Parsons Roofing recently moved its headquarters to Peachtree Corners to remain close to family and poised for growth in the southeast U.S.
Those familiar with local history know that the Parsons surname is synonymous with development in the area. The Parsons Family Stores were staples for more than a century.
Calvin Parsons and his wife Kate inherited her father’s general store that began in 1876 as a single trading post outside of Lawrenceville. Parsons grew the business to several stores throughout north Georgia that sold everything from groceries, clothing, and dry goods to hardware and building materials.
Today, the Parsons name continues its legacy of quality service in the southwest Gwinnett County area. Parsons Roofing Company recently moved operations to Peachtree Corners. Its owner, Jay Thornton, is the great-grandson of Calvin Parsons.
In the 1960s, the building supply division moved to a separate location south of downtown Duluth and was operated by Jay Thornton’s grandfather. One of the Duluth location’s mainstays was selling roofing products.
The present-day Parsons Roofing Company is a commercial roofing contractor and no longer sells roofing products. The company now focuses on the installation, repair, and restoration of commercial roofs.
As a fifth-generation member of a family dedicated to hard work and forward vision, Thornton noted that Parsons Roofing Company has grown into a regional business with clients across the southeast.
Thornton started a residential shingle roofing company out of his grandmother’s basement 10 years ago. His work ethic and dedication to quality helped his business take off. He gained a partner in Eric Abell and eventually turned the focus to commercial projects.
“I started this company with a strong belief that consumers need a roofer they can trust. Before I started Parsons Roofing, I had worked in the roofing industry for years and was disheartened. Every company I worked for cared about money first and the customer second,” Thornton states on his company website.
“I felt that it should be the opposite. I believe that if you are honest and take care of the customer first, everything else will fall into place. So that’s what we’ve built our business on here at Parsons As our customer, you’ll feel the trust and respect for your needs from us right away.”
Growing the business
Abell and Thornton opened up their first office in the Chamblee area as Prestige Roofing in 2018. The business model was so successful, they outgrew the space. As it turned out, they continued to outgrow their accommodations so they’re now in a space on Medlock Bridge Road in Peachtree Corners.
The move is perfect for many reasons, said Jennifer Sudderth, director of sales and marketing. It’s near family and the community that the company wants to be a part of, it’s in the heart of metro Atlanta — one of the hottest commercial building markets in the country — and it’s centrally located to other growth areas where Parsons plans to extend business, like Nashville, Orlando, and Raleigh.
The company already has major projects in the works in Nashville with plans to open an office there by the end of the year. Next will be satellite offices in Orlando and Raleigh, keeping a manageable distance from home base.
Although the pandemic may have had adverse effects on many businesses, Sudderth said Parsons Roofing barely felt the impact.
“Roofing is a need, not a want,” she said. “If you’re a commercial operation with a leaky roof, there’s not an option to put it off.”
And supply issues didn’t plague the business, either. Most roofing companies don’t keep a lot of inventory, and commercial roofing doesn’t come in a variety of styles and colors. It was possible to store enough supplies to get through rough patches when goods weren’t being transported on time.
Even though Parsons Roofing isn’t going to be a household name, the company believes in community connections and family ties. It has joined local chambers of commerce and other business organizations and is involved in philanthropic endeavors locally.
Although Peachtree Corners is the largest city in Gwinnett County, it has a small-town, homey vibe, said Sudderth.
That hometown connection, along with expanded technology, economic development, and business growth, should keep Parsons Roofing in the area for another century.
5 Best Business Strategies for 2024
Peachtree Corners Business Association Speaker Series Panel Discuss Issues from AI to Leadership and Staffing
After 30 minutes of networking, light refreshments and ‘death by chocolate’ brownies courtesy of Marlow’s Tavern, the Peachtree Corners Business Association (PCBA) After Hours Speaker Series Panel commenced.
This panel of local business owners and consultants gathered at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast on Thursday, Oct. 26, to discuss strategies and opportunities for business success in 2024 and beyond.
Moderator Amanda Pearch Marmolejo, owner and President of Forsyth Business Radio X, kicked things off by introducing the panel participants, which included:
- Gentry Ganote, the CEO of Rojoli Services, Inc.;
- Lisa Anders, the Executive Director for Explore Gwinnett;
- Michael Pugh, an attorney at the law firm of Thompson O’Brien Kappler & Nasuti;
- Bill McDermott, “The Profitability Coach” and
- Rico Figliolini, the founder of Mighty Rockets and Publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine
1. The importance of cybersecurity for businesses
Cybersecurity remains a top concern for small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) recently published Business Impact Report, 73% of 551 surveyed small business owners encountered a cyberattack this year.
As the leader of technology solutions provider Rijoli, Gentry Ganote knows first-hand where businesses are the most vulnerable.
“What we’re seeing is phishing attacks are really the number one nefarious act that’s going on that we deal with on a daily basis. We provide security services for our customers, and we have spam filters and email filters and all kinds of artificial intelligence,” said Ganote.
“But emails still get through, texts get through and people become susceptible to clicking on a link, putting their password in, changing bank records, giving money to the wrong people, and we see it every day,” he added.
“If any of you guys hire interns, you should educate them quickly about scams that are out there. They don’t know they’re new to the workforce,” Ganote explained emphatically.
2. Business succession and exit strategies
As some business owners head toward retirement or strive to preserve their legacy for future generations, transitioning both management and ownership is paramount.
As “The Profitability Coach,” Bill McDermott has consulted many business owners on best executing their succession strategies.
“The particular work for a business owner is number one, identifying that there’s value that can be transferred either to that seller, to the management team or to the outside buyer,” said McDermott.
“Secondly, there’s a growth plan that’s required. Typically, there’s a letter of intent or confidentiality agreement. There are asset purchase agreements, there are representations and warranties, and having an attorney is absolutely critical,” he further explained.
“Selling a business in some ways is also selling real estate, except the numbers are bigger. So, it takes a business broker … it’s a complex transaction, and there are a lot of moving parts, and there are a lot of important people that are part of that,” he added.
3. Leadership, training and staffing
Industries like hospitality are innovating through adversity, developing new training programs to address service staffing shortages exacerbated by the pandemic and aiming to empower front-line employees through direct and tailored instruction.
Lisa Anders, the Executive Director for Explore Gwinnett, Gwinnett County’s official tourism organization, shared her challenges and solutions in this area.
“We’ve been to a hotel recently. There used to be 30 employees; now there’s 15 employees. And it is just a challenge. Pre-COVID, we had a full-time education director who worked on training and hospitality training. We had a very robust program … and just now we are reinventing it, and we’re going to roll it out in 24,’ but it’s completely different,” said Anders.
“We have a lot of research and a lot of conversations with our hotels and our other hospitality departments on the very frontline; the very front desk is the problem. People are under-trained and under motivated. It is just a problem,” she added.
Yet, Explore Gwinnett is taking positive steps forward with its training efforts.
“We’re instituting a new training program. We’re going to be going into every single hotel district … going directly into those hotel districts and doing training one-on-one with our hotel partners and with frontline employees. Our hotels are super excited because it’s not just customer service, it is learning how to de-escalate situations,” Anders explained.
4. Content creation and podcasting
Podcasts have emerged as a powerful tool for storytelling and marketing. Drawing inspiration from a family history in journalism, McDermott leveraged the power of narrative to create a successful podcast that not only celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit but also serves as a cornerstone in his marketing strategy.
“Marketing is the number one weakness in any broken firm,” McDermott said.
“I started a show, we just celebrated our 50th episode, and I was able to tell stories of business owners and professionals that advise them. Three years forward now, my podcast has become actually the linchpin in my marketing strategy. It is the number one thing that I do,” he went on.
“Podcasting is actually a great way to get to know and trust people and a lot of my guests have now become clients,” McDermott added.
Rico Figliolini, the founder of creative services company Mighty Rockets, echoed this sentiment.
“It’s a great way to soft open a prospect. … If you want to get a lead prospect in your industry, you should become that authority of that industry,” said Figliolini.
5. Artificial intelligence and technology
Increasing efficiency while maintaining the human element using AI applications is at the forefront of business strategy heading into 2024.
The legal realm is catching up with AI’s transformative impact. Tools that once seemed futuristic are becoming standard, reshaping how legal professionals approach their work while maintaining the essential human touch through client interactions.
Michael Pugh, an attorney at the law firm of Thompson O’Brien, is witnessing this transition first-hand.
“The legal industry is just starting to incorporate AI … There’s one program called LexisNexis where I can write a legal breach and upload it to Lexis, and it’ll check my cases. It’ll suggest other cases to incorporate; it’ll analyze my arguments and tell me what percentage I’m likely to succeed,” Pugh explained.
“That’s a bit scary, but sometimes it’s pretty cool. So, we’re definitely going to be using more AI, but at the same time, people want to see who they’re working with face-to-face. So, we do meet regularly with our clients,” he added.
The next PCBA Business After Hours Speaker Series will be held on Nov. 16, 2023, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Kathryn Stewart, owner of Performance Trucking, will discuss how she carved out her path as a female executive in a male-dominated industry.
Gwinnett Chamber to Host Multi-Chamber Mixer
The Gwinnett Chamber is set to host the 2023 Multi-Chamber Mixer at After Hours, an end-of-year event designed to celebrate Gwinnett’s inclusive business community.
The program will be held at the Gas South Convention Center on November 1, starting at 5 p.m.
This program brings organizations from around the world together to celebrate Gwinnett’s diverse and international business community.
Partners in this event have historically included business groups such as:
- The Georgia Indo-American Chamber,
- Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia,
- Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia,
- Latin American Chamber,
- German American Chamber,
- French American Chamber,
- Georgia Hispanic Chamber,
- Georgia Pakistan Business Council,
- Liberian Community Association of Georgia,
- Atlanta Chinese Entrepreneurs Club and
- the Italy America Chamber Commerce Southeast, Georgia Chapter
“Collaboration with these organizations enables connection and a deeper understanding of business needs in our region,” added Gwinnett Chamber President and CEO Nick Masino. “We are pleased to partner with these entities in hosting an event designed to celebrate our collective success and ever-evolving growth opportunities.”
Registration is required to attend and includes international food tastings, drink tickets and networking with more than 300 business professionals. To register, please visit GwinnettChamber.org/Events.
Insight Sourcing Unveils Refreshed Brand
Insight Sourcing, a North American consulting firm focused exclusively on strategic sourcing and procurement-related services, is marking 21 years of client commitment with a brand refresh.
The firm has updated its visual identity with a new icon and font and is dropping “Group” from its brand name, previously Insight Sourcing Group.
The decision to refresh the brand underscores Insight Sourcing’s dedication to the procurement and sourcing domain.
“Since day one, Insight Sourcing has remained innovative, agile and always ready to leverage market intelligence, and digital assets to meet the ambitious goals of our clients,” said Tom Beaty, CEO of Insight Sourcing.
“We never rest in our pursuit of excellence, and neither should our brand. It reflects our deep appreciation for our past as well as the dynamic nature of our future,” he added.
It’s important to note that this refresh signifies a renewed pledge to clients and their needs. It does not signify a change of ownership or operating structure.
For further details about Insight Sourcing, visit the organization’s website at www.insightsourcing.com.
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