President at Panoply Interior Design
60 Seconds With Martha Ann Parks
by Clay Neely
What brought you to Coweta in 1976?
I lived in a small town about an hour south of here. Whenever we needed to go buy groceries or the movies or whatever you either went to LaGrange, Newnan or Griffin. We were in the middle of those three, big towns.
I gravitated to Newnan because I had participated in the Newnan Follies in 1976 or 1977 and I just liked the people. So when I decided to go into business, it seemed like a great place to start and it has proven to be just that.
I have always loved the history and the community and the sense of place that is so authentic and although much larger, very much the community spirit of where I grew up.
What is the important lesson you’ve learned running your own business for over thirty years?
Perseverance. Just keep on keepin’ on. You’ll experience good times and you’ll experience slow times but if you keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing what you’re supposed to do, it always comes back around. You can’t give up when things get hard and you put a lot of trust in God to see you through.
You show up every day and work hard but you must enjoy what you do and have a passion for it. You also keep learning and keeping yourself informed about all the new products and ways of doing things.
My job, which is making homes and businesses more livable and aesthetically pleasing, is what I do. My business is a service business and so it is serving my clients and listening to them. Listening to what a client tells me is of utmost importance. It is very gratifying to listen, really listen to a client and get inside their heads as to what they want in their built environment both aesthetically and emotionally.
It is taking their needs and wants and putting them together to make a house, a home or a business a place one can be productive. When it comes together it is a wonderful experience for both the client and for me.
What would you consider to be your greatest business achievement to date?
That I was able to keep my head above water when there was the huge turndown in ‘08 and continued to stay in business. One of the projects that I’m most proud of is the Newnan conference center which just opened in July. The project was delayed many times in the process of being built but the end result was just what I had planned and hoped it would be. It’s something that I’m very proud of.
What’s the best advice you would give to someone who was just starting their own business?
Don’t give up. Treat people the way you want to be treated and keep learning. Keep studying and learning new things.