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  • 22 Feb 2024 2:37 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    The LBA field trip to Back By Popular Demand (BBPD) was a huge success and was attended by 15 people including our guide Michele Dalton. BBPD also has a Marietta location. The business began in Old Town Lilburn in 1980 by Dot York, a longtime pillar of the community. The current owner Melissa Morales started working in the consignment business in 1997 and purchased BBPD in 2002. The move to the current location happened in 2004, followed by an expansion to the whole building in 2005. BBPD is a major innovative force in the Atlanta consignment market.

    The shop is located on Lawrenceville Highway and sells women’s clothing and accessories on consignment. The front and largest showroom contains large, x-large and plus size clothing sorted on racks by color. The walls and display fixtures feature shoes, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics and beauty items, as well as household decor. There is a mix of great quality pieces from budget friendly to high-end designer items. The medium and small sized items each have their own room. There is also a room dedicated to formal wear including gala, prom, pageant, and mother of the bride dresses in sizes extra small to plus.

    This visit included a behind the scenes tour. The lower level has the item intake desk. Here items presented are evaluated for brand, condition and current purchasing trends. Items that do not fit their criteria will not be accepted for consignment. High end designer accessories including jewelry, shoes, perfume and handbag maybe eligible to be bought by BBPD outright. Once accepted, the items are priced, photographed, and entered into the shop's online store. Items from designer brands are authenticated through a 3rd party.

    There is a daily live show seen through Facebook, and notifications are sent out on other social media platforms that highlights selected items. Items are often purchased online during the presentation. There is a shipping department that handles mailing items purchased from the BBPD online store and from the Facebook live videos. The multiple channel selling was started in 2015.

    BBPD is a bit of a hidden jewel here in Lilburn but is well known in consignment circles. Come on by and check them out.

    Learn More

  • 09 Jan 2024 10:07 AM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Jim Stanhouse CFP® spoke at the first breakfast meeting of 2024 where the following was discussed:

    Most people noticed that 2023 turned out to be a good year, an excellent year actually with the S&P 500 index up about 26% at the year-end.  Going into the year and throughout the majority of the year most market watchers expected a recession with correspondingly bad investment performance for the year.

    So, the most widely anticipated recession in recent times did not materialize in 2023. Although it could be said that a recession "rolled" through different sectors of the economy at different times and never manifested to the entire economy.  

    The economy actually grew faster than expected, unemployment remained low, service sector spending remained strong, and inflation slowed.  Then the biggest positive influence came in the 4th quarter as the Federal reserve indicated it anticipated interest rate reductions to start in 2024.

    We did have up and down volatility this year, and we should expect the same this coming year. Emotionally withstanding the volatility in the markets and the economy is the price that we pay for the long-term returns that we enjoy, which are greater than those we would receive in a risk-free investment.

    What is expected for 2024.

    Niels Bohr once quoted “Prediction is very difficult - especially about the future” That is very applicable to the economy and market forecasting.  Just as the investment community did not predict how 2023 would turn out, no experts (investment professionals, economists, academics) can say how 2024 will turn out either.

    What do we know?

    • ·        There will be volatility.
    • ·        History has proven - long-term we know there will be growth – but not necessarily in any given year.

    So what is an investor to do?

    Focus on things that you can control (and don’t worry about things that you cannot.)

    • ·        Equity allocation appropriate for your risk tolerance
    • ·        Diversify your holdings
    • ·        Passive investment style - don’t worry about beating the market, guarantee yourself to get the market - via indexing.  Most professionals do not beat the market, there is little chance for non-professionals to do so. 
    • ·        Minimize expenses – be aware of expenses and manage them related to your investments
    • ·        Minimize taxes – be aware of the taxation and manage it related to your investments
    • ·        Manage your emotions
    • ·        Avoid distractions (media sensationalism via entertainment/news and biased information)

    A note to conclude:

    We lost many great minds in 2023, one of which was Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s longtime business partner).  In addition to his investment success, he was famous for his many sayings on investing and life.

    His formula for success. “It's so simple. You spend less than you earn. Invest shrewdly, and avoid toxic people and toxic activities, and try and keep learning all your life, and do a lot of deferred gratification because you prefer life that way.  If you do all those things, you're almost certain to succeed. If you don’t, you're going to need a lot of luck.” 

    Had he lived just two more months he could have celebrated his 100th birthday. Through his well-disseminated wisdom and philanthropic activities, he will long be remembered. 

  • 03 Nov 2023 4:00 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    By Mark T. Winsor, CPA

    Auto – I have found the using the IRS approved mileage rate may be better than actual expenses. You must track your business miles anyway, since only that percentage of auto use is deductible, if you use actual expenses. For 2023 the IRS rate is 65.5 cents per mile, so if you drive 500 miles per month for business, that would be a deduction of $327.50, or you can reimburse yourself that much from your business, which is tax free, since the IRS allows it a deduction, with no other documentation. If you use actual expenses, you must prorate actual expenses based on percentage of business mileage versus personal miles. With the deduction of actual expenses, you can depreciate your vehicle, but that is limited to the cost of an average vehicle.

    Telephone - The IRS does not allow deduction of the cost of a home phone but does allow the deduction of the cost of your cell phone. If your spouse is an officer or a participant in your business, the cost of their cell phone would also be deductible. If you have a family plan, you may have to exclude the prorata cost of family members not involved in the business.

    Internet – If you work from a home office, you can deduct a portion of your internet cost. You would want to gauge the amount of time that it is used for business, versus the time that is used personally and deduct that portion. Many times, half of the cost may be deductible.

    Bank Charges – If you use a separate bank account for business, you can deduct the bank charges. I recommend that you use a separate bank account anyway, since the IRS would be more likely to disallow expenses if business and personal expenses are mingled together.

    Insurance – If you have Error & Omissions or Liability Insurance & maybe an umbrella policy those premiums would be deductible.

    Retirement contributions – “Pay yourself first”. I encourage my clients to set aside money in IRA, SEP, SIMPLE or 401(k) accounts. Which one that you decide to use will depend on how much you are able to set aside. If $6,500 to $7,500 or less is the amount that you can allow from your budget, then you would want to use an IRA account. You can contribute around 20% of your net business income to an SEP account, so that can be as high as $53,000, but you do have to cover any employees at the same level. A SIMPLE plan lets each employee decide how much they want to set aside, with a small amount of match from the employer. A 401(k) has higher limits, but also very high administrative costs, so many small businesses don’t use those. However, if you are the only employee or a sole proprietor, an Individual 401(k) can be advantageous.

    Uniforms – Generally, the cost of acquiring and maintaining a uniform is a deductible business expense. You cannot use routine street clothing as a uniform, but if you have your business name and/or logo printed on your clothing, it is then considered a uniform.

    Year-End Tax Planning – Close to the end of the year, you can speed up deductions and defer income to shift taxable income to the next year. If you are completing a job in December, you can wait to finish it and bill for it in January. If you are anticipating a business trip in January or February, you can buy and pay for air travel and some of the expenses in the current year.

    It is good to evaluate your projected tax liability during December and then pay yourself a bonus, with enough federal and state withholding to cover that liability in an end of the year paycheck, to avoid any underpayment penalties.

    Choice of Entity – There are advantages and disadvantages depending on the choice of business entity that you use to conduct business.

    With a sole proprietorship or partnership all the net income is subject to self-employment tax. At a net income of $20,000 the self-employment tax would be $3,060. Using a home office can be deductible for a sole proprietorship. You can also pay your children for services they perform, without having to incur payroll taxes on their wages.

    A regular corporation has more deductions available but is subject to double taxation. The company pays tax at a rate of 21% on its net income and if you then pay yourself dividends, that is taxed again on your individual income tax return.

    With an S corporation you must take a reasonable salary, but money reinvested into the company is not subject to self-employment tax and avoids double taxation. You can take distribution of profit, over and above your salary, without incurring the payroll tax on that portion of income.

    If you use an LLC (limited liability company), it could be taxed like any of the above entities. This form of organization is just simpler to administer. There is no requirement for annual shareholder meetings. It is the preferred method of operating rental real estate.

    Speaking of the annual shareholder meeting, that can be an advantage. You don’t have to conduct your annual meeting in your usual business location. For example, it could be held at a ski resort, beach location or on a cruise. The expenses would not be deductible if held outside the United States.

    I think that the Office in Home deduction is overrated. There is some benefit for sole proprietors, but it is not allowed for corporate entities. It is limited to the percentage of the house that is used exclusively for business. So, if a 10 X 10 spare bedroom is used as the office in a 2,000 square foot house, that works out to 5% of the home’s expenses that can be deducted. You can use a number of expenses as deductions, such as depreciation, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, insurance, repairs and utilities (electric, gas, water and trash pickup). Also, it is limited to the amount of income generated by the business, so if you have a loss, you would not be able to use the Office in Home deduction.

    There can be a number of other deductible expenses, depending on the nature of the business. Generally, anything that improves the business or facilitates you producing more income can be used

  • 29 Sep 2023 12:18 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    You can access ChatGPT at There is a free version as well as a subscription version. AI or Artificial Intelligence is the science of training computers to mimic the human brain. NLP or Natural Language Processing is where computers can understand and generate human language. LM or Language Model generate probabilities based on a series of words. LLM or Large Language Model is enabled by AI accelerators to process vast amounts of text data mostly taken from the Internet. GPT or Generative Pretrained Transformer is an evolving and sophisticated LLM that uses CHAT, an API, to deliver answers to questions.

    You input Prompts into ChatGPT and it gives you a result. The more details in your prompt, the more accurate and useful the reply. You can fine tune your prompt until you get a good reply. This reply has to be further vetted and edited by the user.

    Business Applications areas include:

    • Addressing pain points
    • Outside of the box thinking
    • Writing of policies, procedures, education including role playing with employees
    • Automated reporting including data analysis
    • Optimization of marketing strategies with content marketing and SEO
    • Development of training materials

    If you are concerned about sources used for a piece, you can ask Chat GPT for the sources used in the output.

    The bottom line is this is a tool that can save you time but understand you must review the output and edit it to make it your own.

    Thank you to Dana Plazyk of Social Marketing Business Solutions for your excellent presentation (

    Information in this post came from Dana's presentation and is included in this blog with her permission.

    -------- Sandra Waldrop, PhD

  • 18 Aug 2023 3:58 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    LBA would like to thank Councilman Emil Powella and DDA/Planning Commission Chairman Hugh Wilkerson for a very informative presentation about the Lilburn City Government and Boards/Authorities. The items below include information from that presentation as well as the City website.

    How is Lilburn’s City Government structured?

    Lilburn, like many of the surrounding cities, has a Council/City Manager system of government. There is a Legislative Branch that makes the laws, an executive branch that carries out the laws and a judicial branch that evaluates the laws.

    What is the role of the Mayor and Council in relation to the City Council?

    • The Mayor serves as the head of the Legislative Branch.

    • The Mayor only votes when there is a tie.

    • The Mayor and Council create policy and provide direction

      • Approve the budget

      • Set the millage rate

      • Hire the City Manager 

    What does the City Manager do?

    The City Manager is the CEO of the City whose job is to manage all divisions of city government on a day-to-day basis.

    Who is elected and who is appointed?

    The citizens of Lilburn elect the Mayor and City Council. The Mayor/City Council appoints the City Attorney, the Municipal Judge and the Solicitor as well as members of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and the Merit Board. The Council also hires the City Manager. 

    What is the role of the Planning Commission?

    The Planning Commission serves in an advisory role. They review development recommendations, zoning requests and City Update plans. They are the first to vet staff analysis for requests. They then recommend to the City Council to approve or deny a development request.

    What is the DDA and what is its role?

    City governments cannot buy and sell property for development so the concept of the DDA or Downtown Development Authority was created. This is an authority established by state law and enacted by the city council that can buy, sell and develop properties in a defined geography. The members are appointed by the City Council. This entity is useful in assembling parcels of property for larger projects. It is a way to promote the highest and best use of target businesses or developments in a designated area.

    What are the benefits to living in the City?

    If you check your real estate tax bill from Gwinnett County, you will notice you do not pay the county for police protection. Lilburn has its own police force which is included on your City Tax bill. The Lilburn police response time is as fast as 2 minutes much faster than is possible for the county police. The City police are also responsible for code enforcement.

    Our Public Works services include the Chipper service and clearance of roads from storm debris. If a tree is blocking a City road, contact the City anytime for removal.

    The city seeks partnership with the business community, the faith community, the Homeowner’s Associations and the residents to evaluate and implement projects.

    The City believes citizen engagement is key to long-term success.  Opportunities for engagement include:

    • Boards and Authorities

    • City Website Informs

      • Text and E-mail Notifications

    • Public Input Opportunities

      • Budget Process

      • Comprehensive Plan

      • Project Opportunities

    When are the regularly scheduled meetings?

    • City Council - 2nd Monday - 7:30 pm
    • Planning Commission - 4th Tuesday 7pm
    • DDA - 3rd Wednesday at 6:30 pm

  • 30 May 2023 8:36 AM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    LBA paid a visit to the Parkview 3DE program for our May 16th meeting. 3DE is a high school curriculum developed by Junior Achievement. There are 45 programs nationally. At Parkview, the 3DE program is organized into an Academy in that the students take their core classes with other 3DE students. Although the program is designed as a 4-year program, a student can join the program as a sophomore or junior.

    Our meeting began with the presentation that was given to 8th grade parents. We had an opportunity to tell the students about LBA. Since many of us started our businesses after having had other careers, we shared how we had to learn “the business of running a business” in a less formal way. We also let them know the skills they were developing would serve them well in any career they choose.

    The program takes a project-based approach to learning. In the 9th/10th grades the focus is case challenges. They work with big name companies like Home Depot and UPS. An example challenge was to find locations for distribution centers in certain regions of the country. In the 11th grade, they focus on Entrepreneurship by starting and running their own business. In the 12th grade, the focus is on consultancy and work-based learning.

    The entire program focuses on:

    • ·         Effective Collaboration
    • ·         Engaging Communication
    • ·         Cultural Agility
    • ·         Critical & Analytical Thinking
    • ·         Self-Direction
    • ·         Creativity & Innovation

    A panel of 7 students plus 1 alumnus were organized into a panel. 3DE Lead Teacher Tyler Hall and the 3DE liaison Johnny Taylor lead the students through a series of questions that provided us information on how the program worked and how the students were developing academically. The students were very engaged and motivated. We had the special “treat” to meet a recent graduate of the program. This student brought delicious and beautiful cupcakes to the meeting. She continued her baking business that she started as a 3DE student. She has also expanded her skills by working in a grocery store bakery.

    Our hope is for LBA to find ways to support this program and students.


    Sandra Waldrop

  • 29 Apr 2023 12:39 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    GCPL Business Resources

    The Lilburn head librarian, Melissa Grammont, shared with us an overview of the tremendous resources available at the library that are helpful for business owners. Most of these resources will be located in the Digital Resources section of their website, You will need your library card and pin to access the online items.

    Ebooks and audiobooks

    The Libby app is the resource for accessing ebooks and audiobooks. Beginning May 1st, Overdrive will be discontinued.

    Classes and Learning

    Linkedin Learning

    Linkedin Learning offers thousands of video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business skills.


    Treehouse is an interactive online learning platform that teaches you how to code, develop websites and apps. There maybe a waitlist to use this application.

    Gale Courses

    Available 24/7, Gale Courses provides more than 360 six-week long, online programs taught by college instructors. New courses begin each month, and lessons are assigned twice a week, enhanced with images, videos, and games to support varied learning styles. Users will enjoy a self-paced learning environment and engagement with fellow students and instructor through weekly discussion boards.

    Your library can enrich lives by providing diverse learning opportunities with classes that support:

    • Business professionals – with communication, entrepreneurship, human resources, management, manufacturing, and marketing offerings

    • Computer and technology – suiting skill levels from beginner to advanced in software, computer applications, web design, and programming

    • Parenting, language & arts, hobbies, and more – a wide array of personal enrichment subjects with something for everyone

    • Health and wellness offerings – certifications in topics from mental health and aging to pain management and nutrition

    Reference USA 

    Reference USA is a premier business and consumer reference and research tool offering instant real-time access to in-depth information on millions of US businesses and more.

    Learning Labs and Tech

    The Learning Labs are a great place to enjoy the capabilities of often expensive equipment and software. Here you could, for example, take high quality images for use on a website or produce a video. Equipment varies depending on the branch.

    Book a Room

    Did you know you can book a Meeting or Study Room? These rooms can be used for business meetings.

    Book a Librarian

    Want more ideas? You can always Book a Librarian for detailed information.

  • 06 Mar 2023 2:57 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    What is the Yellow River Water Trail ?

    The YRWT is one of 21 certified Water Trails in Georgia.  We are a 501c3 organization formed about 7 years ago.  Think Riverkeeper, with a larger scope. The YRWT is GA Water Trails Certified by the Georgia River Network, which has 18 more river trails in process for certification.

    Wow, I drive over it often, and never gave it a thought.

    Exactly, Awareness and Education is one of our core focuses.  The Yellow is a clean, beautiful, river suitable for paddling. People can paddle it 53 miles, through 4 Counties, to Lake Jackson.  A Water Trail maps and documents the river with GPS coordinates, river mileage, with access points where paddlers can enter and exit the river; along with descriptions of any features and hazards.

    So people can paddle it ?

    Yes, for most of it’s length it flowing flatwater, shady, peaceful, beautiful.  In a couple spots there is some challenging Whitewater, and we become a destination for those adventure paddlers when the water level is up.  For the paddler seeking a peaceful, pretty experience, the river moves at a steady jogging speed.

    Someone told me the river wasn’t clean ?

    Actually, the river is very clean.  The YWRT is an Adopt-a-Stream partner and we test monthly at more than half-a-dozen sites in Gwinnett and DeKalb.  We test Chemistry (pH, Conductivity, dissolved Oxygen); and for E.coli, our results have come in healthy for the last 7 years that we’ve been testing.

    Wow!... So, how is this good for Lilburn ?

    Gwinnett is blessed to have 2 recreationally active rivers, the Chattahoochee and the Yellow; most other Georgia Counties wish they had a river that can be paddled.   More and more the Yellow will be an outdoor destination, close to Lilburn, Mountain Park, Centerville, and Stone Mountain.  And there is a long-range plan for a Greenway along the river, linking river easements, utility easements, County land and parks.

    Increasingly the River and the Greenway will be a destination for families, and these people will spend money, and they want to live near quality outdoor recreation venue.  Good for business, good for home values.

    How can I help ?

    The YRWT needs volunteers to help with pushing the vision, water test, help and lead litter cleanups, paddle the river, and make contacts & relationships with the jurisdictions along the river.  For example, all the “Improved” river access points are in Newton Co; in Gwinnett, DeKalb & Rockdale, the access points are “Unimproved”, meaning “natural” we enter/exit at the bridges (Five Forks Trickum, Hwy-78), Yellow River Park, etc.  The Paddle Maps list all the access points and their conditions. 

    We need Gwinnett County to help with inexpensive access improvements, such as grading and gravel, and some parking area.

    Informative Links:

    LBA Presentation:

    All the river maps:

    Georgia River Network, Water Trails:

    Yellow River Water Trail:

    Yellow River Water Trail Facebook page:

    --Mark Wilson - Chairman of the Yellow River Water Trail

  • 21 Feb 2023 3:58 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    This Monday my day began with a number of LBA members letting me know I had been hacked. They had received a suspicious email from me representing the Lilburn Business Association asking for the purchase of gift cards for a veterans' charity project. After my initial panic, my analytical skills started to kick in as I investigated what was going on.

    From the notices, I could tell everyone contacting me were current LBA members. We use one product to manage our membership, events and website and another product to produce and email our newsletters. Neither one of these systems sent out that email. That left me with one conclusion. The scammers harvested the email addresses from the LBA website Directory page. A quick web search confirmed this is a typical practice.

    Using this email example, let's review a few simple things to keep in mind regarding email.

    Public Email Addresses

    As a business owner, we have to have our contact information in the public domain. It is important you use a dedicated business email address. You should keep your personal email address private.

    Red Flags

    Always look at the email address of the sender. Even though the name on the email looks familiar, the actual email address will look odd. It will be an address that is different from what you associate with the sender. It may even be a nonsensical looking address like “”.

    The language used in the email may be more formal than expected. The sender is asking for you to do something for them because they are away and can’t perform the task from their location. They ask for gift cards. There is an urgency in the request. The sums can be large $100+. They want you to send them the codes for the gift cards so they can be redeemed with the card not present.

    These scammers make some effort to make the emails and requests look real, but there are usually red flags. Additionally, the whole scheme with the gift cards is they are trying to get the cards sent to people that are already being scammed to develop more trust.

    Sandra Waldrop, PhD
    LBA President

  • 25 Jan 2023 9:54 AM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    I don't know many people who can honestly say they enjoy public speaking. However, if you have a business, there will be times you are expected to speak publicly in selling yourself, your products or your services.

    In January, Susie Corbett from the Gwinnett-Tucker Toastmasters Club #833 was our featured speaker.  Their mission statement is "To provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth".

    If you have the sense you are not being effective when speaking publicly, there are ways to improve.

    • Check out the resources at Toastmasters International.
    • Linkedin Learning (free access through the Gwinnett Public Library Digital Resources) listed 49 courses when searching under "public speaking".
    • Do a Business Spotlight 5 minute presentation at an LBA meeting (including in your membership).
    • Practice your elevator speech with a friend who does not know details of your business. 

    We will be incorporating public speaking exercises into our meeetings this year. So add becoming Public Speaking Fit to your New Year's Resolutions.

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Lilburn Business Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.

Mailing Address: Lilburn Business Association, P.O. Box 1537, Lilburn, GA 30048


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