An EPIC celebration of the holidays and Cullman’s future business leaders

Andrew Cryer

CULLMAN – This weekend, Emerging Professionals Impacting Cullman (EPIC) held an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at Top of the Town. The night, including live entertainment provided by Burke Buster Music, a photo booth, food, an open bar and the aforementioned ugly sweater contest, was a chance for Cullman’s next generation of business leaders to gather, celebrate a year of success and socialize with other young professionals.

According to Magan Bartlett, director of membership & marketing for the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce, EPIC was formed earlier this year as a way to engage the young professionals of Cullman and get them involved with the community, but also as a way to give back to the community.

The event was sponsored by the chamber and their advisory council to, in the words of Bartlett, “bring awareness to our group, but to also give back to Cullman Caring for Kids.” Before the event, a group of EPIC members marched in the Christmas in Cullman Christmas Parade. This event was EPIC’s fourth this year, but they look forward to adding more events next year as their membership grows.

Dustin Martian, local business owner and member of the chamber, was one of the many emerging faces of the local business community present at the party. He currently has a business located in Welti, but says he looks forward to moving into the city limits of Cullman in the near future.

“I fully support the chamber and love everything that they do,” said Martian, who says events like the ugly sweater party and the hard work of chamber staff played a major role in his decision to relocate to the Cullman area.

“We were located in the Pinson and Center Point area before we came here, and this has been a much better experience than the one down there could have ever been,” stated Martian. “We were chamber members at the Pinson Courthouse, and their chamber was messy and unorganized; they didn’t try to bring us together as business owners (and) they didn’t do events.”

Not only were business owners present, but the newly sworn in mayor of Colony, Donnis Leeth, made an appearance to get to know the local business community in his efforts to gain investment in the Colony area of Cullman County.  Specifically, Leeth says he wishes to improve the roads in Colony, to attract businesses such as Dollar General and to improve the parks and their walking trail before he leaves office.

“The chamber is going to help me along with the Cullman County Community Development Commission,” said Leeth. Of the ugly sweater festivities, Leeth said, “There are a lot of young folks, and it’s nice to see young folks out doing things.” Jokingly, Leeth added, “Get the old folks out of the way; let the young folks handle it.”


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