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Biz bits: Little Shop launches children’s book festival; Radio Roasters wins award

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Biz bits: Little Shop launches children’s book festival; Radio Roasters wins award

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: Addison (L), Michael and Isabella (R) Martinelli explore what books to purchase at the Little Shop of Stories

Atlanta, GA — Here’s a look at business news in our community.

– Little Shop of Stories has announced the launch of the Decatur Children’s Book Festival scheduled for May 2024.

The festival will be held at the Decatur Recreation Center and the Decatur Library on May 4-5, 2024, alongside the Decatur Arts Festival and in partnership with the city of Decatur, Decatur Arts Alliance, Decatur Tourism Bureau, Decatur Downtown Development Authority, the DeKalb County Public Library, the DeKalb Library Foundation, the Georgia Center for the Book, and Lenz, according to a press release.

“After hosting authors and illustrators at our bookstore for years, we’re excited to have a children and young-adult focused festival for all of Decatur to enjoy,” said Diane Capriola, co-owner of Little Shop of Stories. “We believe an annual children’s book festival will continue to foster excitement around the written word and encourage children and teens to become lifelong readers.”

Before the festival, featured authors will visit local schools. Programming will feature children’s picture books, middle-grade literature, graphic novel characters, and young adult literature.

— Radio Roasters Coffee was named a 2023 Good Food Awards winner earlier this year. 

Here is the full press release:

Radio Roasters Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster based in Decatur, Georgia, has been named a winner of the 2023 Good Food Awards. The Good Food Awards are the leading annual celebration of the finest American specialty food. Radio Roasters Coffee was awarded for its Ethiopia Modor Shantawene coffee, which was praised by judges for its a lemon-lime sweetness, big acidity, and syrupy body.

“We are honored to be named a winner of the Good Food Awards,” said Chip Grabow, founder and owner of Radio Roasters Coffee. “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, who are committed to sourcing and roasting the highest quality coffee beans. We are proud to be recognized for our commitment to quality and sustainability.”

Click here for the full list of winners of Good Food Awards.

– Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience returned to metro Atlanta this summer at the Exhibition Hub Art Center in Doraville. 

The reimagined experience features two immersive “Wow Rooms” encompassing over 12,000 square feet of three-story projections, and an all-new virtual reality experience that takes visitors on a new 10-minute journey through Van Gogh’s world in Arles, France. This show also features a new musical soundtrack and an immersive gallery dedicated to the significant influence of Japanese art on Van Gogh’s work, according to a press release.

Guests will enjoy easy access from major interstates, free parking, and a café and champagne bar

The art experience is located at Exhibition Hub, Atlanta Art Center, 5660 Buford Hwy NE in Doraville. Tickets are available through September.

“We always challenge ourselves to take our experiences to greater artistic heights,” said Mario Iacampo, chief executive officer and creative director at Exhibition Hub. “With the all-new Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, we have met the challenge.”

Over 425,000 people visited the original Van Gogh experience when it made its North American debut in Atlanta in May 2021. Tickets went on sale for Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in May of this year.

“We are incredibly pleased to be bringing our all-new Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience back to Atlanta where we have enjoyed such tremendous support,” said John Zaller, Exhibition Hub’s U.S. Executive Producer. “Our world-class new location combined with this spectacular new content is our way of saying ‘Thank you’ to the entire region.”

The opening of the reimagined Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience happened weeks after the world premiere of Art of The Brick Immersive Experience at the Exhibition Hub Art Center.

“The Exhibition Hub Art Center is now the anchor of our burgeoning arts district,” Doraville Mayor Joseph Geirerman said. “We are proud to welcome the hundreds of thousands of visitors who will soon experience the diversity of our hospitality offerings this summer and beyond.”

For more information, click here.

– The Home Depot Backyard earned an international honor as a 2023 Eventex Award Winner

The Home Depot Backyard received bronze distinction and was one of only two award winners recognized globally in Outdoor Venue/Open-Air Venue category. Photo courtesy of The Home Depot Backyard.

Here is the press release:

ATLANTA, GA (May 30, 2023) – The Home Depot Backyard (HDBY) recently received international acclaim after being recognized among the winners in the 13th edition of Eventex Awards — the world’s most celebrated awards for events and experience marketing.

The Home Depot Backyard earned a bronze distinction from the Eventex Awards in the category of Outdoor Venue/Open-Air Venue – one of only two global winners in the category – and was also one of just 11 organizations to be honored within the Suppliers sector, a track devoted to venues, destinations, and companies that provide products, services, or solutions for the event industry.

“We are truly grateful to be one of the select few outdoor venues to be recognized globally by the Eventex Awards. This acknowledgement is further confirmation of the invaluable resource that our venue continues to be for the greater Atlanta community through impactful programming and events,” stated Sarah Meyers, Senior Director of The Home Depot Backyard.

The Home Depot Backyard was among the 86 trophy winners from the United States – the most of any country in this year’s edition – followed by Qatar with 77 trophies and the Netherlands with 37. In 2023, the Eventex Awards received a record number of entries with 761 from 49 countries.

Dietmar Exler, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, commented, “It is a great honor to have The Home Depot Backyard be recognized internationally as one of the premier outdoor venues within the industry. This award is a testament to the hard work of our staff and organization and speaks to the uniqueness of our venue to continuously provide a positive impact on the community through innovation and creativity.”

Founded in 2009 to celebrate creativity, innovation, and effectiveness in the industry today, Eventex Awards is the most esteemed accolade in the world of events and experiential marketing. Every year, the competition highlights the best agencies, events, and tech from the world of events. The full list of award winners is available here.

The Eventex award becomes the third such honor this award season for The Home Depot Backyard, which also received two Allie Awards (regional) and three Gold Stevie Awards (national) earlier this year.

To learn more about The Home Depot Backyard, visit thehomedepotbackyard.com or follow us at @thdbackyard on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Tik Tok.

– The Associated Credit Union Foundation increased its impact with a 2023 meal bag campaign. 

Team members from Associated Credit Union delivered 600 nutritious meals to two Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in June 2023. Photo courtesy of Associated Credit Union.

Here is the full press release:

(Peachtree Corners, Ga., June 8, 2023) – Team members from Associated Credit Union delivered 600 nutritious meals to two Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals this week. The 2023 Meal Bags campaign, coordinated through the Associated Credit Union Foundation, provides food for family members and guardians who are unable to leave the hospital while their children receive medical care. Each thoughtfully packaged Meal Bag consists of a breakfast item, microwaveable meal, beverage, and a healthy snack.

When asked what the gift means to the hospital, Charice Holt, Project Coordinator with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, expressed gratitude on behalf of the hospital.

Ms. Holt commented, “Associated Credit Union is always so thoughtful with the food options inside the meal bags. These meal bags will be distributed throughout the entire hospital and will take us months to get through. This is an amazing donation and will help a lot. Whenever we offer meal bags to families, they never say no”.

Now in its second year, the credit union’s Meal Bags campaign has increased in size and impact by providing 100 more meals to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and 75 meals to Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta, a new CMN beneficiary for the 2023 campaign.

Recalling her own family’s experience, LeKetta Streeter-Holmes, a longtime ACU member remarked, “ACU and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta are stuck with me. At the top of my life’s bucket list is the desire to impact the lives of others, known and unknown, no matter how small. During my daughter’s battle with cancer, I truly learned to appreciate the small things like readily available snacks to stay close to her.”

The next Associated Credit Union Foundation’s Meal Bags campaign will begin in May 2024. Sharing the “People Helping People” credit union philosophy, members and employees will continue to fill hungry stomachs with food and hurting hearts with hope.

– North Main Credit Union plans to merge with Georgia United Credit Union. 

Pictured from left to right: Bob Bogart – Georgia United Chief Financial Officer, Debbie Smith – Georgia United CEO, Adam Durkin – NMCU Vice Chairman of the Board, Melany Ward – former NMCU President, Tyler Maney – Amos, Maney & Payne, LCC CPA, Amanda Chosewood – North Main Board Treasurer, Debbie Beam – NMCU Board Member and Laura King – Georgia United President. Photo courtesy of Georgia United.

Here is the press release:

DULUTH, GA (July 6, 2023)— In April, Georgia United Credit Union announced its plans to merge with North Main Credit Union, headquartered in Cornelia, GA.  The merger was approved by a majority member vote at a special meeting on June 29. The regulatory merger will take effect on July 1, and North Main Credit Union will continue to utilize its current products and services, including its sole branch location with an integrated team. Effective October 2, the two credit unions will officially become one and open their doors as Georgia United Credit Union once the data systems conversion is completed expanding their service area.

“With my upcoming retirement, the timing of this merger was necessary to continue to effectively serve our members without disruption”, said North Main CEO Melany Ward. “Our members will soon enjoy the innovative and expanded product and services that Georgia United offers. Together we continue to make an impact in our community. It was important to me to ensure our members were going to be well taken of.”

With the merger, North Main Credit Union members have access to 12 additional branch locations, more products and services, increased access and convenience, and more benefits to their members through enhanced technology while keeping some of the products they have grown to love. All employees of North Main will become part of the Georgia United team and continue to serve their members. Both credit unions have long histories of service in the Northern Georgia region.

“We are excited to welcome these new communities and the employees of Fieldale Farms Corporation and the Johnson and Johnson company, Ethicon, Inc. We have received a lot of enthusiasm from North Main members over the past couple of months. We are committed to continuing to provide them exceptional service while enhancing their access to financial resources,” said Debbie Smith, Georgia United CEO. “With our closely aligned values and culture, this merger is a great fit for both our credit unions and the surrounding communities.”

– Georgia United Credit Union welcomed Sean Leavell as Vice President of Project Management.

Sean Leavell is the Vice President of Project Management for Georgia United Credit Union. Photo courtesy of Georgia United.

Here is the press release:

DULUTH, GA (July 17, 2023) – Georgia United Credit Union, recently named the Credit Union of the Year for Georgia by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates, is pleased to announce its newest strategic project management executive. Bringing a wealth of credit union and financial services industry project management experience to the role, Sean Leavell has been selected as Georgia United’s vice president of project management, effective July 17, 2023.

Leavell oversees the office of strategic execution, working closely with cross-functional teams to ensure successful project delivery. He is responsible for implementing project management best practices, fostering collaboration, and driving continuous improvement to achieve strategic objectives.

The role of vice president of project management reports to Georgia United Chief Transformation and Strategy Officer Mike London.

“We are thrilled to have Sean as our new vice president of project management,” said London. “His passion for credit union members and his extensive project management expertise makes him an exceptional addition to our team. His leadership will strengthen our ability to execute strategic initiatives and enhance the value we deliver to our members.”

Before joining Georgia United, Leavell held prominent positions within the credit union industry. Most recently, he served as the vice president of project portfolio strategy at Atlanta Postal Credit Union, and prior to that as vice president of business transformation and project management office at Georgia’s Own Credit Union.

Throughout his career, Leavell has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to serving credit union members. He possesses a deep understanding of members’ unique needs and has consistently championed initiatives that prioritize their financial well-being. He is positioned to guide Georgia United’s project management office to ensure the successful execution of strategic initiatives.

“I am honored to join Georgia United Credit Union and be part of a team that is dedicated to serving our members’ financial needs,” said Leavell. “I am excited to leverage my project management expertise to drive meaningful change, deliver exceptional member experiences, and contribute to the continued success of Georgia United.”

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