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Matthew Gay is kept busy year-round tending to the Christmas trees on his farm to be ready for this time of year. Photo by Gary Kauffman

CHRISTMAS TREE FARM KEEPS OWNER BUSY ALL YEAR BY GARY KAUFFMAN This is the time of year when people start thinking about Christmas trees. Matthew Gay, though, has been thinking about them all year. Gay is the owner of Gay’s Christmas Tree Farm on Tobacco Road in South Augusta. While this is the season his business gains the most prominence, it is a business that he tends to diligently the other 11 months of the year. “It’s definitely requires year-round work,” Gay said. He is in his 17th year of growing the

trees on an intentional business and 15th year of selling them. He did, however, have a short run in the Christmas tree business when he first moved to his property 30 years ago. He began cutting down the Virginia pines on the property and selling them by the road during the Christmas season. “But I didn’t have a rotation (of planting new trees) so when I’d cut them all down, I was out of the tree business,” he said. He liked the idea of being a tree farmer, though, so he ventured back into it with more intentionality 17 years ago.

“I couldn’t tell you why I did that, it was just something different,” he said. He did get a bit of advice from the late Bill Murray, founder of the Georgia Christmas Tree Association – don’t expect to have any other hobbies. “He said there’s not a lot of income in it, it’ll be a labor of love,” Gay recalled. “Now that I’ve been in it 17 years, I know what he was talking about.” Gay is employed full-time at Savannah River Site, which has allowed him to keep the Christmas tree farm going without having to rely on its income. Still, it is a business like any other, with

costs for labor, sales tax, equipment and marketing, while trying to sell at a price that brings in money rather than losing it. It was a learning process. “I learned I need to grow that tree as fast as I can as cheap as I can, that’s the business part of it,” he said. “Then I had to learn the marketing part of it and then learn the financial management. For about four weeks I’ve got money coming in, but the other 11 months money is going out, so I had to learn to budget.” Gay grows two varieties of trees – MurSee TREES on Page 2


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Gay’s Christmas Tree Farm offers 6 to 14 foot trees.

ray Cypress and Carolina Sapphire, both of which thrive in his sandy soil. He also imports Frasier pines from North Carolina in November to supplement his sales. The Murray Cypress is the leading Christmas tree in the southeast because it stays fresh for two months or longer, doesn’t shed needles and has minimal smell, making it ideal for people with allergies. A walk around Gay’s Christmas Tree Farm helps one realize how much of a business it is to grow Christmas trees. The trees are planted in rows with wide aisles of short-cut grass between them. That helps air flow, an important component in controlling a potentially devastating fungus. Gay also sprays the trees every six weeks to prevent the fungus. Irrigation lines run throughout the acreage, although a good rain helps the trees grow the fastest. “I’ve got irrigation, but you can’t beat the good Lord’s rain,” he said. He also sprays the trees with a nontoxic dye that helps them retain their bright green color. Trimming is also important, both to stimulate growth and to help the trees attain the proper Christmas tree shape. He does all the trimming himself. At the end of every Christmas season, he pulls out the stumps of the trees that were sold, prepares the soil and plants a fresh batch of trees to keep the rotation going. It takes three years for a tree to reach six or seven feet. Gay said the sixto eight-foot range is the premium tree, although he has some that range up to 12 to 14 feet. Those are primarily purchased

by businesses and churches with large interior areas. He currently has about 1,200 trees in the field that are ready to sell, plus he’ll bring in the Frasier pines. He said about half of the customers want to cut their own, while the other half want to buy those already cut. Whether they’re trees cut from his farm, or the imported Frasier pines, Gay keeps the base immersed in water to keep them from drying out. The Murray Cypress can “drink” up to two gallons of water daily. “I do all I can to keep the trees fresh,” he said. His hard work has paid off by making him a four-time winner of the award for best Christmas tree in Georgia. When the Christmas season rolls around, Gay has plenty of help from his wife, Angela, friends and relatives, plus hired hands, three who have been with him for 15 years. But he does more than just sell trees. “You can get a tree anywhere,” he said. “I provide an experience.” In addition to being able to choose and cut their own trees, customers also can participate in a hayride or relax around a bonfire while drinking free hot chocolate and eating free popcorn. It works, because he has annual customers come from as far away as Savannah and Columbia. He’s also provided trees for the Georgia Governor’s Mansion. “Like a farmer when it’s time to harvest, I really have to hustle during this time of year,” Gay said. “But I enjoy it. I live for this time of year.”

2 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year Is Here! Salvation Army in Augusta. Christian businesspeople, pastors and volunteers come together every Saturday to share the gospel, some good food and fellowship at an outdoor church service. We profile the Bridge Ministry of the CSRA on page 38. Our Holiday section on Pages 19-25 spotlight some companies and stories that inspire us all. Our featured, sponsored content is on pages 20 and 21 as the staff and residents of Morningside of Evans assisted living are highlighted. Kauffman’s “Faith at Work” column focuses on a free gift employers can give their employees, plus Dagan Sharpe looks at how not to derail our best intentions. As always, I ask you support the advertisers in that section and throughout our issue. May your holidays and business prospects for 2018 be filled with an abundance of joy and blessings.

Photo by Melissa Gordon


Professionally, the “December bridge” to the New Year is always filled with new ideas and initiatives for the next calendar year. The Buzz brand will see some broadcast and digital changes in the New Year and I’ll be sharing the “Buzz” in other Morris markets. I hope you take the advice of our columnists, who often work off of the “plan

first” mantra of doing business. If you envision great things in 2018, you’ll have a better chance of achieving great things. Personally, the “December bridge” is such a great time to recharge the batteries with family and friends. The Gordons continued our tradition of Black Friday shopping and the selecting of a Christmas tree. For convenience sake, we picked a Frasier Fir from a pop

up tree farm in Evans via North Carolina. Our editor Gary Kauffman reminds me and readers you can buy local. He profiles a local family that grows their own trees on its farm in South Augusta tracing its history and business success through the years. It’s our cover story. Tis’ the season for community service and I cannot think of a better example than what occurs under a bridge by the

Features New Years Business Resolutions ................. 4 Planning ahead is critical for small business success Buzz Bits.................................................. 6, 12 Openings, Closings................................. 7, 13 The Great Unknown..................................... 8 Attorney Christine Hall gives tax planning tips for the coming year. Upcoming Events.................................. 14, 15

Businessperson of the Month.................... 26 Mark Weinberger carries on the family tradition Hitting the Virtual Links............................. 30 Indoor Golf one of Several Virtual Adventures available in the CSRA Back to the Future...................................... 36 Stores Selling the Past Look to be a part of Augusta’s Future Bridging the Gap........................................ 38 Bridge Ministry Meets Physical and Spiritual Needs

Columnists Ed Enoch: When Hollywood Hits Home.............................8 Christine Hall: The Great Unknown......................................8 Tim Dalton: How to Begin....................................................10 Mark Alison: Big Bang Theory.............................................16 Kurt Mueller: Getting Serious..............................................18 Dagan Sharpe: Finding What Really Matters.................24 Gary Kauffman: Being Different.........................................24 Russell Head: Time Runs Out...............................................28

Stacy Roberts: Getting Personal.........................................28 Danielle Harris: All Eyes on You..........................................30 Liz Klebba: Casual Confusion..............................................32 Missie Usry: Double Duty.....................................................33 Tony Creighton: Rites of the Fall........................................33 Susan O’Keefe: Taste of the Mediterranean...................34 Samantha Barksdale: All in the Family.............................39 Ben Casella: Fire and Ice........................................................39

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

The Buzz on Biz mission is to act as an inspirational tool for those in the workplace and those who are entrepreneurs, and to provide useful, practical information to increase their companies’ bottom lines. To order a 12-month subscription mailed to your home or office, please mail a check for $49 (includes sales tax) to cover postage to the address below. Publisher Neil R. Gordon Editor in Chief Gary Kauffman Multimedia Journalist Witt Wells, witt.wells@buzzon.biz Layout Michael Rushbrook Ad Building E35 Media Photography Witt Wells, Gary Kauffman, Melissa Gordon Sales Manager Neil Gordon, neil@buzzon.biz, 706-589-6727 Sales and PR Jessica Jones, jessica@buzzon.biz, 762-218-0239 Distribution Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Morris Media Network nor its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only. Like us on Facebook @ facebook.com/buzz-on-biz Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 725 Broad Street, Augusta GA 30901

November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


new years business resolutions Planning Ahead is Critical for Small Business Success BY Gary Kauffman Imagine flying across the country and just as your fuel supply begins to diminish, you reach your destination airport – only to find that the runways are closed. Uh oh, what do you do now? Can you change course to get somewhere else before you run out of fuel? That’s a situation too many small businesses find themselves in – a failure to plan for the changes operating a business inevitably brings. Most entrepreneurs starting a new business recognize the value of establishing a business plan, if for no other reason than to obtain the funding needed from loan sources. But the airplane scenario above often comes three, five or even 10 years down the road. Frequently by that time, the business owner is heavily immersed in the day-today operations of the business and taking time for a bathroom break can seem out of the realm of possibility, let alone taking a day or two to update the business plan. Thinking five minutes into the future often seems as much projection as he or she can make. “For a business that is seriously looking at growing, it’s critical to spend a little bit of time evaluating where you are now, what you want to do next year and what you need to do to accomplish that,” said Rick McMurtrey, area director for the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center in Augusta. “Unfortunately, most businesses don’t do that.” “Most of them will say they don’t have enough time,” Eric Frickey, a consultant with the SBDC, said. Taking the time to plan, though, can be a more critical investment in the business’ long-term success than any financial investment could ever provide. That planning process varies from business to business and could take anywhere from a half-day to several days involving other key business leaders. “You don’t have to make it complicated,” Frickey said. When working with a business client, he breaks the business plan into three sections: How to operate the business, which includes HR; how to market and sell the business; and how make money at it. “Some clients think about their businesses all the time,” Frickey said. “They wake up at 3 in the morning with an idea, and hopefully they’ll write it down, and

chances are it’ll fall into one of those sections.” McMurtrey believes that frequent short planning breaks prove more valuable than an extended end-of-the-year session. “Small business owners should be sitting down no less than once a month, saying, ‘Where were we this month, where will we be next month,’” he said. “You can’t wait until the end of the year to evaluate where you are. I think if most small business owners took 30 minutes to an hour each week they’d be much better prepared for success.” Plan for Your Exit A key component to successful planning is having an exit strategy. Even if that is years in the future, knowing how they will get out of the business can help the business owner make better day-today decisions. “If you don’t have an exit strategy you don’t have a way to maximize your business,” McMurtrey said. “Without a good strategy in place to accurately report finances, a business that should be worth $1 million could only be sold for $500,000.” An exit strategy is what makes a business a long-term investment. “Without an exit strategy in mind for your business, you’re really just starting something for you have a job,” McMurtrey said. But he said the exit strategy has to be specific. One study found that when asked when they plan to retire, the majority of business owners said, “In 10 years.” However, when asked again the next year, they still responded with, “In 10 years.”

4 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

That is why it is important to set a specific end date for exiting the business. That can always be revised, but it makes planning more specific. Of course, an exit strategy isn’t always about retiring. Sometimes a business owner wants more family time, or to slow down his or her pace, or is looking to inject some fresh energy and thinking into the business by taking on a younger partner. Ask for Help from Experts Another key component to planning is asking for outside help. This sometimes requires swallowing pride and getting rid of the “I can do this myself ” mentality. “It gives a more global view of what’s going on in the business,” McMurtrey said. “Sometimes business owners get so consumed with the day-to-day stuff that they aren’t aware of the obvious. Whether it’s someone like us, SCORE or an independent consultant, they can help provide suggestions and help a business grow.” The SBDC, which offers its services for no cost to qualifying small businesses, often starts with looking at a business’ financial reports, but sometime a business just needs some help with marketing or human resources. Finances, though, are often a key indicator of what’s happening in a business. If the revenue and profit are decreasing, the first step is to determine why. Is it part of a local economic downturn, the result of competition or simply trying to do business as usual in a changing consumer climate? “One company quit marketing and their declining sales were a residual effect

of that,” Frickey said. Another frequent factor in declining profits is “price creep,” when the cost of the business’ supplies increase without passing that increase on to the customer. That means a business could have steady or even increasing revenue but make less money. “We see that in professional practices,” Frickey said. “We see that creep go up 25 or 30 percent. The question is, ‘Are you adjusting your prices to maintain your margins?’” McMurtrey said most business owners protest that they can’t increase their prices without losing customers. But that isn’t necessarily true. Sometimes the price increase will more than offset the loss of a few customers. “If their net is higher, they’re still better off,” he said. “The problem is they don’t do the analysis.” Hire the Right People Having the right employees in place to help the business grow is also part of planning a successful business. A common statement from small business owners is that they can’t take a week off for vacation because they don’t have anyone they can trust to run the business in their absence. But if that is the case, what happens if an emergency forces the owner to be away for that long or longer? “Your plan should include training employees so that if you want to have time off you can have it,” McMurtrey said. “What is it you have to do to train employees to run the business if you’re gone for a week or two?” One protest to that from owners is that they don’t trust their employees to know the inner workings of the business, especially on the financial side. But Frickey said that is a function of the owner translating his or her values to the employees. “If you can’t trust your employees, you’ve hired the wrong people,” he said. “Employees should match the values of the owner.” The SBDC has found that often small businesses are started by people with a passion for the product or service they’re providing, and do well at that, but it’s the business side of the business that can suffer. But they’ve found something that is true of almost all small businesses, successful or not. “The common denominator is that planning,” Frickey said.

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For Augustans craving their favorite dishes from local eateries like Southbound Smokehouse and Twisted Burrito, it’s usually a requirement to get out of the house. That’s not the case anymore. Augusta To Go is up and running in the CSRA, which means Augustans can now have meals from local food favorites delivered to their doorstep. Augusta To Go currently delivers meals from 22 restaurant locations of Southbound Smokehouse, Mellow Mushroom, Tin Lizzy’s, Jersey Mike’s, Crab King, Firehouse Subs, Ephesus Greek and Turkish Restaurant, New Ming Wah and Twisted Burrito. Trevor Dow, co-owner of Augusta To Go, said that he and co-owner Lindsey Teague have also secured deals with The Hive, Bee’s Knees and Pita Pit and began taking orders for delivery from those establishments on Nov. 27. Dow and Teague said there is no limit to the number of local restaurants that they want to work with. “We see it as a really positive, symbiotic relationship with the community and the restaurant owners,” Teague said. The service costs $3.99 for delivery up to four miles from one of the restaurants listed on Augusta To Go’s website and app (also called Augusta To Go). Each added mile costs 50 cents. Customers get a free first delivery if they use the coupon code TRYUS. Dow said deliveries usually take 2545 minutes for lunch and 30-60 minutes for dinner. The entrepreneurial duo has gotten positive feedback on their business so far, both from restaurant owners and customers. They said one customer has used the service around 30 times. More than half the orders that Augusta To Go has received have come from the mobile app. Dow and Teague are also looking to add more drivers to their pool as they expand the business.


People wanting to live in an increasingly popular downtown might think about making moves sooner rather than later, because the JB Whites building just sold out the last of its condominiums. The sale of the 51 upscale condos at 936 Broad St shows an increasing interest in the central business district not just as a source of entertainment, but as an ideal residential area. The first floor of the building, which houses The Book Tavern and coffee shop New Moon, has been sold to holding company Rex Augusta, LLC, a holding company with management ties to Rex Property & Land, LLC. One of the goals of Rex Property & Land, LLC has been to attract new, exciting, and compatible businesses to downtown.


Dollar General announced it recently completed a remodel of its store at 301 Beech Island Ave. in Beech Island. With an updated layout and design, the store now offers a selection of produce and expanded frozen and refrigerated food offerings in addition to the same categories, brands and products customers trust Dollar General to carry. “Through our ongoing commitment to provide a pleasant shopping experience to our customers, we are excited to welcome the community to see our

6 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

recently remodeled located in Beech Island,” said Dan Nieser, Dollar General’s senior vice president of real estate and store development. “We hope our customers enjoy the fresh layout and design, as well as the new product assortment including produce and expanded food assortments.” Dollar General is deeply involved in the communities it serves and is an ardent supporter of literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $140 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping nearly more than 9 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education. For more information about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and its grant programs, visit dgliteracy.com.


Shaw Industries recently donated

$2,600 to the Aiken Technical College Foundation to fund scholarships for industrial maintenance technology students. “We hope it will assist getting them through college and preparing them for their next steps, whether it be with our company or another company,” said Eric Boetsch, plant manager for Shaw Industries. “We want to create a better future for whoever gets the scholarship.” The donation is one of several ways the company is looking to partner with the College and help promote the opportunities that can be available to those earning a two-year degree, he said. Those interested in applying for a scholarship may do so now through March 1, said Mary Commons, director of the ATC Foundation. “We are very excited to enter into a partnership with Shaw Industries in support of student scholarship for the Industrial Maintenance program,” she said. “Applicants must have at least a 2.5 GPA, be enrolled full-time and interview with the Shaw Industries leadership team. Four $650 scholarships will be awarded for the next academic year.”


A Johnston fourth-grade teacher has been named the Teach of the Year by the partnership of the Edgefield County School Board and Herlong Ford of Edgefield. Tyra Miller, a fourth-grade teacher at Johnston Elementary, received the award recently, including a vehicle from Herlong Ford. Miller has been teaching for 14 years, the past two in her current role at Johnston Elementary. “Although I always dreamed of being a teacher, teaching is a second career for me,” Miller said. “After the birth of my son, I realized I wanted more than ever to make a difference in the world. I want my life to matter and what better way is there to make a difference than Continued on Page 12

openings, closings and moves


Chipotle A new Chipotle opened in North Augusta Nov. 9. It is the Tex-Mex chain’s second location in the CSRA. The restaurant is located at 362 E. Martintown Road, in front of Ross Dress for Less. It is open daily from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. Prior to the restaurant opening, the only local Chipotle had been the Aiken location at 1941 Whiskey Road. There will also soon be a Chipotle restaurant coming to the Augusta Exchange, although it is not yet clear when that restaurant will open. MOD Pizza will be opening next door. Chipotle has developed a loyal group of fans since it opened in 1993. It has become well known for its burritos and burrito bowls, salads and tacos. Cho Ba Mien A new Asian market called Cho Ba Mien will open at the West Town Market Square in Martinez. It is located at the corner of Washington Road and Davis Road, next to Formosa’s II, a Chinese restaurant. There is not any information on the market’s website regarding an opening day. The space has been vacant since Martinez Flowers and Gifts moved from the location a couple years ago. West Town Market Square is located at 3830 Washington Rd. Augusta Virtual Golf When it comes to getting the okay to accurately map out virtual golf courses for the entertainment of gamers everywhere, Augusta National is among those that are just about impossible. EA’s Tiger Woods franchise didn’t feature the course until 2012, and multiple games since then have been prohibited from featuring the course. The same goes for a new virtual golf experience in town, Augusta Virtual Golf, but at least visitors will know they’re within a few miles of the real thing while they play. Other courses – nearby Sea Island being one of them – will have to do. “I figured if this machine’s good

Treehouse Macarons Treehouse Macarons opened at the beginning of November at Furys Ferry Station, the venture’s first storefront after it had become an Augusta Market mainstay. When Shane Smith contacted a friend in south Georgia to ask about the possibility of his macaron store opening a shop in Augusta, his friend told him to start his own. Shane and his wife Missy have done just that. The duo will stick to macarons for now, but Shane mentioned during a recent interview on the Buzz on Biz radio show that they may be looking into coffee and other products later on. Treehouse Macarons is located at Furys Ferry Station, Suite 113. enough for Jordan Spieth, it’s good enough for me,” said Tom Clancy, owner of Augusta Virtual Golf. Clancy has outfitted the old Triumph-Ducati building at 3656 Wheeler Road (where Clancy also used to work) with two TruGolf simulators, which lets players choose from 36 courses. They can play in heavy wind, rain or shine. You can even hit balls at the presidential hopefuls of the 2016 election. “If somebody wants a lesson, I’ll arrange that,” Clancy said. Clancy’s golf entertainment center is geared toward people who want to learn and improve their skills. It’s all for fun, but potential patrons asking if the establishment serves alcohol have hung up disappointed. “It’s ironic how many people have called and asked if I sell beer,” Clancy said. Clancy charges $32 an hour for groups of four or less, and $18 for singles. As a lifelong golf fan and former player in college, he hopes it catches on with locals, particularly when golf season is in full swing. Of course, in the virtual golf world, the season is year-round. Madison Julia’s Closet Pamela Toy opened Madison Julia’s Salon in memory of her daughter, who passed away. Five years later, she wanted to give her daughter the closet she never had, too. At the beginning of November, Toy opened Madison Julia’s Closet, a new clothing boutique, next to the salon in The Shoppes at Riverwood in Evans. The space used to be a Twisted Indulgence frozen yogurt shop. “We had a really successful grand opening,” owner Pamela Toy said.

The new boutique, located at 5117 Washington Rd., Suite 7, specializes in women’s and children’s clothing. Toy said the support she had from her husband and two sons was a big part of making it all happen. “It’s really peaceful, and we just wanted to extend that to more of the community,” said Erica Carroll, a hair stylist at the salon. Madison Julia’s is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. World Class Industries World Class Industries (WCI), a global supply chain integration specialist, is breaking ground on a new 50,000-squarefoot facility in Grovetown. The new facility places WCI in an entirely new region and will allow the company to more extensively service its equipment manufacturers in the southeast. World Class Industries expects to open its new building at 4975 Wrightsboro Road in spring of 2018. World Class Industries is a global leader in simplifying supply chains, serving as a resource and direct supplier to the world’s largest original equipment manufacturers. They are known for offering innovative solutions that work to eliminate production problems, enhance overall efficiency and reduce costs. World Class Industries has five U.S. locations and two international hubs in Germany and the United Kingdom.

to say Augustans can’t enjoy them yearround? That line of thinking has led Joseph Christie, owner of two CSRA locations of national mom-and-pop franchise Pelican’s SnoBalls, to open a third on Walton Way Extension next to the Augusta Exchange. The difference is that this shaved ice will be available to the public all year. The franchise’s outdoor venues in Grovetown and North Augusta are only open March through October. “I know I eat ice cream during the winter,” Christie said. Christie discovered Pelican’s SnoBalls when he and his family were living in Lexington before moving back to his hometown of Augusta. They stayed in Lexington long enough for Christie and his wife to get addicted to the New Orleans-style “sno-balls,” which is shaved ice that feels like snow instead of ice chips. If Pelican’s SnoBalls was in Lexington, Christie thought, why not bring it to Augusta? Christie and his wife have wasted no time, launching two stores within the span of a few months. In preparing to open their third of the year, they sought to recreate the family atmosphere of Pelican’s SnoBall’s outdoor venues in North Augusta and Grovetown, only

EXPANSIONS Pelican’s SnoBalls

Snow cones and shaved ice are typically considered seasonal treats. But in the climate of the Deep South, who’s

Continued on Page 13

November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


When Hollywood Hits Home

Policies Help Protect Your Business from Harassment Claims BY ED ENOCH

Sexual harassment (and worse) is headline news now. A big part of the story is that it has been going on unreported and unchecked for years. I am sure this is not news to our female readers. Another big part of the story is people are now seeing that being a sexual predator has real world consequences for the perpetrator. This has emboldened more victims to come forward. While the story has centered on Hollywood, no business is immune from the possibility of harassment, whether it is based on gender or some other category protected under federal law such as race, nationality or age. This is especially true around the holidays where employees and bosses may be together in social settings with alcohol available. It is important that your company take precautions long before there is ever a re-

port of harassment. There are numerous steps you can take to protect your company and your employees from the damage caused by a harassing bad actor. First and foremost, institute a policy against illegal harassment and a policy on how to report harassment. Do not just cut and paste something off the internet into you employee handbook. That does no one any good. When you put this policy in place (or any personnel policy for that matter) it is important to get it into the hands of your employees and make sure they read and understand it. From a legal perspective, it is important to document that each employee read and understood the policy, including how to report harassment and that they will not be retaliated against for making a report. The people who are designated to receive these complaints need to receive

training on how to deal with a complaint when it comes. Once the employee tells the company about the problem, the company has an obligation to investigate and act on the complaint if it is determined to have substance. Finally, once the investigation is over, circle back to the employee who brought the complaint. Make sure they know you took the accusation seriously, even if you ultimately decide not to take any disciplinary action. Many times the cases are purely hesaid/she-said with no way to document what actually happened. However, failure to let the person who filed the complaint know what steps you took to investigate can lead them to the assumption that you did not do anything, which can very easily lead to an EEOC claim and a law suit. The Supreme Court has provided em-

ployers defenses against employees who fail to give the company an opportunity to investigate and act on harassment. To take advantage of these defenses, you must have your house in order, starting with the steps laid out here.

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@ enochlaw.com.

The Great Unknown

Tax Planning for Next Year is Challenging BY CHRISTINE HALL

Once again, tax planning for the year ahead presents a number of challenges, first and foremost being what tax reform measures (if any) will actually become legislation – and when they take effect (e.g. retroactive to January 1, 2017, or a future date). Furthermore, a number of tax extenders expired at the end of 2016, which may or may not be reauthorized by Congress and made retroactive to the beginning of the year. And then, of course, there are the normal variations in individual tax circumstances. General tax planning strategies for individuals this year include postponing income and accelerating deductions. However, accelerating income into 2017 is an especially good idea for taxpayers who anticipate being in a higher tax bracket next year or whose earnings are close to threshold amounts that make them liable for additional Medicare Tax or Net Investment Income Tax. In cases where tax benefits are phased out over a certain adjusted gross income (AGI) amount, a strategy of accelerating income and deductions might allow you to claim larger deductions, credits and other tax breaks for 2017, depending on your situation. Here are several examples of what a

taxpayer might do to accelerate deductions: Pay a state estimated tax installment in December instead of at the January due date. However, make sure the payment is based on a reasonable estimate of your state tax. Pay your entire property tax bill, including installments due in year 2018, by year-end. This does not apply to mortgage escrow accounts. It may be beneficial to pay 2018 tuition in 2017 to take full advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, an above-the-line deduction worth up to $2,500 per student to cover the cost of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year. Forty percent of the

8 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

credit (up to $1,000) is refundable, which means you can get it even if you owe no tax. Try to bunch “threshold” expenses, such as medical expenses and miscellaneous itemized deductions. For example, you might pay medical bills and dues and subscriptions in whichever year they would do you the most tax good. In addition, careful consideration should be given to the timing of related investments, charitable gifts, and retirement planning. For example, taxpayers might consider using one or more of the following: Selling any investments on which you have a gain or loss this year. Prepaying deductible expenses such

as charitable contributions and medical expenses this year using a credit card. This strategy works because deductions may be taken based on when the expense was charged on the credit card, not when the bill was paid. If your company grants stock options, you may want to exercise the option or sell stock acquired by exercise of an option this year if you think your tax bracket will be higher in 2018. Exercising this option is often but not always a taxable event; sale of the stock is almost always a taxable event. As you can see there are several areas that should be considered when tax planning. Be sure to seek professional advice if you are uncertain as to how any tax related issue pertains to you.

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.

NEW VISION. NEW COMPANY. SAME OL’ KURT Financial Advisor Kurt Mueller’s joined Consolidated Planning team of more than 100 advisors managing more than $1.4 Billion in assets and more than $6.5 Billion in Insurance Protection. He’s opened an office in Evans and Aiken to serve his existing clients and to welcome you to learn about his plan—all part of Consolidated Planning’s wealth of knowledge and upgraded service.

Business is thriving in the CSRA. Consider: • • • • •

Business Owner Exit Planning Timing\Cash Needed Identifying Key Employees Syncing Exit Strategy\Retirement Strategy What About Your Estate Plan?




Affiliated with the Mueller Financial Group




Being a business broker affords me the opportunity to work with many business owners and individuals investigating business ownership. I am always fascinated by what attracts a business owner to their chosen profession. Is it a family business that they have grown up in? Is it a business they started from scratch? Or is it an existing business they purchased? No matter the reason, most all will say they have an entrepreneurial spirit, but are they truly entrepreneurs? My thoughts are a true entrepreneur has an idea for a needed product, service or process and develops a way to take that concept to market and earn a profit. True entrepreneurs are creative, notice trends in the market place, develop niche opportunities and have more of a no-fear attitude towards going into business. Many of the big businesses today, such as Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Virgin and Amazon, started from scratch with an idea and in most cases little money. But the founder of the company had a burning desire to make their business a success. I tend to be a little more conservative when it comes to business ownership. However, you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to be successful in business. There is a lot to be said for taking over a family business or purchasing a business or franchise and turning a profit. I personally have purchased two existing businesses, started two franchise businesses, and started a business from scratch. But in all cases I had someone to assist me. The sellers of the existing businesses trained me. The franchisor of the franchise businesses provided training and had a proven system in place. And my

startup business was formed after I had many years of experience from one of the franchise businesses. So having a helping hand to get you up to speed as a business owner is prudent. How much greater is your confidence if you’ve never owned a business before, if you have the previous owner sticking around for a period of time to train you or have a franchisor that can answer most every question you may have about your new business? If you haven’t noticed yet, I am a big proponent of buying an existing business or franchise. I always have several startup business owners that contact our office asking for assistance in selling their business. Unfortunately, often the business is not viable financially. After a year or two the owner can no longer continue to op-

10 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

erate the business. And those same businesses are not very attractive to buyers, as the track record does not suggest the business can sustain itself. In many of those instances, the time and financial investment made by the business owner goes to waste. Startups are difficult and I admire those that have successfully started a business from just an idea. So when considering going into business, ask yourself, are you a true entrepreneur and do you have what it takes to start from scratch? Or are you better at taking over a business opportunity that someone else has gotten up and running and has shown it is sustainable and a financial success. Often we see new owners take a good business to a new level. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel,

just use your talents, experience, determination and build upon what someone else has started.

Tim Dalton is president of Integra Business Brokers and has more than 19 years of experience in the Augusta area assisting business buyers and sellers. Additional services include targeted business acquisitions, business valuations, and financing assistance. Tim is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Georgia and South Carolina. Contact him at 706-650-1100 or at tdalton@integrabrokers. com. Visit their website at www.integrabrokers.com.


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November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


buzz bits Continued from Page 6 a teacher, teaching is a second career for me,” Miller said. “After the birth of my son, I realized I wanted more than ever to make a difference in the world. I want my life to matter and what better way is there to make a difference than having a positive impact on the children we encounter? I decided that if I could encourage, support and inspire children to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams then I will have served a noble purpose.” She added, “The rewards for me come when a child develops a passion and excitement for learning. My rewards are graduation invitations, text message updates, phone calls, visits, etc. from former students sharing their lives with me and showing me, I made a difference. My reward is having former students show up at my son’s high school baseball game to support and cheer him on the way I once did them. My rewards from teaching are priceless and endless.” The Herlong Family has been selling and servicing vehicles since 1933 and owned by Joe Ben Herlong of Johnston. The General Manager, Melanie Neal Welch, was delighted when a representative with the Edgefield County BOE called and asked if Herlong Ford would continue their support of the Teacher of the Year program for the 2017-2018 school year. “Awarding a vehicle to the Edgefield County Teacher of the Year is an honor and a partnership we proudly want to continue,” she said. “Our teachers are one of our most valuable assets who shape our children to become the leaders of tomorrow.”


University Hospital earned an “A” rating in the fall 2017 Hospital Safety Score, which rates how well hospitals protect patients from errors, injuries and infections. This is the eighth consecutive rating period that University has received this grade. All other area hospitals were rated “C” or “D.” The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety and is administered by The Leapfrog Group, an independent industry watchdog. The score is the first and only hospital


The residents of Fortune Magazine‘s dark horse pick for the new cyber capital of the world might have to wait awhile before the results of such an economic boom become evident in data. A new labor market index conducted by Simon Medcalfe, an economics professor at Augusta University’s Hull College of Business, shows that while Augusta has seen some growth in local jobs over the last few months, growth has been flat over the last year. The city is just below average in labor market growth compared to 12 other metro areas in Georgia. “A lot of things are happening in Augusta right now, but they’re not actually coming through in the data yet,” Medcalfe said. The markets included in the index are Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Brunswick, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, safety rating to be peer-reviewed in the Journal of Patient Safety and is free to the public, designed to give consumers information they can use to protect themselves and their families when facing a hospital stay. “This eighth consecutive A grade is an important part of University Health Care System’s mission to “improve the health of those we serve,” said UHCS President and CEO Jim Davis.


12 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

Hinesville, Macon, Rome, Savannah, Valdosta and Warner Robbins. Among those cities, Augusta ranked ninth in labor market growth from December 2016 to June 2017. The state’s fastest-growing metro areas from December 2016 to June 2017 were Athens and Savannah, which saw employment growth of 4,800 and 3,800, respectively. During that same period, employment remained flat in Augusta, dropping from 237,600 to 237,500. Over the last few months, however, the number of local jobs has grown. There was an increase of 2,600 local jobs in July, and around 1,000 more were added in August. Unemployment has also declined from 5.3 percent to 4.6 percent since December. Medcalfe said he has yet to see the social buzz around the city’s new identity as a cyber hub show up in labor market data. And what that data will look like, he said, is anyone’s guess. “I don’t think we have a handle on how many private companies and jobs that the Cyber Command will bring,” Medcalfe said. There are some signs of that growth, including an increase in government jobs. According to Medcalfe’s research, industries that saw the most growth in the first six months of 2017 were government, leisure and hospitality and education and health. Medcalfe also predicted consistent growth over the next six months of the year. The Augusta Leading Economic Index, which he uses more as a predictor of future trends, measured a 1.5 percent annual market growth. That is the year’s highest single-month increase, which was largely due to 530 new housing units in July authorized by building permits. “There is a lot of talk about the exciting economic future for Augusta in the local community and some of that may just now be visible in the data,” Medcalfe wrote in the index report.

The longest-lasting MLB partnership in the history of the Augusta GreenJackets will last at least through 2020, thanks to a renewed contract between the GreenJackets and the San Francisco Giants. The teams have announced a threeyear extension to the current player development contract between the two organizations. The extension comes midway through the construction of SRP Park, which is on track for completion before the start of the 2018 season. The partnership between the Giants and GreenJackets dates back to 2005, and the new agreement will extend the partnership through the 2020 season. “We cannot be more excited to extend our partnership with the San Francisco Giants, who have consistently supplied both players and coaches that have represented the GreenJackets organization well on and off the field here in the CSRA,” said GreenJackets Vice President Tom Denlinger. Throughout this partnership, the GreenJackets have been the first stop

for many of the Giants’ current stars, including 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval and 2016 GreenJackets Hall of Fame Inductee Roberto Kelly. “The Giants have been the longest tenured affiliation in GreenJackets history, and we are thrilled to continue our partnership with them,” said GreenJackets President Jeff Eiseman. “This is an exciting time in GreenJackets history, and we look forward to providing a venue for the new wave of Giants prospects to pave the way to San Francisco.” During the partnership with the Giants, the GreenJackets have qualified for the South Atlantic League playoffs in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013. In 2008, the GreenJackets won their fourth South Atlantic League Championship. In 2009, the team had the best overall record in the SAL South. “As we move to our new home at SRP Park, we look forward to being an integral part of the next wave of Giants greats to start here in the CSRA,” Denlinger said.

openings, closings and moves Continued from Page 7 inside. The new store will have indoor and outdoor seating, a private birthday party room, a basketball hoop, chalkboard walls, foosball, cornhole and board games. “We sell sno-balls, but we want to try to create a family-friendly space,” Christie said. With the other two locations of the sno-ball shop closed for the winter, Christie hopes Pelican’s SnoBalls in Augusta will draw customers from the entire metro area looking for refreshment and entertainment. The new Pelican’s SnoBalls is located at 3644 Walton Way Ext, which previously housed home furnishing retailer 706 Home.

Hairmax Hairmax Beauty Supply, which for years was a fixture next to the former Kroger on 15th Street, is planning to double its size in the New Year. The shop is moving into the space on the 1200 block of Broad Street that used to house Escape Outdoors, next to The Pizza Joint. The building has more than 7,000 square feet of space. Rochelle Tutt, the owner of Hairmax, said that the Medical College of Georgia Foundation, which owns the Central Square Shopping Center where the beauty supply center is currently located, has plans for a redevelopment in the area. That forced Tutt to find a new location for Hairmax. “The traffic is really good and the visibility is good,” Tutt said of Hairmax’s new digs. Hairmax sells hair extensions, cosmetics, beauty supplies and more. The Broad Street building’s owner Fred Daitch said he showed the facility to many different prospective tenants looking to open a variety of businesses, including a coffee house, distillery, restaurant, bar, brewhouse, innovation company, salon and spa, and others. “I expect more than 100 customers to go in and out of Hairmax each day,” Daitch said. Daitch thinks clients will be attracted to the option to eat at downtown restaurants or shop at local retailers such as his own International Uniform across the street. Tutt says Hairmax will move in on Jan.

1. Build-out of the spacious facility will continue over the next couple of months. I don’t think there’s another business like ours in that area,” Tutt said. Marco’s Pizza Add Marco’s Pizza to the list of restaurants and retailers opening in a fastgrowing Exit 5 development in North Augusta. The pizza chain, which has another North Augusta location on Martintown Road, will be located at the former Waffle House building in Sweetwater, a 300-acre master-planned development just off Exit 5. “We’re excited to be in this market,” said Woody Johnson, a general partner of Pizza Guys, LLC, which owns the Marco’s Pizza franchise, in a statement. Marco’s Pizza has five other locations throughout the CSRA, including in Augusta, North Augusta, Grovetown, Evans and Aiken. “Great things are happening in North Augusta!” said city administrator Todd Glover.“We continue to grow and develop.”

Southbound Smokehouse Southbound Smokehouse will open another location at Riverside Village, showing a continued effort by North Augusta city officials to draw new businesses to the entertainment district. Southbound Steakhouse is the first local restaurant to announce plans to open at Riverside Village. The restaurant will open in a sea of new development that will include a 180-room Crowne Plaza Hotel, a 280-unit apartment complex called Ironwood Apartments , 36 residential flats, 14 single-family homes, 125 units of senior living and 200,000 square feet of office space. George Claussen, co-owner of Southbound Smokehouse, said in a video interview published on the Riverside Village Facebook page that the entertainment and businesses that Riverside Village is attracting will put North Augusta “light years ahead” of where the community would have been without the ballpark and surrounding attractions. “There’s already talk of concerts Master’s Week that are potentially going to happen,” said Brian Brittingham, Southbound Smokehouse’s other coowner, during the interview.

“Now, you have not only a venue that’ll bring the community together, but you have shops and restaurants right on the waterfront,” Augusta GreenJackets President Jeff Eiseman told Buzz on Biz in August. Southbound Smokehouse is currently located at 1855 Central Avenue. Safelite Auto Glass A new Safelite Auto Glass has moved into the Washington Place shopping center at 4070 Washington Road, in the building next to Goodwill. The building previously housed HD Graphics. Safelite repairs and replaces car windshields and windows. It is Safelite’s second location in the CSRA. The other is located in North Augusta, at 424 Edgefield Rd. Safelite’s corporate was not reached for comment on an opening date. Gary’s Hamburgers Gary’s Hamburgers, which has become a favorite burger joint among Augustans, will now be flipping handmade patties at the former WifeSaver building at 116 N. Belair Road, Evans. Gary Gibson, the franchise’s owner, has not said when the new location will open. Locals have made Gary’s a go-to destination for its stand-out burgers, salads, chicken fingers and biscuits in the morning. The local burger favorite also has locations in North Augusta, west Augusta and Johnston, S.C.

CLOSINGS Atlanta Bread Company

Atlanta Bread Company, known for its sandwiches, salads and variety of breakfast items, permanently closed its Aiken location Nov. 12. The restaurant is one of two Atlanta Bread Company restaurants in the CSRA. Some patrons who were at the restaurant on Friday afternoon were told that that location would shortly be closing permanently. An employee confirmed the closing on Monday. The Atlanta-based eatery is located at 1944 Whiskey Road Suite 101, next to the Sprint and T-Mobile stores, across the street from Chipotle. The Augusta location of Atlanta Bread Company will continue to operate at the Augusta Exchange, next to Panda Express. The owners of the restaurant, who also operate the Atlanta Bread Company at the Augusta Exchange, were not reached for comment. Before the Aiken location of the restaurant closed, Augusta was one of only three markets outside Atlanta with mul-

tiple locations of Atlanta Bread Company. The others are the Denver metro area and the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro area in Arkansas, according to the company’s website. Atlanta Bread Company first opened in Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta. It now has around 30 locations throughout the country (most are in the south), with several located in Atlanta. The Aiken location of the restaurant opened in 2005. Food Lion The Food Lion located on Horizon South Parkway in Grovetown closed on Nov. 15, according to a specialist who works for the company. Food Lion has not announced plans to build a new store replacing that location. There are currently two other Food Lion stores in the area – one near the corner of Columbia Road and Hereford Farms Road and another on Belair Road. There is also a Kroger Marketplace just south of the Village at Hereford Farms. The sales floor of the grocery store is around 35,000-38,000 square feet. It is unknown what business, if any, will replace Food Lion.


CSRA Wellness Centers CSRA Wellness Centers, which offers a series of holistic healing and rejuvenation services, is preparing to move from its Columbia Road location to Washington Road. The wellness facility offers a wide variety of services including massages, pedicures, fat-reduction, waxing and beautification. When Elizabeth Sexton first opened the business, it specialized in massages. Now CSRA Wellness offers more than a dozen unique services and amenities that can be found on its website. Bobby Sexton, husband of Elizabeth Sexton, said that following the transition to the larger building on Washington Road (previously a housewares boutique), the company will have an increased focus on inch-loss laser treatment, a fat reduction procedure. The Sextons do not yet know when they will be able to move into the new building, which is located at 4090 Washington Road.

November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


UPCOMING BUSINESS EVENTS Catch the Buzz! Get more on events and follow business and economic news across the CSRA at buzzon.biz.

Friday, Dec. 1

First Friday Means Business, 7:30 a.m., 117 Newberry St. NW, Aiken. Informative breakfast meeting with a keynote speaker. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. North Augusta Christmas Tour of Homes, 5:30 p.m., Arts and Heritage Center, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. The Arts and Heritage Center will open its doors as part of Beta Sigma Phi’s annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Tickets required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org. Aiken Young Professionals 10th Anniversary Party, 7 p.m., Newberry Hall, Aiken. A semi-formal event featuring food, drinks and networking to celebrate AYP’s 10 years of accomplishments. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

Saturday, Dec. 2

North Augusta Christmas Tour of Homes, 11:30 a.m., Arts and Heritage Center, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. The Arts and Heri-

tage Center will open its doors as part of Beta Sigma Phi’s annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Tickets required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Monday, Dec. 4

Chamber Member Town Hall, 4 p.m., Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 1 Tenth St., Augusta. Holiday Open House. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

Thursday, Dec. 7

Chamber Member Economic Luncheon, 11:30 a.m., Augusta Marriott Hotel, 2 Tenth St., Augusta. “What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur,” presented by Russ Krueger of Ocozzio. The 2017 Augusta Entrepreneur award will be presented at the luncheon. Registration required, deadline Dec. 1. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

Sunday, Dec. 10

North Augusta Lions Christmas

14 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

Ribbons Cuttings Scheduled Dec. 6:Crawford Creek/Meybohm Realtors, 10 a.m., 1608 Davenport Dr., Evans Dec. 7:Holiday Inn Augusta West, 4 p.m., 441 Park West Dr., Grovetown

Parade, 2 p.m., Georgia Avenue, North Augusta. “The Sweetest Christmas Ever.” Grand Marshal is Heidi Gray, an eighth grader at Paul Knox Middle School who has starred in “Annie” on Broadway. Deadline for parade entries is Dec. 1. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Monday, Dec. 11

Business After Hours, 5 p.m., Woodside Plantation Country Club,

1000 Woodside Plantation Dr., Aiken. An opportunity for businesses to present themselves to the business community. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

Tuesday, Dec. 12

Chamber After Hours – Christmas Social, 5 p.m., Jones Creek Golf Club. A holiday social and networking opportunity. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Friday, Dec. 15

Good Morning, North Augusta, 7:30 a.m., Palmetto Terrace, North Augusta Municipal Complex, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. “State of Our Community.” Pre-registration required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Tuesday, Dec. 19

Women in Business, 11:30 a.m., Legends Club, Augusta. Holiday See EVENTS on Page 15

EVENTS Continued from Page 14

Luncheon. Registration deadline is Dec. 15. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

Friday, Jan. 5

First Friday Means Business, 7:30 a.m., 117 Newberry St. NW, Aiken. Informative breakfast meeting with a keynote speaker. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

AT THECLUBHOU.SE Augusta Locally Grown has their Downtown Pick-up location at theClubhou.se every Tuesday, 5-7 p.m. Entrepreneur members of theClubhou.se meet every Wednesday morning for Founders Circle, 9-10 a.m. December 1: Deadline for submissions to the TEDxAugusta 2018 Art Exhibition. Apply at tedxaugusta.com December 1: Deadline for applications to Code Bootcamp 3 (begins February 5, 2018) at theClubhou.se. Apply at codeschool.theclubhou.se December 6: Join us for our monthly 1 Million Cups Augusta, a networking event for entrepreneurs. 8-9 a.m. December 7: Inaugural Meetup of Augusta Cloud, a user group for those interested in the cloud and its applications to IT. 6-8 p.m. December 8: Deadline for applications to Startup Life, a year of entrepreneurship. Apply at startuplife.theclubhou.se December 8: SantaCon Pub Crawl in downtown Augusta to benefit theClubhou.se. 4 p.m.-midnight. December 13: ATDC Lunch & Learn - “Customer Discovery Done Right” with Bill Hogan. noon-1 p.m. December 13: Beer & Bytes is presented by ATDC and theClubhou.se, and will feature recent graduates of the Startup Bootcamp giving their pitches, 5-7 p.m. December 15: PyNight is our quarterly night of competitive Python programming. 5-9 p.m. December 25: theClubhou.se will be closed

November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Big Bang Theory

Examining the Birth and Death of a Great Idea BY MARK ALISON

It wasn’t my intention to blow up my little brother but a 12-year-old with a pocket full of M-80s on a Saturday afternoon in July can lead to trouble. In those days you could buy the powerful fireworks for 10 cents each and I had a dollar’s worth. I lit the thick green fuse, dropped it into an old 10-gallon steel milk can we had behind the house, slammed the fivepound mushroom shaped lid down tight and waited. BOOM!! It sent the lid 50 feet into the air billowing a trail of smoke. It was a beautiful thing. BOOM! I fired off another one, this time tilting the can with a wooden wedge to aim the projectile. Hooray! This was way better than blowing up ants with those little Black Kat firecrackers. Then came my Great Idea! If the lid flew 50 feet, how high could I shoot my little brother? He and a bunch of neighborhood kids had come running, attracted by the loud blasts. “How would you like to be an astronaut, Bryan?” I implored him. “Fly up and see the top of our house!” All of the kids wanted the opportunity but he was the smallest and lightest. Bryan volunteered.

Point 1 - A Great Idea, presented with proper enthusiasm, will attract a crowd. I lit the one-quarter stick of dynamite, as M-80s were known to be, dropped it into the can, slammed the lid and Bryan climbed aboard. While we waited for the launch it dawned on me that we had only talked about going up, not about coming down. Point 2 – Great Ideas need to be reviewed by a good lawyer early to protect yourself (and your brother). BOOM! Bryan and the lid lifted off about four feet and crash landed in the dirt without harm. It wasn’t what I had hoped for but it was a start. Everybody cheered. Bryan split the seat of his jeans and ran inside to put on a new pair. Point 3 – Great Ideas will have unforeseen complications. He reappeared momentarily and climbed on top of the can again. This time I suggested he tuck his feet and legs under him instead of letting them dangle off. I thought we might get a better result with him centered on the lid. Point 4 – Great Ideas need to be tested for efficacy. Locked and loaded – BOOM! Now a dozen kids had gathered and there was great cheering and volunteering. Bryan lifted off with a smile and traveled about

16 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

the same distance. Again, he split his pants and again he immediately went inside to change. What if, I wondered, I used two M-80s for the next test? Even though there was a noticeable bulge in the steel can we continued. Great anticipation filled the air. Bryan charged out of the house, ready for another launch. But instead of hearing the screen door slam I looked up to see Mom standing in the door, eyes on fire, one hand firmly on her hip, the other tightly gripping a broom handle and it was very clear that she was not happy. “Bryan!” she yelled, “What are you doing? You have two pairs of split jeans lying on the floor. Do you think money grows on trees? Stop that right now. And Mark, what’s going on out here?” Sheepishly I said, “We were just shooting off some fireworks Mom,” hoping to steer clear of her ire. “Stop it right now!” She shook her finger directly at me and with a sweeping motion she sent home the remaining kids who had not already hightailed it. Point 5 – New Ideas can be squashed before they have a chance to germinate by people, especially well-meaning family members who are trying to “protect you.” My great idea died on the launch pad

that day and Mom was right to squelch it. But that didn’t stop me from having and executing them, and here is what I have learned: Never prematurely share a great idea with anyone. Instead, shape it, let it rest, come at it from a different direction, mold it again and plan for as many objections and unforeseen complications as you can. When you are ready, protect it legally and then pitch it with as much enthusiasm and energy as you can. You know what? You might very well attract a crowd who wants to participate. Everybody has a Great Idea waiting to be launched but fear of failure or ridicule can keep it on the pad. Don’t be intimidated by people who think they know more than you. Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.”

Mark Alison, the Business Accelerator, is an independent marketing counselor. He can be reached at Mark9226@me.com.


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Financial Advisor gil.eaves@nm.com November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Getting Serious How to Select the Right Financial Professional BY KURT MUELLER

Once you’ve decided to get serious about financial planning or investing, your next step may be to seek professional help. Perhaps relatives or friends are recommending financial professionals to you. Maybe you know some financial professionals yourself. But what is the smart way to choose financial planning advice and service? Consider these 10 ideas: 1. Focus on the person – You probably want a relationship that will continue for many years. This relationship usually is built on a personal level, not with companies. That’s why it’s best to set aside the hype and focus instead on the integrity, style, values and work habits of the individual. Attending seminars is a great way to compare financial professionals because it allows you to evaluate styles before you make a commitment. It’s also a good idea to obtain referrals from people you know and trust, ideally those who are clients of the same professional. 2. Find a good fit – Interview several professionals who have been recommended by friends and family – or perhaps those whom you’ve met at networking events or seminars. 3. Go slow – Some of the best financial relationships are built gradually, so don’t feel pressured to make a commitment right away. Tell the professional what you need to accomplish, and don’t let yourself be pushed into complex processes. If you’re buying a financial product, evaluate how well the professional serves you after the first sale. Continuing service is a true test of a dedicated professional. 4. Listen – In your first or second interview, most financial professionals will tell you how they work and what they do best. Sit back, make eye contact and listen carefully. You’ll learn that some professionals are comfortable recommending high-risk investments, while others are more conservative. 5. Expect to be educated – Ask professionals how financial concepts work, and then evaluate how much clarity and care they put into their answers. The best financial professionals are good communicators and educators who don’t mind teaching their clients. Beware of professionals who brush off questions with flip answers. True professionals don’t bully clients with superior financial knowledge. They share it. 6. Discuss fees – Financial professionals can be paid in many ways –through

commissions, hourly fees, or fees based on assets invested with the professional. Any method can work, provided you understand and are comfortable with it up front. Ask candidates how they wish to be paid and approximately how much you should expect to pay them in the first year of your relationship. 7. Ask for documents – Ask to see documents before choosing a financial specialist. If your financial professional acts as an Investment Advisor Representative providing investment advice, ask to see a sample plan and make sure you are comfortable with its depth and style. 8. Evaluate the process – At some point early in your relationship, the financial specialist probably will make a specific recommendation to you, which can involve buying an investment or insurance product, participating in a planning analysis, or opening a brokerage account. Before accepting or rejecting the recommendation, ask yourself if the financial professional learned enough about you and your needs to make an appropriate recommendation at that point. If a recommendation comes too fast, it’s a sign that the financial professional is focusing on his or her needs more than yours. 9. Credentials and background – Many financial specialists have college

18 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

degrees, and many also have earned professional designations such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). Once you are comfortable with a financial professional’s style and methods and have checked out personal recommendations, consider degrees and designations as the “icing on the cake.” 10. Remember your financial professional’s role – Your financial professional isn’t your parent, buddy or psychiatrist – and he or she won’t set strict rules on how you can invest or cheer you up when your investments are dropping. Your financial professional will prove most valuable by listening to your needs, making clear recommendations, helping you avoid mistakes, and always telling you the truth. When financial professionals exaggerate their skills or promise success, consider that a red flag. The best financial professionals are helpful and dedicated people who, whenever you have a serious need or question, will make time to address it. Even if you aren’t their wealthiest client, they’ll recognize that your financial goals are important. They won’t make investing or planning difficult for you. At every opportunity, they will try to simplify your

life without glossing over difficult decisions or unpleasant results. A good financial specialist will remind you that you are in charge of achieving your own goals, and you can do that best when you have the benefit of accurate information, objective analysis, and clear recommendations. Prepared by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. The information contained in this article is for general, informational purposes only.

Kurt Mueller is an independent financial advisor for the Consolidated Planning Group and worked on preparation of this article with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. The information contained in this article is for general, informational purposes only. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents or employees do not give tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your individual situation. To make an appointment with Kurt—call 803.671.8792 or email kmueller@cplanning.com

MORNINGSIDE HELPS RESIDENTS By Gary Kauffman When Greg Richard helped his parents move into Morningside of Evans 10 years ago it was because of concern for his mother’s physical and mental health. Memory confusion was part of that concern. Now, a decade later, things have changed. Richard’s father, Marvin, passed away four years ago but his mother, Miriam, still lives at Morningside and will celebrate her 91st birthday at the end of the year. Best of all, she’s in better health now than when she first arrived. “My mom is in better overall health – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually – than she was 10 years ago,” Richard said. “I owe a lot of that to the Morningside team, with their ability to engage and to give purpose to life. The socialization here is such a big stimuli.” He added that while living in their home, his mother tried managing the medications for both her and his father, often unsuccessfully. Having assistance in stabilizing medicine and a staff that pays attention to day-today changes in needs played a big role in her present condition. Although wheelchair-bound because of arthritis, Miriam Richard is inquisitive and knowledgeable. She knows about the lives of the other residents and their children, as well as about the staff and their families. “My mom knows a little bit about everything and everybody,” Richard said. Kellie Pugh, executive director of Morningside, said the family atmosphere at the cozy facility on North Belair Road is intentional. “This culture is so warm and inviting that it’s very easy for our residents to make friends with each other,” she said. “The staff is so involved with them and that trickles down to the residents being involved with each other. It’s like one big family.” Richard saw that family-like atmosphere first-hand when his father passed away. His parents had been married for 65 years, and it was the first time his mother would be alone. As he prepared to leave for his home in Tennessee, several of the women residents at Morningside pulled him aside to say they knew what she was going through. “They said, ‘We’ve all lost our husbands. We’ll take care of your mother,’” Richard recalled.


But convincing his parents, especially his mother, to leave their home of 60 years in Lincolnton to move to Morningside was no easy task. The first time he spoke to his mother about it was memorable. “She proceeded to point across the pasture to her Mom and Dad’s place and said, ‘I was born there and I’ve lived here 60 years and I’ll

Executive Director Kellie Pugh handles all of the tours AND is on site each day to oversee the care of all of her clients

die here. Don’t bring this subject up again.’” It’s a situation many adult children face with their aging parents and it is seldom pleasant. “No one wakes up and thinks they’re going to make this move,” Pugh said. “A lot of times it’s a role reversal, where the child becomes the parent and has to put his foot down.” Richard said, “When that role reversal comes you feel that your parents had to make the decisions they felt were best for you, and now you have to love your parents enough to make the right decision for them, even it hurts a little bit up front.” For Richard, it helped to enlist his father as a reluctant ally. They toured several facilities and both liked the atmosphere and culture at Morningside. Then he convinced his father to move into the facility with his mother.


Pugh understands the reluctance many seniors have about moving to an assisted living facility because of their impressions of nursing homes of the past. “That’s the thing that comes to mind but assisted living is not that,” she said. “Moving is very scary. I’m an outgoing person but when I go to a new place I stand back until I get used to it. It’s a matter of educating them and building trust with them.” She invites the prospective residents to lunch to get to know the place and meet other residents, which helps build a level of comfort before making a permanent move. Richard said one thing he notices with every visit to Morningside is the smell.

TS THRIVE IN ALL AREAS OF LIFE “It’s really what you don’t smell,” he said. “You don’t smell urine, you don’t smell disinfectants. You can drop in anytime and what you smell is food. They make it appealing to the senses. It’s decorated in such a way that it feels like someone’s home.”


Morningside offers five floor plans for its living areas, ranging from a small studio apartment to a two-bedroom apartment. Residents are encouraged to bring their own furniture, décor and belongings so it feels as close to being at home as possible. That helps them adjust better to their new surroundings and lifestyle. Loss of control of their lives is one of the hardest adjustments for most residents. “They’ve lost control of living at home, lost control of driving their car, lost control of making decisions,” Pugh said. “There are very few things they have a voice in. But the two things they can control is what they eat and what activities they do. So the two biggest areas where residents complain are about food and activities, because they feel they still have some semblance of control.” Richard appreciates that Pugh and her staff allow residents to voice their complaints and consider them thoughtfully, making adjustments and changes when appropriate.

Augusta, so they appreciate the care their mother receives. “We’re able to sleep well at night knowing she’s taken care of and if something happens, we’ll be notified right away,” he said. Now that she’s been living at Morningside for 10 years, Richard said his mother doesn’t want to move. “She’s headstrong and very vocal, but she loves this place,” Richard said. “If she didn’t, she wouldn’t be here.” Richard continues to be amazed at the improvement his mother has made in the past decade under the care of the Morningside staff. “Her memory has gotten better and better,” he said. “Maybe they should change the name of this place to the Fountain of Youth.”

To learn more about Morningside of Evans, call Kellie Pugh at

706-228-4709 or go to

www.morningsideofevans.com or stop by for a visit at 353 North Belair Road in Evans


Isolation is a problem for many seniors living at home. Lonely days can result in depression, poor nutrition and deteriorating health. Morningside keeps residents active and engaged. “They’re eating right, they’re taking their medications and the activities have them moving around, where if they were at home they’d be sitting in front of the TV, asleep with their feet up,” Pugh said. She said that most people wait too long before considering the move to an assisted living facility. They wait until something happens, a fall or a medical condition, and they make a panicked decision. Pugh advised looking for telltale signs, such as safety and memory loss, to begin the process of choosing an assisted living facility before an emergency situation arises.


But an assisted living facility isn’t just a good idea for seniors; it benefits their children as well. It provides peace of mind about the health and safety of their parents. “You’re really not purchasing a room, or a view or even the food,” Richard said. “You’re purchasing that security and peace of mind, knowing you can trust the team to do the right thing.” Richard and his brothers all live away from

Miriam Richard has been a resident of Morningside of Evans for 10 years. She is visited by her sons Marty, Greg and George, and Greg’s wife, Ellen. - Photo by Gary Kauffman

22 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017





BREAKFAST MEETINGS LUNCH ‘N LEARN DINNERS/SPECIAL EVENTS 544 N. Belair Road Evans, Ga 706.228.3018 crackerbarrel.com November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Being Different An Atmosphere of Encouragement Makes a Great Christmas Gift BY GARY KAUFFMAN

For many small business owners, the approaching Christmas holiday is one that brings joy but can also add a bit of stress. Employees, deservedly so, expect something from the owner for Christmas, but what should that be: An office party, a bonus, a gift card, possibly a fruit cake (no, never a fruit cake. Cross that off your list). Depending on the size and health of the business, these Christmas gifts can put a dent in either the company or personal budget, perhaps both. But there is one gift that comes at no cost and may be the most meaningful of all to an employee – encouragement. Now, I’m not advocating that you don’t give a Christmas bonus of some kind. A bonus is always appropriate, even if it can only be a token amount. But in addition, and as a continuing gift throughout the year, add in some encouragement, thanks and praise. Too often, we can go through life offering comments only when someone underperformed or made a mistake. I had a baseball coach like that once – he was

quick and effusive with his criticism, but praise and encouragement was not a part of his vocabulary. The only way you knew you were performing well was when he didn’t say anything. In 1 Thess. 5:11, Paul tells believers, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” In Eph. 4:29 he says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” This doesn’t have to be some effusive, wordy display – even something as simple as telling an employee, “I really appreciate that you’re always on time” can be an encouragement. Noticing when they did a job well, and mentioning it, is important. And it is even more important to give a verbal gift when an employee goes above and beyond. Of course, employees will not always perform perfectly. Sometimes stepping in with a bit of extra training, or assistance with a tough project, creates an environment of encouragement and gratitude

that leads to better performance and eliminates mistakes. Speaking encouragement to the employees creates a culture of employees building up one another as well. This creates a happy environment where employees enjoy working. And if your employees enjoy working there, your customers will be much happier, too. And if you have happy employees and customers, your job as business owner becomes much more pleasant. Best of all, this gift of encouragement costs you nothing except a little extra attention and making the effort to reward people with thanks and praise. It’s a great gift – but don’t forget the monetary pres-

ents as well. Otherwise you might end up with a stocking stuffed with coal. Or worse, a fruitcake.

Gary Kauffman of North Augusta is a freelance writer and product photographer and is studying to become a Christian life coach. Contact him at glkauffman77@gmail.com or 803-341-5830.

Finding What Really Matters

If You Feel Like a Rat, It’s Time to Drop out of the Rat Race BY DAGAN SHARPE

We are all too familiar with what it means to be the weakest link – and not many desire to be considered one. However, sometimes we may be exactly that if we are not guarded and aware to those things that can derail our best intentions. Distractions: When we get distracted, we lose clarity and focus of what our primary responsibilities are. There is a verse in the Bible that asks for the wisdom to keep from looking to worthless things. This is a great reminder, because we can all get distracted by the “shiny” objects at times and miss the greater opportunities. I know this temptation all too well as a “recovering workaholic.” I nearly sacrificed all I dearly love for those things that can bring only short-term value. Divisions: A Russian proverb says, “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.” And this is exactly what divided priorities do. We have to determine our primary priorities and then pursue and protect them. For most people these can be narrowed

down to faith, family, fitness (health) and finances. However, it’s easy to get these all mixed up and try to focus on two or more of them with the same intensity. The typical result is none of them get our best. Therefore, actively managing our priorities is extremely beneficial. I know my family, for example, is forever grateful that I keep them properly prioritized. My health is another area of improvement – I was once maxed-out, stressed-out and nearly taken out by neglecting my body with over-work, poor eating and little to no exercise due to blindly prioritizing and pursuing financial prosperity above all.

24 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

Devotions: What do our hearts most desire? This is important to know because our devotions greatly propel our priorities. Do we most desire possessions, positions, promotions, pleasures and/or power? These are not bad things to desire in and of themselves, but when they become our greatest ambitions they detract from weightier treasures, such as our faith, family and health. Again, “blind” ambition nearly cost me all these things. Ambition is a good thing, but when it is blind, without a greater vision, it can be very destruc-

tive. Ambition for greater faith, stronger families, good health and sound financial stewardship, however, is constructive. Wisdom is applying what we know to be true and not merely acting on our feelings and emotions. We may know our families, faith and health are important to us, but what do our actions indicate? Are we becoming the weak link in these areas due to distractions, divided priorities and misaligned devotions? Thankfully, it’s not too late to correct the ship – we must simply be courageous enough to correct our course.

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.

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November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz



People buy things without seeing them, strangely enough. Furniture is no exception. Mark Weinberger, owner of Weinberger’s Furniture and Mattress Showcase (along with four other businesses under the Weinberger brand), knows this. He doesn’t quite understand it, though. He knows that online retail companies like Wayfair have succeeded in making home furnishing seemingly easier for Americans everywhere. He understands the “convenience factor.” But he also knows that Wayfair is not a profitable company. The retail giant is projected to lose around $200 million this year, despite the fact that its stock has doubled in the same time span. Some investors and analysts are more optimistic than others. Weinberger doesn’t think it’s sustainable, and he’s been in the furniture business much longer that Wayfair. Whereas Wayfair has emerged from the latest retail trends, Weinberger’s is closing in on a full century of business in the CSRA (the company celebrated its 85th year in 2017). Whatever the rest of the world throws at Weinberger – a third generation owner of the family company that his grandparents Abe and Hannah Fogel opened as a used furniture business in 1932 – he’s not worried about taking it on. He has weathered a recession and a complete shift in customers’ stylistic tastes. He has grown the Weinberger brand to include affordable products at an outlet across the street from the company’s main showroom (Weinberger’s Furniture and Rug Outlet) as well as a collection of workplace designs and supplies (Weinberger’s Business Interiors and Weinberger’s Office Supply). No matter how the business has changed, Weinberger’s has continued to rely on the same core of principles that allowed it to not only to survive but thrive in 2008, when Weinberger’s gained market share as other businesses were struggling to keep their heads above water. Did you always think this was a business you would take over? I never really thought about anything else. Except for four years of college at the University of Georgia, I’ve been here. I started in 1978, and that was the year we moved from Broad Street to Washington Road. That was the year the malls opened and there were quite a few furniture stores on Broad Street. Most of them moved out to what we called the suburbs at that time.

Mark Weinberger, Weinberger’s Furniture and Mattress Showcase What did you learn from your dad? My dad taught me that when you have so many people that trust you and are loyal to you, you go out of your way to do what you can for them and for everybody. What’s been the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make while you’ve owned this business? Our foot traffic is less than it used to be. People don’t seem to go to quite as many stores, because they’ve narrowed down what they want and they know who carries it. Our close ratio is better because they are better educated. From a style standpoint, 15-20 years ago, this area was a very traditional area. People maybe wanted what their parents had. Today, nobody wants what their parents had. Augusta’s not a really contemporary market either. It’s more of the casual-type things that have become a lot more popular. People aren’t as formal. Formal dining rooms are almost a thing of the past. China cabinets are a thing of the past. I don’t know where people display anything anymore. You know, we used to sell

26 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

big china cabinets for dining rooms, and now people use buffets. How have online furniture sales affected your business? People will buy things without seeing them, unbelievably. We have a lot of people who come in and do that, and they’re real unhappy with what they’ve done, because they have something now they don’t like. But the internet has helped us in a lot of ways because people go online and do a lot of research. So they’re a lot better educated when they come in. The biggest misconception with the internet is that when you buy something on the internet, it’s cheaper. With furniture, I challenge people all the time. Go anywhere in my store, and write down 10 items. Go on Wayfair or any of those sites, and compare the price of mine. And you’ll find that the price is almost always higher on the internet. Their prices are not competitive with local people. If they sell you something and you don’t like it, they’ll take it back. Well, it’s worthless when they take it back. So their overhead is huge. Where do you buy your products? It’s more complicated than it was years ago. Instead of just buying from North Carolina companies, we’re buying from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico. People think if it comes from China and Vietnam it’s not going to be good quality, and that’s not true either. They make all kinds of products, and we buy from the

ones that make the nicer products, obviously. But we have, in the last 10 years, really made an effort to buy from American-made companies. Most all of our sofas and chairs are made in this country. We’re buying quite a bit of Amish-made furniture that comes out of Ohio and Indiana. That’s been fun too. Have you seen the Augusta market change more than usual over the last couple years? It’s growing because we’re getting so many new people in town. We get about 30 people a week that are new in town, between our three stores. And it’s incredible. They’re coming from, really, all over. If you project, I think the next few years to the next 10 or 20 years are going to be incredible. Have you ever seen that much of a jump in the number of people coming in the door? Not in my career, I don’t think. I mean we had large companies come into town in the past. They would bring 300 or 400 people. But we’re talking thousands now. In the ‘80s, when Plant Vogtle built the first two reactors, there were 8,000 construction workers. That was a big shot in the arm for the economy. But this is way bigger. These people are moving in with their families, buying homes, buying furniture and cars and everything else. What are the best and worst parts of working with family? I guess the best part is you can always count on them. I guess the worst part is learning to separate business from personal. My wife tried to work here, and when it didn’t go her way at work and it didn’t go well during the day, it was like, what are we having for dinner? She looked at me like, “What are you, crazy? I’m not fixing you dinner.” You can’t do that you know? With my daughter (Karly Weinberger), we have so much modern technology – the website, the ways we advertise, the way we do our merchandising – it really needs somebody with a little bit younger eyes rather than somebody like me that’s been doing it for 40 years. But she’s taken the bull by its horns and over that time period taken more and more responsibility. When you look forward, what do you see for Weinberger’s? I see us, over the next five or 10 years, growing fairly substantially. We don’t usually see people one time. They buy from us and then they continue to. Our repeat business is huge, because we earn their trust and loyalty. Bottom line is, you just have to take care of your customers. Do the right thing.

November 30-December 21 2017 Buzz on Biz


Time Runs Out

IRS Ends Extensions for Employer Section 6055, 6056 Reporting BY RUSSELL HEAD

On Oct. 17, the IRS released a statement that it would not accept electronically filed tax returns where individual taxpayers do not indicate whether they had coverage, had an exemption or will make a shared responsibility payment. Likewise, the processing of paper returns that do not address the health coverage requirements may be delayed pending a response. As a result, employees will be looking to their employers sooner than ever for their required Form 1095-C, mandated by Healthcare Reform’s Sections 6055 and 6056. While employers have been treated to deadline extensions for the past two years, it is unlikely that one will be given this year, and employers should be planning now to meet the Jan. 31, 2018 due date for providing reporting forms to employees. Very little has changed in the way of the substance of the reporting. However, the following is a refresher on the employer mandated reporting: What is the purpose of the forms? Sections 6055 and 6056 were added to the Internal Revenue Code by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The purpose of the forms is to report the type of coverage offered (or not offered) by employers, and in

what, if any, coverage the employee enrolled. Who is required to report? Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) (defined as those with 50 or more fulltime equivalent employees), and members of a controlled or affiliated service group that collectively has at least 50 full-time employees, are required to report on the coverage offered to eligible employees. In addition to this data, all employers (regardless of size) who sponsor self-insured health coverage must report on the enrollment status of all employees and dependents covered under their plan. Health insurance carriers and the Marketplace also have separate reporting re-

quirements, resulting in some individuals receiving more than one reporting form. Will employees file their 1095 forms with their tax return? While the information provided on the various 1095 forms may be helpful in completing their 2017 filing, individuals should not include a copy of the form with their tax return. The IRS encourages individuals to keep the forms with their copy with their tax return. What are this year’s reporting deadlines? Forms 1095-C for the 2017 calendar year must be furnished to employees by Jan. 31, 2018. Forms 1094-C and 1095C are required to be filed to the IRS by

Feb. 28, 2018 for paper filers, or April 2, 2018, if filing electronically. (Electronic filing is required for employers filing on behalf of 250 or more employees.) What are the penalties for not filing? One thing that has changed for 2017 reporting is increased fines for not completing employee and/or IRS forms. Failure to provide timely employee forms can result in a per employee fine of $250 (up from $100 last year); even more if the IRS determines an “intentional disregard” for reporting responsibilities. Action Steps Employers should be working year round to obtain and track required reporting data. Due to the complexities of healthcare reporting, many employers choose to outsource this chore. However, even third-party reporting solutions require timely submission of data. Prudent employers will have a solution in place long before January’s deadline. Russell T. Head is CEO with Head Capital Advisors, an Acrisure agency partner and Augusta’s largest employee benefits brokerage. Call 706.733.3459.

Getting Personal

Knowing Individual Styles Builds a Better Team BY STACY ROBERTS

One thing I’ve learned from being in different leadership roles over the years is that no two team members are exactly alike. I’ve had to learn different strategies and tools to motivate and hold each member of my team accountable. I’m not advising that rules and guidelines be twisted depending on who you’re dealing with. Behavior like that can cause many issues in a team environment. However, it is important to understand that everyone learns and works differently. They bring different ideas, skills, and talents to the table – and all of them are important. For example, let’s say your team had to create a PowerPoint to explain a new company policy and this PowerPoint had to be presented by the end of the week. For one employee, all you may have to do is tell them that you need a PowerPoint explaining the new company policy by Friday. That’s it! You have the PowerPoint presentation in your email as early as Thursday afternoon with no questions asked. However, another employee may need more details. They may want to know the

length of the PowerPoint, how detailed the policy explanation needs to be, and so on. Knowing your team’s personalities and work habits can help give you wisdom and knowledge on how to guide them to success. It’s also helpful to know how your team functions in case someone’s behavior changes. Let’s say you had an ideal employee who always was on time for work and was one of your top performers. Then you notice that they’re suddenly tardy multiple times a week and their production has slowed drastically. Since you know this isn’t your employee’s normal behavior, you can address this issue with understanding and compassion. Instead of assuming they’re just slacking off, you can approach them by asking if anything in their personal life is impacting their work. Then you can communicate and work with them to resolve the problem. Many things can impact an employee’s work performance. When we take the time to build healthy relationships with our teams, we can avoid assuming things about them. I challenge you as a leader to take the time to get to know and understand the

28 Buzz on Biz October 26-November 30, 2017

different dynamics that make up each person on your team. This can be applied to your home life as well. As a leader in your home, take the time to get to know your spouse and children. Know what motivates and inspires them. Have wisdom on how to deal with them. Once we do this, we can work well together and handle people correctly. Remember that part of being an effective leader is treating everyone right. In order to do this, you have to know who’s on your team.

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

November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Hitting the Virtual Links

Indoor Golf One of Several Virtual Adventures Available in CSRA By Witt Wells

Despite playing in numerous golf tournaments every year when I was young, I rarely get out on the course anymore – once or twice a summer if I’m lucky. So I wasn’t upset when I discovered I could still hit a 7-iron nearly 170 yards. Of course, conditions were ideal – a clean shot off the turf, no wind, air conditioning, a highdefinition display of my shot, including the distance and velocity statistics of each stroke. I’d never played virtual golf before. But if I had $18,000 lying around, I’d at least flirt with the idea of installing one at home. That’s the cost of one TruGolf simulator, and Augusta Virtual Golf owner Tom Clancy says that’s pretty cheap compared to other brands that use the same technology. Alas, if you want to play Augusta National, you’re out of luck. Growing the game of golf has been an explicit goal of Augusta National for years, but that didn’t extend to the gaming world for long. Barring an appearance on Masters ’98: Hakaru Naru Augusta, a Nintendo 64 game released in Japan in 1997, the world’s most legendary and mysterious golf course didn’t appear in a video game until EA released Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 in 2011. Three years later, when EA rebranded the game and released Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, Augusta National had disappeared from the lineup, which featured all three of the other majors. In a statement, EA said that the contract with Augusta National had expired, and it hasn’t ap-

peared in a video game since. As locals are well aware, Augusta National likes to keep things mystical. Clancy and I were the only ones in the building that Monday evening at Augusta Virtual Golf. As I continued to slice shot after shot in a driving range in the mountains of New Mexico, Clancy reminded me that before selling virtual golf experiences here, he was selling Triumph and Ducati motorcycles out of the same building. He says he’s too old and injury-ridden to pursue that passion anymore. The timing worked out, because the business became too stagnant, too. In Clancy’s view, the industry lacks new blood and, as a result, new ideas. Besides, he says, all young people want to do these days is look at their phones anyway.

That might be a bit of a generalization. But it is true that millennials aren’t doing Harley-Davidson any favors, sales-wise. High-definition golfing with no walking could be right up millennials’ alley. Now Clancy will just have to wait and see if they’re willing to drive/Uber to get there. Virtual golf is not a brand new development. TruGolf has been perfecting simulations of the game since 1995. But as far as virtual reality games go, now seems to be the time to invest in one of millennials’ favorite hobbies. Source Code Escape Games, a new escape room center downtown, has made virtual reality escape rooms one of the core elements of a holistic experience that ranges from VR to ax throwing. Just days before that, at the North Augusta Growthfest, my first ever virtual

reality experience came in the form of a cosmic battle with heavily-armed, flying robots. I’m not a gamer, but I was dialed in, and it wasn’t difficult to tune out the fact that in a packed small business expo; I undoubtedly looked like a fool. Cooler than motorcycles? I would never suggest it, Tom. Only time will tell whether VR becomes as widely popular in the mainstream as tech geeks projected it would. After the most recent wave of VR post-launch buzz, nationwide sales have reportedly failed to meet expectations, according to Fortune and others. Regardless, one-time experiences at a downtown venue like Source Code might just catch on for Augustans. Want to solve a series of puzzles to navigate through a futuristic space station? Go for it. Or maybe escape the haunted halls of an abandoned mansion? It’s all you. Feel like exploring the scenic twists and turns of the storied links at Augusta National? As Bishop Bullwinkle and Augusta National have both said many a time… Hell to the Naw. Maybe next year! Witt Wells is a Memphis-born writer with a love for comedy, the written word and the outdoors. He lives in Augusta, where he reports on business news in the CSRA. Contact him at witt.wells@buzzon.biz.

All Eyes on You

5 Ways to Give a Remarkable Presentation


As an entrepreneur, you’ll likely have to give a presentation at some point in your career, and you want to make sure your talk is remarkable and not pitiful. To help you develop an amazing speech, here are a few tips to keep in mind. 1. Who’s in the seats? Before you begin designing a PowerPoint layout or even typ-

ing up your speech, take a moment to think about the demographics of your audience and outline the most important points you want to share. Use this prepping time to also think through the flow of your presentation and decide if you need to re-arrange or rework your topics so your presentation remains intriguing and interesting. 2. Don’t be boring. Today’s society is fast paced which means the attention span is short. So, start your presentation off with an attention grabber, such as a compelling quote, question or statistic. You can also use a story to not only captivate your audience, but to expound on key points you want to discuss. Remember, you want to start off with a bang so you can get your audience’s attention before introducing your topic. 3. Keep it interactive. Although you’re the one giving the presentation, you want

30 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

to make sure your audience feels a part of the conversation. One of the best ways to do this is by including a few moments throughout your talk for the audience to ask questions. You might even want to consider interjecting a few of your own open-ended questions to get the crowd talking. 4. Practice, Practice, Practice. Before the big day arrives, go through your speech a few times and practice how you want to present your talking points. Think about asking a trusted colleague to watch you practice so you can get their opinion and make some last-minute changes. 5. Take a moment to reflect. Once you’ve given your presentation, consider asking a friend for their feedback and even take some time to reflect on what worked, as well as those parts that need improve-

ment. These moments of review will help you become more relaxed and prepared for the next presentation.

Danielle Harris is the CEO and founder of SDI, a leadership mentoring program for entrepreneurs, and earned her certification as a Personal Development Coach from the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute, an affiliate of the International Coach Federation. Reach her (762) 333-2868 or at SDILeadershipAcademy@gmail.com.

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Business Casual dress is loved by many but despised by others. To understand casual, let’s talk a little about the history of business dress. In particular, men’s business dress, since appropriate women’s business wear derives from the men’s. Once upon a time, anyone working in an office wore a suit, light colored shirt and a tie. No choices. Shirt cuffs and collars were separate pieces attached to a shirt. This made laundering less of a chore, as the collars and cuffs (which dirty first) could be removed for cleaning, and the shirt worn more than once before laundering. White collars and cuffs were the most likely to get dirty, and were worn by office workers, while laborers wore blue collars, as they showed the dirt less quickly. Electric washers and dryers have made the practicality of removable collars and cuffs a moot point, but we still hold onto the white collar/blue collar divide. Business dress has its roots in military uniforms. Imagine the three-piece suit, shirt and tie as more “armored” and therefore, more formal or businesslike. The most common business suit, the twopiece, worn with a light-colored shirt and a tie, is still the standard for conservative business environments such as law, banking, and finance. This makes sense as formal “reads” as more trustworthy or professional; I certainly don’t want to put my life or life savings into the hands of someone who looks casual or “risky.” So where did business casual come

from? You can thank the manufacturers of Hawaiian shirts looking to drum up business in the 1960s. Their marketing strategy was Aloha Fridays. The concept was to stimulate the local garment industry and showcase their unique look and product. (We could discuss the leisure suits of the 1970s, but some stones should not be overturned!) Fast-forward to the recession of the 1990s. Businesses were looking for ways to give their employees an inexpensive (read: free) perk, and some experimented with Casual Fridays. At many workplaces too much casual, and not enough business was showing up in the office Friday mornings. At the same time, Levi’s had just acquired the Dockers brand. A brilliant marketer decided that Dockers were the answer to the What-to-Wear-on-Casual-Fridays problem, and created HowTo-Dress brochures targeted to Human Resources departments. Voila! The Casual Friday uniform was born. Through further economic and societal shifts, Casual Fridays became Business Casual, which has since morphed into the khakis and polos considered business wear in many circles. Employees are often pleased because Business Casual means less money spent on clothes only worn for the office, and fewer dry cleaner visits. On the down side, clients can wonder if they are talking to the mail clerk or the CEO. A recent evolution in business dress is the Dress-For-Your-Day concept touted by companies who think of themselves as flex-

ible, employee friendly, modern and team driven. Essentially, it means dressing for what you have on your schedule that day. If you will spend the day in your cubicle writing reports, then jeans and a tee may be just fine. If you have client meetings, you could need to don a suit and tie. Internal meetings may require trousers and a polo, or sport shirt. Dress-ForYour-Day sounds like the perfect answer as a friendly dress code, but often leaves much to be desired. Plans change at the last minute, and running home to change clothes on the way to meet a client is an added stress most of us don’t need. And if the client shows up at the office unannounced? A roomful of employees in

jeans and logo tees may not be the impression you wanted to make!

Liz Klebba of CP Image is a trained image and wardrobe coach and skilled member of the Association of Image Consultants International. She helps clients express their personal style in a way integrated with their lifestyles and values, and helps businesses finesse the tricky waters of employee dress issues with workshops, training, and mediation. Contact her at info@ closetplay.biz or 706-691-4298.


Employee Image Workshops Dress & Communication · Virtual Communication Color Psychology · Dress & Uniform Code Advisement Personality Image Consulting · TV\Video Color Consulting Retail Training · Personal Services also available

info@closetplay.biz | 706.691.4298 closetplay.biz 32 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

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Double Duty Dual Enrollment Lets High Schoolers Earn College Credits

sociate’s degree in the same year as high school graduation, all at no cost to the family. Parents also point out that students feel comfortable at GMC, making the transition into college less shocking than moving away straight from high school to a college dorm. Eligibility for participation in the dual enrollment program is based on a student’s high school GPA, approval by the high school counselor and SAT, ACT, or Accuplacer test scores. Students who do not score high enough or who have not taken the SAT or ACT can opt to take the Accuplacer placement test at our campus at no cost.


Did you know that your high school student has several options for getting ahead on earning college credit? The dual enrollment program in Georgia allows high school students to enroll at a college or university, taking up to 12 credit hours without any cost to the family. Specific courses will give credit towards high school and college graduation simultaneously. For parents considering dual enrollment for their teenagers, there are many questions and a few concerns. Some parents fear that the classes will be too challenging or that their student won’t fit into the environment. Maybe it’ll be too much work at a faster pace than they’ve grown accustomed. However, parents who take the time to inquire learn that an above average high school student who is bored, loves a challenge and has no trouble meeting deadlines will succeed in dual enrollment college courses. Since guidance counselors work closely with college representatives, they can often suggest good transition courses to start. Many colleges, like Georgia Military College, offer support to dual enrollment students so they will succeed. GMC offers free tutoring, success coaches and an overall nurturing, encouraging environment. Academic Advisors communicate often with the high school guidance counselor so there are no surprises when a student shows early signs of struggle in a course. Classes at GMC have a diverse population with varying age ranges, but often

there are other dually enrolled students in each class. Students who love the challenge and are bored in high school will love that the courses they take at Georgia Military College in nine weeks earns the same credit that it takes them a year to earn at the high school level. That course also counts toward future college completion! When asked what advice they’d provide to anyone considering dual enrollment, students and parents often say they wish they had known that Georgia allows students to participate as early as ninth grade. This allows a student to complete a technical certificate, technical diploma or an associate’s degree. GMC has seen several students graduate with an as-

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

Rites of the Fall A Good Exterior Clean Preps Home for Winter BY TONY CREIGHTON

Fall is a beautiful time of year across the country, particularly in Georgia with rich, vibrant fall foliage. It is also a great time of year to showcase your own home by adding visual appeal. Over the course of hot and humid spring and summer conditions, your home’s surfaces, including its roof, siding or brick, and concrete walkway and driveway have been accumulating dirt, grime, algae and other organic growth and materials. A good pressure washing can help revive your home for the fall and winter. Here are a few areas to consider: Concrete cleaning. Your home’s driveway and walkway surfaces are one of the first aspects of your home noticed by neighbors, visitors and passersby, particularly if you are entertaining for the holidays, hosting college football parties or decorating for the upcoming holiday season. No matter how much effort you put into adding visual appeal to your home, if your concrete surfaces are dingy or dirty, it will instantly detract from your hard work. A concrete driveway cleaning by a professional pressure washing company such as AllClean Pressure Washing will treat and remove dirt, debris, and other organic growth and materials that have

been absorbed and could cause your concrete to crack, split or chip. Exterior home SoftWash. One of the easiest ways to increase your home’s visual appeal is to hire a professional company that is knowledgeable in the SoftWashing technique that causes no damage to surfaces. The fall season provides an opportunity to remove the grit and grime that has adhered to your home’s siding or brick throughout the spring and summer – dulling your home’s color, and in some cases, even causing your home to appear dirty – while protecting it against harsh winter weather conditions to come. A good exterior wash provides a clean that

not only allows your home’s true beauty to shine, but we do so in the safest. Roof cleaning. If you’ve been outside recently and noticed dark streaks on your roof, don’t be fooled. These streaks aren’t caused by the cool, wet weather that comes with fall. These streaks are caused by a blue-green algae known as Gloeocapsa magma, which not only diminishes the clean appearance of your home, but can in fact cause damage over time. A licensed and experienced pressure washing company that has spent countless hours training and utilizing the most up-to-date methods can remove this and other organic growth on your roof safely and effectively.

Gutter cleaning. As beautiful as the fall foliage in Georgia can be, once it falls, it can cause a major headache for homeowners with gutters. Leaves can fall and accumulate in gutters, mixing with other organic growth and materials, creating an opportunity for overflowing, leaky gutters. Instead of spending days cleaning and scraping gutters out yourself, let a professional power washing company clean them for you. When you are ready to add visual appeal to your home this fall, begin with a professional SoftWash like that offered by AllClean. Call today to schedule your free estimate and service.

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

November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Taste of the Mediterranean

Laziza Offer Delicious Non-Traditional Lunch Options BY SUSAN O’KEEFE

With a traditional casual counter-order style, Laziza Mediterranean Grill in Evans is becoming a hot spot for diners looking for options in the non-traditional category. Upon entering, a friendly welcome greeting was extended from the gentleman behind the counter. Later, I discovered he was the owner. When the boss sets the bar high, employees are most likely to follow. With my foot barely in the door, I was already impressed with the customer-friendly atmosphere. As a newcomer to Mediterranean fare, I peppered the owner with questions. He was ready, willing and able to share. He mentioned that the menu has quite a few Lebanese items but there are plenty that extend beyond those borders, thus the Mediterranean part of the restaurant’s name. A marinated chicken, slow roasted on a vertical rotisserie and shaved thin is the grill’s most popular item. Dubbed simply “chicken shawarma,” it’s served with white or brown rice, hummus, pita and Greek salad. I decided the shawarma should be sampled so it made the order list. Overhearing a nearby customer rave about the falafel convinced my colleague to order the same. “It’s the only place in town that knows how to make falafel,” the diner opined. “So many times it’s mushy, but not here. It’s amazing.” In the interest of supporting locallyowned businesses, it’s important to note that Laziza has been serving Mediterranean fare for more than five years in Evans. Its pita bread is purchased from a small bakery in Doraville northeast of Atlanta. I appreciated the owner’s words and phrases such as “customize your order” and

Laziza Food Price Location Networking Noise Level Laziza Mediterranean Grill is located at 4272 Washington Road, Suite 5A in Evans. Their phone number is 706-504-4303. Follow them on social media including Facebook and Twitter.

“however you want it” as I was perusing the menu. In the grand scheme of restaurant reviews, customer service is imperative, non-negotiable and takes priority. The interior of Laziza is pleasant, still seems new, and is spacious with half a dozen booths, plus tables and chairs. Since temperatures were pleasing, my cohorts and I decided to take a seat on the sidewalk tables. I overheard customers entering and commenting on how much they love coming to Laziza. One woman

remarked that there are several vegetarian options which keep her coming back for more. A returning customer is always a good sign. The owner himself served our food. The falafel pita wrap was unique, filling and fantastic. It was stuffed with falafel, hummus, lettuce, tomato, pickles and tahini sauce. The side order of stuffed grape leaves made for a filling meal. At $10, that’s worth two thumbs up. There was definitely an adequate amount warrant-






34 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

ing a to-go box. The chicken shawarma was equally scrumptious. On my next visit, I hope to sample the sampler platter with beef and chicken kebabs. A friend raved about the Greek salad so that will be on my order list as well. And for the customer interested in catering a Mediterranean meal, Laziza can fit the bill. Laziza means “delicious” in Arabic and, true to the meaning of the restaurant’s name, the food was delicious. For a hearty Mediterranean meal, Laziza takes top honors.

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.

November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Back to the Future

Stores Selling the Past Look to be Part of Augusta’s Future By Witt Wells

In downtown Augusta, antique stores have become antiques themselves. That didn’t stop John McBrayer from opening his own in the heart of the city’s central business district. With his upbringing, it only made sense. “I was born into a 200-year-old house full of old stuff,” McBrayer said, who recently opened Beulah’s at 316 8th St. “It’s all I’ve ever known.” It seems like an odd time to open an antique store in downtown Augusta – many of them have vanished in the shadow of online retail. David Johnston, an antique dealer at Marketplace Antiques on Broad Street, grew up in Augusta and remembers a time when Broad Street was lined with antique stores. Over time, they’ve faded away, particularly in recent years as rent costs have risen. Marketplace Antiques and Beulah’s are the only two left standing downtown. “It’s getting harder for small businesses to afford it,” Johnston said. Over the years, dealers at Marketplace Antiques have been forced to drop their prices significantly. It’s a common practice for customers to walk through antique stores looking for good deals while simultaneously scrolling through Amazon to compare store prices to those of similar items in the internet. Usually, the internet wins. “Before, if we had a relatively rare bottle, we wouldn’t have to compete with someone in California who had the same one,” Johnston said. “We’ve been heavily impacted by Ebay, Etzi … the ability to go and find something obscure on the web.” Johnston contributes Marketplace’s lasting success – it has been in business for around 40 years – to the fact that it’s a co-op, so no one owner is burdened with the task of keeping the spacious, two-story shop in business alone. Instead, seven to 10 vendors pay for their own spaces (usually around 100 square feet each) in the store at a rate of $1.35 per square foot. The vendors take turns running the shop. All in all, it’s a business model that is sustainable for the dealers and makes for a wide variety of antiques. “I think this co-op set-up makes it much easier for us because we’re each managing our own businesses,” Johnston said. “We’re able to respond more deftly to changes in the market.” Not all of downtown’s former antique stores closed for lack of business. The owner of Whitehouse Antiques, for ex-

John McBrayer of Beulah’s antique store in downtown Augusta. Photo by Witt Wells.

ample, closed after retiring earlier this year. Still others, like Mema Had One further west on Washington Road and Riverfront Antique Mall in North Augusta, have survived outside downtown. But by and large, an increasingly expensive and competitive central business district is taking its toll on small-scale retailers. Henry Brothers, an antique auction business, has closed its doors downtown and is currently “in limbo,” according to the owner. When it comes to prices, McBrayer has modeled his own store after an inspirational Washington, D.C., establishment, which was stocked with items that McBrayer could afford when he lived there years ago, even though he wasn’t making much money at the time. He has no issue with selling an item for $70 when he knows the buyer may very well flip it for $300. McBrayer’s philosophy is simple: keep the stock moving. Some of McBrayer’s friends take this as evidence that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he says that’s by design. “I know some things are worth more than what I’m asking for them, but I don’t care,” he said. “Some places you go in and

36 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

it’s really stuffy, and you know, they’ve got pieces worth more than what my car’s worth, and that’s not what I wanted to do. I think that kind of shop is maybe coming to an end.” McBrayer doesn’t just enjoy historic preservation, he’s lived it. Before setting up shop on 8th Street, McBrayer was the director of Meadow Garden, the local historic home (and now museum) of George Walton, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was also running a booth at Marketplace Antiques at the time, and he has restored around five5 homes in Augusta’s Olde Town with his partner. When his mother died a few years ago, McBrayer was faced with a whole new challenge: Take care of the centuries-old, 85-acre family farm in his hometown of Thomson, the seat of McDuffie County, 32 miles east of Augusta. The farm was part of a 1768 land grant to McBrayer’s ancestors, the founders of the Quaker settlement Wrightsboro, one of the first colonial settlements in Georgia. So as far as historic preservation goes, McBrayer was literally born into it and never left. Downtown Augusta would

seem to be the right place for him. McBrayer has outfitted the rundown shell of his building with a new acid-washed concrete floor, electrical system, façade and paint job, and of course, antiques – a work of preservation and revitalization both inside and out. The result is Beulah’s, named after his old basset hound, his companion for 14 years. McBrayer also wants to give his store a modern twist, with frequent musical performances on the weekends and drinks for guests to sip on as they peruse the shop. On Buelah’s opening night, local band Stink Bamboo played from the balcony that overlooks the renovated space filled with items McBrayer has collected over the years. A series of paintings on the northern wall gives viewers a taste of the landscapes outside Athens, Ga., McBrayer’s home for 15 years. A surveyor’s theodolite stands in the window, facing the increasingly busy 8th Street. “They’ve been trying to bring downtown Augusta back since the early 80’s,” McBrayer said. “It would come up to a point and fall back, come up to a point and fall back. But it seems like, finally, the impetus is really there.”

Bridging the Gap

Bridge Ministry Meets Physical and Spiritual Needs Gardner has discovered what many volunteers who help with the Saturday services have found as well – that he’s being ministered to by the congregants as much or more than he’s giving to them. “They’ve changed my life more than I’ve changed them,” he said. “My heart is overwhelmed. They’re not people we serve – they’re our family.”

BY Gary Kauffman

Not all cathedrals are built with soaring spires and intricate stained glass. Sometimes they’re as simple as the concrete of the underside of a highway overpass and fresh air. The latter describes the Bridge Ministry of the CSRA, which has been meeting under the Calhoun Expressway overpass beside the Augusta Canal on 15th Street for nearly 11 years. The location isn’t the only unusual aspect of the Bridge Ministry – it meets at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and its main congregants are Augusta’s homeless and the inner city poor, sometimes coming on buses from Harrisburg, East Boundary and the Deans Bridge area. “They’ve taken the Bridge Ministry as their church,” explained Roger Gardner, president and founder of the Bridge Ministry. “They don’t have to put on a mask to come to church here. They know they’re welcomed and loved. It has nothing to do with any requirements.” Food is a component of the weekly service, but it is unmistakably a full church service, with music, sermon, children’s church, baptisms and the occasional wedding. And there’s a small wooden box for offerings where people who often have little to take care of themselves give generously to help others. The Bridge Ministry started in January 2007 as part of New Hope Worship Center’s outreach program. In 2016, it became a separate non-profit entity, although still with offices at New Hope on Old Belair Road. In addition to the weekly services, the Bridge Ministry also sponsors an Adopt-a-Block program that helps neighborhoods in inner city areas, often in housing areas for single mothers, and a food and clothing pantry. Twenty years ago, Gardner would have seemed the unlikeliest of people to lead such a ministry. He was a dedicated drug user, cared nothing for the church and admits that he hated everyone, primarily because he hated himself. It was in 1999, when he awakened from a coma brought on by his drug use, that he cried out to God for salvation and his life changed. He no longer hated people.

How You Can Help Congregants of the Bridge Ministry gather beneath the Calhoun Expressway overpass for a Saturday afternoon service. Photo contributed

“What God had done for me, I wanted to help other people receive,” he said. That took a surprising turn in 2006 when a singer from Nashville spoke at New Hope about being called from singing to feeding the homeless. Motivated by her testimony, Gardner and his wife traveled to Nashville to see what it was all about. “God wrecked my heart,” Gardner said of the experience. But it was more than a heart change. Gardner returned from Nashville with a U-Haul trailer filled with bottled water, beef jerky and new Carhartt coats to start his own ministry. Initially he thought the ministry would take place at a homeless camp behind the Salvation Army until someone suggested the Calhoun Expressway overpass. Gardner discovered it was perfect. “It was built in such a way that in the summer we have shade and in the winter we have sun,” he said. That first Saturday, about 50 homeless people, mostly men, showed up for the service. That has grown to 200-250 men, women and children on a typical Saturday. But Thanksgivings are special, with thousands showing up for the meal and service. Volunteer this year cooked and served 1,200 turkeys. They also gave out 1,000 new down coats – Gardner made a vow to never give out used coats, and now partners with a company that provides

38 Buzz on Biz November 30-December 21, 2017

them at a low cost to the ministry. But while the Bridge Ministry started to help those in need, it now also helps others in need, including providing supplies for disaster relief, helping found new churches in other countries and providing clothing to other missions across the country. In 2008, a missions representative came to New Hope with the message that for just $600, they could start a new church in the Sudan. In attendance were 12 of the homeless that the Bridge Ministry ministered to. They immediately latched onto the idea of planting a church there and soon raised the funds for it. Now their offerings also provide several hundred dollars each month for an orphanage in the Philippines. Beyond food, coats and church services, the Bridge Ministry provides an intangible that many of the congregants have never had before – hope. “Churches think they have to do something big to make a difference,” Gardner said. “The biggest thing you can do for anyone, but especially for an empty vessel, is to shake their hand, look into their eyes and speak a good word to them.” Then, voice cracking with emotion, he added, “Isn’t that what we want from God? We want His touch, we want Him to look into our lives and we want Him to speak into our lives.”

Volunteering to help the Bridge Ministry of the CSRA has some simple requirements. “Helping hands and a loving heart,” Roger Gardner, president of the Bridge Ministry, said. “Those are the requirements. If you have those two things you’ll fit in anywhere we go.” The Bridge Ministry needs about 40 volunteers for its Saturday afternoon services, and about 400 for its big Thanksgiving event. Individual volunteers can just show up around 11:30 and they’ll be plugged in. However, if a church plans to bring a group, Gardner asks for a phone call ahead of time so they can plan for them. Gardner said volunteers should be prepared to have their hearts changed when they begin to really see the homeless as people created in God’s image. “Once the Spirit opens that up to them, there’s something that resonates in your heart,” he said. “This ministry gives ordinary people the opportunity to do something extraordinarily good for others, bigger than they ever dreamed of, right here at home.” For more information about the Bridge Ministry, visit bridgecsra. org.

All in the Family

Movies Bring Out Flaws and Love of Families BY SAMANTHA BARKSDALE

It’s that time of year again. Holiday commercials dominate television advertising, serving as a constant reminder for me to call my family. My family is spread out all over the world and, to tell the truth, we really don’t talk much. To be even more honest, things have been a little dysfunctional at times. If you’re one of the lucky people who has experienced the frustrations that come along with a dysfunctional family, you’ve probably missed a birthday phone call or had someone miss yours. Chances are, you’ve been angry and disappointed with the people you love. Maybe you’ve even felt as if you’ve been neglected in some way. No matter the circumstances, family is family. This month’s reviews are dedicated to all the dysfunctional families out there. Can they be frustrating? Absolutely. Embarrassing? Yup. But family is family and we all need to love and appreciate the one we have. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Let’s get something out of the way

right now. Parents are not perfect. They’re people, just like everyone else, and they’re subject to selfishness, pettiness and naiveté. These types of parental flaws drive the plot in The Meyerowitz Stories. This film has many storylines, but there is someone who connects them all: Harold Meyerowitz, played by Dustin Hoffman. The elder Meyerowitz is an artist with an inflated view of his mark on the art world. Now retired from his faculty position at a liberal arts university, Harold spends his time verbally sparring with his third (or fourth) wife, watching baseball or complaining about things in general. Not only is he disappointed in society as a whole, he is also disappointed in his children, especially Danny. Danny Meyerowitz, played by Adam Sandler, is a stay-at-home musician dad whose daughter is going off to college. In the process of a divorce, Danny plans to live with Harold and his step-mother while he gets on his feet. Harold’s disappointment with Danny’s life, and lack of a job in particular, create a bit of tension between the two. Over the course of a

few days together, however, their relationship grows. The relationship between Danny and Harold is only one of three acts in the film. His two other siblings also have a strained relationship with their father, along with their mother. Their family dynamic is complicated, to say the least. It may not always come across in their words or actions, but the Meyerowitz family members love one another through thick and thin. The lesson to learn from this film is that even though showing love and patience may not always come easy, it’s always the right thing to do. The Jungle Book When I was a child, I loved the animated version of the Jungle Book, especially the songs. With fond memories of the original film, the new, live-action version seemed sure to let me down. And I’ll admit, it wasn’t great. It was, however, relatively entertaining and, while not a musical, still included the two most popular songs from the original. You may be asking yourself, “What does the Jungle Book have to do with loving your family?” Everything! The Jungle

Fire and Ice

Book is all about a family that decides to love and care for someone totally different from them. They make difficult decisions to ensure the safety of those they love, and they stand up for each other in the face of danger. Yes, they are jungle animals, but they are the epitome of family love and loyalty. You may not watch either of these films based on my reviews this month, and that’s totally okay. I do hope, however, that you choose to love your family, no matter their flaws.

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

Sweater Weather is a Great Time for Cold, Dark Brews thus balancing out the nose nicely. The tongue is hit with roasted coffee and chocolate right off the bat. The bitter aspects of those two linger for a bit, but notes of brown sugar compete nicely, giving a balance to the taste that keeps this beer hearty but not overwhelming. It also laces nicely as you sip. I’ve got to get out West and try some more of Anchor’s brews that don’t make it over this way.


Layers. Always dress in layers. Why can’t I ever remember that? Working four feet away from an exterior wall that predates history can, at times, has its down side. When it’s warm (which it typically is), I’m warm. When it’s cold, I’m still warm because the heat is on. This can be particularly bothersome for someone who, for lack of a better term, dresses for winter. What can I say? I think I look good in a sweater, even if I am growing a bit heat intolerant as I approach what I hope to be middle age. Maybe that’s why beer is typically served cold… Cherry Street Chief Sawnee’s Stash Coconut Porter – So, this was my first brew from Cumming, Georgia’s Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative, and I found it to be robust and, well, stout, both in its nose and mouth. The expected aspects of coffee and chocolate are both significant and approachable at the same time. One thing in the title that’s pretty subtle is the hint of coconut. However, if one finds coconut on any aspect of a dark porter such as this one, it probably deserves

to be included in said nomenclature. I would invite you to try this brew all by itself, and then, about halfway down, add a piece of pumpkin bread. Then give me a call and save a piece for me. Anchor Porter – California’s An-

chor Brewing Company is no stranger to hearty ales and the like, and Anchor Porter is no different. It pours a very dark brown with the expected cappuccino head. The nose is significant for dark fruits, coffee and detectable notes of hops,

Ben Casella is thankful for all of you this Thanksgiving season – and all seasons, for that matter. His thanks “brews” inside all year, and he enjoys “pouring” it on in the hopes of making you all a little “hoppier.”

November 30-December 21, 2017 Buzz on Biz




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