In August of 2016, Dr. Stephanie Gordon was floating in the lake with her Leadership Georgia classmates when she was challenged to state what new business she would start if time and money were no object. She boldly (and maybe foolishly) reported she “would open a bookstore, with a bar, and an event space to hold book club meetings and community gatherings.”
This would have all ended here, except this company is the type to hold you to your word. The more they discussed the bookstore, the more real it became in her mind. That night, Story on the Square was born. The bar, Rough Draft, was named soon after. And the next week, Stephanie and her husband, David Jongebreur started looking for the perfect property.
They knew they had to be on the Square in their hometown for the foot traffic and centralized location, and soon closed on a beautiful historic building built in 1900, originally the Masonic Lodge. The building has proven to be a challenge, but luckily, David has a background in architecture and building construction. The plans were drawn up by Lori Bork who specializes in historical renovations, while David and his friends performed demolition on the entire 12,000 square feet over the three floors.
While construction was underway, Stephanie joined the American Booksellers Association, and attended a meeting for prospective bookstore owners at their annual meeting in January. She engaged at Bookstore Bootcamp in Amelia Island in April, beginning her immersion into a whole new career.
She is navigating a new language, a new tribe, and are excited to bring you Story on the Square as soon as construction is complete.
Stephanie is implementing all of this as she continues to run her private medical practice in Henry and Rockdale Counties. She also serves on the Board of Directors at the Haven House, the domestic violence shelter, and on the Board of the Ferst Foundation, a local literary non-profit that raises money and distributes free books monthly to Henry County children aged 0-5. She is the sponsor of the Reading Bowl team at Union Grove Middle School, plays tennis and kickball, and is a mom to Ella (age 15), Annie (age 14), and Molly (age 11) who attend Union Grove school.
Sarah San Juan is a full-time bookseller at Story on the Square. She comes to us from Virginia originally, where she was born and raised. After gradating from Virginia Commonwealth University, she began working as a casting assistant for AMC. In 2015 she relocated to Atlanta and has worked on various television shows for Bravo and E! Network as a media manager. Recently she moved to Griffin to build a tiny house!
With a degree in Global Film Theory, she thoroughly enjoys “reading" foreign films. In her spare time she is usually found exploring and photographing nature, taking headshots for actors, watching documentaries, or reading a great sci-fi book. She brings to our store her passion for literature, education, and love for local business.
This year she hopes to self-publish her own collection of poems, photographs and drawings.
Ash is a local cartoonist with a long history of loving books. The two hobbies actually have the same origin point! Growing up in a low income family, there was always one bill that couldn't be covered. The summer after Ash's fifth grade year, that bill was the electricity. So her family introduced her to the library while they used the computers. A hand drawn poster was tacked onto the wall and it found itself burned into Ash's memories. That night, she took home the first Harry Potter book and tried as hard as she could to recreate the poster she saw. It was also the first night she found herself escaping to another world within pages and ink.
This memory has stuck with her for over twelve years, and since she's devoted her life to both passions equally. She draws short comics about her own life, while writing odd short stories. One day, she hopes to be a cover designer for books and mesh her two passions together.
When not working, you can probably find Ash drinking coffee, her nose in a book, and sitting next to her senior rescue dog, Spock.
Victoria is a freelance journalist for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and Youth Today. She is a recent transplant from New York City, where she attended CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism and met her now-husband, Ryan Cooley. She followed him to McDonough after he came here for a teaching job at Union Grove High School. Victoria is an avid reader who is always exploring new coffee shops around Atlanta. When she's not reading or writing, she loves traveling, playing with her two cats (Patches and Junie) and looking very pregnant while waddling around.
Amanda is a recent transplant to McDonough from Syracuse, New York. She has always been a voracious reader, equally eager to escape into fictional landscapes, expand her knowledge base with non-fiction books, or dive into books of all genres. Not even the traffic of Atlanta can keep her down when she is able to listen to podcasts and audiobooks! She enjoys cozy atmospheres, where books and hours to read them are abundant. In her spare time, she is chasing after her twins, cooking and baking, drinking copious amounts of coffee and tea, and exploring as much as Georgia as she possibly can. Amanda hopes to one day keep honeybees, live off the land, visit Iceland, and raise the coolest kids she's ever met.