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Celebrating dads while supporting Dawgs

UGA Alumni Association's Luke Massee and sons

Luke and his two sons enjoying a hike together

By Luke Massee, UGA Alumni Association Associate Director of Outreach

Father’s Day (June 21, 2020) is almost here­­ and you need to avoid what happened last year. Remember? You waited until the day before to go shopping and ended up buying the singing wall trout, or the Potty Putter, or that “World’s Greatest Dad” T-shirt. It was not your best moment. Luckily Father’s Day happens every year and 2020 is your chance to right last year’s wrong. This year ­­you can give your dad something that will have him jumping for joy.

Wait … you waited until the day before because you didn’t know where to shop? Don’t worry, friend, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 amazing gift ideas from UGA alumni-run businesses that will have him high fiving the room and singing “Glory, Glory” the rest of the day. Not only do these businesses have wonderful products, but the UGA graduates who run them are past Bulldog 100 honorees! Look at you … supporting small businesses and your fellow Dawgs and giving a gift that will make you the envy of the virtual family gathering. Talk about going from worst to first!

Congratulations in advance to you and your dad! Now, to the list. Scroll through gift ideas for every type of dad below.

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The Fashionable Father

Onward Reserve LogoDid your dad win the “Best Dressed” senior superlative and could easily win it again today? If so, he has probably shopped at Onward Reserve and would love to receive any of their clothing items. Shirts, shorts, pants, shoes, belts … you name it, they have it. Onward Reserve’s motto is “Live authentically” and you will be living authentically as the favorite child if you go this route.

Locations: Athens, GA; 3 locations in Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Clemson, SC; Dallas, TX; Nashville, TN; Thomasville, GA; and Washington, DC

Bulldog: TJ Callaway (BBA ’07), Founder/CEO

The Fancy Feet

Sock Fancy LogoThere is a rumor going around that businesses are going to make shoes optional. Sock Fancy products seem to be taking over, and bosses everywhere are asking why you’d ever cover an inch of these suave and durable masterpieces. Would your dad’s feet look and feel great in the latest Sock Fancy styles and colors? Of course they would! Sock Fancy is a subscription service, so your pops’ sock game would be on point every month and he could turn the “no shoes” rumor into reality.

Bulldog: Stefan Lewinger (AB ’11), Co-Founder/CEO

The Whiskey Lover

ASW Distillery Logo

ASW Distillery and their staff are the “Southern Pot-Still Pioneers,” and your father can be a libation legend in his own right. If your dad is the guy who visits Kentucky every other year and sets up quarterly bourbon tastings for the neighborhood, if he is known as the local spirits savant, or if he just wants to do those things, then he would be the perfect recipient of ASW’s Maris Otter Whiskey or Resurgens Rye. Any of their selections would be a welcome addition to his private collection. Cheers to you, your dad, and your amazing gift-giving abilities!

Locations: Two locations in Atlanta, GA

Bulldogs: James Chasteen (BBA ’98), Co-Founder/CEO; Kelly Chasteen (BSED ’00), Head of Retail and Private Events; Justin Manglitz (BBA ’04), Master Distiller; Chad Ralston (BBA ’08), CMO; Charles Thompson (AB ’99, MBA ’03, JD ’03), Co-Founder

The Custom Made Man

Zeus' Closet LogoYour dad is a true trailblazer. Remember when you played rec-league basketball, softball, baseball, etc. and your dad let you put your nickname on the back of your jersey? It didn’t matter that you were terrible as long as “T-Rex,” “Izzy,” or “Mad Max” graced your uniform. You were the coolest, and your dad changed the jersey game forever. So head to Zeus’ Closet to return the favor and spice up his current attire with a custom touch. They can personalize clothing to suit your dad’s unique flare and continue his tradition of changing the fashion landscape.

P.S. – Tell your dad that the 1989 Ninja Turtles T-ball squad and I said, “Thank you for your contribution to sports.”

Locations: Atlanta, GA; Kennesaw, GA

Bulldogs: Ethan King (AB ’99), Co-Founder/CEO; Monica Allen (BBA ’96), Co-Founder/COO

The Sophisticated Nose

EastWest Bottlers Logo

Fathers teach us many lessons. Surprisingly, many of those nuggets of wisdom involve smells. Like that day when your dad handed you your first stick of deodorant and lovingly said, “You stink.” Or the time you returned from soccer practice and threw your half-open gym bag on the floor, filling the room with an odor words can’t describe. Dad just walked over, handed you some Febreze, and smiled. It was a Hallmark moment. He also gave you your first bottle of perfume/cologne followed by the phrase, “Smell good, feel good.” Get the father of fantastic fragrances one of the rustic, natural colognes from EastWest Bottlers. With several different scents to choose from, you can’t go wrong. This gift will show him the student has now become the teacher.

Location: Austin, TX

Bulldogs: Charlie Holderness (BSFCS ’05), Co-Founder; Matt Moore (BBA ’05), Co-Founder; Colin Newberry (AB ’05), Co-Founder

The Sweet Tooth

Southern Baked Pie Company Logo

It was a day that has never been forgotten. You were 14-years-old and decided to make your dad a carrot cake for Father’s Day. You followed the recipe to the letter and could not wait for your dad to taste your culinary masterpiece. With the whole family watching, your dad took a bite and the crunch of some unknown substance was heard ‘round the room. He swallowed that bite after gnawing at it for what felt like an hour. Sadly, nobody else was brave enough to try it. It’s the reason “Maybe [insert your name] can bring dessert,” is followed by an explosion of laughter. Don’t make that mistake again. Put up the mixer and head to Southern Baked Pie Company. With delicious sweet and savory pies, maybe they can help folks forget about the carrot cake incident … but probably not.

Locations: Alpharetta, GA; Atlanta, GA; Gainesville, GA

UGA Bulldog: Amanda Dalton Wilbanks (BBA ’09), Founder

The Health Nut

Georgia Grinders New LogoYour dad finds a way to mix topics like superfoods, hydration, the importance of sleep, and exercising into every conversation. He listens to podcasts about organic foods, currently holds the record for “longest plank” at the neighborhood yoga studio and closing the circles on his Apple watch is the highlight of his day. Binge-watching workout tutorials on YouTube like they’re “Tiger King” is his idea of a good time. This Father’s Day, let Georgia Grinders help you feed his health craze. Their specialty is creating all-natural nut butters, and your dad surely knows the health benefits of nuts like almonds, peanuts and pecans. Give him one of their trio gift boxes, and he might serve something other than kale at the next meal.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Bulldog: Jaime Foster (BSA ’99), Founder/CEO

The Athlete

SculptHouse LogoYour father starts his day with a five-mile jog, a long bike ride, and pilates class all before you’ve had your first cup of coffee. He is a living legend at the local YMCA and goes by the nickname “Buckets.” Sports movies like “Rudy,” “Blue Chips” and “Rocky” are a few of his favorites. He was a tri-state athlete in high school and could hold his own with the young bucks today. If this sounds like your dad, then give him a gift from SculptHouse. They offer fitness classes and athletic wear that will make your dad as happy as the start of Georgia football season. Trust me, it will be a homerun.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Bulldogs: Katherine Mason (ABJ ’12), Co-Founder; Jennifer McKissick (ABJ ’12), Co-Founder

The Coffee Connoisseur

Some guys live for sports or woodworking. Others know all about wines or the latest tech gadget. Your dad’s obsession is coffee. He knows all the baristas at the local coffee shop by name, and they always know his usual. When the family goes on vacation, he gets souvenir mugs to add to his already overflowing collection. His day is planned around his next cup. For these fathers, Rev Coffee Roasters and Three Tree Coffee Roasters will be able to satisfy his cravings. Both offer a variety of coffee blends they can ship and storefronts where you can purchase food and other merchandise.

Rev Coffee Roasters Logo

Location: Smyrna, GA

Bulldog: Jenn Bimmerle (AB ’02), Marketing Director

Three Tree Coffee Roasters Logo

 

Location: Statesboro, GA

Bulldog: Philip Klayman (BSA ’11), Founder

The Gameday Fanatic

Hardy's Peanuts LogoDoes your dad have a tailgating spot that’s been “in the family for generations” (aka since he was in school in ’85)? Does he have four generators, three televisions, a speaker system, and 20 assorted food staples to create the ultimate game day experience? Has he spent a small fortune supporting the Dawgs at away games? Then your pops is the ultimate Georgia fan and knows that game day isn’t complete without boiled peanuts. Show your father you’ve learned a thing or two and give him some delicious boiled peanuts from Hardy Farms Peanuts. He will enjoy the gift of this “country caviar” and might even let you yell the orders at the next tailgate set-up.

Location: Hawkinsville, GA

Bulldogs: Brad Hardy (BSA ’96), President; Ken Hardy (BSA ’93), Co-CEO

There you have it, Dawgs! 10 gift ideas from 11 different businesses that will negate last year’s debacle and put you in your dad’s good graces. Gifts from any of these places are sure to make any father proud to have a child as caring, thoughtful, and all-around awesome as you. Congrats in advance on the gift. You have set yourself up nicely for your next birthday.

2020 Bulldog 100 spotlight: Marc Gorlin’s three most transformative moments

Marc Gorlin (ABJ ’95) is a Bulldog 100 regular.

This marks the sixth consecutive year he will be honored. But 2020 represents a new level of achievement for the serial entrepreneur: two of his companies have landed among the top 100 fastest-growing Bulldog businesses.

Kabbage, which simplifies the loan process for small businesses, made its Bulldog 100 debut in 2015 at No. 1. Kabbage remained in the top five the next three years, clocking in at No. 3 in 2016, No. 2 in 2017 and No. 5 in 2018. Kabbage ranked No. 38 in 2019.

Marc’s newest company, Roadie, connects drivers with businesses to provide faster and cheaper delivery solutions. Roadie cracked the list for the first time in 2020.

On Feb. 8, the Bulldog 100 Celebration will be held for the first time in Athens—in the Sanford Stadium West Endzone, just steps from where Marc took classes at Grady College. And Marc will leave the event with twice the hardware—one award for each of his children, Lily and Mills, to carry to the car.

We asked Marc to reflect on his success and the moments that were most critical for his transformation from journalism student to Bulldog 100 CEO. Here were his top three …

1. Dad’s Advice

Find a deal, not a job.

Leaving UGA with a degree in newspaper journalism in 1995, Marc received a piece of advice from his father that would alter his life journey: find a deal, not a job.

Marc’s dad encouraged him that post-graduation, with no spouse, mortgage or car payment, was the best time to take risks and push his limits. Instead of settling for a safe job, Marc set out into the world, confident in his ability to find the next great idea and use his Grady-given storytelling abilities to attract investors and customers.

“A lot of being an entrepreneur is telling stories and convincing people,” Marc says. “To make companies go, you’ve got to persuade your first customer, your first investors, your first employees to join something new.”

2. Time with Mimi

Take action before the moment’s gone.

Amid the day-to-day grind, one can easily overlook important relationships. Marc’s experience did just the opposite: he took six years off to care for his grandmother, Mimi, until she passed at age 100.

“Sometimes, the universe makes space for you to do what you need to do when you only have a certain window to do it in,” Marc says. “Those are the life opportunities you really need to take advantage of because you can’t get them back.”

After Mimi passed, Marc returned to the entrepreneurial world and co-founded Kabbage in 2008. But he did not forget the lesson he learned, and still strives to make space for his family. He understands time is finite and windows of opportunity do not last forever.

3. Roadside Realization

Be a figure-it-outer.

One Thursday in 2014, Marc was on the road to his Gulf Coast condo, where a water leak sparked a bathroom renovation. This was tile day.

He received word that the replacement tiles arrived broken and new ones would not arrive from Birmingham until Monday. Marc’s plans were shot. Sitting off an exit near Montgomery, Alabama, Marc watched as cars zipped by.

“There’s bound to be somebody leaving Birmingham right now heading toward Montgomery who would be more than happy to throw a box of tiles in their trunk,” Marc says, recounting that day. “That’s when it hit me that there’s an unbelievable, untapped transportation map that already exists made up of all of our personal vehicles.”

And just like that, an idea—and a company—began.

“Be aware of what’s going on around you,” Marc says. “Then, be a figure-it-outer and find solutions.”

By the time the tiles arrived, Marc had an entire business plan written. Oh, and his shower looks great now too.

3 Buzzworthy Bulldog 100 Businesses: Buckhead Beans, Rev Coffee Roasters, and Three Tree Coffee

Written by: Leigh Raynor Arndt

In Atlanta, Buckhead Beans is revitalizing office coffee. In Smyrna, Rev Coffee Roasters is bringing perfectly-roasted beans to the ’burbs. And in Statesboro, Three Tree Coffee Roasters is making a difference, one mug at a time. But what do these three game-changing coffee companies have in common?

They are all owned by Bulldogs. And they’re growing fast.

On Feb. 8, we’re celebrating Buckhead Beans, Rev Coffee Roasters, and Three Tree Coffee as 2020 Bulldog 100 businesses. Each year, Bulldog 100 recognizes the fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by University of Georgia alumni. Read on to learn more about the Bulldogs behind these exceptional companies.

(Spoiler: caffeine isn’t the only secret to their success.)

Buckhead Beans: Matt Ades (AB ’94, MED ’96) + Jeff Ramsey (BBA ’95)

What inspired UGA grads Matt Ades and Jeff Ramsey to start Buckhead Beans? Water cooler talk. In 2014, the college friends invested in an Atlanta-based vending company providing coffee to offices around the city. As they strategized how to revitalize the business, they asked around to see how people felt about the coffee at work. Across the board, the response was the same: yuck.

“Matt and I recognized a movement in Atlanta like craft beer, but with coffee,” said Jeff. “New cool shops were opening across the city. We knew there was good coffee here. But we also knew that a lot of businesses were stuck in the ’80s with subpar office coffee.”

So, Jeff and Matt decided to connect the dots. They started with one van and one local roaster. Today, Buckhead Beans has grown to 10 vans and partnerships with 10 roasters, including Counter Culture, Batdorf and Bronson, and Beanealogy. And one of their top roasters is fellow Bulldog-owned business Rev Coffee Roasters (more on them next!). Inspired by these coffee connoisseurs, Buckhead Beans is now perfecting its own roasting techniques.

Buckhead Beans has rid stale coffee from the breakrooms of more than 300 Atlanta businesses. And relationships that Jeff and Matt formed at UGA have proved vital to this expansion. Jeff shows his continued appreciation for his alma mater through a perfect attendance record. In 26 years, he’s yet to miss a Bulldog home game!

Rev Coffee Roasters: Jenn Holt Bimmerle (BA ’02)

As co-founders of Rev Coffee Roasters, alumna Jenn Holt Bimmerle and her husband, Nick, make the perfect team. Jenn likes a white mocha, while Nick drinks his coffee black. Together, they make sure that Rev is a place for every coffee drinker, where everyone gets what they want. And whether you are a purist or you like a dollop of whipped cream, your order will be bolstered by the best beans around.

Jenn and Nick opened Rev in 2008. From the start, their goal went beyond bringing a better cup of coffee to Smyrna. They wanted to embrace the suburbs by creating a cool, community space where neighbors could connect. It’s safe to say they’ve stolen some attention away from Atlanta. This is Rev’s fourth year as a Bulldog 100 business.

“Rev is like Cheers. A non-alcoholic Cheers,” said Jenn. “It’s just a happy place. Everyone is well-caffeinated. Everyone’s in a good mood. When you walk in, you feel comfortable. It feels like home.”

Looking for new ways to celebrate the people that make Smyrna unique, Jenn and her husband started Rev Fest in 2010. The festival brought together local artists, craftspeople, musicians, and coffee lovers for an all-day party. The first Rev Fest was so successful that it is now a bi-annual event.

“A big part of our success is that customers became friends, who then became family,” said Jenn. “When I think of that, I always feel like we’ve done something right.”

Three Tree Coffee Roasters: Philip Klayman (BSA ’11)

As an agricultural economics major at UGA, Philip Klayman not only gained the knowledge he needed to start his own company, but he also found his partner. Philip met his wife, Anna (AB ’11), in Athens. Today, they own Three Tree Coffee Roasters in Anna’s hometown of Statesboro.

The Klaymans’ entrepreneurial drive started with their love of coffee. Devoted drinkers, they began by roasting beans in their backyard. Their hobby grew, and they were soon selling at farmer’s markets. But the Klaymans enjoyed coffee for more than its taste and aroma. They appreciate the community it inspires. Eager to share their passion with others, they opened Three Tree Coffee in 2014.

“Walls come down in coffee shops,” said Philip. “There are not many cultures like coffee culture. It brings diverse people together. Barriers come down, and we recognize our similarities.”

Three Tree’s mission goes beyond serving delicious coffee (like a pour-over made with beans from Limmu, Ethiopia, Philip’s current go-to). The Klaymans are dedicated to using their coffee as a “catalyst for change.” To empower farmers, they only use certified Fair-Trade USA beans and teas. And the shop raises funds for organizations fighting to end human trafficking.

Furthermore, Philip is determined to extend the close-knit community that Three Tree has formed in Statesboro around the globe. By establishing direct partnerships in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia, he guarantees that Three Tree only serves coffee and tea from farms that are paid fair wages and use sustainable methods.

“I like to meet with our farmers face to face,” said Philip. “It allows me to develop a better understanding of their challenges so that I can be a solution.”

Check out the full 2020 Bulldog 100 list to learn about more alumni-owned businesses and ways to support fellow Bulldogs.

2020 Bulldog 100 Spotlight: A Network of Loyal Bulldogs

Written by: Maggie Griffin of Maggie Griffin Designs

I grew up in the small, tight-knit community of Hawkinsville, Georgia. The kind of welcoming small-town where you know everyone, and where you’re related to half the county. And the neighboring county too! When I began my freshman year at the University of Georgia in 2002, I was so comforted to see some of those familiar faces from our small town, right there on the big campus of the University of Georgia.

This past fall, when the Bulldog 100 list was announced, I was proud to again see several of those names sharing the honor with me. Hardy’s Peanuts is interwoven into my life, as we grew up on neighboring farms where Ken Hardy (BSA ’93) and Brad Hardy (BSA ’96), along with their family, now run their family farm. I sure wish our grandparents were here to celebrate this achievement with us; they would be so proud! Robert Moore (BSAE ’04), of Moore Civil, is a childhood friend from home, and his wife, Courtney, and I have been great friends since we were kids. He and his brother, Michael Azzolin (PHARMD ’02) (also from Hawkinsville), of PharmD on Demand, get to share this honor together this year, too. It’s been a joy to be included on this list alongside hometown friends and to share that same entrepreneurial spirit with them that we’ve inherited from generations before us.

My husband, David, and I now call Gainesville, Georgia, “home.” We’ve loved getting to know the amazing people who also call this charming “big” small-town “home,” and we are proud to be raising our two boys here as well. The close proximity to Athens is one of our favorite things about the city. Gainesville has been great in supporting my small business and David’s too.

The city has a fantastic community of women business owners, and I am thrilled to see two of my friends on this year’s Bulldog 100 list. Amanda Wilbanks (BBA ’09), of Southern Baked Pie Company, fed me pie in her home kitchen while I was pregnant with my oldest child (who is now almost 7!), before opening her first shop. I am proud of her incredible vision and I sure do love her pies too! Katie Dubnik (BBA ’03), another fellow female business owner and entrepreneur in Gainesville, shares the list with Amanda and me. Her extraordinary business brings invaluable marketing strategies to companies across the Southeast, and she manages a smart, energetic group of creatives at her company, Forum Communications.

I will be forever indebted to the University of Georgia for my education and for the opportunities that this wonderful university has afforded to me and to my family. The network of loyal Bulldogs never ceases to amaze me, and I am so proud to be among this incredible group this year.

Spotlight on 2020 Bulldog 100 business: Agora Vintage

Airee Edwards (AB ’99) wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s in fabric design, but she knew she wanted to stay in Athens.

So she looked for a business opening, asking herself what was missing, what did Athens not have?

The answer: an open market where anyone could sell their vintage furniture, handcrafted items, art, or whatever, really.

Open Marketplace

“I went to what seemed like every bank in Athens, and I heard a lot of no’s,” Edwards says. But with savings from waiting tables and taking money off the house she’d bought, “a risky move” as she describes it, Edwards convinced a local bank to lend her what she needed to open Agora in 2002. (Agora means “open marketplace” in Greek.)

The only problem? Edwards didn’t have a business degree. But growing up, she’d followed her mother from one craft fair to the next, selling tissue box holders they fashioned from vintage fabrics. That early exposure to entrepreneurship stuck with her.

So she learned as she went, eventually outgrowing the little shop at the corner of Clayton and Pulaski. Sellers had also begun bringing in higher-end items, including women’s clothing and accessories, and Edwards’ husband, attorney and Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Russell Edwards (JD ’10), suggested she move the fashion items to a new store a few blocks away on Broad Street, right across from North Campus.

For a while, the Edwards family headed both stores, an exhausting but incredibly rewarding job. But she eventually decided to focus on one of her first loves—fashion—and grow the now iconic vintage fashion store on Broad, selling the furniture store that would become Atomic Vintage.

When you walk into the recently renovated Agora Vintage, you see an Art Deco-inspired cabinet lined with bags from Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès, just to name a few. But there are also less expensive, gently used Coach, Tory Burch, and Marc by Marc Jacobs bags toward the back of the store. The counter display is full of beautiful, estate jewelry.

To the left, rows of vintage and modern clothes, all marked significantly below retail. Designer shoes are toward the back.

Honored Bulldog Business

But what makes Agora Vintage stand out is Edwards herself. She’s almost always in the store, greeting customers, suggesting items she knows they have to have, and tracking down pieces they’ve inquired about. It’s that attention to detail that has landed Agora several times on the Bulldog 100, which lists the fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. Agora Vintage has made the list an outstanding six times in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

But she never forgets the place that made it all possible, regularly speaking in classes at UGA and supporting the Georgia Museum of Art.

“I tell them the whole story about how I couldn’t get a loan and was eating potato chips for a year, thought I was going to get scurvy,” Edwards says. “I now own a business that allows me to live securely and enjoy some success. UGA helped me build that.”

 

This story was originally published in Georgia Magazine. 

Condor-Chocolates-Blog-Header

15 Bulldog 100 businesses to visit in Athens

Condor-Chocolates-Blog-Header

Athens is a fantastic place to visit. Whether you’re in town on a gameday or for a weekend getaway, there is no shortage of fun to be had in the Classic City. Athens boasts a slew of Bulldog-owned or -operated businesses, many of which have made the Bulldog 100 list over the years. Next time you are town, be sure to support the alumni entrepreneurs behind these successful businesses 

 And be sure to check out the complete 2020 Bulldog 100 list–there might be a business you can support in your own hometown!

SAUCEHOUSE BBQ

2018 and 2019 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

Check out Saucehouse BBQ for a fun, inviting and authentic BBQ experience. They offer a variety of BBQ sauces and made-from-scratch food that will have you screaming … “it’s the best BBQ anywhere!” 

Location:

830 W. Broad Street

Owned/Operated By:

Christopher Belk (AB ’05, MBA ’13)

Website:

saucehouse.com 

 

CHICKEN SALAD CHICK

2017, 2018 and 2019 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

They love chicken salad—as if you hadn’t guessed from their name—and they serve up more than a dozen tasty flavors every day.  

Location:

196 Alps Road 

Owned/Operated By:

Scott Deviney (AB ’95) 

Website:

chickensaladchick.com

 

CONDOR CHOCOLATES

2019 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE  

Brothers Nick and Peter Dale, born, raised and educated in Athens, own and operate Condor Chocolates located in the historic Five Points neighborhood of Athens. They produce and sell bean-to-bar chocolate bars, truffles, sipping chocolate, hot cocoa, coffee, iced beverages, gelato and a variety of confections. 

Location:

1658 S. Lumpkin Street

Owned/Operated By:

Nicholas Dale (BSA ’04), Peter Dale (ABJ ’99)

Website:

condorchocolates.com

 

SOUTHLAND ORGANICS

2019 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

Southland Organics helps farmers and landscape professionals overcome bacterial challenges and nutrient deficiencies. They work to enhance landscapes by eliminating harmful microbes, and delivering vibrant color and health to your crops.  

Location:

189 Luke Road (Bogart) 

Owned/Operated By:

Mike Usry (BSED ’99) 

Website:

southlandorganics.com

 

ONWARD RESERVE

2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE 

Onward Reserve aims to live authentically. This menswear store, with locations in and outside of Athens, has everything from button-downs to coolers.  

Location:

146 E. Clayton Street

Owned/Operated By:

TJ Callaway (BBA ’07) 

Website:

onwardreserve.com

  

YOUR PIE FRANCHISING LLC

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE 

Inspired by the Italian culture, Your Pie invites customers to experience the art of making their own pizza.  

Location:

196 Alps Road (Athens) // 1430 Capital Avenue (Watkinsville)

Owned/Operated By:

Drew French (BBA ’05), Bucky Cook (BBA ’77), Allen French (BS ’77)

Website:

yourpie.com

  

AVID BOOKSHOP

2017, 2018 and 2019 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

Avid Bookshop is an independent, community-focused bookstore with two locations in Athens. Avid aims to be a safe space for locals, while standing up for human rights, equality and the freedom to read.  

Location:

1662 S. Lumpkin Street // 493 Prince Avenue

Owned/Operated By:

Janet Geddis (MED ’06) 

Website:

avidbookshop.com

 

EXTRA SPECIAL PEOPLE

2017 and 2018 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE 

ESP creates opportunities for individuals with disabilities and their families to engage, connect and thrive. When you visit, check out where ESP’s Java Joy team is serving coffee and a smile.

Location:

189 VFW Drive

Owned/Operated By:

Laura Whitaker (BSED ’07, MED ’10) 

Website:

extraspecialpeople.com

 

CHEEKY PEACH BOUTIQUE

2016, 2017 and 2018 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

Cheeky Peach is a local boutique with the goal of creating a shopping experience that makes customers feel good about themselves. Cheeky Peach’s style is fearless, authentic and fashion-forward.  

Location:

160 W. Clayton Street

Owned/Operated By:

Katie Jacobs (ABJ ’05), Jason Jacobs (BS ’10) 

Website:

shopcheekypeach.com

 

THE SIGN BROTHERS

2018 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

What started as a sibling-run company has now become a larger team dedicated to bringing its customers’ ideas to life. The Sign Brothers design, produce and install the highest quality signs and graphics.

Location:

195 Ben Burton Circle (Bogart)

Owned/Operated By:

Justin Seibert (BSA ’02) 

Website:

thesignbros.com

  

ENTOURAGE CLOTHING & GIFTS 

2016, 2017 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

Entourage was founded on the belief that you don’t have to spend a million to look like a million. They are always changing, and always in style.

Location:

2095 S. Milledge Avenue

Owned/Operated By:

Katie Nichols (BSFCS ’05) 

Website:

entourageclothing.com

 

PAWTROPOLIS

2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

Pawtropolis is your source for all things pets. Their mission is to create an environment where your cat or dog is safe, happy and mentally stimulated. 

Location:

130 Whitetail Way (Bogart)

Owned/Operated By:

Amanda Rodriguez Crook (BS ’01), John Crook (BS ’02) 

Website:

pawtropolis.com

   

AGORA VINTAGE

2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

This family-owned, vintage consignment shop has been serving the Athens community for over 20 years. Agora sells quality, designer goods at a fraction of the price. 

Location:

233 E. Broad Street

Owned/Operated By:

Airee Edwards (AB ’99), Russell Edwards (JD ’10) 

Website:

agoravintageshop.com

 

TERRAPIN BEER COMPANY

2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

Inspired by the creative culture of Athens, Terrapin is always adding quality craft beers to its lineup. Terrapin’s mission is to create unique experiences through passionate brewing. 

Location:

265 Newton Bridge Road

Owned/Operated By:

John Cochran (BBA ’93), Dustin Watts (BBA ’03), Irina Melnik Cochran (BBA ’93) 

Website:

terrapinbeer.com

 

NUÇI’S SPACE 

2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 BULLDOG 100 HONOREE

Nuçi’s Space is a musician’s resource center fighting to end the epidemic of suicide and the stigma surrounding mental illness. Whether you are seeking support for your own well-being, for a loved one or for a friend, you don’t have to do it alone. They are here to help. 

Location:

396 Oconee Street

Owned/Operated By:

Bob Sleppy (BS ’05, MBA ’10) 

Website:

nuci.org

 

Bob Sleppy of Nuci's Space, Athens GA UGA

Bob Sleppy (BS ’05, MBA ’10) makes a difference at Nuçi’s Space

Bob Sleppy (BS ’05, MBA ’10) is the executive director of Nuçi’s Space, an Athens, Georgia, nonprofit that allows musicians to meet with doctors about physical and/or mental health issues.

For World Mental Health Day today (October 10), we asked Bob to share a little about Nuçi’s Space, his UGA experience, and how attitudes toward mental health issues have evolved over the two decades since Nuçi’s Space first opened its doors.

How does Nuçi’s Space serve the Athens community?

Nuçi’s Space was created in memory of 22-year-old UGA student and talented musician, Nuçi Phillips, who was diagnosed with clinical depression in high school. Although he fought courageously, Nuçi sadly lost his battle, and on Thanksgiving Day 1996, he ended his life.

Nuci Phillips

Nuçi Phillips

Nuçi’s Space is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent suicide by actively supporting the emotional, physical, and professional well-being of musicians. Nuçi’s Space advocates for and helps to alleviate the suffering of those living with a brain illness while also fighting to end the stigma attached to such illnesses. To accomplish this mission, Nuçi’s Space provides a healthy, safe environment in which musicians are supported and guided to affordable, obstacle-free appropriate professional care. While appropriate treatment of brain illnesses is crucial, Nuçi’s Space also recognizes and strives to heighten awareness in order to help to identify preventive tools, including how individuals can maintain healthy lifestyles.

Since its inception, Nuçis’ Space has financially assisted 2,000+ musicians, subsidized 23,000+ appointments with mental health professionals, at a cost of over $1.2 million.

Nuci's Space, an Athens, GA nonprofit

Nuçi’s Space

Describe your biggest challenge as executive director of Nuçi’s Space.

I don’t know if there is just one challenge that stands out from the others. The challenge is finding balance among all the roles and responsibilities that come with the job. I’ve found that the best way to overcome this challenge is to hire great people and lean on them to help navigate the daily ups-and-downs of managing a nonprofit organization.

How does Nuçi’s Space collaborate with UGA?

Our collaboration with UGA and its students is almost too extensive to share in its entirety. In addition to the students who volunteer with us, we regularly work with the Music Business Program, AU/UGA Medical Partnership, Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership, School of Social Work, Student Health Center and the UGA Police Department. The University of Georgia has been a terrific partner in our growth and we continue to look for new and exciting ways to collaborate.

The Sleppy family at the 2016 Teach of the Year Banquet

Bob with his family at the 2016 Teacher of the Year Banquet where he received that year’s honor.

How has your UGA education prepared you for this role?

In addition to the high caliber of professors, fellow students and endless learning opportunities, the attribute that really makes the University of Georgia stand out is its commitment to service learning and community engagement. The opportunity to apply the lessons learned in the classroom to real-world situations is unparalleled.

How has the community perception of mental health evolved since you started at Nuçi’s Space?

I was hired as the executive director in 1999. Fortunately, I have seen some improvement in how depression and suicide are perceived by the public. Most of the stigma related to mental illness can be attributed to a lack of understanding and misinformation. The more we talk about mental illness, share our personal stories and feel empathy for each other, opportunities to lessen the stigma will occur. This weekend, during the third quarter of the UGA vs. South Carolina football game, the crowd will be asked to hold up three fingers in remembrance of Tyler Hilinski, the brother of South Carolina’s quarterback Ryan Hilinski. Tyler lost his battle with mental illness when he took his own life in 2018. Twenty years ago, I couldn’t have imagined that 92,746 football fans would pause for a moment to honor those we’ve lost or who continue to suffer with a mental illness.

Did you have a favorite professor?

I had great professors and lecturers throughout my undergraduate and graduate programs. My experience as a student in the Terry Part-time MBA Program was beyond what I could have hoped for. Some of the professors who come to mind are Dr. Ann Buchholtz, Dr. Dwight Lee, Charles Lankau III, and Dr. Bob Boehmer. However, I attribute a good portion of my professional success to Dr. David Harvey. His financial accounting class was very challenging, but it solidified the work ethic my parents instilled in me when I was younger. I have such a profound respect for Dr. Harvey and was delighted when he accepted a position on the Nuçi’s Space Board of Directors earlier this year, nearly 12 years after I attended my first class with him.

Finely and Bob Sleppy

Bob and his daughter, Finley, take in a Georgia game at Sanford Stadium.

What is your favorite part of teaching?

I have been fortunate to teach Theory and Management of Nonprofit Organizations, Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Leadership through the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership at the UGA School of Social Work for the past 8 years. My favorite part of teaching are the ongoing relationships I have with students. I try to incorporate a Socratic style of teaching so that we discover, analyze, discuss and solve problems in the classroom together. Often my interaction with students extends beyond graduation. I receive occasional emails from former students who stay in contact with me. I love watching them transition from students into colleagues.

Has teaching enhanced your ability to perform your role at Nuçi’s Space?

Absolutely. The blessing and curse of teaching very smart students is that they keep me on my toes. My responsibility as an instructor to stay current on trends and best practices in the nonprofit sector directly impacts my role as an executive director.

Most meaningful experience at Nuçi’s Space?

I have so many great experiences at Nuçi’s Space that it’s impossible to choose just one. One of my proudest moments was when my work at Nuçi’s Space and my involvement with UGA coincided. Nuçi’s Space has been recognized four times (2012,2013, 2015, 2016) as a Bulldog 100 business, recognizing the 100 fastest growing businesses owned or run by an alumnus.

Proudly announcing our new board president and members

On July 1, our 76th UGA Alumni Association president, Brian Dill (AB ’94, MBA ’19), and seven members began their terms on the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. We’re excited to introduce you to these outstanding alumni and look forward to working with them over the next few years.

Brian has served on our board of directors since 2007 and will serve as president for two years. He succeeds Bonney Shuman (BBA ’80), whose term concluded June 30.

Brian is the vice president of external affairs for Tanner Health System and the executive director of the Tanner Foundation in Carrollton, Georgia. He has spent 17 years in corporate and industrial business development and recruitment as an economic development executive in several Georgia communities as well as the COO for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Prior to that, he served as a federal and state lobbyist for the Georgia Farm Bureau.

“Brian has been an especially valued member of our board for a number of years,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00, MED ’16), executive director of alumni relations. “He has been a strong servant leader among this group of passionate alumni, helping to guide our strategic direction and offering to lend a hand whenever he can. A truly loyal Bulldog—with the passion to match!”

Brian is a native of Irwin County, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was a member of the Redcoat Band. This year, he earned a Master of Business Administration from the Terry College of Business. His wife, Carmen, is a 1995 UGA graduate and a teacher at Carrollton High School. The couple resides in Carrollton with their son, Mason.

The alumni who joined Brian on the board on July 1 include:

Anne Beckwith Headshot

Anne Beckwith (BBA ’90)

Title/Employer: Retired / Community Volunteer
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Gamma Phi Beta House Corp; UGA Alumni Association Women of UGA Leadership Council
Favorite UGA Memory: I met my husband at a party in my own apartment. He was looking for beer, not his future wife …
UGA in Three Words: Home | Transformational | Dynamic
Favorite Athens Eatery: The National
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Jason Huggins (BBA ’95) – faces challenges with humor and resilience and cares deeply about everyone he meets


Travis Bryant Headshot

Travis Bryant (BBA ’99)

Title/Employer: President and CEO, Coastal Plywood Company
City: Tallahassee, Florida


TJ Callaway Headshot

T.J. Callaway (BBA ’07)

Title/Employer: Founder and CEO, Onward Reserve
City: Atlanta, GA
UGA Involvement: Terry College Young Alumni Board; UGA Alumni Association Young Alumni Council; speaks to students in ILA, fashion merchandising and Entrepreneurship Program; apparel provider for the Magill Society; student mentor; Dinner with a Dozen Dawgs host; 2018 Terry Young Alumni of the Year; UGA 40 Under 40 Class of 2012; 5-time Bulldog 100 business
Favorite UGA Memory: Taking my daughter onto the field in Sanford Stadium before a game in 2018.
UGA in Three Words: World Class Institution
Favorite Athens Eatery: Last Resort
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Terry Brown (BBA ’84) – my first investor and a steadfast mentor and friend


Brian Dill Headshot

Brian Dill (AB ’94, MBA ’19)

Title/Employer: Vice President-External Affairs, Tanner Health System / Executive Director, Tanner Foundation
City: Carrollton, Georgia
UGA Involvement: UGA Alumni Association chapter leader; Freshman Send-Offs; class speaker; SPIA supporter; Redcoat Band alumni events; student mentor
Favorite UGA Memory: My first football game as a Redcoat; it was a night game against LSU in Baton Rouge!
UGA in Three Words: Tradition | Excellence | Class
Favorite Athens Eatery: Peking Chinese Restaurant
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Carmen Dill (BSFCS ’95) – my wife; her ‘service above self’ attitude drives me to give back to the next generation of alumni!


Cathy Fish Headshot

Cathy Fish (BSA ’93, DVM ’96)

Title/Employer: Associate Veterinarian, Georgia Veterinary Associates
City: Flowery Brand, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Georgia football fan; UGA Alumni Weekend attendee
Favorite UGA Memory: Sharing my love for UGA with my children.
UGA in Three Words: Inclusive | Amazing | Life-changing
Favorite Athens Eatery: Guthrie’s
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Malcolm Mitchell (AB ’15) – a great inspiration!


Kevin A. Gooch Headshot

Kevin A. Gooch (JD ’04)

Title/Employer: Partner-Finance Group, DLA Piper LLP (US)
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Georgia Law Board of Visitors (2005-2008); Transactional Law Curriculum Committee (2008-2010); student mentor; UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 Class of 2015
Favorite UGA Memory: Walking onto North Campus, past Herty Fountain, and crossing the quad for the first time to enter into a law school that has produced some of the best and brightest legal minds in our state and country.
UGA in Three Words: Wisdom | Justice | Connectivity
Favorite Athens Eatery: Inoko Express
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Chester Davenport (LLB ’66), Sharon Nyota Tucker (JD ’74), Justice Robert Benham (JD ’70), Judge Horace Johnson (JD ’82)


Camille Kesler Headshot

Camille Kesler (BSFCS ’94)

Title/Employer: Executive Director, Rebuilding Together Atlanta // Owner, Smallcakes Cupcakery in North Druid Hills
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences Alumni Board of Directors (2014-2018); 2013 FACS Outstanding Service Award; UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 Class of 2012
Favorite UGA Memory: Attending the Pearl Jam concert at Legion Field. It was my first-ever concert!
UGA in Three Words: Tradition | Family | Connecting
Favorite Athens Eatery: Guthrie’s
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Mary Frances Early (MMED ’62, EDS ’71)


Mark Mahoney Headshot 1

Mark Mahoney

Title/Employer: Co-founder, Jackrabbit Technologies
City: Cornelius, North Carolina
UGA Involvement: Multi-year Bulldog 100 business; inaugural recipient of the Michael J. Bryan Award


The UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors works with Alumni Association and campus staff to promote, support and advance the programs and services that are offered by the UGA Alumni Association to the university community, especially the more than 324,000 living alumni around the world.

“These new board members represent a variety of alumni experiences at the University of Georgia,” said Johnson. “Their advice and perspectives are invaluable for my team as we work to engage alumni in meaningful ways.”

To view the full list of UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors, visit alumni.uga.edu/board-of-directors.

Farthest Bulldog 100 Company: SunnyBoy Entertainment

The Greatest Showman.

Now You See Me.

Fantastic Four.

Pacific Rim: Uprising.

SunnyBoy Entertainment has worked with some of the most popular movies to date.

UGA alumni Harold Hayes, Jr., (ABJ ’01) and Craig Phillips (ABJ ’02) knew they had a knack for the art of video, but as the Emmy nominations and CLIO awards indicate, they are living their college dream. Harold gave us some insight into his journey to becoming the co-founder of a successful, full-service creative studio based in California. The West Coast location makes SunnyBoy Entertainment the Bulldog 100 company farthest from Athens.

“I’ve always had an interest in film, and I’ve always been an artist. I did some plays in high school and starting getting into video in high school. However, I started [at UGA] as biology pre-med major and then decided to put my energy into something I would enjoy for the rest of my life. I love science and was good at it, but I would rather spend my days influencing the world through entertainment.”

SunnyBoy Entertainment has won both gold and silver CLIO awards for its behind-the-scenes work on Fox’s “The Greatest Showman.” Both Harold and Craig write for the “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour,” which has also won a Daytime Emmy for Best Children’s Show. SunnyBoy Entertainment works on everything from promotional featurettes to vertical reality videos and games.

What’s it like working alongside legendary directors and artists? “It’s been like the ultimate film school. We get to go on these sets and be close to these filmmakers practicing their craft and you get into candid conversations with people about the world, how they see it and their work.”

Harold said the most influential professor was Alan Stecker from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Stecker gave me a long leash to make a lot of videos and check out equipment whenever I wanted. I checked out video equipment three to four times a week, and I pretty much always had a camera in my hand.”

Relive your glory (Glory) days!

Even though Harold confessed he broke some cameras, Stecker offered him a job at his company, ASV Productions, after graduation. “At ASV Productions, I got to learn how to operate a small company in Atlanta and learn the fine arts of being a director of photography and editor. I learned a lot.”

Clearly, the lessons stuck. As innovators in their industry, Harold and Craig now own one of the fastest-growing companies owned or operated by Bulldog alumni.

Interested in seeing the other Bulldog entrepreneurs and culture shapers? Check out the full Bulldog 100 list.

Female Run Bulldog 100 Company: A Signature Welcome

In 2013, Lindsay Bissell Marko (BBA ’07) was moving from New York City to Charleston, South Carolina, to join her husband in the South. She was soon to be the maid of honor for her best friend, Emily Howard Slater (BS ’07). Lindsay was given the opportunity to help create welcome gifts for the wedding guests. As she collaborated with Emily to create those gifts, a unique business idea was born.

In 2014, A Signature Welcome emerged as a luxury wedding welcome gift company. Five years later, A Signature Welcome is now a thriving gifting company that curates gifts for any celebration, domestically or internationally.

“We curate gifts that celebrate,” said Lindsay, “We like to say, anything wedding, corporate, or everyday, we’re here to help with any gifting need.”

A Signature Welcome packaged and sent more than 6,000 gifts in 2018. It continues to grow in gifting numbers and clients. Some of the company’s most notable gifting projects have included custom gifts for the Carolina Panthers, U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin’s wedding, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s inauguration and the wedding of Martha Stewart’s niece. A Signature Welcome has recently been chosen to curate VIP welcome gifts for the 2019 NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte. A Signature Welcome also has been named a 2019 Bulldog 100 company, meaning it is one of the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by a UGA alumnus this year.

Relive your glory (Glory) days!

Emily claims the experience and lessons from mentors are a large reason their business has been successful.

“Working under inspiring managers in the past, seeking mentors, and both of us having seven years of work experience under our belts were important things that we brought to A Signature Welcome,” said Emily. “Lindsay’s corporate experience blended with my small business background provided a unique dynamic to developing our company’s culture.”

After serving on the Terry Young Alumni board, Lindsay praises the Terry College alumni network as an aid for learning how to successfully run their company. “Through those four years on the board, I met so many incredible people,” said Lindsay. “I still keep in touch with some, both personally and professionally.”

As their gifting company continues to grow, these alumni encourage students and future entrepreneurs to understand what it means to be an entrepreneur and not to be discouraged about making mistakes. “It is super important to let your mistakes empower you,” said Emily. “Never take for granted the opportunity a mistake makes for you to grow as a business and as a leader.”

Looking to give a special someone a gift? Check out A Signature Welcome’s website to start the process of a finding that special, curated gift. Check out the Bulldog 100 website to see what other alumni-owned businesses made the list this year.