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HE AL TH Pa SE ge C 17 TIO N


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The Continual Evolution Of Our Retail Experience page 32





FOOD AS AN ACT OF LOVE Julia Daniels, Owner of The Comfortable Chair Store in Roswell. WWW.THECURRENTHUB.COM

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Frank Mack Di Chapman Jessica Diamond Spalding Negron Fred Mills Geri Laufer Beth Nitschke Send submissions & questions: events@thecurrentplus.com Main Phone Number 770-810-5943

Our Mission: The CurrentHub aspires to communicate in a way that’s useful, engaging, enjoyable, and unique. We strive to reflect the full range of what the area has to offer, also advocating positions that strengthen unity and continuity. We desire to create and maintain a challenging, enjoyable and caring work environment that encourages creativity and innovation. Our rewards are informed, educated readers, very satisfied advertisers, happy employees and profitable growth. The CurrentHub is published monthly. Presort standard postage paid at Atlanta, GA. Postmaster send changes to Current Communications, 1014 Canton St., Roswell, GA 30075 Publisher has the privilege to reject any advertising. Advertiser is responsible for full content of advertisements provided and are responsible for any claims made therein. thecurrenthub.com

Currentchoices The Month in Preview FEBRUARY 2017


Roswell Roots Festival The City of Roswell will host its 16th Annual Roswell Roots Festival in February, in conjunction with Black History Month. This year, there will be 24 different events, ranging from music and art exhibitions to fashion and poetry. Roswell Roots has grown into one of the largest and most comprehensive celebrations of black history and culture in the Southeast and has been awarded the “Gold Award for Best Cultural Event” by the Southeast Festival and Events Association. Selected highlights of this year’s festival include: Roswell Roots Arts Festival February 11, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Roswell River Landing, FREE “Slammin’ in the Suburbs”— Roswell Poetry Slam February 21, 7:00 p.m., Roswell Historic Cottage, FREE Southern Sweets — 3rd Annual Pound Cake Cook-Off February 25, 1:00–3:00 p.m., East Roswell Recreation Center, FREE Negro League Sports Memorabilia February 25, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., Roswell Library, FREE For a full listing of Roswell Roots events, visit www.roswellroots.com.

Now through Feb 28





The Month in Preview FEBRUARY 2017



2nd Annual Roswell Mardi Gras Ball

Dance Showcase

February 25 It’s called Bourbon and Boas so how could it be anything but a great time. The Roswell Mardi Gras Ball is held on Feb. 25 at The Pavilion at Olde Town Athletic Club in East Cobb. Roswell… East Cobb… it’s all the same! Enjoy an evening filled with New Orleans flavor, buffet, open bar, and music for your dancing pleasure by The Ruby Red’s Band. Entertainment will include fabulous acrobatic performances from The Off Centered Project, and Shannon Stanley with Iterum Entertainment. You will want to bid on a live painting by Ann Bailey of Live Event Painting. Exclusive Live and Silent Online Auctions promise to be very exciting! The Roswell Woman’s Club has been selected as one of the beneficiaries of this event.  Proceeds will fund Educational Grants and Scholarships and continue their support of local nonprofits. For all the exciting details visit RoswellMardiGrasBall.com.

February 18 FootNotes Dance & Acrobatics performs its 6th Annual Dance Showcase featuring the award-winning Vibe Performance Company dancers. The Vibe’s Showcase features contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, musical theater, tap, and more styles of dance performed by 50 dancers, ranging in age from 7 to 18. Local girls perform dances by award-winning, nationally known choreographers. Since the start of the season, the dancers and instructors have invested over 10,000 hours of collective dance instruction and rehearsals to create the performance. Showcase is held Sat., Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at The Milton Center in Alpharetta. Tickets are available at vibeperformancecompany.com.


And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank

February 19 Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET), North Fulton’s only professional theatre company, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of producing the powerful Holocaust drama, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank. The drama premiered at Georgia Ensemble Theatre in 1997, and is based upon Eva Schloss’ book, Eva’s Story. Holocaust survivor and author Eva Schloss (pictured) has graciously agreed to travel from London, England to be the Theatre’s guest for this one-time only event as well as participate in a talk-back with the audience after the show. This performance is one night only, Sun., Feb. 19th at 6:30pm at GET’s home in the Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Tickets are available now online at www.get.org, or by calling the Box Office at 770-641-1260 ext 236.



February 25 & 26 LEGO lovers rejoice! The Brick Fest Live LEGO Fan Experience is filled with hands-on attractions and activities built to inspire, educate, and entertain. Enjoy an amazing LEGO world where you can marvel at giant creations and even build some of your own. The Brick Fest Live LEGO Fan Experience provides a venue for LEGO lovers of all sizes to celebrate, build new creations, and see some truly mind-blowing LEGO sculptures to help set the imagination free. Takes place at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Tickets are available at www.eventbrite.com. >> JAZZ UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

> > > > > > > > > > > >

Larry Wills Trio concert

February 17 Pianist Larry Willis’ early life in Harlem, with its frequent sightings of American legends, from Duke Ellington to Willie Mays to Leonard Bernstein, sounds like something novelist E.L. Doctorow might have cooked up. Yet even that story is no match for Willis’ remarkable if largely unheralded career: Four decades distinguished by an unusually colorful range of recordings, more than 300 in all, and an extraordinary array of collaborations with the likes of Jackie McLean, Cannonball Adderley, Hugh Masekela, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Herb Alpert, Blood Sweat and Tears, Carmen McRae, and the Fort Apache Band. Concert is at the premier jazz venue in the Atlanta area The Velvet Note in Alpharetta. For more info visit thevelvetnote.com. > > > > > > > > > > > > >>STILL ALIVE AND BELTING THEM OUT

Tony Bennett in concert

February 21 No one else in popular American music has recorded for so long and at such a high level of excellence as Tony Bennett. In the last ten years alone he has sold ten million records. The essence of his longevity and high artistic achievement was imbued in him in his loving childhood home in the Astoria section of Queens where he was born in 1926. Bennett is one of a handful of artists to have new albums charting in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and now in the first two decades of the 21st century. Bennett won two Grammys for Duets II in the 2012 Grammy ceremony and marked the 50th Anniversary of the recording and release of his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” You have the opportunity to see this living legend on Feb. 21 at Atlanta Symphony Hall. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.

Click on the Calendar at TheCurrentHub.com for more events!


Brick Fest Live LEGO Experience





Historically speaking, February is one of the least active months for entertainment. It’s strange, really. When you think of February, you often think about one of the most consumer driven holidays of the year—Valentine’s Day. Sure, the stores are busy in the few days leading up to Valentine’s, and the restaurants and theatres are packed on the night. But over the course of the year, many businesses have realized that the remainder of the month is quite empty. This realization has lead to a wonderful development in recent years. February is now the month of opportunity. In an effort to boost activity, many local businesses have come up with creative promotions and exciting events. February is now one of the best months of the year to find fun new things to do and to try! Valentine’s Day can be a minefield for singles and couples alike. It’s all too easy to drop excessive amounts of money on gifts and activities that generate very little pay off. Expectations are high, crowds are large and every nice restaurant in town is packed to the gills. What’s more, you don’t want to feel like you’re just going through the motions. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or anti-Valentine’s Day, it all feels a bit done to death, doesn’t it? You need a fresh new idea that shakes things up

and reminds your loved ones what the holiday is really about. And nothing says love like a visit to the cemetery, don’t you think? Love Stories of Oakland is a unique, inexpensive and memorable way to celebrate your Valentine. This hour-long tour makes 25 stops through one of Atlanta’s most beautiful and historic cemeteries as a historian recounts the greatest love stories you’ve never heard. It will also prepare you to dominate in local Atlanta trivia. Tickets are sure to go fast, so grab yours for Feb. 11 or Feb. 12 at www.oaklandcemetery.com. If you are anything like me, you will understand the constant struggle to appease two conflicting desires when it comes to going out. One the one hand, there is a strong desire to have a good time and embrace the fun in life. On the other hand, the logistics of going out, finding a good party, keeping up with your friends, and getting everyone safely home at the end of the night can be enough to keep you ensconced in your couch cocoon. Therefore, suburbanites will be happy to note that our logistical woes have been seriously reduced for one of the best parties of the year: Mardi Gras. This Fat Tuesday, Feb. 28, don your green, gold and purple for the Mardi Gras Pub Crawl at Avalon in Alpharetta. Avalon restaurants and retailers will be offering special New Orleans themed cocktails and other unique treats as


you hop easily from place to place and enjoy the grounds with friends. Let it all out at this year and make some memories! More details at www.experienceavalon.com. When people do crazy things, the logical part of our brain tells us to be grateful that we are not they. We are safe, we are normal and we are behaving responsibly. How dull, right? Another part of our brain, small but significant, has a very different reaction. That tiny voice says “Wow…. I wish I could do that.” Want to take a little walk on the wild side this month? Get your dose of adventure this Feb. 25 at the Polar Plunge 2017 in Acworth and contribute to a good cause while you’re at it. All daring plungers will collect pledges in exchange for the promise to dive into the icy waters of Acworth Beach. Proceeds from the plunge will benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Georgia. Not interested in taking a cold dip? There will be plenty of warm spaces to gather and cheer on the divers as well as enjoy other Polar Plunge activities. Prizes will be awarded for multiple categories such as Best Costume, Highest Individual Fundraiser, Highest Team Fundraiser, and more. To learn more about the event and register as a plunger, visit www.specialolympicsga.org. On Dec. 4, 1956, four of rock ’n roll’s most celebrated musicians came together for one historic night of music at Sun Records in Memphis. Decades later, a Tony award-winning musical was created to commemorate that night. Million Dollar Quartet features the legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins as well as some of their most beloved hits. Experiencing this show is like sitting in the studio on one of the most significant recording sessions in the history of rock ’n roll as these four share their stories, secrets, heartbreak, and love. This unique musical is being brought to life by the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, in co-production with the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, in Marietta this Feb.10-26. Grab your tickets while you can and learn more about the show at www.atlantalyrictheatre.com. On the off chance that nothing on this wonderful list strikes your fancy, there are plenty of other events and opportunities to be found. Be sure to check your community calendars for an updated account of what’s to come. And, of course, Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate and even to those who prefer not to celebrate! We could all use a little more love this year, right? ❍




what we tell our clients when it comes to their investments. 2b) If no, or you aren’t sure, seek Meaningful Conversations about Money help. That’s the wise thing to do. By Robert Fezza and Steve Siders The facts are in. No matter who sits in the Oval Office and no matter what It’s February now, and President events transpire, the markets are going Trump has officially been sworn into to move. Our job is to help our clients office. Executive orders have already weather the certainty of uncertainty been signed and Congress is moving and the potential volatility that may swiftly to make changes to current come as current events unfold, remindlaws. ing them that time in the market has So we understand that you may be asking: How can my portfolio be great proven to be a much more impactful investment discipline than timing the again? market. Whether you’re excited or angry, When the election results first came hopeful or nervous, or some in, the U.S. markets plummeted. Many combination thereof, we understand. investors went into panic mode as But the question is “should you do stock prices declined, taking it as an insomething”? In the simplest of terms, we suggest dication for the future. But then the market rebounded. It seems that stocks you do two things: are the one thing people tend to sell 1. Ask yourself the question—is my investment portfolio built to handle the when they’re on sale (at a loss), which is the quickest way to lose money! uncertainty that lies ahead? Investors who held out during this brief 2a) If yes, stay the course. That’s

My investment portfolio is built to handle the uncertainty that lies ahead.



Stay the course

Seek help

blip were rewarded when the domestic stock markets rallied before the end of 2016. Diversification is an investing discipline that essentially keeps all your “eggs” in multiple baskets. The benefits include protecting your portfolio against declines, including full-sector crashes like the recession of 2008. Although diversification alone may not result in gains or protect against loss, it has stood the test of time as a wise approach to reaching long-term investment goals versus searching for a sequence of “hot stocks” or trendy investments.

Regardless of your political beliefs, and regardless of what happens tomorrow, next month, or three years from now, we believe the best way to keep moving forward is to stay the course: focus on your long-term goals, remain well-diversified, and commit to being a disciplined investor. Don’t be distracted by short-term pain or short-term gains. Your reward could be quite handsome! Life’s a journey—navigate it wisely! Robert Fezza, CFP® and Steve Siders, CFP® own Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors, 500 Sun Valley Drive, Suite A-6, Roswell, GA. Their firm specializes in working with people who are serious about making progress towards their financial goals. Odyssey manages portfolios greater than $250,000. 770-992-4444, www.odysseypfa.com. Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.

Turning those Resolutions into Healthy Habits


he New Year is a time to say farewell to the old and welcome the new. It’s a time we often reflect on habits or patterns in our lives that we could let go of or incorporate. But how do we give ourselves the best chance of turning our resolution into a habit, something we do regularly, almost without thinking about it?

A practical approach…

How long …? You may have heard that it takes 21 days of doing something repetitively to make a habit stick… if only this were true! It seems that this magic figure originally came from a book written by Dr Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon turned psychologist, who observed that “following plastic surgery it takes about 21 days for the average patient to get used to his new face.” Like many pieces

Reward yourself

Once your intentions have become habits and you are seeing results, reward yourself! Perhaps you’ve reached your weight goal, you’re eating Take it one day at a time healthier, or you’ve made exerIn a study  conducted by cise a regular part of your day. University College, London in So plan a ski trip, have a spa 2010, it was found that it took, day, enter your first marathon, on average, more like 66 days or have a lunch date at Kale me for a habit to form. Note the Crazy. Love yourself and Love words ‘on average’ here—for your Healthy Habits. one participant of the study it At Kale me Crazy, we believe took much, much, longer than in Real food, and in giving you this. In short, it’s probably best a healthy option to break from not to put too much emphasis traditional fast food habits. on numbers—we’re all Order on-line or through the different and, depending on Kale me Crazy App (available our circumstances or the habit in Apple or Android, just text we are trying to form, the time KALEMECRAZY to 33733 to taken to form a habit will differ download), or visit us at 1570 small. Begin with ten minutes for every individual. The best HABIT-BUILDING Holcomb Bridge Rd, Suite 901 a day for the first week advice is to take it one day at a in the Connexion Plaza next to ISN’T AN ALL OR and  slowly  build that time up.* time: every journey starts with Starbucks. If you set yourself too huge a a single step. NOTHING TASK— Good luck! We wish you a in the first place, sooner or IT’S AN ONGOING goal Stay encouraged happy, healthy and kind New later you’re likely to trip up and PROCESS. Year!  ❍ become so disillusioned that The researchers also find you give up altogether (back to that “missing one opportunity Changing behavior so that it that success or failure thing to perform the behavior did becomes part of your daily life again!) not materially affect the habit isn’t supposed to be easy: if *Even if you don’t increase formation process.” In other that were the case over a third the time you spend on your words, try not to beat yourself of those who signed up for a new habit, remember that up if you ‘fall off the wagon’— gym membership would still doing  something  is better than habit-building isn’t an all or be going after the end of doing nothing at all! nothing task—it’s an ongoing January, rather than cancelling process. their membership! So if you Don’t lose sight slip up, all is not lost! Perhaps It’s easy to get lost in the KALE ME CRAZY it’s more  helpful to think:  con- trees, but don’t forget about Call sistency rather than the wood! Remember  why  it is 678-878-3188 perfection.  you’re making this change and e-mail remind yourself regularly what Start small roswell@kalemecrazy.net the benefits are. Reading While there’s nothing wrong books, articles or inspirational visit 570 Holcomb Bridge in with dreaming big, when it blogs on the subject, writing Connexion Plaza comes making a habit it’s more your own reminders down or helpful to break it down into download app even creating a mantra based manageable, achievable parts. on the theme of your overall text KALEMECRAZY to 33733 Say, for example you decided intention to motivate yourself you wanted practice yoga or go can all help to keep you order online for a walk every day, start kalemecrazy.net focused on the bigger picture.


Personally, I’m not a fan of resolutions (and just not because I’ve made and broken so many!) simply because the very word implies one of two outcomes—success or failure. And whatever your resolution (whether it’s a healthy diet, exercise plan, giving up smoking, practising yoga every day...) if we slip up once, it’s very common just to label that as ‘failure’ and give up altogether. Instead, why not think of these changes as  intentions, something to work toward with kindness, compassion, and acknowledgement that we’re human and may sometimes trip and fall but that if we keep trying then we won’t ‘fail’.

of information around on the internet, this observation has, over the years, snowballed into an often repeated ‘fact’... unfortunately though, it’s far from it.





Roswell Big Creek Parkway Project Map addition to helping alleviate local traffic congestion and providing better One of the most important aspects of connectivity between the eastern and life for most of us in the north metro western portions of the city, the new area is traffic. In Roswell, Holcomb road would include a sidewalk and Bridge Road is a major point of bicycle path to make walking and concern for residents on either side of biking more convenient. GA-400. Roswell only has one exit off Big Creek is the largest project, but of GA-400, so the area is overcrowded the TSPLOST funds will also go to with traffic using the highway and numerous other projects in Roswell, inlocals who just want to cross. Some cluding various safety and maintenance even jokingly refer to this as Roswell’s improvements, as well as intersection version of the Berlin Wall that and corridor improvements. separates east from west. Roswell is not the only beneficiary of The proposed Big Creek Parkway is these funds. In total, $560 will be used complicated and costly. And by costly I for transportation improvements mean $58.5 million. In the last election throughout Fulton County, excluding voters approved (53.75% to 46.25%) Atlanta. Alpharetta will receive $62.7 for the five years TSPLOST is in place. the Transportation Special Purpose They plan on congestion relief in places Local Option sales tax (TSPLOST), like Haynes Bridge Road and which provides $93 million to the City Windward Parkway. In Johns Creek of Roswell for various transportation the project list is at 2 dozen+, ranging projects. In January the Roswell City Council gave the go ahead to begin var- from road widening to sidewalk additions. ious projects, the biggest of which is All of the projects will have a major the Big Creek Parkway. impact on our driving habits and that Big Creek Parkway would be a new even means you East Cobbers who roadway from Old Alabama Road at commute up 400 and cut across Holcomb Woods Parkway on the east side of GA-400 to Warsaw Road on the Roswell to get home every night. west side of GA-400. It would include Ultimately better traffic flow, especially near our neighborhoods, leads to a bridge over GA-400, a bridge over higher home values and perhaps more Big Creek, and improvements to Old sane lives not spent in traffic. Holcomb Bridge Road. The goal of the Kirsten Ricci is a Roswell resident and a Big Creek Parkway project is to provide Berkshire Hathaway Agent who specializes an alternative to the Holcomb Bridge in residential real estate in the north metro Road interchange for travelers going Atlanta area. She can be reached at 678-472-3832, kirsten@roswellrealty.net. from east Roswell to west Roswell. In


A Bridge To Unite Roswell


By Kirsten Ricci





Like so many others in the corporate world, Malika Bowling was laid off from her job during the economic downturn of 2008. Bowling chose to see this turn of events as an opportunity to combine her skills with her passions and create something new and prosperous. She is now the proud author of the newly released book Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! Though she was raised on fairly basic diet of standard American fare such as Hamburger Helper, chili and pasta, Bowling developed a taste for fine cuisine in her adolescence and invested much of her time and money exploring the more inventive side of food. When dating the man who would later become her husband, Bowling would often take photos of the food they ordered and began to write about it. Bowling’s favorite doughnut spots are featured on her blog. After realizing that the corporate world held no appeal anymore, Bowling decided to leverage her marketing skills to create a blog for foodies like her. “I knew social media was going to be big,” Bowling said. “I wanted to ‘Hire Me’ option and I’ve gotten business from that along the way.” learn more about it and start a blog to see if I could turn it into a business. Bowling’s blog, Roamilicious.com, has blossomed into a stunning success Instead of marketing myself as a marketing expert, I thought I’d try food that has gotten her recognition from USA Today, Huffington Post, AJC, blogging and use that as a showcase for my writing skills. I later added a HGTV and the Association of Food Bloggers.



INJURY, FITNESS AND MASSAGE: Enhanced Performance for the Work-Out Warrior

aintaining a healthy balance in your fitness routine, and also in the physical activity that comes with the chaos of everyday life isn’t always an easy feat. Anything from a casual morning run or workout to weekend yard work or playing with the kids can cause the ever-annoying strain of muscle soreness. Specialists say soreness is typically caused from microscopic tears within muscle tissues, which is what happens when we exercise—there’s no avoiding it. And the pain is the body’s way of alerting us that it’s in the process of repairing itself (hint: take it easy for a few days!). While a little muscle tenderness doesn’t pose a huge threat (assuming it isn’t a broken bone or a torn ligament), the condition might have you limping around post-activity and delay movement. And really, with all the hustle that’s required as a workout warrior, who has time for that?

How Massage Can Help Maintaining proper range of motion within the muscles is key in maintaining optimal athletic and fitness performance, and not to mention in managing related pain. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy acts to do just that, and can help to prevent or shorten recovery time from injury—another key element in maintaining athletic activity. How? Therapeutic massage literally invokes both a mechanical muscular response (range of motion) and a reflex response in which the nerves respond to as a result of the pressure and movement experienced during a massage session. And, the therapy can be directly tailored to be used specifically for the exerciser or athlete (we call it sports massage therapy). Typically these sessions focus more on approaching the deep tissue,

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differentiating factors from the softer, gentler, relaxation-minded modalities. By minding attention to the soft tissue aches and pains, and applying heavier pressure on the muscles, it’s meant to get into the knots and tension that may be bringing your ‘A game’ down. At LaVida Massage, we have trained and licensed therapists that can address your needs and customize a sports therapy session that’s right for you. The benefits really are plentiful to anyone who participates in a regular exercise program! LaVida Massage has several convenient locations to choose from: LaVida Massage Alpharetta 12460 Crabapple Rd Alpharetta GA 30004 770.740.0654

East Cobb 4880 Lower Roswell Rd Marietta GA 30068 770.973.6385

Johns Creek 10945 State Bridge Rd, Johns Creek, GA30022 678.624.9091

Malika Bowling used her marketing skills and foodie passions to start her own business instead of returning to the corporate world.


Five years ago, Bowling was approached about writing a food lover’s guide to Atlanta. The restaurant scene has exploded in that time and she was often asked when she would release a follow up guide. This seemed to be the perfect time and Bowling was eager to show off some of the unknown gems inside the perimeter. “Atlanta has become such a hub for fantastic restaurants,” Bowling said. “It’s the showcase of the South. It makes me proud to live here and happy to see how many chefs want to come here and be a part of it. People who aren’t from the South sometimes have a limited view of Southern food and they are often surprised by how impressive it is. Atlanta diners can be a bit fickle, though, with all of the competition. Everyone likes the new, A section of Bowling’s book called exciting thing and sometimes forget about the “Worth the Drive” pays homage to restaurants that built the neighborhoods. But restaurants outside the perimeter. there is so much to choose from!” Though Bowling focuses mainly on ITP establishments in her book, she is no stranger to the fine restaurants, cafés and breweries that have popped up all across the northern suburbs. A resident of Marietta, she includes a section in her book entitled “Worth the Drive” that pays homage to those areas. Bowling has now expanded her blog to include lifestyle articles on health, wellness, and travel, as well as food. To read more about Malika Bowling and peruse her restaurant reviews and other contributions, visit www.roamilicious.com. You can purchase Culinary Atlanta on Amazon.com.❍



tivals lacked. For one thing, the audiences typically comprised of other filmmakers. Sherwood wanted to bring the films that were chosen for screening to a real cinema audience. To achieve this goal, he partnered with the Aurora Cineplex, an independently owned and run local movie theatre. “The point of making films is for others to see it,” Sherwood insisted. “I wanted to do it in a real movie theatre. It also makes the filmmakers feel more validated. My festival is different because we watch every film and provide feedback. No one else does that. How are they supposed to improve if they don’t know what they did wrong? “ Films must score a 70 or above to pass and participate in the screening on the day of the festival. Filmmakers whose films are screened also Stephanie Stevens presenting award to Byron Conrad participate in an audience Q&A at the Erwin at the Fall 2016 Southern Shorts Awards in Roswell. end of their screening. Audience members need only pay a The creator and director of this festi$10 entry fee for a full day of movie val, Stephen Sherwood, admitted that magic. his inspiration for the SSA was born of “If you’re looking for something frustration from seeing what other fesreally different and inexpensive, a


For those who may not know, Roswell is home to one of the Top 100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals as declared by FilmFreeway. What does that mean? It means that every three months, the Southern Shorts Awards offers filmmakers and film lovers alike the chance to be part of a film fest unlike any other in the world. Filmmakers across the globe are invited to enter their films for full evaluation and critique as well as the chance to be part of an Oscar style viewing and awards ceremony. Unlike most other film festivals, this festival provides feedback on each and every film that was submitted. Three judges watch, score and review every film and provide the feedback directly to the filmmakers.

chance to see films from all over the world and enjoy a day at the theatre, this is a chance to immerse yourself in something different,” Sherwood said. “It’s a fun Saturday for the family that gives you plenty to discuss afterwards.” The SSAs have already celebrated two festivals and are eagerly preparing for a third in April. The festival has garnered local and international attention and receives entries from all over the world. Audiences are gifted with the chance to see non-Hollywood films that can’t be seen anywhere else. “It’s about supporting the arts,” Sherwood said. “To walk in and get an award and be recognized for it… it’s a lifetime memory. That means a lot to people. We are giving credit where credit is due, and they earn it. Hopefully they take our scores and feedback and use it to improve. Improvement requires assessment and that’s something we offer, where most don’t. It’s a very special thing.” To learn more about the Southern Shorts Awards, submit a film or take a look at previous festivals, visit www.southernshortsawards.com. ❍




heartbeat, apparently makes sweating more palatable—and perhaps even more fun. Backed by the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), OTF’s heart rate monitored training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increase energy. Members experience the “afterburn” and typically burn 500-1000 calories during each 60minute class and continue burning calories at an accelerated rate for up to 36 hours after class. Personal testimonies and success stories are well documented on social media. This workout continues to grow in popularity has a proven track record with more than 30 studios in Georgia and offers a free introductory workout to local residents. To experience Orange Theory for yourself visit launched her first OTF studio in 2009 in Florida, the their locations in Roswell on W. Crossville Rd, or the classes have spread like wildfire across the world, SuwaneeOrangetheory Fitness classes are high-intensity in- and now boast 570 studios in 44 U.S. states and 13 Brookwood location terval training workouts that clients are calling countries. on Peachtree ‘addictive’ and ‘life-changing.’ Classes are designed to At Orangetheory, you’ll get the energy of a group Parkway. meet the needs of all members regardless of their workout with the attention of a certified, experienced current fitness level. personal coach. Our coaches are knowledgeable, Roswell Suwanee-Brookwood The results-driven workout is what everybody encouraging, and are committed to helping members 625 W Crossville Rd 2615 Peachtree Pkwy from The Today Show to Shape magazine and Men’s meet their personal fitness goals. The use of heart#108 #230 Journal is calling the best one-hour workout in the rate monitoring technology seems to be the winning Roswell, GA 30075 Suwanee, GA 30024 770-625-6122 770-688-0622 country. Ever since fitness expert Ellen Latham hook. Tracking every move, every calorie, every

eally want to change your body and your fitness level? Prepare to become obsessed with the latest high-intensity interval-training obsession, Orangetheory Fitness (OTF). Your fitness journey has always been measured neatly with “before” and “after” photos, but Orangetheory looks at fitness differently. We believe you are in a constant state of improvement. You never stop burning for improvement and your fitness journey never ends, regardless of your current fitness level.




VEIN DISEASE: Not just a cosmetic concern determine whether or not the symptoms described are a result of vein In its natural disease. Before any procedures are perhistory the formed, this ultrasound is necessary to presence of one, design an individualized treatment two, or more skin plan. After reading the ultrasound surfaces of report, a VeinInnovations specialist exdiscoloration may plains the recommended procedures presage coming for their specific vein pathology and problems. Surface or spider veins are usually connected to quite frequently there are different prescribed treatments to accommodate a network of larger veins that are the patient’s needs. deeper in the skin. These anatomical If no disease is found on the differences signify a specific ultrasound report, the patient may symptomatology and can cause: have some cosmetic concerns that are • Itching now determined as surface, spider • Burning veins, which can be treated with • Lower leg and ankle swelling sclerotherapy. This treatment option • Discoloration uses a micro-needle to inject a special • Leg fatigue fluid into the affected vein. The fluid • Cramping causes the vein walls to become non• Restless legs Why does this happen? There are a functional and, in most cases, myriad of associated causes of varicose disappear. If the ultrasound does determine the veins to become symptomatic but usupatient has vein reflux, the first step ally the system of valves within the larger veins are the culprit by allowing may involve some compression blood to flow in the wrong direction or therapy. Vein ligation and stripping under general anesthesia at one time backwards. We call this vein reflux. Imagine that stagnant pooled blood in was considered the treatment of choice, but is now recognized only in distended veins creates the above historical terms. symptoms. Today, the improvement in technolMany factors contribute to developogy allows for outpatient surgery under ing vein reflux: local anesthesia and the use of a • Multiple pregnancies catheter to actually close the vein using • Family history in paternal or heat. The current procedures maternal side (sometimes both) performed at VeinInnovations include: • Gender • Obesity • Aging • Closurefast — Radio-frequency abla• Occupational causes (prolonged tion (catheter-based treatment) standing/sitting) • Trauma • EVLA — endovenous laser ablation • Genetic clotting disorder (catheter-based treatment) • History of DVT • Varithena — injectable foam • Heavy lifting and/or aggressive • Ambulatory Phlebectomy — removal exercise of varicose veins post closure If you have any of the symptoms procedure (if needed) listed or one or more factors in your Vein disease is progressive and life that could contribute to the requires treatment. The best way to dedevelopment of vein disease, consider a termine if you have cosmetic issues complete history and physical exam by with unsightly spider veins or if those a medical doctor trained in the field of surface veins may be a symptom of vein pathologies. The first part of the more advanced disease, please call for a treatment process is an extensive ultra- free screening at one of our four vein fasound of the vein anatomy to cilities: 678.731.9815 ❍ PAID PROMOTION By Dr. Frank Ferrier

health&wellness presented by

THE SCHOOL OF SECOND CHANCES Dietitian helps cardiac patients study healthy eating


oLynn Montamat has never met a stranger. The friendly East Cobb mom of three has developed a solid network of friends since she and her husband moved to the area in 2005. Her home life is filled with tennis matches and mass at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. She’s looking forward to her daughter’s wedding, her youngest son’s high school graduation and becoming a grandmother this year. She uses her skill and experience to give cardiac patients perspective on making the most of their second chances at life. JoLynn can appreciate the value of a second chance. Mike Montamat, her husband of 28 years, never got one. He was a pilot who appeared to be in good health, but he died following sudden cardiac arrest in 2015. “Mike and I were best friends,” JoLynn said. “Two peas in a pod.” Thanks to her family, her tennis “family” and other close friends, she’s been able to cope. “I was very fortunate because I have a handful of single ladies that I connected with and we’ve become a good network for each other,” she said. “Finding a support system is so important. We’ve seen shows at the Fox and gone to festivals. Marietta Square concerts in the summer, the Farmer’s Market, Fourth of July.” But nothing can replace her husband. JoLynn offers patients a perspective on the importance of taking care of themselves. With a healthy serving of nutritional information. Recently, she taught patients how to make “Heart Healthy Nachos” at a cooking demo in WellStar Kennestone Hospital’s new state-of-the-art cardiac demo kitchen. At cardiac rehab, JoLynn meets with patients one-on-one and shares mouthwatering cookbook recipes that are in line with the American Heart Association and the Diabetic Exchange List. “I make myself available on the cardiac rehab floor while patients are working out,” she said. “And, I have an open door policy. Just the other day, two women popped their heads in the door to say how much

weight they’ve lost!” Perhaps one of her student’s favorite things to do with JoLynn is the field trips. Where to? The grocery store. “Trying to change a diet is hard work,” she explained. “Patients can spend hours in the grocery store. It’s all about label reading. Sodium. Saturated Fat. Carbohydrates if you’re diabetic. One of my patients was comparing sauces. One had the “heart healthy” check on the label. The other had less sodium on the nutrition label. We looked together and found that the “heart healthy” sauce was slightly higher in sodium. But it had more fiber and protein. It was a more nutritious product overall.” The field trips are also JoLynn’s favorite thing to do with patients, who lead the grocery trip based on their own likes and dislikes. “We were looking at bacon,” she remembered. “A label on one of the packages said ‘Reduced Fat, JoLynn Montamat, a WellStar cardiac nutritionist, learned the value of a Reduced Sodium!’ The marketing was very second chance from personal experience. Here, she’s pictured with her late misleading. The fat and sodium were reduced husband, Mike, and their three children—Nick, Lisa, and Joey—at one of compared to that company’s previous product, not the their last vacations together as a family. other products in the same category. That was a big aha moment for those patients.” Family members are also invited. Strong Hearts at WellStar Health System “It’s a buddy system,” she said. “They try new things together and learn a new lifestyle together. They have WellStar Health System builds strong hearts. Physicians and care family, kids, future weddings, future grandbabies to teams work with patients to stop heart disease before it starts by lower- look forward to. They’ve been given a second chance.” Meeting with a registered dietitian is one ing risk factors. The right food and exercise help manage body weight, component of cardiac rehab. Patients are referred to high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions that lead to heart cardiac rehab after a major event, such as having a bydisease. Affordable “Know Your Heart” screenings can find dangerous pass or stents following a heart attack; having valve repair or valve replacement; and managing congestive blockages before a heart attack strikes. heart failure. Cardiac Rehab also includes medically When patients need help the most, WellStar offers cutting-edge, supervised exercise with an exercise physiologist or minimally-invasive procedures as well as open heart surgery. Medically nurse as well as educational sessions that give patients supervised cardiac rehabilitation with cardiologists on-site, exercise confidence to get help before it’s too late. WellStar has Cardiac Rehabilitation locations spanphysiologists and nutritionists working together support patients ning the Atlanta metro including one at WellStar East rebuilding their hearts and rebuilding their lives. Cobb Health Park. For more information, call For strong hearts: 770-956-STAR (7827) www.wellstar.org 470-956-0180 or visit www.wellstar.org. ❍



CALENDAR OF EVENTS East Cobb Health Park, 3747 Roswell Road NE, Marietta Community & Education Room *Free parking Free breastfeeding support Mondays: Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27, 9:30 – 1 a.m. Free Mommy & Me group for mothers who breastfeed; lactation consultant is available to facilitate supportive discussions over a variety of topics. No registration required; mothers are welcome to come and go at any time during the session. Call 770-793-8088 for more info. BLS for healthcare providers Saturday, Feb. 11, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. This one-day Basic Life Support course for medical personnel offers two-year CPR certification, training in automated external defibrillator (AED) and choking relief. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to register; cost is $60. Breastfeeding Basics Saturday, Feb. 11, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Taught by certified lactation consultants, this one-day introductory class helps you make an informed decision about breastfeeding. It covers the breastfeeding skills and techniques to ensure a successful breastfeeding experience for mother and baby. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to register; cost is $35. Understanding Birth Friday, Feb. 17, 6 – 9 p.m. & Saturday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Expecting mothers and their partners take a two-day journey through childbirth including labor and delivery, breathing and relaxation, hospital procedures and Cesarean birth. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to register; cost is $55. Diabetes Education Wednesday, Feb. 22, 1:30 p.m. Recognized by the American Diabetes Association, this program includes a range of topics to assist adults living with diabetes. The WellStar Diabetes Education Center is staffed with nationally certified diabetes educators and a licensed social worker. Physician order is required; Class is often covered by insurance and financial assistance is available. Call 770-793-7821 to register. The Circle of Health: Heart & Lungs 101 Tuesday, Feb. 28, 6–8 p.m. Kicking off WellStar’s Speaking about Wellness for Health Aging series for 2017. The heart and lungs are connected. Over a healthy dinner and dessert, learn how reducing the risk of disease in one organ has a positive effect on the others. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to register; cost is $10.

February. The month of love. The month people finally start remembering to write 2017 instead of 2016 on their checks. And best yet, it’s the month people start seeing weight loss from those New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier or exercise (or both!) And while resolutions to lose weight can often lead to new, hearthealthy habits, getting a good pulse on one’s heart health can be even more beneficial. Unfortunately, heart disease— already the number one killer of men and women in the U.S.—is becoming even more prevalent. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released new figures showing a decrease in life expectancy for the first time since the early ’90s. Experts credit this country’s growing problem with heart disease for these staggering statistics.

Dr. Mindy Gentry and her husband, Chris, are training their three girls to be fit for life by running 5Ks as a family. Allison, the oldest, and Sarah are good examples of healthy eaters for their 4-year-old sister, Ella.

Heart screening saves lives Training young hearts The WellStar Cardiac Network is findDr. Mindy Gentry, a cardiologist at WellStar ing ways to fight heart disease and Cardiovascular Medicine in East Cobb, works with provide people with the support they patients to make hearts healthier every day. Though need to be successful. she admits it can be difficult to be stick to a healthy “One of our most successful programs assesses the health of the heart and vascu- diet and exercise, she and her husband are training their kids so that health is second nature to them. lar system to catch problems as early as possible,” said Mindy Gentry, M.D., a car“My mom didn’t exercise and I didn’t start diologist at WellStar East Cobb Health running until I was in my 30s,” she said. But her Park. “It has saved patient’s lives.” good example as an adult is helping her three The program Dr. Gentry is referring to daughters get an early start. “They play basketball, is called “Know Your Heart.” It’s a heart soccer. My 9-year-old does triathlons.” screening and complimentary wellness One of Dr. Gentry’s time management tricks with consult to help patients lower their risk juggling family, work and exercise? for heart attack and heart disease. “I make exercise more like a family event so it’s The screening uses a combination of basic labs and a cardiac CT scans to iden- fun and everybody enjoys it,” she said. “The older girls and I will run 5ks together.” As to eating her tify heart disease before someone shows vegetables, it’s a journey for the youngest Gentry, any signs or symptoms. The labs look at who much prefers candy. (She’s four.) But Dr. Gentry things like inflammation and sodium says talking about healthy choices will help her get which can be indicators of heart disease. there, just like it has for her other two daughters, The cardiac CT calculates a calcium score. This low radiation scan looks at the who eat healthier than their mom did when she was their age. calcium buildup in the walls of coronary arteries supplying the heart. Calcium may be an early sign of coronary heart disease, and if performed early enough, a CT can help identify disease before permanent damage is done. Within a week, patients receive a follow up phone call from a clinical team member with the results and cardiologist’s recommendations. For some patients, a visit with a cardiologist may be recommended. For many others, a free consult with a cardiac wellness coach can show them how lifestyle changes could improve their heart health. Continues on p20








STATEWIDE PHYSICIAN HERO AWARD WellStar Health System chief pediatric officer Avril Beckford, M.D., wins award

WellStar Health System Chief Pediatric Officer Avril Beckford, M.D., was awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Physician Hero Award at the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) Annual Meeting on Nov. 11. Dr. Beckford, who was one of only 10 individuals statewide to receive the award, was recognized for the transformative work she has done for pediatric care. Dr. Beckford has practiced pediatric care for nearly 30 years. She joined WellStar in 1995 and founded the Pediatric and Adolescent Center of Cobb that same year. In 2014, she was instrumental in the opening of the WellStar Pediatric Center in Kennesaw. Under her leadership, pediatric services at WellStar have grown greatly over the years and include 16 primary care offices, neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in two hospitals, pediatric outpatient surgery and pediatric emergency departments. Patients across five county service areas have access to high-quality, pediatric-specific care thanks to Dr. Beckford. Not only has she helped expand pediatric locations, but she also ensures all pediatric services have competent and specially trained pediatricians as well

as proper equipment designed for children. Dr. Beckford treats pediatric patients, but she also recognizes that their parents need care and attention as well. Through trusting and friendly relationships with parents, Dr. Beckford shares advice and can offer any support that may be needed during times of distress. Additionally, co-workers and colleagues often note the special way Dr. Beckford treats patients and parents, whether she is delivering happy or difficult news. Dr. Beckford also dedicates countless hours to the community. She is a past president of the Georgia Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics and has served on many other volunteer Boards, including Camp Kudzu (a camp for children with juvenile diabetes) and chair of the Cobb Area Pediatric Society. “Dr. Beckford is extremely committed to providing children with the specialized care they need,” said GHA President Earl Rogers. “Her efforts in expanding these services so they are accessible to more members of the community are remarkable. She is most deserving of this award.” ❍

Resolutions, continued from p. 19 The “Know Your Heart” screening is available to patients regardless of age and is especially good for people with high risk factors for heart disease, such as those with diabetes, hypertension and Mindy Gentry, M.D. obesity. Dr. Gentry said heart screenings are good for anyone 40 and older or younger if there’s a strong family history of premature heart disease in close relatives, like moms, dads, brothers and sisters.

tors with weigh-ins, food log reviews and encouragement at appointments every two weeks. But weight is just one measure of success. “It’s important to remember how each small modification has had an impact,” Vervloesem said. “I have patients go from eating most of their meals out to cooking most of their meals at home. I have patients who never exercised and now they consistently walk on lunch or walk as their kids participate in sports. I have patients who have quit smoking. I have patients who can get up and down off their floor to play with their child, something that they could not do before.” So, patients who have resolved to strengthen their hearts may just find a lifeWomen dying earlier than men time of other benefits they can enjoy too. A “Everybody— women included—needs healthier life full of quality experiences to be aware of their risk factors and sympmay be a very good reason to make a resotoms,” Dr. Gentry said. “Women below the lution for a strong heart in 2017, even if age of 50 are twice as likely to die after a New Year’s Day is already a thing of the heart attack as men of the same age.” past. Why are younger women dying more “It is very rewarding seeing people make often? Dr. Gentry said there could be even one step in the right direction to a several factors at play, including physiologhealthier life,” Vervloesem said. ical differences. But she’s also noticed a To participate in the “Know Your Heart” social trend that doesn’t help. In many program at WellStar Cardiovascular cases, wives push their husbands to see a Medicine in Acworth, Austell, East Cobb, doctor. But they neglect their own health Marietta and Woodstock, call because they’re focused on others. 770-956-STAR (7827). ❍ They also ignore warning signs. “People blow off their symptoms,” she said. “People will honestly come in and be Cardiac wellness coaching embarrassed about having pain. Please don’t be embarrassed if it turns out you’re Cardiac wellness coaching can help patients lower not having a heart problem! Communicate, and go to your doctor.” lifestyle-related risk factors for heart disease by setSome tell-tale symptoms are chest pain ting goals for weight loss, exercise and smoking and chest pressure. It can also feel like dull or sharp pain the arm, neck or jaw. It’s dif- cessation. But many patients discover a renewed ferent from person to person. But it almost love of life, in addition to lowering their risk for heart always gets worse with activity. disease.

Wellness consults Once heart disease is identified, patients may benefit from a free wellness consult. A complimentary wellness consult is also available to anyone who is interested in lowering their risk factors for heart disease through lifestyle changes, even if they did not participate in the screening program. “Our primary focus is on setting goals for weight loss, exercise, healthy eating, diabetes prevention, stress management, and smoking cessation,” said Bethany Vervloesem, a WellStar exercise physiologist. Continued wellness coaching is also offered, helping to modify cardiac risk fac-

“I have a patient who has lost 40 pounds,” said Bethany Vervloesem, a wellness coach at WellStar at East Cobb Health Park. “He now participates in cooking the meals at home, when at his first consult he didn’t even use the microwave. He never thought he’d play golf again. He rewarded himself after his weight loss with a set of golf clubs and has played a complete set of 18 holes.” The first consult with a wellness coach is free. To schedule a wellness consult at WellStar cardiovascular medicine locations in East Cobb, Austell, Marietta and Acworth, call 470-956-9524.


So ten years ago I decide to finally have a child at the age of 40. And by have a child I mean watch my wife endure 12 hours of excruciating pain while I “coached.” Nonetheless, we have an incredible son, now 10, and the gap in our ages is rather amazing. There are two sides to every gap. My generation the biggest fear is how to pay off grad school loans. The get rich parents put me into this world when scheme for his generation is to be a You they were 22 years old, which is about normal for that generation. But having Tube star. For my generation it’s a 40-year gap is a pretty big hole to fill flipping a house. A big entertainment sometimes. In my son’s world he refers expense of the iGen crowd? Plopping to the teens as the “old times.” Meaning down $27 on Minecraft. A big expense for GenX? Blowing $600 on VIP anything before the year 2000 is Music Midtown tickets. ancient history to him. Transportation is also big. What’s the Of course we have catchy names for generations now. My son’s generation is cool mode of tranportation for the iGen crowd? It’s Mom’s Prius and for mine it referred to as the iGen (born after 2000) and mine is GenX (1965-1980). is a handmade bicycle imported from Europe. The trusted news There are the source? For the younger set Millennials (1980“…the gap in our it is You Tube and for us 2000), the Baby ages is both amazing X’ers it’s Comedy Central. Boomers (1946-1964) and let’s not forget the and rather depressing Of course there are contributions to society we Greatest Generation at times.” must not forget. The signif(pre WWII). icant contribution of kids The first time I today is being common noticed this wide gap core guinea pigs—for mine it’s the craft was when we were watching a movie wherein a character answered a phone beer explosion or perhaps artisanal pickles, not sure on that one. that featured a cord. He looks at me Of course I could go on and on. and says: “What is that thing she’s talkThere have always been these ing into?” generation gaps but they are much At first I didn’t understand until larger today simply because we’re realizing he had never seen a phone with a cord, much less a phone that was having kids much later in life. However, mounted on a wall. This was the first of I’ve learned to not get caught up in feeling antiquated. I truly appreciate seeing many conversations we’ve had the world through the eyes of a tenregarding the “old times.” year-old. It keeps me young and who Of course it doesn’t stop there. We have hundreds of gap items between us. knows, perhaps we can become father and son You Tube stars because as you For instance a deep fear of his know this print thing has been dead for generation is the dreaded low battery 40 years. ❍ light on most any device used. For my

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LIFE… 50+ (




My Valentine and I have been married 18 years now (can it be?) and of course we’ve had our share of Valentine’s dinners and lunches, mostly in town, but sometimes in a travel destination. But I’ve realized over the last few years: Valentine’s Day is every day year ’round. It’s the little things. Believe it or not, just looking at the tennis ball my husband hung in the garage for me for successfully parking my car inspired this column. Such a crazy little thing, but, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Valentine’s Day is the usual fun dress-up experience for us women, with the obligatory pre-holiday try-on and endless discussion with our

girlfriends about dresses, hosiery, and shoes, red sweaters, leggings, and boots. We see our Spanx as essential weaponry after residual holiday and Super Bowl calories. The process of choosing Valentine’s Day attire is as important to women as the location for dinner. I admit, too, that I’m a sucker for roses and chocolates, as you know, so I’m thrilled when my hubby walks through the door with both. Valentine’s doesn’t have to be complicated for me. We visit a favorite Roswell restaurant for lunch or dinner, I fluff the roses and dive into the chocolate as soon as the bow comes off. (Always eat dessert before the meal. You wouldn’t want to skip it due to a full belly.) And I mean morning, noon or night. If the box is lucky, its contents will see the light of the next day. But, as I pondered this column, turning a Valentine’s theme over and over in my head, I realized something about how Valentine’s Day can be an attitude, a perspective, a description of a dynamic between a couple that goes on all year. It’s truly symbolized by a hanging tennis ball.



see various paint colors, carpet, cabinetry, hardware and countertops on display. Once all of these preliminary decisions are made, Susan lines up the appropriate contractors and community? By planning in creates a timeline that keeps the move on track. advance, you can eliminate many of the Every detail is planned for completion in advance of the actual moving day. hassles of moving and ensure a When the date is scheduled, Susan assists in successful experience. setting up and managing the moving process, if the One important aspect of planning such a move is client desires. Afterward, she gives the new residents figuring out how to downsize from your current a punch-list on which they can list items that need home to a smaller one. At St. George Village, we tweaking, such as furniture placement and hanging assist our new residents with expert downsizing and of pictures and mirrors, and ensures that the tasks move-planning assistance from our Design and are completed. Move Services Coordinator, Susan Bythrow. Susan “Our residents tell us how valuable the planning begins the process by meeting with clients to and moving services are to them,” she says. determine their priorities for furniture and other “Responding to their needs and wishes is our possessions they want to bring to their new home. priority.” “I visit new residents in their current home so that Come see how we can assist you with downsizing I can get to know them and their style first. It’s also a and moving to St. George Village. Take a tour, stay time for me to help them decide which items will for lunch. Call Stacy at 678-987-0402 for a confidencome with them to St. George Village,” says Bythrow. tial appointment. “I measure each piece of furniture they want to bring Find more details about our community, lifestyle and use a floor plan to map out where everything will and residents at www.stgeorgevillage.org. Follow us go in their new apartment.” Design and Move Services Coordinator Susan Bythrow assists residents on Facebook and Pinterest, too! ❍ Additionally, Susan brings interior design samples in making their move to SGV as smooth as possible. so that residents can make their selections at that time if they wish. Later, they are invited to visit the St. George Village | 11350 Woodstock Road | Roswell, GA 30075 | 678-987-0402 | stgeorgevillage.com design center at St. George Village, where they can


re you considering moving to a retirement

“…with the obligatory pre-holiday try-on and endless discussion with our girlfriends about dresses, hosiery, and shoes, red sweaters, leggings, and boots.


I started this theme because my brilliance in life has nothing to do with everyday tasks. Ask me to write a dissertation and I’m good. But ask me to find a way out of a paper bag, and I’m sunk. Every day, my husband comes to the rescue. The tennis ball he hung from the garage ceiling made me ecstatic. Navigating garages is a nightmare for me. All of my girlfriends have tennis balls, and my sister as well. They work like a charm. No more bumping into shelves, ramming the storeroom wall, garbage cans or tool boxes. No more trying to figure out if I’m six inches too close to said garbage cans or so close to the garage door that it would bang the trunk of the car on the way down. Or am too close to the wall? I guess I’ll see when the door frame dents the drywall. You get the picture. This tiny act eliminated a great source of stress for me, and surely for him as well. My husband is also very good about making a tasty dinner as well, presented perfectly, when I have a long day. His salads are literally coiffed, so to speak. The celery and tomatoes are each chopped into uniform pieces and carefully placed on top of the salad in a pattern. I chop with wild abandon, and have no idea how he manages to do uniform pieces. Oh, and then there’s my tendency to eat half of the ingredients before they hit the salad. You know—chop one, eat one, repeat. The granddaddy of goofiness, though, is attempting the folding of a fitted sheet. My husband loves them and folds with precision, perfectly aligned and compacted. I shake them out of the dryer, extract any annoying thing that’s caught in a corner, stomp on them to beat them into submission, and then just fold in no discernible method. Done. I toss them into the linen closet. I’d throw them out the window, but sure as shootin’ my homeowners association would fine me. I am vindicated, however. I recently read an interview with the gentleman who is the director of all of the intelligence agencies in the country. I had to laugh out loud when he compared doing press conferences to trying to fold a fitted sheet. Ha! A kindred spirit! He’s a brilliant man, yet finds the task to be frustrating and pointless. There’s one more thing. My husband proofreads my columns. My writing is a gift, but I’m dyslexic. Reading is torture. The truth is, Valentine’s Day is every day. There may not be constant flowers or chocolates, which is probably good because we women would beat ourselves up about having no self-control, anyway. But, just like the kitty who drops the prize of captured mouse or bird at your feet to greet you, his way of adoring you, simple things and simple gestures make love go ‘round. I’ve given examples of my husband’s simple treats. But, ladies, I haven’t forgotten our gestures. Happily washing your man’s underwear is right up there. It’s a two-way street. I do it gladly. Because he does love me. Let me count the ways ... every day. ❍

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of soft-bodied insects and eggs daily. Foamy, tan-colored preying mantis egg cases are typically found about knee high on a perennial or low branch. Wouldn’t want to toss one of those! Instead of shock and awe, collect perennial But if the critters haven’t managed to emerge by the stems and loosely toss by Geri Laufer time you give your garden its spring once-over, cut them on a compost pile, ow that the days are them some slack. or spread them out at the getting longer, the edge of the shrubs or daffodils are up and 1. BENEFICIAL INSECTS. Lots of beneficial insects, woods. The insects will Ladybug larvae eat scores of aphids winter temperatures are including pollinators like tiny, native bees and pestbe able to emerge on daily. To maintain a good population, flirting with spring ones, eating predator insects, spend the winter in hollow schedule to protect your don't overdo the garden cleanup. Northsiders are coming down plant stems as adults or pupae. Good bugs (those garden, even if it’s after Shown: Molting ladybug larva. with their annual bout of gardening fever. that eat bad, plant-eating bugs) include lacewings, your clean-up, and your Photo: Wikimedia/Gilles San Martin This spring, stop with the “slash and burn” mental- ground beetles, parasitic wasps, syrphid flies, assassin garden will get a jump ity and consider our native wildlife. Pollinators, bugs, big-eyed bugs, minute pirate bugs, damsel start on controlling pests in the spring. butterflies, beneficial insects and amphibians depend bugs, and dozens more. They wait out cold weather on hollow stems, curls of bark, leaf litter, fallen logs, 2. SONGBIRDS. Last season’s plants attract lots of in diapause (hibernation for insects), either as adults, rocks and so forth for protection in order to survive. eggs, or pupae in the garden. That’s a great reason feathered friends that give pristine yards the miss. This year, instead of hacking back the ornamental bright goldfinches and their olive mates perch on the not to clean-up too early or too severely. Clusters of grasses, cutting down the perennials, and raking up hundreds of ladybugs overwinter under leaves, or in seedheads of black-eyed susans, purple coneflowers, and hauling away all those leaves, use a lighter touch. tree crevices. Ladybug larvae look like tiny purple asters and rosehips to eat the seeds. Now, this doesn’t mean your yard has to look messy. dragons and are notorious pest-eaters, eating scores Insect-eating birds, like chickadees, wrens, titmice,


Gentle Spring Yard Clean-Up; 3 Wildlife-Friendly Tips


3. BUTTERFLIES. Declining butterfly populations are another great reason not to clean up the garden. Although monarchs get much press about flying south to overwinter in Mexico, most other butterflies stay Wonderful Black Swallowtail Butterflies winter over in the chrysalis. around and need dry, safe shelters. The beautiful swalnuthatches, mocking birds, robins, brown thrashers, lowtails overwinter in the chrysalis, hanging from towhees, phoebes, and bluebirds are always welcome. dead plant stems or tucked in the soil and compost These birds are quite good at finding resting insects layer. Others, like the viceroys, meadow fritillary, and off of dead plant stems and branches, and out of leaf spotted purples roll-up as caterpillars inside leaves, litter. Not cleaning up the garden means there will be seedpods or stems and bark. If the garden is cut down more protein-rich insects available to them during and cleaned up we are eliminating both overwintering the coldest part of winter. The more insects and a sites and possibly the butterflies themselves. better habitat means a larger song bird population. “Winter interest” is a landscape term that means And they’ll stay in your garden to consume there’s something beautiful to look at all winter, thousands of caterpillars and other pest insects as despite the cold weather and loss of flowers and they raise their young every gardening season. deciduous leaves. Dried ornamental grasses, seed In late winter, berries feed cardinals, woodpeckers, heads, crape myrtle trunks, graceful branching of thrashers and mockingbirds. Warblers, orioles, Japanese maples, all add interest during the cold sea-


tanagers, waxwings, wrens,  bluebirds,  thrushes and  catbirds depend on berries (sometimes fermented this time of year, after a few rounds of freeze and thaw). Even groups of robins overwintering in metro-Atlanta can surprise you, eating berries and seeds when they can’t pull worms. Plant a dogwood (highly nutritious berries), snowberry, or native red honeysuckle. Songbirds are  one of the best reasons skip the garden clean up! Tell your lawn crew to take it easy.

Attract Eastern Bluebirds to your garden in winter and they'll stay and raise a family in spring. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Joan Eckhardt

son. We can enjoy the austerity of the season, while underneath the mulch, in the soil, beneficial bacteria and friendly fungi will be at work. Whenever the soil is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit they will be transforming our red clay into friable garden loam. For more reading, David Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home is a classic, describing the importance of our gardens to songbirds, beneficial insects, butterflies and amphibians. ❍ Geri Laufer lives in Atlanta, where she, graphic designer husband David, and English Coonhound Lily are working on designing and installing a new landscape for their new old house.




hen Pizzeria Lucca opened in historic Roswell last July, it had a clear mission to deliver world-class pizza in a family environment. Vic and Diana, Pizzeria Lucca’s owners, know world-class pizza, but they had never opened a commercial space to the public. The pizza was extremely well received, but initial customers had some concerns with the overall experience. Principally, they wanted a quieter facility, some amenities like an ice machine, some additional menu items and the restaurant to be open on Sunday. Pizzeria Lucca listened and continues to evolve and make substantive changes to improve the customer experience. Since opening, the facility has been equipped with state-of-the-art sound panels. Noise reflections have been reduced by 100% and now fall within normal room sound reflection

dynamics. Sound at peak volume is markedly improved with customers taking notice. Additionally, the team purchased a filtered ice and water machine, added salads and appetizers to the menu, increased the beer, wine and soda selections, upgraded utensils and plates to make it easier to feed small children, and recently opened on Sundays to meet demand for customers wanting pizza on the last day of the weekend. Vic said, “Delivering world-class

pizza begins with the finest ingredients, world-class ovens and pizza making expertise, but it ends with a great facility and the amenities customers want while they are eating.” Pizzeria Lucca is making great progress as evidenced by a loyal and growing following that knows worldclass pizza and sees that the owners are listening to their feedback. In the future, look for an enhanced outdoor space, more great specials and seasonal additions to the menu. ❍

Pizzeria Lucca 96 Bulloch Avenue Roswell, GA 30075

www.pizzeria-lucca.com 470-294-1222




By Frank Mack

I follow my nose to great food, good eating, and serious fun. It’s kind of that simple. What I discover I share. I took the worst, cold wet grey January morning and got myself out the door into pitch black with camera, dog, and coffee so that I could be on the square in Marietta at 6:30 a.m. Why so early? I wanted to experience the open-air outdoor farmers market from beginning to end. The results? It was small, wet, warm, and spectacular in the best ways imaginable. I had the best food and met the best people. It was kind of The wet and cold January morning didn’t like a fun day from childhood… out in the rain, out prevent growers, makers, and vendors in the cold and without an umbrella. The people from showing up with smiles at the who showed up in that unhappy weather are truly Marietta Square Farmers Market. hardcore and they bring their own sunshine. The passions these people have are off scale, which means my chefs were among the best in the state. These guys possess huge talent, great heart, and are blind to negative external forces. The Marietta Square Farmers Market is more than chefs though. The growers, small makers, and vendors are one and all deadly serious. This isn’t a hobby. They have all staked a claim to earning their place on earth and in our lives by producing, with their own labor, something truly exceptional. Almost everything on offer is made right here in America and to be more specific—Georgia. They are raising animals in pastures not factories, which means better taste and in my humble opinion a healthier lifestyle. These are all acts of love and passion alongside business plans that include survival. Not just for themselves but for us all. I can’t put a finer point to it than that. If we do not go local with more of our economic decisions on an everyday basis we don’t support these small American industries and the families behind them. What’s left? Box stores and urban blight empty of life with everyone just doing their job for an hourly wage? Over my dead body!


Throughout my day I tasted many 27 delights. I had smoked trout at Diane’s Specialties and it was the finest I could remember (www.dianasspecialties.com). I discovered Costa’s Pasta from Kennesaw. These guys came with a monster, two person, slap yo’ momma good dinner for $8 to $12. These guys serve lasagna to baked ziti (www.costapastas.com). Who does not need fresh pasta? Seriously, take it home put it in the oven for a bit and eat like an Italian king. The sausage was to die for. And let me mention Aubry at Cool Beans coffee shop, she was amazing. Writer Frank Mack (right) with his dog Karma, and the guys from Aubry at Cool Beans Coffee Roasters serves Not to mention Karma, my dog, made Triple J Land and Livestock Farms. a mean cup of joe. new friends and I met 20 new folk all For years, Susie and Johnny Fulmer have supported, nursed, fought for and because I got a bit bored with the restau- Diane’s Specialties serves some delicious trout rant thing and got up a little early. The amongst other delights. mothered along the Marietta Square Farmers Market. Their instincts and market requires no ticket for entry and foresight led them to do this for us, all right from their little store The Keeping they have free parking. These vendors bring smiles and cheer that offer benefits I Room. That it can now stay open every Saturday year round is nothing short of will be counting all year as I continue to chase down a different way of eating reevidence to us all of a life well-spent in service to their community. They turned blacktop and concrete into a garden for our collective humanity and community ally well but a bit off the beaten track. The Marietta Square Farmers Market is to grow anew. And now growing in this garden is an All-American story of recov- held Saturdays, 9 a.m. to Noon all year and Sundays, Noon to 3 p.m. May through October. ery, reinvention, and renewal. It’s remarkable. You cannot get smaller or more Come out and see what I am writing about if you can. Follow the links honest than the people, families and small businesses finding their foundations provided and find their facebook pages. Connect with these Americans and their in an open-air market like this. And I know you have one near you. They exist in efforts. There is a whole world outside of the mass media and your homes. It conRoswell at City Hall and in Downtown Alpharetta for most months of the year. sists of our neighbors and the ‘good old days’ are out here, trust me. ❍ Find yours. Get up and go.



feelings of kind regard without being too sappy, though I’m sure the reader will find many clichés. Nonetheless, Valentine’s Day is a time to be sentimental, and I hope my list helps those who are over the gift giving season and need some fresh ideas. Here are my top ten, if I should be so lucky as to choose what I receive. 10. Dark chocolate is heart healthy, and may prevent formation of blood clots, good for your By Beth Nitschke brain, as it contains chemicals that stimulate release of endorphins, and is For many, full of antioxidants. Plus, it’s delightful, Valentine’s Day is a completely impracti- so if your sweetheart is a fan of sweets, this is the choice for you. cal and, at times, 9. Pilates class. As we are all by now even annoying slipping in our New Year’s resolutions to holiday wherein we must acknowledge be our fittest selves yet, a gift for a free our affection for someone who should class at a fabulous Pilates studio doesn’t already know our deepest feelings. So, I say “honey, you need to get in shape,” have attempted to compile a foolproof rather, “honey, I knew you wanted to try list of gifts that will demonstrate


A Practical Guide to Valentine Giving

this out, and this is just how thoughtful I can be.” (Especially when combined with dark chocolate.) 8. A book by your honey’s favorite author shows that you care about their leisure time and that you notice and remember little details. 7. A journal is a no-brainer, something simple or fancy, for your dear one to be able to jot notes or write personal thoughts. 6. Earbuds may seem like a ridiculous Valentine’s Day gift, but if you live with children who are constantly plugged in, breaking their own earbuds, and borrowing yours, just when you wanted to go out for a run or walk, you get it. 5. A house cleaning service is completely unromantic, but there is not a woman, (nor probably a man) alive who wouldn’t appreciate a little help in the domestic domain. 4. A gift card is something you can pick up anywhere, shows you were at least thoughtful enough to not forget

Valentine’s Day, and you get bonus points if it’s for his or her favorite store. Most people prefer to pick out their own things anyway. 3. Dinner with lots of carbs. Whether it’s homemade or a night out, give your honey permission to eat what they want. In our health obsessed culture, this is perhaps one of the most thoughtful gifts one can give. 2. Flowers. While the traditional two dozen roses represent romantic love, there isn’t a woman I’ve met who doesn’t love a beautiful arrangement of hydrangeas. Better yet, find out what her, or his, favorite flower is. 10. A “mix tape.” I know this is the cheesiest and most cliché gift possible, it is simply the most thoughtful thing you can give your sweetheart. We all have songs we love, and bring us back to memorable moments, so go to iTunes and select some music your love will like, make a playlist and send it! You’ll at least earn a kiss for that. ❍

Georgian Lakeside Community Profile: ELEANOR MUNSON ARMSTRONG



leanor Munson Armstrong was born February 20, 1923 in Southbury, Connecticut, a tiny town in the western part of the state. She was the youngest of four daughters. Her family had a fruit farm where she could walk out the door and pick an apple off the tree to eat. She had to milk the cow before school every day, and the family also kept chickens. She has a book, Southbury Remembered with a picture of the students, including Eleanor, in front of the one-room schoolhouse that she and her sisters attended before traveling to the next town for High School. Upon graduating from the University of Connecticut, she joined the Marine Corps during WWII. She met Warren, her future husband, who was also enlisted. After the war they were stationed in Miami, Florida where she graduated with a Master’s Degree from the University of Miami. They spent several years in Southern California, with

Warren retiring from the USMC in 1963. They moved back to Miami where Warren had a second career at Eastern Airlines giving them the privilege to travel the world. Upon retirement from Eastern Airlines, Warren and Eleanor settled in Hiawassee, where they dearly loved the mountains and lake. They hiked the many trails and loved camping. They hoped they passed their passion for nature on to their five daughters. Marilyn and Pam (Rick) live in Florida. Beth visits often but lives in Minneapolis. Barbara and Cindy (Mark) live nearby and visit daily. Eleanor has nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Warren and Eleanor visited most of the U.S. National Parks and Canada’s Eastern Provinces. Eleanor was widowed twenty-five years ago and continued traveling. For her 80th birthday, her daughter gave her a trip to Beijing, China. Eleanor’s granddaughter was working in Beijing and treated her to an extraordinary experience. Later she went on a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters outside Ely,

Minnesota. She went mountain biking in the Rocky Mountains, and proclaimed it “My Personal Best” Her years without Warren were filled with daily hikes on Jack Rabbit Mountain near her home on Lake Chatugue. She joined the Mountain Hikers in Towns County through her 70s and 80s. She helped plant flowers at the library and was known for the beautiful landscaping around her home. Ask her about Connecticut and her daughters and her many grandchildren and she will give you an earful of stories. Visits from family bring many happy smiles to her face especially Warren, Hanna, and Brian when home from college. Here are some Facebook comments from Eleanor’s Miami Springs neighbors (January 2017): “Every young married neighbor loved Eleanor. She taught us how to be The Georgian Lakeside mothers, wives and 1070 Hardscrabble Road friends.” Roswell, GA 30075 “We called her when (678) 367-4744 we needed help and she georgianlakeside.com was always there.” “Give her my love.” ❍ Hello@GeorgianLakeside.com





East Cobb/Roswell Common Quarter on Johnson Ferry opened in October of 2013 by Chef Chris Hall, Chef Todd Mussman, and Ryan Turner (Muss & Turner’s, Eleanor’s & Local Three) along with Chris Talley, Founding Operating Partner. In late 2016, Chris Talley decided to leave the company and pursue other endeavors. Hall, Mussman, and Turner decided to take the opportunity that arose and turn Common Quarter into Muss & Turner. The restaurant will undergo some renovation and reopen as Muss & Turner’s East Cobb in March. Muss & Turner’s is a chef-driven, flex-casual restaurant, which means there will be counter service during the day and full table service for dinner. The enclosed bar will clearly differentiate between adult and family atmospheres The Paper Mill Village is heating up. The owners of Moxie Burger have signed a lease in the old Valenti’s Italian restaurant location in Paper Mill Village. It will be a taqueria and they hope to open by summer. Also at PMV, the owners of Hearth Pizza Kitchen in Sandy Springs are going to be opening Camps Kitchen and Bar in the former Paper Mill Grill location. Being touted as a “rustic gathering spot built to bring together food, drink, and people.” The menu will serve American cuisine. An early February opening is anticipated. The Avenue East Cobb will be getting a Kale me Crazy in May. Kale me Crazy is a super food café offering juices, smoothies, salads and wraps using fresh, organic, raw foods. These guys have been a big hit at their east Roswell location. Getting healthy has never been tastier. You know if someone is a Marietta native when they use the Big Chicken as a direction landmark. This iconic “big chicken” Kentucky Fried Chicken is getting a makeover and has closed for several months. Don’t fret the iconic outside is remaining with most of the renovations on the inside. The restaurant should open in early April. Valentine’s Day is February 14. Flowers are always nice but consider giving a gift you can sink your teeth into. Edible Arrangement’s has these cool fruit bouquets. Send some love with a box of hand-dipped chocolate, covered strawberries, a teddy bear, and balloon. The Roswell Historical Society will have their “Couture & Cuisine” Luncheon and Fashion Show on Sat., Feb. 18 at Historic Naylor Hall in Roswell. The fundraiser will feature a Southern-inspired luncheon menu by Chef Cary’s Cuisine, Inc., a designer fashion show and sale by the Board of Trade Boutique, an exhibit of vintage costume selected from the Historical Society’s textile collection, and a vintage jewelry exhibit and sale from Salt of the Earth Boutique. Tickets are available from the RHS office (770-992-1665) or online at

Alpharetta/Johns Creek Recently, Taste of Alpharetta was named one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for 2017 by the Southeast Tourism Society. This year’s festival will take place on Thur., May 4, in downtown Alpharetta. It has become an annual tradition for festivalgoers, families, and food connoisseurs and will feature over 60 restaurants, chef demonstrations, and family entertainment. I can’t wait for spring! The parking deck debate continues. A community meeting on the topic has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Mon., Feb. 13 at Alpharetta City Hall. The city has been working with a consultant to refine plans to build a parking deck in downtown to meet the area’s growing needs. Residents will be able to view the latest plans, and provide input on those proposals. Two local basketball players at St. Francis High School have been named to the McDonald’s All American Games roster. Maya Dodson and Kasiyahna Kushkituah will participate in the prestigious showcase on Mar. 29 at the United Center in Chicago, home of the Bulls. The game is to be broadcast on ESPNU at 5 p.m. The Wall That Heals is a tribute to the veterans of the Vietnam War and will be in Johns Creek this March. It honors the more than three million Americans who served and bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during the conflict. There are only two stops in Georgia that The Wall will make in 2017, and it will be open 24 hours a day and free to the public. The wall, along with a mobile education center, will be at Newtown Park March 30 through April 2. ❍


www.roswellhistoricalsociety.org and at the Roswell Visitors Center, 617 Atlanta Street. All proceeds benefit the Society’s ongoing preservation project at the 1835 Hembree Farm Historic Site in Roswell, Georgia. The Roswell Garden Club recently received a grant from the Garden Club of Georgia’s Community On My Mind grant program to help fund their 2016 Holiday Project of decorating historic Smith Plantation. The $200 grant was established by the Garden Club of Georgia to support local garden club work, which provides a public benefit to local citizens. Smith Plantation matched the grant, allowing the garden club to beautify the property even more. The funding for the grant program was made possible by a generous donation from the Georgia Power Foundation. The Garden Club of Georgia was founded in 1928, and its mission is to promote beautification, conservation and education. The Roswell Garden Club meets every fourth Tuesday at 10 a.m. (free and open to the public) in the community building at Roswell Area Park.




Continual Evolution of our Retail Experience By Jessica Diamond


he only constant in this world is change. We’ve heard this across the generations, and yet, it never fails to take us by surprise. “There will always be a disrupter,” CEO of Mimms Enterprises Lonnie Mimms explained. “Every existing industry will fight a disrupter tooth and nail, but ultimately, a disrupter will succeed. You see this with everything. Just look at Amazon, Airbnb, Uber, and things like that. If your industry hasn’t yet been hit with a disrupter, you can be sure it’s coming.”

Avalon in Alpharetta has over 500,000 sq. ft. of retail space, movie theater, over 100,000 sq. ft of office space and hundreds of singlefamily and luxury rental homes. This represents the ultimate definition of live, work, and play.

The curious thing about some disrupters is that they can simultaneously push an industry forward and revive old trends. Such is the case in today’s world of retail. For several decades, independent retailers have struggled to compete with big box stores that provided endless choices for bargain prices. Shoppers abandoned local, independently owned businesses for the promise of savings that would help their dollars stretch further. What was once a personalized experience became a quick errand with as little interaction and interference as possible. “There’s definitely a generational aspect,” Julia Daniels, owner of The Comfortable Chair Store in Roswell, said. “When I was a child, retailers knew you and you were their friend. There was a sense of integrity. My sister could leave the store with ten dresses and take them home. She would try them on for our mother, keep two or three, and bring the rest back. Then she paid for them. Young people today never knew that kind of Mayberry.” The introduction of superstores encouraged the construction of shopping centers and strip malls. With an anchor like Target, Wal-Mart or a grocery store chain, smaller businesses found that they could position themselves next door and draw customers in with proximity and convenience. Now, however, the industry is shifting again. The introduction of online purchasing has rendered the physical storefronts into little more than showrooms. Customers are able to visit the


Having pet adoptions at North Point Mall is one of the events used to create a family atmosphere.

stores, feel the merchandise in their hands, gain insight on the products from retail employees and then retreat back to their homes to order the product online. This trend has left some of the big box stores hurting and the mom and pop shops worse off than ever before. As longtime business owners, Mimms and Daniels have watched carefully and adapted accordingly as trends shifted and technology shaped the future of retail. The Mimms family, which has had its hand in the commercial real estate business for generations, has learned to predict and prepare for future trends in the industry. “Our family has a history of innovation,” Mimms said. “Public schools have been resisting the charter schools for a while, but they are what’s relevant now. My father was on the front end of this and donated a space in an old shopping center to a charter school. It was a complete reuse of the space, from retail to school, and that’s the direction we’re going. The big box spaces have to go more creative. We have some incredible ideas coming down the line and there is plenty of room for innovative ideas.” In an effort to survive the shift, retailers are referring back to an old

custom—creating an experience. It seems the only thing that will pull customers out of their homes and away from their laptops is the promise of a unique and fulfilling experience. “The industry has been moving towards this for 30 years,” Mimms said. “The drug stores were supporting the grocery stores, but found that they did much better if they moved to the out parcels by the street. Now the grocery stores are moving out to find their own spaces and you are left with big empty boxes. Now they are becoming health clubs, flea markets, things you can’t put online. People like the hunt and the thrill of a bargain. Other spaces have been filled with things like Sky Zone, movie theatres, whirly ball, laser tag and other things that aren’t retail. The whole theme has become very pervasive in the industry. Anything new, exciting and relevant will come to fill the spaces.” Daniels insists that customer service is a huge factor in keeping the traditional retail experience current. One deciding benefit of buying from a physical location is that consumers are given the added value of knowledgeable staff, particularly in the case of independent retailers. Though most shoppers today base purchasing decisions on the Continues on page 34

Evolution continued from p 33



North Point Mall added this AMC Theater in an effort to reach more than just your retail dollar.

quality of online reviews, there is no substitute for an expert. Furthermore, that expert’s time and knowledge are an added value to the shopping experience at no cost to the consumer. A local example of evolution in the retail world would be the comparison of North Point Mall and Avalon in Alpharetta. North Point Mall is a relic of the previous era. It is a fully enclosed shopping area with wall-to-wall stores, mostly chains that also sell their merchandise online. It provides quick and easy to eat food in the food court. Its wide walkways and narrow benches do not encourage shoppers to linger long in one area. Avalon, in comparison, is a mini village with a clear brand, message and atmosphere. Visitors come to Avalon not only to shop but also to eat, see a movie, enjoy the outdoor space, and for some, live and work. It is a complete and encompassing experience. Shoppers today may visit North Point if they need something in a hurry. However, they will call their friends to meet them at Avalon to spend the evening. North Point Mall has managed to adapt in several key ways and has made updates and additions that keep it relevant. Many credit the addition of a brand new cinema with its renewed vigor. Though it is a product of its time, North Point has also recognized the need for experiential events and has invested accordingly. The writing on the wall seems clear.

CEO of Mimms Enterprises Lonnie Mimms and Julia Daniels, owner of The Comfortable Chair Store in Roswell reflect on the evolution of retail.

To remain competitive in today’s shifting retail industry, a business must be more than a business. It needs to be a destination or have the ability to make a personal connection, which is lost online. Anything that gives the consumers something to do, to feel and to connect with will find that it has an audience to which it can market. As Julia Daniels says, “Like some other stores in the area, we try to provide what we like to think of as a “back to Mayberry” shopping experience. If you enjoyed watching The Andy Griffith Show, you’re likely to feel more comfortable doing business with people who genuinely want you to be happy with your purchase. They’ll say hello when they see you at Trader Joe’s, The Roswell Cultural Center, or at one of the many great restaurants on Canton Street. They may even get to know you well enough to ask how your “Aunt Bea” is doing.” ❍

Profile for The CurrentHub

The Current Hub  

TCH Feb 2017

The Current Hub  

TCH Feb 2017