Page 1

March 23-April 26, 2017 • The CSRA’s monthly business Magazine

Tournament Week Section Pages 31-38

A taste of Augusta

Locally inspired vodka has Augusta National connection By Amanda King

While taking an actual piece of Augusta National Golf Club is heavily frowned upon and might cost you a night in the local jail, Masters Tournament visitors and Georgia residents have a much easier way to bring home a memento of the iconic property. After years of working for CNN as a designer and booze contributor, Yuri Kato wanted to create her own liquor with regional inspiration. Living in Atlanta, peaches seemed to be the answer. “I could have done anything. I could have done Irish whiskey or Japanese whiskey, but I wanted to do some-

thing really regional. I have always loved Georgia. I’ve lived in New York, L.A. and Denver, but I’ve always loved Georgia,” Kato said. Kato combed through old documents and journals and immersed herself in the story of Georgia peaches. She discovered a man by the name of P.J. Berckman, a immigrant who made the long, dangerous trek from his home in Belgium to Georgia and purchased a large plot of land in the Augusta area in 1857. With his horticulture training from See FRUITLAND on Page 36

Fruitland Augusta peach vodka is inspired by P.J. Berckman and his legacy. Photo courtesy of Fruitland Augusta

Tournament housing comes in all shapes, sizes By Damon Cline

Augusta Chronicle Business Editor Think your home isn’t Masters-rental worthy? Think again. Though well-heeled tournament patrons and corporate hospitality firms are famously known for snapping up high-end estate homes in the metro Augusta area, many visitors arriving for the biggest week in golf are simply content to have a roof over their head and a place to lay their head at night. When it comes to Masters Week, there is no “cookie-cutter type of home” that



More Georgians are using Airbnb to find accommodation/Page 34 people want, says Jonathan Rios, director of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Masters Housing Bureau, which acts as a matchmaker between area homeowners and tournament guests seeking rental housing. “There’s not a home that we say no to,” he said. “We deal with people from all over the world, so we have people who want everything from an apartment or a backyard

cottage to people wanting an eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom resort-style home. And we fill everything in between.” Several other local and national entities provide similar services, but the fourdecade-old Masters Housing Bureau is the only service officially sanctioned by the Augusta National Golf Club. Area hotels, which almost always hit full occupancy during the week, handle their reservations separately. Rios, who joined the bureau in No-

“There’s not a home that we say no to.” – Jonathan Rios, director of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Masters Housing Bureau

See HOUSING on Page 34


4460 Washington Rd, Evans 500 Oxbow Rd, Grovetown

Chamber members including the owner of Augsburg Haus restaurant would like the option of having larger signs in strip centers such as Liberty Square. Special


Columbia County government officials saw the signs from the business community. There is strength in numbers. On March 16, the Planning and Zoning Commission opted to table a sign proposal until April 20. This will allow for more discussions and revisions to be made on the proposed ordinance, which could limit the size, location and, in some cases, design of future business signs. The ordinance was first publicly opposed by the more than 1,000-member Columbia County Chamber of Commerce in a news release on March 1. “It’s hard to see. I mean, you really cannot look up and see us,” said Adolf Hermann, chamber member and owner of Augsburg Haus, a restaurant set back from Washington Road in the Liberty Square shopping center. “It would be better if we had bigger signs so we could have more visibility since we’re on top of the hill,” Hermann recently told Buzz on Biz news partner WRDW. Under the county’s current sign ordinance, a small sign within a bigger sign is what businesses are allowed. That’s why Chamber President Tammy Shepherd has been pushing so hard for changes to the ordinance. “Most small businesses do not have very deep pockets,” added Shepherd. “Signage is their way to make sure people know about their business.” Martinez business owner Larry Lynn has a lot of money riding on any final changes the county makes. He provides those materials to companies as franchisee of the Signs by Tomorrow concept. “I just feel like it is too restrictive,” Lynn said. Since the press release, Chamber officials met with the Director of Planning

2 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

and Zoning Andrew Strickland to make recommendations for changes. “Great progress has been made and the county has been very receptive of our concerns,” she said. “It’s been a great relationship and we appreciate the opportunity to be at the table.” Compromises include businesses being allowed to have larger window signs than the county proposed and businesses still being allowed to have parked, wrapped vehicles – providing they are legally parked. Shepherd also said the chamber group agreed with several of the county’s inclusions of temporary signage and doing away with the use of rope lighting and festoon-type advertising. “You have to find that compromise,” Shepherd said. Some future discussions might include the size of building signs at strip centers and the effect these ordinances could have on new business owners moving into the County. “We heard a lot of desire in the comprehensive planning, the community meetings and the Vision 2035 meetings, that the main corridors in the county deserved a second look at some aesthetic enhancement,” Strickland said recently in the Columbia County News-Times. However, Strickland said more changes are expected before adoption by the full commission. “To say this is a done deal would be inaccurate. There’s still room for improvement, and once it’s adopted, there’s always room for improvement,” Strickland said. It’s a sign of compromise that bodes well for the government and business owners. Reports from Columbia County NewsTimes Editor Abbigail Lennon and Buzz on Biz Managing Editor Amanda King were used in this article.

change ahead

When it’s time to capitalize on business opportunities, choose Queensborough. Our commercial lending decisions are made right here and right now so you can get on with your plans. If you are building, remodeling, starting, or expanding your business, you should be banking with us. To capitalize on the change ahead, bank ahead with Queensborough National Bank and Trust.

G E O R G I A’ S C O M M U N I T Y B A N K S I N C E 1 9 0 2


something in the air

Augusta gets major buzz during Masters Week space and creativity in local incubators. Our stories are on Page 4. If you’ve never seen our publication before or want to get caught up again, I invite you to read our Buzz Bits on Pages 12 and 13 and Comings and Goings on Pages 22 and 23. These offer a snapshot of business in our region for the last month – including reports on companies going in and out of business, expanding or merging … plus awards and milestones. Lastly, if you are a business owner or “wantrepreneur,” we hope you enjoy the lessons learned from our local columnists who are experts in their industries. Enjoy our community and the tournament!

By Neil Gordon

As a business guy, I LOVE this time of the year. The Masters Tournament affects companies in different ways. Some home improvement companies get an extra jolt of money sprucing up homes and hospitality houses in advance of the guests coming. Food and beverage and hospitality companies often plan their annual budgets around the windfall of cash that will be coming from April 1-10. Other businesses use this time to recharge the company batteries and go “dark” during tournament week. That’s a good thing, too. I’ll be off enjoying Disney with my family and will report back next time on how they run their business in Orlando, Fla., and what Augusta can learn. In this special themed issue, our Managing Editor Amanda King put together some fun Masters trivia and tournament week activities and became Augusta’s “Booze Traveler!” Her Fruitland Augusta story starts on the cover and continues in our Masters section highlighting the connection between the manufacturer of the tasty spirit and the Augusta National Golf Club property. She also visited a new brewery that

The Masters Tournament offers CSRA businesses the opportunity to boost sales or to simply recharge their batteries. Photo courtesy The Augusta Chronicle

opened in time for tournament tours and spent time with a second-generation owner of a wine store that has been here for decades. Yours truly discovered that the “Dirty Gurl” cocktail mixer is alive and well, thanks to some Augusta businesspeople.

Also in our Masters section, Damon Cline from The Augusta Chronicle takes a look at the rental house market in our area during this season. Cline and I also report on a growing business trend in Augusta – millenial entrepreneurs wanting the freedom to share

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

Features Incubators..................................................... 4 The and Augusta Innovation Zone are paving the way for incubators.

That Flippin’ Egg......................................... 28 New diner now open in Evans.

Buzz Bits................................................ 12, 13 Cyber............................................................ 16 University of Phoenix looks to decrease cyber anxiety. Business Person of the Month................... 20 Chocolate engineer James Stefanakos satisfies sweet tooth, feeds children in need.

Special section.......................................31-38 Check out the spirits of Augusta, Masters trivia, events and more.

Openings, Closings and More.............. 22, 23

Social Buzz: Durty Gurl.............................. 38 Local businessman gets into the business of booze.

Upcoming Business Events........................ 26

Columnists Christine Hall: Watch out for this year’s ‘dirty dozen’....................................6 Jame Geathers: Small business and the EEOC................................................8 Ed Enoch: Poof! What happened to my company?.......................................8 Mark Alison: What is worth your time?...........................................................10 Sean Andrews: Tailor your conversation to your client’s style...............14 Brandon McCrillis: What is cyber and why should I care about cyber attacks.....................................................................................................................16 Scott Thurmond: Is your company ready for the information mobility age?..........................................................................................................................18 John Pope: Siri, how do I optimize for voice searches on Google........18 Roger Duke: In debt to our vets........................................................................24 Terra Carroll: Chamber hosts cyber kickoff event.......................................24 Dagan Sharpe: Set goals to achieve greater things...................................28 Joe Edge: Invest in a real estate legacy..........................................................30

Mike Herrington: Fix the value of your business for estate tax purposes................................................................................................................30 Barry Paschal: Getting started is first step in great writing.....................40 Missie Usry: What’s with all the acronyms?...................................................40 Janie Peel: Things to do on the 500 block downtown..............................46 Steve Swanson: Don’t be ‘that guy’ (or girl) in the office..........................48 Beth Pence: Instill ‘best practices’ with employees....................................48 Andrew Shearer: In theaters...............................................................................52 Kurtis W. Mueller: A diversified approach to retirement savings..........54 Susan O’Keefe: Raes Coastal Café offers chance to relax, celebrate................................................................................................................56 Ben Casella: Brews to complement the course...........................................56 Tony Creighton: Don’t pressure wash your home......................................60 Mark Stephens: The truth about cost segregation.....................................63

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, Layout Riverfront Design Center Ad Building E35 Media Photography Amanda King, Neil Gordon Sales Manager Neil Gordon,, 706-589-6727 Sales and PR Jessica Jones,, 762-218-0239 Distribution Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Morris Publishing Group nor its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only. Like us on Facebook @ Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 604 Government Center Way, Evans, GA 30809

March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA INCUBATORS AIM TO HELP MILLENIALS SUCCEED At a recent “Hackathon” event at, on Telfair Street in downtown Augusta, members came together to solve challenges in a timely manner. Special photo

Augusta Innovation Zone partners Tommy Wofford and John Cates talk about the start-up business accelerator planned for the former Woolworth Building at Eighth and Broad Streets. The development also would occupy parts of the Johnson Building. Photo by Damon Cline sees room to grow By Neil Gordon

Before the words “collaborative incubator” were cool in the CSRA, Eric Parker, a Georgia Tech grad and cofounder of, charted a path for other organizations like the Innovation Zone to flourish. The nonprofit was formed in 2002 at 816 Broad St. near the proposed Augusta Innovation site and since moved into the old Richmond Academy building at 540 Telfair St. He says there is “room at the inn” for the new organization. “We see any business investments made in our community as a mark of the success of our approach to cultivating an innovation ecosystem that benefits the entire CSRA,” Parker said. Co-founder Grace Belangia, a UCLA grad, is always working to refine’s mantra in her messaging to the community: “The birthplace of Innovation in Augusta. We are a collaborative workspace and our mission is to connect learners and leaders in technology, business and design. We inspire ideas, create companies and build communities. Join us!” There are similarities between the two concepts. Both groups use a membership model. As of the end of the first quarter of 2017, had 80 members paying from $10 per day to $299 per month for up to a three-person incubator. Membership benefits can include: • Secure wifi, open desk and ergonomic chairs • Access to computer lab, prototyping lab, conference area and copy station • Discount facility rental, free classes, beverages and snacks, lockers and lend-

4 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

ing library • Job board, mentoring, investor and talent connections and member-only private events. Members include entrepreneurs, software developers, designers and students. One of the differences between the organizations is how each relies on funding outside of memberships. The Innovation Zone will have a restaurant, larger commercial tenants and apartment dwellers.’s growth focus is on partnerships with nonprofits and academic institutions. “We are working with Augusta University to develop a mesh network of innovation that links incubators, entrepreneurs, researchers and investors in five cities to grow innovation through a $550,000 grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,” Parker said. He says his organization has helped grow 60 ideas into 32 businesses that have created 87 local jobs. He wants to plant seeds with students and young entrepreneurs. TheClubhou. se is currently partnered with the Advanced Technology Development Center to run a 10-week startup bootcamp with nine new local startups. Worksource Georgia and Augusta Tech is helping provide a structured 12-week code bootcamp to develop future website warriors. Parker is glad there is additional energy getting placed on innovation and collaboration in downtown Augusta. “We’re looking forward to seeing what new ideas the Innovation Zone brings to grow our market,” he said.

Innovation Zone has big plans Editor’s note: The following is from an article that first appeared in the March 5 edition of The Augusta Chronicle. It is used with permission.

By Damon Cline

Augusta Chronicle Business Editor Backers of a new business incubator say the project could once again make the historic Woolworth Building the “heart of commerce” and in the process, make Augusta more hip among millennial entrepreneurs. The project, known as the Augusta Innovation Zone, is being touted as a co-working space where young entrepreneurs can rent everything from a single desk all the way up to a 3,000-square-foot office suite. The startup accelerator would occupy all 43,000 square feet of the Woolworth Building and part of the Johnson Building. “This will return the historical significance back to Eighth and Broad,” said Tommy Wafford, co-founder and CEO of Augusta-based tech company MealViewer and one of the project’s six investors. Augusta Innovation Zone partners include former Mayor Deke Copenhaver, Unisys Vice President Tom Patterson, Meybohm Vice President John Cates and restaurateur George Claussen and his sister Virginia, a marketing and brandmanagement executive for Copenhaver’s consulting firm and weekday radio show. Wafford and Cates said at an information session in early March that the group hopes to open the facility by the time the state’s $50 million Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center at the Augusta University Riverfront Campus is completed in 2018. Cates said space will be sold in member-

ship tiers, with the Woolworth Building’s 17,000-square-foot ground floor housing the least-expensive spaces, including “hot desks” where budding entrepreneurs get a temporary desk with access to shared printers, copiers and a receptionist. The mid-level tier would consist of dedicated desks with secure storage compartments, while the top membership package would include office space fabricated out of 20- to 40-foot shipping containers capable of housing three to six employees. Startup companies that grow beyond that can seek larger spaces on the 13,000-square-foot second floor. Rents have not been finalized, but the investors say they plan to keep costs low by operating as a nonprofit entity. Above the second-floor offices are plans for a rooftop bar that would be managed by Claussen, co-owner of the Southbound Smokehouse barbecue restaurant and the Friends with Benefits Fund event promotion organization. The 12,000-square-foot entertainment area would feature a small stage area and space where restaurant startups could test menu concepts. For startup founders and employees who want to live close to the space, the second floor of the Johnson Building – the first floor already is partly occupied with commercial tenants – will be developed into about 12 to 15 apartments. “Millenials want to live where they work, work where they live and they want all of it to be fun,” Wafford said. “So this helps create that.” Cates said the Augusta Innovation Zone partners have agreements with both building owners to use the space. The group expects the entire project to cost in the neighborhood of $5 million.

March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


protect yourself Watch out for this year’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ By Christine Hall

Compiled annually by the IRS, the “Dirty Dozen” is a list of common scams taxpayers may encounter in the coming months. While many of these scams peak during the tax filing season, they may be encountered at any time during the year. Here is this year’s list:


Identity theft Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Taxpayers should use caution when viewing e-mails, receiving telephone calls or getting advice on tax issues, because scams can take on many sophisticated forms.


Phone scams Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers. In recent weeks, the agency has seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things.


Phishing Phishing schemes using fake emails or websites are used by criminals to try to steal personal information. Typically, criminals pose as a person or organization you trust and/or recognize.


Tax return preparer fraud About 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare their returns. The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest, high-quality service, but there are some dishonest tax preparers who set up shop each filing season. Wellintentioned taxpayers can be misled by preparers who don’t understand taxes or who mislead people into taking credits or deductions they aren’t entitled to in order to increase their fee.


Hiding money or income offshore Through the years, off-

It’s tax season, so watch out for scams that seek to take your refund, hide or inflate income and more. Special

shore accounts have been used to lure taxpayers into scams and schemes. Numerous individuals have been identified as evading U.S. taxes by hiding income in offshore banks, brokerage accounts or nominee entities and then using debit cards, credit cards or wire transfers to access the funds.


Inflated refund claims Taxpayers should be on the lookout for unscrupulous tax preparers pushing inflated tax refund claims. Scam artists routinely pose as tax preparers during tax time, luring victims in by promising large federal tax refunds or refunds that people never dreamed they were due in the first place.


Fake charities Taxpayers should be aware that phony charities use names or websites that sound and/or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. For instance, after major disasters, it’s common for scam artists to impersonate charities

6 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers.


Falsely padding deductions on tax returns The vast majority of taxpayers file honest and accurate tax returns on time every year. However, each year some taxpayers can’t resist the temptation of fudging their information. That’s why falsely claiming deductions, expenses or credits on tax returns is on the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams list. The IRS warns taxpayers that they should think twice before overstating deductions such as charitable contributions, padding their claimed business expenses or including credits that they are not entitled to receive.


Excessive claims for business credits Improper claims for business credits such as the fuel tax and the research credit, whether incorrect or too many, are also on the federal agency’s “Dirty Dozen” list this year.


Falsifying income to claim credits This scam involves inflating or including income on a tax return that was never earned, either as wages or as selfemployment income, usually in order to maximize refundable credits. Just like falsely claiming an expense or deduction you did not pay, claiming income you did not earn in order to secure larger refundable credits could have serious repercussions.


Abusive tax shelters Phony tax shelters and structures to avoid paying taxes continue to be a problem, and taxpayers should steer clear of these types of schemes as they can end up costing more in back taxes, penalties and interest than they saved in the first place.


Frivolous tax arguments Taxpayers are also warned against using frivolous arguments to avoid paying their taxes. Examples include conten-

tions that they can refuse to pay on religious or moral grounds by invoking the First Amendment or that the only “employees” subject to federal income tax are employees of the federal government; and that only foreignsource income is taxable. Keep a few things in mind: Be wary of tax results that sound wonderful – part of making money is paying taxes; the IRS will never call or e-mail you, only contact you by mail; and use a reputable tax preparer. These few pieces of advice can save you from potential costly mistakes!

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 cmh@hmandscpas. com.

March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Small Businesses and the EEOC What You Need to Know By Jame Geathers

Few pieces of mail can strike fear into the heart of an employer like a notice from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commis­sion (EEOC). The sheer thought that your business could be faced with even the accusation of wrongdoing can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not even clear of what the EEOC is. For starters, what is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? The Equal Employment Opportunity Com­ mission was created as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which addressed discrimination in employment and other areas. In addition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC also enforces the Equal Pay Act, titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act and title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. Based on the EEOC’s website, “these laws prohibit employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or in retaliation for opposing job discrimination, filing a charge or par-

ticipating in proceedings under the laws. EEOC’s mandate is to determine in a fair and objective manner whether the laws it enforces have been violated.” So, what does all of that mean

rent employees. If an employee is or feels they have been discriminated against, they may have additional options for filing complaints or even a lawsuit.

want to start assembling documentation of the facts in preparation for the next step, submitting your position statement.

for your business? That depends. If your business employs fewer than 20 employees, your business does not fall under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and if your business does not employ 15 or more employees, you are exempt from that and all the other laws enforced by the EEOC except the Equal Pay Act. Keep in mind that does not give you a free pass to discriminate against potential and cur-

N o w that we are clear on what the EEOC is and what they do, let’s discuss what you need to look out for. If you receive the dreaded notice that a charge has been filed against your company, carefully review the notice, paying attention to the charging party and the discrimination they claim has taken place. This is the time to begin your internal investigation. Even if you are familiar with the situation, you’ll

The position statement is your official response to the charge filed against you. This sounds like a simple write up, but it is much more than that. It requires details related to your company and its history, along with very specific details of what occurred with the employee. Be careful not to embellish or exaggerate details. Also, be sure to reference and attach all the related documentation in your

position statement. Once your position statement is submitted, there may be an additional request for information. It is in your company’s best interest to respond quickly and provide all requested information. In some situations, an on-site visit may be requested. If this is the case, it is in your best interest to be prepared – having previously submitted documents and any other relevant files and having any employee witnesses available, just in case interviews are requested. What’s most important to keep in mind if you receive an EEOC charge are to not delay, be as detailed as possible and be patient – in 2015 the average length of an EEOC investigation was 10 months.

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


At this time of year, most of Augusta is focused on that annual golf tournament that signals the arrival of spring. If you own a small business that is taxed as a partnership or S corporation, you are also frantically trying to get your finances in order to send to your accountant for the March 15 filing deadline. However, there in another deadline lurking out there that trips up many small businesses. That is the annual registration filing required by the Georgia Secretary of State. Each year, all entities registered with the state of Georgia must file an annual registration with the Secretary of State and pay the annual filing fee of $50. Annual registration filing is due between

8 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

Annual registrations are due to the state April 1. Don’t delay! Special

Jan. 1 and April 1 each year. Notices are sent to the email address registered with the Secretary of State’s Corporations division. This annual registration deadline is

the silent killer of unsuspecting companies. Failure to file the registration on time leads to the state administratively dissolving your company. That is, your company is dead and you do not even know it. Once the state administratively dissolves your company, it does not send annual registration notices any more. So, the chances of correcting the problem become more and more slim. What can you do if the state issues this death warrant on your company? Well, if you figure it out in time (within five years of the dissolution), you can file to have the company reinstated. You have to pay an extra fee along with all the back registration fees, but that is better than having a dead company.

So, remember, the deadline for filing your annual registration is April 1. After that your company is in jeopardy of dissolution.

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@


CAN BE PART OF PROJECT GRATITUDE In Debt to Our Vets Join the Augusta/Aiken chapter of the Project Management Institute as we help local veterans transition to the civilian workforce Your companies' donation will help cover training, certification and memberships costs for vets getting their PMI professional credential. Once a veteran is certified, he or she can start a career as a project manager for local hospitals, businesses, construction companies and others!

special featured keynote Be entertained and educated by Afterburner, one of the nation’s most sought after training and consulting companies. Their proprietary Flawless Execution transforms companies by driving accountability, increasing agility and accelerating execution! Their clients include 85% of Fortune 500 firms and 2 Super Bowl Champions!


JUNE 22, 2017 6:00-9:00PM


Register at Contact Roger Duke 706.840.0008 or March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Time is money What is worth your time? By Mark Alison

Time is the one thing we can’t get back or make more of. That makes time one of the most precious commodities we have. Every day, people exchange their time, on the job, for money that they use to buy things. Things like lunch, shoes, cars and homes. Have you ever considered how much “time” you give up to buy something? Consider: Andy makes $20,000 a year. After taxes, one hour of work time nets Andy $6.34. Charlie makes $40,000 a year. After taxes, one hour of work time nets Charlie $12.68. Dorian makes $80,000 a year. After taxes, one hour of time nets Dorian $25.36. A meal deal at Sonic costs Andy an hour of time. If Andy eats lunch out every day it costs him 20 hours of his work life a month to earn the money for the meals. That’s half a week of time! Charlie spends half an hour of time to buy the meal. Dorian gives up 15 minutes to make the cost of the meal. It doesn’t matter how much one makes. Each one trades some amount of their precious time for the meal.

Look at the same scenario at a higher level. This time consider a new, $30,000 Chevrolet. Andy will trade 591 days of life to buy the car based on an eight-hour workday. Charlie will give up almost a year of life to buy the car. If Charlie works 40 years and buys four cars during that time, he has given up one-tenth of his life in exchange. Dorian will spend 30 weeks to buy the car. When you think of spending time instead of money to buy things, time takes on a different perspective. But, since we use money as the medium of exchange it is easier to trade in dollars than hours, so we don’t think of the time. Even more sinister, we now use debit cards, so we never even touch the unit of exchange. We don’t count the dollar bills anymore; we simply swipe a card. I remember when the slot machines in Las Vegas paid out in silver dollars. Then they

People must choose to invest their time and money in products – is your service worth the investment? Special

10 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

found it more lucrative to pay out in special casino cash (coins). Today, it’s credits you can neither see nor hold that you spend and collect. It further separates the player from the concept of the time it took to earn the cash being wagered. To put time and money into proper perspective, you have to realize that some people would give up their fortunes for a few more days of life. Money gets cheaper when you are running out of time. What does this have to do with marketing? I stopped at a fast food restaurant last week and bought a grilled chicken sandwich. I hit the interstate and removed the sandwich from the bag. Three small pieces of chicken fell out onto the seat and floor. I’ve had this sandwich before, so I knew it was not prepared correctly. Since I gave up some of my time to buy it I took it back to the manager the next morning. She was grateful and appalled, and she apologized. I simply wanted her to know make sure that someone else wasn’t afforded the same poor experience for his or her time. You, the customer, have a responsibility to hold the seller responsible and be sure the time you spend and hard work you endure to make a purchase are rewarded to their fullest. This means if you spend a few hours of time to buy a really nice dinner for two,

you should expect quality food and an experience that is worth the time. When you give up an hour of time in the form of a tip, it should be for exemplary service, if you value your time. Requiring the business you are giving your time up for to give you value for your money is paramount, whether it’s fast food or a white linen restaurant. For the seller, it means recognizing that the people who come through the door to spend their money with your establishment have given up some of their life to do so. Some have given more life than others, and sometimes the ones who give up the most are the least appreciated. Take the time to make their contribution worthwhile. Instruct your employees as to the value of money and what it represents. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big-ticket item or something small. Time only comes in one measure. And if you are a fast food restaurant, for goodness’ sake, put a napkin in the bag so I don’t have to spend the time to stop, get out and come inside.

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.

WorkfloW AutomAtion &

EASY AS 1-2-3 1. Load Document 2. Press Start 3. Files are automattically routed to your server or directly into Document Management Software!

That’s SmartScanning

...ONLY from DSI and Savin.

507 CDP Industrial Blvd, Suite 2 Grovetown, GA 30813 Phone: 706-737-6482 March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


buzz bits Family-owned business teaches future mechanics

Don Grantham. Photo by Rhian Swan

Chamber names Moody Award winner The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce announced the Lester S. Moody Award of Excellence recipient at the 109th Annual Meeting. This year’s award was presented to Don Grantham, president and CEO of Forest Sales Corp. Grantham has served in many official capacities and on private boards over the years. His resume embodies a stunning and long career of service to his community and the state of Georgia. One of his first statewide appointments 45 years ago was to the Georgia Ports Authority by then-Gov. Jimmy Carter. This came just 10 years after graduating with a finance degree from the University of Georgia. When elected to a vacant term on the State Transportation Board in 2011, Grantham was able to leverage his experience on the Georgia Port Authority, his knowledge of transportation projects and engineering on the local level and his policy expertise to represent District 12 with profound results. His tireless work on the passage of this region’s Transportation Investment Act and his influence on legislation that is improving Georgia’s infrastructure by almost $1 billion per year will have an immense impact for years to come. Grantham has also served on the Augusta Metro Chamber Board of Directors and led its economic development efforts. He was a trustee for Augusta State University and he served on the Boy Scouts of America Advisory Board of Augusta for over 40 years.

12 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

Steve Nevarez wanted to pass something on to his sons. “I don’t have riches, but I have a lot of business experience and talent,” Nevarez said. He previously owned construction businesses and two mechanic shops in Colorado before moving to Augusta, where he retired. Last year, however, Nevarez decided to come out of retirement and open up a small-engine repair shop. He and his sons, Josh, 29, and Steven, 16, now have The Buffer Man, providing an array of services from work trailer and lawnmower repair to a variety of automotive services at 1700 Belmont Ave. in Augusta. Josh serves as shop manager and Steven is The Buffer Man’s first apprentice. “We are very excited to become a part of Augusta’s growing business community,” Nevarez said. “Our goal is to make a positive impact on


the community with our services.” Nevarez and his sons want to teach others mechanic skills. The family is reaching out to local colleges with small engine mechanic programs to give stu-

dents a hands-on “externship.” It’s something to pass on to not only his sons, but the Augusta community. For more details on The Buffer Man, call (706) 380-5044.

Expert offers tips about Marketing Becky Quinlan worked through the crowd at a brisker pace than her view on what’s changed for marketers over the last several years at a recent Columbia County Chamber event. “The buzz word used to be big data, and now it’s fast data,” said the sales coach, trainer and marketer from Michigan. She tested a few of the 100plus business leaders on their use of social media and came away very surprised that no one attending was a social media manager but instead wore that hat while handling other tasks. That included Virginia Atkins, who handles PR and Community Events for Gerald Jones Auto Group. Quinlan liked Atkins’ philosophy of focusing on just one social media channel – Facebook – to connect with customers who have questions about service or their vehicles.

Becky Quinlan is a sales coach, trainer and marketer from Michigan. Photo by Neil Gordon

“We can interact with them. We try to focus on Facebook and do it well,” Atkins said. Quinlan also said data and time are the most valuable assets in a company. She says updating company data in terms of mailing lists and e-mails is critical. “Keep your data clean,” she preached to the crowd at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. She said CSRA companies should strive to get to know their customers well – so they can find ones just like them. On the opposite side, she said if there are unprofitable customers or

customers you just don’t want to deal with, cut them loose and focus on more profitable clients. She also offered five marketing must-haves for 2017: • Create an integrated business, marketing and sales plan • Use good analytics • Clone your customers (find likeminded ones) • Choose and test your messaging and marketing channels • Add fresh data at every touch point with prospects/clients Continued on Page 13

Continued from Page 12

EDTS CEO Charles Johnson says the award is the result of the team’s “laser focus on helping customers.” Special

EDTS named to Elite 150 EDTS LLC has been named for the fifth straight year to The Channel Company’s 2017 CRN Elite 150 of the 500 Top Managed I.T. Service Providers in North America. This annual list recognizes solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services, and whose offerings help companies navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of IT. The Elite 150 are largely traditional, enterprise-focused resellers that have a significant managed service offering. The MSP500 list is featured in the February 2017 issue of CRN and online at “This honor is directly attributable to our team’s laser focus on helping customers attain the highest level of success possible from their IT investment,” said Charles Johnson, CEO of EDTS. “All of us at EDTS are proud to have attained this and other prestigious recognitions as we work each day to keep client networks protected, optimized, and running at peak performance.” EDTS is a regional technology consulting firm that specializes in

buzz bits Job numbers improve The Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.3 percent in January 2017 from December 2016, says a new report from the Hull College of Business at Augusta University. The index has increased 1.2 percent from January 2016. The Augusta Labor Market Index (LMI) increased 0.3 percent in December 2016. It has increased 2.2 percent from December 2015.

The LMI benefitted from some revised data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported more robust jobs growth in Augusta than previously recorded. In 2016, Augusta added 6,100 jobs compared to the previously released data that indicated only about 2,000 jobs. The change in industry employment in 2016 is shown in the table below.

Industry Percentage change in employment (2016) Professional and Business Services 8.1% Leisure and Hospitality 5.7% Education and Health Services 3.1% Retail Trade 3.0% Manufacturing 0.5% Government 0.4% Transportation and Utilities -1.3% Mining, Logging, and Construction -2.5% Financial Activities -2.6% Information -3.6% providing managed IT services, network security and advanced infrastructure solutions to organizations across the Southeast. The 75-person EDTS organization serves customers from offices in Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina and its headquarters in Augusta.

Chamber Hires New Director of Workforce Initiatives The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the hiring of Jonathan Davis as the director of Workforce Initiatives. Davis has most recently been with the Augusta Economic Development Authority (AEDA) as its Existing Industry coordinator for nearly four years. He holds a bachelor of Arts degree from Paine College and is a graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development and the Augusta Metro Chamber Leadership Augusta Class of 2015.

Jonathan Davis

As the director of Workforce Initiatives, Davis will be responsible for implementing services, programs and initiatives that support the goal of a prepared and trained workforce for regional business. He will work closely with the Business Education Advisory Council to carry out its strategic and tactical partnership between public education and the business community. He will also be responsible for establishing the Chamber as an active advocate for championing workforce readiness in the region by fostering relationships between educational and training institutions and businesses. Davis began his new role March 20.

Entertainment Complex wins top honor The Augusta Entertainment Complex, coming off a recordsetting year, was named Small Venue of the Year by Spectra by Comcast Spectacor. Spectra provides venue management, food services and hospitality, ticketing and fan engagement, and corporate partnership solutions to the Augusta Entertainment Complex. It was Spectra’s Augusta team’s innovative approach at the complex and their ability to exceed budget over the past two years that proved deserving of this award. For the second consecutive year, Augusta Entertainment Complex has recorded the most successful fiscal year in its history. The Spectra venue also lowered its operating costs for the third consecutive year. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, Spectra hosted 129 events, 33 more than the previous year. According to the trade publication Venues Today, Bell Auditorium ranked No. 5 throughout Georgia in gross ticket sales for fiscal year 2016. The Augusta Entertainment Complex, which includes James Brown Arena and The Bell Auditorium, is committed to being an active part of the community. The Spectra team continues to participate in a large number of community events and volunteering opportunities. “We pride ourselves on being great partners with the the Coliseum Authority, and together we are committed to providing top-notch quality entertainment and further enhancing the quality of life here in Augusta,” said Augusta Entertainment Complex General Manager Chris Byrd. “On behalf of the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, I’d like to congratulate Chris and his team on this award,” said authority Chairman Cedric Johnson. “Their efforts on the local level do not go unnoticed, and we’re pleased they are recognized as an asset to the company as a whole.” March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Lessons in language

Tailor your conversation to your client’s style BY SEAN ANDREWS

I was sitting on the back porch last week and noticed two geckos. One was a muddy brown color, and the other was bright green. They seemed not to notice one another as they crawled on the windows on opposite sides of the porch. Then, one of them began moving closer to the other. People do business with people they know, like and trust. How many times have you heard this old chestnut? There is no denying that it’s true, but how does one achieve this close connection with a customer? Quite easily, and you can even do it over the telephone! During the early 1970s, John Grinder and Richard Bandler developed a technology called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. NLP is a broad and sometimes complicated subject, but many of the principles are easy to understand – such as rapport. Bandler and Grinder studied the leading psychotherapists of their time, including Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson, and discovered that many of the most successful therapists had a tremendous talent for establishing rapport with their patients. Later studies would find that the rapport between therapist and patient was the most reliable indicator that the therapy would be successful. NLP jargon can be confusing, so let’s use simpler terms. One principle is that people like people who are like themselves. If you think about your circle of friends, you’ll notice that most of them are about the same age as you. They probably have a similar level of education and economic status as you. Their religious beliefs are probably similar, and likely there are many other similarities. So, if you want someone to like you, to establish rapport, you need to become a bit like them – but how do you do this? One way is to communicate in a similar way. Another NLP principle is that people communicate at the same speed which they like to receive information. For our purposes, let’s group people into just three categories: • Fast talkers • Slow talkers • Those in between You know the fast talker. It’s as if he revs up his engines and then blurts out a continuous stream of verbiage. Then … there is … the sloooooow … talker. It seems as though every syllable must be carefully thought out and meticulously selected

14 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

When talking on the phone, notice the speed at which the other person is talking and match his speed. If he talks extremely fast, you should talk extremely fast, too. Special

If you want someone to like you, to establish rapport, you need to become a bit like them – but how do you do this? One way is to communicate in a similar way. . You’ve met these people, and they always communicate in the same way. And as you can imagine, the fast talkers can’t stand to listen to the slow talkers! But here’s the way you can use this to establish rapport on the phone: Notice the speed at which the other person is talking and match it. If he talks extremely fast, you should talk extremely fast. If he slowly teases out each word, you need to do the same. Yes, this might be uncomfortable at first, but I assure you it will be worth it. It is as if you are now speaking his language! I recently had a telephone conversation with John, who speaks at an incredibly fast rate. It wasn’t easy, but I matched

John’s speed and we had a terrific conversation. To amplify the connection, I also matched John’s tone and used similar vocabulary, and we hit it off brilliantly. In John’s mind, he had found a kindred spirit, someone who shared his view of the world and could be trusted. He later admitted that when he was a child, he was teased for being a “motormouth.” Here’s your homework assignment. The next time you have a conversation on the phone, take note of the other person’s… • Speed • Tone • Vocabulary • Volume Match these as closely as you can and

you will be amazed at the connection you will establish! By the way – as the green gecko got closer to the brown one, it started to change color. When it got within a few feet, it changed from green to brown. They were the same color! I wish I could end this column by saying that the geckos got together and played – but they didn’t. The formerly green, now-turned-brown gecko returned to its assigned corner and again assumed its bright green color. Perhaps I should have let them use my phone. Sean Michael Andrew is a hypnotist, body language expert, author and corporate keynote speaker. He was selected the Mid-America Hypnosis Conference 2013 Hypnotist of the Year and the 2016 Educator of the Year. Reach him at 706.284.3370.


DOCUMENT PURGING | SECURE DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION | ELECTRONIC WASTE DESTRUCTION Looking to simplify your secure destruction needs as you sort and purge your records this tax season? Contact Augusta Data Storage for simplified and secure destruction solutions!

706.793.0816 |

March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


don’t be scared of ‘cyber’

University of Phoenix looks to decrease anxiety By Amanda King

Ten to 15 years ago, it was expected for everyone entering the workforce to know how to operate Microsoft Office and have a basic knowledge of the internet. Now, the expectations are much different, with many employers looking for individuals who have cyber experience, including how to protect networks. As overwhelming as that might sound, Dennis Bonnilla and his team from RedFlint in Las Vegas are helping people understand that “cyber” isn’t as scary as it sounds. RedFlint, a division of the University of Phoenix, is a cyber-innovation center providing resources for different learning styles and levels. “We have tried to reduce the intimidation factor of the term ‘cyber’ and cybersecurity, so we try to break it down into very simple, elegant ways of interacting with the content and technology,” he said. Bonnilla brought a sample of the RedFlint experience to Augusta on March 2. With virtual reality simulation and small group seminars, Augusta got a glimpse into what might be coming to its University of Phoenix in the near future. Augusta campus Director Norman Fountain and Bonnilla began discussing the local cyber influx approximately a year and a half ago. After the success of Bonnilla’s RedFlint program, the duo knew that Augusta would be a great location for another cyber program. Fountain has been meeting with various stakeholders in the community to gain support for the program. On March 3, several of those stakeholders met to discuss support for the proposed program, including Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce President Sue Parr. “This investment, as well as the tools they have developed to help students understand the nature of cyber

“We have tried to reduce the intimidation factor of the term ‘cyber’ and cybersecurity, so we try to break it down into very simple, elegant ways of interacting with the content and technology.” –Dennis Bonnilla, of RedFlint, a division of the University of Phoenix

With virtual reality simulation and seminars, Augusta recently got a glimpse into what might be coming to its University of Phoenix soon. Photo by Amanda King

jobs in advance of enrollment, is also very unique and proactive in introducing technology fields to students,” Parr said. Those unique techniques include a series of modules to help prospective students decide whether to begin a cyber degree. “Before you start investing time or money, how do you

even know you want to be in cyber?” Bonnilla asked. The modules help students gain a basic understanding of the field and introduce them to snippets of the program they would be involved with. Students who opt not to pursue the program have then saved time and prevented compiling student debt in a field they would not complete. Although it might sound like the University of Phoenix is attempting to rival Augusta University’s Cyber Innovation Center, the Fort Gordon Cyber Command Center and a number of other programs in the area, Bonnilla said that University of Phoenix’s program would complement, not compete with, those programs, and allow nontraditional students the opportunity to enter the field. “Ensuring that our region is building a pipeline of technology professionals, especially those trained in cyber security, is a very important mission for our community right now,” Parr said.

What is ‘cyber’ and why should I care about ‘cyber attacks’? By Brandon McCrillis

Seemingly everywhere nowadays we hear and see “cyber” more and more. In the information security industry, we like to joke that every time someone says “CYBER!” … somewhere a puppy gets kicked. So, please try not to over use the term. Joking aside, the Oxford definition of cyber is “Relating to or characteristic of the culture of computers, information technology and virtual reality.” What does that really mean? It means computers are everywhere and we live in a culture that relies upon them. From the ones that might make our morning cup of coffee to the ones we carry around in our pockets to the ones that control our modern vehicles, computers are all around us. As business owners, we heavily rely upon computers to conduct business itself. Resistance to computers is appropriately dead in business; we are in it for the

16 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

long haul now. What we must do is be cognizant of the business benefits of cyber while paying special attention to the risks. You should care because it’s never a question of “if ” you will be hacked; it’s more a question of “when.” Business leaders need to be able to understand what the acceptable risks are when it comes to cybersecurity and properly insulate themselves and work to mitigate unacceptable risks. While moving at the speed of business, basic industry standards for backup, recovery and disaster planning are not being met. This can be because of ignorance of the threat, lack of funding, too few resources or misaligned priorities. Our consultants respond to all types of information security incidents and conduct 24/7/365 business-tailored network security monitoring. A recent incident we responded to involved one click on a phishing email by

an overprivileged user, resulting in a nearcomplete loss of company data since the beginning of this company’s conducting business electronically; that, ladies and gentleman, is a business-crippling event (and a “resume updating” event for the IT staff, I’m sure). While we were able to assist in complete restoration of the ransomed data, I’m positive the business leaders will not soon forget this incident. The takeaways here are to embrace information security and the cyber culture but ensure you have the basics in place and understand how a cyber event can impact your business. Depending on your market vertical, regulations and compliance might force your hand when it comes to cyber preparedness. Basic information security hygiene includes but is not limited to a business continuity plan, a backup and disaster recovery plan, asset inventory, patch

and configuration management, and continuous vulnerability assessment. “Cyber!” and defending against cyberattacks don’t need to break the bank, no matter the budget. Taking a practical approach to information security awareness and maintaining basic “cyber hygiene” is step one. And of course, if you need a helping hand, Rendition InfoSec is right around the corner. Brandon McCrillis is a principal at Rendition InfoSec, specializing in incident response, penetration testing, digital forensics, training and network monitoring. He delivers consulting worldwide helping organizations of all sizes reduce risk, achieve compliance, maintain business continuity and reach security goals. reach him at brandon.mccrillis@

March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Is Your Company Ready For The Information Mobility Age? By Scott Thurmond

Think of how often you send a workrelated email from your smartphone. How frequently are you in a location that isn’t your office and need files you left behind? You are not alone. Almost half of the workforce does work outside the office. For many off-site workers, though, conducting business is a struggle because their companies are not in the information-mobility age. A recent study noted a significant gap between those companies needing to access documents from mobile devices – some 80 percent – and those which have fully enabled such access – less than 20 percent. Companies surveyed which had fully embraced information mobility saw increases in: revenue (77 percent), business process workflow effectiveness (72 percent) and profitability (68 percent). They also saw a marked effect on operational costs (62 percent), new customer acquisition (70 percent) and customer retention (68 percent). One of our customers was able to double the size of his business, which is international in scope, without adding a single employee. The national study was conducted by International Data Corp. in 2015. Whether your company is a trucking line needing to send updates to the home office, a multinational organization

Mobile devices are now able to do more with multi function devices. Special

needing staff to access highly confidential medical records, or a smaller company wanting to build a more efficient system, the combination of the right multifunction copier and appropriate software can take your company into the information-mobility age. This transition, when designed appropriately, can adhere to regulatory standards and retention requirements. In addition, cloud-based networking provides a safe haven should a physical disaster strike the office. Your multifunction device documents can be electronically scanned, emailed or printed from one desk to the next whether in the same room or across the nation. From a person’s mobile device, one can not only send an email but also attach the appropriate document.

To take this process to the next level is archiving documents. Document management services should mirror what you would have in your filing cabinets by category. The biggest difference is that you don’t have to rummage through lots of papers to locate an essential document. Instead, a person can quickly search for a tag that would find the appropriate file. Cloud-based services also enhance security and institutional knowledge. Although filing cabinets can indeed be physically locked, access to electronic documents can be restricted to as few or as many people as needed. With searchable databases, your organization avoids the risk of not finding something when a crucial employee leaves. Think of how often a secretary had her own filing system,

or an IT person had the sole key to your enterprise system – in their heads. To fully position your company in the information-mobility age, the process must go across the entire company – not just one department at a time. Success also requires investment in the right technologies that enable search and collaboration tools, that integrate workflows across departments and that efficiently incorporate scanning and printing. The conversion also requires strong senior management support and a vendor who understands the particular needs of your company and your industry. Organizations which were able to offer a full range of support for mobile apps saw an average increase in productivity of 13 percent. Where will your company be?

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

Siri, How Do I Optimize for voice Searches on Google? By John Pope

As always, search engine optimization (SEO) is a concern for small businesses, and all businesses, for that matter. But a new factor for ranking on Google has emerged over the last few years, and that is Voice Search from our smartphones and other mobile devices. Using services such as Cortana, Siri and even Google Voice Search have become the norm when researching local businesses and asking for business contact information from your phone. People are turning more to this type of search because of our fast-paced lifestyle, and because it is easier than typing and convenient while driving. The first thing a business owner needs to do when trying to work with its marketing team to optimize for voice search is to understand how voice search works. This is accomplished by using voice search for yourself and by asking your family and friends if they are using it and how they are using it. For example, what are some

18 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

To make voice searches most effective for your business, have your marketer or search engine optimizer work in phrases, not just single words. Special

common phrases or questions they ask for when using the voice text? Another factor to consider is home assistant services such as Alexa or Echo. What type of questions do people ask their virtual home assistants? This is great information to gather from both a marketing standpoint and also to find out how people are looking for the services or products that you provide both in the home and while they are out moving through their day. There are two final factors you need to

look at as a business owner when optimizing for voice search. The first is whether you have a proper responsive design or mobile website set up and the proper way to measure its mobile-friendliness. This is one of the most important factors in mobile optimization anyway, so your marketing or website building team should already be on top of this factor. Second, try to have your marketing or search engine optimizer work in more long-tail keywords, meaning more phras-

es, not just a single keyword. So, think more like complete questions potential customers would ask if they were looking for your services or products. I know all of this seems like a lot to do to be found or at least get to a place where you feel you are doing well on search engines. But that is what your local online marketing team is for, to help with search engine optimization across all media platforms so that you can focus on running your business, which, trust me, is a hard enough job.

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

GET NOTICED. GET BUSINESS. • Print 3822 Commercial Ct. Martinez, GA 30907

call today

• Signs

• Design


March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Business Person Of The Month


James Stefanakos is a 1998 chemical engineering graduate from Georgia Tech. After getting his MBA, he built a sweet life for his family of five as a federal employee on the MOX project at Savannah River Site. His life-changing “aha” moment came in 2014. He was having lunch with his 7-year-old daughter Maia at an Aiken County school. “I noticed a lot of kids putting apples and other food in their pockets,” he said.

James Stefanakos, Antebellum Chocolate Co. After asking questions, Stefanakos learned that thousands of Aiken County kids are on the free breakfast and lunch program. He quickly realized that hungry children were taking home makeshift dinners for their families. “I then pursued my calling to set up a business to help feed children,” he added. In March 2015, he opened Antebellum Chocolate Co. in a 600-square-foot, one-room space in the Masonic Lodge shopping center in a revitalized part of Graniteville on Canal Street. While Stefanakos set up shop by hand, he leaned on his family to keep the creative juices and chocolate flowing. His mom, a gourmet cooking school director, helped teach her son the art of chocolate, while Stefanakos’ wife, Amanda, helped bring out the artistic side of their three children. Their kids drew the artwork for the 12 flavors of the handmade, European-style premium, 2.5 ounce-chocolate bars. The “Maian my own business” bar, which is a spicy dark chocolate creation, is named after Maia, now 10. The “Xanderific” bar is a mix of honey and dark chocolate and is named after Stefanakos’ 7-year-old son Xander. The PheBe&H bar – a play on the PB&J craze – is a mix of peanut butter, honey and cinnamon. It is named after 6-year-old Phebe. Each bar also quotes the Bible’s James 2:18: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” “I get my honey from a family in Bamberg, two regional dairy farmers provide the butter and heavy cream, and Buona Caffee roasts the coffee beans for our Rocket Fuel bar,” Stefanakos said as he was making his caramel from scratch. All of the recipes are made on site and

20 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

Antebellum Chocolate Co. offers 12 flavors. Stefanakos’ children created the designs on the wrappers for the candy. Photos by Neil Gordon

Chocolatier/ engineer James Stefanakos, above, makes his chocolate by hand in Graniteville. Michael Vaughn, at right, is a regular customer who rides in from his home in Aiken to support the “Buy a Bar, Feed a Child” cause – and to satisfy his craving for sweets.

are non-GMO and gluten free, with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. He and his wife work at various farmers’ markets in Aiken and Columbia and sell bars from his commercial kitchen/ store in Graniteville to regulars with unique stories. “I’m a recovering alcoholic,” said Michael Vaughn, who takes the 15-mile motorcycle ride from his home in Aiken to visit Antebellum Chocolate. “My body craves sweets, and the sugar from the chocolate kills my sugar craving for alcohol,” he added. Vaughn likes the Xanderific, Rocket Fuel, Midnight Oil and Pecan Pie flavors the best. “James has a sweet idea for an awesome cause,” said Vaughn. A percentage of profits from bars goes to food banks in the communities that sell the bars. “I want to reward customers supporting the mission where they live,” said Stefanakos. While the bulk of the shops are in the CSRA, stores in Pennsylvania and Ar-

Where to buy Online • • •

kansas sell his chocolate. He sells wholesale bars for $3. Retail price is $6. In Aiken County, he works through the Hungry No More project to help them buy easy-to-open, nutritious meals for distribution to after-school programs. Meals are also bought for Golden Harvest Food Bank’s backpack program, in which volunteers place the meals in the students’ backpacks while they are finishing up their studies for the day. In April, he plans to pass the 15,000meal mark through his “Buy a Bar, Feed a Child” program. He’s had corporate support from Bridgestone and SRS as employees have come by for team-building and chocolate-building workshops. Stefanakos is booking birthday parties and hoping to engineer a way to take his brand nationwide to help feed the estimated 1 in 5 children who go hungry in the United States. “If you are a business owner, you don’t have to feed the hungry or the poor – just find a way to support a cause. The world will be a better place,” he added.

Augusta stores • Book Tavern • Buona Caffe • Due South • Purely Painted Market • White Hills Farm • Cricket Dry Goods • Belair Donuts (Grovetown) Aiken County stores • Antebellum Chocolate Co. • Aiken County Visitors Center • Aiken Farmers Market • Cold Creek Nurseries • Houndslake Country Club Pro Shop • Unique Expressions • Red Shed Diner and Produce • Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta • Organically You (North Augusta) Edgefield, S.C. • Carolina Moon Distillery • Columbia • Nest • Soda City Market Elsewhere • Cask & Grove, Fayetteville, Ark. • Ebb’s Candy Jar, Tunkhannock, Pa.

Jesus Celebrate with us!

2017 HAS


“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

AIKEN (803) 226 - 0284


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.

A U G U S TA ( 7 0 6 ) 7 2 4 - 3 7 5 8


A U G U S TA M A R K E T I N G . C O M March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Business openings, closings and moves Comings

Sprouts Just a little over a week after the closure of Whole Foods Market, another grocery chain announced its plans to plant roots in Augusta. Sprouts Farmers Market, an Arizona-based healthy living supermarket will be the anchor tenant in the proposed Crane Creek shopping center at the corner of Interstate 20 and Walton Way Extension, just across the interstate from the Augusta Exchange shopping center. That area has been without a full-service grocery store since the closing of Winn-Dixie in 2005. The 250-store Sprouts chain is a competitor to health-focused supermarkets such as Whole Foods, EarthFare and Trader Joe’s. Its website said its store focus on “healthy living for less.” Cobblestone Retail Group, the Atlanta-based commercial real estate brokerage representing Sprouts at the future Crane Creek development, did not return phone calls seeking more information on the store. But based on its online marketing materials, the 30,000-square-foot store would occupy more than half of the shopping center at the entrance to the Grand Oaks at Crane Creek apartment community. That size is slightly smaller than the shuttered Whole Foods store, which was 41,000 square feet. The rest of the Crane Creek property will have more than 17,000 square feet for additional businesses, plus two outparcels with drive-through availability. The projected completion date for the shopping center is March 2018.

A Pelican’s Snoballs shaved ice shop has opened in Grovetown. Special

Pelican’s Snoballs The forecast for Grovetown? Snoballs. If you’re looking to the skies for big flakes of snow, you’re out of luck. But if you’re looking for New Orleans-style shaved ice in over 100 gourmet flavors and various toppings, then Pelican’s Snoballs owners Joseph and Lisa Christie have what you need at their

22 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

An anniversary for more than the business This spring marks the fourth anniversary of Eric Kennedy’s business, Distressed Kennedy — and several years in his long-term recovery from addiction. He says his side business is like a parable of his life. “With an addiction, people see your ugly side. In recovery, there is a restoration side,” said Kennedy, who is also the full-time facillities director at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta. Kennedy spends nights and weekends buying and selling furniture, and then he restores and paints the pieces to create a vintage look or a new look to an old antique. “I do it because I enjoy working with my hands and seeing the look on a customer’s face when I am finished,” he said. Distressed Kennedy is a hobby that has grown to the point that he could do it full-time. His ultimate goal is to open a shop in downtown Augusta and teach others his technique so that they, too, could sell their pieces. – Neil Gordon new shaved ice eatery. Pelican’s Snoballs, at 101 E. Robinson Ave. in Grovetown, has a fun, family-friendly atmosphere with outdoor seating, music and games for kids and adults, according to the Christies. It also offers various sugar-free and dye-free options. Pelican’s Snoballs are soy free, gluten free, nut free and dairy free, giving options to those with various allergies. The shaved ice shop is a franchise based out of North Carolina. There are more than 100 stores throughout the Southeast. Pelican’s Snoballs will also have mobile setup to be available for festivals, parties and corporate events. There are also spirit night fundraising opportunities for schools and clubs. For more information, contact the Christies at (706) 306-8190. Cinnabon Augusta Chronicle Business Editor Damon Cline is reporting that Cinnabon will be returning to the Augusta Mall by the Fourth of July in a consolidated food service operation organized by the franchisee of Auntie Annie’s Pretzels. The franchisee will expand from his

Eric Kennedy, the owner of Distressed Kennedy, which sells furniture that he has restored or distressed, stands beside one of his favorite pieces, a Queen Anne sideboard that he preserved and kept in his home to replace a buffet table. Special

pretzel kiosk into a newly developed 1,400-square-foot space that will offer up the pretzels and cinnamon rolls, and the smoothies from the Planet Smoothie brand. Auntie Annie’s closed March 18 to allow for renovation to begin. Work is expected to take three to four months until re-opening.

Mergers/ Acquisitions

Top Notch Car Wash Owners Donald Cawley and Doug Millar have decided to part ways and end their 26-year partnership in the car wash business, the last 15 as Top Notch Car Wash. While the Top Notch name is going away, the three locations will continue to be used as car washes. Beginning in March, Top Notch Car Wash – Martinez, at 3853 Washington Road, will become a Rock ‘N Wash Auto Spa and will be operated by Cawley. The wash will offer express washes, full-services washes and detail services. Both Top Notch locations in Evans and west Augusta will remain under

the Top Notch name for the next 30 to 45 days, but will soon become Tidal Wave Auto Spas under Millar’s ownership. The west Augusta location, 2841 Washington Road, will be closed during March for extensive remodeling, and the Evans location, 512 N. Belair Road, will be closed in April for remodeling as well. Full-service washes will no longer be available at these two locations after conversion to Tidal Wave. Along with the name, Top Notch gift cards and unlimited wash plans also will be going away. All Top Notch gift cards will be honored at all locations until the locations close around April 15. After April 15, gift cards will be honored at the two Tidal Wave locations until Dec. 31, 2017. “I’m so proud to have been a small business owner in the CSRA for 26 years. I look forward to continuing to serve the area through my new business venture with Tidal Wave Auto Spa, and I’m thankful to all of our Top Notch customers for their business all of these years,” Millar said. For information on Tidal Wave, visit, or call (706) 868-1450. For information on Rock ‘N Wash, call (706) 868-1550.

Business openings, closings and moves New ownership

The Designed for Change consignment boutique at 139 Davis Road has new owners. Photo by Amanda King

Designed for Change Designed for Change is getting a few changes around the store. The consignment boutique at 139 Davis Road changed hands on Feb. 1 when original owner Sandy Wood decided to retire and let some new faces take the reins of her business – her stepdaughter, Abby Wood, and future daughter-in-law, Izzy Black. “The business that Sandy started we’re going to keep the same – the way we treat our consignors, what we consign and how we do it will stay the same,” Wood said. The 1,800-square-foot space will still house personal consignment items ranging from lamps and rugs to china cabinets and dining room tables. Wood, an artist, wants to include other local artists’ pieces to showcase and sell. The new dynamic duo will be using their Facebook and Instagram accounts to display their items, which change daily. Customers can inquire about prices or item details without having to visit the store. “We want people to get what they love,” Wood said. They will have to act quickly, though – Black said some items don’t stay for long. “It’s here anywhere from less than an hour to 90 days, which is our limit,” she said. Giuseppe’s Giuseppe’s, a longtime favorite of Italian food lovers, is under new ownership. The Gentile family owned the restaurant for nearly 25 years and have sold it to Carl Lenderman, a former senior vice president of Waffle House who was in charge of 150 stores at one time. “I retired in 2005 and thought I’d better do something,” joked Lenderman. Lenderman said the name, recipes, menu and location will stay the same. Customers may eventually enjoy more

Gander Mountain closing Augusta location An email from a spokesperson at Gander Mountain says the Augusta location is one of three stores in Georgia being closed. A news release sent out March 10 by the Minnesota-based outdoor retail company says it is closing 32 underperforming stores across the country, inclusing the Augusta location. A company spokesperson said it is one of three stores in Georgia being closed. The spokesperson added, “A Gander Mountain store generally employs 20-30 full time people and another 20-30 on a part-time and seasonal basis. Our employees at stores affected by these closings may be considered for employment opportunities elsewhere within our system.” The news release said, “Gander Mountain Company announced today that, to maximize the opportunity to achieve a ‘going-concern’ sale of its business, it and certain of its of their pasta and pizza. “We may open another day or two each week. If it happens, it will be summertime,” added Lenderman. Currently, Giuseppe’s is open Tuesday-Saturday on Wheeler Road and has offered a lunch buffet for years. Nick Gentile, the former general manager, is staying on at least another month to help with the operational transition and is training a longtime employee to take over as general manager. Joe and Donna Gentile are retiring and will have more time for family and real estate activities.


RadioShack As part of a second bankruptcy filing, RadioShack announced on March 17 it was closing 552 RadioShacks across the United States, including its longtime location in the West Town Shopping Center at 3830 Washington Road in Martinez and the location on Peach Orchard Road in south Augusta. One hundred eighty-seven stores closed at the time of the announcement, and the other 365 were expected to close by the first week of April. The Martinez location closed the week the announcement was made; a closing date for the south Augusta store was not known.

tion for any restaurateur who is interested in replacing the McDonalds. Interested parties are asked to call (479) 204-2125 or email instoreleasing@ Two other McDonalds remain open in Evans – in the Publix shopping center at Riverwood and near the Publix shopping center between Mullins Crossing and Evans Cinemas.

Photo by Amanda King

subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.” The company said it has experienced challenging traffic patterns and shifts in consumer demand resulting from increased direct-to-customer sales by key vendors and accelerated growth of e-commerce. Gander Mountain opened on the same day in 2014 as Whole Foods, which closed in February. The Knox Avenue location in North Augusta will remain open.

A sign covers the doorway to the McDonald’s restaurant inside the WalMart store in Evans. The eatery has closed. Photo by Neil Gordon

McDonald’s One of three McDonald’s restaurants on Washington Road in Evans is closed. For many years, McDonald’s occupied the space at the front of the Walmart store until deciding not to renew its lease in early March. “It was part of our routine for years, said Columbia County resident Bill Ferguson. He and his wife go grocery shopping each weekend and usually relax with tea and coffee. The former area is now boarded up with a sign that reads “Thank you for shopping with us!” Store management also has informa-

A Chicken Fingers restaurant will open soon in the former home of Big Daddy’s Express on Evans to Locks Road. Photo by Neil Gordon

Big Daddy’s Express Bo Handy, the owner of Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill on Jimmy Dyess Parkway, recently told Buzz on Biz founder Neil Gordon that he decided not to renew his one year lease on the Big Daddy’s Express restaurant in a shopping plaza on Evans to Locks Road. Handy says that a new Chicken Finger concept restaurant will open in that spot by late March. Prior to Big Daddy’s Express barbecue, ribs and chicken take-out restaurant, Kim’s Donuts occupied that space on the edge of the Lakeside High School property. Handy says he will focus on his main Big Daddy’s concept, which has grown in business each year since he opened it near Gate One of Fort Gordon in 2013.


Aldi A new Aldi is set to go in at 3034 Peach Orchard Road, at the former location of Ryan’s buffet. This will be the fourth Aldi in the area in the last few years, with locations in North Augusta, Aiken and Augusta. Lidl, an Aldi competitor, is also popping up across the CSRA. Construction in North Augusta and Augusta is already underway, and according to documents from the Columbia County planning department, another location is in the works for Furys Ferry Road. March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Project gratitude: In debt to our vets By Roger Duke

This is a must-read if you are active military, veteran, business manager or a patriot. The Augusta Aiken Project Management Institute chapter has launched an initiative that provides transitioning military members and veterans the opportunity to become certified project managers as civilians in project management careers. Participating businesses will have an established pipeline of America’s finest to hire and fill their vacant PM positions. The name of this initiative is Project Gratitude. Project Gratitude is a comprehensive program that identifies military candidates interested in becoming project managers, then trains, certifies and provides them transitioning resources, networking and career opportunities. The goal of the program is to achieve all of this with no out-of-pocket expenses to the candidates. Chapter volunteers work with each candidate and create a personal plan based on their available military benefits and time constraints. Each candidate commits to a six-month certification plan and will graduate after obtaining either the coveted PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM) credential. Upon graduation, each candidate will be provided a membership to PMI and the local chapter. Business managers, when was the last time you needed to hire someone and all you had to do was make a call to get a list of qualified local candidates? Andy Crowe, founder and owner of Velociteach, a leading PM training company, identified the top 2 percent Alpha PMs as those who had mastered the soft skills of responsibility, communication, alignment, organization, focus, conflict and issue management, relationships and leadership. Military veterans already have these skill sets. Couple these skills with a PM certification and you have a potential Alpha PM. Matching an employer with a qualified candidate has been made easy by partnering with Express Employment Professionals. Express Employment Professionals is one of the top local and U.S. staffing companies enabling Project Gratitude to expand and include candidates from outside the Augusta area.

When was the last time you needed to hire someone and all you had to do was make a call to get a list of qualified local candidates? How can you help? Each cycle begins with the identification of candidates and ends with professional certifications. There are a number of activities possibly not covered by their benefits, such as training, exams and memberships. To cover these costs, Project Gratitude has partnered with Afterburner Inc., located in Atlanta. The AugustaAiken PMI chapter will host a networking and fundraising event June 22 featuring Afterburner. Tables may be purchased at, raising the funds necessary to sponsor at least 40 candidates. Afterburner, founded in 1996 by veteran fighter pilot Jim “’Murph” Murphy, has become one of the nation’s most sought-after consulting and training companies for changing the way businesses work. At this event, learn about their proprietary framework, Flawless Execution, based on the inspiration and experience of elite military teams. Flawless Execution transforms business performance by driving accountability, increasing agility and accelerating execution. Attendees will enjoy a unique and memorable experience that balances entertainment and education.

Roger Duke, PMP, CSM, is a greater Augusta project management advocate, Augusta/Aiken PMI chapter officer, Augusta University adjunct professor, PM PMP/ CAPM Prep trainer and SRS engineering program manager. Reach him at 706.840.0008 or rduke2@

24 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

A crowd at the SC Cyber event learns about the popular topic. Submitted photo

Chamber hosts Cyber Kickoff Event By Terra L. Carroll

President/CEO, Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce Nowadays, if you want to be a part of most conversations, you need to be ready to talk about “cyber.” Well, the North Augusta Chamber has taken a seat at the table. So, let’s talk! Nearly 100 attendees came out to the SC Cyber Savannah River Region Kickoff event on March 2 at North Augusta’s Palmetto Terrace Ballroom. Partnering with SC Cyber, the University of South Carolina Aiken and the City of North Augusta, the Chamber hosted an event to jumpstart the cyber conversation in Aiken County. SC Cyber is a statewide initiative, based at the University of South Carolina and with partners across all levels of academia, industry and government, with a mission to develop the talent, techniques and tools to defend critical, connected infrastructure within South Carolina and the United States. In support of this mission, SC Cyber creates and offers programs for training and workforce development, education, advanced technology development and commercialization, and critical infrastructure protection. The kickoff event was alive beginning with the Presentation of Colors and pledge by North Augusta High School’s NJROTC (Ken Beck, Director) and Lee Byrd of the Riverfront Marines Detachment 1132, respectfully. As keynote speaker and signature sponsor, Charles Johnson of EDTS LLC discussed his 25 years in the technology industry and the vast knowledge of his 75-plus person team in addressing cybersecurity and protection. The event also introduced to many attendees an exchange of information known as “lightning talks,” five-minute

presentations of key information delivered in blitz format. Lightning talk presenters included: • City of North Augusta • AECOM • Raytheon • Savannah River National Lab • iCap Solutions • University of South Carolina Aiken • SLED • SAIC • Secure Web Apps NSA Georgia was present with an exhibit to share information. A diverse group assembled for the kickoff, and attendees had the privilege of hearing from U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson and S.C. Rep. Katie Arrington. Students from the Aiken County Career and Technology Center had the opportunity to meet Col. Todd Turner, garrison commander at Fort Gordon, and a number of retired leadership from the armed forces and technology industry. The conversation won’t stop at one event – look for the Greater North Augusta Chamber to continue informing, connecting and educating students, businesses and the community on cyber and technology. Opportunities abound for a cyber presence in North Augusta, and we are ready to receive.

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. | | (888) 409-5811

March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


upcoming Business events Friday, March 24 Member Economic Luncheon “Inside the Center” presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber and Unisys, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Legends Club. Please join us as we present this insightful program on the new Cyber Innovation and Training Center with guest speaker Calvin Rhodes, the executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA). Rhodes will discuss the nature of the facility, owned by GTA and operated in partnership with Augusta University, and its purpose to the state, the university system and local community.

Tuesday, March 28 Faith@Work, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way Extension. Join business leaders for lunch and light worship led by Gary Redding. Email Cyndi Busby to make reservations at cbusby@fbcaugusta.

Catch the Buzz! Check out fun Masters Week events in our special Masters Tournament section! Pages 32-33 Get more on events and follow business news across the CSRA at

Wednesday, March 29 State board workers’ compensation, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. The State Board Workers’ Compensation will conduct a seminar to educate those who are affected by the Georgia’s workers’ compensation system. This educational training program will provide valuable information for employers and self-insured employers, human resource and risk managers, claims adjusters, rehabilitation specialists, medical service providers, and workers’ compensation attorneys and paralegals, and any system participants. Register at Networking for Leads presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 3-4 p.m., 1000 Business Blvd., Evans. “Networking for Leads” is a structured program designed to promote an environment which cultivates meaningful business relationships which not only promote one’s business, but identify the needs of other business owners. The goal of the

26 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

program is to encourage businesses to give leads, create mutually beneficial relationships and develop a net-weaving experience where leads are received. The program will consist of a roundtable activity followed by an optional lunch connection, based on appropriate matching, to further enhance the leads experience.

Thursday, March 30 Lunch with the President presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, noon to 1:30 p.m., 121 Richland Ave. E, Aiken. Lunch with the President is a lunch meeting with a small group of Aiken Chamber members. It is a great opportunity to learn more about your business, talk about the Aiken Chamber and possibly make some business contacts. RSVP to

Friday, April 7 First Friday Means Business presented by the Aiken Chamber of

Commerce, 7:30-9 a.m.,Newberry Hall, 117 Newberry St. SW, Aiken. 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. It includes city, county, chamber and sponsor talk. The monthly meeting also allows attendees the opportunity to stand up and introduce themselves and their firm to all other attendees and meet potential new clients. Email mviola@aiken to RSVP. Price: $18

discover volunteer opportunities across the greater Augusta area. No charge. Members-only event.

Tuesday, April 18 Women In Business Luncheon presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Legends Club, 2701 Washington Road. Join guest speaker Angela Swarts, owner of Spherion. $30 members, $40 prospective members. Advanced registration required. Go to www.

Thursday, April 13

Thursday, April 20

Chamber After Hours presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 5-7 p.m., Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton by Augusta-Washington Road, 3028B Washington Road. Check-in to nonprofits at a special Chamber After Hours! In addition to our regular bimonthly networking, members will have the opportunity to connect with nonprofits and

Third Thursday Business Builder presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1 10th St., Suite 120, Augusta. Workplace Safety Management with Doctor’s Hospital and Gold Cross EMS. $15 prospective members. Free for members. Lunch provided. Advance registration required. Go to www.


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

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


706.825.6557 SUPPORT@ONTHELEVELDIGITAL March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Ready to eat?

Former Evans Diner reopens in new location, new name By Amanda King

If the “soft” opening of That Flippin’ Egg at 4466 Washington Road in Evans is any indication of the future, then business will be booming for a while. Four weeks after Evans Diner closed its doors, deconstructed its iconic diner and relocated it to Waynesboro, Ga., the staff opened the doors to That Flippin’ Egg, with a similar menu and the same smiles and love from restaurant cooks and servers. One somewhat new face is the owner, Robert Robertson. Robertson’s father owned Evans Diner. On March 18, That Flippin’ Egg, which is in the former Sho Chin’s Chinese Restaurant location, was filled to the brim with old and new customers. The “regulars” were excited to see their favorite servers and catch up on life since the closing of Evans Diner. New customers like Ned Williams from Martinez were also eager to check out the new digs. He and his wife chose to visit after she saw a Facebook post from a friend announcing the opening. “We just never got a chance to go to [Evans Diner] and thought ‘Well, we’re not doing anything, let’s go check out the new one,’” Williams said.

That Flippin’ Egg had an egg-cellent turnout for its soft opening the weekend of March 17. Photo by Amanda King

Customers will notice similar items to what was on the Evans Diner menu – hearty breakfast, sandwiches and, of

course, eggs, any way you like them. The restaurant is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. Robertson was unavailable prior to

Buzz on Biz’s print deadline to offer more details about plans for the restaurant. He was too flippin’ busy.

Dare to Dream Set goals to achieve greater things By Dagan Sharpe

When we’re young, we love to dream and are fearless with our dreams. They seem to have no bounds. Yet, the older we get, many of these dreams fade away and are replaced with more “realistic” goals. An unfortunate result of this fading was confirmed by a recent study of those in their twilight years. They were asked to share the top regrets from their life now that it was coming to an end. Failing to pursue their dreams ranked highest. Instead of pursuing them, they kept them locked away in their hearts and minds and never planted their seeds of potential. Clearly, some dreams are more imaginative, but there are those that have true merit. Why would so many of us let them fade into obscurity? Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be. Additionally, we don’t have to go to the other extreme and sacrifice all other priorities in pursuit of achieving our dreams. So, what is the balance and how can we protect our dreams from withering away, while at the same time keep them from consuming us

28 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

completely? Plant Them: We know the potential power in a seed. It’s amazing how something so small, when planted and nurtured, can grow into something both beautiful and bountiful. These are like our dreams. We all have “dream seeds” that we can either choose to plant or keep locked away. Of course, this doesn’t have to be. The first step for any seed to grow is to be planted. Likewise, we must have the courage to plant ours. Yet, how can we determine which are pursuits of vanity and which possess great value? Most great dreams benefit others. Just think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his bold declaration of, “I have a dream...” as a perfect of example of this. What is your dream? Will it benefit others or is it solely self-focused? May we always be courageous enough to plant the great ones. Provide For Them: Now that we have clarified our dreams and taken the courageous step to plant the great ones, we must provide for and nourish them. Per-

haps some of our dreams include writing a book, starting a business and/or saving enough towards a goal. The problem is we don’t know where to begin. This is where we pursue the skills and steps necessary to get the process started. Just like planting a seed – we need to know how much sunlight, water and nutrients help it grow best – we need to do the same study in nourishing and providing for our dreams’ maturity. Protect Them: We all have seen gardens and plants destroyed by weeds and insects. Thus, we take steps to protect them by regularly weeding and tending to our garden by adding select pesticides, organic or otherwise. Likewise, we must protect the development of our dreams. Distractions and discouragements will arise. Therefore, being disciplined to set aside specific amounts of time towards them is important. We might even decide to join a club or accountability group of some kind to help keep us motivated. Ultimately, there is tremendous benefit

in remembering the value of gaining new ground little by little. For one thing, we develop maturity when we acquire our goals slowly over time. We learn the importance of patience, persistence and even perseverance. Just consider how many people have squandered and wasted what has come too fast or too soon. Our greatest dreams and goals are too precious to be wasted like that. However, we must first choose to pursue them, and that is the step so many never take. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be true for you and me.

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.

March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Fix the Value of Your Business for Estate Tax Purposes By Mike Herrington

If certain conditions are met, a binding buy-sell agreement may fix the value of a business interest for estate tax purposes. The purchase price, whether a fixed amount or determined by a formula, can be accepted as the estate tax valuation if these conditions are met: 1. The buy-sell agreement must create an enforceable obligation on the part of the estate of the deceased owner to sell and the buyer to purchase the business interest. 2. The buy-sell agreement must prohibit the owner from disposing of his or her business interest during his or her lifetime without first offering it to the other parties to the agreement at a price not higher than the price (fixed or formula) specified in the agreement. 3. The buy-sell agreement must be the result of an “arm’s length” transaction, meaning that the price must be fair and adequate at the time of the agreement or any subsequent re-evaluation. Without a binding buy-sell agreement, there can be a great deal of additional detail and uncertainty as to the valuation of a business interest at the owner’s death, adding to the time and expense required to settle the estate and making it difficult to predict and plan for any estate taxes that might become payable. 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@herringtonf inancial

30 Buzz on Biz March 23-April 26, 2017

Invest in a Real Estate Legacy BY JOE EDGE

I have never met a person who didn’t have a desire to leave something to his family that represented his life’s work and accomplishments. We all want to leave a legacy that helps to provide for our loved ones long after we are gone. Currently, those in the baby boomer generation are struggling with the issue of how to pass along their assets and legacy without leaving huge tax burdens. It makes my stomach turn knowing that you can work your entire life to build up a portfolio of assets only for it to be taken from your family in the form of taxes. This is precisely why many professionals make a living by helping people properly plan to prevent these types of tax problems. The good news is that real estate can provide a unique avenue for protecting your estate from large tax liabilities, provided you plan early enough for your strategy to be effective. Investing in real estate early is smart. Real estate investments provide tax write-offs and appreciation; there are many types to meet different need; and there are numerous ways for small investors to group their money through crowdfunding or syndications. The problems you experience can often be good problems – like what to do with the profit from a real estate

transaction. With “problems” like profits, you can simply pay the capital gains tax and keep the profit, or you can roll the profit over into a “like-kind” investment also known as a 1031 exchange. Doing a 1031 exchange enables you to defer the taxable gain to a later date, allowing you to preserve your wealth and pass it along to your family at an adjusted basis. A family that inherits property that was in a 1031 starts with an adjusted basis in the property rather than the “deferred” basis that was built up over a lifetime of good investing. That enables the estate to avoid a large portion of what would normally be taxable capital gain income. Inflation is another reason to invest in real estate early. For investors, the key to making money in an inflationary environment is to hold investments that increase in value at a rate in excess of inflation. Real estate can be a good investment in an inflationary environment, particularly if you have debt on the property and are using it for rental income. In this scenario, your property values increase and your rental income increases, but the mortgage amount remains fixed. This is a reason why it also makes sense to leverage property with debt in your younger years. The interest write-off from the mortgage also provides a great tax break for you for as long as

you have the loan. A shrewd investor will invest early in his or her life. If you don’t think you have enough money to invest in property, do it through a syndication or through crowdfunding, which will enable you to pool a small amount of money together into large pots to do large deals with other investors. And when that property sells, make sure that you have set it up so that you can do a 1031 exchange into your next property. That’s how wealth is built. Protect your investment with sound tax planning. Consult with CPAs and tax attorneys and get multiple opinions. Real estate provides a legacy that you can protect from estate taxes and provide an income stream for your family for years to come. But you must start early, and you must engage in sound planning. 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.

Masters Week Special Section

GET in the spirit Tournament week events.............. 32, 33 Housing trends................................... 34 Did You Know?.....................................35 Fruitland Augusta recipes...................36 Savannah River Brewing sees room to grow............................................37 Wine World continues traditions.........37 Mixer is seeing successes.....................38

Photo courtesy of The Augusta Chronicle

March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Get Out and about

Looking for something to do off the golf course? Buzz on Biz has a few suggestions. Westobou Gallery When: April 3-7, (Monday-Friday), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment Where: 1129 Broad St., Augusta Cost: Free Details: Designed as a contemporary venue for a wide variety of exhibitions during Westobou Festival and throughout the year, the Westobou Gallery will offer curated exhibitions by national, regional and local artists with a focus on emerging and mid-career contemporary and experimental artists. Learn more:, (706) 755-2878 Augusta Museum of History When: April 3-9, (Monday-Sunday) 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: 560 Reynolds St., Augusta Cost: $4 adults/$3 children Details: The Celebrating a Grand Tradition, the Sport of Golf exhibit explores the history of golf and its legacy in Augusta. Exhibit includes two

32 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

galleries with more than 2,000 square feet. Learn more: AugustaMuseum. org, (706) 722-8454 Morris Museum of Art When: April 3-9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (MondaySaturday), noon-5 p.m., Sunday Where: 1 10th St., 2nd Floor, Augusta Cost: $5 adults/$3 children, seniors, students, military with ID. Free on Sunday, for children 12 and under. Details: Rotating galleries during Masters Week. Currently on display: Rhythm and Movement: Paintings by James Michalopoulos; Black Belt of Color: Photographs by Jerry Siegel; Contemporary American Studio Glass from the Collection of Eugene Fleischer Learn more:, (706) 724-7501 Augusta Canal Discovery Center and Boat Tours Where: 1450 Greene St., Suite 400, Augusta

Details: Explore the history of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area at the Canal Discovery Center. Board a Petersburg Boat to float down the Augusta Canal and take in the sights, sounds and stories as a guide narrates your journey. • Discovery Center When: April 3-8, (Monday-Saturday), 9:30 a.m. To 5 p.m.; April 9 (Sunday), 1-5 p.m. Cost: $6 adult, $4 senior, student, or military (free with boat tour) • Heritage Boat Tours When: April 3-8 (Monday-Saturday), leaving at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; April 9 (Sunday), leaving at 3 p.m. Cost: $13.75 adult/$11.75 senior, student, or military • Civil War Boat Tours When: April 3-9 (Monday-Sunday), leaving at 1:30 p.m. Cost: $13.75 adult/$11.75 senior, student, or military See EVENTS on Page 33

Events Continued from Page 32

the diverse plant life and the importance of urban wetland ecology. Please bring your own bike, wear comfortable closed-toed shoes and bring water to drink. Helmets are required. Leave from the Swamp Shop & Visitor’s Center at 9:30 a.m. Learn more:, (706) 396-1424

• Music Cruise When: April 7 (Friday), leaving at 6:30 p.m. Cost: $25 adult/$23 senior, student, or military Learn more: boat-tours.php, (706) 823-0440 Swamp Saturday Hike When: April 1, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Where: Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, 1858 Lock and Dam Road, Augusta Cost: $2 per person/free for members Details: Enjoy a guided, leisurely hike through approximately 2.5 miles of nature park trails. Children and adults will enjoy viewing the variety of wildlife and learning about the diverse plant life and importance of urban wetland ecology. It is recommended that reservations be made at least 24 hours in advance. Please wear comfortable closed-toe shoes and bring water to drink. Strollers are welcome. No dogs please. Learn more:, (706) 396-1426 Masters® Week Golf Breakfast When: Tuesday, April 4, 7 to 8 a.m. Where: Warren Baptist Church, 3203 Washington Road, Augusta Details: Make plans to join us for the annual Masters Week Golf Breakfast at Warren! Full breakfast served in the Family Life Center Gym followed by a special guest speaker. This is a free event. Learn more: www.warren Rock Fore! Dough concert When: Doors open at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 4 Where: Lady A Amphitheatre; 7016 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans Details: The 13th annual Drive for Show, Rock Fore! Dough concert features Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker and other performers for a concert benefiting First Tee of Augusta. Cost: $30 in advance, $40 day of show; children 5 and younger get in free with adult Learn more: www.RockFore

Even if you weren’t able to grab a Masters Tournament badge, there are plenty of things to do across the area during the week! Special

ParTee on the Green When: 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 5 Where: Augusta Common, 836 Reynolds St., Augusta Cost: $3 adult (free for children 3 and under) Details: ParTee on the Green is a musical celebration for the community featuring music for all ages, including beach, soul, pop, jazz, house and much more. Learn more: respectdowntown.

ride through approximately 7 miles of wetlands trails. Children and adults will enjoy viewing the variety of wildlife and learning about

Children’s Hike with Story Time When: Saturday, April 8, 9:30-11 a.m. Where: Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, 1858 Lock and Dam Road, Augusta Cost: $2 per child (guardians do not pay)/free for members Details: Bring your children (toddlers to age 8) for a nature hike designed especially for them! They will enjoy a story before they begin exploring and experiencing nature first-hand. Meet at the Visitor Center at 9:30 a.m. Learn more: Call (706) 396-1424 or email Spaces are limited, so register early;

The Major Rager When: Starts at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 6 Where: Augusta Common, 836 Reynolds St., Augusta Cost: $35 and up Details: Get ready for an unforgettable night of music sure to rock you. The Flaming Lips, People of the Sun, the Eric Krasno Band and Stop Light Observations take the stage for one major concert. Learn more: Swamp Bike Saturday When: April 8, 9:30 a.m. to noon Where: Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, 1858 Lock and Dam Road, Augusta Cost: $2 per person/free for members Details: Enjoy a guided, gentle bike March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Housing Masters Housing Bureau Director Jonathan Rios helps connect golf patrons with local homeowners who rent their houses during tournament week. Photo by Damon Cline/The Augusta Chronicle

Continued from Page 1 vember after more than seven years with Georgia Bank & Trust, declined to disclose the number of homeowners in the bureau’s network. However, he said properties in the bureau’s inventory can accommodate everyone from a college student working for a catering firm to a large corporation entertaining dozens of clients throughout the week. Although the bureau takes phone calls and email requests, the majority of bookings are processed through the bureau’s website, which allows renters to filter their search by home size, location and amenities. The bureau doesn’t collect demographic information, but prospective renters are free to include information about themselves to give homeowners a general idea of who will be in their home, such as a family of four attending its first tournament or an executive who’s hosting multiple clients throughout the week. Homeowners retain the right to accept an offer, reject it or make a counteroffer. Rios said most homes tend to go for their listed price, though some can get bid up or down. “I think it all equals out at the end,” he

34 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

said. Rios advises homeowners to market their home as if they were selling it: When providing photos, have it as clean as possible; remove clutter and family photos; and swap out children’s bedding for neutral colors. In general, the bureau advises homeowners set rates based on $1,000 per bedroom and $1,000 per bathroom for the week. Homes within walking distance to the course tend to command premium rates. “Everyone wants to be able to walk to the course,” Rios said. Though the deadline to list a home with the bureau for this year’s tournament has passed, Rios advises homeowners to register as early as the Monday after the tournament ends to ensure their home is rented and goes for the best possible rate. Tournament guests, on the other hand, can – and sometime do – use the service up to the last minute. “We will rent homes all the way up to that Saturday before the tournament,” Chamber Vice President Blaire Marvin said. Get more information about listing your home with the bureau on the organization’s website, www.mastershousing. com.

Airbnb use growing About 3,000 people last year used Airbnb to arrange for accommodations in the Augusta area, the company said, generating about $817,000 in revenue for the homeowners. The San Francisco-based company reported a total of 321,000 people using the web-based platform to spend $50.3 million in the Peach State last year, with the bulk of it – $23.8 million – in the Atlanta metro area. Tourism mecca Savannah was second on the list with $8.2 million and Athens was No. 3 with $1.6 million. Augusta ranked 10th, behind St. Simons Island but ahead of Dahlonega. The total number of Georgians listing their homes through Airbnb was 6,800, a 94 percent increase from the previous year. The typical homeowner’s peryear earnings are $4,300, with 30 percent of hosts age 50 and older. – Damon Cline, The Augusta Chronicle




Reach us at Best Offfice Solutions or 877.533.BEST(2378) Visit Our Site at

Did you know?

• The winner of the 2017 Masters Tournament will claim a check for $1,800,000, a silver replica of the Masters trophy, a gold medal and the traditional green jacket. • The original purpose of the green jacket, as envisioned by Cliff Roberts, was to identify club members as “reliable sources of information” to visiting non-members – and to let waiters know who got the check at dinner. The tradition of awarding the green jacket to the Masters winner began in 1949 with champion Sam Snead.

Little-known facts about the Masters Tournament and Augusta National Golf Club

To help with the war effort, turkey and cattle were raised on Augusta National’s grounds.

This was the first double eagle since Gene Sarazen’s on No. 15 in 1935. Clifford Roberts announced that a special trophy – a large crystal bowl – had been ordered for Devlin, but one would first be delivered to Sarazen.

• Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower is the only U.S. president to have been an Augusta National member. Ike’s Pond occupies three acres near hole No. 9 on the Par-3 Course, a nine-hole layout that is the site of the traditional Par-3 Contest on Wednesday of Masters Week.

• Only three champions have won in consecutive years: Jack Nicklaus (1965, 1966), Nick Faldo (1989, 1990) and Tiger Woods (2001, 2002).

• “The big oak tree” beside the Clubhouse is about 150 years old. This live oak was planted in the 1850s.

• There is a Par-3 “jinx.” Since the start of the Par-3 Contest in 1960, no golfer has ever won the Par-3 Contest and Masters Tournament in the same year. Last year, Jimmy Walker set the Par-3 record with an 8-under-par 19. He recorded six birdies, along with a hole-in-one at No. 2.

• Tournament founder Bobby Jones was never a fan of the title “The Masters,” often referring to the tournament as “the so-called Masters.”

• The Masters Tournament is the only major championship in golf held at the same location every year.

• The tournament was not played from 1943 through 1945 because of World War II.

• In the first round of the 1967 tournament, Bruce Devlin made a double eagle on No. 8.

• Ron Townsend, the first African-American member, was admitted to Augusta National in 1990. • The original plans for Augusta National included two 18-hole courses, tennis and squash courts, an 18-hole pitch-and-putt course, a bridle path, a couple dozen houses for club members and an on-site hotel. The Dennis Redmond manor house was to be torn down and a new $100,000 clubhouse was to be built. But a lack of funding meant building only one course and using the Redmond house for the clubhouse.

Compiled by Amanda King and Augusta Chronicle Sports Writer Chris Gay

Don’t Carry Your Valuables with you on vacation Play it Safe and Install One. You’ll Be able to Relax away from home

RESIDENTIAL SAFES & VAULTS Shop our showroom at 1749 Knox Avenue, North Augusta

803.613.6139 • March 23-April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Fruitland Continued from Page 1 France, Berckman and his family were able to produce more than 3 million peach trees on the property. He went on to be known as the father of Georgia peaches and gave the state its reputation for the delectable fruit. Berckman passed away in 1910. In 1930, Bobby Jones and others purchased the property to transform it into Augusta National Golf Club. The trees that line Magnolia Lane were planted by Berckman, and the clubhouse was his family’s home. After four years of in-depth research into Berckman’s life and the Garden City, Kato launched Fruitland Augusta in August 2014. She said this is the only peachinfused vodka made from real Georgia peaches. “This brand is all about Augusta and Georgia peaches,” Kato said. The beverage is sold exclusively in Georgia, and retailers are not permitted to ship alcohol outside of their state, so the only place to get Kato’s peachy spirit is in the state that is its home. “It is the ultimate great gift item and souvenir,” Kato said. The story behind Fruitland Augusta and

its signature cocktails is what Kato said separates her brand from the various peach-flavored drinks on the market. “For any brand to survive, there’s got to be something that no one can take away from it,” she said. Kato and her distributors have worked closely with visitors’ bureaus across the state to use the beverage as a marketing tool for Georgia. Specialty cock- tails have been created to add to the story of B e rc k m a n and Georgia peaches. Kato said their most recognized and popular cocktail is the Augusta Lemonade, a peachy, boozy version of an A r n o l d Palmer.

where to find it Restaurants and bars that carry Fruitland Augusta cocktails near Augusta National Golf Club: • Finch & Fifth • French Market at Surrey Stores that sell the drink: • Oliviana • White Horse at Surrey Center • Wild Wing on Washington • Augusta Liquors at Costco • World of Beer • Toast Wine and Beverage Try it: Here are two cocktails that feature Fruitland Augusta: Bulldog Mule Mix together (serve in a mule cup if available): • 2 parts Fruitland Augusta Georgia Peach Vodka • 4 parts Ginger Beer • Splash of lime juice Augusta Lemonade (aka Boozy Arnold Palmer) Mix together and serve: • Fruitland Augusta Georgia Peach Tea Vodka • Lemonade • Ice For more information on Fruitland Augusta and for recipes, visit

Photo courtesy Fruitland Augusta

Active-Duty E1-E5 E6-Above & DoD Retirees

Weekdays $29.00 $37.00 $50.00

Weekends $32.00 $40.00 $55.00

Columbia & Richmond County Residents Guests of Authorized Patrons (Military & DoD) Civilians

Weekdays $55.00 $70.00 $90.00

Weekends $60.00 $75.00 $100.00

Reservations: 706-791-2433/6854/5796 or For additional information, visit FORTGORDON.COM 36 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

Wine World brings fine wine to Garden City By Amanda King

They say a good wine gets better with age. If that’s true, the wines at Wine World should be just about ready. In 1972, Richard and Sally Benjamin and four other business partners began providing the CSRA with high-quality wines from all over the world. “They started when the only wine you could get were the Gallo jug wines from the grocery store,” their son Andrew recalled. The Benjamins and their friends were looking for something different and began having fine wines shipped to their apartment complex to sell. Eventually, the couple was told that they would need a retail location if they were going to continue to distribute the wine. Originally, the store was only open on the weekends, and the Benjamins hosted a wine club to draw customers into the store. But as business grew, so did its hours and its collection of unique wines. Around 2000, the Benjamins began hosting regular wine tastings on the first and third Friday of each month to allow customers the chance to taste wines and try something before purchasing the bottles. “You should drink wine every day, and if you’re going to drink wine every day, you should be able to afford to do that,” Andrew said. Many of the wines offered at the tastings are between $10 and $15 per bottle and from an array of locations

Wine World also sells craft beer.

Andrew Benjamin educates customers at a March 3 wine tasting at Wine World in North Augusta. Benjamin’s parents began the store in the 1970s. Photos by Amanda King

across the world. Because they have been in business for nearly 45 years, the shop also has many older wines that customers might not be able to find anywhere else in the area. In 2004, the couple moved their business to its current location at 133 Georgia Ave. In North Augusta, just across the street from the North Augusta Municipal Building. The space offers hundreds of wines, 30 types of cheeses and an assortment of craft beers. When Richard passed away in 2013,

Andrew frequently traveled back to his hometown from North Carolina to help his mother manage the store. When Sally passed away in 2016, the touring musician returned to the CSRA to carry on his parents’ legacy of exposing the community to fine wine and educating people about the extensive collection that has grown from an apartment to a sprawling retail center. For more information on Wine World, including its Wine Club, visit wineworld

Masters Week event What: Wine tasting When: 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 7 Cost: $5 Where: Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta

Savannah River Brewing co. sees room to grow in augusta By Amanda King

After months of work and weeks of social media teases, Savannah River Brewing Co. opened its doors to the public for the first time on March 4. The craft brewery at 813 Fifth St., owned by brothers Steve and Dave Ellison and run by master brewer Mark Walters, is the second Augusta-based brewery to open during the past year. Riverwatch Brewery, also on Fifth Street, began selling beer last spring. Steve Ellison, a home brewer for many years in Monroe, Ga., thought up the idea for a local brewery that could take his creations to the masses. He called on his brother, who has been affiliated with several businesses in the Augusta area, and the idea to commercially brew beer in Augusta for the first time since prohibition was set into motion. “(Dave) began running numbers and doing flow sheets and doing whatever business people do, and he said, ‘Yeah, I think this could work,’ ” Steve said. The pair found a location for the brewery near downtown and began working on renovations so the facility, which handles all brewing and bottling, was presentable to the public. Under current Georgia law, brewers can only sell beer to customers who pay for a facility tour. But a bill working its way through the General Assembly would elimi-

Savannah River Brewing Co., at 813 Fifth St., opened its doors to the public March 4. Photo by Amanda King

nate the tour-and-taste requirement and give breweries the ability to sell limited amounts directly to the public. Local ordinances, however, restrict brewers and distilleries to industrial areas. It also prohibits the sale of food in the brewery but allows for food trucks to be on site. Savannah River has hosted various food trucks, including Tin Lizzy’s and Willie Jewell’s Bar-B-Q. Despite the regulatory challenges, the brothers believe their Augusta-centric brand – whose beers include Dy-

namite Brown Ale, Westobou Amber Ale and No Jacket Required Pilsner – will find regional success. Steve said Savannah River Brewing will also do small production batches on occasion that, if successful, will be bottled for sale. In addition to local bars and restaurants, customers will also be able to find Savannah River Brewing’s craft beers in various grocery stores in the area, including Kroger and Publix. The Ellisons said the Garden City seemed like the perfect place to turn their passion for brewing into a business, given the city’s national name recognition and its growth potential from new industries such as Fort Gordon’s growing cyber defense missions. “It is a large city and craft breweries are popping up everywhere,” said Steve Ellison, noting the numerous craft breweries that have launched in Atlanta, Athens and Savannah. “We felt like there was a need here.” A need indeed – business for the brewery has boomed since it opened. “The response from the beer lovers of Augusta could not have been better. The patrons seem to love our beer and the atmosphere of the tap room and outside space,” Ellison said. He said there are plans to enhance the tap room and beer garden. March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz



David Hopkins is a big fan of Shark Tank on ABC and has been told that his new product could be enticing to investors. His brand of non-alcoholic drink mixers already got national attention at February’s Super Bowl in Houston, Texas. “Dirty Gurl” made it into the Guinness Book of World Records at one outdoor public relations event, and Hopkins got to schmooze with the likes of former NFL quarterbacks Joe Montana and Warren Moon. Hopkins got the connection to the Super Bowl last April while providing Lewis Blanchard and Executive Marketing with 150 cases and 1,800 bottles at several hospitality houses in Augusta. A different sports marketing firm liked the brand and booked Dirty Gurl for the big game. Now, Hopkins will once again get to spend Masters Week in his hometown working on his labor of love. That’s unusual. The natural-born salesman became a road warrior in early 2017, just after his trip to Texas. “I’m living on I-20,” he said between sips during a stop in Augusta at the Starbucks coffee stand inside the Kroger store on Alexander Drive. It’s there that he has secured good shelf space and display areas for bottles of Dirty Gurl mixer – a brand he and his two partners from Augusta based RecTec grills – bought in September 2015. He expects to log 50,000 miles or more in 2017, as he travels from Augusta to the Atlanta area three times a week or more to convince Kroger managers to provide extra space and then coming back over the weekend to do tastings of the four flavors of Dirty Gurl mixers – olive juice mix, a mild and spicy form of a Bloody Mary mix and a Margarita mixer, which was added after purchasing the Dirty Gurl brand from the owner in California, who was retiring. “I get to explain the product, share our story and 90 percent of the manag-

38 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

Above, a customer in the Kroger store on Alexander Drive reads the label on the Dirty Gurl brand of Bloody Mary mix – known to be thick and consistent. Dirty Gurl products are often placed in Krogers with stand alone displays, shown at right, to showcase their new branding. The brand often goes head-to-head against Jose Cuervo in the battle for the margarita mixer market. Photos by Neil Gordon

ers agree to let me set up displays and do taste tests, unless space is limited,” he said. It was at some of these early taste tests vs. other product – in the due diligence phase – that the partners decided to keep the name “Dirty Gurl” while updating the branding. “The biggest reason is that women told us they were not offended and it was easy for them to remember,” said Hopkins.

The big break for the company came by chance in 2016, when a connection of Hopkins’ wife played golf with the general manager of General Wholesale, a big distributor of alcohol and mixers to grocers, big-box membership clubs, large liquor chains and mom-and-pop stores. “He tried the product over the weekend and called on Monday to discuss representing us,” smiled Hopkins. General Wholesale cut the deal with about 200 Krogers in the Atlanta division – basically all of Georgia and a few stores in neighboring states.

General Whole­sale is working on getting Dirty Gurl more liquor store accounts through its relationships and handles the distribution of the product from the Rec-Tec warehouses in Augusta, a warehouse of its own here and one in Atlanta. A co-packer manufacturer in Chicago starts the process. “They use our recipes, bottle it, label it, seal it and ship,” Hopkins said. In April, Hopkins is hoping to double the amount of bottles sold in Augusta this year. Three hundred cases equals 3,600 bottles at up to $8 a bottle retail. “Everyone is in such a good mood. We think we have a quality drink that enhances their enjoyment, and we are proud to be part of the week,” he said. Hopkins is excited about a great opportunity in May to cross-promote the Rec-Tec high-end grill brand in time for Cinco de Mayo. Displays will be up at Krogers across the state showing family fun with Rec-Tec, Mission Chips, Corona Beer and Dirty Gurl mixers, a perfect recipe for success during the important lead-in to the busy summer season. Beyond that, Hopkins will continue to barnstorm the South in his company car, perhaps someday adding to the 50,000 miles by about 3,000 – the distance it takes to drive to Hollywood, California, where Shark Tank is filmed. “Never say never. We’re not greedy. Having a ‘shark’ means with one phone call they can do what will take us years,” Hopkins said.

March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Write On

Getting started is first step in great writing By Barry Paschal

As I sat down to write this, I realized that a great offense of the writer’s art is to tell the reader that you are writing – you know, by telling them that they are reading something that you wrote. Its cousin is the speech that begins with, “As I thought about what I would say today…” In theater, “peeking behind the curtain” refers to seeing the actors out of costume or character and preparing to go on stage. It spoils the illusion and reminds the audience that they are seeing an actor pretending to be someone or something else. That’s what happens when a writer or speaker begins by telling the audience that he or she is writing or speaking. It invites the reader to focus on the mechanics of the writing or speaking process, rather than the content of the material. In reality, those “peeks” are merely a writer’s admission that he or she didn’t know how to start. Such an uninspiring opening is heavily lampooned in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest; that tongue-in-cheek competition got its inspiration from writer Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s 1830 work, Paul Clifford, which began with “It was a dark and stormy night.” Bulwer-Lytton also coined the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword,” so

Don’t be afraid of the blank page. Just start.


his writing wasn’t all bad. Relying on such a clumsy opening as “when I began writing” is understandable. Most people aren’t writers and lack confidence when they write. By opening with a peek behind the curtain, they’re providing a window into their personal struggle. Even fewer people are confident in their speaking ability, and they rely on the “peek” as a crutch to help them hobble through their thoughts (and, of course, since most speeches are written down

first, a speech is really just writing delivered out loud). So, if you have to write something – an essay, a letter, a column, a speech – how do you get started? First, remember that you want the reader to focus on what you’ve written – not on the fact that it’s delivered in writing. Otherwise, it can be as distracting as writing “period/next paragraph” at the end of each sentence. To accomplish that feat, just start. If

your opening has that “as I was writing” feel to it, read ahead by a few words; you might be surprised to find that you can just lop off the beginning and create a later starting point. You’ll also improve the feel of the piece by taking yourself out of it as much as possible. If you begin by telling everyone you’re writing, you’re likely to carry a selffocused tone throughout. Look for opportunities to remove “I” from the piece, and you’ll likely discover a voice that focuses instead on the topic itself rather than your interactions with it. Finally, ask someone to read after you. It’s amazing what you can miss by trying to serve as your own editor. I should know; it was a dark and stormy night as I was writing this.

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

What’s with all the acronyms? By Missie Usry

Most colleges in Georgia that offer bachelor’s degrees award either a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA), which are the most commonly known, but there’s also the option of a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree. People who don’t work in higher education or who haven’t conducted research on education often ask how each is different. It surely can be confusing! While all three degrees are sometimes referred to as a “four-year degree,” a prospective student trying to navigate the best path would consider a Bachelor of Science if they want to focus strongly in a specific field of study. Typically, the degree is more focused, with courses targeting technical coursework in scientific areas like computer science, nursing, mathematics, chemistry, health sciences or physics. Most often, students who pursue these degree fields find work as an accountant, a psychologist, or a biology researcher, for example. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts

40 Buzz on Biz March 23--April 26, 2017

degree traditionally will have an interest in fields that are more broad-based, general, or liberal arts-focused, such as languages, history, education, communications, sociology, or criminal justice. Students pursuing these degrees have the opportunity to become employed as a teacher, social worker or in a public relations firm. The BS and BA degrees have traditionally been most popular, but there is another option for students. Students who have graduated with an associate’s degree from a career college or technical college will likely have earned an Associate of Applied Science degree, where there are fewer general-education core requirements and classes are more career-field oriented. If a student transfers to a traditional four-year college to continue, they’ll be required to go back and complete the general courses they didn’t already fulfill, costing more money and taking longer to complete. The Bachelor of Applied Science functions similarly to an AAS de-

gree, where the student takes more career and field of study courses than general core courses. This is a better option for an AAS-degreed student because the transition is more seamless in terms of the transfer of credits into a BAS degree. Georgia Military College offers technical school graduates who hold an Associate of Applied Science degree the opportunity to transfer into the Bachelor of Applied Science program, the newest degree option for the college. There is no need to go back and take that long, pesky list of general education courses that other colleges will require for the BA or BS degree. AAS graduates typically enter as juniors once the evaluation process is complete, which means the student can complete the BAS degree in about two years with class offerings in the evening and online. Current fields of study at the Augusta campus include Business Management for those AAS graduates holding degrees in fields such as marketing, business administration, or accounting. In addition,

GMC offers the BAS in Supervision and Leadership for AAS graduates holding degrees in healthcare-related fields, computer technology, criminal justice, or industrial technology. The goal is to prepare students to become leaders in their industries and to save them time and money.

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

Should your sleep be checked? To determine whether you might benefit from a sleep study, ask yourself the following questions: • Do you regularly have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep? • Do you have a problem with snoring? • Has anyone ever told you that you have pauses in breathing or that you gasp for breath when you sleep? • Are your legs “active” at night? Do you experience tingling, creepycrawling, aching or other strange feelings in your legs while sitting or lying down that cause a strong urge to move, walk or kick your legs for relief? • Are you so tired when you wake up in the morning that you cannot function normally during the day? • Does sleepiness and fatigue persist for more than two to three weeks? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. According to recent polls conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 7 out of 10 Americans say they experience different sleep problems. However, when proper diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders occurs, the feeling of sleepiness declines, memory and attention improves, and safety risks decrease

dramatically. With the wealth of treatment options now available, a good night’s sleep is within reach. Discuss your symptoms with your CPC physician. Before your visit, it might also be helpful to track your sleep patterns and medications and speak to your spouse about any snoring or breathing patterns they have noticed while you sleep. If your physician suggests you undergo a sleep study, called polysomnography, you might wonder what is involved in this test and what to expect. Sleep studies help doctors diagnose sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy and restless legs syndrome and nighttime behaviors including sleepwalking and REM sleep behavior disorder. Often these disorders cannot be identified with a normal office visit, so your doctor will need to gather more conclusive evidence while you’re asleep. A sleep study is a non-invasive, overnight exam that allows doctors to monitor you while you sleep to see what is happening in your brain and body. A sleep study measures eye movements, oxygen levels, heart and breathing rates, snoring and body movements. In the past, you had to spend the night in a sleep lab at a hospital or sleep center to

undergo a sleep study. Sleep studies can now also be done with portable sleep monitoring equipment you use at home. This type of test is called a home sleep study. When a sleep study is done at a lab, it is done in a room much like a hotel room that is designed to be comfortable and dark for sleeping. Many people wonder how they will be able to sleep under these unfamiliar conditions. You will be asked to arrive roughly two hours before bedtime. You can bring personal items related to sleep, and you can sleep in your own pajamas. Before you go to bed in the sleep lab, a technologist will place sensors on your head and body. A technologist monitors you during the night and can assist you if you need to use the bathroom, for example. After a full night’s sleep is recorded, the data will be tabulated by a technologist and the results sent to a physician for interpretation. It might take up to two weeks for the results to be finalized. Next, you’ll schedule a followup with a sleep physician to discuss those results.

sleep with short tubes, called a nasal cannula, in your nose and a cap on your finger that connects to a small monitor, called a pulse oximeter. The monitor records information while you sleep, like your breathing pattern and blood oxygen level. You might also wear a belt around your chest that records your breathing frequency while asleep. Once you have slept with the equipment in your own bed, you simply drop it back off to your physician’s office for them to interpret the data. This can be a less expensive option since you will set up the equipment yourself before you go to sleep at home. The good news is that many insurance companies prefer paying for a home sleep study rather than an expensive sleep lab study. Did you know that Center for Primary Care offers home sleep studies using special monitoring equipment made by ResMed? CPC has a physician who is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine available to interpret all of the home sleep data. Discuss with your CPC physician if this test is right for you. For more information, visit

When a sleep study is done at home, you will have portable sleep monitoring equipment to use. Your doctor will explain how to use the equipment at home. You will need to

(Paid Advertorial)

March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Loyalty programs help save money By Billy Cristofanelli

Let’s talk about “loyalty and saving money.” Writer Elbert Hubbard once said, “An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.” So you might be asking, “How are loyalty and saving money tied together”? Hopefully you will be able to answer that question in at least a small way after reading this article today. Loyalty to businesses can pay off for you and your family in a big way! As the owner of a local coupon company, I love loyal customers, and I work hard every day to gain more of them. I am not alone in doing this. Many businesses have created great incentives to keep you loyal. My question to you is this: “Are you taking advantage of them”? If not, let me encourage you to start doing so today. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your keychain will now weigh 10 pounds because of all the scannable cards, but it does mean you are looking for opportunities where they may present themselves. Have you ever gone to fill up on gas and just paid what the price on the pump said? You don’t have to do this. If you have gone by any participating Shell or

Kroger station, all you have to do is scan your Kroger Plus Card or enter your ID at either and you can save a minimum of $.03 a gallon. Even if you don’t shop at Kroger for groceries because of your preference for another store, the card will still give you this minimum benefit. Also, keep in mind that you can always buy gift cards for all types of restaurants and other businesses at Kroger, and these can make great gifts for birthdays, Christmas, or other times of celebration. As a bonus, when you buy these gift cards you are also eligible to earn at least 2x points and during special promotions as much as 4x for your purchase. So stop by today if you don’t have a Kroger Plus Card and they will be happy to give you this free way to save. Do you eat pizza? Have you ever been to Marcos or Papa Johns? My guess is your answer to both of these questions is probably “yes.” The nice part about both these businesses, besides having great pizza, is that they value your business and loyalty and want to show that in a meaningful way.

Both businesses offer a loyalty program that allows you to accumulate points that will ultimately enable you to earn free pizza or other items at their locations. Entering the two programs usually requires nothing more than a one-time registration and usually is nothing more than your phone number and address. It may sound like something insignificant, but if you are like my family and you enjoy pizza and a movie night, then it doesn’t take long to accumulate the necessary points to enjoy something for free. The best part is that points you earn still accumulate even if you use their normal coupons and specials, so you can get the best of both worlds. Those are just two ways you can save that are both easy and convenient. Here’s a short list of other reward programs for your consideration. The list is far from complete, but hopefully it will inspire you to begin using some of the great reward programs available. I encourage you to shop local and to meet some of the great business owners that call our community home. I will end with a quote from a man who

knows a thing or two about money, Mr. Warren Buffet: “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” Happy hunting! Rewards programs Movies or books: Redbox Play Pass, AMC Theatres, Barnes & Noble Pharmacies: CVS ExtraCare, Walgreens Balance Rewards Local restaurant reward programs: Tropical Smoothie Café, Smoothie King, Smallcakes, Starbucks, Panera, Zoës Kitchen, Which Wich, Cold Stone Hotel rewards programs: Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham Billy Cristofanelli is the founder and co-owner of Pinpoint Savings, LLC and has 15+ years of sales and marketing experience.Billy developed Pinpoint Savings to help local CSRA businesses connect with customers by offering coupons through their free app.Pinpoint Savings currently represents over 40 local businesses.Pinpoint Savings currently represents over 40 local businesses. Pinpoint Savings currently represents over 40 local businesses.

-Monday thr u Saturday Lunch and Dinner: 11 a.m.until 8 p.m. - SundayLunch Only: 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.






L i b e r t y S q u a re S h o p p i n g C e n t e r 4 4 6 0 Wa s h i n g t o n R d . E v a n s , G e o r g i a 706-651-7345

42 Buzz on Biz March 23--April 26, 2017

C a n n o t b e C o m b i n e d . O n l y Va l i d A p r i l 1 s t - 1 0 t h


I v y Fa l l s S h o p p i n g C e n t e r 5 0 0 O x b ow R d . of f Columbia Rd. Grovetown, Georgia 706-432-6296

March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


44 Buzz on Biz March 23--April 26, 2017

Spring Cleaning $20 off First Three Cleanings After Deep Clean

$50 Off Deep Clean

Customized Organizing/ Declutter or Maid4aDay

Expires 5/31/17

Expires 5/31/17

Expires 5/31/17

Save $60

$25 Off

We Give You Time for the Important Things!

Free Service for Women Under Going Cancer Treatment. Locally owned and operated

Call for a free estimate

706-432-1877 •

Ask about Military Discounts A proud partner of

Cleaning for a Reason

March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Things to do on the 500 block downtown

and repurposed Poteet Funeral Home. There are numerous attorneys’ offices and churches on this block. Great Food: Whistle Stop Café has been repaired and renovated by the everindustrious Fred Daitch, and the new tenant is serving breakfast and lunch.

By Janie Peel

There are other things going on in the 500 block area of downtown than rebuilding the Haunted Pillar. Reynolds Street We are waiting on the huge announcement coming in May for the Railroad Depot property on Fifth Street. This property has been cleaned up and put on the market by the city. It has done an excellent job of preserving the Depot. The Augusta Garden Club maintains a fivestar garden on the corner throughway. We hope the developer enhances this in the plan. The Marina is just over the levee from this project. Go by and see what Francis Christian, the new manager, has done to upgrade the facilities. How many of you know the Augusta Museum of History is on the 500 block of Broad and Reynolds? The staff and volunteers are continuously changing their venues and have a large display of James Brown and Augusta National memorabilia. The museum is available for events and educational gatherings. The gift shop has a great selection of Augusta-related items, including books from local authors. Put the museum on your must-see list of places to go visit. Additional Retail: Augusta Blueprint has anchored this store for years. Go by for friendly conversation from James Kendrick and team. Copies, signage, and, of course, blue prints. Great Food: Augusta Marina keeps adding food, ice cream and snack items. Cal Berry Catering and Flowers would welcome an appointment. Broad Street 544 Broad St. is being renovated for a permanent restaurant space for a new chef-driven café. The first step is to put on a raised roof, a new front façade and covered patio. There is plenty of parking! The 544 building has a long history of being a restaurant. You might remember it as Banks. Now, there is a building with a colorful past! This building is combined with the building next door to form one well laid out restaurant building. The space on the right was a liquor store, Gaddy’s. The Downtown Advisory Panel is reviewing the sidewalk ordinances to see if the city will allow additional landscaping and outdoor seating to be provided by the building owners. These ordinances pertain to all of downtown, so it will be presented to the Downtown Development Authority if further action is required. The Artistic Perceptions Building is under contract. Longtime residents and artists in residence Roy and Wanta Daven-

46 Buzz on Biz March 23--April 26, 2017

Fifth Street The railroad track has undergone extensive repair and replacement so the choo-choos can continue to carry their goods over the Fifth Street trestle. New retail along the tracks includes MASH (Military Antique Supply House), Rainbow Furniture, and HCB (Handcrafted Cutting Boards). Great Food: Hildebrandt’s Deli has been continuously owned and operated since the 1800s by a Hildebrandt. Go by and order one of LouAnn’s great classic lunch sandwiches. There is air conditioning thanks to family members who want to see the store continue to prosper. D Timms (Blue Horse) is under new ownership and is opening up with a jazz theme.

The building at 544 Broad St., shown here in one of its many iterations, is being renovated to include a permanent restaurant space. Special

port will be retiring. Wanta is a seasoned portrait painter and can paint anything you like. Roy does framing. There are also art supplies that may be purchased. The soon-to-be new owner has some innovative ideas that will really put this block in full swing. We are hoping the Davenports do not go too far, as they have contributed so much to our downtown art community. None of us believes they will ever truly retire. Additional Retail: Classic Impressions & Time Design (photography and marketing), Sidney’s Department Store (guns, ammunition and uniforms – Steve Fishman is fourth generation in this building), Bill Prince’s Liquor Store (Bill is the mayor of the 500 blocks and knows all the scoop), Murrell Limousine Service ( James Brown was their most famous customer), Mr. Pawn, Downtown Pawn Shop (another multi-generational store), Georgia Carolina Restaurant Supply (under new ownership), and Uniforms by John. Lofts: Another historic building with loft apartments and office space just sold and will be upgraded to trendy spaces. The lofts are spacious, with wide plankpine floors, ornate wrought-iron balconies and many upgrades. Featured for lease will be a two-bedroom loft. Put in your reservation now for this unique apartment! Yes, plenty of parking.

Great Food: Luigi’s (an Augusta tradition), Café 209 (Southern cooking at its best), Sports Center Billiards (check out its burgers), and Riverfront Pub and Sports Bar (quick lunch menu). Ellis St. MAU Workforce Solutions has been adding to its campus with the remodeling of the 500 building (corporate headquarters), the new parking lots with the brick and wrought iron features, The Marion Hatcher Center (previously the Phinizy Home and Elks Lodge, complete with full kitchen, ballroom and gazebos) has been restored with all of its grandeur and is a complete facility for weddings and business venues. A free-standing brick office building (we are looking for the right tenant) and restaurant space (we are looking for that right tenant here, too) are part of the campus. Greene Street The Municipal Building has been totally renovated, and the city has purchased and renovated numerous properties surrounding the building. The city owns the entire side of this block with the exception of a historic home that is being used as an extended-stay bed & breakfast. This handsome home is amazingly restored inside and out. Architectural firm 2KM has reclaimed

Telfair Street The (incubator space for up-and-coming entrepreneurs) houses cyber, robotics, architects, designers and numerous other business. They keep up a community veggie garden and are working on a community kitchen. All of this while keeping the integrity of the old Academy of Richmond County building intact. The old Medical College with its ghost stories is still utilized as meeting space. Gertrude Hubert Art Institute is in the Ware’s Folly Building. We are blessed to have all of these historic buildings still operating for educational, artistic, community and cultural events. As this area builds momentum, so do real estate values. There is another big announcement coming in the 500 block area. Not sure of details. Stay tuned! Oh, the Haunted Pillar is being rebuilt with funds provided by local downtown advocates. Let’s hope it is restored to its original spot. 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 downtown. Janie brings 40 years of experience in real estate. Reach her at 706.564.6231 or

y ” a Y d l l a t s a f k a bre

after 11am daily



$ .69 w mulitberry pancake breakfast


$ .99 w

Three Buttermilk Pancakes griddled with blueberries in the batter then topped with fresh strawberries and served with warm raspberry syrup. Comes with two Grade A eggs and your choice of Thick-Sliced Hickory-Smoked Bacon, Smoked Sausage Patties, or Turkey Sausage.


maple jam n’ bacon burger platter

Two 100% Angus beef’ patties made to order with maple pepper bacon, sweet maple onion jam, Colby cheese, lettuce and tomato on a split-top bun. Served with our new Homestyle Fries and a sampling of Cole Slaw.



$ .69 w uncle herschel’s favorite®


Choose from Fried Chicken Tenderloins, Sugar Cured Ham, Hickory-Smoked Country Ham, Grilled Pork Chop, U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish, or Hamburger Steak. Comes with two Grade A eggs and your choice of Fried Apples or Hashbrown Casserole. Served with homemade Butttermilk Biscuits, Grits, and Sawmill Gravy.



Seasoned grilled chicken, bacon, fresh spinach, strawberries, Feta cheese, red onion, and diced pecans, tossed with Strawberry Poppy-Seed Vinaigrette. Served with our own Westminster crackers.


$ .29 w double meat breakfast


Three eggs with a full order of our Thick-Sliced Bacon and Smoked Sausage Patties. Served with homemade Buttermilk Biscuits, Grits, and Sawmill Gravy.



w country fried shrimp platter


Our buttermilk breaded fried shrimp served with hushpuppies, your choice of any three country sides, and Buttermilk Biscuits or Corn Muffins.

544 N. Belair Rd., Evans, GA 706.228.3018 | www. March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Well, That’s Annoying! Don’t be ‘that guy’ (or girl) in the office By Steve Swanson

I’m confident that most of us don’t want to be the person in the office who no one wants to see come through the door. Who wants to be “that guy?” Not me! In my lifetime I’ve met very few folks who don’t want to be liked. But let’s be honest. Whether you’re part of a large or small staff, you impact those you spend time with each day. Sometimes things we do just annoy others. The good news is that many things that bother those around us are things we can actually do something about. That is, if we pay attention and choose to put others ahead of ourselves. recently shared a list of things that most often annoy co-workers. Here it is: You’re unprepared: Showing up for meetings, interviews or arranged work sessions without the equipment or data that you need demonstrates a lack of respect for your co-workers and yourself. And it wastes time. You’re not a team player: There’s nothing more annoying than watching somebody do a crossword puzzle while you’re buried in work. And if a co-worker needs

a little time off to run an important errand, be flexible and help out when you can. You’re not self-reliant: Only ask for help when you really need it. Try everything you can to solve your own problem before involving somebody else. You smell: Your scent is important, especially when you’re working in a small, poorly ventilated space with lots of other people. Be considerate of your neighbors by taking care not to generate strong smells that will permeate their space. Use colognes sparingly, avoid onions at the office and if you smoke, let yourself air off before coming back inside. (I had a coworker who liked to re-heat fish in the office microwave. PLEASE don’t do this. It really was awful!) You’re loud: Loud conversations can be offensive, so try to keep your voice low and even. You’re unhealthy: If you’re sick, stay home. If you have the sniffles or must come in, cover your mouth and do whatever you can to avoid infecting your coworkers. You walk like an elephant: Try to move around the office quietly to avoid

disturbing the people around you. If you must speak to another colleague, keep your voice down. Your cellphone is always on: Your phone has a vibrate mode, so use it. (Please keep your personal calls to a minimum so you can focus on the work in front of you!) You shake hands like a fish and avoid eye contact: A firm handshake, a little eye contact and a friendly smile really go a long way. Now I’ll add a few more of my own: You don’t pick up after yourself: You leave a trail of stuff behind you for others to deal with. You leave food out: Having a company break room is a great perk. Please show your gratitude by cleaning up your mess when you’re done. You use something up and walk away: You used the last of the paper towels, toilet paper, soap, staples or copy paper. Instead of refilling or replacing them, or telling someone about the need, you go merrily on your way and leave it for the next person to deal with it. (That is just wrong!) Constant whistling: This one doesn’t

personally bother me, but it has been mentioned a time or two by folks I’ve worked with in the past. So, I just wanted to mention it. I believe a clear sign of maturity is living unselfishly. Simply put, it means looking out for the needs of others. You can make your work space a great place and show respect for your co-workers by being more aware and doing your part to make things a bit more pleasant. Yes, you can make a difference in your workplace. Yes, it is worth the effort! As always, I welcome your comments:

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

Help Them Change! Instill ‘best practices’ with employees By Beth Pence

Say something like this to your employees: “This is a chance to build you up, not tear you down. We’re in this together and I’m glad we are. I appreciate each of you.” or “We are growing. With growth comes a busy-looking and busy-feeling business. We look more hurried. We are more hurried. That’s the look and actions of a business that’s growing sales. Don’t let it frazzle you. We’re in it together, and even when it feels like chaos, it’s a good challenge to be faced with.” All that said, we recognize a “best practices” philosophy in order to complete our work in the most efficient, quantitative and qualitative manner for several reasons: • We are in a diverse environment. • We are experiencing quick growth. • We have a three- to five-day turnaround. The definition of best practice is a procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results and that is established or proposed as a standard suitable for wide­ spread adop-

48 Buzz on Biz March 23--April 26, 2017

It takes time and effort to change, but the results are worth the work! Special

tion. When we change a way we use a piece of equipment, it’s because we’ve discovered this as a better way, or a “best practice.” Why best practices? To eliminate redo’s, waste and additional wages, three of the worst enemies to growth and continued employment. We want to grow, experience higher wage opportunities to provide for our

families and produce the best-quality product for our customers. It’s simple: quality, growth, wages. If we resist change, it jeopardizes those things. Tell your employees it is okay to feel frustrated; keep pushing through that. We’ll celebrate the failures, helping us learn and be better at what we do. The quickest way to keep a leader/owner frustrated is to not change. There will

be times when the change doesn’t work. At those times, discuss the process and go on to the next best practice. Some more thoughts on the topic: • If you are not willing to try change, you are not willing to change. You will be left behind by those willing to push and succeed by changing the way they work. • Nothing changes if nothing changes. • People resist change because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they’ll gain. Appreciate your employees by telling them the hard stuff. They can take it! Help them accept change.

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



Now Served at every

Birthday Party!

special All You Can Play Golf Choice of 1 Attraction 20 Tokens


$ i1lTh r p -1

a3rd ®

Per Person

Putt-Putt Golf, laser tag, Bumper cars and Boats, arcade, Batting cages, and rita’s italian ice

706-828-1240 | 3763 Martinez Blvd Martinez (Just off Washington Rd. at Baston Rd.)

3763 Martinez Blvd. Martinez, Ga 30907 | www.auGustaBirthday.coM | 706-868-0083

#1002285264 (1/2 PG HORIZON(5in x 5in)) 03/15/2017 15:34 EST

#1002258596-050 (AUGFM 1/4 SHARE(4.4in x 4.68in)) 01/24/2017 18:02 EST

March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


50 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


In theaters

By Andrew Shearer

Athens Banner-Herald Back in 2008, I thought that opening a big expensive film like Iron Man in May was a really strange thing. Prior to that, blockbusters were almost exclusively reserved for summertime and holiday release dates. Thanks to that film’s box office success (it earned over half a billion dollars), tentpole season started earlier and earlier, and

March 24

we can now expect high-profile movies to pop up pretty much any time of year. The big difference is we’ll see a lot less sequels and than we’d get in July or December, but March 2017 still carried one major studio release per week in hopes of drawing in the crowds that normally can’t find anything to get excited about for at least another month or two. Here’s a look at some of the movies out in March:


‘POWER RANGERS’ The 1990s come roaring back as


Ignoring Peter Jackson’s 2005 epic King Kong, this film is intended as a prequel to the 2014 version of Godzilla and a lead-in to a battle between the two classic monsters. Set in 1971 and patterned after Apocalypse Now, Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers) leads a group of former U.S. soldiers on an expedition to catch the giant ape. Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and John Goodman co-star.

Warner Bros. Pictures

‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’ Following Cinderella, Jungle


March 31

Disney DreamWorks Animation


Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) assembled the entire cast of his 1996 breakout indie hit Trainspotting for this sequel based on the 2002 follow-up novel by Irvine Welsh. After an absence of two decades, Mark (Ewan McGregor) returns to Edinburgh to connect with his former pals Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Diane (Kelly Macdonald).

52 Buzz on Biz March 23–Aptril 26, 2017


This goofy-looking update of the TV buddy cop drama CHiPs, that ran from 1977 to 1983, stars Dax Shepard (Idiocracy) as Jon opposite Michael Peña (Ant-Man) as Ponch, California Highway Patrol officers who do a lot of embarrassing things.

Not to be confused with the 2015 Robert Pattinson drama or the 2007 Eddie Murphy comedy of the same name, this sci-fi horror flick stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) as crew members on an International Space Station whose study of life on Mars brings a deadly alien aboard their ship.

March 17

Book and Pete’s Dragon, the latest in Disney’s series of live action remakes based on their catalog of animated classics stars Emma Watson (Harry Potter) as Belle and a CGI-faced Dan Stevens (The Guest) as the furry Prince along with a host of celebrity voices for the talking dinnerware including Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson.

the team of teenage super warriors lose the “Mighty Morphin” from their name but gain the awesome powers of CGI in time to do battle with the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks, The Hunger Games) in this $120 million gamble from Lionsgate and Japan’s Toei Studios. The Rangers are played by Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, and Ludi Lin.

‘THE BOSS BABY’ This heavily-advertised cartoon from Madagascar franchise director Tom McGrath stars Alec Baldwin as the voice of the title character, a tough-talking newborn who wears three piece suits and has all the inside info on a conspiracy involving puppies replacing babies.

Columbia Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

March 10

‘GHOST IN THE SHELL’ Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) stars in this ambitious adaptation of the landmark 1995 anime. In an alternate future where the internet lets people transfer consciousness to robot bodies, Johansson plays The Major, who commands an elite anti-terrorism squad fighting a hacker known as The Puppet Master. With Takeshi “Beat” Kitano, Juliette Binoche and Michael Pitt.

Must present this card. Discount is only good with full contract price. Not valid with other offers, discounts or previous purchases. Expires 5/31/17

March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Beyond the 401(k)

A Diversified Approach to Retirement Savings By Kurtis W. Mueller

For most people, saving for retirement means making steady contributions to a 401(k) until they hit a specific goal. However, a broader approach to saving and investing offers more options for building that nest egg. Keep in mind that where you put your money is as important as how much you save. That’s because each savings strategy has tax considerations that can affect how much you’ll have when it’s time to take the money out. By keeping a mix of tax-free and taxdeferred sources of income, you’ll have the flexibility to withdraw funds strategically during retirement, based on tax and market implications. While tax-qualified retirement plans like 401(k)s and 403(b)s are the most common retirement savings plans, they shouldn’t be your only option. These plans give you the ability to make pretax contributions that reduce your taxable income today. However, you’ll have to pay taxes on those dollars when you make withdrawals. This can greatly reduce the amount of money you’ll have to spend when you’re retired. To build well-diversified income sources for retirement, consider a broader approach toward saving and investing by having a mix of assets that complement your 401(k) and help fill in financial gaps based on your needs, goals and tax situation. Here are a few other options to consider: Deferred annuities: These allow you to

By keeping a mix of tax-free and tax-deferred sources of income, you’ll have the flexibility to withdraw funds strategically during your retirement. Special

accumulate retirement funds on a tax-deferred basis and can be designed to provide a stream of lifetime income during retirement. Investments: Outside of a traditional retirement account, investments are bought with after-tax dollars. When you sell those investments, the growth of the investment (the amount earned beyond the initial investment) is generally taxed at the capital gains rate – which is lower than your ordinary tax rate. Traditional IRAs: Earnings for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) grow tax deferred and contributions may

be tax deductible, depending on your income and whether you also participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. There are annual contribution limits that vary with age. Roth IRAs: Contributions are made after you pay taxes, so they will not reduce your taxable income today. Your money grows tax free, and distributions from your Roth are usually tax free during retirement. In addition to annual contribution limits that vary with age, the ability to contribute is limited based on your income. Roth 401(k)s: These offer all of the

characteristics of a Roth IRA (tax-free growth and tax-free distributions) but have no income limits for contributions. Your employer must offer this benefit in order for you to participate, and annual contribution limits still apply, which, again, vary with age. Permanent Life Insurance: This provides protection of your assets through a death benefit to your survivors. The policy also accumulates cash value that can be used to help pay for emergency needs. The cash value grows tax free and can generally be used tax free up to the amount contributed. However, it’s important to remember that surrenders of withdrawals from and loans against a policy will reduce the policy’s cash surrender value and death benefit and might also affect any dividends paid on the policy. Additionally, because using a policy’s cash value is subject to different tax consequences, policy owners should consult with their tax advisors about the potential impact of any surrenders, withdrawals or loans.

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.

Vacation Planning? Don’t forget to plan your meals! By Onnie Sanford

While Augusta prepares to welcome visitors for the Masters Tournament, many Augusta residents are preparing for a vacation. This can be a setback in the process of getting serious about your nutrition. Everything is fine at home, but what do you do when you are away from home and all that is routine? There are many things you can do to stay on a clean-eating streak, even on vacation. The most important thing is to plan. You have to look at where you are going and what you will have around you. Where is the nearest grocery store? Can you bring food? Do you need to prep be-

54 Buzz on Biz March 23--April 26, 2017

fore, or will there be appropriate options for you to choose from? Now, I am not saying that you can’t enjoy a few treats on vacation, but don’t ruin your hard work in one week. If you can take food, be sure to take your “staple” items that you eat daily. Plan a menu for the days you are going to be there. This is one of my favorite things about traveling, making a list of things we are going to eat! This way, you know what you are going to have, you brought the food with you and you can relax and enjoy yourself. If you are flying, research where you are staying and the nearest store. You can also

make a list of the things you need and you can quickly get them and take them where you are staying. A quick meal to have on hand is meat and veggies. It is quick and easily metabolized by the body. It will give you easily digestible nutrients and keep you energized. Have plenty of veggies on hand to snack on. When my husband and I travel, we will take several individual meals so we are assured that we have something good to eat in a pinch. If you are going to have a cheat meal, ask yourself if it is worth it. I love cake more than anyone, but I am not wasting my cheat food on anything less than a

spectacular slice of cake. Be sure to drink plenty of water. For every cup of non-water you drink, follow it with a cup of water. The most important thing? Enjoy yourself and have fun. When you are prepared for the expected, you can enjoy the unexpected. Start planning now and pre-order your travel meals from Paleo Num Yums. 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.


no place like


A VA home loan can help veterans:

• 100% Financing • Buy a home • Improve or repair a home • Convert an existing home loan to a VA loan • Refinance an existing VA loan to reduce the interest rate • Cash out up to 90% of the home’s LTV

Patrick Colligan

FROM OUR OFFICE TO YOURS ask us about personalized office visits


NMLS# 389532

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



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

Janie Terrell Peel Prime Commercial Properties Queen Advocate of Downtown 706.564.6231

March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Discovering a hidden gem

Raes Coastal Café offers chance to relax, celebrate

By Ben Casella

By Susan O’Keefe

It’s one of those places that folks really have to be looking for in order to find. But once found, it’s almost like joining an elite, secret club. Some people call Raes Coastal Café a hidden gem. Once we walked in the door a couple of weeks ago, we knew we had struck Caribbean gold. From the quiet covered deck, my colleagues and I enjoyed the early spring breeze and warming sunshine. The rays sparkled off the clear water in Rae’s Creek and offered just a tease of what’s around the corner. As the restaurant preps for Masters’ Week guests, we were curious to see what’s on the menu for a business lunch. Serving everything from shrimp sandwiches to jerk chicken sandwiches, there’s a hint of being close to the Florida Keys as one wanders the menu. Authentic Key Lime pie takes a priority spot under the dessert heading. Grilled salmon salad caught my eye from the list of salad selections. The onion mum and jerk chicken wings were discussed as appealing appetizers. Add, who can resist a hearty side of black beans and rice? As we were seated, we noticed a dozen businessmen clearly celebrating a deal gone well. There were high fives and fist pumps. We even offered to take a picture when the selfie they were attempting looked awkwardly painful. Raes has adequate room for a quiet one-on-one business meeting or can easily adjust tables and seat a larger party. As our orders were placed and we waited for our food, patrons casually strolled in and out. This doesn’t seem like the type of place to be in a hurry. It sits so snugly between the trees that some have referred to this little shack as just that, a little shack with a tinned roof. Once our orders were delivered and we set to enjoying the fresh shrimp, grilled salmon and burger, it seemed the atmosphere added a bit of zest to the food. Our servings were generous and there was enough for a to-go box. Lunch items were priced in the $10-$15 range, which we found reasonable.

Brews to complement the course I’m not going to review Battlin’ Bulldog Beer because I’ve never had it. Furthermore, the two cans of it on my desk are in their late 30s. So, I’m probably not going to have it. Some research led me to a little bit of drama regarding these two cans I display as a proud look back at the days of yesteryear. As it turns out, the University of Georgia sued the brewer, and there exists a court opinion regarding Battlin’ Bulldog Beer on the records. Oh, well. So much for my pipe dreams of Braves Brew, Gamecock Gaelic Ale (Tap the Cockies) and Bernhard Lager. Amidst my broken dreams of what might have been, I did manage to try a couple of quality brews, and I thought enough of both to share with you.

The fresh shrimp, grilled salmon and burgers at Raes Coastal Cafe were enhanced by the laid-back atmonsphere. Photo by Susan O’Keefe

Raes Coastal Cafe Food Price

Way. If you’re directionally challenged, consider calling first. Happy birthday, Raes. Here’s to another quarter-century of success.

Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout OK, here’s one for next winter (if it decides to show up). Simply put, this is one of the best coffee stout ales I think I’ve ever had. The ABV is around 6 percent, so it’s not too sweet. However, the nose would lead you to believe otherwise, with more than hints of coffee and sugar dominating. The coffee aspect of this ale comes through a bit more bitter on the tongue, which is welcome if you don’t have an overtly sweet tooth. As well, think of the chocolatey aspects as being a tad more on the high cocoa end of the spectrum. Overall, Sierra Nevada has accomplished the task of being robust and full throughout without being sweet and chewy – very well done and superbly balanced. Try it alone at first and then perhaps with the Kitchen Sink at Whiskey Bar Kitchen. Yum!!!

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.

Ben Casella does enjoy playing golf. He even once used to shoot in the 70s. Sure, a windmill was involved, and after putting out on 18 you never got your ball back… .

Location Networking Noise Level

The restaurant is tucked away among trees and can be tough to find unless you’ve been before.

A couple of big-screen TVs were mounted in the covered deck area, but neither of them was on. We were glad to engage in the serenity of Mother Nature. If it was March Madness or the first week in April, then patrons would surely enjoy the company of the big screens. Inside, diners could also take their choice in seating and opt for TV watching in the bar area. According to its website, Raes is turning 25 this year. To help it celebrate, to entertain a client or to simply enjoy lunch by the creek, seek out the hidden shack off Walton

56 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

Tallgrass 8-Bit Pale Ale Since winter never came to Georgia this year (and one of our azaleas is in full bloom), I’ll say this American pale ale from Manhattan, Kansas, would go great on or around the 14th tee. It pours a moderately frothy head with citrus and pine coming nicely through the nose. The taste has a nice bitterness on its back end with grass and malt throughout. The body is middle-of-the-road, and the ABV is around 5 percent, so the drinkability is there for the daylight hours on the course or during a well-deserved 19th hole. It would also go greatly with a soft pretzel and French’s yellow mustard. Fore!!!

Raes Coastal Cafe is at 3208 W. Wimbledon Drive in Augusta. Its phone number is (706) 738-1313 and website is

March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


58 Buzz on Biz March 23--April 26, 2017

March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


food for thought Business owner strives for healthier pets By Amanda King

Tiana O’Neill never accomplished her dream to be a veterinarian but has still figured out a way to give back to the fourlegged community. The kind-hearted animal enthusiast once tried her hand as a veterinarian assistant and found herself going home in tears after seeing the harder side of the practice. O’Neill has found a way to care for animals with her new pet store, Garden City Pet in Martinez. The Augusta native has spent more than a decade working in various pet retail stores, including her first job as a teenager at PetSmart. “I’ve done everything in the pet industry to find what I like the most,” O’Neill said. After meeting her husband, Brady, the couple moved to Seattle for his job with the U.S. Coast Guard. It was there where O’Neill began working with a struggling independently owned pet store. She learned about pet nutrition and what actually goes into pet foods, and the benefits of feeding animals minimally processed items. “There are so many different brands of dog food; to try to decipher which is a truthful brand, which one has the quality that it says it does – it’s definitely a task,” she said.

Garden City Pet in Martinez offers a variety of healthy options for pets. “There are so many different brands of dog food; to try to decipher … which one has the quality that it says it does – it’s definitely a task.” says owner Tiane O’Neill. Photo by Amanda King

O’Neill put months of hard work and passion into her job and turned the business from barely staying afloat to thriving in just six months. Because of problems with the employer, O’Neill had to leave the store and once again was searching for a way to care for furry friends. During a trip to Augusta for a family

funeral, O’Neill and her husband learned that their favorite pet store, Pet Safari, had closed during their time in Seattle, leaving Augusta without a locally owned pet store. O’Neill got to work. She put together a business plan and met with the Small Business Administration in Seattle to help her plan her steps.

After taking out a loan from her father-in-law to start her business, she drove from Seattle back to her hometown to accomplish her dream. She found the location for her store at 361 Furys Ferry Road, across the street from Earth Fare. The space was split up into several rooms, not optimal for a retail space, especially one where dogs would be free to roam. O’Neill had the walls torn down, and then she and friends and family added new flooring and built shelves to store Garden City Pet’s high-quality pet food. “These companies don’t sell to big-box companies because they believe in small business,” O’Neill said about the food she sells in her store. The food consists of all-meat proteins and are low on the glycemic index to help control a pet’s blood sugar. The food is also is beneficial to urinary health, according to O’Neill. For a special treat and to help process kibble, Garden City Pet also provides frozen raw meat. While it may seem complicated for pet food, O’Neill walks customers through the benefits for each food to help them decide which option is best for their pet. “I have nine out of 10 people come in and change their dog food,” she said. For more details on Garden City Pet, check it out at

Don’t pressure wash your home Opt for this solution By Tony Creighton

This might sound like a strange statement coming from a power washing company, but it is the truth. The first thing people think of when they want their house cleaned is to have it pressure washed, but the exterior surfaces of your home are not designed to withstand the extreme forces of high-pressure water being sprayed only inches away. Paint can be stripped off, window screens can be shredded, vinyl siding can be damaged beyond repair or knocked loose, and double-pane windows can have their seals broken, causing fogging between the two layers of glass. High-pressure water can also be forced through your window and door seals, sending water inside your home to soak your furniture, carpet or hardwood floors. Another problem with blasting the dirt

60 Buzz on Biz March 23--April 26, 2017

on your home by pressure washing is that you will be forcing water in behind the vinyl siding or cracks in the mortar on brick homes. This water infiltration can lead to unseen mold problems within your walls that you might not be aware of. Additionally, high-pressure washing can gouge and permanently damage brick surfaces, leaving unsightly divots in your home’s exterior. Another false assumption is that bleach is the only cleaning solution needed to clean a house. The truth is, bleach has no cleaning power of its own. It might kill mold, but it does nothing to break the bond the mold has on the sides of your home, nor does it do anything to remove the pollution, dirt and other grime that is attacking your home.

That is why so many DIY’ers and pressure-washing companies that use only bleach as a cleaner resort to the use of high pressure to blast the dirt and grime from your home or property. Not us, though. We safely clean homes with low pressure and a mixture of housewashing detergents and bleach, while remaining safely on the ground with our unique technique that yields superior results. ALLCLEAN™ Pressure Washing will never use high pressure to clean your home or property. Our low-pressure technique, more commonly known as a SoftWash, uses specially designed house-washing soaps and detergents and bleach, mixed with warm water that is applied and thoroughly rinsed with clean water at low pressure. This technique is designed to safely and

thoroughly remove dirt, algae, mold and other organic growth from your home’s exterior. Just remember, when it comes to the exterior of your home, it’s best to leave it to the professionals, and always ask for a SoftWash!

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

March 23–April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz


“Easy to use and saved money!”

“Great App, Great Savings”

“Best deals in augusta”

“Best App for Families”

“this app is awesome!”

“Good to the last drop”

“Amazing deals”


62 Buzz on Biz March 23–April 26, 2017

make it work for you The truth about cost segregation BY MARK STEPHENS

Cost segregation is an IRS-approved application by which commercial property owners can accelerate depreciation and reduce the amount of taxes owed. This savings generates substantial cash flow that owners often use to reinvest in their business, apply to their principal payments or spend on themselves. Here are some common misconceptions about cost segregation: Cost segregation studies are very expensive. False. Fifteen years ago, when cost segregation first hit the marketplace, studies were performed only on very large, multimillion-dollar buildings for companies with deep pockets. There was no effective method in place to analyze a building without multiple site visits and many specialists lending their expertise to the project on-site, which drove the cost of the studies through the roof. As technology has advanced, the engineering-based cost segregation study, which the IRS recognizes as the most thorough, has become very affordable. The return on investment (ROI) for building owners is very compelling. Cost segregation allows commercial property owners to free up investment capital to grow their businesses using their own money.

Cost segregation studies do not identify much that can be segregated. False. Many owners do not realize that 25 percent to 50 percent of a building’s cost can be redefined as a short-life asset. Combine this large percentage with the low fee, and a significant ROI can be realized. Even when a CPA accelerates some depreciation, an engineering-based study will uncover significant amounts of hidden opportunity. Cost segregation studies can only be done in the first year of ownership. False. Cost segregation can be applied in any tax year for qualifying buildings without amending prior year returns. Change of Accounting Method (IRS Form 3115) is automatically approved with an engineering-based cost segregation study. The benefit to a “look-back study” is pulling all of the accelerated depreciation forward into the current year as if this method had been applied since the first year of ownership. To qualify, the building must have been acquired or renovated after Dec. 31, 1986; and the owner must be a taxable entity.

Cost segregation can only be done on newly constructed buildings where you have all the receipts. False. Cost segregation technical analysts will cost analyze a building, its structure, its systems and its costs. A study completed by an individual with construction technology and experience is considered by the IRS to be the most reliable and thorough type of study. Where receipts are helpful, the practice of delivering lump-sum pricing in construction projects will require construction technology expertise to identify all the component items buried in these bids that qualify for short-term depreciation. It is better to take depreciation expense over 39 years. False. It is all about the time value of money. A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. An engineering-based cost segregation study helps building owners maximize this basic principal. Cost segregation studies are risky and may trigger an audit. False. Engineering-based cost segregation studies have been upheld as appro-

priate, valid since 1997 and no riskier than any other legitimate deduction. Since the 2014 Tangible Property Regulations have triggered a landslide of questions, cost segregation is the certain method to finding the answers. You have to amend prior year’s returns. False. Here’s the truth: For buildings placed in service in prior years, owners should complete IRS Form 3115 and make a 481(a) adjustment for the current tax year. This allows owners to bring forward the total of all allowable deductions which were not taken without amending prior year returns. Excess deductions can be carried forward until used. Mark Stephens manages Business Development for Cost Segregation Services Inc. CSSI is the Premier Company for IRS defined engineering-based cost segregation studies in America. Our objective is to facilitate maximum tax savings and improved cash flow, allowing businesses to grow, evolve and flourish. Reach him at (706)294-7989 or

Cost segregation studies cannot be done on buildings less than $1,000,000. False. Cost-effective studies are being done daily on buildings with a cost basis of $300,000 and on renovation projects as low as $200,000.

March 23--April 26, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Three reasons to connect your group

Relationship Matters

Open enrollment educational meetings for your team Personalized renewal planning sessions


Local & National

We facilitate the transition with insurance providers on your behalf. Sourcing your group with the most cost effective policies that align with your company needs is just one of our goals.

As an Acrisure Agency Partner we have access to national benefit benchmark reporting, comparing your group benefits to competitors, while offering local resources such as wellness and compliance advisement.

Contact us today for assistance



Strategic Development


capital advisors

Buzz on Biz March 2017  
Buzz on Biz March 2017