Traci and Jackie Wilkes of Reigning Jewels Fine Jewelry in Athens recently returned from a buying trip to the Diamond Capital of the World, Antwerp, Belgium. While there, they had the unique opportunity to examine huge parcels of exquisitely cut diamonds to find the very best selections for their inventory.
Pictured above, Traci Wilkes checks a diamond for sale to one of their customers. “We hand-select each and every diamond that comes into our store,” Wilkes says. “Some people think one can look at a piece of paper on the internet and select a stone, but there’s no way to tell if that stone has fire, has life – I need it to say something to me. If I’m going to put my name and my reputation behind a diamond, I’m going to be certain it’s the quality for which Reigning Jewels Fine Jewelry is known.”
ATHENS — Athens Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) has awarded more than $130,000 in matching grant funds to eligible businesses located along Athens’ main thoroughfares, since the Business Assistance Grant program’s inception in 2014. To date, eligible businesses have invested $910,745 in capital improvements.
After 24 years of being an important part of the Athens business community, Robert and Shiela Walker of Walker Plumbing Supply have decided to retire. We sat down with them and the guys from NWS who are taking over.
Athens Economic Development Corporation’s Executive Director Lisa Denton, recently graduated from the inaugural class of the Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program, as one of the nation’s first Economic Development Master Practitioners.
The newly established program is designed to enhance and expand the skills base of today’s economic development professionals, and it is the only program that is sponsored by four leading universities – The University of Alabama, Clemson, TCU and Southern Mississippi. The level of experts and educators, coupled with core classes that are taught in an immersive, experiential setting, make it the most advanced program of its kind.
Wednesday night, I began a year-long journey with 19 other men and women.
We were introduced to each other and the folks we’d be working with in a beautiful outdoor setting just north of Athens. There were laughs, hamburgers, drinks, cake and even Blue Bell ice cream.
It was a lot of fun.
But through the jokes and photos, one sentence kept floating through my mind.
“The Athens Leadership Institute (ALI) is a program of the Athens Chamber of Commerce that endeavors to train both existing and emerging leaders in the knowledge and skills they will need to make a real difference in the community in which they live.”