A fresh sense of style and serenity has moved into central Cairo where two Grady County women have moved their businesses, one a design partner and the other a massage therapist. Helen Brown of Cairo is half of the firm Brownworks, LLC. Her brother-in-law, Cairo native Reynolds Brown of Atlanta, is her partner in the business, which operates under the motto, “better living through better design” and also has an office in Atlanta. Julie Taylor is the owner of Sugarfoot Massage Therapy, LLC. Taylor and Brown share a newly revamped office building located on First Street Southeast, between Ameris Bank and IGA grocery store. The women have moved to the building, which most recently housed a dental practice and served many years before that as office space for multiple Cairo physicians. Once a red, brick building, prior owners covered part of the exterior with faux stone made of concrete. To unify the look, Brown painted the building in a charcoal grey and installed a black metal roof.
For Helen Brown, who has worked as a teacher for Grady County Schools, bookkeeper for her dentist husband Dr. Lumis Brown, and mother of their three, now grown, sons, working with her brother-in-law grew out of her experience building her own home 15 years ago. She managed the project and handled the scheduling and work of subcontractors.
Reynolds Brown is a Georgia Tech trained architect and has been an interior designer for over 30 years, Helen Brown says. Together, they work with clients from Highlands, North Carolina to Key West, Florida. “My function is to go meet with the client, and see what it is they want or need. Reynolds comes down and we work on a plan,” Helen Brown says. “I am the project manager. I am kind of the task master, so to speak. . . the liaison between the client and the contractor.”
Brown says from their point of view, a home should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but also functional. She also says having a design firm assist with projects is helpful on a variety of budgets. “Most people think of a designer as out of reach, but that is really not true,” she contends. She says they start off by “shopping” in a client’s own home. Sometimes, she says, a client just needs help seeing their own furniture through fresh eyes.
From choosing paint colors or fabrics to designing a home’s interior from the ground up, Brown says planning a space can take place in phases or in one fell swoop. “When you can make your home functional, it makes your day to day life so much more pleasant,” she says.
Even when they work with multiple clients locally, no one should fear their home will mimic another’s, Brown says. “Every person should feel like their home is theirs. It can be all pulled together, but not a repeat of the same thing you’d find in someone else’s home,” she says.
In addition to the design work, Brown says she plans to have some merchandise for sale and will open by appointment.
Making clients comfortable is also the goal of Sugarfoot Massage’s Julie Taylor. Born and raised in Quitman, Taylor has lived in Grady County for nearly eight years after moving here from Valdosta with her husband Darrell Taylor, a Grady County native. Faced with the obstacle of finding a new job, Taylor was waiting to have a massage when inspiration struck. “I thought, I always wanted to be a physical therapist, but it never worked out. I love helping people, and I didn’t want to be sitting behind a desk,” she recalls.
“At the age of 45, I went back to school to become a massage therapist,” says Taylor, who already held a bachelor’s degree in business management from Valdosta State University. In 2013, she graduated from Core Institute in Tallahassee as a licensed massage therapist.
Taylor works with clients by appointment and offers services ranging from Swedish or deep tissue massages to hot stone or sports massages. She says her regular clients range in age from 11 to 88.
“I always talk a little with my clients before the massage to talk about areas to avoid, areas that need work. We always discuss what’s going on with them. We don’t just jump on the table. I would say each massage is custom to the client, based on their needs and or wants,” Taylor explains.
Before moving to First Street, Sugarfoot and Brownworks had been co-located on Fifth Street Northeast. Taylor said she is very happy in her new location, and says clients use the rear entrance of the building and park at Ameris Bank. “I love it! I have the absolute best decorator and interior designer,” she says of her officemate Brownworks. “I loved that little white house (former location), but it was more of an old-school-character type of place. This is more fresh and up-to-date, and pretty.”
Sugarfoot Massage is open by appointment only, and may be reached by calling (229)305-6694.