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Jan. 26-Feb. 22, 2017 • The CSRA’s monthly business Magazine

Expanded Downtown Coverage Pages 32-33


Renovations, sales show long-worked-for vitality returning to heart of city BY amanda king

Havird Usry is ready for the growth that is coming to downtown Augusta. Long before the announcement of the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in early January, Usry’s family and other downtown business leaders worked toward making downtown a great place to work and play. “Since 1948, we’ve been committed to downtown Augusta,” he said. “I think this just furthers our commitment to the growth and progression of downtown.” Usry, vice president of Operations and Development at Fat Man’s Cafe and Catering in Enterprise Mill, recently purchased the buildings at 1006 and 1008 Broad Street. The 1008 property has been leased to New York High Style for the last 38 years. The men’s clothing store will continue business, although Usry plans to renovate 1006 Broad and bring up it up to code then move New York High Style to that location. The 1008 property will then be renovated for a restaurant that will be owned and operated by Usry and his father, Brad Usry. The new endeavor will be unlike anything Augusta has ever seen, Usry teased, not ready to give any specifics this early in the planning stages. “It’s completely out of the box,” he said. Usry’s plan fits with exactly what Augustans say they want from their downtown shopping, dining and nightlife. In a recent poll, 50 percent of Buzz on Biz

In a recent poll, 50 percent of Buzz on Biz Twitter followers said they would visit downtown Augusta more often if there were more options to choose from for shopping, dining and nightlife. Recent movement in the downtown real estate market means that they could soon get their wish. Photo by Melissa Gordon

Twitter followers said they would visit downtown more if they had more options to choose from for those activities.

Cyber impact

The market will also demand more options. With the recent announcement by Gov. Nathan Deal that a $50 million cyber training center will be built at the Augusta University Riverfront Campus at the site of the former Golf and Gardens, even more growth is possible. The new facility will make Augusta a big name and business attraction across the nation in

light of the rising threat of cyberattacks. “Cybersecurity is especially important now that cybercrime is bigger than the global black market for marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined,” Deal said at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs and Issues breakfast. Deal’s announcement will only add fuel to the progress that has happened downtown in the last two years. Janie Peel, real estate broker with Prime Commercial Properties, said the Augusta economy has turned around and is marching forward with banks loaning again and development revving up.

Driving down Broad Street looks much different than has in recent years. After years of buildings sitting vacant with faded For Sale signs in the windows, those signs now have “Sold” draped across the front of them. “The market is very good,” Peel said. Several “Sold” signs have been spotted along the 1100 block of Broad Street between Chop Shop Barber Shop and Farmhaus Burgers, and on land between the restaurant and building. Although the Downtown Development Authority will See DOWNTOWN on Page 4

they’ve got game Young Georgia professionals ready to change Augusta By Amanda King

Young business leaders from across the state of Georgia know what it’s going to take to change the game in downtown Augusta and beyond. The Young Gamechangers from Georgia Forward made their final recommendations at the Discovery Theater in midDecember. Attendees included Mayor Hardie Davis Jr., former Mayor Deke Copenhaver, some Augusta commissioners and numerous members of the Augusta, North Augusta and Columbia County communities. “As a city we are excited to see the final recommendations from this group,” Davis said. “We have moved beyond the place of potential in the city of Augusta to the place of getting things done.” Georgia Forward began in 2010 to encourage leaders to evaluate challenges in the state and work toward resolving them. Young Gamechangers emerged from the Georgia Forward program as a group of 50 individuals under the age of 40 ready to make a change. Two groups serve each year, one in the fall and one in the spring, and work in a specific community for the duration of their term. For six months, the group researched and surveyed the Augusta area, answering four big-picture questions with numerous detail-oriented solutions. Recommendations included: • Employer-assisted housing incentives for employees who live close to downtown • Connect the community to the river region with bike paths, ferries and other riverside activities • A coalition made up of residents from Augusta, Columbia County and Aiken County to oversee activities and maintenance along the Savannah River • An open container law to allow pa-

trons to walk through downtown with wine and beer in clear cups purchased at downtown restaurants and encourage them to stop at multiple locations during their visits. • Longer-running farmer’s market • Increased safety downtown • Improve playground along Riverwalk Augusta With city and county expenses already stretched to the max, any adopted recommendations will likely be funded through a public and private partnership, according to Augusta Commission member and Gamechanger participant Sean Frantom. The spring 2016 Gamechangers, which focused on Douglasville/ Douglas County, formed their own nonprofit to prioritize and implement recommendations. It’s not known whether the Augusta class will do the same. Gamechangers had planned to meet with the Augusta University cabinet on Jan. 3 to focus on recommendations that affect the university; however, that meeting was postponed and has not been rescheduled as of press time. One suggestion included partnering with downtown businesses to accept Jag Cards, which can currently be used on campus to make purchases, with withdrawals coming from the students’ accounts. The ability to use student accounts off-campus is already in place for numerous colleges and universities throughout the country.

“As a city we are excited to see the final recommendations from this group. We have moved beyond the place of potential in the city of Augusta to the place of getting things done.” – Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr.

2 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

A complete copy of the final recommendations can be found on Georgia Forward’s website, young-gamechangers.

The future home of the $50 million cybersecurity training center, on the grounds of the former Augusta Golf and Gardens. Photo by Melissa Gordon


Better late than never. That’s the way this former cub reporter from News 12 feels about the growth and recent $50 million Cyber Training Center announcement. Unless you’ve been crawling under a moss-infested rock at the former Golf & Gardens, you’ve probably heard that Augusta University will develop the prime piece of land along the Savannah River near 13th and Reynolds streets. A project like the cyber training center is 25 years overdue for what has become the biggest eyesore in downtown Augusta. I vividly recall my live shot for News 12 circa 1992-93, standing outside the “Marble Palace,” better known as the Richmond County Municipal Building, at Fifth and Greene streets, announcing a proposed deal between then Richmond County Commissioners and City of Au-

gusta councilmen. They were going to share in costs to develop that riverfront property and lease it to the Augusta GreenJackets. Twenty-five years later, it looks like the GreenJackets will be playing ball on the other side of the river in North Augusta. After city and county leaders struck out on cutting the baseball deal, they turned their attention to another popular sport – golf. The problem with the development of the Augusta Golf and Gardens is that the only golf elements on the 17-acre tract of land were several bronze statues of legends including Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones and Arnold Palmer. Instead of being inclusive, developers built a brick wall around the property. If you wanted to look at the flowers (yes, just look at flowers) you had to pay a steep admission price. The proposed home of the Georgia

Golf Hall of Fame, complete with museums and tours, never materialized, and the beautiful flowers in the gardens eventually turned into long, flowing brown weeds. The major design flaw is still visible today. Although the Augusta Golf and Gardens staff worked tirelessly to maintain the property, raise money and produce a first-class Georgia Golf Hall of Fame annual banquet, it eventually closed. Now there is a true purpose for the land and a pep in the step of those who are walking Broad Street and enjoying a wide array of unique bistros, bars, art galleries, music venues, loft living and professional office space. Once such walker is our new Managing Editor Amanda King, who put together our cover story and two-page spread on downtown and some features on “Happy Guy,” Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman

Features & Columnists Amanda King.......... Georgia Forward...............2 Kurt Mueller............. Business Planning.............6 Damon Cline........... Economic Forecast...........8 Christine Hall........... Tax Fraud........................... 10 Buzz Bits............................................................12-13 Mark Alision............. Marketing 2.0.................. 14 Neil Gordon............. Counterterrorism..............6 Joe Edge................... Leveraging........................ 18 Manufacturers Neil Gordon............. Businessperson of.......... 20 the Month Andy Jones Comings and Goings....................................22-23 Ricci Jones................ Workflow Process........... 24 Ed Enoch................... Congressional Gift......... 24 Business Calendar............................................... 26 Richard Brashear.... Digital Tools..................... 28 Stacy Roberts.......... Better Bosses................... 28 Sean Andrews......... Business Meetings......... 30 Jame Geathers........ Handbooks....................... 30 Amanda King.......... Growth.........................32-33 Amanda King.......... On Zimmerman ............. 34 Dagan Sharpe......... Taking Inventory............ 36

Steve Swanson....... Respecting Bosses......... 36 Mike Herrington..... Retirement Plans............ 38 Beth Pence............... Big Marketing.................. 38 Missie Usry............... Get Organized................. 40 Barry Paschal........... Digital Etiquette............. 40 Onnie Sanford......... Healthy Recipes.............. 42 Susan O’Keefe......... Grill at Forest Hills.......... 44 Neil Gordon............. Ol’ Whistle Stop............... 46 Cafe Neil Gordon............. New Metro Diner........... 46 Scott Thurmond..... Commercial Copiers...... 48 Terra Carroll............. New Chamber................. 50 Board Janie Peel.................. Queen of........................... 52 Downtown Amanda King.......... 40 Wax Candles............... 54 Neil Gordon............. Augusta Athletics........... 56 Ben Casella............... Beers Locals Like............ 58 Samantha Taylor.... Sci-Fi on Netflix............... 58 Staff............................ Stars & Strikes.................. 59 Russell Head............ 21st Century Cures........ 63 Tony Creighton....... Curb Appeal..................... 63

and the “Scentrepreneur” who owns 40 Wax Candles. Based on my experiences 20 to 25 years ago, downtown Augusta is getting back to its heyday before the shopping mall hit in the late ‘70s. Better late than never.

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

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\Editor in Chief Neil R. Gordon Managing Editor Amanda King, Ad Building E35 Media Photography Amanda King, Melissa Gordon

Layout Riverfront Design Center Sales Manager Neil Gordon, neil@, 706-589-6727 Sales and PR Jessica Jones, jessica@, 762-218-0239 Distribution Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones

Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Morris Publishing Group nor its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only. Like us on Facebook @; Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 604 Government Center Way, Evans, GA 30809

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Downtown Continued from Page 1 not confirm, multiple downtown sources told Buzz on Biz that it will be a the site of a hotel. Two other hotels were announced at the end of 2016 – Hyatt House next to Frog Hollow Tavern on Broad Street and another unnamed hotel near Augusta Common on Reynolds Street. Peel and many other downtown business owners have stayed focused on downtown development even during a rough economy which left many buildings abandoned and boarded up for numerous years. Peel says all of their hard work is finally paying off.

In December 1961, Broad Street was ablaze with the lights from busy shops, restaurants and other businesses, and from the headlights of hundreds of people who were driving downtown to get some Christmas shopping done or just to see the crowds and socialize. Janie Peel, a real estate broker with Prime Commercial Properties, says downtown Augusta is well on its way to looking that energized again. Special photo

Going back to the future

Peel referenced old black-andwhite pictures from the 1960s depicting crowded streets and painting a picture of life and excitement downtown. “In two years, that’s how [downtown] will look,” Peele said. Peel will keep Buzz on Biz readers up to date on the downtown growth in her new monthly column. This month’s introductory report can be found on page 52. One project that will help with lighting up the street is the restoration of the Miller Theater. That project, now under the watchful eye of Symphony Orchestra Augusta, is expected to bring in spectators like moths to a flame of art and culture. Along with other art opportunities that have been developing for years and several new restaurants, downtown is on its way to rehabilitation. All of this will, of course, take time. Construction began in earnest on the Miller Theater in August 2016, but the $23 million project is not expected to be complete until the end of 2017. Usry said he will not be ready for the restaurant phase of his project for about 10 months. Many other buildings are in dire need of updates before they can be utilized. At the beginning of the year, longtime Broad Street business Sunshine Bakery was purchased by Gene Gurley. The restaurant, famous for its soups and desserts, had been in business for nearly 70 years. “Now hopefully it will get a thorough cleaning and new lighting. An update has been needed for decades,” Rebecca Ward commented on Buzz on Biz’s Facebook post regarding the sale. Gurley said that will be the case and looks forward to unveiling the new look and breakfast menu in the future. The SunTrust building, built in 1968,

was purchased in November 2016 by locally owned Broad and Eleventh Street LLC. DDA Director Margaret Woodard said that the owners plan to modernize the building inside and out. The 17-story Lamar Building, at 753 Broad St., was sold in December 2016. The almost 100-year-old building is expected to be used for office space but will need renovations. All buildings are the responsibility of the owners to maintain and renovate, but Woodard said that the DDA has lowinterest loans available for renovations.

More to come

Business is booming in all areas downtown, not just office space and restaurants. Many retail stores have a long history downtown, and several have joined the family in recent years. Furniture stores, unique gift stores, skateboard shops and more are sprinkled around the other downtown businesses. An upscale wom-

4 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

en’s clothing store is expected to set up shop in the former Henry Brother’s building that was purchased in late 2016. “I think locals truly support local business, and it’s only going to get better as we bring the options down here,” Usry said. “It all starts with bars and restaurants. Once you bring in the hospitality, that’s when you bring in the retail and residential.” In addition to the retail and restaurant space that Usry purchased, the chef also purchased the 3,000-square-foot, threebedroom apartment above the adjacent spaces. He plans to renovate and split that space into two apartments for lease. Down the street, the Marion Building is currently under contract and is expected to serve as residential space. Similar to the Lamar Building, which was built around the same time, the Marion will need extensive renovations. The centrally located JB White Building is currently 80 percent occupied according to DDA reports, with many floor

plans completely sold out. The building still has one- and two-bedroom apartments available, ideal for single residents or small families who wish to live within walking distance of food, shopping, entertainment and art. In addition to the existing and developing residential options, the Young Gamechangers made multiple suggestions for residential options at their final recommendations gathering Dec. 16. See Page 2 for more details on those ideas. Commercial real estate is also about to take off. After learning that Escape Outdoors will end its lease at its downtown location to purchase a building, landlord Fred Daitch has already met with a Mexican restaurant and brewery about potentially renting the space. Because of downtown demand, he will also be able to increase the rent. The former United Pawn and Firearms building was reportedly sold to Doug Frohman, the owner of Jay’s Music. Frohman recently sold his Washington Road property to the holding company of Augusta National Golf Club for $5.35 million. No word yet on what Frohman has planned for the downtown property.

All eyes on Augusta

In April, all eyes will be on Frohman’s former property during Masters Week, but after Deal’s major announcement about the new cyber institute in the Garden City, all eyes are on Augusta for a completely different reason. The growth is palpable and is about to impact Augusta’s entire economy. “This growth in downtown will create temporary and permanent part-time and full-time jobs, increase property values, attract new housing and retail opportunities and increase the city’s tax base,” Woodard said. For more details on downtown growth, check out our closer look on Pages 32-33.

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Our company just announced the sale of the former Quadgraphics building in Columbia County, a 650,000-square-foot industrial site that has huge potential for our region. We are proud to have been a part of that transaction, and we are now marketing the building to potential users. For most communities, the manufacturing and industrial market is vital for economic potential. While Augusta benefits from forces like Fort Gordon and the medical community, regional manufacturing and industrial partners remain a key driver in the sustainability and growth of our job market. As real estate professionals, we work with economic developers to bring jobs to our community, but we understand that not all jobs are created equal. There are certain types of jobs that have a multiplier effect and for manufacturing and industrial jobs, in particular, this effect is fundamental to sustained growth. These jobs have a greater impact and foster more growth than jobs in retail or offices, and the reason is simple. Manufacturing stimulates industries that either directly support the mission of the manufacturer or are ancillary to the market. Manufacturers often require regional support, and the jobs that are created in support of the manufacturer spur more industrial and office jobs. The multiplier effect continues to compound as the need for services, including retail services such as restaurants and shopping, grow. Compounding the growth even further, manufacturing job growth results in new demand for housing, boosting new home construction. In any real estate market, job growth is what drives sales. As base employment levels increase, the need for office space increases. As more support services are needed, warehouse, office and retail growth occurs. But in the end, you can trace it all back to manufacturing job growth. Retail, which is what everyone wants and is often the most visible sign of growth, is really the final phase in economic development. All retailers base their decision to move to an area largely on demographics, which include population

Quad/Graphics By the Numbers


The year the building was constructed The Quad/Graphics building in Columbia County is a 650,000-square-foot industrial property that has huge potential. Bringing in manufacturing stimulates other industries and boosts jobs in retail and service areas. That job growth has a direct effect on the real estate market. Photo by Amanda King

As a community, if we want to see population growth as well as retail growth, we need to understand that this all starts with base job growth through manufacturing. density, income levels, housing values, spending habits and potential job growth. Retail growth at its core relies on industrial jobs. The greater Augusta area is seeing a real estate boom related to growth at Fort Gordon, and while this is not manufacturing growth, it can certainly be considered as base job growth. It is unclear how much this will affect other job growth and retail development because it has a completely different kind of multiplier, but it certainly has had a tremendous impact. As a community, if we want to see

6 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

population growth as well as retail growth, we need to understand that this all starts with base job growth through manufacturing. This is why our regional economic development authorities are tasked with bringing jobs to the area, and commercial real estate brokers play a significant role in making that happen. We are excited to be a part of much of the new job growth in our community, and it is our hope that the jobs we bring to the area will have a great multiplier effect and result in more jobs and growth in all real estate property types.


Square feet available for manufacturing and distribution


Square feet of office space

88 81

Number of trailers that can be stored

Acres of building and land


Number of loading docks


Miles to Interstate 20 Joe Edge is president and broker at Sherman & Hemstreet. After service in the U.S. Marine Corps and a career as an independent commercial agent, Edge bought the historic Sherman & Hemstreet, a full-service firm specializing in commercial real estate listings and property management. He recently restarted residential sales. Reach him at 706.722.8334.


Ports (Savannah and Charleston) linked to the site by an active rail spur

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Augusta is ‘on the cusp’

City’s Growth forecast is positive sign, economists say By Damon Cline

Augusta Chronicle Business Editor Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the Jan. 13 edition of The Augusta Chronicle and is reprinted with consent. Metro Augusta created more jobs than two-thirds of the nation’s cities last year, but its 2017 labor market growth will be roughly on par with the state as a whole, speakers at the annual Georgia Economic Outlook event said Jan. 12. The mild growth forecast should be taken as a positive sign the regional economy should continue on an upward trajectory amid rising oil prices, interest rate  increases and the uncertainty of a new presidential administration, said Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. “I am pleased to report the economic outlook is very good,” said Ayers, whose college’s Selig Center for Economic Growth predicts metro Augusta’s economy will gain 4,200 jobs this year. “Although we talked about risk, make no mistake – this is a good news forecast for the state, for the country and also locally.” Although December labor market figures are not yet available, a gain in 4,200 jobs would equate to approximately a 1.8 percent growth over 2016. That is slightly below the 2.1 percent growth the Selig Center is forecasting statewide, but better than the 1.5 percent job growth it forecasts for the nation as a whole. And the outlook is much more optimistic than the flat job growth forecast at last month’s Augusta University Hull College of Business economic breakfast event. Ayers said health care and education – two of Augusta’s largest industries – will continue to grow, as will military contractor jobs affiliated with the relocation of U.S. Army Cyber Command to Fort Gordon. Work on new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle will buoy the construction sector, he said, while expansions at the ADP and Unisys office complexes and the addition of new manufacturing lines at Textron Specialized Vehicles will spread new jobs across both goods- and service-producing sectors. Despite the region’s string of economic successes – the most recent being the Jan. 11 announcement of a $50 million “Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center” planned for AU’s proposed Riverfront Campus – the chance of a recession this year is 35 percent, up from last

UGA Terry College of Business Dean Benjamin C. Ayers, left, listens as Walter Sprouse, director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority, talks about what we can expect from the local economy in the coming year. Photo by Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle

“We’re growing, and we’re going to continue to grow. We’re diversified in so many ways, and we’re going to continue that diversification. We’re building, and we’re going to continue to build. We’re on the cusp of great innovation … not only in 2017, but in the years to come.” – Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Richmond County Development Authority year’s 25 percent. Ayers said the biggest concern is Trump administration policies sparking a trade war. About one in 12 Georgia jobs are tied to goods moving through its ports. “It’s a mistake to think a more isolated economy will lead to economic prosperity,” Ayers said. Job growth this year should drop the state’s jobless rate below 5 percent – a figure many economists consider “full employment” – for the first time since 2007. Ayers said personal income growth will

8 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

give more consumers the “wherewithal and confidence” to buy homes, which, along with an expected 100,900 new people moving to Georgia, will cause existing home prices to rise. The Selig Center forecasts Georgia’s gross domestic product will increase this year to 3.2 percent, outpacing the nation’s 2.5 percent GDP gain and the 2.6 percent gain Georgia logged last year. “The good news is that, once again, Georgia’s economy will outperform the nation’s economy,” he said. “And we think

that should always be the case.” Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Richmond County Development Authority, noted metro Augusta’s creation of 5,600 jobs last year ranked it No. 70 out of 387 metro areas, according to a report by Syneva Economics, one of its data vendors. Augusta’s 2.4 percent employment gain in 2016 lagged behind Savannah and Athens but outperformed larger markets such as Greenville and Columbia in South Carolina. Sprouse, the city’s chief business and industry recruiter, didn’t make a forecast of his own but said that he expects the growth from 2016 to “hold strong” throughout this year as some of the nearly three dozen active projects come to fruition. “We’re growing, and we’re going to continue to grow,” he said. “We’re diversified in so many ways, and we’re going to continue that diversification. We’re building, and we’re going to continue to build. We’re on the cusp of great innovation … not only in 2017, but in the years to come.”

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



SECURITY CERTIFICATES BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT Not to fear, though; SSL certificates are cheaper now than they have ever been. In fact, on Godaddy right now they are on sale. Once you have purchased one of these, it is necessary to attach it to your hosting account for your domain and web files. If you are using WordPress there are numerous plugins to help with this process. Some content management systems like Weebly come with the option to purchase a certificate at the initial site setup and hosting payment. So, no worries – setting up this extra layer of security is easy, and it gives you more credibility online with your potential customers and the ranking bots over at Google.


Well, it is that time again – the New Year, and also the Google algorithm change time. Generally, the first of the year has been a standard time in which Google will make some major changes to its search and indexing algorithms. The big news for this year is Google’s efforts to mark websites without Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, certificates as insecure. An SSL certificate basically creates an encrypted link between the hosting server and the web browser, such as Google Chrome. From a technical standpoint, websites without these SSL certificates are generally less secure, especially when they incorporate elements of e-commerce, more commonly known as online shopping. When you see the “https” up in the navigation bar in your browser, this indicates an SSL certificate. These are essential for websites where the user is required to sign in or to submit sensitive personal or billing data, such as a Social Security number or a credit card number. So, what does all of this mean? Well, over the long term all websites in Google Chrome will be marked as secure

Over the long term, all websites in Google Chrome will be marked as secure or insecure by a new algorithm protocol. Unsecured websites (those without “https” in the navigation bar) will have a lower Google ranking, which will definitely affect business.

or insecure by this new algorithm protocol. But for right now, it is essential that if you sell anything online, if you require sensitive materials from users or if cus-

tomers need to sign in and set up an account to use your site, then you must have an SSL or your ranking on Google will definitely be affected.

John Pope has worked in digital media sales and marketing for six years. His specialty is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Email pope@ontheleveldigital. com.


The IRS has implemented new safeguards in an effort to help reduce the number of fraudulent returns that are filed electronically. Its goal is to verify the taxpayer’s identity and the validity of tax returns before the return is accepted for processing. The IRS has been working with state agencies and the tax industry to strengthen safeguards that protect taxpayers from identity theft. The 2017 safeguards are aimed at those of you who prepare your own federal and state tax returns using tax software. The IRS, states and the tax industry

will be sharing and analyzing data that will help us spot identity theft returns. There are multiple safeguards in place that don’t require you to do anything. We will do it all behind the scenes. Y o u might experience s o m e minor inconvenience in the way of an additional step or two, which are for your protection. For example, some of you might have to enter a 16-character code found on your Form W-2. This helps us verify the accuracy of the information. Or those of you using

10 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

a software product for the first time will need your 2015 adjusted gross income to complete the electronic filing process. A new law passed by Congress requires the IRS to hold any refund claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb.15. This is to give the IRS time to verify the accuracy of the return. Please note that because of the time it takes refunds to work through banking and financial institutions, in addition to weekends and holidays, people with these credits might not see their refunds until the week of Feb. 27. Some states might ask for driver’s license numbers as an additional authentication step. If you do not have a driver’s license, a state identification card or passport will do. If you use a tax preparer, be sure to provide a copy of your driver’s license (or other ID) for verification, even if you have

been using that tax preparer for years. As taxpayers, we understand this is an inconvenience, but as tax preparers, we understand it is well worth the inconvenience to help put a stop to the $5.8 billion in fraudulent claims that were filed between 2001 and 2014 – a pure waste of taxpayer money!

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

507 CDP Industrial Blvd Suite 2 Grovetown, GA 30813 Phone: 706-737-6482

Cost Savings with Flexibility! Sweetwater Baptist Church in North Augusta not only wanted to save money be printing inhouse, but they wanted the flexibility of printing documents at-will instead of being confined to large quantities in order to save costs. With the Canon IRC 700 Image Press from Duplicating Systems, Inc. (DSI), the church got flexibility, cost savings AND impressive quality. January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


buzz bits

LEI, jobs show increase In November, the Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.1 percent from October. It is down 0.1 percent from a year ago. According to numbers from Simon Metcalfe, economist for the Augusta University Hull College of Business, the LEI has been trending down all year (see graph below). Of the components included in the index, residential permits declined in eight months, initial claims for unemployment insurance increased in seven months, real deposits in local banks declined in seven months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and job openings declined in five months each. The month was not all doom and gloom, however. The local economy added 2,600 jobs in November. Retail added 1,000, which is about par for November and the shopping season. Leisure and hospitality added 400 jobs, which is a little better than usual at this time of the year. Education and health services and professional and business services both added about 500 jobs, which is stronger growth than normally seen in November.

NEW Mullins Colony will feature Belk The land has been cleared for quite some time, and it was finally announced that a Belk store is coming to phase two of Mullins Crossing. The company will bring approximately 400 jobs to the area. According to a link on Whole

Augustans among 100 Most Influential Georgians

tions throughout Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The system conversion and branch signage will transition to South State over Presidents’ Day weekend.

Engineering firm names new principal Davis


Mayor Hardie Davis Jr., Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel and Walter C. Sprouse Jr., the executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority, were named to the prestigious 2017 edition of Georgia Trend magazine’s “100 Most Influential Georgians.” The announcement was made at Georgia Augusta’s Facebook page, real estate company Collett, which is based in North Carolina, states that the store will be approximately 86,000 square feet. There is around 37,000 square feet of space for lease in the rest of phase two, which is named Mullins Colony in the company’s rendering. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2017. Augusta has not had a Belk since the closing of Regency Mall in the mid-1990s. The closest Belk for Augustans has been the location in North Augusta on Knox Avenue.

company feels impact of Macy’s closings All local Macy’s stores are safe from the company’s recent closings, but a store in Alton, Illinois, with ties to Augusta is on the chopping block.

12 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017


Trend’s headquarters in Atlanta. Sprouse has been executive director of Augusta’s economic development organization since 2003. During that time, the Augusta Economic Development Authority has recruited more than $1,200,000,000 in new investment for Augusta, along with more than 19,000 new jobs. Hull Property Group purchased the Alton Square Mall in 2015. The Macy’s store there will close in the first quarter of this year. Sixty-eight Macy’s stores are closing as more customers move to online shopping.

Georgia Bank and Trust merger complete South State Bank announced the completion of its merger with Georgia Bank and Trust and Southern Bank and Trust. Twelve branches will be added to the South State footprint – nine in Columbia and Richmond counties and three in Aiken County. South State will operate 128 loca-

EMC Engineering Services Inc. has named Robert L. Titus PE as a principal owner of the firm. As East Georgia Division Manager, Titus’ responsibilities will include providing leadership to the Savannah, Statesboro, and Brunswick offices as well as managing the Augusta office. EMC Engineering Services Inc. is a 38-year-old multidisciplined consulting engineering firm providing professional services in the southeastern United States.

Visitors to have millions in impact in January The Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Augusta Sports Council (ASC) are pleased to announce that visitors attending meetings, reunions, events and sporting events in Augusta’s River Region are expected to generate just over $3.6 million in total estimated economic impact (EEI) during the month of January. A portion of the total number of sporting events, conventions and meetings in Augusta’s River Region this month include the Dasani Mayor’s Cup, Soldier Ride 2017, Augusta Futurity and the Columbia County Spring Shootout. Total EEI is calculated based on Continued on Page 13

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

Continued from Page 12

buzz bits

Cushman’s Hauler named a top product A locally made product has received special recognition by Construction Equipment magazine. Cushman, a Textron Specialized Vehicles is proud to have the Hauler named one of the magazine’s Top 100 Products of 2016 in the Trucking & Hauling category. The system encompasses two technologies: a motor brake that automatically slows the vehicle when traveling up or down steep grades and a parking brake that automatically engages when the vehicle stops.

Photo by Amanda King

research commissioned by both the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) in conjunction with globally recognized research vendors, the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics. Tourism Economics, a partner company of Oxford Economics, created the industry standard in event economic impact analysis using localized metrics that are updated annually.

store offers new concept for dinner planning What’s for dinner? The Fresh Market is helping shoppers answer that question. The supermarket on Washington Road offers convenient, grab-and-go solutions for preparing a home-cooked meal with its new “Little Big Meal” program. Fest & Wellness Expo will take place on Saturday, March 11. The 5K will have inflatable obstacles some towering 26 feet tall. The SportsFest and Wellness Expo is aimed at encouraging the Augusta metropolitan community to get involved in a sport by learning what is in the area. Visit their website, augusta, for registration information and more details.

Hospital lab receives accreditation Event intends to promote wellness, fun The Augusta Sports Council is excited to announce the Insane Inflatable 5K and the Sports-

Just before the month of love and hearts, University Hospital announced today that its cardiac catheterization lab has been accredited by Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence, an organization dedicated to ensuring adherence to the highest quality standards for cardiovascular and endovascular care.

The meal includes handpicked ingredients and a simple recipe starting at just $10. Shoppers can simply stop by the Little Big Meal display to choose from a variety of ingredient options to prepare the perfect feast for themselves and their families. ACE accreditation is a professional review of an organization’s structure, internal processes, patient safety practices and clinical outcomes to determine whether it meets the standards established by experts in cardiac and endovascular care.

SRP Donates Thousands of Stuffed Animals SRP Federal Credit Union was honored to partner with several organizations across our community to donate approximately 10,000 stuffed animals during the holiday season. These stuffed animals will be distributed in a variety of ways, but a large amount of donations went to local law enforcement agencies to use while responding to situations involving children.

The following organizations received stuffed animals from SRP: • Richmond County Sheriff’s Office • Jud C. Hickey Center for Alzheimer’s Care • Columbia County Sheriff’s Department • City of Grovetown • North Augusta Public Safety • Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office • Aiken County Sheriff’s Office • Aiken Regional Medical Center

Publix Gives $5.5 Million to Habitat Affiliates Publix Super Markets Charities (PSMC) announced that it would donate $5.5 million to Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the Southeast. The donation will provide funding to over 120 affiliates and build more than 60 new houses in 2017. This generous donation continues the Foundation’s commitment to meeting the basic needs of the communities it serves through additional financial support for housing. The average price to sponsor a house within the company’s area of operation is about $75,000. The Habitat for Humanity affiliates receiving funding in the CSRA for new houses include: • Augusta/CSRA Habitat for Humanity • Aiken County Habitat for Humanity • Habitat for Humanity of North Augusta In related efforts, to help truly make each new house sponsored by PSMC a home, Publix Super Markets will provide the new homeowners with fully stocked pantries. PSMC began its support of Habitat for Humanity in 1989. The Foundation has continued its support of Habitat for Humanity, donating more than $4 million to more than 80 Habitat affiliates in 2015. This year’s $5.5 million contribution to Habitat for Humanity affiliates is the Foundation’s largest gift in any year.

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz 13


Here are six ideas to get your marketing off on the right foot in the new year:


Sales and Advertising Tracking: It always amazes clients when we suggest that their ad expense and sales income curves should be almost identical. Here’s the truth: You can’t sell snow shovels in the summer, so why advertise them? Promote heavily when the market is poised to buy. “So,” my client would ask, “we should advertise in December when we will see good sales anyway and not use that money in June to boost sagging sales?” The short answer is yes. In the months that customers are already motivated to spend, you spend to get more than your share. Half the battle is over – customers are motivated and moving. You just have to get them to your place. In June you can’t move them with dynamite, so why spend and discount prices to get them? You’re losing on both sides. What Will it Take to Get to the Next Level? This is a tough question to answer for most businesses, because the answer is not always something they want to hear. The answer might be internal restructuring, a location change or another equally distasteful change. But if the answer is “reaching more customers,” try doing what one client did. He projected the sales he hoped for and budgeted a percentage of the expected revenue. Since his goal was 25 percent more than the previous year, his budget was higher. But he also reached more prospects, so he hedged his bet. This is called anticipatory spending – done right, it will pay for itself.   Take Stock of the Brand: What do people think of your brand? You think you know, but what if you really did know, from your customers’ perspective? One way to accomplish this anonymously is to conduct a survey. Online surveys are so easy to do now with sites like Survey Monkey. They practically write themselves. Don’t know what to ask? Find a marketing group to help that has experience in wording surveys and can analyze the data for you. If you do it yourself, ask questions like: (1) Which of the following brands do you think of first when looking for (product you sell), and then list half a dozen brands, including yourself, for the respondent to choose from. (2) What store comes to mind when you read this slogan/tag line? List several



Defining your company’s goals is important. Writing them down on paper reinforces the will to get them accomplished. In addition, the list will give you something to refer back to in 2018, so you can see how well you did.

Management by walking around is not a new concept. Planning a new year by walking around is just as easy. Listen to employees. Talk to customers. Ask questions … assume nothing. Dig deeper into the answers you receive and take notes. You might uncover a gem, and the cost is zero. stores or leave it as fill in the blank. (3) How many times in the past year have you shopped at (name of store)? We completed a survey for a discontinued brand of products to see what the likelihood was that it might have a second life. Amazingly, it was well received, enough that the client bought the brand name and will launch it late in 2017. Surveys can really make a difference.


Walk Around: Management by walking around is not a new concept. Planning a new year by walking around is just as easy. Listen to employees. Talk to customers. Ask questions: “What can we do better? What is keeping you from being more productive?” Assume

14 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

nothing. Dig deeper into the answers you receive and take notes. You might uncover a gem, and the cost is zero. When we found that the admin person was spending two hours a day following up on sales tasks we empowered the seven salespeople to do it themselves. When there were two salespeople it was OK for the admin person to do it, but with seven, it clearly needed a new way.


Take a Break: One of my earliest clients ran a retail operation that escalated into six stores in three states very rapidly. I asked him how he kept up with it all. “Every two months I take a four-day weekend,” he said. “It takes one full day to relax and then I have the other

three to consider my issues, normally under a palm tree with an adult beverage in my hand.” He continued, “My best ideas come when I am rested and not umbilically tied to the business or the phone.” While it might seem like an excuse to vacation to some, this guy made millions by taking breaks.


Write Down the Goals: It is proven that the act of writing goals down on paper reinforces the will to get them done. Besides, it gives you something to refer back to in 2018. Here are hopes for a fantastic 2017. There has never been a better time or place to be alive. Do yourself a favor – engage a great marketing firm.

Mark Alison has spent more than 30 years in sales and marketing. He is the chief operations officer of Alison-South, a regional advertising/marketing firm with a diverse client base. Call 706.724.3758.

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


WORKPLACE SAFETY COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT ANSWERS THE QUESTION ‘WHAT IF?’ Gary Slater’s business, Slater Tactical Solutions LLC, is designed to empower employees, church members and individuals to be situationally aware for violent situations. Slater is a certified firearms instructor and spent time in Afghanistan as a team leader for the Department of State’s and Department of Energy’s Tactical Response Teams. Special


Gary Slater returned from Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2016, bringing with him more than 30 years of experience working with local, state and federal agencies – including his time as team leader for the Department of Energy and Department of State Tactical Response Teams. “I’ve been shot at before,” said the new business owner. Since returning to Augusta, he has divided his time as a firearms instructor at Shooter’s Indoor Range in west Augusta and as president of Slater Tactical Solutions LLC. “It’s been created to train, equip and prepare individuals and organizations and empower them to live securely in today’s ever-changing threat environment,” Slater said. His biggest workplace contract to date is with Mansfield System, an oil energy business based in Gainesville, Ga. Slater has also worked for a local retail discount superstore to train its employees on what to do in the event of an active shooter or criminal and how to be situationally aware. “I can help companies with a site survey, the layout of the physical building, determining how and who they let in and the vetting process of future employees. It’s exactly what I did at the DOE and

the DOS for many years,” said Slater. After a free initial consultation, he works on a contract basis for CSRA companies. In light of church shootings the last few years, he’s also developing plans for places of worship. “I just ask for a love of-

16 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

fering,” Slater said. Slater volunteers on the security team at Stevens Creek Church. This spring or summer Slater will publish his first book, Being Secure In An Insecure World. “We always have to be prepared for the

‘what if,’  ” Slater said. Attacks have happened before, and Slater expects there to be more terrorist attacks and workplace and church violence in the future. For a free consultation, visit slater

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Responsible for employing 48 percent of all private-sector employees, small businesses’ health and ingenuity are vital to the economic growth of the United States.

When it comes to American business, often it’s the largest companies that garner the most attention. It’s no wonder that many people think these corporate giants are the most important enterprises in our economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 28.8 million small businesses have fewer than 500 employees. So, are these companies operating in the shadows of their larger brethren, or do small businesses carry their own weight? Consider the facts. America’s unsung heroes According to the most recent SBA data, small businesses employ almost half (48 percent) of all private-sector employees, pay 41.2 percent of total U.S. private payroll, have generated 60 percent of net new jobs since the latest recession and represent 96 percent of high-tech industries. The fact is that the United States depends on the health and ingenuity of these small businesses for its overall economic growth. But as small business owners breathe new life into our economy, a number of issues keep them up at night – namely, how to keep their operations secure and growing in the face of the ever-changing pressures. Among their concerns are how best to attract, retain and motivate top-quality talent; mitigate and manage risk; create a solid succession strategy; and meet their business obligations without sacrificing their personal financial security needs. If you are a small business owner, overhead expense coverage can provide the benefits you need to meet business expenses such as rent, payroll, utilities, taxes and maintenance costs in the event you become disabled. Similarly, key person insurance can help your company weather the disability or death of a key employee. It can provide funds to pay debts and provide working capital while a suitable replacement is recruited and trained. In many cases, key person insurance may be required as collateral for a business loan. Finally, property and casualty insurance can pay benefits to repair or replace buildings, equipment and data damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster, while liability insurance can provide resources to satisfy personal injury or property claims. Business and professional needs are intertwined For small business owners, business and

As small business owners breathe new life into our economy, a number of issues keep them up at night – namely, how to keep their operations secure and growing in the face of the ever-changing pressures. personal financial security are often interrelated. With so much of your worth tied up in your company, it’s doubly important to have a plan that takes into account all of your financial security needs. That’s where an integrated approach to your business and personal concerns can help you sleep more soundly by addressing key questions, such as: • When my kids are ready for college, will I be ready financially? • When I decide to retire, will I have the resources to afford the lifestyle I want? • How can my business fund my retirement? • If I become sick or injured and can’t work, what will happen to my business? To my family? • If I die, will my family be protected financially? It can be difficult to know if you’ve done enough to ensure a secure financial future. The expression “it’s lonely at the top” is often very true for small business owners. A trusted financial representative can

18 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

help. The key is to work with someone who understands what it takes to run a successful business and has access to a team of specialists with expertise in risk management, employee benefits and business succession planning. Working with you and your other advisors, he or she can coordinate a team approach, resulting in a thorough understanding of where you are today, a strategy to help get you where you want to be in the future, and hopefully, a more peaceful night’s sleep.

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

Passing the torch All owners leave their businesses one day. As an owner, you have the best selection of options for creating an exit strategy if you get started on a plan before that day arrives. The creation of a thoughtfully prepared and properly funded business continuation plan, with the help of a trusted financial representative is a crucial part of the process. The proper exit strategy will: 1. Set clearly defined goals for the business’ owners and their families 2. Establish a fair market value for the business 3. Formalize a written buysell agreement 4. Maintain adequate life and disability insurance to fund the agreement in the event of an owner’s retirement, death or disability.

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Charities helped

At age 12, Andy Jones was destined to serve and plan his life’s work in the car business. In the 1970s, his father, Gerald Jones, owned a Volkswagen car dealership on Milledgeville Road in south Augusta. “I’d work there after school, we’d go home for supper and my dad, mom, sister and I would come back and clean the building after dinner,” said Jones. He learned all aspects of the business from his father and attended the University of Georgia in the early 1980s, with the understanding that he would join the family business.

These are just a few of the organizations and events Gerald Jones Auto Group helped in 2016. See the full list online at

Andy Jones, Gerald Jones Auto Group At age 20, in his junior year, Gerald Jones’ partner left and Andy became a minority shareholder with his dad. “I wanted to quit school before graduation, but Daddy wouldn’t let me,” said Andy. Father knows best. Andy graduated one weekend in Athens in 1985, and the next Monday he learned about his future during a rare staff meeting led by his father. “He told everyone I was in charge.” Over the next several years, Andy Jones would pick his father’s brain as the senior Jones became less and less involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. Gerald Jones taught Andy to be transparent, to be good to people and to serve the community. Andy honored his father by keeping the Gerald Jones name on the growing list of brands. The Subaru line was added to the VW brand in 1986, then Mazda and Audi in 1992. Honda is a big part of the footprint at Washington and Flowing Wells Roads, as is Volvo. His cousin, David Jones, is partner in those six dealerships. In 2016, Andy Jones bought 70 percent of the Bobby Jones Ford and Lincoln dealerships from the Lawrence family. “The one area in all of our other dealerships we couldn’t compete with is the Ford truck. Everyone needs a truck for hauling, hunting, tailgating and more,” said Jones. In his first year, Gerald Jones Ford beat the two other competitors in the market by about 20 percent in average monthly vehicles sold. Jones invested $3.5 million in renovations and expanding the showroom, and

Photo by Melissa Gordon

he stocked the Ford and Lincoln lots with $15 million in inventory. He also invested in people, adding nine more salespeople and more support staff. Between the eight dealerships, Jones employs nearly 350 people. In late 2016, Jones sold his old Mazda dealership property on the Gordon Highway to Sizemore Security and Staffing. “Our Mazda buyers were still largely from West Augusta and Columbia County. We’ve seen a huge increase in service repairs due to the convenience of our new location on Washington Road,” he said. Subaru’s footprint has been renovated, and all dealerships are greener with the installation of LED lighting and a mechanized car wash that uses just a few gallons of water to wash each car. Although it is not something he talks a lot about, Jones’ faith in God is deeply woven into both his business and personal life. It’s hard to keep up with the Joneses these days in terms of charity endeavors. Their largest sponsored event is “Thunder Over Evans,” which is set for May 20 this year. Last year, an estimated 35,000 people attended the free patriotic event. Jones also is a board member of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia and is touched each time he tours the unit of sick infants. “I love babies. It breaks my heart,” said the father of two. In 2016, Jones became incoming Chair­person of the Salvation Army and

20 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

initiated a challenge among fellow dealers to donate a portion of each sale to the cause. Approximately $80,000 was raised. Gerald Jones employees spent 64 hours this holiday season ringing the bell for the Salvation Army on Jones’ dime. “We spend more time here than with families. Happy co-workers make happy customers. We live in a great area and we are all proud to give back to the community,” said a humble Jones. His focus for the Salvation Army will be fundraising and awareness of the differences between the Kroc Center’s fitness and education initiative and the army’s “Center of Hope” theme of helping feed folks suffering from addiction and serving abused women and children. “No money raised at the Kroc Center can go to help Center of Hope,” he said. Connie, his wife of 27 years, also has charitable endeavors, including her washcloth project to help women be self-sufficient in Haiti. She knows where to reach him six days a week, and so do the customers who bought about 7,000 vehicles last year – on his cellphone or a special red phone in each dealership! His cellphone and home phone number are on his business cards, and there is a “bat phone” in each dealership to encourage customer compliments and complaints. “I should be accountable. Saturdays are my favorite day at the office as I get to

2nd annual Eagle Sports Scramble • Aiken Concert Band • Alex’s Lemonade Stand • American Heart Association • American Legion Post 192 • American Red Cross Boot Scoot Boogie • ASPCA • Association of the United States Army • Augusta Bulldog Club • Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Find Your Park • Augusta Christian School • Augusta Exchange Club • Augusta Friends of NRA • Augusta Lions Club • Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce • Augusta Outdoor Expo • Augusta Shrine Club Golf Unit • Augusta Sports Council • Augusta University SROTC • Augusta Warrior Project • Baker Place Elementary Book Donation • Blanchard Woods BMX/USABMX • Border Bash • Builders Asscociation of Metro Augusta Inc. • Cecil Herrin’s Men’s Breast & Prostate Cancer Walk • Central Savannah River Land Trust • Charlie Norwood Classic • relax and talk with customers. There are not as many emails from the factories to respond to,” he added. Jones likes to unwind by hunting, playing golf (last year he was able to play once) and reading. The book he is reading now is It’s Your Ship, by Dr. Michael Abrashoff, which has helped Jones lead an empowering Monday morning staff meeting in which ideas are encouraged and no cellphones are allowed. Just as his father paid things forward to Andy, he’s now doing the same. His 25-year-old son Drew is the service manager for the Mazda dealership, and his 22-year-old daughter Kelly Anne will use her UGA diploma to go into health care management. Andy Jones is interested in diversifying one day and opening some health care facilities and perhaps partnering with his daughter – after he feels comfortable that she has established her career and is settled in her family life. Father knows best.


Your trusted CSRA provider for:



January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Business openings, closings and moves Openings

Mr. Appliance A new appliance store is coming to the west Augusta and Evans area. Mr. Appliance has been business for 20 years and has locations across the country and in Canada. Mr. Appliance provides repairs for residential appliances including garbage disposals, wine coolers, ovens, stovetops and ranges, microwaves and more. The business opened Jan. 23 at its new location on Wheeler Road.

Want to go with a crowd to check out several restaurants at once? Try Augusta Food Tours. Special

New way to try something new Southbound Music Hall will hold 350 spectators.

Southbound Music Hall Brian Brittingham and George Claussen, owners of Southbound Smokehouse on Central Avenue, recently purchased the property next to their restaurant. Construction will begin soon on Southbound Music Hall. The venue will hold approximately 350 spectators and is expected to bring more nightlife to the downtown and midtown areas. Brittingham and Claussen also run Friends with Benefits, which organizes the annual Major Rager and Riverwalk Revivals.

If you’re looking for a way to try multiple downtown restaurants in one afternoon, Augusta Food Tours is ready to let you sample away. For $42, groups of 5-15 people travel together from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday through Sunday to try food from Southbound Smokehouse, Whiskey Bar Kitchen, Soy Noodle House, Beamies on the River and Boll Weevil. More restaurants will be added soon. Transportation, food and non-alcoholic beverages are included in the price. For more information, visit Becks is the second project of Sheehan’s Irish Pub owner, John Beck, and is in the former location of 5 O’clock Bistro. That popular Augusta restaurant closed in October 2015 after posting on its Facebook page that it would close and reopen “in the near future.” Becks is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with plans to open for dinner soon.



Mattress Man is opening its fourth area location.

Broiled oysters are on the menu at Becks.

Becks Becks in Midtown, at 2111 Kings Way, is now open.

22 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

Top Notch Car Wash/Sparkle Car Wash Top Notch Car Wash recently sold its Windsor Spring store to Sparkle Car Wash, owned by Columbia County Commissioner Gary Richardson. Richardson is currently remodeling the location and is expected to open in early 2017. Top Notch has three additional locations that remain open, and Sparkle has six other locations from Grovetown to Greenwood, S.C.

Mattress Man A new Mattress Man location is springing into Evans. The store, which has three additional locations in Augusta and Aiken, will replace a car lot and the original home of Carefree Pools and Spas on Washington Road. Mattress Man also has a location in Lexington, SC. Continued on Page 23

Business openings, closings and moves

Evans Diner will be moving from its current location to the former Sho Chin building just down Washington Road. Photo by Neil Gordon

Continued from Page 22

Relocations Evans Diner Evans Diner will be moving to the former Sho Chin building just down the street from its current location on Washington Road. We were told that it will be sometime in February before the move will take place and that there are no plans to change staff in any way, although customers may see some new menu items. Sizemore A family-owned business is headed to a new location. Sizemore is moving into the old Gerald Jones Mazda building on Gordon Highway. Gerald Jones Mazda has moved into the Gerald Jones family of dealerships on Washington Road and Flowing Wells. Sizemore began serving Augusta-area businesses in 1955 with staffing and janitorial and security services. Its services are now offered throughout the southeast.

upscale deli that will lease the now vacant spot. Originally, Buzz on Biz Publisher Neil Gordon was told by Stanleo’s corporate office in Alabama that there were issues with the building and repairs needed to be made. It said that once repairs were made Whitehead would reopen the shop, despite the fact the store phone was disconnected. “Our building is brand new and there are no problems,” said Byler. He added that the new deli will serve Boars Head meats and will be open for lunch beginning in late January or February.

The owners of Twisted Indulgence decided not to renew its lease in the Publix Plaza in Evans.

Somewhere in Augusta Somewhere in Augusta is headed somewhere else. The location on Washington Road temporarily closed over the New Year’s weekend. They are in negotiations with a building owner in Columbia County and have been looking to move there for years. The location is move-in ready, although it could be February before they can secure the lease and move. The restaurant name will remain the same.

Closings Stanleo Subs Brian Byler, owner of the strip plaza at 11th Street and Walton Way, said that the franchisee of the sub shop, Jeff Whitehead, abruptly closed the shop recently. Byler is letting Whitehead and Stanleo’s corporate owner in Alabama out of the lease to make way for an

door at the end of 2016 that stated that the Augusta location was closed after two years in the area. Customers are still able to place orders for their gourmet popcorn on the company’s website. The company’s original location in Columbus, Georgia, is still open.

The store is closed, but De la Pop customers can still get the gourmet popcorn from the company’s website.

De la Pop Gourmet Popcorn De la Pop Gourmet Popcorn on Agerton Lane has permanently closed. The business posted a note on its

Twisted Indulgence Twisted Indulgence closed in early January, deciding not to renew its five-year lease in the Publix Plaza outside of the Riverwood Plantation subdivision in Evans. Two dentists have owned the store since the beginning and decided to close rather than sign a new lease. The owners tell Buzz on Biz that customers who have unused gift cards will be issued full refunds. Those customers are asked to email and list the gift card number in the email and an address to which to issue refund checks. The growing Riverwood Plantation area is home to several restaurants with dessert options including McDonalds, Subway, Armando’s Pizzeria, Mi Rancho, Zaxby’s and Marco’s Pizza. – From staff reports January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Do you own or manage a manufacturing facility? If so, do you know the answer and/or solutions to these questions and problems? 1. What is your process reliability, what percent of schedule time is your process running? 2. Do you know root cause of all downtime? 3. Are your individual unit operations synchronized to maximize output while eliminating unit op down time? 4. Have you identified critical process quality factors and centerlines? 5. Do you experience shift-to-shift, day-to-day process variation? 6. Do you know your total losses from raw material waste or poor quality production, and do you have plans in place to reduce or eliminate these losses? Having firm grasp of these critical process control questions are essential to maximize output, reduce waste and improve quality, thus delivering improved profit margins. During my years at Procter and Gamble, I led efforts in manufacturing sites all across the globe to address all these challenges. A few problems seemed to occur at almost every site. Two of the most common challenges were shift-to-shift variation and the misguided notion that running as fast as possible was the best way to increase output. Shift-to-shift variation is a major con-

Optimizing your manufacturing facility’s output without making huge financial investments requires a program that builds in maintenance time and sets out clear processes and deadlines that all managers and shifts agree to follow.

tributor to losses associated with excess equipment wear, unscheduled downtime, unnecessary startup and shutdowns and poor or inconsistent quality. In every case, each process operator or shift knew it had the best way to run the process. Each shift had its own set of process guidelines. What was missing was a firm set of process centerlines and identified process quality factors. The solution to shift-to-shift variation requires several steps and actions. First, different operators from each shifts work together with process engi-

neers to establish critical process quality measures. Second, they agree to and establish rigorous process centerlines for startup, shutdown and normal operating conditions. Once these conditions are established, each shift agrees to run the process from startup to shutdown following those quality factors and centerlines. Daily compliance tracking is essential to ensure that drifting back to the old ways does not occur.  Another problem I often encountered was that every site wanted to or needed

to increase output to meet demand. The immediate answer was always to run faster, thinking that doing so would make production naturally increase. This is often failed logic. Just running faster often leads to increased downtime, reducing total output even though the run-time rate has improved. To optimize process output without major capital investment requires a program that includes planned downtime for maintenance, daily visual checks and maintenance, robust centerlines, identified tracked and measured process quality factors, training and documentation. A good, solid process control strategy will deliver maximized output, reduce unplanned downtime, improve quality and reduce raw material and equipment cost. Does your site have identified, tracked and measured centerlines, daily and routine maintenance schedules, and identified and measured process quality factors? You might consider hiring a consultant to help your team get to the next level. Ricci Jones is the president of Work Process Innovations LLC and is an expert in process control strategies for small and large companies, including manufacturers. He retired from Proctor and Gamble after 38 years and first visited the P&G plant in 1986. Reach him at 706.814.2326.



In the closing hours of the lame-duck session of the 114th Congress, small business got a gift in the form of the 21st Century Cares Act. This act allows small businesses (less than 50 employees) to reimburse employees for individual health insurance premiums beginning Jan. 1, 2017, through a special type of Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, these employers are not required to provide group health insurance for employees. However, the IRS and the Department of Labor had ruled that HRAs which reimbursed employees for individual coverage violated the ACA and could subject

the employer to an excise tax of $100 per day per employee covered under the HRA. This forced small employers to either offer expensive group health insurance benefits or forego providing this type of benefit. To provide these HRAs (referred to in the act as “qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement”) an employer must establish that: i) they are not subject to the mandate to provide health insurance benefits under the ACA, and ii) they do not provide group health insurance benefits to employees. For the HRA to qualify under this new law it must meet certain restrictions. The reimbursement cannot exceed $4,950 for an individual and $10,000 for a family.

24 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

The employee must provide proof of coverage and premium payment or payment for medical expenses for themselves or their family. The employer must offer the HRA to all eligible employees on the same terms (e.g. if you reimburse 50 percent of premiums for some, you must do it for all.) It is important to note that employers have until March 13 of this year to give employees notice and implement an HRA for this year. There are other technical requirements the HRAs must meet to qualify, so if you are interested in offering this benefit, you should consult your employment attorney or accountant. Clearly employers of all sizes face uncertainty in the health care market this

year as Congress gears up to repeal the ACA. The 21st Century Cares Act is a bright spot in that murky horizon, at least for the small business employer.

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

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


upcoming business events Thursday, January 26 Business After Hours presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 5-7 p.m. Business After Hours provides an excellent opportunity for a company to introduce itself to the business community. This program allows the host/ sponsor to showcase its business, services and facilities to fellow Chamber members and offers members the chance to meet one another and network in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. For more information, visit

Friday, January 27 99th Annual Dinner presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, USC Aiken Convocation Center, 471 University Parkway Aiken. 6:30 p.m. The Aiken Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner will celebrate the Chamber’s 99th year of connecting business to the community to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of Aiken. The Chamber will unveil its updated logo, which reflects its commitment to small and large business, honors the synergy among businesses and celebrates the connectivity between business and the community. Also being presented are the Small and Large Business of the Year awards. These awards recognize two Chamber members that have completed a minimum of three years in business, demonstrate exceptional customer service, are recognized as community leaders, inspire others and exhibit vision that goes above and beyond business as usual. For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 1 Greater Augusta Day Atlanta Leadership Trip 2017 presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Join The Augusta Metro Chamber, Columbia County Chamber and the Burke County Chamber of Commerce as they travel to Atlanta to meet with our state legislators. For more information, visit Membership 101 presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia

County Chamber Office, 1000 Business Blvd., Evans. 1:30-2:30 p.m. Membership orientation for the Columbia County Chamber. If you are a new Chamber member or just want a refresher course, plan to attend. For more, visit

Thursday, February 2 BNI, Holiday Inn Express, 1073 Stevens Creek Road, Augusta. 7:15 a.m. BNI provides a positive, supportive and structured environment for the development and exchange of quality business referrals. It does so by helping you build personal relationships with dozens of other qualified business professionals. Weekly meetings last for 90 minutes. Members need to arrive on time and stay for the entire meeting. For more information, visit

Friday, February 3 66th Annual Meeting and Banquet presented by the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave. Cocktails 6 p.m.; dinner and program 7-10 p.m. The Annual Meeting and Banquet is a celebration of the year’s successes and a time to honor annual award winners. The upscale evening begins with a cocktail hour and is followed by a dinner and program. Awards will be given for Citizen of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Ambassador of the Year. For more information, visit First Friday Means Business presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, Newberry Hall, 117 Newberry St. SW, Aiken. 7:30-9 a.m. $18. First Friday Means Business is the Greater Aiken Chamber’s informative monthly breakfast meeting. This event features a keynote speaker who addresses issues of interest to the business community. First Friday Means Business includes city, county, Chamber and sponsor talk. This monthly meeting also allows for networking opportunities. For more information, visit ReNew & Brew presented by the North Augusta Chamber of

26 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

Commerce, Snelling Center, 3165 Washington Road, Augusta. 7-11 p.m. The fourth annual reNew and Brew celebrates the idea of reinvention. The event features an auction of one-of-a-kind pieces made from items donated to Goodwill retail stores that have been reinvented by local artists, decorators and designers. Guests will have an opportunity to sample craft beers from Southeastern breweries and delight in heavy hors d’oeuvres prepared by Helms College’s chefs and students. Live music will be provided by Keith Gregory. Tickets are $75, sponsorships available. Proceeds benefit Helms College, www. For more information, visit

Thursday, February 9 BNI, Holiday Inn Express, 1073 Stevens Creek Road, Augusta. 7:15 a.m. BNI provides a positive, supportive and structured environment for the development and exchange of quality business referrals. It does so by helping you build personal relationships with dozens of other qualified business professionals. Weekly meetings last for 90 minutes. Members need to arrive on time and stay for the entire meeting. For more information, visit

Thursday, February 16 Third Thursday Business Builder presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 1 10th St., Augusta. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A seminar series providing information and tips for efficient and effective business operations. Advance registration required. For more information, visit Ribbon-Cutting: Hyatt Place Augusta, 160 Mason McKnight Jr. Parkway, in Augusta. 4:30-5:30 p.m. AYP Third Thursday presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Third Thursday is an opportunity for individuals ages 22 to 39 to meet other young professionals in a relaxed atmosphere for networking. Members and first-time guests are free. Registra-

tion is requested. For more information, visit

Friday, February 17 Good Morning North Augusta presented by the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Palmetto Terrace, 4th Floor Municipal Complex, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. 7:30- 9 a.m. Networking at 7:30 a.m.; breakfast and program 8 a.m. Members: $15; nonmembers: $25. Advance registration is required.

Tuesday, February 21 Women in Business presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, The Legends Club, 2701 Washington Road, Augusta. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Members: $30; nonmembers: $40. Programming to support the business community through the personal and professional advancement of women. Speakers for the Women in Business series are experts on a variety of topics and are leading not only by expertise but by example in their fields. Advance registration required. For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 22 Ribbon-Cutting: Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Augusta, 3028 B Washington Road, Augusta. 4:305:30 p.m. columbiacounty

Thursday, February 23 Business After Hours presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, Pruitt Health, 830 Laurens St. NW, Aiken. 5-7 p.m. An excellent opportunity for a company to introduce itself to the business community. This program allows the host/sponsor to showcase its business, services and facilities to fellow Chamber members. It also offers members the chance to meet and network in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Catch the Buzz! Get more on events and follow business and economic news across the CSRA at

, G N ! O Y P T T R O N A S P ’ IT S A

’ IT

Saturday, March 18, 2017 • Legends Club Information and tickets available at Hosted by:

Table_Tennis_Buzz_9.67x11.5in.indd 1


January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


1/20/17 1:25 PM

BETTER BOSSES TECHNICAL VS. RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP STYLE meeting or being able to fix a computer program. The lesson is that the technical is necessary, but great leaders understand the importance of relating to people and know how to do it. It really leaves an impact. I challenge you to work on relating to your teams if this is an area in which you need improvement. One crucial point: Make sure it’s genuine. People can tell if you’re doing something out of obligation or because it’s truly meaningful to you. By effectively relating to people, you and your team can work together to accomplish strategic goals and be successful.


Part of being a great leader is being able to relate to others. Have you ever had a manager who was excellent at his or her job but couldn’t handle people correctly? Those managers could perform their daily job duties but probably had issues in the way they spoke to their team and understood the different personalities of the people they worked with. Many people in leadership roles battle this. Their job performance has led them to get promoted into a higher role, but they never learned how to relate to people along the way. I want you to try an exercise. I saw this in a leadership training with executive trainer Nancy Reese and fell in love with it. Take a moment and try this on your own or with your team at your next meeting. 1. Get a sheet of paper and write “Relational” on one side and “Technical” on the other. 2. Think about the best managers or leaders you’ve encountered and think about the top five characteristics or skills you loved about them. 3. List those five characteristics either under Relational or Technical. Once you are done, which side has

Your employees and customers can tell if you are doing something out of obligation or because it’s truly meaningful. Practice relating to others if this is an area of concern.

more characteristics listed under it? Usually you’ll find that your best managers or leaders have more relational characteristics than technical. Relational

characteristics including good communication, being kind and understanding and going to bat for the team outweigh the technical, such as conducting a good

Stacy Roberts is president of SMR Leadership Solutions LLC. As an executive coach with extensive human resources and corporate leadership experience, she assists in providing leadership coaching and training. She also wrote Boomer, Be Nice and Roscoe’s Rescue. She believes that leadership skills can be taught to help children develop into successful adults. Reach her at stacy@smrleadershipsolutions. com.


You have closed out 2016 and are looking forward to the New Year. The books are getting reviewed, tax forms are being completed and you are planning on how to be super-successful this year! The end of one year and the beginning of a new one is the best time to evaluate your digital marketing strategy and set goals for the New Year. So, what kind of targets should your company consider for your business for 2017? Well, that depends on where you are today in your digital marketing performance. While digital marketing reviews can be quite extensive and comprehensive, there are three free tools to help you evaluate where you are today. 1. Evaluating Your Web Presence with Webgrader You can use free grader tools like Hubspot’s web grader (website.grader. com) to assess your website on four key

areas: performance and speed of loading; mobile device readiness; search engine optimization; and security. This simple report will identify tasks that you need to complete in each of the four areas and can be your first set of goals to ensure you are showing up online when potential clients are looking for a product or service you provide.

2. Understanding Your Social Media Engagement with Facebook Insights You can use the Facebook Insights link on your business’ Facebook page to gauge both your company’s page effectiveness and your competitions’ page. Facebook Insights provide an all-in-one dashboard that allows you to easily display several key metrics, including post engagement, reach, page likes and page views. Additionally, from this dashboard, you can boost recent posts and monitor your competition’s Facebook efforts. Facebook has a great resource to learn about Insights at

28 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

search/?q=insights. Armed with this information, you can begin to assess if you need to increase your efforts on social media marketing.

3. Scouting What Your Competition Is Doing on Paid Advertising with SEM Rush Are you using Google AdWords to drive more traffic to your site? If not, you might want to use SEM Rush (semrush. com) to see if your competition is using paid search to get a jump on you. SEMRush is a keyword research tool with over 35 million keywords and data pulled directly from Google and Bing. With their data, you can see exactly where your competitors are ranking in the top 20 Google and Bing results for over 100 million keywords. Again, the results of this free assessment can help drive your next steps in paid search. The simple fact is that if your competition is using paid search and your company is not, you are likely losing busi-

ness without even knowing it. Why does it matter? You might use each of these tools and find that you need to up your digital marketing game in 2017. It is important to know where you are before planning where you are going. Hopefully, these tools can help you determine if you are positioned well for new business in 2017 or if you need to focus immediate attention on some of your digital marketing areas.

Richard Brashear is general manager for Main Street Digital, a sister company of Morris Publishing Group. Main Street Digital assists companies with various online services, including websites, social media, SEO and generating online leads. Call 706.828.3948 or email

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January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Starting your own business can seem like a dream come true. Having the ability to create opportunities for others while watching your vision become a reality can be extremely rewarding. Hiring employees can be an exciting step forward, but setting expectations and guidelines for your team can get lost in the shuffle. As an employer, you are not required by law to have an employee handbook; however, it is in the best interest of the company and its employees to do so. For starters, providing your staff with an employee handbook communicates in a clear and consistent manner what is expected from them by the company. Having policies related to attendance, dress code and harassment not only defines the culture of your organization but also provides the structure that many employees need to fill their roles successfully. Additionally, employee handbooks communicate what employees can expect from the company. This may include such information as available benefits, company holidays and workplace safety plans.

Creating an employee handbook can be challenging, and if not worded carefully, it can do more harm than good. But it is in the best interests of your company and your employees to have one in place.

Providing a written document that communicates this information not only empowers employees to answer frequently asked questions but also frees up time for human resources and management. Another reason to create an employee handbook is CYA – cover your assets. At some point in the life of your business, you might find yourself on the receiving end of a Department of Labor or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claim or complaint. Having an updated employee hand-

book that documents your policies and procedures, plus the documentation to support that you followed those polices, can protect your reputation and play a huge role in the outcome of frivolous claims against the business. Now that you know why it is so important to have an employee handbook, what do you do next? Creating an employee handbook can be challenging, and if not worded carefully, can do more harm than good. The key is documenting policies in an objective, unbiased way and being sure that all polices apply to all employees the same. Proceed with caution when creating polices that exclude some workers or create even the appearance of favoritism, because they will lead to problems down the road. Once you’ve created your handbook, I strongly recommend that you have a human resources professional and maybe even an employment attorney review it before distributing it to your team to ensure that the handbook is in alignment with current employment laws. Finally, once you have your new handbook, it’s best to distribute it to your

entire team at the same time, preferably during a staff meeting. Doing so will allow all the members of your team to give feedback or get clarification on any policy that isn’t clear to them and will give you an opportunity to have everyone to sign a written acknowledgment. The form will document that they have received it and understand that they are responsible for knowing the information in the handbook. This prevents selective amnesia in the future.

Jame Geathers has more than 12 years’ experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, with an emphasis on Human Resources and Operations. Her focus is on helping small businesses with their structures and policies. Reach her at 706.496.9691 or

leadership 101


You have been invited to a meeting in a room with a long table. Seating is not assigned, so where should you sit? The answer to this question is much more important than you think. Years ago I learned “boardroom geography,” which works like this: Think of a large family dinner. Dad sits at the head of the table and Mom is at the other end. It’s the same in the boardroom – usually the president of the organization sits at the head of the table and the second in command, the vice-president, is at the other end. So, these two chairs are off-limits to you unless you are the top dog or the No. 2. Should you be so bold as to take one of these power seats, you would undoubtedly experience the most uncomfortable meeting of your life – it would just feel wrong. Now let’s look at this from the perspective of the president. You’re at the head of the table, so where are the people who will be your allies? They will take seats close to you – these are your supporters.

Just like at the family dinner table, there is a specific hierarchy to the seating in the boardroom and at the sales meeting.

But the people who are going to be trouble for you will sit further down the table, usually in the far corners. A few years ago I was working with a ladies’ makeup company that sells cosmetics at parties in customers’ homes, conducting business around the dining room table. The company representative would sit

30 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

at the head of the table and the lady who was hosting the party would sit at the other end. The makeup company workers reported that the party guests who sat near the company representative at the head of the table always bought the most makeup. I amazed the makeup company workers when I told them that I knew where the guests who never bought anything sat: At the far corners of the table. They confirmed that my guess was correct, so I advised them to not even bother with those guests sitting at the far corners – they would never buy anything anyhow, so it made much more sense to play to the interested guests who were sitting by the company representative at the head of the table. The makeup company later reported that they had incorporated this effective tactic into their sales training. One more interesting thing about this: If you’re ever in a boardroom and the president is one of those mean guys who yells at people, don’t sit in the far corners, because those are dangerous spots. When he gets angry, he’s going to yell at those

guys down there. Most leaders don’t know it, but they have been conditioned to distrust and dislike people who sit in the far corners. The guys in the seats closest to him, even if they are the ones he’s actually upset with, are too close. He’ll look at them – he might even make a snide comment – but then he’ll start lobbing mortars at the guys in the far corners. If you’re ever in a contentious meeting, and the leader is just really mean, sit as close to him as you can and he can’t hurt you. It might sound strange, but I know from experience that it works – it’s just human nature. Sean Michael Andrew is a hypnotist, body language expert, author and corporate keynote speaker. He was selected the MidAmerica Hypnosis Conference 2013 Hypnotist of the Year and the 2016 Educator of the Year. Reach him at 706.284.3370.

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


A Downtown on the move Millennials and the cyber economy are brightening the picture

The 1100 block of Broad Street: The Downtown Development Authority has been very hush-hush on the numerous “Sold” banners that can be seen downtown, but reliable sources have told us that a hotel will be built.

Downtown photos by Amanda King

Railroad Depot: Documents from the Downtown Development Authority say that a housing market feasibility report has been completed for the property at 511 Reynolds St., where Riverwalk Augusta begins.

Escape Room: Another project near 11th Street, an escape room is a prime destination for young groups of people to work together to solve puzzles and get out of the room in a set amount of time. Columbia County already has escape rooms, but with the growing cyber interest downtown, this location will be cyberthemed.

Downtown A r t / ” S e l f i e” destinations: The Young Gamechangers made recommendations for more art and sculptures downtown to promote “selfie” spots to post downtown activity to social media and encourage a younger demographic downtown.

Former Henry Brothers Auction Co. building: An upscale retail store with local ties will be on the first floor of this three-story building at 1051 Broad St. The other two floors, like so many other downtown buildings, will require improvements before they can be used for any type of business.

Augusta Innovation Zone: Former Mayor Deke Copenhaver has his hands in more than business consulting and radio these days. He and five other investors are putting blood and sweat into a co-working space in the former Woolworth building at 802 Broad St. The project is estimated to cost $5 million and is expected to be an ideal spot for work, life and play, complete with a rooftop bar. The space will also serve as an incubator space for startups as they learn to grow their brand and business.

Former Planned Parenthood building: The interior of 1289 Broad St. is set to be gutted as soon as construction begins on a new, upscale nightclub. Real estate agent Andy Ackerman of VanderMorgan Real Estate told Buzz on Biz Managing Editor Amanda King that the nightclub developers will push to complete construction in time for the Masters tournament this April. 12th and Ellis streets: Future home of chef Sean Wight’s latest project, a new Mexican restaurant. Wight also runs Farmhaus, Craft and Vine, and Frog Hollow Tavern. The new restaurant will be located just off Broad Street near the site of the yet-to-beannounced hotel on the 1100 block. Miller Theater: The theater at 708 Broad Street, built in 1940, is getting $23 million facelift. When complete, the 1,200-seat facility will be the new home for Symphony Orchestra Augusta and will be available for small concerts and events.

32 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

1006 and 1008 Broad: Havird Usry’s latest restaurant will be in the 1006 building that currently houses New York High Style. The men’s clothing store will relocate to the vacant property at 1008 Broad. Usry will also renovate the apartment above the retail and restaurant space.

Sunshine Bakery: This 70-year-old business at 1209 Broad St. is getting a breath of fresh air since Gene Gurley purchased the deli at the beginning of the year. Gurley plans to renovate the restaurant and add breakfast to the menu. Photo by Melissa Gordon

Streetscaping: The Miller Theater isn’t the only spot getting a little work done; Cooper Carry, an Atlanta firm, is working on multiple plans to improve pedestrian safety, streetscapes and parking downtown, making a better environment for customers. Augusta Metro Chamber President Sue Parr said this is the first major improvement for downtown streets since the mid-1970s. The project, however, will not take place for another three to four years.

Hyatt House Hotel: More than 100 rooms will be available for the numerous downtown events. Construction is expected to begin at 1268 Broad Street in early 2017.

Escape Outdoors: The adventure retailer is escaping its current space at 1243 Broad to get its own building, but owner Fred Daitch said he has spoken with a brewery and Mexican restaurant about possibly renting the space. Reynolds Street Hotel: A 125-room hotel is set to be built at Reynolds and James Brown Boulevard near Augusta Common and the Augusta Convention Center, a perfect location for out-of-towners visiting festivals or conferences. – Compiled by Amanda King January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz 33


The spirit of Wier/Stewart graphic designer Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman Jr. can best be described as a 6-year-old boy charging off of the school bus the day before Christmas break – full of sugar and excited about everything. “And he’s always like that,” co-worker Amanda Ferguson said. One of the rare times Zimmerman wasn’t a big ball of yellow sunshine was when he shared his story at TedX Augusta in 2014. He told the crowd about his journey from happy, talented child to an adult who suffered a tremendous loss when his partner suddenly passed away. Zimmerman talked about retreating into his art, often at Metro Coffeehouse and Pub downtown. He drew robots to expose raw, human emotion from his own experiences. From those drawings came the Happy robot, a simple black, boxy robot with a bright yellow background, its head turned to the side and a peculiar smile on its face. “I wanted it to look like a graphic designer didn’t do it,” Zimmerman said. Zimmerman began distributing the Happy robot on posters and stickers. The response was enormous. Before long, he began asking people to submit self-addressed stamped envelopes if they wanted to place an order for stickers. The result was better than Zimmerman could have hoped for. “I remember when he used to get one box [of stickers] per year, and now he gets two or three a week,” friend and fellow artist Jason Craig said. Filmmaker Michael Patrick McKinley took notice of Zimmerman’s story while attending the TedX event and decided to take it to a wider audience by producing a film called Happy: A Small Film with a Big Smile. McKinley created the documentary, better known as Happy, with footage from downtown Augusta and interviews with Zimmerman’s friends and family in the Garden City. The world premiere for Happy was held at the Imperial Theater in July 2016. In addition to a great response locally, Happy has been viewed at multiple film festivals from California to New York and will be shown at the International Filmmaker Festival of Word Cinema in London in February. The stickers have since been known to be floating around multiple continents, with people tagging Zimmerman in social media posts when they see or post a Happy sticker overseas.

The new Dream version of Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman’s popular Happy robot sticker is printed on shiny gold paper. He said they are in honor of late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Photo by Amanda King

“If you love what you’re doing, it will show. I am very fortunate to do what I do.” – Augusta artist Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman Special

Four years after first drawing the Happy robot, Zimmerman said he still gets giddy about the project. “If you love what you’re doing, it will show,” he said. “I am very fortunate to do what I do.” Zimmerman has grown beyond just doing Happy stickers to creating various versions of his boxy friend. His Hanukkah sticker was spotted in New York City, as was a sticker depicting his favorite holiday, Christmas. After the death of David Bowie in January 2016, Zimmerman created Inspire buttons – the same Happy

34 January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz

robot in a different color and text. His most recent idea came to him over a year ago but cut too close to Martin Luther King Jr. Day to launch at the time. His latest endeavor, Dream stickers, are in honor of the late civil rights leader and are meant to remind others to dream. Printed on Willy Wonka-style gold paper, they are eye-catching and heart-grabbing. Zimmerman admitted that his is the worst business model, paying out of his own pocket to create stickers, buttons, posters and billboards, but to see the smile

on people’s faces as he hands them a Happy sticker makes it worth the cost. He can often be seen leaving his stickers around town or handing them to cashiers at the grocery store or parents in car line at local schools. They serve as calling cards to the public, reminding them to stay happy. While telling his story to Buzz on Biz, Zim­merman referred to a quote by Winston Churchill: “If you feel like you’re going through hell, keep going.” Zimmer­ man said he doesn’t believe in burying feelings and “pretending everything is OK.” What he does believe in is perseverance. Some of Zimmerman’s work is currently available at the Jessye Norman School for the Arts in his latest art show, “Don’t Erase Your Crooked Lines.” The free show will be available Wednesday to Friday from noon to 3 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment through Feb. 11. Many people don’t realize that they see Zimmerman’s nonrobot work every day. One of the graphic design projects he completed with his Wier/Stewart family is the new Augusta University logo, and posters for Morris Museum of Art’s Southern Soul and Song. “It’s fun because folks have no idea I’ve created these things, and I like being that invisible,” Zimmerman said. For more information on the Happy documentary, visit For more information on Zimmerman, visit


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January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Working in the world of finance presents me with the unique opportunity to interact with various types of people and businesses at an intimate level. Money is something quite personal to everyone. Whether they have a lot or a little, money affects them all, and over the years, I have found some people possess a powerful perspective that contributes to their overall well-being regardless of their income level. Alternately, there are those who have allowed money to destroy much of what they once held dear. These lessons can benefit us all and are centered around three key priorities: Relationships: There was a man I once met who admitted he had “burned through” three families because of his intense pursuit of money and career. Another admitted it took two open heart surgeries and two divorces to get his attention. Why did these very intelligent men make such physical and relational sacrifices? Money. They, like many of us, got caught in the trap of materialism and workaholism. As a result, they are spend-

If the pursuit of money is damaging the important relationships in your life, it’s not too late to change and make a fresh start.

ing their later years with money in the bank, but not much else. Is our desire to acquire causing us to shortchange the people in our lives? Money isn’t the problem – it’s just pieces of paper. It’s when we make money our priority that problems occur. Revenues: When we make our families the priority, it may cost us moving up the economic ladder as fast as we’d like. However, Chuck Colson, former Special

Counsel to President Nixon and later the founder of Prison Fellowship, summarized it best when we wrote, “As I think back on my life, my biggest regret is not spending more time with the kids. Making family your top priority means going against the culture where materialism and workaholism are rampant. It means realizing you may not advance as fast in your career as some do. It means being willing to accept a lower standard of living, knowing that you’re doing the right thing for your children, giving them the emotional security that they will draw on for the rest of their lives.” Before we get caught in the trap of thinking more money is better, remember that shortchanging some revenue today isn’t necessarily the worst decision we can make. Revival: Then there is the priority of our soul. If we are willing to shortchange our health and our relationships, what won’t we be willing to shortchange in pursuit of larger homes, newer cars, fatter wallets and bigger titles? Revival is defined as an improvement in the condition or strength of something, and from the conditions we see all around us, a revival

is something our homes, our communities, our nation and our world can use a healthy dose of. The subject of priorities is admittedly something I believe strongly in, because I was once heading in the same direction as the men I mentioned earlier. My pursuit for more was inadvertently causing me to shortchange the other more important areas of my life. However, I am thankful that I was able to reprioritize before I lost all I hold most dear. The good news is we all can do the same, and it’s never too late to make a fresh start.

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


I’ve had times when communication with the boss has been great. Other times, it has been a bit more challenging. Threats and swearing are never “OK.” In fact, I believe any expression lacking respect toward your boss should not be given voice. Inspired by a story I saw on the topic in Business Insider, from my perspective, these are things you should never say to your boss, in no particular order.



“Fine. I’ll just leave.” Aside from being very unprofessional, these words also tell your boss that you might up and leave on a whim. That’s not what you what him or her to be thinking!


“I’ve already tried that.” While that might be true, saying so makes you sound like you’re lazy. It would be better to explain why that path was ineffective.






“I’m late because ____________.” If being on time is an issue, your boss is acutely aware of it. Instead of coming up with another excuse, choose instead to do what you need to do to show up on time. “That’s not my job.” In these days of cost-cutting and consolidation, many of us are stretched and are being asked to do more. (Yes, that means work harder!) Trust me, if you don’t want to do the work, many others are willing to step in and take your place!

“At the last place I worked we did it this way…” Do you really want your boss to think you consider the last place you worked to be the standard for the way things should be done? Look ahead – not backwards. “I assumed…” One of my personal favorite phrases is “Communication is the message received.” Choose to pay attention to the memos and emails your boss sends out. There really is a good reason for them. Well, most of them anyway!

36 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

“It’s not my fault.” Finger-pointing only leads to fractures and dissent in the office. It’s always wise to take full responsibility for your actions. If you’ve messed up, admit it, learn from it and move on. “So-and-so is nearly impossible to work with.” Complaining about a co-worker never helps you or your team! We all have folks we find easy to work with, and others who are more of a challenge. Choose to embrace the strengths of the folks you work with. Remember, they get to work with you!

reality, until I actually became the guy sitting in the boss’ chair, I really didn’t grasp the weight of responsibility that’s involved with the job on a daily basis. Lead where you are. If you earn an opportunity to be the boss someday, I believe that door will open for you. Start this year determined to serve those you work with. Pray for your boss. Encourage those around you. Work hard. Stay focused. Choose to be a difference maker.


“I deserve a raise.” Some people think these words should come up every time salary is discussed. When you make a positive difference and consistently excel with your job responsibilities, it will be obvious.


“I’d make a better boss than you.” At times I’ve truthfully thought that was the case. In

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

All nine CPC offices earn echocardiography reaccreditation by IAC Echocardiography is used to assess different areas of the heart and can detect heart disease or signs of serious cardiovascular conditions. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, followed closely by stroke as the fourth highest cause of death. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 2,150 Americans die each day from cardiovascular disease, which amounts to about one every 40 seconds. There are many factors that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on echocardiography. The training and experience of the sonographer performing the procedure, the type of equipment used and the quality assessment metrics each facility is required to measure, all contribute to a positive patient outcome. Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) accreditation is a “seal of approval” that patients can

rely on as an indicator of consistent quality care and a dedication to continuous improvement. All nine Center for Primary Care offices in the CSRA have been granted an additional three-year term of accreditation by the IAC in Echocardiography in the area(s) of Adult Transthoracic. This latest accreditation awarded to Center for Primary Care demonstrates the facility’s ongoing commitment to providing quality patient care in echocardiography.

Accreditation by the IAC means that Center for Primary Care has undergone an intensive application and review process and has been found to be in compliance with the published standards, thus demonstrating a commitment to quality patient care in echocardiography. Comprised of a detailed self-evaluation followed by a thorough review by a panel of medical experts, the IAC accreditation process enables both the critical operational and technical components of the applicant facility to be assessed, including representative case studies and their corresponding final reports. IAC accreditation is widely respected in the medical community, as illustrated by the support of the national medical societies related to echocardiography, which include physicians and sonographers. IAC Echocardiography is supported by the following organizations while

operating independently of their activities: American Society of Echocardiography (ASE); Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS); and Society of Pediatric Echocardiography (SOPE). When scheduling an echocardiography procedure, patients are encouraged to research the accreditation status of the facility and can learn more by visiting intersocietal. org/echo/main/patients.htm. For more information about Center for Primary Care, or to find a physician near you, visit the website at

(Paid Advertorial)

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Watching the Signs


There is a more demand than ever among companies for design on a larger scale. Simple messaging with simple imagery targeted to a customer base and straight to the point tells a business’s story and delivers its brand. We’re talking billboards, vinyl banners and window perf. More businesses want to spend their marketing budget to showcase themselves using larger designs. Graphic design has seen huge growth over the past few years, with businesses employing design partners to focus on design first. Popular design trends include typography (the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed), responsive design (an approach to web design aimed at allowing desktop webpages to be viewed in response to the size of the screen or web browser one is using) and a focus on speed and users. Posters and banners can be produced at about any size or type – everything from adhesive posters that are easily removed to outdoor banners that withstand harsh weather. Large formats are used at trade shows, in the lobby of your business or on the walls of your home or business. Here’s a partial list of large-format marketing ideas. Chances are, if you have an idea for your large-format partner, it can be produced. • Vinyl banners • Vehicle wraps & graphics (full or partial) • Posters • Cork board • Perforated window coverings • Frosted vinyl for glass

• Monument signs • Cut acrylic • Gator board • A-frame signs • Canvas prints • Pop-up banners • Trade show banners • Window graphics • Floor graphics (hard and carpeted) • Directional signage • Foam core • Adhesive back signage • 3D Lettering • Metal standoff mounts • Plexi signs (indoor and outdoor) • Building wraps • Flags • Interior signs • Wall wraps • Adhesive vinyl designs If you’re anything like me, you cringe when there is any mention of your marketing budget. Admittedly, I might be a frugal business owner, but with good reason. Options for marketing your product or services are so important. I’m careful with my customers’ money, my employees’ earnings and my own livelihood! Have a happy and large New Year! Think big in 2017.

Beth Pence is co-owner of Alphagraphics with her son Phillip. It is located across from the Martinez Post Office and offers print, sign and design services. Call 706.650.3177 or email

Today, more companies are looking for simple design on a large scale when it comes to budgeting their marketing dollars.

38 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

In order to encourage saving for retirement, qualified retirement plans offer a variety of tax advantages to businesses and their employees.



A qualified retirement plan is a program implemented and maintained by an employer or individual for the primary purpose of providing retirement benefits and which meets specific rules spelled out in the Internal Revenue Code. For an employer-sponsored qualified retirement plan, these rules include: • The plan must be established by the employer for the exclusive benefit of the employees and their beneficiaries, the plan must be in writing and it must be communicated to all company employees. • Plan assets cannot be used for purposes other than the exclusive benefit of the employees or their beneficiaries until the plan is terminated and all obligations to employees and their beneficiaries have been satisfied. • Plan contributions or benefits cannot exceed specified amounts. • The plan benefits and/or contributions cannot discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees. • The plan must meet certain eligibility, coverage, vesting and/or minimum funding standards and provide for distributions that meet specified requirements. • The plan must prohibit the assignment or alienation of plan benefits. • Death benefits may be included in the plan, but only to the extent that they are “incidental,” as defined by law. In order to encourage saving for retirement, qualified retirement plans offer a variety of tax advantages to busi-

nesses and their employees. The most significant tax breaks offered by all qualified retirement plans are: • Contributions by an employer to a qualified retirement plan are immediately tax deductible as a business expense, up to specified maximum amounts. • Employer contributions are not taxed to the employee until actually distributed. • Investment earnings and gains on qualified retirement plan contributions grow on a tax-deferred basis, meaning that they are not taxed until distributed from the plan. The bottom line is that the primary qualified retirement plan tax advantages – before-tax contributions and tax-deferred growth – provide the opportunity to accumulate substantially more money for retirement when compared to saving with after-tax contributions, the earnings on which are taxed each year.

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


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The needs of the military family are unique. It’s important to choose an experienced loan officer who understands those needs and will listen to your individual situation.

Give me a call today!


© 2017 Evolve Bank & Trust Loan Production and Representative Offices are not full service branch locations of Evolve Bank & Trust. These offices do not engage in general banking transactions, such as deposits or payments, and only provide Residential Mortgage Loans. Equal Housing Lender. All loans subject to credit approval. Corporate NMLS# 509256

Representative Office

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

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

AU G U S TA M A R K E T I N G . C O M January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Our national sport is jumping to conclusions, and we all are Olympians thanks to social media. Before Facebook, if you didn’t like dinner out, you’d maybe leave a bad tip and tell a few friends. Now? You’ll assume the experience was an intentional slight and post an angry, one-sided blast, calling for the staff to be fired and the restaurant to close just because your linguine was too al dente. How I wish that was an exaggeration. You’d think that potential exposure to a worldwide audience would cause people to be more aware of using filters. Instead, it’s as if filters no longer exist, turning us into tantrum-pitching 4-year-olds with broadband connections. As a former journalist turned public relations professional, this is immensely frustrating. My journalist side understands the importance of providing context to any story so that minor incidents aren’t blown out of proportion. The PR side knows once the Pandora’s box of bad publicity is opened, it’s very difficult to capture the demons that escape. Recent incidents illustrate this issue: A woman said her father was taken to a hospital emergency room on a holiday weekend, where he spent far too long waiting – in the lobby, in hallways, in

If you feel a business has acted badly, give it an opportunity to respond before airing your grievances in public. You might be surprised at the outcome.

treatment rooms – with too little attention from medical personnel. Did she use the hospital’s robust system for filing a complaint? Of course not. She posted

a diatribe on Facebook, which then attracted sympathy from friends (likely the real goal of the posting) and more criticism of the hospital. True? Fair? Who knows; hospital officials weren’t asked for their side. A person alleged that a local chain restaurant had refused to serve several police officers and unleashed a string of complaints and boycott threats. Some commenters, refreshingly, urged caution about taking the writer at her word – but most simply brought their pitchforks to the boycott party. Closer to home for me, an Atlanta-area Goodwill store had an unpleasant encounter with a homeless woman. Despite an apology from the charity’s regional office, a writer on Facebook accused the entire organization of being “heartless,” leading to a chain reaction that reached into our region of Goodwill. (There are 177 autonomous Goodwill regions around the world; each operates its own territory independently.) A TV station spread the story for clickbait, causing a long, fruitless day of responding to people jumping to the conclusion that their local Goodwill had acted badly, with others spreading falsehoods that they’d found – where else? – on social media.

This is supposed to be where I offer advice on how to fix all this. If I had an easy answer, I’d go on the paid-speaker circuit. The reality is that we’re living in a time of societal transition and upheaval, where adults find it easier to join the digital mob than to exercise critical thinking. You can be part of the solution. When people post nonsense, counter it with facts. Sure, you might be attacked, but at least you won’t be part of the problem. Block and unfriend people who spread malignant falsehoods; deprive them of a portion of their bullying pulpit. And if you feel a business has acted badly, give it an opportunity to respond before airing your grievances in public. You might be surprised at the outcome.

Barry Paschal is senior director of Marketing and Communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, which also operates Helms College. Visit


In a world of rapid movement and technology made to speed up our productivity, it is easy to find ourselves feeling distracted, overwhelmed and anxious. Often the stress people feel comes from being unorganized and unprepared for what lies ahead. Perhaps you’ve resolved in the New Year to eliminate some of the stress in your life. One of the ways to do this is by organizing yourself and managing your time better. These steps can help eliminate some of the tension and those feelings of chaos. Granted, we cannot anticipate everything that comes our way, but certain steps can help us eliminate feeling overwhelmed. Getting and staying organized saves us time,money and energy.Perhaps some of the tips below can improve your time management and organizational skills. Develop a routine and try to stick with it. We are typically creatures of habit who thrive on routine, so why not develop one that works to help keep you organized and helps get things done more efficiently? Plan for the next morning before you go to bed at night, or prepare for the next workday before you leave the office each afternoon. By placing keys, wallet and phone in the same place, you can easily locate important things so you can dash out the door. Have a morning

40 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

routine that gets you off to a good start leaves you feeling less hurried. When you get to the office, check emails and voicemails left from the evening before and return emails or calls right away. You can move on through the day feeling more accomplished and with a clearer mind. Get organized. Using a planner to write down important notes contact information and appointments or deadlines can be very helpful. This can be an electronic version or a paper version, depending on what works best for you. There’s hardly a way to remember everything! If you have a family, it’s important to get everyone involved in using a family organizational calendar so that nobody misses an activity or an appointment. At work, use the calendars in Outlook to help set reminders or recurring deadlines to stay on task. Share your Outlook calendar with colleagues in the office so everyone can anticipate when you will be out of the office. Use your time wisely. Technology is meant to increase productivity, but it can also be a distraction, and with the development of technology comes new ways to throw away huge amounts of time. Do not be afraid to turn off your cellphone, put away

the laptop and unplug the kids from their devices. Finding a way to balance the time we spend using technology and time with our family or focusing on healthier activities is important for relationships and a better lifestyle. The ultimate goal of these tips is that you feel on top of things. That makes us happier and healthier and makes each day run more smoothly.

Missie Usry is the Enrollment Manager 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

Purveying the fabric of a community, for over 40 years



January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz


food for BUSY PROFESSIONALS MAKING A MEAL PLAN THAT WORKS ON THE GO Meal 1 4 oz. protein 30 g carbs


In nursing school, I found nutrition incredibly interesting, but the real education came when I used a nutritionist to break down the why and how to eat certain foods and the purpose of omitting certain foods. My nursing background did help me understand, and I became fascinated, especially when I started seeing results. It was then that I was introduced to meal plans. A meal plan is the organization of specific foods, amounts and times to eat. Daily intake of five to six meals are based around your activity level. While the equation is relatively simple to calculate your proteins, fats and carbs, a nutritionist or lifestyle coach is more knowledgeable in really gearing your meal plan to your specific goals and daily trends. Here is one client’s daily sample meal plan. She is trying to lose weight with little or no exercise.

Meal 2 3 oz. protein 1 cup veggies Meal 3 4 oz. protein 5 oz. complex carbs 1 cup veggies or Paleo meal Meal 4 3 oz. protein 1 cup veggies Meal 5 4 oz. chicken 1 cup veggies Meal plans are created for various reasons: leaning out, weight gain, building muscle and weight maintenance. A client

may go through a couple different meal plans before reaching his or her goal, and those meal plans could change weekly depending on the success or lack of results that the client and coach see. One of my joys is being in the kitchen, and the last thing that I want to do is take that away from someone. There are DIY meal plan packages that allow you to receive tips, ideas and recipes to help you be efficient. Keep it simple and make few changes. Start with grilled or baked meats and steamed veggies. Make your own marinades and seasonings to omit unnecessary sugar. Below, you’ll find one of my favorite and simple recipes. Onnie Sanford is the owner of Paleo Num Yums, a meal prep service specializing in healthy, fresh and tasty meals that are ready to cook. For a free consultation, call 706.699.1383.

Keep it simple and make few changes. Start with grilled or baked meats and steamed veggies. Make your own marinades and seasonings to omit unnecessary sugar.

OVEN FAJITAS This is one of my favorite recipes. SEASONING ½ tsp onion powder ¼ tsp garlic powder ¼ tsp cumin 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp coconut sugar ½ tsp salt ½ tbsp tapioca flour Note: This is an excellent seasoning to use for tacos as well FAJITAS 2 small (or 1 large) onion 2 medium green bell peppers 1 medium red bell pepper 2 lb. chicken breast 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil ½ medium lime (optional) Tortillas or lettuce INSTRUCTIONS 1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix ingredients for the seasoning in a small bowl and set aside. Cut the onion and bell peppers into ¼- to ½-inch-wide strips. Place them in a 9×13 casserole dish. Slice chicken into very thin strips and add it to the casserole dish with the vegetables. 2. Sprinkle seasoning over meat and vegetables. Drizzle oil over everything and use your hands to toss the ingredients until everything is well coated in oil and seasoning. Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Squeeze the juice from the lime over dish once it comes out of the oven. 3. Scoop a small amount of meat and vegetables into the center of each tortilla. Serve in flour tortillas (for kids) and lettuce boats for yourself to fit meal plan. You can occasionally find paleo tortillas where healthy foods are sold.

42 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



While Forest Hills Golf Club continues to revel in its award-winning status as one of the best public golf courses in the CSRA, the 19th hole – The Grill at Forest Hills – might not be as familiar. It’s that perfect combination of golf course fare, meeting room catering and kids’ favorite foods. The Grill at Forest Hills gives patrons a place to recount the hole-in-one that almost happened or just grab a quick bite of an American standard. Located off Wrightsboro Road near Newman Tennis Center, The Grill at Forest Hills offers a straightforward menu. Patrons order at the counter and loosen up in the humble surroundings, which include vintage golf décor spotlighting a simpler time. On a chilly winter day when kids were hip-hip-hooraying for Christmas break, I decided to join a colleague and a couple of elementary-aged boys and give the golf grill a chance. True to the statement on the website, The Grill at Forest Hills provides “great Southern hospitality, picturesque golf views and a cozy atmosphere.” We were greeted once, twice, three times by kitchen staff and clerks. The menu offered an easy choice for the boys, as burgers and fries are synonymous with kids’ cuisine. My colleague and I were a little more particular. We listened to the advice of the manager and decided that soup would be an obvious choice on a winter day. Chili or beef barley? I decided I needed a few veggies for my noontime intake, so the chili remained on the back burner. There were also a couple of salads that sounded yummy. A traditional cobb salad is always a safe bet. Since my colleague is a bit persnickety when she orders, she requested to add a topping or two and omit a couple of things from her ration of romaine. With perfect gentlemanly golf manners, the staff obliged, and our orders were on their way to being filled. Although there were only a few folks in the casual dining area, we could vaguely hear a larger crowd in a nearby room. Later, the waitress told us the Lions Club was hosting an event in the banquet area. She mentioned there are several groups that use the spacious room on a regular occasion. For civic gatherings, church events, an office celebration or team party, The Grill at Forest Hills seems like it could bring

One member of our party at The Grill at Forest Hills dubbed his burger the very best he’d ever eaten. The salad was plentiful and demanded a take-home box. The crinkled fries (like Mom used to make) stayed piled high in an endless heap. Photo by Susan O’Keefe

the happiness of a hole-in-one. Our drinks were quickly brought to our table and we were reminded about free refills. Needless to say, we certainly got our money’s worth in beverages that day. As we settled into our seats, a few stray golfers appeared. There was an easygoing, relaxed environment that made most of us forget that our lunch hour was just that, only an hour. For an unpretentious lunch for a modest $8 or so, The Grill at Forest Hills certainly fits the bill. One member of our party dubbed his burger the very best he’d ever eaten. The salad serving was plentiful and demanded a take-home box. The crinkled fries (like Mom used to make) remained piled high in an endless heap.

44 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

Since the golf course is home to the Augusta University men’s and women’s golf teams, players are regulars in the grill. It’s nice to know that not only the Jaguars, but also the regular customers, are all treated like champions.

The Grill at Forest Hills Food Price Location Networking Noise Level

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

The Grill at Forest Hills is at 1500 Comfort Road (off Wrightsboro Road). Its phone number is 706.733.0001, and its website is

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Developer Fred Daitch (from left) and operator Liz Sanderson believe in her concept for Olde Town Diner, a new cafe in the former Whistle Stop Cafe location owned by Hanson Carter. Special


Developer Fred Daitch believes in downtown Augusta. Thirty-year cook Liz Sanderson believes in her homemade recipes. Former owner Hanson Carter believed in the Whistle Stop Cafe before it burned down around Thanksgiving 2011. Together, all three had a hand in resurrecting the landmark at Sixth and Greene streets under a new name – Olde Town Diner. “We worked steadily on reopening since late 2014. It’s been a labor of love,” said Daitch. He and contractors did their best to restore as much about the iconic cafe as they could. He installed a new electrical system, kitchen equipment, furniture and much more – including outlets in the 30-seat diner to allow millennials and business folks to stay plugged in at all times. At a recent brunch gathering

At a brunch for friends and family to celebrate Olde Town Diner’s opening, Sanderson served up stuffed French toast and other homemade recipes.

for friends and family, Sanderson served up stuffed French toast with a fresh fruit cream cheese spread, hash with corned beef and potato cubes, cheese grits and other special recipes. “All of our food, dressings and desserts are homemade from scratch,” she said. “None of the ingredients we used are from processed foods.” Sanderson will have up to four

46 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

staffers per eight-hour shift and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Olde Town Diner will not close on Friday and Saturday nights. Sanderson wants to provide an alternative to the chain breakfast spots that are open 24 hours a day, and keep food and beverage workers downtown. She’ll serve unique taco recipes, duck egg rolls and traditional diner food. “I love Liz’s cooking,” Carter said at the gathering of friends and family. “She will do great and do what we tried to do – bring the community together.” “I bought the building in 2014, and it’s been a labor of love ever since,” Daitch said. Daitch invested the money and prepared the building for Sanderson, who will lease the space.

The Buzz is that Metro Diner, a trendy, upscale eatery based in Jacksonville, Fla., will be moving into the vacant Somewhere in Augusta location on Washington Road in west Augusta. One of the Metro Diner regional managers has been interviewing potential managing partners and chefs from Augusta at the business’ Atlantaarea location. A source said that once a decision is made, a near threemonth training period will take place for the operating partner, who will receive a salary and percentage of profits. The vacant Somewhere in Augusta space will be retrofitted to meet the standards of Metro Diner. Despite huge revenue possibilities during Masters Week, it will be at least summertime before the diner is open for business. Earlier in January, Augusta Chronicle Business Editor Damon Cline spoke with the building’s owner, Bruce Freshley, a former executive who helped develop the Doris Diamonds concept. “There is nothing else like it

in Augusta,” Freshley said. “We turned down many deals before settling on this one. When Freshley spoke with The Augusta Chronicle, he couldn’t release the name of the new tenant, but he did say it was a restaurant company in the midst of a major national expansion. A check of locations on Metro Diner’s website, which states locations are coming soon or open in nine states, backs up Freshley’s statement. As of press time, Buzz on Biz had not heard back from Somewhere in Augusta owner Cindy Fiske. In late December, Fiske said they were in negotiations to take over a vacant restaurant building in Columbia County. They are expected to reopen Somewhere in Augusta under the same name in February. Metro Diner is an awardwinning concept in Jacksonville, and it caught the attention of celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who hosts Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network. Metro Diner will utilize the 5,500-square-foot facility to showcase unique menu options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

On the Menu

Here are three meals featured on the award-winning cooking show and the descriptions from Metro Diner’s website. BREAKFAST Yo Hala On The Square: This monster of a meal is not your typical breakfast. Chef Davoli’s specially made challah bread serves as the base for this sweet and tart dish that incorporates bananas, cream cheese and berry compote into a culinary concoction “that is worth coming here for,” says host Guy Fieri. LUNCH/DINNER Meatloaf Plate: Discover the meatloaf that inspires Guy Fieri to declare, “Diners across the world have to take a lesson on this one.” This Metro Diner menu staple wows viewers with its hunger-smashing serving size, creative ingredient combination and what Fieri coins “exterior crustification.” Pittsburgh Steak Salad: As one patron expresses, “It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a salad.” Chef Mark Davoli’s traditional hometown dish combines prime rib, french fries, homemade blue cheese dressing and cool, crisp lettuce into what Guy Fieri describes as “the new definition of salad.”

give old electronics new life – recycle Editor’s note: This column was first published in February 2015.

By Charles Kelly

You have drawers full of old cell phones, closets full of game systems and cameras that you haven’t used in years. You have your last three computers in the garage, and at work there is an entire room dedicated to obsolete electronics. What in the heck are you supposed to do with all of this e-waste? Intuitively, you know that it’s a bad idea to throw these items in the trash, and your intuition is quite correct as state after state is making it illegal to dispose of computers and other electronics in standard trash bins. In Georgia, it’s not illegal … yet, but it’s always been a bad idea for three reasons. First, much of this equipment is made with things like hexavalent chromium, lead and cadmium, things which really don’t need to leech into our groundwater. Second, proper recycling reuses almost 100 percent of the items at the elemental level, including the plastics and glass. Third, the safety of your company or personal data is at stake. Tossing a company server or workstation into the dumpster is asking for trouble in ways you cannot imagine. Does your IT provider properly recycle your obsolete equipment? It should, but if it doesn’t, Computer Exchange does at each of its four locations and has since 2008. With the help of the Georgia Tech En­terprise Innovation Institute, we were able to design a safe, secure process to recycle not only computer equipment, but most kinds of electronics with no cost to the end user. Whether you are an individual or a large business, you can avail yourselves of a no-cost, secure place to recycle. We did this is because we have never been comfortable throwing electronics in a dumpster. In the beginning, with high metal values, it was a break-even proposition, but in the last two years with scrap prices plummeting, it has evolved into a net negative in terms of revenue, meaning that we had to decide whether to charge our customers for this service. We decided to continue our “no fee” policy as a service to the CSRA community that has supported us for the last 20 years. We do have limits on amounts, especially at satellite locations, but with notice, we can process larger amounts. The only charge we apply is if the customer wants a “photocopy drill certification,” meaning we photocopy the drive, then drill it and photocopy again. We provide

the customer the photocopy one time and do not store the images. Most customers are comfortable with the fact that we preprocess everything that comes in and then work with reputable vendors that remove the electronic residue from our locked steel containers. So, what happens to all of this electronic debris? It goes to large plants where it is sorted and deconstructed to the point that what is left is separated then smelted for precious metals, ultimately ending up being used in the next device you purchase. In some cases we do remove an old device for display on our “motherboard” wall and to save in our archives. At the Washington Road location, we have an IBM Jr, circa 1983, that we rescued from the recycle process. We also have committed to Augusta Warrior Project to provide them with recycled computers to donate to veterans in need, a commitment that is very close to my heart. We are looking for computers and laptops that are “Vista” and above for this project. Just before Christmas we had two daughters from different families bring in boxes and boxes from their fathers’ garages that contained hundreds of technology artifacts, dating from the late 1980s. Our entire tech team gathered around, marveling at this ancient treasure – hundreds of items now obsolete, representing thousands of man hours as hardworking pioneers worked with new, unstable technology, day after day, year after year, doing their part to spread this new technology. We salute them for their tenacity, for their logic in the face of often flawed technology and for their steadfast diligence. We don’t know your names, but we all benefit from the work that you and those like you did to spread this technology. Bring us your tired old computers, your laptops, your cameras, your stereos, your flat TVs – pretty much anything that plugs in the wall that does not process food or laundry – and we will put it where it belongs.

Charles Kelly is president of Computer Exchange, specializing in computer solutions for commercial and personal use. It operates four stores in the CSRA. Email charles@ January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz 47


Since my last column was on knowing whether to make the switch to a commercial copier for your business, I thought it might be useful to provide some hints on how to make a decision you won’t regret a few months later. Purchasing a commercial copier is really a two-pronged decision: First, which copier you will purchase, and second, and possibly more important, which company will service the chosen machine. Even the best copier will have issues over three to five years, so the service will become very important. It is very unusual, but it has happened that you buy a machine from one company and end up with service from another. Depending on the brand there might be multiple companies able to service your device. Some brands will only have one choice. For those, don’t be afraid to ask about the service staff. Probably, as in any line of business, the cheapest is not always the best deal. In our very competitive business, the pricing is usually close. The savings could very well be eroded by frustration. Just as you usually would not buy a vehicle or a home appliance without “kicking the tires,” opening and closing the doors, peering inside or feeling the weight of the components, we encourage our new customers to test the products firsthand – go to the showroom or request an in-house demo, get familiar with the touch screen, open and close the doors. How comfortable is changing the paper or dealing with a paper jam? Parts and servicing are just as important as your decision about which copier to purchase. One company recently purchased a copier from another dealer, and after multiple down times that cut into productivity and profits, the owner decided she knew more than the technicians. Unfortunately, she was locked into a service contract that she could not break for a year. Once she switched maintenance plans, she was able to focus more on her business and not her frustrations. There are a few basic questions to ask when researching service and maintenance: Are the parts kept locally or do they have to be ordered from the manufacturer? (This could cause unfortunate down time.) Is toner included in your contract? Is it “free” but subject to a shipping and handling fee? Is the maintenance crew factory trained? Are your service requests answered locally or are they

Even the best copier will have issues over three to five years, so the service will become very important. Before you complete a purchase, make sure you know as many details about your maintenance as possible, and choose a service company accordingly.

Long-term satisfaction with your office equipment requires more than saving a few dollars on the day of delivery. The machine and service performance will outweigh the initial purchase over time. routed through a national 800 number? Read your contract carefully for what is covered both in terms of warranty and maintenance. For example, are the drums included? What about the circuit board? Circuit boards are the brains of your multifunction copier. They are what drives your

48 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

copier. Each one can cost several hundred dollars, not including the labor for replacing the part. Does the maintenance contract indicate renewals and increases in costs? Does the service company put a limit on increases or do they happen at will? Can you cancel the contract with a 30-day notice, or are you locked into a long-term arrangement? You will also want to inquire about set up of equipment. Are they going to simply download the drivers or might you want some modifications? Most of our customers prefer to install a print driver we provide, which has blackand-white and single-sided defaults. This driver helps prevent unintentional color printing, which has a higher cost. Others like to know who is making the copies so if a sudden surge in color copies occurs, they can identify the culprit. You also need to inquire about network installation, configuring the copier IP address and other network settings. If you have several computers using the copier, make certain you know whether technicians will install print drivers on

each computer or whether that task will fall to you. Check each function (fax, scan to email, scan to folder, printing) during the installation and make sure you understand how they work. Long-term satisfaction with your office equipment requires more than saving a few dollars on the day of delivery. The machine and service performance will outweigh the initial purchase over time. Happy new year and happy shopping!

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

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz





Happy New Year, CSRA! I am honored and excited to serve as president and CEO of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce. What an amazing time to be a part of the North Augusta Chamber and the community. New businesses are coming on board, member engagement is increasing and we have an opportunity to lead North Augusta to new levels. I am pleased to announce the Chamber’s 2017 Board of Directors. The members of the Board of Directors are representatives of the Chamber’s general membership and have ultimate responsibility for Chamber operations.

EXECUTIVE Kevin Toole, Chairman Vice President, Relationship Manage Southern Bank & Trust Brett Turner, Chair-Elect Vice President Rhodes-Murphy Income Tax Service



James Dollar, Treasurer Director, Nuclear Proliferations Planning & Integration Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Don Goggans, At-Large Business Development Manager Austin Industrial Patricia Allen, At-Large Environmental, Safety, Health and QA&CA Director Savannah River Remediation





50 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

Kristina Baggott, At-Large Associate Vice President, Volunteer Services and Engagement Augusta University

As you can see, we have strong leadership. We invite you to celebrate our 2016 accomplishments and learn how you can become a partner as we journey through 2017. Our 66th annual Meeting and Banquet will be held Friday, Feb. 3, at the North Augusta Community Center. Our theme is “Timeless Leadership and Service.”

Filled with hardworking, knowledgeable community leaders, the board reviews and evaluates approval of policies, programs and projects which serve the best interest of the community and the Chamber. I’d also like to give a special thank you to outgoing board members who helped us reach a number of milestones during their tenure, including accreditation in 2016 with the Carolina’s Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. They are: Rechelle Dallas (The Star); Michelle Jones (Georgialina Physical Therapy); Sandra Jordan (USC Aiken); and Ken Kehr (Growth Coach). Here is the 2017 Board of Directors:

DIRECTORS Don White Mary Commons* Attorney Director of Resource Donald H. White PC Development and the ATC Foundation Todd Glover Aiken Technical College Ex-Officio City of North Augusta Mary Driscoll* Vice Chancellor Rep. Bill Hixon USC Aiken Ex-Officio South Carolina House of Kris Harwood* Representatives Office Manager Quality Printing & Graphics Keith Liner Ex-Officio Machela Knox Aiken County School Board Project Manager-Lending Division Will Williams SRP Federal Credit Union Ex-Officio Economic Development Bill Lawson Partnership Account Executive WRDW, WAGT-TV Rhonda True Franchise Owner Honey Baked Ham

The evening will include recognition of our outgoing Board Members, 2016 Small Business of the Year, 2016 Citizen of the Year and a remembrance of the majestic Hampton Terrace Hotel. For more information, please contact Jessica Hanson at or call (803) 279-2323.

*New board member

Terra Carroll is the president of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce and oversees the growing staff and membership with her advocacy efforts in North Augusta, Columbia and Washington, D.C.

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



When I was asked about writing a column for Buzz on Biz on what is happening downtown, I knew there would be a huge amount of interesting material to cover, but limited space. Each month I will focus on a specific topic and provide you updates on the ins and outs of what’s happening in our historic city. This first column contains some short quips to provide an overview of several commercial endeavors that have become realities. Hotels Three new hotel developments are being announced. The properties have been purchased, with plans in the developmental process. These new investments are warranted because of the shortage of hotel rooms for conventions, family reunions, business meetings, tourists and newcomers to our city. The Holiday Inn Express, our newest hotel, has proven to be successful. These property purchases are driving our real estate values up! This is so important for the continued growth of downtown – investments breed investments. Restaurants Downtown restaurants, chef-driven cafes, coffee shops and juice bars are especially busy during the week. Several buil­dings that have recently sold are being renovated into permanent restaurant space. The pioneers who have been operating food establishments during the renaissance of downtown are now managing two, three and four restaurants. Can we agree this is a great success story for these entrepreneurs? Yes, Sunshine Bakery did sell and the new owners will keep the name! Department Stores Speaking of continuity, Ruben’s Department Store must be mentioned as it has been family operated for over 100 years. Come and explore the trendy and vintage fashions that are available in downtown’s numerous apparel stores. Remember to buy local so we can stay local. Retail Stores and Art Galleries Unique items and gifts can be found in an amazing variety of retail stores and art galleries. There are several new mixeduse developments on the drawing boards. These are sure to have the latest trends in retail offerings.

Dearest readers and downtown supporters, keep up the support for downtown! Apartments/Condos/ Single Family Residences The demand is here! Augusta Tomorrow and Downtown Development Authority are encouraging property owners to invest in residential development. There are great incentives from the city, state and federal levels. Low-interest loans, rebates and credits are being offered from entities that understand downtown development. Office and Service Space There is a varied supply of office space downtown. We can accommodate large and smaller businesses. Keep an eye on The Lamar Building and The SunTrust Building, both under new ownership. Sibley and King mills are slated for office and high-level service users. Unisys is continuing to expand at the River Place. Cyber is alive and well! And now, a contest Dearest readers and downtown supporters, keep up the support for downtown! We are consistently growing to be the city which we have longed for and planned. “Mixed-Use Development” is the buzz phrase, so stay vigilant in your investments in our city. Can you name the downtown establishments that correspond with the categories mentioned above? Whoever can name the largest number of establishments will win a coupon for a free smoothie! Each category gets a prize. Send your entry to Janie Terrell Peel is the broker/president of Prime Commercial Properties. She has been dubbed the “Queen Advocate of Downtown” for her knowledge and appreciation of the diverse culture, unique architecture, and non-cookie-cutter atmosphere in downtown. Janie brings 40 years of experience in real estate. Reach Janie at 706.564.6231 or

52 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

From restaurants to retail and residential growth, the outlook for downtown Augusta’s future is very bright. Photo by Amanda King

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Amanda Ferguson, the owner of 40 Wax Candles, knows the value of a good story. With a background in film and knowing the power of smell and its attachment to memories, Ferguson stumbled upon the art of candle making just over two years ago. She combined her love of storytelling with her new found talent and developed her candle company out of her home. Ferguson is currently working on a scent that she recalls smelling during a walk a few months ago. “Do I remember that moment as clearly as I feel like I should? Probably not. But I remember what I want it to feel like when I smell this candle,” she said. 40 Wax began with six scents, all with catchy titles and unique stories, some of them tied to the Augusta area – Broad on Broad Street, Dapper, Canadian Tuxedo, Towpath, Philosopher’s Stone and Mountain Mama. Since then, Ferguson has developed six more scents, including a Christmas candle. Ferguson also created personalized scents for area businesses including Cucumber and Mint, Oxygen Fitness, the Indian Queen and Salon Indigo. She has also hand-poured custom scents for some families and other groups who want to capture the smell of a particular event in a candle. With that growth came many big changes. She purchased a home in downtown Augusta and was able to move her candle studio from her dining room to its own space in her new home. Her workshop is often occupied by a bottle of wine and a group of friends ready to lend a hand in her thriving and fun business. Another change is how and when Ferguson fills her online orders. Instead of mass-producing candles and picking one out when an order comes in, she pours them as needed. “It adds to this handmade, hand-poured feel that if you ordered a candle from me, I would be making it specifically for you and thinking about you,” she said. She recalls receiving an order from Illinois and wondering about the weather that the customer would be experiencing or what the customer might do with the candle once it was received. Orders have come in from a longer distance than Illinois. A boutique owner in France found 40 Wax through Instagram and inquired about potentially placing an order for her

Amanda Ferguson’s hand-poured candles have custom-blended fragrances that evoke specific places and moments. She makes the candles in her downtown Augusta home, and they can be purchased online and in retail locations in Augusta. Photo by Amanda King

“I think there are people that leave this city and go find opportunities elsewhere, and the scent of home is a little bit lost because Augusta’s has this identity that’s buried beneath the surface and needs to be scratched and sniffed, and that’s where I feel like 40 Wax could come in.” – Amanda Ferguson store. Because of customs regulations and the cost to ship so far away, Ferguson was only able to send a few votive candles. Despite the small order, the boutique owner reported that the few that were sent were very well received by her friends and family. 40 Wax is predominantly sold online, but Ferguson is beginning to wholesale to local retail stores, including Purely Painted on Broad Street. Owner Sandra Sanders, who looks for healthier products for her store, was drawn to the locally hand-poured soy wax candles and the stories associated with each candle.

54 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

“The fragrances are unusual and linger around the edges rather than overpower,” she said. She is also impressed with Ferguson’s energy and attentiveness to Sanders’ input and needs as a retailer. Augusta, especially downtown, is a major inspiration for many of Ferguson’s candles. She is currently working on a line of candles to remind people of the city they call or have called home. “I think there are people that leave this city and go find opportunities elsewhere, and the scent of home is a little bit lost because Augusta’s has this identity that’s buried beneath the surface and needs to

be scratched and sniffed, and that’s where I feel like 40 Wax could come in,” Ferguson said. Ferguson is excited for the growth in Augusta for young entrepreneurs like herself. She compares the anticipation of that to waiting on the perfect wave at the beach. “Augusta is on the brink of some really major things,” Ferguson said. “The timing has to be just right, and I feel like so many small makers in this town are on the brink of that body surf wave.” Ferguson sees the changes in Augusta on a regular basis from her day job at Wier/Stewart as a digital producer, where many of her co-workers serve as guinea pigs for her new scents and ideas. She admits that having a full-time job and running 40 Wax are a juggling act, especially after the busy holiday season filling numerous orders, but said her company actually helps balance her life because of the joy she finds in candle making. “If you’re not happy and soulful outside of your day-to-day, then you won’t do the best that you can,” she said. For more details on 40 Wax or to place orders, visit

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Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017



If you get a chance to visit Jackson Brown’s place on Walton Way Extension, be prepared to fixate your eyes on the 12foot ceilings at the new Augusta Athletics Sports Bar and Grill. Brown has about 400 college and pro pieces of equipment, pennants, shirts and other sports memorabilia. He said he buys most of it from local thrift stores. “I got a Jackie Robinson Louisville Slugger Bat from a Salvation Army in Clearwater,” Brown said. His proudest item is a baseball glove worn by a shortstop who played for the New York Yankees from 1923-27. A bar­ tender at Beamie’s at the River in down­ town Augusta got it from his great-grand­ father and loaned it to Brown for display. “It was handled by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig,” Brown said. Even the menu has its roots in sports, an idea from Brown’s bartender, who is a Steelers fan from Pennsylvania. The bar serves Pittsburger Signature Sandwiches made famous by Steelers fans at Pamonte Brothers Restaurant in Pittsburgh. All sandwiches are served on an Italian hoagie roll embedded with fries, cheese, coleslaw and tomatoes, plus choices of roast beef, tuna, turkey and other meats, fish or eggs. “We want to welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers local club to our place,” said Brown. Since he shares the parking lot with Gold’s Gym, he’ll also be serving a variety of salads and nutritional options to help staff and clients remain healthy. Twenty-four flat screens display different sporting activities, but it is other participatory games that Brown hopes will catch on at his place. He has pingpong, pool and two dart boards, one for steel-tipped darts and the other for soft-tipped. “I’ve contacted different sports organizations like the Augusta Sports League to help partner with them on providing activities for members,” Brown said. In February, he expects to kick off a yearlong karaoke competition which will

pit eight courageous crooners against each other for a $100 weekly prize. Each quarter, $500 will also be paid out, and there will be a grand prize of an extra $1,000. “There will be no entry fee – just a way to bring friends together on a Tuesday night,” Brown said.

56 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

Hundreds of pieces of sports memorabilia, at top, hang from the ceiling at Augusta Athletics Bar and Grill. The new spot on Walton Way Extension will serve burgers, wings and other fare, above left, and offer pool, pingpong and games. Photos by Melissa Gordon

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz



2017. A brand new year. A whole new beginning. Tabula rasa. Our agendas have been set, our resolutions have been made and our palates have been cleansed. So, let’s dive into the New Year on a different note with a different type of beer that definitely hits the senses in a different sort of way. Southern Tier Imperial Ginger Beer Yes. It’s actually ginger beer, and – yes – it has alcohol in it (to the tune of 8.5 percent). That shouldn’t come as a shock to those who know Southern Tier Brewing Co. I mean, let’s face it, 8.5 percent ABV is closer to their low end than many of their other brews (I’m thinking Choklat from last month and Warlock Imperial Pumpkin from back in the fall). Another hint: if the word “Imperial” is in the title of a beer, chances are it’s a bit more high octane than your everyday lawn darts/ bocce lager. At any rate, this beer is interesting if

nothing else. Personally, I enjoyed it. The ginger aspect (which is profound throughout the smell and taste) is not a Canada Dry sweetened experience but rather a spicy “real ginger” savor (think of the Spicy Ginger Maker at The Bee’s Knees downtown). Truly, the only significant alcohol I got on the tongue was on the back end with a tinge of yeast and some malts to match, and I’d say if you like ginger – real ginger – then you should try this brew. I had mine all by itself at first and then with a Danish butter cookie. Blood Orange Wheat Ale You probably recognize Full Sail Brewery and Tasting Room and Pub (yes, that’s the full title) from their IPAs or Bourbon Barrel Aged brews (of which there are several). I chose this beer for this month’s column in part because I had it on New Year’s Eve with Barry, Colin, Will and Chris, and, if my memory serves me correctly, we all enjoyed it. I also chose it because Game of Thrones is

about to return to HBO in a few months, and it just sounds like an ale that one of the Lannisters would imbibe. The blood orange gives a welcome note of sour to the wheat. Plus, the moderate carbonation makes this one of those brews you could really enjoy in any season. I had mine with a small pastry which included cream cheese, sour cream and pickled jalapeños and found that it did well to both complement and rescue me from the spices.

Ben Casella does enjoy spicy ginger and pickled jalapeños, but both foods make his forehead sweat. In fact, thinking or writing about either of these foods also makes his forehead sweat. If you’re with him and witness this phenomenon, the classiest thing would be just to not draw attention to it.

Dive into the New Year on a different note with a different type of beer that definitely hits the senses in a different sort of way.


Everyone needs a little break from reality sometimes. Even when things are going swell, sometimes it’s nice to step away from your current situation and get lost in another world. This month, I decided to put aside the documentaries and dramas and go back to my scifi roots. It’s been a pretty entertaining month. ‘The 100’ There have been times when I seriously questioned the shows Netflix was recommending for me. This recommendation, however, has completely restored my faith in the whole Netflix system. My first love is science fiction. Bad science fiction, in particular. Watching poor acting and terrible special effects are some of my favorite ways to spend a day, and Netflix hit the nail on the head with this one. The 100 is set in the future,

Sometimes it’s nice to escape your reality and get lost in another world. Netflix can help.

with Earth recovering from a nuclear war. All the survivors are living in space, aboard the Ark, a massive space station. Life on the Ark is difficult, with necessities in short supply and very strict population laws. Unfortunately, things are about to get tougher. A problem with the life support system is found, and in an attempt to save the human race, 100 juvenile criminals are released from prison and sent down to Earth to see if it has become habitable again.

58 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

The fate of humanity rests on the actions of 100 juvenile delinquents. Did I mention the acting in this show is pretty awful? Or that the storyline is filled with holes? Well, now you know. While I will admit this show has a lot of flaws, I must also admit that it is extremely entertaining. Sure, I started watching it late one night and poked fun at a few things. But I was still awake and watching six hours later, so there’s something to be said for that.

‘3%’ After binging on The 100 for a day or two, I wanted to watch something a little more sophisticated. Lucky for me, 3% showed up on my recommendations, and nothing says sophistication like subtitles. 3% is a Brazilian series about two groups of people in this world: those who live offshore and those who live inland. Life inland is hard; people are hungry, dirty and fighting to stay alive. On the other hand, life offshore is a paradise and every inland child dreams about his or her chance to get there. At the age of 20, every citizen is given the opportunity to leave the slums of the inland and join the rich and powerful offshore. All they have to do is be one of the 3% of the population that makes it through what is called “The Process.” The Process is a series of individual and group tests, created by one man and administered

by a group of inlanders who are pretty condescending. If you don’t mind the subtitles, 3% is an exciting show. There are heart-wrenching character stories, unbelievable tests that pit the characters against each other and a few plots to overthrow the entire system. You’ll forget you’re reading before you know it!

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

spot for family fun

New entertainment option coming to Augusta From Staff reports

The 10th Georgia location of the family entertainment center Stars and Strikes will open in Augusta in time for the 2017 holiday season to serve corporate parties and children with time on their hands. Georgia-based Stars and Strikes recently announced plans to open a new family entertainment center on Wrightsboro Road. The investment will be around $6 million and the company will employ 100 people. The 55,000-square-foot facility at Wrightsboro and North Leg roads will house 24 bowling lanes, eight of which are VIP lanes in the signature Main St. Lounge. The new Augusta location will offer fun and unique bowling leagues for all ages and skill levels. In addition to bowling, Stars and Strikes will feature attractions including a 7,000-square-foot arcade and prize store, a multistory laser tag arena, bumper cars, the 7/10 Grille restaurant and a large, full-service bar surrounded by big-screen TVs for sports viewing. The new Augusta facility also includes

The 55,000-squarefoot Stars and Strikes on Wrightsboro Road will have 24 bowling lanes, an arcade, multistory laser tag arena, bumper cars, a restaurant and bar and more. Special

multiple private party rooms for events, highlighted by an upscale corporate event room that will seat 200 with a full private bar. The Main St. Lounge features 24 VIP bowling lanes in an upscale setting that is ideal for corporate and group events of all sizes. Stars and Strikes also provides deluxe, chef-crafted cuisine in a fun-filled atmosphere. We have seen and heard demand for our unique brand of entertainment from the families and residents of Augusta and the surrounding area over the past few years,” said Chris Albano, manag-

ing partner and co-founder of Stars and Strikes. “With these families in mind, we are excited to bring a brand of family-focused entertainment to the Augusta area that guests of any age can enjoy.” The new Stars and Strikes will offer affordable birthday party packages that are custom-designed to accommodate budgets of any size. The private birthday party rooms are ideal for a child’s special day. The company’s newest attraction, Escape-ology, will be prominently featured in the new facility. Escape-ology is an entertaining, interactive amusement con-

cept in which you use your powers of deduction to solve a mystery. While it looks and feels like an ordinary room, it’s actually a real-life mystery adventure game designed for small groups of friends, families and co-workers. Your team is on the clock and must solve the puzzles and figure out the clues to earn your freedom and escape from the room. The Augusta location will feature the 7/10 Grille and offer fresh, chef-crafted cuisine, including a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, specialty pizzas and other house-made items. Stars and Strikes has made a priority to offer food and beverage options that are healthy, delicious and a welcome enhancement to the entire entertainment experience. The 24 state-of-the-art bowling lanes will attract serious bowlers looking to bowl in leagues, plus families looking for a safe, clean, smoke-free entertainment center that is kid-friendly. Stars and Strikes is excited to be an active member of the Augusta community. For more information or to apply for employment, visit

Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017


60 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017

Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017


62 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2017


Imagine only cleaning your bathroom surfaces every three months. Or cleaning your kitchen surfaces only once a year. What if a restaurant manager never scheduled any employees to clean the toilets in the restrooms? You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could successfully argue in favor of such cleaning schedules. Yet, how often are areas of your properties, such as the service entrance concrete, dumpster pad areas, concrete entryways or your building’s exterior siding, brick or stucco surface, properly cleaned? Often, we see restaurant service entrance and dumpster areas that are so infrequently cleaned that they are the analogy of how a kitchen only cleaned once a year would look; unsightly, unsanitary and eventually responsible for irreparable damage. The next time you go into any commercial store, restaurant or mall, look down at the concrete at the entrance doors. Is it covered in discarded chewing gum splotches and stains? Discarded chewing gum that sits on concrete for weeks

Regularly scheduled cleanings from a reputable pressure washing company to maintain building exteriors will be much less costly than cleanings done only once in a while.

or months will eventually cause a permanent stain that will still be visible once the actual gum blob is melted away with hot water pressure washing. So, even though the surface has been cleaned with a pressure washer, it will still have dirty-looking “gum shadows.” A regularly maintained commercial property that is professionally cleaned with proper detergents and hot water pressure cleaning systems will result in

immensely cleaner and more sanitary conditions, ensuring you never have a shadow stain. The accumulation of algae, dirt, pollutants and other environmental materials will deteriorate the surfaces of your property over time if left uncleaned. Regularly scheduled cleanings of your property’s exterior surfaces not only maintain a clean and inviting appearance, they will also prevent wear and tear that can be costly to fix.

Regularly scheduled exterior cleanings from a reputable pressure washing company to maintain clean concrete surfaces and building exteriors will be significantly less expensive over time than cleanings done on an irregular basis. Properly cleaned and maintained properties are also safer for tenants, customers and employees. In the long run, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual exterior cleanings by a licensed, knowledgeable pressure washing company can leave your property with a clean, professional appearance while saving you money and the headache of exterior repairs.

Tony Creighton is the owner\operator of All-Clean Pressure Washing 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



On Dec. 13, 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law. The act allows small employers that do not maintain group health plans to establish stand-alone health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017. This new type of HRA is called a qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA). Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most stand-alone HRAs have been prohibited since 2014. This new law creates a special exception for small employers that are not subject to the ACA’s employer shared responsibility rules. Instead of offering a group health plan, small businesses may use a QSEHRA to reimburse employees’ out-of-pocket medical expenses, including their premiums for individual health insurance coverage, on a tax-free basis. Eligible Employers To be eligible to offer a QSEHRA, an employer must meet the following two requirements: • The employer is not an applicable large

employer that is subject to the ACA’s employer shared responsibility rules. In general, this means that the employer must have fewer than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents. • The employer does not maintain a group health plan for any of its employees. Design Requirements Like all HRAs, a QSEHRA must be funded solely by the employer. Employees cannot make their own contributions to an HRA, either directly or indirectly through salary reduction contributions. In addition, the following requirements apply to QSEHRAs: • The maximum benefit available under the QSEHRA for any year cannot exceed $4,950 (or $10,000 for QSEHRAs that also reimburse medical expenses of the employee’s family members). These dollar amounts are subject to adjustment for inflation for years beginning after 2016. The maximum dollar limits must be prorated for individuals who are not covered by the QSEHRA for the entire year. • The QSEHRA must be provided on

the same terms to all eligible employees except: 1. The maximum benefit may vary based on age and family-size variations in the price of an individual policy in the relevant individual health insurance market; and 2. The QSEHRA may exclude certain categories of employees, including collectively bargained employees, employees who are part time or seasonal, employees who have not completed 90 days of service, employees who are younger than 25 and nonresident aliens without earned income from sources within the United States. • QSEHRA payments or reimbursements must be limited to medical care expenses (as defined in Tax Code Section 213(d)) incurred by the employee or the employee’s family members, after the employee provides proof of coverage. This would include, for example, premiums for individual health insurance coverage and other out-of-pocket medical expenses. Employee Notice An employer funding a QSEHRA

for any year must provide a written notice to each eligible employee. This notice must be provided within 90 days of the beginning of the year. For employees who become eligible to participate in the QSEHRA during the year, the notice must be provided by the date on which the employee becomes eligible to participate. Small employers that do not sponsor group health plans might want to consider implementing a QSEHRA to help their employees pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Because there are specific design requirements for these HRAs, including a maximum benefit limit and an employee notice, small businesses should work with their advisors to make sure their QSEHRAs are compliant. Russell T. Head is CEO with Head Capital Advisors, an Acrisure agency partner and Augusta’s largest employee benefits brokerage. Call 706.733.3459.

January 26-February 22, 2017 Buzz on Biz




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