THOM 12 | Spring / Summer 2019


Volume 7 | issue 1

Spring/Summer 2019


Volume 7 | Issue 1

Spring/Summer 2019


Thomasville Center for the Arts


Michele Arwood

Creative Director

Haile McCollum

Managing Editor

Chay Hughes


Account Executive

Joanne Thomas

Copy Editor

Emmy Táncsics

Graphic Designers

Jennifer Ekrut

Christie Clark


John Alburl

Drew Balfour

Glori Beaufort

Morgan Blake

Taylor Brandon

Gabriel Hanway

Michael SeRine

Daniel Shippey

Jon Michael Sullivan



Chay Hughes

Rebecca Padgett

Audrey Post

Rob Rushin

600 E. Washington St., Thomasville, GA




Spring/Summer 2019



4 Stop and Look at the Rocks

There’s no such thing as ordinary in sculptor

Kevin Curry’s world


10 A New Mirror

Broad Street Media brings a fresh

perspective even to age-old stories


16 Due South Amps Up

Thomasville’s Cool Factor

The region’s favorite festival serves up the

grittier side of the American South


22 From Cairo with Love

Shelly Searcy proves that a little piece

of Southwest Georgia is with you

wherever you go

27 THOM’s Guide



62 Where the Rubber Meets

the Dirt Road

The cycling community toasts to nature,

fitness and good beer with Hubs & Hops


68 Catering to the

Modern Hostess

A minority-owned start-up redefines what it

means to be a Southern hostess


74 What Grows in

Thomasville: International

Design & Display

Thomasville’s Creative District gets a dose

of international style with Ian Quinton

80 Featured Artists

Cover photo by Gabriel Hanway

Letter From

the Editor

If you slid into my car’s passenger seat recently,

you probably had to push my new traveling

companion to the floor to clear a spot to sit.

Scott Belsky’s recent book, The Messy Middle,

found its way home with me a few weeks

ago, and as with any new friend who seems

to “get you,” I haven’t let it leave my side

since. Between meetings, I dive into the

pages to mine insight into bold, enduring

entrepreneurial ventures and how to navigate

the most volatile but bountiful part of the

journey: the middle.

It’s been close to a decade since our

organization dared to set out into unmapped

territory, hanging up our vintage Cultural

Center coat to become the Thomasville

Center for the Arts. We’ve followed a

predictable course: a feverish start fueled

by bold ideas; steep hills and deep valleys;

setbacks and advances, the horizon always

shining ahead. At times, moving through this

middle territory has seemed like trekking

through fog and knowing that when the view

clears, we may not recognize the landscape.

Five years ago we introduced THOM, and

since then the creative terrain in our part

of the world has indeed changed, and the

horizon seems brighter than ever!

We’ve been traveling this path long enough

now to know that there really is no “finish”

and that the prize really lies in the middle.

It’s this part of the journey in which we’ve

built capacity, hit Pause and Reset (at least

two dozen times) and picked up companions

who helped us find our way—all the while

focusing forward with a renewed sense of

purpose in our bag.

With this issue a few new travelers join us to tell

the stories of brave creatives who are making

art and building businesses in our region:

an award-winning writer–managing editor,

two clever designers and, as always, talented

photographers and writers to document the

adventure. While we make way for them to

share their fresh perspectives, we extend our

deepest gratitude to all the artists who helped us

land where we are today.

As we approached the final phase of design,

our team pushed me to find a new headshot

to replace the one you’ve been seeing on

this page for nearly five years. Needless to

say, after a long quest, one may not look

quite the way they did when they started

out. Two photo shoots later, there’s still not

one image I recognize as the “real” me. So I

went to an old shoe box in search of a photo

that I distinctly remember as reflecting the

explorer I imagine I am today. There it was.

Circa “a long time ago.” It was taken on a

trip to the Castillo de San Marcos fort in St.

Augustine. I’m excited about the adventure

and, may I say, quite fashionably dressed.

It’s a distant reminder that the experiences

on our unmapped journey are shaped by

the compass we carry, the tools we pack

and the traveling companions we pick up

along the way. Since then, with a mountain

of adventures behind me, I’ve added a few

things to my bag: endurance, determination,

resilience, perspective, the joy of wandering

and, certainly, fashionable, practical clothes.

What a fantastically rewarding THOM

adventure this has been so far! We hope you

will tuck this issue into your bag and let it

be a reminder that Thomasville, and the

people you meet in these pages, just may be

the most important and memorable part of

your journey.

Michele Arwood

Executive Director, Thomasville Center for the Arts

There’s no such

thing as ordinary

in sculptor

Kevin Curry’s


Written by

Rebecca Padgett

Photographed by

Gabriel Hanway



unencumbered by the glare of a

cellphone screen, the ping of e-mails,

the bustle of your life. You’re absorbed in

the natural wonders that surround you.

If you’re artist Kevin Curry, one piece of

nature’s puzzle captivates you most of all.

The rocks.

Kevin’s love for rocks began when he was

an artist-in-residence with the Grand

Canyon–Parashant National Monument.

As it is a national park, no one is

permitted to remove anything from it.

A born rebel, Kevin became fixated on the

idea of transporting something out of the

park while leaving it there.



Rocks, often viewed as nondescript

particles that are overlooked or kicked

aside, became his chief subject matter.

He utilizes a technique called

photogrammetry: taking a photo of

the rock to digitally collect it and

then 3-D printing it. The final form

is a topographic map of the rock’s

location transposed onto the surface

of the 3-D rock sculpture.

“These rocks are something that

people normally wouldn’t give a

second thought to,” Kevin says.

“I enjoy thinking about very normal

things; things we step over and

around, I find fascinating.”

He titled the collection Tripping

Over the Same Stone. It examines the

ways in which place and memory

intersect. It also asks us to consider

how the digital world can re-create a

physical entity.

Kevin holds a B.F.A. in graphic design

and worked as a graphic designer,

freelance illustrator and art director

in New York City and Philadelphia.


Rocks, often viewed

as nondescript

particles that are

overlooked or kicked

aside, became his

chief subject matter.


“I enjoy thinking about very normal

things; things we step over and

around, I find fascinating.”



While he loved city life, Kevin found that he

wanted to create works of personal interest

to him, and in 2008 he completed an M.F.A.

in graphic communication, with an emphasis

on sculpting.

Today he’s a sculptor and conceptual

artist and has been an instructor in the art

program at Florida State University for seven


“I am good at art,” Kevin says. “And I enjoy

art, because it constantly keeps my attention.

I have always gravitated toward doing what

I want to do, and art has been the one thing

that sets me apart from everyone else.”

Another series that Kevin has been engaged

in for many years, titled Respoken, involves

transforming discarded road signs into

abstract pieces. He finds the signs abandoned

in dumpsters, alleyways and forests.

Recently he procured 3,000 square feet of

hand-painted billboards from throughout

northwest Florida and Georgia.

Kevin doesn’t alter the colors or the

materials; he simply re-forms them, and

always titles the finished piece with the sign’s

original message.

“I don’t expect my work to solve the world’s

problems, but I hope it inspires people

to take a longer, more thoughtful look at

the world around them,” Kevin says. “The

billboards and the rocks are great metaphors

for that. You can walk in front of them and

spend time with them. You can mentally

and physically slow down, and I think that’s

important for everybody, for society.”

Kevin Curry

Kevin’s Tripping Over the Same Stone and Respoken collections will be shown at

Thomasville Center for the Arts Downtown from June 6 through July 26.






have been walking your whole life. You like

it; maybe you even say you love it. It is home,

as comfortable as an old pair of boots.

Now close your eyes. Describe the scene

in detail. Can you see it? Did you notice

anything on your walk today, yesterday, last

month? What is different? What is new?

The hard truth is that most of us stop

seeing things that are familiar. The diner

on the corner. The oak tree across the field.

The funky statue in the yard a block over.

Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to

see what we, frankly, take for granted.

Someone to polish the metaphorical

mirror and give us a chance to see

ourselves and our surroundings anew.

The creative people at Broad Street Media,

a team of filmmakers, photographers and

marketers who settled in Thomasville in

2018, left behind homes and careers in

Dallas, Los Angeles and Colorado to build

their own business, which is to tell stories

with a fresh perspective.

Written by

Rob Rushin

Photographed by

Broad Street Media

I settle in for a chat with executive

producer Justin Allen and filmmakers

Taylor Brandon and Drew Balfour—the

team also includes web specialist Bridgette

Brandon and photographer Michael

SeRine—at Grassroots Coffee, which serves

as their semi-official office when they are

not out shooting footage or in the editing

booth giving it shape.

“Our filmmaking, storytelling approach

is different,” says Justin. “Maybe it’s the

shiny-new-object effect, but people are

responding to how we share the client’s

vision, how we walk them through the


process and encourage them to feel that

their story deserves to be told.”

While we talk, the team is busy preparing

for “The Inside Out Project: Heads UP!,” a

public art experience at the Center for the

Arts’ UnVacant Lot. Eighty large-format

portraits of Thomasville characters you

may, or may not, see around town every

day ask you to put aside the gadgets that

distract you from seeing, well, the nose

in front of your face.

The installation is part of an independently

organized Inside Out Project Group Action,

a participatory art project that transforms

messages of personal identity into pieces

of artwork around the globe. Inside Out

was founded by French street artist JR in

2011. Every one of its group actions around

the world has been documented, archived

and exhibited online, resulting in more

than 260,000 people in 129 countries being


“The Center for the Arts challenged each

of us to capture the faces of people in

our own way,” Justin explains. “We all

approached the project a bit differently.

I’ve highlighted a lot of people around

town who have expressed themselves

artistically, whether they be painters or

singers or writers, pointing out what you

can create when you’re not filling your

head with the latest status update and

walking into walls and windows with

your head down.”

The hard truth is that most of us stop

seeing things that are familiar.




The Inside Out Project:

Heads UP!

Thomasville Center for the Arts’

UnVacant Lot—Jackson Street

March 7–May 10



“Have you ever sat in one place and stared at the

back of a car for an hour or two? That’s what life

in L.A. is like twice a day.”

Every few minutes, one of the guys pops up to

ask an interesting-looking person if they will

let him take a portrait, a demonstration of the

principle of staying heads-up no matter where

you are. As Taylor notes, the project has helped

them “meet a bunch of interesting new people”

they might otherwise not get to know.

“One of the most interesting people I met was

Edward Harden, the local taxidermist. That’s

just not something we have in Los Angeles,”

Justin says, laughing.

Drew describes his approach: “I shot some

tattoo artists; I also shot some writers, because

you never know what they’re thinking about or

working on. It’s a varied selection of ages and

races. We’re inviting them all out, you know:

They’ll see their photos blown up as part of one

big, worldwide project.”

But the big mystery about Broad Street

Media is this: How did a bunch of talented

and successful big-city people end up in


Justin laughs. “Have you ever sat in one place

and stared at the back of a car for an hour or

two? That’s what life in L.A. is like twice a day.”

Taylor points to the local business climate. “It’s

different here. The owners are hands on; there

is a sense of pride in what they’re doing. Then

the community supports the local business, so

it all works together in a harmonious way.”

About this time, Grassroots owner Spencer

Young walks by, says hello and fixes the twisted

rug in the doorway.

“See that?” Justin asks. “In Dallas or L.A., you’d be

lucky if you ever saw the owner. It is so nice to

be someplace where you can get to know pretty

much everybody, not be so anonymous.”

So heads up, Thomasville. There are some

new faces in town, and they are not likely

to be the last.

Broad Street Media



The region’s favorite festival serves

up the grittier side of the American South.


century so popular? From Elvis and Garth Brooks to Lady Gaga, decade after

decade the best of the best have left their mark on the industry.

Some call it chutzpah, or je ne sais quoi. But either way, these artists are

just cooler than most. Despite the odds, the organizers of Thomasville

Center for the Arts’ annual Due South food and music festival seem to have

bottled this intoxicating musical X factor, concocting just enough to add a

smidge more every year since the festival’s 2010 inception.

Written by Chay Hughes



“Due South has gone through several

iterations,” says the center’s board president,

David Middleton. “It’s awesome to see how

far we’ve come, but I think it [Due South] is

still evolving a little bit. Part of celebrating

the music and artisans of our region the right

way is that we never let this experience stay

stagnant. We never get too comfortable.”

From its earliest days, Due South has been

an open-air entertainment experience

with just enough grit to make it not only

palatable but delicious. The springtime

festival’s reputation as a shared event where

friends can come together to celebrate

a love for music and food is no happy

accident, though.

For his part, Due South’s co-founder

David is admittedly not a musician, but

as a graduate of Vanderbilt University

in Nashville, Tennessee, he has a love of

music ingrained in him. So it makes sense

that during a joint family vacation with

fellow Thomasville creatives Ben and Haile

McCollum, when an idea for how to sustain

the friends’ shared passion came up, it

struck a chord in all of them.

“We were all sitting at an outdoor concert

in Idaho and thought, ‘Thomasville needs

something like this,’” says Haile, owner of

Fontaine Maury and a fellow Vanderbilt

alum. “This was before First Fridays,

before everyone started celebrating our

downtown, the way we do now. It just

seemed like an event our neighbors would

love to come together for.”

At the time, Haile held a spot on

Thomasville Center for the Arts’ board

(which David now oversees) and knew

that the nonprofit was on the hunt for a

springtime festival that could balance

out its fall series, the Plantation Wildlife

Arts Festival.

And soon everything began to harmonize.

What started as a conversation between

friends has resulted in an experience, one

that has completely changed the way a

community lives in a section of its city.

Right on cue, Due South sang life into the

new Creative District, an area surrounding

Thomasville’s Ritz Amphitheater, which

had yet to make a name for itself among

locals. The concert sold out the very

first season.

Amping up the coolness factor of this

artistic, albeit rural, community was step

one, but Due South quickly evolved into

much more. In a few short years, layer on

layer was added to what had begun as only

a single-day event to create the lineup

we know today.

“This has been the goal all along,” says

Michele Arwood, the executive director

of the center and another major piece of

the puzzle. “We wanted Due South to feel

completely different from anything else

going on in our region and allow it to evolve

over time. The best way to do that is to

involve the community in the design and

music lineup every year.”

What started as a conversation between friends has

resulted in an experience, one that has completely

changed the way a community lives in a section of its city.



No black

ties or ball

gowns here.

Just biscuits,

bourbon and

plenty of bass.

Due South

Adding gourmet and brewpub

experiences to include

Thomasville’s thriving foodie scene

was an easy sell, but it was also

important to the founders to remain

true to Due South’s Southern

singer-songwriter roots.

“To be honest, I didn’t exactly know

what I was getting myself into,” says

David, laughing. “When Haile signed

me up, my only job was to find

and sign great music. Things have

certainly taken off from there.”

In contrast to the Plantation Wildlife

Arts Festival, a week full of events

in which Thomasville Center for

the Arts pays homage to fine artists

(painters, sculptors, etc.) and the Red

Hills that inspire their work, Due

South gives a nod to the artisans,

craftspeople and families who

cultivate the land.

No black ties or ball gowns here. Just

biscuits, bourbon and plenty of bass.

“Even before we knew the name

of Due South, we knew the feel of

it,” Haile says. “In 2010, when we

started having conversations about

bringing an event like this to town,

the concept of farm-to-table was still

pretty new. But that’s what we were

after. Raw, natural talent.”

For the 2019 season, the lineup will be

bigger and the tastes bolder than ever.

The Highway Queen herself, Nikki Lane,



Due South presented by

Thomasville National Bank

Due South | Bourbon & Bagels

Cooking & mixology class featuring local chef

Tuesday, April 9 | 6:30–8 p.m. | Empire Bagel

Adults 21 & older

$50 per person, $85 per couple

Due South | Respect the Butter

Chef-inspired kids’ cooking class

Wednesday, April 10 | 4–5 p.m. | Empire Bagel

Space is limited.

Pre-registered kids 12 & under, free

Suggested donation, $10

Due South | Rhythm & Roots

Intimate evening with singer-songwriters,

presented in partnership with Flowers

AutoGroup and Georgia Tourism

will headline the main concert. Lane, whose sound is the

perfect blend of soulful Americana, country twang and

old-school rock-and-roll, is destined to satisfy even the

most eclectic audience member’s tastes.

“Nikki Lane is the real deal,” says Mariam Mirabzadeh,

special events manager at the center. “She has the right

sound and swagger for this event.”

New events, including a children’s cooking class entitled

Respect the Butter and an elevated chef experience for

Mom and Dad, have also been added to the menu. Old

favorites, like an evening at Rhythm & Roots dedicated to

singer-songwriters, will remain, as in previous years.

“We’re all about providing a chance for the creative

economy of our region to flourish, but it’s also important

to inspire others to create new artistic experiences,”

Michele says. “Due South presents an opportunity for

local business owners to say ‘I might not be an artist, but

I can bring art into my community through my work.’”

Thursday, April 11 | 8–11 p.m.

The Biscuit Company, $40

Due South | ShinDig

Sponsor lounge, open bar, savory and

sweet bites, and a cook-off for the record

books. Best seats in the house from which

to enjoy the concert.

Saturday, April 13 | 5–11 p.m. | Studio 209

$100, adults 21 and over | $50, ages 6–20

Free for kids 5 and under

Due South Concert

Cornerstone of Due South food-and-music

festival featuring Teddy and the

Rough Riders, T. Hardy Morris and

headliner Nikki Lane

Saturday, April 13 | 5–11 p.m.

The Ritz Amphitheater, $25


Shelly Searcy proves that a little

piece of Southwest Georgia is

with you wherever you go.


staff of Thomasville Center for the Arts visited Atlanta

for a team-building trip. No question about it: Even in a

metropolitan area with nearly six million people, they were

bound to run into someone they knew.

It happened unexpectedly, just as they expected.

A creative force pulled the staff of seven toward the doors

of Coco + Misha, a beautifully designed boutique dedicated

to “slow” fashion, where Cairo native Shelly Searcy eagerly

greeted them.

Friendly, fashionable and offering a fresh perspective,

Shelly captured the team’s heart even before they realized

that their paths were meant to cross. The encounter serves

as proof that wherever you go, a friend is never far away,

even if you don’t know who you’re looking for.

Introduction by Chay Hughes // Photographed by John Alburl



What’s your

connection to


My paternal grandparents

moved to Thomasville in

1937. My grandmother Anna

Pidcock Searcy hailed from

Moultrie and my grandfather

Floyd Hartsfield Searcy,

from Cairo.

My grandfather’s

entrepreneurial spirit

came into play when he

opened the Rose City Foods

packaging plant and was

the first to can peanut oil.

Their house on Clay Street—

which was Downtown

Thomasville’s first power

plant!—is still there. My



grandmother bought the

land in 1938. My father,

Floyd Hartsfield Searcy

Jr., and my mother, Gloria

Searcy, both live in Cairo.

How surprised were

you when a group

of Thomasville

“creatives” walked

through your door?

Very surprised! And it was a

welcome treat.

What is something

you wish you had

known during the

time you spent around


I found out while I was in

high school that my greataunt

Emily Searcy was very

involved with the Cultural

Center. Back then I was

involved with a plethora of

extracurricular activities in

Cairo. I sometimes wonder

what would be different

about my life if I had

become more involved with

activities surrounding the

Cultural Center, now the

Thomasville Center for

the Arts.

What sort of

“creative” are you?

These days I would say I am

a visual artist. I walk into

a room and I instantly see

how it could “work better,”

artistically and intuitively. It’s

the same for styling an outfit

or planning an event.

What are you

doing in Atlanta?

I am the store manager and

lead stylist for a shop called

Coco + Misha.

Is there a part of

your job that stands

out as a favorite?

When someone tries on a

piece of clothing that I’ve

suggested and they just light

up. Seeing how a simple

piece of fabric can change a

person’s mood and view of

themselves is why I do this.

What makes the

store you’re managing

so amazing?

We are big proponents of

sustainable “slow” fashion,

so we curate vintage and

ethically made clothing

makers and companies. We

also carry and represent

small craft artisans, most of

whom are local to Atlanta or

the region. The few brands

we carry outside those

parameters are all sustainably

and ethically made.

Talk to us about slow

fashion. What is that?

Slow fashion is an approach

to and awareness of fashion

that considers the resources

and processes required to

make clothing, particularly

focusing on sustainability. It

involves buying better-quality

garments that will last longer

and values ethical treatment

of people, animals and the

planet. A great comparison

would be fast food versus the

slow-food movement.

Why should people

be paying attention to

slow fashion?

The main reason for me

is that it is better for the

environment. Many fast-


fashion companies burn their

unsold merchandise. In 2017,

H&M burned 12 metric tons

of unsold garments.

Slow fashion also encourages

us to buy fewer garments

of better quality, made with

more-sustainable processes,

and to buy them less often.

It also emphasizes the

art of clothes making and

celebrates the skills of the

craftspeople who make them.

How has your

creative journey been

different than you

thought it would be?

Theater, interior design,

fashion…being drawn

to so many facets of art,

I never knew where to apply

myself fully. There was

always something missing.

Although my path has been

unconventional, I wouldn’t

have had it any other way.

Fostering sustainability and

the arts is so much more

rewarding for me.

What does it mean

to be an artist?

To live in the moment and

with passion. I feel as long as

a person is doing what they

are passionate about, they

are an artist.

What advice do you

give other “creatives”?

Keep doing what drives

you, and follow your gut.

I’ve taken jobs just to make

money, and only when I

gave all that up and started

following my instincts

did I start creating more

abundance for myself.

What’s the next step

in your journey?

I recently started my own

styling company, c.e.r.c.y.,

and my mission is to share

my gift of sustainable style

with others. Along with that,

we at Coco + Misha have

some very exciting news on

the horizon, so watch out

for that.

Shelly Searcy



"Sometimes it's the

journey that teaches you

a lot about your destination."

- Drake

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Dirt Road


Thomasville’s network of trails encourages us to explore

the nooks and crannies of the community on foot. Well, it

turns out that those trails are great for bicycles, too, and

they connect to an even larger network of clay dirt roads

that are pure cyclist Nirvana.

“There are several hundred miles of clay roads focused

on the interconnection of our land,” says Hubs & Hops

owner Roger Hawks as he points to a giant map of Red

Hills plantations on the wall of his shop. The Hubs & Hops

bike shop and taproom, located at the southwest corner of

the horseshoe-shaped array of buildings around the Ritz

Amphitheater in Downtown Thomasville, celebrated its

first birthday in March.

“I’m confident we have some of the best roads for clayroad

riding in the country,” Roger says. “But how many

people know that? Not many; so a big part of our work is

holding events and letting people know about it.”

As part of its mission to strengthen the cycling

community—and to serve some cold beer to thirsty

pedalers and their friends—the Hubs & Hops team

leads a group ride every Saturday, weather permitting.

There is no charge if you have your own gear, and rental

equipment is available for new riders and those from

out of town. There are rides for cyclists of many levels of

fitness and endurance.

“The basic route leaves from our shop and winds through

the historic downtown area and then out toward Millpond

Plantation. It’s a 20-mile loop out and back, but at any point

you can cut that short. A typical ride for the enthusiast is a

65-mile loop that starts and ends at our back door.”

Roger learned the ropes of the bicycle trade as a partner

in Tallahassee’s Higher Ground bike shop after he retired

as supervisor of forensics for the Tallahassee Police

Department. He and his wife, Nancy, were considering a

move to Thomasville when they heard about a building

adjacent to the amphitheater that was available for lease.



It was perfect not just for bikes but also for Roger’s other

passion: beer. He is a partner in Tallahassee’s Ology Brewing.

Roger blended the two business concepts and describes the

shop as “a full-service, modern bike shop focused on the

clay roads of the South.” And beer.

A key component of the Hubs & Hops vision is to encourage

bike riding in Thomasville. Having a place that serves as

ride headquarters and post-ride watering hole helps, but the

essential element is getting to know the cyclists so the team

can help them get the most out of their ride.

An example is Daniel Cook, one of Hubs & Hops’ most

committed riders and cheerleaders. He explains that he and

his wife had reached a crossroads.

“I was significantly overweight and had very few friends,

so we decided we were going to try and lose weight and

become healthier. With Roger’s help and advice, I started

riding and fell in love with it. He invited me to join them

on their weekly Saturday morning rides, and I am now a

dedicated regular.”


“A typical ride for the

enthusiast is a 65-mile

loop that starts and ends

at our back door.”


Riders love to congregate

before and after rides to

share stories, compare

gear and just hang out

with fellow cyclists.



Daniel lost 80 pounds and is “in the best

shape of my life. I am so grateful they chose

to open up shop here in Thomasville.”

Riders love to congregate before and after

rides to share stories, compare gear and just

hang out with fellow cyclists. That is one

reason Hubs & Hops is sponsoring its second

annual Thomasville Classic, a one-day ride

and weekend-long event that coincides with

this year’s Due South festival.

“We’re partnering with the Biscuit

Company, an event center a couple of

blocks over,” Roger says. “We’re going to do

a dinner there the night before the ride, but

the big thing is that they have a lot of land

on-site for camping. It’s really attractive

in an adventure ride to be able to camp. I

don’t know too many cities where you can

camp downtown right next to the start of

the ride and right next to a concert venue.”

The taproom is becoming a popular

gathering spot for riders and non-riders

alike, not least because of its proximity to

the amphitheater.

“We just got our music license,” Roger

continues, “so we’ve done a couple of

live music events that brought in good

crowds. And of course we’re tied into the

amphitheater and whatever takes place out

there. Lots of folks come early to claim a

seat on our patio.”

Take a ride. Have a beer. Or both. And

discover another strand in the rich tapestry

that is Thomasville.

Hubs & Hops


Written by

Chay Hughes

Photographed by

Jon Michael Sullivan






Tammy Noel charges ahead

with her minority-owned tech start-up.


between setting your first casserole on the table and

pouring your guests’ second round of iced tea.

It helps to be Southern to know the importance of

gathering around the dinner table with loved ones,

but you don’t have to be. What happens here is a

phenomenon that transcends geography as

quickly as it does generations.

For Tammy Noel, a Miami native of Haitian descent,

mealtime has always been special.

“You could say that food is the way to my heart,”

she says, laughing. The 27-year-old, whose degrees

and business savvy make her experienced well

beyond her years, explains, “For me that sense of

community that immediately happens when you

share a meal has always been inspiring.”


Following her heart, Tammy started

TableMade in 2018 as the first subscriptionbox

service designed for the hostess with

the mostest. The concept, akin to such

other services as Birchbox and Marley

Spoon, is designed to be a one-stop shop for


Everything, from linen to servingware and

candlesticks, is included.

“TableMade sort of came about as a happy

accident while planning my own wedding,”

Tammy says. “I had been working for

international retail companies [including

Kohl’s and Target] in buying and logistics.

I had made a ton of great contacts with

amazing product lines abroad. And I

wanted to use that behind-the-scenes

knowledge to offer something beautiful.”

Growing up in a close-knit Caribbean

family, Tammy found that gathering around

the table was an opportunity to cultivate

conversations across several generations.

She’s woven that same concept—that every



Growing up in a close-knit Caribbean

family, Tammy found that gathering

around the table was an opportunity

to cultivate conversations across

several generations.

we’ll go with warmer tones, glowing light

and servingware that invites a communal

feel. If they say they want their guests to

feel ‘elegant’ or ‘impressed,’ we’ll go with a

different look entirely.”

Celebrating small gatherings as well as

large, Tammy is transforming the tech startup

landscape as a female and as a minority

business owner. Online her items can be

purchased (and soon rented) à la carte.

Of course, the logistics of shipping items

as precious as china across the country are

not only challenging but costly.

great gathering starts with a conversation—

into her business model.

“Discovering why my client’s gathering is

happening is a question with a lot of layers to

it, but when you get at the heart of it, I think

the concept for your decor and tablescape

comes naturally,” she says. “At the end of the

day, no one is celebrating around a table by

themselves. It’s about the relationships.

“I’ll ask my clients, ‘How do you want your

guests to feel?’ If the first word is ‘family,’

Until the tech portion of her company

gains more of a footing, Tammy says, she’s

drumming up business the old-fashioned way:

referrals, word of mouth and going where

the business is. This spring that means the

wedding venues of Atlanta, a city where she

now resides with her husband, Zelon Baker.

The pair met while studying at Florida

State University and had many date nights

in Thomasville.

“My clients aren’t the traditional brides or

hostesses,” Tammy says. “They like clean lines

and neutral but striking palettes. Basically,


“At the end of the day, no one is

celebrating around a table by themselves.

It’s about the relationships.”



we’re not following any Pinterest

trends here. We’re making them.”

In the past year TableMade has

created dozens of tablescapes for

happy brides with a style that’s

subtle yet spirited, collected yet

eclectic. The company and Tammy

herself have been featured in

publications and online forums

including North & Peach, Modern

Luxury Weddings Atlanta, Glittery Bride

and A Lowcountry Wedding.

The secret of creating a beautiful

tablescape at home? No secret at all,

she says.

Quality over quantity and attention

to detail are key. And just like a

confident host, a good table should

have a plan—but be willing to adapt

at a moment’s notice.

“Life rarely goes the way we think it

will,” Tammy says. “No host should

take themselves too seriously.

Creating a beautiful table is all about

the experience. If you’re having fun,

your guests will too.”

Oh, and one last thing.

Never forget the charger.

“If I only had one piece of advice to

offer, it would be to never skip the

charger. It sounds silly, but that really

is the landing spot. It’s the first step

for an elevated experience.”


Tammy Noel will be heading to Thomasville this spring for THOM’s

Cocktails and Conversations forum on May 2nd, as well as a tablescape

workshop at Thomasville Center for the Arts Downtown on May 4th.

Visit for registration.







With personality

and perseverance,

Aussie Ian Quinton

followed his dreams

all the way to



revealing, and heartwarming. Case in point: this

series of stories, showcasing business and industry

leaders who took a chance on Thomasville and

found that it paid off handsomely. Their creativity

and entrepreneurial spirit have enhanced both the

economy and the culture of Thomas County, and

their lives have become part of their city’s life.

Ian Quinton, however, flips the paradigm: He says

Thomasville took a chance on him.

“If I had still been in Miami when the recession

hit, I would have been out of business by April

2008,” says the founder and managing member

of International Design & Display Group,

which creates and installs trade show exhibits

and other signage and architectural projects.

He calls it a “three-dimensional design and

manufacturing company.”

Written by

Audrey Post

Photographed by

Daniel Shippey

What made Thomasville different? Ian says it was

human connections, and that such connections

are part of what makes Thomasville, Thomasville.

Before he relaunched his company here, Ian’s

relationship with the city was almost 32 years in

the making.





Ian Quinton was a 17-year-old high school senior

when he arrived in Thomasville as an exchange

student from Australia in 1975. He graduated

from Brookwood School a year later. A gregarious,

never-met-a-stranger kind of guy with that

accent Americans find so charming, he easily

slipped into small-town life in the South. His best

friend was a lad named Jay Flowers, now a city

council member. Their friendship has endured.

Ian’s father, a certified public accountant, wanted

him to study commerce and accounting at the

University of Melbourne, back in Australia.

He tried it, but it just didn’t appeal; he switched

to architecture. It was at university that he got

into the trade-show industry.

“It was literally one of those a-guy-walks-intoa-pub

stories,” he says. A man was looking for

workers to help set up a Melbourne operation for

a company based in Sydney.

In the 1980s Ian moved to Miami to run a

design firm a friend had bought called Creative

Displays. There he met his future wife, Debbie,

whom he married in 1986 in Thomasville’s First

Presbyterian Church.

After a couple of years, Ian started his own display

company, now known near and far as IDDG.

“The plan was to live in Miami for a few years,

maybe four, but we always intended to move

here,” Ian says of Thomasville.

The South Florida real estate market was

booming and, despite dire warnings that the

Internet would be the death of trade shows,

business was good, so they stayed. Twenty-one

years and four daughters later, Ian and Debbie

relocated IDDG from Miami Lakes, Florida, to

Thomasville. Then-governor Sonny Perdue had

announced the company’s plans a year earlier

at a joint meeting of the Rotary and Kiwanis

Clubs of Thomasville. The move also gave Ian an

opportunity to renovate and repurpose run-down

historic buildings on Stevens Street, combining

his architectural background with his love of

historic preservation.




IDDG had ambitious plans: Invest $1.3 million

to begin restoring and rehabilitating the three

adjacent buildings for its operations, and hire

up to 20 workers the first year and as many as

26 more over the next two years. With the help

of a local bank, the Downtown Development

Authority and the Georgia Department of

Economic Development, Ian secured loans, and

the work got under way. Then the bottom fell

out when the financial crisis known as the

Great Recession struck.

Contracts for IDDG work for the following year

were cancelled, and things looked bleak. But

then something happened that Ian says would

never have occurred in South Florida: His local

bank got in touch with him and offered to let him

pay interest only on his loan for a year while he

reinvented his business.


“If I had still

been in Miami

when the

recession hit,

I would have

been out of

business by

April 2008.”




“He has a passion to go get it right. He’s not one

to say ‘No, no, you can’t do that.’ Instead he’ll

say ‘It would be better if you did it this way.’”

“The people here are incredibly generous,” Ian says.

“The mistake I made in 2008 or 2009 was not asking

for help when I needed it. If you ask them, people will

help you without reservation. When my business was

foundering, I got all sorts of encouragement I would

not have had in Miami.”

Today the company focuses primarily on trade shows,

which is where Ian’s heart is. He manages the design

and sales work, while daughter Deanna handles

administration. “I’m fortunate that I have some really

good craftsmen working with me, six to 10 depending

on the work; and we outsource additional labor for

shows around the country,” he says.



It’s the availability of craftspeople in the region

that has helped strengthen manufacturing in the

Thomasville area, Ian believes. Welders, in particular,

are in high demand.

“A robot can assemble a car, but a robot can’t build

a boiler,” he says.

The restoration of the properties on Stevens

Street has garnered IDDG awards for adaptive use,

something Ian champions. He and Jay Flowers joined

forces to buy and refurbish the old National Biscuit

Company on Oak Street, a derelict building that had

been an infamous hideaway. “Before we throw things

out, we need to ask ‘Does it have value?’” Ian says.

“For the African-American community who lives in

the neighborhood, that building has value. And now

there’s an event there almost every weekend.”

Ian’s daughter Deanna and Jay Flowers say he is

meticulous about discovering a building’s story. “He

loves the history of things,” Deanna says. “He’s the

guy who can tell you random facts about everything.

He sees possibilities in old buildings, particularly in

the Creative District.”

As past chair of the city’s Historic Preservation

Commission, an unpaid volunteer position he held

for six years, Ian found that his penchant for details

comes in handy.

“He has a passion to go get it right,” Jay Flowers

says. “He’s not one to say ‘No, no, you can’t do that.’

Instead he’ll say ‘It would be better if you did it this

way.’ The other thing he has is vision. He has a gift.

He can coalesce varied opinions into what something

can be so it’s right for everyone.”

International Design & Display



Justin Allen worked in film production and development in Los Angeles for

15 years, including spending four seasons on a little show called Mad Men. On

arriving in Thomasville in 2018, he co-founded Broad Street Media to serve the

local community. Justin’s also executive vice president at Noble Road Media,

where he develops and produces feature films and television shows.

Drew Balfour was born and raised in Thomasville but spent the past

eight years documenting his world travels as a professional photographer. Now

back in his hometown, Drew is celebrating his roots as a co-founder of Broad

Street Media. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with his dog, Tate, and

rediscovering the natural wonders of the Red Hills region.

Christie Clark is a spicy redhead with a magnetic personality. She’s

bounced around various industries including publishing, lifestyle products and

real estate but has had creative roles in all of them. Graphic design is Christie’s

calling, and she uses her talents to make print and digital pieces for individuals,

small businesses, nonprofits and large corporations.

Jennifer Ekrut is an art director and graphic designer with a passion for

editorial design. Though new to THOM, she’s been a creative powerhouse for

many of the Southeast’s most prized publications. When she’s not designing,

Jennifer likes photography, drinking coffee and being outdoors with her husband

and three children.

Chay Hughes may be a recent arrival in Thomasville, but she’s old news in

journalism circles. An award-winning writer, editor and digital-news producer,

Chay has joined the Center for the Arts to bring a fresh perspective to many of

the stories and shoots you see here. Outside of THOM, you’ll find her enjoying

historic Thomasville with her husband, Sean, and their two English cockers.

Rebecca Padgett is most likely to be found with a pen in her hand or

her nose in a book. She is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys conversing

with people to find the best way to tell their stories. Though a Floridian by birth,

Rebecca recently moved to Nashville, where she is pursuing an M.F.A. in creative

writing at Belmont University.


Illustrators, Photographers, Writers and Graphic Designers

Please contact: Thomasville Center for the Arts | (229) 226-0588 |



On exhibit now through May 30 th

Thomasville Center for the Arts


209 West Remington Avenue




(229) 228-7977




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