Volume 7 | issue 1
Volume 7 | Issue 1
Thomasville Center for the Arts
Jon Michael Sullivan
600 E. Washington St., Thomasville, GA
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
A minority-owned start-up redefines what it
means to be a Southern hostess
74 What Grows in
Design & Display
Thomasville’s Creative District gets a dose
of international style with Ian Quinton
80 Featured Artists
Cover photo by Gabriel Hanway
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
Executive Director, Thomasville Center for the Arts
There’s no such
thing as ordinary
YOU’RE WALKING THROUGH A FOREST
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.
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
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
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
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
“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’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.
THINK OF A STREET, MAYBE ONE YOU
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.
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:
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.
WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES ALL THE GREAT MUSIC LEGENDS OF THE PAST
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
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
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
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.
ties or ball
plenty of bass.
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
“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.
IT WAS ALMOST LIKE A SCAVENGER HUNT WHEN THE
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
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
My paternal grandparents
moved to Thomasville in
1937. My grandmother Anna
Pidcock Searcy hailed from
Moultrie and my grandfather
Floyd Hartsfield Searcy,
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
through your door?
Very surprised! And it was a
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
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
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
Why should people
be paying attention to
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
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,
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
"Sometimes it's the
journey that teaches you
a lot about your destination."
The Gift Shop
103 SOUTH BROAD STREET | DOWNTOWN THOMASVILLE
FINE FURNITURE RESTORATION
676 INDUSTRIAL DRIVE | TALLAHASSEE, FL 32310 | 850-509-7512
Meet Mia Taylor. Future rider at Hands & Hearts for Horses.
KeySouth.com | Building a community with heart. | 229.226.3911
1428 remington drive, thomasville 229.225.9277
1817 thomasville road, tallahassee 850.765.5712
2815 GILLIONVILLE ROAD | ALBANY, GA | 229-435-2212
1205 VETERANS PKWY NORTH | MOULTRIE, GA | 229-985-3882
229.221.2622 THOMASVILLE’S NEWEST NEIGHBORHOOD chubbrealty.com
COCKTAILS AND CONVERSATIONS
with the creatives highlighted in this issue
to reserve your seat.
Design & furnishings by
Ashley Home Store
118 S. BROAD STREET | THOMASVILLE
THE BISCUIT COMPANY
WEDDING & EVENT VENUE
219 OAK STREET | THOMASVILLE
ENGLISH AT HEART WITH A SOUTHERN SOUL & A FRENCH TWIST
120 BROAD STREET
It takes a collective to make a great beer! We are a collective of
farmers, brewers and passionate craft beer lovers. We are growing
organic barley, wheat and rye as well as hops and various fruits on our
Albany, GA farmlands. Enjoy a taste of South Georgia in every pint!
120 PINE AVE | ALBANY, GA 31701
229.518.1770 | PRETORIAFIELDS.COM
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE
WHO’S COMING TO TOWN!
229-226-7404 | TEFCONCERTS.COM
Try our environmentally
friendly pest management
229.226.PEST | ASTROPESTCONTROL.COM
1414 E JACKSON STREET
WWW.FTREALTY.COM | 229-226-6515
Mills Herndon, Broker
Susan Bennett | Beth Benton | Jason Brinson | Bobby Brown | Jason Copps
Dana Hardy | Jenna Jones | Fran Milberg | Kathy Palmer | Deborah Phillips | Len Powell
Danny Powers | Jennie Rich | Carey Sewell | Linda Lanter Tarver | Cathy Young
422 REMINGTON AVE. | THOMASVILLE
A GREAT PLACE TO
SHOP, DINE & PLAY
138 SOUTH MADISON STREET | THOMASVILLE, GA
You take the road
and we’ll take care of
COMMERCIAL PRINTING • ART REPRODUCTIONS • FLEXOGRAPHIC LABEL PRINTING
www.colsonprint.com • 800-323-7280 • VALDOSTA
Original art, “Quail Crossing” David Lanier, www.dlanier.com
227 WEST JACKSON STREET | THOMASVILLE, GA | 229.236.1890
SUSIEQSFOODS.COM | (229) 551-1811
See What You’re
Really Made Of.
Locally Owned and Operated
(229) 236-2348 • 1314 E. JACKSON STREET, THOMASVILLE, GA 31792 • FACTORXFITNESS.COM
WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE
IN THE LAST ISSUE OF THOM, I WROTE ABOUT HOW
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
“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
“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
Jon Michael Sullivan
Tammy Noel charges ahead
with her minority-owned tech start-up.
SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENS IN THE SPACE
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
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
“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,
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 thomasvillearts.org for registration.
MAKING IT IN
& DISPLAY GROUP
Aussie Ian Quinton
followed his dreams
all the way to
SOMETIMES A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE CAN BE
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
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
STRANGER IN A
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
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
A BIG BUST…
AND A BIG SURPRISE
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
I would have
been out of
“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.
TO BECOME A FEATURED ARTIST
Illustrators, Photographers, Writers and Graphic Designers
Please contact: Thomasville Center for the Arts | (229) 226-0588 | firstname.lastname@example.org
On exhibit now through May 30 th
Thomasville Center for the Arts
209 West Remington Avenue
PHOTO LOCATION,THOMASVILLE HISTORY CENTER
THOMASVILLE VISITORS CENTER
ROSE SHOW & FESTIVAL APRIL 25 TH -27 TH