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June 29-july 26, 2017 • The CSRA’s monthly business Magazine

Downtown Augusta building sells for $2 million Page 8

Field of Dreams Taking Shape in North Augusta By Gary Kauffman

Jeffrey Lovejoy of Augusta Regional Airport shares information about airplanes with high school student Donquarius Rhodes as part of the airport’s Shadow Program. Photo by Amanda King

Collaborations help students soar Airport, Textron, others provide teens hands-on experience By Amanda King

Donquarius Rhodes has already made up his mind what he wants to do after graduating from Lucy C. Laney High School next year – become a pilot for Delta. Dreams like that are music to the aviation industry’s ears. The average age of aviation employees is currently 57. With many of those workers preparing for retirement, there is need for many more students like Rhodes. “We want to spark that interest so

they will go into the field because we need employees,” said Lauren Smith, communications manager at Augusta Regional Airport. Augusta Regional Airport began offering Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career days in 2015, giving 15 middle school and 15 high school students the opportunity to observe the airport environment and learn more about the field of aviation. Last year, the airport decided to offer its first Shadow Program, al-

lowing high school students to spend two weeks during the summer learning about all areas of the aviation industry, including operations, airport engineering, avionics and flight training. The Shadow Program is a partnership with the Richmond County Board of Education. Students submit applications and are chosen by representatives from the airport. Selected students then have two weeks to learn See STUDENTS on Page 2

After a nightmarish five years of controversy, lawsuits and other delays, Project Jackson is finally on its way to becoming North Augusta’s Field of Dreams. And that is expected to provide a boost to businesses in the area. Construction began in the spring on the Augusta GreenJackets’ baseball stadium, the centerpiece of what is officially called Riverside Village at Hammonds Ferry. An official groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 25. Coming in the near future to Riverside Village will be a 180-room Crowne Plaza hotel, office and retail buildings and apartments. “The ballpark will be a catalyst,” said Chris Schoen, managing principal of project developer Greenstone Properties and co-owner of the GreenJackets. “Minor league baseball is built to attract families. They’ll be coming here riding bikes, eating dinner, then taking in four or five innings of a ballgame and still have the kids in bed by bedtime.” Judging from sales of the upper echelon of seating, many people in the area are already looking forward to the 2018 season. As of late June, GreenJackets General Manager Tom Denlinger said all of the suites have been sold, 65 percent of the first-base club-level seats have been sold, and 85 percent of the VIP loge seating has been sold. Two GreenJackets employees

“The ballpark will be a catalyst.” – Chris Schoen, co-owner of the GreenJackets

See FIELD on Page 4

STUDENTS “We know that the school district is important for economic development, and we know that things must happen for us to move as a community.”—Dr. Angela Pringle, Richmond County schools superintendent Continued from Page 1 the aviation process at Daniel Field and Bush Field. Rhodes and JaQuan Hall, from Academy of Richmond County, each spend a week at one field and then swap fields the following week, allowing for one-on-one time with instructors. “Any opportunity for kids is wonderful where they can get hands-on experience, whether it’s aircraft mechanics or finance, because at least they can go ahead and see if they are truly interested in that,” Smith said The aviation Shadow Program is not the only opportunity for students to learn outside the classroom. At the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce Town Hall in June, schools Superintendent Angela Pringle shared success stories of other programs that have been implemented to prepare students of all backgrounds for the workforce. In 2016, Textron Specialized Vehicles partnered with the Richmond County Board of Education to allow high school students to work at their subproduction location for a new program called Reaching Potential Through Manufacturing (RPM). Students spend half of their day at school and the other half at a Textron manufacturing facility, where they receive on-the-job training, life skills, mentoring and classroom instruction. Twenty-four students graduated from the inaugural class in May, and the program expects more participants this year. Many students in the program accepted full-time jobs with Textron after graduation. With the influx of cyber jobs in the area, area schools are also implementing a cyber curriculum. The district wants to hire someone to be

in charge of cyber and technology to ensure programs are on the right path. “We know that the school district is important for economic development, and we know that things must happen for us to move as a community,” Pringle said. While cyber programs are beneficial, many students are limited in their ability to complete assignments at home, often because of a lack of wireless internet access outside school. “We have the devices they can use, but they do not have the wireless access at home,” Pringle said. She added that the school board is working with city leaders to provide internet access in the city. The graduation rate for Richmond County schools increased 17 percent this year, a good sign that programs like these are working. And more opportunities are coming, thanks to Philip Wahl and the Augusta Metro Chamber’s Business Education Advisory Council, which helps tie the business community and public education. Wahl serves as the chairman of the council and also spoke at the Town Hall meeting. “We put our heads together, and we are making sure we come up with the best ideas and practices,” Wahl said. “We’re not trying to recreate the wheel -- there’s a lot of great groups in town.” Wahl said the group is looking for internship possibilities for students to serve in various occupations, but to achieve that and the other goals the council has made, they need two things: money and mentors. “It’s a big undertaking, and we understand that it’s not going to happen overnight, but we already see a lot of efforts,” Wahl said.

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2 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

Hello, Goodbye and Welcome Back By Neil Gordon

You might think that Buzz on Biz is in the business of content and sales – and you’d be partially correct. Just like with your company, we are really in the people business. I learned a long time ago working alone in my makeshift home office was not scalable. It wasn’t until Gary Kauffman took the editorial wheel in late 2013 that my business did better and I was freed up to do other things. Good people = good product = good profits! Several months after the Morris acquisition of Buzz, Gary left to achieve some different professional and personal goals. I’m happy to announce that he’s baaaack as an interim editor – at least for another season, while he studies to become a life coach in the CSRA. Even though he’s a Yankees fan and I’m a Mets fan, we do agree that baseball has been “berry berry” good to us (for those of you old enough

Just like with your company, we are really in the people business. to remember the old Saturday Night Live skit). Read his take on the opening of the (North) Augusta GreenJackets in the cover story. One of the best parts of Morris Communications is that there is tremendous growth opportunity. In “another life,” Amanda King was a full-time reporter for the Aiken Standard and came to Buzz more than a year ago as a freelance writer, eventually moved to parttime and then full-time employee, learning about our business model. She juggled long-form publication articles with short digital, radio and TV stories with an eye on working for the “Mothership”—The Augusta

Chronicle. She begins there as a general assignment reporter after this issue, but you’ll still see articles with her byline in the next few issues – including one in this publication focusing on important workforce education challenges our local businesses face. Witt Wells will be replacing her as multimedia journalist sometime in July. He’s a graduate of the prestigious School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. He’s coming to us after fulfilling a corporate communications contract with Coke in Atlanta, writing longform stories on Coke’s sustainability efforts with the water it uses and the environment. At a young age, he’s learning how difficult business can be. As he gave notice to Coke, they gave out more than 1,000 pink slips in Atlanta. He’ll use those real-life experiences to better our product with Gary’s help.

In this issue, we continue our Summer Service Directory with profiles of companies like Advanced Services for Pest Control, All South Roofing, Crosby’s Roofing and Bradford Health Services, plus ads from other CSRA companies. Keep cool and remember, we’re all in the people business!

Neil Gordon is the founder and publisher of Buzz on Biz, which includes a daily TV segment on News 12 This Morning at 6:25 a.m., a daily radio show from noon to 1 p.m. on 1630 AM, a weekly e-newsletter and www.buzzon. biz. Reach him at 706.589.6727 or

Features Buzz Bits.................................................. 6, 44 Openings, Closings................................. 7, 45 Columbia County Sign Ordinance............. 12 Chamber helps Columbia County set sign ordinance plan to help small businesses. Upcoming Events.................................. 14, 15 Businesspersons of the Month.................. 22 After 50 years, brothers Nyles and Brian Ellefson are still looking for new opportunities.

Cyber Innovation Center............................ 20 Demand is already increasing for the new Cyber Innovation Center with construction barely underway. Summer Services Directory....................... 25 Revivify Church........................................... 48 A Martinez church buys former Adventure Crossing site to create a church and community center site.

Columnists Mark Alison: 5 Ways to Keep Your Business from Becoming a Shipwreck.........................................................................................10 Joe Edge: Develop a Good Exit Strategy to Sell Your Business..............16 Russell Head: Required Forms Help Protect Health Plan Participants...............................................................................................................16 Roger Duke: Overcome Fear of Agile Project Management with Scrum................................................................................................................24 Ed Enoch: Business Partnership can be as Happy – and End as Badly – as a Marriage.......................................................................................24 Scott Thurmond: Small or Large, Security is Top Concern for Business.....................................................................................................................34 Brandon McCrillis: Investing in Information Security Now Saves a Lot Later...........................................................................................34 Missie Usry: Helicopter Parents Need to Let College-Age Kids Fly on Their Own...........................................................................................36 Steve Swanson: Sometimes the Ability to do Some Things Means Giving up Others........................................................................38 Dagan Sharpe: Good Money Management Requires Good Planning.....................................................................................................................40

Christine Hall: Retirement Plans Benefit Employees, Employers..........40 Kurt Mueller: Four Questions Help Ease Financial Stress of Moving in Together...............................................................................................42 Mike Herrington: Disability, Retirement Health Care Both Require Solid Forethought..................................................................................46 Mark Stephens: Cost Segregation Helps You Keep More of Your Own Money....................................................................................................46 Ben Casella: Enjoy a Couple of Brews that Refresh without being Watered Down............................................................................................50 Samantha Taylor: Sometimes We Have to Learn Lessons the Hard Way............................................................................................................50 Onnie Sanford: Let Your Imagination Soar When Preparing Healthy Foods..........................................................................................................52 Billy Cristofanelli: Summer is a Great Time to Enjoy Local Barbecue Favorites.................................................................................................52 Susan O’Keefe: Takosushi’s Artistic, Tasty Dishes Well Worth the Wait..............................................................................................................................54 Tony Creighton: The Key to Safe Summer by the Pool is Clean Decks..........................................................................................................................54

The Buzz on Biz mission is to act as an inspirational tool for those in the workplace and those who are entrepreneurs, and to provide useful, practical information to increase their companies’ bottom lines. To order a 12-month subscription mailed to your home or office, please mail a check for $49 (includes sales tax) to cover postage to the address below. Publisher: Neil Gordon Editor In Chief: Gary Kauffman Multimedia Journalist: Amanda King Layout: Riverfront Design Center Ad Building: E35 Media Photography: Amanda King, Gary Kauffman Sales Manager: Neil Gordon,, 706.589.6727 Sales\PR: Jessica Jones,, 762.218.0239 Distribution: Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Morris Publishing Group nor its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only. Like us on Facebook @ Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 604 Government Center Way, Evans, GA 30809

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz



The GreenJackets’ new stadium is beginning to take shape. This view from left-centerfield shows dugouts and the base for some seating already in place. Photo by Gary Kauffman.

Continued from Page 1 are devoting their full-time efforts to talking to the community about the new facility and season-ticket packages. So far, only full-season packages are available, but Denlinger said partial-season packages should go on sale sometime in the fall. Jeff Eiseman, president of Agon Sports & Entertainment and co-owner of the GreenJackets, believes that the fan experience will transcend baseball. “There is nowhere else on the river in the CSRA where people can eat, live and play,” he said. “The water is magical. This will create a magical experience.” But it won’t just be magical for those seeking entertainment. Schoen believes it will have big, positive impact on local businesses. He has experienced how a ballpark can transform an area of a city. His group helped develop a minor league stadium in downtown Fort Wayne, Ind., that was voted the top minor league stadium in the country several times and still ranks in the top five. “This will be up there with them,” he said. “In Fort Wayne they could track that the number of convention-goers went up (after the stadium was built). People had more to do downtown and it helped hotel occupancy.” A combination commercial/residential building was added behind left field in Fort Wayne, and Schoen foresees a similar building in North Augusta.

4 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball, speaks at the stadium groundbreaking in May. In the background, from left, are San Francisco Giants General Manager Bobby Evans and GreenJackets co-owner Jeff Eiseman. Photo by Gary Kauffman.

Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball, has seen a new stadium act as a catalyst for business growth in a number of other cities and expects the same to happen in North Augusta. “It’s long-reaching because you’ll see the tax base increase and sales receipts increase,” he said. “You’ll see development up and down the (Highway) 25 corridor. Philanthropic organizations in the area will also benefit.” With the expansion of cyber-related companies in the area, Schoen believes Riverside Village will also help companies recruit new employees that may otherwise head to other cities. “The people recruiting will be compet-

ing against Atlanta and other cities for these Millennials,” he said. “This is where they’ll want to live.” O’Conner added, “It’s a quality of life they’ll include in their recruitment brochures. Companies that are worth having care about what their employees do when they’re off the clock.” Jimmy Patrick, senior vice president for Medac, the company that is currently in closest proximity to the new park, expects that to be true as his company continues to look at expansion. “It’ll be great for us being at the top of Project Jackson, with its stores and shops,” he said. “It’s a beautiful walk down there. We’re already season-ticket holders, but I

expect we’ll buy even more now.” The new facility is also a welcome addition for the San Francisco Giants, the GreenJackets’ Major League parent company since 2004. It is the first new stadium by one of the Giants’ minor league affiliates since 1998. Giants General Manager Bobby Evans said the new facility makes a big difference in their efforts to help young players acclimate, especially when they are located on the opposite coast. “A lot has changed in the last five or 10 years,” he said. “We needed a facility that keeps up with the latest technology, with the space needs, for strength and conditioning and for fan amenities.” Evans gave the North Augusta community a pat on the back. “It tells us a lot about the strength of the community that they put their arms around such a big project,” he said. Brassfield & Gorrie, which recently completed the new Major League stadium for the Atlanta Braves, has the construction contract on the GreenJackets’ stadium. The foundation has been poured, which gives a visual of the outline of the stadium. “It’s fun to see the dugouts already in place,” Evans said. “You can picture what it will look like a year from now.” The stadium is projected to be ready for the GreenJackets’ season opener in 2018. Suites in the stadium have reportedly all been sold. The team is taking deposits for season tickets at

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


buzz bits applications being accepted for Small Biz Academy Pep Boys plans to stay in Augusta Despite rumors, the local Pep Boys store will remain in Augusta. Augusta National’s holding group purchased the tire and auto center at 2728 Washington Road for $6.9 million, and rumors had circulated that it would close for good. But manager Zack Bannecke said that is not the case. The franchise will instead relocate later this year, remaining on Washington Road. Bannecke would not reveal the new location but said that it will be close to its current home. The move is expected to take place in November.

Fan Zone gets supplies to military families The Fan Zone in Evans is partnering with Operation Homefront and their Back to School Brigade to raise money and collect supplies to support service members and their families. From now until July 22, The Fan Zone will be a collection point for school supplies. Needed items include 3-ring binders, crayons, notebook paper, composition books, scissors and rulers. They will also be holding a raffle to win a basket that includes a $500 Academy Sports gift card, a jersey autographed by NFL star Larry Fitzgerald and various items donated by the Fan Zone. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. For more information, contact April Tullis with Operation Homefront at 706-589-1405. Donations can be dropped off at the Fan

6 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for its Small Business Academy, a program for owners and managers who have been in a small business for at least two years and want to learn how to promote their business better. The program lasts five months with day-long monthly meetings on Wednesdays. Zone at 4460 Washington Road in Evans across from Wal-Mart.

Goodwill No. 1 on world value index again Goodwill, a leading nonprofit provider of employment placement, career training and education services, again has been ranked No. 1 on the annual World Value Index. The annual index ranks world-class organizations by measuring each brand’s overall world value, according to people’s perceptions. In the rankings, Goodwill led Amazon, Google, Kellogg’s, Microsoft and other Fortune 500 brands. “This recognition attests to Goodwill’s work and acknowledges that our purpose of providing ‘hand-up’ career services resonates among the communities that we serve,” said James Stiff, president of Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. “We are honored that Goodwill not only is featured on this list, but is recognized as the No. 1 brand based on the value provided in our communities worldwide.” The World Value Index is based on a comprehensive survey of 3,000 Americans on percep-

Topics for the course include branding, media and advertising, marketing through technology and messaging. Applications are on the chamber’s website and are due July 14. The chamber will choose 25 participants for the program. If selected, the participant must pay $150 if chamber members and $300 if prospective members. tion, awareness and behaviors in response to the purpose and mission of organizations and brands. The creative agency enso developed the World Value Index as a tool for brands to measure the importance of creating “world value” for its audience segments. Enso commissioned Quadrant Strategies, a research-driven consultancy, to conduct field surveys with various demographic representative samples of the U.S. population, ages 18 and up. For 115 years, Goodwill has helped people find employment, build financial stability, and strengthen their families and communities. A social enterprise with a donated-goods retail infrastructure, the 175 autonomous Goodwills receive more than 101 million donations and operate more than 3,200 stores, as well as a nonprofit auction site, shopgoodwill. com. Goodwill creates direct services for millions of people each year, resulting in positive social and environmental outcomes for the global community.

Local Zaxby’s owner Dies in Nevada

George Duehring, owner of the area Zaxby’s restaurants, passed away on May 26 in Nevada. Duehring was the chairman of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors in 2006, as well as the win-

ner of the chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

Belair Donuts celebrates anniversary Belair Donuts & Coffee celebrated its fourth year in business on May 31 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its second location, 720 E. Robinson Ave., Grovetown. The original store is at 4045 Jimmie Dyess Pkwy., Ste. 106. In addition to a wide variety of donuts, it also sells breakfast items including biscuit sandwiches and breakfast burritos. It sells coffee roasted at Buona Caffe Coffee Roasters in Augusta. Belair Donuts is looking toward creating a catering mobile unit in the near future. The shop is open seven days a week.

Spa owner adds to her certification Kim Kitts, owner of Augusta’s Balanced Body Spa, has added another certification to her list of accomplishments after becoming a Certified Lymphedema Therapist, or CLT. Kitts received her certification after completing a 135-hour certification program. A CLT is able to distinguish between various peripheral edemas, as well as establish and execute a treatment plan for individuals in the various stages of lymphedema, as well as those patients with possible complications, according to the Academy of Lymphatic Studies. With this certification, Kitts Continued on Page 44

openings, closings and moves OPENINGS

The Purple Hull The Purple Hull, billed as a new old family market, opened next to BBQ Barn, 10298 Atomic Road, North Augusta, on June 17. The market offers fruits, vegetables, meats, ice cream and shakes. Crab King Never fear seafood lovers, the Crab King is back. Last August, a fire destroyed the former Crab King location on Olive Road after 19 years in business. That fire was caused by a malfunction with a furnace which led to a gas leak and explosion. The restaurant reopened at its new location Wednesday at the Southgate Shopping Center on Gordon Highway. Crab King is known for its “world famous garlic crab” – crab legs steamed with butter, garlic and Crab King’s special seasonings. Hours of operation are Monday, 3-9 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and closed on Sunday. Elite Bar and Grill North Augusta residents have been asking for a new sit-down restaurant and now they have one – Elite Bar and Grill opened on May 19 in the North Hills Plaza in the former De Novo Restaurant near Fred’s Super Dollar and the North Augusta Family Y. The restaurant had a strong opening weekend, often meeting or exceeding its capacity limit at nearly 60 seats according to one of its servers. The restaurant offers game day-style appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, soups and of course televisions to check out the latest ball games. Their motto is “Eat, Drink, Chill.”

Sprint Foods opens drive-thru Sprint Foods opened the first convenience drive-thru in Augusta on June 1. Milk, fruit, beer, wine and made-toorder food is all readily available at the store which is open 24/7. The new store, Store 701, features two state-of-the-art touch screen ordering stations outside at the drive-thru and three in store, where customers can create their own custom order with the touch of a few buttons. The grand opening for Store 701 was June 29 at 2202 Gordon Highway, Augusta. From 4 to 6 p.m., customers who stopped by enjoyed some free beverages and games from the Pepsi Street Team along with coupons, giveaways and discounts on the store’s fresh, made-to-order food. The new Gordon Highway store is Sprint Foods’ newest location, and the only store in Augusta with a convenience drive-thru. Customers will be able to order some of the favorites on the menu, including their signature grilled cheese sandwich, which includes three types of cheese, and the gourmet flatbread pizzas. Julep Augusta Over in Surrey Center, a new ladies’ clothing store held its grand opening on June 1. Julep Augusta will offer contemporary clothing including active, casual and dress wear as well as accessories. Julep has one other store, in Charleston, S.C., on King Street. More details about the Augusta location and merchandise can be found on Facebook, julepaugusta, and Instagram, shopjulep. The store is currently looking for sales associates.


Cinnabon Cinnabon is back in the Augusta Mall for the first time in years. The pastry franchise shares a 1,400-square-foot space with Auntie Anne’s and Planet Smoothie in the mall’s food court. The smoothie operation is new to Augusta while Auntie Anne’s has been in the Augusta Mall food court for more than 20 years. Dustin King and Brad Lindborg are owners and operators of the three snack stops. Lindborg has owned and managed Auntie Anne’s for years.

Chick-fil-A The home of the chicken sandwich has another location in the CSRA with the opening of Chick-fil-A in Grovetown, across from the Gateway Shopping Center. Prior to that, Chick-fil-A held its a family friendly overnight party the 24 hours prior to the opening. Franchisee operator Erik Smith came to Augusta from Oxford, Ala. where he operated the Chick-fil-A in the Quintard Mall. He plans to bring 100 new jobs to the area through his latest Chick-fil-A franchise.

Grand opening food specials, including BOGO free deals, began Sunday, June 26, and will run through July 4. Specials include a small milkshake or mix-up for $1, BOGO flatbread pizzas, melts and chicken sandwiches for $5, deli sandwiches for $4 and BOGO hotdogs or bird dogs. (Some toppings might have an additional charge.) There were also deep discounts on

Anytime Fitness Working out is about to get a lot easier for people in Evans. Anytime Fitness is coming to the Riverwood Town Center in September. Anytime Fitness franchisees Zach and Jessica Todd confirmed that they have signed a lease for a 4,200-squarefoot space with plans to build a gym in the former Urgent Care building next to Mi Ranchos. “What differentiates Anytime Fitness from other clubs is our focus on helping members get the results that they’re seeking,” said Todd. “Our gym will be small enough that we can provide personalized attention for all of our members. “Whether weight-loss is your goal, or increased strength or improved balanced and flexibility – or a combination – we’re committed to helping you achieve those goals.” Nationwide, the average Anytime Fitness club has about 800 members. The gyms are staffed roughly 9 hours a day, but members can access the club

gasoline during the grand opening celebration on June 29. Customers were able sign up for the Super Saver discounted fuel program as well. The free program allows customer to save up to 10 cents on every gallon of gas purchased at all Sprint locations. For more information about the stores, visit whenever they like – even during unstaffed hours – using a computerized key-fob system. “We make it easy for our members to exercise whenever and however they like,” said Todd. “We’ll have personal trainers available to help you learn how to use all of the equipment and to develop an individualized workout plan, if you like.” Membership at one Anytime Fitness club gives members access to nearly 3,400 clubs worldwide at no extra charge. The layout of every Anytime Fitness club is designed for quick and effective exercise. At the new club in Evans, members will have full use of top-quality equipment and amenities, including circuit and resistance training machines; free weights; access to the brand new Anytime Fitness app to track work outs and receive updates; cardio equipment, including treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes; private bathrooms, changing rooms and showers; and opportunities for personal or small group training Continued on Page 45 June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


TaxSlayer Invests Millions In Downtown Building The Family Y will be leaving its longtime home at 945 Broad St. A new location has not been announced. Photo by Neil Gordon

By Neil Gordon

TaxSlayer will soon have two downtown offices to call home. One will remain in downtown Evans as part of the overall redevelopment there and one will open in downtown Augusta. In late June, TaxSlayer bought the Family Y building at 945 Broad Street for $2 million according to President Brian Rhodes. Renovations on the 94 year-old building will begin after the Family Y closes in late 2017 with a goal of staff moving in sometime after the close of the 2018 tax season. “Our support headquarters in Evans will remain there and we’ll move our administrative, marketing and software development staff downtown to join the technology growth that downtown Augusta is undergoing,” added Rhodes. TaxSlayer expects approximately 100 employees to work from downtown Augusta with approximately 50 support team members staying in Evans – joined by about 300 seasonal workers during tax season. Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate

Co. represented TaxSlayer in the building’s sale. “This is a big deal for downtown Augusta,” said Blanchard and Calhoun Vice President Davis Beman. “When you have a national company like TaxSlayer come downtown it shows how the infrastructure is ready for other companies to follow.” He said when companies move their staff, buildings are renovated to a higher standard and it brings more value to properties. Jordan Trotter Commercial Real Estate represented the Family Y in the sale.

“It’s great to see private investment flow into downtown in the past few years,” said Partner Dennis Trotter. TaxSlayer was founded in Augusta in 1965 as the tax preparation business Rhodes-Murphy & Co. It ventured into software development in 1989 to enable the company to complete tax returns by computer. It later marketed its software first to tax professionals, then to the public nationwide. The Family Y pool is closed and the 4th floor workout room will be consolidated into the basement and 1st Floor workout

areas. The Family Y administrative offices will remain on the 2nd and 3rd floor until late August. The 1,100 Family Y members can still use the basement and 1st floor facilities until the end of 2017. President and CEO Danny McConnell said the Y could announce within 30 days where the nonprofit organization will relocate downtown. “Strategically our organization is at a crossroads,” he said. “Our Downtown Y needed a facelift and deserved a facelift. This building deserves to be maintained at a high level, and it was time to spend some money on it.” The Family Y calculated that the cost to maintain the current downtown facility approached $3 million. If features were added that are available at newer Y branches, the cost rose to more than $5 million. With a new occupant, the building also will re-enter the property tax rolls, McConnell said. As a nonprofit, the Y paid no taxes on that property. Deputy Business Editor Joe Hotchkiss contributed to this story.

Fort Gordon growth means increasing demand for workers By Amanda King and Neil Gordon

Col. Todd Turner has seen a lot of partnerships between military bases and civilian communities in his 23 years in the U.S. Army. Fort Gordon is the Garrison Commander’s 13th stop in his career, and he told more than 100 business leaders at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business luncheon that in the two years he has been here, the CSRA has provided the best partnership between the military installation and the community. That partnership will come in handy with nearly 7,000 new family members accompanying those on post by 2019. “They will integrate into businesses, help grow schools and create more jobs,” Turner said. “They need hospitals, dentists, attorneys, childcare and more.” That number will increase even more when the U.S. Cyber Command moves from the Washington, D.C., area to Fort Gordon in 2020. Bob Damen, the senior manager of Raytheon who attended the event, will especially benefit from the increase in soldiers and contractors.

8 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Todd Turner addresses Augusta area business leaders at the monthly Women in Business function in June. Photo by Neil Gordon

Raytheon’s only client is Fort Gordon. It currently employs 18 professionals, with hopes to add eight engineers by the end of 2017 and eight to 10 engineers every year following. “We provide the engineering end of software solutions to support the Department of Defense in electronic warfare, cy-

ber and signal intelligence defending the network,” he said. According to Turner, Fort Gordon is the area’s largest employer with a $1.8 billion payroll in 2016 – and he is still looking for more. There are currently 68 major infrastructure projects related to the cyber com-

mand center. There are 70 jobs available in public works and only 54 are staffed. “I cannot hire enough engineers and architects,” he said. “If you know someone who needs a job, come talk to me.” Turner went on to say that Fort Gordon, with buildings filled with asbestos and lead paint, is in need of plumbers, concrete workers, administrative assistants and more to help revitalize these buildings for the influx of cyber workers coming to the area. “If you are training a cyber workforce, you can’t go from fiber (cable) on the outside to copper on the inside,” he said. “We want talent, and if they look at a 42-yearold building, they won’t come. We want a world-class cyber workforce.” Fort Gordon is beginning the first of 11 expansion projects budgeted at $908 million, with hopes that they will be completed by 2025. The CSRA’s military base sees more than 25,000 people on the post each day, adding to the reason the 10 million square feet of buildings, land and activities need improving, especially since approximately 1,800 service members leave Fort Gordon each year. “We want to retain more,” Turner said.


With Over 95 Years in the Business Blanchard and Calhoun brings longevity and expertise that you can trust. Call us today to see how we can help grow your business or investments.

Commercial Brokerage and Property Management Team

Commercial & Residential Services Sales / Leasing / Site Selection Landlord & Tenant Representation Lease Administration / Asset Management Acquisition / Tax Free Exchanges Property Management / Development June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Staying Afloat

5 ways to keep your business from becoming a shipwreck By Mark Alison

Here’s the end of the story first – a small company wins a large piece of business and it represents well over half of its income. The new acquisition consumes the output and attention of the smallbusiness owner to the point that all “new business” efforts are halted. Suddenly the partnership sours and ends. The entrepreneur is left with over half his income gone, a huge monthly overhead and no new business in the pipeline to pay the bills. If he succeeds in climbing out of that hole, the smallbusiness person vows to never again allow a single company to dominate his business – but it will and does happen again. Sound familiar? I am pretty sure that no captain would weigh anchor with the announcement, “Mates, let’s go wreck this ship today.” Yet the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum chronicles 6,000 ships and 30,000 lives lost. Historian and mariner Mark Thompson estimates that the total number of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes is more than 25,000. Contrast that with the more than 225,000 businesses that will wreck

10 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

and sink this year. No business sets out to fail. According to the U.S. Census, 452,835 new businesses were started in 2014. But U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate over half of new businesses will fail by their fourth year. Inc. Magazine reports 96 percent will fail before their 10th anniversary. Five Ways to Stop Sinking 1. Build a new business pyramid. If one business represents 50 percent (top of pyramid), have two more businesses under it representing 25 percent each. Immediately secure four more at 12 percent each. Now watch what happens. Based on 100 percent, if you have seven clients, the top company becomes 33%. Below that are two at 16+/- percent each and below that are four at 8+/- percent each. You are reducing the risk. When one leaves, you grow the ones below to step up into a next level. Note: You can have multiple pyramids like this. 2. Hire someone to do what you do. The definition of business is the process of winning and keeping customers. Smaller entrepreneurs are constantly loading the wagon (adding business) and pulling the wagon (handling the business). Not many

people are gifted to do both successfully for long. Hire a wagon loader so the “load the wagon” process never stops. Adjust your pricing to afford them. Resist the urge to put the sales person on the new account they landed. Keep them focused on loading the wagon. 3. Build in an aggressive marketing budget from the start. The assumption that “everyone will find this good thing we have” is false and “we don’t spend on advertising so we can keep prices low,” assumes price alone will attract customers and is not good strategy. With luck, it might last four years, according to the national average. That is a staggering number of dollars wasted and lifetimes spent for nothing. 4. Find a partner with opposing skills. In this case you are not looking for another you. Make a list of each person’s responsibilities and use it to stay on track. Over time you both will find similar responsibilities, so be sure the list is referenced or you’ll end up duplicating yourself and hiring yet a third person to do the “other” stuff. Also, have a lawyer draw up a very comprehensive buy/sell agreement. 5. Seek outside counsel for legal, bank-

ing, accounting and marketing. These four areas are essential to your success. A personal, community banker who has an understanding of your business and the area in which you compete is the first step. He/she can refer you to legal and accounting counsel. Interview and find a marketing group/person who has many years of experience. Do not use a relative for your website, logo design, print ads or internet presence, including Facebook. Trust your brand to an expert. Unless that is your expertise, stay in your lane and sail the ship. Mark Alison, the Business Accelerator, is an independent marketing counselor. He can be reached at

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Photo by Gary Kauffman Belair Road, near Columbia Road

Time of the signs

Chamber helps businesses deal with sign ordinance By Tammy shepherd

Considered by some as the lifeline of a successful business, visible building and road signs are a must to drum up awareness and maintain sales in a highly competitive marketplace. For small businesses, signs may serve as the single-most important marketing tool when advertising budgets are tight. That’s why when the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Government Affairs Committee caught wind of the potential sign ordinance changes way back in August 2016, they were quick to enact a sign ordinance subcommittee that was instrumental in making recommendations to the County’s Planning and Zoning Department. After months of hard work, the Chamber made great progress on the ordinance on behalf of its 1,000-plus business members. Under the revised ordinance, current and future business owners will enjoy a level playing field when it comes to visibility and flexibility when choosing costeffective sign structures. Here are some improvements from the original proposed ordinance: • Increased signage size and height allowance based upon the business’ square footage. • A 25 percent height and square-foot-

12 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

age increase for businesses located on arterial roadways, due to increased traffic of these major corridors. These roads include Appling Harlem Road, Baston Road, North and South Belair Roads, Bobby Jones Expressway, Columbia Road, Davis Road, Flowing Wells Road, Furys Ferry Road, Horizon South Parkway, Jimmie Dyess Parkway, Lewiston Road, River Watch Parkway, Washington Road, William Few Parkway and Wrightsboro Road. • Covered pylons with a minimum of a 36-inch-wide base will be allowed instead of specifically requiring monument-type signage, providing a less-expensive option for business owners and allowing increased visibility around the sign for drivers. • Interstate signs increased to a minimum of 100 x 150 square feet and a maximum of 110 x 200 square feet. • Wrapped vehicles may now be parked in a designated parking space at their business instead of behind their business. • Window signs may cover 50 percent of the window surface while maintaining a clear line of site into the business. The original ordinance did not allow for any window signs to be placed on the inside or outside of the window. This lets business owners use signage to market prod-

ucts and services from their storefronts. Although existing signs are grandfathered in, current business owners can expect to follow the new guidelines should they wish to replace their sign or if their sign becomes 50 percent damaged. If a business building is vacant for more than a year, the signage will fall under the new ordinance as well. All businesses will be under the new ordinance for prohibited signage such as signs that flash, blink, or contain reflective materials, painted signs on trees and utility poles, festoons, pole signs, roof signs, rope lighting around windows, search lights and signs imitating public warning or traffic devices. I am proud of the collaborative effort of the Columbia County Chamber and Board of Commissioners to develop a business-friendly ordinance that is true to our community aesthetic – a win-win for the community! I hope all businesses in Columbia County see the value of the Chamber’s mission as the collective voice for the business community. As a nonprofit business organization, membership investment ensures that the Chamber is open to do the legwork that most business owners and organizations may not have resources and time for. The end result is

a revised ordinance that could potentially save every business owner in Columbia County signage costs in the thousands of dollars and save potential lost marketing opportunities for promotional window, building and street signage. I would personally like to thank Ray Peters with AAA Signs, Larry Lynn with Allegra Print and Signs and Finuf Sign Co. Inc. for providing industry expertise to the process. Other Chamber members of the sign committee included representatives from R.W. Allen LLC, Keen Signs & Graphics, Textron Specialized Vehicles, McLeod & Murdock Attorneys at Law, WRDW/ WAGT, Georgia Power, Blanchard & Calhoun Real Estate Co. and Sherman and Hemstreet Real Estate.

Tammy Shepherd is president of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and has worked at Disney World, Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Columbia County Magazine. Email


PHYLLIS COCHRAN President, Augusta VAH




June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


upcoming business events

Catch the Buzz! Get more on events and follow business and economic news across the CSRA at

Thursday, July 20 Understanding and Managing Employee Healthcare Benefits. 11:30 a.m., Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce Third Thursday Business Builder, in the Metro Chamber office, 1 10th St., Augusta. Mellisa White and Tiffany Coleman of AVS Healthcare Reform present information on the changing landscape of employee health care and benefits and how it impacts your bottom line. Due to limited space, attendance limited to one representative from each company. Register by July 17. For more information, visit Aiken Young Professionals Third Thursday. 5:30 p.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce. An opportunity for professionals age 22-39 to meet other young professionals in a relaxed atmosphere. Registration is requested. For more information, visit

Friday, July 21 SCORE Workshop: Promote your business with LinkedIn. 10

14 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

Ribbon Cuttings Scheduled July 5: H  ope Estrada Real Estate, noon, 406 West Ave., North Augusta Aug. 9: Westminster Schools, 10 a.m., 3067 Wheeler Road a.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit aiken

Wednesday, July 26 Small Business Marketing Academy launch. Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce. A sixmonth course of daylong classes to help owners of small businesses learn, share and plan to thrive. Designed for owners who have been in business at least two years and have 25 or fewer em-

ployees. Applications are available at


Thursday, July 27

Friday, Aug. 11

Business After Hours. 5 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 350 Eastgate Drive, Aiken. Aiken Chamber of Commerce provides this opportunity for the host to showcase its business, service and facilities, and network in a relaxed atmosphere. For more information, visit

Global Leadership Summit simulcast. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., True North Church, 1060 W. Martintown Road, North Augusta. The second of a two-day simulcast event of vision, inspiration and practical skills to improve leadership and life skills. Featuring world-renowned speakers including Bill Hybels, senior pastor at Willowcreek Church in Chicago; Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook; Marcus Lemonis, CEO, Camping World and star of The Profit; and Andy Stanley, author and pastor. Registration required. For more, visit events/global-leadership-summit.

Thursday, Aug. 10 Global Leadership Summit simulcast. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., True North Church, 1060 W. Martintown Road, North Augusta. The first of a two-day simulcast event of vision, inspiration and practical skills to improve leadership and life skills. Featuring world-renowned speakers including Bill Hybels, senior pastor at Willowcreek Church in Chicago; Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook; Marcus Lemonis, CEO, Camping World and star of The Profit; Andy Stanley, author and pastor; and others. Registration required. For more, visit truenorthchurch.

Lip Sync Battle and Karaoke Dance Party. 7 p.m., North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, in the North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave., North Augusta. For more information, visit See EVENTS on Page 15

Events Continued from Page 14

Tuesday, Aug. 15

To be a Caregiver: The journey of elder care. Women in Business Luncheon, Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 11:30 a.m. at the Legends Club. Megan Rhea of Area Agency on Aging will present the resources and support available in the CSRA for the many professional women who are also caregivers. This is a business networking opportunity. Register by Aug. 11. For more information, visit

Friday, Aug. 18

Good Morning North Augusta – Legislative Update. North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, 7:30 a.m., in Palmetto Terrace, fourth floor of the North Augusta Municipal Complex. For more information, visit

At The following events will take place at, 540 Telfair St. Call 706-723-5782 for more information. Every Tuesday (except July 4): Downtown pickup location for Augusta Locally Grown’s online farmers market, 5-7p.m. Every Wednesday: Founders Circle, a weekly gathering of entrepreneurial members of, 9-10a.m. July 11: Swift Augusta inaugural meetup for those interested in learning about iOS platform app development, 6-8p.m. July 19: monthly networking event Beer & Bytes will feature Start-Up Stories by ATDC. This unique networking event will have true stories of entrepreneurship from Charles Johnson, founder and CEO of EDTS, and James Ainslie, cofounder and CEO at Cape Augusta, 5-7p.m. July 20: PyAugusta is a monthly meetup that serves as an entry point for those new to Python programming and a challenging atmosphere for those looking to advance their skills, 6-8p.m. July 27: Javascript meetup is for those interested in exploring Javascript. A particular topic focuses each meeting, 6:30-8:30p.m. June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Selling Out By Joe Edge

Buying or selling a business is one of the most challenging processes one can go through. It’s not a common practice and there’s a limited community of professionals to offer advice and support. Having started on the business brokerage side of commercial real estate, I’ve seen a lot of mistakes on both sides of the table. This month I’m looking at how to “sell” a business and next month we will look at the “buying” side.

Initially, you need to place a high value on properly determining the worth of the business. It is important to research values of similar businesses in your industry, along with the history of previous sale prices. Do some comparative studies on this and determine what the rules of thumb are for your industry. Brokers can be a good source for this info and will often know what the worth of your business is, but you have to be careful that they are not valuing it at an aggressive price just to make a quick sale.

Develop a good exit strategy to sell your business

The next task to tackle is cleaning up your financials. Almost all businesses sell on some form of a multiple of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization). This number is your true net income after you add back any discretionary expenses, such as your personal car expense or insurance. Try to run your business for a solid year or two with the books as clean as possible, with very little fluff or confusion. You may have to pay more in taxes by not expensing every small payment, but this will pay dividends when it comes time to sell. Next, be diligent at operating your business as though you are going to own it forever. You cannot rely on a deal until it is finalized with the last payment. Some deals see a painful demise at the closing table. Don’t slack off ! Always operate your business with determination and excellence. Keep everything confidential. Do not under any circumstances let your employees or your competitors

know what you are planning. Even if you want to confide in one key employee, don’t give in to temptation. Your employees shouldn’t find out until the day after the transaction is complete.If your competitors become aware of what you are doing, they will come after you. You can count on them to capitalize on a competitive advantage to grow their business. If you foresee your competitor as a likely buyer for your business, then have them sign a confidentiality agreement before you divulge any information, and be very methodical about what you give them. Don’t seem too eager! Be cautious on the reasons you give for selling the business. You don’t want to reveal information that could hurt you if they decline the sale. Finally, here are a few nuggets of advice. Be prepared for a stressful process. Don’t be forced into selling because of personal life events. Consult with competent brokers who know

how to counsel you through this process. Make sure you understand all of the tax implications. Most businesses do not get 100 percent of the purchase price at closing. Make sure you are comfortable with who your buyer is and their ability to make the business a success. You want them to be successful and expand on what you spent your life building. Methodically plan your exit strategy in advance. Joe Edge is president and broker at Sherman & Hemstreet. After service in the U.S. Marine Corps and a career as an independent commercial agent, Edge bought the historic Sherman & Hemstreet, a full-service firm specializing in commercial real estate listings and property management. He recently restarted residential sales. Reach him at 706.722.8334.

Financial Health Report

Required forms help protect health plan participants BY Russell T. Head

Each year, many employee benefit plan administrators are required to file a report regarding the plan’s financial condition, investments and operations called Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF. The Form 5500 is intended to protect the rights and benefits of plan participants and beneficiaries by assuring that employee benefit plans are operated and managed properly, and that plan participants and beneficiaries are provided with sufficient plan information. Administrators of employee benefit plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act are required to file an annual Form 5500 or 5500-SF, unless a reporting exemption applies. The most common exemption is for small plans with fewer than 100 participants that are unfunded and/or fully insured. Other exemptions exist for certain fringe benefit plans, for church and government plans and day care centers. How many forms do I need to file? For benefits provided by a single business entity, the number of annual reports to file depends on how many separate ERISA plans the plan sponsor maintains.

16 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

A plan sponsor can determine how many separate ERISA plans it maintains by reviewing its employee benefit plan documents. Plan sponsors may decide to combine more than one type of ERISA welfare benefit into a single plan to consolidate annual reporting. The intention to combine benefits into a single plan should be reflected in the governing plan documents, such as a wrap document. If ERISA welfare benefits are combined into a single plan, the plan administrator would generally only be required to annually file one Form 5500 or 5500-SF for the plan’s benefits. Deadlines and Extensions Form 5500 or 5500-SF must generally be filed by the last day of the seventh month following the end of the plan year, unless an extension applies. For calendar year plans, the deadline is normally July 31 of the following year. A plan administrator may request a one-time extension of two and one-half months by filing IRS Form 5558 by the original due date of the Form 5500 or 5500-SF. If the Form 5558 is filed on or before the normal due date of the Form

5500 or 5500-SF, the extension is automatically granted. Penalties and DFVC The Department of Labor and IRS can assess penalties for noncompliance with the annual reporting requirements, such as submitting incomplete Forms 5500 or 5500-SF or not filing Forms 5500 or 5500-SF by the due date. For example, the DOL has the authority under ERISA to assess penalties of up to $2,097 per day for each day an administrator fails or refuses to file a complete Form 5500 or 5500-SF. The penalties may be waived if the noncompliance was due to reasonable cause. The IRS can also impose civil penalties for noncompliance with certain Form 5500 or 5500-SF reporting obligations. The Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance program was created by the DOL to encourage employee benefit plan administrators to voluntarily file overdue annual reports and pay reduced civil penalties. Plan administrators are eligible to use the DFVC program only if they make the required filings prior to being notified in writing by the DOL of a failure to file a timely annual report. More informa-

tion on the program can be found on the DOL’s website. Proposed Changes On July 21, 2016, a proposed rule was published regarding the Form 5500 filing requirements. Significantly, the proposed rule would eliminate the current filing exemption for small group health plans, both insured and unfunded. Also, a new Schedule J would be used to report detailed information about group health plan operations and compliance. The new rule was proposed to apply for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2019. However, it is unclear at this point whether the Trump administration will move forward with the proposed changes. Russell T. Head is CEO with Head Capital Advisors, an Acrisure agency partner and Augusta’s largest employee benefits brokerage. Call 706.733.3459.


When it comes to your real estate, hire a hometown company with a regional perspective. We are the region's leader in commercial sales and leasing and our property management portfolio boasts more than 3,000 units and 4 million square feet. Learn more at

3523 Walton Way Ext. Augusta, GA 30909 706-722-8334

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Columbia County Chamber Names Business Woman of the Year By amanda king

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce has named Connie Melear the 2017 Business Woman of the Year. In its seventh year, the Business Woman of the Year award is given annually to recognize a woman in the workplace for her hard work, dedication and passion, both professionally and personally. The award, given June 7 at the Executive Luncheon, was sponsored by Blue Ribbon Awards and Gifts and presented by Augusta University. Holding a general contractor’s license

in four states, Melear supervises the accounting and administrative staff and oversees all financial and corporate compliance matters as chief financial officer of R.W. Allen LLC. She also directs other nonfinancial operations departments within the company, including technology, equipment, human resources and safety. Wearing many hats, she is considered

the go-to person in her company to offer direction and guidance. She has served as the CFO since 2003 and has been part of the ownership team since 2006. As the former president of Rotary Augusta, Melear was awarded the 100 percent PHF designation and Gold Club Award. She currently serves as the vice chair of the Columbia County Chamber Government Affairs Committee and the chair of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau Product Development Committee. She is a member of the Leadership Augusta Class

of 2007 and has served in numerous leadership positions within the Augusta Metro Chamber. In 2009, she received the Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals Award. Along with professional accomplishments and civic involvement, Melear has volunteered in various capacities with First Baptist Church of Augusta, Riverside Elementary Principal’s School Council, Greenbrier High School Baseball, CSRA Republican Women’s Club and Richmond County Chair Committee to Elect Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

ADP Continues to Grow with $20M Expansion Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the June 17 edition of The Augusta Chronicle.

By Joe Hotchkiss The Augusta Chronicle Deputy Business Editor

One of Augusta’s major employers has cut the ribbon on an expansion that will serve as the template for similar regional hubs across the United States. ADP’s $20 million expansion adds 60,000 square feet of office space and 600 parking spaces to the campus off Flowing Wells Road. ADP, which stands for Automatic Data Processing, helps its business clients manage payroll, hiring and employee benefits. Founded in 1949, ADP serves more than 630,000 customers in more than 100 countries. “Today’s ribbon-cutting represents the realization of our team’s work for ADP to continue its growth as an industry leader of all elements of human capital management technology solutions and expertise,” said ADP Vice President Dave Brendza, general manager of the Augusta location. “It also represents our relentless pursuit for the attraction and development of top talent in the area.” Augusta’s expanded offices and a similar ADP facility in El Paso, Texas, will be models for three new “service and implementation centers” the company has planned for Norfolk, Va.; Tempe, Ariz.; and Maitland, Fla., a suburb of Orlando. “This expansion was highly competitive with other ADP locations,” said Walter Sprouse, executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority. “But the highly educated, well-trained and diverse workforce here in Augusta prevailed again.” ADP told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk last November that its new hub there is “part of a ‘strategic realignment’ that includes large regional offices with 2,000 to 3,000 employees apiece.”

18 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

From left, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Executive Director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority Walter Sprouse, ADP Senior VP of Global Business Transformation Dinora Sanchez, ADP Corporate VP of Client Experience and Continuous Improvement Debbie Dyson, ADP Division VP and General Manager Dave Brendza and Augusa Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Parr cut the ribbon officially opening the new addition to the ADP facility in Augusta on June 16.

“Our commitment to Augusta runs really, really deep.”

– Debbie Dyson, ADP’s corporate vice president for client experience and continuous improvement. ADP’s Augusta facility has about 1,300 employees now “and we’re hiring every day,” Brendza said. Augusta’s employee capacity, for now, is 1,700. “Our commitment to Augusta runs really, really deep,” said Debbie Dyson, ADP’s corporate vice president for client experience and continuous improvement. “Spending time here and watching the growth that has happened has been amazing.” Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said the

investment in the community is important, but the talented people businesses attract are key in helping the city succeed. “It’s not just the jobs, but more than anything, it’s the communities you’re creating with the people who make it happen every single day,” he said. The Roseland, N.J., company first opened offices in Augusta in 2007 with a temporary “solutions center” on Stevens Creek Road. In 2009, it moved to a 160,000-square-

foot complex just off Interstate Parkway, where the June 16 ribbon-cutting took place. Almost a year ago to the day, last June 20, ADP cut the ribbon in Augusta on its Critical Incidence Response Center, ADP’s second in the country and the fifth in the world. That center helps other response centers in New Jersey, Romania, India and the Philippines target financial cybercriminals.

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Already in High Demand

Ground broken for Cyber Innovation Center, expansion already planned Editor’s note: Story first appeared in the June 19 issue of The Augusta Chronicle.

BY Tom CorWin The Augusta ChronicLe

Two Augusta business leaders who pitched the idea of the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center to Gov. Nathan Deal just last December will be honored with their names on the building, Deal revealed June 19 at the official groundbreaking for the center. With construction barely underway, demand has already expanded its future dimensions and may herald the need for more buildings in the future, officials said. The building will be located on Reynolds Street at the site of the former Augusta Golf and Gardens. The 16-acre property now belongs to Augusta University. The names of Augusta’s James M. Hull and William D. McKnight’s will now grace the building as “planters of the seed” for the idea of the center, Deal said. With the U.S. Army Cyber Command moving to Fort Gordon and its own headquarters building that is already under construction, as well as expansions in cybertraining and an increased presence by the National Security Agency at Fort Gordon as well, the state and Augusta should collaborate with and build on those efforts, those leaders told Deal. “It made perfectly good sense, the state partnering with federal agencies and then

20 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

including outside private entities that want to be a part of it as well,” Deal said. The Georgia Cyber Center will house not only educational training programs from Augusta University and Augusta Technical College but a cybercrime unit from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, other state agencies, federal agencies and a significant amount of space for related private industry. “So I think we have something very unique in the country and I think it is going to be the center for cybersecurity training in the future,” Deal said. Even before a foundation has been laid, funding for the center has now increased to $60 million, not including a $12 million parking deck provided by the City of Augusta, and expanded from 150,000 square feet to 168,000 square feet, Deal said. That is in response to demand for space in the building, not only from the state and federal agencies that will work and train there but from private industry, said Calvin Rhodes, executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority, who is building the center. “We’re just extremely pleased with the level of interest,” he said, which forced not only an expansion of the education and training areas but also the “secured” areas that some agencies and, in particular, one large private contractor needed. AU President Brooks Keel, whose university will run the center’s day-to-day

operations, said his university will also take over the cybertraining component for state agencies from the technology authority. “Nowadays, that involves just about every agency you can imagine,” Keel said, and that will establish a state mission in Augusta. But the center will provide education and training at every level, from certificates from technical colleges and industry certificates to undergraduate and doctoral level programs, as well as active research, he said. “It will be the full gamut of training, from continuing education all the way through graduate degrees,” Keel said. With a state-of-the-art Cyber Range that few states could match, “there won’t be anything like it in the country,” he said. Beyond the initial expansions in funding and space, “depending on its early success, (it) may very well dictate that we are going to have to have additional resources as the demand grows, and I expect the demand will grow,” Deal said. In fact, the building itself could just be “Phase 1” on the 17-acre AU Riverfront Campus of what Keel sees as an eventual “digital village” that encompasses both education and business and industry. “This land is enough to bring at least two or three more buildings of this same size in, and we are anticipating this is really going to be Phase 1, the first phase of a number of buildings that will come here

associated with cybersecurity,” he said. Having it on the banks of the Savannah River, close to downtown, is an ideal location, Keel said. “We have a beautiful downtown, a vibrant downtown,” he said. “That’s what business and industry and their employees want to be a part of, a community that has a quality of life associated with it.” Standing outside a sweltering tent in front of parked backhoes atop trampled red clay, Hull and McKnight reflected on what was just an idea seven months ago that is now taking shape before their eyes. The center is “way beyond what we thought was possible,” said Hull, who represents Augusta and surrounding communities on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. “We are so thankful for the governor’s vision and President Keel’s vision.” The grounds around them were once part of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame Botanical Gardens before its state funding was cut and it closed in June 2007. In the decade since, various ideas were floated for the property but none had taken hold until now. “I think it is a great use for it, a perfect use for it,” said McKnight, president of McKnight Construction Co. “It’s taken a long time to get here but we are glad it is finally here. Gov. Deal has done so much for the city of Augusta and we are so appreciative of all he has accomplished.”

Lessons Learned From Growing CSRA Companies on the Move By Neil Gordon

Two of the largest employers in the CSRA and another company that drives the economy shared lessons learned with about 100 business leaders attending a breakfast event at the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce in mid-June. Vergil Norrod has learned the importance of relationships in the workplace. The plant manager of the passenger lighttruck division of Bridgestone Tire Plant in Aiken, Norrod is responsible for 1,500 employees. But he’s learned to get out of his comfort zone – which has always been the operations side – and get into the world of his people. He often has conversations with employees about everything except work. He holds a special affinity for mentoring younger employees and hopes his plant will eventually hire fourth-generation workers to make tires. Building relationships holds the key. “Relationships create productivity, not the other way around,” Norrod said. Dennis Trotter, partner in Jordan Trotter Commercial Real Estate, also left his comfort zone. After years in the family, residential-focused, real-estate business, he decided almost five years ago to take on much more established commercial real-estate companies. He and his team subscribe to the “out the door 10-4” mantra of professional salespeople. “Our inventory is time,” said Trotter. They are at community events, holding in-person meetings, and looking at properties from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They respond to emails, create proposals and

Representatives from three local companies shared their stories with the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce at its June meeting. From left are Cheryl Fremaux, Textron Specialized Vehicles; Dennis Trotter, Jordan Trotter Commercial Real Estate; and Vergil Norrod, Bridgestone Tires. Photo by Neil Gordon

finish paperwork before and after those hours. Trotter believes his team needs to be first to know which companies are expanding and looking to relocate to the CSRA. It’s one of the reasons Jordan Trotter is handling the leasing the retail and restaurant space for the new baseball stadium project in North Augusta. He shared some buzz with the crowd. “We will not have your typical nail salon or Subway,” he said. Trotter’s team is focusing on more unique restaurant concepts and retail that skews “outdoors” to take advantage of the river, Greeneway and baseball. Cheryl Fremaux has helped a long-time

local company diversify out of its comfort zone. The Vice President and Information Technology CIO of Textron Specialized Vehicles came to Augusta from Dallas, Texas, to put systems in place to transition the company from the E-Z Go golf cart company to a diversified company with six brands, including E-Z Go. With the golf market shrinking and more courses closing than opening, Fremaux said it was important for E-Z Go to diversify. But she believes that it’s important for any company of any size. She cautioned to do it carefully. “It’s important to prioritize your projects or you won’t get them done,” she said. “Accomplish them one step at a time.”

To help with the diversification, Textron bought the old Proctor and Gamble building near their Marvin Griffin Road headquarters. To find staff, Textron partnered with the Augusta Richmond County Board of Education on a new program for the 2016-17 school year called RPM (Reaching Potential Through Manufacturing). Students are mentored by Textron employees in their regular classroom work, then given daily, four-hour shifts at Textron’s South Augusta plant. RPM graduated 25 seniors in their first class in May. “Some of the students are already fulltime employees with us,” said Fremaux.

2506 Peach Orchard Rd. June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Small Business Person of the Month

After 50 Years, Ellefsons Still Looking for Opportunities By Gary Kauffman

After 50 successful years, one thing you won’t find at Ellefson Transportation Group is people resting on their laurels. Brothers Brian and Nyles Ellefson are committed to continuing the vibrant growth that has marked the company since 1967, when their grandfather, Mervin, and father, Donald, started the business in Augusta. “The key to our success is that we’re always looking for opportunities,” Brian said. “It’s not in Nyles’ blood or mine that we’ll be complacent. If you rest on your laurels, the competition will soon pass you by.”

Brian and Nyles Ellefson, Ellefson Transportation Group The company has grown significantly since the Ellefsons moved to Augusta from Charleston, S.C., with one truck to open an office for Greyhound’s moving van business. The company still derives the majority of its revenue from moving household goods for people, but has added data storage, which contributes a significant share of the business. The company is comprised of five sections – ADSI Moving Systems, United Van Lines, Acme Moving & Storage, Augusta Data Storage and GoMini’s Moving & Portable Storage. Ellefson Transportation Group was formed about five years ago to encompass the five sectors after the Ellefsons realized that some of their data storage customers didn’t know about their moving business, and moving customers didn’t know about the data storage side. “We realized we had an identity crisis,” said Brian, the president and CEO. “We decided we needed to rebrand ourselves.” “Everybody identified with our last name,” added Nyles, who serves as chief operating officer. “It helps identify that there’s more than one thing that we do.” In the past 50 years, Ellefson has gone from one truck and a father-son duo to 72 pieces of equipment and 82 employees. It provides moving systems for residential, commercial and self-movers, as well as a warehouse filled with data storage boxes. The company is constructing a new 26,000-square-foot data storage building. The data storage side of the business proved to be a valuable asset during the recession that hit in 2009. “That made a big difference when a lot

22 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

Brothers Nyles and Brian Ellefson carry on the work started by their father and grandfather 50 years ago. That includes the storage of tens of thousands of boxes of confidential business files from their headquarters on the Mike Padgett Highway in South Augusta. Photo by Gary Kauffman

of corporate people weren’t moving as much,” Nyles said. “We had an uptick in the record storage business and we didn’t lay anybody off.” They expect record storage to continue to play a significant role in the company. Many companies, especially in the health care field, must maintain records, but the cost to transfer them to digital is high. The Ellefsons estimate they can store paper records for about 85 years for the same cost as transferring them to a digital format. The brothers grew up working in the business from the time they were old enough to carry boxes. They became drivers during their college years. Like many children growing up in a family business, both planned to make their own way in life. “We were going to go to college and get an education,” Brian said. “The last place we were going to be found was in this moving business.” Brian was working at a bank in Charlotte, N.C., and Nyles in his final year of college at Clemson when their father had an opportunity to sell the business – unless the brothers got involved. It wasn’t an easy decision. “He asked me twice and both times I told him to sell it,” Brian said. “We went back and forth the majority of my last year in school,” Nyles said. “One week it was no, one week it was yes.” But finally Brian said that if Nyles was in, he’d go into the business, too. In December 1990, both of them gave their father the answer that they’d join the family business, a decision both have embraced. “Looking back at what we’ve done, we

have absolutely no regrets,” Brian said. They took over operations of the business in 2005. Their father passed away in 2009. Here are some excerpts from an interview with the brothers. Q: What are you passionate about in your business? Nyles: I enjoy helping people. When you’re moving someone you’re helping them. You’re not just showing up for work; you’re helping them with a problem, with a big change in their life. The relationship side is the fun part. Brian: On top of that, there’s the relationship with the employees and the opportunities we’re providing for them. I used to see it as just a place where people come to work, but now I see it’s a place where people come to build their lives. We’ve watched employees put their children through college and buy houses. It’s a definite family atmosphere here. In May we had a family festival for our 50th anniversary, and our employees brought not just their children, but brothers, sisters, moms and dads. They had a sense of pride that they’re part of something. There was a sense that we’re having a bigger impact on someone than we realize. Q: What did you learn from your father about business? Brian: One thing is that the customer is always right. You’ll never win an argument with a customer. You have to swallow your pride and make it right. Another thing is his work ethic. The dividends you receive down the road are the result of the investment in the hard work you do today. It’s not something that happens

overnight. Nyles: Definitely that work ethic – he never thought any job was too hard or too tough. He’d figure it out and make it work. We moved a gamut of different things that people said we couldn’t do but we did it. Nothing is impossible. Q: Is there anything you regret that he didn’t teach you about? Nyles: On the business side, he’d brag about doing everything on a legal pad. Now everything is computerized and automated. Brian: As we started to grow that’s where some of the weakness showed, because our accounting practices had to be more complex. He had a great business mind but because he was a truck driver, he thought about how to load and unload and how to drive. That’s what came natural, so that’s what we learned. Q: How do you unwind? Nyles: I play golf and we have a lake house. I love the lake; that’s a real good getaway. I love college football, so in the fall I’m going to Clemson games a lot. Brian: The family gets together and goes to the lake for cookouts. We enjoy the water. We have pretty similar hobbies. We have a unique dynamic that we can work together and still spend time together afterwards. I’ve always made a point that between here and my house is my shutdown time, so that by the time I get to my back door I’m focused on what’s going on there. Q: Who or what inspires and motivates you? Nyles: It will always be Dad, indirectly. I want him to be proud of us even if he isn’t here. He was one of the big drivers behind both of us and we’ll always keep him in the back of our minds. Brian: I watch other companies that are successful to see what makes them successful and how that relates to us. We’re always trying to learn from others to see how we can improve and diversify. Q: What does the future hold for you and your company? Brian: It will always be a transportation and storage company. The challenge will be to figure out what the customer wants and what the customer will respond to, and how to deliver options to the customer. My plan is as long as I’m mentally and physically able and I’m enjoying it to stay in as long as I’m effective. I don’t think I could retire and play golf every day. Nyles: As long as I’m healthy enough I’m going to keep on getting up and coming in. There’s a lot of growth yet to do, a lot of positive things happening and I want to keep that going.


1967-2017 As we celebrate a milestone 50 years for our organization, we would like to take this time to say “thank you” to our loyal customers and business partners for all you have done to support our business, both here in the Augusta - Aiken area, and across the U.S. Our business certainly wouldn’t be here today without all of you, and we are so thankful for your continued trust and partnership. We look forward to serving you for many years to come.





June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Too Fragile for Agile?

Overcome fear of agile project management with Scrum By Roger Duke

Being “agile” is the hottest trend today for managing projects. However, many companies are having trouble accepting it as a viable alternative to traditional project management, even though the agile project success rate is much higher. Why are so many companies afraid to go agile and how do they overcome that fear? Agile is a methodology for executing special projects. To be agile, a company must have a culture that 100 percent supports agile principles. The wrong application in combination with the wrong culture is a recipe for project failure. Agile methodologies got their start in the software development industry. By selecting the right projects, any industry can capitalize on agile methodologies and improve their project success. What are the right projects? The “right” project expects change, can be divided into smaller projects, and delivers a valued product in a short amount of time. The projects are typically completed in sequence, with each project adding value to the product. Key stakeholders are actively involved throughout project planning and execution. Of all factors affecting

Scrum is a disciplined project management methodology designed to respond to, instead of fearing, change. It has three defined roles: the product owner, the scrummaster and the project team. agile project success, it’s the increased collaboration and communication with stakeholders that has the greatest impact. Now, what is the right culture? Just saying you are agile does not make it so. It requires the right culture and leadership to be agile. First, agile projects are successful only if the project team is empowered to plan and deliver the product. Team members must be free to interact and produce results independent of rigorous processes and complex tools. Second, leadership must promote delivering products of value over the development of comprehensive plans and documents. Third, involving the customer frequently throughout the development of each product results in higher customer satisfaction than just

meeting the terms of a contract. Fourth, the project team embraces change and sees it as an opportunity to quickly make improvements in the product. Selecting the right project and creating the right culture can increase project success. In the 2017 VersionOne 11th Annual State of Agile Report, 98 percent of the respondents said that their organization realized success from agile projects. There are several agile methodologies, but the one used nearly 60 percent of the time is Scrum. Scrum is a disciplined project management methodology designed to respond to, instead of fearing, change. It has three defined roles: the product owner, the scrummaster and the project team. The product owner is the client and is actively involved throughout

the Scrum process. The scrummaster is the project manager supporting the team as necessary, keeping it true to Scrum and removing barriers impacting team performance. The project team is an empowered, dedicated team of skilled experts delivering the highest valued products to the product owner in a preset time frame. The product owner and team agree to a deliverable. The team produces the deliverable in an iteration called a sprint. Multiple sprints ultimately deliver a marketable product. The application of Scrum on the right projects in the right culture will improve the bottom line. The Standish Group reported that agile projects succeed three times as often as traditional projects. Roger Duke, PMP, CSM, is a Greater Augusta project management advocate, Augusta/Aiken PMI Chapter officer, Augusta University adjunct professor, PM PMP/ CAPM Prep trainer and SRS engineering program manager. Reach him at 706-840-0008 or email:

First Comes Love … business partnership can be as haPpy – and end as badly – as a marriage By J. Edward “Ed”

Being in business is very much like being married. That was my message to a group of business owners recently at an event I co-sponsored with Lisa Mayo, CPA; Kurt Mueller, financial adviser; and the Neil Gordon, marketing guru. This marriage analogy is particularly true if the business is owned equally between two people. Why do I think marriage and running a small business are similar? Because people go into them with similar expectations – this going to be wonderful; the best, most exciting thing I could possibly do with my life. And because the same things that end marriages also

24 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

end businesses – cheating, arguments over money or one partner not feeling adequately valued by the other. Here is my biggest reason for the comparison, though – business, like marriage, is much easier to get into with another person than it is to get out of with that person. Business breakups can be every bit as ugly, emotionally charged and expensive as divorce. Plus, the business is the baby. All too often the owners kill the baby while fighting with each other. The solution to this problem is to have a business pre-nuptial agreement! Except in business it is called a shareholders’ agreement or a buy/sell agreement. The owners come together, pref-

erably at the start of the business, when everyone is happy and you are going to make a gazillion dollars, and agree how they will separate in the event certain things happen. For instance, they might agree how to buy out the family if one owner dies, or if an owner decides to move on to something different, or the owners come to different visions about where the company should go and cannot come to agreement how to continue the business. A well-crafted buy/sell agreement can save everyone thousands of dollars in expensive legal fights. But more importantly, the agreement can save the baby by providing a pre-emptive solution before things get out of hand.

With a good business pre-nup, everybody wins – except the lawyers.

J. Edward “Ed” Enoch has practiced law in Augusta for more than 20 years, mostly focusing on helping business owners and companies to include formation, transition, business planning, contract writing, employment law and other areas of the law. Email jenoch@

Summer Services Special Advertising Section Crosby’s Roofing....................... Page 26 The Best Tool a Small Business Can Have.................. Page 27 Advanced Services................... Page 28 All South Roofing..................... Page 28 Bradford Health Services......... Page 29 Harbin’s Lumber....................... Page 30 Premier Networx....................... Page 30

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


By Gary Kauffman Crosby Roofing is celebrating its fiveyear anniversary in Augusta, but it is a family-owned business that has nearly three decades of experience at keeping a roof over homeowners’ heads. The company was started in Macon about 30 years ago by Richard Crosby and now has branches in Augusta and Columbia, run by his sons, Richard Jr. and Collen. The Augusta branch was opened in July 2012 by Richard Jr., then only 21 years old. About 90 percent of their work is re-roofing residential buildings. “When we first opened in Augusta we stuck to residential shingles and metal roofs,” Crosby Jr. said. “We wanted to master shingles and metal and make sure we’re doing a really good job with customers. Last year we started taking on more commercial jobs.” Although he was only 21 when he started the Augusta branch, Crosby Jr. was no stranger to the roofing business. “My dad started when he was 21, so I’ve heard roof talk since I was in diapers,” he said. “I learned a lot from him just hearing about it.” When he was 15 he started working on roofing projects, which continued during his time at Macon State University. But there was still a learning curve in his new role. “Running a company is a lot different than having someone tell you what to

26 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

do,” Crosby Jr. said. “It was a huge learning experience.” That’s where his father’s experience came in. “We’re all learning from his mistakes,” Crosby Jr. said. “As long as I take his advice it’ll be a lot easier than learning it from scratch.” The elder Crosby had always been an entrepreneur, starting with a paper route when he was 12. He left school after ninth grade, although he later earned a general equivalency diploma and attended college. His entry into the roofing world came about by a happy coincidence. Crosby Sr. had been building storage sheds to make extra money but a job was delayed because a roofer didn’t show up to re-roof a homeowner’s house, and the homeowner didn’t want the shed until the roof was done. So Crosby Sr. volunteered to do the job. Realizing there was more money in roofing than in storage sheds, he began knocking on doors, using the first homeowner as a reference. That led to the building of a successful business. In Augusta, Crosby Jr. said many of the jobs they do are on homes that are 12 to 15 years old. They are often found in neighborhoods where builders didn’t use the highest quality roofing materials. That’s a bit different than the work Crosby Roofing does. “Our roofs will last 25-30 years,” he

said. “We strive for quality and to keep customers happy.” The company gives a 10-year labor warranty on thicker architectural shingles, and a five-year warranty on 3-tab shingles. Crosby Roofing also specializes in repairing storm damage, which seems to happen on a regular basis in Augusta. “In Augusta we seem to be hit with winds and storms a couple of times a year,” he said, noting the storms that hit the area during Masters Week as an example. Crosby Roofing helps homeowners identify storm damage and works with their insurance companies. He said many people don’t realize that most insurers give homeowners up to two years to file on storm damage. The Augusta branch of Crosby Roofing employs three full-time six-member roofing crews, a two-member repair crew, six salesmen and two secretaries. “I’m fortunate to have really good people working with me who I can trust,” Crosby Jr. said. Crosby Jr. said people rarely think about their roofing needs until they develop a leak. When they do seek roofing help, he wants them to think of Crosby Roofing. To that end, he has had all the trucks painted with the name in giant letters across the side. He said that company-wide branding has helped increase business.

“But our quality of work goes even farther (to bring in business) than our advertising,” he said. In addition to roofing, Crosby Roofing also provides seamless gutter services. It also has several maintenance packages available that include roof inspection, gutter cleaning and debris removal.


[ 3 LOCATIONS ] Augusta 236 Bobby Jones Expressway Augusta, GA 30907 706-823-4300 Columbia 1700 Alta Vista Drive Columbia, SC 29223 803-648-7250 Macon 7628 Hawkinsville Rd Macon, GA 31216 478-785-2285

The Best Tool a Small Business Can Have By Gary Kauffman

There is one tool every small business must have to be successful. It isn’t some complex business strategy, specialized computer operating system or fancy marketing plan. It is simply good customer service. “The biggest competitive advantage a small business has is the opportunity to connect relationally with the customer, truly identify what their needs are, and help them make the perfect purchase,” said Mark Harrell, owner of Scrubs of Evans. “That can’t be accomplished online.” With big-box stores dotting every city and the ability to order products online at customers’ fingertips 24/7, the one area where a small business still can make its mark is in customer service. Often people turn to the internet or the big stores for better prices, but studies and surveys continue to show that customer service will still trump price for many people. “Many people prefer to pay an extra amount in order to have someone to talk to them,” Van Smith, co-owner of Lionel Smith Ltd. in Aiken, said. “They expect to pay a little more if they want the customer service that goes with it.” What matters to many people is not simply the product or service but the experience that goes with it. A relationship develops that goes deeper than a simple transaction. “To me it’s all about building rapport with the customer,” said Charles Kelly, the president of Computer Exchange in Martinez. “I’ve trained our guys at the counter that their job is first to build some rapport, not to just sell them something. It makes anything that happens down the road easier to work with.” While it is important for owners and management to care about customer service, it is just as important to instill that vision in employees. Harrell said good customer service starts before the customer walks in the door by training employees. “If you don’t have the right people when they walk in the door, you can’t have the right interaction,” he said. “If you don’t have the right interaction, it’s just a transaction and no different than an internet purchase.” “Our mission statement says that we want every guest to leave with a smile and we do whatever we can to meet that goal,” said Peyton Faugl, manager of the North Augusta Chick-fil-A.

Customer Service Matters Based on various surveys,

“We make that a point with every new employee. We stress the importance of it.” And that includes giving employees feedback on a job well done. “We get comments back that ‘This person made me feel at home,’ or ‘This person made me have a much better day,’” Faugl said. “We let the employee know that and it keeps them working harder to make that happen again.” The specifics of customer service vary from business to business. At the North Augusta Chick-fil-A, for example, it’s all about making the customer experience great, which involves such things as delivering a customer’s order in a timely manner and treating each customer with dignity and respect. At Scrubs of Evans, it’s getting to identify the customer’s needs and that requires asking questions. “We want to know who they are before we sell to them,” Harrell said. “Based on that interaction, we can make recommendations, because fabrics are different, cuts are different, especially with all this new stuff.” At Computer Exchange customer service can simply mean patience. For many customers, especially those in the Baby Boomer generation, operating computers and computer systems is far from intuitive, so Kelly and his staff take the time to explain how things work. Computer Exchange has also recently changed its business model to emphasize onsite service, a great advantage for many busy customers.

Smith said that taking the time to interact with the customer creates a connection that creates empathy. “You’re more real, more like the person you’re dealing with,” he said. “It helps you understand the situation and not jump to conclusions.” While treating people right for the sake of being a nice person has its own rewards, good customer service also boosts the longevity of the business and can actually save money. It costs more to win a new customer than to maintain existing customers, and happy customers return more often to a store for purchases. “When you’re serving a customer, you’re not just looking at that transaction,” Harrell said. “You want to serve them for two or three or more years. It’s a long-term vision.” Kelly, who has been in business for more than 20 years, agrees with that long-term vision. “We want them for life,” he said. “We have a very loyal customer base. I hear often from someone that they wouldn’t ever think of going anywhere else for a computer.” Customer service can become like building a fan club for a business. “We want to make customers raving fans,” Faugl said. “We want people to love Chick-fil-A so that it’s all they want to eat.” In the internet age, businesses can feel the pressure to compete on price points. But anecdotal evidence shows that customers who buy on price only will always buy on price, meaning that

the facts below show the value of good customer service. • On average, loyal customers will contribute up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. • The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent; the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent. • 3 in 5 Americans will try a new brand or company if it offers better service. • In 2011, 70 percent of customers said they are willing to spend more with businesses where they receive excellent customer service. • 70 percent of customers will continue to do business with a company that resolves a complaint in their favor. • The most requested improvement listed in customer surveys is “better human service.” • Customers love being called by name, but only 21 percent of businesses ask for a name. • Customers who have a great customer service experience tell an average of 9 people; customers with bad service experiences tell an average of 16 people. • 70 percent of buying decisions are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. • 78 percent of consumers have not followed through on a purchase because of bad customer service. they’re willing to leave a business if another company offers the same product or service for even pennies less. But businesses who build on customer service will develop loyal fan bases that can keep them going long after the price-cutters have moved on. “Customer service is what makes a small business fruitful,” Harrell said. June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


By Gary Kauffman

Delivering one person’s vision isn’t always an easy task, but for Sales Director Kevin Hudson, the challenge is worth the effort. Hudson oversees the company’s sales force, and manages the onboarding process for new employees; it is up to him to ensure every employee embodies the values and principles that make Advanced Services one of the most trusted and successful pest control companies in the Augusta area. According to owner Jeff Annis, Advanced Services’ values include improving the lives of its customers, employees and the local community. To do this, the organization maintains high standards in both the products and services it delivers, and in the way it engages with customers and the wider community. When it comes to installing roofing, windows and siding, most of us are amateurs, at best. It’s wise to leave those jobs to the pros, like the experts from All South Roofing. Based in downtown North Augusta, this locally owned and operated business will see that not only is the work done on time, but it’s done the right way. “All South knows our reputation is what travels – word of mouth,” Tierney explained, “The better the job we do, the more people tell others to call us.” And in the Southeast, the unpredictable weather can mean people like Kevin Tierney and his team are in high demand from all sectors of the market. “All South Roofing is a storm damage expert. We’ve replaced roofing, siding and windows in response to all kinds of situations, but the weather is one where we know we’re stepping in at a time the homeowner or business owner is experiencing an unwanted and unplanned emergency. We work with insurance companies to cover costs – this relieves our customers of a lot of stress.” It’s this reputation for taking care

28 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

“Every person who comes on board as an employee has to convince me that they are the right fit – from their experience and education, to how they approach learning on the job,” Hudson said. “They are the face of the company.” Advanced Services has served the area for more than 60 years. Locally owned and operated, its primary function is to rid homes of unwanted insects and pests. However, as Hudson explains, by employing people who become experts in their field, and by using only high quality and reliable products, the company also provides customers with peace of mind. “We specialize in homeowner services, such as residential pest control and termite elimination, but we also offer a commercial homebuilder service, which allows us to take care of termite treatments even before a homeowner moves in,” Hudson said. Hudson is referring to the Advanced Services homebuilder treatment service provided to homebuilders as they develop new residential housing areas. Termites and similar pests cause an estimated $30 billion in damage to U.S. homes, buildings and crops annually. Thanks to Advanced Services, a homeowner can buy a new home that

is already treated and protected for termites. Working with local construction companies, Advanced Services will install the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination system on the grounds of new construction, even before the property goes on the market, and guarantees the home will be termite-free for 12 months. Advanced Services also supports the local community by encouraging its team of bug stoppers to get involved in local education initiatives by going to local schools and introducing children to entomology using common, and notso-common, insects. Hudson explained, “We take bug terrariums to classrooms and try to help kids become more comfortable with identifying and handling bugs when appropriate. We take all kinds of spiders and other insects that are common to the area like roaches and mantises.” Employees are also encouraged to continue learning about the environment around them, an example firmly set by Mr. Annis, who is a firm believer in self-improvement. “His enthusiasm for always learning so that we can better deliver quality to our customers is what we work to embody,” Hudson said. “We must stay informed and push ourselves

to find out more about our field and shape that into something that benefits our customers.”

tions and estimates, as well as a free five-year labor warranty. No deposit is needed to secure their services, a practice which sets them apart from their competitors. Kevin Tierney said, “We’ve worked with several builders in the area, and they know they can rely on us – Bowles Construction, Centennial Contractors, and more – we’ve worked well for them and we want to do more.” All South Roofing, Windows and Siding is a responsive and reliable resource. Customers can call the office, check out the website, or connect on social media for information on roofing, siding and windows.

of its customers that has boosted All South’s business exponentially over the past decade. Working with an in-house team of seven, Kevin Tierney has successfully modeled his business to meet the needs of its customers without sacrificing quality or integrity. Known for his boundless energy and attention to detail, Tierney says All South has an advantage by being local. “Our commercial customers

sub-contract us to lay roofing within a reasonable time-frame and within budget,” Tierney said. We know the environment, we know what they’re looking for, and we are proud to exceed our customers’ expectations.” With a reach that extends throughout South Carolina and Georgia, All South offers both residential and commercial business to business services. It’s the commercial business that seems to be booming. Kevin says it’s the uptick that has followed the recession of 2008. “Residential housing is back in full swing. Developers and builders are picking up the pace; we’ve seen this with the development of many commercial and retail properties that are springing up around new neighborhoods, and expanded areas.” Recent work included new construction and retail outlets in Evans and Martinez, two major growth centers in the C.S.R.A. It also included renovation projects, such as repairing a large section of the V.A. Hospital on Wrightsboro Road, in Augusta. All South Roofing offers free inspec-

Follow Advanced Services on Facebook @teambugstopper or check out their website at




1536 Crescent Drive, Augusta Kevin Hudson

706-860-0116 706.860.0116

514 Georgia Avenue, North Augusta, SC Kevin Tierney


By Gary Kauffman Everyone knows someone who’s been affected by substance abuse, according to Terry Childers, local representative for Bradford Health, a center for helping people overcome chemical dependency. It’s an issue that seems increasingly relevant in today’s society. “It’s a soul sickness,” Childers said of substance abuse. “People are trying to fill a void with substances instead of healthy things.” It is the goal of Childers and Bradford Health to help people break that dependency and return to healthy living. Although the local Bradford Health

office closed at the end of 2016 because of corporate restructuring, it still maintains a strong presence in the area through Childers. Those needing help are often referred by family members, doctors, lawyers, schools and employers. Childers also works closely with military families. About half of time, a person comes to Bradford Health as a self-referral, recognizing they have a problem and need to change. Childers has dealt with people from a wide range of ages, from teens to people in their mid-70s, and from all walks of life. Childers helps referrals determine the best treatment options and work through issues like insurance. Bradford Health has treatment facilities in Alabama and other resources throughout the southeast. Alcohol and prescription drug abuse are two of the most common dependency issues Childers sees, but an increasing issue is heroin abuse. This is especially alarming because some heroin is laced with an elephant tranquilizer that kills the users.

“The prescription drug epidemic got so bad that federal and local governments have done a good job of controlling that,” Childers said. “Now heroin is filling the gap (for opioid dependents). It’s cheaper and a lot more available. It’s downright scary.” Childers said addictions usually start as a way to attain temporary relief for a stressor in life rather than dealing with it in a healthy way. Gradually the substance abuse becomes a regular part of life. Childers knows the issue well, having battled his own substance abuse. After successfully conquering his addiction, he decided to use his experience to help others. “It helps immensely that they know what I’m telling them is from personal experience,” he said. “It builds faster rapport and gives them some hope when they see where I’ve been and where I am today.” Successfully battling substance addiction requires a change of mindset, as well as a strong support system. “What recovery is all about is living

life on life’s terms,” Childers said. “They have to accept support from others who have been through those things and who are there to help them.” Bradford Health’s local 24/7 contact number is 706-854-1126. Childers can be reached directly at 706-421-4075.

For more information or immediate confidential help call


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June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


want to drive 20 miles to pick up something,” Chris Maciaszek said. The lumber yard is a one stop shop for treated lumber, siding, shingles, columns and some blocks. Harbin’s now also has trusses, doors and windows in-house. Experienced service is another hallmark of the new store. Many of the 23 employees have been in the lumber and hardware business for years. “Our people are very knowledgeable,” Maciaszek said. The store is undergoing some changes, with a new paint scheme, a new shipping department and plans to create a separate counter for contractors. The business is open 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. By Gary Kauffman The name on a North Augusta lumber yard is new, but the business behind it has a 100-year history. On March 1, Harbin Lumber Co. took over Adams Supply on Edgefield Road off Exit 5. Two brothers, John and Frank Harbin started the business in 1917 and it has been run by the Harbin family ever since, now in its fourth gen-

30 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

eration. It is headquartered in Lavonia, Ga., with lumber yards in Milledgeville, Athens and Lavonia locations. The addition of the North Augusta store, with its Do It Best hardware line, gives Harbin a bigger inventory than any of the other stores, with nearly triple the number of items available. Adams was the independently owned building supply in NA before Lowe’s.

Harbin supplies general contractors, sub-contractors and remodelers, but also has plenty to offer the do-it-yourself homeowner. Near the confluence of I-20, 520 and Edgefield Road, Harbin’s facility is easy to get to from any direction. “We want to service the whole CSRA, but we really want to take care of the people closest to our location who don’t

871 Edgefield Road, North Augusta


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762.222.7486 June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Motivational speaker brings laughs, inspiration to women’s lunch By Amanda King

Motivational speaker Dale Smith Thomas knows how to be a champion. The self-proclaimed “hope dealer” shared her valuable tips with 245 women, and a few brave men, June 7 at the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Luncheon. Her personality and humor were brighter than her hot pink dress and pumps as she shared stories with the crowd from her teen years to the present, including her journey in pageantry vying for Mrs. Tennessee. Thomas is the president and founder of Winners by Choice Inc. She has traveled the world telling others how to become successful by focusing on the positive, not the negative. “If you start to change your input, you start to change your output,” Thomas said. She said she didn’t just grow up poor but “dirt poor” in northern Mississippi and was the first person in her family to attend college, where she obtained a degree in physical

education. Thomas has never taught in a classroom, but she has drawn from her life experiences to build a career helping others reach their potential, no matter their circumstances. Thomas has appeared on The Doctor Phil Show, The Big Idea, The Travel Channel, CMT, MTV and VH1, as well as a Fox reality show. “It is your decisions that determine your destiny, not your conditions,” she said. Thomas stressed writing down goals, explaining that the “what” you want must come before the “how.” Writing things down, she said, turns them from a wish to a goal. “If you’re going to push it to the limit, you’ve got to decide what it is,” she said. In the midst of her advice, stories and humor, Thomas admitted that there is only one person who can produce results. “There is nothing I can do to motivate you,” she said. “Motivation is an inside job.”

32 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

“It is your decisions that determine your destiny, not your conditions,” Dale Smith Thomas told attendees at the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Luncheon. Photo by Amanda King

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


On the Defensive

Small or large, security is top concern for business By scott thurmond

Whether you are a small mom-andpop retail operation, a large, international corporation, or an organization with enhanced needs to protect information from clients or members, security is a top concern. It’s hard to believe that when the cloud started years ago, there was a cavalier approach to storing valuable data. With each announcement of new hacks, concerns mounted and additional measures were created to counter unauthorized viewing. Today, most of us are aware of security measures that can be added to computers. We know not to open certain emails, and we are cognizant about when and where to post (or not to post) critical personal or business information, including credit card numbers. Information exists in many places inside a business. Computer information can be secured in a variety of ways, from

Windows directory access to sophisticated software packages. Copiers can limit users to only be able to scan to themselves. This helps limit ways electronic data can leave the business. There is even software that can read every scanned or copied page and create alerts to management, if needed. Most copiers have some type of disk-overwrite standard. Make sure it is enabled. Some copiers have optional removable hard drives that can be locked up when not in use. There are other things you might not have considered. When replacing your computers, what happens to the old ones? More importantly, what happens to the information on the old ones? There are a couple of options other than the hammer. Hard drive punches make holes in the computer’s hard drive, which makes it just about impossible to forensically re-

cover information that existed on that computer. Some of our clients are now using degaussers, which use a powerful magnet to wipe clean hard drives, diskettes, reels, cassettes and cartridge tapes. When exposed to the powerful magnetic field of a degausser, the magnetic data on a tape or hard disk is erased. Because degaussing is the guaranteed form of hard drive erasure, it serves as the standard method of data destruction. What about paper? We are all familiar with shredding. Businesses have the option of hiring outside companies to shred onsite, with some even providing a certificate of destruction. Many of our companies prefer to keep the shredding activities in-house, with the comfort of knowing that whatever documents they have never leave the office. Shredders to accommodate in-house use can be as simple as a desktop variety or as complex as ones with conveyer belts.

One customer even had to rewire his shredding room to provide enough voltage for its support. Whatever defenses you take to keep confidential the records of your business and its clients, make the process comprehensive. Most of all, instill a corporate philosophy of protecting the rights of your company and its customers.

Scott Thurmond is CEO and co-owner of Duplicating Systems Inc. (DSI), a company with 30 years of service in the CSRA. DSI provides copiers, software solutions and other technology. Email

Prepare to Be Breached

Investing in information security now saves a lot later By Brandon McCrillis

As a leading provider of incident response services, Rendition Infosec knows the formula for a perfect breach situation. We often state, “Rendition Infosec has responded to the largest breaches you’ve never heard of ” and that is definitely the truth. One of the many benefits of working with Rendition Infosec is our discreet handling of breaches. Will your breach be handled the same way? No matter the threat, whether it be ransomware, nation-state attacker, criminal syndicate, or the 400-pound hacker sitting in a basement in New Jersey, we often see the root-cause being low-tozero investment in Information Security. Investment does not have to be exclusively monetary, and does not have to empty your wallet. Investment in Information Security starts with business alignment and realizing that Information Security will always be a cost center for the organization. That’s right folks, Bill in IT with the knack for security will never earn your business money, though he may be able to implement solutions to let you keep more of it when a breach occurs. In the recent weeks, we’ve responded to large breaches at a Fortune 300 healthcare provider, an international retailer,

34 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

The smallest investment can help. As your organization matures its Information Security presence and posture, know that often simple investments now of time and resources will be worth their weight in gold when a breach occurs later. and a municipality. All three of our most recent breach engagements have had the same thing in common: Business misalignment and a limited investment in Information Security. Fortune 300 healthcare provider – Information Security investment was primarily in “one-size-fits-all” vendor solution that did not hold water when the breach occurred. The spark that ignited the inferno was the lack of investment in IT security policy and procedure. When everyone has a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Sand table exercises and the investment in policy would’ve saved this organization exponential time and money when breached.

International retailer – This business created and staffed an Information Security department but did not invest in security training for personnel. When the breach occurred, the insufficiently trained staff was incapable of investigating and properly containing the incident. This situation led to the business requiring third-party assistance which dramatically increased response costs that could’ve been mitigated by using the internal capability it assembled to do that very task. A balanced training and implementation approach of the Information Security department, though requiring higher initial investment, would’ve saved substantial time and money at the time of incident while increasing ROI.

Municipality – Zero investment in Information Security by the former administration resulted in an outdated and severely neglected enterprise information system that made Swiss cheese look solid. At the time of incident, everything took a nosedive, critical business systems were impacted and business operations came to a grinding halt. Simple and inexpensive investments in maintenance, policy, and internal management procedures would’ve eliminated the impact of their recent breach. The smallest investment can help. As your organization matures its Information Security presence and posture, know that often simple investments now of time and resources will be worth their weight in gold when a breach occurs later. Brandon McCrillis is a Principal at Rendition InfoSec, specializing in incident response, penetration testing, digital forensics, training, and network monitoring. Brandon delivers consulting worldwide helping organizations of all sizes reduce risk, achieve compliance, maintain business continuity, and reach security goals.

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Come In For a Landing Helicopter parents need to let college-age kids fly on their own BY missie usry

We all know those parents who seem to be overprotective or excessively involved in managing their teenager’s life. Deep down, they have good intentions. Heck, I’ve been “that” parent, so I can certainly relate. After all, as parents, we have the life experience our young adult does not have to solve a problem quickly and avoid common mistakes. However, even with the best intentions, parents are not doing themselves or their kids any favors by getting overly involved and taking on tasks for their children. Honestly, it is exhausting! Parents sometimes forget that in preteen and teen years, it’s our duty to transition from doing things for our kids to training them to do those tasks for themselves. After all, who wants a 25-yearold college graduate still living at home with mom doing the laundry and cooking for them? Not me! Don’t get me wrong: I love my adult children, but I broke the bad habit of being a helicopter mom once my youngest son became 20-something. Even after both my children moved out, they’d call me to do things. Finally, I thought, enough is enough! Slowly, I began transitioning into being a support system and a resource of information. Granted, it was 10 years late. Need to go to the doctor? Here’s the number. Have a flat tire? Here’s roadside assistance. Because I am a problem-solver by nature, it was hard to begin training them to take care of themselves, but I forced myself. When delving into the research, I found that recent surveys of college students indicate 38 percent of college freshmen and 29 percent of college seniors had parents that frequently intervened for them to solve issues. It also seems that the wealthier the family or the more educated the parents, the more likely they are to be classified as “helicopter parents.” Interestingly, young adults going off to

36 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

Helicopter parents out there, remember: When all is said and done, you cannot go to job interviews with your college graduate. Let them work through some things on their own so they can learn to resolve issues. All that hovering you are doing now will eventually backfire. college is a time when parents should be scaling back on involvement; but students who participated in these

surveys said it was at that point their parents became even more involved. In addition to my own personal experience, sitting behind the scenes at Georgia Military College gives me an advantageous perspective. The stories I could tell! I have had prospective students walk in with a parent and never get to ask a single question themselves. Trying to engage the student in the conversation, I ask them a question, looking them square in the eye, but the parent answers for them. What good does this do the student? After all, it’s the student coming to class and doing the work. It’s the student who needs to choose a career field based on their interests. It’s the student who needs to know about resources when they’re struggling in a class, not the parent.

Additionally, colleges have special rules that do not allow a professor or college administrator to discuss a student’s grade, assignment or attendance without the permission of the student. It’s the perfect time for a parent to scale back involvement, even if it’s forced. Helicopter parents o u t there, remember : When all is said a n d done, you cannot go to job interviews with your college graduate. Let them work through some things on their own so they can learn to resolve issues. All that hovering you are doing now will eventually backfire and cause your student more anxiety for lack of basic survival skills down the road.

Missie Usry is the Enrollment Manager and advises the Community Involvement Club at Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus. Georgia Military College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which means that all credit earned at the institution is transferable to other accredited schools. Eligibility for participation in the joint enrollment program is based on students’ high school GPA and SAT or ACT scores. For questions, call 706.993.1123 or visit

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Giving Up

Sometimes the ability to do some things means giving up others BY Steve Swanson

Author and speaker Bob Goff is truly an interesting human being. In His book Love Does, Bob shares some of the stories in his joy-filled life. Bob has chosen to squeeze all he can out of all of his waking moments. He looks for opportunities to say “Why not?” instead of “That could never happen.” If you know Bob and you enter a room he’s in, you’ll be enthusiastically greeted by his contagious smile and a bear hug. Bob is unconventional, energetic and very memorable! One thing Bob decided a while back is to give something up each Thursday. Instead of continually being overcommitted, he has chosen to let go of things he had said yes to at some point along the way. I refer to Bob’s story because this is my last column for Buzz on Biz. I certainly have been grateful for the privilege of sharing some of my thoughts and perspectives with you dealing with “faith at work.” I truly believe we can practically impact and improve the place where we spend most of our waking hours and not leave our faith outside.

38 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

However, the reality is that I am unable to do all the things I want to do with the excellence they deserve. I need to give up some things. I like to think of myself as a “high-capacity” person. I am able do a many different things for a long time. I can sustain a high level of energy and keep many plates spinning simultaneously. That said, I am learning that just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should do it! Activities and open doors have seasons, and for me, this marks the conclusion of my time creating this column. Like many businesses, radio broadcasting has experienced some seismic shifts, especially in the last 10 years. Consolidation, the expectations of stockholders and the changing economic landscape have definitely reshuffled things. The folks who remain in this field (like other occupations) are required to do more with fewer resources. It’s been “interesting” to see the changes over the past several decades. OK, enough about me. How about you? Perhaps there is something you should give up today. Maybe like Bob Goff, you should give up something every Thursday.

It really is an idea worth implementing. I received a Facebook notification a few days ago that a date has been set for my 45th high school reunion. Forty-five years? Are you kidding me? We have many “life markers” that include baptisms, birthdays, graduations and weddings. Our bodies are also daily reminding us that we’re not as young as we used to be! Time marches on (although the pace seems much quicker than a march from my vantage point). My encouragement to you? Ponder your priorities. Answer the question “What on earth am I here for?” Not in a casual or flippant way, but really examine your heart. God has created you to be fully alive. You are able to impact the people around you in a lasting way. You see, you have a calling on your life. You’ve been given talents, gifts, experiences and a perspective that has been carefully crafted and designed for maximum daily impact. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV). Life is supposed to be a daily adventure of discovery and service to others. I pray

that you will experience the abundant life promised by the one who created you. ( John 10:10). St. Augustine expressed it this way: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Thank you for taking the time to read the words I’ve shared in my columns over the past several years. It’s been an honor to share these pages with some of the most talented and motivated people in the CSRA. I am certainly blessed and grateful. Now I will step aside to consider what I can give up next! God bless you.

Steve Swanson serves as the station manager for 88.3 WAFJ. He has more than 30 years of radio experience and was named Christian Music Broadcasters Program Director of the Year in 2009 and 2011. Email

It’s the Moments Together That Change Us Forever When your family is faced with difficult end of life decisions, you need to focus on what matters most. PruittHealth Hospice is committed to caring. We ensure your loved one experiences a smooth transition from the hospital to home hospice care through our unique service offerings. So that you can focus on more moments together. And be changed forever.

PruittHealth Hospice Augusta 1220 Augusta West Parkway Augusta, GA. 30909 Office: 706-650-1522 • Fax: 706-650-1786 The PruittHealth Organization complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Thinking Ahead

Retirement plans benefit employees, employers By Christine Hall

Employer-sponsored retirement plans have become a key component for retirement savings. They are also an increasingly important tool for attracting and retaining the high-quality employees you need in order to compete in today’s environment. Besides helping employees save for the future, instituting a retirement plan can provide you, as the employer, with benefits that enable you to make the most of your business assets. Such benefits include: • Tax-deferred growth on earnings within the plan • Current tax savings on individual contributions to the plan • Immediate tax deductions for employer contributions • Ease of establishing and maintaining them • Provision of a low-cost benefit with a high perceived value by your employees Here’s an overview of four retirement plan options that can help you and your employees save: SIMPLE: Savings Incentive Match Plan A SIMPLE IRA plan allows employees to contribute a percentage of their

salary each paycheck and to have their employer match the contribution. Under SIMPLE IRA plans, employees can set aside up to $12,500 in 2017 by payroll deduction. If the employee is 50 or older, he may contribute an additional $3,000. Employers can either match employee contributions dollar-for-dollar up to 3 percent of an employee’s wage or make a fixed contribution of 2 percent of pay for all eligible employees. SIMPLE IRA plans are easy to set up by filling out a short form. Administrative costs are low, and much of the paperwork is done by the financial institution that handles the SIMPLE IRA plan accounts. SEP: Simplified Employee Pension Plan An SEP plan allows employers to set up a type of individual retirement account – known as an SEP IRA – for themselves and their employees. Employers must contribute a uniform percentage of pay for each employee. Employer contributions are limited to whichever is less: 25 percent of an employee’s annual salary or $54,000 in 2017. SEP plans can be started by most employers, including people who are self-employed. SEP plans have low startup and operating costs and can be established using

401(k) Plans 401(k) plans have become a widely accepted savings vehicle for small businesses and allow employees to contribute a portion of their income toward their retirement. The employee contributions, not to exceed $18,000 in 2017, reduce a participant’s pay before income taxes so that pre-tax dollars are invested. If the employee is 50 or older, he may contribute another $6,000 in 2017. Employers may offer to match a certain percentage of the employee’s contribution, increasing participation in the plan.

that are not available under SEP plans. Contributions may range from 0 to 25 percent of eligible employees’ compensation, to a maximum of $54,000 in 2017 per employee. The contribution in any one year cannot exceed 25 percent of the total compensation of the employees participating in the plan. Contributions need not be the same percentage for all employees. Key employees might get as much as 25 percent, others as little as 3 percent. A plan may combine these profit-sharing contributions with 401(k) contributions (and matching contributions). Like all other areas of taxes, pension rules are complex. If you need help finding the right plan for you and your employees, contact your investment or tax advisers. They can most certainly help you through the maze of retirement options.

Profit-Sharing Plans Employers also may make profit-sharing contributions to plans that are unrelated to any amounts an employee chooses to contribute. Profit-sharing plans are well-suited for businesses with uncertain or fluctuating profits. In addition to the flexibility in deciding the amounts of the contributions, a profit-sharing plan can include options such as service requirements, vesting schedules and plan loans

Christine Hall is a partner in Hall, Murphy & Schuyler PC, a full-service accounting firm. For a complimentary accounting, tax or business consultation, call 706.855.7733 or email

a single quarter-page form. Businesses are not locked into making contributions every year. You can decide how much to put into an SEP each year, offering some flexibility when business conditions vary.

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Good money management requires good planning BY dagan Sharpe

Money is a tool, and like any tool and resource, learning how to handle it makes all the difference in the impact we can positively make with it. There are three primary components to any effective financial stewardship process. Good money managers learn how to spend money wisely, as well as save and give it effectively. Spending Plan: Most have heard the expression, “money burning a hole in my pocket” and perhaps we have even felt this emotion. This is when we have some money, and the desire to spend it is like an itch we just have to scratch. This is impulse spending and a very real and powerful emotion, which is why a budget is so beneficial. It helps us develop self-discipline with our finances. Our budget is our spending plan, and when we calculate how much we need for expenses and even allocate dollars for entertain-

40 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

ment, it helps us stay out of the potholes impulse buying can create. Savings Plan: Many people fail to have any type of effective savings plan – mostly because they fail to have an effective spending plan, which leaves them with little to no ability to save. Therefore, it’s vital we get our spending habits under control and establish an equally powerful savings plan. This includes putting money aside for emergencies. The rule of thumb is to have about six months of living expenses set aside for emergencies. We must also look at saving for our goals and dreams. For example, college education, retirement, weddings and/or other large expenses. Retirement income in particular will be vital in time and is something no one should neglect, yet unfortunately many do. Therefore, if you have access to a retirement plan at work, or an IRA, begin putting money aside. It is good disci-

pline and you will be thankful you looked ahead and planned for the golden years. Giving Plan: Of course, if there’s little to no money to save, there most likely is little to no money to give. However, this is an extremely important part to any financial plan, for many reasons. Giving helps us fight against the natural tendencies of greed. It also enables us to help others, and keep our lives from the consequences of being self-absorbed. Studies have proven that generous people tend to be healthier, have less stress and are more productive at work. Therefore, creating a giving plan is not only good for you, but creates an environment where everyone wins. Money and honey have a lot in common. An ancient proverb states that too much honey will make you sick, but as we know, just the right amount adds flavor and enjoyment. Likewise, money, when out of balance, has sickening results.

However, when handled responsibly and effectively, it can contribute to quality causes, support missions, propel goals and dreams, and help add value to others. However, this is only when it is in the hands of good stewards. Otherwise, it can quickly become a vicious master that injures and destroys. We should always seek and strive to be good stewards by investing the time to develop impactful giving, spending and savings plans.

Dagan Sharpe is senior vice president of Queensborough National Bank & Trust and the author of a stewardship book, Bank On It. Email dsharpe@qnbtrust. com.

H I R E A L I S O N S O U T H A S YO U R M A R K E T I N G F I R M I N 2 0 1 7, A N D G O F R O M G O O D T O G R E AT. AIKEN (803) 226 - 0284

A U G U S TA (706) 724 -3758


June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


The Money Talk

Four questions help ease financial Stress of Moving in Together working due to illness or injury, would you be able to pay the bills? Having adequate disability income insurance can help ensure that your income and lifestyle are protected if you or your significant other got sick or hurt and were unable to work. Unfortunately, injuries happen more often than you might think. One of four workers will be disabled for three or more months at some point during their career. If you purchase a house or have children, you should create an estate plan to ensure that your loved ones are protected and your wishes are honored if one of you dies. Moving in together can be an exciting and stressful time, but asking these questions before moving in together will set the stage for open and ongoing financial dialogue. If you need help getting started, meeting with a trusted financial professional can help to get your financial relationship on the right track.

BY Kurt W. Mueller

If you’re in a committed relationship, deciding to move in together can be a very exciting time. But aside from the excitement of taking a big step in your relationship, living together can also bring new challenges, many of them financial. According to a 2015 study by SunTrust Bank, 35 percent of respondents (single and in a relationship) identified money as the leading cause of stress in their relationship. Help protect your relationship from unnecessary financial stress by discussing these four money questions before moving day. 1. Have you had the money talk? Before packing any boxes or signing a lease, your first step should be having an honest discussion about money. Will you share financial accounts or keep separate accounts? What are your spending and saving habits? What kind of debt do you each have? What are your financial goals? Get it out all out on the table and determine whether you’re on the same page, where you have differences and what actions you each need to take to be more aligned. Your partner’s financial decisions will have an effect on you if it alters their ability to pay their share of the bills. Communicating about your finances early and often will help to avoid confusion and conflict. 2. How will you budget? Even if “budget” isn’t currently in your vocabulary, you may find that moving

42 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

in together is a great time to add some financial structure to your life. Creating a budget can also be a good place for you and your partner to get aligned on money, helping to set clear expectations for saving, spending and investing. Thankfully, with some technological help, budgeting doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Using a mobile app like Mint, PocketGuard or You Need a Budget can help to simplify budgeting and allow both partners 24/7 access to bills and other linked accounts.

3. How will you split the bills? Moving in together usually means shared groceries, utilities, rent and other living expenses. While some couples choose to split costs evenly, others elect one person to take a larger share due to higher income or having less debt. Prior to moving in, having a conversation about who will be responsible for what bills will help eliminate frustration. 4. What happens if your or your partner gets injured or dies? If you or your partner were unable to continue

Kurt W. Mueller is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual in Augusta. Call 803.671.8792 or email The information in this article is not intended as legal or tax advice. Not all products mentioned are offered through Northwestern Mutual.

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Continued from Page 6

now understands all aspects of Complete Decongestive Therapy, the “gold standard” treatment for lymphedema, according to the ALS. Along with the 135-hour training, Kitts also went through 36-, 6- and 16-hour courses, totaling almost 200 hours of training. Kitts is one of the only CLTs in the Augusta area, and is able to help with post-surgery swelling, especially from post-breast cancer surgery and post-plastic surgery. She is also able to help with any kind of injuries with edema or lymphedema. “Unfortunately, too many people suffer from complications post-surgery, and I am grateful for the tools to be able to offer a treatment plan that can provide some relief,” Kitts said. Balanced Body Spa, 2916 Professional Pkwy., Augusta, offers massages and spa treatments. For more information, visit, call 706-736337, or follow them on Facebook at thebalancedbodyspa.

Online car store adds Augusta to service area Frustrating, stressful Saturdays at the dealership may be a thing of the past for some car buyers. Four years after selling its first car in the Peach State, Carvana is growing its presence where it all began, launching free, as-soon-as-next-day, vehicle delivery to residents in the Augusta and Macon areas. Carvana, a leading eCommerce platform for buying used cars, launched in Atlanta in 2013, delivering customers a new way to buy a car. By visiting Carvana.

44 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

buzz bits

com, customers can search more than 7,300 vehicles, finance, purchase and trade in a car in as little as 10 minutes. With Carvana’s advanced, proprietary technology, customers are in control of their car-buying experience. Once customers have completed the online purchase process, they can schedule home delivery of their vehicle as soon as the next day. Customers who want to see where it all began in Atlanta can also choose to pick up their vehicle from Carvana’s Atlanta fulfillment location. Through Carvana’s seven-day test-own policy, customers are given the time, convenience and peace of mind to ensure that their vehicle fits their life. “Georgia was the very first state we sold our very first car in, so our expansion into Macon and Augusta is really meaningful to us,” said Ernie Garcia, founder and CEO of Carvana. “We’re grateful to be able to expand our offerings where it all began, giving even more Georgia residents free, as-soon-as-next-day delivery.” To date, Carvana has delivered cars to customers in 48 states. With this launch, Carvana now offers free, as-soon-as-next-day delivery to residents in 29 markets.

service helps ex-military members start business A new junk-hauling service is helping former military members by awarding franchises only to veterans and their family members. JDog Junk Removal and Hauling in Augusta is owned by Navy veterans Ryan and Melissa Tobey and Moe and Mona Uini. The business removes residential and commercial waste. Decked out in military-style uniforms and driving camouflage trucks, it’s easy to see that this company means business when dealing with your junk. For more information, visit

Photo by Neil Gordon

Furys Ferry to get senior community CR Properties LLC recently broke ground on The Claiborne at West Lake, a premier senior-living community at 557 Furys Ferry Road. The Claiborne at West Lake will be a high-end, resort-style community, offering assisted-living and memory-care residences. This community, as with all Claiborne communities, will be managed by Blake Management Group. “We are thrilled to bring The Claiborne to Augusta and look forward to serving seniors in the community,” said Craig Tatum, CR Properties Principle. “Augusta is well-known as an ideal retirement destination and we believe The Claiborne’s thoughtful approach to hospitality will make our facility a perfect fit for this community.” The Claiborne at West Lake will feature suites designed for comfortable, safe and enjoyable senior living, and will have 100 units, 70 of which will be assisted-living units in two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio suite configurations. An adjoining memory-care support facility focusing on Alzheimer’s and dementia care will feature an additional 30 suites specifically designed to provide a home-like environment. Each residence includes housekeeping and maintenance services, as well a host of amenities and additional services. Common areas in the masterplanned retirement community will include a library, theater, activities room, fitness and rehabilitation rooms, medical examination rooms and two full-service salons. Dining facilities will include several options for assisted-living residents,

two separate memory-care dining rooms and a bistro. Landscaped courtyards will provide safe and comfortable solace outdoors. “Our communities have broad experience in both senior-living and the hospitality industries, and we have designed amenities with this worry-free resort model in mind,” said Jeremy Cole, BMG CEO. “As a result, the lives of seniors are enriched by an environment that promotes healthy living and the highest level of service to our residents. I look at every service delivered, every meal served and every care plan we create for residents through the lens of if it would be good enough for my mother.” BMG, a privately owned senior-living management company, operates all Claiborne communities and will operate The Claiborne at West Lake upon completion. With locations in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina, BMG is excited to bring its managed communities to Georgia, as they blend modern Southern sensibilities with compassionate care. The Claiborne communities are staffed by licensed nurses 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and wellness programs incorporate customized care plans for each resident. A full-time activity director creates engaging, customized opportunities for exercise, entertainment and group activity. Also, The Claiborne takes pride in delivering upscale restaurant-style dining experiences thoughtfully prepared for seniors by highly trained chefs. The facility is expected to have approximately 80 employees on payroll in full-time and part-time positions.

openings, closings and moves Continued from Page 7 Anytime Fitness will begin presale of memberships in July. Membership information is available by calling 270304-6601 or by emailing evansga2@ When the workout facility does open, there will be a new coffeehouse located nearby – Rooted Coffeehouse also announced that it will open in Riverwood Town Center this fall. For more information, visit Rooted Coffeehouse’s at rootedcoffeehouse. com. Papa John’s Papa John’s continues to expand in the CSRA, with two new stores coming in the near future. The eighth area location will open on Wrightsboro Road near Augusta Mall. Another location coming to Riverwood Town Center in Evans later this year.

Twisted Burrito Those who live or work near Fort Gordon’s Gate 1 won’t have to drive as far to pick up their favorite burritos any more. Twisted Burrito opened its second location on Jimmie Dyess Parkway. The popular burrito restaurant serves unique burritos named after pop culture figures such as the Fresh Prince, Bada Bing, Boss Hogg and more. Twisted Burrito sets itself apart from similar restaurants by serving seasoned fries with its hearty burritos and quesadillas. For more information on Twisted Burrito, visit Pelican’s Snoballs A Grovetown business is expanding and heading across the river to North Augusta. Pelican’s Snoballs will open its second location at 709 Edgefield Rd. this summer. The Grovetown location opened in March. Pelican’s Snoballs is a franchise based in North Carolina with more than 100 stores throughout the Southeast. Pelican’s features soft, fluffy New Orleans-style shaved ice available in more than 100 gourmet flavors, along

with various toppings. They are also soy free, gluten free, nut free and dairy free, giving options to those with various allergies. They are looking for employees to help run the new store. Email for more info. Aldi Aldi opened its fourth store in the CSRA on June 15 at 3020 Gateway Blvd. in Grovetown. With more than 1,600 stores in 35 states, serving more than 40 million customers each month, ALDI is known for high-quality groceries at low prices. “We’re thrilled to join the Grovetown community and offer customers the benefits of the ALDI shopping experience,” said Thom Behtz, Jefferson division vice president for ALDI. “Our high-quality products and everyday low prices make for a combination our competitors just can’t match. Our stores are simple to navigate, so it’s easy for shoppers to get in, get what they need and continue on with their day knowing they left with a shopping cart full of groceries that fit their lifestyle and save them money.” Thanks to input from customers, all ALDI stores in the CSRA feature a new look, offering a modern and convenient shopping experience. Customers will notice a focus on fresh items, including more produce, dairy and bakery selections and more room for customers’ favorite products. ALDI stores will also feature a modern design, open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally-friendly building materials – such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting. Veracruz’s 25th Anniversary From July 20-26th both Veracruz restaurants on Peach Orchard and Stevens Creek Road will celebrate their anniversary with nightly giveaways like gift certificates, t-shirts, hats and food baskets. Their will be dinner and drink specials as well as live music. Owners Lisa Cooper and Emilio Sanchez want to say thank you to the community. “We were one of the first Mexican restaurants in the area. Our mission statement has never changed. We aim to provide the highest quality food at the best prices,” said Cooper. Takosushi Local favorite Takosushi is expanding once again, this time to Asheville, N.C.

According to the Citizen-Times, the restaurant will be in a former service station, but of course will be renovated and updated to be a restaurant. No opening date for the latest restaurant has been announced. This will be the sixth location of the Far East Meets Southwest restaurant. Other locations include Aiken, Greenville, Columbia, Evans and Augusta, where it all began. Takosushi founder Kevin Goldsmith remembers the first time he visited Asheville. He and his son Cary decided to escape the Masters pandemonium and check out one of North Carolina’s most treasured towns. Goldsmith felt something click the moment he arrived. With its mountains, kayaking, and laid-back atmosphere, Asheville reminded Goldsmith of another home away from home: Santa Fe, New Mexico. This instant connection set Goldsmith’s mind whirring, and he soon purchased a home and broke ground for his sixth restaurant location. Asheville’s new Takosushi location will be right by the South Slope, near some of the best local breweries, restaurants and shops. This will be the third state for the community-focused restaurant model. At its five other locations, the restaurants work with local organizations to address problems like hunger and homelessness. “At Takosushi, we believe in serving more than food: we serve our communities. Charitable work is part of our mission,” the company stated in a press release. In Columbia alone, Takosushi has partnered with Transitions  to provide 115,000 meals annually for the homeless, and Action Ministries to help feed local children who don’t have regular access to nutritious food.


706 Home 706 Home, 3644 Walton Way Ext., will shutter its doors soon. The upscale furniture store is selling its entire inventory and everything is marked down 50 to 70 percent off.

The sale began June 12 and will end when everything is sold. 7 0 6 H o m e opened in August 2014. Owner Sharon Bosch  plans to work on her design business after the closing. Which Wich Which Wich on Walton Way recently closed and an A Town Wings will now open in its place. The Which Wich locations in Evans and on Agerton Lane in the Augusta Exchang will remain open. The sandwich shop has only been at the Walton Way location for about two years. In recent months, a Stanleo’s and Burger King have closed on Walton Way. Also nearby are Firehouse Subs, two Subways, Zaxby’s, KFC, Bojangles, Checkers and Krystal. Summerville Rags After 19 years in business, Summerville Rags closed May 26 after owner Nancy Bowers’ decision to retire. Bowers cites the recent change in retail to part of her decision to close. “We have loved our customers, but it’s just time,” Bowers said. Goin’ Postal Goin’ Postal has gone out of business. The Furys Ferry location in the Furys Ferry Plaza closed its doors recently. The Windsor Spring, Aiken and North Augusta locations will remain open. Goin’ Postal has franchises in 35 states.


CSRA Wellness Centers CSRA Wellness Centers will be getting a familiar home. Just a few weeks ago Buzz on Biz reported that Mish Mash Interiors moved back to its former location on Evans to Locks Road. Now CSRA Wellness Centers is moving to that 10,000-square-foot location on Washington Road. CSRA Wellness Centers, which has been in business three years, hopes to be open by September. CSRA Wellness Centers offers massages, facials, pedicures, spray tanning and more. For more details, visit June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


U.S. Population Growing Old Disability, retirement health care both require solid forethought By Mike Herrington

Disability and health care in retirement are two concerns of many business owners. Both require some planning. How will business operating expenses continue to be paid during your recovery from a disability? Here’s how business overhead expense protection could work for you and your business today: • The business owner is insured by a business overhead expense policy, which is owned by either the business or the business owner. Generally, a sole proprietor owns the policy personally, while in the case of partnerships and corporations, the policy is owned by the business. The tax-deductible premiums are then paid by the policy owner. In the event the business owner is disabled, as defined in the policy, benefits are payable to the policy owner. Here’s how business overhead expense protection could work if the owner is disabled: • If the owner is disabled, the taxable business overhead expense benefits are paid to the policy owner. Benefits are

generally payable for up to two years of disability, which gives the business owner time either to recover and return to work, or to arrange for an orderly sale or liquidation of the business. • Since business overhead expense protection premiums are tax deductible, the policy owner must report the business overhead expense benefits as income. However, due to the extent that deductible business expenses actually paid equal or exceed policy benefits, there will be no additional income tax payable. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the older population in the United States (age 65 and older) will more than double by the year 2030 to more than 71 million Americans. When coupled with increasing life expectancies, this “aging of America” has led to a rapidly growing variety of options available to senior citizens who require medical and personal care services. By planning ahead, you can help assure that you receive the quality of care and the quality of life you desire should you need long-term care services in the future.

Nursing Homes Residents in nursing homes are in need of more intensive medical and physical services. The goal of a nursing home (also known as a skilled nursing facility, extended care service or health care center) is to help residents meet their daily needs and to return them home whenever possible. Assisted Living Facilities The goal of an assisted living facility is to provide assistance and personal care services as needed, while maintaining maximum resident independence in a more home-like setting than that provided by a nursing home. Continuing Care Retirement Communities The goal of a continuing care or life care retirement community is to provide a range of services, from independent living through full-time skilled nursing care, that can be modified to respond to a resident’s changing needs.

Home Health Care Services By providing a variety of medical and personal services through nurses, therapists and home care aides, the goal of home health care is to make it possible for senior citizens to retain a measure of independence while receiving care in the environment they most prefer – their own homes. If you would like assistance with planning to pay for health care needs in retirement, please contact my office. Reprinted from June 2016

Mike Herrington is a Certified Financial Planner licensee (CFP), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a Certified Estate Planner (CEP). He has been serving clients in the CSRA since 1984. Reach him at 706.868.8673 or mike@herringtonfinancialservices. com.

Keep Your Cash Flowing Cost segregation helps you keep more of your own money By Mark Stephens

What would you do with improved cash flow? Buy needed equipment? Hire an employee? Pay off a loan? Cost segregation can be your answer to more cash flow. Cost segregation is an engineering-based, IRS-approved study that can re-classify components and improvements of your commercial building from real property to personal property. This process allows the assets to be depreciated on a 5-, 7- or 15-year schedule instead of the traditional 27.5- or 39.5year depreciation of real property. Thus, your current taxable income will be greatly reduced and your cash flow could increase by 5–8 percent of your building’s cost. That’s $50,000-$80,000 for every $1 million in building costs that you can keep. Commercial and income-producing properties constructed, bought or remod-

46 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

eled since 1986 can qualify for a cost-segregation study. The economic benefit of cost segregation is substantial. Not only can the property owner increase cash flow and reduce taxes, but the reinvestment of those funds, in the business or other options, compounds the positive returns. In addition to the economic benefit of accelerated depreciation, property owners can also take advantage of partial asset dispositions and the expense of disposal and removal costs when undertaking renovations. (These deductions need to be in the year the renovations were made.) When removing an asset from a building, there is remaining value to that component/system that can be expensed, as well as the cost of that removal. Those items heading for the dumpster can be valued by a cost segregation study, which your CPA can apply to your return. In January 2014, the IRS issued the

final Tangible Property Regulations, commonly known as the Repair Regulations. The Repair Regulations give clarity on how to account for major repair and maintenance expenditures. The decision must be made to either expense or capitalize your repairs and maintenance (write down or depreciate over a longer period). In the past, if your tax professional saw a large expenditure, they would rightly capitalize, leaving most large expenditures on your books depreciating over 39 years. That is no longer the safe decision. All expenditures must be run through a series of “tests” to determine whether they rise to the level of capitalization under the new regulations. If items currently on your asset schedule should not be there under the new rules, they must be removed from your schedule and written down. This is money in your pocket.

Cost segregation can deliver both the economic benefit of accelerated depreciation and the compliance benefits available through the Tangible Property Regulations. The Repair Regulations were written to the advantage of the building owner. Mark Stephens manages Business Development for Cost Segregation Services Inc. CSSI is the Premier Company for IRS defined engineering-based cost segregation studies in America. Our objective is to facilitate maximum tax savings and improved cash flow, allowing businesses to grow, evolve and flourish. Reach him at (706)294-7989 or

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Church to buy Adventure Crossing site Pastor envisions community center ‘where God and fun collide’ By Gary Kauffman

Revivify Church of Martinez has a vision to be a church that is vibrant all week long, promoting spiritual growth and generous in giving to the community. Now it is also seeking to be a church with a go-kart track and miniature golf course. Revivify announced plans on June 9 to pursue purchasing the former Adventure Crossing property on Wheeler Road. The former mini theme park, which started as Funsville in the 1990s and later became Adventure Crossing, closed in November 2016. The property is 18.5 acres with a 17,000-square-foot building. The motive behind Revivify’s bid to buy the property is to give back to the community, according to lead pastor Jason Mitchem. “We want to create a community center to revitalize Adventure Crossing,” Mitchem said. “This will be a community center that just happens to host a church.” It will be open to the general public, but Mitchem is especially excited about offering it as a venue for other churches and ministries in the Augusta community. “The whole idea is to be in partnership with every ministry in town,” he said. “The body of Christ is not just the four walls of one church building. Every church forms part of the body, and whatever blesses one part of the body blesses the whole body.” Revivify plans to keep most of the activities that had been part of Adventure Crossing but also will add some things. One area that will be gone, at least temporarily, is laser tag. The church plans to hold its meetings in that venue. But it will continue with miniature golf, batting cages and go-kart racing. The roller coaster has been dismantled to make room for a basketball court. A youth archery range and an outdoor amphitheater for movie nights and concerts are other planned additions. Plans also include establishing a daycare to allow single parents to further their education and an after-school tutoring program.

48 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

April and Jason Mitchem plan to move the church into the old Adventure Crossing Building. Photo by Abbigail Lennon.

“Those can’t all be implemented at once,” Mitchem said. “It depends on the support of the community. Miniature golf will be there from Day One, and we’ll do the family movie nights and concerts almost right away because of the low startup costs. The archery build-up will also start pretty quickly.” The impetus for buying the property came from Revivify’s desire to give back to the community, combined with its need for a bigger church building. The church started in October 2010 with three families and has now grown to about 200 members. Mitchem and his leadership team looked at the property and started dream-

ing, although the price tag put realistic thoughts of purchasing it far out of reach. Still, through the conjunction of several circumstances, Mitchem was able to meet with the new property owner. He didn’t ask for anything; he simply presented the church’s vision for the property. Two weeks later, the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, presented an offer to sell the property at a greatly reduced price and a contract was signed. “The owners are very much about ministry and giving to kids,” Mitchem said. Still, even with a reduced price, Revivify Church still has a significant chunk of money to raise – about $300,000 – before

the closing between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15. “We’ve had very good response already from several churches who are ready to help,” Mitchem said. “We’ll accept their help financially, physically, idea-wise and concept-wise. There are many bright minds in area churches.” From its beginning, Revivify Church, currently at 4495 Columbia Road, has been a seven-days-a-week church. “Church is not what happens on Sunday,” Mitchem said. “Church is what happens Monday through Saturday. Sunday is just the celebration, a refuel point to live out what we talk about on Sundays.” Giving was part of the plan from the beginning. The church wants to someday be able to give 50 percent of everything it takes in back to the community in various ways. The new community center plan gives members a broader base to accomplish that goal. Mitchem acknowledged that sometimes there can be some proprietary issues among churches, but he said Revivify isn’t seeking to draw people away from other churches. “We’re not trying to build a church; we’ve already built our church,” he said. “We’re not in competition with any church in town. A body can’t fight itself. When a body fights itself, it’s called cancer.” Mitchem believes the venture will be successful because of the high visibility of the property. The property is visible from Interstate 20, and a study showed that more than 70,000 cars pass by daily. Wheeler Road also has a high traffic count. The property is also secure because it has only one entry-exit point. Revivify is still brainstorming names for the new community center. If funds are raised and all goes well, the church plans to be open by Easter 2018. “This will be a place where God and fun collide,” Mitchem said. For more information, visit or call (762) 333-3425. To donate toward the community center, visit

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Summertime Refreshment

Enjoy a couple of brews that refresh without being watered down By Ben Casella

With the summer months (of which there are many) getting into full-swing, I wanted to take a moment for a public service announcement and remind everyone to drink plenty of water. Now, I did not say to drink beer that tastes like water – we all know there’s plenty of that to go around. However, if you’re looking to a summer brew that’s refreshing, modestly quenching, and does not taste like water, I’ve detailed a couple below that would do well to complement a 19th hole, a game of croquet, a casual turn about the yard or a lawn-mowing excursion. Cheers! Oarsman Ale Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery is widely known around these parts for their Oberon Ale, but I would urge you to take a look at their entire brew portfolio and see just what a diverse, eclectic and significant variety of

beers they have brewed over the years. Before you do that, let me tell you that Oarsman Ale is a solid Berliner Weissbier with a low alcohol content and a mild tartness that does well to satisfy on a hot summer evening. The mouthfeel, taste and color all share a commonality: almost completely crisp but with just a little tinge of linger that lets you know you’re drinking quality and not water. I would pair this pleasant ale with a fried chicken sandwich, shrimp scampi or a game of bocce. Welldone, yet again, Bell’s Brewery.

to you. This witbier also maintains a tartness of flavor throughout that keeps it on the lighter side. However, the sour and yeasty aspects do not overshadow the fact that this is a witbier – and a fine one at that. I like to enjoy Allagash White in a tumbler and take note of the impressive lacing as I sip. When The Bee’s Knees has this brew, it goes great with their avocado chop chop and their bruschetta. Be on the lookout for some more not-water brews that will satisfy in the hot months ahead. Until then, I’ll see you downtown. Ben Casella also enjoys cider in the summer, and he treats it like a serving of fruit so he’ll feel healthy. Don’t tell him the truth if you see him.

Allagash White Portland, Maine (home of this brew), would be a great choice to escape the summer heat – Charlotte and Atlanta both have direct flights. However, if you’re looking to save a buck or two and have a staycation in the back yard next to the grill, then Allagash White is a great way to bring Maine

A Slice of Humble Pie

Sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way By Samantha Taylor

I’ve been wrong a lot in my life. There have been times when I’ve been so sure of myself and my beliefs that when things didn’t turn out the way I wanted, I thought there was a dagger going through my heart. It hurts when things don’t go as you planned and, worse yet, it’s embarrassing. But it’s so valuable. We don’t always know what’s best; we can’t always see the big picture. Our overconfidence often blinds and prevents us from learning small lessons, forcing us to learn the hard way. With this in mind, this month’s reviews are dedicated to movies about people who had to eat a little humble pie. Mr. 3000 Netflix may not always have the movie you’re looking for, but when they can’t give you what you want, they always have a suggestion for something else. That’s pretty much what happened here. Made in 2004, Mr. 3000 stars Bernie Mac as former baseball star Stan Ross, happily living out retirement on his notoriety as a member of the elite 3,000 hits club. While everyone agrees that Stan was a

50 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

Even when you’re doing something for all the right reasons, it still might not work out the way you want. It’s a reality we like to pretend won’t happen to us, but it will. And it’s okay. phenomenal baseball player, he just can’t seem to get enough votes to get inducted into the Hall of Fame. Why not? Because Stan’s an egotistical jerk. Mr. 3000 begins with Stan at the height of his career, right as he hits No. 3,000. After the game, Stan quits on camera, belittling his team and ruining their chances of getting into the playoffs. Nine years later, fate serves Stan some pie. It’s found that three of his hits were counted twice and he isn’t Mr. 3000; he’s Mr. 2,997. I enjoyed this film a lot. As the mother of a teenage son with a pretty inflated view of himself, this was the perfect choice for movie night. Being good doesn’t mean one should be arrogant and have a negative perception of others. Being good at something isn’t all it takes to make you a better person and it certainly doesn’t exempt you from

the realities of life. It’s a lesson many teenagers need today and I hope my son wasn’t too blind to see it. War Machine Let me start by saying I walked into this film about halfway through. My husband had started it the night before, and I was so grateful to have time with him I didn’t care one bit that I’d missed about 45 minutes. I’m sure I missed a few things, but it wasn’t hard to get the gist of things. War Machine is the story of General Glenn McMahon, played by Brad Pitt. As far as generals go, he’s a celebrity due to his post as the new commander of troops in Afghanistan. The film is narrated by a reporter, Michael Hastings, who follows McMahon and a group of soldiers on their way to fix all that’s wrong in the war

zone. They are cocky and brash, but they truly believe in the goodness of their mission. Hastings reports on it all, and his article eventually leads to the very public firing of General McMahon. I realize I stepped into this movie late, but the message was still clear. Even when you’re doing something for all the right reasons, it still might not work out the way you want. It’s a reality we like to pretend won’t happen to us, but it will. And it’s okay. We just have to eat our pie and try to grow from our experiences, whether good or bad.

Samantha Taylor, “Sam the Movie Chick,” is on a mission to find the best movies and TV shows for you to stream from Netflix. She loves good flicks, good food and good friends. Her eclectic tastes are sure to give readers a wide range of viewing choices.

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Summertime Fun Foods

Let your imagination soar when preparing healthy foods something that is allowed. Remember, the Paleo Diet consists of meat, veggies, sweet potatoes, good fats, nuts and seeds. You are trying to avoid grains, gluten, dairy and processed sugar or food of any kind. If you want a burger, exchange the bun for a bell pepper or lettuce wrap. In my experimenting, I learned that I preferred the grilled soft crunch of the bell pepper to raw. Coconut milk can be substituted in a recipe that calls for milk or cream; just be aware it might not be as “creamy,” but still gives you the comfortfood satisfaction and great flavor. Don’t let summer pass you by without enjoying all that is available to you. The fruits, veggies and meats on the grill can be paired in so many ways, and there is sure to be something for your whole family to enjoy! Check out paleonumyums. com to see what fun summer menu item is available this week!

BY onnie Sanford

There is a great restaurant where I am from in Florida that offers an everchanging menu based on what is in season. Nothing is fried, everything tastes amazing and all entrees are under 500 calories. It is a fabulous restaurant because no matter what you are getting, you are not overindulging and you leave completely satisfied. Most people assume that if you are eating healthy, you won’t enjoy food anymore and everything will taste the same. That is where you are wrong. Summertime is a perfect opportunity to broaden your healthy food horizon. There are so many vegetables available that can be used for a wide variety of dishes. You may think zucchini is boring; I think it is versatile. Roast zucchini to serve with sloppy joes instead of bread. Spiralize zucchini to make spaghetti or a cold salad with avocado pesto. You can even thinly slice zucchini to make lasagna. Think outside the box and try new flavors and you might be pleasantly surprised at the amazing flavors you get hit with! Summertime is my favorite season, for many reasons. I actually get to interact with my kids. This is a time that I find the patience to have them in the kitchen with me; they help me come up with a menu. The best part is watching their faces when

their ideas come together and they get to eat something they planned. This is the perfect time to make a fun summer menu. I have at least one “fun” menu item each week on the website. My favorite is the Paleo Burger Kit. Bella bun (grilled bell pepper slices), avocado, tomato and Paleo Num Yums ketchup. I’ll be honest with you – I am not a fan of bell

pepper, but eaten this way it is incredible. It’s a little messy, super delicious and the look of sheer joy on people’s faces when eating it is priceless. It takes a little practice, but turning a recipe from non-healthy to paleo is relatively simple. Most of the time it is taking one or two ingredients that are labeled “foods to avoid” and exchanging them for

Onnie Sanford is the owner of Paleo Num Yums, a meal prep service specializing in healthy, fresh and tasty meals that are ready to cook. For a free consultation, call 706.699.1383.

Fun Times and Barbecue

Summer is a Great Time to Enjoy Local Barbecue Favorites By Billy Cristofanelli

Summertime is in full swing and the warm weather has arrived. When I think of summertime parties and the Fourth of July, I naturally think of fun times and barbecue – and there are some great barbecue options available in the Augusta area! Mot’s BBQ, 3963 Columbia Road, Martinez, has been cooking great barbecue since 1996. This locally run restaurant has a full menu including pulled pork, chopped chicken, ribs, hash and rice, and fresh sides. As a bonus, make sure to stop by for Fish Friday when it specializes in fried catfish. Don’t forget Mot’s also offers catering for all your parties or special events. Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q has two locations in the CSRA, at 1376 Whiskey Road, Aiken, and 3512 Riverwatch Pkwy., Martinez. The Willie Jewell’s menu includes your usual pulled pork and ribs, but also includes smoked turkey,

52 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

smoked sausage and beef brisket. Family catering is available for all your special occasions, and many different packages are available to meet your needs. Southbound Smokehouse, 1855 Central Ave., Augusta, is one of Augusta’s newest barbecue and music hotspots. Local ownership has developed a menu that represents classic barbecue items like ribs, chicken and pulled pork, but has also fun items like smoked pimento cheese and their “almost famous” wings. If you enjoy music with your barbecue, then Southbound Smokehouse is the right place for you. Keep an eye out for which bands are playing throughout the week via their Facebook and Instagram pages. The owners of The Pot Smoker BBQ, 340 Edgefield Road, North Augusta, love to say, “Friends don’t let friends eat bad barbecue.” Whether it’s their St. Louis Style Ribs, Boston butt, smoked half chicken, smoked wings or brisket, you are sure to find something you will en-

joy. Voted on Facebook as the most-liked barbecue for the CSRA, The Pot Smoker BBQ prides itself on delivering not only great barbecue but also homemade sides and delicious Carnegie Deli cheesecake for dessert. It also offers catering for whatever event or celebration you may be hosting. Last but not least, is Goolsby’s with locations at 500 Oxbow Road, Grovetown, near the entrance to Ivy Falls, and 2240 Washington Road, Evans, at the Liberty Square Shopping Center. These locally owned restaurants may not be your typical BBQ restaurants, but with ribs and sliced-to-eat pork loin along with homemade macaroni cheese and hoecake cornbread, you are sure to walk away with a belly full of delicious down-home goodness. Don’t forget to stop by their Goolsby’s at the Lake location open exclusively on Saturday just across from Pair O’Jacks on your way to Clarks Hill Lake. Make sure to get there early because they start

selling at 11 a.m. and stop when the barbecue runs out. While I know this list is not close to being complete, with all the barbecue choices in the CSRA, I do hope that I have made you aware of some great options around town. All of the places mentioned have coupons available through the free Pinpoint Savings app for iPhone or Android. Remember, as Charles Jaffe said, “It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.” Billy Cristofanelli is the founder and co-owner of Pinpoint Savings, LLC and has 15+ years of sales and marketing experience.Billy developed Pinpoint Savings to help local CSRA businesses connect with customers by offering coupons through their free app.P inpoint Savings currently represents over 40 local businesses.

FROM OUR OFFICE TO YOURS ask us about personalized office visits




3170 square feet Free Standing Brick Building. Ample Parking. Landlord will remodel for Tenant.

Janie Terrell Peel Prime Commercial Properties Queen Advocate of Downtown 706.564.6231

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


East Meets West

Takosushi’s artistic, tasty dishes well worth the waiT BY Susan O’KeEFe

Dark wooden tables with the flair of repurpose and red pendant lights that add a hipster spark set the tone for a restaurant recognized for their admirable job of seamlessly marrying foods from the East and West. Takosushi is a veteran in the Augusta food world, along with its owner and renowned chef, Kevin Goldsmith. The rich history and tradition of its home in the Surrey Center make Takosushi a perfect place for young, old, business, casual – and anything in between. On the advice of several business colleagues, I recently chose Takosushi to meet a trio of folks. We chose the one and only window seat. Arriving before the lunch rush was key. Within minutes of the noon hour, there were a few folks mingling outside and clearly waiting for seats. If you know you’re heading that way, give staff a call, as they will take phone reservations. One of the newest servers on staff, Brent, made a confident pitch to our group as he welcomed us and inquired about our drink order. He was clearly eager to please. Attentiveness, eye contact and a genuine desire to work carry a lot of weight with most restaurant customers (or any customer, for that matter). We noticed a couple of women enjoying lunch. There was a party of six bartering for business. At the sidewalk tables, a few other business folks were clearly talking shop. For schmoozing and shaking hands, Takosushi sets the stage. With an almost overwhelming menu,

Takosushi serves several different kinds of sushi, including California rolls, at right, and various dishes with a Southwestern flavor. Photos by Susan O’Keefe

Takosushi Food Price Location Networking Noise Level Takosushi has several locations, including 427 Highland Ave. in Surrey Center. Call it at (706) 736-9191 or visit we asked our server for direction. Brent admitted that he was new and was smart enough to seek advice from another server when he couldn’t answer our questions.

We decided to order an array of items. Our guacamole and green chili queso dip was met by voracious appetites. Served with house-made tortilla chips, this combination made our mouths water for more. We met the bottom of each bowl with a tear, knowing this wasn’t the kind of joint with free chip refills. Just as we were licking the last speck of salt from our fingers, our salads and California rolls arrived. There was a lot of oohing and aahing before diving into our tasty treats. As we enjoyed our various selections, Brent continued to check on us, refilling water and inquiring about our food. Most tables in the cozy dining area were occupied. We waved at a few friends across the way. There was a genial atmosphere permeating the upscale eatery.

With lots of conversations around the restaurant and the door in constant motion, it was sometimes difficult to hear my colleagues across the table. However, it was much appreciated that there wasn’t a TV or music blaring. The energy from patrons was enough. Rounding out our global meal included “takos” with green chili pork, a fresh white fish, a house salad with garden vegetables and topped with a remarkable fresh ginger dressing, plus rice and beans. It didn’t break the bank and there was certainly enough to require a take-home box. If the lunch hour is truly only an hour, consider Takosushi on a day with more breathing room in the schedule. It’s certainly not fast food or food fast, but for most patrons, the artistic presentations and unique, delectable fare make it well worth the wait. This particular Takosushi is at 427 Highland Ave. in Surrey Center. Its phone number is (706) 736-9191. For more Takosushi options, visit the locations in Evans, Aiken, Greenville, S.C., or Columbia. Its website is

Susan O’Keefe has been reviewing restaurants for Buzz on Biz since August 2015. Her restaurant visits and reviews are done with a businessperson in mind.

Keep it Clean

The key to a safe summer by the pool is clean decks BY tony Creighton

It’s the time of year again for pool parties, barbecues, summer holiday picnics, outdoor birthday bashes and just beating the heat relaxing poolside with friends and family after a long day at work. That said, how many of us actually notice our pool deck surfaces? With the hustle and bustle of activity comes heavy foot traffic, dirt and debris being scattered and spread, as well as sticky spills from those umbrella drinks taking a tumble. And, while the inside of the pool is supposed to be wet, of course, dampness in other areas can be damaging and dangerous.

54 Buzz on Biz June 29-July 26, 2017

During a wet year, or in areas such as the CSRA where humidity is a constant, mildew, algae and other organic materials can grow on most outdoor surfaces. Not only is organic growth displeasing to the eye, but it’s also unsafe. Algae and mildew are indeed very slippery when wet, and in an area where there may already be a water hazard, an extra one is not needed. Additionally, if left over a long period of time, an accumulation of algae and other organic growth can cause concrete and other pool deck surfaces to crack, leaving you with more hazards and a large repair bill. Relaxing by the pool should be just that

– relaxing. And, when the pool area is just as sparkling as the water inside, it will be relaxing and enjoyable. Hiring a licensed and knowledgeable pressure-washing company such as AllClean Pressure Washing to clean your pool deck surfaces not only saves money in the long run, it also saves time that could be spent poolside. With annual cleanings of your pool deck surfaces using commercial grade, environmentally safe detergents, your pool and outdoor surfaces will remain free of the dangers of algae, mildew and other organic materials. For a free estimate on this, as well as

our many other services, call (706) 6518089 or visit us online at

Tony Creighton is the owner/operator of ALLCLEAN™ Pressure Washing, LLC and its subsidiary, Augusta PROCLEAN™ — committed to providing high-quality cleanings for the CSRA’s commercial properties and homes. Call 706.651.8089 or email

June 29-July 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz




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