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Community. Culture. Lifestyle.

NOV / DEC 11


FESTIVE INTERIORS KINGDOM KIDS Restaurant Spotlight: Shadowbrook Baptist’s


Holiday Issue The




Voted #1 Pizza And #3 Best Restaurant at Taste of Suwanee!

Authentic Italian Marco’s founder, Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco moved to the U.S. from Italy with his family at age nine. The Giammarco family promptly opened a pizzeria in the U.S. As a young person working in the family business, Pat became well schooled in the art of making authentic Italian pizza. In 1978, Pat put this invaluable education to work, opening his first Marco’sPizza® store in Ohio. Staying true to the family tradition of using fresh ingredients and a secret pizza sauce recipe that Pat developed and refined with his father, Marco’s quickly found a loyal following. Today, Marco’s pizza is still made the same high integrity authentic Italian way.

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We use a blend of three fresh cheeses, never frozen. Our cheese is at the heart of our authentic, fresh taste.

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LETTER: Executive Editor Angela Veugeler

Suwanee Magazine Celebrates OneYear! We are proud to publish the one year anniversary issue of Suwanee Magazine. We want to thank the city, businesses and people of Suwanee for all of their support and positive feedback. I speak for our entire team when I say that it has been fun attending events, getting to know advertisers and creating a magazine for this great community that so many people have come to love! The holiday season is almost upon us, and is such a special time of year in Suwanee. Read about holiday traditions from people here in our community and be sure not to miss Shadowbrook Baptist Church’s Christmas in the Park December 9th and 10th. Before you head out to the mall, read our Shop Suwanee section for unique gift ideas from local businesses. Also, please check out our new and improved website for web-only articles and current information. Best wishes for a very happy holiday season to everyone in our community. We look forward to bringing you new and exciting issues of Suwanee Magazine in 2012.

Managing Editor Darcy Seyller

Features Editor

Tana Suggs or

Creative Director Randall Veugeler

Art Director

Erica Abrams

Graphic Design Sarah Grasso Laura Payne Daniel Kroemer April Futey Jonathan Maloney

Photographers Mary-Kate Laird Karl Lamb Julie Perdue

Web Editor Walt Wooden


Amanda Lindsay 404-438-7421 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Angela Veugeler


Randall Veugeler

Corporate Office

Angela Veugeler

554 W. Main Street Suite 400 Buford, GA 30518 Phone: 678-482-2270 Fax: 678-730-0691

Executive Editor


“Santa” photographed exclusively for Suwanee Magazine by Karl Lamb on Sept. 24th 2011, in Buford. For information on having “Santa” at your holiday event, email us at info@ 2

I Suwanee Magazine I NOV / DEC 11

Suwanee Magazine is published bi-monthly by Veugeler Design Group. Opinions expressed by the contributing writers and editors are not necessarily those of the publisher, editor or Suwanee Magazine. Reproduction of the whole or part of content herein is prohibited without prior written consent from the publisher. The publisher will not accept responsibility for submitted materials that are lost or stolen. Copyright 2011 Veugeler Design Group.


in this issue: 14 Artist Profile:

Alicia Cooper

16 Restaurant Spotlight:

Golden Seven

18 20 Kingdom Kids Holiday 22 Traditions Mission Kilimanjaro V2R 26 Fitness 4 Investment Strategies Shop 28 Suwanee Business 5 Suwanee for the Alliance


Mission Kilimanjaro

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With Bill & Cindi Porter

Giving Back to Suwanee

6 Suwanee Magazine’s

1st Anniversary



30 City Buzz

What’s happening & has happened recently around town

Suwanee 35 Holiday Atlanta Flooring Events

8 Business Spotlight: 36 School Beat & People 38 Places Holiday 10 Festive Interiors 43 Event Calendar

Atlanta Flooring Design Center

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678.714.7611 4320 Suwanee Dam Road • Suite 2600 • Suwanee, GA 30024 “Defense is just as important as offense when it comes to investing.”

Cindi Porter Congratulations on being named 2009 FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager.

Securities offered through Integrated Financial Planning Services and Dempsey Lord Smith, LLC, members FINRA/SIPC.

“The basic theme that guides “When Cindi advised her clients to our investment philosophy is that move out of the stock market in Featured in the April 2010 As seen in the October 2009 avoiding losses is justGeorgia as important July 2007, she provided theMagazine missing Finance Profiles Atlanta’s as looking for opportunities to grow links that are absent in so many assets. Every portfolio should have 678.714.7611 financial plans - defense, the ability some element of defense.” to anticipate the future and the – Bill Porter CLU, ChFC willingness to make the tough calls.” 4320 Suwanee Dam Road • Suite 2600 • Suwanee, GA 30024 -Bill Porter, Forbes Magazine

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678.714.7611 Fax: 678.714.2116 Securities offered through Integrated Financial Planning Services and Dempsey Lord Smith, LLC, members FINRA/SIPC.


Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11

Photo courtesy of Philip Anglin


What is the most important financial consideration when planning for retirement?

By: Bill and Cindi Porter Aileron Investment Advisors


hile there are many issues to consider, for most people it is having a guaranteed lifetime income– regardless of stock market performance, interest rates, or world events. The number one concern for retirees today is running out of money. Social Security began in the 1930s, when the average lifespan for an American was 63 years. If one lived long enough to actually collect any benefits it was usually for only a few years. Today, an American can expect to be retired for a few decades. Planning to have enough money to last for a lengthy, but uncertain period of retirement used to be an Send us your almost impossible problem. Fortunately new investment investment questions tools can eliminate the guess work and pay you a guaranteed life-time income. to answer: info@ Unfortunately, many retirees fail to plan for inflation. For example, if inflation averages only 3 to 5 percent annually, the cost of living will double in 20 years. If you retire today The views expressed in this article are not necessarily that with a monthly income of $3,000, 20 years from now you will need a monthly income of Suwanee Magazine. of $6,000 to stay even. Today we have guaranteed investment tools that have built-in inflation features. Like computers, cells phones, and other technologies, investment options are continually evolving. As our financial needs change, so do our investment options. A discussion with a professional financial advisor can inform you of all of your options. When was your last portfolio checkup?

o Suwanee

Alliance gives friends ighbors a little boost

By: Ed Szczesniak President, Suwanee Business Alliance


he Suwanee Business Alliance does a lot for its members. But we also make it easy for local folks to work with each other to provide a wide variety of goods and services that we all need and to ensure that our businesses grow and thrive within in our own community. Our 200+ members truly do a lot of business together, and in the meantime, we also get to know each other on a more personal level at our monthly “meetings.” The fun, food, refreshments, live music, door prizes and casual atmosphere make it more of a monthly “party” with great friends than any other meeting you’ve ever attended. But there is more! Every year we take funds gathered from our dues ($60 per year) as well as the money raised from our annual spring golf tournament, and the SBA puts it right back into the community to help friends and neighbors who could use a little boost. Our objective is to help as many people in as many ways as we can.

Whether it’s a local school, a Breast Cancer group, the Suwanee Police Department, our local firefighters, Toys for Tots, The Foster Children’s Foundation, Quinn House, The Red Cross, Annandale Village, The Gwinnett Sexual Assault Center, or even a local family or two – the SBA helps in the form of money, food, toys, equipment, training funds, or even day-to-day household supplies. The people we support do not come to us, we go to them. We learn of their needs through our members, evaluate those needs against our ability to help and then we address as many as we can within our own community. It’s not charity – it’s sharing what we can with those we care about in our own town! This Christmas will mark the SBA’s 4th year of collecting “Toys for Tots” at our annual Christmas party. The first year we collected about 35 toys and last year we delivered two pick-up truckloads to the Suwanee Fire House. It’s just that kind of group. Come see more of what we’re all about – there’s even more under the covers that you’ll be happy to discover…

“Our objective is to help as many people in as many ways as we can.”

The Suwanee Business Alliance meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at different business locations in town. For more info:



Thank You Suwanee!

LEFT TO RIGHT: Amanda Lindsay, Sarah Grasso, Randall Veugeler, Darcy Seller, Laura Payne, Erica Abrams, Angela Veugeler, Jonathan Maloney, Walt Wooden, Daniel Kroemer, April Futey, Tana Christian Suggs

Suwanee Magazine celebrates its first anniversary


ime really does fly! It doesn’t seem possible that with this issue comes the one year anniversary of Suwanee Magazine. Throughout the year we at Suwanee Magazine have brought our readers some interesting stories about some remarkable folks in and around Suwanee – starting with a Collins Hill High School graduate who was a high school wrestling champion and is now a trainer; Suwanee’s hometown beauty queen, Kaylin Reque, who won the Miss. Georgia USA pageant and went on to vie for the Miss. USA title in Las Vegas; kindie music group, The Baby Grands who have gained much success with fun music for the whole family; Mucho Macho Man, a racehorse that made a run for the roses whose owner has Suwanee roots; Suwanee native and up and coming country music sensation, Andy Velo; and a story on Suwanee’s biggest event of the year, Suwanee Day. We also highlighted some of the best businesses and restaurants in the community and kept readers up to date on things going on in the city with our City Buzz Section and upcoming events in our calendar. And who doesn’t like seeing their friends and neighbors in the People and Places section? In return, the feedback we have received issue after issue has been overwhelmingly positive! We at Suwanee Magazine would like to take this opportunity to thank the advertisers and readers for a great first year! Without you, the magazine would never be possible. Having said that, there is still more of Suwanee to cover, and as 2011 is quickly coming to an end, we are very excited and looking forward to the upcoming year planning more stories about people and businesses in the community with our number one goal to be reflective of this great community where we live, work and play!

Suwanee Magazine Shirts now available for purchase!

Go to

A portion of the proceeds go to Kingdom Kids to help local children in need.


Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11

Our Website gets a Facelift Suwanee Magazine has a new website! Check There you will o u t our new find all the online stories from our store! bi-monthly print publications as well as a full online calendar where you can subscribe to add events and happenings in and around the community to your google, iCal and Outlook calendar. Take a few minutes and visit SuwaneeMagazine. com for up-to-date information, new and improved photo galleries and more!

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By: Tana Christian Suggs


Atlanta Flooring Design Centers; An American Success Story “...we’ve been so fortunate and blessed to have a nice facility now, about 34,000 square feet..."


Suwanee Magazine


ll across America there are people who have started their own businesses out of basements and garages . With perseverance, know how and drive, the businesses have managed to grow, and out of that growth comes a success story. Atlanta Flooring Design Centers in Suwanee is certainly one of those stories. After graduating from Troy State University, Donny Phillips went to work in the banking industry in Dalton. But Phillips said you can’t live in Dalton without gravitating to the carpet business, and in the early 1980s, he ended up working with his father in a small carpet outlet. “I just decided one day that we could do this on our own,” he said. So in 1985 Phillips, with a little help from his father, a bit of entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to get out on his own, started Atlanta Carpet Company in Duluth. “We began to build a foundation from that point forward,” he said. During that year Phillips started with a 1,200 square foot space, and while staying with a friend, used his friend’s garage for a warehouse for a couple of rolls of carpet. About a year later, he was able to lease a 4,000 square foot building with a little bit of a warehouse, some equipment and began to sell wood, carpet and vinyl, and by 1989 Phillips was able to build an 11,000 square foot building.

I NOV / DEC 11

...creating beautiful spaces

“From that we’ve been so fortunate and blessed to have a nice facility now, about 34,000 square feet, a branch in Charlotte, N.C., and some 70 employees,” said Phillips. The key to his success was the belief he could do it on his own. The company’s current Suwanee location is at Swiftwater Park Drive and serves both commercial and residential customers providing professional installation for carpet, vinyl, ceramic tile, wood and laminate, cabinets, countertops, LEFT to RIGHT: backsplashes, glass shower enclosures Michael Kellett, Kevin Banker, and more. Atlanta Flooring Design also Becki Wilson, provides flooring solutions for new Carol Law, construction, renovation and tenant Michael Barrows improvements. There are also designers on staff to help consumers looking to renovate and improve their homes. Michael Barrows with Atlanta Flooring Design Centers said the employees are like family and that’s what makes the company unique. “They like to listen to what you want and try to help you go in the direction you want to go in,” Barrows said. “Our service is far superior than most. We have one person assigned to the project (for the consumer) that work with them all the way through it. It’s a one stop system.”

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Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11


By: Debbie Williams of Debbie Williams Interiors & Donna Mathis of DMD Studios Inc.


Three of the hottest trends to help inspire your decorating style!


“Wishing you the warmest holiday season with a splash of design!” - Debbie and Donna

he most enjoyable part of the holiday season is creating a warm and beautifully decorated home for you and your family to enjoy. Some may think the hard part of this vision is actually coming up with “how to” create that beautifully festive interior in their home. Just like in fashion, there are new trends for each holiday season. This year, we are highlighting three of the hottest trends to help inspire your decorating style!

Sparkle & Glamour: We all love the sparkle and dazzle of the holidays. This season, designers have kicked it up a notch combining metallics such as mercury silver, golden bronze and shimmering gold with jewel tones of olive, merlot red, amber and a deep sea blue/green. This style is all about the glitz and glamour. Place a plethora of oversized glass ornaments on the dining table on top of a beautiful gathering of silk or velvet in a rich beaded jewel tone. Add height with varying sizes of mercury glass vases and candle sticks. For a pop of color, place just one type of jewel colored blooms in sparkling metallic vases throughout. Add glamour by changing out your pillows to sequined or beaded pillows, grouped with solid jewel toned silk pillows and even a touch of faux fur or animal print. On the mantel add a beautiful collection of metallic or mirrored frames in all sizes showing fond holiday memories, on top of a bed of pine trimmings or magnolia leaves. Add sparkle in sprays, pinecones or branches coated in a metallic spray paint wrapped in a glamorously sophisticated wired ribbon. With this style do not be afraid to make a statement.


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Recycled Chic: This style is one of the hottest trends to emerge this year. Think cherished older decorations mixed with newer fresh inspired items. With this style less is more and the color palette is anything goes. Brighter, clearer colors mingled with faded and washed tones, geometric and clean-lined shapes are mixed with intertwined plaids and swirls. Repetition goes a long way. Group your favorite collection of pitchers or vases in varying heights while adding a single color of fresh bright flowers to top them off. Adorn the tree with bright colored ornaments adding old black and white or sepia toned family photos framed in vintage frames, tied with bright crisp bows. Place (one type of) solid bright bursts of fruit (red apples, green apples, oranges, lemons or limes) in a clean-lined bowl or glass vase throughout your home. This style is reusing the classics...but shaken and stirred.

Nature Inspired Rustic: We all have nostalgic thoughts like roaring fires, sleigh rides and a warm cup of cocoa. Your home can echo this style with nature inspired accents. Add birch logs by the fireplace tied together with twine, cinnamon sticks and scented pine cones. Create a centerpiece by layering pomegranates and oranges spiked with cloves. Use natural left over tree trimmings to layer on your mantel accented with silver dusted pine cones. Arrange candles of different heights and shapes together in a grouping and scatter silver dusted magnolia leaves around the bottom. Use the colors in nature to inspire your palette. Combine natural tones and textures with traditional greens and reds reminiscing of simpler times. Fill your rooms with scents of pine, cranberry and cinnamon, sit back, relax and enjoy your family. Be creative and think outside of the box in whatever style you choose to decorate with this season. By creating a festive interior, your home will sparkle this holiday season and create memories for your family to enjoy!

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Broken can be Beautiful


Local artist turns broken and damaged into works of art


roken tile, damaged pottery, cracked mirrors, mismatched plates, rocks…Sounds horrible, right? ...But wait, for some broken is beautiful – especially if you are a mosaic tile artist like Suwanee resident Alicia Cooper of Broken Artz. Cooper gives new life to old pottery, tiles and plates, and using mirror, marbles and stones in creative designs is her passion. Creating everything from glass gem tissue boxes to large

The trick would be turning her dream into a bona-fide business. With a wavering economy and public funding cutbacks, Cooper realized large scale community projects were going to be a challenge. On the other hand, she noticed neighbors and friends spending more to fix up their homes and to finish their basements, and she realized her business would come from those families much like hers.

wall sculptures and bar back-splashes, she is hooked on transforming otherwise simple materiawwqwwls into extraordinary works of art. Educated as a fine artist, Cooper received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in the School of Visual and Performing Arts and pursued a career in graphic design. During that time she longed to return to her fine art roots, but as a busy wife and mother, the timing never seemed right. It was while volunteering her design and creative skills on a mosaic mural in 2006 at her son’s elementary school in Pennsylvania that she realized her love for mosaic tiling and working with her hands. At that point Cooper said with a laugh, she knew exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up.

With a few art shows featuring her mosaic mirrors and decorative items, Cooper has attracted a growing client list of local residents who desire custom installed mosaic works to add something unique to their homes. Visit Alicia “Fireplace Cooper at surrounds and inlays behind a kitchen stove or bar are very popular for more info. requests, but I will always do custom art, mirrors and decor,” Cooper said, adding that she also likes to incorporate special keepsakes in custom pieces adding a personal and sentimental touch to the work. Cooper, who also paints, illustrates and creates graphic designs, says the process of taking the ordinary and transforming it into something visually pleasing is what she finds so satisfying.

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I NOV / DEC 11

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Seven has the best orange chicken I’ve ever had in my life! My he new Chinese and Thai restaurant Golden husband, Randall, ordered the pepper steak and was also very Seven, located in Suwanee Town Center, gets its pleased. The presentation is excellent. Other popular options name because it is owned by seven siblings – three include pad kee mao noodles from the Thai brothers and four sisters. The menu and sesame chicken from the Chinese family put their savings together and opened menu. We ended the meal with a bubble tea their first Chinese restaurant in 1990 and they smoothie – which I recommend if you haven’t later opened their Duluth location on Duluth had one before! A variety of flavors are Highway in 2008.. available, including mango, strawberry, honey In May 2011 they opened the restaurant in dew, mocha, white peach, green tea and more. Suwanee. Owner Meily Phaiboun said Town If you are looking for a location to hold Center has proven to be a good location for a holiday party or event, the Town Center them because the many events in the park location can accommodate small groups and the have helped raise awareness of the restaurant. Duluth location offers a private banquet room The restaurant is great for both dine-in for larger groups. customers as well as take-out. Whether you The restaurant is are having a family dinner or a business lunch meeting, Golden Seven offers a pleasant, open seven days inviting atmosphere. a week for dine We visited the restaurant for lunch. I had in, take-out and - Angela Veugeler the orange chicken, and I can tell you - Golden delivery.

“...Golden Seven has the absolute best orange chicken I’ve ever had in my life.”

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Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11





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n January 5th, 2012, Suwanee native Kyle Maynard will face his toughest test to date: climbing to the 19,341-ft. summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, Africa. The Suwanee trainer and his team hope to demonstrate to our heroes in the veteran community and to young people with disabilities around the world that no obstacle is too great to be conquered with an active, no-barriers lifestyle and mindset. Kyle Maynard was born with a condition known as congenital amputation with arms ending above the elbows and legs ending near the knees. Facing the challenges he was dealt at birth, Kyle became internationally recognized as a wrestler, mixed martial artist, motivational speaker, and bestselling author of the autobiography, No Excuses. Kyle and Team Kilimanjaro understand that today’s veterans face adversity both on the battlefield and at home. Many return from deployment with scars that are sometimes 18

Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11

LEFT to RIGHT: Team Kilimanjaro: Back Row: Kevin Cherilla, Dan Adams, Blake Shubert Front Row: Joey Leonardo, Kyle Maynard, Kristen Sandquist, Geneva Templeton

invisible, making the transition back to civilian life challenging in unexpected ways. Tragically, an average of 18 veterans decides each day that those challenges are too overwhelming and choose to end their lives. Team Kilimanjaro is using the trek up Mount Kilimanjaro to show these men and women who served bravely that there are other choices and that it is possible to overcome any obstacle. Similarly, children born with disabilities face many adversities. Mission Kilimanjaro will begin in Moshi, Tanzania, with a trip to the Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind where Kyle and the team will spend time


To prove that no obstacle is too great to be conquered

with children confronting the difficulties of living with a disability in a thirdworld country. The goal of this special interaction is to help inspire children to realize their ability to overcome any perceived limitation and transform their perspectives of what is possible in their lives. Through a donation from K2 Summit Productions, Team Kilimanjaro will deliver $25,000 worth of medical supplies to the school to help them to live an active, “no barriers” lifestyle and positively impact their local communities. The mission will culminate with the team’s summiting of Mt. Kilimanjaro over the course of 16 grueling days. With the summit, Kyle Maynard will become the first quadruple amputee to crawl up the fourth highest peak of the Seven Summits without assistance. For information and to donate, go to



Kingdom Kids grants wishes and makes smiles!


t’s not just genies who are granting wishes these days. Kingdom Kids is an organization located in Gwinnett County founded by Kevin Ford and Justin Hutchinson that focuses on helping children and families in the local communities who are battling diseases, abuse, neglect and other challenges by fulfilling wishes that bring joy to the children and their families. On Oct. 9 the organization held its Third Annual Lily’s Run at Vickery Village in Cumming where runners participated in a 5K and a one mile fun run. Through the event and the funds raised, five children will have their wishes fulfilled. Jackson Jinright is one of those children whose wish will soon be granted. In March of 2007, Travis and Angie Jinright of Sugar Hill welcomed their son Jackson into the world. But shortly after Jackson was born, he failed to thrive and reach the typical milestones reached by most infants, and after undergoing testing, Jackson was diagnosed with Peroxisomal Disorder, a rare metabolic disease that affects vital organs. About a year ago Angie Jinright was asked to be a guest speaker at a Kingdom Kids event and share the family’s story, and later the organization asked the Jinrights if they would like to make a wish for Jackson, and he became one of the beneficiaries of Lily’s Run. Angie said they were so excited when they got the call. “The fun run was just amazing,” she said. “We had so much fun, Jackson especially. It was such a great turnout.”


Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11

For Jackson’s wish, the Jinrights will be taking a family vacation to Disney World at the end of January. Ford said he always had a notion of one day helping others, and after a conversation with Hutchinson, the two decided there was no need to wait, hence their motto, ‘It’s always the right time to do the right thing.’ Ford and Hutchinson both have full-time jobs and families, but still find time for Kingdom Kids. Ford said moving forward and starting the organization made him understand that one chooses to make an impact.

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“It’s an awesome feeling for us,” Ford said. And the organization has made quite an impact. In the last two and a half years they have raised more than $300,000 to benefit local children and their families, and what they have found, is the events have a ‘pay it forward’ element where when one family is helped they come back to help other families. The organization’s next event will be the Annual Poker Tournament held at the 1818 Club in Duluth. For more information about the organization, upcoming events and how to donate, go to In September 2009 Lily was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer and endured several rounds of chemotherapy, surgeries, a stem cell transplant, radiation, and anti-body therapy. She completed her treatment in October 2010 and earlier this year a scan showed the cancer had returned in her pelvis and spine, and she is once again in the fight of her life. Lily started chemotherapy in March. Due to the overwhelming support of the community during the first Lily’s Run, Lily, in partnership with Kingdom Kids wanted to continue Lily’s Run to grant wishes for other children also facing challenging circumstances. Lily is an inspiration to all to “pay it forward.”


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I Suwanee Magazine I NOV / DEC 11

There’s no place like Suwanee for the holidays...

in Suwanee hether your holiday memories conjure up images of a Norman Rockwell painting, a Dickens novel or “The Christmas Story” movie, it’s those memories that you hold close and that make the holidays a special time for you and your family. Perhaps some of those fun-filled memories also became traditions that you and your family repeat year after year. Over time, those traditions may change. Children grow up, move away and have families of their own and our old traditions evolve into new ones. But those older memories still linger in our minds and remind us just how special the holiday season really is. In this holiday issue, several residents living in and around Suwanee share holiday traditions with us and what makes their holidays so special.



Children do recognize the ‘little things’ that make the holiday special

As a parent, you always wonder whether or not your children appreciate the ‘little things’ that go on around the holidays, but on December 25, 2010, I stopped wondering. Every year it’s a given that whatever family members happen to be in town, we will get together and cook a traditional holiday meal….Well, O.K., HoneyBaked Ham cooks some of it. But last year, it was just me, my husband, Larry, my daughter, Paige and my son, Grey. Since no one seemed particularly excited about helping cook, I made the decision that we wouldn’t have a big meal. I would cook pinto beans instead – Yep…just pinto beans! It was after dinner and I could tell something was bothering Grey. It was a little while n Grey Brinso later when I finally coaxed it out of him. He broke down and explained that Christmas this year just wasn’t the same. When I asked him why, he said with tears in his eyes, “It’s just not Christmas without Christmas dinner.”  Who knew!  They really do appreciate the ‘little things!’  Without hesitation we cooked and ate our traditional Christmas dinner on December 26, 2010. (Grey told me to tell you that he’s not a ‘cry-baby.’)

- Denise Brinson, City of Suwanee

Celebrating the holidays together Christmas, 2010 was a Christmas of firsts and the most special one I ever had in Suwanee. It was the summer before that I learned my military son and his family would be moving to Dahlonega. Wow! This would be THE first time I could spend Christmas morning with both of my sons and my two grandsons on Christmas morning. And then on top of the fact we would all be together, the most amazing thing happened…It snowed! It wasn’t the usual ugly ice that shuts everything down. It was just fluffy, innocent, white-powder snow. This was the first time in my life it snowed on Christmas in the Atlanta area, and I’ve been in Atlanta since infancy. Our favorite family traditions include about a 25 year-old lighted snowman that sits on a table, the purple, white and silver decorated Christmas tree and then we each open one present on Christmas Eve.

Keeping old and making new holiday traditions This season, from fall on through the New Year, is my absolute favorite time of year. It’s the one time throughout the whole year when I know we can count on seeing all four of our children, all together, at least a few times. They’re all grown now, but during the holidays especially, my mind always drifts back to when they were little, to when there was still some magic in their wondering eyes. One of my favorite traditions (and still is) is loading everyone up in the car and going to pick out our Christmas tree at a local Christmas tree lot. We’ve done that for at least 20 years now. We each choose our favorite tree on the lot, then good-naturedly settle on what is, without fail, the most beautiful one. One of the newer traditions we share as a family is the lighting of the caboose in historic Old Town Suwanee. I had heard about this event through some friends, then again during a Suwanee city council meeting a few years back. We went to the caboose lighting that very year and have not missed it since. There’s just something about celebrating such a beautiful event and seeing so many friends, old and new, while we’re there. And one of my personal favorite traditions is strolling through Suwanee Town Center, poking through all the fun shops and finding those perfect last-minute surprises. As busy as the season is, I always make time to do that. Hope to see you around town this year!

- Beverly Hart, Realtor with Prudential at Town Center in Suwanee 24

I Suwanee Magazine I NOV / DEC 11

- Carole Townsend, Columnist for Gwinnett Daily Post and author of “Southern Fried White Trash”

The holidays in the heart of Suwanee The holidays have always been special for us in Suwanee. We met in Suwanee and were married during the Christmas season seven years ago blending our families. We spent our first Christmas and New Years together in Suwanee, and have ever since, along with all the other holidays.  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years have been special here in what became our hometown almost 20 years ago.  We have both lived at three different addresses in Suwanee, finally ending up in Town Center with a rooftop Condo overlooking Town Center Park.  Every year we celebrate all or part of the holidays in our favorite of homes, Town Center, with our families.  Each season seems to bring new family members here in Suwanee starting with a daughter and son in-laws and four grandchildren; one born in November and another in December, making the holidays that much more special! We have seen Town Center covered in a blanket of snow during one holiday season and we enjoy all that Suwanee brings during that special time of the year, including the festivities at Old Town with Santa and the fellowship with fellow Suwanee residents. We always look forward to the winter seasons that bring our families together in our most precious of homes, Suwanee Town Center.



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Taking the Challenge V2R is helping Suwanee get fit


uwanee Resident Diana Shivers had worked out with a personal trainer years ago and had success. Ready to maintain, she decided to go it alone. But she said she was working out and not getting results. She was looking for a lifestyle change to help her reach and maintain her fitness goals. It wasn’t long before former NFL football player and owner of Vision to Reality Fitness Junior Glymph walked into her life and talked her into participating in a V2R bootcamp. After trying it out, Shivers was hooked. As a result, she lost about 40 pounds. Glymph has been working with Shivers for about three years now and she describes their relationship as a ‘love-hate relationship’ in that he challenges you to push yourself to the limit. “He’s a very good motivator,” she said. “He believes in you more than you believe in yourself.” Shivers said when she reached her goal she credited Glymph for her success, but he was quick to set the record straight – that she was the one who worked and reached success. When it came to working out, Stephanie Sorenson of Norcross said she had stopped exercising and was looking to get back into shape and tone up. Sorenson said she was looking for a challenge. So she decided to try out V2R thinking a former NFL football player would know a lot of good exercises. After working with Glymph, Sorenson said she has come a long way.


Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11

“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Sorenson said. Jenny Ergle Moore of Suwanee started participating in a V2R bootcamp looking to get more toned. The results exceeded Moore’s expectations when she found herself not only more toned, but more defined as well. After a year, she began working for V2R as an executive administrative assistant and recently became a personal trainer. “I am what some of our clients refer to as ‘a lifer,’” Moore said. “I have no plans to quit bootcamp and as far as my professional aspirations, the fun has only just begun.” Glymph said he loves it when someone’s attitude about themselves changes. “When someone has a new body, it means that mentally they changed and empowered themselves,” he said. “This is not your normal bootcamp. We are heavy on support and accountability which is why we guarantee our work. We do monthly outings, nutritional counseling and get you going. And by the way it’s fun as well.”

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Suwanee unveils 9/11 Artifact Many Suwanee residents attended a touching ceremony Sept. 10 at Suwanee Town Center where the 9/11 artifact was unveiled. Those involved in the ceremony, which included members of the Suwanee Police Department, and the many in attendance paid respect to those who died and were otherwise affected by the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. The artifact is currently on display in front of Suwanee City Hall.

Suwanee’s Harvest Farm Community Garden holds Scarecrow Competition Harvest Farm held a scarecrow competition in October. Judging took place on Oct. 22 and prizes from local businesses were awarded to winners in categories such as scariest, funniest, and most creative. Scarecrows should remain at the White Street Park through Nov. 13. After that, individuals may pick up their scarecrows. Any remaining scarecrows will be discarded after Nov. 30.

Amigos for Christ Music Festival at Town Center People headed for Town Center Park on Oct. 1 to celebrate service at Amigos for Christ Annual Celebrate Service Music Festival. The day long festival was filled with local music performers, activities and food. Headlining the event was the Atlanta Rhythm Section who took the Town Center Amphitheater stage around 8 p.m. Proceeds from the event will go to eliminate hunger in Gwinnett County and eliminate thirst in Nicaragua. For more information on Amigos for Christ and how to help, visit

Southern author visits La Ti Da

La Ti Da located on Buford Highway in Suwanee held a book signing event on Sept. 16 where Atlanta author Ginny McCormack, known for writing about the art of southern hospitality and new southern cuisine, was at the Suwanee store signing copies of her book, “Sunday in the South.” The book celebrates the southern tradition of Sunday dinner. For more information regarding special offers, promotions, upcoming events and more, visit


Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11

Gwinco Blvd. renamed Celebration Drive As part of the completed Georgia Department of Transportation project to extend McGinnis Ferry Road 2.7 miles from Satellite Boulevard, across I-85, to LawrencevilleSuwanee Road, the city of Suwanee has renamed Gwinco Blvd. Its new name is Celebration Drive. Several hotels and restaurants are located on Celebration Drive located in the Suwanee Gateway area and is considered the city’s “hospitality hub.” In addition, a new road, Celebration Connector, links Celebration Drive to Old Peachtree Road.

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Trail of Terror: A scary good time For the first time Sims Lake Park was inhabited by Zombies and other creatures after sundown for some spooky fun just before Halloween as the city of Suwanee and the Aurora Theatre brought “Terror on the Trail.” The haunted attraction came to life on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15 and Oct. 21 and 22 as zombies led the brave of heart through the park and told tales of terror.

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RVs, Pool Areas, Drive Thurs, Restaurants, Car Dealerships Just as there’s a chill in the air, local artists headed for area parks Oct. 22 and 23 to take part in the second Plein Air event. Artists could be found painting, drawing, photographing and sculpting local landscapes at nearby parks during the weekend and a reception was held Sunday evening that included an exhibit of the artists work. This is the second Plein Air event. The biannual event was held by the NGAA and Anita’s Artscool in partnership with the city of Suwanee. For more information about NGAA and members, visit

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Moondance Restaurant and Lounge ribbon cutting The new Moondance Restaurant and Lounge, located at 300 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Suwanee, held a ribbon cutting Oct. 14. Among those in attendance were Vince DeSilva Sr., vice president of membership services at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Suwanee City Council members Dick Goodman and Kevin McOmber. The Moondance Restaurant and Lounge provides an upscale, fine dining experience and features music and dancing. For more information, visit

A taste of Italy: Festa della Pasta on Main Street

Suwanee residents feasted on pasta and garlic rolls at the annual Festa della Pasta held on Sept. 30 by the Suwanee Downtown Development Authority. The annual event held al fresco in a festive setting on Main Street in historic Old Town featured live music and food from Ippolito’s Italian Restaurant. This year’s event also included an exhibit of photographs of Italy by Amber Rushing.

Charity starts early in Suwanee 5 year-old Rocco Leimbach of Suwanee recently raised $85 one weekend with an Apple Cider Stand.The young Suwanee entrepreneur donated the funds to the Suwanee SPCA to “help the animals live.” Way to go, Rocco! That’s the community spirit of Suwanee! Rocco Leimbach

City of Suwanee becomes more bicycle friendly The City of Suwanee has installed nearly five miles of sharrows - street markings that remind motorists to share the roadway with bicycles as part of implementation of its 2011 Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan. The sharrows are identified by a bicycle symbol with a double arrow above and are intended to improve the safety relationship between cyclists and drivers. Research has shown, says Suwanee’s Director of Planning Josh Campbell, that these markings make cyclists more comfortable in their portion of the roadway and encourage drivers to give cyclists more space.

Rainbow Pilates grand opening a huge success About 300 people attended the grand

opening of Rainbow Pilates in Suwanee on Oct. 25. Rainbow Pilates is located at 686 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., and offers Pilates, yoga, Tai Chi, zumba and belly dancing. For more information, visit

City of Suwanee Wins Three Awards The city of Suwanee received two Voice of the People Awards for Excellence for having the highest resident-rated parks and overall services among jurisdictions nationwide that participated in the 2010 National Citizen Survey. Suwanee was among nine communities throughout the nation – and the only one in Georgia – to be recognized. To qualify for the Excellence awards, communities had to rate among the top three in service areas according to the 2010 national survey and be in the top 10 percent among more than 500 jurisdictions in the citizen survey database. The city of Suwanee conducted the survey in November 2010; survey results were released in February. Suwanee residents generally rated city services and the overall community very highly, putting the Gwinnett city of 15,500 above the national benchmark in 63 areas. The NCS enables local governments to gather citizen data on budgeting, goal-setting, performance measurement, and program planning. The city of Suwanee generally conducts the National Citizen Survey every two years. The city also received a Downtown Excellence Award for “Best ImageBuilding Campaign.” for Suwanee SculpTour, the city’s public art encounter that features 15 outdoor sculptures in a walkable exhibit in and around Town Center. The award was presented in Rome, Georgia, at the Georgia Downtown Association’s annual conference that honors a coordinated public campaign that promotes overall attention to downtown activities. Walking guides for the SculpTour exhibit are available at City Hall, 330 Town Center Avenue, or online by clicking the “SculpTour” link at the top of the City’s homepage at


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For some area residents, it just would not be the holidays without the holiday events in Suwanee.

Suwanee’s Old Town Holiday Festival and Caboose Lighting

Suwanee Academy of the Arts

Gingerbread House Festival & Contest

By: Tana Christian Suggs

By: Tana Christian Suggs

Leading off the holiday festivities is Suwanee’s Old Town Holiday Festival and Caboose Lighting set for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 on Main Street in Old Town. Little tykes and adults alike wait patiently as Santa Claus makes his way down Main Street to light the red caboose with his holiday magic. And the local school chorus performances and other activities make the Old Town Holiday Festival and Caboose Lighting a holiday highlight for Suwanee residents. For more information on the event, visit

And what would the holidays be without a little traditional holiday baking and the Suwanee Academy of the Arts Gingerbread House Festival and Contest? Put on your baking cap and enter your best gingerbread house in the contest. The annual event is planned for December 3 at the Suwanee Academy of the Arts located on Main Street. In addition to the gingerbread house contest, attendees will be entertained during the festival with song and dance numbers by the Suwanee Academy of Arts performers. For more information about the Gingerbread House Festival and Contest, visit

Shadowbrook Baptist’s 4th Annual Christmas in the Park By: Angela Veugeler

Finally, perhaps nothing offers the true meaning of Christmas more than “Christmas in the Park” from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 9 and 10 at Suwanee’s Town Center Park, presented by Shadowbrook Baptist Church. The 4th annual event brings people out during the chilly weather to experience the Dickens-like village and hopefully remember the reason for the season. According to Pastor Bobby Linkous, the goal is to “Introduce everyone back to a simple Christmas. We want the community to enjoy their city, enjoy their neighbors and enjoy Christmas.” There is no cost for admission, train rides, crafts, hot chocolate, relay races, or any of the other many activities you can take part in on the two December evenings. The “Starry Night Nativity” gives children the opportunity to experience Christmas as a character in the nativity story. Enjoy musical performances by North Gwinnett High School Chorus, Sounds of Suwanee, Shadowbrook’s Worship Choir and many others. New this year will be a magician from Dale Adamson Ministries. The church is collecting canned goods to donate to Caring Hearts Ministry, their food pantry. The pantry is open three days per week, and has been busier than ever during these tough economic times. The 300-400 volunteers from the church work together to make the event a success. “Because of the season and gift of Christ, we like to think of Christmas in the Park as our gift to the community,” says Linkous.



Area residents gather for a Taste of Suwanee


housands of area residents packed Town Center Park on Oct. 8 for the 5th Annual Taste of Suwanee where approximately 85 vendors including restaurants, businesses, artists and clubs were on hand. The annual event, held by the North Gwinnett High School Basketball Booster Club, is a fundraiser that helps the high school basketball teams purchase uniforms and equipment needed during the school year and the basketball season. After a windy 2010 event, festival goers at this year’s Taste of Suwanee strolled through the park on a sun-filled day ambling through vendor tents and tasting a variety of foods. Suzee Northup, a coordinator for the event said every year her sense of pride in the event grows. “It is a tribute to the North Gwinnett High School basketball players, the coaches, parents and student volunteers at North


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Gwinnett that an event of this magnitude can be pulled off,” Northrup said. The event, that has the appearance of a professionally run festival, is made possible by volunteers and many are high school students. “I really think this shows the character of the North Gwinnett Basketball program and the Beta Club, and the pride the kids take in the event allows them to grow as a team,” Northrup said. “It also helps increase an already strong sense of community that is shared by everyone who lives in Suwanee.” And Northrup added “the local sponsors that provide services and donate funds are a big part in making the event possible.” For more information about the annual event, visit the website at

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Suwanee Magazine

I NOV / DEC 11




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By: Tana Christian Suggs

SPLOST Vote set for November 8th


long with city and county elections, on the Nov. 8 ballot, voters in and around the county will have the opportunity to vote for a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, a one cent sales tax on retail sales paid by everyone who shops in Gwinnett County to go to education. Gwinnett County voters first approved a SPLOST for education in 1997 and a continuation of the SPLOST was approved in 2001 and 2006. Since then, SPLOST funds have been used to build 46 new schools, classroom additions and renovations, to buy buses and to expand technology and more. On Nov. 8, SPLOST is up for renewal and if passed, how will Gwinnett County schools be affected?

■ Upgraded technology ■ Air conditioned gymnasiums and kitchens ■ Building of five new schools and nine school additions and renovations ■ Addition of 433 classrooms The SPLOST will also help fund the implementation of e-CLASS, online digital learning to expand students’ learning resources, improve parent-teacher-student communication and collaboration and give teachers better information about students’ learning needs. For more information about the SPLOST and specific clusters and schools, visit or the school district website at

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With picture-perfect weather, thousands of area residents came to Town Center Park Sept. 17 for a community celebration. Vendors lined the park with food, art and more while local performers entertained festival goers at the Town Center Amphitheater. New to this year’s festival was a historic flash mob from the Royal Dance Academy in Suwanee. Suwanee Day is an annual city event held in September. For more information about Suwanee Day, visit

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I NOV / DEC 11

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PHOTOS I SHEILA CRUMRINE North Gwinnett Football Players recently visited Roberts Elementary. The program allows the High School Football Players to visit all the elementary schools and show how being a good role model is important, as is keeping up good grades. The main question that Joe was asked was “Can you open my applesauce?”

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Suwanee Magazine

Kirste and Jace Brooks, Suwanee Councilmember

I NOV / DEC 11

Malcolm Jackson with Coleman Drummonds

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Parker’s Parks Party Saturday, Nov 5th 1p.m.-10p.m. At Several Suwanee Parks Enjoy a PlayTown Suwanee volunteer reunion, fishing at Sims Lake Park, circuit training at Suwanee Creek Park, and petting zoo at White Street Park. The party really gets going from 6-10 p.m. at Town Center Park with a free concert by three hometown crooners: Andy Velo, Jordan Humphrey, and Clark King.


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Old Town Caboose Lighting Friday, Dec 2nd 6:30p.m. Main Street, Historic Old Town

House 3 Gingerbread Festival & Contest

Saturday, Dec 3rd Suwanee Academy of the Arts

9 & Shadowbrook Baptist’s 10 Christmas in the Park Friday, Dec 9th and Saturday, Dec 10th @ 5:30pm Town Center Park

10 & Sugar Hill LDS Choir 11 Christmas Concert

Annual Lighting of the Tree in Duluth The Duluth Fall Festival Committee and the city of Duluth will hold the annual lighting of the tree 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 on the Town Green. The lighting of the tree has been a Duluth holiday tradition for more than 30 years. In addition to the highlight of the evening, the lighting of the tree, the event will also feature the arrival Santa Claus pulled by live reindeer with a police escort as he ushers in the holiday season with greetings to all the boys and girls. The evening will also include performances by the Duluth High School Chorus, a local elementary school chorus and other vocalists.

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Suwanee Magazine November / December 2011  

Community. Culture. Lifestyle. in Suwanee Georgia.

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