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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - New owners plan Gentilly Gardens upgrades
The Gardens Web

            Gentilly Gardens, an assisted living and memory care facility on Gentilly Road, was acquired last week by local entrepreneurs Ralph Cowart and Alan Skipper.
        They are renaming the facility The Gardens at Southern Manor, making it a sister facility to Southern Manor on Fair Road. Also, Cowart and Skipper hired Reagan Daly, the former general manager of Statesboro Magazine, to take over as executive director of The Gardens and direct marketing for all three of their assisted living facilities - The Gardens, Southern Manor in Statesboro and Lakeview Manor in Springfield.
        Gentilly Gardens was built in 2001 by a group of local investors. In 2008, that group sold the facility to Tutera, which is a national operator of senior care facilities based in Kansas City, Mo. Cowart and Skipper's acquisition brings the facility back under local control.
        The duo acquired their first senior care facility, Southern Manor, in 2011 from Kay Wildes. After the purchase, they completely renovated the facility and expanded it from a capacity of 36 to 45, including the addition of 12 memory care beds. In June 2015, they acquired their second facility, Lakeview Manor in Springfield.
        Cowart is the area's only nationally board certified assisted living administrator. In fact, he is one of only three administrators in Georgia with that certification. Cowart is planning a major renovation of The Gardens, which will give it a much needed update.
        "Our goal is the bring The Gardens aesthetically and operationally up to the high standards of care we have established at Southern Manor," Cowart said. "Our success is based on our relationships with our residents. They become part of our family and identify us as children or grandchildren. We understand the level of expectations from our residents and their families and we work hard every day to not only meet those expectations, but exceed them."
        There are many things that separate them from their competitors in the industry. One is their all-inclusive pricing structure, which, in my experience, is very competitive.
        The industry standard is what is known as "level of care assessments." That means there is a base fee and then residents are assessed additional fees for things like assistance with bathing, medication disbursement, etc. Their pricing structure is a flat, all-inclusive price.
        In addition to staff R.N.s, Alan Skipper is a family nurse practitioner. Skipper, along with Daly's husband Michael, who is also a nurse practitioner, provide oversite to the operations of the facilities.
        They also have a full time activity director in place from 9 to 5 daily and a bath attendant on site daily.
        Last year they launched "companion care," which allows them to bring all of their inpatient services to the comfort of a client's home.
        This is perfect for senior adults who need some additional help around the home but are not ready to move completely into the facility.
        "Our goal is to create the best living experience possible," Cowart said. "These are their golden years and they deserve to be treated and honored in such a way that allows them to live comfortably in a caring and loving environment."
        Daly said she is excited to have the opportunity to re-enter the care giving environment. Daly worked previously at Willingway Hospital in multiple capacities and first embraced senior care as a volunteer in senior living facilities in college.
        "Many people are a little surprised by my move from media into this position," she said. "However, my career has been filled with wonderful opportunities that have prepared me for this job. Over the past few years I have become friends with Ralph and Alan and had the opportunity to watch how they transformed Southern Manor. It is exciting to see what they have created there. I think it is a model we can replicate successfully at The Gardens at Southern Manor. I am excited about the challenge and the opportunity to work with some of our communities most cherished citizens."
        Cowart hopes to complete renovations within the next 90 days at The Gardens at Southern Manor.

        Please email DeWayne at or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

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