• 24 May 2021 1:59 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Carlos' first experience in the restaurant business was as a dishwasher/busboy where his father worked. This job was supposed to be encouragement for him to improve his school grades. He actually fell in love with the restaurant business and has worked in it his whole life, except for a construction job where he only lasted 2 weeks. It is always good to know what you don’t want to do as a career.

    The 3 Agavero restaurant locations each offer a different dining experience. The Midtown location is higher priced and caters to a more affluent crowd, with a taste for high end margaritas and drinks, etc. The Lawrenceville Highway location is more suburban with lower prices but also popular for date night.  Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are always busy at the Lawrenceville Hwy location.  The Bus is set up for fast casual dining, with a more limited menu.  He wants the Bus to be like a Mexican Chick-fil-A, with fast and friendly service, but saying “My Pleasure” in Spanish, but it did not sound quite right!

    The restaurants struggled at the beginning of the pandemic but were able to make it with the support of the community.  The Bus was the first location to reopen for business, since they have the open-air patio. Carlos plans to add shade or awning to the top part of the bus, for the sunny summer days.

    Important business lesson learned from his grandfather and father was work ethic.  His grandfather worked in restaurants 6 days a week.  His father, a waiter, helped Carlos learn the importance of being social and to interact with the customers, to keep them happy and want to come back.

    We are very happy Carlos has made Agavero Parkside such a wonderful addition to Lilburn City Park.

    ----  Andrea Alvarez

  • 10 May 2021 1:36 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Joe Goodman was the presenter at our May Breakfast Zoom meeting. Joe's lifelong love of publishing started in junior high in his journalism class, an early career with a large publishing house in NY and continued 19 years ago when he started Up Close & Person in Tucker.

    In planning his magazine, Joe decided to use a Biographical/Autobiographical hook, something he had never seen with a publication. He began with a Tucker-focus, but realized the close connection Tucker had with Lilburn. Fourteen years ago he added a Lilburn addition to his offerings.

    In 19 years, he has never lacked for an interesting person/story from the target communities for his magazine cover story. His subjects have included astronauts, a ghost writer of well known books, an Olympic athlete, a Freedom Rider and the organist for the Braves. His knowledge of so many interesting local residents has turned Joe into a very interesting person himself!

    Every two months, Up Close & Person is mailed to 55,000 homes in the Tucker and Lilburn extended communities . His "pivot" during the pandemic has been to do combined Tucker/Lilburn issues. He has split the cover to show 2 different stories, one from Tucker and one from Lilburn and a group shot of 4 girls (2 from Tucker and 2 from Lilburn) describing their individual community projects.

    Up Close & Personal does not have a website or public phone number. The best way to reach out to Joe Goodman is by email at and you better put a worthy subject title so he opens it. If you want to market to Tucker and Lilburn, this is a great place for a print ad.

  • 28 Apr 2021 2:09 PM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Have you ever thought of getting a business coach. John Davis of Action Coach shared with us 5 key areas for a successful business. Is marketing an expense or an investment? Do you use metrics in your business? What does it cost to acquire a customer? Are you able to generate passive income? Check out John's presentation.

  • 21 Apr 2021 8:58 AM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    Lanier Ward is our Business Spotlight for May. He spent 13 years as a pastor before becoming a realtor with Century 21. He was born in Atlanta and his wife grew up in Lilburn so relocating here from NC was like coming home. Lanier has a particular passion for working with first time homebuyers. A few years ago, he and his wife purchased their first home. It did not start out as their dream home, but they now appreciate how cosmetic updates can make all the difference. He can help those first time buyers find the perfect home that may start out as an ugly duckling. 

    Check out his Youtube Channel.

  • 12 Apr 2021 9:21 AM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    By Sandra Waldrop, Insite To Web, LLC

    When you think of your customer vs your business offerings, who is the hero of the story? I hope you said your customer. Your business offerings should be a way for your customer to solve or avoid a problem, much the way in a good story a character finds a mentor to guide them to victory.

    Check out my slide presentation on this book: 


  • 25 Feb 2021 9:50 AM | Sandra Waldrop (Administrator)

    If you live in Lilburn and take Arcado Rd to Hwy 29, you have passed Porter Steel many times. We were very fortunate to have the company VP, Cole Porter, as our guest at the February Zoom meeting. The company was started in 1983 by Cole's father Lowe who became interested in working with steel from his father.

    The company employs 80-90 people and does about $12 million in projects in a year. About 90% of their orders are for light structural (not supportive) which is used in high end homes and apartments as gates, stairs, etc. They also do medium structural projects such as structural steel for school buildings. They also partner with companies that need a steel component like a support for their primary product such as a pump. Here the company can focus on their primary product and let Porter Steel hand the steel support structure. You can see Porter Steel at the JCB bridge and at the 17th Street bridge at Atlantic Station.

    This company sources its steel from the US or from NATO countries. Most US mills tend to specialize in a particular product such as beams of certain size or parts. The price of steel on the world market can fluctuate with the impact of Tariffs. Covid also caused mills to shut down leading to reduced supplies and causing prices to increase by as much as 100%. That can make quotes for projects tricky.

    The work force at the company is quite diverse with 23 countries represented and they even have women welders. The jobs at the company include fabricators, welders, logistics, estimators, project managers, machine operators, helpers, CDL drivers, crane operators, CAD, etc. They tap into school programs from Georgia Trade School, Gwinnett Tech and even the Architecture and Construction Academy at Berkmar HS. Much of the work is hard labor but the company provides 100% health benefits, 401K and paid time off.

    Film location scouts from No Bull Productions approached the company to use their shop for a fight scene for a Netflix pilot for the show "Verified". While there, they noticed a large 54 ft boat. Construction of this boat had been a project started my owner Lowe Porter in 2003. They were getting ready to finally move the boat to a Knoxville Marina for finishing work. Documentaries are good work for production companies during a pandemic and No Bull saw an opportunity. Thus began "The Ark of Lilburn" documentary chronicling the delicate move of this huge object. There is even some possibility the film will include the boats final journey down rivers to the gulf.  

    For 38 years, the company obtained customers by word of mouth. In 2019, they hired a marketing firm that has been mostly tasked with telling their story.  Thank you Porter for sharing the story of the company as well as your story as you have take on leadership within the company. Cole is also involved with the Gwinnett Chamber and Partnership Gwinnett.

    Want to know more. Porter's interview is available to stream online:

    LBA Virtual Lunch - Porter Steel

    Feb 16, 2021

    Meeting Recording

    Access Passcode: MEE.RR?0

  • 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. 

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


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