NWGA'S PREMIER FEATURE MAGA ZINE / OCTOBER 2018
V3FILES RETURNS WITH A WITNESS WHO NEVER TOOK THE STAND.
Incredible Property For Sale in Mentone, Alabama 89 County Road 936 Mentone 1,600 +/- ft frontage on Little River 157+/- acre wooded hunting land, pond & hiking trails Newly renovated 1920s stone house and guest quarters Tremendous riverfront development potential Idyllic private retreat $2,900,000
706-291- 4321 2
ARCHITECTURE and DESIGN
501 Broad Street, Suite 320, Rome, Georgia 30161
(706) 383 - 1043
Rome Floyd Chamber of Commerce, Photograph by Burton Photography
It's All In Our Name...
nissan • gmc • buick • honda 4
HeritageRome.com • RomeNissan.com • HeritageRomeHonda.com 706.291.2277 V3 MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2018
706.237.7370 ROME, GEORGIA
OCT. COLUMNS 12 2018
JIM ALRED takes a good hard look in the mirror, and realizes that he has already won the race because he is his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son.
The thrill of the auction has kept this family business thriving through thick and thin, and it seems that nothing will stop DEMPSEY AUCTION COMPANY from banking on the bid.
Welcome to WOODFORD CLOTHING, where fashion-forward and luxury apparel are paired with a veteran who knows what looks good on you.
Now 150 years strong, the connection families have made and memories they share while attending Campmeetings at MORRISON CAMPGROUND show no signs of stopping.
V3 FILES returns this year with a spirit who walks the halls of the FLOYD COUNTY COURTHOUSE and longs to tell her tale of betrayal, infidelity and murder.
Rome Middle School has seen success on the field, but COACH CHARLES SMITH hopes to train better people outside the lines of competition.
706.295.0014 • 3126 Cedartown Hwy SW, Rome, GA 30161-4314 • www.RenaissanceMarquis.com OCTOBER 2018
OCTOBER IS UPON us and strange things are afoot. Horror movie marathons are playing on just about every channel, spider webs and headstones are scattered across our homes and lawns, and cool fall breezes have replaced the stagnant summer humidity. This month ushers in my favorite time of year via a rush of activity ranging from local OW N E R & C EO Ian Griffin festivals and events to a plethora of birthdays and anniversaries. It’s a hair-on-fire kind of month and while that heat on my bonnet is created by celebrating things and people I enjoy immensely, it does make for a little added stress. Luckily for me, one of my favorite stress relievers is watching a good flick and, even more so, a good scary flick. The movies that used to make me a walking mess just from watching the previews have become a guilty pleasure over the years. It’s a blend of suspense, special effects, mystery and storytelling (all of which can be good or bad) that makes the popcorn better and the couch all the more comfortable. I’m also a fan of B movies (you know, a flick made with a budget barely over the price of a good used car), so bad horror movies are my absolute favorite. When the acting is more horrific than the movie, it creates comedy gold and the horror movies of my childhood are riddled with it. One film trend I’ve really enjoyed is the 80s revival that is running rampant with movies like “IT” and the Netflix series, Stranger Things. The latter, of course, inspired our front cover this month and is basically what I would imagine the love child of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter would create. The fact that everyone on the V3 staff loves the series, even though most of them were either still in diapers or weren’t born when the best 80s horror movie gold hit the silver screen, makes me want to have a mandatory movie day at our office. I mean, I can’t sit idly by and allow them to go on living without seeing “Goonies”, “Monster Squad”, “The Lost Boys”, “Flatliners”, “Fright Night”… and the list goes on forever, and when I quote or mention these movies by name I get a confused, “what the hell are you talking about old man?” look. I’m used to the “old man look” at home, too. My boys are too young for the scary stuff so we stick to the classics, but my daughter enjoys a good scare as much as I do. She is about to graduate from high school and head off to college and since my wife can barely watch an episode of Hollywood Medium without getting freaked, I will be without a horror movie buddy at the house. She is a busy kid, so our downtime rarely coincides. My transition is in progress. Watching Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees run amuck against helpless teenagers will be a mostly solo effort this October, but it is comforting to know one of my kids will carry on the tradition though…guilty pleasure or not. Happy Halloween!
OWNER & CEO Ian Griffin EDITORIAL MANAGER Oliver Robbins, Jr. MAG ART & DESIGN Ellie Borromeo WRITERS Oliver Robbins, Jr., Holly Lynch, Jim Alred, Lauren Jones-Hillman, Jennifer Luitwieler, McKenzie Todd, Rachel Reiff, Ian Griffin, J. Bryant Steele, DeMarcus Daniel EXECUTIVE PHOTOGRAPHER Cameron Flaisch CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Jason Hyunh AD SALES + CLIENT RELATIONS Chris Forino AD DESIGN Elizabeth Blount Ellie Borromeo PUBLISHER V3 Publications, LLC CONTACT 417 Broad Street Rome, Ga. 30161 Office Phone 706.235.0748 firstname.lastname@example.org CREATOR Neal Howard
about our cover October's cover was created by Jeremy Hulsey of MindSpread Graphics and features the V3 Staff. See more art by searching Facebook using the keyword "MindSpread", and connect with Hulsey by phone at 706-844-4698 or by email at email@example.com.
Call Karren Green 706.378.5311 NMLS #537284
Apply online at www.heritagefirstbank.com
For “Good Bones” Or A New Home, Apply for a Construction Loan Today!
eBANK: Always Open at www.heritagefirstbank.com MAIN OFFICE: 501 Broad Street 706.378.5300 WEST ROME: 2211 Shorter Avenue 706.378.5305 ARMUCHEE: 2950 Martha Berry Blvd. 706.314.0560
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 1ST @ 1:30pm
The living estate of Mrs. J.L. (Doris) Todd 2 Story, 5500+/- sq. ft Executive Home
Located at 226 Maplecrest Lane in the Village at Maplewood • Rome, Floyd County, GA
4 b/r 5 ba • Gourmet Kitchen • Large Master Suite w. His & Hers Bath • In-Law Suite • Large, Private Lot A Lifetime Collection of Fine Furnishings, Collectables and Antiques No expense was spared in the furnishing and decorating of this magnificent home. All personalty will be sold on auction day at ABSOLUTE AUCTION!
SALE SITE: LAWRENCE PLANTATION BALLROOM, 127 WINDING RD SW, ROME, GA Dempsey Auction is honored to be working in conjunction with the J.L. Todd Auction Company in the production of this monumental auction. Randy Land CEO firstname.lastname@example.org or 706.252.0532 CO-BROKERAGE: BROKER PARTICIPATION: Dempsey Auction Co will pay any licensed Broker/Agent a 2% commission for any registered client who successfully closes on the property. CONTACT OUR OFFICE FOR PRECISE DETAILS. OPEN HOUSE: Auction Representatives will be at the home Sunday, October 21st, 29th; Wednesday, October 31st from 1:00-4:00. Auction Representatives are always available for private showings, please contact either office.
Please visit our web site located at WWW.DEMPSEYAUCTION.COM or WWW.JLTODD.COM For plats, brochures, inventory catalogs or further sales information on this auction, call us by name @1.800.DEMPSEY (800.336.7739) or J.L. Todd Auction Co @706.291.7007 GAL#113, GAL#316
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A Father’s Favor
For the Love of the Game with Jim Alred
very now and then, I write a different column. And while it is personal, my hope is that it strikes something in the reader, because I know they have people in their lives similar to the ones I’m writing about. The picture is a bit yellowed and it’s definitely old. A tiny baby with a head full of jet-black hair sticking up all over his head and large eyes rests on his father’s chest. The dad also with a head full of jet-black hair and glasses is looking at his baby boy. The baby’s ear is pressed against his dad. I imagine the infant is listening to the deep rumble of his dad’s voice. In mid-October, my dad will celebrate his 70th birthday. Crazily enough, it will come exactly one week after I turn 46. So, I guess it means my father has to be about 24 in the photo. Thinking about it now, I wonder what my dad was thinking. I wonder if he had a vision for my future. The funny thing about it is I can never remember a time in my life that my dad wasn’t there. I remember him teaching me how to hit and catch a fly ball and serving as an assistant coach for the baseball team I played on. My dad knew baseball, football and basketball. He had played all three. He was ambidextrous, so he could shoot well with his right or his left hand. Playing horse against him was terrible, because he’d switch hands to shoot and quickly put a slew of letters on you. When soccer came to the East Tennessee town we lived in, I joined a team that promptly lost every game. My dad complained to the league coordinator, and she asked him if he was volunteering to coach. My dad knew next to nothing about soccer, but he wanted to make sure I had the best experience
possible. So he coached my team for a few seasons. Our team was never great, but we worked hard and even managed to finish second in the league a couple of times. I loved soccer, but when it came time for me to choose between distance running and soccer, my dad stayed out of it. He knew the right choice; at least as far as my ability to do the sport in college went. A few years later he told me he stayed out of it, because I needed to make the right choice for me. It’s kind of funny. I was a faster runner than my dad by the time I was in fifth or sixth grade. But he could kick my butt at basketball just about whenever he wanted even giving away four inches. His balky knees did catch up, but I’m pretty sure if he had healthy knees, he’d still take me to town. During my senior year of high school my debate coach was unable to take us to several tournaments. I was being recruited by a couple of college programs and needed to go to the tournaments. Yes. That’s right. I was a distance runner and a debater, so you can imagine I was a big hit with the ladies. In order for my high school team to compete at the tournaments, we had to bring someone who could judge debates. So I sat down and taught my dad how to judge. Most people would have gone through the motions. Not my dad. When he had a tough debate to judge, he kept his notes and brought them to me. I would read over them and then tell him whom I would have voted for. Each time, he smiled and nodded. He had voted for the right team. I know we butted heads probably far more times than can be counted. Even when we were at odds, we could always talk sports. Whether it was the Atlanta Braves, Auburn or anything else,
sports remained that topic that allowed us to get away from whatever we disagreed on and just talk. And there was fishing. My dad taught me how to fish and helped me land my first big catfish. After dad hooked him, I think it took 11-year-old me a good 15 minutes to reel it in. However, a lot of our fishing trips turned out to be more about talking than catching fish. In fact, many family members have joked on more than one occasion about my lack of luck when it comes to fishing.
When I became a sportswriter, I oftentimes remembered the conversations my father and I had. We always delved a bit deeper into the games or sports. I decided to do this same thing in my writing, looking and digging for something that other writers might not see. Honestly, I knew I
might have a future as a sportswriter early on when my dad complimented me on my writing. During my time in Southwest Florida, I befriended some fishing boat captains and got to go out in the Gulf with my dad. One particular captain put us on top of a grouper hole and my dad and I caught too many fish to count. We were done after three hours and our arms and back were sore for several days after. There is a photo of us each holding a large grouper and wearing ear-to-ear smiles that always brings a smile to my face. That day might have been the best fishing day either of us has ever had. And don’t get me started about my dad and my kids. I’m pretty sure he’s allowed both of my daughters to do anything they want. Not in a bad way but in that way that grandparents always seem to have. Spoil the grandkids rotten and then hand them back to their parents when they get tired and cranky. At a class reunion several years ago, a longtime friend told me I looked exactly like my father. When I relayed this to my dad the next day he laughed and said something along the lines of, “Poor you.” Everyone has people we look up to and hope we can emulate. I always wanted to be Bo Jackson. Yep, that didn’t happen. I also wanted to be Steve Prefontaine. Not even close. Instead, I’ve had the opportunity to be like a man I respect and admire far more than words can say. My hope is that I not only look like my dad but that I have been able to live up to example he set for me. And if I happen to look like my dad as well, it’s not poor me. It’s lucky me. *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.
10/2/18 4:34 PM
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My Creative Journey
C E LE BR AT IN G 1 5 YEA RS Art exhibit By Siri Selle Friday, November 9th @ 6:00 PM @ The Historic DeSoto Theatre
C O ME C E L E B R AT E WI T H U S !
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE SPONSORS! Regina Wilson Davis Robert D. Davis & Ann Patterson
MW Designs, LLC Megan Watters
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Sir When the opportunity to help families arises, Coach Charles Smith rushes faster than a Rome Middle School lineman about to sack the opposing teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quarterback. text DeMarcus Daniel
photos Cameron Flaisch
hat do Tom Osborne of Nebraska, Nick Saban of Alabama, and Charles Smith of Rome Middle School all have in common? They have all won numerous championships at their level of football, they all have an immeasurable impact on their players that carries over to the next level of play, and whenever either of them walks in a room, most feel that greatness has arrived. A trophy case is a trophy case no matter the level, and a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impact is important no matter how it is made. To be a coach in youth sports a person must wear many hats. Mentor, father or mother-figure, community activist and teacher are just a few the men and women who wear the whistle must rest upon their heads. Coach Smith wears them all and takes on any roles he feels will help to inspire young people. Some people, it seems, are just born to lead and a selfless approach to life is just as natural as running the ball on first and ten. As a football coach of 20 years in the Rome area and, currently at Rome Middle, Coach Smith's name
While serving as the middle school head football coach, he won multiple area and region championships. Under Coach Smith's leadership, Rome made a name for themselves on the field almost immediately in seventh and eighth grade football, and added a sixth grade team in 2012. After appearing in championship games at differing grade levels, Rome won its first championship in 2013 by winning the sixth-grade level trophy and the same group of players won again in 2015 as eight grade students. Those players, as well as those from the previous sixth grade team, all played on one or both of Rome's Back-to-Back
rings loudly in the community. Two of his passions are helping people and working with kids. This 2018 Heart of the Community Award winner is the founder of the Building Positive Families Foundation, which spearheads parenting, life skills and mentoring classes. Smith is also the Founder of the Distinguished Gentlemen, a group of young elementary males who are being taught to act as the name of the club states, distinguished gentlemen. They dress in very dapper and professional attire by wearing sports coats and ties, they act as a gentleman should and they lead the way for their peers. They have appeared as ushers for social events around town and served their school system when called upon. Smith is also employed by Rome City Schools as a Behavioral Interventionist at Anna K. Davie Elementary School, so his
ABOVE Reece Fountain, player 3
impact on kids is more social than sports. Coach Smithâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s philosophy is that you must have an impact â&#x20AC;&#x153;beyond the field" to really make a difference. In the football world, Charles Smith is a household name in many different ways. As a member of East Rome High School's Back-to-Back (197778) championship football teams, he earned a scholarship to the University of Georgia and was a member of the 1980 National Championship team, as well as three SEC Championship teams with the Dawgs.
(2016-17) State Championship teams. They all benefitted from playing together and learning the system under Coach Smith at Rome Middle School. “Starting in the sixth grade allows the kids to play together for six years,” he explains. “It also allows them to condition, workout, learn the system and become known in the program together. The three years in the Rome Middle program are important for learning high school expectation levels, high school competition levels, and for our athletes to find themselves and their potential football position. By the eighth grade, the players' bodies give our coaches an idea of what position they may play in high school football." When he takes off his whistle and sits down, you have the family man, Charles Smith. Smith is the husband of Mrs. Regina Smith, and father of Toryan and Kiara Smith. Smith took a few years away from RMS to coach and follow his children's football and basketball careers. Toryan, a Rome High standout at linebacker, went on to graduate and play football for the University of Notre Dame. Kiara was a local basketball star who went on to play collegiately for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Regina, his wife, is a major player in the Building Positive Families Foundation as well as the Distinguished Gentlemen. She is also employed with Rome City Schools and is the concession stand manager for all events. “Look for us to be around when we aren’t traveling. We don’t have much to do since the kids are grown and gone,” says the mentoring-focused coach. “It’s fun to be out and about and helping folks.” You can't mention Rome Middle and not mention Charles Smith. Make sure to check out the Rome Wolves’ middle school teams this fall as they embark on another year of learning, having fun and seeking championships.
FAIR 70 Years of Fair Fun
Submitted by Ashle
SOU T H ER N SURGIC A L A RT S C H AT TA N O O G A
OCTOBER 18TH from 6 – 8:30 PM Join us for a fantastical night filled with cocktails, food, music, and our biggest savings of the year. Come take advantage of our special offers and enter to win our amazing giveaways. It’s an evening of surprise you don’t want to miss! RSVP at SouthernSurgicalArts.com/Events or at 423.266.3331
1405 Cowart Street
Chelsey, Linley and Wilkes
Chattanooga, TN 37408 OCTOBER 2018
ABOVE From left to right: Chase Tolbert, Georgeanna Dempsey, Ray Dempsey and Louie Ray Dempsey, Jr. 22
ABOVE Louie Ray Dempsey, Jr., President
ALL IN T HE FAMI LY Steeped in a family history that is rich with stories from the podium, this auction company was born to broker the bid.
good auction can set your soul on fire. The feeling is almost poetic. Your eyes lock on the item you want, and stealthily, you bid. Trying not to seem too interested, but just interested enough, the price climbs - but there’s almost no price too high. It’s the competitive spirit that keeps you moving forward, the rush of knowing that eventually, those bidding against you must tucker out, right? Sometimes the loss hits harder than an anvil to your gut, but when you achieve, the silence following the auctioneer’s final word sounds like roaring applause in your ears. Going once. Going twice. Sold. The Dempsey Auction Company has been bringing this experience to buyers for 53 years. A
text Lauren Hillman-Jones
photos Andy Calvert
third-generation auction company, they’ve travelled throughout the southeast, turning one man’s “trash” into another man’s “treasure”. Where some traditional companies may grow obsolete with age, Dempsey Auction Company has evolved with the times, with their eyes fixed on the future. It was the 1940s. Sproull Dempsey was a dairyman and his family’s farm spanned the area that is now the Richard B. Russell Airport. After selling some of the land to the government, there were a few hundred acres left over, being auctioned off. As the auctioneers did what they could to sell the assets, Sproull knew he could do better. He started working the crowd. It’s a story that’s been told to the President of Dempsey Auction Company, Louie Ray Dempsey, Jr., dozens of times.
“My grandfather got so excited,” says Dempsey. “He fired up the people in the crowd and helped sell off the rest of the land. He had a real a knack for the auction business, and the gentleman running the auction saw that. It was Buck Todd, and he asked him if he wanted to come and work for him at Todd Auction Company.” Sproull Dempsey worked with Todd Auction Company for about two decades before going into business for himself in 1965, with the help of his sons, Sproull Dempsey Jr. and Ray Dempsey. Since then, the Dempsey Auction Company has been booming with business. Their mission is to transform clients' real assets into liquid assets for the highest price, using both traditional methods and modern technology. OCTOBER 2018
Throughout the decades, the words “Dempsey Auction Company” have become synonymous with the word “auction” across the South.
Bidding for a Bargain Dempsey, who was born and raised into the auction business, doesn’t have many childhood memories that don’t involve helping his dad in some way. “I remember putting up auction signs in tents when I was a kid and selling Cokes (that were supposed to be given away),” he recalls. “I would travel with my dad and work with the tent crews. We would ride miles and miles. There was a time when we travelled from Texas to Virginia and did business there and everywhere in between.”
The Dempsey’s auctions sell mostly real estate, presenting everything from residential, agricultural, recreational, resort, investment, commercial and industrial properties. “We sell it all,” he says. “We sell all over the southeast.” But the business that’s been around for more than half a century has seen a few hard times in its days. “The Recession in 2008 changed everything,” says Dempsey. “It changed all we ever knew about the auction business. Everything traditional went out the window.” During those volatile, uncertain financial times, the company had to vet their clients like never before, checking titles on each and every piece of property making sure there were no leans, additional mortgages, etc. “A lot of folks didn’t know what shape they were in,” he says. “There were a lot of things that lenders and financial institutions did to secure loans. At that time, we even had to get paid up front because the valuations were no longer the same. Property values diminished so much and people’s ability to borrow money was gone.” But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and smarter. Now, the business is flourishing with
its focus sternly on its clientele, and doesn’t show the slightest sign of slowing down. “We’re dealing with real people selling real property, and paying with real money,” says Dempsey. “Most of our buyers are cash buyers. There’s a lot of cash still out there, it’s just been sitting on the sidelines.” The most exciting auction the Dempseys have ever led, he says, was when they represented the receivership of Floyd County Schools following the high-profile RICO case that saw 13 people criminally charged following decades-long thefts from the school system. The auction, held in November of 2017, brought in about $1,045,000. “We registered over 2,500 people and had over 3,000 attendees,” says Dempsey. “We sold guns, equipment, vehicles, yeti coolers, furnishing and real estate.”
The Times, They Are A-Changin’
ABOVE From left to right: Georgeanna Dempsey, Chase Tolbert and Katrina McCord 24
In order to thrive in the modern world, the Dempseys knew they had to remain current with the times and make necessary adjustments to their business platform. “When the internet came in the scene in the 1990s, we were one of the first auction companies online with a website,” says Dempsey, adding with a laugh, “Those were the days of dial-up.” But the World Wide Web took the Dempsey Auction Company to a whole new level. “Suddenly, we were able to reach people we’d never reached before. We have a platform where we can have online auctions as well as live, onsite auctions. We also have an app in development for online sales.” By utilizing society’s continuous technological advancements, Dempsey only sees his compa-
ABOVE Tom Lindsey - Estate Auction Specialist
ny growing and spreading even farther across the region. “At one time we had a number of agents, a lot of auctioneers working under one roof, but we see it growing far outside the office,” he says. “Licensed auctioneers throughout the southeast bring their business to us. They won’t be under the Dempsey roof, but they sell under the Dempsey tent.” Although the internet is helping traditional businesses like the Dempseys’ climb to unprecedented heights, Dempsey maintains there’s nothing like attending a live, onsite auction. “An auction is generated off of emotion,” he says. “The competition, the excitement. It’s hard to generate that kind of excitement on a computer. What drives people is the bargain. Nobody comes
to an auction expecting to pay retail price. If you can get a good deal, it’s the emotional buy-in. Once somebody starts bidding, they’re emotionally involved; they have an emotional stake in it.” It’s those pulse-thumping moments, he says, that generally bring in the most cash in this very dramatic business. “I sold a spinning wheel once for $6,600 in an estate situation with family members bidding against family members,” he says. “I’ve seen friends bid against each other; I’ve seen husbands and wives bid against each other.” As much fun as it is to attend and bid at an auction, Dempsey says it’s even more fun to run one, especially when it benefits people in your community.
“It’s extremely fun,” says Dempsey. “Not one day is the same, and we meet some of the most interesting people you’ll ever know. Everyone has a story. That’s one thing we pride ourselves on, is nurturing relationships. We don’t want to go into a community and just sell a piece of property. We maintain relationships with the communities we get to know.” That sentiment is what keeps the Dempsey Auction Company going strong after all this time, and will see it far into the future. After all, in the words of Sproull Dempsey Sr., “Nothing Succeeds Like Success.”
Cheers to 70 years!
Serving Our Community Since 1948 328 Broad St. Rome, Ga. 30161 • 706-291-7236 • GreenesJewelers.com
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TWILL TWEED or
T HESE FASHION AFICIONADOS H AVE TRAV ELED THE COUNTRY LOOKING FOR JUST TH E RIGHT ST YLES TO BRING TO BROAD STREET. TEXT MCKENZIE TODD PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERON FLAISCH
lothes make the man.” First coined by Shakespeare in “Hamlet,” “apparel oft proclaims the man” but later brought back to life by Mark Twain; the phrase rings true even today as what we wear not only affects how others perceive us, but how we perceive ourselves. Jody Brandon of Woodford Clothing (13 East 3rd Avenue, Rome) zealously represents this concept through his choice of tailored fashion, as well as all throughout the elegantly decorated store named Woodford, which has proved a success in the 11 months that it has been open on Broad Street. Brandon was born and raised in Cartersville, Ga., and his children attended Darlington, marking him a Roman by association. “I have always loved
Rome...the energy and excitement of this small town is immeasurable. I felt the time was right for a new clothing store with a new level of service in Rome,” says Brandon. He feels the missing piece of the puzzle was Woodford Clothing. “The idea of Woodford Clothing came about during the summer of 2017,” explains Brandon. “Mary Helen Heaner and Andrew Heaner (who own the business) had always imagined introducing a store rooted in classic clothing and classic service to Rome. So, we got together and decided we would open Woodford Clothing.” The Heaners then employed Jeff Brooks and Jim Hunter to complete the renovation of the building. Jody designed the plans for the store and Jeff brought them to life. Reformation on the OCTOBER 2018
building lasted from May until October of 2017, prompting the opening of Woodford Clothing to take place during the last week of October. Jody describes how he and the Heaners agreed they would open a classic, traditional men’s and ladies clothing store with classical lines. “From my experience having worked in Atlanta, New York and California, I was very comfortable with this vision,” says Brandon. “Since we have opened, we have been building our brand and clientele.” As soon as you enter Woodford Clothing’s ornate double-doors, the prodigious feeling of esteem immediately grabs you by the arm and leads you to one of the many shelves holding Woodford’s best. Many ladies (myself included) who enter to browse are drawn to a gorgeous Louis Vuitton duffle bag and a wealth of accessories found on the first floor. Each curious shopper is met by one of Woodford’s knowledgeable representatives who are happy to welcome and serve every customer who comes through the door. It is apparent that the goal is to make their time in the high-end boutique an easy and enjoyable shopping experience.
Brandon brings more than 30 years of experience to Woodford Clothing. Throughout his career, he has worked for top retail stores including Guffey’s of Atlanta, Robert Talbott Company and H. Stockton in Atlanta. “I graduated from the University of Georgia, and when I finished school, I did not really know what I wanted to do,” explains Brandon. “I had always been interested in clothing, so I came across a wonderful store in Atlanta called Guffey’s of Atlanta. In no time, I had worked myself into a buying position in this small, high-end specialty store. Mr. Don Guffey, who owned the business, sort of took me under his wing. I traveled with him to New York, the Market in Atlanta, etc. and I absolutely loved it. “After a period of time, I transitioned to H. Stockton in Atlanta and was then hired by the Robert Talbott Company. Mrs. Talbott hired me exclusively to travel to New York and open a Robert Talbott store on Madison Avenue. I went to New York and sat on a five-gallon bucket for six months while the store was being built. I then hired my
staff and we accomplished our target level of sales. This is when Mrs. Talbott came to me with another proposition. They had two stores in California that were not doing well, and she wanted me to spend time out there to come up with a business plan to turn the stores around,” recalls Brandon. “I went to the Carmel/ Monterey, California area to start work in that store, but quickly, my job turned into managing the California and New York operations. I was traveling back and forth from coast to coast. It was a lot, but I learned a lot,” says Brandon. Shortly after Jody’s stint of travel from Cali to New York, his wife, DeLean, found out she was pregnant with their first child, which urged them to make the move back to Cartersville in order to truly settle down. “Once we got back, I knew I wanted to open two retail stores, one in Rome and one in Cartersville. We started with one store in Cartersville called J. Brandon Clothiers,” says Brandon. J. Brandon Clothiers successfully operated for six years until the closing of the store in the
spring of 2004—encouraging Jody to explore another one of his loves in life, interior design. Jody ran an interior design firm until 2017 when he jumped, head first, into Woodford Clothing with the Heaners after working on an interior design project for them. “When Mary Helen shared her idea of opening a higher-end clothing store, I jumped at the chance. I love the clothing business. This was just a great opportunity all around and Rome is a great town for it,” smiles Brandon.
ABOVE From left to right: Jennifer Moore, Jody Brandon, DeLean Brandon
Woodford Clothing is characterized by the many who shop there as a “one-of-a-kind” store and shopping experience. Perhaps that is because Jody Brandon himself is one-of-a-kind, with some great stories. “One rainy morning in New York, I had gotten to the store early, and I had noticed that this black Cadillac limousine had pulled up out front of the store. The chauffeur got out and buzzed in asking, ‘Are you open for business?’ I said sure, why not? He opened the back door of the Cadillac and out slid Johnny Cash. He asked me for six bow ties, all of them black,” laughs Brandon. “During another afternoon, there were three of us working and the store was packed. All of a sudden, what once was a bustling store, completely stood still. Mick Jagger had walked in. He bought half-a-dozen sport shirts. He was the nicest guy.” Woodford’s clothing expert recalls these stories and one common element is part of each and every one: one-of-a-kind service plays a role in developing loyal clientele.
He has carried these fundamentals of customer service to Woodford Clothing and their commitment to service is evident in the services the store offers. Tailoring, alterations, gift wrapping and gift services, as well as engraving and monogramming are all part of Woodford’s basic services. Brandon, his wife DeLean and Jennifer Moore work as styling consultants, and will provide wardrobing and styling services in home or in store for customers. “One of the things I am very particular about, which comes from working in New York City, Atlanta and California, is customer service. At Woodford Clothing, we go to the ends to take care of all of our customer’s needs with pleasure. Whatever you need, we are here,” says Brandon. “A gentleman here in town was getting ready to go to Europe on a trip and at the last minute, he noticed that he needed a tuxedo shirt. We were able to get it overnighted and delivered to him before he left the next day. We want all of our customers here in Rome to experience that kind of service,” says Brandon. Woodford Clothing also prefers to keep small collections in store; “We do a great business with small designers like Emerson Fry and J Brand Jeans, as well as some higher end brands like Lafayette 148,” explains Brandon. “Of course, you can never go wrong with a white blouse and a cashmere sweater. Also, you always need a black dress and we have plenty to choose from here at Woodford Clothing,” smiles Brandon. “We use our expertise and connections to bring exclusive, curated brands to our customers in Rome, so they can have great clothes without leaving town or ‘guess shopping’ online.” One can see while browsing at Woodford that Brandon finds a lot of inspiration in Ralph Lauren
and his lines. “They are a classic clothing company, always has been,” says Brandon. “Ralph Lauren’s style and his fashion are timeless, which is how I would describe our clothes here at Woodford.” At the top of the steps to the ladies’ department, customers are greeted with three statement photographs of Audrey Hepburn, Jaclyn Kennedy and Grace Kelly. These women serve as Brandon’s fashion icons. “Our men’s business stays more classic, but our women’s offerings are changing in order to stay up-to-date with the market. We read all fashion magazines, from Elle to Cigar Aficionado and others. We also regularly spend time in New York twice a year to explore the fashion world,” says Brandon. Although, he doesn’t mind staying on top of the fashion world—in fact, it is his passion. “Mrs. Talbott taught me so much… not handson, but by giving me the freedom to develop and to offer customers what they wanted. I feel as if that has given me the confidence and ability to run Woodford Clothing and make the business successful,” Brandon explains. Where Woodford Clothing is indeed successful, that has not stopped Brandon’s will to continue succeeding and developing ways to make his customers happy. “One of the overall goals for us is to expand our shopping experience to include e-commerce within the next year,” says Brandon. There is no doubt that the quality of clothing, as well as the quality of people, makes Woodford Clothing an amazing addition to the fashion and shopping experience in Rome. If you don’t believe me, just go and take a peak for yourself. But save a Louis Vuitton duffle bag for me.
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are just etched into your being. These traditions are ones that folks have always observed since childhood, and often woven into the fabric of a culture. And so, these traditions carry on, over and over again. Up Kingston Highway, deep in the bends of Morrison Campground Road, is a campground that shares its name with the country road. Established in 1868, after a donation of the land by E.R. Morrison, the space is home to an annual 10-day religious retreat. Named Campmeeting, this year’s attendees celebrate their 150th anniversary, and the place in the woods where they found a spiritual common ground years ago.
Despite advertising efforts, like billboards, newspaper ads and word of mouth, there is not a lot of widespread knowledge about the unique religious experience. “We advertise,” says Laura Martin, a member of the third generation of her family that has attended Campmeetings; the family roots at Morrison Campground are now five generations deep. “We've heard what people think. Some assume that it’s only for cabin owners, or that we are ‘cult-ish,’” Martin says before her cousin, Wendy Robert interjects, “We are not a cult!” and the table of campers burst into laughter. Martin and Robert, along with their mothers, twin sisters Ludye Fincher and Judye Williams are experts on the history of Morrison Campground.
Fincher’s and Williams’ father bought a cabin (called tents back then because attendees used tents before cabins were built) when they were young girls, and Campmeeting has been an event they haven’t missed in over 60 years. “Campmeeting is a part of life. There are times we have not taken a vacation, because we had to attend Campmeeting,”, says Ludye. Martin recalls a year when she told her children that, due to conflicts in scheduling, they had to pick between Campmeeting and attending Disney World. “They picked Campmeeting,” Martin says. “It’s in our heart; it’s what we know.”
Ludye has a great grandchild attending this year. That child will be the fifth generation of their family to take part in this time-tested event. Campmeeting is a 10-day outdoor church service where all denominations are welcome to join in worship. “It was originally Methodist only, but it grew to become so family-based, that we opened our service to everyone. There is usually a Methodist preacher and a Baptist preacher, and for our 150th Anniversary celebration, there will even more speakers,” Martin explains. With the services taking place underneath a large pavilion, outdoors and on wooden pews in July, some would think that comfort would be an issue. The ladies ensure that it is not. Large fans have been installed under the structure to keep the air moving. Organizers also schedule the services at 11a.m. when the morning air is still cool and at 8 p.m. when the midday sun finds its resting place before nightfall. The cabins on the other hand, are a different story altogether. In the early years of Campmeeting, families used to stay in tents. As time passed, cabins were built provide more reliable shelter. The walls do provide more peace of mind than the walls of a tent, but these are not the modernized cabins often found at campgrounds scattered across the Northwest Georgia countryside. These are cabins that connect families with nature and each other. There is no television, no air conditioning and the cell phone reception is almost nonexistent. Because of these conditions, families don’t hang around inside the cabins during the day. “It’s too hot in those cabins!" all of the ladies unanimously exclaim. At night, a fan is necessary to get any relief from the humid summer air. In the daytime, when there are no services, families sit on the front porches of
the cabins with enormous fans circulating the air. “And the big fans keep the bugs away," Martin adds. However, there are some sweet amenities to Campmeeting. “The Stand" is a concessions building that offers ice cream and sweet candy to the attendees. “On the Thursday of Campmeeting, we have over 50 flavors of homemade ice cream,” Martin says. There also is a natural spring across the street. The water in the spring is bone-chilling, even smack-dab in the middle summer. It’s cold enough for campers to cool watermelons in the bed of the creek. The children use the spring for recreational activities like swimming and fishing, and the crystal-clear stream is even safe for drinking. The men build a dam that allows the water to collect creating the perfect swimming hole. After the ten-day service, they break the dam and allow the water to take its natural course. This 150th anniversary was memorable and special events were planned daily. There was an old-fashioned day where attendees dressed in attire from the 1860’s when the camp started. There were numerous singing performances, including The Adorations, a Southern gospel group that the twins, Ludye and Judye are members of. The Salvation Army celebrated 130 years in Rome, Ga. during Campmeeting. The Methodist
district superintendent spoke words of encouragement before the congregation and Dr. Gil Watson served as emcee for the week. There was a night of cabin and family history shared, a memorial night honoring those who have passed on, all of this in addition to children’s church every day and bible study every night. People come from as far as Texas to attend Campmeeting. It is open to all religions or anyone who wants to become a part of an ages-old meeting with people who appreciate the simple joys found in the foothills of Appalachia. Robert emphatically states again, “And remember, we are not a cult!” Go. Rejoice. Enjoy Campmeeting at Morrison Campground on the country road of the same name. Who knows, you may find out it is just right for you.
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Downtown Rome, Ga., across the street from the Law Enforcement Center and home to a bell tower standing guard over the confluence of Rome’s three mighty rivers is a structure of many names. Some call it The Old Courthouse; the Tag Office also is one of the more commonly used monikers. When you enter its doors, the age of the building reveals itself. Mile-high ceilings, carefully chiseled columns, and regal marble floors all transport its visitors to a time of pride in craftsmanship and the hours invested in a passion. So, it is certainly fitting that the deep appreciation for dedication, loyalty and the grind would often lead to unforgivable disappointment, served up by those careless with the hearts of the passionate. This, almost always, is a recipe for disaster. Often, the pain is the motive for murder. If you head towards the the restroom,inside the front doors and just to your left before the stairs, the walls tell a story. This is the story of justice served cold, delivered from a woman scorned and in the form of a revolver. Time is great at hiding what these walls have seen so the evidence will not stick out to the average passerby. Those who have wandered the hallways of our beloved Floyd County Courthouse during the hours when the lights are low and the room is still tell a different tale.
“ In my opinion the Floyd County Courthouse is one of, if not the most, haunted locations in Rome.”
They say a spirit trapped between here and the unknown is still mad as hell and some have the evidence to prove it. In the early 1950s, the building served as the courthouse where defendants were tried and sentences were handed down. One case, involving a woman on the brink of divorce, a cheating man and his prideful lover would not need the ruling from the bench to decide the fate of all. It was a contentious session that spanned multiple days. Things were said, secrets were revealed and, of course, some feelings were hurt. As the old story goes, during testimony the jilted wife was laughed at by her husband’s other woman. This laughter plagued the wife through-
out the night. There she sat, sleepless and going through a divorce. She was losing her husband to a lady who was once a friend, and then there was the laughter. She heard it echo through her mind until she toed the line between rationality and revenge. She was fed up and was about to take action. Tomorrow would be the day the laughter would stop, for good. The next morning, the mistress and her sisters were walking into the courthouse for another day of proceedings. As the man’s lover walked through the doors, out stepped the wife who was waiting with a loaded firearm. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom, boom, boom! The wife fired six shots, three into the mistress,
two into the wall, and one hit the restroom door molding. That damage is still there if you look closely, in both the door and “something happened here” patches in the plaster beside the door. This is just one of many events that happened in the old courthouse that has seemingly left a residue. There have always been rumors of people seeing or hearing things. Doors closing, chains dragging and footsteps when no one is around are all regular experiences around this place. “I’ve never seen anything during the day. But at times when I must come by at night, this is a creepy place,” says Tax Commissioner Kevin Payne. The courthouse has been here since 1892, 126 years to be exact. It was home to a courthouse
(upstairs) and holding cells (downstairs). These two locations have seemed to be the sources of a lot of the strange occurrences and paranormal activity. Payne says the Southern Paranormal Investigators, a group who looks into events to determine if they are explainable, have conducted studies on the building and they have come to some eerie conclusions. “They go to the extreme to debunk strange events and to define why a sound was heard, or why something was seen,” Payne explains with a very serious look on his face. “They will eliminate things in the event of an occupancy such a making light come from a certain direction, searching for hidden pipe leaks, etc. Nine out of ten times, they do debunk an event, because they find an explainable reason for why something was seen or heard.” But then, there’s the Courthouse. The Southern Paranormal Investigators have been to the Courthouse at least eight times, spending the night most of the time. It has been quiet some nights, and some nights they have recorded action. “The investigators have top-of-the-line video and audio recording equipment. They cover numerous angles of the building to see what they find”, says Mr. Payne. “They ask questions aloud, or make requests for actions, and there are occasions where the requests were complied with.” Barry Caudle of Southern Paranormal Investigators has said the Courthouse is one of the most active sites he has ever visited in his investigation career. They have asked for and received knocks, gunshots and voices. The holding cells and courtroom have been the most active locations. “After investigating the Floyd County Courthouse several
times, I have come to the realization that spirits do exist and that there is something going on that must be investigated further,” said Caudle who heads up this group of paranormal specialists. “We have documented prisoners, judges and evidence recorded from the shooting that took place in the entrance of the Courthouse. Investigators have been touched, pushed and scratched in the main courtroom and in the prisoner holding cell in the basement,” Caudle explains. “In my opinion the Floyd County Courthouse is one of, if not the most, haunted locations in Rome.” “There is video of what appears to be people walking down the stairs. Two clear, people-like somethings, walking down the stairs on video” says Payne. “They’ve also heard the mistress say the name of the wife who shot her and was then found innocent of the crime in court.”
Is it possible that the murdered mistress and many criminals who were rightly (or wrongly) prosecuted hang around in spirit? It all depends on what you believe, and according to Payne, “There have been a number of events that can not be explained on audio and video in that courthouse.” There is a Special Local Option Sales Tax in place that will renovate the courthouse in the coming years. Things that go bump in the night become too real to most, especially when there is evidence to back up the claims. Will the spirits that are not at rest be receptive to the change? Let’s hope they are. When you go to pick up your vehicle registration, take a look to the left after you walk through the doors at the restroom door right before the stairs. Look at the hole in the door casing, and then find the two bad spots in the wall and remember this piece. Happy Halloween.
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