Marietta Stories l Inspiring and historical stories from the community of Marietta, Georgia

What makes the town of Marietta, Georgia so welcoming, friendly and the center of Southern hospitality? Listen each week as Amy and John speaks with the community so they can tell their heartwarming, sad and funny stories about this historic city.
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Marietta Stories l Inspiring and historical stories from the community of Marietta, Georgia








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May 20, 2017

I interviewed Fountaine Lewis in his living room, also known as Marietta Jazz and Jokes. I left knowing a lot more about being cool and Fountaine and his guests for the evening: D’neter Denise, and Gary Harris. All of them are super talented and have a story to share.


Where else in Marietta can you bring your own food and drinks and listen to premiere jazz talents and a comedian between music sets?


But there’s more. 


Fountaine gives back. He has a mason jar on each table for donations that brings musical equipment and instruments to schools. 


Bottom line. My wife and I love Marietta Jazz and Jokes and Fountaine. Come out for his twice a month concerts, you will love it too.

Location: 164 Roswell St, Marietta, Georgia


May 12, 2017

Cassandra Buckalew is on a mission. She loves Marietta and wants to help businesses with her interior designs. After all, she totally transformed Tiny Bubbles Tea Bar, House of Lu and the Brickyard on the Marietta Square. 


But that’s not all.


Cassandra and her husband Brian created Marietta Trolley Tours, because she felt like the city really needed one. Absolutely right!


The whole design thing started young for Cassandra. From doll houses to rearranging her furniture late at night, Cassandra is wired to design.


I am so glad she is here and we all can’t wait to see what is next.

May 4, 2017

Melanie Crissey grew up in Marietta and back then saw the city as old fashioned and conservative. But when the city rallied to renovate the Strand Theater, she began to see Marietta residents in a better light. So no one should be surprised she moved back to Marietta after her going to school at Georgia. 


Melanie not only shifted her mind about Marietta, she shifted her career too. In her college internship, she tried to get local musicians heard by mailing CDs. She used techniques like, “hope your cat is good” to break through the noise. Marketing was her major, but a friend helped get her a job with computer programming. She wrote code to make email newsletters run something.


Fast forward to her current career, Melanie analyzes website data for businesses by looking at the customer experience. 


I think Melanie is not quite settled….

Apr 30, 2017

Starting at 2 years old, Becca Stevens sang and performed along with her parents, traveling the country. When she compared herself to other kids in school, she thought she was weird. She wondered why her parents were different than the other kids’ parents. But being different also allowed her to explore her creativity. At 8, she thought she would train monkeys, but that morphed into music, painting and Shakespeare plays. Becca describes the moment she decided to focus on music alone.


Her new album, Regina Becca further explores and her how her brain loves to find complex, non-traditional ways to express her art. Shakespheare’s Romeo and Juliet character Queen Mab is one of the songs she shared with the folks of Marietta.


We’re glad she came… 


Regina Album access










Apr 23, 2017

Stephanie Taylor grew up the daughter of missionaries and she spent time in the Netherlands as a child. There Stephanie learned to help people as her faith calls her to do. About a year ago when she was diagnosed with cancer (she thankfully in remission), she came across a fair-trade company called Trades of Hope,


She realized that Trades of Hope helped people, so she decided to be a Compassionate Entrepreneur. 


Everything that Trades of Hope sells helps women and their families. From not having to give a baby up for adoption, to not having to sell their bodies, Trades of Hope empowers women in 16 countries.


Another inspirational Marietta resident you’ll love hearing about!

Apr 15, 2017

Rhoda Vickers is knocking it out of the park! Her blog has over 400,000 page views per month and 190,000 unique views / month.


But like most success stories, it was not easy getting there.


Rhoda Vickers grew up in Marietta. As she says, it was “the sticks.” Her Dad was a preacher and her Mom stayed at home and took care of things.


She ended up working in Marietta as a secretary. When they introduced the word processor to her, she hated it. But after a while, she fell in love with it and became an expert.


When the internet came along, Rhoda realized that she loved that too. Gone was the control the magazines had over content. She could share er decorating ideas and pictures with other people that loved the same thing.


So about 10 years ago, she started the Southern Hospitality Bog, when living in Birmingham — and it took off.


Then in 2011 everything changed. Her husband got into legal trouble and they divorced. Rhoda moved back in with her parents in the same house they lived in when she was a kid.


But, she kept on blogging and told her readers about her life issues. They 100% supported her and her blog continued to grow.


Pretty inspiring!

Apr 9, 2017

Austin Long has always been a nomad. His Dad was an FBI agent and the family moved from place to place across the US, so Austin had to learn how to make new relationships at these new destinations. He recently moved to Marietta and has made himself at home while finding new guests and topics for his Soccer Nomad podcast.


Austin shares all the exciting things happening in the soccer world in Atlanta, including the Franklin Gateway practice area for Atlanta United Football Club and the team’s first season. Check it out…

Apr 2, 2017

Dianna Kaga has no fear. She said it herself. But having no fear comes with consequences. For Dianna those consequences include: breaking both her wrists (not at the same time), finger bones, and several others.


But she also has experienced life much more than many of us.  


For instance, she started a bead business after losing her physical education job and started teaching fitness classes in her spare time. She loves dance and movement and has taught just about every fitness class you can think of. Zumba is one of her favorites.


Five years ago, she took over a failing Workout Anytime Marietta, a mile west of the square, just off of Burnt Hickory Road. Through hard work and customer service, she built the business back up. 


She bought another failing one and has begun to turn that one around. 


She recently started small group training sessions called: MX4. No matter your age, MX4 can give you a great workout in 30 minutes. Bill got into the act by trying out the S Drive (looks like a treadmill, but has no motor). He drops a swear word, but it is hard to hear…


I certainly enjoyed our interview, I think you will too.


Mar 26, 2017

It took Ragan Whiteside a week to make a sound on the flute, but she kept pursuing music and eventually made it her career.


The past few years have been exciting for Ragan, having won Flutist of the Year in the Black Women in Jazz & Fine Arts.


Ragan’s passion for music lead her to realize another new love: Songwriting and Arranging. After winning numerous competitions in both performance and music composition she decided to further her music studies and attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Harid Conservatory, where she earned a Bachelor of Music Performance degree.


After graduating, Ragan returned to New York to begin her career as a professional musician and immersed her composition abilities within the genres of Jazz, Funk, and R&B. After winning the Capital Jazz New Artist Competition, she released her debut album, Class Axe in 2007. Since her debut album, this award winning artist has developed a heightened focus in the writing, producing, and editing process of her 2012 sophomore release, Evolve. Evolve showcases not only her melodious musicianship as a flutist, but her sultry vocals and soulful compositions. Under the direction of her highly acclaimed producers/arrangers, Dennis Johnson and Bob Baldwin,Ragan showcases her high energy and expansive musical abilities. Taking  her refreshing and vibrant flute sounds to newer heights, Ragan collaborated with an array of veteran contemporary jazz artists, including Chieli Minucci, Marion Meadows, Bob Baldwin, Porter Carroll Jr. (original member of Atlantic Starr) and Chembo Corniel (Latin Jazz Grammy nominee).


Portions of these show notes are taken from:



Mar 11, 2017

Nuha grew up in Bagdad, Iraq and started a business in 1999. When the war with Iraq started in 2003, she contracted with Americans to help rebuild the country. Then the insurgency and armed men showed up at the wrong house.

She escaped to Jordan and worked her way to her country of spiritual origin, the US. Now she owns Cleo Coffee Shop right off the Square in Marietta. With all the discussion of immigrants these days, Nuha shares her unique and fascinating story with us. You’ll be glad you listened.

Mar 5, 2017

One of her April Forshee’s first memories of creating stuff was getting into trouble creating paper dolls in school. But that did not deter her. At 7, she learned how to sew and she kept doing it. She even went to high school and took sewing.

When it was time for college, she chose Georgia Tech and took accounting to make sure she could find work. (She had a son at age 19.)

The corporate accounting career started out fine.

But then, she gave it all up 6 months before the 2008 financial crisis. She was tired of picking up her small son at 6 pm and siting in traffic for hours each week.

She substitute taught math and science, but never gave up sewing. April made some aprons for her mom’s yard sale and sold nothing. She told her friends and family the the story and they started buying them.

So she started Forshee Designs (and recently Marietta Monogram) and never looked back.

Feb 27, 2017

How many local pharmacy do you know of? I thought they were all replaced by the big chains. But I was wrong. Turns out Poole’s Pharmacy has been serving the people of Marietta for since 1974, when Mr. Poole opened the store near Kennestone Hospital. 

Thomas Sherrer’s Dad John, joined Mr. Poole when he graduated pharmacy school in 1979. Thomas moved the practice to their current location, right next to Dave Poe’s BBQ, west of the square on Whitlock.

Thomas’ talks about his journey to Poole’s. Sure he helped out when he was younger, but he wasn’t sure being a pharmacist was the path he wanted to take. Marietta is lucky he came around and decided to take over.

Another millennial making a difference.

Thomas shows up to work everyday committed to carrying on Poole’s traditions. He was taught that when customers are sick, they are vulnerable and needed your help.

Thomas and his staff makes sure his customers are supported both when they are sick and when they are well again. 

Sounds like a great business plan to me!


Feb 14, 2017

Diesel David Samaha grew up working on cars. When he was 12, his neighbor and him rebuilt a go cart engine and ended up speeding past his amazed friends. He continued to hone his skills and eventually went to school to learn gasoline and diesel engines. Now his company, Diesel David, LLC ( comes to your home or place of business and fixes your car. Isn’t that much better than waiting in a car repair shop’s customer area?

Feb 4, 2017

Brielle Gaines started selling early. When she was 3, she would sell the pictures she colored to other kids. She thinks she enjoyed the selling, not the money part.

She continued selling as she grew, helping her mom with yard sales and eventfully going to school for marketing. 

Today she owns and runs Tiny Bubbles Tea Bar, a business on the Square in Marietta.

She has been successful from the start, but it is not by chance. She went on social media to connect to customers prior to opening and now has fans all over the country.

She also has an open atmosphere so that workers become part of growing the business. Brielle has also created systems to make sure everyone on staff creates a similar customer experience.

Totally impressed...





Jan 29, 2017

Daniel has been around computers his entire life. With a dad who worked for IBM, PCs showed up early and Daniel feel in love with technology.


At age 15 he got his first cell phone (a flip phone), but didn't discovered his first MacBook until his twenties and he fell in love all over again.


Daniel shares some of his techniques to train older folks and people that struggle with technology. During the day Daniel works in Marketing. He loves working with small businesses and does freelance work helping small organizations get their message out to their local communities. I think he is on the right track.

Dec 10, 2016

As Pete says, he’s a music teacher for 700 of the best kids in the world. But he has even bigger plans (more about that later).  


Pete moved here from NJ after being a full-time performer (singer, actor, director, magician, balloonist, costumed character - whatever paid the bills) in NJ, NYC and Philly to set his wife up with her new job in Atlanta.  He plan was to continue south and perform with Disney.  While waiting for the green light from Orlando, he started as a substitute teacher at Kincaid Elementary here in Marietta.  


Then in fell in love with the kids and knew he was meant to stay.  


Over 4 years ago, he started PSBcreative, a full service theatrical production company.  This venture was a natural progression since Kincaid elementary was earning an excellent reputation for putting on high quality shows.  


The team created an original rock musical specifically for young performers that deals with bullying which received really cool media coverage and now is represented by a soundtrack on iTunes.  


Currently Pete and his team facilitate two after-school arts programs that annually gives thousands back to Kincaid.  We have 1000s of costumes, props, scenic pieces (most of which as stored in Pete’s basement - he has an amazingly understanding wife) that are available to rent.  


Pete hopes to eventually get a "show bus" on the road so we can bring our costumes, etc. to schools and help them strengthen their programs. Sort of like a Wells Fargo Wagon from the old days but instead we're loaded up with show stuff and that shows up in school’s parking lot.  We believe that putting on a show can be an amazing community builder.  We really want to become known to groups that may not have the means to furnish a show.  We believe there\'s an infinite amount of positive ripples for a student, school and community through participating in programs such as our\'s.  


PSBcreative is now energized by a team of veteran educators and performing arts professionals who each are passionate about our mission to help as many schools and community groups as we possibly can.  Some of my former students  come back and work with us.  We have a production in December which has been designed, choreographed and directed by a former student.  


In early 2017 we'll begin rehearsals for an exciting endeavor that we've never attempted before.  We\'re going to bring open-air theatre to Cobb County.  We'll be performing Alice in Wonderland, outside on a playscape, under the lights at night.  My team thinks I\'m crazy (and I am) but they\'re used to it by now.  With each project we must seek opportunities to grow by challenging ourselves.  It believe this one will be one of our most inspired productions yet.

Nov 26, 2016

*CAUTION* This interview contains discussion of abuse. But, you need to listen!

Neill Blake lived in Marietta and chose to go to Clemson and become a forestry major, since she didn’t want to go to an all girls school. Her Mom REALLY wanted to, but she chose forestry knowing that an all girl’s school would not have that major!

Neill has lived a fascinating life that includes shootings and a mentally ill son. She is a powerful advocate for the mentally ill and their families.

You will love this fascinating and powerful interview!

Nov 19, 2016

Shuler Hensley spent his first 20 years in Marietta and his family is a part of Marietta. His grandfather, the superintendent of schools, built the stone wall around Northcutt Stadium that also scored him free tickets to Marietta football games for the rest of his life. His father was a state senator and a civil engineer and his Mom (Iris Antley) was the artistic director of the ballet.


Growing up, Shuler was good in sports and ballet and saw no conflict doing both activities, until he got to UGA. There he decided to leave for NYC and go full time into singing and acting. 


Shuler talks about his acting life, networking and being yourself. He also talks about his favorite Marietta restaurants, where he now lives with his wife and kids.


Discussed during the interview…


Shuler Awards

Shuler Awards - ArtsBridge Foundation


Atlanta Boy Choir


Robert Shaw, Atlanta Symphony


Sweet Charity - off broadway

Nov 11, 2016


Lee Ellis grew up on a farm in rural Georgia, but when he saw an airplane, everything changed. Even as a child, he longed to have control of the skies. After going to the University of Georgia, he trained to become a pilot and ended up going to Vietnam. He was captured by the Vietnamese after being shot down and spent many years in a Vietnamese prison camp.

Lee tells the story of his time in captivity and what he learned about leadership and his new book, Engage with Honor.

Click the link to get access to Lee’s books and some of his media appearances.


Please Support Our Sponsor!

Johnny Walker Realty

Office: 678-626-0403

262 Church St


Nov 5, 2016

Born in Pakistan, Shahid traveled to England with his family when he was 10 years old. 

He loves the Liverpool soccer (football). Shahid was always confident, even though he couldn’t speak the language. He struggled until college, when he picked up his game. He studied information technology (IT) and graduated in 1998. As an IT guy, he learned to listen and was empathetic to people’s struggles with technology.


Shahid shares his biggest IT tip with Bill, turn it off and turn back on again.


When Shahid looked for to change countries he considered several places: Turkey, Canada, Dubai, and great thing for us he chose Marietta, Georgia, USA.


Shahid started Kvalito with clothes and accessories, a lot with the Asian flavor. 


Kvalito comes from the international language of Esperanto meaning 'Quality' or 'Degree of Excellence'. I think he is on to something…




2145 Roswell Road

Suite 300, Eastlake Shopping Center

Marietta, GA, 30062

Tel.: 678-402-6755




Also mentioned… 

Austin Long 

Soccer Nomad Podcast



Marietta Fish Market


Jerusalem Bakery

Oct 30, 2016

Carlos Marin grew up in Mexico and came to this country at the age of 15, without speaking a word of English. He met a kindly teacher in high school who helped him navigate through the difficult transition. He also worked in his brother’s restaurant and eventually went into business with him.  


Some years later, he is running his own business, Best Hand Car Wash on Whitlock Ave, building great customer service every time he sees you.


Carlos also talks about his great family, his wife and four kids. 


I think Carlos can teach a little about customer service to everyone, but could use some help dealing with his teenage daughter.

Oct 23, 2016

00:53 Johnny Fulmer talks about how a trip to NYC started our Farmer’s Market.


Church Street Market




07:26 McKenzie Snow

(678) 876-6369

12 Powder Springs Suite 255

Marietta, Georgia


12:11 Annie’s Baking



15:47 Scott and Dixie Reaver

The Herb Garden



19:59 Christian Neculae, Sausage World

Dracula Pork and Dracula Chicken



24:30 Allene’s Farm Fresh Produce

Sara Freeze


25:57 Mad Momma Gourmet Soups

Owner Amy Smith



30:50 Yae Organics

Natalie Murray



36:34 Marco Martinez

100% Salsas



45:00 Mo’ Mint & Thyme

Burma Braham



50:14 Triple J Land and Livestock Farm

Josh Banta



57:09 Marietta Pedicabs

Ghosts of Marietta

Brian Buckalew

Casandra Buckalew

Oct 9, 2016

Christa McCay, the Registrar of the Marietta Museum of History and she thinks holding a piece of Marietta history in your had and knowing the story of the item, is the her passion. She also talks about her love of cemeteries, the museum’s disaster plan and some of the folks that are buried there.

On October 15th, she has a guided tour of the city cemetery and tickets are limited. Check it out!

Oct 4, 2016

Johnny Walker and Carey Cox know Marietta. It’s probably because they lived here since they were born and their ancestors lived and ran businesses here too. Carey wanted to continue their descendants’ entrepreneurial ways and asked Johnny to start a new business. So began Johnny Walker Realty (

Bill sits down with them and talks about their lives and why community and Marietta are so important to them.

Johnny talks about his early years working in his Dad’s clothing store, Johnny Walker, Inc. Johnny is the son of Johnny “Mac” Walker, who started the clothing store many years ago on the Marietta Square and expanded as the company grew. Johnny worked for his Dad and learned to take care of customers.

Johnny recalls many things about Marietta growing up like trying to climb a greased pole in the Square for a dollar bill.

Carey Cox is next and he discusses his family. His ancestor was the first medical doctor in town. Carey recalls a simpler time in Marietta, where as kids he would ride their bike to schools and go all over town without an issue. His father started a printing company that ran for many years in town and Carey was paid in Cokes for his printing deliveries. He remembers those days with an antique soda machine in his office.

Carey worked as a mortgage broker and began selling real estate and decided it was time to start a business. Who else to teacup with, but Johnny Walker.

Does starting a new venture seem a little stressful? If you walk by the office at 262 Church Street some evenings you just might hear Carey playing his Gibson guitar. He calls it his stress ball.

Sep 24, 2016

Sally is the dynamic executive director of the Marietta / Cobb Museum of Art. Over her 8 years, she has grown the museum and reached out to the community to support art and build the community through art.

Chalktoberfest is a huge deal and is happening October 8 and 9th, 2016 in the Marietta Square. Three years ago when Chalktoberfest started there were 40 artists. Since then it has grown every year and this year there are 88 artists from 3 countries! 

The theme of this years Chaltoberfest is the old masters and includes 3D chalk and vertical boards (plywood with house paint).



Listen to the episode!Previous guests share their updates!

Mary Jane Huegel is not feeling well and sent me this update to include...

Well this is a trip I make every year about the first of September. I am just over the summers in Atlanta and need a change from the heat!  One of my best friends, and also someone I teach art with has a place up there! One year we go with our spouses and then the following year we invite artists to paint!

It started when Ginny and I took a trip to San Miquel de Allende, Mexico for a Tim Horn are class!  I'll never forget because it was my 50th birthday! Wow what a gift to myself! But, Ginny and I made some nice new friends from all over the country! Ginny and I go back way before this... But now every other year many of the folks from the trip from San Miguel meet back up in Maine and paint together! We have a blast painting, sharing, enjoying Gods Amazing creation! I'll send photos! But this year... Ginny and I asked our art students if they would like to come for an art workshop taught by Ginny and I to paint in Maine and we taught them all week! It was an amazing trip! So much happened! Prices coming!


We had 8 of our art students from Georgia come to paint! Ginny's husband,Jim, is an amazing chef and he spoiled us at each meal! Not sure we can get him to do this again... as he and his sue chef where exhausted by the end of the week! Maybe I can get some testimonials from our student, if you want? Anyway, Ginny and I, gave them our all!  Ginny and I are really overjoyed and proud of these teachable art students and the progress they have made! I think I have found my calling! I love sharing what was so graciously given to me with others for their enjoyment! This is truly rewarding to me! I believe that art  in my life has brought about so much calming joy! I especially love painting Plein Aire (outside) as I just love being in nature!  I really need to share this with others. I love people. I want to help people if I can. It's Not all about selling my art! Although, it is affirmation when people do purchase my art! But I'm reminded frequently, it was given to me for my enjoyment! So I continue to move in the emotions and love of my joy! So blessed to be able to do this! I have to say... I really do appreciate the precious collectors of my art. I hope and pray that my art brings you joy and happiness  and that you see its value everyday of your life! Truly that is my hope! There are many hard days when we as artist wonder why are we doing this!? It's a tough gig! Seriously, I feel like I've been to med school! Somedays, It's a love / hate relationship! But what can I do??? It's who I am!


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