Promoted: Shamrockin’ for a Cure Support Spotlights
written by CARL DANBURY, JR. | photos courtesy of LIZ ERIKSON; SHAMROCKIN’ FOR A CURE; CATMAX PHOTOGRAPHY
THE STRONGEST ORGANIZATIONS aren’t fueled just by software, hardware, systems and methodology. In fact, the best infrastructure for any great team begins with the people it attracts. For ShamRockin’ for a Cure — the army of volunteers, sponsors, advocates and attendees that orchestrate and contribute to the Northside’s best fundraising party every year — is the core of the organization that will have helped the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raise more than $2 million in nine years.
The St. Patrick’s Day-themed celebration, which will be held Saturday, March 25 at Alpharetta’s Verizon Amphitheatre, is organized by volunteers, who for the most part, have no personal family connection to Cystic Fibrosis (CF), the genetic lung disorder found in about 30,000 people in the U.S that also affects the pancreas and other organs.
Neither event co-chair Tom Murphy, nor presenting sponsor Brian Martin of Righteous Guitars, nor Clover sponsor and last year’s emcee Jimmy Pomerance, have a connection to CF, other than having met Jon and Pam Baker, parents of Gavin and Jake, both of whom were diagnosed with CF as young children.
In fact, of the 18 chairpersons who are leading the event this year, 15 have no family member with the disease. “Part of the appeal of ShamRockin’ is meeting this amazing army of people,” said Pomerance, owner and president of Impact Speakers in Alpharetta. “The people that you see at the momentum meetings, none of us have that have-to-be-there feeling [of a parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt], but, there is something that draws us all together.” With that notion in mind, we’ve compiled a behind-the-scenes look at a few personalities who make it all possible.
Support Spotlight: Brian Martin
RIGHTEOUS GUITARS; BRIAN S. MARTIN FOUNDATION
Early last year, Brian Martin opened Righteous Guitars on Hembree Road in Roswell. This labor of love was a long time coming.
The idea was engrained in him when he once had supplemented his income for a few years by buying and selling guitars on eBay while his company Nanoventions was in infancy. Nanoventions designed (in Roswell) and manufactured (in Alpharetta) optical and non-optical technology used toprevent the counterfeiting of everything from drivers licensesto pharmaceuticals to currency. Most notably, the company designed the MOTION technology for currency, which is the blue fiber found in the $100 bill that has been adopted in approximately 30 countries.
After selling that portion of his business a few years ago, Martin created a 501(c)3 foundation in his name to give back. The philanthropist, who had also purchased more guitars than he had sold, contemplated opening a retail storefront for his collection, which had grown to roughly 250 electric and acoustic guitars (no basses). The natural evolution to retail became a reality in February 2016. But it’s no ordinary retail music store — it’s righteous!
When Martin and his team realized that “Martin’s FineGuitars” wouldn’t get much love from the Google search engine considering C.F. Martin & Co. acoustic guitars has been in existence since 1833 – some of which the newer company planned to have in their inventory – Sales Manager Ben Calhoun’s wife posed the name Righteous instead.
They checked on the trademark and the website URL, and nothing related to the music industry popped up. It seems faith or fate had lent a hand. After a few attempts at along, Brian implored one of the creative designers summoned to work on the idea to consider something like Moses bringing a tablet down from Mount Sinai with the name Righteous Guitars emblazoned on it. A version of the notion is now their official logo.
The warehouse they chose for a storefront had to be reconfigured, redesigned and then restructured. Calhoun’s
family in Taylorsville is in the lumber business, and the Georgia pines that were sawed and milled now line the warehouse walls that display the precious instruments. Calhoun, along with the Righteous Guitar’s Online Sales Consultant Scott Martin (Brian’s son) cut and screwed every board into place.
Preferring not to drink from a fire hose upon opening the new venture, Martin and his team, which includes Senior Sales Associate Jeff Gans, opened the store with little fanfare. There was no ribbon cutting, no big advertising campaign and no grand opening party. “There is a universal theory that if your success is built up over time with a strong foundation, then it likely will not go away quickly,” Martin offered. “If it appears tonight, it can go away just as quickly tomorrow.”
During its first year in business, Righteous experienced exciting but manageable growth, according to Martin. “We surpassed our first projection, our revised projection and our third projection,” he said with a smile. He estimated they sold approximately 400 guitars the first year. Guitars range in cost from $1,500 to $35,000 a piece.
“We changed the world in the anti-counterfeiting business, and I would like to do the same in the guitar business. I don’t want to be all things to everyone –– just guitars, no basses –– just electric and acoustic guitars. When I envisioned this business, I came at it from a customer’s perspective rather than that of a salesperson. Ben and Jeff had the sales side covered, but I represented the customer,” he said.
“Ben was my contact in several guitar deals in the past. I liked the way he dealt with customers and with me. The great thing about this business is the passionate customer base. They smile when they come in and they smile when they leave. They’re not here to get a free entrée. We have customers that will sit here for hours just talking about guitars. There’s a camaraderie that exists, like an old-style barber shop,” Martin added.
THE NAME “RIGHTEOUS” HOLDS another meaning for Bethany Flowers, director of the Martins’ charitable arm, the Brian S. Martin Foundation. “The name is the epitome of what Brian has preached to us,” she said. “Righteous is the way we should conduct ourselves and the way we should do business, always.”
When it comes to the causes that Martin and Flowers champion, those involved must touch their hearts first. Martin grew up only with his mother, so children’s charities are important to him. Veterans, First Responders and victims of human trafficking also hold a special place. The connection to ShamRockin’ for a Cure, however, was specifically related to ShamRockin’ and CFF’s culture on investing in research. Martin prefers to give a hand up rather than a hand out. In addition to the $20,000 presenting sponsorship for the event, Righteous Guitars also will donate a valuable guitar for one of the live auction lots as well as a few silent auction items as well.
THOSE CAUSES ARE HANDPICKED, and chosen with careful consideration. It’s the same when the Righteous staff chooses a guitar.
Support Spotlight: Tom Murphy
MURPHY CUSTOM BUILDERS; UPS
SOME OF US ARE GREEN WITH ENVY about Tom Murphy’s heart of gold. A parent of five, grandparent of three, loving husband to fellow ShamRockin’ volunteer Nancy, and spiritual leprechaun of all ShamRockers, he’s a man that truly leads by example.
Support Spotlight: Jimmy Pomerance
“Oh, not too far. What does that mean, not too far? Or, the call to room service to check on the pending arrival of your breakfast. ‘It will be there shortly!’ Oh really, is your definition of shortly five minutes, or 45 minutes? We no longer live in a specific world. That is the problem,” Pomerance added.
And, give them a deadline to remove all doubt and the consequences if it’s not done to your standards. That removes all doubt, just like a good voicemail!” Pomerance said.
What will you bring? Think specific.impactspeakers.com
For ShamRockin’ Tickets: shamrockinforacure.eventscff.org
To Become a ShamRockin’ Sponsor: shamrockinforacure.com/become-a-sponsor
To Volunteer: shamrockinforacure.com/join-the-army
For more information about CF and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit cff.org
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
AFTER YOU SHED YOUR SHAMROCKS IN MARCH, another party with a purpose pulls up to the curb on April 29 with the eighth annual Cars & ‘Q for the Cause, an award-winning car show hosted by Choate Construction. Well known for its marriage of stellar cars, super BBQ and sweet music, this popular spring event is just one of many fundraisers created by Choate Construction’s employees to support the Georgia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).
Choate Chairman/CEO Millard Choate began supporting the CF cause more than 27 years ago when his daughter Emily Bridge’s best friend, Leann Rittenbaum,was diagnosed with CF as a toddler. Emily, now marketing director for Choate, the owner of a classic 1969 Camaro and chair for the event, shares her dad’s enthusiasm for both a CF cure and classic cars.
This year’s Cars & ‘Q for the Cause will feature a continuous pour of craft brews including Lagunitas, The Unknown Brewing Company and Second Self Beer Company, mouthwatering bites by Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, live music, a silent auction and more than 100 classic, muscle, exotic cars and bikes. New this year will be a Road Rally, with a finish line at the show.
Last year, Cars & ‘Q raised $255,000 for the CFF, which provides much-needed funding for research and drug development to help cure CF. This year’s car show is scheduled for April 29 from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets purchased in advance are $20 for the car show and dinner, or $40 for the car show, dinner and access to the bar (for 21 years of age and older). Parking is free. carsnq.passioncff.org