Laurie and Greg are doing what many people may never have the nerve to do: leave corporate America and open SIP Happens, the first boutique wine shop in Suwanee! They are friendly, outgoing, and very knowledgeable about wine from all over the world, so it is a treat to get to know them and experience SIP Happens.
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Laurie: I like to drink good wine and struggled to find good wine in Suwanee, so thought why not open a wine place? We were ready for a lifestyle change and tired of the grind, traveling, commute.
Greg: It was for quality of life and a passion for wine and to work together.
What is your favorite restaurant in Suwanee and what do you love there?
Laurie and Greg: Bare Bones in Buford for a date night and to catch up as couples and not business owners. Everyone knows us in Suwanee, and at Bare Bones we are “Greg and Laurie” instead of the wine shop people.
How long have you worked or lived in Suwanee?
Laurie: I’ve lived here 19 years — raised my kids here, done baseball and soccer.
Greg: I moved to Lawrenceville in the 8th grade, then moved to Chicago for college and met this gorgeous blonde and have been here five-ish years now.
Tell me about your family.
Laurie: We have four kids — 19, 21 and two 16-year-olds.
What has kept you here?
Laurie and Greg: Suwanee is awesome! It is the perfect community to raise children and build friendships. It has green space and it’s the perfect community. We talk about it a lot and we are very comfortable here. There’s a great balance with access to everything. People smile and say hello here.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Laurie: Tuscany in Italy. It’s where we honeymooned and it’s beautiful, happy and peaceful.
Greg: Southern Italy and Tuscany because it has a wonderful culture balanced around food, wine and community — and its beautiful.
What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
Laurie: Grease! And E.T. Greg loves Three Amigos.
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
Greg: Work hard and be kind and amazing things will happen.
What is something on your bucket list?
Laurie: With exposure to all of these beautiful wines we have tasted from all over the world, it would be great to visit all the places from which we have enjoyed the wine.
Greg: Rhone Valley in France.
What is your favorite music? Name three bands you would like to see?
Laurie: Country is favorite genre, and I would like to see Leon Bridges, Van Halen, and the Rolling Stones.
Greg: I like most types of music, and I would like to see James Brown, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and in a smaller setting, Adele. I wonder what it would cost to have her come to SIP Happens patio [laughs]?
What local business makes you the most nostalgic about Suwanee?
Laurie and Greg: I think Town Center because of the time we have spent here with our family — like Mellow Mushroom and being in the park having a picnic or throwing a football. Remembering when it was just a forest? Now so much has changed. How many places have a community like this? It is a community hub.
Choose anyone (past or present and a non-relative) with whom you would love to have lunch. Where would you go locally for this lunch?
Greg: Laurie’s dad Cecil Ferguson who has passed. Barbecue somewhere.
What is your favorite thing about Suwanee?
Laurie: The community of Town Center Park and the pace here.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Laurie: Hopefully not working so hard, and hopefully we will have some help. We used to say Greg would become a professor at a college and buy a big house and I would design it. We’d like to spend more time together and get out of the hustle and bustle. We decided to do it with our current life. We don’t know what we will be doing differently in 10 years. We will soon be empty-nesters. Greg doesn’t want his life to be predictable.
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
Laurie: I cry at everything – TV shoes, commercials, movies.
Greg: I am the son of a pastor. I got certified online to perform a marriage ceremony and my father was mildly amused. I wish that Laurie would still laugh at my (bad) jokes like when we were dating.