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LeaseQuery again tops the Bulldog 100

On Feb. 11, the University of Georgia Alumni Association recognized the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni during the 12th annual Bulldog 100 Celebration, which was hosted online. LeaseQuery, an Atlanta-based accounting software firm, was named the fastest-growing alumni business for the second year in a row.

The company, led by two former college roommates, is the first business to repeat as No. 1 in consecutive years. CEO George Azih earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UGA in 2003 and Chief Revenue Officer Chris Ramsey earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2005.

“For us to be the first company to [be No. 1] two years in a row is deeply humbling and exciting,” Azih said. “I hope it inspires other students out there that they can do it as well.”

LeaseQuery helps accountants and finance professionals eliminate errors through its lease accounting software—the first of its kind built by accountants for accountants. The company also provides specialized consulting services and facilitates compliance with regulatory reporting for companies across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

“To do this two years in a row means so much,” Ramsey said. “We can’t wait to share this with the rest of our company because they helped us get here as well.”

The businesses rounding out the top 10 are:

  1. inBrain, Atlanta
  2. Golden Isles Pharmacy, Brunswick, Georgia
  3. Roadie, Atlanta
  4. Surcheros Fresh Mex, Douglas, Georgia
  5. PDI, Alpharetta, Georgia
  6. Marketwake, Atlanta
  7. Calendly, Atlanta
  8. Womack Custom Homes, Cartersville, Georgia
  9. PeopleSuite, Mooresville, North Carolina

“The Bulldog 100 is our chance to celebrate the innovation, entrepreneurship and excellence of our incredible alumni who are leading the way in business and nonprofits,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “I am proud of each business on this year’s list and extend a special congratulations to LeaseQuery for making Bulldog 100 history.”

Bulldog 100 companies were ranked, regardless of size, by evaluating their three-year compounded annual growth rates. The Atlanta office of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors—a Bulldog 100 partner since the program began in 2009—verifies the information submitted by each company and determines the ranked list. On average, companies in the 2021 Bulldog 100 grew by 49% each year from 2017-19.

Nominations were accepted from February to July 2020. UGA received 429 nominations for the 2021 Bulldog 100. Each organization must have been in business since 2016, experienced revenues over $100,000 for the calendar year 2017, and be owned or operated by a former UGA student who owns at least half of the company or is the CEO, president or managing partner.

During the Feb. 11 event (held virtually for safety reasons during the pandemic), the UGA Alumni Association presented the fourth annual Michael J. Bryan Award to 1999 UGA graduate Airee Edwards, CEO of Agora Vintage. Bryan, the co-founder and managing partner of Vino Venue and Atlanta Wine School in Dunwoody, Georgia, passed away in 2017 after a long battle with cancer. The award recognizes a returning Bulldog 100 honoree whose business has not only sustained growth but demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to UGA that was Bryan’s hallmark.

View the complete rankings of 2021 Bulldog 100 businesses.

Nominations for the 2022 Bulldog 100 are open until July 31.

Minority-owned Bulldog 100 businesses have much to offer

Whether 2021 kicked off the way you imagined or not, there’s no better way to bring in February than to highlight and support the minority-owned alumni businesses that made it on this year’s Bulldog 100, a list of the fastest-growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni! 

Explore the 2021 Bulldog 100 minority-owned businesses below. In honor of Black History Month, we’ve specifically highlighted the businesses led by Black alumni.

Black-Owned Businesses

Calendly

Calendly is an Atlanta-based online scheduling tool founded by Tope Awotona, who credits his tenacity to his experiences growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. His business offers a tool that for those who are always on the go or constantly scheduling meetings. It simplifies meeting scheduling and cuts down on unnecessary emails. Calendly’s user-friendly interface sorts out time zones, and sends reminders and confirmations.

Location: 
Atlanta, GA
Bulldog: Tope Awotona (BBA ’02), Founder/CEO

LeaseQuery

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Georgia Azih, CEO of LeaseQuery, boldly founded the business in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and recession. If you’re an accountant or financial professional, LeaseQuery is the service for you. The software helps accountants and financial professionals eliminate errors through its CPA-approved, cloud-based solution. LeaseQuery is built by accountants for accountants.  

Location: Atlanta, GA
Bulldog: Georgia Azih (BBA ’03), Founder/CEO

The Barnes Law Office LLC

The Barnes Law Office LLC logo

Latasha Barnes is an attorney, and owner and managing attorney of a law office that will fight for you. The Barnes Law Office LLC is in metro Atlanta and specializes in DUI defense, criminal defense and personal injury.  

Location: Atlanta, GA
Bulldog: Latasha Barnes (AB ’05, AB ’05), Owner and Managing Attorney 

The Brogdon Firm LLC

The Brogdon Firm provides ethical, client-centered representation for injury victims in Atlanta and across Georgia. Gino Brogdon Jr., founder and litigator of The Brogdon Firm, was named the 2018 “Attorney to Watch” for Atlanta Attorney at Law Magazine, so you can be sure you’re getting the best service. 

Location: Atlanta, GA 
Bulldog: Gino Brogdon Jr. (JD ’11), Founder and Litigator  

Edwards & Hawkins LLC

Edwards and Hawkins Law represents five decades of competent, ethical and aggressive legal representation. They specialize in wrongful death, auto and trucking collisions, vaccine injury, personal injury, business/commercial litigation and slips and falls. Cameron Hawkins, a trial lawyer at EH LAW, was recognized in 2017 as the UGA School of Law Young Alumni of Excellence. 

Location: Atlanta, GA
Bulldog: Cameron Hawkins (JD ’08), Partner 

Other Minority-Owned Businesses

Svaha USA

Svaha USA logo

Svaha USA is an online retailer specializing in science, technology, engineering, arts and math-themed (STEAM) apparel and products. Jaya Iyer found inspiration from the company through her daughter, who could not find clothing that reflected her interests. Svaha’s mission is to shatter gender stereotypes in the apparel industry and encourage STEAM education for girls and boys, and women and men. 

Location: Chantilly, VA
Bulldog: Jaya Iyer (MS ’03), CEO 

Biren Patel Engineering

Biren Patel Engineering logo

Biren Patel Engineering believes in making life simple for clients and team members. Biren Patel serves as the president and is a licensed professional engineer in 12 states and the District of Columbia. His business’s modern, yet simple, collaborative work environment better serves the power utility industry through electrical substation and solar plant engineering. 

Location: Macon, GA
Bulldog: Biren Patel (MBA ’12), President 

Agora Vintage

Agora Vintage logo

Agora Vintage is a woman-owned business in Athens that sells all the authentic designer items and estate jewelry that your heart desires. You can shop for Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès items with a guarantee of high-quality customer service and a style that can’t be beat.  

Location: Athens, GA
Bulldog: Airee Edwards (AB ’99), CEO

Expert Technical Solutions

A successful connection — that’s what you can expect from Expert Technical Solutions, a leading provider of technical and IT talent that strives to bring companies and the right people together. The Bulldog business offers services such as customized contract, contract-to-hire, or direct-hire.

Location: Atlanta, GA
Bulldog: Ram Bhojwani (BBA ’05), President 

Murray & Osorio

Murray Osorio PLLC is a national full-service immigration law firm, connecting the world through innovative and compassionate immigration solutions for individuals and businesses. 

Location: Fairfax, VA
Bulldog: Benjamin Osorio (AB ’03), Managing Partner 

12 days of holiday shopping: Bulldog 100 edition

The holiday season is in full effect, and the celebrations are right around the corner. That means there are plenty of small businesses to support to make the act of giving even sweeter. Not sure where to start looking for the best discounts and deals this season? How about starting with some offerings by the 2021 Bulldog 100 businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni? 

Here are a few of the 2021 Bulldog 100 businesses that can make your season bright: 

Agora Vintage, Airee Edwards (AB ’99) and Russell Edwards (JD ’10) 

Feeling like gifting that special someone with something designer under the tree this year? Agora Vintage specializes in the trade of authentic designer items and estate jewelry by labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès.  

Books for Keeps, Leslie Hale (MPA ’13) 

Give back this holiday season with Books for Keeps, an Athens-based nonprofit organization that provides low-income families with books. You can help by donating books or volunteering to assist with book distribution. Learn more here. 

Hardy’s Peanuts Inc., Brad Hardy (BSA ’96) and Ken Hardy (BSA ’93) 

Hardy’s Peanuts Inc. is offering cases of Party Peanuts for a delicious and edible gift to give someone during the holidays.  

Puppy Haven, Michael Dermer (BBA ’10, MACC ’11) and David Sirzyk (BBA ’10) 

The holidays aren’t only for humans. Get your dog a gift with holiday bark bags from Puppy Haven that will be sure to get their tail wagging. Each bag contains fun holiday treats, chews, toys and more with pickup beginning Dec. 15 at one of their four locations. Each bag benefits the Atlanta Humane Society.  

Rev Coffee Roasters, Jenn Bimerle (AB ’02)  

There’s nothing like starting the day off with a cup of coffee, especially as the temperature cools. Rev Coffee Roasters is offering a special 2020 holiday coffee blend that shoppers can purchase here 

Rheos Nautical Eyewear, Jake Berton (BBA ’08) and Rebecca Berton (ABJ ’11, AB ’11) 

Find the perfect holiday shades with Rheos Nautical Eyewear’s holiday collections. The shop is also offering 30% of any purchase with the code ‘GIFT30.’ 

SculptHouse, Katherine Mason (ABJ ’12) 

ScultpHouse offers holiday gift guides, scented Nest candles and diffusers and a special edition collection of sneakers in collaboration with Esseutesse. Also, if you buy a Mou boot, you get a free gift.  

Southern Baked Pie Company, Amanda Wilbanks (BBA ’09)  

The holidays aren’t complete without pie. Southern Baked Pie Company is offering holiday pies, such as cranberry-apple crumble, that can be shipped right to your door. You can also get the holidays catered or pick up a pie from one of their three locations in Buckhead, Alpharetta or Gainesville.  

Southern Straws Cheese Straws, Margaret Amos (BBA ’83) and Neal Amos (BBA ’14) 

Add some cheese straws to your holiday spread with Southern Straws Cheese Straws. The bakery offers custom holiday boxes with cheese straws that come in original, spicy, mild or a variety of flavors. If you’re sending the box to someone, you can also include a card with a message.  

Sole Boutique and Dish Boutique, Laura Lanier (AB ’00) 

Need to shop for a wife, daughter, sister or girlfriend? Sole Boutique offers a variety of clothing, accessories and home fragrances for that perfect gift.  

Svaha, Jaya Iyers (MS ’03) 

Want to get a stylish gift for a genius in your life? Svaha is offering STEM-related gift boxes, a buy one, get one free sale and more discounts on adult and children’s clothing as well as jewelry. 

The Hipster HoundNicholas Rintye (M ’17) and Tonya Rintye (ABJ ’94) 

The Hipster Hound is offering in-store holiday specials at their Savannah, Georgia, store with discounts on select dog beds, holiday toys and dog apparel.  

Looking to gift the Bulldog spirit to someone while making a difference? Our Bulldog Boxes (four sizes) and UGA face masks are exclusive to the UGA Bookstore and a portion of each purchase supports scholarships for UGA students. 

 

UGA Alumni Association reveals 2021 Bulldog 100 businesses

LeaseQuery CEO George Azih speaks after his company was named the No. 1 fastest-growing business at the 2020 Bulldog 100 Celebration.

LeaseQuery CEO George Azih speaks after his company was named the No. 1 fastest-growing business at the 2020 Bulldog 100 Celebration on Feb. 8, 2020. LeaseQuery is one of several 2020 Bulldog 100 businesses to make the 2021 Bulldog 100 list.

The University of Georgia Alumni Association has unveiled the 2021 Bulldog 100, a list of the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. UGA received 429 nominations for the 2021 list.

The 2021 Bulldog 100 celebrates organizations from over two dozen industries, including agriculture, construction, health care, nonprofits and software. Of the 100 businesses, 81 are located within the state of Georgia. In total, two countries and nine U.S. states are represented in this year’s Bulldog 100.

This year’s list of fastest-growing businesses, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

5Market Realty, Athens

Ad Victoriam Solutions, Alpharetta

ADD’s Personal Care Pharmacy, Bogart

Agora Vintage, Athens

American Tank Maintenance LLC, Warthen

Ansley Atlanta Real Estate, Atlanta

Applied Resource Group, Alpharetta

ASW Distillery, Atlanta

Backyard Escape Inc., Atlanta

Biren Patel Engineering, Macon

BlueBear Solutions Inc., Atlanta

Books for Keeps, Athens

Breda Pest Management, Loganville

BrightStar Care, Cumming

Buckhead Beans, Marietta

Builders Specialty Contractors, Boynton Beach, Florida

Cabo Luxury LLC, Las Vegas, Nevada

Calendly, Atlanta

Caplan Cobb LLP, Atlanta

Charlotte Lucas Interior Design, Charlotte, North Carolina

Chicken Salad Chick, Auburn, Alabama

Choice Media & Communications LLC, Franklin, Tennessee

Christopher’s Bridge Home Care, Watkinsville

Classic Overland, Macon

Consume Media, Norcross

Crawford and Boyle LLC, Monroe

Currie Design + Build, Roswell

DearthGalat LLC, Atlanta

Dental ClaimSupport, Savannah

DigitalCrafts, Atlanta

Eagle Christian Tours, Rome

Edwards & Hawkins LLC, Atlanta

Elinor H. Portivent, PC, Calhoun

Expert Technical Solutions, Atlanta

Fairway Insurance Group Inc., Acworth

FTM Travel, Brentwood, Tennessee

Globe Trotter Properties, Arlington, Virginia

Golden Isles Pharmacy, Brunswick

Greater Athens Properties, Athens

Grist Pallets, Tifton

Hager Design International Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia

Hardeman Hobson Waste Services LLC, Athens

Hardy’s Peanuts Inc., Hawkinsville

HatchWorks Technologies, Atlanta

Heather McElroy Real Estate, Athens

inBrain, Atlanta

Innovative Tax and Accounting Solutions LLC, Savannah

Irvin Retail Group of Marcus & Millichap, Atlanta

J&M Pool Company, Senoia

Jackrabbit Technologies, Huntersville, North Carolina

Kabbage, Atlanta

King’s Pharmacy Hayesville, Hayesville, North Carolina

Lamar Smith Homes, Richmond Hill

Langford Allergy, Macon

LeaseQuery, Atlanta

Liteworks Window & Door, Marietta

Litner + Deganian Personal Injury Firm, Atlanta

M. Jeffrey Martin, CPA, LLC, Saint Simons Island

MAB Corporate Advisors, Marietta

Maggie Griffin Design, Gainesville

Mark Spain Real Estate, Alpharetta

Marketwake, Atlanta

McNeal, Sports & Wilson Risk Advisers, Waycross

Meeting Street South, Sandy Springs

Merit Partners, Atlanta

Milestone Construction LLC, Athens

Millstone Homes Inc., Watkinsville

Moore Civil, Hawkinsville

Murray Osorio PLLC, Fairfax, Virginia

Nationwide Permitting Services, Mableton

Northern Lights Exteriors, Fort Lupton, Colorado

oneRepSALES, Athens

Park Place Outreach Youth Emergency Services, Savannah

PDI, Alpharetta

PeopleSuite, Mooresville, North Carolina

Puppy Haven, Sandy Springs

Rev Coffee Roasters, Smyrna

RGX LLC, Cornelius, North Carolina

Rheos Nautical Eyewear, Charleston, South Carolina

Roadie, Atlanta

SculptHouse, Atlanta

SFB IDEAS, Atlanta

Smith Planning Group, Watkinsville

Sole Boutique and Dish Boutique, Statesboro

Southern Baked Pie Company, Gainesville

Southern Belle Farm, McDonough

Southern Straws Cheese Straws, Columbus

Surcheros Fresh Mex, Douglas

Svaha USA, Chantilly, Virginia

The Barnes Law Office LLC, Atlanta

The Brogdon Firm LLC, Atlanta

The Brokery, Forsyth

The Hipster Hound, Savannah

The Keller Group, PA, Seneca, South Carolina

The Sign Brothers, Bogart

TRUE Automotive, Lawrenceville

Two Maids & A Mop, Birmingham, Alabama

W&A Engineering, Athens

Womack Custom Homes, Cartersville

This year’s list does not reflect the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses. Each year, Bulldog 100 applicants are measured by their business’s compounded annual growth rate during a three-year period. The 2021 Bulldog 100 list is based on submitted financial information for 2017-19. The Atlanta office of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors, a Bulldog 100 partner since the program began in 2009, verified the information submitted by each company.

The UGA Alumni Association will host the annual Bulldog 100 Celebration virtually Feb. 11, 2021, to celebrate these alumni business leaders and count down the ranked list to ultimately reveal the No. 1 fastest-growing business.

“These alumni demonstrate the incredible value of a degree from UGA and we are committed to continuing the tradition of recognizing their achievements and connecting them with current students, who will become the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “These leaders inspire us by bringing better solutions and building stronger communities, so we will ensure they are celebrated even as necessity requires this to be done virtually.”

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.

Swipe to view moreswipe left icon

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. 

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15 Bulldog 100 businesses to visit in Athens

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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

 

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