CORE receives grant and state office at ribbon-cutting


ELLIJAY, Ga. – “This is the kind of project that will spread prosperity throughout our entire region. It is the kind of skin-in-the-game project that deserves support…” Georgia Speaker of the House, David Ralston praised the CORE Facility in Ellijay who hosted their official ribbon-cutting today.

Nestled just off Maddox Drive on the banks of the Coosawattee River in Ellijay, Georgia, the CORE Facility hosts business offices and incubation locations for entrepreneurs and start-ups in need of an office or workspace without the hassles of long-term investment.

Left to right, Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, and Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones celebrate with Greater Gilmer JDA Executive Director Kent Sanford at the CORE Facility ribbon-cutting in Ellijay, Georgia, on July 24, 2019.

However, the facility’s impact reaches so much farther than the city limits or the county’s borders. Today marked a celebration for the region and for the state. Representatives statewide joined together for this ribbon cutting including Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Gilmer Post Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, State Senator Steve Gooch, State Representative of District 11 Rick Jasperse, Ellijay City Mayor Al Hoyle, Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, and many representatives from the Ellijay and East Ellijay City Councils and Gilmer Board of Education. Efforts from many organizations have led into combined organizations such as the Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority (JDA) and the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation.

That Foundation was the birthplace of the initiative to build CORE. According to Kent Sanford, Executive Director of the Greater Gilmer JDA and part of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation, a 14-month birth cycle has finally come to full fruition.

While the celebration was a culmination of efforts so far, it is only the beginning. It is a project that holds great impact on the future, according to Ralston who said, “It will create jobs in our area. The jobs of tomorrow will be possible because of the work that goes on in this building.”

Speaker of the House, David Ralston announces a $420,000 state grant for the CORE facility to applause from attendees at the ribbon-cutting on July 24, 2019.

Ralston also dedicated support to the facility as he announced, “Because of the local commitment to the CORE building the State of Georgia, through our OneGeorgia Authority, is awarding $420,000 to this project to be used for Facility purchase and improvement costs. This $420,000 grant is historic, both in terms of its dollar amount and the impact it will have on this project and community.”

Ralston continued speaking about the economic development and job creation in the county before offering the second announcement of the day regarding the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center.

Ralston stated at the ribbon-cutting, “I am proud to announce that the new North Georgia of the Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation will be housed right here in Ellijay in this facility. The office will be led by Janet Cochran.”

Ralston’s office later offered a full Press Release on the announcement stating the center serves as a central information and research hub for rural best practices, including community planning, industry-specific assistance and cooperative efforts with community partners. The center was proposed by the House Rural Development Council in 2017 and was created by House Bill 951, which was enacted in 2018.

The Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center, was officially announced to open a North Georgia Office at Gilmer’s CORE facility during a ribbon-cutitng on July 24, 2019.

These announcements were applauded by those present and praised by the Chairman of the Gilmer Chamber, John Marshall, who said, “Mr. Speaker, once again you have proven yourself to be the very epitome of a stalwart and faithful advocate not only to your hometown and all the other communities in these beautiful North Georgia Mountains, but to each and every corner of the state of Georgia.”

President of the Gilmer Chamber, Paige Green also praised the facility as the realization of a dream for the community that has spread to benefit not only one county but something larger that now spans the region.

Today was a celebration of completing the first steps of a larger plan for the facility. Though it is now open, it is only the first phase of that dream. Director Sanford noted last year that the hopes for the facility include two more phases.

In Phase II, the foundation will continue renovation onto the second floor to open up a larger area for education and training in a 1,200 square foot space upstairs.

In Phase III, hopes for the CORE Facility could extend into the schools for things like STEM Classes, STEM Saturdays, or other forays into education connection. Consolidating resources for these could include shared STEM kits or a shared expense for a STEM subscription service involving 3d-printing necessary components. However, specific details into PHASE III have yet to be finalized.

Ultimately, the CORE wants to continue spreading and growing this larger community where possible. Opportunities that may come have yet to be revealed, but one ribbon-cutting today, one celebration, can lead to something bigger than imagining tomorrow.


CF Printing and Promotions Gilmer Ribbon Cutting


ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer Chamber welcomed another member this week with CF Printing and Promotions.

The Ribbon Cutting represented the opening of their new location in Jasper in the same lot as Appalachian Gun & Pawn, at 140 Shelby Lane. The official location is the latest step in the company’s growth as they not only spread business across county lines into Gilmer and the surrounding area, but also hosts a North Carolina office.

Commenting at their ribbon cutting, Keely Chalk said, “We do anything with your logo.”

Having started in the business over 20 years ago, Geoff Chalk meets in person with clients to maintain a face to face connection with people instead of an online-only separation.

Check out the Gilmer Chamber’s video of the ribbon cutting below or see more photos on the FYN Facebook Page.


Karla’s Korner – Upcoming Holiday Events in Ellijay


Tuesdays are for Karla! There are always plenty of things to do this time of year in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Thursday – 11/16: there will be a ribbon cutting for Lucy’s Fried Chicken and after there will be a Adult Rock Painting Party.
Friday – 11/17: ribbon cutting for Looch & Quigley LLC, a beautiful boutique in downtown Ellijay. They will have specials and deals during that event.

Are you looking for a great way to give back to your community? Right now there is a diaper drive happening in Gilmer county to benefit foster families. Abby’s Frozen Yogurt is helping to organize this diaper drive and is accepting all diaper donations at their location on South Main Street.


Also, due to Thanksgiving next week Karla will not be with us so she wanted to let us know what funHoliday events will be happening next week as well.

Friday – 11/24: Light Up Ellijay’s Whooville Celebration will begin with the tree lighting at 5:30 pm and a Christmas parade at 6:00 pm. Following these events Abby’s Frozen Yogurt will be hosting a dance party. There is also talk of there being a live nativity at First Baptist Church sometime that weekend.

Thank you to Gilmer County Chamber for sponsoring this segment and remember this year, try to shop local for all your Christmas present needs.

Gilmer ARTS Celebrates New Playhouse

George Link Jr Playhouse Ribbon Cutting

ELLIJAY, GA – Celebrating over two years of work, Gilmer ARTS held a ribbon cutting on Thursday, August 10, to officially open the doors of the George Link, Jr. Playhouse.

Congressman Doug Collins, right, speaks with a local citizen soon after cutting the ribbon on the George Link, Jr. Playhouse.

Congressman Doug Collins, right, speaks with a local citizen soon after cutting the ribbon on the George Link, Jr. Playhouse.

Hosting local community members at the Gilmer Chamber Luncheon, the playhouse also saw Congressman Doug Collins and Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston speak before the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

The project of building the playhouse began under then-President of Gilmer ARTS John Rathbone who has followed the project through under new President Sharon Watkins. Rathbone says Watkins has done a wonderful job continuing the dream of the playhouse saying, “There isn’t really anyone who could have succeeded me in that position that I would have felt better about.”

Now the Executive Director of the Project, Rathbone has listed several issues the playhouse still faces such as sponsors and funding, but he feels the greater accomplishment for Gilmer ARTS is the support for the playhouse finding volunteers for positions like Artistic Director, Facility Manager, Production Manager, and Marketing Manager among others.

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, David Ralston

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, David Ralston

Community Support was echoed by Speaker Ralston when FYN caught up with him after the ceremony. Ralston told FYN, “I think it says a lot about the community, it says they are looking forward, not back. This is the result of community interest, so I think this community can take a lot of pride in what they’ve done.”

Rathbone and Watkins both mentioned the new opportunities the facility will open for both events downtown and access to community. A wide variety of events have already been booked for the venue including musical theater, comedy, magic mind reading,  and country music to name a few for the fall alone. More than that the community itself can contact Gilmer ARTS to discuss renting the facility for their own needs. The opportunities also spill over into the Gilmer ARTS original building as renovations will begin on that to increase space for classes, art gallery, and   exhibitions. The new renovations are set to begin Monday morning, August 13, according to Watkins.

Prior to renovations, a lot of preparation was needed to make the George Link, Jr. Playhouse ready for its transformation.

Prior to renovations, a lot of preparation was needed to make the George Link, Jr. Playhouse ready for its transformation.

Congressman Collins commented on the restoration process saying, “Just think about the character of old places that become new again. Think about the regeneration of communities and people, I think what it does to me is it makes everyone from our young and old know that there is hope and change and usefulness.  We are a society that is, many times, too concerned with the now. We forget that where we are standing right now is a result of people who dreamed and hoped and payed the price years ago. We are standing on their shoulders. I think buildings like this that are re-purposed for this tells us that their is a new adventurous spirit. It’s a reminder of the old that gets us to the new.”




Karla’s Korner – Gilmer County Fair & Network Luncheon This Week

Community, Gilmer County Chamber

School has started back in North Georgia and you know what that means? The fair is coming to town! Gilmer County fair is here this week at the Lions Club Fair Grounds. It will be open starting tonight, August 8th through Sunday, August 13th from 6 pm to 9pm each night. Previously they have had just one night be “arm-band night” but this year they have made that an option for every night. Also going on this week we have the August Chamber Network Luncheon. That event will be held Thursday, August 10th at the New Gilmer Arts Playhouse in down town Ellijay. They will have 9th District Congressman Doug Collins as the guest speaker and will also be doing the ribbon cutting for the Playhouse at 1 pm. For more info on this and other events going on in Gilmer County check out the events calendar on the Chamber’s website.

Karla’s Korner – Karla says Fall is in the Air Already

Business, Gilmer County Chamber

We love Tuesdays because that’s when Karla comes to see us. She pointed out the nice, cooler temperatures we have been having the last couple days. She even wore her Fall lipstick today. She says Fall is in the air. School is starting back in North Georgia this week. Friday, August 4th all the Gilmer County students go back to school. Be prepared for extra traffic in the morning and afternoons. We would like to urge everyone to drive carefully, watching for children and parents getting back into the school routine. Karla tells us that there is a ribbon cutting today at Teague Law Firm. Also, if you have not registered for the August Chamber Network Luncheon, Karla urges you to do this soon. They are having this month’s luncheon at the new Gilmer Arts Playhouse so seating is more limited than normal. The guest speaker for this month is 9th District Congressman Doug Collins. For more information on this and all the events in Gilmer County visit the chamber website.

Karla’s Korner – Upcoming Events in Gilmer County

Community, Featured

Earch Day clean up

Springtime in Ellijay means a lot of great upcoming events to get outside and enjoy! Dalton State College is hosting an art show for all local students from today until May 5th. There will be a reception tonight to kick off the art show. There are also ribbon cuttings this week at Premier Pools and Spas and Abby’s Ice Cream and Fro Yo. This weekend is Earth Day and it is supposed to be a beautiful weekend. In honor of Earth Day there will be a couple “clean up” events around town one will be at Harrison Park and the other will start at River Pavilion.



The next big Gilmer County event that we are looking forward to is the Apple Blossom FestivalABF on May 6th and 7th. This is a great festival showcasing local craft vendors, food vendors and businesses. Come out, bring your pups, and meet the FYN team. We will have a “pup-cam” and treats for all our furry friends as well. Also in today’s segment with Karla hear a little confession from BKP about “his spot” at the Apple Blossom Festival.





For more information on all these upcoming events and many more check out the events calendar on the Gilmer Chamber website.


Karla’s Korner – March 21st

Community, Featured

Today Karla tells us about the following upcoming events in Gilmer County:
1) Business Connections at Chateau Meichtry
2) Spring Wine Highway Week
3) Ribbon Cutting for the new Gilmer Agricultural Center at Clear Creek Middle School

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