Meet Some of Your Neighbors From Last Week's Small Biz Expo!

Did you miss last week's Dade Small Business Expo? That's all right, The Planet didn't, so it's not too late to get acquainted with some of the small businesses, civic organizations and service providers that are situated nearby and would love a chance to meet you and cater to your needs.

First, let's deal with the most basic of those needs: food. Food is something that Lauren LeFever is passionate about, and that's why she quit her day job to work at her Wildwood spread, Ada's Heritage Farm, full-time. Lauren, who was selling soaps, gift baskets and jams at the Expo, started out selling her extra eggs at the end of her driveway. Now she has a small goat herd and sells goat cheese as well as eggs and other farm produce, mainly through the Weekly Fig CSA (customer-supported agriculture) collective in Chattanooga.

Lauren works too hard on the farm to bother much with politics, but she sure wishes state legislators would try to make life a little easier for small farmers. “Tennessee’s very small-farmer friendly," she said. "Georgia, it honestly looks like it is made to stop small farming.” In Tennessee, she said, farmers have to get a special license if they have more than 3000 chickens. “That’s fair. That’s a lot of chickens. That’s a lot of people you can make sick if you’re not careful with what you’re doing and if you’re not doing it right," she said. "But in Georgia, you can have two chickens and have to have the license.” And don't even get her started on milk and cheese rules!

This is a subject Lauren finds extremely relevant to a rural county like Dade. “We should be turning this into the community that feeds Chattanooga,” she said.

Interested in eggs or blueberry jam? You can find Ada's Heritage Farm on Facebook, go online at, or call (423) 774-4897.

Another local home biz is Alan and Casey Paup make their four-in-one Bugstuff salve in a workshop they built in Wildwood. Bugstuff is an all-natural insect repellent, sunscreen, moisturizer and deodorant--and Alan adds you can also use it for basic first aid, as an ointment to treat insect bites or scrapes.

“Alan originally made it for me, because I’m allergic to everything,” said Casey. “It worked so well that we ended up trying to make a business of it.” She says Bugstuff contains lemon eucalyptus and rose geranium, as effective as Deet against mosquitoes and ticks, respectively.

The Paups are originally from Florida, where Casey reports she was eaten alive by mosquitoes even in her own laundry room. Dade County has a right smart of ​​skeeters, too, but the Paups admit December is not their busy season here. When you are ready to stock up, though, you can reach them at their website,

Other local businesses, small and not so, also showed up to the Expo to get their message out. Steve Johnson (left) AKA Mr. Sandman posed with his pooch pal to demonstrate he knows what to do about pet damage to your hardwood floors. Call him at (423) 464-9200 for a free estimate.

Larry Moore (right), former sole commissioner of Dade County, now running the family business, Moore Funeral Home, was also at the Small Expo. Funerals may not be everybody's idea of the perfect Christmas present, but Larry said he'd had some takers for his preplanning funeral service. You can learn "moore" at

Also in evidence were many home-based retail businesses along the Avon business model. Tara Creech (left) and Lori Simmons both sold Papparazzi Jewelry, which Tara explained all costs $5, including necklace-earring sets. Papparazzi is sold at Facebook as well as live parties. Both Tara and Lori have Papparazzi Facebook pages.

A not-so-small business that exhibited at the Expo was Gill Manufacturing, a national corporation which operates a plant in the Dade industrial park. Caleb Webb (left) and Rick Pickens explained that the idea was to help prospective employees find them--"We are growing to the point we need to recruit more employees," said Rick--but also to inform the community what it is they're doing in there.

Gill makes auto parts for BMW in South Carolina, Club Cars in

​Augusta, Ga., and of course Volkswagen in Chattanooga. “People don’t understand how many parts it takes to make a vehicle,” said Caleb. Displayed on their table are a few of the thousands of those it does take. Gill's website is

​​Tiffany Henegar (left), practice manager at CHI Memorial Family Practice in Trenton, was at the Expo to promote the clinic. She reminds all that Trenton Family Practice, long operated by now-defunct Hutcheson Medical Center, was taken over by CHI Memorial in late 2015 and is now alive, well and eager to serve the health care needs of Dade County. You can call CHI Trenton at (706) 657-4183.

Chazlyn Graham (right) of Crave Ink Therapy was touting a specialized kind of medication at the Expo. Chazlyn, a piercing artist at a Permanent Perfection, a tattoo parlor, was selling Crave's all-natural aftercare salve. It's meant to soothe post-tattoo dryness and irritation--it contains magnolia extract to fight inflammation--but Chaz says it's good for soothing skin whether pierced, tattooed or, well, the other kind. You can buy it from the shop at 5812 Ringgold Road, Chattanooga, call (423) 894-7784, or go to

And let us not end The Planet's pictorial orbit around the Expo without saluting the few, the brave, the three young men who showed up in Trenton last Saturday to represent the Young Marines. Corporal Brett Baker, center, is flanked by Privates Chandler (left) and Matthew Ballew, brothers. The unit leader (and Cpl Brett's mom) Donna Baker, who barks them into formation like a drill sergeant, said she has no Marine background herself but mothers have similar skills.

She explained that the Young Marines are a private youth group organized by the USMC veteran group the Marine Corps League. Both girls and boys are accepted, and the emphasis is on duty, courage and a healthy outdoor lifestyle. Those in the local unit learn to hang glide, shoot, cave, rappel and camp. Recruits go through a 13-day bootcamp. "They have to earn their uniform, they don’t just get it handed to them," said Sgt.--er, Ms. Baker.

The local unit of the Young Marines meets every other week in Chattanooga. Call (423) 847-2471 for more information, or email

The Dade Small Business Expo is staged each year by the Greater Dade Business Owners Association, notably by Nathan Wooten (right) with the help of his city- commissioner-slash-business- owner wife Monda. Monda, who runs the Discount Flooring Store in Trenton, is pictured here coralling a grandchild at the Expo. Nathan owns MaDex, a trucking services company, as well as several other small businesses.

Thanks, Wootens, for another great community event!

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