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Solving Space Problems and Making a Home Easier and More Enjoyable to Live In



Eliad Vaknin

EV Remodeling focuses on a 25-mile radius around Peachtree Corners to give top-notch, personalized service.

Although Eliad Vaknin started EV Remodeling at the end of 2019 in Peachtree Corners, his years of experience and dedication to the craft go well beyond that.

“I started my business years ago, but it was a different name because I had a business partner,” he said.

When Vaknin decided to strike out on his own, he made a vow to give clients personalized and individual attention. “I consult with clients throughout the project, connect them to the right architects, get the proper permits, and help them choose the designs and items that are right for them,” he said. “I’m here for them every step of the way.”

Although home remodeling has seen a measured increase in the last decade — especially since the pandemic hit — the process can be daunting. Vaknin said he often hears horror stories from clients about contractors who left them frustrated and wary of ever taking on another home improvement project. 

“For us it’s more than just another project,” he explained. “Our clients deserve our time, care, and attention to detail. It’s my personal goal to make sure that everyone is not just happy, but ecstatic, at the end of the remodel.”

Above and beyond customer service

Vaknin recalled a customer who wasn’t completely satisfied with a tile job almost two years after a bathroom remodel was finished. Of course, any kind of warranty would have expired by then.

“I contacted the subcontractor and had him fix the problem — at my cost,” he said. “In my business, customer satisfaction is the most important thing. I learned early on that being able to see someone’s face as they watch their house transform into their dream home is among one of the best joys in life.”

It cost Vaknin about $150 out of his pocket, but the client was so pleased with the results and the seamless, hassle-free interaction, that he contracted with EV to completely redo the main level of his house.

“Since those early days I have made it our mission to make sure that everyone we work with has an enjoyable experience from beginning to end. After all, upgrading your home is something that should be exciting for you throughout the entire project,” he said.

Filling a need

Nowadays, homeowners have more time to think about improving their dwellings, but a trade labor shortage has been impacting the industry for several years. It’s made home renovations take longer to complete — or impossible to complete altogether — and cost more money than usual.

Since around 2018, the U.S. has seen a shortage of tradespeople for projects like kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, flooring and electrical work. In addition, necessary supplies — including wood and metal — aren’t always available due to a materials shortage. 

Although he doesn’t have any magic powers to keep those problems from plaguing his business, Vaknin said he treats suppliers, contractors and customers with respect.

EV Remodeling isn’t the cheapest contractor in the area, but it’s certainly among the most reliable. That’s a value that Vaknin brought with him when he immigrated from Israel in 2009.

“My father was a contractor, and I learned the trade from him. It’s always been in my veins,” he said.

Vaknin started out in new home construction, building about 60 houses ranging in price from $500,000 to $1.5 million. However, he said he prefers the personal connections he has made working with existing homeowners.

“You might not ever meet the person that you built a home for,” he said. “This way, I know the customer is getting exactly what they want.”

Vaknin said he thinks of himself as a problem solver. “A lot of times, when you come into people’s homes, they have problems that they need you to solve,” he said. “It’s either the kitchen is too small, the family has grown and they need additional room or stuff like that. …I help people solve problems and make their lives easier.”

Focus on family and community

Although 2020 saw $420 billion spent by Americans on home improvement projects, subsequent years are projected to surpass that, according to a study last year from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. That same research shows that homeowners are also willing to spend more on home improvement projects.

The pandemic forced many to stay inside for months and a lot of Americans have been reluctant to return to offices. For them, having a functional, comfortable and livable home is a top priority — even in the face of higher material costs.

Vaknin continues to see a rise in remodeling projects for office space and home entertainment, but his bread and butter is still kitchens and bathrooms. That’s why he said he likes to keep his business in a tight radius, about 25 miles with Peachtree Corners as the epicenter.

It has helped him give his clients the time they need since he’s not spending so much time traveling around metro Atlanta. “Maybe that’s what makes me different than other contractors because …I’m controlling my schedule and my time. I really can give each client the attention that they need,” Vaknin said.

He recalled a family who wanted to add a bathroom for their four teenage daughters who had been sharing one bathroom. Most contractors said the only solution was to add a bathroom to the basement, although the girls’ bedrooms were on the second floor.

“It was doable, but it wouldn’t be convenient to have them go down three flights to get ready,” said Vaknin. “I’m sure there would still be fights and arguing every morning.”

He consulted with his best subcontractor and they came up with a solution to add a bathroom upstairs without increasing square footage. “It required kind of a complex work with plumbing,” said Vaknin. 

Everyone was happy with the solution.

Vaknin knows how important a happy home is. He has two children — a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. He said that he and his wife, a real estate agent, hope to pass on their values to their kids.

“I will let them decide if they want to someday take over my business,” he said. “But I want them to know why I do it and what it means to be a good businessman and a good member of the community.”

Bathroom Renovation Photos by IMOTO, Family Photos by Oshrit Hakmon

Arlinda Smith Broady is part of the Boomerang Generation of Blacks that moved back to the South after their ancestors moved North. With approximately three decades of journalism experience (she doesn't look it), she's worked in tiny, minority-based newsrooms to major metropolitans. At every endeavor she brings professionalism, passion, pluck, and the desire to spread the news to the people.

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VyStar Credit Union Continues Growth in Georgia with the Opening of a Peachtree Corners Branch



A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for May 29, 2024

VyStar Credit Union has to announced that its Peachtree Corners location is now open at 5125 Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners. This is VyStar’s fifth full-service branch in Metro Atlanta and joins branches in Stockbridge, Suwanee, Smyrna and Marietta.

In support of its purpose to “Do Good,” VyStar partners with non-profit organizations across the communities it serves. VyStar will make a $5,000 donation to the Rainbow Village to celebrate the grand opening of the Peachtree Corners branch at the ribbon cutting event in late May.

“VyStar’s first branch in Gwinnett will provide residents and business owners with better banking options, including free checking, access to early direct deposit, great rates, financial wellness education through VyStar’s Financial Fitness initiative, and unbelievable member-centric service that only a credit union can provide,” said VyStar EVP/Chief Operations Officer Chad Meadows.

The Peachtree Corners branch features VyStar’s digital-forward design, which enhances how employees connect with members. This includes interactive touchscreen kiosks that provide financial tools and allow members to quickly explore the latest products, services and rates. 

Lobby and drive-thru hours for the Peachtree Corners branch are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

VyStar continues to work with local organizations to build up the communities it serves. In Metro Atlanta, that includes supporting the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Junior Achievement of Georgia, Frontline Housing Inc., H.E.R.O. For Children and many others.

“Each time VyStar opens a new branch, it is another opportunity for us to support our purpose to Do Good. With eight full-service branches now in Georgia and our first Contact Center in Metro Atlanta, VyStar is able to provide residents and area businesses with exceptional financial products along with personalized service,” said VyStar SVP/Georgia Market President Janean Armstrong.

VyStar has seven additional locations in Georgia: Marietta, Smyrna, Suwanee, Stockbridge, Brunswick, Savannah and Thomasville, with plans to open branches in Pooler, Kingsland and Peachtree City over the next year.

The credit union is also expanding its services in Florida with a third branch in Tallahassee scheduled to open in May followed by a branch opening in the Lake Nona area in August.

To celebrate the grand opening, the community is invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 29, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. Learn more about the Peachtree Corners branch.

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Kendra Scott Opens New Store At The Forum



Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott is celebrating the opening of its newest store in Peachtree Corners the weekend of May 10 at The Forum.

Upon opening, the 2,263 square foot store will display Kendra Scott’s current collections. The store will also showcase the brand’s unique Color Bar, offering shoppers an interactive experience to create customized jewelry in minutes and leave with it in hand.

Worn by celebrities including Hailey Bieber, Camila Cabello, Mindy Kaling, Zendaya and Kelly Clarkson, Kendra Scott’s collections are known for their custom-created stone shapes, genuine materials and design details.

This will be Kendra Scott’s first store in Gwinnett County, which joins five other retail locations in Georgia.

The brand will continue to show its support for the community through partnerships with non-profits and local businesses. For the grand opening weekend, Kendra Scott Peachtree Corners will host various non-profits for Kendra Gives Back events, donating a percentage of proceeds directly back to the causes.

Kendra Scott hosts more than 10,000 Kendra Gives Back events in retail stores annually and looks forward to establishing relationships and connecting with the Gwinnett County community.

“We’re excited to continue introducing the community to new brands, bites and events at The Forum as part of our vision to create downtown Peachtree Corners. Kendra Scott will be a welcome addition, providing our guests a top-notch experience to shop its unique offerings in person,” said Charlotte Hinton, The Forum marketing manager.

Doors will open on Friday, May 10, at 10 a.m. with celebrations throughout the weekend, including giveback events, gifts with purchase and giveaways. RSVP for more details here.

Upcoming events:

  • Friday, May 10 from 10-12 p.m. – Kendra Scott Peachtree Corners is partnering with The Forum for a VIP event. Supporters who spend $100 will receive a special jewelry gift with purchase.* Guests will also enjoy refreshments from Giulia, The Italian Bakery.
  • Friday, May 10 from 5-7 p.m. – Kendra Scott Peachtree Corners is partnering with the Norcross High School Cheer Team and donating 20% of proceeds. Supporters who spend $100 will receive a special gift with purchase* Guests can also receive a custom embroidered bow from Quiet Hours Embroidery with purchase.
  • Saturday, May 11 from 4-6 p.m. – Kendra Scott Peachtree Corners is partnering with Spectrum Autism Support Group and donating 20% of proceeds. Supporters who spend $100 will receive a special gift with purchase.* Guests will also enjoy complimentary cotton candy from Wonder Soirée with every purchase.
  • Sunday, May 12 from 12-2 p.m. – Kendra Scott Peachtree Corners is celebrating the Community of Motherhood. Supporters who spend $100 will receive a special gift with purchase.* Guests will also receive a complimentary Mother’s Day bouquet of flowers from Nancy’s Flower Truck.

*One per person while supplies last.

Kendra Scott Peachtree Corners is located at 5155 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 710 in Peachtree Corners at The Forum. For companywide updates and product details, follow @kendrascott on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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BRACK: Peachtree Corners to lose Peterbrooke Chocolatier



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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