Naples is on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida between Miami and Fort Myers. It’s been voted multiple times as the number one place to live. Collier County has 17 miles of unobstructed views of the ocean situated on sugar, white sandy beaches. It’s described as a happy and joyous place to enjoy the beach, retire, and be healthy. In fact, the spread of the coronavirus remained at such low rates, restaurants continued to stay open during the pandemic.
One of the most interesting attractions in Naples is the sunset. If you’re downtown by the ocean around this time, magic might happen. As the sun hits the horizon, onlookers can experience a meteorological optical phenomenon called the ‘green flash’. When the conditions are right, a distinct green spot is briefly visible above the upper rim of the sun's disk; the green appearance usually lasts for no more than two seconds. It’s an incredible sight to see.
The Shannon Green Collection shimmers and shines like the ‘green light’ effect, except the boutique nestled in the Naples Design District has lasted more than a few seconds. In fact, Shannon opened her fine jewelry boutique nine years ago. It’s one of the ‘true loves’ that really brings her joy.
Shannon always had that sparkle. Even in elementary school, all the girls wanted her as a friend and the boys wanted to date her. She was beautiful, bright, and outgoing. She was everybody’s friend, kind to animals, and an all-around good person.
In the ’70s and ’80s, the Paducah city school district had a larger student body than any of the surrounding suburbs. In the early ’80s, Paducah Tilghman High School (10th - 12th) had over 1,000 students. Since those days, PTHS enrollment has significantly declined.
During Shannon’s formidable years in high school, she played tennis, participated in drill corps, and a sorority. Her senior year, Shannon was the majorette on the drill team. A majorette sets the stage and the tone of the dance. The skill requires leadership both in spirit and in keeping time. The PTHS Drill Corp had over 50 plus young women on the team dancing to the tunes of the football marching band before every home game. It's a very interesting part of the school's heritage.
In addition to leadership roles in extra-curricular activities, Shannon was the football homecoming queen. Students selected her for the homecoming court and the football team chose her as their queen.
Part-time jobs were part of student life during high school years. Many students tended to their studies, participated in clubs and school activities, plus worked part-time for some extra spending cash. Shannon spent her Saturdays at Albritton’s Pharmacy in midtown Paducah. “My first part-time job was working with Lawrence Albritton. He was a fantastic mentor,” said Shannon.
Albritton’s Pharmacy was down the street from Clark Elementary, Brazelton Junior High, and six or seven blocks from the high school. Many in the Westend filled their prescriptions at the local pharmacy. Once Lawrence retired, his son Edwin took over as the pharmacist. After school, junior high kids would stop by the business to purchase candy or a soda. It was a special family-owned staple for those living in the area.
After graduating high school in 1982, Shannon left the area to attend Florida State University studying social science. She continued working part-time here and there, trying her hand at waitressing for tips. Shannon worked at an oyster bar which turned out 'not to be' her cup of tea.
Shannon’s senior year of college, she studied in London, England. After earning her Bachelor of Science Degree, she stayed behind and started working as an Assistant Accessories Buyer for a large company called Jacques Vert. “It was a fabulous job. I worked with interesting and creative people and traveled a bit in Europe,” she said.
In 1992, Shannon moved back to Paducah working as sales manager for ‘the original team’ of selling cellular phones and services at Cellular One. She also participated in the Rotary Club. Rotary is a global organization that brings together businesses and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services and advance goodwill and peace.
Before leaving for Naples, Shannon’s daughter Lydia was born. “She’s my pride and joy,” said Shannon.
After starting a new life in Naples, Shannon worked part-time for two different businesses in the jewelry industry. She represented a German Jeweler selling at trade shows and trunk shows as well as working for a buyer at Bigham Jewelers.
Obviously, her flair for the industry was clear. As she learned more and became acclimated to life in Naples, it was time to take the next step. “I’ve always known it was in me to own a business,” she said. In 2012, she established Shannon Green Collection.
The boutique sells fine jewelry designed from different places. “The business is small but has a good following,” Shannon said. The primary designers are Maria Aaron, Suzy Landa, Paul Morelli, Erica Molinari, and recently added Eden Presley. All of these designers have their own companies and most are out of New York. Their creations are incredible, just like the selection carried in the boutique.
In addition to selling jewelry, the business offers repairs and custom work. “We do a lot of repurposing and refurbishing of old and heirloom pieces. I’m very fortunate to have one of the best goldsmiths ever,” said Shannon. Be watching for the launch of the Shannon Green Collection online service coming this summer.
Lydia graduated from high school in 2018. She is now a junior at SMU (Southern Methodist University) in Dallas, Texas ‘the city of big ideas and big opportunities.’ “She’s in a sorority and has a nice social life. Lydia seems very happy and is thriving. I predict she’ll stay there,” said Shannon.
As an empty nester, Shannon is building a house. She stays busy with the shop and doing her thing. Of course, she misses Lydia but it’s every parent’s dream to see their child spread their wings and do well in this crazy, beautiful world.
Shannon makes it this way to Paducah to visit her parents and brother Ben ever now and then. “My parents are still healthy and active,” she said. Her mom, Judy still plays tennis, bridge, pickleball, and Mahjong. Mahjong is a tile-based game that was developed during the Qing dynasty in China and spread in popularity throughout the world during the 20th century. It’s a great memory game and can even be played online as Mahjong solitaire.
Shannon’s dad, Benny still hunts and fishes. He ‘reluctantly’ retired from his construction company B.H. Green and son that established itself in 1955. Brother Ben runs a farm in Livingston County. The family is doing great.
“I love my hometown Paducah. I always call it the 'center of the universe' because everywhere I go, someone is connected to it or knows someone from here,” said Shannon. She said that a lot has changed though much remains the same. “Many of the small family-owned businesses that make a small town charming have closed. It’s still a beautiful small town and I love Midtown Market."
Some of Shannon’s interests are interior design, art, travel, and her three dogs: Milly, a Standard Poodle; Bentley, a Shih Tzu; and Jilly, a Morkie.
Part of Shannon’s art collection includes Artist Tim Jaeger. Jaeger is a native of Paducah and has paintings in several local businesses in downtown Paducah including Cynthia’s Ristorante and the Yeiser Art Center. “I’ve collected his art for a while. People come into the shop and love it,” said Shannon. She’ll be partnering with the Humane Society and a local restaurant as an introduction to Jaeger's artistry to the Naples community. The event is on April 22.
Currently, Jaeger lives in Sarasota, Florida. He’s a graduate of the Ringling College of Art in Sarasota. He has a website for those interested in learning more about his pieces.
Shannon said, "My favorite vacation spot is Harbour Island in the Bahamas, and I can’t wait to go back." Her ideal day includes a workout at the gym, a quick juice and breakfast, outside by the pool and hanging out at home, maybe dinner and a movie. “Simple really,” she said.
Whether it’s working at her boutique, visiting with her parents, watching her daughter blossom, playing with her dogs, or taking excellent care of her body, mind, and soul, “Knowing that life is short and precious...I want to live it to the fullest.” Shannon Green
School spirit is a sense of comradery shared by classmates. Loyalty is showing faithfulness to a person or institution. True friendship is being thoughtful and kind regardless of the circumstance. A person possessing these qualities and ideals isn’t to be taken for granted or slighted in any way.
Troy York is a friend that displays all three; school spirit, loyalty, and true friendship. Troy, like many who live in western Kentucky, hasn’t strayed far from home plate. Born in Murray, KY, and raised in Paducah, he attended city schools which included Jackson Elementary, Brazelton Jr. High, and Paducah Tilghman High School.
As a young kid growing up in the city and attending city schools, playing sports was a huge part of life. In 7th grade, Troy was 6’2 and ready to shoot hoops. All three years of junior high, the boys' basketball team dominated the court. With Troy over six feet tall, two other players worth mentioning were Gary Cox and David VanCleve each 6’6. “Most teams didn’t have the size and couldn’t compare,” said Troy.
A similar story could be told at PTHS. York played varsity basketball all three years and each year the team had a winning record. His sophomore year the team was 15-9. In Troy’s junior year, the team was 31-4 and he was voted first-team All-State Player by high school basketball coaches across the state of Kentucky. “This award was very humbling,” said Troy. During the ‘79-’80 school year, the team played in the KHSAA State Tournament. The team’s record during his senior year was 23-7.
Bernie Miller was the head coach at PTHS during Troy’s high school years. From 1969 until 1988, he coached at Paducah Tilghman High School. His Tilghman teams won 41 tournament championships, 7 first region championships, and reached the state quarterfinals three times. His overall record was 557-174. Coach Miller recently passed away. He will be missed.
In addition to shooting hoops, Troy was in the starting line-up all three years for the PTHS varsity baseball team. His senior year, he played with two former MLB baseball players Steve Finley and Terry Shumpert. Finley is a two-time All-Star, World Series Champion, and five-time Gold Glove winner. Shumpert was a utility player and an alumnus of the University of Kentucky. Shumpert’s son, Nick signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2016.
Troy said, “We won a lot and only lost to St. Mary’s High School who dominated the sport in the ’70s and early ’80s.” Troy’s brother Trad was a baseball player for PTHS too. Though seven years younger, Troy’s quite proud of his baby brother. “We’ve always been close even with the age difference.”
The York family has always been very sports-focused. Both parents were big supporters of the boys. Dad coached and mom worked concessions. They were active during the early years of the Khoury League and later at Brooks Stadium. “They grew up hard and never really ‘babied’ us. They gave us all the tools we needed to be successful,” said Troy.
Troy had another sibling born three years after him. He said, “We had a sister in-between us that died one day after birth. Her name was Trena and she had a hole in her heart.” It was hard on the family and she’ll always hold a place in Troy’s heart.
After graduating high school, Troy continued his basketball career for the Paducah Community College Indians. He received an Associate’s Degree then continued his education at Murray State University majoring in business with an emphasis in marketing.
After starting at MSU, Troy began attending church with his grandparents. When Troy was younger, going to church wasn’t something the family did regularly. “Mamaw and Pap were hugely important in our lives. Mamaw made sure we knew the Lord.” Troy accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior while at MSU.
Troy said, “Trad was called to the ministry when he was 23 years old after many youthful years of wrongdoing.” Now, he’s a pastor at Waldo Baptist Church in Brookport, Illinois, and Chaplain for the Sheriff’s Offices of McCracken and Marshall Counties.
While at MSU, Troy worked part-time for McKowen Office Supply. “Al was a tough boss, not going to lie about that. He expected hard work daily,” said Troy. While delivering supplies to Ken Higdon at Higdon Food Service, he applied for a job with the company. Three days later, he started his career in the foodservice industry.
After graduating college, Troy took a position in sales with Higdon Food Service and spent the next five years working in Owensboro, KY.
Troy met his wife Barb a year before graduating college. She moved into the apartment above his at Murray Manor. There was an immediate attraction. Troy confesses, “I prefer blondes.” However, it wasn’t just her looks, Troy got to know Barb and discovered they had a similar upbringing, values, and work ethic. She ‘checked all the boxes.’
It wasn’t until Barb left for summer break that Troy realized, “I missed her and she’s the one I want to marry.” Troy proposed at a local restaurant in Paducah. One year later, the couple married.
The Yorks had a big wedding. Barb’s dad was Sheriff in Jacksonville, IL, and had been for 12 years. He was also one of 15 children. Troy chose David Davis as his best man. Davis was Troy’s close friend from high school. They played basketball together at PTHS. He chose Trad York, Shane Boudreaux, and David Lambert as best groomsmen. Lambert passed away a few years ago and is sorely missed.
Troy and Barb have two children, Kelsy Stone (30) and Kyler York (27). Both children are married. Kelsy and husband Isaac live minutes down the road from Troy and Kyler, wife Katie, and son Cole Thomas live just outside of Louisville, KY.
Once married, the Yorks lived in Owensboro until 1990. Their move back to Paducah was initiated so Troy could work the territory in southern Illinois. Troy’s career outlasted several company buyouts. After Higdon Food Service, it sold to Kraft, PYA Monarch, and US Foods. He spent the next 14 years working I-24 and IL-13.
In 2014, Troy joined a new company, Performance Food Service out of Lebanon, Tennessee. Currently, he’s a District Manager managing 10 representatives. After 35 years in the food industry, Troy admitted it had been a good career for his family.
As a traveling salesman or one in management, one can imagine the number of hours spent in the car grabbing fast food here and there. Lots of road hours can translate into a sedentary lifestyle. In 2019, the Yorks set out to change that. Troy and Barb joined a weight loss program designed by Dr. Ryan Frazine, an internal medicine doctor in Paducah. They wanted to live a healthier life, lose some weight, increase energy, and stay off unnecessary medications.
“The first six-weeks is hard. We had to learn to get energy from our food,” said Troy. “We had healthy protein shakes for breakfast/lunch and dinner, four ounces of lean protein, and two healthy vegetables (no starch).” Both have lost 60 pounds and have maintained their weight loss for two years.
Troy hopes to be an inspiration to others who want to drop the pounds. His daughter Kelsy was so inspired, she jumped on the bandwagon. Their son, Kyler, is another story. Troy said, “Kelsy and I used to joke that Kyler must’ve come from an affair with a Barney Fife type with his high metabolism and all.”
Since COVID, it’s been difficult getting together with his kids, their families, and Barb’s mom. “Grandson Cole was born March 14, 2020, the weekend COVID shutdown our nation,” said Troy. “We love him more than life itself.” The visits are few and far between, however, with Facebook ‘live’ and other apps, the Yorks have been virtually present.
“I’m a simple man,” said Troy. “I enjoy bike riding, taking walks, working in the yard, an occasional trip to Florida, our pets, and waking up at 4 am every morning.” After COVID, Troy plans to spend more time with his grandson in-person. Overnight visits are on his radar screen. The Yorks plan to move Barb’s mom to Paducah after COVID. They would like to have her closer.
Over the next couple of weeks, Troy will receive his second COVID-19 vaccination. He’s pumped about having the opportunity to move around more freely. The second shot couldn’t get here fast enough.
When asked about Troys best day, he said, “When I see an old friend out and about or chat over Facebook, I feel JOY. When I visit my kids or grandson, I feel JOY. When I watch my wife smile or hear her laughter while interacting with the kids or our grandson, I feel JOY.” Seeing Troy enjoy life’s simple pleasures, brings all of us JOY.
Children going through the unimaginable receive empathy and special attention from social worker Azia Rouse
Family is everything. Growing up in Paducah, Azia Rouse was surrounded by a village of parishioners, her maternal grandparents, and doting mom Felicia Rouse. Her church family at Harrison Street Baptist Church on Paducah’s northside was a place where Azia spent much of her time ‘heavily involved in youth ministry.’ Her mom is a Paducah Tilghman High School alumni and has always been there for Azia. Having a loving parent and strong foundation in the teachings of Jesus Christ, Azia’s career choice led her down the path of advocating for others.
In the Paducah area, 25% of children live below the poverty line. Living below the poverty line means a child’s basic needs of food, water and shelter aren’t being met. Poverty, child neglect, and abuse become a vicious cycle of despair that tends to go together. It’s people like Azia who dedicate their careers to breaking that vicious cycle.
Azia's K-12 education began at Clark Elementary School in Paducah’s west end. After elementary school she attended Paducah Middle School and Paducah Tilghman High School. Azia participated in The Band of Blue Color Guard and the BETA Club. The color guard performs with the marching band. The BETA Club is an academic club that requires a 3.5 GPA or better. In addition to academic achievements, BETA Club members are of good character and take part in leadership roles.
A class favorite and full of promise, Azia set out to make the world a better place. While in high school, she volunteered at the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club of Paducah. Oscar Cross has served disadvantaged youth in Paducah for over 60 years. Located across from Bob Noble Park, their mission is to enable all young people, especially those in need, to be productive, caring, and responsible citizens.
Azia was also part of the Keystone Club which is the Boys and Girls Club movement’s ultimate teen program. Those ages 14 - 18 take part in leadership development opportunities that focus on academic success, career preparedness, and community service.
While at PTHS, the Paducah/McCracken County Chamber of Commerce awarded Azia Teen of the Month. She was also crowned PTHS Homecoming Queen her senior year. To be homecoming queen, students vote on a homecoming court. Then, the football team crown their queen.
After graduating high school in 2012, Azia attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington. It was here that things started to fall in place...educational goals aligned with career aspirations. She did spend a moment or two in the dietetics field, but quickly discovered, it’s children and families that tug at her heart-strings. “I knew I wanted to work with kids,” said Azia. This was her true passion. Saving one family, one life, through hard work, dedication, and prayer. Azia’s major was Family Science and her goal was to work with kids and the family unit.
Along with her studies, Azia participated in a mentoring program called College Mentors for Kids. By joining a college mentoring program, students can transform other’s lives as well as their own.
Kids would go to the university campus for fun, hands-on activities and to connect with college student mentors like Azia. Student mentors help kids believe in a brighter future. The mission focuses on opening windows of opportunity for underserved children. The idea is to expose impressionable children to positive pathways to make healthier and wiser life choices.
Opportunities like being financially independent and giving back to communities isn’t always the life these children witness. The program makes a big difference on both sides of the fence...the children and the mentor. College students learn to give back to communities through volunteering. It helps to develop leadership skills and make meaningful, impactful relationships. It changes lives.
After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree, Azia continued her education at UK pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
Azia's first career job started as an intern at KVC Health Systems. KVC is a non-profit organization that helps families with in-home therapy, behavioral healthcare, foster care, adoption and children’s psychiatric needs. The program helps to equip children, families, and adults in crisis with the skills and resources needed to change a negative trajectory.
For two years, Azia was a Comprehensive Community Support Assistant helping to bridge the divide between public schools and parents to cut a child’s negative behavior through support services such as therapy.
“One client that struck a chord with me was an eight year old foster youth. She was so sweet but feisty and hated when I showed up at her school. Kids would ask her if I was her mother,” Azia said. “She would throw tantrums when she saw me coming. By the time she calmed down, it was time to return to class. One day she asked if I would stop seeing her during the school day. The little girl said she already felt uncomfortable because she was a foster child.” Azia started working with her after school. After weeks of after school meetings, the bond between the two became very special. Listening to the needs of a child can make all the difference in the world. This part of Azia’s job is a game changer.
Soon, a transfer to another department within the company transpired. Azia moved to Family Preservation and Reunification. FPRS provides in-home, community-based intensive services to cut safety risks jeopardizing children’s placement in the home. It’s designed to help families stay safely together, divert children from being placed in foster care or a residential treatment center, aid reunifying children from out-of-home placement, and improve family relationships.
Azia moved back to Paducah three months ago. She accepted a position as an Independent Living Coordinator in the Training Resource Center at Murray State University. The program offers independent living services to youth in home care and who have aged out of the system.
The common thread throughout Azia’s career has been to help those in need. “I think some of the youth we meet have been through more than we can ever imagine and they deserve more attention and empathy,” said Azia. Working with youth after they turn 18 is such a critical time. Twenty thousand youth age out of foster care each year and they are at risk for poor educational outcomes, experiencing homelessness, and unemployment. Part of Azia’s role is to help those at MSU avoid becoming a statistic.
There’s a time to work and a time to play. Azia loves to travel. In fact, part of her plans include traveling to all 50 states as well as international destinations. In 2018, Azia traveled to Belize for some much-needed R&R. Shopping is a stress reliever too. A trip to Hollywood, California helped to scratch that itch.
In the not too distant future, Azia plans to complete her school social work certificate. Professional social workers are highly trained and specialized. Azia has two degrees and is making plans for more training to reach her goals. Currently, Azia has a MSW or Masters in Social Work.
One can only imagine the commitment and unbelievable stress that comes with being a social worker. Azia’s work for the underserved and misguided is an understatement. The skills she learned as a girl, a college student, and as a career social worker will change the trajectory of so many lives. Children who experience poverty, neglect, and abuse are more likely than not to continue dysfunctional behaviors and lifestyles if not for people like Azia. “My faith in God keeps me going. I know the reward in the end will be grand.” Azia Rouse
The 'Aha' moments like BBQ on the River place Susie Coiner head and shoulders above the rest
"The kitchen is the gathering place where thoughtfully prepared foods can break-down barriers." Susie Coiner
Shopping malls were big in the 80’s but in the following decade, they were huge. In the early 90’s, Dawahare’s department store opened inside Kentucky Oaks Mall in Paducah, Kentucky. Dawahare’s was a fourth generation family owned business founded in 1907 by S.F. Dawahare, a native of Syria, who began as a peddler in the coal camps of Eastern Kentucky (Lexington Herald Leader). At the time of its heyday, the company owned 40 stores in KY, TN, Ohio, and W. Virginia.
During the expansion, Susie was in California working at Ann Taylor as a manager in training. Ann Taylor apparel was known in the 80’s and 90's for the power suit and tailored clothing worn by career women across the U.S. and eventually 100 countries worldwide. A. F. Dawahare, Susie's father asked Susie to return to Kentucky to manage the Paducah location. She was the perfect person for the job bringing style and grace to the western Kentucky market.
A graduate from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s degree in merchandising, apparel, and textiles, Susie accepted the challenge and moved to Quilt City USA to join the family business.
Susie’s father was a firm believer in community involvement. Part of her task as manager of the Paducah Dawahare’s, as well as, overseer of store locations from Pikeville to Paducah was to engage citizens. “We want you to put a good footprint in the community,” said Susie’s dad. So, she got on several local boards and found out quickly that many of the conversations revolved around BBQ.
As she ventured out to honor her father's request the goal was to grow the business. In her search for creating positivity within the market, Susie kept hearing chatter that revolved around questions like ‘What’s your favorite BBQ?’ And, everyone had an opinion. In the meantime, local charities would come by the store asking for donations. “There were so many agencies that needed funding,” said Susie. Then came the 'Aha' moment.
Growing up in Lexington, Susie enjoyed going to the chili cook-off at the Lexington Red Mile. If you're unfamiliar with The Red Mile on Red Mile Road, its home to gaming, horse racing, seasonal festivals and food contests like the chili cook-off.
While attending an event at Paducah's Blue Grass Downs horse racing track, Susie had the 'Aha' moment. The ‘Aha’ translated into BBQ which soon unfolded into one of the biggest, if not the biggest festival in western Kentucky.
BBQ on the River in Paducah, KY
One year after embracing our little town, Susie was set-up on a blind date with Andrew Coiner. The matchmaker was Chris Black owner of Ray Black & Son, a leading construction company that's nearing 100 years old. Coiner was a local attorney and on the Main Street Board. One of the first things the couple realized they had in common was love of community.
Susie said, “That night, we attended a Market House Theater play, Camelot. Then, we went to Jeremiah’s restaurant where we watched the O.J. Simpson chase on television.” On that date, they discussed the idea of the BBQ festival. “Andrew was very encouraging. I had him at BBQ,” said Susie.
Not too far down the road, the First Ever BBQ on the River had its debut in 1995 with 16 vendors. Fast forward twenty-five years and the festival has grown to a whopping 70 food vendors and 80 non-food vendors. Susie remains president of the organization and, in case you wondered, is still unsure what lies ahead for the fundraiser in 2021.
Professionally, Susie’s life was on the right track. Her philanthropic projects were underway; projects that met with her father's expectations. The next move, and possibly her biggest, was marrying Andrew. The two wed in 1996 and started life as this beautiful, educated, community-focused power couple.
A few years down the road, as if life couldn’t get any sweeter, their daughter Lilly was born. “Andrew and I would butt heads about every single thing except Lilly. She was the one constant of which we both agreed.” And that one constant paid off. Lilly is in the process of finishing up school at the University of Alabama and will be going to law school in the fall. “She’s often described herself as being her dad’s ‘soul mate’. Being the best teacher for Lilly was always the goal of Susie and Andrew.
In the mid 2000’s, Susie began to ‘do her own thing’ outside of the company. She started a consulting business to help other businesses sell goods, advertise, connect with the community, and develop their brand. Due to a slow-down in mall traffic across America, Dawahare’s closed all of its stores in 2008.
Susie was about to make another business move that would encompass aspects of both her professional and personal life. “Andrew was always encouraging about every single business idea,” said Susie. With that said, she founded BBQ & More.
“I fell in love with the building,” said Susie. The BBQ & More building really spoke to Susie. One of its special features is the horse and carriage commerce and mercantile area in the back of the building. To capitalize on the space, plans are in the works for an 'open air market.'
Susie said the outside space will be an extension of the interior of the business offering more fun ways to shop. The new products will coordinate with all of the other fabulous lines the store carries. The goal is to enrich the lives of customers. "I adore my customers and think about them every step of the way!" said Susie.
The test kitchen inside BBQ & More was inspired by William Sonoma and Cracker Barrel. “Carol Gault was a big part of the ‘push’ to include the kitchen,” said Susie. The space is actually a licensed restaurant. The idea behind the test kitchen is so the ‘customer can sample and taste whatever they are buying.’
Andrew and Susie were both passionate about food. “He was always so supportive,” she said. "He did say to keep the store manned-up.”
One of the marketing tools Susie used for the business was a website/blog called ‘Susie in the Black;' it started about two-and-a-half years ago. Then, life happened. A trilogy of events sent Susie’s world spiraling. First, her dad became ill and passed away. Second, a trusted employee stole a large sum of money from the BBQ on the River account. Third, Andrew had a stroke and passed away.
Susie said, “My life was derailed.” Obviously, she had to do something quick. After all, Lilly needed her and so many others. So, she started journaling and meditating at least three minutes a day. She said, “One of my philosophies that helps me stay out of a crappy situation is to get out of the negative spiral as quickly as possible. The longer you stay down the rabbit hole the harder it is to get out.”
'That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.' Friedrich Nietzsche
“I feel myself growing everyday,” said Susie. “My mom is amazing and encourages me. I believe in leading with good intent of what you want to happen, and if you do the hard work, it will turn out the way it’s supposed to.”
“Lilly had such an amazing relationship with her dad and I’m so thankful for that,” said Susie. Mom and daughter are working hard to stay positive and ahead of the curve. Much of the family lives in Lexington and Lilly hopes to attend law school somewhere in the vicinity. Having family support is so important to Susie and there’s a good number of loving family members around the Lexington area.
BBQ & More is more than just a brick and mortar business for Susie. The spirit behind the business is buying local when possible with the highest quality products available. She said, “We have the most wonderful customers in the world.” Loyal customers that receive top-notch customer service, exceptional quality products, and the opportunity to shop online with a storefront location to boot, will succeed there’s no doubt with Susie Coiner at the helm.
Susie in the Black, a website - blog emphasizing daily profitability; literally and figuratively