FEB. 23—MARCH 29, 2018 • THE CSRA’S MONTHLY BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Augusta tourism growing. Page 8
HEART OF THE MATTER
EMPLOYEE HEALTH KEY TO BUSINESS SUCCESS
GET OUT OF YOUR CHAIR
BY GARY KAUFFMAN
Hearts are usually associated with Valentine’s Day and medicine, not business. But the local chapter of the American Heart Association (AHA) is on a mission to let business owners know that the condition of their hearts – or those of their employees – could be a matter of life or death for a business. “Especially in my business,” said Kurt Mueller, a financial planner with Consolidated Planning Group and this year’s chair of the annual Heart Walk. “If I’m not taking care of my health, how can I take care of my clients? The greatest wealth you have is your health.” Mueller said he was shocked to find out how big an impact heart disease has on the area. It generally mirrors national statistics – heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans, and stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death, but the leading cause of disability. Those numbers are shocking, according the AHA, because 80 percent of the causes of heart disease and stroke are preventable. “Eighty percent of it is being mindful,” said Kayla Kranenberg, CSRA executive director of the AHA. To put the issue at the forefront of people’s minds, the AHA has turned to the business world. “We spend so much time at work, so where else are we going to get that information?” she asked.
Join the Red Shoe Crew. Page 2 The information upload starts with the executives, business owners, presidents and managers. “It’s important to lead by example at that level, both in health and in giving back,” Kranenberg said. “Eighty-five percent of workers want to see their executives championing it. Employees see that they actually care about them.” That’s where Mueller and the Heart Walk come into play. Mueller’s goal is to challenge executives to not only make a financial commitment to raising funds for the AHA’s research goals, but to get themselves and their employees involved physically. Employees will form teams to walk in the Heart Walk on North Augusta’s Greeneway on March 10. In addition to being a physically healthy activity, it can also create a better working environment. “It helps the business owner form cohesion among the employees,” Mueller said.
“It’s a little bit of a challenge and it makes it fun.” But it isn’t just the Heart Walk that leads to a healthier work atmosphere. A regular wellness program helps a business in the long term. “Healthy employees generally lead happier lives inside and outside of work,” he said. “Healthier employees are more productive, and morale is better because folks are feeling better. It can help a business owner in ways that are hard to quantify.” Kranenberg said a heart-healthy work environment can start simply. Some companies have instituted heart-healthy happy hours, a break where employees can eat a healthy snack and imbibe infused water. Other companies allow their employees to take a break to walk. “A 10-minute walk makes you feel so much better and it clears the mind,” she said. Both Kranenberg and Mueller agree that education is a key component to creating a
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While many people recognize the link between smoking and heart disease, they might be engaging in an activity just as deadly. “Sitting is the new smoking,” said Kayla Kranenberg, CSRA executive director of the American Heart Association. Mayo Clinic reports that sitting for long periods of time, either at work or on the couch in front of the TV, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by 125 percent. To combat that at work, Kranenberg suggested taking heart-healthy breaks for a bit of walking. Those breaks can still be productive times. She said AHA personnel have meetings on the go. “We started bringing our tennis shoes and when we have a meeting, we do it while taking a walk,” she said. – Gary Kauffman
See HEART on Page 2
Tee Times for Monticello & Tara Golf Clubs:
RED SHOE CREW RAISES FUNDS FOR HEART RESEARCH BY GARY KAUFFMAN
Red Converse shoes will be the height of fashion for the next few weeks as the CSRA chapter of the American Heart Association prepares for its annual Heart Walk on March 10 on North Augusta’s Greeneway. In preparation for the event, the CSRA Heart Association has issued a challenge to area executives to be part of the Red Shoe Crew. The challenge has executives from area businesses pledge to form teams to take part in the walk and to raise money that will go toward research in combating heart disease. “People bring their families and dogs and walk together,” said Kayla Kranenberg, CSRA executive director for AHA. “It’s great for employee engagement. Everyone is working together for a common goal.” Kurt Mueller, a financial advisor for Consolidated Planning Group, is the 2018 chair for the Heart Walk. He said the Heart Walk isn’t just for large companies – a business with just four employees has formed a walking team. Mueller urged businesses to form teams by the end of February to have enough time to raise money. Some of the money comes back to fund research in Augusta’s medical community. For Kranenberg, the impact of that hit close to home recently. Her niece was born with a heart defect and underwent open heart surgery at 4 days old. “A lot of people don’t realize the incredible talent in our medical community,” she said. “The research made possible by the heart association is the reason she’s alive.”
Continued from Page 1
more heart-healthy environment. To that end, the AHA has created a number of resources for businesses, including wellness programs that can be tailored to the needs of the employees and the size of the company. The AHA has established a 2020 Impact Goal to improve cardiovascular health by 20 percent and decrease deaths from heart disease by 20 percent by 2020. It has reached 14 percent of the goal to decrease death from heart disease but is only 4 percent toward the goal of improving health. “It’s harder to get people to make lifestyle changes, especially in the South,” Kranenberg said. “Fried chicken and sweet tea is just so delicious.”
think ahead How many family generations will you encourage, enable, and influence? With a good trust advisor Kurt Mueller, chair of the 2018 Heart Walk, sported red Converse shoes with his suit and tie at the executive fundraising event on Feb. 6. Photo by Melissa Gordon
and experienced planning, you’ll feel good about
For more about the Red Shoe Crew, contact Mueller at 803-671-8792.
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She said it is also often harder for owners of small companies to make the necessary changes because of their workload. “There are only so many hours in the day,” she said. “They don’t think about their own health, let alone anyone else’s.” Mueller said that in general, the pace of business has increased through technology and social media, raising stress levels that can have devastating health consequences. “It’s almost like driving a car at the red line,” he said. “We need a general awareness of living a heart-healthy life. The Heart Association provides a lot of education, not just about the heart, but also about diet, mental and physical health.” For more information about the Heart Walk or the Heart Association’s education and wellness programs, call the CSRA office at 803-341-9592.
2 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
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PASSING THE TORCH
BUZZ KEEPS BUZZING WITH NEW PUBLISHER BY NEIL GORDON
As I enter year 55 of life, I often forget more than I remember! Somewhere around the turn of the 21st century, just after the Y2K scares faded, I got a visit to my office at NBC 26 from the well-respected Dennis Sodomka, executive editor of The Augusta Chronicle. He explained that The Chronicle wanted to look at “strategic alliances” and “journalistic synergies” with local TV stations. Our anchorman would contribute a weekly column in the newspaper, and The Chronicle would send over a reporter to de-brief the big stories of the week. Sodomka sent a new reporter, Ashlee Griggs, to speak with our 6 p.m. anchor team on live television. She had “it,” the undefined TV news terminology for someone who “popped on the air” or had spark. Morris Communications saw that spark, too, and after several years in the newsroom, she transitioned into other roles, including marketing director of Chronicle Media, and she is
Morris Communications’ Ashlee Griggs Duren is the new publisher of Buzz on Biz. Contributed photo
currently publisher of Augusta magazine, Augusta Family, Aiken Homes & Lifestyles and Athens magazine, plus she produces several chamber of commerce
publications. Unofficially, Ashlee Griggs Duren has been the publisher of Buzz on Biz since the November issue. Our masthead below lists
Features Voice of Experience...................................... 4 SCORE counselors share life lessons with business owners nationwide. Now they plan to open a chapter in Augusta.
Busting Cybercrime Myths......................... 11 Cybersecurity is the key to survival, even for small businesses.
Buzz Bits.................................................. 6, 12
Businessperson of the Month.................... 20 WRDW/WAGT General Manager Mike Oates is making the most of his second chance at life.
Openings, Closings................................. 7, 13 Destination: Augusta................................... 8 Augusta looks to ramp up its appeal to tourists, with a focus on the Savannah River.
Upcoming Events.................................. 14, 15
Grand Experience....................................... 34 A local chef plans to open an upscale restaurant on Evans to Locks Road.
Columnists Tim Dalton: Mortgage program could mean big savings........... 10 Mark Alison: Customer care is the top priority of business......... 16 Liz Klebba: What color is your business?............................................. 18 Christine Hall: Some deductions survived tax reform bill............ 22 Danielle Harris: Stay motivated when you’re ready to quit......... 22 Kevin Toole: Chamber strives to build vibrant North Augusta.. 24 Ed Tarver: Internet communication creates risks to confidentiality...........................................................................................24 Stacy Roberts: Leaders understand the power of communication........................................................................................26 Gary Kauffman: Life coaches help clients build on their strengths....................................................................................................26
Kurt Mueller: Combine options to build your college funding plan...............................................................................................................28 Dagan Sharpe: Success happens when ‘we’ is greater than me..................................................................................................................28 Missie Usry: Critical thinking is valuable in workplace.................. 30 Russell Head: Medicare Part D disclosures due by March 1........ 30 Tony Creighton: Beyond the bottom line........................................... 32 Millie Huff: Hildebrandt’s offers nostalgia alongside great sandwiches................................................................................................35 Ben Casella: A world-class beer found in the grocery aisles....... 38 Samantha Barksdale: Some sitcoms create situations worth watching.....................................................................................................38
all the existing and new folks who help put this together. The two full-time Buzz employees work out of Ashlee’s office in downtown Augusta, where she also oversees the “fun stuff ” like revenue, expenses and other administrative functions that are not in my wheelhouse – along with ensuring the final product you are reading stays excellent. Speaking of synergy, Ashlee has very capable ad-building and design professionals who have stepped in and continued our high standards. Her sales manager, Lisa Dorn, is someone I worked with about 25 years ago when she was an expert guest on the News 12 Midday show I co-hosted. All facets of the Buzz publication are in good hands – and now I get to focus on managing the editorial functions of our brand, like the News 12 business minute, the print and online editions and our newest addition, the daily Buzz e-newsletter. If you are not one of our nearly 8,000 newsletter subscribers, please sign up by visiting www. buzzon.biz.
I’ll also continue to help out on the sales side plus manage the brokered sales and creative arm of the Buzz brand. Some of the advertisers featured in this edition entrust us to place their ads in other media as part of their overall marketing campaign. The best part for me is that I can manage all of this virtually, while awaiting plans to travel to assist in other Morris markets, like with my recent visits to Anchorage, Alaska. I’m happy to work with you editorially or sales-wise in any way I can! Please reach me at my email below.
Neil Gordon founded Buzz on Biz in 2005, and his company was acquired by Morris Communications in 2016. The daily business minute runs weekdays at 6:25 a.m. on News 12/NBC 26. He is the managing editor of Buzz on Biz and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Ashlee Duren, email@example.com Managing Editor, Buzz Brand Neil Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org Editor in Chief Gary Kauffman Multimedia Journalist Witt Wells, email@example.com Photography Witt Wells, Gary Kauffman, Melissa Gordon Layout Amanda Holahan Sales Manager Lisa Dorn, firstname.lastname@example.org Sales and PR Jessica Jones, email@example.com, 762-218-0239 Ad Building Michael Rushbrook Distribution Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones Opinions expressed by the writers are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Morris Media Network 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 @ facebook.com/buzz-on-biz Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 725 Broad Street, Augusta GA 30901
February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
VOICE OF EXPERIENCE
SCORE COUNSELORS SHARE LIFE LESSONS WITH BUSINESS OWNERS BY GARY KAUFFMAN
The one thing you can’t buy as a business owner is years of experience. But one group is giving it away for free. SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) started in 1964 as a way for retired business leaders to mentor others in business and give them the benefit of the lessons they learned over the years. Aiken has thrived with an active chapter of SCORE for years, and in 2017 it was named the National Chapter of the Year for Small Cities. But across the river, neither Richmond nor Columbia counties has a SCORE chapter. There are five SCORE counselors who work under the Aiken chapter. And counselors from South Carolina have mentored businesses in Augusta. Now, though, retired Augusta businessman Jeff Annis and others are hoping to kick off an Augusta chapter at the end of February. Annis said an Augusta chapter is needed because already about 40 percent of those being mentored through the Aiken chapter are in Richmond and Columbia counties. The Small Business Administration issued a grant to fund the start of the Augusta chapter, but getting it started takes more than money. “To be effective we need about 15 counselors,” Annis said. “But it’s hard to find counselors. Too few people know what a rewarding experience it is to counsel entrepreneurs.” Although the name of the organization contains the word retired, Annis said that is not a requirement for a counselor. “It’s OK if you’re completely retired from business life, but you could be a well-established 49-year-old who wants to give back to the community,” he said. “If you have the time to give, then give it. You don’t have to be gray-headed or baldheaded to be a SCORE volunteer.” It is also not necessary to have been an executive. SCORE counsels all types of businesses, so volunteers can come from a wide variety of occupations. They also come from a wide range of backgrounds. “One of the best things in the world is when you can have a 50-year-old white woman and 35-year-old black man and a bald-headed man like me, all with different challenges in our past, come together to serve,” Annis said. SCORE counselors can dedicate as little as three hours a week to serve, and counseling can be done via phone, email or Skype, as well as in person. Much of
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) offers mentoring services to business owners. Local businessman Jeff Annis is looking to start a chapter for the Augusta area.
“We live in a society where everyone can succeed with a little bit of blood, sweat and tears, and the grace of God. But if you can sit down every 90 to 120 days and have someone give you an unbiased opinion, you’ll be way ahead of everyone else.” – Jeff Annis the process of connecting with clients is automated – many of those seeking counseling sign up through the internet. SCORE also mentors through seminars. The Aiken chapter puts on about 50 seminars per year in Aiken and North Augusta. Plans are to soon have at least one per month in Columbia County. The seminars cover a gamut of business subjects, from finances and human resources to marketing and social media. “A lot of what SCORE mentors do is tell where the land mines are,” Annis said. Some businesses use SCORE counselors on an ongoing basis, while others might only need a push in the right direction. “Sometimes it’s one one-hour session that’s all they needed,” Annis said, “one little checkpoint to get them going in the right direction.”
4 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
But for many small businesses, sitting down with an independent advisor every three to four months helps keep a business flowing smoothly. Annis said the problem for many small businesses is relying on advice from friends or from people they are beholden to, such as banks or accountants, whose advice might not be unbiased. “You can get a SCORE advisory board where we put two or three people together to give you an independent, competent and unbiased opinion of what you should or shouldn’t be doing,” Annis said. SCORE counsels all types of businesses, from the entrepreneur researching a business startup to an established business with dozens of employees. “A lot of people think it’s just for startups, but it’s for everybody,” Annis said. Annis said that mentoring, through
SCORE and other organizations, is vital to the entire community. Even some of the largest manufacturers in the area rely on small businesses to supply parts. Annis said there is one small business in the area that makes a single part that is vital to John Deere’s ability to make tractors. “The health of the small business ecosystem is vastly, critically important to everything we do,” he said. The Aiken chapter of SCORE has shown that mentoring works to create healthy small businesses, and Annis think it will be beneficial to Augusta-area businesses as well. “We live in a society where everyone can succeed with a little bit of blood, sweat and tears, and the grace of God,” he said. “But if you can sit down every 90 to 120 days and have someone give you an unbiased opinion, you’ll be way ahead of everyone else.”
LEARN MORE For more information about the new chapter of SCORE, contact Jeff Annis at worklifesa@ gmail.com or call 706-941-8140. For more information about SCORE, visit score.org.
February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
buzz bits MORE PARKING PLANNED AT CYBER CENTER DOWNTOWN Kroger’s new Scan, Bag, Go feature, to be launched in Georgia and South Carolina this year, will help speed the shopping process.
KROGER PLANS TO SPEED UP GROCERY SHOPPING Grocery store shopping could be a lot swifter in the coming months at area Kroger stores. Kroger’s Atlanta Division announced that it will introduce its new Scan, Bag, Go shopping technology this year at stores in Georgia and South Carolina. Scan, Bag, Go allows customers to use a wireless handheld scanner or the Scan, Bag, Go app on their personal device to scan and bag products as they shop for a quicker, seamless checkout experience. Scan, Bag, Go helps to create a personalized experience for customers throughout their shopping trip, allowing them to view and download digital coupons, keep a running total of their order and view the current week’s sales ad. Scan, Bag, Go customers currently have to visit a store’s self-checkout area to pay. Customers will soon have the ability to pay directly through the app, allowing shoppers to exit the store even quicker. By the end of the year, Scan, Bag, Go will be available at select locations in Georgia and South Carolina.
AIKEN’S CHAMBER HANDS OUT AWARDS The Aiken Chamber of Commerce recently held its 100th Annual Dinner and handed out awards to local merchants. Nandina Home and Design was named Small Business of the Year.
The parking garage for the new Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center will have one more parking deck after additional funding was approved. The Augusta Commission unanimously approved an additional $4 million expansion to $12 million already slated for the garage. That will allow a fourth level to be added. The first phase of the Cyber Center is expected to be completed in July, and the parking garage will be finished a few months later. A second phase of the Cyber Center is expected to wrap up in December. Before the announcement of the parking expansion, the garage was expected ASCO Valve Manufacturing received the Large Business of the Year Award. Betsy Simons was named Woman of the Year, and Walt Joseph was the Man of the Year.
AUGUSTA RANKS LOW IN COMPETITIVE HOUSING A recent housing market poll among the 100 largest cities in the United States ranked Augusta near the bottom of the list of the country’s most competitive housing markets. Augusta was ranked 95th out of the 100 cities, just above Dayton, Ohio, and just below Birmingham, Ala. That ranking could change significantly for Augusta in the coming years. Davis Beman, a real estate agent with Blanchard and Calhoun, said that while the Richmond County housing market is less competitive than many other markets of its size, home resale is trending up in the county, and the average amount of time that houses spend on the market has dramatically decreased. Without more new builds in Richmond County, Beman said, people will continue to gravitate toward high-end apartments. “The volume is not there yet,” he said. “You just don’t have a lot of new starts. In Richmond County, the $175,000 to $250,000 homes … we just can’t build
6 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
A fourth level will be added to the new parking deck at the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in downtown Augusta.
to bring in around $100,000 in revenue to the city. That figure will reportedly increase with the expansion. them fast enough.” Four of the top five most competitive markets were in California: San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Ventura. Denver rounded out the top five. The ranking was determined by online lending company Lending Tree, which connects consumers with banks, credit partners and lenders. The company based its study on three criteria: share of buyers shopping for a mortgage before identifying the house they want, average down payment percentage and percentage of buyers who have prime credit (above 680). But Augusta’s low ranking in terms of competitiveness also makes it an accessible market for potential home buyers. Lending Tree’s top five “most accessible” housing markets (bottom five in competitiveness) were Youngstown, Ohio; McAllen, Texas; Scranton, Pa.; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio, with Augusta coming in sixth.
FULL SPEED AHEAD FOR AUGUSTA’S ECONOMY The performance of Augusta’s economy is improving faster than most cities, according to a recent report. A local finance professor said that could be sign of a fundamental shift in the nature of Augusta’s economy. In its 2017 Best-performing Cities list, nonprofit think tank The Milken
Institute ranked Augusta 102nd out of the 200 largest cities in the United States, taking into account a variety of economic factors including job growth, wage growth and high-tech gross domestic product (GDP) growth and concentration. That’s a 62-spot jump from the center’s 2016 ranking of Augusta, which listed the city as the 164th highest-performing economy in the nation. Only three other markets – Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.; Lancaster, Pa.; and Hickory-Lenoir-Morgantown, N.C., saw bigger improvements in this year’s ranking. Simon Medcalfe, an associate professor of finance at Augusta University, said that in the past, Augusta’s stable economy has given it strength in the midst of recessions. When the rest of the country begins to reap the benefits of economic prosperity, Augusta has historically lagged behind. Medcalfe said the Milken study could signal a change in that trend. “We do have an economy that’s more cyclical than in the past,” he said. Medcalfe said that is likely the result of job growth in the technology sector in the area, and that’s supported by the Milken study. Augusta ranked 23rd nationally in high-tech GDP growth from 2015-16, the city’s strongest category in this year’s ranking. Augusta also performed well in short-term job growth, where it ranked 32nd.
TAXSLAYER PARTNERS WITH KABBAGE TaxSlayer has announced a strategic partnership with Kabbage Inc., a global technology and data platform for small business lending. The collaboration offers qualified small business customers hassle-free access to lines of credit up to $250,000 from Kabbage and exclusive tax resources, including tips, promotions and discounts, from TaxSlayer. “Providing access to Kabbage’s network of small business perks, educational content and lending products is another way we can make things easier for our customers during tax season,” said Josh Gaudin, head of Strategic Partnerships at TaxSlayer. “This partnership will help ensure that both TaxSlayer and Kabbage Continued on Page 12
Openings, Closings and Moves
Your Pie eatery opened its second location on Feb. 17 in Grovetown.
Your Pie Your Pie, which has enjoyed success in downtown North Augusta since opening last year, has opened a second location, this one in Grovetown. A customized pizza place, Your Pie allows customers to select their toppings in a cafeteria-style ordering system, with the pies fired in a brick oven and ready in minutes. The North Augusta location on Georgia Avenue has been busy since it opened in May.
Discount Tire Discount Tire, the world’s largest independent tire and wheel retailer, has opened its first location in Aiken, just south of Hopelands Gardens near Aiken Mall at 2286 Whiskey Road. Discount Tire opened its first store in South Carolina in 2001 and have since expanded to 13 locations in the state, including the new Aiken store, with plans to open additional locations over the next couple of years. As a service to drivers, Discount Tire offers customers free tire pressure checks at its new Aiken location and reminds South Carolina drivers of tire safety tips, including the importance of properly inflated tires. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Discount Tire is closed on Sunday. Discount Tire sells a wide selection of leading tire brands, including Michelin, Goodyear, Bridgestone, BFGoodrich, Pirelli, Falken, Continental and
The Middle Eastern flavors of Laziza Mediterranean Grill will soon be available in downtown Augusta. A second location of the eatery will open on Broad Street this fall.
LAZIZA MEDITERRANEAN GRILLE IN WORKS FOR DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA Nader Khatib, owner of Evans-based Laziza Mediterranean Grille, will expand his Middle Eastern restaurant concept to the center of a budding downtown Augusta. Khatib signed a lease on the 3,600-square-foot ground floor of 901 Broad St. earlier in February and plans to open the fast-casual restaurant in the fall. The second location of Laziza will be on the first floor of the apartment complex that is being built at the corner of Ninth and Broad streets. The building’s owner, Haltermann Partners Inc. President Bryan Haltermann, said he plans for the nine-unit complex to be finished around September. “We’ve been wanting to open another one for a while,” Khatib said. “I noticed the growth downtown and the jobs that are coming. We’re different than all the other restaurants that are there.” Khatib said the lack of fast-casual eateries in the central business district will make his restaurant an attractive location for people looking for a quick bite. He said a steady flow of TaxSlayer employees frequently visits the Evans location for lunch. He expects the same will be true when TaxSlayer moves its headquarters downtown to join an influx of cybersecurity professionals based in the new Georgia Cooper, along with Discount Tire-exclusive brands such as Arizonian, Road Hugger and Pathfinder. Discount Tire also has a location at 3869 Washington Road in Augusta. Cellairis Cellairis, a company that repairs cellphones and tablets, has opened a second store in the CSRA inside the
Cyber Innovation and Training Center. “It was too good to be true,” Khatib said. The new and improved Laziza will offer a wider variety of dining options than the original location. Adding to the menu’s core items – Greek salads, shawarma, wraps and hummus, to name a few – will be a weekend hot breakfast menu, a cafe, bar and small market. The new 3,600-square-foot space – more than double the size of Khatib’s current restaurant – will also become a home base for the restaurant’s catering business, which has a strong presence in the medical district. “We’re going to take it a step further and really go for it,” Khatib said. Khatib opened Laziza on Washington Road in Evans in 2011. Growing up, his Palestinian family lived in Michigan, where Middle Eastern fare was commonplace. Khatib said his grandmother used to help him cook when he was a boy and that he “was always interested in food, big time.” After six years in the Air Force, Khatib saw an opportunity to open a restaurant in Augusta inspired by the food he grew up eating. Now, he’ll take that ever-growing inspiration downtown. “I am super excited,” Khatib said. Evans Walmart, at 4469 Washington Road. Cellairis also sells cellphone and tablet accessories, such as protective cases, personalized cases and earbuds. Cellairis began in Atlanta in 2000 and now has franchises throughout the country and around the world. The company also has a store in Augusta Mall.
The Painted Pineapple People strolling down Broad Street might have noticed the green and yellow logo that used to adorn the entrance of downtown skate shop Sweet Sticks has been stripped from the door. That’s because Sweet Sticks has moved out, making way for a new business. The skate shop formerly at 1022 Broad St. next to Flowers on Broad has moved to a new, undisclosed location. A paint shop called The Painted Pineapple, which is moving from its location at 2053 Walton Way, will move into the space on what has become known as Artist’s Row. “I just wasn’t getting the traffic I had hoped,” Sherry Clayton, the owner of The Painted Pineapple, said of her Walton Way operation. Clayton signed a two-year lease on the space, which is in the Henry Kennedy Building and is owned by Ben Harrison. Clayton first started the business in Charlotte, N.C., and opened the Augusta store in September. Clayton said one of The Painted Pineapple’s biggest assets is that it sells Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a high-quality product used for painting furniture, walls and floors. Clayton also plans to host workshops at the new store. The owners of Sweet Sticks have not yet revealed the store’s new location but wrote in a Facebook post that the shop will have “more news to announce soon.”
WOW! Internet, cable and phone company WOW! has announced the launch of its 1-gigabyte per second service called 1 Gig. The service is available to all WOW! customers in Augusta. Combined with the appropriate equipment and devices, the company Continued on Page 13
February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
A DESTINATION IN THE MAKING
TOURISM BECOMING A BIGGER REFLECTION OF AUGUSTA’S SPIRIT BY WITT WELLS
Last summer, a class full of students from Augusta University who were studying tourism administration traveled to a city that is highly popular with their generation these days: Asheville, N.C. Their goal was to carry out a comprehensive study to understand what makes Asheville a tourist destination. The students, who were studying under Augusta University Hull College of Business Professor Marsha Loda, conducted a series of street interviews and soaked up the characteristics – the beer, the hikes, the hippie culture – that have landed the city on countless lists of the best places to travel over the last few years. For Loda, there was one particular characteristic of Asheville that left a lasting impression on her: authenticity. “It’s really authenticity that is the backbone of tourism success,” Loda said. “Asheville is authentic from the ground up. Creative spirits flock there, and there’s a welcoming business climate. It’s an authenticity of spirit that attracts really the best chefs for restaurants.” Loda thinks that kind of environment is starting to flourish in Augusta. “That really makes me smile,” Loda said. “What George Claussen and his group are doing with music and Southbound Smokehouse is the Asheville spirit at work in Augusta.”
A Destination in the Making
Asheville’s cultural and economic renaissance, which was a century in the making, is evident in the amount of money being poured into the economy by visitors. Last year, Asheville, a city with less than half the population of Augusta (AugustaRichmond County had a population of 201,647 in 2016; Asheville had a population of 88,512 in 2015), raked in more than five times more tourism dollars than Augusta. Asheville generated $2 billion in tourism revenue to Augusta’s $366 million. That isn’t to say Augusta is missing out on a tourism renaissance. In February, at the annual State of Tourism Luncheon, Tourism Economics’ President Adam Sacks presented data showing that Augusta’s arts and recreation industries – economic drivers with strong links to tourism – have grown by 58 percent since 2001. That outpaced overall economic growth more than sevenfold. Tourism Economics’ data also showed that hotel performance in Augusta has improved by 24 percent since 2013. This is a nationwide trend. More than
The Savannah River is a major focus of Destination Blueprint, a plan by the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau to boost the city’s tourism industry. A major piece of the plan would extend Augusta Common to the river to increase the visibility of the major resource. “People come to town and they don’t even know there’s a river there,” said bureau President Barry White. Photo by Gary Kauffman
ever, people are spending their money on travel. Therefore, Sacks said, it is impossible for anyone to make an economic case against destination marketing in this day and age.
Blueprint for the Future
Augusta hasn’t ignored that opportunity. The city’s plan to draw more outof-towners to the Garden City has seen a notable shift over the last two years. In 2016, the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), which markets the city as a destination for visitors, shifted its focus from baby boomers to millennials. The same year, it launched a plan to boost Augusta’s tourism industry that would begin with a vision called Destination Blueprint. Included in Destination Blueprint are multiple elements, some more ambitious than others. But they have one common goal: to capitalize on the valuable assets that Augusta already has. Following through on the plan will require a lot of new development and infrastructure, but the primary purpose of that development is to enhance Augusta’s already-existing resources. The big resource? The Savannah River.
8 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
“People come to town and they don’t even know there’s a river there,” Barry White, the president of the CVB, said during a presentation of Destination Blueprint at the Legends Club in October. “You can’t see it. Signage is okay, but you can’t see it and you don’t even know it’s there. We need to expand the Augusta Common toward the river. We need to be able to get up on the Riverwalk from there.”
The Big One
A proposed expansion of Augusta Common is the biggest project on Destination Blueprint’s docket and almost certainly the one that will take the longest to get underway. Upon completion, visitors would be able to see the Savannah River from the edge of the new park, which would be raised above the elevation of the current Augusta Common and include a splash pad. Residents and tourists would then be able to walk down to the water and into a new facility, which would house a restaurant, watercraft rentals and a place for boats to pull in and out. “This is the loftiest goal of Destination Blueprint,” White said. “Obviously
a tremendous amount of money would need to be spent on the acquisition of the land. The consultants that work all around the world that helped us with this said, ‘You’re sitting on a gold mine, and you’re not taking advantage of what you have.’ We’re going to do everything we can to bring this into reality. Past plans, nobody’s ever been able to execute. But we’re going to execute.” White doesn’t have much time left in Augusta to carry out the plans he helped create. As 2017 drew to a close, he announced that he had taken a position as head of the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau after spending 23 years at the Augusta CVB. Trent Snyder will take over as interim leader when White leaves his post while the bureau looks for a permanent president. Meanwhile, White has taken Sacks’ advice to heart. In 2016, the CVB announced a total redesign of its marketing strategy for the city that was summed up in the bureau’s launch of a new quarterly magazine called The New Augustan, a lifestyle magazine telling stories from around the CSRA. See TOURISM on Page 11
REGIONAL VISION. HOMETOWN FOCUS.
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February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
KEEP YOUR MONEY
MORTGAGE PROGRAM COULD MEAN BIG SAVINGS IN INTEREST COSTS BY TIM DALTON
What if you could pay off your mortgage in approximately 10 years without increasing your monthly payment? What if that early payoff equated to saving tens of thousands of dollars in interest? Wouldn’t that provide you with more money for your business, your kids’ education, your retirement and other longterm financial goals? For decades, people in the United States has been behind other countries when it comes to paying for their homes. People in countries like Australia and Canada and some in Western Europe have used an innovative home loan program to pay for their homes more quickly and save substantial amounts of interest. The current mortgage programs in the United States have not been overhauled since their inception during the Great Depression. A typical 30-year $300,000 mortgage at 4 percent interest will cost the homeowner a total of $515,610 – including $215,610 in interest. That is $7.10 in interest for every $10 borrowed. Another statistic to think about is that for the first 12 or 13 years of a mortgage, the amount paid toward interest is greater than the amount paid toward principal. Think about that. All those payments being made, and such a large percentage of them being wasted on interest payments, while only slowly chipping away at the amount of principal owed. Also, by the 22nd or 23rd year, you finally have reached the point that you’ve paid an equal amount in principal as in interest. Under this program, it’s just hard to get ahead financially. So, what if I told you there was a better way, that you can get your home paid off in approximately a third of the time of a traditional 30-year mortgage? The program is essentially an all-in-one
The mortgage programs in the United States haven’t changed much since their inception during the Great Depression. There is a lot of room for improvement.
banking account where your mortgage and checking account all reside in one account. As you deposit money into your account, as you would your regular checking account, these deposits are applied toward the principal balance of your mortgage first before the amount of interest owed is calculated. Interest payments are calculated on a daily basis, and the longer your deposits stay in your account before you start paying your bills, the lower the amount of interest due. As an example, a household with a $250,000 mortgage and a monthly income of $9,000 with monthly bills of $7,650 would pay off its $250,000 mortgage in 10.3 years and save $148,830 in interest over a conventional 30-year mortgage at 5 percent interest. The savings are phenomenal.
10 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
A similar example would be that the same $250,000 mortgage with a monthly household income of $6,500 and monthly bills of $5,525 would pay off its mortgage in 12.8 years and save $126,253 in interest over a 30-year mortgage at 5 percent interest. Again, that’s far better financially than a traditional mortgage. This program works for new loans and refinancing of existing mortgage loans. Of course, with any financial product, there is always a disclaimer that there are certain criteria and qualifications that need to be met by a borrower, and not all borrowers will qualify for the program. But if your goal is to pay off your mortgage in far less time than a traditional mortgage while saving tens of thousands in interest, this is something you might want to check out. Just get in touch with me and I can get you in touch with the
right people to explain in full detail how this program can benefit you and your financial future. Tim Dalton is president of Integra Business Brokers and has more than 19 years of experience in the Augusta area assisting business buyers and sellers. Additional services include targeted business acquisitions, business valuations and financing assistance. Tim is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Georgia and South Carolina, NMLS#1468874. Contact him at 706.650.1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Integra’s website at www.integrabrokers.com.
CYBERSECURITY KEY TO BUSINESS SURVIVAL BY WITT WELLS
Chip Lamb is an antique car dealer, but on Feb. 6 he was in the front row of a conference room of a company that has been getting a lot of buzz for its role in a modern industry: cybersecurity. Unlike some others in the room whose businesses were also unrelated to cyber, Lamb spent years in the field as a wide-area network administrator in Manhattan the early 1990s. While technology has changed immensely since then, Lamb holds that basic principles are the same. He recalled when a company he contracted with had a vice president who took his laptop home, allowed his child to inadvertently download a virus onto it, took it back to work, put it in a docking station and infected every work station connected to the server. In the end, the Bank of Tokyo was left with a massive bill. “The person using your equipment is the lowest common denominator,” Lamb said. “And if you can eliminate the threat of the lowest common denominator, it doesn’t go up to the top.” That concept was one of the main reasons EDTS Information Technology Manager Robert Smith, who spoke at the presentation at EDTS headquarters at the former Sibley Mill, had gathered businesspeople to talk about cybersecurity’s role in their world, to bring the concept down from the clouds and into tangible business scenarios. Smith’s presentation involved deconstructing a few myths about cybersecurity that he said can make people a little more comfortable than they should be. Here are a few of the big ones:
Myth 1: Cybercriminals don’t target small businesses
Contrary to popular belief, simply flying under the radar is not a reliable option for small businesses’ owners who think they don’t have anything valuable enough to make hacking into their networks worthwhile, Smith said. In fact, 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses, he said. Sixty percent of those businesses end up closing within six or seven months. “That’s huge when you think about the number of businesses that could be impacted on a day-to-day basis,” Smith said. “We’ve got new business that pops up day-to-day and businesses that close every day. How many of those are from ransomware (software that blocks access to a computer system until payment is made) that they can’t recover from?”
Attendees at a recent cybersecurity presentation at EDTS headquarters in Sibley Mill learned that cyberattacks target small businesses much more than is commonly thought. Photo by Witt Wells
Smith referenced one email service provider’s data that revealed that out of the 2 billion emails that were sent using the service over the course of a year, one out of every 131 was malicious. That means 6.5 million malicious emails are sent to small businesses every day. “The threat is not just real for small business, but it’s deadly in some cases for these organizations,” Smith said.
Myth 2: Skilled computer hackers are few and far between
As much as we might enjoy shows like Mr. Robot, Smith said, such narratives have painted an inaccurately elitist picture of the hacking industry in which the act is portrayed as an undertaking that is possible for geniuses alone. “I can go to Google, search for a malware-building tool and it will come up,” Smith said. “I can take all the things that I want it to do – have it flip your screen, give me a door, flip your keyboard. I don’t have to program anything. I just have to get it to your inbox. That is why it is possible for teenagers and young adults and people like myself.” Security firm Kaspersky reported that ransomware increased by 250 percent in 2017. According to global risk reports from the World Economic Forum, cybercrime is costing the global economy hundreds of billions of dollars annually. For that reason, businesses are at far more risk by not educating their employees than they were just a few years ago. The majority of cases begin with a human connection, Smith said, usually over email. First and foremost, companies need to understand the risks and what their tolerance is for those risks. As EDTS has educated its own workforce on how to be cautious and aware of cyber threats, Smith said the company has clearly seen improvement. “I can tell you that with our organiza-
tion there were lots of people that were a little click-happy. Now that’s maybe less than a person every six months.”
Myth 3: Overall, cybercrime is not a significant threat
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Risk Report, there are 8.4 million devices connected in the internet of things – more than the number of people on earth. That represents a fundamental shift in the way society operates. As communities become increasingly software-based, their susceptibility to cybercrime grows. Cyberattacks are “going to continue to grow, and they’re going to continue to target small businesses,” Smith said. “It’s not a matter of if, but when.” But as the world changes, many businesses aren’t keeping up, which might cost them in the long run. “I met with a county recently that within the last few years just got rid of all the typewriters,” Smith said. “Now I have people who may have never in their careers touched a computer or worked with it in a professional setting.” One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of business owners taking responsibility for creating a way for workers to educate themselves about the massive and often dangerous implications of the technological landscape. Lamb said that over the last 30 years, basic principles have remained the same. He still thinks end-user education about cyber threats is the most important investment for businesses. “Cyber criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated,” Smith said. “You never want to put money into something if it’s not going to produce a return. But if the impact of that resource being down could potentially put you out of business, is the cost worth it at that point?”
Continued from Page 8
White also said during the State of Tourism luncheon that a new Broad Street visitor center built to accommodate tourists and enhance their experience of the city would be finished this year. “We weren’t going to create a plan and let it sit,” White said.
Breweries and Other Things
The CVB also has set a series of shorterterm goals that include the establishment of a more substantial brewery scene downtown (the bureau fully supported the Augusta Commission’s ordinance change that allows breweries and distilleries to operate in the central business district) and the creation of a robust system of golf cart tourism in the golf cart capital of the world. “People do tend to migrate to the breweries as a fun thing to do,” said Steve Ellison, co-owner of Savannah River Brewing Co. He was reminded of his son’s hobby of going on brewery tours with friends, including during a recent trip to Asheville. “The minimum they went to was five breweries. It made it kind of easy: Uber to the brewery tours and Uber back. That was our argument to the city for making a brewery district.” The ordinance that passed in the central business district in the fall was a move against Ellison’s idea for a brewery district near Riverwatch Brewery and Savannah River Brewing, but downtown Augusta is now ripe for breweries and distilleries. But locals have hopes for more to draw visitors to Augusta than just food and drink. Brian McGrath, the owner of Sweet Sticks Skateboard Gallery, said now that downtown’s food and beverage scene is thriving, he wants to see more options for people like himself who seek an active lifestyle. McGrath collaborated with the Westobou Festival in the past to create a pop-up skate park at Augusta Common. While Atlanta gives skaters several parks to choose from, Augusta lacks a similar outlet. McGrath thinks a local skate park could draw more young people to the city. Loda’s students would probably agree. “We’re missing that adventure component, but I think it’s going to come,” she said. When thinking about a culturally budding Augusta, Loda was reminded of a local bar and music venue in Asheville called The Bywater – not because it was fancy but because it was simple. The Bywater has become a local staple because it brought people to the French Broad River, provided them with good, simple food and beer, and gave them a place to gather and enjoy life together. “That’s authentically driven,” Loda said. “And I think we’re starting to see that authentic spirit here in Augusta.” February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
buzz bits Continued from Page 6
METRO CHAMBER SEEKS NAMES FOR 2018’S TOP 10 IN 10
customers have access to the best resources to make tax filing a stress-free experience.”
Family Promise of Augusta will get a brand facelift in 24 hours, thanks to Alison South Marketing Group.
MARKETER TO REBRAND NONPROFIT IN 24 HOURS Alison South Marketing Group has chosen a winner of its third annual Creative Dash – a contest in which the group’s staff works for 24 hours straight to rebrand a local organization. This year, nonprofit Family Promise of Augusta, which helps homeless families gain independence, will get a brand facelift from the agency, including a 20-year anniversary logo, a tagline, website design, social media ads and more. “We’re excited to give such a worthwhile group the tools they need to grow their mission and ultimately help more families in our community,” said Kate Sanders, vice president of account services at Alison South. Formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network of Augusta, Family Promise has helped more than 300 families and 400 children in its 20-year history.
AVIATION FIRM LAUNCHES TOURNAMENT PARTNERSHIP One of the world’s largest private aviation companies has launched a partnership series called “Events and Experiences” that will kick off with the 2018 Masters Tournament. JetSmarter, a company that sells shared flights that users book on an app
Applications for the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch are available on the Chamber’s website. The application deadline is March 30. The Chamber and Augusta Magazine co-sponsor the award, which honors 10 rising business professionals between ages 25 and 35 who have clear visions of where they will be in 10 years. Winners are selected based on professional goals, significant past achievements, previous awards and volunteer/community activities. Each winner will receive a biographical feature article in the June issue of Augusta Magazine; a submitted nomination for Georgia Trend magazine’s 2018 Top 40 under 40; and recognition and an award presentation at the Augusta Metro Chamber Member Economic Luncheon in June. Applications are online only. Submissions and materials must be completed electronically, to include the completed application form; a résumé; letters of recommendation; and documents that support the information provided. Applications are available on the Chamber’s website at augustametro chamber.com. Direct all application questions to Sabrina Balthrop, director of events, at sabrina.balthrop@ augustametrochamber.com, or by calling 706-821-1300. and provides private flights in its marketplace for relatively affordable prices, is offering its members a shared charter flight from a private jet lounge in Palm Beach, Fla., to Augusta on April 8, the final day of the Masters. JetSmarter is sharing partnership in the event with champagne brand Dom Perignon, which will give in-flight taste tests and personalized gifts to guests. Upon arrival in Augusta, guests will be escorted to the Legends Club and will have access to the final round of the Masters, a private suite, breakfast and lunch, an open bar and cigar bar. JetSmarter launched in 2013 and
12 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
has a membership model in which users pay $15,000 per year for access to flights. Flight-sharing has made private aviation more affordable in recent years with a model that has caused people to refer to JetSmarter and other similar companies as “the Uber of private jets.”
Frog Hollow Tavern owner Sean Wight says exceptional customer service is one of the reasons the popular restaurant has such a great reputation.
FROG HOLLOW AMONG MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS Online restaurant reservation service OpenTable released its list of the “100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America for 2018” right before Valentine’s Day, and one of Augusta’s hottest spots made the list. Frog Hollow Tavern, Sean Wight’s restaurant concept serving upscale Southern fare, was included on the website’s collection of exquisite dining experiences across the United States. The restaurant is the first in Augusta to be included on the list since OpenTable began publishing it in 2011. The restaurant was also one of just two Georgia locations included. The other is Babette’s Cafe in Atlanta. According to OpenTable’s website, the list is determined by an analysis of more than 12 million verified diner reviews of 26,000 restaurants. The restaurants were not in any particular order. “We want every experience to be memorable, which is a philosophy I picked up at Disney,” Wight said. “You don’t know what they sacrificed to be there that one day.” Wight opened Frog Hollow Tavern on Broad Street in 2010 after seeing potential in downtown Augusta from nearby Edgefield, where he worked as a chef at Old Edgefield Grill. Wight said the restaurant was a progression of his career at that point. Three years later, he opened Farmhaus Burger and Craft &
Vine. Wight said Frog Hollow Tavern’s staff is consistently held to exceptionally high standards of service, which he said is one of the most crucial elements of the operation and truly sets it apart from other restaurants. “It’s just part of the culture,” Wight said. “It translates to a great product.”
Floyd and Green Jewelers in Aiken make giving back to the community an important part of the business.
JEWELERS DOLE OUT CHECKS TO CHARITIES The proceeds from a giving event in November 2017 were handed out Feb. 8 by Floyd and Green Jewelers of Aiken. In November, Floyd and Green Jewelers hosted a Night of Giving Back, during which shoppers were able to donate 10 percent of their purchase price to the charity of their choice. On Feb. 8, Floyd and Green owners Tom Williams and Steve Floyd presented checks to those charities. Some of the charities that received donations included Aiken Civic Ballet, Brenda’s Angels, Helping Hands Inc., Equine Rescue of Aiken, Koda’s Kids Foundation, Children’s Place, the Pancreatic Action Network and the National Stroke Association. “It’s overwhelming to see the generosity of this community,” said Janice Nix, chairwoman of the board at Children’s Place, an organization that provides therapeutic programs for highrisk children and families. “My theory is that if everyone can do something, then it can go a very long way.” Floyd and Green’s owners enjoy giving back, and it’s a large part of their business. “I’m a firm believer of giving back, and I’m fortunate enough to have a business partner who believes the same,” Floyd said. “Every year we do what we can to give back as much as we can.” This year, Floyd and Green Jewelers, 515 Silver Bluff Road, is celebrating 25 years in Aiken.
Openings, Closings and Moves Continued from Page 7 said, a connection to 1 Gig allows users to quickly load and stream games, movies and websites. The company said users can download full-length HD movies in 36 seconds, or 25 songs in one second. “We’re seeing an increasing number of families and individuals that have heavy data demands due to multiple Internet-enabled devices in the home,” said James Phillips, Augusta operations director for WOW!. According to a report from The Augusta Chronicle, the service is available everywhere that WOW! covers except Grovetown and Fort Gordon, which does not yet have the necessary bandwidth. AT&T and West Carolina Telephone unit WCFIBER began offering 1-gigabyte service over the last few years. Comcast does not yet offer 1-gigabyte service in the area.
Turner Padget Two longtime law firms in Georgia and South Carolina joined forces in early February. At the beginning of February, Augusta’s Warlick, Stebbins, Murray & Chew LLP law firm merged with South Carolina’s Turner Padget practice, which opened an Augusta office last year. The Charleston, S.C.-based firm, officially Turner Padget Graham & Laney PA, was founded in 1929 and has South Carolina offices in Columbia, Greenville, Florence and Myrtle Beach. Locally, its offices will be in down-
town Augusta and Martinez. Joining the Turner Padget team are William Byrd Warlick, Charles Stebbins III, James ( Jeb) Murray, William Baxley Chew and Jennifer Kerr. Warlick has practiced law in Georgia for more than 50 years and specializes in corporate and real estate law. “The addition of Warlick, Stebbins, Murray & Chew’s attorneys further supports our ability to respond promptly and strategically to our clients’ legal needs in Georgia,” Turner Padget CEO Wayne Byrd said.
Wrightsboro Plaza Wrightsboro Plaza in the Forest Hills area of Augusta will get new life as a climate-controlled self-storage facility after it was purchased by Augusta Storage at the beginning of February. The shopping center, built in 1979, is mostly vacant. The last tenant, Dollar General, plans to move down the road later this year. The plaza will be renovated into climate-controlled storage units ranging from 5 feet by 5 feet to 10 feet by 20 feet, comprising more than 45,000 square feet of space. A back lot will include space to store RVs, boats and other large vehicles. It will be operated as Forest Hills Storage. Owners of Augusta Storage believe the renovation will help improve the neighborhood. In the future, the company might develop the road frontage into retail and restaurant space. Augusta Storage purchased the property from Augusta University.
Wrightsboro Plaza, built in 1979, is being converted to a climate-controlled selfstorage facility. The new owners of the recently purchased property have said they might also consider developing the frontage into retail and restaurant space.
Catch the Buzz! Dig deeper into business and economic news across the CSRA at buzzon.biz.
King Mill has been purchased by Cape Augusta LLC, which also owns Sibley Mill.
KING MILL TO BECOME MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT Another of Augusta’s historic textile mills is slated to get new life. In late January, Cape Augusta LLC purchased the vacant King Mill from the Augusta Canal Authority. Plans are to turn the former textile mill into a mixed-use development with residential apartments and some retail. Cape Augusta also owns the former Sibley Mill and is revitalizing it as Augusta Cyberworks, which contains a data center, commercial office space and a cyber technology campus. King Mill is located on 22 acres next to Sibley Mill, along the Augusta Canal on Goodrich Street. “In speaking with potential tenants of our neighboring Sibley Mill commercial campus, it’s clear that a high-quality product for trendy urban living is vital to unlocking downtown as a destination for major commercial users,” said James Ainslie, Cape Augusta’s president and CEO. “We are delighted with our acquisition of this site as it’s ideal for this purpose.” Canal Authority Executive Director Dayton Sherrouse said, “Our hope for both King and Sibley mills is that they
could not only be preserved as a part of our city’s industrial history, but also be put back into productive use and once again become economic drivers for our community. The innovative ideas and energy that the team from Cape Augusta have put forward should do just that.” The Canal Authority acquired King Mill in 2001, when Spartan Mills faced receivership and shuttered the plant. The authority then leased the mill to another textile manufacturer, Standard Textile of Cincinnati, which operated a small portion of the facility to process institutional textiles until ceasing operations in October 2017. The Canal Authority resumed operation of the mill’s hydroelectric plant and has retained ownership of the power plant under terms of the sale to Cape Augusta. Both mills are within the National Register of Historic Places district known as the Augusta Canal and Industrial District. The redevelopment will follow the U.S. Department of the Interior’s guidelines for rehabilitation of historic structures.
“It’s clear that a high-quality product for trendy urban living is vital to unlocking downtown as a destination for major commercial users.” – James Ainslie, Cape Augusta president and CEO
February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
Monday, Feb. 26
UPCOMING BUSINESS EVENTS
Chamber After Hours, 5 p.m., at Fairway Ford, 4333 Washington Road, Evans. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.
Tuesday, Feb. 27
Caffeinated Conversations – Riverside Village: A Whole New Way to Live, 8:30 a.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. An update on Riverside Village (Project Jackson) presented by Todd Glover, North Augusta city administrator. For more information, visit aiken chamber.net.
Thursday, March 1
Lunch with the President, Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. A small-group lunch meeting with the president. A great opportunity to talk to the Aiken Chamber and make business contacts. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. Networking for Leads, 3 p.m., Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 1000 Business Blvd., Evans. This is a structured program that encourages businesses to give leads, create mutually beneficial relationships and develop a net-weaving experience. For more information, visit columbiacounty chamber.com. Augusta Metro Chamber 110th Annual Meeting, 6 p.m., Olmstead Hall, Augusta Marriott and Convention Center. Dinner and program, includes traditional passing of the gavel and the recognition of new board members. Deadline to register is Friday, Feb. 23. For more information, visit augustametro chamber.com.
Friday, March 2
First Friday Means Business, 7:30 a.m., 117 Newberry St. NW, Aiken. Informative breakfast meeting
with a keynote speaker. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.
Sunday, March 4
AYP 2018 New Member Brunch, 12:30 p.m., The Willcox, 100 Colleton Ave. SW, Aiken. RSVP required. For more information, visit aiken chamber.net.
Wednesday, March 7
Business Plan Essentials, 8:30 a.m., UGA Small Business Development Center, 1450 Greene St., Ste. 3500, Augusta. This class guides participants through the specific components of a well-written and comprehensive business plan. Review of your business plan is available. Registration is required. For more information, visit georgiasbdc. org/augusta-office. Business Plan Essentials, 1 p.m., UGA Small Business Development Center, 1450 Greene St., Ste 3500, Augusta. This class guides participants through the specific components of a well-written and comprehensive business plan. Review of your business plan is available. Registration is required. For more information, visit georgiasbdc.org/ augusta-office.
Thursday, March 8
North Augusta Power Lunch, 11:30 a.m., Palmetto Terrace, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. Kelvin Coleman, cybersecurity professional, will speak about his experiences as branch chief for Government Engagement, Cybersecurity and Communications for the Department of Homeland Security. Registration is required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.
Tuesday, March 13
Chamber Before Hours, 7:45 a.m., County Chamber of Commerce, 1000 Business Blvd., Evans.
14 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
Networking for Chamber members and community leaders. For more information, visit columbiacounty chamber.com.
ing in teams. A gourmet lunch from Palmetto Pork House is included. For more information, visit aiken chamber.net.
Facebook 101: Creating a Business Page, 11:45 p.m., 604 Ponder Place Drive, Evans. Lunch and learn series to learn how to create and run an effective ad campaign. Perfect for new and existing businesses. With step-bystep instructions. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber. com.
Tuesday, March 20
Thursday, March 15
Wednesday, March 21
Third Thursday Business Builder, 11:30 a.m., Augusta Metro Chamber office, 1 10th St. Registration is required. For more information, visit augustametrochamber. com. AYP Third Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. An opportunity for individuals ages 22 to 39 to meet other young professionals in a relaxed atmosphere for networking. Registration is required. For more information, visit aiken chamber.net.
Friday, March 16
Good Morning, North Augusta, 7:30 a.m., Palmetto Terrace, North Augusta Municipal Complex, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. Topic to be announced. Pre-registration is required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org. Teachers in Business Event, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., various schools in Columbia County. For more information, visit columbiacounty chamber.com. Blastin’ for Business Clay Shoot Tournament, 8 a.m., Palmetto Shooting Complex, 535 Gary Hill Road, Edgefield. Clay target shoot-
Women in Business, 11:30 a.m., Legends Club, Augusta. Speaker to be announced. Registration deadline is March 16. For more information, visit augustametrochamber. com.
Women in Business, The Reserve Club at Woodside Plantation, 3000 Reserve Club Drive, Aiken. “It’s a Man’s World … Or is it?” presented by Liz Stewart, the president of Stewart and Associates. She will share her experiences and lessons learned as a corporate executive and as an entrepreneur and owner of a successful national consulting firm. Registration is required. For more information, visit aiken chamber.net.
Thursday, March 22
Business After Hours, 5 p.m., Aiken Municipal Building, 214 Park Ave. SW, Aiken. An opportunity for businesses to present themselves to the business community. For more information, visit aiken chamber.net.
Tuesday, March 27
Facebook 101: Planning & Scheduling, 11:45 p.m., 604 Ponder Place Drive, Evans. Lunch and learn series to learn how to create and run an effective ad campaign. Perfect for new and existing businesses. With step-by-step instructions. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.
Catch the Buzz! Get more on events and follow business and economic news across the CSRA at buzzon.biz.
CALLING ALL ENTREPRENEURS! ANNOUNCING the SOUTHEAST STARTUP CHALLENGE
Solve local issues and present your solution as a scalable business to compete for cash prizes! Registration open: MARCH 23 - 25 | www.SoutheastStartupChallenge.com
AUGUSTA’S INNOVATION NEWS
ENTREPRENEURSHIP 14. What have you learned from your competitors? I have learned that any business that is focused on customer service will be a success.
Christopher Crozier FOUNDER
15. What does a typical day involve for you? A typical day includes some morning routines, checking emails, and then following up with my customers. My customers are like family, so checking in and following up is my favorite part of the day.
1. What is the business? Mobile Mentors (www.mobilementors.co) is a service based company that is focused on technology. We want our customers to feel comfortable and confident with technology. We cultivate that confidence with in-home training, consultations, and a concierge service. 2. When did you found it? I founded Mobile Mentors in November, 2016. 3. Where is the business now? It’s been a little over a year; the business is building its client base and is still on the path to making the best technological experience for those in the CSRA. 4. What were you like in school? A mix of Class Clown and Prom King. 5. Any extra-curricular activities? I enjoy playing tennis, weekly game nights with friends, and I recently finished some introductory classes for sign language. 6. Any significant experiences/skills that influenced your business? I worked as a sales representative for a clothing company which enabled me to work closely with an entrepreneur and make websites. While working for the clothing company, I was also on staff with a church as a youth minister, which afforded me a leadership role and the opportunity to plan out my own workload. I have to credit my most impactful work experience to the five years I spent at Apple, Inc.. My time with Apple truly helped to hone my customer service skills and discover my passion for technology. 7. Any previous entrepreneurial experience? Lessons learned? Even at a young age, I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit, whether it was starting a lawn care business, selling things, or providing a service that others needed. I would say the biggest lesson I’ve learned is “Know Your Worth.”
16. Favorite entrepreneurs? Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, David Crozier (Grandfather).
CHRISTOPHER CROZIER 8. What appealed to you about entrepreneurship? I hadn’t considered being an entrepreneur, but I soon fell in love with the freedom, ownership, and the ability to make an impact in the field I’m passionate about. 9. How did you get the idea? I was relaxing at home when I had the idea of a tailored technology experience. After that, I began to sort out details; how everything would work if I made it into a business. Then, I slowly began pitching it to friends. 10. How has your idea progressed over time? After sitting on the idea for a few years, it has progressed to more than just training. Mobile Mentors has developed into website design and a concierge service to create a more enjoyable technology experience. 11. How did you fund the business? One of the great things about my business is that I have little to no overhead. I fund the business by taking appointments and working as a waiter on the weekends. 12. How did you market your business? In the past year, I have not advertised. All my business has come from word of mouth. 13. Who are your main competitors? My main competitors are Geek Squad, Savvy Senior Training, and Apple.
17. Best piece of advice? “You can fail at what you don’t want… so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love.”- Jim Carrey 18. What is next for your business? In the next year, I plan to hire a someone to help with client training, as well as website design and workshops. 19. What is next for you? I’m always learning more about technology, though I believe my next step will be taking that knowledge and moving it to an online video subscription service within the next year. 20. How has working out of theClubhou.se benefitted your company? Though I am new to theClubhou.se, I have benefitted greatly from the community of entrepreneurs that want to push you towards success.
WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER? VISIT www.theclubhou.se Would you like to schedule a tour? STOP BY 540 Telfair St. Augusta, GA EMAIL email@example.com
February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS CUSTOMER CARE IS THE TOP PRIORITY OF BUSINESS
BY MARK ALISON
“The purpose of business is to create and keep customers.” Those are the words of one of my favorites, Theodore Levitt, a Harvard Business School economist, in his 1983 book, Marketing Imagination. Peter Drucker made a similar statement 30 years earlier in his writing, The Practice of Management. Is it enough in today’s business climate? Here is a conversation I had recently. My old truck could use a makeover, so I stopped by a well-known paint and body shop. “Hi, I am thinking about painting that Chevy truck out front,” I smiled and gestured to the window. “Is there someone who can give me an estimate?” The receptionist looked up from filing her nails. “They are all at lunch, but I can tell you it will be more than $4,000,” she said. “Oh, ah, OK,” I said laughingly, thinking that was more than I expected. “Let’s assume that’s OK, what next?” “It could be $5,000 or $6,000,” she said, examining her nails. Curious to see where this was going, I nodded for her to continue. “It will be four to six weeks before we can get to it. We have a lot insurance work.” Now really interested and wondering if they even wanted my business, I pressed on. “Well, you have a good reputation, so I understand the delay ... .” She interrupted, “Mr. (Name on the door) will need to look at it first to determine if he will even do the job. He only puts his name on work that he feels good about.” “When can he look at it?” “I don’t know exactly when he will be back,” she said. “You might want to call when he is here.” Drucker would be rolling over in his grave. Here’s another one: While waiting for a takeout pizza, I overheard a guy talking about his fast-food place and how good his milkshakes were. I offered to share the experience I had at his restaurant. He nodded. “I stopped by (Brand Name) the other day. Can’t say the experience was great.” “What location did you go to?” he quickly asked. “The one off I-20.” “Oh, that’s not my store.”
Businesses must inspire their employees to feel the impact of their service on the individuals they serve.
The purpose of business today is to build a first-class relationship with customers. Quality employees are one of the keys to meeting that goal.
“Well, it’s your company brand,” I said, pushing on. “When I opened the bag, the burger was mashed, the meat was hanging out one side and it just looked like it had been stomped on.” “That wasn’t my store,” he insisted. “But it was your brand name. I bought another burger across the street at your competitor’s store, and it wasn’t mashed up.” “That’s because they have more employees so they can take the time to make a final product inspection before it goes through the window.” “Do you have more employees at your location?” I asked, trying to put this lop-
16 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
sided logic together. “No,” he wiggled on his stool, “But that was not my store, and I can’t comment on the way they do things.” “But after my experience with your store brand, I won’t be visiting any of your other stores,” I said. He stared at his beer. Another person at the bar told me I was being hard on this poor man and it wasn’t his fault my food was ugly. My pizza arrived, so I exited before the fight broke out. He missed the point entirely. The purpose of business today is different. Drucker and Levitt wrote their
definition long before the impact of social media. Now everyone has an instant contact with potential customers when business operates poorly. Business has to emphasize to all of its employees, and especially those in direct contact with the customer, that the purpose of business is to build a first-class relationship with the customers. This takes customer focus to a whole new level – not just serving, but putting employees and managers in the customer’s shoes. Businesses must inspire their employees to feel the impact of their service on the individuals they serve. Did you get that last sentence? It’s not just a paint job. It’s my truck and I love it. Show it some respect. It’s not just a burger. It’s what I choose to eat today, and I’m electing to pass by half-dozen competitors and give you half-an-hour of my wages for one of yours. Show me that matters. Curious about how your employees present your business? Give a couple of friends your “purpose criteria” and have them “secret shop” your store. I suggested this to a company executive once, and his response was, “I’d rather not know because I am sure we will have to make major changes.” Well, I can promise you there will be major changes coming if you don’t.
Mark Alison, the Business Accelerator, is an independent marketing counselor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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WHAT COLOR IS YOUR BUSINESS?
THE CLOTHES YOU WEAR SAY A LOT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS BY LIZ KLEBBA
Clients look at me like I have two heads when I ask them what effect the color of their clothing is having on their business. Marketers know that color is powerful. The colors of your logo are important, and the colors of the walls inside a business, so why not apply the same reasoning to the colors we wear? Color responsiveness is built into our bodies. Most of us have three different receptors (cones) in our eyes that allow us to see color, and humans have physical reactions when exposed to different hues. Red is an exciting or stimulating color that increases our appetite. Wearing red on a first date might be a good or bad idea, depending on the date! Fastfood restaurants often decorate with red in the order-taking zone or dress their employees in red. Stimulating your eyes to be bigger than your stomach benefits their bottom line! Bright yellow, on the other hand, can be irritating in large amounts, and when painted in the seating area will motivate you to eat quickly and leave to make room for new patrons. Every hue has emotional associations, some positive and some negative. Many of these associations are cultural, and even generational. A few are universal. The color of a clear blue sky is universally appealing. That blue tells us that we are not in danger from rain or lightning. Blue is the world’s favorite color. We associate blue with safety and security (no lightning!) and with dependability. There
The psychological connotations of colors are very important. Bright, saturated hues are generally considered optimistic and animated. Deeper shades are often taken more seriously.
is a good reason so many uniforms are blue. Police and firefighters’ uniforms immediately come to mind. As a negative, that blue dependability can also be seen as boring, lacking creativity or exacting. The rich green of vegetation is another universal. It feels secure and calming – we will not go hungry anytime soon. In the United States, green is losing its cultural connection with money. Many children have rarely seen paper money; plastic has taken over our lives. How many people do you know who never carry cash? Bright, saturated colors are most often associated with childhood. They are animated, optimistic and cheerful. The bright yellows, oranges, reds and pinks of our crayon box usually make us smile, but the connotation of childhood can give an
impression of being fickle, flighty or unstable. More subdued colors, on the other hand, lose some of those negative associations. Deeper mustards, rusts and wines (shaded versions of our yellow, orange and pink) are taken more seriously than their brighter siblings. If all this makes you want to run in fear and dress in neutrals, know that they, too, have positive and negative associations. Black, often thought of as chic and dignified, can also read as solemn, antagonistic and arrogant. Reputable and harmonious gray can seem unexceptional and detached. White, pure and modern, can also come across as clinical and uninteresting. Even friendly and welcoming brown takes a hit as mundane and overly practical.
If the psychological associations of colors are important, the concept of value contrast can have even more impact. Think of value as the lightness or darkness of a color (imagine seeing in grayscale). Outfits with a high-value contrast appear more authoritative and aggressive. Lower-contrast outfits make the wearer seem more friendly, welcoming and sympathetic. Let’s dress a lawyer in a dark suit, white shirt and red tie. This high-value contrast is perfect for the boardroom, a takeover bid or in court. But when the task at hand is mediating between soon-to-beex-spouses about child-custody issues, that same look can provoke a negative response and put both parties on the defensive. A lower-contrast brown suit, blue shirt and blue tie will come across as more approachable and composed. Think of value contrast and color as tools for your business toolbox. Make sure you have more than a hammer in there. Not every problem is a nail. Liz Klebba of CP Image is a trained image and wardrobe coach and skilled member of the Association of Image Consultants International. She helps clients express their personal style in a way that is integrated with their lifestyles and values, and she helps businesses finesse the tricky waters of employee dress issues with workshops, training and mediation. Contact her at info@closetplay. biz or 706.691.4298.
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18 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
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The Painted Pineapple is in Downtown Augusta! Come see us at 1022 Broad Street, Augusta, GA 706-426-8319 | www.thepaintedpineapple.com
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February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
BUSINESSPERSON OF THE MONTH
TV GENERAL MANAGER ENJOYS HIS SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE
BY GARY KAUFFMAN
“With all the technology available, the No. 1 place people go to for local news is television,” WRDW and WAGT Vice President and General Manager Mike Oates said. “We take a lot of pride in that.” Photo by Gary Kauffman
Mike Oates knows there’s a reason he didn’t die six years ago. For now, at least, part of that reason is to run the operations at the WRDW and WAGT television stations, based in North Augusta. Oates took over as vice president and general manager about a year ago after a long career on the sales end of the television business. “I’ve worn a lot of hats on the sales side,” he said. “But the general manager side was a different ball game. I had to familiarize myself with the news and news gathering process. And engineering – I’ll never get my arms around that, but I hire guys who can do it.”
Mike Oates WRDW, WAGT Hiring the right people is part of Oates’ goal as general manager. “Someone once told me, ‘Hire people smarter than you and let them do their job,’” he said. “I make decisions every day with the help of good people. I rely on the strength of others.” Oates has seen a lot of changes since he began working at the station in 1990, especially on the technology side. Shooting any story or commercial was at least a two-person job in those days, recording on ¾-inch videotape. Holding up a smartphone, Oates said, “Now we’re able to shoot and go to the air with one of these.” “The internet is a game changer,” he added. “There’s so much information out there. We’re able to do live Facebook, and we can point people to where they want to go (on the internet).” But one thing hasn’t changed in all those years. “With all the technology available, the No. 1 place people go to for local news is television,” Oates said. “We take a lot of pride in that.” Despite being part of a large company – Gray Television – Oates said WRDW and WAGT are local companies, which means being out in the community, both for news and sales. He enjoys some active involvement on the sales side. “I like to go out on sales calls,” he said. “That was my world. That’s the fun part of the job – going out and interacting with people.” Fun seems to be a good description of how Oates approaches his job.
“I look forward to coming to work,” he said. “I like what I’m doing, I like where I’m doing it and I like who I’m doing it with.” But there was a moment six years ago, as Oates lay face down on a trail, when another day of life looked doubtful. On Oct. 15, 2011, Oates, then 53, was training for a half-marathon. He’d completed 11 miles of a 12-mile run on a trail when a piece of plaque in an artery broke loose, completely blocking the artery and stopping his heart. He fell face down on the trail. Nearby, a Boy Scout troop was working on merit badges, and one of the Scouts spotted Oates. He reported it to his Scout leader, Geoff Dunklee, who was a combat ready nurse anesthetist in the Army. Dunkley performed CPR until the emergency responders arrived and began shocking Oates’ heart back into action. “Talk about angels in your path – he certainly was one,” Oates said. “It was a God incident every step of the way. It just wasn’t my time, and I lived to fight another day.” His wife, Penny, happened to drive by as he was being loaded into the ambulance, recognized his bright yellow shirt and stopped to see what had happened. She rode with him to the hospital. The incident changed both their lives and their perspectives. “We don’t take life for granted,” he said.
20 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
“We’re always grateful.” Oates stays active, although more through walking and biking now than running, and eats healthy. “I’m pretty healthy for a guy who had a heart attack and a pacemaker,” he said. He attributes a lot of that to the care he gets from his wife. “She makes sure I stay healthy,” he said. “She’s a big reason why I’m here and a bigger reason why I want to be here.” What are you passionate about in your business? Certainly there are business goals financially, and ratings are a big driver, but I want to be part of an organization that is making a difference. We’re charged and licensed to serve the community, and we take that seriously. If it’s advertising, we try to put something out there that the businessperson feels good about. If it’s a news story, it’s not just what happened but why it happened and how it will affect the viewers. If you do that, the ratings and revenues will take care of themselves. If one department is not good, the organization won’t be successful. How has your heart attack changed your approach to your business? When my cardiologist, Dr. Vishal Arora, heard about my promotion, he called and said, “Congratulations on the new job – delegate!” He said he knew the new job would have stress. I had a cardiology visit about three weeks ago, and he asked if I
was delegating. But you can only delegate and feel comfortable about it if you have good people. If you hire good people, you can teach them anything. How do you unwind? I’ve never been one to be wound real tight. I enjoy being home with my wife. I have a 22-year-old son who’s a senior at The Citadel, and I live vicariously through him a little bit. I used to golf, but I don’t want to spend time away from my family. My wife is my best friend, and we like to travel and work in the yard. We enjoy spending time together. She’s so smart. I discuss things with her and she gives good answers. We enjoy sports – I’m a South Carolina guy and she’s a Tennessee gal, and we’ve been arguing about that for years. How do you give back to the community? I’m on the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce board and on their government affairs committee. Various church things – I got out of my comfort zone a couple of years ago and started teaching second-graders in Sunday school. It’s comfort zone-busting, but it’s great. And the American Heart Association is a big part of what we do. Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do. What does the future hold for you? I’ll stay here as long as I’m doing a good job for them and I enjoy what I’m doing. Of course, I want to retire sometime, but I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish.
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Now accepting CSRA clients. Let a Nationally renowned business leader help your company. • Executive Leadership Strategy • Organizational Structure • Business Development • Peak Performance Dub Taylor did an excellent job of helping our Sales team understand how to reach Peak Performance Fast. He started by immediately immersing himself into our business, customer calls, and processes. He defined our current state, spent quality time with our leadership team, and recommended Key Areas which we need to focus to reach a transformational level of success. I suggest if your business is needing a sales boost, you hire Dub to get your organization to Peak Performance Fast. Greg Fields Duke Energy One Strategic Customer Solutions
email@example.com | Book your free coaching consultation at www.dubtaylorconsulting.com | 205-454-7242 February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
SOME DEDUCTIONS SURVIVED THE RECENT TAX REFORM BILL BY CHRISTINE HALL
While in the process of being approved, it was difficult to keep up with the various versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the new tax bill. Each branch of the government had its own version of the law, and although each one was similar, there were differences that were actually fairly significant. Now that the final bill has been passed, we can all get a clearer understanding of the new bill. Here are five of the deductions and credits that survived. 1. Mortgage Interest Deduction: While the House bill repealed the mortgage interest deduction, the final version of the act retained it, albeit with modifications. First, the allowed interest deduction is limited to mortgage principal of $750,000 on new homes (i.e., new ownership). For prior tax years, the limit on acquisition indebtedness was $1 million. Existing mortgages are grandfathered in, however, and taxpayers who entered into binding contracts before Dec. 15, 2017, to close on the purchase of a princi-
pal residence before Jan. 1, 2018, and who purchased such a residence before April 1, 2018, are able to use the prior limit of $1 million. 2. Personal Taxes: State and Local Income Tax, Sales Tax and Property Tax: In prior years, taxpayers who itemized were allowed to deduct the amount they paid in state and local taxes (SALT) from their federal tax returns. Slated for repeal (with the sole exception of a state and local property tax deduction capped at $10,000) under both the House and Senate versions of the tax bill, SALT remained in the final tax reform bill in modified form. As such, for taxable years 2018 through 2025, the aggregate deduction for property taxes, state, local and foreign income taxes, or sales taxes is limited to $10,000 a year ($5,000 married filing separately). 3. Educator Expense Deduction: Primary and secondary school teachers buying school supplies out-of-pocket are still able to take an above-the-line deduction of up to $250 for unreimbursed expenses. Expenses incurred for professional devel-
opment are also eligible. This deduction was made permanent with the passage of the PATH Act of 2015 and survived tax reform legislation that passed in 2017. 4. Plug-In Electric-Drive Vehicle Tax Credit: Also slated for elimination in the House bill (but retained in the final legislation) was the tax credit for the purchase of qualified plug-in electric-drive motor vehicles, including passenger vehicles and light trucks. For vehicles acquired after Dec. 31, 2009, the minimum credit is $2,500. The maximum credit allowed is limited to $7,500. The credit begins to phase out for a manufacturer’s vehicles when at least 200,000 qualifying vehicles have been sold for use in the United States (determined on a cumulative basis for sales after Dec. 31, 2009). 5. Medical Expense Threshold Amounts: The House version proposed a repeal of the itemized deduction related to medical expenses but it was retained (and temporarily lowered) in the final tax reform legislation. For tax years 2017 and 2018, the threshold amount for medical
expense deductions is reduced to 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Under the PATH Act of 2015, the medical expense deduction increased to 10 percent of AGI (effective for tax years 2013 to 2016). If you’re wondering whether you should be taking advantage of these and other tax credits and deductions, check with your tax preparer. Remember, these changes do not take effect until next filing season.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED WHEN YOU’RE READY TO QUIT Back to the future
BY DANIELLE HARRIS
When it comes to experiencing the best out of life, it’s going to take motivation, perseverance and ability. As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that anyone can have the ability to launch an idea, but it takes a will to stay in the fight when you’re emotionally and even financially spent. In other words, where there’s a will, there is a way, even when it seems like there is no way. Your success is predicated on how well you overcome and persevere through life’s setbacks. It’s not enough to just survive the difficult times; take the lessons learned and improve your personal effectiveness. Even in the darkest of times, motivate yourself to find a way to win. Below are four ways you can keep going when you’re ready to throw in the towel.
Stay focused on the “why”
Figure out the true purpose for what you’re starting and keep that as your focus. For example, when I hit a setback, I remind myself of the legacy I want to leave for my family and community. This is what gets me back up because I’m thinking of others and not myself.
Adjust your sails
As you sail on your journey to success, you might have to adjust your approach to certain tasks to make them more enjoyable. Just a simple change in how you perceive and handle your responsibilities can help you escape the mundane. So, try slowing down to ensure better quality
22 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
Your present situation might not be what you want, but you don’t have to stay stuck there.
in your work, or maybe find a way to make your projects more artsy. Even though you’ve changed your approach, you’ve also changed your perception and broadened your creativity.
Celebrate your strengths
One of the quickest ways to throw yourself into a slump is by dwelling on your shortcomings and comparing yourself to others. Trust me – you are a solution to someone’s problem, and you are a necessary component to your community. Although we all have areas in our lives that we would like to improve, spend more time focusing on your strengths and not your weaknesses. Your strength is where your creativity flows. Staying there mentally will increase your momentum.
When I need to do some self-motivating, I tell myself “I’m somewhere in my future, and I look a whole lot better than I look right now.” You can’t change what happened yesterday, and your present situation might suck. However, every problem must be solved, which is why we must begin visualizing a better future. Your future is untainted because it hasn’t happened yet. The opportunities to win are endless. So, get happy and stay positive. Something great is just around the corner. When it’s all said and done, you’re the only one who can keep yourself motivated. In life, our words of faith will be tested, but these tough moments make us stronger and wiser. Learn from each lesson and grow through what you’re going through. Danielle Harris is the CEO and founder of SDI, a leadership mentoring program for entrepreneurs. She earned her certification as a Personal Development Coach from the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute, an affiliate of the International Coach Federation. Reach her at 762.333.2868 or SDILeadership Academy@gmail.com.
“The key is early notification with an alarm and sprinkler system to protect from the loss of life and property.” -Gregg Key
THE KEY PROTECTION FOR AUGUSTA
ach year across the United States, tens of thousands of businesses are damaged or destroyed by fire, resulting in billions of dollars in damages and lost revenue. Even more significant, those fires claim the lives of more than 100 people each year, and injure many more. It is statistics like those that led Gregg Key to start Key Fire Protection Enterprises in 2009. “I love the fire protection industry and installing systems that help save people’s lives,” Key said. “I turned the passion I had for that to start a company to provide that service for the community.” Key started in the fire protection industry in the late 1970s. He was one of the first to graduate from the American Fire Sprinkler Association’s apprenticeship program and earned his National Institute of Certification in Engineering Technology (NICET) Level III in 1989. After a construction accident took him out of field work, he turned to management and became project manager in National Fire Protection in Washington, D.C. He later earned a NICET Level IV certification in engineering and design layout for sprinkler systems, the highest level attainable . He returned to Augusta to work with Augusta Fire Protection (later Century Fire Protection) and in 2008 briefly became a partner in Fire Tech. But he still dreamed of owning his own business, so in 2009 he began Key Fire Protection. “When the business started it was just me and my partner in a small office building doing service and inspection,” he recalled. “That first year we traveled the whole state.” Their first contract was with the Corps of Engineers at the Thurmond Dam. Key bought out his partner in 2014 and continues to pursue his passion. Key Fire Protection provides a variety of fire protection services that include the installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance of sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and Special hazards (Gas) systems. The company is licensed in Georgia and South Carolina and provides 24-hour emergency service. “We provide peace of mind that your system will work properly in the event of a fire,” Key said. “It protects the business and the lives of the employees.”
BY GARY KAUFFMAN
Key Fire Protection works with businesses of all sizes, from small companies to large industrial and commercial. Their bread and butter, though, is small businesses. But when Key began the business, he aimed for the highest standards. Key Fire Protection is one of only a few fire protection companies in Georgia with a state-approved four-year apprenticeship program. In fact, his department manager for service and inspections is one of his first graduates of the apprenticeship program. It is also one of the few in the industry to hold the highest possible licensing for fire protection services. In addition, they can install special hazards gas systems. “We’ve got some of the best qualified people in the state,” he said. From the time he formed the business, the people he employees have always been a top priority for Key. “I thought that in opening my own business I would provide a place where people can work and learn the industry, but also be a place for them to provide for their families,” Key said. And the 30 employees are treated like family. Cookouts and an annual deep sea fishing trip are among the perks they receive. It is that concern for his own employees that drives Key to excel at the fire protection business, and why he urges businesses to comply fully with the annual state-mandated fire system inspections. “Life safety is No. 1,” he said. A fire alarm system’s primary function is life safety, to alert employees of the danger and give them time to evacuate. A sprinkler system has the dual function of life safety and protecting the structure, even when no one is inside. With a properly functioning sprinkler system, a fire can be contained quickly and minimize loss to a small percentage of the building and product. “Most fires can be put out with a small amount of water if they’re caught early,” Key said. “The key is early notification with an alarm and sprinkler system to protect from the loss of life and property.” To schedule inspection, testing or maintenance of your fire protection system, contact Key Fire Protection at 706-790-3473. Key Fire Protection is located at 3200 Mike Padgett Highway.
INSTALLATION | INSPECTION | SERVICE | MONITORING • 24HR SERVICE • FIRE ALARM • FIRE SPRINKLER • SECURITY SYSTEMS • FIRE PUMP • SECURITY CAMERAS • BACKFLOWS • ACCESS CONTROL • CLEAM AGENT
February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
A COMMON GOAL
CHAMBER STRIVES TO BUILD A VIBRANT NORTH AUGUSTA BY KEVIN TOOLE
My term as the chairman of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s (NACC) Board of Directors began in January 2016, and quite frankly, I had no idea what I was getting into. At that point, I had been active in the Chamber as both an ambassador and a board member for about eight years, so I thought I had a handle on what the Chamber did and how it worked. I quickly found out that my prior experience only scratched the surface of how much this organization means to this community. So, what does the NACC mean to the community? Part of the answer to that can be found in the many programs that the Chamber offers to educate, inform and provide networking opportunities to our members. Another part of it can be found in the advocacy that the Chamber does on behalf of all businesses in our area (whether members or not) at all levels of government. From working with the city to make it easier to do business in North Augusta, to traveling to Washington, D.C., to advocate for SRS, Fort Gordon, the lock and dam or common-sense business reforms, the NACC is actively and aggressively working to improve an already great community.
On April 20, come find out what the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce is all about.
These things are important, and the Chamber spends a lot of time and energy doing them (and does them very well), but what really makes the NACC such an important part of this community is its ability to connect folks from every part of our community and empower them to work toward a common goal – creating a strong, healthy and vibrant North Augusta. There are many fine groups in our community working toward some portion of
this goal, but I would argue that there is no single organization in our community that works as hard to pull all of these groups together as does the NACC! The normal thing to do in a letter such as this is to tout all of the wonderful accomplishments that were made under my leadership. Over the past two years, the Chamber did accomplish many things that helped build on what makes North Augusta the amazing place that it is, but I had very little to do with most of those things. The truth is, being the Chairman is an easy job because of the wonderful staff and volunteers who do the real work. Our board has made significant strides in firming up the Chamber’s financial situation. It has worked hard and made progress on restructuring the Chamber to ensure that we are focused on the things that the community most needs us to do. The Chamber has partnered with the Aiken County Public School District’s Aiken Works program that connects students with local businesses to ensure that
our students are prepared for our community’s future workforce needs. Our Ambassador Council continues to work hard to engage and connect our members to make sure they are being provided with the tools, connections and programs that they need to be the best that they can be. All of these things don’t happen by accident. They take leadership, time and resources. As my term as chairman comes to an end and I reflect on the past two years, I am struck by how much more we could have done with more leaders committing more time and resources to our Chamber. As is so often the case when someone works towards a goal bigger than themselves, I can sincerely say that my time as chairman has provided much more to me than I put into it. I am proud of what was accomplished during my term and excited about our future. Though I will no longer serve as Chairman, I will continue to serve our community through the NACC, and I urge you to do the same! Kevin Toole served as board chairman for the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce in 2016-2017.
PROTECT THE MESSAGE
INTERNET COMMUNICATION CREATES RISKS TO CONFIDENTIALITY BY EDWARD TARVER
In today’s environment of varying cyber capabilities, it is extremely important to protect privileged business information. Does your business use the internet to send privileged communications or confidential information? Does transmitting privileged communications or confidential information over the internet constitute a waiver of privilege or confidentiality – even if the internet communication was with legal counsel? More than ever before, businesses are incorporating the convenience and speed of the internet into their daily business practices. It is common to send and receive sensitive information and, very often, privileged communications over the internet without encryption. In most cases, these sensitive communications are received by the intended target. However, what happens when
Failing to properly protect electronic communications, or merely sending one errant e-mail, can trigger a dreadful chain reaction. sensitive information is unintentionally misdirected? Communications sent over the internet are exposed to risks to confidentiality. The risks to a business, its employees and its reputation are very real. Failing to properly protect electronic communications,
24 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
or merely sending one errant e-mail, can trigger a dreadful chain reaction. Remember, when communicating with your attorney, the principle of attorneyclient privilege occurs where legal advice is sought from an attorney in his or her capacity as such and the communication relates to the purpose made in confidence by the client. Where not waived, the privilege is permanently protected. However, the American Bar Association has indicated that it is the “made in confidence” element that is waived by disseminating the communication to an outside party or too widely disseminating beyond a need to know group. The attorney-client privilege does not protect from disclosure statements made by a client to his lawyer in the presence of a third party. Does an errant keystroke or unintended “reply all” to a group email or
text result in the unintentional waiver of privilege or confidentiality? Consider the wise advice of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who said, “Never talk when you can nod and never nod when you can wink, and never write an email, because it’s death. You’re giving prosecutors all the evidence we need.” Ed Tarver is a former U.S. attorney who also served in Georgia’s Legislature for more than four years as the state senator for District 22. Ed and J. Edward Enoch formed Enoch Tarver P.C. in 2017 and represent individuals, businesses and governmental entities in employment, contract, personal injury, general civil litigation and other matters. Ed is married to Dr. Carol Thompson Tarver and both have two children. Reach Ed at 706.738.4141.
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February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
LEADERS UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF COMMUNICATION BY STACY ROBERTS
Have you ever had the opportunity to work with a team that communicated seamlessly? Be honest. That was probably one of the best work environments you’ve ever had. People enjoy going to work when there is little to no confusion and everyone works together to achieve a common goal. One of the main reasons we see conflict arising in an organization is the lack of communication. Great leaders are effective communicators who understand the power of their teams receiving clear instructions and working together to contribute to the success of their organizations. Here are five ways to communicate effectively: Listen. One of the most powerful tools in communication is good listening skills. When someone brings a concern to you, listen to really hear what they are saying – and not only to respond. By clearly listening to the message that is being delivered, we can effectively move toward a resolution. Don’t assume. Ask questions. This is a major problem in communication. Let’s be honest: We all have been guilty of assuming, and good things don’t usually come of it. When we assume what some-
A good communicator must be aware of how messages will be received, no matter whether those messages are written or spoken.
one was thinking or even misinterpret what was said, unnecessary conflict can surface within our organizations. Also, before you assume, take time to ask questions concerning what you don’t understand. Speak and be clear. Avoid ambiguity; say what you mean. Be thorough in your explanations and directions. Your teams will have questions, but when there is constant confusion with your instructions, evaluate how you communicate. Don’t assume that people are mind-readers and always understand what you mean. Be mindful of written communication. How many times have you read an email and the sender’s tone seemed off or you didn’t fully understand what was
being said? I love written communication because it is very useful for documentation purposes and getting messages across. However, I have realized that some individuals don’t possess effective written communication skills. Understand that written messages don’t allow readers to see your facial expressions or hear the tone of your voice. By being aware of how our messages can be received, we can be sure to do our part in communicating clearly in written form. A good practice is sending an email that summarizes a verbal meeting that occurred in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Work on communicating well. Everyone has room for improvement in the
area of communication. It truly requires consistent growth and development. If you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of your words or messages, you probably should think about changing how you communicate. Great leaders understand the power of how they communicate with their teams. By mastering the art of communication, leaders can maintain a peaceful work environment, achieve productivity and profitability within their organizations and obtain success in other areas of their professional and personal lives. Stacy Roberts is president of SMR Leadership Solutions LLC. As an executive coach with extensive HR and corporate leadership experience, she assists in providing leadership coaching and training. She also authored Boomer, Be Nice and Roscoe’s Rescue. She believes that leadership skills can be taught to help children develop into successful adults. Contact her at email@example.com.
LIFE COACHES HELP CLIENTS BUILD ON THEIR STRENGTHS BY GARY KAUFFMAN
Have you got life all figured out? Unless you’re pretty amazing, the answer is no. Face it, if you’re doing things right, life is hard – and even harder if you aren’t doing things right. That’s where a life coach can help. A life coach is trained in various areas that people deal with in life, like relationships, finances, stress, leadership, grief or spiritual issues – usually specializing in one or two – and helping people improve in those areas. A life coach is not a counselor. The main difference is that a counselor generally will look at past issues and how to overcome them, while a life coach looks to the present or future and helps a client develop strengths and strategies for success. In fact, anyone who has ever had a coach in a sport knows how much a coach can help bring out the best in a person and create successful outcomes. While a life coach has a lot of knowl-
A coach can help bring out the best in a person.
edge, his or her main job is not to tell the client what to do. Rather, he or she will help clients think through their issues, identify goals they want to accomplish and then coach them in ways to successfully reach those goals. Some goals are about making a life
26 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
change – decreasing stress, for example – while others are about simply building up an area – such as taking a marriage from good to great. A big part of the coach’s job is to hold the client accountable for the things he or she has committed to doing to reach those goals. Since the goals are set by the clients, they are usually motivated to do what’s needed to reach them. But even motivated people need someone to hold them accountable – in our busy lives it’s far too easy to become distracted and wander away from where we want to go. You might wonder why someone would pay a life coach to help them develop strengths, set goals and hold them accountable. Let’s face it: We place our money in the things we value, and we value things we place our money in. If someone hands you a ticket to a free concert, you might or might not go; if you pay $75 for a ticket, you’re going to find a way to go.
And while not everyone needs a counselor, everyone can benefit from a coach. Next month, some of the greatest golfers in the world will be coming to Augusta – with their coaches. They realize that there’s always something they can get better at, and often it takes an outside perspective to see it, another brain to help think through how to achieve it and hold them accountable to actually work through the steps it takes to reach the goal. A life coach does the same thing. Although few of us will be able to help you correct your slice, we can help keep you out of the sand traps of life.
In addition to serving as editor of Buzz on Biz, Gary Kauffman is also a Christian life coach working from an office in Martinez. Contact him at 803.341.5830
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COMBINE OPTIONS TO BUILD YOUR COLLEGE FUNDING PLAN BY KURT MUELLER
College costs continue to skyrocket, moving at a pace that far exceeds the rate of inflation. But there is a bright side to planning for college expenses, and it’s getting a little brighter all the time – thanks to federal tax breaks that can make paying for college more affordable. The key point to remember is that you can create a college funding plan brick by brick, by combining a variety of investment accounts, tax benefits and financial aid sources. Here is a quick guide to get you going: 529 Plans: State-sponsored versions of these plans are now available in all 50 states, and you aren’t limited to the plan in your own state. In a 529 Plan, you set aside after-tax dollars on behalf of a beneficiary, and earnings grow on a taxdeferred basis. Distributions are not taxed if taken for qualifying education expenses. As the account owner, you maintain control of the account and may change beneficiaries, subject to restrictions. In addition to state-sponsored plans, private colleges also may set up a form of qualified tuition plan that allows tuition to be prepaid. Education Savings Accounts: These accounts allow annual after-tax contribu-
tions of up to $2,000 per child per year. Distributions made for qualifying education expenses are tax-free, and the costs of high school or elementary school tuition may qualify. Loans or Withdrawals from Permanent Life Insurance: Parents often find it convenient to fund part of college costs by taking loans or withdrawals from permanent life insurance contracts – i.e., life insurance with a cash value. In most contracts, loans may be taken tax-free. Traditional IRA Withdrawals: If you have a traditional IRA, you can make penalty-free withdrawals for the purposes of paying qualifying college expenses for your child, grandchild or spouse (or even yourself ). Ordinary income tax will apply on the amount withdrawn. Roth IRA Withdrawals: If you have a Roth IRA, you can make income taxfree and penalty-free withdrawals equal to your contributions (i.e., basis). Withdrawals in excess of your basis are distributions of earnings and are subject to ordinary income taxes unless you are over age 59½ and your Roth IRA has been open for at least five years; however, the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty will not apply if the withdrawal is used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.
Federal Tax Credits: Many parents can use federal tax credits to meet a portion of their children’s educational costs. The American Opportunity Tax Credit applies in the first four years of post-secondary education. It’s a tax credit of up to $2,500 and applies to the cost of tuition, fees and course materials. Up to 40 percent of the credit (a maximum of $1,000) is refundable, meaning even if you owe no income tax for the year, you can get up to $1,000 back from the government if you qualify for this type of credit. Deductible Interest on Student Loans: If your child needs education loans and you repay them, you may qualify to deduct up to $2,500 of the loan interest per year. Employer-provided Education Benefits: Some companies have set up programs that allow the organization to contribute education benefits on behalf of workers and their children. Federal law currently allows up to $5,250 of employer-provided education benefits to be excluded from taxable income. Financial Aid: Today, more and more students are applying for financial aid. In most cases, students must demonstrate financial need to qualify for this type of assistance.
Time Is On Your Side: The more time you have to save money for educational expenses, the better your chances of meeting your financial goals may be. Keep in mind, too, that the tax benefits and financial aid mentioned above might not be available to everyone. Your qualification for some of these might depend on your modified adjusted gross income. Your financial professional can help you learn more – and help you identify specific solutions that might work best to help you reach your long-term financial goals, based on your personal situation.
Kurt Mueller is an independent financial advisor for the Consolidated Planning Group and worked on preparation of this article with The Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America. The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents or employees do not give tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your individual situation. To make an appointment with Kurt, call 803.671.8792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUCCESS HAPPENS WHEN ‘WE’ IS GREATER THAN ME BY DAGAN SHARPE
My pastor is speaking on a theme that says “we > me.” And it has triggered a realization that shouldn’t come as a surprise – teaming is not easy. In fact, it is quite difficult, but when any team unites under a common goal – well, we all know what can happen. I was watching my son’s baseball coach recently work to bring a new team together. For just one season, he is leading to teach a bunch of middle school boys how to begin thinking as a team rather than as individuals. Why? Because he wants to win, and any team coach knows, you can’t win when you have a bunch of “me” players. However, in life, we approach winning quite differently. Much of the time, life and work center around a “me” mentality. This happens because we begin to define success in terms of how much we get, or reap.
The irony is that someone can be rich materially one day and flat broke the next, or rich materially and broken relationally. Success is not merely reaping and getting. The goal for all of us is to try and not forget what we learned as kids – that we must learn to play in the sandbox together, share our toys and learn to cooperate as a team, despite our differences. That makes teaming hard. So, what do we do? We must begin by redefining success and wealth. To be truly successful and wealthy involves more than mere money and trophies collected. It’s about relationships and working together for a common good. Thankfully, we can all learn to do this in our own way. We can all find ways how our work, our skills and our resources can begin to be used to help others pursue their dreams and goals. We become mentors as we seek
28 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
to apply all that we have and begin reaching beyond ourselves. Clearly, it is up to us as individuals to boldly begin breaking down these silos we are tempted to construct around us, both professionally and relationally. When we learn to do this, practice it and eventually do it well, we win championships that are shared by all, not just one.
Dagan Sharpe is senior vice president of Queensborough National Bank & Trust and the author of a stewardship book, Bank On It. Email him at email@example.com.
Success is about more than wealth. It’s about building solid relationships and working together toward a common goal.
February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
TIME FOR HEALTH INFORMATION REPORTING
MEDICARE PART D DISCLOSURES DUE BY MARCH 1 BY RUSSELL HEAD
CRITICAL THINKING IS A VALUABLE TOOL IN THE WORKPLACE BY MISSIE USRY
Critical thinking is a higher-level cognitive skill that many professors look for in a college student. The expectation is that students will give more than a simple description of a topic; professors hope their students will evaluate and explain the application of what they have learned in a subject area, offering examples. This is such an important concept that Georgia Military College is spending a great deal of time incorporating critical thinking into the curriculum of courses as the quality enhancement plan for accreditation purposes. Beyond subject matter, critical thinking is a valuable tool in the workplace. An employee’s strong reasoning skills to analyze, infer, induce, evaluate and deduce information means he or she is a stronger problem-solver and strategic planner. Employers want staff members who can ask the question “if this, then this” to determine possible solutions to issues. The first reasoning skill, known as analysis, according to Georgia Military College’s Professor Aman Kay, is defined as the process of taking a look at a subject to evaluate its major elements, connecting elements to each other, comparing them with similar subjects, making a sound judgement and drawing conclusions. Additionally, in critical thinking, inference is having the ability to view information from a variety of angles to create an argument using evidence. Induction is the ability to make a decision by creating an argument in a situation that is not clearly defined. Evaluation is the process of checking
facts, data, inferences and conclusions to ensure an argument is credible. Deduction helps us make a decision by creating an argument in a clearly defined situation. These reasoning skills come in handy in everyday life as well. “Fake news” has been in the forefront of media and is spread rampantly because people are not using critical thinking skills. Rather than taking printed news or social media content to heart, use critical thinking to research facts and analyze the validity of the information before drawing conclusions or sharing it with a friend or family member. Just because it is in print or has been shared through someone you trust, doesn’t mean the information is true. The next time you hear new information, take an extra few moments to stretch your critical thinking skills. Check facts. Do your research. You might find that stretching your critical thinking skills keeps you from spreading fake news or helps you to make a better decision at work. 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 gmcaugusta.com.
30 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
Employers with health plans that provide prescription drug coverage to individuals who are eligible for Medicare Part D are subject to certain disclosure requirements. One of these requirements provides that plan sponsors must disclose to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on an annual basis and at other select times, whether the plan’s prescription drug coverage is creditable or noncreditable. This disclosure is required regardless of whether the health plan’s coverage is primary or secondary to Medicare. The plan sponsor must complete the online disclosure within 60 days after the beginning of the plan year. For calendar year health plans, the deadline for the annual online disclosure is March 1.
Online Disclosure Method
Plan sponsors are required to use the online disclosure form on the CMS Creditable Coverage web page (found at cms.gov/medicare/prescription-drug-coverage/creditablecoverage/index.html?redirect=/creditablecoverage). This is the sole method for compliance with the disclosure requirement, unless the entity does not have Internet access. The disclosure form lists the required data fields that must be completed in order to generate the disclosure notice to CMS, including the types of coverage, the number of options offered, creditable coverage status, the period covered by the disclosure notice, the number of Part D-eligible individuals covered, the date the creditable coverage disclosure notice is provided to Part D-eligible individuals, and the change in creditable coverage status.
A group health plan’s prescription drug coverage is considered creditable if its actuarial value equals or exceeds
the actuarial value of standard Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. In general, this actuarial determination measures whether the expected amount of paid claims under the group health plan’s prescription drug coverage is at least as much as the expected amount of paid claims under the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. Employers may want to consult with their benefits advisor or an actuary to make sure that their determinations are accurate. For plans that have multiple benefit options (for example, PPO, HDHP and HMO), the creditable coverage test must be applied separately for each benefit option.
Disclosures to Individuals
In addition to the annual disclosure to CMS, group health plan sponsors must disclose to individuals who are eligible for Medicare Part D whether the plan’s prescription drug coverage is creditable. Some employers provide the creditable coverage disclosure notice to all participants with their annual open enrollment materials to simplify their compliance duties. In addition to providing the notice each year before Oct. 15, plan sponsors should consider including the notice in plan enrollment materials provided to new hires. CMS has provided model disclosure notices on its website for plan sponsors to use when disclosing their creditable coverage status to Medicare beneficiaries. Russell T. Head is CEO of Head Capital Advisors, an Acrisure agency partner, and Augusta’s largest employee benefits brokerage. He can be reached at 706.733.3459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicholson Revell LLP is pleased to announce
A. Dixon Revell
has joined the firm as an associate. Dixon graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University College of Law in 2016. While at Georgia State, Dixon was a member of the Moot Court team that won the 2015 Georgia Intrastate Moot Court Competition. Dixon also served as Managing Editor for the Georgia State University Law Review. Prior to attending law school, he graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in History and worked as a recruiter for a private staffing firm in Augusta. During law school, Dixon clerked for the Honorable John J. Ellington of the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Honorable Frank M. Hull of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Before joining Nicholson Revell LLP, Dixon was an associate with Troutman Sanders LLP in Atlanta. While working in Troutman’s Business Litigation practice, Dixon represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of civil litigation matters, including: business disputes, breach of contract, ERISA, and fraud and misrepresentation claims. Dixon’s experience will add to the firm’s focus in civil litigation, such as serious personal injury, products liability, and property rights.
Nicholson Revell LLP
Gateway Professional Center • 4137 Columbia Road • Augusta, GA 30907
w w w. n i c h o l s o n r e v e l l . c o m
February 23-March 29, 2018 Buzz on Biz
HISTORY COMES TO LIFE
OLD DOWNTOWN FACTORY FINDING NEW LIFE AS APARTMENTS BY WITT WELLS
The former handkerchief and shirt factory on Ellis Street that was converted into a nightclub and served as art studios for years will soon be renovated again and converted into loft apartments, according to the owner. Bryan Haltermann, the president of development company Haltermann Partners Inc., bought the 943 Ellis St. building for $320,000 in September 2017. Haltermann said construction on the project will begin this spring and will likely be completed in early 2019. The three-story building will contain 12 lofts of approximately 1,000 square feet per unit. “My specialty is renovating historic buildings,” said Haltermann, who owns around 20 commercial properties in the area, including the apartment complex at 901 Broad St. that is slated to be finished in September. Haltermann said the Ellis Street factory’s authentic loft construction is rare in the central business district, and he wants to preserve its defining characteristics as he brings the factory back to life as a collection of residences. True lofts are marked by poured concrete floors and walls, high ceilings, original metal factory windows and the absence of columns, said Haltermann, all features which characterize old factories that have a history of industrial use. The building was constructed in 1939 as a Marks Manufacturing handkerchief and shirt factory, according to the records
The building at 943 Ellis St. in downtown Augusta, a former shirt factory, will be converted into 12 loft apartments, says owner Bryan Haltermann. Photo by Gary Kauffman
of Historic Augusta, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting historic sites in the area. Such historic value can provide developers with a large incentive to renovate structures such as the Ellis Street factory, which hasn’t consistently housed a business since it officially closed in 1975. Georgia, among other states, provides tax incentives that are available to property owners who rehabilitate historic properties. Owners of properties that will function as for-profit institutions get a state tax credit equal to 25 percent of the rehabili-
tation expenses, plus a 20 percent federal tax credit. “It can make a very big impact on small and large projects,” said Robyn Anderson, preservation services director for Historic Augusta. “It can get some interesting investors up to the plate.” Anderson is handling the tax credit approval for the project and making sure state and federal requirements for preservation are fulfilled. She said the review for the project’s status as a proper rehabilitation of a historic property for tax credit approval is still in process, but such projects typically receive “preliminary ap-
proval” reliant on evidence in the form of photos after the rehabilitation has been completed. Anderson said she’s “not anticipating anything being out of the ordinary on this one.” “The key is keeping in mind those existing features, any of those things that essentially make it historical,” she said. “Bryan is keeping all of those windows. They’re phenomenal.” As is the case with many similar buildings around the country that were eventually abandoned, the factory’s structural design has made it an attractive workspace for artists. In 1997, metal worker Daniel Foreman began using the building as a studio and opened a nightclub called Club Continuum two years later. The club closed in 2002, and the building has since housed several other local artists. The former factory is most easily recognized by the westward-facing “Augusta I Love You” mural that was painted at the base of the building by artists Leonard “Porckchop” Zimmerman, Troy Campbell and Brian Stewart in 2015. Anderson said she has completed or has been working on 17 renovations of historic properties in Augusta since January of last year, but that there are potentially thousands of viable historic properties throughout Augusta. “It’s only been the last several years that property owners have been aware of these incentives,” Anderson said. “Just getting that information out is so important.”
BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE
THE CHEAPEST OPTION COULD BE THE MOST COSTLY BY TONY CREIGHTON
As a commercial property manager, addressing problems can be a large part of your daily schedule. With issues seemingly flying at you from all directions, why create more stress for yourself by choosing the wrong contractor for exterior cleaning? Question: How do you go about choosing the wrong contractor? Answer: Usually by looking solely for the lowest price and not taking into consideration all the things that will minimize the risk of headaches. The right exterior cleaning contractor knows the role of a commercial property manager (PM) and has the knowledge
and commercial property experience to help solve his or her problem, making the job easier and hassle-free! The right contractor has the proper equipment and experience to efficiently clean surfaces such as concrete sidewalks, siding and windows without causing damage. Concrete can be scarred and damaged by trying to remove chewing gum or stains with high-pressure washing. Instead, the experienced, properly equipped contractor knows to use hot water, combined with special detergents and a controlled amount of pressure to melt gum and remove grease. Frequently, an inexperienced contrac-
32 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
tor tries to clean surfaces by blasting away with a pressure washer, which can permanently damage window seals, scar vinyl siding or blow water under siding or door jambs. These issues will quickly create a headache for the PM, who now has to deal with fixing those costly problems. For a commercial PM, getting the required work done within the allotted budget is always a priority. A knowledgeable PM knows that a professional, experienced and licensed contractor can be a better solution, even though it might be more expensive than a “deal” found on Craigslist or from a flimsy sign stapled to a telephone pole. In the long run, the cheaper option will
have an impact on the budget – and not in a good way. Just remember, if you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.
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 email@example.com.
CHAMBER GIVES AWARDS, RECOGNIZES NEW LEADERSHIP FROM STAFF REPORTS
The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its 13th annual Banquet and Business Showcase at the Columbia County Exhibition Center. With an estimated attendance of 600 local, state and federal business leaders, the event celebrated and saluted the Chamber’s accomplishments of 2017 while looking ahead to 2018. The evening kicked off with the business showcase and reception. Chamber President and CEO Tammy Shepherd highlighted the successes of the Chamber in 2017 and the prospects for a brighter future. Shepherd and 2017 Board of Directors Chairman Shawn Vincent, of Augusta University, presented the awards for Ambassador of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, respectively, to Doressa Hawes, of Augusta Magazine, and Nicole Hayes, of Jan-Pro Augusta/Aiken. A highlight of the evening was the ceremonial passing of the flag of leadership from Vincent to 2018 Chairman Robbie Moore, an executive vice president with Blanchard & Calhoun Insurance. In his remarks, Moore expressed his
appreciation to the Board for the confidence it has shown in him and relayed his goals and aspirations for the upcoming year. During the program, the Chamber presented several prestigious awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. Given annually since 2005, the award seeks to honor one leader of the community for his or her professional and philanthropic achievements. This year’s award winner, Dr. Tom Clark, was recognized for his community service as executive director of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon, along with his extensive and decorated military career and his volunteer efforts within the Chamber. In other awards, the Chamber named Allen-Batchelor Construction as Business of the Year, and Premier Networx was tabbed the Small Business of the Year. The Leadership Columbia County Alumni Award went to former Chamber Chair Angela Brock, of The Cleveland Group CPAs. The 13th annual Banquet and Business Showcase was presented by South State Bank.
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AREA CHEF PLANS TO OPEN UPSCALE RESTAURANT BY WITT WELLS
An Augusta area chef has set a high bar for his new Columbia County restaurant concept that is slated to open this spring. After spending the last 11 years learning under several European and local chefs, Justin Hayes, the executive chef at Jones Creek Golf Club and Columbia County-based caterer Katerwerks, is preparing to open a new “modern American fusion cuisine” restaurant called Cork & Flame. Hayes, who will be Cork & Flame’s executive chef and one of a few partners in the LLC, said the restaurant will set a new standard for fine dining in Columbia County. He wants to open it before the start of the Masters Tournament this year. “We’re looking at being the premiere Columbia County upscale restaurant but with some style behind it, so it’s not stuffy at all,” Hayes said. Cork & Flame will be at 4414 Evans to Locks Road, at the site of The Vineyard Wine Market. The wine shop will be moved next door, upgraded and incorporated into Cork & Flame as part of a single culinary experience. Hayes described his vision for Cork & Flame as “the grand experience of going out and eating at a restaurant as what it should be.” His vision of the concept encapsulates, among other things, his desire for a menu without bounds, as long as the food patrons consume is sourced properly and cooked with excellence. The 3,500 square-foot Cork & Flame (a 2,400 square-foot restaurant space and 1,100 square-foot wine shop) will seat about 60 people and will feature an industrial open kitchen layout, Argentine-style grills, a full bar, a chef ’s table dining experience, a private room seating 25-30 people, and a high-end wine shop and wine bar complete with wine on tap. Three to five courses will be the standard in the dining room, with traditional tapas at the bar. Hayes is also working with local potter Harrison Hickman of Hickman Pottery to bring in over 1,500 pounds of clay for the dinnerware. Hayes said The Vineyard’s coming under a new name is “not a farewell by any means” for the wine market, which opened 13 years ago. “On my side, I don’t know if a whole lot will change other than we’ll be able to do more foods,” said Roger Strohl,
Justin Hayes will be the executive chef and a partner in Cork & Flame, an upscale restaurant that will open at 4414 Evans to Locks Road in Columbia County. He envisions a menu without bounds and wants to be open in time for this year’s Masters Tournament. Photo by Witt Wells
“We’re looking at being the premiere Columbia County upscale restaurant but with some style behind it, so it’s not stuffy at all.” – Executive Chef Justin Hayes the owner of The Vineyard. “We’ll be able to have small plates over there, and you can go around and get tastings of different wines.” Hayes’ inspiration for Cork & Flame was shaped by a wide variety of culinary and cultural influences that started in downtown’s food and beverage scene in the early 2000s. After developing a love for creating high-quality food during stints at a few local restaurants, Hayes began to study under the late Heinz Sowinski, who was the widely respected and talented head
34 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
chef at La Maison, where Hayes became Heinz’ sous-chef. Hayes continued honing his craft at 5 O’Clock Bistro and Edgar’s Grille, where he became executive chef under Master Chef Marcel Biro, who had become the youngest Master Chef in Europe at age 24. Biro then introduced Hayes to his own mentor, Robert Rauh, for whom Hayes worked for several months at Rauh’s restaurant Mañana in Plauen, Germany, before returning to Augusta. “With my travels through Germany
and the chefs that I’ve worked under in the past, they’ve always had influences from other countries that took their cuisine to the next level,” Hayes said. Around a year after returning to the United States, Hayes became the executive chef at Jones Creek Golf Club, where he co-founded Katerwerks and management and consulting firm JCI Management with the club’s general manager, Ray Mundy. It was then that a few of Hayes’ friends in the food business came to them, eager for a restaurant in Columbia County that would redefine culinary standards in a region that was lacking innovative fine-dining options. Soon after the 2017 Masters Tournament, the idea that would become Cork & Flame began to take shape. “Did I always know that I wanted to own or run restaurants?” Hayes said. “Absolutely not. Did I know that it was a passion? For sure.”
HILDEBRANDT’S OFFERS NOSTALGIA ALONGSIDE GREAT SANDWICHES BY MILLIE HUFF
I’m always surprised to meet long-term Augustans who have never eaten at or heard of Hildebrandt’s. In full disclosure, I lived here for about 15 years before I “discovered” it. Now, nothing makes me happier than introducing newbies to what is truly an Augusta institution, ranked right up there with my other lunch favorites: WifeSaver, Fat Man’s Café and Sunshine Bakery. Its location is slightly off-the-beatenpath on Sixth Street between Broad and Ellis streets, but where else can you see a train run up the middle of the street during your lunch hour? Street parking and a lot across the street make it easy to get in and out in an hour. A first-time visit to Hildebrandt’s is always a surprisingly unique experience. Stepping into the restaurant feels like stepping back in time, as very little has changed in decades. Owned and operated by four generations of the Hildebrandt family since 1879, when it opened as a grocery store, the décor and architecture are nostalgic of a simpler era, before supermarkets offered 25 brands of coffee and an entire aisle of boxed cereals. An antique wooden counter dominates the space, and walls are lined with shelves of food basics and small antiques for sale. The old-style wooden tables and chairs with colorful placemats made me feel that I was having lunch in my grandmother’s kitchen, except I was eating fabulous delistyle sandwiches rather than the Southern fare my grandmother lovingly prepared. I’m proud to say I was the first to introduce my two lunch companions to Hildebrandt’s in the past and they were eager to come along for my “review” lunch. While both gentlemen prefer traditional burger joints or barbecue, they both were satisfied by Hildebrandt’s menu filled
The Rachel sandwich is a turkey Rueben served on toasted rye bread with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. With the Hildebrandt’s potato salad and a pickle on the side, it’s a winner. Photo by Millie Huff
Hildebrandt’s Food Price Location Networking Noise Level Hildebrandt’s is at 226 Sixth St. and is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Reach it by calling 706722-7756 or visit its website at dasdeli.us.
with German-influenced sandwiches. The sandwiches are made with lean meats and fresh bread. The side choices are tempting and vary by day, but the always-delicious German potato salad is on the menu daily. Homemade desserts are also offered and are rumored to be delicious, especially the peach cobbler. Guests are always greeted warmly upon entering, often by Luanne, the current owner and great-great niece of the original owner. Orders are placed at a counter and then promptly delivered to your
chosen seat. We were later than the lunch crowd and easily found a table. Bottled sodas, tea, water and lemonade are self-serve toward the back of the restaurant, which gives customers a chance to peruse the family photos and memorabilia of 139 years of business as they walk through the restaurant. I’m not a fan of sodas, but the Blenheim ginger ale sold at the counter is supposed to be the best. I’m a creature of habit and tend to order the same thing each time because I love it: the Rachel. It is a turkey Reuben served on toasted rye bread with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. With the German potato salad and a pickle spear on the side, this is one of my favorite lunch meals in Augusta! For fans of a more traditional Reuben, there are corned beef, pastrami and veggie options on the menu, along with several more selections, including a bratwurst and the German Louis – a sandwich featuring a couple of German meats I can’t pronounce. Several sandwiches are named in honor of Louis, who was Luanne’s father and the third-generation owner. My companions both enjoyed their choices and rated the sandwiches based
on how likely they were to drip and leave spots on their shirts. One enjoyed the Pastrami Reuben with the German potato salad, which he loved. He declared the sandwich appropriately “drippy,” the pastrami lean and the sauerkraut tangy. His only complaint was that the side of potato salad was smaller than he wanted. My other colleague had the pork chop sandwich: a boneless grilled pork chop with grilled onions, lettuce and tomato on a toasted sub roll. He chose the broccoli/ cranberry salad as his side and said that it was delicious. He rated his sandwich low on the “drippy scale” but said it was very good, nonetheless. Near the end of our meal, we sat like little children in awe as a train passed by in the middle of Sixth Street. I’ve noticed the tracks numerous times but had never seen a train pass by so closely. It was certainly a unique experience and a great excuse for taking an extra-long lunch. Each of our meals was about $12, which we all agreed was a little higher than a typical sandwich combo, but well worth it for the atmosphere and specialty sandwiches. If you haven’t eaten at Hildebrandt’s, I highly recommend taking a friend or coworker to enjoy this unique lunchtime experience. Your taste buds will thank you!
Millie Huff is a freelance writer, part-time teacher and active volunteer in the CSRA. Now semi-retired, she has eaten lunches in the Augusta-area since 1996 and loves any excuse to dine with friends and colleagues. Her restaurant review is written with a businessperson in mind.
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FILLING A NEED EMPTY BOWL FUNDRAISER LOOKS TO BE STRONGER THAN EVER IN 17TH YEAR BY WITT WELLS
Susan Steinberg instinctively says she has been the chair of the annual Empty Bowl Luncheon for 10 years, but it has actually been 12. The years have started to blend together in her mind. But over the course of those 12 years, the progress of the fundraiser – an event that involves dozens of local restaurants and hundreds of community members and brings in thousands of dollars every year to curb hunger in the CSRA – has been remarkable. What began as an idea inspired by a former local teacher’s trip to an Atlanta art conference nearly 20 years ago has become one of the biggest and most collaborative fundraisers in Augusta. Steinberg estimates that in the event’s first year, Empty Bowl raised a net amount of $1,500 to $3,000. Last year, Empty Bowl netted $29,000, which is split between Golden Harvest Food Bank and Augusta Jewish Community Center (AJCC) to feed people who are hungry and to support a variety of educational, social and cultural programs. For this year’s March 4 event at the Legends Club, Steinberg’s goal is to reach $31,000, which will be raised with ticket sales, donations and the proceeds of a silent auction of more than 200 items. “One of the things that’s really great about Empty Bowl is it involves the entire community,” Steinberg said. “We say we’re ending hunger together.” According to Ann Visintainer, marketing manager for Golden Harvest, each dollar raised for the food bank translates to $9 in food for hungry individuals and families. The food bank maximizes its funds by working directly with manufacturers and farmers and by leveraging donations from various businesses like grocery stores. Ninety-six percent of the funds raised at the event go directly to Golden Harvest’s programs, which provide food to people in 30 counties in and
“One of the things that’s really great about Empty Bowl is it involves the entire community. We say we’re ending hunger together.” – Susan Steinberg, chair of the Empty Bowl Luncheon around the CSRA. “It’s about how to come together in the community as a whole,” Visintainer said. Schools, local businesses, restaurants, politicians and even local media personalities (some people in the latter two groups participate as “celebrity servers”) all have a part to play. Students paint ceramic bowls – a staple tradition of the event, meant to symbolize the reality of local hunger – that attendees take home with them. Local restaurants, meanwhile, have become the backbone of an event based on a need for food. Generosity comes in all shapes and sizes for the dozens of local chefs, cooks and bakers who contribute to Empty Bowl. Sixty-five restaurants and caterers donate some of their best dishes, and many of them aren’t shy in their support. Sugarbaker’s of Augusta, for example, is donating $800 in desserts this year. T-Bonz brings its Lumberjack Stew that Steinberg said isn’t even on the steakhouse’s menu anymore. Soups have become the most wellknown – and for some the most popular – kind of food at an event that uses a soupkitchen model of dining as part of raising awareness of local hunger.
36 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
Empty Bowl Luncheon attendees get to take home one of the ceramic bowls painted by area students. The bowls are one of the most popular features of the annual fundraiser, which will be held at the Legends Club on March 4 this year. Contributed photo
“It provides this really wonderful connection between the food service community and those who are in need of food,” Visintainer said. Another of Steinberg’s goals for this year is to sell all five vacations available at the auction, which she said brings in around half of the total amount of donations collected and has been ramped up this year. A brewery tour at Boston Beer Co. (maker of Samuel Adams beer), a visit to Chicago’s Wrigley Field, a cooking trip to Tuscany, Italy, a trip to Nashville, Tenn., for the Country Music Awards and a Charleston, S.C., excursion are all up for grabs. “We were predominantly getting ceramic pieces, jewelry, artwork,” Steinberg said of past fundraisers. “Now it’s a little bit of everything.”
Lynda Jaremski, community program director for the AJCC, said she’s always excited simply by the amount of people who show up to the steadily growing event. Empty Bowl used to be held at the community center, but the venue ran out of space. The event has been at the Legends Club for the last three years. That venue is now jam-packed, too. “Every year it turns out we get new people, people who have never been there before,” Jaremski said. She added that the Empty Bowl Luncheon requires year-round dedication. Planning for next year’s fundraiser will begin just a couple months after the March 4 event ends. Fortunately, Steinberg and Jaremski are pros. “It is a well-oiled machine,” Jaremski said.
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SOME SITCOMS CREATE SITUATIONS WORTH WATCHING Their plans are once again thwarted when they realize his parents are still up, so they end up having ice cream with his mom instead. Yes, Matt has moved back in with his parents, and things can sometimes get a little strange. Along with Matt, there’s his brother Greg and his wife, Jen, who recently had a baby and are having a little trouble adjusting to life with an infant. Their sister Betsy is married to Tim, who has a weird sense of humor and tries too hard to be “one of the guys.” Round it out with their parents, and you have four short stories for each episode. I watched the first three episodes of this show back-to-back, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I realize the show is in its third season, so it might disappoint me as I continue watching. For now, I’m enjoying it.
BY SAMANTHA BARKSDALE
I’m really not a sitcom kind of girl. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy a good laugh; I love comedy. But today’s sitcoms often feel phony, with forced jokes and canned laughter. I find network sitcoms particularly awful, with their desperate need to win over the masses. This month, I decided to pit a network sitcom against a Netflix original. Let’s see which one came out on top.
‘Life in Pieces’
It only took me a few seconds to decide I was interested in this show. Even though CBS has been running it for some time, I knew nothing about it until it popped up on my Netflix feed. And since it stars Colin Hanks, I figured it was definitely worth a try. The show centers on the three generations of the Short family and begins with Matt’s story. Recently divorced, he’s been out on a date. After realizing they won’t be able to engage in any adult activities at her house, the pair decide to try his.
I’d seen this show come up on the Netflix queue many times, but the description just didn’t do anything for me. My husband, however, is more
open-minded than I am, so we ended up watching a couple episodes late one night. I haven’t decided how I feel about it. The show opens on a neighborhood block party where we are introduced to a group of diverse couples. This is a nice, safe neighborhood, where they can trust any packages they order will be on their doorsteps when they arrive home for the evening. Or so they thought. The first episode revolves around the neighbors banding together to catch a package thief, who is soon caught by Lindsey, played by Aubrey Plaza. This is a bit ironic, considering her original feelings were that the package thief could be stopped by shopping locally. As luck would have it, she is the one who runs him down and holds him until help can arrive. Each episode of Easy focuses on a different couple, which is why I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Episode Two centers on a couple who have been married for 15 years
and have decided to try an open marriage. After that, I fell asleep, so who knows where things went from there. Overall, I’d have to say the network sitcom won my heart this time. Granted, I didn’t go on a full bingewatch of either one, but sitcoms aren’t really made for that. They’re made for long days, when you just need something to take your mind off work. Both of them were pretty good at that.
Samantha Barksdale, “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.
A WORLD-CLASS BEER FOUND IN THE GROCERY AISLES BY BEN CASELLA
Every now and then, the quest for something different to eat leads us to Columbia, and every now and then we end up at Terra with local friends … and every now and then I end up ordering the duck confit pizza.
Ok, so I may be somewhat of a creature of habit, but I just like to go with what works – and duck confit pizza at Terra works. So, there! I will, say, however, that I recently paired it with a world-class beer that you can get at many grocery stores. Yes, a world-class beer that’s readily available. I’ll give you a hint: It’s from Michigan, and it’s called Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
Yes, it’s outstanding. I had my most recent one poured for me into a glass that most closely resembled the love child of a snifter and a tulip. The pour is an orangey amber with a translucency that gives way to a moderately frothy head that’s as white as a New York City subway tile. These are the pleasantries of appearance I would
expect from a quality American IPA such as this one. The nose hints at, well, a lot (but a harmonious lot). Zest comes to the front end quickly, and there’s an earthy and grassy aroma that lingers just a bit. Citrus notes and evergreen are also apparent on the nose. The sip conveys much of the olfactory quality, and the taste has an overall sense of balance that is apparent more so than the nose. What I particularly enjoy about the taste is that it maintains a high degree of consistency from the top of the glass to the bottom. The hops are not overly bitter, and the earthy savor that translates from the nose takes on a more malty tone on the tongue, conveying a pleasurable drinkability that lends this beer to complement a variety of foods – including
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is a quality American IPA.
38 Buzz on Biz February 23-March 29, 2018
duck confit pizza. I would also pair this beer with a charcuterie and cheese plate, which I plan to do some day in the near future. So, whether you’re at Terra or at Publix, give Bell’s Two Hearted Ale a try. If you like IPAs, you really should, and, if you don’t like IPAs, maybe you just haven’t had the right one yet.
Ben Casella does enjoy the use (and overuse) of emojis. With that said, if you are texting with him, and he starts replying with a simple “thumbs up” emoji, that means he’s ready to quit texting with you.
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