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10 Years of Peachtree Corners Business Association Scholarship Winners

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Students that Benefited through the Peachtree Corners Business Association Program

Recently, the Peachtree Corners Business Association (PCBA) reviewed its Community Outreach Program results over the past 10 years. The organization decided to follow up with its 15 scholarship winners to find out “where are they now.”

When the PCBA started its scholarship program, it could fund only one scholarship per year. Through the generosity and support of the group’s members and sponsors, it has been able to award two scholarships a year since 2017.

Jenna McEachen

Jenna McEachen was the PCBA’s first scholarship winner. She received her International Baccalaureate Diploma from Norcross High School in 2014. Jenna attended Birmingham-Southern College and graduated in 2018 with a degree in Psychology and Business.

She enjoyed working several internships during her college years, including local business, NanoLumens and an international internship as a programing intern in London, England. She has worked for AT&T for the last 4+ years and is now a Lead Technical Project Manager in the Atlanta area.

Jenna loves building relationships and transforming complex and overwhelming concepts into streamlined and effective communications. She won the AT&T Business Sales Diamond Club Award in 2020 for her outstanding accomplishments.

Elizabeth Waid

Elizabeth Waid graduated in the Norcross High School Class of 2015 with the International Baccalaureate program. In addition to the PCBA scholarship, she was the recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship, Richter Scholarship and Sanders Scholarship.

She attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. and graduated with a BA in Economics and German with a minor in global Trade and Commerce studies.

Elizabeth had the opportunity to work as an English Teaching Assistant for eight months at the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research in Imst, Austria. Upon completion of her work in Austria, Elizabeth joined EY as a Business Consultant.

Elizabeth now lives in Charlotte, N.C. and is a Theology Teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School.

Eliza Antonowich

Eliza Antonowich graduated in the Class of 2016 with the International Baccalaureate program from Norcross High School. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. in 2020, majoring in Global Health and Environment.

She also studied International Global Studies and a program in Swahili, Public Health and Environment. In addition to English, Eliza has a professional working knowledge of Spanish and Swahili.

Eliza is a U.S. Army Cadet since 2013 and is an active Army Officer Candidate with the St. Louis Gateway Battalion. Eliza is currently a Research Assistant in the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV (PrEP) Program with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Morgan Keller

Morgan Keller graduated from Wesleyan High School with the Class of 2017. Morgan used her scholarship dollars to graduate from Georgia Institute of Technology with a BS in Materials Science and Engineering in May 2022.

Morgan is currently working for Corning Optical Communications in the BRiTE commercial Rotational Program where she is rotating through functions of engineering, market development, product line management and sales.

Morgan is looking forward to continuing to incorporate engineering principles within business strategies and developing her professional skill set in whatever direction her career takes her. She has learned the value of nurturing relationships and pouring back into her hometown of Peachtree Corners, even as her career leads her to new opportunities and new communities.

Sarah Lashley (Gries)

Sarah Lashley graduated from Norcross High School in 2017. She attended the University of Georgia and graduated in 2021 with a degree in Elementary Education. Sarah is currently working as the Marketing Manager at 3DE by Junior Achievement.

Sarah is excited about this role as it allows her the opportunity to pair her background in education with her passion for non-profit marketing. 3DE by Junior Achievement re-engineers high school education to be more relevant, experiential and authentically connected to the complexities of the real world through joint ventures between public school systems and the business community.

Sarah recently moved back to Peachtree Corners with her husband. She is looking forward to becoming well versed in non-profit marketing, knowledgeable in content design and involved in the local Peachtree Corners community while building her family.

Abigail (Abbie) Alf

Abbie Alf graduated from Norcross High School in 2018. She attended the University of Georgia and graduated in May of this year with a BFA in Interior Design and a certificate in Entrepreneurship. Abbie was able to use her scholarship towards purchasing her books and have a greater college experience.

Abbie is currently pursuing her dreams of running her own baking business, Abbie Bakes. She is focusing on growing in the Atlanta area and across the United States. In the next three to five years, Abbie sees establishing a storefront in the Atlanta area and having a stronger presence across the country.

She is excited to see what is to come and appreciates the ability to grow during her years at UGA.

Ian Paul Huelsbeck

Ian Huelsbeck graduated from Norcross High School in the Class of 2018. He currently attends Colorado College and plans to graduate in May 2023. He is planning to pursue a PhD in Chemistry or attend medical school.

Ian is a research assistant in the Fahrenkrug Lab working on low cost, accessible and open-source sensors to detect PFAS chemicals in drinking water. PFAS chemicals are toxic at one part per trillion and are currently extremely costly to detect. This process would enable at-site detection of specific PFAS compounds at appropriate ranges by untrained users.

Over the next three to five years, Ian sees himself in graduate school or doing work in environmental chemistry. He has learned that he absolutely loves chemistry and wants to do something with it in the future.

Vishva Natarajan

Vishva Natarajan graduated in the Class of 2019 and is currently attending Georgia Institute of Technology for a BS in Biology/Biological Sciences. He is expected to graduate in 2023.

In addition to receiving faculty honors and being on the Dean’s List, Vishva has also received the President’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA) and the John H. Ridley Award. He is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish

Vishva has participated in several internships and programs including Georgia Tech Bioinformatics Research Assistance and Pfizer NGS Bioinformatics Internship. He is currently a Research Assistant at Georgia Tech studying computational proteomics.

Through his passion for analyzing high-throughput biological data, Vishva is leveraging the latest tools and technologies to do so.

Connor Creedon

Connor Creedon graduated from Duluth High School in 2019. He is currently using his scholarship to attend Piedmont University, double majoring in Sports Communications and Mass Communications, with a minor in General Business. Connor is set to graduate in Spring 2023.

In the next three to five years, Connor sees himself working in the media in one form or another, most likely in sports. He hopes to cover collegiate and professional sports in journalism, video production, radio production, etc.

From his experience in college, Connor has learned that hard work is required to get anywhere in life, especially academically. Pushing himself to get better in areas where he may not be as strong has helped him get to where he is today, and he is proud of his hard work.

Feben Simeneh

Feben Simeneh is a graduate of the Norcross High School Class of 2020. As Feben pursues her current college studies, she is able to enhance her passion for seeing lives change. She is committed to programs that would further develop her view of the world.

Feben is currently studying International Relations and Biomedical engineering. Her goal is to become a UN peacekeeper and help resolve disputes between countries and create leadership environments through public servitude.

She also would like to help the healthcare industry increase the quality and volume of medical services throughout hospitals in both rural and urban districts.

Maria Cook

Maria Cook is a graduate of Wesleyan High School with the Class of 2020. She is only the second person in her biological family to ever go to college.

She felt her most impactful service at Wesleyan was when she was able to join the Omicron Service Society. She has volunteered at La Amistad, Corners Outreach and Next Generation.

Maria aspires to be a social worker and to continue to help children in need upon the completion of her college studies.

Katheryn Antonowich

Katheryn Antonowich graduated from Paul Duke STEM High School in 2021 and began college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. that fall. She is currently a sophomore in college with a major in Geography and Sustainable Development, a co-major in Sustainability and a minor in History.

As a member of the varsity swim and dive team at Miami, Katheryn practices for 20 hours a week and often travels for competitions. She plans to graduate from Miami University in 2025, by which time she will have completed her bachelor’s degree as well as her master’s degree in Environmental Science.

This summer, Katheryn hopes to study abroad in Luxembourg to explore more paths for her major and learn how to make a difference within her field. Following college, she hopes to work for an international organization or non-profit that combats climate issues and the negative impacts that humans have had on the Earth.

She feels that receiving the PCBA scholarship has allowed her to make the most out of her future, pursue her passions at college and expand her academic experience.

Katherine Graddy

Katherine Graddy graduated from Wesleyan High School in 2021. Currently, she is pursuing her college studies. One of the key takeaways from Katherine’s scholarship essay was the importance of leaving roots in a world where she can travel and connect with more people than ever before.

Katherine wants to look back on life beyond the pandemic and know the faces and names of people in her community. She wants to take moments with lasting impact where her life becomes woven into the stories of the places she goes and the people she meets.

Rachel Lee

Rachel Lee, a recent graduate from the Class of 2022 at Norcross High School, is attending Emory University. Rachel is majoring in Human Health and Economics and minoring in Nutrition. In the next few years, she sees herself pursuing a Public Health degree with a concentration in Nutrition and possibly researching with an Emory professor.

Her time at Emory has only covered three months, but she has learned the importance of continuing to connect with friends from her past. Being at a place where people all over the world come to study, she finds it fascinating how people’s different upbringings shape their knowledge.

Rachel has had the opportunity to attend college while continuing her volunteer work in Peachtree Corners. She has learned three powerful lessons: “lead by example, serve your community and cultivate inclusivity.” With Peachtree Corner roots at the core, she hopes to demonstrate each of these core lessons.

Sarah Lim

Sarah Lim is a recent graduate of the Wesleyan High School Class of 2022. She is currently attending Emory University and has used her scholarship to flourish during her first year of college.

She plans to graduate Emory in 2026 and is studying Pre-Law. Sarah is involved in an all-girls+ a cappella group called “the Gathering” at Emory and a conversation club on campus, Table Talk. She is the community service chair of her residence hall and has found a wonderful community with Bread Coffeehouse Ministry.

Sarah sees herself discovering her passions and exploring various interests during college. She hopes to study abroad and gain practical experience with advocacy, service and education work. She has learned that her supportive community and network of valuable mentors and friends are a main reason she has found success and joy during this chapter of her life.

The PCBA will award two $1,000 scholarships April through May 2023. The 2022-2023 application will be available for completion January 1, 2023. The full application, essay and transcripts must be received no later than March 8, 2023. Questions regarding the scholarship program may be directed to scholarship@peachtreecornersba.com.

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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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North American Properties Revitalizes Avenue East Cobb

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North American Properties (NAP) has revamped the Avenue East Cobb shopping center in Marietta, boosting its appeal to suburban residents.
The Andrews Brothers performing at Avenue East Cobb via Instagram @avenueeastcobb

North American Properties (NAP) has revamped the Avenue East Cobb shopping center in Marietta, boosting its appeal to suburban residents seeking a more urban lifestyle. Now, it’s being honored as part of the Atlanta Business Chronicle‘s “Best in Atlanta Real Estate” coverage.

NAP is known for transforming properties like Atlantic Station, Colony Square and The Forum.

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the redevelopment involved demolishing part of the main building to build a public plaza with a stage surrounded by restaurant patios.

A new concierge facility was also added, including a canopy for drop-offs. Additionally, smaller retail buildings were created for standalone tenants. The business mix was updated to include names like Warby Parker, Lululemon and Peach State Pizza.

NAP also increased community engagement by partnering with at least 10 local organizations for social events. These efforts have proven successful. Over the last two years, Avenue East Cobb has seen a 36% increase in sales per square foot thanks to a major rise in foot traffic.

More news from North American Properties can be found here.

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North American Properties Secures 3 New Brands for The Forum

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North American Properties (NAP) and Nuveen Real Estate announced three new businesses are planting flags at The Forum Peachtree Corners.
Sucré – A Sweet Boutique

North American Properties (NAP) and Nuveen Real Estate announced three new businesses coming to The Forum Peachtree Corners (The Forum). The new brands include Kendra Scott, Sucré, and The NOW Massage.

“We’re excited to keep expanding our merchandising mix with more experiential concepts that motivate guests to extend their time on property. In addition to these new leases, several tenants are on track to open over the next few months, and we can’t wait to see the impact,” said Brooke Massey, director of leasing at NAP.

Here are the latest deals to be signed at The Forum:

Kendra Scott ­­– Known for its plethora of accessories and customizable Color Bar experience, jewelry brand Kendra Scott blends classic designs with modern sophistication. Kendra Scott jewelry celebrates individuality and self-expression.

The growing brand has also donated over $50 million to local, national and international causes since its launch in 2010. The 2,284-square-foot space, situated next to Lovesac, opens later this spring, marking the retailer’s fourth location in the NAP portfolio.

Sucré – Founded in New Orleans, Sucré is a gourmet patisserie known for its macarons, gelato and other handmade, French-inspired desserts.

The sweet boutique will occupy a 1,718-square-foot space on the north end of the property and is slated to open later this year. Georgia is the brand’s first out-of-state venture, with The Forum being its third metro Atlanta location and eighth overall.

The NOW Massage – This brand is helping people discover the healing benefits of massage therapy.

The customizable menu offers guests three signature massage styles and a variety of exclusive enhancements like Deep Tissue, Herbal Heat Therapy, Hemp Calm Balm, Gua Sha, Gliding Cupping and more. Located near Mojito’s, the 2,414-square-foot massage boutique debuts late summer. 

These businesses join:

 Alloy Personal Training (opening this month),
Cookie Fix (open),
Gallery Anderson Smith (opening this month),
Giulia (opening this spring),
Lovesac (open),
Nando’s Peri-Peri (coming winter 2024), and
Stretchlab (open).

Since acquiring the property in March 2022, NAP has executed 39 deals with new, existing and temporary tenants alike.

To stay up to date on the latest happenings at The Forum, follow on Facebook Instagram, and X or visit theforumpeachtree.com.

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