Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev

Creating a Book Culture with Ashley Michael

September 18, 2023 Morgan Franklin Media Season 3 Episode 17
Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev
Creating a Book Culture with Ashley Michael
Show Notes Transcript

Join Kosta and his guest: Ashley Michael, Co-Founder and Manager of Plenty Downtown Bookshop, a registered non-profit, community-directed bookstore providing resources to authors, dreamers, and readers alike.

Find out more about Plenty Downtown Bookshop:
https://www.plentybookshop.com/

Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a product of Morgan Franklin Media and recorded in Cookeville, TN.

This episode of Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is made possible by our partners at Wildwood Resort and Marina. 

Find out more about Wildwood Resort and Marina:
https://wildwoodresorttn.com/

Kosta Yepifantsev:

This episode is presented by our partners at Wildwood Resort and Marina, a one of a kind lodging dining and vacationing experience on Cordell Hull Lake, only 11 miles from I-40 and one hour from Nashville Wildwood’s all inclusive venue is the perfect location for weekend getaways, family celebrations, Team retreats and weddings. open year round Wildwood is the perfect place to unwind, recharge and renew. Whether you're spending the night on a floating harbor cottage, having a nightcap at Lakeside restaurant or enjoying a customized massage at Niagara Landing. There's something for everyone. Find out more at visitwildewood.com

Ashley Michael:

Because if you're giving something, it shows that you value it, and that, you know, you hope that they value it as well. We like to encourage people to write little notes in the books that you give and that kind of thing. I think if we can start at a young age, gifting books to kids with meaning with notes and things like that, that's just a small thing that you can do to really create this book culture.

Morgan Franklin:

Welcome to Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev, a podcast on parenting business and living life intentionally. We're here every week to bring you thoughtful conversation, making your own path to success,challenging the status quo, and finding all the ways we're better together. Here's your host, Kosta Yepifantsev.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Hey, y'all, it's Kosta. Today, I'm here with my guest, Ashley Michael, co-founder and manager of Plenty Downtown Bookshop, a registered nonprofit community directed bookstore providing resources to authors, dreamers and readers alike. Ashley, I want to start this episode with a question that might seem totally random. But it's actually the through line for this entire episode. What is the third place?

Ashley Michael:

I love that, you know, to ask that. So third place came around in the 90s. And I think it has a lot to do with when we were getting more digitized in our culture, there was this realization that we we actually do need connection, we can't just do all the things online. I think that we've seen that a lot now since post COVID, and everything. So third place is the idea that you have your home and you have your work. And then you have this other sort of chosen place. And it's a public place, and you choose it because there's something there that you like that draws you and so while you're there, there's other like minded people who also liked the same thing. So I think of like the bar on chairs, or coffee shops, or things like that, or you know, clubs, but book shops have pretty quickly become third places across the globe, really, for a lot of people.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And we're gonna get into all of the things that planning offers and bookshops in general. But when I think of bookshops, right, I think of like Barnes and Nobles, books and million like these huge I used to work at a Barnes and Noble, okay, and I loved when I was a kid, my mom would take me to Barnes and Nobles, and I would look at the strategy guides at the time fantasy section. But those have been closing. So is there something that is drawing people into community bookstores versus those big huge buildings like Barnes and Nobles and Books a Million?

Ashley Michael:

I think they're missing a soul sometime. Yeah, I think like that. The Amazon storefronts are probably the best example where a few years ago, they decided let's create actual brick and mortar stores. And they were beautiful, you know, and all this stuff. But they just didn't have they weren't made by people. They weren't, you know, there was no personality. There wasn't you weren't going there and belonging and feeling the place and the books. It was just like shopping online, but having to drive in your car?

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Yeah, yeah, one of the things that I'm fascinated, and again, we're going to talk about it later on is how reading is a I mean, it's a learned skill, and 50% don't actually know how to read at a proficient level in our society. And so when you're a business owner, and you're like thinking, Okay, well, what business should I start and you think bookstore and you're like, wait, I just lost 50% of market share. But at the same time, you're also what I love that that you and Lisa have been able to accomplish is that you've not just created a business that's centered around books, but you've also created an environment where people can come to your business and engage with books and who knows maybe that will get them on the path to actually maybe even learn how to read.

Ashley Michael:

Yeah, yeah, we have People can't we have adults that come in, you know, because our shop is just in a great walkable area. And you know it, we tried to make it pretty and inviting and have chairs and all these were very intentional to create this atmosphere, where then you can just be with the books and enjoy the books and browse the books. So a lot of people come in that they haven't read in a long time. Or maybe, you know, the last time they read was for high school, you know, required reading or something like that. And so it's really fun to help people find this new love for books,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

or encounter people that can't read that are

Ashley Michael:

adults. Yeah, I think that'd be awfully hard for them to say. So maybe that's a goal, to have it be where adults can come in and say, it's hard for me to read, I would love that.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Plenty isn't just a bookshop. It's a tool for our community. From book clubs, events, author meet and greets, and countless creative resources, you've cultivated a space where people can do more than just shop for books, as the store manager, how is this greater vision change the way the business itself operates?

Ashley Michael:

So my role in this all is very much the day to day the nuts and bolts of helping keep this afloat and make this happen, which I really enjoy. And so that means my focus is not on okay, what books are we going to buy to bring in? What's the staff schedule, it has to be so much more than that, because I am here to do this to create something for my community. And so the part that I want to spend more time on actually are those things, planning, thinking, you know, what would people love to come to that revolves around books or meeting authors, you know, or getting into the schools and bringing in an author and inspiring kids to say, hey, this could be you one day and things like that. So we have a small army of staff to help make all these things happen. Because it's not just, you know, a store, it's it's really the community space is so much why we're there.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Well, and also, if I'm not mistaken, So correct me if I'm wrong. When you guys were on spring, I think in one day, moving too broad. You guys like did the amount of sales that you did the entire time you were on spring or something like that?

Ashley Michael:

Yeah, it was. I think that we did sales in one day that took us probably a month or two. Okay of our time on spring. Yeah.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So all the business owners out there location, man. Oh, my

Ashley Michael:

goodness. Yeah. So it is so worth investing in having a good location, because we really don't even have to market ourselves. People just come you guys are packed. Yeah.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Like every time I walk past the bookstore, it's packed with people. It's the vibes totally different. It's a great vibe, not to say that spring wasn't a good vibe, but it's just the exterior and in the interior aesthetics. And on spring, I think you had a great interiors aesthetic, but the

Ashley Michael:

exterior lights. Yeah, it was Yeah.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

But it just seems like cozy. It feels like a notebook, you know, which is for all you old school fans. That's what Barnes and Nobles had as the E the first e reader. Oh, yeah. Which I had. Did you? Yes, I did. I had enough.

Ashley Michael:

I did not I had to sell them, but I didn't.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So what's the hardest part about running the bookstore?

Ashley Michael:

I think the time thing. I mean, there's, there's so much that I want to do. I have big ideas and visions. I mean, and this is where Lisa and I are good partnerships. She's such a visionary, and helping literacy and bookstores on a global level. And I maybe it's because I have small kids or whatever it may be I'm so focused on I want to do big things for Cookeville. And there's just not enough time in the day to do all the things that I want to do.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Is it hard to find people that are wanting to work in that environment? Oh,

Ashley Michael:

we actually just hired and we put out a thing online and had over 70 applicants and holidays, which I know is not the case for I think it's just a good industry, you know that people are like, oh, I want to work in a bookstore that sounds so romantic and great.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Is the space big enough to meet the demand of all the people that are coming into the store? Do you guys at one point think that you might need an even bigger space because you have so much traffic coming?

Ashley Michael:

I think that we could use a bigger space I think we always want it to feel cozy and so I don't know if that would look like maybe one day having a children's store you know and across the street as the rest or something like that. But you know, we wouldn't want to be some big mega building but there's also you know, we have we order things and we have our online storefront and so we don't have to house all the books that everybody wants because we can get them in but yeah, we could grow and be okay with that.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I like that. Yeah. So let's talk about literacy. Okay, there are so many fascinating statistics on reading and the developmental success of children. But I want to highlight one children who read for only five minutes every day will consume 282,000 new words every year. How can plenty in bookstores like it helped bridge the gap of reading and literacy rates that are so prevalent right now?

Ashley Michael:

Oh, I love that. So we talked about at plenty, our goal is to create a book culture. So we have this grand idea that the you know, we can help create a world where people love books. And I think that we're such a fast paced society. And we don't take time to care for ourselves, even among a lot of other things. And so I think books bring so much good and so much health into the world. And so it's a lot easier if you start young. So part of what we do is we partner with a lot of the local schools, providing books, like, there's a third and fourth grade group at one of our local schools that's ordering books, and we're just giving to him at our cost, okay. And that's a big part of where which I know talk about later, moving toward a nonprofit model helps us to be able to do things like that, where we're able to provide things and not worry so much about our bottom line. But I think the biggest thing is, you know, you can give people free books all day long. But if they don't care about it, if they don't value the book, or value reading, then it's like, okay, well, here's, that's great. Thanks. That was fun for a day. And now I'm over it. I think if you can foster a love for reading, I think a lot of that has to do with gifting as weird as that sounds. And so the design of our store is really heavily geared toward giftable books for kids, for adults, because if you're giving something, it shows that you value it, and that, you know, you hope that they value it as well. We like to encourage people to write little notes in the books that you give and that kind of thing. And I think if we can start at a young age, gifting books to kids with meaning with notes and things like that, that's just a small thing that you can do to really create this book culture. But yeah, it's important.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Just a follow up question. Okay. So even if you love to read, okay, like, maybe you just love books, like, you know, there's a book on my desk, and it makes me happier than anything else, you know, possible. But what happens if you don't know how to read? I mean, you can love the idea of reading, but if you don't actually know how to read, I don't know how you're gonna be able to fall in love with the book,

Ashley Michael:

I think we're going to have to partner with a lot of different groups and a lot of different people to change these sorts of things. But we're here for it. Yeah, plenty. I think our teachers are amazing. I think they need all the support that they can get. I know, in our area, you know, there's a lot of families where there are no books in the home, right. And that's something that we want to change, too. There's a lot of statistics that show that, you know, if you have a home with I think 100 books in it, that that's all that it takes. And that just does infinite things, you know, if kids are just around the books, and then they can pick them up, and they can learn to sort of piece through it. And that kind of thing.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Does it concern you? Because you know, we had third grade retention, the test? And I think like 30% scored proficient, and 70% did not. I mean, third grade is I mean, that's what nine year olds? Yeah. I mean, if you can't read when you're nine years old, Mike, how do you feel about that? Does it concern you?

Ashley Michael:

Well, I have elementary aged kids too. And I'm still trying to understand a lot of what this means. I think that there's things that we can that we ought to and can be doing even before third grade so that it's not all of a sudden, okay, you're just third grade. And we've got to do all these things. And but yeah, I mean, it's mind blowing to think, and I know that reading comes really easily for some of us. And for some of us, it is not easy, you know, and there's all kinds of progress that's been made on helping people with dyslexia and other different learning disorders. And that's really exciting. But yeah, I don't know, this is just gonna be a big thing that we work through together.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I listened to a podcast, and I've talked about it on the show before it's called Soul the story and it essentially tracks the evolution of reading in the United States from the 60s through the 2020s. There has been this battle between learning how to read using phonics, and also learning how to read using versus learning how to read using this model that was established by a group called Fountas and Pinnell, and they essentially want you to fall in love with reading. And they think that if they use a series of cues and like visual presentations, that you'll be able to kind of guess your way A into learning how to read. And I mean, that may be more of like a cynical way of describing it. But long story short, it hasn't worked. And it was in more than half of public school systems in the United States up until the pandemic, when kids came back home and parents were like, you're doing Wow, they pop in and see them learning on Zoom and be like, What are you? What are you talking about, even though everybody you know, has problems with common core, but once it comes home, we will really have a problem with it. The point that I'm trying to make is if we have such a huge problem with literacy, and the statistics point to it being such a huge problem. Yeah, how does plenty use all of its resources and all of its tools, and all of its manpower to try in an effect this issue?

Ashley Michael:

This is really good. And this is getting my brain thinking. And if you have ideas, I would welcome them. I think that it's got to be on the adult level, as well as on the kid level. And, you know, working with the schools, but you know, this is a problem that I think has been building for a really long time. And so it's going to take a lot of effort to help these things. But if we can convince adults, which to me, is crazy. I do I love reading, I've always loved reading. So it's hard to imagine, you know why you wouldn't even if it is just reading comic books, that's still reading or reading cookbooks, you know, whatever it might be, it's reading. And that's great. And it's so good for your brain, reminding adults through hopefully, I think a big part of that for me is because our store is in a location where people from all walks are coming in to eat or to get ice cream at cream city or whatever it might be, maybe they wouldn't be afraid to come in a bookstore, and, you know, then we can remind them or maybe show them the first time how there's tons of different things that you could read, and you just need to find the right match. And we love to do that with people. And then, you know, the school piece is still such a mystery to me. I mean, there's so many layers to what we can do. But I do hope that with us being a nonprofit, and we actually just hired a staff member to just be our sort of school liaison person. Because we just want to be able to do a lot with our resources of having all these accounts with publishers and things like that to see what can we do to help our local schools?

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Yes or no? Can you be successful in life if you don't know how to read?

Ashley Michael:

Well, I mean, there's Dolly Parton. Does she not know how to read and know how to read as an adult? I mean, I think she can now but that is such a cool story. Yeah.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So obviously, she's a phenomenal singer, musician. She

Ashley Michael:

just could fake her way through. Maybe she had the picture thing like you were talking about whatever reading program that was, but she could not read. Do you think there's a lot of people like that? I think so. Yeah. So you know, she went and started Dali's Imagination Library, which we love and which Lisa actually is, was just invited to be on the board of nice. Yeah, we hope to keep working there and doing different things with Tennessee to be able to help kids hear but yeah, I think there's a lot like Dolly.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And so plenty overarching success. When you're like, Okay, we finally made it is when you're gonna have people within the community know that this is a safe place that they can come in and start their reading journey. Yeah, even if it is from zero. Yep. I would love that. Do you think plenties model as a nonprofit could be the blueprint for other community driven bookstores? And also what does that look like?

Ashley Michael:

Yeah, we get a lot of I mean, even at first for me, when this idea was introduced, I thought, well, how can a bookstore be a nonprofit, because it's such a different idea. But now it just makes perfect sense to me. So the idea is that nonprofits have to do some sort of public good, there's, they're serving the community, somehow they are there to benefit the community. And it's very clear that reading and that books, benefit the community. But we're, we're a store so we're selling books. So then that's where it's like, how can you be a nonprofit? But we think that the art of browsing of spending time in a store and thinking what am I going to choose to bring into my home and to be a part of my life or my shelf or what I'm going to give to my child on their first birthday or whatever it might be? There's so much good that comes from that whole experience, and bookstores. Actually in towns like ours, we're doing pretty well financially. But our cost of living isn't too bad here in Cookeville compared to like, large cities and things like that. So most of the other parts to the US, it's very hard to have a sustainable bookstore. But it's such an important piece of society. And so if we can create a way to make it a nonprofit and to allow booksellers to have a livable minimum wage salary, you know, because you, you have to have a lot of knowledge and a lot of skill and a lot of people skills on these things to be a good bookseller. So if we can honor booksellers, give them a good salary, provide the space that is good for the community. Having the nonprofit is is a big way that we can do that. And then it frees us up to be able to do all the things that we so much want to do with just helping create these book cultures and helping kids learn to love books and reading at a young age.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

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Ashley Michael:

So there is a lot of ways that they are similar. They both are promoting literacy, we do a lot to partner with the library, actually, I think we do well to work together, they have a lot of resources at their disposal that we can, you know, funnel our customers there. And then the same, they cannot sell books, we are able to sell books, we're able to provide the books for their author events, or for their kids book clubs, or whatever it may be. So we work really well together, actually, you know, but I think the biggest difference is the library, you're you're borrowing things, but those are books that are in and out of your life for a time but a bookstore, you know, you're intentionally building your, you know, little light, whether it's 10, a 10 book library at home, or 1000, or whatever it may be. Those are a piece of your home and your heart for me. You know, I mean, books are just in there for life. And you know, it's different than a library. You're not just trying things on, but

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you're keeping them. Do you guys get grants? Well, I

Ashley Michael:

mean, this is all very new. But yes, so we do have a grant that has just started where we are involved with this cohort of other book, people, some are bookstore owners, some are in the publishing side. And all these things. Were sort of part of this cohort that is trying to sit together and figure out and carve out this idea of the nonprofit model of the bookstore. And so we have a grant that is, is helping do that. We've just learned so much from working with all these other people in the industry. And

Kosta Yepifantsev:

what's the network like for indie bookstores? Like is it pretty vast? Especially in Tennessee? Is there a lot of small bookstores?

Ashley Michael:

Yes. There's a few that I love. And I talked to them all the time asking them questions, because I'm like the new kid. But yeah, there's a big one in Nashville, Parnassus books and the book and cover in Chattanooga. And there's a lot of other ones. But yeah, book, people are very kind and helpful. I went to a national Booksellers Association conference in Seattle. And it was so fun and you know, we're all not competitors. We're all in the same market together. And so it's a good, it's a good bunch of people.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Okay, so other than I think one key to having a successful community bookstore is eventually you're going to have to get LeVar Burton to cast from the Reading Rainbow. Yes. And put on an event. Yep. And we're going to talk about event what's next? But I want to kind of paint a picture for you. And I want to hear your interpretation of what this may or may not mean, when you name a lot of community bookstores. And when you think of community bookstores, you usually think of larger communities like Chattanooga, like Nashville, Knoxville, there's gonna be bookstores in New York, which we were just up there, and we saw a ton of them. You guys are wanting to do this in Cookeville? Yes. And dare I say there's probably not many community bookstores in smaller towns even smaller than Cookeville. Very sad. So what does that say about our society? Or at least just let's just break it down? What does that say about our state that it has to be in an urban, Metro, large city environment to be able to get enough people that I'm not going to put words in your mouth, but know how to read?

Ashley Michael:

Yeah, there is this map out there. And I don't even know how Lisa found it. But she's just amazing. And she can she knows things. And she knows people. It shows like, all of the black holes where there are no books like a book desert, yes, a book desert. So people aren't buying books on Amazon in these places. There are no bookstores, there are no libraries. And Tennessee has a lot of those book deserts. And so a big part of what we want to do, and I'm not even sure what that's going to look like. But if you could have a cute cozy little bookshop, like plenty in the small towns, that 100% would invite people to want to come in to be around the books and think, Oh, what have I been missing? I just think people don't even know what they're missing. They're not around it. They don't even know.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

You know, I just think that we found a actionable item, a solution that the state legislature could actually do to improve the dynamics of their third grade retention law. Yeah, I'm gonna go on a quick tangent, and then we're gonna wrap up in life. Okay. So if you look, think of the third grade retention law, right, you sit down at a desk, you have to take a test, you don't score well, you don't move on. You do score, well, you move on in life, business work, whatever it might be, you are put in a very precarious position and a high pressure situation where you have to produce, if you don't produce, you don't get promoted, you may not even have a job afterwards. I understand that this third grade retention law is supposed to be somewhat of a gut check on third graders, as crude as that may sound, it's supposed to be like, Okay, are you ready? No. Okay, you need more time. Are you ready? Yes. Okay, you can move on. Right. But we've got to start figuring out by talking to very intelligent people like yourself and Lisa, on what are the solutions? Because obviously, if you would have said that we have booked deserts in Tennessee, I guarantee you that the majority of the people who wrote this law have no idea. Yeah, so they write the law with questionable outcomes. But now we can have solutions by talking to individuals working with nonprofit community bookstores to try to bridge the gap between where we are now which is 30%, proficient, right to where we want to be, which is, I'm just going to shoot for the stars and say 100% proficiency, right, we should exactly. Yeah, exactly. Before we wrap up, I want to talk about all the upcoming events from plenty coming this fall. I know there's something for every single age group. So if you want to start from kids and work your way up to adults, or vice versa, that'd be great.

Ashley Michael:

Sure, yes, we have a lot. And before I even go through all this, we have a website, which we are very much trying to keep up to date so that people are not confused on what's happening. But if you go to plenty bookshop.com, we have a great little calendar on there. So for kids, we do two storytimes a week. And that way we can fit in like if there's parents working or whatever it might be. And you can only come certain times, we do a Monday morning, because there's nothing ever to do if you've ever been a stay at home parent. Everything's closed on Mondays. It's like what do you do? So we're there, we're open. And we do storytime at 1030 on Monday mornings. And that one's really fun. And we get out the puppets and stuff. And then on Saturdays at 1030. We also do a storytime. And that's great for kind of the whole family all all age groups, the Monday ones great for probably little like preschool and real little kids. And then we have author events all the time. And that is something that I hope we can do more of and we host them most of the time in the bookshop, but sometimes they're at other places, some other community partners and we would love to even do author events with businesses. That's something that we're looking into being able to say you're having a retreat and you can hear some books and this inspirational author and we can help connect that and make that happen. And I think books and You know, the creative arts and all this sort of go hand in hand a lot. So we try and do a lot with writers in our community too. So we always have writers workshops every month. And there's actually a lot of publishing resources in Nashville. And so we're able to sometimes bring those people in and do different publishing workshops on how to publish and that kind of thing. So there's lots happening.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Three quick questions. What's your favorite book?

Ashley Michael:

Oh, favorite. I'm not good with favorite questions for anything. I'm just gonna say fan of Green Gables. Yeah, loose Montgomery is one that I read. Not till college, actually. But it sat around my house for forever. And I've just I love it. I read it every year. It just makes me feel like have a renewed lease on life. Yeah, because she's so upbeat.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

What's your favorite genre of books?

Ashley Michael:

I think this is very, even though I love that one. I do like mysteries. Okay. Yeah. Nice. Yeah, I like it. love a good who done it?

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I love that. So when I sort of entered into the real world, you know, had to like you know, leave high school and stop playing hockey and like, enter the workforce, right? I read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People ASIC. So what do you think? I mean, I was blown away everything that I mean, it was 90, I was 19 years old. I had to find a job that I could turn into a career. And that book, I mean, unlocked every single thing in my mind, one of the things that it taught me, and I think it's important to say this, because you don't know what you're gonna find in a book until you actually start reading it. Yeah. It taught me how to communicate with people. And when you're like a 19 year old kid, you think everybody that's older than you is scary. Yeah. You know, like high school kids. Sure, you know, middle school kids in general. They're, they're cool. But everybody that's like the gatekeeper, you know, is an adult, usually in like a 30, or four year old and that book, I still use practically everything in that book to this day. Yeah. And it was written in like the 20s.

Ashley Michael:

And there's been no need to like, I mean, it's just good for you do it.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Exactly. Yeah. And I think it's important to say that if you're going to start a new career, whether it's you know, working in manufacturing, or it's working in healthcare, or it's working in sales, whatever it might be, pick up a book and read about, you know, what best practices are, I read how to sell a car today. And it really helped, again, because of the fact that I was completely oblivious to what I needed to do. And this at least gave me some fundamental building blocks. And believe me, when I say I'm not an avid reader, my wife reads like, a couple of books a week. I might read one book a year.

Ashley Michael:

Yeah. But that's, that's still reading. Absolutely. Yeah. And you read more, you know, little things that you think about, it doesn't have to be not everybody loves a novel.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I mean, I read a lot. Yeah. That does much cover anyone. I read a lot of points of view, like in terms of emails and things like that. But when the reason why I keep asking you like, how do people make it without being able to read? I don't know. I mean, to some of my earliest memories of things that I've had to do in life required me being able to read Yeah, I don't know how dolly did it. Well, she's just a fantastic singer. So listen, I guess we can say that if you can sing really well, like, pardon, then maybe reading is optional. So we always like to end the show on a high note, who is someone that makes you better when you're together?

Ashley Michael:

I just couldn't think of anything better than my mom, which maybe is such a classic answer. I don't know. But sometimes I get a little caught up in the weeds and kinda like serious and focused and she's really good about, like, she just laughs at herself, and she does something silly. We laugh a lot. And she's like, you know, my biggest cheerleader and she's watching the kids right now, so that I can do this. And so I gotta give it up for and she read to me as a kid all the time, and my dad did too. And he has a hard time reading. He's dyslexic. But he would still read to me as a kid and my mom and I have a lot of her old books that she passed down. So,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Thank you to our partners at Wildwood Resort gotta go with mom. and Marina for presenting this episode. Wildwood Resort offers guests a rare collection of lodging styles from vintage airstreams and waterfront cabins, to floating harbor cottages and a new two story inn. It's the perfect destination to visit this fall to explore nearby hiking trails and waterfalls. Walk on Tennessee's longest lake boardwalk, enjoy authentic dining at the Lakeside Restaurant, be energized with an on-site massage treatment. Wildwood is tucked away off the beaten path, nestled in nature. This is a hidden gem. For more information go to visitwildwood.com

Morgan Franklin:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev. If you've enjoyed listening and you want to hear more, make sure you subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts. Leave us a review or better yet, share this episode with a friend. Today's episode was written and produced by Morgan Franklin post production mixing and editing by Mike Franklin. Want to know more about Kosta visit us at kostayepifantsev.com. We're better together. We'd like to remind our listeners that the views and opinions expressed during this episode are those of the individual speakers and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official policy or position of this show its producers or any related entities or advertisers. While our discussions may touch on various topics of interest, please note that the content is intended to inspire thought provoking dialogue and should not be used for a substitute for professional advice.Specifically, nothing heard on this podcast should be construed as financial, legal, medical or any other kind of professional advice. We encourage our listeners to consult with a professional in these areas for guidance tailored to their specific circumstances.