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On February 28, 2016, the Lanes held a brunch in honor of Ms. Smith’s legacy. Some were members of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority of which she had been a part for 51 years. Others had been a part of the “Joy Sunday School Class” at First Baptist Church of Lyons where Barbara had been a member since 1965. Many guests who had purchased china at Smith’s Hardware over the past 50 years were encouraged to bring a dinner plate. “We also had fresh flowers throughout the room,” said Heather, as a tribute to the many years that “Barbara’s Flowers” was in business. Pizzas topped with poached eggs and country ham, and hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, and sausage were served. In addition to a wedding cake (made by Gina Lane), guests also enjoyed slices of peach cobbler pizza. “When I asked if anyone would like to share anything, the room got quiet,” said Heather. “Then everyone started standing up.” “They all had a story about Ms. Smith and the Hardware Store that they wanted to share,” said John Mark. And at the end, Heather said, “Even though it looks different, we hope everyone will continue to share in community with us here.” The Lanes both moved to Lyons from Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2006 to work at Elements Bistro and Grill, which opened in October 2007. Heather managed the restaurant, and John Mark worked as Executive Chef. In 2010, the two married and soon after started a family. Now with two small boys, Eli (5), and Sam (4), they decided to make a change. “We needed to be able to be at home with our two boys in the evenings,” said Heather. “But nothing overjoys me more than to see Elements continue to grow because that means we were a part of something that’s going to last and succeed.” “We wanted to do something different like Elements,” said John Mark. “And we wanted to stay in Lyons. We like this little town, and we believe in it.” For many chefs, Heather explained, “There’s a sort of natural progression to want to do something on their own.” The idea to open an Italian brick oven pizza restaurant was something they had talked about for some time. But it was a trip to New York that really set things in motion. “We went to meet the guy that had the ovens that we wanted,” said John Mark. “And we went all over town eating at different pizza restaurants.” New York, which has some of the most iconic pizzerias in the country, inspired the Lanes to begin their dream. As they searched for the right building, the atmosphere of community and history that lingered in the old Smith’s Hardware building drew John Mark in. Both felt that it was a perfect fit. Artistic Designer Chase Tipps worked with the Lanes in designing and renovating the interior of the building. With repurposed wood from the original hardware store, they incorporated some of the old into the new design. “There’s a lot of history still in here,” said John Mark. “This was Mr. Smith’s work table,” pointing out the bar at the front window “All we did was sand it down and put some oil on it. And the table that holds the drink machines was where he did his gunsmith work.” For authentic craft pizza, only a true Italian brick oven would do. “The Pavesi brick oven and rotating arm mixer both came from Italy,” said Heather. The mixer, which is a rotating arm that kneads the dough, is one of only a few on the East Coast, she explained. In addition to handmade pizzas, Hardware Pizza offers craft beer �������������������������������������� some pastas. And, of course, ���������������������������������� ������������������������������������ ������������������������������������ �������������������������������������� ���������� 24 Toombs County Magazine


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