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 juggling 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 for Henry, Jasper, Butts, and Lamar counties, and on the fundraising committee of Soccer in the Streets, which empowers Atlanta's youth through soccer training, character development and employability programs. She is a mom to Ella, Annie, and Molly and dog mom to Lucy and Winston (the sweetest Golden Retrievers).
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
Joy is a full-time manager and bookseller at Story on the Square. She was born and raised in Griffin, GA a lifelong homeschooler she played softball in college and ended with a diploma in nursing from Griffin Tech. Growing up Joy loved reading, writing, and competing in Bowl Tournaments which increased her passion for the arts.
As a wife and mom of two small kids, she currently resides in Jackson and loves life by the lake. Her kids keep her up to date on the latest and greatest childrens books and series but her favorite would be classic literature, banned books, and any new thriller! As one of our newest employees be sure to stop in and introduce yourself, she loves meeting new people and would love to guide you to the perfect book!
Courtney comes to us with over 10 years experience in the hospitality industry! She has a passion for traveling and hiking all over the world. After reading "The Last Season" by Eric Bhlem, she was inspired to hike 221 miles on The John Muir Trail solo! She has devoured every book by Jon Krakauer, her favorite author who shares her love of the outdoors. She is currently studying to take the Court of Masters Sommelier exam and is slated to be Henry County's only Sommelier! You can find her leading "Drunk History Book Club" at the Rough Draft or leading our wine tasting events at any given time! Cheers!
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.
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 two little boys (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 sons, Bennett and Milo, 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.
Mandolin is a book worm through and through. She loves reading Young Adult Novels and Thrillers in most of her spare time. Any other spare time is spent writing short stories or drawing/painting dragons. She also owns a couple of 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 I Hunt Killers, and her favorite authors are April Henry and Erin Hunter.
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.
Eddie graduated from Valdosta State University with a BFA in theatre performance. He recently moved back to Georgia after some years in Los Angeles.