Meet Our Team

Derek Chitwood

Owner & CEO
Canon, GA
Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA

Likes: The fall, hiking, college football, southern culture, flag football, woodworking and agriculture

Biggest Influence on Your Life: My grandpa, Virlyn ‘V.F.’ Chitwood. He just has an aura about him; a quiet and humble leader, always sharing knowledge, wisdom, and stories, and he’s such a great teacher.

Derek is the mastermind behind the dream of Peach State Pride! Growing up picking peaches at his family’s peach orchard, Derek has a passion for agriculture, history, and everything Georgia-related. As a creative mind and vivid dreamer, Derek is enjoying the challenges and rewards of being a young entrepreneur.


Kari Chitwood

Sandersville, GA
Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA

Party Trick: I can do the worm

What Inspired Me to Do What I Do: I got kind of tricked into it by marrying Derek (just kidding!). I have a passion for business and everything that goes into it. Peach State Pride is the best of both worlds: I get to work with amazing people, experience the challenges and successes of a thriving business first hand, and still give back to the state and community. It’s great.

Guilty Pleasure: Nightly chocolate chip cookies

Kari heads up marketing and operational initiatives and does a little bit of everything. Kari also has a large hand in sister company Empire South‘s retail endeavors: Empire South Athens, Empire South Watkinsville, Empire South Kids, and V.F. Chitwood’s.


Derrick Bahnsen

Retail Operations Manager & Product Development
Valdosta, GA
Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA

Likes: Anything outdoors, all the way from hugging the trees to rippin’ lips, hunting wildlife and wrangling gators

Book that Moved Me: Love Does by Bob Goff

Favorite Show: Breaking Bad

Party Trick: My sweet dance moves

Derrick joined our team in early 2014 and works on the retail and wholesale side of the business. Derrick brings style and meticulous taste to the team; just ask his mother Wendy, she’ll tell you about the young boy who cried when his socks didn’t line up and shirt wouldn’t tuck in!


Susie Brown

Business Office Manager
Sandersville, GA

Susie is the glue that holds everything together at Peach State Pride! She is the ‘Mom’ of the group, and makes sure all of our i's are dotted and our t's are crossed. From taxes and payroll, to HR and corporate structure, Susie ensures that the business runs smoothly, and that we don’t have too much fun all the time (just kidding, we still do). We are so thankful for all you do, Susie!

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