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How an Adult and Senior Care Service Pivoted their Business During COVID19

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Aysha Cooper

How did one company choose to adapt and pivot their business and stay relevant, during COVD-19? In this episode of the Capitalist Sage, Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini are joined by Aysha Cooper, the owner of McKinley Caregiver Resource Center in Snellville, Georgia. In the world of Senior Healthcare, professionals are looking for answers on how to pivot in business. Aysha has found some great solutions to the problems of today.

Resources:

Phone: (678) 691-1610
Website: ​https://mckinleyga.com
Social Media: @McKinleyGA

“And the one thing that we want to assist families with is being proactive versus reactive. You know, a lot of times we will get calls in crisis mode and then you’re struggling to pull all these pieces together. So it is how can we give them the tools to plan and prepare properly.”

Aysha Cooper

Where to find that topic in the podcast:

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:52] – About Aysha and the Center
[00:04:53] – Initial Thoughts
[00:05:49] – Continuing Care After Shut-Down
[00:08:05] – Pausing to Reflect
[00:13:03] – Industry Changes
[00:19:56] – Technical Aspects
[00:24:32] – Sharing Advice
[00:28:07] – Closing

Podcast transcript:

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to help bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors. And my co host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, Digital Marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners magazine. Hey Rico, how are you doing today?

Rico: [00:00:52] Hey Karl, good. Good. Beautiful day outside.

Karl: [00:00:55] It is, it is. Why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about our sponsors today?

Rico: [00:01:00] Sure. Our lead sponsor is Hargray Fiber. They’re a fiber optics company that supplies some of the fastest internet that you’ll see out there in the marketplace. They’re a southeast company that provides, here in the community and Peachtree Corners specifically. High end fiber for businesses, whether you’re small or enterprise size, doesn’t matter, they will provide the tools to do smart office with. We have to be connected to your teleworking staff, to your business. It doesn’t matter which it is, and they’ll create bundles and create packages for you to make you work the best you can in this COVID environment. So go check them out. HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com/business and check their current promotion of a thousand dollar visa gift card for those that become qualified clients. So check them out. They’re our sponsor.

Karl: [00:01:52] Alright. Thank you. Well, I know a lot of people are doing homeschooling and so fiber optics is becoming a really important part of the landscape for every week. But today I am happy to bring our guest Aysha Cooper who is the owner of McKinley Caregiver Resource Center in Snellville, Georgia in Gwinnett. We’re here to talk a little bit about, how businesses are navigating the pandemic in 2020, she operates, works with the elderly and operate various resources and services to help support that community. And she’s here to share a little bit about her background, her journey in that business, and hopefully share how other business owners can continue to evolve their business as things change. How are you doing today?

Aysha: [00:02:49] I’m good Karl. How are you?

Karl: [00:02:51] I’m doing fabulous. Why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself and how you got into your business?

Aysha: [00:02:59] Okay. Well about, almost 12 years ago, we launched an adult daycare center in Snellville, Georgia. And we have grown over the last 12 years, of course, from three participants to almost 45 to 50 a day. No vans to three vans, three employees to 20 employees. And, then the pandemic happened. So, but we have a love for our senior community and still want to be able to be here to provide care for them and their caregivers. But that is, that was the nuts and bolts of our business since 2010.

Karl: [00:03:41] Oh, so why don’t you, for folks that may not be familiar, what are some of the services and things you provided for our senior citizens and elderly and in the center?

Aysha: [00:03:53] Okay. Adult daycare centers are a day center for primarily seniors that can’t stay safely in their home. But it’s also providing peace of mind to their loved one, caregiver, maybe an adult child. If it’s an adult child that adult child may still work. If it’s a spouse, they may just need a couple of days, where they can go run errands with, you know, without their loved one with them. And so what we provide at the day center or provided at the day center was activities that were specific to stimulating them. You know, especially if they had a cognitive impairment, then we would provide activities, meals throughout the day. But we also had a medical oversight with, because we were an RN supervised center.

Karl: [00:04:53] So, I know most people know that when the pandemic came around, it really impacted elderly community. And those were some of the most at risk population. What did you think when you started hearing about COVID-19 back in probably late February or early March. Did you know who’s going to have the impact is going to have?

Aysha: [00:05:17] Oh, no. I mean, when we shut down, we shut down Wednesday, March 18th and I’ll never forget it. It came so fast. And, you know, maybe it was slowly turning and other people were able to be more on top of it than we were, but we knew people were still in crisis. And so we wanted to provide the care as long as we could. But once, you know, it was a state shutdown, then we had to make the choice to shut down. But we thought we would be back in a couple of weeks.

Karl: [00:05:49] Yeah. So what were the options to the family members of the caregivers once, you know, the center wasn’t available and open? What were some of the things that people were having to do to continue to give care and support to their loved ones?

Aysha: [00:06:06] Well to keep people safe just as we have done, most people have to hibernate in their homes. And, you know, they have the longest stay at home order and it changed often. You know, first it was 30 days away, and then all of a sudden it just kept getting pushed back. So, these people are still at home and doing the best they can with their loved one.

Karl: [00:06:30] So that raises an interesting question. I’m sure you keep in contact with others and in the same industry, same business. What were some of the things that people were doing and what are things that people are doing now in their businesses that specialize in caring for the elderly?

Aysha: [00:06:50] Well, you know, even the, you would have thought that people may still needed services. But I do know that it impacted the home health industry as well. People didn’t want individuals in their home, which is understandable. One thing that we did to pivot was, or at least just keep their loved one engaged, keep them stimulating with their loved one mental
stimulation, is we provided activity packets, we had to do that through our Facebook page. And we did send out an email to families. We had a pastor that’s been coming to our center, providing devotion. I had been open six months and he came and blessed us and had been providing devotion with our participants for all that time. So he also provided us a devotion to share with them. You know, and that was just ways that, you know, to help people stay mentally healthy, hopeful, and engaging. But it was very limited of what we could do, especially not being able to go in people’s homes.

Karl: [00:08:05] So once you’re in this situation and you can’t, you’re not allowed to reopen the center yet at that time, what were some of the things you were thinking of as the options? Walk us through some of the options that you might’ve considered, even if you didn’t go down that path. And what were some of the, what are some of the options you’re you’ve explored pursuing?

Aysha: [00:08:27] Well, to be honest Karl when it first happened, I was in my own space of mental clarity. You know, finding mental clarity. You know, letting go of 20 employees and almost 80 families that don’t have care right now. I mean, you can imagine the weight that someone has to carry with that and it being out of your control. So, I had to really just sit with that for, and it took me a couple of months before I could figure out what I really wanted to do or how we were going to pivot. But sometimes rest is the best place to get clarity. And so I got plenty of it for two months. You know, whether it was, you know, depression or just overwhelmed and, you know, a lot of fatigue, emotionally drained. But I woke up from that with a great perspective. I say, you know, God gave me a good download of how to move forward.

Rico: [00:09:37] You know, it’s funny. I’ve heard this, this remark about how covered has paused people’s lives, right? How they become more in tuned with their kids, with their family, because they’re forced to be in the same area, same place. And even how some people look at their work in their job and it gives them that forced retreat like you just mentioned. Where you’re able to look at life and what you’ve been doing, where you would not have been able to do that before, right? I mean, would you have been able to just sit down and say, you know what, I needed a three day weekend retreat, and just see what I’m doing with this business. Would you have done that before?

Aysha: [00:10:17] You said a three day or like two months retreat? Yeah, with just me and my son here doing digital learning and you’re right. You know, It’s interesting. A lot of people have, you know, you see posts and it’s unfortunate that people are going through this and it’s not been well for them. For me, I just wanted to find, the clarity in how to pivot in a positive way. And it’s allowed me to do that, allowed me to be with my family, like you said, Rico. And I’ll explain that with some of the services that we have launched. But that’s, those are the things that we can’t ever get back. Those moments.

Karl: [00:11:06] It’s true. Yeah. We, I noticed a lot of small business owners, when this started were not sure what to do cause they came so fast. And we had introduced a bridge plan to
people to just simply figure out your breakeven. Figure out how to reduce expenses that make sense for most people. We wanted them to figure out how to increase income and then that’s kind of stabilizing the base. The part that folks started struggling with is one, what kind of conversation, we called it disclosed. What kind of conversations do you need to have with your employees, if they had questions? Your clients and your customers, with your community, how do you stay engaged with them while no one knew how long you were going to be closed and what was going to happen. But then as people started to push their way out of this, it got back to G, get working. Get out there, start, don’t just sit in the turtle shell. But you know, your competitors and other people are doing that. And the ones that started hustling, working, figuring out so many new business models were being created. So many innovative ways to maintain their business, offer new services, find new clients. And the E, the last part of the bridge plan E, was talking about excelling and how do they prep themselves to excel going into the future. Now I know we’ve chated a little bit. How do you see the industry changing that you’re in and what opportunities do you think that you can start moving into to help service that client base that you had, but in a different way, with social distancing, and masks and all of these things that’s creating these barriers.

Aysha: [00:13:03] And, to mention the technical challenge with the population we serve. So we’re still a little bit, but it’s providing care for them in a different way. And that’s what we are doing. And so, when I woke up from my slumber, it was, I have a building, I have a commercial kitchen, I have vehicles, what can I do with it? And that’s what we started working towards was how can we use what we have? You know, to your point about cashflow and cutting back expenses and things like that. You know, it’s even though you’re reinventing the wheel, you still have to be cautious of the investment because of the limited cashflow. And so I had to make sure I was using what I had. And so that’s what we did and we started a home delivered meal service first that was just developed to provide meals for our previous families that were enrolled in the program. Because again, no one thought that this would last that long. So we still had all of their belongings at our center. So that was our way of just seeing them and being able to say hello, take them their belongings, take them a meal. Put our eyes on them. We tried to social distance as much as possible, but that’s hard to do when you have a center full of love and hugs, you know?

Karl: [00:14:45] Yeah.

Aysha: [00:14:46] But we’re moving forward and just looking at what is the need. And the need right now is caregivers are at home and they need support. They don’t get the respite care that they used to get anymore.

Rico: [00:15:08] And you find that, are you finding it easy enough to work with them to be able to do, with the caregivers? You know, with the existing care caregivers I’m assuming.

Aysha: [00:15:21] Is it easy to work with them?

Rico: [00:15:24] Right.

Aysha: [00:15:29] Yeah. It’s easy to work with them. You know, they’re at home. They don’t mind that phone call. They’re glad to have it.

Karl: [00:15:39] So if I hear, if I understand right, a caregiver would drop off their loved one at the center. They’re able to go to work. They are able to do other things and so on. And the center and your staff is able to fulfill different care needs that they might need. And so now that they’re also the primary caregiver and they don’t have that option. Are you describing a system where you support the caregiver? Arm them with the skills, experiences, tools to provide better care for their loved ones while they’re having to be the primaries to do that for the foreseeable future?

Aysha: [00:16:25] Yeah. Ultimately it will be a caregiver resource center. Where we have vetted resources that are available to them all in one place. Because right now it’s very fragmented. And which could discourage anyone from trying to find the resources and the care that they need. So it’s having a compiled list of care providers, vendors that want to support the caregiver. Within the center though, we’ll be able to provide some events, but we’ll have a limited attendance with the virtual component because there’s still a lot of people, you know, that aren’t coming out. But we want them to still be able to participate. And, what we will do is have events around self care. But also have experts speak to them on how to continue to care for themselves, a health care professional. And then there’s some education, that I have trained. One is powerful tools for caregivers and the other is dealing with dementia. Both I was certified through the Roslyn Carter Institute, because they do a great job at providing the education and the tools. So we’ll just be able to bring that to them. And again, still have both components an in person and virtual option for that. So I wanted to be that one place that you can go to and find your, what’s gonna equip you as a caregiver to better take care of your loved one.

Rico: [00:18:09] You know, that’s interesting because when my, God bless them they passed away, my inlaws lived with us, my wife had to find services. She had to call a dozen different places in the state of Georgia, different services, different senior services and stuff. And there was not one place that she could pull these things together from. There were individuals, that would say sometimes you could go here, go visit this website. But not someone that can actually do it for them or become the concierge. If you will, of senior care, to be able to provide that service to her. She had to do all the leg work. And it was I’m sure for everyone, it’s almost like reinventing it every single time, but it sounds like you are able to not only provide some of the services, right, but also be able to pull it together for them. I would imagine.

Aysha: [00:19:05] You know, these are things that we did for the family caregiver that was dropping their loved one off anyway. You know, if they came in with questions or needed assistance with something, then it was our job to find it for them. You know, because this is a challenging moment, you know, when you are taking care of a loved one with a cognitive or physical impairment and either you’re still working, you’re not taking care of yourself. And so it’s
not that we don’t want to take care of our senior, because we love our senior gems, but we do also understand the burden of caregiving and we want people to relieve themselves of the guilt and take care of their own mental health.

Karl: [00:19:56] I think you’re highlighting something really important for folks to think of. In the past year there’s been several business owners that I know that either had to sell their business or consider stepping away from it to care for a loved one. And when they didn’t know what options were available to them, they thought the only thing they can do is to shut down their business or to sell it. And, you know, as I started learning about the services that were offered, just more people being aware that there are options there that people could leverage that could help them with that, help them get the answers. But I would remember some folks spending hours and days going to the wrong place for the wrong information, struggling through that. And I love this idea of a center where this information is happening. And sometimes people could plan ahead. If you know, a family member is moving to town and has needs, you could start the training. You could start educating, start pulling those resources together. Especially as people tend to leave the cold of the north than move down south more. That’s something that happens and it’s hard to find good places where you can get that information and get that support and help. So I think you’re tapping in. I’m curious though, you know, every other business, restaurants started Ubering and different doctors are doing virtual appointments. How do you see technology playing a role in this? And how is there a specific thing that you have adapted to what you used to do live or in person, but have shifted leveraging technology in some way?

Aysha: [00:21:49] Well, we will have to of course have the virtual component. So we’re still working on that. I have a little bit of time, you know, we are figuring things out still. But putting down our systems and foundations and making sure we launch correctly. We’re still here to help in the meantime, but yeah, we’ll have to. And see in our challenge will be as not just being able to provide the virtual component, but then ensuring that the person on the other end has access to that.

Karl: [00:22:24] Yeah. Knowing how to receive it. Well, I know there’s a large scale experiment happening in the school system right now. Where they’re figuring out how to digitally learn and do things digitally. Just recently ordered are these pads where kids could write and draw on and it translates over to their computer. And that would normally be, it’s up to you if they could have the luxury. But now, I’m already seeing how the kids are learning digitally is starting to transform. So I’m a little scared of what the future is going to look like because we’re going to have really fully, digitally native kids that are learning once we get through this period of transition.

Aysha: [00:23:10] But thank goodness we have the platform, because if we didn’t even have the platform to build off of, we would have been in real dire straights.

Karl: [00:23:20] Absolutely. But I think you’re highlighting, we’ve been focusing on the kids. And maybe we need to expand that focus to the elderly and what services can be delivered digitally
and how do we help them cross that gap more effectively. But I could see people showing up and helping people navigate, you know, virtual reality, augmented reality, possibly and all sorts of cool technologies with new applications.

Aysha: [00:23:52] Yes. You know, I do want to, you said something interesting earlier about, helping families prepare. And the one thing that we want to assist families with is being proactive versus reactive. You know, a lot of times we will get calls of in crisis mode and then you’re struggling to pull all these pieces together. So it is how can we give them the tools to plan and prepare properly.

Karl: [00:24:32] What would you advise someone? If I had a family member that was, let’s say relocating to town, and what will be things that loved ones and children could do earlier to prepare. If they know that in the upcoming weeks or months or year, they may have to care for a loved one. What are some of the suggestions you’d give folks?

Aysha: [00:24:56] Well, I think sometimes people have to make that decision and their house isn’t ready for the parent. I mean, one of the first questions is how will mom or dad be able to navigate throughout the house if they are using a walking device. But even before that, we had a lot of adult children. You know, whether it’s, you don’t have the choice or not, there still needs to be a certain level of sensitivity to it. Especially when you’re moving a parent from their town, their friends, their church, everything that they know to a whole new environment. And so you have to be sensitive to their mental health and wellbeing. So it’s how can you get and keep them engaged and involved, no matter what stage it is. So, you know, if they are a fairly independent senior, but just can’t stay safely in their home out of town anymore, you know, how can you keep them engaged in the community? That stimulation helps people with cognitive impairment. It gives them meaning. So we need that. They don’t want to just sit in someone’s home. So it’s researching, first of all, you know, is your house equipped, but then what is in your community that can keep your parent or loved one involved. You know?

Karl: [00:26:33] That makes perfect sense. I like to think that, you know, there are resources out there that can help guide people through this. I’m always curious of, have you come across any instances where you know, you see people really do a great job of preparing that and stepping through that. Are there, is there a trigger or things that people might do and conversations they have with their parents sooner? How do you, how do they even begin that conversation?

Aysha: [00:27:11] You know, that’s a tough one, Karl. Because first of all, you find out how collective your siblings are and who’s the actual care, the financial burden. You know, we always recommend having a family meeting prior to. You know, so that you can identify which siblings are willing to take on what. But yeah, you and I both know those are tough conversations to have with your parents and they aren’t the generation of just sharing.

Karl: [00:27:47] Right. Yeah.

Aysha: [00:27:50] I think more importantly is what can we do now as we sit in our generation to make sure our kids don’t have to go through what some of the adult children are going through now.

Karl: [00:28:07] Very, very good point. Well, I tell you, it’s been fascinating listening to another business owner who’s journeyed through this. And, but I am really excited seeing how you’re figuring out new ways to serve the community and your clients and the families, the family members of those clients there. And as you continue evolving, I definitely want to keep in touch and just learn how it’s coming along. But if folks wanted to just learn more about this and learn what you’re doing, how can they reach out to you and learn more?

Aysha: [00:28:45] Well, we are still in our same place in Snellville. We sit directly behind the Lowe’s off of scenic highway, so they can always find us there. Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. But a phone call, I know people aren’t just getting out. So they can also give us a phone call at (678) 691-1610. And then follow us on Facebook at McKinley GA.

Karl: [00:29:18] Fabulous. Do you have anything coming up, that in the upcoming month or any, what do you have coming up for the community that you’ve made that they participate in?

Aysha: [00:29:29] Well, we are going to kick off and we will have this on our Facebook page. We’re going to kick off in October National Family History day. So the whole month of October, we’ll be surrounded around family history and learning about your family history and what you’re leaving as a legacy. And then in November, it’s National Caregivers Month. And that’s when we will have our ribbon cutting. So they can find that information on the Gwinnett Chamber website.

Karl: [00:29:59] Perfect. Perfect. Well, I want to thank you. Aysha Cooper, owner of McKinley Caregiver Resource Center in Snellville, Georgia, right behind the Lowe’s on scenic highway here in Gwinnett. And if you are interested in reaching out to her, you’ll see some of the ways to contact her on the website and the show notes for today. So I just want to thank you for sharing your journey through this. And I think you could serve as an inspiration if there was an industry that was hit hard by this, it would definitely yours. And taking the pause, which people need to do for themselves as well as to strategize. One good tip, and then really figuring out different ways to serve the community, putting a plan in place and going out there and doing it. That’s what I love about small businesses. They’re forced to be creative, to innovate quickly, fast. And they’re able to do that, and that’s why it helps drive our economy. So thank you for that and sharing today. I also want to thank our sponsor, Hargray Fiber, who continues to sponsor the family of podcasts. Rico, the podcast, that we currently have going, what do we have coming up on those.

Rico: [00:31:19] On the other podcasts? Well the Ed Hour is in, we’re looking for a guest right now to talk about COVID and the school opening. So we’re going to be scheduling something in the next few weeks on that. And how that’s working for private as well as public schools. And, for Peachtree Corners Life we have a few things in the works for that we’re going to be putting
together. But I know the Capitalist Sage has several more. We’re looking at the former owner of Noble Finn, Cliff Bramble. Also have a podcast Friday morning, actually that we were putting together with Link Dental Care, and Dr. Shyn that’s going to tell them about how the dental business took a hit pretty much during this COVID. But also on how they had to deal with work. You know, if you have it too thick, you really have to find the right dentist that can always do the right job safely for you. So yeah, a lot of good stuff.

Karl: [00:32:14] We have some marketing experts coming, joining us too later on in September, as well as working on some guests to talk to people about how to navigate their decisions around their businesses as COVID-19 is happening and everything else. So we’ll continue to do some of those really interesting things. The magazine Rico?

Rico: [00:32:40] Magazine’s out. I mean, it’s been out for a week. We had a great cover. Great story hit 19,000 plus homes, their mailboxes. So happy to be able to get that out. We are working on the next issue. So nothing ever dies here, right? The deadline continues. We’re putting out a pet issue for the next issue. But we’re also putting, so it’s going to be a pets and their people as a pullout in the magazine. We’re also looking at great backyard retreats because everyone’s sort of still stuck at home in a way they may not be traveling, but maybe your backyard is the best place to be for that time when you’re home. And we’re looking at pulling together a feature story about getting several dozen people or more, almost 50 people sharing what they’re thankful for this time of year. Even in this time of COVID-19, you know, we’re all thankful for our families, for close friends that we have. But what else are you thankful for? You know, and that’s what we’re trying to get, and we’re going to curate all that together and publish that in the next issue as well. So that’s, it’s going to be a good packed issue with a lot of stuff we’re working on. And that’ll be out the first week of October, which it seems like a long time from now, too. So I dunno, it’s going fine.

Karl: [00:34:02] And since you’re one of the hardest working with people in Peachtree Corners when you’re not putting out a magazine and when you’re not doing a podcast, what do you spend your time doing?

Rico: [00:34:13] Mighty Rockets where we produce those podcasts. We have the magazine, we do a lot of the social media product videos. A variety of things online. So digital content, producing blog posts and all that stuff. Pretty much, we find, we work with clients, see what they need. And then we put together a package that works for them. Because you know, you know how it is. Not every client needs the same toolbox or the same tool. You don’t need a hammer on everything. So we look and see what the client has and where we can help them to get further along in thier, especially in their online reach right now.

Karl: [00:34:49] Well, I definitely recommend. I said, I definitely recommend that people think about ways to market their business differently. We’ve moved to a virtual world and all of the things are evolving and getting your message out about the new things that you’re doing in your
business is really important. So figuring out how to do that and getting experts to help you with that is going to be really important.

Rico: [00:35:13] And Karl, you are the man though, that if someone’s looking for an exit plan or someone was looking to get into a new business, I mean, you’re the guy. So, you know, why don’t you tell everyone about how you work that also.

Karl: [00:35:27] Yeah, Transworld Business Advisors, where we help people with finding the businesses to buy, we help people that are in an existing business looking how to sell it the best way to do that, and more importantly, just help people planning through that. At the end of the day the best way for a business owner is to have a plan on how they want to exit, and we can help them walk them through that. We do evaluations for people. We help them consult on their business and you can reach us at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Our office is in Atlanta Tech Park, so you can stop by there and chat with us. And we continue to want to serve the business community by producing and sharing these Capitalist Sage podcasts with folks so you can follow us on all of your streaming platforms, iTunes, you can follow us on Facebook, iHeartRadio. And the last thing I’ll say for today is we’re sitting here at the end of August in a few months. There’s a really important time coming up. And we just encourage everyone register to vote. It may be a little bit different this year. So if you want to request absentee ballots go on the secretary of state website and request that. A lot of the polling places will be open by now where that is. And this is a year where you should definitely participate in political process and make your voice heard. This country is going through a lot right now and every voice should be counted and we need to help support people to be able to do that, so.

Rico: [00:37:01] Or that if you’re going to be doing that mail in ballot, do it early. Don’t wait until the week before, because they ain’t going to be counted.

Karl: [00:37:08] So that’s right.

Rico: [00:37:09] Do it early on. Do it now, request that ballot now and put it out as soon as possible.

Karl: [00:37:16] Absolutely. Well, thank you everybody for joining us on the Capitalist Sage Podcast. Everyone be safe and be blessed. Take care.

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Business

CMX CinéBistro Reopens. Popcorn time!

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As if the holidays aren’t enough to look forward to, CMX CinéBistro at Peachtree Corners Town Center reopens on November 24! With precautionary measures in place and new policies implemented, CMX CinéBistro is excited to welcome you back from a safe distance.

The nostalgic experience of movie date nights, box office releases, the smell of movie theatre popcorn and the announcement to “sit back and enjoy the show” are all waiting for you. The lineup of movies you don’t want to miss include Let Him Go, Tenet, Freaky, War with Grandpa, Honest Thief, and Elf. CMX is offering new releases and holiday classics to make your return one to remember.

While you enjoy your movie, you can kick back with a classic meal or cocktail from CinéBistro’s new limited menu. As previews are shown, start with an appetizer such as the popcorn chicken or truffle tots. Once the movie begins, move on to your main course of a 14oz NY Strip featured meal or the house-made veggie burger paired with a mojito or beer on draft. As the movie comes to an end, end your night with bottomless traditional popcorn or fan-favorite movie candy.

Enjoy the magic of cinema with special savings! Come on Tuesdays to experience Tempting Tuesdays and save with $5 movie tickets and chef-crafted combos for $18. As a token of appreciation for all medical heroes, free movie tickets on Sundays are offered to all front-line workers. Can’t make it on Tuesdays or Sundays? Special prices for all weekdays are offered.

New age policies are in place such as guests 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for R-rated films with ID required and children 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times when visiting the theater. CMX CinéBistro is also offering private screenings to make your experience back feel as safe as possible. Bookings for a private screening for you and your loved ones to celebrate the latest occasion are available as part of CMX CinéBistro’s efforts to make you feel comfortable upon your return. You can begin booking now!

Join us for an experience we know you’ve missed this holiday season! To receive more information and details about the precautionary measures in place, click here.

Source– Press Release by Peachtree Corners Town Center

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City of Peachtree Corners Receives Silver Award for its Business Newsletter

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The city of Peachtree Corners won a silver category award for its Peachtree Corners Business Newsletter project in the Magazine and Newsletter category of the International Economic Development Council’s 2020 Excellence in Economic Development Awards Program. The honor was presented recently at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. Thirty-five award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries.

The city of Peachtree Corners started a monthly business newsletter in April 2020 during the
COVID-19 crisis to establish 2-way communication with the business community. The publication is in its fifth month and has already increased communication between the business community and the city. It is sent via email to approximately 4,000 business people in the city. People have taken the opportunity to ask questions about a variety of topics from alcohol licenses to special events at the Town Center.

“These challenging times require extraordinary effort to support the business community,
especially small businesses,” said Mayor Mike Mason. “The Peachtree Corners’ Business Newsletter was developed to address the current crisis and the city’s critical concern for the local business community. Kudos to Economic Development Manager Jennifer Howard for creating a very timely and highly informative resource that, we believe, has contributed to the sustainability of the local economy.

The newsletter highlights job growth, company expansions, and new businesses coming to town. In his column, the mayor speaks directly to the businesses, providing data, and some reassurance that the local governments are working to assist them.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of
economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day,” said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”

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Choosing, planning and Growing a Business, with Barry Adams, owner of Peachtree Awnings

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The Capitalist Sage podcast

What to consider when starting a business. How to choose the business for you. How to consider when planning your first three years of business. In this episode of the Capitalist Sage Podcast, Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini talk with Barry Adams, founder, and owner of Peachtree Awnings and Tennessee Awnings about his experience in the business world. Barry shares some insightful tips and tricks to help any small or large business owner through their journey through entrepreneurship.

Related Links:

Websites:
https://www.peachtreeawnings.com
http://www.tennesseeawnings.com
Facebook:
Peachtree Awnings
Tennessee Awnings
Phone Number: (770) 409-8372

Where to find the topic in the show – Timestamp:

[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:58] – About Barry and Peachtree Awnings
[00:07:36] – Learning from Experience
[00:10:20] – Making Business Decisions
[00:12:26] – Impact of a Formal Education
[00:14:59] – Business Impact of COVID
[00:17:31] – How to Make Your Business Thrive
[00:23:08] – Making a Business Plan
[00:25:31] – Learning New Things
[00:30:19] – Looking to the Future
[00:32:44] – Innovations
[00:34:17] – Growing Through People
[00:36:55] – Helping the Community
[00:41:23] – Closing

Podcast Transcript:

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and
tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with
Transworld Business Advisors and my co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital
Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing
today?
Rico: [00:00:49] Hey Karl. Pretty good, beautiful day. Thank God the power’s on versus last
week. Before we get into the show, let me introduce our lead sponsor Hargray Fiber. They’re a
great Southeast company that works in fiber optics and IT management working to make you a
business sound and be able to communicate with the rest of the world. Whether it’s, you’re at
home teleworking employees or in office, cause COVID is still going on, right? So many different
people are working it differently. And here in Peachtree Corners, they’re very involved. They’re
involved with Curiosity Lab that Peachtree Corners. They’re involved with the city. They’re really
in tune with the community and that’s how they are with every community they’re in. So unlike
the cable guy, these guys are here right in the community that they’re working in. If you need
them, they’re there for you. So any business, whether you’re small or enterprise size, they can
work the systems for you, provide the office tools that you can work with as well. So visit them at
HargrayFiber.com and find out a little bit more about our lead sponsor. We’re thankful for them.
So cool.
Karl: [00:01:58] Sounds good. Well, thank you Rico for introducing our sponsor. Today’s guest is
Barry Adams, CEO, and founder of Peachtree Awnings. Local, small business that’s located
here in Gwinnett County and one of the business leaders in the community that we’re glad to
have as a guest with us today. Hey Barry, how are you doing?
Barry: [00:02:20] Great Karl. It’s good to be here.
Karl: [00:02:23] Good. Why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit? Tell a little bit about yourself
and what you do.
Barry: [00:02:29] Yeah. I’m Barry Adams the owner of Peachtree Awnings and Canopies I own
the local shop and also Tennessee Awnings up in Nashville service and middle Tennessee up
in the Nashville area. So we are a manufacturer of custom commercial and residential awnings
of all shapes and sizes. We serve the local Atlanta area, but we go outside of Atlanta too. So
we’ve got a pretty good reach. And we’ve been in business for 15 years. I started the company
in 2005. And then acquired an existing awning company in Nashville in 2012. So I’ve had that
shop up there in Nashville for eight years now, and 15 years here in Atlanta. So it’s been a labor
of love. I can tell you that any small business owner, I think, would say the same thing is that,
you know, you do it and you do it because you really are passionate about your product or your
service and whatever you do. You gotta dig in everyday in kind of the same way.
Karl: [00:03:40] So I’m curious, did you grow up in a small business family? What was, what did
you do before?
Barry: [00:03:46] Well, that’s great question, Karl. Actually, my grandfather had the
entrepreneurial spirit because I think he had four or five businesses by the time he was in his
mid forties. A couple of restaurants to his name, ended up having a landfill. And this is all in the
Southern California area. And so he definitely had the entrepreneurial spirit. You know, my
mother’s side, my grandfather on my mother’s side owned a grocery store in the Southern part
of Illinois. And so he was a, both a farmer and a grocer. And so I think I come by it naturally, the
Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So it definitely was in my genes, I think, to be a small
business owner.
Karl: [00:04:33] So when you were deciding to start off, what were you considering and how did
you come to that decision? What were some of the factors that you considered?
Barry: [00:04:40] Yeah, I was, it was 2005 and I was in my MBA program, executive MBA
program at Kennesaw state and I knew I wanted to start a business and wasn’t sure exactly
what I wanted to do. I was working with a business consultant that was pointing me in different
directions. I ended up buying, actually buying a franchise business. I got close with several
businesses. I looked at sign businesses. I really tried to give myself a lot of green space, a lot of
greenfields to look at a lot of different businesses. I looked at non-invasive skin procedures. I
looked at a lot of different things and got very close with sign businesses, but I wanted
something a little bit more differentiated. And so they said, how about awnings? And I had never
thought about awnings, never had really even looked at awnings. But I’m an engineer by
education. And so the more I looked at it, I said, I think I can, I think I could do this because you
design the product that you end up building and installing. And so it fit my skillset particularly
well. And so there in January of 2005, we kind of set sail having never built an awning or never
installed an awning. I bought into a franchise business and they educated me about how to build
awnings and how to install awnings. We climbed that learning curve very, very, very fast. So it
was really a challenging time, that first three years of being in business. Of course, the
recession started at like two double ’09. So shortly after that it was, you know, it was a little bit of
tough sledding.
Rico: [00:06:27] Well, I’ve got to give a little testimonial shout out to Barry because I must have
been one of the first of the half dozen of regional clients that Barry had. And it was beautiful. I
think it was a summer. It was definitely a summer day. And you put in the awning that I still have
15 years later. Still working, retractable working, and I’m not a maintenance type of guy. So the
cables might be a little rusted and stuff and the fabric might be a little bit dull, but it’s working
fine 15 years later.
Barry: [00:07:04] I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that too Rico, because at that stage in
our career, we, you know, in our business development, I didn’t have any orders and I didn’t
have any customers. So you were, you know, every time I came back to the shop and I had an
order, you know, it was time for celebration really. Because we didn’t, we did not have any
customers at that time. And every time we added one to our, you know, to our stable of
customers, we were really excited. So great times. Thanks for that.
Karl: [00:07:36] So I’m curious about that first year. Is there anything that you’ve learned that if
you wish you knew someone told you about in that first two to three years, about business,
about being a small business owner that you’d pass on to someone else starting on?
Barry: [00:07:54] Well, yeah, a couple of things come to mind Karl, one of the things is, I think
you can plan to be big, but think small starting out. Think small. I bought used office furniture. I
bought used trucks. People want to go, a lot of times they want to, you know, want to buy, have
the biggest, best or newest anyway, the newest and best of everything. And I would say think
small, plan to be bigger, but think to start out think small. Because you can always scale it up
from there. Based on your success or your, you know, your volume. The other thing is of
course, be a planner and I can’t emphasize that enough on the small business side. Be a
planner and always be thinking about that next step that you want to take. It doesn’t have to be
five years out there, but it definitely has to be 12 to 18 months out there. And then think about
that next step. Think about it like you’re, you know, crossing a river, a very, very turbulent river
and you have to step across those rocks very carefully as you cross from one bank to the other
bank. Now, once you start to cross the river, you can’t go back to the other bank, right? You
know, that’s not an option. So, you know, I often say it’s not about making all the right decisions.
It’s about making the decisions that you make right. Once you make a decision. Don’t worry
about whether you, well, have I made rights, make it, try to make it right. You know, and you’re
not going to make every decision 100% right. But I can tell you that if you’re making eight,
seven, eight, nine decisions out of 10 or 80 out of a hundred or 90 out of a hundred correctly,
you’re going to be in rarified air, right? You’re going to be among those small business owners
that are really, really super successful. So it’s not about making all the right decisions and don’t
agonize over. Wow, you know, once you have the information that you have and frequently it’s
incomplete, right. And we don’t have the benefit of having the whole, all the puzzle pieces in
front of us. But once you’ve got enough information to make that, make the decision and then go
about making it right.
Karl: [00:10:20] It’s actually, I can talk about decision-making even at the beginning. What would
you advise people that are struggling with making decisions. To get it right or wrong. But you
know, a lot of folks can’t even make the decision to buy that business, start that business grow,
invest, make that hiring choice. How do you get through that?
Barry: [00:10:42] Yeah, it’s that, you’re right. That is probably the toughest decision because
you’re now, you may be leaving something that’s safe and secure. You may be leaving an
income that’s a known quantity. Which I was leaving something that was very insulated and
insular and embarking on something that’s very uncertain and very unknown. And that’s a very
scary thing. You know, I think it’s important to make sure, obviously that you’re wall capitalized,
you know, that you are not embarking on something that you can’t sustain through the most
difficult period of your business tenure or your business career. And you got to make it through
that first year years. And I can tell you factually that I did take a plug nickel out of my business
the first three years that I was in business. Now that’s a very, very difficult you’re like, well, how
did you do that? Well, make sure you’re well-capitalized and that you can sustain yourself. You
can get real skinny, you know, for a period of time, but you’ve got, you still have to put food on
your table. You still have to pay your mortgage. And so you have to from a personal standpoint,
make sure that you can sustain yourself through those first three years. And plan, really, almost
to the effect that you’re not maybe not going to take an income for that first three years. What
does that look like? Can you sustain yourself through that first three years without taking any
money out of your businesses? There’s a likelihood that you’re going to have to, anything that
you make, you’re going to have to plow back into the business, particularly in that first three year
period of time.
Karl: [00:12:26] That makes a lot of sense. And that’s good advice for folks. You mentioned that
you got an MBA, what effect and impact do you think that that had? A lot of small business
owners don’t get that formal business education. Do you think that’s impacted how you
approach your business?
Barry: [00:12:45] Well, first of all, you know getting my executive MBA at Kennesaw was
definitely a catalyst to me starting my business. I think the Genesis of me starting my business
began as I embarked on that program. And so it was definitely a catalyst for me. I think you
know, I pull some parts or pieces of my MBA program every day, sometimes unknowingly. You
know, but I draw on that experience. You know, I think that the best life experiences, combine
that kind of formal education that you got in the classroom and you can go back as far as you
want, with the practical knowledge that you gained when you’re in the field or when you’re
practicing. And that goes for everything from, the first job that you may have ever had in a fast
food restaurant or cutting lawns. And so you learned something when you were in the
classroom, but that’s formal education without practical experience is almost useless, right? It’s
very antiseptic. It’s very institutional. And so you’ve got to combine the formalized, the education
and instruction that you get with practical knowledge. If you only have practical knowledge, then
it had no frame, right? It had no real design to it and it had no organization. It didn’t step you
through things sequentially. So I always like to think that my best, you know, my best
experience comes from the formalized education that I got and then the practical things that I’m
learning out in the field or through the school of hard knocks.
Karl: [00:14:33] I agree. I notice that a lot of folks, and I meet different types of business owners,
the ones that have formal education. What I notice is they’ve got, they avoid some basic mistake
things that helps kind of guide them. But also they also feel more confident and have a handle
on unknowns being thrown at them. So take 2020.
Barry: [00:14:57] Right. You know, you’re right.
Karl: [00:14:59] You’re running the business, things are going good. And then, how soon did you
know something was happening related to coronavirus and so on. And when did you start
thinking about the possible impact on your business?
Barry: [00:15:13] Well, I think everybody, you know, kind of woke up in mid March and said, my
gosh, what’s, you know, what’s happening? What’s happening here? And it was very uncertain.
We wanted to protect our associate base. We want to protect our families. And then early on, I
guess I would say, you know, in the first couple of weeks in April, about 30 days after we’d
gotten into the Corona or pandemic environment that we. You know, I pulled the audience, I
pulled my associates and I found that they really wanted to work. I mean, of course they really
wanted to work because they knew that their livelihood and income was at risk if we were to
stop, you know, stop work for any reason. We were fortunate that we had projects, orders to fill.
And so we had work that needed to be done. And so I can’t say it was business as usual, but
the word that I kind of continue to use with my team and with the people that I talk to is balance,
you know. I try not to be fearful of the current environment in that we still have a job to do, and
we try to press forward. But neither can we be cavalier about the threats and the things that are
happening out in the marketplace. And so we have to have our head up all the time. Just like
you’re on a ball field, you have to have your head up and on a swivel sometimes to make sure
you’re not going to get hit broadside from somewhere. But nor can you be redisant or you can’t
be fearful or tentative. And so we’ve tried to strike that balance. We’ve tried to protect our
associate base when we go out to projects, certainly for sure residential projects. You know, we
mask up and we go, when we’re in people’s homes or around people’s homes, we make sure
that we’re taking the proper precautions. It’s not business as usual. But we’re pressed forward
and it’s not easy. But I think that it’s suited my associate population that people really, really
want to work. And we’ve been able to make a lot of progress this year and that’s not been easy,
so.
Karl: [00:17:31] We noticed a lot of, this year, at the beginning we talked a lot about a bridge
plan. And it was just simply when this hit a lot of businesses. What do you do to get through this
and empower through and excel? And in the bridge plan, it talked about, you know, making sure
you knew what your break even was and reducing expenses. How do we figure out ways to
pivot and increase income with your business as well as how do you communicate and stay
contact with your customers? But the last two, G and E, was around get working. Like just get
out there and start, you know, when other people are wondering what to do the strong, they’re
gonna figure out a way to do that. And hopefully it leads you to excelling. When you understood
what was happening, what were some of the things you decided to do in your business to try to
not just survive this, but actually to thrive?
Barry: [00:18:23] Well, you know, we did talk, we moved, actually moved our shop in this
environment. We moved up to Lawrenceville. We moved our shop from Norcross to the
Lawrenceville. And so we, there was an opportunity there. The SBA has been helpful. Gave us
a little bit of tailwind. I always say it’s all about the hustle. You know, it’s all about the hustle. You
know, and, I like to think when other people are at home with their feet up on the coffee table,
I’m making that last sales call of the day. And my team is making that last sales call today or
Friday when some people are knocking off at three o’clock, you know, I’m going from whistle to
whistle, you know, and I’m going to go all the way to five o’clock in the evening. And, it’s all
about work and hard work and sweat equity. And the gritty and gutty people in this world
survive. And that’s, I’m a grinder and I just don’t know any other way around that. And so, and in
this environment, I think you can just need to, you need to retrench and look for opportunities.
I’ve tried to be an opportunist and that’s a hallmark, I think of my business career is just trying to
be an opportunist. And so when other people, other businesses may be retreating, you know,
that’s a great time to forge ahead because they may be either pulling back from a marketing
standpoint or a sales standpoint. And so going forward, really charging forward or finding that
pathway is really, really important.
Karl: [00:20:04] It’s interesting. As you said that, I was suggesting to some business associates,
they had strong businesses going in, that it was a time to double down and reinvest and there
were some simple things. It might be training people. If you were shut down for a month, what
training did you never have time to do before that you could implement? Marketing. What a
better time to go talk to more customers, communicate, launch campaigns cause those
customers are out there. But when everybody was quiet, looking at charts every day, you know,
what messages were they thinking about as far as, you know, ways to have shade in backyards
and different things like that. And who’s communicating to them through that. What are some
other things you see people that have really thrived through this and are really poised for
breaking out in the future?
Barry: [00:21:00] Yeah. And you brought up some great, great things, Karl. You know, training
and education and reinvesting equipment. Of course, if I go back in my business career now,
this is not, I say this is not the first difficult economic time that I’ve encountered in the lifespan of
my business. Because as I said earlier, 2009, 10 and 11, we were in the throws of a real, you
know, real recession. And so, again, while other people were pulling back on marketing dollars,
I never cut my marketing budget, not one dime. You know, when other people were looking to
reduce head count, we never reduced. We never reduced head count. Take those people and
see where they’re going to be best utilized in your business. Be a planner, I’d make a plan.
Every single, business year I do not go into the ensuing year without a business plan. And so
this time of year it is the heart of my business planning period. And so November, December,
when I put my plan together for 2021. So I will not go into the ensuing year without a business
plan. And once I make that plan, while I do make some adjustments, some small minor
adjustments and tweak it, the plan is the plan is the plan. And I don’t very much for my plan
when I embark on a direction and I will tweak it, but I won’t make wholesale changes. I will not
slash dollars. You know, if I had set those aside, there has to be a real catastrophic event for
me to change my direction, based on my plan. And so I try to stick to the plan that I’ve created
and we’ll make some adjustments, but the plan is the plan is the plan. And I think to the extent
that you’re able to really stick to that, and that’s a discipline, by the way. It’s really, you gotta
have the discipline to stick to your plan. Especially when things get a little bit Rocky.
Rico: [00:23:08] Can I ask you Barry, what, you know, just to get into the weeds a little bit, just
the meat of it, if you will. So this way, because people hear plans and they’re not sure what does
that mean? You know, what’s involved? What’s actually in the plan, let’s say for example. So
could you give an idea of what that, you know, two or three points, what that means as what’s in
a plan for you? Is it a sales goal? Is it a dollar amount? Is it adding a truck? What’s in a plan for
you?
Karl: [00:23:34] If somebody were to look at your plan, how would you describe that?
Barry: [00:23:39] No question. I mean, I think it starts with you know, it really does start with your
marketing and sales planning conjunction. You’re either going to, you’re going to look for
geographic extensions. You’re going to look for product extensions. So that’s going to drive your
marketing. So I’m going to advertise, or I’m going to push this product forward with my sales
team or with my marketing dollars. And then, so out of that marketing plan that comes from your
strategic goals that I want to grow in this geographic area, I want to grow in this product group, I
wanna, you know, I want to reach these customers, this and then you create a, you know, out of
that kind of marketing plan comes your sales plan, you know? And so now you’ve got, you’ve
kind of fleshed that out with your team. You know, these people are going to produce this
amount, you know, in terms of selling or sales dollars. And then rolling down from that,
obviously your expense model. And for us I say there’s not a lot of moving parts and pieces. It’s
gotten bigger. At first there was not a lot of moving parts and pieces. There’s more than there
was, but your expense model flows out of that. And so then, you know, this is not a difficult
equation, right? You have sales and you have expenses and that produces profits. You know, I
think Bill Gates said that originally, you know, it’s like, let’s not overthink this. The sales
expenses, the bottom line is profits. And that’s what we’re, you know, that’s what we’re trying to
drive. And so, but it kind of starts out of your marketing ideas and where you want to go
strategically. And then you can decide, you know, what kind of revenue, what kind of volume
you’re going to create from there and what kind of expenses you’re going to take on.
Karl: [00:25:31] I’m curious in your industry, typically I sort of look at where to market. How do
you learn what’s going on in your industry, your market, how do you know what’s going to be
things that you need to react to or things where there’s opportunities? How do you as you and
your team learn things?
Barry: [00:25:51] Well, I think you gotta be in touch with your sales team. First of all, it was to
start out with, it was just me. And so I had to be head up all the time active in my community,
active in the business community, active in my trade association, looking for changes. You
know, I really do think about it as a business owners, like a ship and I’m in the wheel house and
you know, I’m in the wheelhouse and I’m guiding the ship or the captain has gotta be
responsible to be looking out there and seeing what kind of weather conditions are changing,
you know? What’s changing and the tack of the ship and that kind of thing. And so as a
business owner, I have to have my head up and I have to be aware of industry changes, market
conditions and market changes and opportunities for us to, you know, to make hay while the
sun shines. And so, as an example, like home improvement in this COVID environment has
fared very, very well. People were home for months at a time, and they were not spending
money on vacations and going out to eat. Theater and concerts and ball games. And so they
looked for opportunities to improve their homes. And so as a result, that part of our business
has as flourished in this environment. So, as the captain, you have to be head up, looking
around, you know, active in your community. So many people, I think so many business owners,
they get stuck with their head on the desk, you know. Head up off the desk and eyes forward
and see what’s going on and being very much in contact with what is going on around me.
Karl: [00:27:45] There must have been a point in your business when you were doing
everything. And for you to start being able to work on the business and do that and keep your
head up. There was a inflection point where that sort of happened. Can you tell us what that
was like and how does someone else know when that’s happening and how to navigate that?
Barry: [00:28:05] Yeah, that’s great. That’s great Karl cause it takes me back to like 2007, eight
and nine. And I was literally on the ladder. I was on the ladder installing. You know, I think that
first year of 2005, I know I did 110, 109 or 110 jobs. And I installed all hundred nine or a
hundred and ten in that year. And I was on those first three or four years, I was on the ladder
installing the stuff that I sold, you know. I think Rico, I think I installed your awning as well. But,
you know, at some point I think it was long about probably 2008 and nine. I said, I can’t run my
business from the top of the ladder. And so, there’s that continuum, right? It starts out, operator
there’s operator on one side and there’s owner on the other side. And there’s this continuum
from operator, owner operator to owner. So many small business owners get stuck at that
operator phase. They never even, they can never even push the needle toward owner operator,
right. They just get stuck in that operator phase. And around 2008, nine was like, I can’t run my
business from the top of the ladder. And so I started to add head count. I added a sales guy, I
added an installer. And so instead of three of us, there was now five of us. And those are, you
know, those are steps that you make and you’ve got your plan. You’re planning for it though in
your business plan, you’re still like, do you know what. I think by the end of this year, I’m going
to get to five, you know, by the end of 2009. And it was at five people, you know, and I realized,
you know, with a drill in my hand, you know, and screws and hanging an awning over my head,
I was like, I can’t. It worked for the first three years that I was in business, but then about eight,
nine, 10, I was like, I need more help. And then you make those steps, but I can tell you that
that was that adding those heads was a part of my plan for that year.
Karl: [00:30:19] But that’s an important insight that it did definitely be highlight the first part that,
that strikes the rings so true. Those first three years. Let’s make no illusion right? It’s work.
You’re an operator. You’re doing all those. If you are operating a small business, that comes
with the territory of it. But then you have to have a plan to move away. It doesn’t happen
magically. Like people didn’t just drop into your lap and they changed. The best, make a plan to
scale that and start shifting through that. I’m curious, what does the future look like now that
you’ve gone this far along? How far do you look out and how do you start to figure out, you
know, what do you want to do? And what do you want it to be in five years, 10 years?
Barry: [00:31:05] Right, yeah. Right. Well, even in this environment, we moved into a brand new
30,000 square foot facility in Lawrenceville, Georgia. A lot of our product now has shifted from
fabric linings, which is what people think about when they think about awnings and canopies.
Though a lot of our work now is actually metal. We do a lot of metal architectural canopies. We
serve the general contractor trade now. A lot more of our work is B to B and not business, B to
C business to consumer, but B to B. And so, you know, we’ve migrated a good bit in the 15
years we’ve been in business, but we’re a brand new 30,000 square foot facility. We’re going to
add powder coating. I won’t get into the weeds with that industrial process, but it’s a painting
process. We have a lot of our product, metal product is powder-coated. We’re going to start a
powder coating operation, here in Atlanta anyway, into 2021. So that’s going to be a big part of
our 2021 plan is a separate business unit, Peachtree Powder Coating. It’s complimentary, it
dovetails in with Peachtree Awnings and Canopies as well as the operation that we have up in
Tennessee Awnings. So, we’re going to have a real robust plan and I’m not going to, I’m not
planning to retreat in 2021. We’re going to keep forging ahead. This will be a product extension
as opposed to the geographic, you know, organic growth that we, you know, we’ve talked about.
Karl: [00:32:44] I’m curious about technology and how is technology impacting your business
and how do you, you know, how do you incorporate some new technologies? When people
think of awnings, has there been a lot of innovation that we’re not aware of that’s happening and
is there more to come?
Barry: [00:33:01] Not a lot of, you know, our product is a very, very old tried and true product. I
mean, you know, awnings and coverage, it goes back to the time when somebody, you know,
made an umbrella or threw a bare cloth over their head to protect themselves from the
elements. And so our product has been around for a very, very long time. As I said a lot of the
changes and a lot of changes in the products and the materials that we’re using in our products.
A lot of the product, fabric is still is used, still widely used and you’ll still see that product out in
the marketplace. But a lot of it is now architectural metals. There’s been a lot of changes though
on the shop floor, things that help us become more efficient. Job costing pieces of software
there’s been a lot of software, you know, we do a lot of rendering now to help people visualize
that awning or canopy on their home or business. So we’re utilizing rendering software on the
sales side, we’re using the software on the shop floor to help us be more efficient and that’s
going to help us, I think, in the next year to a couple of years.
Karl: [00:34:17] Well, one more question. When you see most businesses grow, there’s an
element that they can’t be ignored when it comes to people. And what’s constraints growth very
often as people. How do you manage through that dynamic and grow your business with
people?
Barry: [00:34:36] Yeah. That’s, you know, recruiting and selecting, I think is really at the heart
lifeblood of just about every business. Not just small business, but every business. And so, I’ve
tried to always make a part of my plan the people plan, the recruiting and selecting being a large
part of that. We were fortunate when we moved up to Lawrenceville now. There you go, we’re
five minutes away from Gwinnett tech. You know, Gwinnett tech is a great source of fabricators,
welders, people with technical skills and expertise. And so what did I do? First thing, you know,
within three weeks of landing up there. I was on the phone with the people in their fabrication,
welding department. And we had the first, I say student graduate, start this week. You know,
and I have another one lined up that’s gonna start in three weeks, so right before Thanksgiving.
So, recruiting and selecting, extremely important, not just at small business, but every business.
And that’s proved to be very difficult in this environment.
Karl: [00:35:47] So specifically, how do you find the right people in your organization?
Barry: [00:35:54] I always will say that the best people in our company will continue to come
from other people in our company, they’re already our company. So quite frequently, I think the
best people in our company come from referrals from associates that are already working for us.
That’s a tough sell. People are doing their jobs and they, you know, but if you could help them
for information. This young man who came to us from Gwinnett tech came from one of the guys
who works for us, who is a student at Gwinnett tech. He helped recruit this guy, helped us
create that little pipeline now. And so that’s going to be very helpful for us. I mean, you know, we
use some of the traditional methods too, like Indeed.com just to give them a plug. We use
Indeed.com and we get a lot, you know, we have a funnel. But we, I still think that the best
people in our company come from other people already in our company.
Karl: [00:36:55] So one last thing I wanted to ask you about just in the context, I know you get
involved in the community a lot. And what role as a business leader, are there things that you’re
passionate about or things that you get involved with? Just to help the community in general.
Barry: [00:37:13] Yeah, I can’t stress enough the importance of being a good corporate citizen
and pay it forward. And I think that we have responsibility as business owners to give freely to
others what’s freely given to us as a baseline. And so, I always try to approach my, I say my
philanthropic efforts, my, you know, my nonprofit efforts, with that as a backdrop. And it’s
important that you pick two or three things that your people can get behind. It doesn’t matter
whether it’s, you know, toys for tots or the Atlanta community food bank or the local chamber,
which will funnel you into a number of non-profit areas. But pick two or three and make a
difference, you know. You might say, well, I’m a small business what difference can I make. But
you can. You can make a difference and you can make a difference at a level that’s really
grassroots. Whether it’s a church or a school, one of the things that’s near and dear to my heart
is a school called the special needs school of Gwinnett. My youngest daughter, Megan has got
special needs. And so up in Lawrenceville is the special needs school of Gwinnett. And they just
built a brand new school, we’re providing coverage of their playground equipment, because a lot
of the kids that go to school there, they take medicine that’s sun sensitive and that may be, you
know, an issue for them. And so we are providing cover for their playground equipment and
that’s something that we’re doing.
Karl: [00:38:59] Well, you know, I want to say, thank you. You being part of community. And
when I see you, you’re always willing to give time and you’ll mentor in other businesses. Your
involvement in the Southwest Gwinnett chamber over the years has been, if there was one
thing, if you look at like, Southwest Gwinnett, some of the business that you think, as a
collective, businesses can do better to help the community. Is there anything collectively that
comes to mind that they could be a bigger role in the community?
Barry: [00:39:29] You know, get involved. Yeah, it doesn’t matter. I know that the large Gwinnett
chamber can be a little bit intimidating. It’s a big, that’s a big organization, you know, and I’m a
member of the Gwinnett chamber of commerce, but I’m also a member of the Southwest
Gwinnett chamber as you pointed out. And you know, get involved. It’s, I have a saying, you
know, it’s never too late to become what you might’ve been. You know, and we’re not dogs and
these are tricks, you know, that’s what I like to say that at work, you know. So we have a
responsibility to our communities. Give, get involved. Don’t sit on the sideline and say I’m too
busy to give back to my community or to be involved or to be active. And so I started that at a
very early part in my business career to see and be seen. And that’s not easy when you’re, you
know, we’re already working 12 hour days. But I carve out that hour and a half for the first, you
know, the Southwest Gwinnett chambers first Friday, which is this week, you know. And so I’m
gonna always make time for those community activities and those organizations, which actually
help you become more visible in the community that you serve. Before you can be a big deal
outside of your community, you’ve gotta be a big deal inside your community. Or you have to
get a little feel inside of your community. And if you’re active and looking for those opportunities
to get involved, you know, look for your local chamber. Look for your, you know, look for church.
You know, here in Norcross, Norcross cooperative ministry, you know, there’s lots and lots of
places. Lots of places to get involved, and that’s gonna help your networking overall as well, so.
Karl: [00:41:23] Well, I want to thank you for that. I’m curious, so coming into the holiday
season, the end of the year, do you have much going on either professionally or personally, how
do you plan on closing out this year?
Barry: [00:41:35] Well, we, you know, the fourth quarter is typically our slowest quarter of the
year, but we’re still blessed to have a lot of project business, and a lot of orders to fill. We’re
winding down. I think, you know, the city of Atlanta looks for any reason to take a holiday or take
a break. And so the, you know, that block of time, you know, right around Thanksgiving is a nice
period of respite for everybody. Certainly the end of the year, you know, we think of December
as having one holiday, but in fact it almost has two holidays because you take Christmas and
than immediately is New Year’s a week after that. So that the city slows down a lot between
Christmas and New Year’s and we’ll probably close down that week between Christmas and
New Year’s. I like to give our associates that time off paid and give them a chance to rekindle,
you know, restrike and refresh, and spend time with their families.
Karl: [00:42:35] Amen, after 2020 folks could be ready for that. How do folks reach out to you if
they wanted to contact with more of you know, what you do, and what’s the best way to get in
touch with you?
Absolutely. Karl it’s, you know www.PeachtreeAwnings.com or www.TennesseeAwnings.com.
Barry: [00:43:01] Both companies have independent websites. You can find us on Facebook at
facebook.com/peachtreeawnings or /TennesseeAwnings. You’ll find that we have a social media
presence there and you can see lots of pictures of our current projects. You know, we’re
obviously, you can find us, call us up at our new location. It’s 770-409-8372.
Karl: [00:43:27] Well, I want to thank you so much for, you know, just carving out time to just
share with The Capitalist Sage. Barry Adams, founder and owner of Peachtree Awnings, and
Tennessee Awnings. And you’ll always see him at our local Southwest Gwinnett chamber
event. You know, stop by say hi, see him there. And I just want to thank you so much for
sharing some of the insight on your journey to entrepreneurship.
Barry: [00:43:54] Thanks, Karl. Thanks, Rico it’s good to be able to spend some time with you.
Karl: [00:44:00] We want to thank everybody on with the Capitalist Sage podcast today, we’re
continuing to bring you local business owners, local leaders, people in the community that
impact the business community and be a place. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business
Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business is available to consult with business owners,
whether you’re looking to improve and grow your business through acquisition, through
franchising, or you’re working on planning your exit strategy, finding someone that could take
the reins of the business into the future. Feel free to schedule a council with us. I can be
reached at KBarham@TWorld.com or www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Rico, what have you
got coming up?
Rico: [00:44:49] Sure. Peachtree Corners magazine, we’re working on the next issue and the
cover story is actually going to be faces of Peachtree Corners. So we’re working through a list of
people and students and educators that’ll be on that cover story. And like every other issue,
there’s going to be a bunch of things. So we’re covering a variety of things that you can look
forward to. You can find out more about Peachtree Corners and what we’re doing at
LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. Follow us on social media. We’re really big on Instagram and
Facebook. Just look for the Peachtree Corners Magazine or Peachtree Corners Life and
Capitalist Sage, where you can find the podcast on Instagram as well as our website. So, you
know, go out and look for that. We also have Mighty Rockets, so we do a lot of digital marketing,
I’m the creative director for several different companies. I have lots of things I do. So if you’re
looking for video marketing, photography, content online, podcast production, I was engineering
today’s podcast. Feel free to reach out to me, go to MightyRockets.com. So it’s easy enough.
Karl: [00:46:00] Alright. Well, thank you everybody for tuning in for the Capitalist Sage podcast,
stay tuned for more episodes. Have a great day.

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