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To Love, Cherish and Watch the Bottom Line

Couples who own businesses share their recipe for true love and hard work

Darren and Juanita Cato own EZtransition, a personable web design and digital marketing company in Smyrna and two locations of Code Ninjas (Smyrna/Vinings and Douglasville)

Code Ninjas Smyrna/Vinings is a local, family-owned branch of Code Ninjas’ national franchise. Children learn to code in a fun, safe, and inspiring learning environment.  Code Ninjas' engaging game-based curriculum teaches teamwork, logic, math, and problem-solving. They gain vital skills while having a blast.   As a truly universal language, coding may be the most important second language a child can learn. Much like a foreign language, childhood and early adolescence is the perfect time to teach coding while kids are still learning, “how to learn.”  Children 5-9 years old start with Code Ninjas JR, coding through a fun and completely visual curriculum. Code Ninjas Create is the core program for children 7-14, that learn to code year-round.

Mistakes happen. Snafus pop up. How do you two handle problem-solving?

We practice dancing in the conversation when there is a problem. Open communication instead of avoiding conflict has been key in us working together. For example, as parents, it is a work in progress to get our 8-year-old son Logan set up for school virtually and dropping off our 14-year-old daughter Laila to high school on time. There are so many variables that can throw off our schedules but we stay in communication on how we can improve. 

How will you be spending Valentine's Day in 2021?

As Black, African Americans, we also acknowledge that February is Black History month and the principle of love to be shown to our people in this country is vital for justice and equality in all areas of life as human beings. Valentine's Day is on a Sunday this year, the one day of the week that we are closed at Code Ninjas. A mini overnight vacation to our favorite spa at Iwi Fresh Farm Oasis would be a treat. We usually do not plan much for Valentine's Day, but this past year has taught us to appreciate every opportunity to show love, gratitude, and acknowledge each person you love. We love each other and are so thankful for this amazing journey we get to enjoy with each other. CodeNinjas.com/GA-Smyrna

Amber and Jarrette Burckhalter own K-9 Coach and Amber Burckhalter Consulting

So, you're in business together! Amazing. How does that work?

We have an exceptional management team who handle day-to-day tasks.  Amber’s expertise is in canine behavior, animal husbandry, HR and product/service development. She develops our service offerings, systems, mentors staff, and ensures a safe and healthy environment for all our furry pals. As an industry expert, she also speaks at industry events and consults nationally for similar businesses. Jarrette’s expertise is in business operations, finance and marketing. He focuses his efforts on ensuring those areas of the company are successful and handles all outside vendors and events. Together, they make a Superhero of business. Outside of normal, daily conversations, we have scheduled business meetings weekly to develop strategy, review financials, marketing activities, HR, legal or accounting needs, and more as needed.

Mistakes happen. Snafus pop up. How do you two handle problem-solving?

From a tactical perspective: We view most things and approach them from different perspectives. We have different strengths and weaknesses that balance each other and we use these to our advantage daily by listening to each perceptive openly. Being married and working together every day is challenging as the lines between work and personal can get blurred very quickly. You have to recognize that and be intentional in separating the two worlds. Our faith is critical to our success; it guides our relationship, our family and our business values. Beyond that, we remind ourselves that, even though we may be “fighting” for something, we are “fighting out of the same corner” - 100% committed to making K-9 Coach the best it can be for our family and our community. 

How will you be spending Valentine's Day in 2021? 

Since COVID is still an issue and our church is still shuttered for services, we will likely stay home and spend the day relaxing together.  Amber is looking forward to cooking brunch and then we will hit Kennesaw Mountain for a family hike with our pups. K-9coach.com

Sean and Cecilia Rowe own The Music Studio Atlanta, Courtnay & Rowe In-Home Music Academy and St. Angelo’s Pizza Vinings and Lakepoint locations

So, you're in business together! Amazing!
When working with your spouse, I think it’s crucial to be friends first, and luckily I married my best friend 25 years ago. Over coffee in the morning, we apprise each other of our personal commitments for that day and if we can support each other to get things done. He handles the restaurants while I handle the music companies, but we check in several times a day about our two sons, bounce ideas, and get opinions, what we can do to help with accomplishing tasks. Our evening walk with the dogs is a time to vent about the good and bad of the day, and celebrate, offer advice, solutions, or just listen.

Mistakes happen. Snafus pop up. How do you two handle problem-solving? 

How do we handle problem-solving?  Most importantly with no judgment – we know each other is doing the very best we can do, whatever the circumstance.  It’s important to know each other’s strengths, and when one or the other will have better insight into a situation and able to better assist.  We find life is certainly better working together than against each other, and with a lot of laughter, love, inside jokes, and quoted movie lines.

How will you be spending Valentine's Day in 2021?

Isn’t every day Valentine’s Day? Since our sons are still young, we usually do a special family dinner at home. We decided we don’t enjoy the commercialism surrounding Valentine’s Day, but choose to surprise each other all year with flowers, meaningful trinkets, cards, etc. and that means so much more than just an obligatory celebration on one day. We hope to serve as a great example for our boys when they get married someday. TMSVinings.com

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