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.
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 a mom to Ella (age 17), Annie (age 16), and Molly (age 13) who attend Union Grove schools.
She is delighted to offer this bookstore to the community. "What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore, it knows it's not foolin' a soul" Neil Gaiman
Sarah San Juan is a full-time Manager and Bookseller at Story on the Square. She comes to us from Virginia originally, where she was born and raised. After graduating 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, AMC and E! Network as a media manager.
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, painting on her porch, or reading a great non-fiction book. She brings to our store her passion for literature, education, and love for local business.
This year she purchased a historic home in Griffin and hopes to settle into that community.She previously lived off-grid in a tiny house for two years!
Deanna is a military brat who moved back to McDonough in 2015. She went to Marshall University in West Virginia where she received her bachelor's in Public Relations and her Master's in Health Care Administration. She worked in human resources for mental health homes and flu clinics with a focus on recruitment and hiring. Deanna enjoys fiction especially contempoary, thriller, and mystery. When Deanna isn't reading she is drinking lots of coffee, traveling to see her friends, going to concerts, running, tennis, and hanging out with her family.
Nikki was born in North Carolina, but has lived in Georgia most of her life. She’s a local, graduating from Woodland High School in 2012. She then went on to earn her psychology degree from Georgia College, where her professors taught her to think outside of the box both with her degree and in life.
Throughout college, she worked as a Community Advisor and a Community Director for a bit after. She also tried the corporate thing, but books have always been where her heart’s at, so Story at the Square is kind of her dream job.
Outside of reading, her hobbies include crafting, 3-D puzzles, painting, and making jewelry.
Nannette has a Florida heart but has lived in McDonough for over a decade. She graduated from Union Grove High School in 2016 and is currently a Senior at Georgia State University studying Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies and Psychology. If she's not at school or Story on the Square, she's probably reading with her precious puppy, Zella, and Leopard Gecko, Rocky.
Nannette will read ANYTHING but particularly anything recommended by Roxane Gay on Goodreads.
Katlin is the chattiest bookworm you'll ever meet. Growing up, the only way to quiet her down was to hand her a book, and to this day the practice remains the same. Married mother of one (so far), Katlin graduated Georgia State University in 2012 with an English degree that focused on the construction of every type of document. After a brief three year adventure to Walt Disney World where she worked as an attractions trainer, she returned home to Henry County and is excited to help others discover their passion for reading at Story on the Square. When she's not reading or writing, she pretends to be a craft fairy, flitting from project to project in between playing with her son, Bennett, and her two pups.
Everytime she reads a new novel, Katlin has a new favorite, but The Night Circus will always be at the top of her list.
Amanda is a northern transplant hailing from Upstate New York. She moved to McDonough in 2017 to be closer to her family. Amanda has always been an avid reader, and reads a little bit of everything. In her free time, she is wrangling her difficult but adorable twin toddlers, listening to audiobooks or reading, and sometimes can even fit in a date night. She enjoys baking, bees, Halloween, and proving to everyone that Gordon Ramsay has a heart of gold.
Mandolin is a book worm through and through. She loves reading Young Adult Novels in almost all her spare time. Any other spare time she spends writing short stories or drawing dragons in her art book. She also owns four lovely chickens, a dog that's an escape artist, and one lazy bunny. She loves fawning over them, and has some hilarious stories to tell. She is currently enrolled at Ola High School and is a part of their Orchestra and Choir programs. Her favorite book series are Wings of Fire and Warriors.
Yvonne likes to think of herself as a lifelong learner. She enjoys reading a variety of genres. She has credentials as an American Sign Language Interpreter and has a B.S. in Psychology. She was reared in Clayton County, Ga and currently lives in Hampton with her husband of 17 years, George, and their two year old Husky, Luna.
Helen is a native Atlantan, attending Emory University for undergrad and completing a masters degree at Georgia State University. She has resided in the Southern Crescent for over twenty years where she and her husband raised three talented sons. Because reading has always been her passion, she decided to come work at this super cool bookstore as her nest emptied. She loves historical fiction, biographies, and any well-told story. Other hobbies include cooking, gardening, pet-sitting, and volunteering with a local historical society. She never leaves home without a book.
Cristina is an artist who recently moved to McDonough from Miami, FL.
She is currently studying psychology. On her days off you can catch her making art in her studio.
Even though Natascha has only been in McDonough for a few months, she's already completely settled in. Originally from Germany, she got to travel to and live in several countries and states growing up thanks to her parents. She loves meeting new people and being part of a team that is so incredibly well-read and ceaselessly passionate about their customers and community. In her "free time" she enjoys concerts, cooking, and listening to audio books.
Eddie graduated from Valdosta State University with a BFA in theatre performance. He recently moved back to Georgia after some years in Los Angeles.