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Raise a Glass to Peachtree Corners’ Upscale Wine and Spirits Store



Clockwise, Gerald and Virginia Davidson, Pat and Stu Cross, Libby Curry, holding photo of John D. Curry (Photo by Patrizia Winsper.)Gerald and Virginia Davidson, Pat and Stu Cross, Libby Curry, holding photo of John D. Curry (Photo by Patrizia Winsper.)

Uncorking Corners Fine Wine and Spirits

Eight and a half years of tenacity and a tremendous effort on behalf of three established Peachtree Corners families resulted in the opening of Corners Fine Wine and Spirits (CFWS) at 5730 Peachtree Parkway – the only store of its kind in the city. It was the news of Peachtree Corners becoming an incorporated city in 2012 that sparked the initial idea since only cities can permit such retail spaces.

Corners Fine Wine & Spirits

The vision was one of a refined store where people could enjoy tastings of an impressive selection of products and be guided in their choices by a friendly, knowledgeable staff and an in-house sommelier. With the celebration of their first-year anniversary just behind them, it’s clear to see that although it wasn’t easy, the store has more than met the criteria.

(Photos by Patrizia Winsper, Left to Right. General Manager of Corners Fine Wine and Spirits, Rob Ramos. Gerald and Virginia Davidson. Libby Curry holding a photo of her late husband, John. John D. Curry dedication plaque. Stu and Pat Cross)

Proprietors Gerald and Virginia Davidson, John and Libby Curry, Stu and Pat Cross — long-time residents of Peachtree Corners, friends and neighbors, each with unique aptitudes —were instrumental in the realization of Virginia’s initial dream. With previous knowhow from having owned a store in Dawsonville, and the credit of having had the idea, the Davidsons hold controlling interest.

They invited the Currys to join their venture knowing their background in construction and marketing would prove invaluable. The Currys, in turn, offered the Crosses part of their share in 2019, in exchange for robust financial backing and years of business experience…and so the CFWS founders were born.

Liquor Is Not a “Bad Word”

Whether you enjoy alcoholic beverages or not, the fact remains that buying liquor in Peachtree Corners generates revenue for the city. “There are so many negative connotations associated with liquor stores. People picture icky, cheesy places. That was never what we wanted,” Virginia said. She pointed out that plenty of residents do enjoy adult beverages, and those who purchase liquor locally are supporting our community rather than taking tax dollars elsewhere.

Ribbon cutting celebration, among those pictured are Peachtree Corners Business Association President Lisa Proctor, Councilman Phil Sadd, Mayor Mike Mason, Gerald and Virginia Davidson, Libby Curry, Councilmen Weare Gratwick and Eric Christ, Stu and Pat Cross, Rob Ramos.

Yet before purchasing liquor in a Peachtree Corners package store even became an option, the assembled dream team had a long road ahead.

A Trek That Felt Like Eight Years in the Desert – Also Dave Phinney’s Zinfandel

Smudge on the Dotted Line

When attorney Gerald, former homebuilder John, and retired Coca-Cola executive Stu started out, they quickly realized they’d need every bit of their specialized skills, as well as their personal strengths and resources to get the job done. The first order of business was obtaining the signatures of 35% of the registered voters in the new city (approximately 7,500 people) on a petition requesting that the mayor and council call a referendum allowing citizens to vote on an ordinance to allow for the sale of distilled spirits by the package within the city of Peachtree Corners.

The interior of Corners Fine Wine and Spirits.

Gerald recalled, “We started naïvely thinking we could do it ourselves.” They offered voters Dunkin’ Donuts and coffee at polling stations around town during elections one year, collecting the signatures of registered voters going in and out. “It rained sideways — all day,” recalled Libby.

In 2013, Gerald formed a committee called Buy Peachtree Corners First. They sought support for their petition at the Peachtree Corners Festival encouraging residents to buy locally to keep revenue within our city.

Even with the help of high school students hired to gather signatures, they were about 4,500 short of their target. The decision to hire National Ballot Access resulted in a skilled army that yielded more signatures than needed.

Impossible Mission – the Real Kind, Not the Drink

With a list of collected names, addresses and signatures, verifying the registered voters in support of the liquor store involved matching each signature with those on people’s voter registration cards. How many of us sign our names exactly the way we did when we filled out our voter registration cards? How likely is a signature scrawled across a clipboard while standing in the elements to match a signature penned while sitting at a desk?

“We turned them in to the city, which did not have the personnel to count and cross-reference the signatures,” Gerald said. The county board of elections was charged with the task; temps were hired to help.

After a long wait, it was determined by the county board of elections that CFWS was 168 signatures short. Gerald arranged a meeting with the county attorneys in which National Ballot Access was able to prove there were surplus signatures.


With an adequate number of signatures confirmed, the Corners team was eager to hold a referendum, offering to pay for it themselves. The city council preferred to wait a few months for the 2014 general election in November. It passed with 74% voting in favor of distilled spirits being sold in Peachtree Corners package stores.

A New Ordinance to Regulate the Operation of Liquor Stores in a New City

Hoping to expedite the process, Gerald blazed a trail by studying the ordinances of surrounding cities in Gwinnett County and drafted a proposal, parts of which were adopted.

“Our original suggestion was not allowing a liquor store in a shopping center. Make it a freestanding building on a major thoroughfare, with at least 100 feet of road frontage. A minimum of 5,000 square feet and a maximum of 10,000 square feet in size,” Gerald said. “As a citizen, I didn’t want shabby little liquor stores with neon signs in the front windows cropping up in the city.”

Liquor stores in Peachtree Corners must be zoned C2, with a special use permit. There is a plethora of strict requirements that must be satisfied. “I remember John with measuring tape in hand because you cannot have the shop within a certain distance of a school or a church. That’s a state law: 300 yards door to door,” Virginia said. Distance requirements certainly limit the places one can consider for such a store.

Location Selection — Not a Game of Spin the Bottle

“John was familiar with every square inch of the city after having scouted locations,” Libby chuckled. The first location they considered is now Stäge Kitchen & Bar, formerly Noble Fin. Following numerous meetings and lease revisions prepared by Gerald, the property holder revealed an expectation of rent prior to occupancy, suspending discussions.

Next, they studied the lot between the former Black Walnut restaurant and Chase Bank. “We filed for rezoning and a special use permit on that property. We negotiated at length but couldn’t make the deal work. The landowner wanted to dictate the store’s appearance,” Gerald said.

Though the third time may have been the charm, their current site was not acquired without a hiccup. Initially under contract with Tech Park Associates, as was RaceTrac across the street, a thorny rezoning and development process coupled with ecological issues caused Tech Park to reconsider.

From Stumbling Blocks to Stepping Stones

CFWS was happy to donate towards the walking trail from their property through Tech Park to the lake, as a condition of rezoning. “It’s a wonderful amenity for the city,” Gerald said.

With a mountain to be leveled on the RaceTrac side, a gaping hole to be filled and a creek on the CFWS side, it was challenging and costly to develop the land. “We had to go through all kinds of environmental stuff to pipe the creek. That was a setback,” Gerald explained.

When Tech Park Associates determined the project was too prohibitive, the unrelenting CFWS crew approached RaceTrac. “You have deep pockets, you can do this,” Gerald recalled telling them. RaceTrac agreed to purchase both corners and sell them their plot at a higher price once they had developed it. The CFWS building pad was delivered a year later as promised.

After a little tango with bureaucracy, they obtained a liquor license from the state Capitol.

Surviving the Storm

Construction of the store began in December of 2019. It rained incessantly causing delays and disruptions.

A crushing setback was suffered in April of 2020 when they lost John suddenly to lung cancer. He was the boots on the ground, sweat equity partner. Left with a stack of his handwritten notes, CFWS credits Ordner Construction Company with helping them overcome this major hurdle. COVID-19 didn’t allow for a funeral but it did further compound lulls in building.

The Perfect Cocktail of People

General Manager Rob Ramos has 26 years of experience in the liquor industry. John recruited him six years ago. “I keep the original card he gave me in my wallet as a token of my appreciation. He shared the CFWS dream with me and stayed in touch all that time,” Ramos said.

“The beer and wine buyers, Sean Whalen and Terrell Abney are in tune with the palettes of our regulars,” Virginia said. Because they’re so knowledgeable, they’re given autonomy in their selections, provided they stay within budgetary parameters.

Ramos facilitated the store layout, the selection of software packages and refrigeration equipment. He hired staff and placed orders so they could hit the ground running. It’s been over a year since they opened and CFWS has retained most of its original employees. “We’re blessed to have such good people,” Virginia said.

Opening During a Pandemic

CFWS opened on August 26, 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. It was not ideal, but it did not stop people from wanting to imbibe. “COVID was actually, sadly, a good thing for the liquor business. Especially when we could start delivering,” Virginia shared.

There were merchandise shortages however. “It became a huge problem to get tequila because Mexico had shut down. It’s still a challenge,” Virginia said.

Ribbon Cutting

A ceremony the following month included the unveiling of a bronze plaque honoring John Curry who, unfortunately, was not able to share in the jubilation of that moment. Located on the building façade, it commemorates his tireless commitment to getting this venture off the ground. Patrons can read the touching tribute to the friend, husband and associate CFWS lost too soon.

Cheers to a Good Year!

The owners feel their concept has materialized perfectly with the first year of operation under their belts. Gerald appreciates the value in the extension of Engineering Drive. “It’s a great asset for the community, allowing for better ingress and egress for those who live here,” he said.

His dedication to serving the neighborhood he lives in is palpable. “Our pricing is very reasonable, even of our high-end bourbons. We don’t want to gauge people. These are our neighbors; we want them to be happy,” Gerald said. “We’ll call regulars to tell them when hard to find things we know they like come in.”

Virginia continues to boycott any tacky décor and create an elevated shopping experience for clients. “At the end of a very long road, it all paid off. The quote on the wall that makes the most sense for our journey, is “If you build it, they will come.” That’s what kept us going,” she said.

Libby enjoys answering store reviews on Google and helping to plan and participate in events. “I know John would be very proud of the store,” she said.

Stu joined the team later but rolled up his sleeves in full support of the mission. “Peachtree Corners deserves a store that has three things: a great location so you can get to it, the most amazing selection of products within 20 miles, and a friendly, customer-focused staff,” he said.

“They worked like crazy to make this happen. It’s another example of why Peachtree Corners is a very special place to live.”

Here’s to wishing CFWS many wonderful years of health and prosperity!

Patrizia hails from Toronto, Canada where she earned an Honors B.A. in French and Italian studies at York University, and a B.Ed. at the University of Toronto. This trilingual former French teacher has called Georgia home since 1998. She and her family have enjoyed living, working and playing in Peachtree Corners since 2013.

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Peachtree Corners Businesses Encouraged to Join Security Camera Registration



Chris Lindenau, Fusus

After spending years with the U.S. military and companies that develop safety systems, Chris Lindenau wanted to offer that same level of security to average citizens.

“I have been leading and serving a team of dedicated, brilliant professionals as we help communities, directors of security for businesses and public safety leaders establish interoperability between community and public safety camera, AI and alert assets at an unprecedented scale,” Lindenau, CEO of Fusus, said.

He addressed an audience gathered on September 28 at the Peachtree Corners Business Association Business After Hours Speaker Series at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast.

The technology Lindenau’s company has created, the fususONE ecosystem of software and hardware solutions, is the foundational platform for the world’s real-time operations centers. It has helped hundreds of cities and businesses establish a unified security footprint unrestrained by proprietary technology limitations, according to the company’s literature.

In order to make it work at its optimal capacity, however, it needs the community — especially business owners — to join in.

“As I understand from our friends at GCPD [Gwinnett County Police Department], you’ve got a success story recently utilizing the system to catch a homicide suspect — I think it was within 45 minutes from the time of the incident,” Lindenau said. “This isn’t something that just exists here in our backyard, it exists all over the country.”

He encouraged everyone in attendance to sign up for Connect Peachtree Corners, a camera registration for businesses and homes. Right now, there are only 247 cameras registered within the Peachtree Corners city limits. Without interconnectivity, crimes that could have been solved in minutes may end up taking days or months — or may never be solved.

“That lack of information impacts the timeliness of response. It’s not just about apprehending the suspects, it’s also about bringing closure to families, because they are out on a limb until these people are apprehended,” Lindenau said.

For more information, visit connectpeachtreecorners.org.

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DW1 Unveils New Peachtree Corners Headquarters and Brand Identity



DW1, formerly known as Discount Waste, Inc., has now settled in its office in Technology Park. As Peachtree Corners sees a surge of development, DW1’s move and rebranding stand out.

Situated at 250 Scientific Drive NW, the 45,000-square-foot building has 150 private offices and seven conference rooms. It also has an advanced training room and a “Town Center” designed for company lunches.

Additionally, the space doubles as an art collection that adds character to the workspace.

This move brings together their previous locations at Engineering Drive and Triangle Parkway. It consolidates over 100 employees who have been dispersed since 2019.

The inauguration event took place on September 28, 2023, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Vice Mayor Weare Gratwick, City Councilwoman Lorri Christopher, Southwest Gwinnett Chamber (SWGC) Chairman Bill Diehl and Executive Director Beth Coffey attended the event.

Board members Margie Asef, Larry Benator and Patty Thumann were also present.

Since its start in 1999, Discount Waste, Inc., now transitioning to DW1, has been a provider of waste removal and job site solutions.

Serving a wide range of clients, from general contractors and retailers to commercial establishments, the company has always emphasized strong client relationships and service.

Outside of the business realm, CEO Ed Foye‘s commitment to societal change is evident with All Children, Inc. This initiative focuses on delivering essential resources, such as nutrition, education and shelter, to children with disabilities in developing countries.

To know more about this effort, visit AllChildren.org.

A representative from DW1 shared, “We were thrilled to welcome our employees and their families to the new location on September 28. To learn more about our company’s next chapter, please visit DW1.com.”

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New Retail Concepts Join Merchandise Collection at The Forum Peachtree Corners



As North American Properties (NAP) and Nuveen Real Estate (Nuveen) transform The Forum Peachtree Corners into a mixed-use development, several new businesses are joining the merchandise mix. 

National retailers that signed long-term leases include Lovesac, Petfolk and Stretchlab. Temporary license agreements were reached with Auburn Candle Company, The Baby Nook and Girl Tribe Co.

Meet the retailers

Lovesac – This company designs, manufactures and sells unique furniture that’s guaranteed for life. It offers modular couches called Sactionals, foam beanbag chairs called Sacs and associated home décor accessories, including home audio systems.

Upon opening next to Chico’s in spring 2024, Lovesac at The Forum will be the ninth location in Georgia and fourth in NAP’s portfolio. 

Petfolk – Founded by vets with decades of experience in clinical practice, Petfolk is an animal hospital and pet care center built with pets and their owners in mind. 

Veterinary services include exams, vaccinations, urgent care, nutrition, diagnostic testing, digital radiology and more. 

The Forum location opens this October by Chipotle, marking the brand’s second brick-and-mortar in metro Atlanta.

Stretchlab – Recognized for its customized, assisted-stretch sessions, Stretchlab is a wellness concept specializing in one-on-one routines led by nationally accredited flexologists. 

Using a proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) approach, paired with dynamic and static stretching, the team is able to identify tightness and imbalances in the body. They then build a custom routine for each client to develop a wider range of motion and flexibility. 

Stretchlab opens next to Club Pilates at The Forum this winter.

Auburn Candle Company – Established in 2020 and based out of Auburn, Alabama, Auburn Candle Company hand-crafts signature candles and fragrances, free from additives and dyes.

In addition to shopping for pre-poured candles as well as other bath, body and home goods, candle lovers can develop their own creations at the in-store pour bar. 

Its year-long pop-up at The Forum, opening in October, will be the company’s first venture in Georgia.  

The Baby Nook – A haven for anyone seeking baby essentials and gifts, The Baby Nook will feature a select collection of baby items that combine functionality, safety and aesthetic appeal. 

The year-long pop-up will open in October next to Soft Surroundings.

Girl Tribe Co. – NAP is expanding its existing relationship with Charlotte-based Girl Tribe Co. to bring a temporary store to The Forum from October 6 through December 31. 

Created by childhood best friends and co-founders Sarah Baucom and Carrie Barker, the brand offers a collection of clothing, graphic tees, accessories and lifestyle products.

A combination of proprietary products and items made by local female entrepreneurs will be available for purchase in Suite 505, next to HomeGoods. Girl Tribe Co. also plans to host a series of events, workshops and networking sessions during its stay at The Forum.

The Forum’s merchandise mix continues to grow

These forthcoming brands join KeenaBelaGifts We All Want and Go! Calendars, Toys, and Games as the latest additions to The Forum’s tenant collection. 

KeenaBela, an Atlanta-based, eco-friendly sleep, lounge and resort-wear brand, officially opened its year-long pop-up at The Forum last month. 

Additionally, specialty boutiques Gifts We All Want and Go! Calendars, Toys, and Games, have once again returned for the holiday season.

“We have seen a tremendous amount of interest from small, local business owners looking to grow their brands in a low-risk, incubator-style environment,” said Emily Narchus, director of ancillary revenue at NAP. 

“As our leasing and development teams continue moving forward on The Forum’s renaissance, we are excited to play a part in upgrading the center’s retail makeup.”

NAP is nearing completion on the north end plaza and anticipates an early fall delivery of the 1,700-square-foot greenspace. This is the first, and smaller, of two community-driven spaces being adding to the property as part of its overall redevelopment. 

Along with the ongoing retail improvements, renovations to the office lobby in building 5185, anchored by Trader Joe’s, are now complete. 

The Forum has partnered with the Peachtree Corners Photography Club to display and sell winning pieces from its first juried exhibition in the revamped entrance.

To stay up to date on the latest property news and happenings, follow The Forum on FacebookTwitter and Instagram or visit theforumpeachtree.com.

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