Follow Us Facebook Instagram Twitter Google Plus Youtube



The Soles Continually Seek Ways to Improve their ITM Landscaping Services

By Heidi Campbell Tori and Eric Soles, the owners of In the Mow (ITM) Landscape Managment, met while they were students at Brookwood High School. Years later, after both graduated from college, they married. Tori, an MBA, worked for the Atlanta Ballet in Arts Management, and Eric worked in marketing for Enterprise Car Rental. By 2006, Eric knew that he was ready to do something different. Tori and Eric, along with Eric’s father, Eddie, decided to take a chance and change the course of their lives. “I was looking to own my own company. I wanted fate in my own hands. I wanted to have control of where things went, and I went into this thinking it would be easy,” admits Eric. The couple quickly realized that owning their own business required hard work and dedication. They’ve grown the business steadily, now employing two maintenance crews and one installation crew, but they worked seven days a week to make it through some weak economic times. “We felt that if we set it up right and persevered, we would be okay,” says Tori, who now works full time for ITM to handle the bookkeeping and HR side of the business. Perhaps the hardest times for this family-owned business struck last year, when Eric was diagnosed with cancer. It was during this time that Tori came on board full time, and Eddie, Eric’s father, came back from retirement to help out. “It was hard,” shares Eric. “I had to rely on great friends and family. In this business, it’s hard to be sick because no one is going to pay you to ‘not work.’ Getting through the cancer has given me a new lease on how we will move our business forward.” Now that he is back to work full time, Eric ...
Read More

From the Cover: Smiles by Simmons

by Our Town Staff John W. Simmons IV, DMD and his team are great examples of what it means to be part of a community and to serve those around them. Located at 2381-B Main Street East, the office can be accessed from both Wisteria Drive and Main Street. Dr. Simmons graduated from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in 1982. He then served in the United States Navy as a dentist for three years before returning to Georgia and joining a dental group in Snellville. Dr. Simmons came to realize he had “an artsy side” and that he could literally craft smiles for his patients, which he has been doing for more than twenty-five years. The very environment of Dr. Simmons’ office speaks of art and comfort. He and his team have placed beautiful furniture in the waiting room where fine art decorates the walls. Patients are treated to natural sunlight through dormer-style windows, and soothed with massage chairs, headphones, lip balm, warm blankets, and more to make their visit as stress-free as possible. To make patients even more comfortable, Dr. Simmons uses the patented Cerec system. This allows patients to have broken teeth fixed with crowns in one visit, without having the entire tooth removed, without needing an impression, and without having to baby a temporary crown for a few weeks. Another specialty of Dr. Simmons is the relief of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ or TMD) by fashioning custom-fit bite guards to alleviate the headaches and joint pain that are commonly associated with TMD. Dr. Simmons and his team enjoy being part of the Snellville community. They have seen the city grow and beautify itself at the same time. Located next to Snellville City Hall, they are in a prime location, central to all of Snellville. They can see the exciting ...
Read More

Old-Fashioned Customer Service is the Focus of Ronnie Cail’s State Farm Office in Snellville

By Heidi Campbell Ronnie Cail grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and was no stranger to the world of insurance. At fourteen, he and his family moved to Tallahassee where he watched his father find success in the north Florida area as a district manager for State Farm. After graduating from Georgia Southern University, Cail returned to Tallahassee and spent four years working for the State of Florida Division of Finance before realizing that he truly had insurance in his blood. He was hired as a State Farm agent in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where he spent four years before moving to Snellville to open his own State Farm agency. “Growing my agency as Snellville has grown and developed,” beams Cail, “has been my privilege for the last thirty-five years!” His wife of forty-five years, Pat Cail, who Cail says is his “heart and his biggest supporter,” was eager to settle down in Snellville, as she felt it was the perfect place to raise their two daughters. The couple met while attending North Florida Jr. College, and went on to graduate from Georgia Southern University. Four days after their college graduation, the couple married. Cail recalls it was love at first sight for him. “I remember sitting with a friend on campus, and I saw Pat,” he reminisces. “I told my friend that she’d be going with me to the movies that weekend. That friend didn’t believe me. He laughed and said he’d pay for the tickets. And sure enough, that friend did pay for the tickets!” Cail is admittedly old fashioned in his business sense. He believes in greeting people with a smile as soon as they walk through the door as customer service is everything. He enjoys his role as a true representative for his clients, helping them through good times like buying ...
Read More

Kathy Coots: Gwinnett’s Hometown Realtor

By: Rachael Brice After twenty-two years in the mortgage business, Kathy Coots yearned for something more. In 2006, Coots decided to accompany a friend who was house hunting, and all of a sudden sparks began to fly. It was then that Coots knew what her next calling was: to be a real estate agent. The natural progression for Coots to become a real estate agent was fairly simple, and now ten years later she knows her decision was the right one. Even though Coots started as an agent when the market was spiraling out of control, she still counts herself lucky. Not knowing a good market, she decided to start working, and quickly began to discover what worked and what didn’t. Coots, a graduate from Stone Mountain High School, lived in Florida and South Carolina before transferring back to Georgia in 1995. She settled in Lawrenceville where she feels most at home because of everything Gwinnett has to offer: great schools, convenient shopping/dining, entertainment/sports venues, and easy access to almost everything. According to 2015 MLS stats, there were 5,993 agents who transacted business in Gwinnett, and Coots is proud to be #4 in the county. An agent for Keller Williams, Coots is happy to have such a wonderful parent company backing her and her team. Not only does she receive support and coverage, since liability is huge in the industry, Coots can attend Keller Williams hosted conventions where she can learn about new rules and regulations as well as network and attend breakout and training sessions to help take her business to the next level. Coots also believes in providing outstanding customer service and excellent communication for all of the clients she and her team serve. Both Coots and her husband have worked together as full-time business partners the past two years and strive to ...
Read More


Charles Minter Tae Kwon Do

By Kim Hill Years ago in Jamaica, Charles Minter, just for fun, had his palm read. The reader told him he had more children than anyone she had ever seen. “You have many, many, many children,” she said. At the time, Charles had one daughter, and chuckled to himself, but a friend said, “You know, she was talking about your students.” Master Minter truly feels his students are like his children, regardless of their age. No matter how proficient they have become under his tutelage, he feels protective of them. Minter began studying karate when he was 15. Eight years later he opened his own studio. In the 37 years since then, he has helped thousands of students develop skills, balance, respectfulness, and confidence. “It helps develop the individual,” he says. “You don’t get lost in the crowd, everybody participates, everybody learns at their different level.” When asked how he first became interested in martial arts, Minter replies, “Well, truthfully, I like to fight. But as I got into the martial arts, I realized more and more that it was about many other things; fighting is just part of it. It turned into learning that you want to be the good guys, and that’s what we always teach our students, that you don’t use it for the wrong reason. The more you get involved with it, you realize that you have a responsibility, besides learning to take care of yourself and to take care of others, not to misuse it.” Minter attracts students of all ages and for a variety of reasons, from learning self-defense to competing at local, state, and national level competitions. Many adults just want to de-stress. “They can beat on the bags,” he says. Some see karate as an alternative to team sports because they can progress at an individual ...
Read More


Body of Health & Life Introduces New Services to Improve Health

By Heidi Campbell Julie Mills-Watson, the owner and founder of Body of Health & Life, welcomes each client with a hug and a smile, and her caring, authentic nature keeps them coming back long after the healing process is over. Her desire to help clients return to health and wellness is evident in everything she does, from sharing healthy lifestyle advice to treating them with her healing touch. Mills-Watson opened Body of Health in 2010. Since then she has watched her therapeutic massage clinic experience consistent growth in not only the number of staff, but also in expanded services. The clinic now incorporates kinesiology taping as well as hot stone therapy to address sports-related issues and chronic pain due to the overuse of muscles. The Body of Health clinic offers a variety of unique services such as lymphedema therapies, detox ionic foot bath, hot/cold pack therapies, compression garment fitting, thermography screening, and massage therapy for special cases such as cancer, seniors, sports, and maternity. Now, with her latest expansion, Mills-Watson and her team will be able to spend more time working with scar and soft tissue clients. Hopefully, by working with local physical therapists to help improve a client’s range of motion, each person treated will now be able to return to a better quality of life. “While we are growing, and hope to continue, we will remain a therapeutic massage clinic and not a spa,” says Mills-Watson. “Many of our clients are acutely ill, and it’s exciting to think that we will be in a position to help even more people without having to delay their treatment. It's amazing,” she affirms, “how touch and manual therapy does so much to heal the body.” The motto of Body of Health is to help people "heal quicker, hurt less, and have a better ...
Read More


Catching up with Brenda Bean of Parrot Productions

By: Rachael Brice Since we last caught up with her in August, Brenda Bean, owner of Parrot Productions, has been busy flying around Atlanta. Over the last couple of months, business has soared as Bean has performed in countless shows with her popular talking parrot crew, her trusty dog Albert, and her new assistant, Abby. Now that the holidays have come to a close, Bean is preparing for another busy year with a few new performing parrots that are equipped with new tricks and educational material that audience members will enjoy. Bean’s fascination for birds began in the mid-1980s when she purchased her first and favorite bird named Cash. Today she is the proud owner of over fifteen birds of various types from all over the globe. Five years ago when Bean noticed her birds were bored, she began booking performances at various venues and exhibiting her birds so she could teach and share her passion for them with others. Parrot Productions was born! Even after performing in over 200 shows per year, Bean is becoming more involved in the community. She is a proud member of the Snellville Tourism and Trade Association, and has begun to break off into different markets, including corporate events, customer appreciations, Bible study groups, and retirement homes. Most of the birds Bean has in her show are either highly or moderately endangered, or are rare. Some she has rescued from long-term homes where the owner can no longer care for the bird. Parrots live an extraordinary length of time and almost always outlive their owners. Many times the best thing for a parrot in that situation is a complete new environment where it has very little to remind it of the missing owner. “Bringing these birds back into a world where their grief is replaced with ...
Read More


Excel Orthopedics: Excellent Care with a Hometown Feel

Excel Orthopedics: Excellent Care with a Hometown Feel by Michelle Watson   Excel Orthopedics is an orthopedic practice serving Gwinnett, Walton, and DeKalb Counties. They have three offices located in Decatur, Snellville, and Loganville.   Drs. Maurice Jové, Nathan Jové, and Jeff Traub are partners, with Drs. Maurice Jové and Traub offering fifty years of combined experience. Dr. Nathan Jové, Dr. Maurice’s son, represents the third generation of orthopedists in the family, and has been a part of Excel Orthopedics for about a year and a half. In that short period of time, the practice has gained enough patients to keep him very busy.   Upon stepping into one of the Excel offices, it is immediately clear why the doctors are so popular. The staff is friendly and efficient, and the doctors are very respectful of their patients’ time. Patients are never in the waiting room for long, and yet they don’t feel rushed to get through their appointment once they are in an exam room.   The same medical care philosophy resonates with all three doctors. Each will say he believes in a family atmosphere and in communicating with and educating patients.   The family atmosphere is seen in so many ways. It is in the way that Dr. Traub tells patients he would make the same recommendations to his sister or his mother. Or in the way the three doctors go to the football games of several area high schools so they can be on hand should an injury occur. It is for these reasons, and more, that the doctors want to maintain a “small” and more personal practice, not incorporating or becoming part of some major health care conglomerate.   At Excel Orthopedics, communicating with the patients is a top priority. As Dr. Nathan Jové says, they are able to meet patients’ needs, as each one is different. Some want to get in, find out ...
Read More


Participants Enjoy New Space, Weekly Excursions, and a Social Environment at SarahCare of Snellville

Participants Enjoy New Space, Weekly Excursions, and a Social Environment at SarahCare of Snellville By: Heidi Campbell SarahCare of Snellville has served the area’s elderly since January of 2010. Owned and operated by Aysha Cooper, the center is a medical model adult day care center with fourteen employees that are dedicated to creating a safe, warm, nutritionally and medically sound environment for people who need assistance during the day. Cooper, who is keenly attuned to the needs of her participants, is thrilled with the expansion that was completed in July of 2015. “We doubled our size!” Cooper shares enthusiastically. “We’ve added a men’s den, a serenity room, additional office space, executive offices, and five bathrooms – and we needed those!” Cooper realized that some of her participants could feel over-stimulated by the activities offered each day, so the new “serenity room” makes the perfect retreat. The room offers limited seating, aromatherapy, soft lights, books, and a fireplace, making it relaxing and quiet. The “men’s den,” equipped with a poker table, a putting green, a dart board, a television, and recliners, is quickly becoming a local favorite. The center can now welcome around sixty-four participants each weekday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. To help busy families, pick-up and drop-off service is available for the private pay customers. Through the end of the year, the enrollment fee is being waived in hopes of welcoming new participants. “We offer a day full of stimulating activities, primarily dealing with people that may have a cognitive or physical impairment that doesn’t allow them to stay safely in their homes by themselves,” Cooper explains. “We provide peace of mind for the families.” SarahCare offers a beauty salon as well as a visiting foot care nurse. They publish a monthly activity calendar bursting with events from group exercises ...
Read More


Smiles by Simmons: A Dental Practice That Focus on Great Smiles

Smiles by Simmons: A Dental Practice That Focus on Great Smiles By: Heidi Campbell
Smiles by Simmons a dental practice in Snellville, prides itself on impeccable customer service and making patients feel at ease. Cherry wood furniture thoughtfully arranged in conversationsal style and fine art highlighted by the natural light pouring in through dormer-style windows help soothe even the most apprehensive patient. Whether patients wants to improve a gummy smile or to fill in gaps or chips, Dr.Simmons has the training and talent to create beautiful smiles, using state-of-the-art equipment and the latest technology.



Mainstreet Guns & Range CEO is Committed to Teaching Safety to Gun Owners

Mainstreet Guns & Range CEO is Committed to Teaching Safety to Gun Owners By Heidi Campbell After years in the formal apparel business, Jim and Genny Hornsby retired in 2001, trading in their gowns for guns. “I’m thankful my wife was willing to let me do this,” says Hornsby, CEO of Mainstreet Guns and Range. “I was always a gun nut,” says Hornsby, “so when we retired, I knew I wanted to do something with guns. We opened a small store off of Arcado, and became the largest gun show dealer in Georgia.”In January of 2013, they opened their doors in Lilburn, stocked with 2,000 retail guns and over 120 rental guns. While handguns are their top sellers, they also sell military-style guns, self-defense shot guns, and hunting rifles, ranging in price from $200 to $2,000. The top selling brands are Smith & Wesson, Glock, and Springfield. “Our prices are the best around,” promises Hornsby. “We have gun show pricing every day.”Mainstreet Guns gives customers the rare opportunity to test out guns in the range before making a purchase. “We sell hunting guns, but those are really seasonal. Most shoppers,” reveals Hornsby, “come in looking for personal defense.” Aside from having the area’s largest selection in their retail showroom, they also host a climate-controlled, nine-lane shooting range. The range is open to anyone over twelve years old, if accompanied by a parent, those 18 and up with shotguns and rifles only, and those 21 and up with handguns and any other guns. Shooting practice is $12.00 an hour for the first person, and $10 for the second person. Women are free on Wednesdays. Yearly memberships for unlimited shooting are $299, and family memberships are available for $399 per year.With fourteen employees and an outstanding management team, the store is dedicated to customer ...
Read More


Graft: Bringing Quality Food, Wine and Community to Grayson

Graft: Bringing Quality Food, Wine and Community to Grayson By: Rachael Brice Ashley Clemence, Chef and Owner of Graft restaurant in Grayson, is a busy woman. Over the last six months business for the buzzing restaurant in Grayson has not slowed down, and it recently celebrated its three-year anniversary. Her darling husband, Seth, is a steadfast foundation of "behind the scenes" support and help. Clemence continues to create new menu items as she develops new events for the community, carrying on the Graft tradition of providing excellent food and service to all who visit. “This is a unique community that truly supports families and restaurants,” Clemence said. “We have embraced a niche here in the suburbs to welcome all who enjoy creative, local, yet simple foods. Customers know when they walk through our door they will receive a special, unique experience.”While the restaurant was still a budding idea, Clemence realized the importance of supporting local farmers and ranchers in the area. She believes and knows that local support greatly impacts communities, families, and lifestyle choices, which is why this is a part of her commitment as a chef and restaurateur. This unique factor sets Graft apart from other local restaurants. With the exception of the fresh fish she receives from the North Atlantic and Pacific Northwest/Alaskan coast, the majority of the farmers she has cultivated relationships with are located between Grayson and Athens. Over the years, she has become invested in these families' lives and enjoys procuring Graft’s foods and produce from them. It is interesting that most farmers come specifically to Clemence to offer her the products they currently have in season. She works with about fifteen farmers at any given time to add variety to the selections she weekly offers.“These are real people with real products,” Clemence said. “Developing these relationships makes for a more wholesome process which fundamentally affects the menus, which change every six to seven weeks depending on what the farmers and ranchers have ...
Read More


German Cuisine and Hospitality found at The Village Corner German Restaurant in Stone Mountain

German Cuisine and Hospitality found at The Village Corner German Restaurant in Stone Mountain By: Heidi Campbell With Octoberfest weeks away, and the brew pub fully operational, the Village Corner German Restaurant, Bakery, and Brewery is anxious to kick off the annual celebration. Beginning Saturday, September 26, when Octoberfest officially kicks off in Munich, and continuing for the first two Saturdays in October, the restaurant will begin its weekend festivities. Oompah-pah-pah band members, clad in full lederhosen and dirndls, will provide German musical entertainment for guests on the patio from noon until 8:00 p.m. Festive competitions will provide additional entertainment as patrons enter Keg-Throwing, Log Sawing, and Hold the Stein contests to win beer steins and t-shirts. “We usually welcome a couple thousand people during our Octoberfest celebrations,” says Carl Friese, one of the owners and operators of the restaurant, “and we hope to hit those numbers again this year. It’s a lot of fun!” The brew pub will also celebrate its year anniversary during Octoberfest. They currently have four brewing tanks, located behind the bar in the tavern, which supply six beers and one cider. “We are designated a brew pub, which means we can serve in-house. I’m still working on growlers,” says Carl, “since the laws recently changed. We offer not only steins but flights as well, so guests can sample four to six different flavors.” Since 1974, founders Hilde and Claus Friese and their three children have worked to build their unique business just outside of Stone Mountain Park. “We didn’t set out to be restauranteurs,” Hilde reveals. “We moved to the States right after college. I was a nurse working in Baltimore, and Claus was working in Washington. We had not planned to move to a place where we couldn’t find crusty bread!” Beginning as the small, wholesale “Basket Bakery” that supplied homemade ...
Read More


Foggy Bottom BBQ and Cajun: Built on Faith, Family and Food

Foggy Bottom BBQ and Cajun: Built on Faith, Family and Food By: Rachael Brice Not many people would link BBQ and Cajun food together, but for Stacy Wilson, owner of Foggy Bottom BBQ and Cajun in Loganville, both BBQ and Cajun food are a way of life. A Louisiana native, Wilson has many fond memories of great family gatherings: children running around the backyard, his dad cooking, and everyone crowded around the TV to watch the replay of LSU’s most recent touchdown while eating copious amounts of crawfish. At a young age Wilson learned that Cajun food brings people together, and he later learned BBQ does the same. Today, Foggy Bottom strives to deliver a unique, memorable experience with their delicious BBQ and Cajun cuisine. In 2012, after working for seventeen years in software sales, Wilson decided to take a leap of faith and follow his passion for food, particularly BBQ, which led him to create the Foggy Bottom BBQ competition team. “I’ve always been a backyard chef and have always wanted my own company,” Wilson said. “I just didn’t know what the avenue or platform would be.” Wilson had all of the necessary supplies he needed – all he was missing was a partner. After a little coaxing, his friend and neighbor Phillip Folsom decided to team with him. After the first competition, Folsom was hooked. He and Wilson began competing together professionally in BBQ events all over Georgia, bringing home some great prizes, including a few Grand Champion titles. As the business evolved, Foggy Bottom started catering, vending at festivals, and providing fundraisers for local youth sporting programs. With some early credited success, tremendous support from friends and family, and the constant demand for great Southern food, Wilson and Folsom opened Foggy Bottom BBQ & Cajun restaurant in April 2014. The name comes ...
Read More


Gentle Touch Dentistry: Dental-Health-Care

Gentle Touch Dentistry: Dental-Health-Care Stacye Carroll One could say Meghan Coradin cut her teeth on the field of dentistry. Following in the footsteps of her mother who worked for over twenty years as a dental assistant, Meghan began working the front desk when she was fourteen. Following a brief stint in a corporate environment, Meghan accepted the position of Practice Director at Gentle Touch Dentistry in Lilburn three years ago. “I prefer working in a private practice where you really get to know people; you get to see their ins and outs,” she says. “I enjoy sitting with the patients, discussing their priorities, and helping them achieve their treatment goals.” A visit with Meghan is part of the comprehensive treatment planning done at Gentle Touch Dentistry following a new patient’s first appointment. Treatment options, fees, and payment arrangements are discussed in detail, allowing the patient to make informed decisions about care. Appointment schedules are flexible, and patients can usually get in right away. Gentle Touch Dentistry keeps the focus on dental health through education and preventative care. According to Meghan, “We’d much rather be able to schedule someone to come in every six months for a cleaning than every three months for treatment.” Exams are thorough, and all patients over the age of eighteen are encouraged to take advantage of the new VELscope assessment for oral cancer. “Using the VELscope makes it possible for the dentist to see problems early, which means more conservative treatment,” says Meghan. Getting a crown used to be a two week process. Now thanks to the new CEREC dental restoration system used at Gentle Touch Dentistry, crowns are made in the office and are permanently set on the same day. The initial digital impression improves comfort, and a ceramic crown provides strength, durability, and a pleasing, natural appearance. If your teeth and gums are healthy, ...
Read More

Share This
Share On Twitter
Share On Youtube
Share this
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Youtube
Hide Buttons