• 08 Feb 2021 1:33 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    January 1st, LBA member Nicky Nocera became the owner of the salon on Main Street in Old Town Lilburn. She has wasted no time is giving the old place a hip new look. Check more images on our Instagram page.

    How did you become a cosmetologist?

    I have always been into creative things.  I always wanted to do something artistic and since high school wanted to do hair.  My hairstylist growing up was always coming up with new ideas and taught me how to style hair.  I started college as a marketing major.  In the early 2000s that’s what all the parents were pushing for, like, what’s this trade school you speak of?    Get a real job!  I tried that for a couple of years then decided to go with my passion.  About a year after I started doing hair I fell in love with the product line Surface and with the process of education.  I became an educator with the brand and started doing classes – cutting and styling classes.  I have also spent a lot of time coaching others on how to have a successful salon.  When it came to light that I had an opportunity here to build a salon I already had the knowledge how to do that.  I love that we can make our clients look good and feel good – we call ourselves “day makers” for a reason.

    How did you wind up in Old Town Lilburn? 

    I had been working in midtown for 7 or 8 years and driving in.  I lived in Lilburn and started getting more and more settled into the community.  As I met people and they found out what I did they were interested – until they found out I worked in midtown.  I was also spending a lot of time calling on salons with the Surface product.  One day I called on this salon and when I came in they told me about all of the exciting things that were happening in Old Towne Lilburn.  Lilburn is a hidden gem and it just made sense to work here.  I started part-time and my business built faster than it ever has anywhere else.  About 6 months after I started working here I found out the building was for sale.  My husband and I talked about it and we were afraid that whoever bought it might not want to keep a salon here.  I never really saw myself owning a salon but the universe aligned and here I am.

    What has the Lilburn Business Association done for you and what do you see it doing for you?

    The main thing is the connections I’ve made.  I’ve gotten clients through LBA and just as importantly, Tim with Print Magic has done my signs and printing and Sandra Waldrop spent two hours with me teaching me how to build my web site.  It has really been a resource for me and I’m looking forward to getting more involved as COVID restrictions ease and we can go back to meeting in person and getting to know each other.

    --------- Donna Hill

  • 16 Dec 2020 6:16 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Many entrepreneurial journeys begin as an idea to solve a problem, a solution looking for a problem to solve or a way to do something more efficiently. Our December speaker, John Adcox, spent many years writing and managing writers for a variety of media. He gained insight into the many inefficiencies of how stories were brought to multiple media formats. He had an idea and vision to disrupt the industry. 

    The “Story Incubator” Gramarye Media was born. To accomplish his vision, he needed resources of not only money but expertise. John and his vision were accepted into the very competitive Georgia Tech business accelerator program for startups called Flashpoint. Yes Tech has developed a way to engineer business startups. Only 10% of all startups succeed, while 80% of startups using a business accelerator do.

    Flashpoint was a 6 month program that involved, as John put it, “weekly public floggings” and the privilege of Ga Tech owning 7% of the company.  Along the way, he found out it was easier to fundraise for a $240 million startup than a $3 million one.

    The goal of each Gramarye Media project is to find the unpublished manuscript with the potential of Harry Potter. They want to find the equivalent of JK Rowling writing on a napkin in a coffee shop. Pay her $50k plus 15% of the multimedia explosion they generate from the manuscript. They would produce and control the publication (paper and digital), movie rights, gaming rights, etc. The key is data obtained and analysed through the Flashpoint process for picking the winners. 

    Four projects will be delivered to the public in 2021 and 12 per year thereafter. They anticipate having their first revenue in the 2nd quarter of 2021.

    Gramarye Media is in the process of occupying offices within the Atlanta Opportunity Zone.  They are working towards building a studio on land that is EB-5 (foreign investor) and USDA loan eligible.This studio would include Smartstages which use surround LED and cameras. The Mandalorian series uses this technology which is superior to bluescreen methods and allows volumetric video capture.

     John is having quite a ride on his journey and it looks like he is nearing the top of the highest (maybe second highest) hill of the roller coaster. I can’t wait to see how this ride finishes.

  • 16 Dec 2020 8:56 AM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    The Holidays is often a time for families to gather and discuss the growing needs of loved ones. Francine Oglesby of Right At Home East is our newest LBA member. Right At Home is much more than a home health provider. They  provide in-home care and assistance for seniors and those with special needs. The east Atlanta office opened in 2012 and now has an office in Snellville. They are proud to say a human will answer their phones 24/7 and there are no long term contracts. They have 3 nurses on staff and currently service around 80 families with 120+ caregivers. They even have a therapy dog, Mylo.

    Services are typically paid by long term care insurance, VA benefits, self-pay and even Medicaid. They are hiring caregivers and CNAs.  

    Whether a family member needs a little extra help around the house, assistance recovering from a hospital stay or someone to check in on them throughout the week, Right at Home East Atlanta's in-home care is the answer. 

  • 27 Aug 2020 2:17 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Since the Gwinnett County Public Library closed due to recent health concerns, we have been hard at work to pivot our offerings to continue to be of service to all facets of our community. In doing so, we have added three new resources to our rosters that are free to use with your Gwinnett County Library card.

    The first resource that we added to our offerings was This resource was acquired in partnership with Gwinnett County Public Schools, in which children are offered free tutoring assistance in a variety of topics. However, is not just for children! It boasts a career center for adults, in which one could get assistance in job searing, as well as preparation for the Naturalization Test. There is also the option to submit a paper for review by a tutor for technical writing, and letters. also provides tutors that speak Spanish, so they are accessible to quite a few members of the community!

    The library has also worked in collaboration with Grow with Google. They provide free resources in which individuals can gain skills and knowledge in various areas. Notably, they offer Career Certificates, in which people can embark on new career pathways to gain the valuable experience needed for employment. Grow with Google offers free training on various topics of importance to small business owners, including how to manage one's business in the virtual format. Grow with Google also provides resource guides for small businesses.

    Lastly, the Library has added Social Explorer to our list of Digital Holdings. Social Explorer is a tool that uses various data sets to provide demographic information in an intuitive and easily searchable map format. Currently, they offer Data from the U.S 2020 Census, U.S Election Data, U.S Business Patterns, and U.S Covid-19 Data, and many more. All information is displayed on comprehensive maps that are color-coded and searchable down to zip codes!

    Please join us for a tour of the new resources that the Gwinnett County Public Library has to offer you and your business on Tuesday, September 15th at 11:00 am. We will be going through all of the resources mentioned above, and we will take your questions on how to use them. 

    Vicky Perez, Head Librarian, Lilburn Branch, GCPL

  • 21 Jul 2020 3:45 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Search Result PhotoThe virtual LBA Meeting today was a Q/A with the City of Lilburn Police Community Liason, Officer Mike Johnson. Officer Johnson did an outstanding job answering questions about Business Safety, Community Outreach, FLOCK Camera Systems and Safety Programs.

    For those that missed our meeting today here is the video of Officer Johnson's portion of the meeting.

    Link to video

  • 01 May 2020 3:41 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Our special guest for the May 1st Zoom meeting was Lilburn Assistant City Manager, Jenny Simpkins. Jenny provided a presentation that took us through the ongoing changes and development of downtown Lilburn. Link to video with Password:  8q.?%^@X

  • 17 Apr 2020 9:21 AM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    For many of us, the road to business ownership hasn’t necessarily been a clear path.  I started my business, Fresh Air Party Rental, over 10 years ago, but never had a specific career path planned nor had considered the possibility of entrepenuership growing up.  In 8th grade I remember being excited to take a test in school that would supposedly guide us to our ideal job possibilities, through questions about our habits and personalities.  I recall answering that I would enjoy doing something different and unpredictable each day, where I could work both indoors and outdoors.  Apparently my answers narrowed down the options quite a bit, because when I got my results, I was disappointed to see just 2 suggestions:  forest ranger, or funeral director!  But it turned out having an event rental company has been a perfect fit, obviously allowing me to work both indoors and out, and as any business owner can tell you, every day brings new challenges and unpredictable schedules.

    My husband and I started Fresh Air Party Rental in 2007 with 2 used bounce houses, that we would deliver to house parties on the weekends for extra income.  We now operate as a full-time business with 40 different inflatables, along with tents, tables, chairs, audio equipment, etc. and provide equipment for festivals, corporate gatherings, concerts, and weddings, in addition to backyard parties.  We are grateful to participate in many local events in Lilburn.  Even though we travel to all areas of town, it is a special privilege to service events right here where we live and work. 

    As I am writing this, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has of course affected all our lives in unprecedented ways.  Most entrepenuers are faced with new challenges of how to continue business during this public health crisis.  Personally I am concerned about the future of parties and events, but am confident they will return, though probably not in the same way as before...just as travel changed after 9/11, or the housing market changed after the Great Recession.  As business owners we will adapt and learn from this situation, and I believe will eventually come out stronger than ever.  Hopefully one day we will be able to look back at this time as a challenging but inspirational chapter in our lives and our journey of entrepenuership.


    Andrea Alvarez

    4493 Lilburn Industrial Way SW Suite B1

    Lilburn, GA 30047

    Like us on Facebook

  • 27 Feb 2020 2:39 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Smokin' Gold opened in Dahlonega Georgia in April of 2008. My wife and I have been competition BBQ cooks for many years. When the opportunity availed itself to open a fully furnished restaurant for very little money, we decided to give it a try. After 3 years in that location we were able to relocate to downtown Dahlonega and reap the benefit of serving more tourist. Our home is and has been located in Lawrenceville for that entire time. When I met John and this building was available, it was time to sell the Dahlonega location and move back home.

    People often ask what style of BBQ we offer, Kansas city tomato, Carolina mustard or vinegar. My response is competition style. Our goal is to give you a superior barbeque product off the grill and let you choose your own style of sauce. In barbeque competitions, it's a meat contest not a sauce contest, so we continued to cook the way we know. Our signature dish is the brisket, the pulled pork, ribs and chicken are also excellent. Every Friday, we offer burnt ends off the brisket. Very few BBQ restaurants in this area offer burnt ends. 

    That is a little history and insight to the kind of restaurant you can expect here. 

    Dan Dieterle

  • 24 Oct 2019 2:05 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    From Nancy Tawes' Business Spotight presentation at the LBA meeting on Oct 15, 2019

    I consider myself an artist.  I’ve had a couple of shows representing my fine art photography in general including a Black History exhibit which is a work in progress.  I have an event coming up this March, showcasing fine art portraiture featuring my late mother’s porcelain doll collection.  This will be at the Pinkneyville Activity Center. I’ve also been privileged to judge the work in a couple of Art Events in the area.  Currently some of my fine art images are displayed at the Corner Cup Coffee in Decatur.

    As the Owner/Operator of Nancy Tawes Photography, I specialize in Fine Art Portraiture, Professional Headshots and Editorial Website Images

    I base my work on Philippians 4:8   “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

    Our world today is inundated with images and people expect imagery wherever they go.  A Picture is worth a Thousand Words.  Say it with pictures.

    Your online presence is your professional validation, the public’s go-to before they call you, if they call you.

    When they get to your website, they scan it.  One blog called it the .05 seconds of doom.

    If you make it past that, it is typically a result of compelling imagery.

    Pictures break up and highlight text.

    They determine what people think and help them to make decisions.

    They represent your brand.

    So why pay for images when you have a camera, a friend with a camera or someone you know who will do it for free? Or an inexpensive stock photo?

    Let’s face it. Everyone thinks they are a photographer and stock images are easy to get.

    But a trained professional photographer has invested time and money to perfect the craft.

    Personally, I have an AAS in Photography including 55 hours of targeted college credits, I’ve invested $55K in training and about $10K inequipment.  And I have thousands of hours of experience.

    The images of a professional photographer are controlled and edited for maximum impact.

    With their professional software they provide SEO optimization.

    A professional photographer can take your images from sub-par to amazing.

    Your images represent your brand and they should visualize what YOU and YOUR company are all about, not a stock image. 

    In this digital world, it is important to make a personal connection and stock photos are generic by definition.

    So, put YOUR best foot forward without distractions.  A professional photographer can make you look established, smart and polished.

    You can expect to spend around $350 to $500 for editorial website imagery and $165 to $200 for professional headshots.

    Professional photography is a deductible business expense that will increase your bottom line.

    Remember Content is King and images are content.

    I leave you with this thought…Got Image?

  • 03 Jul 2019 3:12 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Doug Stacks, the Director of Planning & Economic Development for the City of Lilburn, was our June luncheon speaker. July 1st his duties will also include Assistant City Manager. There has been a focus on Main Street and bringing up Old Town. Did you know 8-10 businesses were interviewed for the spot now occupied by the 1910 Public House? Hope Springs Distillery originally wanted a Norcross location, but there was no spot for them (lucky for Lilburn). Good to know there is thoughtful consideration and planning as Main Street is transformed.

    The installation of the SPLOST funded water main was key to allowing higher density construction along Main. The 55+ senior community across from the City Hall/Library Complex site is prepped and we should see units going up soon. The site for the townhouse development at Main and Railroad is also close to having the start of building construction. These units will not be cookie cutter and there are still some design decisions in progress. The developer will also oversee the retail space to be developed in the second phase. The idea of residential over retail is not off the table. Check out the developer’s website and contact them with questions:

    Speaking of the townhome development on Main Street, am I the only one wondering about the $400k-$500k price point? Consider this, the townhomes being developed on Arcado Rd near Beaver Ruin Rd have sold in the $270-$300 range. The success of that development persuaded the developer of the property across the street to rejig their designs to a higher standard and price point. So, a high end townhouse across from City Park for that price point is not a stretch.

    The police station/park area is seeing many changes. The new playground area and equipment are complete and the new restroom facility adjacent to the playground should be complete by August. Some of the old playground equipment was placed at the lawn on the Greenway for continued use. When the new Police Station is completed on Hwy 29, the old building will come down. The building design and condition were determined to be impractical to retrofit. Plans are being considered about what changes to make to the park after the building is removed. How about a park extension? There are 22 acres of land that adjoins the park which is an old concrete facility. How could that be used?

    Outside Main Street are several projects by private developers. A big one is the Office/Distribution Facility on the old water treatment plant property. This building has 250,000 sf of space with 7.6 acres under one roof. Prior to this development, the property spent 50 years off the City tax rolls. The city even has new ordinances that make redevelopment of old retail properties easier regulation wise.

    The City has created a new position called Main Street Manager. Former city council member Brian Burchik has taken on this part-time job. He has spent the summer meeting with the different community groups to find partners and gather ideas to enhance life in the "City". Contact Brian,, if your community group was missed.

    For more news on Main Street and a list of construction projects check out

    Sandra Waldrop - LBA President

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


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