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 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, and hanging out with her family.
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 Junior 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 watching YouTube with her precious puppy, Zella and Leopard Gecko, Rocky.
Nannette reads anything written by John Green, Roxane Gay, and Haruki Murakami and will never turn down a Young Adult fantasy novel
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.
Kelsi has been a avid bibliophile for as long as she can remember. As a child, instead of being grounded like normal kids, her mom would take away her books! With over 200 books of her own, Kelsi always has a new read she is working on. A resident of Florida, Kentucky, and Georgia, she is now happy to call McDonough home. A graduate of Toccoa Falls College with a B.S. in Intercultural Studies and English, she is excited to bring her passion for literacy to Story on the Square! When she isn't reading, Kelsi loves to cook, write, or travel with her husband.
Her current favorite read is Samin Nosrat's Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and her childhood favorite is The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak but she loves to read any and everything inbetween!
Courtney comes to us with almost 10 years of bar experience. Her passion is hospitality. She recently moved back to this area after spending 5 years in Atlanta's growing restaurant industry creating craft cocktails to align with their menu concept. After reading "The Last Season" by Eric Blehm, she was so inspired by it she hiked The John Muir trail (221 miles) solo! She enjoys reading Non- Fiction adventure or Historical Biographies, espcially anything by Jon Krakauer. When not reading, she and her hound dog Morgan (Mo) can be found hiking Georgia's trails or painting and playing guitar on her front porch (not at the same time though).
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.
Jade was born in Virginia, but has been raised in Henry County for most of her life! She now resides in Atlanta with her two-and-a-half year old daughter, Evie, and their cat (Lulu.) She enjoys spending time outdoors, going to music festivals, thrift shopping, and traveling as much as she can. Her hopes are to open her own coffee shop in the city sometime the future!