Down on the corner

How three Grantville businesses are finding strength in numbers

by Clay Neely

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What might a thrift shop, game store and pizza parlor have in common?

Not much on the surface but if you take a closer look, you’d find a common theme running through all of them. These three Church Street business owners believe in not only their businesses but how they do business.

“It’s like a small family, down here” said Dawn Clark who runs A New Dawn thrift, jewelry and antique store who opened their doors in downtown Grantville on Dec. 6.

“I was initially worried about moving here because it wasn’t on Main Street but it turned out to be the best decision we ever made” said Clark.

Her husband, David, also helps out around the store when he’s not busy with his own small landscaping and contracting company.

Next door to the thrift store, Chad McFee runs Infinite Realities, a toy-comic-collectable store. He opened his doors Nov. 13, just one week before Clark opened the thrift store.

Originally an inventory supervisor for Fresh Express, McFee decided that the time to pursue his own business was now.

After doing collectors shows for years as part of his hobby, McFee found himself at the point where his personal collection was too large to pack up anymore.

“Not only that but my wife was complaining about the stuff,” laughed McFee.

“The opportunity just really presented itself,” said McFee. “I always thought in the back of my mind that having my own store would have been out of my price range. It’s not a fast moving type business.”

However, McFee feels that the location and price has made it a great fit and is optimistic about the future.

“Word’s getting out,” said McFee. “We’re slowing gaining momentum. I’m hopeful about starting hosting some Magic (card game) tournaments at some point.”

The last piece of the puzzle was Peter Stasio.

Originally a native of Long Island, Stasio worked for the Home Depot before getting transferred to Newnan 15 years ago. After living in Fayetteville for a few years, he found himself in Moreland.

However, Home Depot recently laid him off.

“I got to be making too much money so they let me go,” he laughed. “However, I had always thought about having my own pizza place for my entire life.”

One fateful evening, Dawn Clark ran into Peter Stasio at the laundrymat. Stasio’s washing machine was broken and the Clarks had just moved across town and hadn’t had time to hook up their washer and dryer yet.

They began talking to each other.

“We talked about how great it was being on the corner and how Peter’s dream was always to open a pizza parlor,” said Dawn. “I told him how Jim (Sells) had been showing the building to several people but no one really seemed interested so we told Peter that he really needed to talk to Jim because he’s known for really helping out small business owners.”

Stasio initially balked at the idea but Dawn championed Stasio’s pizza idea to Sells.

“Peter’s the real deal,” she told him. “We need him down here.”

Ultimately, Stasio worked out a deal with Sells and his dream became a reality just last month.

“Jim sees more value in having people in a building working than sitting empty, waiting on the highest bidder,” said Stasio. “It’s in the lease, you have to be open a minimum of 30 hours. He really wants businesses to succeed. This is us, this is where we’re trying to make our living.”

Dawn’s personal vision of downtown Grantville is rooted in self-sufficiency. She envisions an area where residents no longer have to rely on getting on the interstate to go out to eat or shop.

“Things are really starting to move down here,” said Dawn. “We’re supposedly getting a pharmacy and Lord knows we’re doing all we can to get a grocery store.”

“Our approach to running a successful small businesses is through working with each other and not competing,” said Dawn. “I think that was one of the biggest problems in the past in this town. For us its about family and helping each other out.”

“We’re basically trying to work together to improve Grantville,” said Stasio.

McFee believes that one of the best parts about having his business on the corner is that all of the owners truly do look out for each other like a family,.

“If I have to run out on an errand or run home, they have my back,” said McFee. “They’ll watch the store until I can return and I’ll do the same for them. We never have to worry about closing or losing business.”

In McFee’s and Stasio’s establishments, Dawn has a flyer at their store where if you bring it to her her store, you’ll get 10 percent off your purchase.

“On this corner, what makes us unique is the support of each other and that’s what we’re trying to get the rest of the community to participate in,” said Dawn. “It’s going to make this town grow and be a great place to live.”

Every business inevitably faces challenges. Buy, according to Dawn, “We’re a lot stronger as three people together than acting as individuals.”.

“Initially one of our biggest challenges was with the local government,” said Dawn.

“We’ve had some hurdles in the past but now we have a lot more backing with the new city council. They’re much more business friendly,” said her husband David.

Getting the word out has also proven to be a bit of a challenge but all three believe it’s only a matter of time.

“There are people who live here but don’t even know about us,” laughed McFee.

Stasio agreed, noting the advertising just isn’t in their budget just yet.

“People are starting to notice though,” said David. “People who have lived here for years are starting to see how downtown is making a comeback. It’s amazing to see.”



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