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
Phillip has lived in Georgia his entire life. Ever since her was 16, he has been passionate about supporting local businesses and restaurants. He has helped to grow and support many local establishments including Corner Cafe' in Carrolton, the Senior Citizen Center and local hospital in LaGrange, Habitat for Humanity in LaGrange and Columbus. Now he has brought this passion to Story on the Square in McDonough. His favorite book series is Lord of the Rings, and he is currently reading through Song of Fire and Ice. In his free time, he enjoys golf and gaming and currently lives with 6 cats. With an extensive past in helping small and startup businesses expand and profit, he is excited to contribute to the success and expansion of Story on the Square. He is committed to growing our strong, local following. Stop by and say hello to our new Story on the Square Manager!
Eddie graduated from Valdosta State University with a BFA in theatre performance. He recently moved back to Georgia after some years in Los Angeles.
Eddie loves Horror and Stephen King novels and leads these bookclubs. He recently started coaching high school soccer and took his team to the playoffs their first year. Eddie has a great knowledge of beer and wine, and will happily make suggestions for you at the Rough Draft.
Brittany is a lifelong bibliophile and lover of everything green. She was a history major at North Georgia College and State University, and has since dappled in many customer service related fields. Her favorite book genre will always be Sci-Fi-Fantasy, and she has a small obsession with all things Tolkien.
She lives in Conyers on a small farm with her husband, five awesome kids, and a menagerie of farm animals. In her spare time, she's busy with the kids and farm, but loves kayaking in warmer weather. Some of her other hobbies include art, cosplay, traveling, anything DIY, and especially gardening. She is always her happiest when her hands are in the dirt or when her nose is in a book. She loves chatting with people and hearing new stories, so stop by and let her recommend a book and a beer anytime!
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.
Ellen is a classic Jack (or Jill!) of all trades. As a life-long resident of Henry County, she currently teaches locally as a full time English teacher, owns a surrogacy agency, and loves to talk books, beer, and everything in between. She has a degree in English and Instructional Technology, is a wife and mom to three girls, three dogs, one cat, a tarantula, and tankful of fish! She adores reading, cooking, baking, traveling, attending sporting events, and goes through various phases of activities like refurbishing furniture and crochet. Come see her for one of our famous Bottomless Mimosa Days!
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.
Education Outreach/Event Planner
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.
Hannah graduated with the class of 2020 and is now a Sophomore at Georgia State University. She enjoys music, reading, and LOTS of coffee! Her favorite genre to read is Young Adult Fiction so if you need a suggestion for your next great read then stop by to see her!
Shelby is a current student enrolled at Georgia State University studying Theater. She has grown up in Mcdonough and loves to read, act, and sew. In her free time you’ll find her making sustainable tote bags and creating art. She enjoys reading novels based off movies, mixing her passion for film and love for books! She decided to come work at this wonderful bookstore to meet new people and discover new books to read. She has participated in local theater groups in the community and looks forward to finishing her degree at Georgia State.
Carter grew up in Henry County. He graduated from Vanderbilt University, and has worked in and out of the film and television business for the last few years. Carter enjoys reading books (nonfiction and classics are favorites), watching old movies, and hanging out with dogs.