Spotlighting Extraordinary Buckhead Businesses
By Livable Buckhead and Buckhead Business Association
In a year defined by the global coronavirus pandemic, businesses and their employees faced countless challenges that tested their creativity, adaptability and resilience. Two Buckhead organizations – Buckhead Business Association and Livable Buckhead – recently honored local businesses that exemplified those qualities in 2020.
On April 15, Livable Buckhead recognized Crocker Partners and Cumulus Media for their efforts to improve sustainability and mobility. “It was an incredibly challenging year, but it also presented amazing opportunities for companies to take a fresh look at their operations and find ways to improve,” said Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead. “Crocker Partners and Cumulus Media embraced those opportunities and didn’t just keep things running but made improvements to sustainability and mobility that will continue to pay off in a post-pandemic world.”
Crocker Partners Property Management earned the Triple Bottom Line award for its work at Prominence Tower. Numerous updates to the building ensured the health and safety of its occupants during the pandemic, while recycling and waste management programs, use of renewable energy sources, and water reclamation and greywater irrigation improve environmental performance for the long haul. “Although the majority of our tenants continue to work remotely right now, I feel we’re well positioned to welcome them back to a safe and healthy building,” said Amy Timms, senior property manager with Crocker Partners.
Cumulus Media earned the Buckhead Mobility Champion award for its successful telework program, which the company created in consultation with Livable Buckhead in 2018. “We chose to take the steps to have a more programmatic approach to teleworking rather than one-offs where we figured out along the way,” said Todd McCarty, CHRO and SVP of human resources for Cumulus Media. “We were realizing that more was to come – we didn’t know how much more was to come – but that was the impetus for us to put together a program.” Cumulus implemented policies and procedures to enable about 20 employees to telework on a full-time basis, and another 100 employees to telework occasionally. These guidelines created consistency across the organization and built trust in the program, which was a critical factor in the Cumulus’ ability to quickly and successfully scale it to all 4,000 employees during the pandemic.
On April 22 and 29, the Buckhead Business Association presented its annual awards in a virtual setting, highlighting four local businesses and their recent success. “This year was indeed unique compared to past decades of our annual luncheon, but the award recipients are just as deserving,” said BBA President Michael Moore.
The Burgess Hotel is noted for its exquisite decor, Fia Restaurant and Mr. B Bar. Originally opened as Wingate by Wyndham more than 20 years ago, the owners decided to reimagine it as a unique, boutique hotel for Buckhead. “We wanted it to have a very homey feel,” said Burgess and Freny Johki, owners of The Burgess Hotel. “Everything you see is a personal reflection of our home and it is our way of inviting guests into our home and for us to be here to welcome them.” The hotel is also an important part of the Buckhead community, frequently welcoming Zone 2 officers with Atlanta Police Department for on-duty breaks.
Le Colonial Restaurant combines upscale French Colonial decor with a menu featuring Vietnamese cuisine to create a unique dining experience. Like so many businesses in the hospitality industry, Le Colonial faced numerous challenges during the pandemic, pivoting to offer delivery and to-go items, while also providing much-appreciated meals to first responders at Northside Hospital. “I think it’s really important that we’re part of the community and that we can be part of everything that is considered Buckhead,” said Paul Dunn, general manager of Le Colonial.
Steve Penley of Penley Art has been producing art since he was a child and is grateful for the opportunity to make it his career. Penley paintings are in corporate and private collections around the world, depicting his unapologetic love for America and our icons. He has found a supportive customer base in Buckhead and credits them for his success. “I’m here to serve this community,” Penley said. “The truth is my clientele, the people who believe in the artwork I do… are the ones that made me.” Penley is a generous supporter of community causes, donating $500,000 of his work to art auctions in a single year.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Jennifer Morgan for her development, founding and execution of Eleanor’s Place, a private, all women’s co-working and social space. Designed for collaboration for both stay-at-home and working mothers, Morgan had to reconfigure Eleanor’s Place and adapt to the COVID circumstances that made 2020 a difficult time for gathering. “To be a stay-at-home mom returning to work can be a very vulnerable place to put yourself in,” said Morgan. “To be recognized by the Buckhead Business Association was a real honor, and to have these successful businesses acknowledge your work and your dreams was an incredible compliment.”
Anyone who would like to nominate a thriving, unique Buckhead business that is less than five years old, can contact Buckhead Business Association for 2021 year-end consideration. The business public is also invited to join BBA’s Thursday morning Second Cup events each week at 10 a.m.