacher fellowships. They make great batteries and are committed to help us create a great workforce! The Duracell leadership team was recognized at the Governor’s Manufacturing Appreciation Luncheon, so-hosted by the Technical College System of Georgia, in Atlanta. Plant Manager Pat Bowers is pictured with West Georgia Technical College President Scott Rule.

TELLURIDE LAUNCH Chamber President Page Estes joined local leaders and representatives from the Georgia Chamber for the launch of the Kia Telluride. Pictured (left to right) are County Manager Eric Mosley, Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz, LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton, County Commission Lewis Davis, West Georgia Technical College Scott Rule, Senator David Perdue District Representative Kathy Burns, Georgia Chamber’s Chris Clark and John Cushnie.

KMMG CEO Jason Shin drove Governor Brian Kemp in the commemorative vehicle.


May 2019

Kia is the official car of the Georgia Chamber! Chris Clark, Georgia Chamber CEO, stopped by our chamber to show us his new Telluride!



TOURISM CHAMPIONS Each year, the Chamber accepts nominations for two awards that recognize our tourism partners, and a committee selects the winner. Representative Randy Nix announced this year’s awards. The Service Star Award is presented to an individual who has exhibited legendary customer service. Throughout his career, from the former Ramada Inn to Callaway Gardens and now the LaGrange Hampton Inn, John McKinney has been at the forefront of the local tourism industry. Throughout the planning and execution phases for the USA South Spring Sports Festival over the past three years, John has provided guidance and flexibility to ensure our visitors enjoy their experience. Known to his peers as “The Mayor,” John has been described as one of the most caring people in the industry and, according to his boss Brian Plemmons (Vice President at Valley Hospitality Hotel and Food Service), “has been a blessing since he came on board in January 2012.” For his commitment to guest service, his passion for hospitality and his contributions to the local tourism industry, John McKinney, General Manager of the Hampton Inn, is the recipient of the 2019 Tourism Service Star Award.

The Tourism Visionary Award is presented to an individual or organization that has played a vital role in tourism product development. In the Summer of 2016, the USA South conference was seeking a new home for their annual spring sports festival. The opportunity to host this event and bring more than 800 athletes and their families to LaGrange was one that this year’s honoree immediately began to explore. Quickly pulling together the stakeholders necessary to host such an event, Dan McAlexander was determined to craft an attractive bid that would leave officials little choice about where to hold their signature even in 2017 and 2018. In April 2017, the USA Springs Sports Festival was held in LaGrange to rave reviews by visitors from across the southeastern US. Champions were crowned in baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s golf and women’s lacrosse. The event was such a success, the conference quickly added a third year to the agreement, ensuring their return to LaGrange in 2019. For his vision to pursue the event and his leadership to create a successful bid for the USA South Spring Sports Festival, the 2019 Tourism Visionary Award is presented to LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander.

Chamber Board Vice Chairman for Tourism Jignesh Patel (LaQuinta Inn & Suites and Baymont Inn) and John McKinney (Hampton Inn)

Photo (L-R): Dr. Dan McAlexander (LaGrange College) receives 2019 Tourism Visionary Award from Chamber Board Chair Marlene Rhodes (Renasant Bank), Board Vice Chair for Tourism Jignesh Patel and Alex Beall (Jackson Services, breakfast presenting sponsor).

ATLANTA DRIVE-IN Thirteen members of the Chamber Board of Directors enjoyed a Day at the Capitol. In addition to meeting with Governor Brian Kemp and Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, the group enjoyed a lunch meeting with Representative Randy Nix, Representative Vance Smith, House Minority Leader Bob Trammell, Senator Randy Robertson and Senator Matt Brass. Lunch was hosted by Rep. Nix. Curtis Brown, Build the Crowd

Entrepreneur’s Roundtable

CHAMBER UNIVERSITY Through seminars and workshops offered through Chamber University, presented by Mike Patton Auto Group, members have learned about sales and entrepreneurship. Bill Graham kicked off this year’s curriculum with High Focused Sales. An Entrepreneurship Series, sponsored by Build the Crowd, began with an Entrepreneur’s Roundtable Discussion at thiNC College & Career Academy. Panelists included Amy Warren (An Affair to Remember), Todd Carlisle (UGA Small Business Development Center), Jake Ayers (Pioneer Project and FLI Properties) and Rob Goldstein (Wild Leap Brew Co). Curtis Brown of Build the Crowd led participants in the strategic management process of building a business model canvas. The series continues with Developing a Customer Avatar and Developing Wealth for Entrepreneurs.

Bill Graham







Dr. Brent Brown Eyecare won the “Best Post Position/Booth” at this year’s Member Schmoozapalooza. Pictured in the Winner’s Circle are Lynne Hill and Dr. Brown.

appre hs i p 2 0 1 9 c i a t i


The Chamber declared May 2, 2019 as “Member Appreciation Day” and hosted an evening of fun and fellowship with a Derby theme at our 3rd Annual Member Schmoozapalooza, presented by Results Property Management. Guests donned their finest millinery and chapeau to enjoy great food, sponsored by Mable Smith State Farm Insurance, beverage and the thrill of the ponies thundering down the stretch toward home. Other businesses in the starting gate with featured business booths included Dr. Brent Brown Eyecare, CenterState Bank, Kleen-Tex USA, Hills & Dales Estate, BB&T, UrgenCare and Dermatology Associates of Georgia. Sixty-one member representatives were in attendance.




m o o z apa l o o z a PRESENTED BY

SAFETY COUNCIL The Troup County Safety Council held its quarterly meeting in March with Billy Moore, President of Strategic Safety & Environmental Solutions, LLC, discussing “Obtaining and Sustaining Zero Defects.” Seventeen members participated. The Safety Council’s mission is to establish a cooperative effort to educate and influence people and the organizations they represent, thereby promoting a commitment to and ultimately accomplishing incident free operations.

Special thanks to this year’s presenting sponsors, Regina and Jamie Ingram of Results Property Management!

Chamber Board Chair-Elect George Bailey (far left) and Chamber Board Member Meghan Duke (far right) celebrate the winner of the ladies’ hat contest: Sam Wilson from Kleen-Tex USA. Mr. Bailey present Jamie Ingram (Results Property Management) with the award for best chapeau!


The West Point Business Council met on March 28 at Jam-N-Java. Dr. Darryl Harrison, Chief Academic Officer for Point University, provided the program. Twenty attended the meeting, sponsored by Edelson’s Army Store.

CHAMBER BOARD AT WORK With 1,000 t-shirts to fold and athlete bags to fill with information and local swag, the Chamber Board of Directors (with spouses and children) were put to work! The networking event was held at Sweetland Amphitheatre in preparation for the USA South Sports Festival.


May 2019

The Hogansville Business Council met on March 14 at Pioneer’s Station Coffeehouse with Marianna Reynolds from Mack Reynolds Realty, LLC providing the program. Seventeen attended the meeting, sponsored by Childress Dental of Hogansville.




The 2019 Early Bird Breakfast Series is presented by Jackson Services.


The Chamber was honored to have WellStar West Georgia Medical Center President Coleman Foss (center) as the featured speaker to kick-off the 2019 Early Bird Breakfast Series with 288 member representatives in attendance. Pictured with Mr. Foss are Jackson Services’ Dale Jackson, WellStar’s Carol Todd, Tammy Lynch, Foss, Bob Carlson, Verlene Luna, Charis Acree, Tracy Gynther and Chamber Board Chair Marlene Rhodes. Go Realty served as breakfast Gold Sponsor.



Workforce Development was the focus of the March Early Bird Breakfast with speakers Steve Dolinger and Merrill Wilcox from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education presenting an overview of the Asset Mapping project conducted in Troup County; 265 member representatives were in attendance. The asset map is a snapshot of the workforce pipeline as it exists today, with a fair and cleareyed analysis of the strengths, resources and gaps in that pipeline. Go Realty served as breakfast Gold Sponsor.

Great Wolf Lodge was the site of the April Early Bird Breakfast, sponsored by Golden’s Bike Shop. More than 300 member representatives heard insight on the movie industry in Georgia from LaGrange’s own Tamlin Hall. After completing his master’s at UCLA, Hall came back to Georgia to make his directorial debut in “Holden On,” a true story, social impact film about Hall’s childhood friend. Filmed in Troup County, “Holden On” has won numerous awards, including Best Director for Hall at the Breckenridge Film Festival and Orlando Film Festival.

Pictured (left to right) Jackson Services’ Dale Jackson, Chamber Co-Vice Chair for Workforce Development Jamey Jackson (Malone Workforce Solutions), Wilcox, Dolinger and Chamber Board Chair-Elect George Bailey (City of Hogansville).

Pictured with Hall (left) are Golden’s Bike Shop’s Rick Brock and Chamber Board Chair Marlene Rhodes.

Cathy Sargent Hunt, Troup County Board of Education, won this month’s Creative Call-Ins basket, presented by Chamber Chair Marlene Rhodes.

Mr. Jackson and Mr. Bailey present the Creative Call-Ins door prize to Leonard Phillips (center) of Point University.

Chamber Board Chair-Elect (far left) and Rhodes (far right) present door prizes to individual members Nancy Sue Laminack (Creative Call-Ins basket) and Nick Woodson (Biblical History Center admission passes).

Ashley Reed (right), Interface, received theater tickets from the Lafayette Society of Performing Arts.





Join us in celebrating our members!

By Special Arrangement, New Location 1107 Mooty Bridge Road, LaGrange

Café Detour 1521 Vernon Road, LaGrange

Five Star Painting 102 Main Street, LaGrange

Supper at Home Y’all 816 Hill Street, LaGrange

The Thread, LaGrange College Connection Forrest Avenue, LaGrange

Triad Outdoor Equipment, New Ownership 2479 West Point Road, LaGrange

Serendipity 380 S. Davis Road, Suite G, LaGrange

West Georgia Tech Culinary Program Groundbreaking 220 Fort Drive LaGrange



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Place Your Property in Our Hands 38

May 2019

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Patients Can Now Wait at Home for their ER Visit at WellStar WGMC


t’s late at night and you’re sick with a fever, trying to decide if you should go to the Emergency Room. You know you need help, but the thought of sitting in the waiting room makes you feel that much worse.

Now with ER Express Online Check-in, you can wait in the comfort of your home for a visit to the ER at West Georgia Medical Center and skip the waiting room. “We understand the apprehension anyone may have about coming to the Emergency Room. Our goal in implementing ER Express is to lessen that stress level and create a better patient experience, said Dr. David Ferner, medical director in the Emergency Room at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center. ER Express Online check-in is easy to use and there are no passwords or apps to download. Simply log in at wellstar.org/wgmcER. You select a time of your choice to let staff know you’re coming. Please note that if upon your arrival there are sicker patients ahead of you, they may be seen first. ER Express Online Check-in is for nonemergencies. If the condition is lifethreatening, call 911 right away. Please visit wellstar.org/wgmcER for complete details about ER Express Online Check-in at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center.

Members may reserve one of four Member Spotlight articles during the 2020 Total Resource Campaign scheduled for September – November 2019.


May 2019




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May 2019

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Three Things That Every Entrepreneur Should Develop


ntrepreneurs need, or should be willing to develop, three very simple things in order to run a business successfully.

One of these things is an attitude you can adopt, one is a skill that can be easily learned, and the third is a personality trait few of us come by naturally but with a little practice can be successfully mastered. Three things that are important to achieving success in business are: 1. BEST BUSINESS ATTITUDE: A refusal to quit when things get tough. Does it really make a difference in a person’s success whether or not they are an optimist or a pessimist? Not necessarily. An optimist might look at the bright side of things and serve as an inspiration to keep pressing forward, but a pessimist may assess things more realistically and make less risky decisions. Either way, it is not necessarily how you see a situation, but how you respond to a situation that will either hinder or facilitate your success in business. A “can do” attitude works through problems by considering a variety of solutions. 2. MOST VALUABLE SKILL: Networking. Networking. Networking. Few things will help you establish and grow your business faster than a creating a strong network . Having access to a variety of resources can increase your efficiency, knowledge, your business’ publicity, and your chances of succeeding Use personal and other social opportunities to network yourself and your business. You don’t have to be aggressive or pushy, but always have a business card handy when an opportunity to promote your business presents itself. 3. STRONGEST PERSONALITY TRAIT: Having thick skin (being objective). If you take everything personally you will have a much harder time accepting ideas and change, and you will never get the most out of your business or your employees. To be successful you need to be willing to listen to new ideas and actively solicit the opinions of others. Even if you do not actually follow their advice, the more you ask what they think, the more valued they will feel. The more valued they feel, the more loyal they are to you and your business. In other words, simply by soliciting input from other people you create a positive mini public relations network. People will talk about you and how your business is run so you should help them find positive things to talk about!

In business, it is important that you make the right decisions, and this does not always mean doing things your way. Listen to others, even if they do not have the right solution to a problem, they bring a new perspective, and you can always stand to learn something from others.


Contact Todd Carlisle with the UGA Small Business Development Center at (706) 569-2651 to schedule a complimentary consultation in our LaGrange or West Point office.




hough a Frenchman and not an “American,” Lafayette fought in the American Revolution and was a close friend to George Washington. He was not satisfied with the status quo; he believed in and fought for the rights of the oppressed, freedom of the press, suppression of privileged orders, religious tolerance, popular representation, trial by jury, and the freedom of slaves. Similarly, LaGrange embraces Lafayette’s zeal and dissatisfaction with the status quo by taking action to ensure a thriving economy, culture, and educational system. Like the Marquis, our “why not?” philosophy has impacted the culture of LaGrange. Lagrange has continued to grow, change, and evolve, providing its citizens with… • A vibrant downtown • A thriving fine arts community • The Thread – a community wide bike/walking trail • Sweetland – a regional amphitheater • Southbend Park – a multi-generational park downtown • Great Wolf Lodge • Lafayette Christian School – a collection of schools serving children of all ages and abilities


May 2019

In addition to the traditional Kindergarten through 12th grade classes, Lafayette Christian School has the Early Learning Center serving infants through three-year-olds, a Pre-Kindergarten program, the Discovery Cottage serving children with learning differences including those on the autism spectrum, the Collaborative School – a homeschool/elementary school hybrid, the Collegiate Academy serving homeschool high school students, and MASTER’S Summer Camps. The extensive, sixty-five acre campus includes a stadium and gymnasium, cross-country trails, a fine arts auditorium, the Splash Pad, the Joyful Noise handicapped-accessible music playground, the Discovery Garden, and the Engineer’s Garden featuring an outside STEM lab. Lafayette Christian School serves infants through high school students at virtually all levels of academic need. Programs include the Early Learning Center, Discovery Cottage (Special Needs School), Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Collaborative School (Homeschool Hybrid), AP and College Classes (Dual Enrollment), and Summer Camps. LaFayette Christian School 1904 Hamilton Rd., LaGrange GA 30241 www.lafayettechristianschool.com • (706) 884-6684


OPENING MAY 2019 TASTING ROOM CORPORATE EVENTS, PRIVATE PARTIES 706-882-5295/ 706-881-7401 Booking events now


All concerts performed at Callaway Auditorium, LaGrange, Georgia (on the campus of LaGrange College)

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H Y P E – H E L PI NG Y OU NG P ROF ES SI ON ALS EN G AG E 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.


Jasmine Burton


Great Wolf Lodge

Personal achievement: Being a part of the most successful sales team opening in Great Wolf Lodge history to date! Current Employer: Great Wolf Lodge Current Title: Sales Manager How long have you worked in Troup County: One year When you’re not working, what do you like to do: When I am not working, I love to travel, try out staple restaurants in different cities, and shop. A lot.

Saturday, February 9

Saturday, March 16

Polar Plunge presented by Trane Comfort Systems

St. Patrick’s Day Eve Block Party

Over 40 spectators gathered at Pyne Road Park on a cold Saturday morning to watch and cheer on eight jumpers for the first ever Polar Plunge! Dr. Ben Higgins, from Childress Dental Center, won the Dash for Cash sponsored by Results Property Management.

Decked out in green, HYPE had a reserved table with 15 in attendance throughout the evening.

Friday, March 29

What are your future plans: To continue working in the Sales and Marketing sector of the hospitality industry and eventually move into a digital marketing and/or sales executive leadership role. Favorite Ice Cream: Strawberries & Homemade Vanilla from Bluebell All-Time Favorite Movie and Why: My all-time favorite movie is The Devil Wears Prada. Not only is it extremely realistic and raw, but it also teaches us working women what really matters in regard to work-life balance and our future goals. If you won $1 million, what would you do with the money: I would purchase a nice home or lake house in my hometown, make some charitable donations, and spend time abroad studying many different cultures and languages. Favorite “after work” spot in Troup County: Mare Sol For more details on HYPE, contact Leslie Traylor at leslie@lagrangechamber.com. To register for HYPE events, visit our website at www.lagrangechamber.com. 46

May 2019

“Lunch in the Know” Saturday, February 23

Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Party With great views from Lafayette Plaza, 30 HYPE and community members were in attendance for food, drinks and beads! Tuesday, March 12

Color for a Cause HYPE won $250 for Customer Choice with proceeds to benefit the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society. Ten participants (both HYPE and humane society staff).

With Mayors Jim Thornton (LaGrange), Bill Stankiewicz (Hogansville), Steve Tramell (West Point), HYPE members enjoyed great food, networking and interacting with the top elected officials in Troup County for a dynamic discussion about our community. Thursday, April 18

Wine Down with Vickie Brown HYPE enjoyed a selection of wine and cheese while conversing with Vickie about the history of Victoria Belle and how she grew her vision of creating a wedding venue in 2001 to now being named a distinguished wedding destination with awards and honors from The Knot and Wedding Wire.



Our ever-expanding team of local medical specialists are part of the world-renowned Emory Healthcare system. We have access to the same advanced technology and medical resources as our counterparts in Atlanta and around the world. You don’t have to travel to receive the ca available - visit our team at best care Emory at LaGrange.

emory clark-holder clinic 303 Smith Street LaGrange, GA 30240 48 May 2019 706. 882. 8831

davis road primary care 380 South Davis Road LaGrange, GA 30240 706. 882. 8831

west point family practice 1610 East 10th Street West Point, GA 31833 706. 882. 8831

emory southern orthopedics 1805 Vernon Road LaGrange, GA 30240 706. 884. 2691

Profile for LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce

May 2019 - Troup Trends