ACE Staff

Grace Fricks
President and CEO

Bonnie Bowling
Chief Operations Officer
Joshua Brackett
Chief Financial Officer
Sandy Headley
Vice President


Maria Peck
Metro Atlanta Loan Officer
Courtney Lynn
North Georgia Loan Officer
Kevin McGee
Director of Business Advisory Services
Karen Davis

Healthy Food Initiative, Project Director

Karen McLain

Guy Ramos
Client Counselor
Toni Wiley
Loan Operations Assistant

Candace Thomas
Executive Assistant to the President
Candace McClure
Administrative Assistant

Candice Dyer
Newsletter Editor

Dieu Linh Nguyen

Atlanta Intern

Agnes Scott College


Isaiah Brown

Atlanta Intern

Morehouse College

Candace Johnson
North Georgia Intern
University of North Georgia  
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From 'Money to Main Street,' learn
about all of your options at Atlanta conference 

Entrepreneurs, make plans now to attend the "Access to Capital: From Money to Main Street" conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 14 at the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel.  Sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation, the conference will feature four panels exploring a variety of business and financial topics. ACE founder and CEO Grace Fricks will participate in a panel discussion on the topic: "Off the Beaten Path: Is Alternative Funding the Route for You?" She and other leaders in the field will explain alternative capital options available, including assistance from Community Development Financial Institutions, credit unions, crowdsourcing and how these sources of capital differ from traditional lenders. To register for the conference please visit, and get a $10 discount by using the promo code ACEATC.


 Numbers add up to success for Carter
after setbacks of Hurricane Katrina 


Tennille Carter, ACE client and founder of Atlanta Bookkeeping Solutions
Tennille Carter, ACE client and founder of Atlanta Bookkeeping Solutions


Tennille Carter grew up in New Orleans. With a knack for numbers and a take-charge, sociable personality, she dreamed of some day running her own business.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated the coast and forced an evacuation of her hometown, she migrated to Atlanta, found a job as an accountant at an envelope company, and decided to stay put.           

"I liked my job, but ever since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be my own boss," she said. "Entrepreneurs just have that different mindset - we'd rather not punch a clock! So I started planning."


Her employer was supportive, allowing her to work part-time for about eight months to start building a base of clients. In 2007, she started Atlanta Bookkeeping Solutions, LLC, which handles primarily business entities along with some personal accounts.


"I got to a point where my cash flow was okay, but I wanted to take my business to the next level with more advertising to lure bigger, more diverse clients," she said.


With capital and business counseling from ACE, Carter developed a marketing strategy, handled some operating expenses, and hired two staff members to help with data entry.

 "Regular banks just lend you the money without the advisory services, which are extra nice because they're free and part of the deal!" she says. "I learned so much at one of ACE's workshops called 'Planning for Prosperity.' Those services really help the business grow instead of just getting by and staying at a certain plateau."

Plus, she made some new friends and met helpful contacts.

"Another unique thing I like about ACE is the opportunity for networking," she said. "Not only does ACE support clients, but clients also work together to develop relationships and help each other. All of this support makes a big difference in a business's success."




ACE and teamwork help Sha'Mari Hair Salon stay a cut above the competition
Shannon Smith co-owns Sha'Mari Hair Salon, which specializes in a variety of creative cuts and styling services.

With the motto "Difference and Experience for a More Natural and Healthier YOU," she and her team specialize in customizing the most flattering looks for their loyal clients. Smith used assistance from ACE to expand her business, so she now operates from locations in
Atlanta, Decatur and Lithonia. 

Shannon Smith gives her clients the latest looks and mentors young women
"We want to become a franchise one day," Smith said. "It is important to dream big and pursue your dream, and we also believe that 'team work makes the dream work!'


 Smith derives satisfaction not only from the shear beauty of her work, but also from helping her employees provide for themselves and their families.

"As a salon owner, you have the opportunity to create jobs and inspire stylists to go to the next level in business," she said. "Working with ACE was a pleasure because our loan officer, Maria Peck, was wonderful and helpful. I would highly recommend ACE to other small business owners who want to expand or just need quick access to funds for cash flow."

To pass along some of the lessons she has learned, Smith founded Rising Women Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission to provide, inspire, and invest in the lives of girls and women.

"We will provide them with godly principles, educational programs, workshops, health information, financial workshops, career assistance, and other tools to help them to be successful women," she said. "We will also help build character and self esteem through the word of God." 

Mention you read about Sha'Mari in the ACE newsletter and get a 50% discount on any service! Offer expires Oct. 31.

Walmart Competition Gives Entrepreneurs the Chance to 'Get on the Shelf'


Get on the Shelf, a social crowdsourcing competition developed by @WalmartLabs, gives entrepreneurs a chance to get noticed and sell their products on and potentially in select Walmart stores. Entrepreneurs, business owners and inventors can enter now through July 31 by submitting a video featuring their product here.


The contest is open to a wide range of products and any entrepreneur in America with a big dream and great product is encouraged to enter. For this year's contest, Walmart has a special interest in seeing products made in the U.S. as part of its domestic sourcing commitment - in addition to reviewing other items from multiple categories.


"We're calling on entrepreneurs and inventors from across the country to help us discover the next big thing. In return, Walmart is giving them exposure to millions of potential customers," said Joel Anderson, President and CEO of "Get on the Shelf taps into the spirit of American innovation and gives our customers a voice in selecting the products that will help them live better."


Businesses and product developers can submit entries for products that complement the assortment of items sold on Walmart merchants will screen all entries and then the public will be asked to vote on their favorite products later this summer.

For complete contest rules and submission instructions, please click here. To learn more about the innovative platform supporting this initiative, please click  here.

 Braves Foundation hits a home run in generosity 
Future ACER's of America! 

As we cross our fingers for the World Series to come home to Atlanta, ACE would like to thank the Atlanta Braves Foundation for providing us with tickets to Turner Field. We would like to extend this opportunity for family-friendly fun to our clients with the remaining tickets, on a first-come, first-served basis.
We have two tickets left for the August 13 game at 7:10 p.m. and seven tickets left for the Labor Day game on September 2 at 1:10 p.m. Drop us a line if you're interested, and go Braves!

ACE joins 13-state lending program to boost economic recovery in Appalachia


In a sweeping development designed to strengthen economic growth in one of the most under-served swaths of the United States, ACE is partnering with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to create Appalachian Community Capital (ACC), a new, large central consortium for development lenders that will increase the availability of capital to small businesses across the 13-state Appalachian Region.


ARC Federal Co-Chair, Earl F. Gohl, announced the formation of the new Appalachian central bank initiative at the Clinton Global Initiative's CGI America. ACE leader Grace Fricks is serving on the board of directors of this far-reaching lending institution designed to strengthen the historically low-income and under-served region's economic vitality and recovery.            

"In rural counties, small business is the key to jobs and prosperity," Fricks said.           

This new central bank is expected to leverage $233 million of private bank capital to help create 2,200 jobs throughout
Appalachia. For growing businesses in this region, finding capital is even more difficult, as a number of systemic factors have limited the sources of available capital. According to recent studies, Appalachian small businesses receive only 82 percent of the loans of their comparable counterparts nationally, while businesses in Appalachia's economically distressed counties receive less than 60 percent of the loans of their national counterparts.
ACE Board Member, Ray Christman, also serves on the Board of Directors and the Loan Review Committee for Appalachian Community Capital. 

Lessons learned -- some the hard way -- and shared at Business Basics Seminar


In May, ACE conducted The Business Basics Seminar at the Dennard Conference Center of Atlanta Technical College to share strategies - along with some straight talk, humor, and hard-earned lessons - to help start-up entrepreneurs and other business and community leaders who are establishing and growing organizations.
A diverse crowd of eager entrepreneurs attended the seminar, emceed by Kevin McGee, ACE Director of Business Advisory Services. Two panels of experienced business and finance leaders fielded questions on a variety of topics, including technology that streamlines record-keeping and accounting; steps beginners can take to qualify for traditional financing; and anecdotes illustrating the inherent risks - and joys -- of working with family members as employees and investors.

 "All of this information will be helpful to me because I have the education, experience, and expertise, but not the financing to go to the next level, and I'd like to be one of those small-business owners unlocking the doors of opportunity and playing my part in the economic recovery," said Brenda McCallister, regional manager of Liberty Tax Service. "I also think so much of good business is about building relationships, and I believe all here today can work together to help each other."
ACE Loans is an equal opportunity lender, provider and employer.