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Mary Moore leads The Cook’s Warehouse to delicious success

There are five things everyone needs in their kitchen, says Mary Moore, founder and CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse: a good knife, the right cutting board to maintain that knife, a saute pan, tongs and a whisk.

“You can do a lot with those,” she says.

Of course, you can do a lot more with the thousands of gourmet items sold at The Cook’s Warehouse. In addition to locations in Ansley Mall, Decatur and Brookhaven, the newest store opened a few weeks ago in East Cobb in the Merchant’s Walk Shopping Center.

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Euphoria Affairs offers respect, understanding for same-sex weddings

It was an awkward moment when Carol and Kesha McKnight raced to the DJ at a party they were invited to by their wedding planner. They were trying to accept the prize promised to the first engaged couple to come to the stage.

“The DJ asked if we were joking. We said no, we’re not playing. The DJ walked away — he wasn’t taking our relationship seriously,” says Carol. “It was very awkward and a bit hurtful.”

To ensure incidents like this don’t happen to other same-sex couples, Carol and Kesha started their own wedding planning business, Euphoria Affairs, that finds gay-friendly vendors for same-sex couples.

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GA Spotlight: Celebrating 25 years, HLM Financial Group offers ‘one stop’ approach

HLM Financial Services

Described as a “one stop” shop for accounting, taxes, mortgages and other financial needs, HLM Financial Group is also a “family” business — in every sense of the word. The lesbian-owned company celebrates its 25th anniversary this month.

Lynn Pasqualetti, president and managing partner, founded HLM in 1986 after leaving her job at a CPA firm, inspired by a speaker at a tax seminar who encouraged attendees to embrace niche markets.

“All sorts of buzzers were going off in my head as I was thinking about the LGBT community and how my services would really allow same-sex couples and individuals an opportunity to be themselves in the already stressful environment of finances and tax related issues,” Pasqualetti says, noting that “while our client base is more diverse today, our client mix  is still made up of a majority of LGBT clients.”

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GA Spotlight: Your pets are like his own

Tom Patterson from Like My Own Pet Sitting

Tom Patterson, who prefers to say he is “mature” rather than give his actual age, opened up his business, Like My Own Pet Sitting, in October. Patterson says the relationships he builds with clients — and their pets — are fulfilling in every way.

He started the business he worked at the Georgia Department of Labor and decided the fit was, well, not good.

“It was everything you think a state job is … not healthy,” Patterson says with a laugh.

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GA Spotlight: Atlanta Queer Literary Festival

The Atlanta Queer Literary Festival traces its roots to a one-day special event held at the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library in 2006.  From there, the event has blossomed: Last year’s festival drew a crowd of more than 500 to see 70 participating authors, including keynotes Staceyann Chin and Manil Suri.

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GA Spotlight: Project LifeVest

In April, Derrick Martin, a gay teen from Cochran, Ga., was asked to leave home after publicity surrounding his decision to take his boyfriend to the high school prom. On July 12, Martin launched Project LifeVEST to help other LGBT people in similar situations.

States the new group’s website: “Our mission is simple: ‘To be a helping hand, a life vest, to as many LGBTQ teens and adults as possible. We will carry out this mission through the establishment of safe places in as many cities as possible; through opening a call center with a qualified and well-educated and experienced team of counselors who can give advice and guidance where needed; through finding qualified and screened families who can, if the need arises, host rejected teens while they finish schooling or find a new place.’”

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GA Spotlight: The Journey MCC

The Journey Metropolitan Community Church holds services at 10 a.m. on Sundays in Conyers. The congregation is part of the Metropolitan Community Churches, a denomination founded in 1968 by Rev. Troy Perry to provide an inclusive church for LGBT Christians.

The Journey MCC was founded as an outreach of First MCC in Atlanta. The church’s mission is to reach people in Conyers, Covington and other cities south of Atlanta.