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 for 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
David was born in the Netherlands and he is 6'10, and no he doesn't play basketball. He graduated from Georgia Tech and Clemson University. He has worked extensively in project management and facilities management, most recently for UGA. He now pivots and joins Story on the Square as the operations manager. He likes reading non-fiction, especially history, political interest, and finance books. He can fix anything and hiked over 500 miles of the El Camino trail last year. He's married to Stephanie and has 3 brillant daughters. Come say hello and welcome David to the bookstore.
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 at the Rough Draft!
Mandolin is a bookworm 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 Gordon State University, pursuing a Creative Writing Degree and taking many English Classes. Her favorite book series are Wings of Fire and I Hunt Killers, and her favorite authors are April Henry and Erin Hunter.
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.