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College Park’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of College Park’s gems below.

Tiffany Dyal

R.E.G.A.L. G.E.M.S. started out as an idea that I had to honor the women in my life who had inspired and guided me along my life journey. The letters are the initials of my grandmothers’ and great aunts’ first names. I was blessed to be raised by an incredibly dope tribe of women led by my mother. Their complexities and diverse takes on living provided a colorful road map to follow as I navigated growing into womanhood. I wanted to share the life lessons that they had placed in my heart, but I had no idea what to do with them. I became a mentor to a couple of young ladies through a tutoring program, and it was during an intense heart to heart talk session that one of my mentees asked me to write down some of my aunt’s’ advice. Read more>>

Kyzmen Wood

I’m from Phenix City, AL. I began Kash as more of a side hustle. Growing up my family was full of natural-born hustlers. My mom is an ambitious entrepreneur, and early on my dad instilled principles around ensuring I always led my own life. Fast forward to years leading into the initial start of Kash, I wanted to start something I could grow and nurture. In March of 2019, after a year-long battle, I attained the trademark for my logo and that’s when I began taking my company seriously. Over the past twelve months, it has grown so much faster than anticipated and the releases just keep getting better and better. I’ve been working behind the scenes so much on so many pieces that never even release because it’s just that much material I design for each collection. Read more>>

Derek Ross

Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a leader of a business. I remember sitting on my grandmother’s cement steps in the mountains of Covington, VA thinking to myself, “I want to be a CEO.” Of what you might ask? I didn’t know at the time, but I knew the CEO was the goal. Throughout grade school and college, I was always in leadership positions from student government and captain of my high school and college track teams to mentoring youth and internship coordinator at my first job – creating new ideas or looking for ways to improve existing one was something I could never seem to turn off. When I landed my first job out of college, it was actually a contract position making $1,500 per month for nine months. I didn’t have benefits or a guarantee to be hired full-time after my contract ended. Read more>>

Kennedi Shianne

During my freshman year at Xavier University of Louisiana, I wanted to make money but I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I was scrolling through Instagram and saw this Atlanta based nail tech and got inspired. I’ve always loved doing my nails and there wasn’t anyone on campus that did nails so I decided I would. I started April 2019 and have been doing them since. Once Covid-19 hit, I was unable to do nails but I still wanted to design and create, so I decided to start making press on. I had doubts I would have clients because I’ve only heard negative stereotypes surrounding press on nails. Luckily I took the risk anyway and discovered that not only do I enjoy doing them but there’s also a real market for them. Read more>>

Kenniya Copeland

I am Kenniya Ciarra, but what exactly does that mean to you? I was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga, by my grandmother. I am also an only child. That has always been both a curse and a blessing for me. I have always been a loner, which played a huge part on me wanting something that mines because that has always been my norm. At the age of 3 months, I was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a rare condition that causes the buildup of fluids on the brain cavity. My family was told that I wouldn’t walk, talk or do anything that a functioning child would do. They were told that I wouldn’t be normal. Since then, I’ve had a series of surgeries to keep afloat. Throughout the years since my diagnosis Hydrocephalus hasn’t ’t stopped me, though. Read more>>

Lisa Bi

I worked as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician at Grady and AMR. My job was to treat, stabilize, and educate people in the community ranging from Atlanta, College Park, East Point, and South Fulton. I loved it. You are welcomed in people’s homes and get to help and be a part of their most vulnerable moments. It’s a job where you experience disappointment, heartbreak, elation, anger all in the same day! I don’t think many people can say that. My job was great but as I worked those 13-hour shifts, I couldn’t help but notice that these calls we would get weren’t just medical or trauma calls. For example, we would get called out to a patient having a medical emergency because he would ration his insulin, or we would be called out to a homeless teen calling for the 10th time this month saying they’re suicidal so that way they can have two days of food and warm, safe shelter. Read more>>

Valaurie Lee

I grew up on Atlanta’s south side in the very neighborhood where my businesses now reside. I still remember being that young girl who imagined owning a store of her own and reflecting on where I am now is absolutely astonishing. I launched my first business more than 18 years ago when I left a secure job at a respected company to pursue a brief, 6-week project at an area college. That single opportunity ultimately led to another, and another and before I knew it, my one-woman show eventually became a full-blown IT consultancy that employs IT professionals across the world. Late last year, I was inspired to expand into retail and decided to start by purchasing my first property on College Park’s Main Street. A couple months later, when the building next door became available, I decided to do the same and before I knew it, I had three buildings in the heart of the city where I grew up. Read more>>

Kayla Dozier

Growing up as a child, I watched my grandma and auntie do hair and instantly fell in love. I use to go to my auntie house and just sit and watch her do hair. As I got older, I started to fall more and more in love. I started practicing on myself and my sister. When I was a senior in high school, I started my hair page @_kayyztylez and started taking clients, it was rough starting out. Graduation came and everybody thought I was off to college in a few months but I had other plans. I told my mom that I wanted to go to cosmetology school instead of a regular university and she supported my decision. So I went and set an appointment with Empire Morrow to take a tour. I went on the tour and instantly fell in love. Read more>>

Amanda Welch

I started my small business selling Mink lashes and sunglasses almost two years ago in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s been a fun journey on the way; I’ve met a lot of amazing people during the process. I have done vendor events and private parties. I moved to Georgia and expanding my business here. At the beginning, it was a struggle trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t but it’s better than ever now! Read more>>

Christopher Harris

As a singer/songwriter, I started young being able to learn from my oldest brother about music and how to create songs. I have managed to have many opportunities and continuous opportunities with my music. I have managed to do lots of interviews and shows with my music, noting some would HipHop Untied, hot 107.9, Dash radio to name a few. I released to EP projects in 2019, the first being “Interldue” and followed by “Make Love Not War” which happens to currently be my most streamed project with songs like “4 Flats”. It was a long journey getting to where I am currently with music but, I think it definitely made me who I am and I can appreciate it a lot more because of hearing so many no’s in the beginning and just truly trusting myself to find my voice and sound as an artist and songwriter. I’m currently working on new music and getting ready to release a new EP. Read more>>

Victor (Vic XL) Walker

I always enjoyed turning people on to a new artist. I started making tapes for all my friends in high school and college, putting a local and unsigned artist on the tapes with national artist. I opened my music store in Riverdale GA and I specialized in an independent artist as well as setting up a consignment program for locals in the early 2000s. I began my radio career with a now defunct station called Rnation… my show, the hip hop encounter eventually turned into a regional overnight hop video as well as a print magazine. Read more>>

Allison G. Daniels

Rev. Allison G. Daniels is an International Diversity Trainer, Awarding-winning, 3X Bestselling Author who has written 31+ books, co-author of 10, and Visionary Author of Book: “Empowered to Win”. Read More>>

Kenniya Copeland

I am Kenniya Ciarra , but what exactly does that mean to you ? I was born and raised in Atlanta Ga , by my grandmother . I am also an only child. That has always been both a curse and blessing for me. I have always been a loner which played a huge part on me wanting something that’s mines because that has always been my norm. At the age of 3 months I was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus . Hydrocephalus is a rare condition that causes the buildup of fluids on the brain cavity. My family were told that I wouldn’t walk, talk or do anything that a functioning child would do . They were told that I wouldn’t be normal. Since then i’ve had a series of surgeries to keep afloat. Throughout the years since my diagnosis Hydrocephalus hasn’t ’t stopped me though. I graduated highschool with a 3.7 gpa and as a sophomore in college. Read more>>

Benjamin, Bryant, Bre’Ale, Byron Jr. and Beti’Ana Palmer

So, we are siblings and well every day either our dad would say to us knowledge is power and our mom would say education is key, and our sister (Bre’Ale) who models and have walked in fashion shows, an idea hit us why not come up with our very own educational t-shirt line. So, Benjamin and Bryant googled names to come up with and since we already know that we are all smart (lol) we wanted to come up with something that represented us, one day Bryant just happened to Google a Bee and found out that a bee is a very intelligent insect hence Smart As Bees, the Bees is symbolic to the fact that they are smart as well as to our name since all our first names start with B. Read more>>

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