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It’s Christmas time in the city!

Ring a ling make those local business cash registers ring!  It was as if the forks barely hit our plates from the last bite of Thanksgiving and many people were out the doors to go shopping in those big box stores and those big discounts. 

Shop LOCAL this Holiday Season!

The next two days were followed up by “Black Friday” and “Small Business Saturday”.   Then our newest shopping craze is “Cyber Monday” where you can get online discounts by surfing the web regardless of your physical location.  We are now in December, the final month of the year, the final 31 days of 2013.  So what should we do?  

Life is short and this year is closing out making it even shorter!  We should go to Christmas Parties, eat a lot of sweets, drink lots of adult beverages, hang out under the mistletoe all night and maybe a little caroling, not necessarily in that order but from this point of view that’s not a bad line up.  I usually write about the local businesses each month but this month I want you to know them as people, local people with local lives and of course a local business.  They should be on your Christmas party list this year as they most certainly make the holidays brighter for this community!  

First up is Sandra LeMay with Dream Clean of Georgia.  She was born in Colombia in a family with five sisters. All five of the girls were trained from an early age by their mother to help out in the house by cleaning and cooking. Each of the girls found a skill set that they loved and for Sandra it was cleaning. Sandra moved to the United States in her 20’s and soon after began a life with her husband Peter LeMay, a Field Service Engineer. They have a son, Brice, and three rescue dogs. The family element is very important to Sandra and influences every aspect of Sandra’s company as well as her personal life. Sandra has been deeply impacted by the effects that cancer can have on a woman. Sandra’s mother, one of the greatest inspirations to start the Dream Clean business, battled breast cancer for many years and ultimately passed away from it in 1998. For this reason Sandra partnered with Cleaning for a Reason.   (Visit and to LIKE)

Regina Elvis of Miracles of Massage has a passion in the pursuit of your health and wellness and it shows in every moment you are in her presence.  She studied at the Atlanta School of Massage.  For the past 6 years Regina has been recognized by Gwinnett Magazine as one of the BESTS in her category and that alone should tell you her touch and healing techniques are something everyone should get for any day of the week.  Regina gives tirelessly to so many people, groups and non-profits.  She is a constant leader in the Lawrenceville Community and never allows the devils whisper of NO get in the way of her accomplishments.   She is a grandmother but clearly doesn’t look like it; it must be that healthy living she is dedicated to in her life and of course walk with God.  (Visit and to LIKE)  

Sisters Sylvia Culberson and Carolyn Wright owners of The Lona Gallery in Historic Downtown Lawrenceville are often asked  why they decided to open an art gallery. “All we can say is that being surrounded by art in all its forms (music, visual arts, dance, theater) makes us feel alive. We can’t imagine a world without it. Some things just can’t be expressed in words – that’s why we need art.  So, if you are an artist, love art, collect art, just know what you like (or don’t like), stop by any time. We hope to have something interesting and inspirational to share, and we want to hear from you!”  These ladies also organize and put together one of Lawrenceville’s Premier Festivals each year, Lawrenceville Fall Festival ~ Fair on the Square.  Mark Smith an American Family Insurance agent, in Grayson grew up in West Virginia, and attended West Virginia University, and Marshall University. He has a bachelors in Business Administration. In 1996, he moved to North Carolina to pursue a career as a golf professional at a club in Pinehurst, N.C.  and then moved to Georgia in 2003. Visit to LIKE and

Holley Calmes  is the Marketing Director of the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre.   Ms. Calmes has been involved in the arts in the Atlanta area for over thirty years. Her career has included positions with The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Academy Theatre, International Ballet Rotaru, the Gwinnett Philharmonic, and the Hudgens Center for the Arts among others. Ms. Calmes has also maintained a presence on Gwinnett’s art scene by writing her weekly column for the Gwinnett Daily Post, “Art Beat,” for ten years. She has contributed volunteer work to the Georgia Council for the Arts and been the Chairman of Performing Arts and Volunteers for the annual “Barefoot in the Park Arts Festival” since its beginning in 2003. She is a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s “Arts Leadership of Atlanta.”  She is also on the Board of the acclaimed Atlanta arts presenter “New Trinity Baroque.” She is married to the well-known dance photographer Richard Calmes, and together they contribute to the support and elevation of dance by contributing time and work for dancers across the country.  (Visit and to LIKE)

Another sister team down on the Historic Square are Kyle Cave and Donna Cave owners of The Blue Rooster Bake Shop & Eatery on the Square.   These ladies come to us from Lilburn originally but now we couldn’t figure out how we survived as a community before they got here.  I am constantly hearing of phrases like “the service is always friendly and the food’s always tasty” or “Best chicken salad I’ve had anywhere” and if you have ever visited their Facebook page you will start salivating just over the pictures of their food.  They are icing on the cake for this town of Lawrenceville.  (Visit to LIKE)   

Sandra Hoy of Insphere Insurance Solutions is a long time favorite of New Lawrenceville.  She is never quiet or shy about anything.  You can always count on her caring about your products and services to protect and preserve your health and your wealth.  From Social Worker to Financial Services Professional, go figure! She started from her college in Michigan to helping all manner of people in Georgia to reach their financial goals. She claims “experience in big wire houses and small financial planning firms brought me to an understanding of myself; I enjoy meeting and getting to know all types of people in all stages of their financial lives. I love the challenge of developing a plan with them that will manage the risk and get them on the road to their goals and dreams.”   (Visit

Brian Hah of Lighthouse Express Car Wash has one of the most exuberant personalities in Lawrenceville, he is a must know person.  His business has been family owned and operated since 2005, they are certified Water Saver members, and International Car Wash Association partners, & takes care of the environment by recycling our water and carefully managing our power use. They use Simoniz products, the industry A+ standard for chemicals, & offer consistency in every wash. They are always looking for better ways to make our business the best quality, positive and efficient express car wash the industry has to offer and look forward to serving you.  Brain helps out non-profits by giving back a portion of the car wash proceeds to local charities.   (Visit and to LIKE)

Nancy Alhabashi owner of Nancy’s Candy and Spices is much more than a store owner.  She is a mother & wife and also a globally recognized multimedia artist, published author and poet right here in Lawrenceville.  You will immediately fall in love with her paintings which are just beautiful pieces of work.  But I dare you to walk into her store any day of the week and not walk out with spices and candies for the entire family.  Her store is a must-stop on the holiday to-do list.  (Vist to LIKE) 

When you think American-Made no one more comes to mind than Jason Moss of This man is dedicated not only to God and his family but also to the constant awareness of Georgia manufactured products.  He is so committed to bringing awareness to his cause that he puts his money where his mouth is in every meeting, a crisp $100 bill if you can name 5 local Georgia companies and their products.  Most people can’t do it and that is not a good thing in his mind.  Buying locally, in our State and nationally is what makes America strong and keeps our people employed according to Jason.  He is our Diane Sawyer for Lawrenceville ~ Buy American, Buy Georgia made products.  

(Visit and to LIKE)

Did someone say Margarita’s?  Salsa?  The kind you eat and dance to?  A Mexican native now calling Lawrenceville home for over 20 years is Armando Rodriguez and he owns and daily operates with his family Cuernavaca Grill Mexican Restaurant.  In his establishment there are televisions around to grab a drink and watch the soccer games and be sure to sign up for their new loyalty reward program Spot On.  Armando states “your dining and wining pleasure is our first priority.  Your satisfaction is guaranteed by all of us here at Cuernavaca. Our goal is high quality food, friendly and efficient service.” (Visit and to LIKE)

Our communities only survive because of people like these.  I ask that this year you find your way into their stores and buy from them for the holidays.  They live their passion, most leaving corporate jobs to work daily and many more hours than what “normal” work hours entail.  I promise you they will be nicer and kinder than the big box stores.  They will be quicker than any online cyber host to get you your packages and remember you’re supporting your local community.  As we leave 2013 behind I personally want to wish each and every one of you a special wish no matter what holiday you celebrate this month.  There are only 365 days next year and I hope you will make each one of them count for you, your loved ones and for your community. Happy Holidays!  

New-Lvlle-roundThis article is sponsored by New Lawrenceville. New Lawrenceville is a FREE networking organization of businesses and volunteers that are working to bring community together.

Author Rodney Camren helps to lead New Lawrenceville in an effort to promote buying locally, educate the community on issues that affect our community. Rodney Camren is a Real Estate Agent with Keller Wiliams.