40 S G M A G A Z I N E | FA L L 2 0 1 8 This year’s Rock Star winners also include AKESOgen in Gwinnett County, Gottwals Books in Peach County, and STRAND Clinical Technologies in Colombia County. Thomas County is becoming accustomed to the Small Business Rock Star status. In 2017 Sweet Grass Dairy, which is located in downtown Thomasville on Broad Street across from SouthLife Supply, brought home the Small Business Rock Star recognition. “I couldn’t be more thrilled for SouthLife Supply to be selected,” said Thomasville Tourism Director Bonnie Hayes. “They have worked hard to make a product that people, not just locally enjoy, but one that has become highly desired both in the South and beyond.” Hayes said having two Georgia Small Business Rock Stars in Thomasville speaks to the community’s creative energy. “SouthLife’s business model and their commitment to their brand is what Thomasville is known for. Having a second business in a row selected to receive this prestigious award means that we are fortunate to have more creative people and companies choose Thomasville to start and expand their business.” The Starting Point In 2010, the Abbotts found themselves in professional limbo when they were both laid-off from their jobs in the healthcare field. As they were contemplating their career options, Kelly stayed busy making cord bracelets from parachute material, which he sold locally. When Heather mentioned she wanted earrings to wear to a family gathering, Kelly offered to make a pair from a bullet casing. “I wanted something cool and little funky,” Heather recalled. “I admit I was a little skeptical and wasn’t sure how they would turn out.” With some 40-caliber bullets that his uncle had given him, Kelly crafted a pair of earrings that Heather wore to the family Thanksgiving dinner, where they were an instant hit. “I admit I was surprised how they came out,” she said. “All they needed was a little bling.” We hit our stride with the jewelry during what was the revival of handmade items, and there was also a big market for outdoor and hunting-style merchandise. - HEATHER ABBOTT Pictured are the bullet earrings that launched the success of SouthLife Supply Company.