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Peachtree Station Community: A multi-part series on communities in Peachtree Corners

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The Fourth of July neighborhood parade (courtesy of Judy Griggs and the Home Owners Association)

The largest community in Peachtree Corners boasts 717 homes and a stunning Swim and Tennis Club. With everything going on in the world right now, a strong sense of community has probably become the most important way to get through this. When all we have is to be at home surrounded by our neighbors, they have grown to become an extended part of our family.

Residents of the Peachtree Station community are longing for the days when they could gather for their many events at the Swim and Tennis Club, enjoy the pool on a hot summer’s day or catch up at Atlanta Bread Company. It won’t be long now, but for the time being, all they have is each other. And with neighbors like these, it’s easy to get through these difficult times.

A Place to Call Home

Entryway to the Swim and Tennis Club (Photo by Libby Kwok)


“Home” is the best word to describe this community, according to Judy Griggs, reminding us of modern-day Judy Garland. A Navy brat, she moved over 21 times before finally deciding there was no place like Peachtree Station. She and her family moved to the community in 1982 and haven’t moved again since.

Now Griggs is the president of the non-mandatory HOA which about 65% of the community belongs to. They service the entrances which now adorn the names of the 2020 class graduates, as well as host Spring or Halloween parties for the kids. They also provide “welcome baskets” to new residents.

Not only are the residents pampered from the moment they turn the key in the lock, but they also have the advantages of being part of a “COPS” neighborhood. Peachtree Station has a special partnership with the local authorities to keep an open line of communication and keep the neighborhood safe. They also have a “Block Captain” system where a volunteer from each block will look out for about 7-9 neighbors on their street.

“One of the things that makes Peachtree Station special is the civic leaders we have living in our community,” Griggs boasts. The residents are actively involved in the rezoning that has taken place in Peachtree Corners over the past 30 years, including the establishment of Simpsonwood Park.

Griggs recalls how the neighborhood was a construction zone when they moved in in the 80s, and that each cul-de-sac can be traced back to the community’s humble roots of belonging to the Medlock’s farm.

Ben Kwok, gives a thumb-up approval to where he lives. (Photo by Libby Kwok)

Growing with the Neighborhood
Weare Gratwick, who moved into Peachtree Station in the 90s, recalls a different scene moving in. “The neighborhood didn’t look much different than it does now, just shorter trees. But there was a mixture of folks who were original to the neighborhood, and transplants from other states.”

Gratwick had a 10-month-old when he moved into Peachtree Station, and he followed the clubs and organizations of his children all the way up to a City Council seat. First, he coached baseball in Chastain Park, and soon became heavily involved in Norcross baseball. He became President of the Norcross baseball league in 2003, as well as serve as treasurer for the Soccer Club.

By the time he became a part of the Peachtree Corners Civic Association, all of the kids he watched grow up were now the same adults who asked him to run for City Council. He recalls that even the teenager who babysat his children was now grown up and living in Peachtree Station herself.

Senior graduating sign at the entrance of the subdivision. (Photo by Libby Kwok)

Gratwick mused that since the Great Recession, it became cheaper for residents to keep their homes in Peachtree Station rather than downsizing once they had an empty nest. “We now know several families in the community who all moved in to be with each other rather than leave.”

Swim and Tennis Club
But the real gem of Peachtree Station is the Swim and Tennis Club. Savored only by the residents, it sits picturesque near one of the entrances of the community. Even though there are no children laughing and splashing in the water currently, Gratwick reminisced about memorable events like the Easter egg roll or Fourth of July parties that once filled the club with joyous laughter.

The swimming pool area. (Photo by Libby Kwok)

Even though the pool is empty, the residents can still be seen practicing their serve on one of the eight tennis courts located in Peachtree Station. Nancy couldn’t help but gush over the successes of their many tennis teams, or how any player can find a good place to practice no matter their level of proficiency.

One resident said she moved to the neighborhood specifically for their tennis program. “The program is even better now because of our awesome pros!  Because we have such a large neighborhood, we were able to field teams at all levels and not just lump players into a mid-level team. Our daughters have very fond memories of learning to play tennis, playing on the playground and swimming on the swim team.”
The family-oriented atmosphere is one that could not be matched. According to one resident, the athleticism from neighborhood tennis leagues are what contributes to making Peachtree Station so special.

“The tennis program is one of the best in the area with our great coaches on staff who are always planning clinics, plus team and individual lessons. This is a family-oriented, friendly, athletic neighborhood – I love seeing all ages out walking, running, riding bikes, pushing strollers, walking dogs and — most importantly – carrying their tennis bags to the courts!”

Neighbors and Friends
Peachtree Station is not only a community that loves their athletic programs, but they truly care about their fellow neighbors. One resident spoke of a troubling time in her life, and how the residents rallied around her in her time of need.

“I gave birth to twins several years ago. My mom came to help but she couldn’t stay long. I was completely overwhelmed trying to figure out how to take care of everything. My amazing neighbors set up a meal train for me and my family. Several days a week for several weeks, neighbors would bring a meal so I wouldn’t have to prepare dinner that day. It was a lifesaver and helped me get to know and love my neighbors even more!”

But the most remarkable thing of all about Peachtree Station is that instead leaving the nest after their families are grown, a lot of community residents simply choose to move other family members in instead. Community is so important at a time like this, and if the residents haven’t already moved their own families in, they simply transformed their current neighbors into their family instead. ■

Kris Bird is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who specializes in Marketing and Communications. After earning her degree from Stony Brook University, Kris has been working as a science fiction and fantasy novelist for the past decade.

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Community

Rooted Interiors Unveils Largest Transformation Project Yet for a Family in Need

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Grandfather's bedroom before and after // photos courtesy of Rooted Interiors

Rooted Interiors, a new non-profit organization dedicated to transforming lives through design, has announced the completion of its largest transformation project to date.

With a commitment to providing complete interiors to individuals and families emerging from homelessness, Rooted Interiors continues to make a profound impact on communities, one home at a time.

The latest project marks a significant milestone for Rooted Interiors as it demonstrates the organization’s unwavering dedication to creating havens where families can plant roots and thrive.

Through meticulous planning, collaboration and the support of generous donors and volunteers, Rooted Interiors has successfully transformed a once hopeless space into a warm and welcoming home for a deserving family.

At the heart of this project is a single mother, accompanied by her two children and her father, who found themselves in dire circumstances after the mother fled from an abusive partner, forcing them to seek refuge at the Family Promise shelter in Athens, Ga.

Upon securing a new home, however, their relief was short-lived as they found themselves in a space devoid of warmth and lacking the essentials of a home.

With no furniture besides a dining room table, no washer and dryer and a malfunctioning fridge, their daily struggles persisted for three long months.

But Rooted Interiors didn’t just redesign the family’s space, they filled it with love and hope.

Through this project, the organization transformed the family’s house into a sanctuary, addressing not only their physical needs but also their emotional well-being. From carefully selected furniture to thoughtful décor choices, every detail was curated to create a space that felt like home.

“We are thrilled to unveil our latest project, which represents our continued commitment to serving those in need,” said Kristina McCalla, Founder and Executive Director of Rooted Interiors.

“Our Rooted in Renewal Program not only revitalizes physical spaces but also renews hope and stability for the family who calls this house their home,” she added.

Rooted Interiors offers a lifeline to families in need, empowering them to thrive and succeed in their journey towards independence.

“This journey is not just about creating aesthetically pleasing interiors; it’s about using the language of design to uplift and restore,” said Kristina McCalla, also Lead Interior Designer at Rooted Interiors.

“Rooted in faith and love, each project is a testament to the belief that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, deserves a place that reflects their humanity and worth. By providing a thoughtfully designed and fully furnished home, we aim to empower families to thrive and succeed in their journey towards independence,” she explained.

As Rooted Interiors continues its mission to fully furnish homes for those emerging from homelessness, this project serves as a testament to the organization’s impact and the generosity of its supporters.

Through ongoing partnerships and community engagement, the organization remains committed to building brighter futures for individuals and families in need. For more information about Rooted Interiors and how you can support their mission, visit rootedinteriors.org.

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Business

BRACK: Peachtree Corners to lose Peterbrooke Chocolatier

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Scottt Gottuso and Geoffrey Wilson.
Scottt Gottuso and Geoffrey Wilson. Photo provided.

Peachtree Corners will soon lose one of its most iconic, popular and tasty businesses.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier, run by Geoffrey Wilson and Scott Gottuso, has been told by Peachtree Forum landlords, North American Properties and Nuveen Real Estate, that its lease will not be renewed. The last day of business will be July 25.

Meanwhile, Peachtree Forum is getting several new stores. They include Kendra Scott, Sucre, and The NOW Massage. Previously announced were Alloy Personal Training, Cookie Fix, Gallery Anderson Smith, Giulia, Lovesac, Nando’s Peri-Peri and Stretchlab. Wilson adds: “We are not in their big picture.”

Wilson has operated Peterbrooke at the Peachtree Forum for 14 years and Gottuso has been there nine years. They have made the chocolatier profitable and doubled sales. Wilson says: “We turned it around through community involvement and made relationships. We worked with the schools, gave donations, did a lot in the community, and made a difference. We produce most everything we sell in the shop, so it’s labor intensive. We make European-style chocolate treats from scratch from the very best ingredients, package it, make gift baskets, and also sell a lot of gelato.”

Key items include truffles, hand-made caramels, cherry cordials, chocolate-covered cookies and pretzels and strawberries hand-dipped in their own blend of chocolates. (They are all good!) One of Wilson’s and Gottuso’s most iconic products is chocolate popcorn. Once you try it, regular popcorn is tasteless. “We sell a lot of it.” Wilson adds: “Gelato sales have carried us in the summertime, since there are not many chocolate holidays in the summer.”

Peterbrooke now has five employees, and would like to have 10, but it is difficult to hire people with the skills in chocolatiering. A key part of its business is corporate companies, such as Delta Air Lines and Capital Insight. The Peachtree Corners’ Peterbrooke has corporate customers as far away as Cleveland, Ohio.

The operators were surprised when the Forum owners did not renew its five year lease. “The big decisions were made in Charlotte or Cincinnati, not locally,” Wilson feels. “We were no longer in their big picture. They want new and glitzy, shiny, fancy and trendy.”

The operators plan to start their own chocolate company, to be called “Scoffrey,” and initially sell online, plus have pop-up locations during holidays, and possibly have a booth in other merchants’ stores on occasions.

“Whatever we do would look different. We might rent a space somewhere close by so that people can still have the good chocolate experience with us, but we won’t have a regular audience walking by.”

Another element: the price of chocolate futures has spiked this year, with a bad crop production year. Wilson says: “That is key to our business and a huge cost increase. That doesn’t help.”

Wilson adds that the forced closing of the Peterbrooke location “is something like the death of a friend. But you go to the funeral and to the wake, and in six months or a year, It won’t be so bad.”

Have a comment?  Send to: elliott@elliottbrack

Written by Elliott Brack

This material is presented with permission from Elliott Brack’s GwinnettForum, an online site published Tuesdays and Fridays. To become better informed about Gwinnett, subscribe (at no cost) at GwinnettForum

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Community

The Transformative Trail: Dr. Sunit Singhal’s Journey to Wellness

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The highest peak in Tanzania also known as the “roof of Africa" // Photos courtesy of Dr. Sunit Singhal

For more than two decades, Dr. Sunit Singhal has been a member of the Peachtree Corners community. In February 2001, he opened Suburban Medical Center, making a significant contribution to community healthcare. Under his leadership, the medical center has expanded, notably by introducing Suburban Med Spa next door.

A 1988 graduate of the University College of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, Dr. Singhal furthered his expertise in the United States, completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Harlem Hospital Center in New York.

An awakening at the Grand Canyon

A few years ago, the 60-year-old physician had an eye-opening moment about his own health. Most of his life was spent being overweight, which he accepted and managed the best he could.

“It’s not a secret that I was overweight. Anyone could see it; it’s how I was my whole life,” said Dr. Singhal.

The pivotal moment for Dr. Singhal was his attempt to join friends on a hike at the Grand Canyon a few years back. Despite his determination, Dr. Singhal was unprepared for the hike’s demands.

“I thought, okay, I will meet my friends one-third of the way down the canyon from the opposite end. That way, I can keep up with them towards the end of the hike,” he shared.

The trek up Mount Kilimanjaro

Even starting much later, Dr. Singhal struggled greatly with the hike. He experienced knee pain, breathlessness, and exhaustion. His struggle not only slowed him down but also his friends, who had been hiking for an additional 12 hours before he joined them.

The ordeal ended in the middle of a cold night, leading to a physically taxing recovery period that left Dr. Singhal sore for days.

Despite the arduous experience at the Grand Canyon, Dr. Singhal didn’t retire his hiking boots. Feeling motivated to conquer the obstacle, he began walking long miles with friends to get into shape.

A few months later, the call of the canyon echoed again, and friends proposed a new challenge: hiking from the South Rim to the river and back. While less daunting than their previous endeavor, the task was intimidating.

“This time, I was able to make the hike without holding anyone back,” he shared. Dr. Singhal already saw the difference his efforts were making.

His triumphs over physical and mental barriers were clear and exciting. Dr. Singhal’s return to the canyon increased his resilience and personal growth.

Conquering Kilimanjaro: a test of determination

Following a series of hikes through the Grand Canyon as his health improved, Dr. Singhal and his hiking group set their sights on Mount Kilimanjaro. They regularly engaged in 10-mile hikes each week to prepare for the trek.

(left to right) Singhal, Kashish, Vani and Mahender Gupta.

“It was never on our minds to simply skip or cut the hike short because we didn’t feel like it that day,” Dr. Singhal said. Even family members occasionally joined, keeping pace with the senior group with varying success.

When the time arrived for their Kilimanjaro quest, they needed to identify the number of days their group would need to complete it.

“There are different levels you can choose for hikes. If you are very athletic, the 5-day hike is for you. It goes all the way up to 9 days if you need to go slowly,” Dr. Singhal explained.

The friends chose the six-day option. It seemed like a good balance of their confidence in their fitness coupled with a conservative approach. Yet, they completed the ascent in five days.

“We couldn’t believe we finished at such a quick pace. We weren’t straining ourselves to do it. It was the natural pace we wanted to go, and we finished with the group we viewed as the most fit and athletic.”

Mount Everest on the horizon

The hiking group isn’t resting on their laurels, though. The crew continues to meet and train for their next goal, climbing Mount Everest.

“There’s a lottery to be accepted to climb. We entered and are hoping to be selected for a hike this fall,” Dr. Singhal shared. When asked if he felt intimidated about this potential hike, he confidently replied, “No, not really.”

The team of friends will hear this summer if they are selected to climb.

Health and hope

Dr. Singhal’s health journey is the perfect example of the potential for change at any stage of life. It also highlights the importance of self-care, perseverance and pursuing one’s goals, regardless of the starting point.

His patients can rest easily. He isn’t walking away from his practice for the mountains full-time. Dr. Singhal is committed to his practice and patients. He firmly believes and displays that personal improvement and professional dedication can coexist harmoniously.

“I want my patients to know that I am equally dedicated to being here for them and their own health journeys.” When he’s not hitting the trails, Dr. Singhal can be found spending time with his family in Duluth or at his practice in Peachtree Corners.

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