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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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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:

From left, Michael Pugh, Rico Figliolini, Lisa Anders, Amanda Pearch Marmolejo, Bill McDermott and Gentry Ganote (photos by Tracey Rice)

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.

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Gwinnett Chamber to Host Multi-Chamber Mixer



Join the Gwinnett Chamber on Nov. 1, for a global business mixer at Gas South Convention. Network and celebrate diversity.

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.

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Insight Sourcing Unveils Refreshed Brand



The firm has updated its icon and font and is dropping “Group” from its brand name, previously Insight Sourcing Group.

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.

Read more local business news here.

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