THRiVE Issue 19 Charting a New Course Published on June 16, 2024

Page 1

NextGen Leaders

Share Vision

Pure Golf Gold:

All Time Best!

Annual Award Winners Revealed

Charting a New Course:

The Chamber’s Total Resource Campaign Redefines Success

Issue 19 | 2024 A Quarterly Business Publication of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber
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4 Issue 19 FEATURES 6 Letter to the Reader Celebrating Success: Total Resource Campaign Triumph! 14 Talk of the Town Young leaders holding tight to sense of community 18 Golf Classic It truly was “A Year to Remember” at the Chamber's 39th Annual Golf Classic 22 Total Resource Campaign Chamber doing business in a new way 28 State of the Chamber Extra day means extra-ordinary celebration 32 Non-Profit Alliance Connecting those who do good in the community 33 Expert Article Deidre Bembry of State Farm 18 Issue 19 2024 A Quarterly Business Publication of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber NextGen Leaders Share Vision Pure Golf Gold: All Time Best! Annual Award Winners Revealed Charting a New Course: The Chamber’s Total Resource Campaign Redefines Success ON THE COVER The Chamber's Total Resource Campaign 32 22 28
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Celebrating Success: Total Resource Campaign Triumph!

In this issue of THRiVE, we shine the spotlight on the success of an exciting new initiative launched last fall - the Total Resource Campaign or TRC. This new Chamber business model harnessed the collective energies and talents of more than 50 volunteers. The enthusiasm and dedication shown by these volunteers and our members were nothing short of extraordinary, making the program’s launch a true collective victory. I hope you enjoy reading about this new business model, our amazing volunteers, and the broad range of Chamber products.

A big win! Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our dedicated team of volunteers and members, we surpassed the campaign goal by an astonishing 126%! Surpassing our campaign goal was a testament to the hard work and generosity of everyone involved.

What is a TRC? The Total Resource Campaign is an innovative, comprehensive fundraising and engagement program that helps create support for the Chamber’s mission and initiatives. TRC brings together Chamber members in a collaborative effort to achieve common goals. It energizes members, inspires participation, and creates a sense of shared purpose while generating financial resources.

Why are we doing this? The decision to adopt this new model stemmed from our Board of Director’s commitment to continuous improvement and member satisfaction. We recognized that the business landscape is rapidly evolving, and we needed to adapt to stay relevant and effective. This transformation was driven by a desire to provide more value, foster greater collaboration, and create a more vibrant local economy. By embracing change, we positioned the Chamber to better meet the needs of our members and the challenges of the future.

What happened last fall? The excitement surrounding last fall’s campaign was palpable. From the kickoff event in September to the final tally in October, energy and commitment were abundant. Volunteers, sponsors, and Chamber staff all played pivotal roles, demonstrating remarkable teamwork and perseverance. This collective effort not only achieved tangible results but also strengthened the bonds within our membership and the business community, fostering a spirit of collaboration and mutual support.

Amazing world-class volunteers. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the more than 50 volunteers who passionately contributed their time, energy, and expertise to make the campaign a resounding success. Their unwavering commitment made a significant impact on our Chamber community. We are grateful for their dedication. We are also thrilled to acknowledge our Chamber Champions, who accounted for an impressive 51% of the products sold during the campaign. These guys rock!

What’s next? We are excited to introduce to you this year’s talented campaign chair – Jess Barron with Lindsey’s, Inc. Realtors. Jess is excited to head up the next TRC and is eager to announce the new campaign leadership later this summer. So, stay tuned. The anticipation and planning for the next campaign have already begun, with new ideas and fresh enthusiasm paving the way for another record-breaking year.

In closing, the success of TRC is a cause for celebration as well as a catalyst for future achievements. We are immensely proud of what we accomplished together and excited about the path ahead. We invite all our members to engage, share their ideas, and participate actively in these initiatives. Together, we can continue to drive progress, support our local businesses, and make our community an even better place to live and work. Here’s to many more victories and a prosperous future for all!



Newnan-Coweta Chamber


Candace Boothby


Colleen D. Mitchell


Paul Lewis, Luz Design


The Newnan Times-Herald


Claire Nix-Miller

W. Winston Skinner


Keith Brazie, Pork Pie Pictures


THRIVE  welcomes your ideas. Please send inquiries to Candace Boothby at

THRIVE  is published quarterly. Neither the Newnan-Coweta Chamber nor THRIVE  is responsible for unsolicited material. Such material will become the property of THRIVE and is subject to editing and digital use. Reproductions of this publication in part or whole is prohibited without the express consent of the publisher.

THRIVE  is available at various locations throughout Coweta County. You can also email to request a copy.

THRIVE is a quarterly business publication of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber 23 Bullsboro Dr. | Newnan, GA 770.253.2270

Issue 19

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Lunching and Learning with AI

On Wednesday, May 22nd, the NewnanCoweta Chamber hosted the first of its 2024 Lunch and Learn Series, presented by Country Fried Creative. Pamela and Peter Gabel of Headspace Sprockets gave an interesting and enlightening presentation on working with AI, which is definitely a timely and relevant topic.

Headspace Sprockets was founded by Peter and Pamela in 2012. Peter’s website describes the business’s focus as “consultation and development on geospatial reasoning, statistical sampling, and big data workflow management.”

Lunch and Learn began with a brief overview of the evolution of artificial intelligence and how it’s come to be expected in some areas, yet cause for concern and wariness in others. For example, the autofocus feature on our camera phones was considered an early version of AI, but now we have come to expect that feature on our smartphones.

Attendees wanted to know how they could best use this tool that appears to be a permanent fixture in our future. Peter and Pamela stressed the importance of knowing what questions to ask an AI program such as Chat GPT, Jasper, etc. They encouraged everyone to avoid using AI exclusively. Much of the information and biases fed into any AI system can provide inaccurate information. “It’s very scary if you rely on it for detailed information,” Peter said.

Participants tried their hands at prompting Chat GPT. This interactive exercise included asking AI to generate a press release and to draw them a picture. The Gabels stressed the importance of avoiding using AI for detailed and personal information, but rather using it as something in a toolbox that can help with day-to-day projects such as writing captions, social media posts, etc.

The Lunch and Learn ended with Joe Domaleski, President and CEO of Country Fried Creative, verbally asking his cell phone’s Chat GPT app to compose a thank-you note to Pamela and Peter for their presentation. The AI responded by reading the note that it wrote out loud for participants to enjoy.

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Country Fried Creative’s Joe Domaleski introduces the Lunch and Learn: Working with AI.
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Member Connect EVENTS

The Chamber hosted two Member Connect events so far this year!

Member Connect is a breakfast event where new and re-engaging members are invited to learn more about the Chamber and its body of work. Members are encouraged to “choose their own adventure” on the “passport to prosperity” as they learn more about the programs, events, and benefits that the Chamber provides its members. Our Chamber Champions Alliance helps with this event by manning the different “stations:” Bay of Benefits, Peninsula of Programs, Land of Opportunity, and Bonus Miles.

Special thanks to our Member Connect breakfast sponsor, Chick-fil-A Coweta Crossroads, and sponsor, PWT Advisory, LLC. Join us for the next Member Connect on Thursday, August 8th, at 9am at the Chamber!

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Talk of the Town

Young leaders holding tight to sense of community

A panel of NextGen leaders told members of the NewnanCoweta Chamber that they are focused on holding on to the sense of community in Coweta.

Young leaders shared their thoughts at the Chamber’s March 20 Talk of the Town program at the Newnan Country Club.

On the panel were Clay Neely, co-publisher of The Newnan Times-Herald; J.J. Thomasson, broker with 75 Jackson Properties; Sister Ward, area manager for Georgia Power Company; Jonathan Watkins, president, City of Hope; and Milan Patel, founding principal Indusa Investments, co-owner of Bottoms Up! Wine & Spirits Boutique.

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GenX panelists at the Talk of the Town wait for the next question. From left are Milan Patel, Clay Neely, Jonathan Watkins, Sister Ward and J.J. Thomasson.

Candace Boothby, president and CEO of the Chamber, described Patel, owner of Bottoms Up, as “the entrepreneur on our panel.”

Boothby and Garnet Reynolds, who is Chamber chair-elect and Market President of Southern States Bank, moderated the discussion.

“You’re in for a treat today. Today’s program is all about the future of Coweta,” Boothby said. She said there are “a lot of great young leaders in our community” including the “five really cool people that we’ve invited to share with you.”

“I was born and raised here in Newnan. Instilled in me from the beginning was the importance of volunteerism, helping in the community,” Ward said.

It is imperative to “move the ball forward in a positive way,” Ward explained.

Watkins also referred to lessons from childhood. He grew up in a family he described as “working poor” and remembered telling his parents about his first job out of grad school with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

His mother’s response was, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

“Making sure I’m thinking of others” is a vital concept for Watkins, especially thinking of those coming behind him and those who cannot do for themselves.

Neely said working at the newspaper opened his eyes to the value of community in Newnan and Coweta County.

“As I got more involved in the job, I started to see how dynamic our community is and how many people it takes,” Neely said. “You’ve got to bring your best self.”

He said he and his wife, Beth, who co-publishes the newspaper with him, try to bring their children to events in which they are involved – passing on to the next generation that understanding of community involvement.

Patel makes extra efforts to stay in touch with friends. If someone calls and misses him, “I make it purposeful that I call back,” he said. “If someone thought of me, I’m going to give that back.”

He said it is important to make people feel valued and to ask people how he can help them.

Thomasson grew up in Newnan, worked for his father, went off to college, came back and worked for his father again. He comes from a family with several generations in Coweta.

Pharmaceuticals may be part of Coweta’s future

The development of new drugs to treat a variety of ailments is likely to be part of Coweta County’s future.

Jonathan Watkins, president of City of Hope, talked about opportunities in drug development at a March 20 Talk of the Town panel discussion at Newnan Country Club.

“From my standpoint, in Coweta County, we are beyond the cutting edge of drug development,” Watkins said.

Watkins talked about the cancer hospital’s ongoing work and the proximity to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

“We as an organization have the opportunity to place that right here,” he said. Watkins predicted that in 15 years, cutting edge drugs will be shipped from Coweta across the world.

Sister Ward, area manager for Georgia Power Company, said she hopes to see Class A office space in Coweta in the future.

She also spoke of the vital role played by downtown areas – in Newnan and Senoia and the smaller towns.

In addition, Ward said she would like the community to have a music venue.

“I’d like to see interconnectivity, too,” Ward said, making it easy for people to get from developments to towns and to parks.

JJ Thomasson, broker with 75 Jackson Properties, said some intergovernmental cooperation will help the county as it grows.

He would like the city and county governments “to merge their visions together,” he said.

He talked about the traffic gridlock in some parts of the county and how the situation is less severe in Newnan, which was built on a grid system, except in downtown where that grid pattern was disrupted years ago by

making major streets one-way.

With some coordinated vision, “we have a town that could grow a lot faster and in a smart way,” Thomasson said.

Patel said there are great business opportunities – if entrepreneurs are attuned to what residents need and want.

“We have to pay really close attention to what people are saying,” Patel said. “We’re matching the needs, the wants of our community.”

Neely talked about the importance of greenspace, like the Brown’s Mill Battlefield and the LINC. Sometimes people need to “get away from their neighbors, who they love” for a bit, he said.

Panelists also addressed the need for diversity. Ward said all voices need to be heard, saying local boards and organizations should be “representative of the community.”

“The biggest key to having diverse growth in the community is having a predictable and consistent growth plan,” Thomasson said.

Having “some consensus on general principles” is important, he said.

“The media may want you to think it’s what you look like” that is the way to monitor diversity, Patel said.

Patel, however, said it is about more. He said Coweta needs to continue to have good schools for young families and to be a place where people who graduate college can get a job and afford a home.

The community must welcome and offer opportunity to people starting out with their careers and with people at points all along a career path.

“Getting young professionals to come back to Newnan early is a key for success in the future,” Thomasson stated. He said Newnan is competing with larger towns like Columbus and Atlanta for young professionals.

“We get people on the second or third chapter of life,” Thomasson said, when people are starting over or – retiring or getting ready to retire – looking for a slower pace.

Attracting young singles and couples will require having housing options –apartments and homes – that are appealing and affordable. There will also need to be some nightlife – a place to relax, take a date.

“It takes some music,” Thomasson said. “It takes some lights, maybe a drink or two.”

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Jonathan Watkins, City of Hope

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“The Chamber is a big connector, a convenor of so many key players.”
– Sister Ward, area manager, Georgia Power Company
“The Chamber is a great conduit for helping navigate the room and navigate the system.”
– Jonathan Watkins, president, City of Hope

“Keeping up a legacy of giving back” is important to him. Thomasson said he tries to “not squander certain things that were given to me” and “to pass along as much as I can down the line.”

Neely sees as a goal “insuring that with everything that happens in those (next) 15 years that we maintain an identity of who we are.”

He explained, “One thing I’ve learned as we’ve gotten bigger and bigger, people who move here still feel like we have an identity. … Everyone who moves here identifies with being a Coweta County resident or a Newnan resident.”

“We have an opportunity to keep that very loving culture of Coweta County as this community continues to grow,” Patel said. “I don’t want to lose that feel, that we don’t stay close.”

“That small town feel is what makes Coweta County unique,” Ward agreed. She noted the county has been able to maintain its own identity despite the close proximity to Atlanta.

She described how downtowns are places that bring people together for non-profit fundraisers and other community events.

“It’s that anchor, the core,” she said.

“The hometown feel definitely resonates and stands out,” said Watkins, who has lived in five different states.

He said he loves that sense of community and the “innovation and pioneering thought” he sees.

“We’re big in thought,” Watkins said. “We should continue to build on that.”

“One of the most important parts of a growing community is engagement,” Neely said.

He pointed to the Chamber’s Leadership Coweta program as one that continues to get younger people involved and connected, which leads to those younger people “serving their community in some way.”

“Quality of life, that has to remain really high,” Neely said. It is important to make sure “everyone who moves here is glad they did.”

Ward said the companies looking to relocate or to bring employees to an area look at quality of life. They want to be able to recruit employees who will come to an area and stay for a long time.

“We live in a fantastic community, but fantastic communities don’t stay fantastic without work, without intentionality, without vision,” Boothby said.

“You’re never done. You have moments in time when you reach a goal and you pause and celebrate that,” Boothby said. “But then you have to go on.”

“Communities have to continue to grow and change,” Ward said. “Otherwise, you die on the vine. I think we’ll continue to be successful. The future is bright.”

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Chamber Golf Classic Scores Big with 39th Annual Event

It truly was “A Year to Remember” at the Chamber’s 39th Annual Golf Classic, presented by PENCO Restoration/PENCO Clean! Whether you were a golfer, exhibitor, volunteer, or observer, it was evident that this year’s tournament represented one of the best yet! In fact, according to many, it will be hard to beat the amazing success of this year’s Golf Classic.

We welcomed this year’s new Presenting Sponsor PENCO Restoration/PENCO Clean. Whether it was the life-size cutouts of CEO Joey Pendley, the 18-Wheeler on the green, or the other vehicles staged throughout the tournament, the message was clear to all

participants who to call for their restoration or cleaning needs! Kristina Hajzak, PENCO Restoration business manager, and Lacy Loyd, PENCO Clean operations manager, actively participated in tournament planning and were thrilled with the result.

The day kicked off with a scrumptious breakfast from Whataburger – a truly amazing feast! After hitting the Breakfast Bistro, the opening ceremonies kicked off featuring the National Anthem sung by Kristin Schriks and special guest Challenger the Eagle, which was provided by our friends with Integrated Science and Engineering. Once Club Head Pro Sean

Renaud announced the shotgun start instructions, everyone hit the courses. With 36 expos, four beverage carts, and ice cream from Foundation Christian Church’s beloved ice cream truck, hot dogs from Mike Patton Auto, and lunch boxes from Food for Thought Catering, no one went hungry or thirsty.

This year’s theme, based on the 12 months in a year, encouraged creativity and gave our golf expos the opportunity to think outside the box. Many expos branched out and themed their expo around some type of a “national day” rather than an obvious holiday. For example, Coweta Charter Academy, who

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Thank you to Joey Pendley, owner, Penco Restoration/Penco Clean for sponsoring the 39th Annual Golf Classic and to Robert Fowler, GM, BMW for South Atlanta for sponsoring the 18th Hole Celebration to wrap up a successful day on the greens.

picked December, showcased National Cookie Day. Ashley Park, who chose December for New Year’s Eve, made it a New Year’s Eve in the Roaring’ Twenties. Louisiana natives Food for Thought Catering picked February and celebrated a Mardi Gras-themed expo with mouthwatering Big Easy treats–it’s no wonder that they won First Place for Best Expo! Johnson Construction, who sponsored a beverage cart, picked May as their month, and went all in for National Cartoon Day; they were seen puttering around in a Flintstonesthemed golf cart and trailer!

Perhaps one of the best moments of the Golf Classic was an unplanned one:

for the first time in recent memory, someone hit a Hole-in-One at the Chamber’s Golf Classic! The Holein-One sponsor, Solomon Brothers Jewelers, promised a $50,000 shopping spree at their jewelry store. Scott Ferrell, husband of realtor Beverly Ferrell, hit the lucky shot. Scott and his team were the last to come through for the day. On his last hit of the day Scott secured the hole-in-one! After a long day on the greens, Scott (and his wife!) were absolutely thrilled with how the game concluded.

Once the golfers finished their games, everyone began congregating on the front lawn of the White Oak Golf

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Scott Ferrell hit a hole-in-one! Newnan Country Club GM Charlie Moller in his Thanksgiving-themed suit. Ashley Park put a twist on their New Year's Eve theme, and their expo was a 1920s New Year's Eve Party! City of Hope's Mardi-Gras themed expo. Johnson Construction Group was a Beverage Cart Sponsor. They picked National Cartoon Day (May) and outfitted their cart like the Flinstones! Volunteers having fun at City of Hope's tent.

Club for the 19th Hole Winner’s Celebration, presented by BMW of South Atlanta with a meal catered by 800 Mile BBQ. BMW’s General Manager, Robert Fowler presided over the giveaways, which included a Michelob Ultra Golf Bag from Miller’s Ale House, a Yeti cooler, and of course, the winners of the Classic and the prizes for Best Expos. On Seminole, the winners included the following: 3rd Place, Falcon Design; 2nd Place, JB Harris; and 1st Place, Toyota of Newnan. On the Old Course, Southern Vein Care placed 3rd with ValuTeachers placing 2nd, and Action Tire Company claiming the top spot

Our expo judges enjoyed many amazing expo choices, but ultimately picked four winners: City of Hope’s Mardi Gras-themed expo placed 3rd, Ashley Park’s Roaring’ Twenties New Year’s Eve expo snagged 2nd place, and Food for Thought Catering’s Mardi Gras expo walked

away with 1st place bragging rights. And finally, Newnan Utilities received a special Grand Prize for the amazing experience the Newnan Utilities’ team created under their massive tent, complete with an impressive bar and furniture to relax in and enjoy the beautiful day.

A big thank you and congratulations to everyone who participated in this year’s Golf Classic, whether as golfer, sponsor, expo, volunteer, staff, or observer – you helped make this year “A Year to Remember!”

We’re already looking forward to next year’s Golf Classic, which marks 40 years since its inception. Mark your calendar now to make plans to join us again on May 7th, 2025, for a trip down memory lane into the 1980s, a celebration of when it all began!

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Chamber doing business in a new way Total Resource Campaign

A year ago, Beverly Ferrell’s phone rang.

She saw that it was a call from her friend, Samantha Brazie. “I thought it was regarding a golf group that I was a member of that we had formed several years ago,” she said.

Ferrell answered the phone, but Brazie was not calling about the Golf Life Ladies. She asked Ferrell to help with a project being launched by the Newnan-Coweta Chamber.

The Total Resource Campaign – often called TRC – was something new for the Chamber. Without knowing all the details, Ferrell told Brazie she would help. “When Samantha calls, you can't say no,” she said.

New Business Model

“This is the first year for TRC. Many chambers throughout the country use this model. It was a new concept for the Newnan-Coweta Chamber,” Ferrell said.

Program Sponsor

Dr. Bob Heaberlin, the 2024 Chamber board chair, was one of the four vice chairs for the initial TRC.

"It’s basically a new way of doing business. It takes all our product and puts it out there,” he said.

The initial TRC approach was created about 40 years ago by the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

“It’s become a much-respected model throughout the industry,” said Candace Boothby, president and CEO of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber. “It’s been a model in the industry for years.”

Since its founding in 1947, the NewnanCoweta Chamber, like many chambers around the country, operated on a membership-based model. Businesses, professionals, industries, and community organizations joined the Chamber at various levels of membership, and Chamber staff solicited funds for sponsorships of major events.

TRC flips that concept. During a 45-day period, volunteer Chamber members sell sponsorships for programs and projects listed in a “book of business” that delineates what is planned for the year, noting the cost for various aspects of sponsorship.

“It’s volunteer led, which is kind of wild if you think about it,” said Jess Barron, who is chairman for TRC this year.

“It gives you the opportunity to sell everything. It gives members at every level an opportunity to buy something that’s affordable,” Boothby said. “There's something in the product for everybody.” Boothby noted the Community E News, an email update sent monthly, can be sponsored for as little as $85. This kind of sponsorship can give visibility to a business with a small budget.

New Energy

Boothby was aware of the TRC concept for years.

The worldwide pandemic, beginning in 2020, affected chambers of commerce just as it did every other facet of life. “So many things changed during Covid,” Boothby said.

“There was a loss of momentum,” she explained. “We needed to infuse energy into some things.”

She said TRC offered an opportunity “to activate and energize 40 - 50 volunteers” – organized in teams – who went out into the community via telephone calls, inperson visits, and personal connections to talk about the Chamber, what it offers members, and how it helps the community remain vibrant and strong.

“When you pull people together and you give them something to rally around and you incentivize them, it’s a win-win.”
- Candace Boothby
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TRC has a chairman, who has four or five vice chairmen. Each vice chairman has four or five captains, who in turn have four or five volunteers.

During the focal period in 2023, there were weekly rallies with motivational speakers and cash incentives. Ultimately, people who sold lots of product in the first year were treated to a spectacular cruise.

About 20 people went on the cruise – 12 TRC volunteers and spouses.

“There are definitely bragging rights. It’s fun,” Boothby said. “It achieved everything we wanted.”

Financially Strong

TRC “is an efficient model,” Boothby said. The sales, isolated in the 45-day period, leave the rest of the year for Chamber members and staff to do the work of the Chamber rather than work at funding it.

The TRC makes budgeting easier because the income is known before events take place.

Chamber staff can “focus on the quality of the deliverables,” Boothby said.

“The staff is not chasing,” observed Phil Trickey, a former Chamber board chair. “They're leading.” They can focus on the Chamber’s objectives of economic strength and community vitality.

Freeing the staff to lead and connect Chamber members through TRC has already brought some unexpected pluses.

Barron noted how smoothly the Chamber’s annual golf tournament went this year. The tournament involves a lot of work in the days leading up to it, as well as at the actual tournament.

Barron said the TRC taking care of the finances of the tournament made a difference in the feel and fluidity of the event.

“It’s just a great business model. It’s efficient. It’s functional,” Boothby said. “There's not a downside. When you pull people together and you give them something to rally around and you incentivize them, it’s a win-win.”

The Chamber has approximately 750 members, and Boothby feels certain more and more of them will get involved with TRC and with the Chamber’s projects in the future.

“The more people feel engaged and connected,” she said, the more successful the Chamber will be.

The First Year

The initial campaign had “a lot of learning curves,” Heaberlin said. “No one here in Newnan had done it before.”

Heaberlin termed the initial TRC a success, noting that sponsorship for many events and activities “filled up quickly.”

The goal for TRC last year was $222,075. The campaign actually raised $281,897 –126.94 percent of the goal.

Trickey, who has held several Chamber leadership roles, including serving as assistant treasurer, was skeptical of the TRC concept initially, but he said he is impressed with “what it lets us do.”

23 Issue 19
TRC Spirit in Full Swing at Weekly Rally Game On: Scott Sinkler with Standard Office Systems energizes the crowd at a weekly TRC Rally

We invite you to join the Campaign Team

Five Reasons Why Should You Be Involved in the TRC

The Total Resource Campaign (TRC) is an innovative, comprehensive resource generating and engagement initiative to support the Chamber’s mission and activities. This initiative offers a multitude of benefits for participants. Whether you're a business owner, an entrepreneur, or simply someone invested in the local economy, there are lots of compelling reasons to get involved in TRC.

Strengthening the Community

By participating in the TRC, you contribute to the overall health and vitality of the local business environment. The funds raised support a wide range of Chamber activities and programs that are designed to promote economic growth, advocate for business interests, and enhance the quality of life in the community.

Networking Opportunities

The TRC provides unparalleled networking opportunities. As a participant, you’ll have the chance to connect with other business leaders, entrepreneurs, and community stakeholders. These connections can lead to new partnerships, collaborations, and business opportunities.

Increased Visibility and Marketing

The TRC offers various sponsorship and participation opportunities that can significantly enhance your business's visibility. This positive exposure helps you attract new customers, enhance your brand reputation, and differentiate you from competitors.

Advocacy and Representation

One of the core functions of the Chamber is to advocate on behalf of the business community. The funds and support generated by the TRC enable the Chamber to effectively lobby for policies and initiatives that benefit local businesses.

Personal and Professional Growth

Involvement in the TRC also offers personal and professional growth opportunities. Engaging with the campaign can help you develop new skills, such as leadership, project management, and strategic planning. It also provides a platform to take on leadership roles within the Chamber, furthering your influence and impact in the community.

What are you

waiting for?

Contact your


staff and let them know to sign you up as a volunteer. We’re looking forward to winning with you this fall! Reach out to Nina McMichael at to learn more.

With the TRC sales taking place in a 45-day window, most of the efforts of funding the Chamber’s year-round work are “moved from staff to volunteers.”

Once the TRC drive is over, Chamber leaders know which companies are sponsoring which events, something that was not necessarily the case in the past.

“In 45 days, we have our calendar planned and funded,” Trickey said. "It's been really valuable.”

The TRC process – with volunteers calling on companies of all sizes – has spread the word about the Chamber’s many projects “to a lot of people who probably didn't even know they existed,” Trickey said.

The sales process also provides some guidance to Chamber

leadership. If an event sells out quickly, then it is likely Chamber members want it and will participate. Similarly, something that is getting little funding either is of lesser interest or needs some promotion for members to see its value.

Trickey gave the example of the pickleball tournament, which was a big draw for potential sponsors in the 2023 TRC. “It’s going to be bigger than the bowling tournament,” he said.

Heaberlin described the TRC process as efficient and streamlined. “That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work,” he said.

TRC has generated a sense of enthusiasm in the work the Chamber is doing. “It’s a great attitude right now,” Heaberlin said. “There is a lot of positive energy which creates valuable synergy.”

24 Issue 19
TRC Victory Rally: Honoring Our Top Performers

Nuts And Bolts

TRC ultimately comes down to selling product. Chamber members with a variety of job titles worked effectively on the initial TRC, regardless of the scope of their job.

Scott Sinkler of Standard Office Systems was the top seller in TRC last year.

He sold $53,530 in sponsorships. Sinkler “just really blew it out of the water,” Barron said.

“What happened with TRC that was so helpful is that it was to benefit the community,” he said, “to help the Chamber create more brand awareness.”

“Very few people are going to turn you away as a representative of the Chamber, working to help the community,” Sinkler said.

The TRC process also allowed Sinkler “to introduce myself one more time,” adding contacts for his own business as well as for the Chamber. “It created a chance for me to get name recognition."

Sinkler said, “It worked for the Chamber. It worked great for me. It was a big-time win-win.”

Others ranking high in the sales competition were Melissa Payton of Newnan Utilities, Mel Kendrick

of Smith Automotive Group, Michael Moseley of CowetaFayette EMC/True Gas, Ferrell, and Justin Halford of Johnson Construction.

Initially Halford found TRC a little scary.

“I’m not a salesman by trade by any means. It took a while to figure out what was really going on,” Halford said. As the 45 days moved along, he learned a great deal about the Chamber’s work and felt more comfortable making contacts for TRC.

“I started focusing on smaller businesses,” Ferrell said. “I’m a Realtor so I’m a small business.”

She was easily able to identify “the things that are going to be best for small businesses.”

Smaller companies are looking for ways to promote themselves to potential customers, to get their “name out there at an affordable rate,” Ferrell said.

Ferrell was able to suggest to peers the best places to put their money for maximum exposure. She often told them what she was sponsoring, explaining that her goal was “to extend my dollars are far as I can.”

“The victory cruise was a great time,” Sinkler said. The ship pulled

Jess Barron excited about TRC 2024

Jess Barron is excited about being the new chair for the upcoming Total Resource Campaign (TRC).

TRC, a new Chamber effort that rolled out last year, organizes volunteers to sell sponsorships to Chamber members for valuable Chamber products –programs and activities.

As a captain last year, Barron, a vice president/ associate broker with Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors, worked with his team to sell sponsorships. “I was reaching out to Chamber members and actually recruited some new members as well for the Chamber,” he said.

He agreed to help with TRC after a call from Dr. Bob Heaberlin, a longtime friend of Barron and the current Board Chair for the Newnan-Coweta Chamber.

“I kind of went into it a little blind,” Barron said.

“Historically, you’ve had the bigger companies sponsor the majority of events. This opens it up to everybody,” Barron said of the TRC process.

“There's a lot of prep,” Barron explained. The group planning TRC has already held several meetings, and Barron met for about four hours recently with Chamber staff.

“We’ve got another meeting coming up,” he said. Vice chairs will be selected, and they will choose team captains – creating the framework that will make the next campaign work.

Participants secured commitments from their own companies, from other businesses, and from friends.

In 2023, “we were all learning as we went along,” Barron reflected. “This year we’re going to have a better understanding.”

Social media and other modes of marketing are being leveraged, “trying to get the word out there,” Barron said. “We’re doing a lot of promotion.”

Garnet Reynolds, market president for Southern States Bank and who will serve as chair of the Chamber Board next year, predicted TRC will continue to flourish as members become familiar with the process.

“As new members see how existing members are being marketed throughout the community at special events, it lets them know that they can do the same thing,” Reynolds said.

The process allows companies to consider their “business mission, purpose, and values” and apply those as they choose marketing opportunities, Reynolds said. “That’s where TRC is really valuable.”

There is already a lot of enthusiasm. “We’ve got people coming out of the woodwork” wanting to sponsor programs, said Phil Trickey, a past chair of the Chamber Board. “They’re seeing the value of getting their name out there.”

“A lot of volunteers were able to secure pretty big commitments,” Barron said of the 2023 effort.

25 Issue 19
Amazing Chamber Leadership as Rally Motivational Speakers Top row, left to right: Robert Fowler, BMW of South Atlanta energizes volunteers at victory celebration; Dr. Bob Heaberlin, 2024 Chamber Board Chair inspires the group to keep pushing. Bottom row, left to right: Annissia Hanyard, 2024 Chamber Board Treasurer, fires up the group with her inspiring words; and Vernon Strickland, Strickland Debrow, LLP, shares his Chamber and community passion with the team.

out on Friday night and was back early Monday morning.

“It gave us an opportunity as TRC members to meet in a different environment and hang out and socialize,” Halford said.

Continuing Value

Even as Jess Barron and his committee prepare for the second year of TRC, the program is already a winner.

“What TRC really does is it lets the Chamber communicate early on what

events are available. It’s a planning mechanism,” said Garnet Reynolds, who is slated to be next year’s Chamber Board chair.

“It helps the Chamber because we’re able to set a schedule, but it also allows our members to do the same thing,” Reynolds said.

“As we continue to understand our members’ needs and the value that ultimately comes with the marketing products that the Chamber offers, this

effectively positions the Chamber to help our members market their services,” Reynolds stated.

The personal connections made through the TRC process are also having a big impact.

“The whole TRC – the program in and of itself – allowed people to meet people they normally would not have met,” Sinkler said.

“It's gotten a lot of people involved in the Chamber,” Heaberlin said. “People made a lot of good relationships.”

Heaberlin said he sees more Chamber members at Chamber events and ribbon cuttings.

“The luncheons that we sponsor have really filled up,” Heaberlin said. “We’ve had good participation.”

Ferrell said part of being in the Chamber is an ethos to use the services of other Chamber members. TRC expanded the opportunity to “make those ties, make those bonds,” making it easy and natural to “support those businesses that are doing what you’re doing” in supporting the work of the Chamber.


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Tuesday-Wednesday media projects put spotlight on Chamber members

Two innovative social media projects launched as a part of TRC shine the spotlight on Chamber members and what they are doing.

The new projects, Try-It Tuesdays and Where Are We Wednesdays, both feature professional video by Chamber Member Gig Bag Media. Each presentation is 3-5 minutes.

Try-It Tuesdays are centered around companies that make products. Viewers of the videos see company representatives – and sometimes others – put a product together.

Where Are We Wednesdays is a bit more general. It takes a look at a company and gives a video thumbnail of what is happening at that business.

Try-It Tuesdays and Where Are We Wednesdays are emailed to the Chamber membership on that day of the week. There also is a link on the Chamber website where people can go to view them later.

“These videos generate substantial ongoing effects,” said Candace Boothby, president and CEO of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber.

The Tuesday and Wednesday projects are among several Chamber efforts to communicate with members about the Chamber, the community and issues that impact the present business climate and the future.

27 Issue 19
Johnson Construction Group

State of the Chamber


Extra day means extraordinary celebration

February featured an extra day this year, and the Newnan-Coweta Chamber used Feb. 29 to hold an extra-ordinary State of the Chamber and Annual Meeting Luncheon.

“This is our 76th celebration,” Candace Boothby, president and CEO of the Chamber, said in welcoming the crowd of excited members.

Employing the theme, “An Extra Day of ExtraOrdinary,” the celebratory gathering was held at The Venue at Murphy Lane. Awards presented included the Chamber Champion of the Year, the Non-Profit of the Year, the Volunteer of the Year, and the Chairman’s Award.

In keeping with the Extra-Ordinary theme of the day, magician Drew Murray provided an amazing program, eliciting astonishment and laughter.

“You create magical moments for your community all the time,” Murray told attendees.

The meeting also marked the passing of the gavel from Piedmont Newnan Hospital CEO Mike Robertson, 2023 chair of the Chamber Board, to the 2024 chair, Bob Heaberlin, CEO of Leadership Strategies LLC.

Robertson presented the Chairman’s Award to Sister Ward of the Georgia Power Company

Robertson noted the award has only been given “a handful of times,” recognizing previous recipients before presenting the award to Ward.

She also represents the Newnan-Coweta Chamber on the Regional Business Coalition of Metropolitan Atlanta Board and served as a vice chair of the Chamber’s first Total Resource Campaign while also helping launch the inaugural Forward Coweta Summit last year.

The award recognizes individuals for “learning to balance business with Chamber life,” Robertson said.

Ward wears “many hats,” Robertson said. She serves on the Newnan-Coweta Chamber board, where she is vice chair for economic vitality.

Rennette Fairley of Thick Ash Cigar was recognized as the 2023 Chamber Champion of the Year. The award was presented by Scott Sinkler, chair of the Chamber Champion Alliance.

Fairley moved to the area from California about six years ago. She and her husband Timothy opened their business two years ago.

“She’s at every single event that goes on in our community for the Chamber,” Sinkler said.

“She’s an amazing Chamber Champion and exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism,” Boothby concurred. “She is a true leader by example and demonstrates the spirit of servant leadership.”

More Music Foundation was named Non-Profit of the Year

Chad Staples, who founded the foundation, accepted the award from Kevin Barbee.

28 Issue 19
Presented by BMW of South Atlanta

More Music Foundation has served nearly 1,000 students with free music education and has awarded 62 musical instruments to aspiring young musicians.

Barbee said More Music Foundation “embodies what it means to meet needs.”

He said having a good community “takes all of us” – businesses and non-profits – and requires both money and volunteers.

“We are so fortunate to have strong, impactful non-profits in our community. The non-profits in this community collaborate better than non-profits in any community I’ve ever been in,” Barbee said.

“We all know we have an amazing community,” Boothby said. “We know we have great non-profits.”

Volita Almon of West Georgia Technical College was named Volunteer of the Year for 2023.

Boothby, who presented the award, described volunteers as “the backbone” and “the unsung heroes” of the Chamber in its efforts to make a positive impact on the community. “The contributions

of volunteers go beyond what we can measure.”

Boothby said Almon, a LaGrange College graduate, “stood out among the rest” of the Chamber’s many volunteers. Almon chaired the first Coweta Works event and has not only volunteered for the Chamber but recruited other volunteers. She is a mainstay in many of the Chamber’s signature programs. She is unique and special in so many ways, Boothby explained.

BMW of South Atlanta served as the Presenting Sponsor for the State of the Chamber event. Electric cars from BMW were at the venue for Chamber members to test drive.

Other sponsors included Gold Sponsors Coweta-Fayette EMC and Newnan Utilities; Silver Sponsor City of Hope; and Supporting Sponsors Accelerated Performance Solutions, LLC, Synovus, and the University of West Georgia.

Former Chamber Board members and leaders of several Chamber initiatives were also recognized.

The 2023 Chamber Alliance Chairs were recognized and thanked. “We’re very grateful to all of you. Thank you for all you’ve done for the Chamber and the community over the years,” Boothby said.

Boothby pointed to the work of the Economic Prosperity Alliance, previously

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chaired by Jeff Phillips with Newnan Utlities which brings together leaders in government and business four times a year.

She thanked Jason Eaker with Avery and Pope for his work chairing the Forward Coweta Alliance, a group comprised of NextGen leaders working to support efforts with the annual Forward Coweta Alliance.

The Leadership Coweta Alliance, “a great program to learn about the community, to connect with leaders throughout the community” most recently was chaired by Scott Berta, Electric Cities of Georgia, and Kalea James, Ameris Bank. Boothby thanked them for their efforts.

The Non-Profit Alliance, which is chaired by Kevin Barbee of Elevate Coweta, which meets monthly and sponsors an annual Friendsgiving gathering, was also recognized.

And finally, the Chamber Champions Alliance was recognized along with Chair Scott Sinkler with SOS. “This group of individuals represent a gem within our Chamber Family,” Boothby said. “They are the public relations arm of the chamber. They’re everywhere.”

Boothby shared that the launch of the Total Resource Campaign (TRC) last year was one of the best things we’ve ever done as an organization. The TRC puts the Chamber and its work in front of more Chamber members than ever and builds the Chamber’s volunteer base. She thanked Jess Barron, Lindsey’s, Inc. Realtors, for agreeing to chair the TRC for 2024. He shared that he is super excited to launch year two and that the upcoming effort “is going to be the best TRC ever.”

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Robertson, Heaberlin reflect on what makes Chamber strong

The outgoing and incoming chairs of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber offered reflections on what makes the Chamber great at the 76th annual State of the Chamber luncheon.

Mike Robertson, CEO of Piedmont Newnan Hospital, served as the 2023 chair of the Chamber Board. He passed the gavel to Dr. Bob Heaberlin, a career educator who is now CEO of Leadership Strategies LLC, at the event held Feb. 29 at The Venue at Murphy Lane.

Heaberlin said he is looking forward to his year as chair of “the greatest Chamber of Commerce in the United States of America.”

Robertson looked at the recent past in his remarks, while Heaberlin was focused on the year to come. Both talked about the vital work of the Chamber’s membership – noting the work of both volunteers and staff.

“At the end of the day, the Chamber is about its membership,” Robertson said.

He noted the success of the first Total Resource Campaign and the renewal of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber’s Five-Star accreditation.

The Chamber held a windshield tour for executives new to the community and

There are a lot of great people in this community, a lot of giving people. To make a difference, you’ve got to get out and know what your community is about. “ ”

– Dr. Bob Heaberlin

launched its Go Digital and WorkUp Coweta programs, funded with federal grant dollars.

In the past year, the Chamber offered about 75 networking opportunities. “Post Covid, I think we all enjoyed getting out and seeing each other face to face,” Robertson said.

Robertson said the Chamber has helped him network with people in healthcare and with leaders in many other fields, as well as those in the public sector and government.

The first Forward Coweta Summit “was focused on community growth and more civic engagement,” Robertson said.

In the past year, the Chamber grew by a net of 78 members, bringing its membership totals to around 750 members.

State of the Chamber cont.
Dr. Bob Heaberlin, 2024 Chamber Board Chair

State of the Chamber cont.

“Without growth, it doesn’t matter,” Robertson said.

“Making sure the Chamber is meeting your needs and adding value is what it’s all about.”

Heaberlin singled out several people in the audience –including Bob Coggin, Dennis McEntire and Scott Berta – for their involvement in the Chamber and the community.

Heaberlin came to Coweta in 1988 as assistant principal at East Coweta Middle School and served in several administrative positions in the Coweta County School System during his career.

He spent 41 years in public education and nine at the University of West Georgia.

“There are a lot of great people in this community, a lot of giving people,” Heaberlin said. To make a difference, “you’ve got to get out and know what your community is about,” he said.

Heaberlin said the Chamber offers many opportunities for people to make those connections – so many, in fact, that if someone misses an event, another one is coming up soon.

Heaberlin noted that Coweta Works is back – offering

insights on local business to all eighth graders in the Coweta County School System, after a hiatus during Covid.

Chamber programs continue to flourish – and to expand. Leadership Coweta is in its 29th year, and a reimagined Leadership Coweta alumni group is in the development stage.

The year ahead offers a series of meetings that will bring together community leaders. The second Forward Coweta Summit and Total Resource Campaign effort are in the planning stages.

The Chamber will offer candidate forums during this election year. In addition, the 39th annual Chamber Golf Classic was held May 1, and the inaugural Pickleball Tournament will launch on Oct. 2.

“The full calendar offers many valuable opportunities to connect with peers,” he said.

Robertson praised the work of the Chamber staff, stating that Candace Boothby, the president and CEO, provides ongoing leadership.

“She’s set us up for the future,” Robertson said.

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Non-Profit Alliance connects those who do good in the community

Every month leaders of local nonprofits gather at the NewnanCoweta Chamber.

They offer programs about a wide range of topics. Previously featured programs included board recruitment and retention and insurance for boards, staff, and volunteers. In addition to the practical information applicable to all non-profits, members of the Non-Profit Alliance also make personal connections.

The Non-Profit Alliance has been part of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber for many years. For a long time, the group met quarterly.

“It was a way to pull together nonprofits for a networking event,” said Kevin Barbee, who is now the chair of the alliance. For years, the alliance met at a non-profit, enjoyed coffee and doughnuts and toured the location.

Three years ago, Kevin Barbee, who heads a local non-profit, Elevate Coweta Students, talked with Candace Boothby, president and CEO of the Chamber, about the potential for a stronger, more relevant alliance for non-profits.

Barbee’s goal was to bring more value to the non-profit sector with the alliance.

Barbee suggested having the alliance meet monthly rather than quarterly and to offer programs with speakers or workshops. He also suggested the alliance be open to representatives of all local nonprofits, not just those who are Chamber members.

“She was very open to that,” Barbee remembered.

“It’s been a great success,” Boothby said. “Kevin’s leadership created an energy and vitality that helped increase the relevance of the Non-Profit Alliance.”

The meetings now attract 35-40 people each month. The group often includes representatives from businesses, too. In this way, nonprofits are able to let the business community know what they do, and businesses find ways to help those who help others.

Having a strong non-profit group is a good thing for the Chamber. By providing Chamber businesses with connections to non-profits, the alliance helps to strengthen what the Chamber offers its members.

Raising the profile of Coweta’s non-profits also paints the community in a good light as companies consider moving to the local area.

An insurance agent who spoke at a Non-Profit Alliance meeting soon joined the board of a local non-profit. A Senoia business owner attended a meeting and then invited representatives of non-profits to make brief presentations at his company’s weekly staff meetings.

“The non-profit community is very active in this community,” Barbee said. The non-profits involved in the alliance seek to meet a wide range of human needs, as well as focusing on the arts and the preservation of Coweta’s history.

Through the Non-Profit Alliance, business leaders who are looking to get their employees engaged in the community find projects they can adopt. Barbee said Cargill has worked through Elevate Coweta Students to help with a clothing drive, a food drive, and mentoring at Smokey Road Middle School.

While Non-Profit Alliance participants do not have to be members of the Chamber, many join as they “see what the value is,” Barbee said.

The monthly meetings began in 2021. Because of Covid, there were some hybrid meetings early on – with some people at the Chamber and others joining via Zoom.

In person meetings became the norm quickly. Organizations usually have a designated person who attends the monthly meetings, though everyone is encouraged to have another staff member, board member, or volunteer attend when that person has a conflict.

The alliance also sponsors the Annual Friendsgiving Appreciation Lunch, a potluck meal in November that brings together representatives of various nonprofits and offers special thanks to their business supporters.

The Non-Profit Alliance “has broken down a lot of those silos,” Barbee said. Each meeting ends with everyone present talking about what their organization is doing currently – often sharing a need for volunteers or other help. Someone else in the room is often able to fill a gap or suggest a resource.

“It’s created this collaborative culture,” Barbee said.

Barbee observed that in Coweta County, collaboration is an expectation among volunteers and staff in the non-profit world.

The Non-Profit Alliance is currently working on an economic impact study. Employees of non-profits live in the local area and buy local products and services. The non-profit organizations also spend money for utilities, rent, supplies, and services.

Barbee said the completed study will provide several layers of information, with economic impact from churches and from City of Hope pulled out to reflect the impact of smaller organizations more accurately.

The study will look at annual budgets, the number of part-time and full-time employees, and the number of volunteers who are involved.

Barbee said he can see a second phase of the study taking a deeper dive. When a local non-profit helps a person get a high school diploma, take steps to be free of substance abuse, or stay in their own home, that has an impact on the economy, as well as on the lives of those individuals.

Small projects – making sure someone has a vehicle that runs – can help someone go to school or to work.

“That will probably be the second half of it,” Barbee said. He recently talked with Dr. Brendan Kelly, president at the University of West Georgia, about graduate students in the social services field doing legwork for the study.

Barbee gave considerable credit to Boothby for the Non-Profit Alliance’s thriving success.

“She’s really embraced this,” he said. “That’s key.”

Boothby said the alliance is a “true asset” to the Chamber and a vital part of the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to help Coweta County be the best place to live and work.

32 Issue 19
Non-Profit Alliance Chair Kevin Barbee proudly holds the Buffalo Towel, gearing up for the Forward Coweta Summit.

7 Strategies for Success: Becoming the Customer’s First Choice in a Competitive Environment

I have been an insurance professional for 24 years and an entrepreneur for the last 15 years. While the industry as a whole has encountered many changes post pandemic, prioritizing the customer’s needs remains unchanged. In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, companies must go beyond simply offering a product or service to grow their business. They must instead position themselves as the customer’s best choice in order to earn their loyalty. I believe that the long-term success of any business lies within being able to execute strategies that differentiate themselves from the competition.

1. Understand Your Customers: To become the customer’s preferred choice, it is vital to deeply understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. It is critical to understand the current marketplace and gather customer feedback. Feedback is a gift! Being able make adjustments based off of customer data has a direct impact on growth and retention.

2. Deliver Superior Value: In today’s market, customers are always on the lookout for value. Ensure that your product or service offers a unique value proposition that sets you apart from your competitors. This could be in the form of better quality, faster delivery, competitive pricing, exceptional customer service, or innovative problem solving.

3. Build Strong Relationships: Cultivating strong relationships with customers is crucial in a competitive environment. Focus on personalized interactions, effective communication, and prompt resolution of customer issues. Consider implementing referral programs or customer rewards to make your customers feel appreciated and valued. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

4. Continuous Innovation: Innovation is the key to staying ahead in a competitive market. A business owner has to have multiple access points. Customers want to do business when it is convenient for them. As a result, there is always a way to improve and innovate in order to cater to evolving customer demands.

5. Stand Out with Exceptional Service: Customer service can be a powerful differentiator in a crowded marketplace. It is the cornerstone of a strong business. Train your team to provide exceptional service experiences, emphasizing empathy, responsiveness, and going the extra mile. This also includes, promptly addressing customer inquiries or complaints in a seamless, hassle-free manner.

6. Leverage Digital Marketing: In the digital age, an effective online presence is essential for gaining a competitive edge. Utilize digital marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and targeted advertising to reach and engage with your target audience effectively. Consistency is key!

7. Adapt: To remain the customer’s best choice, it is crucial to monitor market trends, competitor activities, and customer feedback continuously. Remaining agile in an everchanging environment is key to sustainability.

Becoming the customer’s best choice in a competitive environment requires understanding your customers, delivering superior value, and building strong relationships. Focusing on these 7 strategies will give your business the competitive edge it needs to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Hear from the Expert

33 Issue 19

Pancakes & Politics

Local legislators share their

Members of Coweta’s state legislative delegation continue to shape the future of the region and the state, and they shared highlights of this year’s legislative session at the Annual Pancakes and Politics.

Hosted annually by the Newnan-Coweta Chamber, this year's event, which was sponsored by Coweta-Fayette EMC, was held April 24 at the Newnan Country Club.

Participating in panel discussions were State Sen. Matt Brass, State Rep. Josh Bonner, State Rep. Lydia Glaize, and State Rep. Lynn Smith.

Dr. Bob Heaberlin, Newnan-Coweta Chamber board chairman, welcomed the four, calling them “our outstanding delegation.”


Smith talked about the challenges of being a committee chair. As chair of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, she said her hearings “tend sometimes to be more theater.”

Early in her chairmanship, Smith turned to the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at

“under the gold dome”


State Rep. Lydia Glaize makes a point during the discussion at Pancakes and Politics. From left are State Sen. Matt Brass and representatives Glaize, Josh Bonner and Lynn

the University of Georgia to set up a policy academy to provide accurate, researched information on difficult topics.

“It is my role to expose them to the facts we can get from an academic setting,” she said.

One of the complicated issues currently involves efforts to preserve the Okefenokee Swamp.

She said the unique environment needs to be saved, but added the reality of private property rights in the area is often lost when the topic is explored.

“The messaging that is out there is very difficult,” Smith said. The same concept applies to statewide efforts to protect

rivers and streams.

She said the state does a great job of making proceedings public and accessible.

“Georgia is very good at broadcasting everything,” Smith said.

Georgia’s diversity creates unique challenges for the legislature. There are 11.5 million people in Georgia. There are 41 urban counties with 79 percent of the population and 118 smaller counties where the remaining 21 percent live.

“So, we have a myriad of problems,” Smith said. She proposed a bill that would encourage adjacent smaller counties to merge, saving money on administration and other costs.

34 Issue 19
Exemplary Representation: (Left to Right) Senator Matt Brass, Representative Josh Bonner, Representative Lynn Smith, Chamber President and CEO Candace Boothby, Representative Lydia Glaize, Georgia Chamber CEO Chris Clark. Smith.
We’re as strong as our weakest link. We need to always look out for the shoe that has the hole in the bottom and take care of that.
– State Rep. Lynn Smith “ ”

“This is an issue I am going to keep working on,” she said.

“How do these rural counties provide services to their citizens? You know that the answer is, they don’t,” Smith said. Smaller counties simply do not have the staff or resources to meet needs as they are handled in more populous counties.

Smith travels across the state as part of the House Rural Council. Those trips convinced her the problems vexing rural Georgia must be addressed.

“We’re as strong as our weakest link,” she said. “We need to always look out for the shoe that has the hole in the bottom and take care of that,” Smith said.

“I want to brag about our community and how fantastic we are,” Smith said. She spoke of Coweta’s dedicated volunteers – noting how the community Soap Box Derby and events for cyclists and antique car enthusiasts had been held the previous weekend.

“It was a thrill to watch these children be involved in this,” she said of the Soap Box Derby.


Bonner sponsored several bills last year.

A veteran, he chairs the Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee. There are more than 700,000 veterans in Georgia, which also is home to several military bases and a strong National Guard.

“Our state is a very military friendly state,” Bonner said.

A bill approved last year makes it easier for a military spouse to transfer a professional license from another state. “That is a very significant achievement,” he said.

Bonner led the effort to make the ASVAB – the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery – available to all Georgia students. The ASVAB is taken by high school students and shows strengths for various career choices.

The test is also “a big deal for national security,” Bonner said.

Another bill that was approved makes it possible for veterans to take CDL training to become truck drivers at no cost.

Bonner also talked about the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s efforts to keep military bases in Georgia open.

Sometimes bills disproportionately impact our veterans. The Squatter Reform Act

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State Rep. Matt Brass, center, talks with attendees at Pancakes and Politics.

“will make it easier to get a squatter out of your home,” Bonner said.

He related the experience of a deployed military service member. When she returned home, she found squatters were in her home, and she could not get them out.

Bonner said in some Georgia localities, it can take up to six months to evict someone.

The new law allows a homeowner to obtain an order for someone to vacate their home. If authorities do not remove the squatters in 14 days once an order has been issued, the homeowner can hire off duty officers to move the squatters out.


Glaize’s focus was on education. She told the approximately 80 people attending Pancakes and Politics, “If we don’t have a literate society, all of what you guys do, it falls to the wayside.”

A retired educator, Glaize is the only member of the House serving on both the Education and Higher Education Committees.

“Last year we did some great work in two areas that help the entire Georgia public school system work better,” she said.

House Bill 538 approved a phonics-based reading approach.

“To learn anything, you must learn the code,” Glaize said, and the secret to learning to read is “how sounds work and how words work.”

There will be literacy coaches throughout the state who will train people in local systems who will then teach other teachers “the science of reading,” she said.

Glaize said all subjects start with reading.

“We put back hope into HOPE,” Glaize said of the popular scholarship program funded with lottery dollars. Students with a 3.0 average can get 100 percent funding for in state public college tuition, and Zell Miller Scholars will get 118 percent.

“We expanded HOPE so that students start dual enrollment at 10th grade,” Glaize said.

Also, the law allows students who do not use all their HOPE money for their undergraduate work to use it in graduate school. “That is huge,” Glaize said.

The overall goal is to make sure the workforce is literate and prepared. There is an acknowledgement that what is needed to be employed in Chatham County is not necessarily the same as in north Georgia.

School systems will have flexibility to “use money in a different way” to get the needed training for students in their districts.

Glaize reported on a recent visit to Newnan High School, which was damaged in a tornado in 2021. She said the new school building includes several features that should help it come through another disaster and make it “more resilient.”

Glaize also talked about teacher pay raises and about increases in transportation dollars from the state for local systems. She said Coweta “is running better than most” large school systems in the state, noting Fulton County has a shortage of drivers and not enough new buses coming online.

The increased funding “is going to make our transportation more robust,” she said.

Glaize said the REACH Scholar program will yield great results. REACH Scholars achieve a 2.5-2.99 GPA.

The state is funding $9,000 of the $10,000 for each scholarship with the remainder coming from the community.

“That is probably the best thing we have ever done for our middle tier kids, which are the majority of our students graduating high school,” Glaize said.

Another new program will reduce college debt for five years for people who go into critical fields and work in rural areas. “We’ve got to recruit them, and we’ve got to retain them,” she said.


Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark was the moderator for Pancakes and Politics. Introducing Brass, he said, “He’s in every single issue up there.”

Brass said since he serves on the Rules Committee and all bills pass through that committee, “my focus really is everybody’s focus.”

Still, “I try to stay focused on what’s important to us here – in Coweta County, Heard County and Carroll County,” Brass said.

“We have such a great state to work and live and play,” Brass said. I am honored to serve as your state representitive for House District 70. Please contact me at

The legislature also approved bumps in retirement pay for school employees who work in food service and custodial jobs.

Population growth continues to make roads a priority, and Brass said it is hard to stay ahead of the growth. “Transportation is going to continue to be at the forefront for this area,” he said.

A significant issue in the last legislative session was property taxes. People continue to move into the Peach State, which reduces the inventory of available homes and drives up home values.

36 Issue 19
Paid for by Friends Lynn R. Smith, Inc.
A large crowd enjoying the Pancakes and Politics annual event.

The Senate voted to double homestead exemption from $2,000 to $4,000. Also, the increase in property values will be tied to inflation, never more than 3 percent in a year.

“At the end of the day, we wound up with a good compromise,” Brass said. He said he likes it when he can keep money in citizens’ pockets saying they “are going to be the best” at spending that money.

In the past, high school students had to complete 30 hours of credits before they could use HOPE Scholarship dollars for dual enrollment. Now they will be able to do so in their sophomore and junior years and take an internship or work on accreditation for a job skill such as welding.

When students follow that path, they graduate high school “literally ready for the workforce on day one,” Brass said.

He said an effort was made to define high demand career fields and make navigating school and training programs easier.

Brass was part of a study committee that traveled the state, “looking at making sure we had a sustainable program,” he said. “One of the things we wanted to do was simplify.”

The subcommittee discovered there were two

different lists delineating which career fields are in high demand. Brass said it is important to have a single list that really reflects careers that are greatly needed.

Brass is serving on the Children and Family Committee, which formerly was the Special Judiciary Committee. Foster care, mental health, and bills related to the Department of Family and Children Services go through that committee.

There is a great need to strengthen mental health services in DFACS programs, foster homes and similar settings. “Access to that behavioral health care is going to be a key part of ... breaking that cycle,” Brass said, enabling people to emerge from those programs to be able to get a job and be a contributing member of society.

Legislation also eliminated the grade point average requirement for the HOPE Scholarship for students in a foster care setting.

During Pancakes and Politics, Clark gave a rundown of legislative actions that impacted Chamber and business priorities.

Members of the panel were presented with goodie bags that included Clark’s 2023 book, “The CEO Imperative: Faith Based Service in a Toxic World.”

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Business-After-Hours is one of the Chamber’s most popular networking events, and for good reason: you never know who you’ll bump into or what you might win!

In April, the Chamber held the second Business-AfterHours of the year, presented by Progressive Heating, Air, and Plumbing, and sponsored by Kemp’s Dalton West Flooring. With tasty appetizers catered by Your Chef to Go and a chance to win cash by shooting a basketball from the 3 point line, Kemp’s truly outdid themselves! Join us for the next Business-After-Hours at PENCO Restoration/ PENCO Clean on September 12th at 5:30 pm.

38 Issue 19
Catalyst Lunch Series
Feed your mind with the Chamber’s Catalyst Lunch Series!
Every other month, Chamber President and CEO Candace Boothby sits down with a community “catalyst” to learn more about them and how their lives have helped shaped who they are today. In April, Candace sat down with Chris Stephens, CEO of Coweta-Fayette EMC.

Whataburger partners with Chamber to bring members iconic Texas flavors

A long-awaited restaurant made its debut in Newnan last August. A favorite of Texas locals, Whataburger has been serving great burgers for almost 75 years.

When news came out that a Whataburger was coming to Newnan, the excitement was palpable. For several months, social media was filled with “does anyone know when Whataburger opens?” Finally, upon its grand opening in August, the extensive drive-through lines proved Newnan’s newest burger joint was the place to be. A restaurant that reflects an innovative new prototype for the company.

Whataburger and the Chamber make great partners.

Last October, Whataburger treated volunteers at the final TRC rally as well as Catalyst Series Lunch attendees to their 100% pure, never-frozen beef served on a big, toasted five-inch bun. This March, Whataburger hosted the second Breakfast Club of 2024. Finally, Whataburger served as both the Silver Sponsor and the Breakfast Bistro Sponsor at the recent Golf Classic. Attendees thoroughly enjoyed the unique and tasty breakfast. We can’t wait to see what they do next! A big thank you to our new friends and partners at Whataburger!

39 Issue 19
61 Bullsboro Drive (770) 251–4311 2245 Highway 34 (770) 567–7211 Your United Bank Team in Newnan is Two Locations to Serve You Here for You.

Connections in the Courtyard

Connections in the Courtyard is back!

This fan-favorite event takes place in the Chamber’s courtyard and is a perfect spring and fall event for current and future members. We kicked off the 2024 Connections series on March 28th, with Renee Horton Agency, American Family Insurance as the first sponsor. Participants enjoyed the beautiful spring weather, as well as tasty food from the Mad Mexican food truck. In addition to our sponsor, Renee Horton American Family Insurance, we’d like to also thank alcohol sponsor, Bottoms UP! Wine & Spirits Boutique, and Karen Kulinich, who beautified our courtyard in preparation for spring.

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On May 9th, we hosted our second Connections in the Courtyard of the year, this time sponsored by Hammond Services. Attendees enjoyed barbeque from J. Holt’s Smokehouse and though rain threatened earlier in the day, the skies cleared and members enjoyed a balmy evening in the Chamber Courtyard, with beverages provided by our alcohol sponsor, Bottoms UP! Wine & Spirits Boutique

The next Connections in the Courtyard will be Thursday, October 10th at 5:30 pm at the Chamber.

41 Issue 19
Connections in the Courtyard Sponsored by MAY 9TH OUR FAMILY TAKING CARE OF YOURS Family Owned & Operated Since 1976 Locations: Newnan, Peachtree City, LaGrange DALTONWEST.COM  (770) 863-7556

New & Renewing Members


ActionCOACH Peachtree

Ashmore Properties, LLC

Brian Robert Magic


Comprehensive Program Services, Inc.

Coweta County School System

CPA On Duty

CTT Global, LLC

Edward Jones - Joe Bence

Elite Staffing

First National Bank (of Griffin)

Hearn Landscape Management, Inc.

Industrial Solutions & Technologies


J Holt's Smokehouse

Karen E. Kulinich


Liberty Tax

Luna Massage Therapy

Medmasa, LLC

Molly Maid of Newnan

Ms. D’s Creations, LLC

Neal Associates LLC

Niagara Bottling, LLC

Schanie Solutions

Southeast Marketing Group - SimpliHOM

Southern Cleaning Services

SRS Building Products

T.R.L. Upscale Transportation

TAC Auction

The Dent Guys of Atlanta

The I-58 Mission

The Sara Jane Wellness Bar

The Skinny Plus, LLC

Troup-Coweta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Whatever It Takes Now

Yvonne Owens-James


Allied Construction Group, Inc.

Ameris Bank

AmWaste of Georgia LLC

Ana Lombardi Photography

Avalon Health & Rehabilitation Center

Batteries Plus Bulbs

Blickle USA

Blossman Gas

Bowers and Burns Real Estate

Brent Scarbrough & Company Inc.

Buffalo Rock

CAF Airbase Georgia

Caldwell Tanks, Inc.

Candlewood Suites

Cannon Load Banks, Inc.

Cargill Meat Solutions

Center for Testing and Engineering

Chey Photography

Christian City

Chuck Johnson, CPA, PC

Ciao Bella Medical Center

Cintas Corporation

City of Grantville

CMIT Solutions of Atlanta Southern Crescent

Community Action For Improvement

Country Fried Creative

Coweta County Democratic Party

Coweta County Sheriff Department

Coweta County Water

& Sewerage Authority

Coweta FORCE

Davis Building Company, LLC

Delta Community Credit Union

Dustin Shaw Homes, Inc.

Emory Healthcare at Sharpsburg

Falcon Design Consultants

First Baptist Church

Please join us in welcoming these new or renewing member businesses who walked across the threshold of prosperity’s front door!

Floor & Decor

FOGO Solutions

Foundation Christian Church

Gaskins + LeCraw

Geeslin Group LLC

Georgia Bone & Joint, LLC

Georgia Health Coverage, John Williams

Georgia Primary Bank

Georgia Spa Company

Georgia Transmission Corp.

Go Juu Restaurant

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers

Grayson's Steak and Seafood

Healing Bridge Clinic

Healthy Life Chiropractic

Hero Roofing

Hitachi Construction Machinery

Americas, Inc.

Holiday Inn Express

Honda of Newnan

Houser Walker Architecture, LLC

J&M Pool Services, LLC

Jenkins Law Firm

JHC Corporation

Josey, Young & Brady Realty, LLC

Joy Barnes-Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Law Office of Johnny Phillips

Lighthouse Counseling Center

Line Creek Brewing Co.

Marsh McLennan Agency

MAU Workforce Solutions

Maxxis International USA

McDaniels Acura of Newnan

McLain Surveying, Inc.

Minuteman Press

Morgan Jewelers Downtown

Newnan Kiwanis Club

Newnan-Coweta Habitat

Orkin Pest Control

Pattillo Industrial Real Estate

Paxxo (USA) Inc.

Peachtree City Obstetrics and Gynecology

Piedmont Cancer Institute

Piedmont Urgent Care


Publix Super Markets Store 786


Resource MFG

Rip Tide Car Wash

Roof-Tastic & Beyond Exteriors

Signarama of Newnan

Southern Power Systems Services, Inc.

SouthState Bank

Stabil FIT Life

State Farm, Trey Rhodes

Super K Express

Sweetwater Veterinary Hospital


Texas Roadhouse

The Cellar at Firestone

The Harbin Insurance Agency

The Newnan Centre

The Venue at Murphy Lane

Toyota of Newnan

Truffles Medispa

Truffles Vein Specialists


United Bank

United Community Bank

Warner Summers Architecture and Interior Design

Wesley Woods of Newnan

West Georgia Domestic Violence Shelter

Winpak Films, Inc.

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming

42 Issue 19

Congratulations to Coweta County School Superintendent, Dr. Evan Horton!  Dr. Horton recently received the President’s Award from the Georgia School Superintendents’ Association. Coweta County is blessed to have such a dedicated and esteemed Superintendent!

Congratulations to our District 70 Representative, Lynn Smith! Rep. Smith was recently featured in the Marquis Who’s Who of Professional Women in 2023. Marquis Who’s Who, a publication focused on short biographies, has been around since 1898 and provides spotlights on leaders in various positions.

Congratulations to Piedmont Newnan Hospital on their muchanticipated expansion! The hospital recently opened its new three-story South Tower, which provides more beds as our area experiences continued growth. The Tower can be renovated to ultimately feature up to eight stories, allowing it to grow along with our community.

Congratulations to Hendrick Honda of Newnan! The local Honda dealership received the 2023 President’s Award from American Honda Motor Company, Inc. This prestigious award acknowledges Honda of Newnan’s performance and dedication in areas such as sales, customer service and satisfaction, and operations.

43 Issue 19
Companies succeed when they can get work done anywhere, anytime the same approach we take to our IT solutions. IT for the anywhere business. Doug Bates President CMIT Solutions of Atlanta Southern Crescent 770.731.0824
Member Kudos!


Congratulations to these member businesses who recently crossed through Prosperity’s Front Door with a ribbon cutting or milestone celebration!

February 22, 2024



JB Harris Transport & Logistics

February 27, 2024



February 28, 2024

Cosmic Pediatrics


44 Issue 19
Solomon Brothers Jewelers Stamps Family Dentistry Caycie's Boutique 12, 2024 Georgia Campers 19, 2024 Georgia Chocolate Factory March 21, 2024 Wisteria Gardens 27, 2024 J Holt's Smokehouse 28, 2024 9, 2024

Baker Bag Company April 11, 2024

Food for Thought Catering and Kitchen To Go

April 16, 2024

AT&T May 2, 2024

Lennar/Twelve Parks

May 14, 2024

Everhome Suites April 18, 2024

Baby Dimensions May 7, 2024

Lane Boutique May 16, 2024

a PC of mind April 25, 2024

Waxing the City May 9, 2024

Lennar/Candleberry Place May 21, 2024

45 Issue 19

Enhanced Investors Alliance


Increasingly, a dedicated community of local leaders is coalescing around a vision of prosperity that serves the collective benefit of those who live, work, play, and THRIVE in Coweta.

The Newnan-Coweta Chamber enjoys the participation of over 50 key stakeholders who, together, render a positive impact on the prosperity of one of the fastest growing regions in the country.

Members of the Enhanced Investors Alliance enjoy unprecedented access to key community leaders, information which informs the collaborative vision for increased economic prosperity, access to benefits and services including complimentary tickets to events and programming, sponsorship credits for increased brand visibility, and more.


Learn more about enhanced investment and discover how you can become a part of the Coweta fabric. For more information, contact Candace Boothby,



46 Issue 19



47 Issue 19

Chamber Alliance Spotlight

It is encouraging to see that the Chamber continues to provide support to small and large businesses within Coweta County. Serving on the Chamber board for six years and leading and participating on numerous committees helped me realize how valuable the Chamber is to Coweta County.

”Enhanced Investor Profiles

A Newnan-Coweta Chamber Silver Investor, the Coweta County Water & Sewerage Authority was established in 2001. The authority has more than 27,000 water customers, as well as 2,400 sewer customers.

“The Coweta County Water & Sewerage Authority works with and is a member of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber because the values of building a strong local economy in Coweta County align with the mission and vision statements of the authority,” said Jay Boren, the authority’s CEO.

The authority has been a member of the Chamber since ownership and operations of the water and wastewater system were transferred from the county to the authority in 2007.

“It is encouraging to see that the Chamber continues to provide support to small and large businesses within Coweta County. Serving on the Chamber board for six years and leading and participating on numerous committees helped me realize how valuable the Chamber is to Coweta County,” Boren said.

“The authority continues to receive valuable benefits as an enhanced investor with the Chamber, and participating in the many initiatives the chamber supports,” said Boren, who has served as the CEO of Coweta Water & Sewer for 12 years.

On the personal front, Boren is a huge Auburn fan. “I love Auburn,” Boren said, “I have season tickets and enjoy tailgating at and attending Auburn football games.”

Boren said he is “not a good golfer,” but attempts to play the game. He likes to go to the beach with family and friends and collects baseball cards. On Sunday afternoons, Boren enjoys Jeep rides along country roads with his daughter, Caroline.

Coweta-Fayette EMC is a Newnan-Coweta Chamber Platinum Investor.

“For over 75 years, Coweta-Fayette EMC’s primary goal has been providing reliable, affordable electricity to the families and businesses who call this area home. While that remains our core responsibility today, we also embrace our responsibility to help build stronger, more enriched communities by supporting economic development. Our commitment to community is why we support the local chambers of commerce, so we can help secure a better future for our members by strengthening our local business members,” said Chris Stephens, Coweta-Fayette’s CEO.

When he is not focusing on providing electric service to the area and promoting economic growth, Stephens loves to hunt and golf. He also can be found spending time on a tractor when his schedule permits.

United Bank is a Newnan-Coweta Chamber Silver Investor.

Founded in 1905 in Zebulon, the bank has enjoyed a presence in Coweta’s business community since 2009. In Coweta County, United Bank features locations on Bullsboro Drive and on Sullivan Road. The bank offers cutting-edge financial solutions, including mobile banking apps, chip-protected credit and debit cards and Interactive Teller Machines while maintaining a commitment to serve its local customers.

“I have been a supporter of the chamber of commerce in every town I worked in for the last 40 years of my banking career. I was on the Newnan-Coweta board for seven years and was the chairman in 2017. We are fortunate to have them and what they do for the business community,” said John Hall, who has been president of United Bank’s Newnan Division for 10 years. Hall said he “used to be a big golfer” but now enjoys shooting clays as often as he can.

48 Issue 19
Jay Boren, CEO Chris Stephens, CEO John Hall, President



specialists focused on curing cancer

© 2024 City of Hope
Dr. Beomjune B. Kim Head and Neck and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Kristin Higgins Chief Clinical O icer Dr. Priya Vishnubhotla Chief, Medical Oncology
50 Issue 19 Accelerated Performance Solutions 35 American Family Insurance / Renee Horton ..... 2 City of Hope 49 CMIT Solutions............................................... 43 Coweta-Fayette EMC 7 Edward Jones ................................................ 11 Food for Thought Catering / Kitchen To Go ........ 37 Georgia Bone & Joint 31 Honda of Newnan ........................................... 3 Jason Hunter Design 30 Jimmy D Images............................................. 17 Kemp’s Dalton West Flooring 41 Lennar/Twelve Oaks and Candleberry Place........ 51 Lynn Smith, State Representative................... 36 Marketplace Beverage / Popeyes.................... 52 Monster Tree Service ..................................... 20 Newnan Utilities 26 Odyssey Charter School ................................. 8 Piedmont Cancer Institute 27 Progressive Heating, Air and Plumbing ............ 5 Salons by JC Newnan 10 Southern States Bank..................................... 50 SouthState Bank............................................ 8 United Bank 39 University of West Georgia ............................. 40 The Cellar/The Burkley Social Club 21 The Southern Credit Union.............................. 12 The Veggie Patch 16 Truffles Vein Specialists ................................. 13 Wesley Woods of Newnan ............................... 9 West Georgia Technical College 29 Yoga Kula Collective ....................................... 10 INDEX of ADVERTISERS OUR BUSINESS SERVICES What sets us apart from other banks? Newnan 20 Oak Hill Boulevard Newnan, GA 30265 470.400.3411 At Southern States Bank, business banking is one of our major focuses. If you are looking for bankers who care about both your commercial and personal banking needs, come visit our Newnan office!

Two Great Places to Start Making Memories

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Each Lennar home boasts modern design with open living spaces, fully-equipped kitchens, and large owner’s suites. Flexible bonus rooms cater to diverse needs, from home offices to learning areas.

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Twelve Parks

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