If you’ve been around Alpharetta for any amount of time, you’ve probably seen Carol Anderson-Wood. Over the years, she has been involved in a multitude of City events and activities. Currently, Carol is the Alpharetta Farmers Market Manager as well as a Lead Volunteer for the fall and spring Brew Moon Fest events. After she was transferred to the Alpharetta branch of Colonial Bank, Carol heard about the Downtown Alpharetta Trade Association (former name of ABA) and went to one of the meetings. Right away, Carol became active as a volunteer to help Larry and Margo Attig with the newly started Alpharetta Farmers Market. Carol shared her reasons why she’s been involved with the Alpharetta Business Association for all this time.
Why I’m an ABA member:
“I’ve remained a member of the ABA because I enjoy being involved in the community as well as providing leadership on committees and/or projects where there’s a need. Having been involved with the Farmers Market and Brew Moon Fests (formerly known as Music Street Dance) for so long, it’s rewarding to see the popularity of these events increase over the years. And, bring so much enjoyment to the community.”
My favorite ABA memory:
“I helped put together the first Mayor’s State of the City breakfast when the new City Hall and City Center project was introduced. We rented the biggest ten we could find and set it up on the old City Hall parking lot. Mayor Belle Isle got up to speak and said ‘Yes, you are having breakfast on the parking lot pavement but wait until you hear what’s going to happen in this very spot.’ Being a part of Alpharetta has a special place in my heart. I love this City!”
Special anniversary message:
“The ABA is a great group of people who are all dedicated to their community and have made the organization stronger through their dedication – congratulations on celebrating the 25th Anniversary ABA!”
A couple of months ago, we identified the first five of the 25 reasons to do business in Alpharetta. In case you missed it, read the post here. Now, we’re on to our second list of “five” reasons and we’ll add more throughout the year. It’s just our way of celebrating the ABA’s 25 years in the community and featuring many of the outstanding qualities of our City that we all enjoy.
Anyone who lives in Alpharetta and has children in school already knows how good the public and private schools are in the area. Recently, the Fulton County Public School System was rated one of the Top 100 School Districts in Places You Can Afford by Money Magazine. In addition to the high-quality public schools, Alpharetta has 31 private schools that offer a range of options to meet various educational needs.
Continuing Education and Technical Colleges
Not only does Alpharetta have access to quality schools for children, six colleges and universities have campuses here, including Georgia State University, Emory Continuing Education, DeVry University, and Gwinnett Tech. These institutions offer a variety of higher education classes for those pursuing certifications, two-year Associate degree programs, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and continuing education for professionals. For those interested in learning a new skill or further developing a talent, the City’s Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Services department offers wide variety of classes including cooking, art, drama, writing, languages, and health and wellness.
Affluent and Educated Customers
One of the results of having quality education available in Alpharetta is the draw of employers and employees who want to live, work, and spend money in the community. Eighty-two percent of Alpharetta residents work in professional, managerial, technical, sales and administrative roles.
Approximately 66% of Alpharetta residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher – that’s more than double the national average. And, 20% of people working in Alpharetta earn $100,000 or more. That’s good for business!
Nationally Recognized Quality of Life
Alpharetta is rated by many as one of the best places to live based on schools, housing, entertainment, and dining. Most recently, the City was rated one of the Top 25 Places to Live in the U.S. by Money Magazine.
Destination for Visitors
Southern Living magazine named Alpharetta one of the South’s friendliest cities in 2018 which, for those who live and work here, have known for years. In addition to the thriving culinary scene (more than 200 restaurants) and shopping, (just about everything from well-known stores to unique boutiques), our town offers a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, sports and entertainment options, theater and art shows, and a flourishing music scene that ranges from the 12,000-seat Ameris Bank Amphitheater to numerous intimate music venues, free outdoor concerts, and festivals. Alpharetta truly is awesome!
Janet Rodgers is the current President and CEO of the Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau and has been an active member for nearly two decades. She originally joined when the organization was called DABA (Downtown Alpharetta Business Association) almost 20 years ago when she worked as the City of Alpharetta Special Events Director. Janet shares her reasons why she’s been involved with the Alpharetta Business Association for all this time.
“I’ve remained a member of the ABA because it is a collaborative organization that consistently contributes to the success of Alpharetta’s economic development. At the ACVB, our mission is to attract visitors to stay in our 26 Alpharetta hotels. The Downtown Alpharetta area is a
huge component in our tourism marketing efforts including promoting the downtown restaurants, shopping, events and attractions. In turn, our hotel industry helps fuel the other businesses in the city. Not only do we have residents doing business with Alpharetta’s shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and events but the visitors staying the night or multiple nights in the 3,300 hotel rooms per night help perpetuate the success of those businesses.”
“One of my favorite ABA memories was back in 2000 when I used to create brochures to promote the Downtown Alpharetta businesses. Once the brochures were printed, I delivered them store-by-store in a little red wagon. It was fun way to get to know them and build solid relationships with all the incredible people that owned and operated businesses in the downtown area.”
“I have enjoyed many productive years as a member of ABA and look forward to all we can accomplish together in the years to come. It is incredibly important for all of us to work as a team to ensure our businesses are thriving as we continue Alpharetta’s strong economic development. Happy 25th Anniversary ABA!”
It’s hard not to notice how Alpharetta is booming with new businesses opening and expanding all over the city. As the Alpharetta Business Association celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and looks back over the past 2 ½ decades, we’ve identified 25 reasons to do business in Alpharetta. Here are five of those reasons to begin with (in no particular order) and we’ll share more reasons throughout the year.
Vibrant Business Community
Those who work in Alpharetta are fortunate that there are many business-focused organizations to help people and companies network and grow, including the Alpharetta Business Association. In addition, Alpharetta has earned numerous awards including “Best City to Relocate to” by Forbes and “Best City for Women Entrepreneurs” by Goodcall.
Alpharetta enjoys the support of local government and business leaders to attract and retain businesses in the community. Currently, Alpharetta has six core business sectors: technology, healthcare, finance/insurance, telecommunications, logistics and business services. Companies in each sector regularly select Alpharetta as the home for their operations. In fact, recently, ZXTeco, a biometrics technology manufacturer, announced it is investing $5 million to open a 5,000 square foot customer service center expected to employ 40 people.
Access to High-Speed Fiber
Many years ago, Alpharetta was fortunate to have high-speed fiber infrastructure and redundant electrical networks brought north up the GA 400 corridor to our city. There are miles of concrete-encased fiber which has a low risk of natural disasters and provides inexpensive, reliable utilities. By having one of the most robust and redundant fiber and power fiber infrastructure networks in the Southeast, Alpharetta has become a hub for new and relocating technology companies.
Over the years, Alpharetta has grown and now has a population of more than 65,000 residents and a highly educated workforce. Statistics show that 82% of residents are employed in professional, managerial, technical, sales, and administrative positions. We also have local access to six public and private colleges and universities with campuses in Alpharetta.
Technology City of the South
With more than 700 technology companies, Alpharetta has long been called the “Technology City of the South.” This includes 15 enterprise and co-location data centers, 197 IT service/consulting companies, 22 data centers and virtual hosting companies, 45 financial tech companies and 105 development companies – all which call Alpharetta home. We’re also proud that more than a quarter of metro Atlanta’s top 25 technology employers are located in Alpharetta.
Back in 1994, a group of downtown Alpharetta merchants banded together to promote their shops and restaurants in an effort to draw customers to the area. Now, 25 years later, that determination has paid off. That small group of business owners has transformed into the Alpharetta Business Association (ABA) and Alpharetta has become one of the best cities to live, work and play in Metro Atlanta.
The Alpharetta Business Association was originally known as the Downtown Alpharetta Business Association (DABA). Today, the ABA’s reach extends beyond downtown to every corner of Alpharetta and is the presenting organization of many local events and projects, including:
“We will be celebrating our 25 years of success throughout 2019,” said Peg Hussing, President of the Alpharetta Business Association. “Over the years, the organization has grown and changed but the original vision remains the same. We help create a thriving Alpharetta, alive with business, shopping and activity. That’s at the heart of our group.”
The longest-standing, still active members of the Alpharetta Business Association, include: Janet Rodgers, President of Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau; Carol Anderson-Wood, Manager of the Farmers Market; Richard Debban, RJD Architecture; Buddy Gash, owner of Picture Framer; Alyx Korner, owner Korner Soak; Larry Attig, Nature’s Veranda Landscaping; and Art Trotter, Trotter Holdings real estate services.
ABA Ends 2018 on a High Note
It’s been a banner year for the Alpharetta Business Association with significant member growth, increased event attendance, sold-out State of the City Mayor’s Address and ABA Business Expo, successful Brew Moon Fests, and another award-winning season for the Farmers Market. In case you missed any ABA news this year, here’s a quick update.
In the fall of 2018, Peg Hussing took over as ABA President and she will continue in this position for 2019. Board member Darren Carter will be the ABA’s Vice President next year. Thanks to Peg for helping the organization with a smooth transition and to Darren for stepping up into a new role. At the end of 2018, Laure Biel will rotate off the Board after many years of service and her time is much appreciated.
Also, in 2018, the ABA expanded its number of Champions. These Champions act as additional contacts for the ABA in the Alpharetta business community. They encourage new members and are available to meet with existing members who have questions about the organization. The ABA’s Champions are: Jim Barnes, George Davis, Michael Gordy, Beth Johnson, Tracy Morton, Janet Ponichtera, and Mary Warren. Thank you, Chapter Champions for all your work in 2018. If you’re interested in becoming a Champion, please contact one of the ABA Board members.
The ABA Farmers Market took home the “Best of North Fulton” Farmers Market award again this year. Next year’s Farmers Market opens in April and is expected to have more than 80 vendors again in 2019. And, while the Farmers Market is on hiatus, check out all the Holiday decorations in downtown Alpharetta – especially the Nutcrackers. There are several on display on the Village Green at City Center and the ABA has sponsored one. Hint: his name is Uncle Drosselmeyer.
Looking ahead to 2019, we’ll kick off the New Year with our first Afterhours meeting on January 31 (no Power Breakfast meeting on January 1). Also, mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 26 for the Annual State of the City Mayor’s Address from Mayor Jim Gilvin at the Hotel at Avalon hosted by the ABA and our presenting sponsors the ACVB and Appen Media. To stay up-to-date on all the ABA activities, please like our Facebook page and follow us on LinkedIn.
Finally, 2019 is a big one for the ABA. Stay tuned for more details coming very soon!
ABA Member Survey Identifies Local Business IssuesRemember Small Business Saturday is November 24
Just in time for Small Business Saturday, Alpharetta Business Association (ABA) members shared their views on the business climate in Alpharetta. The majority of respondents to the annual ABA member survey voiced their top concerns as: traffic, affordable housing, and growth.
“Our membership is mostly comprised of small business owners,” said Peg Hussing, President of the ABA. “They are the backbone of the business community in Alpharetta and not only do we celebrate them on Small Business Saturday, we listen to them. Our annual member survey provides our membership a voice and we want to make sure the local community as well as government officials hear what the members’ concerns are. Of course, we also encourage everyone to shop local here in Alpharetta on Small Business Saturday November 24.”
According to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website: “Small Business Saturday® is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.”
The recently held 2018 Alpharetta Business Association Expo attracted hundreds of attendees who experienced North Fulton’s only business expo this year. Approximately 80 exhibitors participated as well as local restaurants, tech startups, and a healthcare panel.
Now in its 6th year, the ABA Business Expo tries to offer a different experience every year for exhibitors and attendees alike. Expo Co-Chair Lara Dolan explained: “We sold out of exhibitor space this year because these companies know our Expo will allow them to promote their products and services to an interested crowd of business people. It’s become the not-to-be-missed business event in North Fulton.”
One of the most popular parts of the Expo is the Tech Showcase presented by Alpharetta Tech. Each year, several of the incubator’s start-ups present their new technology or product to a panel of experts and attendees. This year, it was a simple start-up product that sparked a lot of excitement. Called the “Clear Your Deck” tool, inventor George Willison joked that it was the “best low-tech tool from a high-tech place.”
Dean Robertson of Integrated Insurance has attended the ABA Business Expo for several years. “As soon as I hear about the Expo, I save the date on my calendar,” said Robertson. “The Tech Forum demonstrates new ideas every year – this year was fantastic. Throughout the day, I see current clients who are exhibiting and meet up with other business owner friends. All the Alpharetta business leaders are there and it’s a great chance to connect with them as well. Every year, I gain energy from the Expo that I bring back to my own company. For me, it’s an annual event.”
The Expo also featured a healthcare panel sponsored by HIPnation, including a physician, pharmacist, physical therapist, and independent health insurance broker who discussed how to improve the existing health care system for businesses and individuals.
Darren Carter from Expo Sponsor Comcast was also pleased with the turnout at the Expo. “We always look forward to any chance we get to go out into the business community and talk to owners and executives. The ABA Expo allows us to do this and also see what companies and new technologies are creating in the local community and learn how we can assist them.”
JOYN, Atlanta’s Behavioral Wealth Management firm, was a first-time exhibitor at this year’s Expo. Evan Quinn, Financial Advisor at JOYN, said they definitely had a positive experience at their first ABA Expo. “I loved telling our story and explaining our unique offering to attendees of the Alpharetta community and fellow Expo exhibitors. It was also great to learn more about many other local businesses, their services and their stories. This event is a fantastic way to bring the people of Alpharetta together and we look forward to participating again in 2019.”