CREATIVES: Entrepreneur to Watch TJ Callaway of Onward Reserve

Jul 20 2015

by Cheri Leavy

TJ Callaway ONWARD RESERVETJ Callaway, originally from Thomasville, Georgia, left his investment banking job to establish ONWARD RESERVE in 2012 in an effort to provide consumers with the best in lifestyle brands as well as up and coming collections.

Designers and international brands include: Barbour, Peter Millar, Dubarry, Vilebrequin and others; however, they pride themselves in their unique finds from brands like Smathers & Branson, Fulton & Roark, Martin Dingman and Token & Icon.

Callaway was an SAE at the University of Georgia. In his spare time, he is an avid (although not skilled) golfer and loves to hunt and be in the outdoors. He has been named as one of the University of Georgia’s top 40 under 40.






Enjoy our Q&A with the founder and co-CEO of Onward Reserve …

Describe your brand/business and how it got started:

Onward Reserve is a premium lifestyle brand catering to a specific customer. The easiest way to describe our brand is that it is everything I would want to find in a specialty store. Turns out there are more people like me … Others have described it as very Garden & Gun. Let’s just hope my tastes stay relevant!

More importantly, our stores are experiences. You can find plenty of other stores that carry the lines we carry (aside from our awesome Onward Reserve branded goods, obviously) but there are only a handful of retailers in the country that cater to a similar lifestyle and who take as much pride in their merchandising as we do. Every Onward Reserve store is different, every item has a story.

I was looking to get out of investment banking and do something fun and it all just sort of happened. It turns out I am a reasonably good merchant and more importantly have surrounded myself with incredibly talented people. There was never any master plan or agenda, we are just enjoying the ride.

ONWARD RESERVE currently has seven locations including:

Georgia – Atlanta (Ponce City Market and Buckhead), Athens, Thomasville
Charlotte, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee and Georgetown,Washington D.C.


What you love about each town Onward Reserve has a location in:

Every market is different, and that is what I love about my job. Getting to know and be a part of so many different communities around the country is just awesome.


What are you excited about for Back to School/Fall?

Oh. Let me tell you. Onward Reserve as a brand is going to blow you away. We have a full line of apparel from shoes and belts to outerwear, sweaters, woven shirts, performance golf shirts etc etc. It is remarkable how far we have come since we opened our first Athens store in September of 2012.


#1 skill/attribute needed to be an entrepreneur:



Role model and why:

A handful of mentors all of whom would be embarrassed to be named.


Favorite social media and why:

Instagram – a picture is worth 1,000 words.


Favorite quote or piece of advice:

Never give up


Interesting tidbit about you or your business:

We built our first store ourselves in only a couple of weeks with no idea what we were doing. The first gameday weekend people were shopping out of boxes because we had not had time to get everything out. We have come a long way! We still do most of the final build-out and fixturing ourselves.


Theme Song:

Oh that changes too often – I’m way too ADD to have a consistent song.


Fave book or author:

I love reading biographies of impressive people – learning how other people achieved their goals can help you in your strategy of how to accomplish yours. I especially love Mr. Anonymous about Robert Woodruff of Coca-Cola.



Golf, work and work


Favorite charity:

My wife and I are very supportive of many charities but I love supporting Brookwood School in Thomasville. My mother has been a teacher there for longer than she would want me to mention and I am proud to be able to give back.


What you love most about Athens:

What is not to love about Athens! Music, food, football, people, atmosphere … Athens is an authentically cool place and I could not be more proud that it was the birthplace of our brand.


Photo Credit: Caroline Fontenot


Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 6.34.28 PM

Visit one of their seven locations, and witness our unique shopping experience first-hand.

Athens, GA (Downtown)

Address: 146 E. Clayton St, Athens, GA, 30601
Phone: (706) 543-0106
Hours: Mon-Sat (10am-7pm) , Sun (12pm-5pm)

Atlanta, GA (Buckhead)

Address: 3072 Early Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30305
Phone: (404) 814-8997
Hours: Mon-Sat (10am-7pm) ,Sun (12pm-5pm)

Atlanta, GA (Ponce City Market)

Address: 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Phone: (470) 225-6453
Hours: Mon-Sat (10am-7pm) ,Sun (12pm-5pm)

Charlotte, NC (Myers Park)

Address: 4149 Park Road, Charlotte, NC 28209
Phone: (980) 237-6111
Hours: Mon-Sat (10am-7pm), Sun (12pm-5pm)

Chattanooga, TN (Warehouse Row)

Address: 1110 Market Street #108a, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: (423) 362-5714
Hours: Mon-Sat (10am-7pm) , Sun (12pm-5pm)

Thomasville, GA (Downtown)

Address: 115 N Broad Street
Phone: (229) 236-7005
Hours: Mon-Sat (10am-7pm) , Sun (12pm-5pm)

Washington, DC (Georgetown)

Address: 1063 Wisconsin Avenue
(202) 838-9365
Mon-Sat (10am-7pm) , Sun (12pm-5pm)


The Southern Coterie is a social network ( with events ( that connects influencers, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals with an affinity for the South- the Makers and Doers.

Enjoy this series where we introduce you to Southern creatives we find inspiring-





Cheri Leavy View More Blog Posts from this Author

Cheri Leavy is a connector, cheerleader and marketing consultant for fellow entrepreneurs.
Building rapport and strengthening a sense of community:
• A community of female entrepreneurs through the The Southern Coterie and The Southern C Summit
• The faces and places of Athens that make our city so vibrant through guide2athens
• A community of devoted football fans through Bulldawg Illustrated
- Contributing editor to Coastal Illustrated, Executive Board Member of the UGA Alumni Association

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