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Networking in the New Year Dec. 22-Jan. 25, 2017 • The CSRA’s monthly business Magazine


GROWTH of CYBER is having a big impact

By Amanda King

The Augusta Warrior Project is doing something it has never had to do before — ask for money. After losing a $375,000 grant without any notice this past spring, president and CEO Kim Elle and chairman of the board Deke Copenhaver are reaching out to the community. The former Augusta mayor is now a local business consultant and radio talk show host, with a voice that carries loud and clear to the corporate community. “We’ve never been in a position where we had to ask,” Elle said. Elle was certain that AWP would recoup the amount the organization lost from the grant, but efforts are taking longer than expected. Several organiSee AWP on Page 2


World War II veteran Calvin Jones is shown with Augusta Warrior Project President and CEO Kim Elle at the Pearl Harbor memorial held at Elks Lodge on Dec. 7. AWP is now asking for funding to continue assisting local veterans. Special


Realtor Mike Vickery has found a way to give back to members of the community who have given their all for us. Vickery recently became a part of the Homes for Heroes program that gives back a portion of the real estate agent’s commission to qualified customers. Active-duty soldiers, veterans, firefighters, healthcare professionals, members of law enforcement and teachers seeking to buy, sell or refinance all qualify to receive money back to put in the bank or assist with pesky moving costs such as new furniture, painting and new appliances. After serving in the Marine Corps, Vickery got involved in real estate. He was briefly involved with an organization similar to Homes for Heroes while working in Saddleback, Calif., but that company dissolved. Two months ago, Vickery saw a Facebook post about Homes for Heroes and was shocked because it was exactly what he had been trying to get involved in before. “It just seemed like the thing to do for the community,” Vickery said. Vickery encourages more vendors to

It’s about connecting. Pages 36-37

Get ready, Augusta. Cybersecurity is about to make a lasting impact on the area. Most of us have heard that for years, but what does that really mean? “The growth that’s coming won’t just help Fort Gordon. It helps haircut, real estate, dry cleaning – every single industry that’s in this area,” said Tom Clark, executive director for the Alliance for Fort Gordon. That includes the restaurant trade. Twisted Burrito co-owner Steve Fredericks opened his Evans location in 2015 and is receiving so many orders from Fort Gordon soldiers that he is opting to open another location just outside Gate 1 behind the Zaxby’s on Jimmy Dyess Parkway. See CYBER on Page 4


Travis, a U.S. Marine Veteran, and Alicia, a Georgia Highway Patrol Officer, were able to get this check for $1,084.30 at the close of escrow from Homes for Heroes. Special

get involved with the company. Jason and Kate Redmond from Element Funding recently got involved along with Vickery. Homes for Heroes began in Minneapolis, Minn., shortly after 9/11. It is now in 49 states and has served over 10,000

heroes with the help of 2,000 real estate specialists. The organization received the MN Business Magazine Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010 and Red Cross Community Hero Award in 2011. For more details, visit

2016 witnessed many things, but booming business in the Augusta area was not one of them. “We have seen in 2016 a typical pause in our business due to the uncertainty leading up to the election … and the unknown moving forward,” Scott Monnig, the vice president of Professional Services for Rural Sourcing Inc., said. His assessment of business in the CSRA is on par with the findings of Simon Metcalfe, Hull College of Business associate professor of Finance. Metcalfe gave his annual Economic Forecast report to more than 60 business and eduSee GROWTH on Page 6

AWP Continued from Page 1 ganizations have hosted fundraisers to help. AWP hosted a golf tournament that raised $53,000 and kicked off a giving campaign on Sept. 11 which has raised $11,000 as of early December. However, AWP is still in need of businesses to offer their “time, talent and treasure,” according to Copenhaver. To help the organization’s efforts, Ocozzio, a nationwide marketing firm located in Augusta, is also helping AWP with its brand. Ocozzio revamped the website, making it donor-friendly, with information on previous financial reports and making online giving easily accessible. AWP began in 2007 as the only local nonprofit designated to help veteran soldiers and their families locate resources for life after the military. AWP has assisted more than 10,000 local veterans, wounded or not, with everything from paying bills to finding jobs or furthering their education. Despite its similar name, it is not a part of the national nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project. It was started and is operated in Augusta. AWP has a strong presence in local colleges to help veterans seek education after their military career is complete. With many soldiers retiring in their late 30s or early 40s, a second career is an option. The organization also works closely with Fort Gordon to ensure a smooth transition for veterans when they leave the military. “When we know what someone needs, we are really good at finding that resource,” Elle said. “We’re not going to pay the light bill just for the sake of paying the light bill, but if that light bill helps them move forward in some way, then absolutely, we’ll find a way to help them.” While thousands of veterans have reached out to AWP, Elle said there are no two stories that are the same. Each veteran or family needs something different. Veteran Pete Way was in need of a leg amputation. With eight weeks before his procedure, Way was experiencing an enormous amount of pain. Through AWP resources and contacts, Elle was able to expedite Way’s surgery. He was also able to find ample mobility assistance for his life and hobbies and get involved with adaptive sports. “AWP has been so instrumental in getting me set up with these opportunities that I did not know existed,” Way wrote in AWP’s annual report. The organization’s impact has earned it national recognition as well. In March, Elle and Copenhaver spoke about AWP to a group in Dallas that was seeking to better serve their veterans. Only three organizations across the country were se-

Special Veteran Pete Way was helped through his relationship with Augusta Warrior Project. “AWP has been so instrumental in getting me set up with these opportunities that I did not know existed,” Way wrote in the organization’s annual report.

lected to be a part of that conference. “It has become a national model for warrior care in cities throughout the country. That’s a true testament to how the work is widely regarded nationwide,” Copenhaver said. AWP was also featured as the editor’s pick in the November 2016 issue of Delta Airline’s Sky Magazine and has been recognized by the Gary Sinise Foundation. In November, it was given the Outstanding Local Partner Award by the Greater Augusta Chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals. “Our success is not because of us. It really is because of our community partners,” Elle said. “We could not do what we do without this community.” While that may be true, Elle and Copenhaver’s involvement with the military has certainly helped the success of AWP. Elle served in the military for more than 25 years, and Copenhaver’s father flew B-17 bombers in World War II. Copenhaver made the military a focus during his time as mayor of Augusta and after. “Coming out of office, I really didn’t want to get too covered up in nonprofit work, but having had such a great relationship with the military and Fort Gordon and local veterans, I volunteered to be the chairman because I feel so passionately about veterans’ issues,” he said.

For more information on AWP or to make a donation, visit

2 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

FUN FOOD FACTS: WHO’S COMING TO AUGUSTA AND WHO’S NOT Neil Gordon I know that we in the CSRA take our food buzz VERY seriously! For some inexplicable reason, nearly 2,000 Facebookers tuned in to see yours truly stuff a butter burger down my piehole at the Grand Opening at Culver’s Restaurant in Grovetown. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised about the response, because when we post a food-related opening as our top story on our e-newsletter that story gets 10 times as many opens as other more “important” business stories. Back to Culvers. At the grand opening on Dec. 5, I got to meet the father and son duo from Wisconsin who have brought a taste of the Midwest to the CSRA. What impressed me the most is that THEY were serving food to patrons alongside staffers. What also impressed me is just how much “Growtown” or “Groovytown” is growing by Exit 190. There is an Applebee’s, a Wife Saver, Culver’s and other nice, new restaurants. Lastly, how cool is it that folks kept asking me, “Did you try the cheese curds?” Hmm ... sounds very Wisconsin-ish and I’ll be sure to try it on my way back the next time. I will eat there again. Good food, quick service, reasonably priced. Culver’s reminded me of a Steak N Shake – especially the custard! Next up on my dining dancing card will be the Olde Town Diner at Sixth and Greene in Augusta. I love breakfast, but I probably have more respect for the redeveloper of the property, Fred Daitch.

Enjoying the new Culver’s in Grovetown. Photo by Melissa Gordon

He used to eat at the Whistle Stop Cafe years ago when it was in its heyday, serving politicians and businesspeople talking shop. Daitch bought the building as an investment and then crossed paths with a local chef lady who was really interested in putting her spin on the iconic eatery. Fred told me he put three times more money into gutting the Whistle Stop, putting in new electrical systems, equipment, furniture and countless other money-pit items he was “clueless” about. Rather than pull out of the project, Fred rolled up his sleeves and did some work himself and dug deeper into his wallet. He invests in people. I know he invest-

ed in me years back with Buzz on Biz. I hope you’ll try out the Olde Town Diner in January for the grand opening. Yes, I’ll probably Facebook live from there! If you’ve passed by the Good Earth Produce and Garden Center on Davis Road lately, you’ve probably noticed a lot of Christmas trees. Some of the year, they go “dark” due to cold weather and declining appetites of customers for fresh produce. That will change this spring. Gone will be the trademark tents protecting the tender vegetation, and soon a new building will appear on the adjacent property to enable them to be open 12 months out of the year. Lastly, I want to share some “near misses” about who we thought might be coming to the CSRA. We appreciate our readers’ questions, and two of the mostasked questions we get are , “Is Trader Joe’s coming to Augusta?” and “When is Fazoli’s coming back?” I’m afraid it will be a few years for either. Fazoli’s had committed to come back a few years ago and then opted to roll out restaurants in other Georgia cities. They are still in that phase of helping out the Macon’s and Columbus’, before returning to the Garden City. Our family enjoyed it in the ’90s as an affordable Italian meal – which is hard to come by. At the time of their Washington Road closing they cited the $6,000 a month rent and challenges about getting customers in and out. Cookout doesn’t seem to be having any issues – they are making some


cash and expanding into new CSRA cities every six months or so. Not sure if we’ll ever get a Trader Joe’s. They compete with the Aldi’s and Lidl’s for your low-cost alternative. The problem is both of those are up and running or will be soon. Come to think of it, we are an over-grocerfied community with more than 30 grocery stores made up of the Publix, Kroger, Bi-Lo, Food Lion brands, plus the independents and high dollar, fresh and organic type stores. The Buzz team took a stab on behalf of some readers and found out there are no plans for Trader Joe’s to feed our everyday Joe’s, but they said that we can put a request in via their website. I think I’d rather spend my time soliciting for Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and The Cheesecake Factory to open here. Yes, we have heard the rumors!

Neil Gordon oversees Buzz on Biz and produces a daily TV segment on News 12 This Morning, a daily radio show on WRDW 1630 AM, a daily website and a weekly email business newsletter in addition to Buzz on Biz. You can reach him at 706-589-6727 or Neil@

Chamber Corner......................................... 34 Columbia County is optimistic about 2017.

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.

52-Year-Old Augusta Company Named Manufacturer of Year.................................. 16 Augusta Economic Development Awards’ annual accolade

Networking in the New Year................ 36, 37 Buzz on Biz has the scoop on networking groups in the CSRA.

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.

Super Salesman is Dressed for Success.... 20 Helping men in the Aiken and Augusta areas dress sharp has been the mission of Lionel Smith for more than a half century.

Business Events.......................................... 44 New Year Special Section.......................... 49

Publisher\Editor in Chief Neil R. Gordon Senior Writer Amanda King, Media Coordinator Kelsey Morrow Layout Riverfront Design Center Ad Building E35 Media Photography Amanda King, Melissa Gordon Calendar Coordinator Kelsey Morrow, Sales Manager Neil Gordon,, 706-589-6727 Sales and PR Jessica Jones,, 762-218-0239 Distribution Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones

Improving Downtown.................................. 4 The latest discussion on TSPLOST funds, hotel plans and the Miller Theater Buzz Bits................................................ 12, 13

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

Creating a High-Tech Workforce................ 26 Bootcamp for web warriors begins in January.

Students Organize Brick Pond for the Community................................................. 60 A new market seeks to make North Augusta a better place to live, work and play.

Columnists Jame Geathers: Your options with the delayed overtime rule..................6 Christine Hall: Presidential change could impact our 2017 taxes............8 Ed Enoch: Is your workplace like my Y?..........................................................10 Mike Herrington: Your ability to do financial planning for disability...14 Russell Head: IRS extension on ACA ...............................................................14 Scott Thurmond: It’s a whole new era in copiers, too! ............................ 18 John Pope: 2016: A Google ranking odyssey...............................................18 Kurt Mueller: Five tips to improve your finances (ASAP)..........................24 Beth Pence: Growth through failure sets entrepreneurs apart..............24 Richard Brashear: What customers say affects your bottom line..........26 Eddie Kennedy: Be S.M.A.R.T to reach your New Year’s goals ...............28 Missie Usry: Tis’ the season to make a difference .......................................40

Barry Paschal: What can go wrong will, but stay the course ..................42 Tony Creighton: This is a DIY project you should leave to experts ......42 Charles Kelly: There’s no substitute for a desktop......................................46 Mark Alison: Is social media right for my business?...................................48 Dagan Sharpe: Turn holiday humbug into New Year’s cheer.................52 Kelsey Morrow: Social media resolutions for 2017....................................53 Steve Swanson: Setting sail for the new year ..............................................54 Onnie Sanford: Journey with food led to a life of helping others.........54 Susan O’Keefe: Walton Way Deli is a slice of home....................................62 Ben Casella: Try chocolate stout ale instead of dessert............................66 Samantha Taylor: Spiritual, motivational leaders make difference......68

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

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Margaret Woodard discusses downtown changes with community members. Two hotels are preparing to build in downtown Augusta amidst tremendous growth in the area. Photo by Amanda King

By Amanda King

When Richmond County voters opted for the TSPLOST in 2012, many residents were very apprehensive about the tax. But as the “Downtown 2020: How the Heart of the Region is Transforming” event with the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce revealed, the one percent sales tax increase is now starting to pay off in big ways for downtown Augusta. Local leaders presented the community with a big picture of what’s going on with downtown development at the open house mixer on Dec. 12. Sue Parr, president of the chamber, presented on the upcoming downtown facelift to help boost economic development. New streetscapes will include a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere, driving more retailers, real estate and businesses downtown. A central street plaza area will help with festivals. “It’s intended to use the street in a broader way,” Parr said. As drivers enter downtown from South Carolina, 13th Street will greet them with an inviting gateway to the Garden City. The area from the 13th Street bridge to Reynolds Street will serve as an “arrival zone.” This is the first major improvement for downtown since the mid-1970s, according to Parr. While planning has begun, construction is not in the immediate future. The next step will be determining the exact cost of the proposed plan and

allocating the budget. “We are ready for this and can’t wait to see it come into fruition in the next three to four years,” Parr said. A big change Augustans will see sooner on Broad Street is the renovation and restoration of the historic Miller Theater. The TSPLOST will contribute $5.1 million to the remodel, according to Anne Catherine Murray, executive director of Symphony Orchestra Augusta. The $17 million construction has already begun and is expected to be complete in fall 2017, with a grand opening already set for Jan. 6, 2018. The Miller Theater opened in 1940 but has been dormant for more than 30

years. Through a capital campaign and a fundraiser allowing community members to place names of loved ones on chairs in the new auditorium, the vision to bring the Miller back to downtown is being carried out. The 1,200 seat theater will be the new home for Symphony Orchestra Augusta with the exception of the orchestra’s “Pops! at the Bell,” which will remain at Bell Auditorium. The Miller Theater will also be available for small concerts and events. Murray said the space is planning to host 80 events in 2017. The impact of the TSPLOST projects will bring people to downtown, which presents the need for more places for visi-

tors to rest their heads after participating in festivals, shopping and attending concerts. Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Margaret Woodard showed plans for the new Hyatt House Hotel next to Frog Hollow Tavern. Located at the former site of Capital City Bank, construction is expected to begin at the beginning of 2017. There will be retail spaces on the bottom and two floors of parking for the 117 rooms. Another unnamed 125-room hotel will be built at Reynolds Street and James Brown Boulevard. “We are very, very excited,” Woodard said.

CYBER Continued from Page 1 “Everything is headed out that way. The growth over in Grovetown is crazy,” Fredericks said. The new location is expected to open in March 2017. Clark said Fort Gordon has the opportunity to be the Silicon Valley of cybersecurity and known for the trade as much as Augusta is for golf. Fort Gordon already has more military intelligence brigades than any other post, and if it was its own city, it would be the seventh largest in the state of Georgia, according to Clark. With the further growth of the military post, the surrounding region, which Clark calls the Fort Gordon Cyber District, will be where cyber professionals come to live, work and play. The impact of the cyber growth is already being felt by local businesses.

Currently, Fort Gordon has a $1 billion impact on businesses and services in the area each year. Businesses are not the only ones preparing for growth and change. Local colleges and other training facilities in the Augusta area are preparing for an influx of cyber-related jobs. The is helping former soldiers further their cyber knowledge since many of them already have the proper security clearances to go into contract work on post. (See more on page 26) While colleges and training facilities are cranking out cyber professionals, Clark said that it’s “not fast enough” to keep up with the demand. It’s expected that there will still be a shortage of 1.5 million people in the cyber workforce. Groundbreaking for the $100 million cyber command headquarters took place Nov. 28. The facility is expected to house over 1,200 soldiers and civil-

4 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016–January 25, 2017

ians by 2020. Not bad considering Fort Gordon was on the chopping block to be moved to another location in 2005. With such huge growth expected over the next few years, a constant concern is traffic. Fort Gordon will be building a sixth gate, expected to be completed by 2020. The nearly $40 million project will combat the congestion at the existing primary gates, which has kept many civilians and even some soldiers off the installation for special events and activities like bingo and the popular dinner theater. During the last two years the military post lost around $1 million in those areas, but Clark said that getting on post is much easier now. Yearly passes can be obtained by filling out a brief form and submitting two forms of identification. “They welcome you onto the post,” he said.

Construction is underway on a new Twisted Burrito location at Fort Gordon. Special

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




You reviewed your position descriptions and salaries. You weighed your options and made tough decisions. All this only to have the overtime rule modification placed on hold seven days before it was to take effect. If you are like most small business owners, you may be confused about what to do next. For starters, let’s look at what has happened so far. As you know, in May 2016 the revised Department of Labor’s Overtime rules were released. The revised rule set out to raise the salary threshold for exempt employees, thus requiring employers to pay overtime to more employees. The rule revisions were scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, 2016, but on Nov, 22, 2016, the U.S. District Court of Eastern District of Texas granted an injunction, delaying the implementation.

As expected, on Dec. 1, 2016 the Department of Labor filed a notice of appeal so we’ll all have to wait and see how the court rules. So now that you’re up to speed on the rule modifications, the injunction and the appeal, what do you need to do next? That depends. If your company reviewed position classifications, assessed salaries and modified salaries (if necessary) – there may not be anything for you to do. While your business is not required to pay overtime right now, keep in mind this may only be temporary. If you have adjusted salaries to meet the exempt threshold, you may be considering lowering them back down, which could be a huge mistake. Regardless of the reason, lowering employees’ pay after giving them a raise won’t lower morale, it will kill it.

If your business can afford to pay the salaries, leave the new pay rates in place. Not only will it keep your employees happy, but more than likely some version of the rule will eventually be approved. If your business absolutely must lower the wages back to where they were, be sure to communicate openly with your employees. Explain that the rule modifications are delayed until the Court rules on the pending litigation. The last thing you want is to sour your employees only to have to turn around and do it all again. If you have yet to make any changes, hold off on implementing changes; in the meantime, do your homework, stay informed and get prepared. It is probably safe to assume that if the Court finds in favor of the Department of Labor, the rule will be effective nearly immediately and you don’t want to be

caught off guard. Human resources rules, policies and pitfalls can be overwhelming to navigate at times.

Jame Geathers is a Human Resources and Operations Professional with more than 12 years of experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Jame has spent her career building and supporting HR infrastructures that have provided her employers and clients with the structure and policies that all start-ups need but owners may not have time to create and implement. For more information please visit the Jame Geathers Consulting website, or call (706) 496-9691.

GROWTH Continued from Page 1 cational leaders in mid-December at Augusta University. He predicts another pretty flat year of growth in the Augusta region. “We need the tsunami, a hole to fill jobs,” Metcalfe said. He says that will come through technology, but Augusta is still not there yet in terms of large numbers. Metcalfe quoted a 2015 government study indicating that Augusta had 2,610 people working in computer occupational fields including IT, cybersecurity, web developing and others. He said these are private-sector jobs, not including people employed on post at Fort Gordon, and that private-sector technology jobs only account for about one third as many of those jobs vs. an average city in Georgia. Col. Tom Turner, garrison commander at Fort Gordon, said 160 people are now part of the cyber workforce on post, and 440 more are expected to be hired in 2017. In 2016, Metcalfe began introducing statistics from his Labor Market Index, a study of job creation across the Peach State. Savannah is growing at five times the rate of job growth as Augusta, which is second worst in the state to Dalton. He says there was a 2014 increase of 6,000 jobs and in the last two years combined there have been less than that number of new jobs. “If Augusta was growing at the rate

Economist Simon Metcalfe from the Hull College of Business at Augusta University reviews growth charts with area business and educational leaders at the AU Economic Forecast breakfast on Dec. 14. He says job growth isn’t where it should – or could – be. Photo by Neil Gordon

of the rest of Georgia, we’d have 10,800 more new jobs since 2014,” he added. Metcalfe cites decreases in jobs in some sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and in leisure and hospitality – even though technology, health and education positions are increasing. However, Barry White, president and CEO of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, said there is good news from out-of-town business. “Hotel revenue is up 5 percent from a year ago and occupancy is slightly up, and with several hotels under construction, they are recognizing future demand,”

6 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

White said. He recently announced plans to move the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau along with two other organizations into a building on the 1000 block of Broad Street. Metcalfe says mixed-use business and housing in downtown areas pay off, especially in recruiting millennials to relocate to Augusta. Millennials are likely to drive numbers in the future, and a recent study indicated that the top two desires of younger workers are a thriving job market and downtown living.

Metcalfe cited the Georgia-based company MailChimp’s idea to attract and retain millennials – they offer a financial bonus each month for employees who don’t drive to work as a way to get them to live in downtown Atlanta and to build a sense of community. “Putting parking lots in downtown Augusta won’t incentivize people to live downtown,” he said. Monnig’s RSI office in Enterprise Mill, which employs more than 100 millennials, agrees. “Give them a place to call home,” Monnig echoed.

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Many individuals and businesses involved in yearend tax planning are trying to predict the tax changes that may occur after 2016, with the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. During his campaign, Mr. Trump emphasized tax reform as one of his major commitments. He repeatedly called for dramatic changes to the federal tax laws, including: significant reduction in both business and individual income tax rates; elimination of the alternative minimum tax (AMT); and complete repeal of the estate tax. In addition, on June 24, 2016, the Republicancontrolled House Ways and Means Committee released a “blueprint” for tax reform called “A Better Way,” which recommends several changes that are similar to the Trump proposals (e.g., lower tax rates for individuals and businesses; elimination of the AMT; repeal of estate taxes; reducing the relevance of itemized deductions; eliminating some business credits and deductions). As we look forward to 2017, many believe that taxes actually have a chance of being lowered for the first time in decades. The proposed changes we mention here are certainly not all inclusive, but they are significant enough to have caught our attention and are certainly worth taking time to review. Changes to income tax rates for individuals Currently, there are seven tax rates for individual taxpayers: 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent. For 2016, a married couple filing a joint return pays tax at a 10 percent rate on the first $18,550 of taxable income (the first $9,275 if single), and pays tax at a 39.6 percent rate on taxable income in excess of $466,950 (in excess of $415,050 if single). Under President-elect Trump’s proposals, there would be only three income tax rates as follows: 12 percent: Taxable income up to $75,000 (joint filers) and $37,500 (single filers). 25 percent: Taxable income from $75,001 to $225,000 (joint filers) and $37,501 to $112,500 (single filers). 33 percent: Taxable income above $225,001 (joint

8 Buzz on Biz December 21, 2016—January 25, 2017

As we look forward to 2017, many believe that taxes actually have a chance of being lowered for the first time in decades. The proposed changes we mention here are certainly not all inclusive, but they are significant enough to have caught our attention and are certainly worth taking time to review.

Itemized deductions capped Under Mr. Trump’s proposal, the maximum amount of itemized deductions for a married couple filing a joint return would be capped at $200,000 (for single individuals, the cap would be $100,000).

in this article are based largely on statements by Mr. Trump during the campaign, his campaign materials and information from his website. When President-elect Trump takes office and the new Congress convenes in January 2017, it may be some time before any tax changes actually become law. Until the new Trump administration and Congress work through the legislative process, it is impossible to predict accurately what changes will be made to the tax law. However, since President-elect Trump’s proposals and the tax changes suggested in the Ways and Means Committee blueprint, “A Better Way,” are similar, the types of changes we discussed in this article are indeed possible. Only time will tell, but if the proposed changes do become law, you might see a reduction in tax liability for the first time in many years.

Changes to income tax rates for businesses Currently, regular “C” corporations have a top statutory income tax rate of 35 percent. In addition, the pass-through business income of an “S” Corporation or of an entity taxed as a partnership is taxed to the owners at the current individual income tax rates (discussed above). Mr. Trump proposes that the income of a regular “C” corporation should be taxed at a flat rate of 15 percent. In addition, it appears that under his proposal, the business income of pass-through business entities (e.g., S corporations and partnerships) would also be taxed at 15 percent to the extent the business income is retained in the business. The proposals of President-elect Trump reflected

Hall, Murphy & Schuyler, PC is a full-service public accounting firm. They have a staff of experienced professionals that stand ready to meet all of your accounting, tax and general business needs. For a complimentary consultation, call 706-855-7733 or email her at cmh@

filers) and $112,501 (single filers). Increase in standard deduction Mr. Trump’s proposal would increase the standard deduction: 1) To $30,000 (up from the current $12,600) for married individuals filing joint returns, and 2) To $15,000 (up from the current $6,300) for single individuals. Elimination of personal exemptions The deduction for personal exemptions (currently $4,050 per exemption) would be eliminated.

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz 9


I teach a fitness class at 5:15 a.m. at the Wilson Family YMCA. Surprisingly, there are 20 or so souls willing to get up and work out with me that early in the morning. Ages range from college students to senior citizens. We have half-ironman tri-athletes to health seekers who are 100 pounds overweight. There are men and women of all nationalities, classes and colors. But they have one thing in common. If you make the effort to come to class more than a couple of times, they will learn your name, cheer you on and hold you accountable when you do not show up. They share a bond that cuts across all our differences. It is not just in my class. Go to the Y any time, day or night, and the diversity of people in that building is striking: from high school-age boys playing basketball to the little Asian women doing water aerobics to the people with special needs in the rehab pool. Looking through the windshield at the year ahead and in the rear-view mirror at the year just past, I fear our workplaces may become less like the Y and more like the discordant voices in my Facebook

feed. From the tensions caused by shootings to the done-but-never-quite-over election cycle, our national discourse has coarsened in a way bound to be reflected in our offices and on our shop floors. As an employment lawyer working with management, the public backlash against “political correctness” concerns me because employees and customers may feel free to use offensive language or gestures. Irrespective of what one may see or hear on the internet or cable television, the federal laws protecting employees from discrimination and harassment are still strongly in place. Employers have an obligation to protect employees from illegal harassment or discrimination by managers, fellow employees and even customers. For instance, decisions about who interacts with customers cannot be made based on the perceived biases of customers (i.e. not putting a woman wearing a burka as a customer service rep for fear of turning off customers.) So, now is a good time to dust off the employee handbook and review nondiscrimination/nonharassment policies. Train on the policies with all employees, particularly front-line supervisors as they

are the most likely members of management to deal with these issues. The law gives certain protections and defenses to companies who: i) have legally compliant policies, ii) train frequently on those policies with all employees, and iii) effectively use the policies to investigate reports of discrimination or harassment. Take advantage of the protections good policies and training can have on the defense against a claim of harassment or discrimination. Hopefully, the result will be a workforce more like my Y, which ultimately means a more profitable business for you.

J. Edward (Ed) Enoch has practiced law in Augusta for more than 20 years. His practice focuses on representing closely-held businesses and their owners, to include formation, transition, business planning, estate planning, employment law and real estate. Reach him at

Irrespective of what one may see or hear on the internet or cable television, the federal laws protecting employees from discrimination and harassment are still strongly in place. Employers have an obligation to protect employees from illegal harassment or discrimination by managers, fellow employees and customers.

Local Community Organizations get Major Grant By Kelsey Morrow

Wells Fargo recently announced that it will donate $140,000 to Turn Back The Block and Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority Inc. (CSRA EOA Inc.) as part of its 2016 Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Priority Markets Program. The program’s intent is to help revitalize neighborhoods affected by the economy by providing grant support to support large-scale neighborhood revitalization projects and organizations. “Wells Fargo is pleased to support these nonprofits that work tirelessly to help revitalize the Harrisburg neighborhood and further their success for the long-term,” said Laurel Briglevich, Wells Fargo Senior Community Development Officer. “The Priority Markets Program has been a catalyst for bringing together community stakeholders with common interests to improve neighborhoods that are producing sustainable results and adding up to make a huge difference for communities.” Turn Back The Block and CSRA EOA Inc. are actively involved with community revitalization efforts and were identified by Wells Fargo as leading large-scale neighborhood projects.

“The Priority Market grant award is especially meaningful in that it will support not only new, affordable home ownership opportunities through Turn Back The Block, but will also provide a means for existing homeowners in Harrisburg who are elderly and disabled to maintain their homes via home repair from CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority Inc.” – Christel Jiles, executive director of Turn Back The Block The Priority Markets Program grants can be used for any costs associated with the development or redevelopment of community projects. CSRA EOA Inc. will receive $60,000 in financial support towards its Minor Rehabilitation and Repair Project for low-income homeowners in the Harrisburg neighborhood of Augusta. These funds will allow CSRA EOA Inc. to help low-income and vulnerable homeowners (especially senior citizens and people with disabilities) maintain their homes in dignity, reduce blight and potential dan-

10 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

gers in the community, and strengthen the neighborhood. “This project is a community effort with nonprofit and faith-based partners, volunteers, our local government and our funders (especially Wells Fargo) and local donors,” said Lola Walton Johnson, executive director of CSRA EOA Inc. “As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘The purpose of life … is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.’ ” Wells Fargo has been a longtime sup-

porter of Turn Back The Block’s neighborhood revitalization efforts in Harrisburg. Previous funding and volunteer efforts supported the organization’s first block of homes on Broad Street, and the recent $80,000 award will support the construction of two homes on the third block to be targeted for redevelopment. “The Priority Market grant award is especially meaningful in that it will support not only new, affordable home ownership opportunities through Turn Back The Block, but will also provide a means for existing homeowners in Harrisburg who are elderly and disabled to maintain their homes via home repair from CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority Inc.,” said Christel Jiles, executive director of Turn Back The Block. “Together, Wells Fargo, Turn Back The Block and CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority Inc. are working toward a holistic plan to create and sustain home ownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families in Harrisburg.” The Priority Markets Program grants are administered through the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. Since 2009, the program has provided grants of more than $42 million for nonprofits in 125 U.S. communities.

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Business Fights Hunger in the CSRA The holidays are a season of giving, and a local company has just done so in a big way. The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation recently donated $7,000 to Golden Harvest Food Bank in order to address food insecurity in the food bank’s Georgia and South Carolina regions. The donation is part of a program called Fill Your Tank that celebrates Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s 60th anniversary by providing $60 million over six years to fight hunger around the globe. In presenting the donation, Tyson Bragg of Enterprise said, “Enterprise Rent-A-Car is woven into the fabric of the CSRA and food insecurity is an issue for our community. This donation to Golden Harvest Food Bank will support those in our community who need a little help to reach to their full potential.” Beyond donations, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is supporting a local engagement and hunger awareness campaign. Hunger is often invisible, and the campaign helps make hunger in our communities more visible. Globally, one in nine people doesn’t get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life, according to the World Food Program. “This is an exciting gift from Enterprise,” Travis McNeal, Executive Director of Golden Harvest Food Bank, said. “We’re able to turn this $7,000 gift into over 23,000 meals to feed the hungry right here in our service area. People will be truly impacted by this generosity from Enterprise.” For more about Golden Harvest Food Bank, visit

Restaurant Chain Expands Its Services A popular restaurant wants to reward you for your food choices. Barberitos Southwestern Grille & Cantina recently launched a free mobile app which provides

buzz bits Mayor Davis Returns from Entrepreneurship Conference If knowledge is power, the city of Augusta is stronger than ever. Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. recently studied how cities can build a thriving entrepreneurial culture in their communities at the fourth annual Mayors Conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. The event, led by entrepreneurial experts from across the country, focused on “Diversifying Entrepreneurial Opportunity.” “Economic development and building small business in Augusta has been front and center in my administration. This week reminds me of how blessed Augusta is,” Mayor Hardie Davis said. “We celebrated the groundbreaking for the Cyber incentives for loyal customers. The app is designed with a robust rewards system that will send promotions and offer free items that are available exclusively for Barberitos app users. “We love our Barberitos customers and want to reward them for their loyalty,” said Downing Barber, founder of Barberitos Southwestern Grille & Cantina. “Our new mobile app will keep customers connected with new offers, rewards and exciting updates.” The mobile app allows customers to pay using their mobile phone. It assists hungry patrons with a menu on the go and allows them to find their nearest location and receive driving directions. Patrons can even review their transaction history and reach out with questions, comments or concerns directly inside the app. The Barberitos app is available via the Apple App Store or Google Play. Customers receive a free cheese dip when they download and a free entrée when they spend $100. When shared with friends, Barberitos app customers will get rewarded every time they successfully refer someone else. Local Barberitos lovers can participate in the rewards program at two CSRA locations: 1151 Agerton Lane in Augusta and 4272 Washington Road in Evans. For more, visit

12 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

Command Headquarters at Fort Gordon, which is already having a major impact on small businesses and driving economic growth in our region.” Convened by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success, the conference is held in partnership with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. Mayor Davis participated in sessions that explored how cities can create diverse, inclusive entrepreneurial communities that foster access to equitable economic growth and offer opportunities for all to succeed. Other sessions explored

GOODWILL EXPANDS JOB CONNECTION Goodwill is encouraging a 2016 year-end increase in donations and retail shopping to help underwrite expanded hours for assisting job-seekers in 2017. Beginning Saturday, Jan. 14, Goodwill will add regular Saturday hours at its Job Connection site at 3179 Washington Road at Furys Ferry Road. The center will now be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday. “These expanded hours are designed to provide greater flexibility to visitors who would like better opportunities but in some cases are unable to visit the Job Connection during the week because they already are employed,” said Kristin Arrowood, Goodwill’s Regional Employment Services Manager. “We believe our generous donors and shoppers will see the value of the investment in these additional weekend hours to provide expanded career assistance options.” In addition to the Augusta Job Connection, Goodwill career centers in Aiken, Warner Robins, Milledgeville and Lake Oconee also will be offering additional hours starting in January. The south Augusta Job Connection and Station

how leaders can better develop policies to foster entrepreneurship and create economic opportunity. “Opportunities like the leadership forum and this conference provide opportunities to learn about ways that we can grow jobs and economic security for all Augustans using tried and true methods that are working in other communities,” Davis said. “Commissioner Marion Williams often says, ‘The wheel is still round.’ ” Davis continued by stating that “seizing opportunities to glean information and return home to apply the best practices in our daily operation or share information with our private sector partners is a winning way.” of Hope at 3120 Peach Orchard Road will continue to be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. For a complete list of Goodwill career service centers, go to

LONGTIME SEWING CENTER CHANGES NAME Branum’s Vacuum and Sewing is now Augusta Sewing Center. Nick Meabon purchased the original name and business in September 2014, and decided to merge the newly named Augusta store with the Atlanta Sewing Center (locations in Marietta and Duluth, Ga.), making it a three-store group. Augusta Sewing Center recently redesigned its showroom and has brought new brands into the store and continues to grow their brand selection and offerings. They say there will also be access to bigger sew-lebrities and events – larger than ever before! The company is a Top 10 Dealer for Bernina and will continue to carry the machines from the company with 120 years experience. Despite removing the name “Vacuum” from the new brand, Augusta Sewing Center will continue to offer vacuums from brands such as Hoover, Electrolux, Royal, Dyson and others.

Guest helps boost Grand Opening A recent grand opening received some added star power. Bill Elliott, who was voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver 16 times, attended the Nov. 17 grand opening of the new Gerald Jones Ford Lincoln. Elliott dedicated several hours to signing autographs for the hundreds of people who came out for the event. A great time was had by all, and the dealership, at 3480 Wrightsboro Road, is now officially open for business. Gerald Jones Automotive Group acquired the dealership from Bobby Jones Ford in February. “After 42 years of serving the CSRA with our imported vehicles, we have added Ford and Lincoln to increase the auto group’s offerings,” owner Andy Jones said. “Expanding our line means that there is nothing that we cannot provide to our customers. From the smallest import to the largest commercial truck – we have it.” Adding two new brands weren’t the only changes. The new facility also boasts an expansive 20,000-square-foot state-of-theart showroom and service drive. “In the interest of streamlining the customer experience, all sales consultants are equipped with iPads in order to render on-thespot information and customer assistance,” said General Manager Brian Winters. “We have also gone green with all new exterior and interior LED lighting.” For more information, visit

Donation Aids Cancer Patients Thanks to a business’ recent donation, local cancer patients will have one less worry during treatment. Georgia Natural Gas recently honored The Lydia Project with the

buzz bits Local Family Named Entrepreneurs of the Year The Ellefson family, owners of Ellefson Transportation Group, were awarded the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce December Member Economic Luncheon on Dec. 6. Owned and operated by three generations of the Ellefson family, Ellefson Transportation Group (ETG) has more than 50 years of experience in the transportation and relocation business. ETG was established in 1967 in Augusta after the organization relocated from Charleston, S.C., and offers several services, including transportation, logistics, storage, relocation, records management, shredding/

recycling and portable container rentals. ETG is the parent company for ADSI Moving Systems (agent for United Van Lines), ACME Moving and Storage, Augusta Data Storage and Augusta Portable Storage Inc. (agent for Go-Mini’s Portable Containers). Approximately 90 percent of ETG’s business is conducted in the CSRA. The Augusta Metro Chamber selected the Ellefson family as the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year in recognition of their use of innovative business development practices and models; business growth and performance; community image, impact, involvement and contribution; and operational excellence.

Members of the Ellefson family at the groundbreaking of a new records storage facility. Ellefson Transportation Group was established in 1967.

prestigious GNG TrueBlue Community Award, which provides $10,000 in energy assistance for the cancer patients that Lydia serves. “This is tremendous partnership of hope that will enable us to help even more women and families during cancer battles,” Danny Craig, Lydia’s board president, said. The Lydia Project provides energy assistance to women coping with cancer in Georgia’s Burke, Columbia, McDuffie and Richmond counties and South Carolina’s Aiken and Edgefield counties; and supportive services to women with cancer throughout the nation.

The GNG TrueBlue Community Award will stop utility shutoffs (or turn the lights back on) for women receiving cancer treatment in the four Georgia counties already served financially. The funds will also allow The Lydia Project to expand energy assistance to Lincoln County. Georgia Natural Gas, a leading natural gas provider in Georgia, began the GNG TrueBlue Community Awards program in 2011 out of a commitment to recognize nonprofit organizations in Georgia and their commitment to creating positive, lasting

change in Georgia through four key areas: children and education; seniors; energy assistance, and environment/sustainability. The Lydia Project’s outreach is to women and girls coping with any type of cancer. Services are free and include lodging and ongoing outreach every month for at least 12 months. Lydia also provides rent, utility and prescription assistance to women and girls fighting cancer who reside in the CSRA counties. For more about the Lydia Project, visit

New Jobs Coming to Grovetown If your holiday wish was to find a job, you may be in luck. This spring, Walmart is bringing a new Neighborhood Market to Grovetown which will provide up to 95 additional jobs for the area. A temporary hiring center at 5170 Wrightsboro Road is accepting applications Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Interested applicants may also apply online at The majority of new associates will begin work in February to help prepare the store for its grand opening. According to Manager Tim Miller, the store will be hiring full- and part-time associates. “We are excited to build a team to serve our friends and neighbors in the Grovetown community,” he said. Walmart’s Neighborhood Market stores differ from Walmart’s Super Centers. They offer the same low prices, but in a much smaller and more easily accessible location, which has previously been compared to more traditional value supermarkets such as Trader Joe’s and Aldi. The Grovetown Neighborhood Market will join three other Neighborhood Market locations in the CSRA: 300 S. Belair Road and 3851 Evans to Locks Road in Martinez, and 3697 Windsor Spring Road in Hephzibah. These 95 associates in Grovetown will join the team of 59,499 Walmart associates in Georgia.

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



YOUR ABILITY TO DO FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR A DISABILITY for your child? Will your child need a guardian or conservator?

Mike Herrington

If you have a child (or grandchild) with a disability, one of the most important questions you may ask yourself is, “What’s going to happen to my child when I’m no longer here?” To a large degree, the answer to that question will depend on the steps you begin taking today in order to arrange for your child’s future well-being. Planning for special needs children is a complex process that begins with an initial assessment. In planning for your special needs child, there are certain initial steps you should take, such as: Assess your child’s prognosis Will your child ever be able to earn a living, manage assets, or live independently? Your evaluation of issues such as these will then guide you in the type of planning you need to complete

in order to provide for your child. If you’re unsure about your child’s future prognosis, be conservative in your assumptions. You can always change your plans in the future. Review your financial situation What assets do you have avail-

able to provide for your child’s future financial needs? What can you do to accumulate additional assets for your child’s care? Living arrangements Where do you want your child to live after your death, or if you become physically unable to care

Government benefits Do you know what government benefits are available and what the requirements are to qualify for these benefits? Government benefits and their requirements can play a major role in your child’s future well-being. Be aware, however, that improper or careless planning could make your child ineligible for certain benefits. Government benefits fall into two groups: Entitlement Programs: Eligibility for entitlement programs is based on meeting certain requirements, such as age, disability or blindness. An individual who, for example, meets the required definition of disability is entitled to receive benefits,

regardless of that individual’s financial situation. Needs-Based Programs: In order to receive benefits from a needs-based program, a disabled individual cannot have income or assets above stated amounts.

Mike Herrington is president of Herrington Financial Services Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. He is a Certified Financial Planner licensee (CFP), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a Certified Estate Planner (CEP). He has been serving clients in the CSRA since 1984. Contact him at 706-868-8673 or

making deadlines IRS EXTENSION ON ACA


On Nov. 18, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 201670 to extend the due date for furnishing employee forms under Sections 6055 and 6056 for 2016 for 30 days, from Jan. 31, 2017, to March 2, 2017; and extend good-faith transition relief from penalties related to 2016 information reporting under Sections 6055 and 6056. Notice 2016-70 does not extend the due date for filing forms with the IRS for 2016. The due date for filing with the IRS under Sections 6055 and 6056 remains Feb. 28, 2017 (March 31, 2017, if filing electronically). Section 6055 and 6056 Reporting 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. Why the Extended Deadline? The IRS has again determined that

some employers, insurers and other providers of minimum essential coverage (MEC) need additional time to gather and analyze the information and to prepare the 2016 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to be furnished to individuals. Therefore, Notice 2016-70 provides an additional 30 days for furnishing the 2016 Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C, extending the due date from Jan. 31, 2017, to March 2, 2017. Despite the delay, employers and other coverage providers are encouraged to furnish 2016 statements to individuals as soon as they are able. Filers are not required to submit any request or other documentation to the IRS to take advantage of the extended furnishing due date provided by Notice 2016-70. Because this extended furnishing deadline applies automatically to all reporting entities, the IRS will not grant additional extensions of time of up to 30 days to furnish Forms 1095-B and 1095-C. As a result, the IRS will not formally respond to any requests that have already been submitted for 30-day extensions of time to furnish statements for 2016.

14 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

Impact on Filing Deadline The IRS has determined that there is no need for additional time for employers, insurers and other providers of MEC to file 2016 forms with the IRS. Therefore, Notice 2016-70 does not extend the due date for filing Forms 1094B, 1095-B, 1094-C or 1095-C with the IRS for 2016. This due date remains Feb. 28, 2017, if filing on paper, or March 31, 2017, if filing electronically. Employers or other coverage providers that do not meet the due dates for filing and furnishing (as extended under the rules described above) under Sections 6055 and 6056 are subject to penalties under Section 6722 or Section 6721 for failure to furnish and file on time. However, employers and other coverage providers that do not meet the relevant due dates should still furnish and file. The IRS will take this into consideration when determining whether to abate penalties for reasonable cause. Impact on Individuals Because of the extended furnishing deadline, some individual taxpayers may not receive a Form 1095-B or Form

1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2016 tax returns. Taxpayers do not need to wait to receive Forms 1095-B and 1095-C before filing their returns. In addition, individuals do not need to send the information they relied upon to the IRS when filing their returns, but should keep it with their tax records. Future Years The extension of time for furnishing information statements under Sections 6055 and 6056 for 2016 provided in Notice 2016-70 has no effect on these information reporting provisions for other years or on the effective date or application of other ACA provisions. The IRS does not anticipate extending this transition relief to reporting for 2017. Russell T. Head is CEO with Head Capital Advisors, an Acrisure agency partner, and Augusta’s largest employee benefits brokerage. He can be reached at 706-7333459.

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Former Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Dave Rowe knows what it takes to be a champion. Rowe, who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders during Super Bowl XI, shared the characteristics of a champ at Augusta Economic Development’s Celebration of Industries on Nov. 15. Although Rowe played for two of the most recognized coaches in college and professional football, it was his high school football coaches who taught him what it really means to be part of a team of champs. His high school coach explained to him that the word “champs,” displayed in the mural on his high school gymnasium wall, was an acronym for qualities that determine success in sports or life. Rowe has remembered these qualities throughout his life and passed them on to his children.


Dave Rowe speaks to attendees of Augusta Economic Development’s Celebration of Industries. Rowe provided tips for success from his experience as a football player. Photo by Amanda King

Courage: “To be successful in athletics or the game of life, you have to have that first quality, ‘C’ – it’s courage,” Rowe said. He mentioned that business owners and entrepreneurs need courage to step out and do something new and innovative. “You never win if you don’t try,” he said. Heart: Rowe described the rough training tactics Madden used as a coach. Despite the long days and nights and Madden’s constant striving for perfection, Rowe never gave up on his football career. “You hate it, but you don’t quit because you love it,” he said. “That’s what heart is.” Attitude: The right attitude is key. After his football career, Rowe went on to work as a public relations manager for an electric co-op in North Carolina. He shared the story of a co-worker who always seemed to come into the office with a bad attitude, often infecting those around her and driving others away. Mind: Rowe knows football, and that knowledge is critical when it comes to success. In addition to his high school football coaches’ influence, Rowe learned football from the most victorious coach in the NCAA, Paterno. Rowe’s knowledge of the game opened more doors for him – he was a TV analyst for college football for 30 years. Pride: Football players are known for having a great deal of pride, even in the midst of opposition and criticism. Business leaders are often in similar situations. “You’ve got 55-60,000 people that hate your guts, but you go out on that field because you have great pride in what you know you’re doing,” Rowe said. Sacrifice: The prior qualities all require this last one. Whether it’s sacrificing time, money or simply one’s own desires, success takes a lot of sacrifice. “You pay the price to win. You pay the price to be successful,” he said.

In addition to the qualities of success, Rowe reminded the crowd that only one team in NFL history has ever lost a Super Bowl and had the opportunity to return the following year to try again. That was the Buffalo Bills in 1983, and the team did not win on the second attempt, either.

Before that Super Bowl, Rowe recalled, Madden was always telling his players to take advantage of opportunities as they are able. Rowe encouraged Augusta business leaders to follow those words from Madden as well: “We may not get back here. We need to win it today.”

16 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

Award winner


Charles and Frank Anderson, president and vice president of RBW Logistics, are well known as logistics experts in Augusta, according to Augusta Economic Development Authority Chairman Henry Ingram. The Augusta Economic Development named RBW as its 2016 Manufacturer of the Year on Nov. 15 at the Celebration of Industries luncheon. “This is a company that has gone far and above the call of duty in the manufacturing world,” Ingram told attendees. RBW began in 1954 in the Augusta depot, where they brokered and shipped sugar, chocolate and Murray cookies. According to their website, business was “sweet.” In 1969, the company relocated to Prep Phillips Drive along the Savannah River and now has six additional locations, including one in Savannah, Ga., to utilize the port. “Without [RBW] many of our local companies would be searching for solutions that they provide,” Ingram said. Presently, RBW says, it manages logistics for more than 80 percent of the area’s industrial manufacturers. Their combined warehouse space for all seven locations is nearly 2 million square feet. On top of providing warehouse space, RBW provides

“This is a company that has gone far and above the call of duty in the manufacturing world.” – Henry Ingram transportation with their 15 trucks and supplier pull management. The company has over 100 employees to assist customers’ needs. “We appreciate the opportunity to support the many manufacturers in this area. We enjoy solving problems,” Frank Anderson said. Charles Anderson began at RBW in 1972 as the operations manager and became the owner in 1982. His son, Frank, joined the company in 1996 and has worked every job, from managing a forklift to his current role as vice president of the corporation. In addition to building a strong company and serving Augusta’s logistics needs, RBW has been a strong supporter of the Augusta Warrior Project, the American Cancer Society and several other local nonprofits. “We look forward to helping the manufacturing business for many years to come,” Charles said.

Charles and Frank Andersons receive the 2016 Manufacturer of the Year award at the Celebration of Industries luncheon in November. Photo by Amanda King

Draw Attention With Signarama Wraps!

706.941.8610 December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



speculation. The problem with predicting the behavior of AI is that it adapts and learns based on the data it is given and processes. Not to mention the interaction of the geniuses at Google and the searches of the average Google user. How is this relevant to businesses and how they advertise online? Well, it basically means that you have to develop strong, relevant content that the preexisting Hummingbird algorithm, the Mobilegeddon Google updates and the RankBrain AI can better understand, index and then rank. It doesn’t hurt to give complements to the young AI, either. Flattery may get you everywhere with RankBrain once it achieves an understanding of itself and its purpose.


The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey might seem like far-out science fiction, but it is truer to our current technological environment than most know. Everyone who has seen this Stanley Kubrick classic should remember the perceived villain of the movie, HAL-9000. Well, earlier this year, Google launched their RankBrain artificial intelligence website ranking system for their search engine. And guess what? It works and it learns. RankBrain is technically a machinelearning artificial intelligence system. It was created, or more accurately born, to better increase the accuracy of Google’s search results. The advantage of this artificial intelligence (AI) over the standard algorithm Google has been using to rank search engine results is the AI’s ability to better understand and successfully rank long tail and conversational search queries across mobile and desktop platforms. To give some background on Google’s existing ranking algorithm, in 2013 the Hummingbird algorithm was developed to better deal with conversational and long tail keyword searches and phrases. Basically, in non-nerd speak, you could

better ask Google questions and get more-accurately ranked and relevant answers. There have also been some very concentrated changes to Google’s ranking protocols recently having to do with mobile searches. In fact, mobile and tablet services have been the dominant driving force in Google search solution development for the last couple of years. You may remember the “Mobileged-

don” scare of 2015. To better deal with the mobile search surge, the AI has been given commands to better optimize and rank these types of results as well. So, Siri and RankBrain basically interact on your IOS to give you better Google results. This is where I could start breaking down this major search result indexing change and forecast for the future of Google search, but that would all be

John Pope has worked in digital media sales and marketing for six years. His specialty is SEO. Contact his at



Jan. 9 marks a momentous occasion in all of our lives. That was the day 10 years ago that Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. To the ooh’s and ah’s of his audience, Jobs announced that he was reinventing the phone and demonstrated the ease of clicking and moving. Much has changed since that date. Today, we take for granted our smartphones and tablets. The touch technology has moved to many computers, televisions, cars, washing machines, etc. You name it. In the copier world, you now see a transition to supplement or replace the number pad with new smart screen technology. Our new batch of smart screen copiers was delivered recently. They take the copier world to a whole new level. What was formerly often feared with complexity is now embraced with the same warmth of a person who relies on his or her smartphone or tablet. As with the iPhone, the smart screens of copiers can be tailored to individual needs. With

If you are one of those who gets more frustration than pleasure out of your copier, perhaps it is time to invest in one with a new smart screen. the touch of a finger, buttons can be rearranged in order of use for convenience. New widgets can be added so the user can immediately see the levels of ink supplies or the date and time. Even language can be changed with the touch of the screen. Touch gestures such as flicking, pinching in and out, and manipulating widgets are now as common to your copier as to your smartphone or smart pad. For those frustrating times when one is in the middle of a big job and the machine

18 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016—January 25, 2017

stops for no apparent reason, the answer can be as easy as watching YouTube. Because smart screens are connected to the web just like your other smart devices, a help video can be searched and viewed to solve your dilemma. Because of the direct printing capacity, web pages can be printed directly, all at the touch of the screen. The new smart screens take friendliness and familiarity to new levels of functionality. With the smart screen you can logically follow the prompts to print in whatever format you wish and preview before you hit the print function. You can also preview a scanned document before hitting the send button and easily touch the correct folders where it is to be sent. Faxes offer similar procedures. As with other smart devices, there are also some fun features. Changing the background is as easy as selecting one of the options provided or inserting your own image via an SD card. You can even watch the currents wave on the smart screen when you select the river back-

ground, all with the touch of a button! If you are one of those who gets more frustration than pleasure out of your copier, perhaps it is time to invest in one with a new smart screen. That might be the perfect end-of-year, holiday celebration or New Year addition that will bring much happiness to you and your staff for the upcoming year. Happy holidays!

Scott Thurmond is CEO and co-owner of Duplicating Systems Inc. (DSI), which provides multi-function copiers, software solutions and other technology. The company has been serving the CSRA for more than 30 years. For comments or questions, email sthurmond@

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



SUPER SALESMAN IS DRESSED FOR SUCCESS By Gary Kauffman They come runnin’ just as fast as they can Cause every girl crazy ‘bout a sharpdressed man. – ZZ Top Helping men in the Aiken and Augusta areas dress sharp has been the mission of Lionel Smith of Lionel Smith Ltd. for more than half a century. True to ZZ Top’s assertion that women like a sharp-dressed man, Smith said women play a surprisingly large role in a men’s clothing store. “A large portion of the business is driven by women – a wife, mother or girlfriend – so we’ve always tried our best to cater to the ladies,” he said.

Lionel Smith, Lionel Smith Ltd. Smith should know – he’s been in the clothing business since 1961. After 15 years of working in other clothing stores, Smith started Lionel Smith Ltd. on Laurens Street in Aiken in 1976. Now semi-retired – being fully retired doesn’t seem imminent – he works three days a week in the store now owned by his son, Van, and partner Danny Minolfo. Smith began his interest in clothing as a teenager growing up in Fayetteville, N.C. Although his family wasn’t wealthy, one of his friends came from money and Smith accompanied him to a men’s clothing store. “I saw all those people who were well dressed,” he recalled. “They always seemed to have money, they always seemed to be happy. I was impressed by that.” When his family moved to Edgefield in his high school years, he worked parttime at Belk. He was then asked to manage the boys department at Belk in Aiken. He was a quick study, and soon the boys department in the Aiken store was the top performer of any Belk store. Still, he wanted to work with men’s clothing. A regular customer suggested he move up in the world by working at the Manning Owen clothing store. Smith worked in the Manning Owen store until Owen’s health deteriorated. Smith was unable to buy him out, but several investors from Augusta asked him to run a clothing store for them. After four or five years, investor interest waned, so Smith opened his own store in 1976

Lionel Smith opened Lionel Smith Ltd. in Aiken in 1976. It has been in its Laurens Street location since 1982. Photo by Gary Kauffman

on Laurens Street, across the street from its current location. The store has been in its present location since 1982. “The idea was to not out-Walmart Walmart,” Smith said. “I decided to go up above that to have a higher and nicer quality. I felt if I stayed with quality merchandise there would always be a market.” One unique feature of the store is that it makes office calls, a feature that is still part of Smith’s job description. The idea to do that came after a chance conversation a number of years ago. An attorney from out of town stopped in and told Smith that he would rather buy from him than anyone else. But because of the travel time, then the fitting and alteration time, it ate up his entire day. Smith noted that he was going to be in the attorney’s town the next week and offered to bring the altered suit with him. The man liked the idea, and then added that his partner wanted a new blazer. Could Smith bring one along? That was an “aha” moment. Smith did a little research and found that Tuesday was the store’s slowest day. He reasoned that he could make trips to see clients that day and increase his business. There is a tacit agreement with his clients that when he makes the trip, a purchase will be involved. “It’s convenient for the customer and nice for us,” he said. “If I can make it con-

20 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

venient for people, then they’ll be customers that come back.” About 25 years ago Smith made the decision to sell the business to his son, Van, over a period of time. “I had to figure out a way for Van to buy the business for himself using our money,” Smith said with a laugh. Although Smith is now technically an employee, working in the store on Mondays and Saturdays and making his office calls on Tuesdays, he said it is a good fit. “It feels fine the way I do it,” he said. “I’m still treated like I’m the owner.” What are you passionate about in your business? People – on so many levels. The store personnel, I love all those guys. And the customers. After all the years, going back to when I was at Belk, I have customers who are now grandfathers who bought here for their children and grandchildren. Now their grandchildren are buying here. What do you do for fun? For years I ran and biked. I always enjoyed both of those. I took some exciting bicycle trips. I rode from Oregon to Washington, I rode from Rome to Paris across the Alps and I rode from Aiken to Bar Harbor, Maine. Do you ever dress down in a T-shirt and sweatpants? Sure. At home when I go out walking in the morning I’m not as careful, but

I still put things together. I don’t wear clown outfits. I always tell the people that work here that every time you go out you’re making an impression, either positive or negative. How has the business changed since you started? It’s changed in so many ways. The internet has changed things. Vendors are also now competitors. They make it aggravating to us that they’re in competition with the people who put them on the map. But we have the benefit of years of experience of putting things together. Customers like our advice and our displays. On the internet you can’t walk up and feel the fabric. How do you give back to the community? Through volunteer duties through the years. I was a charter member of the Sunrise Rotary. I served on committees and my wife, Dot, and I give a scholarship to the college. And through our church. We encourage our personnel to get involved, too. What does the future hold for you? The store’s handed off to the next generation and they’re doing a great job in making it even better. I never think about “retiring” retiring. I spend time with Dot and we do things together. We’ve been married for 55 years, so we’ve kind of gotten used to each other.

This Holiday Season Give Your Staff a Gift of a New Copier

Ask us how we can make your new year a lot easier with time saving devices and revolutionary technology. 507 CDP Industrial Blvd, Suite 2 Grovetown, GA 30813

706-737-6482 December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Business openings, closings and moves Openings

The Olde Town Diner Downtown Augusta, known for its unique variety of restaurants, soon will have a new option for food lovers, and an old favorite will have a new name: The Olde Town Diner. The building that was the home of Whistle Stop Café, at the corner of Sixth and Greene Streets, was purchased and renovated by business owner Fred Daitch. He said he spent 372 days and three times the expected budget in retrofitting the old café, which burned down in November 2011 in a suspected arson. Restaurateur Liz Sanderson will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serve a hot bar and unique offerings besides traditional diner food. “Each table will have an electrical outlet as we provide Wi-Fi and internet service for phones, tablets and laptop computers,” said Daitch. Happy Pantry and Hem and Sew Downtown Augusta’s first grocery store opened this past week. While downtown is no stranger to convenience markets, such as the Metro Market on Broad Street, the familyowned and operated Happy Pantry, at 718 Greene St., will be the first downtown store of its kind to offer the wide assortment of products typical of a larger, full-service grocery store. “Happy Pantry has everything from toilet paper to cereal to eggs to sandwich meats,” owner Diana Laluz said. “Down­town doesn’t have any real grocery stores, and people downtown cannot get places as quickly as in other areas.” The idea for Happy Pantry came from Laluz’s father, Dan Kalasa. “My dad has worked at St. John’s Towers for over 20 years as a driver, taking residents to places like grocery stores and restaurants,” Laluz said. “He saw an opportunity to fill a need with the Happy Pantry.” In keeping with Kalasa’s dedication to St. John’s Towers, Happy Pantry will also offer delivery on some items to St.

John’s residents for added convenience. In addition to Happy Pantry, the family also runs Hem and Sew, an alterations and dry cleaning business, in the same building. Sook Kalasa, Diana’s mother, manages the dry cleaning operations, making it a true family-run business. She has worked in the industry for over 20 years, including military dry cleaning. Laluz explained that as an Augusta native, she is happy to be able to contribute to the city’s growing downtown. “We always try to support downtown and its businesses,” Laluz said. “It’s exciting to see the growth in this area.” Laluz also mentioned that the business is hoping to implement a “We Back the Badge” campaign in support of local law enforcement. In addition to their dedication to down­town, the Laluz and Kalasa families are also dedicated to their customers. “Even though we are a small store that is just starting out, we want to fill our customers’ needs,” Laluz said. “If you don’t see the products that you want, let us know and we will try our best to get it stocked.” Happy Pantry and Hem and Sew are open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday. Center for Bioethics and Health Policy Augusta University is expanding its health curriculum. The Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Augusta University has launched its Center for Bioethics and Health Policy to address the challenges in biomedical ethics, health policy and public health. The CBHP’s interdisciplinary membership will include community members, faculty and staff representing various colleges within the university and its health system who will collaborate to develop a bioethical and health policy curriculum for students, create state and federal health policies, and conduct research aimed at improving population health. “As Georgia’s only public academic health center, Augusta University has unique strengths and responsibilities in developing biomedical research responsive to community health needs,” Dr. Bill Strong, center director, said. “With the launching of the CBHP, our institution continues to position itself as a leader in the field in bioethics and public health, and I look forward to our discovering innovative solutions for the

22 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

ever-changing health care issues facing our nation.” In addition to research and policy development, Strong says the center will soon begin offering a master’s degree in Bioethics and Health Policy with concentrations in medical humanities, spirituality and health policy.

Washington Road had served as host to the Masters for 30 years, and we will continue the legacy with this beautiful, brand new property.” For more information or to make reservations, visit Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton, Augusta-Washington Road or call (706) 738-4567.

Coming soon

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Augusta hotels are known for catering to golf lovers, but a remodeled hotel is taking that a step further. Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton, at 3028 B Washington Road near Augusta National Golf Club, has used inspiration from the famous course in its design. The hotel’s décor can best be described as “traditional sporty country club meets modern Southern charm.” Many areas of the hotel feature traditional golf-apparel patterned designs and textures, including visual elements from nature such as azalea blooms, traditional box woods and greenery. Carpet throughout the hotel is inspired by the manicured greens of the famed golf course. “On behalf of the team members, we are eager to welcome guests to ‘The Garden City’ of Augusta with a relaxing stay at our new Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton property with what we feel represents Southern hospitality with a modern twist,”David Przedecki, general manager, said. “Augusta has so much to offer visitors, whether they are in town for business or leisure. We hope to share a few of our favorite recommendations with guests and show them the best the city has to offer.” The 126-room hotel, which is owned and managed by JHM Hotels, offers amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, a 24hour business center with complimentary printing, a meeting space that can accommodate up to 75 people, an outdoor saline pool, turf putting greens, a life-sized chess board, 24-hour fitness center and a large veranda and patio area with seating areas. “We are so pleased to have the opportunity to rebuild our Hampton Inn & Suites in the thriving Augusta market,” D.J. Rama, president of JHM Hotels, said. “Our previous Hampton Inn on

Senior Living Complex A new housing option for Augusta seniors is about to begin construction. Walton Communities recently secured a $14 million financing deal from SunTrust Community Capital and announced that it would be used to finance the construction of an affordable, 80-unit senior living apartment complex. The development is a partnership between Walton Communities and Augusta Housing Authority. “Augusta needs more affordable housing options for seniors and this financing brings us one step closer to providing more options for this demographic,” Dave Loeffel, head of affordable housing investments for Walton Communities, said. “We believe everyone deserves better housing no matter their stage in life, and that’s why we’re excited to announce we are one step closer to completing this important development.” The new senior living apartment complex will feature one and two bedroom units fitted with all modern appliances. There is an onsite community room, fitness center, and arts and crafts room. “Walton Communities has a strong reputation in the Southeast for building desirable communities that meet local needs,” Paul Woodworth, president of SunTrust Community Capital, said. “This new development continues the company’s tradition of delivering high quality and distinctive living options for every age and means, and we are pleased that SunTrust Community Capital can help make this happen.” Walton Communities will begin construction this month and is expected to complete work by January 2018.

Coming soon? Fazoli’s A well-known Italian restaurant chain still has its sights set on Augusta. Nearly two years ago, in March of 2015, Buzz on Biz announced that Continued on Page 23

Business openings, closings and moves Continued from Page 22 Fazoli’s, a popular fast food Italian restaurant, would be returning to the Augusta area. The restaurant had been part of the Washington Road landscape in the 1990s into the early 2000s, but its former location is now occupied by a Cook-Out restaurant. Although no new location has been selected yet, Fazoli’s confirmed that they are still planning on returning to the Garden City. “We recently opened Fazoli’s locations in Macon and Warner Robbins, and Columbus will be the next location,” Sam Nelson, vice president of Franchises Recruitment and Development for Fazoli’s Corporate, said. “There are no specific time lines per location, but there are still plans for locations in Athens, Augusta and Savannah.” The restaurant chain, based in Lexington, Ky., is best known for its classic Italian dishes, baked pastas, “Submarino” sub sandwiches and signature garlic breadsticks, and it abides by the motto “Fast. Fresh. Italian.” Trader Joe’s Contrary to rumor, a popular grocery store chain does not have its sights set on the Garden City. In response to a question from reader Lydia Huter, Buzz on Biz recently spoke with the Trader Joe’s corporate office. Trader Joe’s is a grocery store chain based in Monrovia, Calif., near Los Angeles. Price-wise, they can be compared to Aldi’s, but the shopping experience is unique. They are known for cedar plank walls, intricate chalk murals and crewmembers’ distinctive Hawaiian shirts. However, most importantly, they are known for their product variety and low prices. “We just focus on what matters,” the Trader Joe’s website states, “great food + great prices = value.” Currently, a visit to Trader Joe’s involves driving more than an hour from Augusta to either Columbia or Athens. “At this point there are no plans to come to Augusta,” a spokesperson from Trader Joe’s informed Buzz on Biz. “We have a two-year plan where we open up 10 new stores every two years. Augusta is currently not on that list” However, Trader Joe’s urged those who would like to see a store come

to the Garden City to visit traderjoes. com/contact-us/location-request and submit a request asking for a store. For more information about Trader Joe’s or its current store locations, visit


Myers Family Dental Business is booming for a local dental office. Myers Family Dental is expanding and opening up a new office on Furys Ferry Road between Riverwatch Parkway and Evans to Locks Road. “We need a larger space to accommodate our growing practice,” Dr. Alan Myers, DMD, recently told Buzz on Biz. The dental practice’s original office, founded in May of 2014 and located at 1014 Northwood Road, Augusta, is headed by Myers, an Augusta native. Myers graduated from Augusta State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and he earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the Medical College of Georgia. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry and the Georgia Dental Association, and he is currently president of the Augusta Dental Society. When asked why the new location was chosen, Myers said, “I like Martinez because it’s very centrally located for the CSRA. Furys Ferry has enough traffic that people can see you, but not so much that there are traffic jams.” Myers Family Dental describe themselves as “your hometown dental practice” and provide services ranging from general dentistry to teeth whitening, crowns and bridges, and periodontal exams. For more, visit www.MyersDMD. com or call (706) 738-7742. The Boys & Girls Club of the Central Savannah River Area The Boys & Girls Club of the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) has received a $10,000 grant from

In early December, contractors began demolition and clearing the land at the site of the former Jay’s Music building at the corner of Washington Road and the old Berckmans Road. The next chapter of Jay’s Music will begin inside the former Piccadilly’s Cafeteria building further down Washington Road near Interstate 20. Photos by Neil Gordon and Amanda King

Sales the Comcast Foundation to expand their My.Future technology initiative. The hands-on technology training is designed to equip Club kids with the skills needed to compete in a 21st-century environment. The My.Future program enables members to select from more than 40 activities to help them understand how to safely engage online, and identify and develop digital interests – from internet basics for beginners, to robotics, game design and even online journalism for advanced users. The grant will provide club staff with additional training and funding to purchase state-of-the-art equipment including tablets, digital cameras, music studio tools and other video-editing technology needed to implement the My.Future curriculum. “We are grateful for the role that Comcast is playing to support our important mission in Augusta,” Julie Ferguson, Public and Corporate Relations of the Boys & Girls Club of the CSRA, said. “Today’s announcement will go a long way toward helping to bridge the digital divide among our members and more easily set them up for success.” For more information about the My.Future program, visit

Berckmans Road update What was a well-known Augusta business for 25 years is now a pile of rubble on Washington Road. On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Buzz on Biz was the first to bring you the information that Jay’s Music had been purchased by the Augusta National Holding Group and that they would relocate to the former Piccadilly Cafeteria site down the street on 3110 Washington Road. The Augusta Chronicle was later able to report that the Jay’s property was purchased for $5.35 million, despite its taxable value only being $637,900. The holding group has not revealed what will be in its place after demolition is complete. Augusta National Golf Club’s new two-story media center is directly behind the former Jay’s Music property. “Upon your arrival next year, you’ll have the best media facility in the world,” Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said in a press conference during the Masters Tournament in April. Jay’s Music owner Doug Frohman previously stated that the former restaurant would need extensive renovations to be more accommodating to a retail store, but those have not been completed at this time.

December 22, 2016–January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




While juggling life, it’s easy to put your financial planning on the back burner. Between working, home repairs, caring for your pets or children – it can be hard to find time. But when you make your financial health a priority, you’ll be building a brighter future. Whether your goal is debt reduction or saving, achieving your goals starts with a comprehensive financial plan. This fivestep plan will be key to preparing for potential financial risks, saving and planning for retirement. 1. Know where you stand. Before you know where you’re going, you must know where you are. Review current assets, debts, expenses, and income. Get a clear view of your finances by: • Tracking your spending. • Checking your credit profile. • Reviewing past financial successes and failures. • Protecting your finances. • Calculating your net worth.

2. Create detailed and personal goals. When setting goals, it’s important to make them specific and relatable. For example, “saving for vacation” isn’t as motivating as saving $5,000 by January for a vacation to Hawaii. Make sure your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and have a Timeline. 3. Partner to create a plan. Partnering with a trusted financial representative will help you to map out strategies that can get you to your goals within a reasonable time frame. A financial professional can help you build a personalized plan to meet your short- and longterm goals – no matter how big or small. With some expert help, you can easily crunch the numbers, weigh options and map out a productive saving and investing strategy. 4. Take control. Not all financial priorities are based on big life milestones. Sometimes achieving a seemingly small financial feat can

put you on the right track. Here are some items to consider putting on your financial to-do list: • Set a budget and stick to it. • Build an emergency fund – aim to have six months of living expenses saved. • Manage debt wisely (pay off highinterest and nondeductible debt first). • Be strategic in your investment and saving decisions. • Build your credit score. • Save for retirement – and take full advantage of your employer’s retirement plan. • Protect your assets/income. • Update your estate planning documents. 5. Review your plan regularly. Life is filled with changes, both personal and financial. Milestones like a new job or a new family member will impact your strategy. Make sure to meet with your financial representative before one of these milestones, and at least annually, to ensure your mix of investments, budget and in-

surance options are current and accurately reflect your goals and risk tolerance. To help you remember, plan to review your financial plan around the same time each year; the start of the new year or your birthday often work well. Keep in mind that financial planning isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime activity; it takes a strategic, steady effort to arrive at your destination. With a little thought, effort and planning, you may confidently achieve your financial goals.

Kurt W. Mueller is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual based in Augusta. To contact him, call 803-671-8792, email him at or visit his website at This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. Not all products mentioned in this article are offered through Northwestern Mutual.


Growth Through Failure Sets Entrepreneurs Apart Beth Pence

As business owners and business leaders, failures are inevitable. If we are going to be entrepreneurs who pride ourselves in thinking outside of the box and re-inventing great customer service, we shouldn’t breathe shame or anger into our businesses and over our teams. Program your team to make failures into fortune! We’ve all heard about Process Management, but how about failure management? If we can set a tone that failure is the opportunity to make a process or situation even better, we will end up celebrating losses by turning them into gains. Easier said than done, I know. In an article by Therese Borchard, she says that every year The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation holds a “Fail Fest,” where failures are celebrated. She goes on to state that it’s where failure is seen as wisdom, a way to take

Fortune doesn’t always equal money or gained customers but should equal greater customer satisfaction and better fortune with our employees.

in key insights. So, sit down and live with the uncomfortable feelings. Explore what went wrong. Now, we probably won’t hold Failure Fests, but we can embrace letting our employees know that failure doesn’t mean a slap on the wrist. Rather, it means, a difficult conversation followed up with an opportunity to gather a new idea, a new way, a new process, a whole new approach or the need for change that we might have

24 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

been avoiding. Don’t panic (well, panic a little, then gather yourself ), but instead focus on what we can learn from the failure that will turn it into a fortune. Now, the fortune doesn’t always equal money or gained customers but should equal greater customer satisfaction and better fortune with our employees. We want and need to retain our employees and they’ll all make mis-

takes, so how we treat them in times of failure creates that good “fortune” of a better, more loyal, hard-working employee. Our fortune is our employees, and with them fortune is possible. I’m guilty of letting my disappointment turn into harsh words and showing that disappointed parental look on my face. No worries! It’s still an opportunity to go back and revisit the failure, empathize with why it happened and encourage your team to makes suggestions for improvement. They will thank you for it in many unspoken ways. This holiday season, in ad-

dition to sharing presents and good will with your employees, remember to encourage growth through failures all year long! Happy holidays!

Beth Pence and her son Phillip own Alphagraphics, located in Martinez, just across from the Martinez Post Office off of Martinez Boulevard on Commercial Court. They offer full print, signs and design services. Reach them at 706-650-3177 or

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




One of the great things about the internet is the opportunity for people to share their opinions about anything, anytime, and anywhere – including how your business operates. Your customers now have a way to tell the world about their experience with your company or your products, good or bad. And not only are your customers talking, but people are listening. You might think that online reviews don’t matter in your industry. Think again! A Dimensional Research survey shows that 90 percent of customers say reading online reviews influenced their buying decisions. Online reviews provide a new way for you to market your product or service on the web. Here are five reasons why online reviews are important to your business: 1) Increased sales: According to Nielsen, 70 percent of consumers’ buying behavior is dependent on online reviews. Online reviews are the new word-of-

mouth and today’s consumer trusts reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family. Positive reviews simply result in more opportunities and sales for you. 2) Improved search engine rankings: Online reviews do more than help you increase sales; they impact your website’s search engine ranking, particularly with Google. According to Moz, Google has moved rated reviews into its top five ranking criterion. 3) Enhanced customer loyalty: Customers who make an effort to leave an online review are likely to be more loyal to a business.

4) Boosted customer engagement: Many times online reviews get shared on social networks, allowing for increased online exposure and for online conversations about your company to take place as social users respond and provide feedback to the reviews. 5) Better customer service: Probably the most important reason online reviews matter for your business is that they tell you whether or not you are doing a good job serving your customers. Good reviews can be shared and developed into customer testimonials. Poor reviews should get addressed publically via response to the reviewer, both openly and honestly. Online reviews are so important in today’s digital world that your business should not just be responding to reviews but actively soliciting reviews. So how do you generate reviews? You can do this automatically through email campaigns and review generation landing pages. At Main Street Digital, we do this in two ways. First, we send emails to our

customers requesting reviews; and second, we use a review generation widget on our website to solicit reviews as well. You can see an example of this at Getting a jump start on generating reviews for your business is another significant step to growing your online presence and your online brand.

Richard Brashear is General Manager for Main Street Digital, a local digital marketing agency that helps local businesses use digital marketing online. To learn more about using websites, social media or payper-click campaigns for generating leads online for your business, call Richard at 706-828-3948 or email him at

CREATING HIGH-TECH WORKFORCE IN CSRA BOOTCAMP BEGINS IN JANUARY TO FIND WEB WARRIORS Students from A.R Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High School learn to code websites at in November 2016. Special

By Amanda King

Eric Parker and Grace Belangia want to help people learn how to crack the code to getting high-paying jobs in the CSRA. Or rather, learn to code. The co-founders of, the coworking and business incubation space at the Old Richmond Academy Building on Telfair Street, were the recipients of a substantial grant from AT&T to provide coding classes to the CSRA with help from Augusta Technical College. Several local companies will also join the project, including SRNS, RSI, Wier/Stewart, Powerserve, Adviso, Zappata Technologies and ISC Consulting Group. These companies will provide guest lecturers each Friday and potentially hire students for jobs in their industries during the class’s job fair. “We can’t guarantee jobs, but all the companies that have signed on have given a commitment to grow this talent pipeline,” Parker said. The immersive bootcamp is scheduled to begin Jan. 23 and will run for 12 weeks at 40 hours per week. Parker and Belangia said this is a great opportunity for anyone 18 or older look-

ing to start a career in coding or even those looking to start a new career. Prior knowledge is not required. Parker cited the growing demand for coders and all technology-related fields. “Technology is in every industry,” he said. “It’s not going to go away. It’s going to continue to get stronger and have more demand.” The growing cybersecurity focus in the area also guarantees the need for more tech workers, including former military members who might not know how to code but have the security clearances to begin work as a private-sector contractor. Belangia pointed out that coding can

26 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

work outside the Augusta area and is accommodating to different lifestyles. Coders can often work from home or telecommute. Many jobs begin at $40,000 per year, and salaries can get up to $80,000100,000 per year. Not a bad return on a tuition of $4,410. That covers the cost of courses, registration of the student’s website domain and server costs for one year, access to the’s computer lab and membership to the hackerspace for one year. Students will also receive a certificate from the and Augusta Tech’s continuing education program. In addition to classes, students will

“Technology is in every industry. It’s not going to go away. It’s going to continue to get stronger and have more demand.” – Eric Parker learn about writing a resume and will learn interview skills and have the opportunity to shadow some of the partnering companies. The benefits of the coding class go beyond just those for students. Downtown Augusta will also profit from the’s latest endeavor. “Almost all [of the sponsoring businesses] are in downtown Augusta, so that will help with the other businesses that benefit from having more employees downtown,” Parker said. “It’s not that hard to start to learn to code so you can get an entry-level position, but what you’re really signing up for is a lifetime of ongoing learning.”

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



More businesses are headed downtown. In November, Sherman and Hemstreet announced that it sold the office building at 1051 Broad St. in downtown Augusta for $780,000. The building on the corner of 10th Street and Broad stands three stories high with approximately 30,000 square feet. Previously, Henry Brothers Auctions and Estate sales was located in the building. Sherman and Hemstreet has not released what will be going in the building after its purchase, but vice president and sales manager Reagan Williams told Buzz on Biz that it will be an upscale retail store. In an interview with Buzz on Biz’s radio show, president and broker Joe Edge added that while that might be the case for the ground floor of the building, it’s unknown what will go into the other two floors. “That particular building has had its share of challenges,” Edge said. “The county is going to require that a lot of improvements are made to the building for the top two floors to be used.” Building codes have made it very difficult to use many properties downtown. However, according to Edge, many buyers who know how to navigate the tax credits on historic buildings like 1051 Broad St. are reaping big benefits with those investments even with the need to make buildings code-compliant.


How did you do with your 2016 goals? Did you accomplish them, or did some of the distractions of the year or volatile business conditions take you off track? If you achieved everything on your list, that’s great, and I hope you maintain your momentum into 2017. Having a great year starts with your goals. Goals are the destination, the big picture, the end result, the finish line. They give you a specific point or place in time to focus on, and they influence your mindset and attitude. Goals should be consistent with your values, or you will lose interest, burn out or abandon them. Peter Drucker, author and business consultant, suggested using the acronym SMART as a guide for your goal setting. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. S. Your goal should be clear and specific. Ask yourself the “W” questions: Who, What Where, Why. This will identify what you want to accomplish, why that is important, who will need to be involved, where resources will need to be used. M. Your goal needs to be measur-

able, so you know if you are making progress. Drucker often said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” A. Your goal needs to be attainable. Set a goal that causes you to stretch, but one that you are able to reach. If you don’t believe you can achieve it, you might give up. R. Your goal should be relevant & worthwhile to you and your business. T. Your goal needs to have a target date. This helps keep you focused on the big goals while working through the everyday tasks. Once you have your goals written down, you need to make a plan to reach them. Your plan will consist of action steps, which are objectives that must be accomplished to bring you closer to the goal. Implement the plan. Like every journey, it starts with the first step. Evaluate your progress. Adjust or change the plan. If you need to modify a step, do it by staying focused on the big goals, but adjusting your plan as needed to maintain your momentum. Keep a positive attitude. Some steps will require more difficult tasks and times of intense pressure. Having the right mindset will empower you

as you move toward your goal. Learn new things. If you determine that you will need additional information or business knowledge to reach your goals but don’t know where to find the information or training, you could contact the local University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. They offer classes, online training and programs to assist businessowners. I have attended many of their small business programs, like the Start Smart and Growth Smart classes, and they have been a great help to me when I needed additional information. Start now on your goals and make 2017 your best year so far.

Eddie Kennedy is the owner of Great Deals on Furniture in Augusta. Eddie will be sharing ideas and principles he learned over 37 years of involvement and management in small business. Contact him at

2017 HAS


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

AIKEN (803) 226 - 0284

28 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017


H I R E A L I S O N S O U T H A S YO U R M A R K E T I N G F I R M I N 2 0 1 7, A N D G O F R O M G O O D T O G R E AT.

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


A U G U S TA M A R K E T I N G . C O M

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Moving Earth

Popular Produce Market is Building Permanent site By Amanda King

Good Earth Produce and Garden Center is digging up some earth on its Martinez property at 150 Davis Road. The locally owned and operated business is opening a year-round indoor facility in March 2017. For seven years, customers have been able to browse local produce, dry goods, frozen meat and plants at their outdoor location from March to December. “A million factors went into making this decision,” owner Rick Catts said. The new indoor facility will be about 9,000 square feet and built by Clifton Construction.

The business will still carry local produce from Georgia and South Carolina. Catts said he looks for products in the area and doesn’t go outside of 100-mile radius of the CSRA to purchase inventory. Good Earth will have additional space for a greenhouse on their property and will continue to sell items outdoors, such as their popular plants, hanging baskets and Christmas trees. Prior to the Martinez location, Catts had an indoor location in Aiken for 22 years which was later sold. Unlike the new store, the Aiken store was only open September to December.

Good Earth Produce and Garden Center is building a store at its Davis Road location that will allow the business to stay open year-round. Photo by Jessica Jones 30 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Organizations to Relocate By Kelsey Morrow

The new year is bringing a big change for three local organizations. The Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) recently purchased a building at 1010 Broad St. The Augusta CVB and Augusta Sports Council (ASC) will be relocating their offices from Enterprise Mill to 1010 Broad St. The Augusta Visitor Center will also move from 560 Reynolds St. to the main floor of the new Broad Street building. The Augusta CVB has chosen Studio 3 Design Group, based out of Augusta, to design the corporate office space for the CVB and ASC. Howard + Revis, an exhibit design firm from Washington, D.C., will design the new Visitor Center. “We are thrilled to be moving to Broad Street, where we will have a significant pres-

ence for visitors, meeting attendees and residents,” said President and CEO Barry White. “Downtown Augusta is growing, and with the recent announcements of two new hotels in downtown, this is the perfect opportunity for the CVB to be a part of the exciting transformation happening in Augusta.” As part of the Augusta CVB’s strategic plan, the Board of Directors tasked the organization with finding a permanent location for the Visitor Center. Over the last several years, the Augusta CVB has been looking at buildings and land in the central business district. “Plans to relocate to a more visible downtown location have been many years in the making, and we’re glad to see it finally come to fruition,” said White. The Augusta CVB plans to be in the new building by January 2018.

32 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

UGA Experts Predict Bright Economy for ’17 By Kelsey Morrow

While the Augusta economy has been less than stellar this year, the rest of the state has shown promise. Georgia’s economy will continue its upward trajectory next year and beyond, according to the Georgia Economic Outlook forecast from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. “Many of the same forces that contributed specifically to Georgia’s growth in the past two years will be even stronger in 2017,” Dean Benjamin C. Ayers said. “First, Georgia has even more projects in its economic development pipeline. Second, Georgia’s economy will get more leverage from the housing recovery than the national economy. Third, Georgia’s manufacturers will continue to do better than U.S. manufacturers. Fourth, Georgia will see faster population growth.” Thanks to a pro-business political climate that has brought major relocation and expansion projects to the state, Georgia’s economy is expected to grow 3.2 percent in 2017, ahead of the nation’s 2.6 percent growth rate, Ayers said. He also predicted that nominal personal income will increase 5 percent, and nonfarm employment will climb 2.1 percent. “The main takeaway is that it’s not too late to take advantage of Georgia’s economic expansion,”

Ayers said. “When it comes to landing economic development projects our success reflects cost, logistical and tax advantages that make us very competitive with other states. “Georgia also fields a very competitive team of economic development professionals and is viewed as a place where there’s a good working relationship be­tween government and other major players.” However, the state faces some broader economic challenges. A strong U.S. dollar, weak foreign currencies and Federal Reserve interest rate increases will all tap the brakes on economic growth. The risk of U.S. recession, Ayers said, stands at 35 percent – slightly higher than in the last few years. Complicating the matter is the transition that comes with new leadership in the White House. “With a new administration in Washington, there will be more economic policy uncertainty. That will put some business decisions on hold. It may even delay some decisions to expand or to hire,” Ayers said. “But it also brings an opportunity to implement policies that will improve economic growth through tax reform, regulatory relief and spending on productivity-enhancing infrastructure. “If leaders get it right, the country will benefit substantially.”

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




The word “cheers” can have a variety of meanings. For some it brings to mind the classic TV show theme song Where Everybody Knows Your Name, while others may think of cheerleaders leading an enthusiastic charge for a team or cause. You may even think of raising a glass in celebration! For the Columbia County Chamber, it is an ovation for all we have achieved in 2016. The Chamber is very much like the Cheers theme song – here, everybody knows your name. When a company joins the Chamber, a company representative is encouraged to attend Membership 101 to learn all about the benefits of chamber membership and where they may choose to become involved and engaged. Events like Chamber Before Hours or After Hours are fantastic ways to get to know others. It’s not just learning someone’s name, but really connecting with businesses in the community. It starts as a networking event, but has the possibility of becoming so much more. A member may also apply for Women on the Way or Leadership Columbia County. Participants in these programs spend one day each month together for 10 months learning about various leadership and professional development topics – talk about really getting to know a group of business professionals! One of the many hats that our Chamber staff, Board of Directors and Ambassadors wear is that of a cheerleader, but it is not limited to them, each Chamber committee member and even the membership at large enthusiastically back the mission of our Chamber. These groups and individuals see the Chamber as a “For Purpose” Organization and ac-

tively drive that purpose forward. They understand that the mission of advocating for business and community growth is a win-win for all. The successes of our community don’t just happen; instead local organizations lead the way. Now, let’s raise a glass! On Feb. 9, the Columbia County Chamber will toast the many accomplishments of 2016 at the Chamber’s 12th annual Banquet. We are looking forward to celebrating: • Opposing the Fair Labor Standards Act and halting the decision of the Department of Labor • Growing membership to over 1,000 and exceeding goals for attendance at events • Being recognized as a Georgia Certified Chamber through the GA Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives • Supporting community development initiatives including backing the General Obligation Bond and promoting the student work base learning program and other workforce development programs • Growing the Leadership Columbia County adult program and the Executive Forum program So, cheers to you and your business for a year of great accomplishment and to a successful 2017!

Tammy Shepherd has served as president of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce for six years after a career that included working at Disney World, hotel management, managing Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Columbia County Magazine.

Columbia County Chamber staff from left: Beth Frits, Leadership Programs coordinator; Lei Epps, bookkeeper; Nancy Peyser, administrative assistant; Stacy Roberts, Member Relations manager; Rachel Ellefson, Programs manager; Robbie King, Membership Sales manager; Tammy Shepherd, president and CEO; and Emilee Bobo, Communications manager. Special

34 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

Companies Honored for Community Involvement By Kelsey Morrow

The Development Authority of Columbia County recently held its Business Appreciation Breakfast to recognize corporate citizens for their investment in the community through job creation, capital investment and community involvement. “Every year the Development Authority of Columbia County sets aside a day to say thank you to all the businesses large and small, for their hard work throughout the year,” Hugh Hollar, chairman of the Development Authority of Columbia County, said. “We are thankful they choose to call Columbia County home and wish to help them succeed.” This year, the Development Authority of Columbia County recognized the following three companies for their commitment to our community: Small Business Company of the Year: ACHS Insurance ACHS Insurance is an independent insurance agency that has served the greater Augusta area since 1993, when they first opened in Martinez. Since then ACHS has been committed to providing its customers with the best coverage and quality service. Over the past two years, the company has doubled its revenue, increasing its staff by approximately 25 percent to 35 full-time employees. In 2016, ACHS Insurance built a 21,000-squarefoot Class A office building, back home in the heart of Columbia County. Professional Office Company of the Year: Gold Cross EMS Gold Cross EMS Inc. has been serving the CSRA since 1997 and will be celebrating their 20th anniversary in Columbia County. This year they will have transported over 50,000 patients. In 2015, they opened three additional locations in the CSRA, bringing the total number to 18. Gold Cross EMS gives back to the community through their EMS Explorer program for young people ages 14-20, CPR training and volunteering as instructors with Columbia County’s Community Emergency Response Team. In January 2016, they started their own EMS Academy to train aspiring EMT’s and have worked with the Georgia Department of Labor to retrain individuals who have lost jobs due to closings. Their biggest accomplishment this year was becoming accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services. It is the highest honor an ambulance service can achieve; there are less than 200 in the world that have achieved it.

Manufacturer Company of the Year: John Deere Commercial Products This year, John Deere Commercial Products celebrates their 25th anniversary in Columbia County. In 1991, John Deere Commercial Products began building utility tractors in a 200,000-square-foot facility on Lewiston Road in Grovetown with less than 100 employees. Ten years later, another manufacturing site on John Deere Parkway was added to double their footprint. Today, there are more than 1,200 employees and contractors working on site. Since 1991, the facility has produced more than 1 million tractors for the global market. Most recently, John Deere partnered to lease a new 524,700-squarefoot warehouse on John Deere Parkway that allowed them to consolidate multiple warehouses for improved efficiency. As John Deere continues to grow, so do the suppliers that serve them. In addition to recognizing local businesses, the Development Authority of Columbia County unveiled an economic development strategic plan: “Harnessing Opportunities and Talent: An Economic Development Strategy for Columbia County, Georgia,” completed and presented by Atlanta-based Garner Economics. The plan makes recommendations for enhancing economic development opportunity, marketing the county and performing operational improvements. The plan identifies target industries which include: Cybersecurity and government contracting, highvalued professional services, innovative manufacturing, entrepreneurial and retail development, and health services. “The recommendations from the new countywide economic development strategic plan set aspirational goals and a strong vision for the future of economic development in Columbia County,” said Robbie Bennett, executive director of the development authority. “The Development Authority looks forward to working with Columbia County and other strategic partners to prioritize and implement these recommendations.” The development authority is the lead economic development organization for Columbia County. Its role is to foster economic growth through supporting existing industry and small business, recruiting new companies, and product development. This is accomplished by working with local industry, community leaders, entrepreneurs, site selection consultants, developers and business leaders to secure new investment and jobs.

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz safe_mail.indd 1


11/26/16 10:13 AM


By Amanda King

Sometimes you want to go where ev­ erybody knows your name. For Augusta entrepreneurs, business owners and lead­ ers, there are plenty of networking oppor­ tunities, but finding the right group for your profession or business can be diffi­ cult. Networking expert Amy Kilpatrick left a successful career as a local CPA and be­ came a business coach and professional networking leader more than 10 years ago. She has seen a lot of networking suc­ cesses and failures and knows what it takes to get the most out of networking opportunities. “For me, networking is that ability to connect with either another person or your business to another business to help meet your goals,” Kilpatrick said. Social networking might be all the rage right now with sites including Linked­ In and Facebook, but according to Coworking Communities, nothing is more effective than in-person interaction. Nonverbal reactions, such as inflection and facial expressions, say much more than just plain words and help with mak­ ing real connections versus real-life con­ nections. While many people see networking opportunities as merely socializing, Kil­ patrick recommends strategizing those opportunities more than anything else, comparing it to a game of chess or check­ ers. “If you’re going [to events] to shake hands and exchange business cards, you’re leaving so much on the table,” she said. Here is some of her advice to make the most of networking. 1. Look at the organization’s mission Before joining any organization, Kil­ patrick said, make sure you do your re­ search. “An organization shouldn’t have to change because your understanding of what it is about is different,” she said. Kilpatrick said an organization’s re­ sponsibility is to provide opportunities for you to make connections and sales, not make sales for you. So, before engaging with an organiza­ tion, make sure it’s a good fit and check all of its requirements. If attendance is a factor and you are unsure of your ability to make meetings, it is probably not a good fit. If saying the Pledge of Allegiance or praying are not things you prefer to do at business events, then look elsewhere if you know those occur at certain net­

working events. “People should not join groups just to join groups,” Kilpatrick said 2. Know your target market Business leaders should know what and who their target is before walking into a networking event. “Too many people try to figure it out as they go, and therefore they have no strat­ egy,” Kilpatrick said. Many people attend networking events or groups that do not include their targets and wind up spending valuable company time and money that gets them nowhere. 3. Know your time and financial budget Return on investment is a major fac­ tor when looking at different networking

36 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016—January 25, 2017

opportunities. Some opportunities may be very expensive but result in a major business transaction. Others may require hours of commitment and take time away from daily work requirements. “Don’t expect any of these organiza­ tions to figure it out for you. That’s not their job,” Kilpatrick said. “Networking takes work. It’s not about writing a check and picking up clients.” 4. Make connections, not sales “The biggest challenge I see people struggle with networking or referral mar­ keting is when they go into sales mode,” Kilpatrick said. According to her, many people do not attend networking events because they don’t want to hear sales pitches.

Networking groups have different ways of making connections. At top, an “ugly sweater” event is an example of how the Young Professionals of Augusta have fun and conduct business. Above left, a few dozen businesswomen gather to network and offer support weekly through Nspire, and above right, three members of BNI talk referral business together. Photos courtesy of organizations

For many businesses, networking is key, especially if advertising is not an option or cold calling is not your cup of tea. However, for some people, even net­ working or public speaking can be dif­ ficult. Through her coaching business, Kilpat­ rick helps clients learn everything from the proper handshake to projecting while speaking. Buzz on Biz has compiled many net­ working opportunities for you to research on the following page.

Building a network organizations find ways to connect BNI

What it’s about: This group believes in “warm referrals, not cold leads.” With seven chapters in the CSRA, this networking powerhouse is known for challenge members to be organized and intentional on building referrals. Each weekly meeting allows members to give a 60second update about their business and current needs. BNI strongly encourages members to participate in “one-to-one” meetings to strengthen referrals. In addition to the weekly lunchtime meetings, members have an opportunity to attend more casual BNI After Hours events and Roundtable meetings to discuss topics.

Contact Amy Sowinski, amy@

Meetings: Various times, locations at seven chapters Cost: One-time $150 application fee; $445 for first year Restrictions: Visitors welcome, industry selective

“The professional development is a huge reason why I do it. A lot of us own our own business so we are not getting the training you get with a large company, and BNI provides a lot of that.” – Amy Sowinski

Commercial Residential Industrial

Young Professionals of Augusta

Mature Professionals of Augusta

What it’s about: From house cleaning to commercial building, if your business services homes or businesses, this group will help you to find out what’s going on in the Augusta area – what businesses are moving into town, what new subdivisions are being built or current trends in the CSRA. Similar to other groups, CRI allows members to go around and discuss current needs and relay information.

What it’s about: In addition to networking and educational opportunities this group offers, YPA believes in two great things – giving back and having fun. The board expects to donate $10,000 to Easter Seals of East Georgia, which assists children and adults living with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities or special needs. The money was raised through a 1940sthemed anniversary party. The group helps promote Augusta events and growth through social media updates. Some Augusta organizations have begun offering discounts to local events for YPA members.

What it’s about: Who says kids get to have all the fun? After attending an open YPA event, Phillip Hare began arranging meetings for those outside of the young professional demographic. This group of professionals is mostly made of ages 50 and up but welcomes all ages. Their casual meetings take place at restaurants around town. Meetings are very informal to allow the opportunity to eat and drink while meeting. This group is still building a base of networkers.

Contact Sheri Osburn, Meetings: Fridays at 11 a.m., Garden City Steakhouse, Davis Road Cost: None Restrictions: Preferred BNI experience, industry selective

“We get to know each other very, very well, so it’s easy for us to have credibility with the person we are referring.” – Sheri Osburn

Contact membership@

Contact Phillip Hare,


What it’s about: Sorry, boys, this is an all-girls club. In addition to being around other female business leaders, this mastermind group offers a support system and accountability. Discussions include goal setting, current needs and a time to meet and greet.

Contact amy@nspired Meetings: Fridays at 8 a.m., Jones Creek Country Club Cost: None Restrictions: Limited to number of participants and gender

Meetings: Various times, locations Cost: None

Meetings: Various times, locations Cost: $50 per year Restrictions: Ages 21-40

“We do our best to reach out to the community and to make the community better just by giving our time and by raising money.”

– Jason Blanchard, YPA president

Restrictions: None

OTHER NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES Chambers of Commerce • • augustametro • columbiacounty •

Real Estate Networking • csrahomeconnections. com Spiritual Networking • Faith at Work: fbc

Civic Clubs Professional • Kiwanis Club: Development • Rotary Club: • Toastmasters: augusta326. • Lions Club: • Ambucs Club: Private Business Club Healthcare Networking • Pinnacle Club: pinnacle • December 22, 2016—January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Editor’s Note: Chad Trollinger of WelcomeMat was a working committee members and sponsor of the 2016 B2B Expo held in October at the Foundry At Rae’s Creek. This feature first appeared in a November edition of The Augusta Chronicle and is reprinted with their permission.

By Damon Cline

Augusta Chronicle Business Editor Chad Trollinger’s life as a corporate marketing executive was on the fast track to success. After rising through the ranks at Bridgestone Golf in Covington, Ga., for almost eight years, Trollinger moved to the Augusta area in 2006 to become marketing director at Augusta Sportswear, which at the time was still family-owned and an industry leader in the recreational/ youth sports apparel business. Then his career train went off the rails. Augusta Sportswear was sold in 2008 to the first of a string of non-local private equity firms. The corporate culture changed, as Trollinger puts it, “180 degrees.” “It was a different ownership mentality,” he said. “It became all about trimming and cutting and reshaping. Toward the end they were just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick.” By 2013, one of the noodles that no longer stuck was Trollinger’s job. After several months of searching for executive-level jobs that would have uprooted his wife and two young children, he had a “watershed moment” – he decided to become his own boss. “I didn’t want to be one of those numbers again,” he said. “I didn’t want to have to reinvent myself every five years.” A friend who worked as a business broker gave Trollinger a list of 12 franchises he thought would be a good fit for Trollinger’s outgoing personality and sales experience. At the top of the list was Welcomemat Services, an Atlanta-based direct-mail marketing company that focuses on a community’s newest residents. Trollinger, whose territory covers the entire metro area, seeks out only the newest residents in a given zip code and mails them special offers for neighborhood businesses whose services they are likely to need, such as dental care, dry cleaning and auto repair. “The goal is to create loyalty by tapping into people who are not loyal to anyone yet,” he explains. “In the moving process, they’ve left certain loyalties. When they move, they’re seeking that out pretty quickly.”

Chad Trollinger, right, of Welcomemat Services, a direct-mail marketing firm, meets with Robbie Roberson, of Robbie’s Automotive Service Center. He says helping clients build customer loyalty is at the top of his priority list. Photo courtesy of The Augusta Chronicle

“This opportunity affords me the ability to help local small businesses grow a loyal customer base. … On the flip side, I get to help new families get acclimated to the CSRA, which is where I want to be. What’s better than that?” – Chad Trollinger His Welcomemat Services CSRA packets arrive 30 to 60 days after the resident has moved in – long enough to give them time to get settled but not so long as to miss the window of opportunity. Trollinger said marketing to newcomers is five times more likely to create a loyal customer than pitching to people who have already established roots and routines. Trollinger said his customers are “99 percent” independently owned small businesses: Companies such as The Pizza Joint, Robbie’s Automotive Service Center, Sparkle Car Wash and Ladybug’s Flowers & Gifts. Though his franchise territory stretches

38 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

from Lake Oconee in Georgia to Aiken in South Carolina, he focuses heavily on Columbia County, the fastest-growing part of the metro area based on housing data. Welcomemat last month ranked Evans No. 16 on its list of “America’s Top 25 Best Neighborhoods for Small Businesses.” The Welcomemat concept differs from most direct mail services in that it doesn’t blanket entire areas with coupon envelopes, which often contain deals from competing businesses. Trollinger gives exclusivity to businesses in certain categories and personalizes the packets by addressing them to each new resident by name; no “or current resident” lines appear on his envelopes.

If the resident redeems the coupon or special promotion at a client business, which Trollinger tracks through QR codes, he follows up with a thank-you note to help “close the loyalty loop,” to create what he hopes will become a longterm customer for his client. The traditional return on direct mail is 2 percent, Trollinger said. His is closer to 8 percent. “In the coupon world, most consumers are loyal only to the coupon,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is create loyalty to a brand.” The loyalty aspect of the Welcomemat venture appears to have given him a satisfaction that was elusive in the corporate world. “I loved all that experience, but loyalty in the corporate world is so different now,” Trollinger said. “This opportunity affords me the ability to help local small businesses grow a loyal customer base. So I love the connection points I get to make. “On the flip side,” he said. “I get to help new families get acclimated to the CSRA, which is where I want to be. What’s better than that?”

Start Here. Go Anywhere.

New Year! New You! Enroll Without Military Obligation •Ask About Our New Bachelor of Applied Science Degree •Federal and State Financial Aid Available •More Affordable With Lower Fees and Book Rental System •Small Class Sizes and Free Tutoring

Winter Quarter Starts January 7th! 115 Davis Rd Martinez (706) 993-1123 Questions to December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Time to get involved


At this time of year, after we’ve stuffed ourselves with turkey, dressing, and far too many sweets, we tend to start thinking about purchasing gifts and decorating for the holidays. At shopping centers around town, we hear the Salvation Army bell ringers and Christmas carols. Students are taking final exams, eager to enjoy their break in weeks ahead. In all the hustle of the holiday season, let’s not forget about others in need. At Georgia Military College, our faculty and staff strive to make a difference in the lives of not only students in our classrooms, but also to others in our community. We teach giving back and community involvement to students so that they can become citizens who reach out to make a difference beyond their own families and social circles. We encourage this on campus throughout the entire year, not just during this season when most people’s minds turn to helping the less fortunate. How can a small organization or group get involved? What can one person do? GMC’s college campus conducts fundraisers for various organizations all during the year. We raise funds through bake sales, car washes, and raffles. Many of our students, faculty, and staff don’t have large sums of money to donate at one time, but they are willing to donate their loose change and clean out their closets to donate gently used items for various causes. During the holidays, we host Toys for Tots as a dropoff location. We have also hosted the Salvation Army Angel Tree for three years in a row. Another means of getting involved doesn’t cost anything! Donation of time can mean the world to organizations. Volunteering time teaches students to think beyond themselves and it can be very fulfilling for you, too. What better way to get the family involved and teach children about how differently others may live? Georgia Military College’s students, faculty, and staff have assisted through donations and

In all the hustle of the holiday season, let’s not forget about others in need. … Every organization or business can get involved in some way. All it takes is one person with a passion, creativity, and an idea. volunteer hours to organizations such as Augusta Warrior Project, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Toys for Tots, Lydia Project, Susan G. Komen, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Shepeard Community Blood Center, Columbia County Cares Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Pruitt Healthcare, When Help Can’t Wait, Safe Homes of Augusta, Garden City Rescue Mission, Bon Air Apartments and Windermere Golden Living Center. These are just to name a few. Through the collection of money, goods, and many hours of volunteer time, we’ve made a difference in the lives of our community with limited resources. Every organization or business can get involved in some way. All it takes is one person with a passion, creativity, and an idea.

The Southern Association of Colleges accredits Georgia Military College and Schools, which means that all credit earned at the institution is transferable to other accredited schools. Missie Usry heads up the Admissions department and advises the Community Involvement Club at Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus. For questions about Georgia Military College, please call 706-993-1123 or visit our website at

40 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

Georgia Military College is in its third year of hosting a Salvation Army Angel Tree. The angels on the tree represent gifts that will go to children in the area. Special

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




From holiday celebrations to festive parties, the Christmas season is a time when people who plan events for a living really earn their keep. Our organization just finished two major events in the past couple of months, with another one – reNew&Brew – around the corner in February. Up close it’s easy to see how much detailed work goes into these productions, making it less likely that guests see behind-thescenes scrambling. It’s an illusion to think enough planning will magically prevent any scrambling. God – who invented humor – has a way of throwing a monkey wrench into the best-laid plans. I know. Since I founded Columbia County’s tree-lighting ceremony in 2000 with the help of then-County Commission Chairman Jim Whitehead, I’ve been heavily involved in its planning and operation. Individuals, attractions and even venues can change year to year, but we still light up a Christmas tree and members

of the community go home seasonally reinforced. What the crowd doesn’t see are things like our first year, when the tree was about half the size of what we ordered and had to be raised on a platform so the crowd could see it. Or the third year, where just minutes after the tree was lit, it blew a circuit breaker in the courthouse. Or another year, where an honorary tree-lighter discovered that the stage wasn’t accessible to his wheelchair – forcing him to climb the steps on his hands. We survived all those monkey-wrench-

es, and many more, because the fundamental parts of the event were in place. Schedules can be juggled, speakers replaced, a national anthem singer recruited to replace the one who didn’t show up – as long as the fundamentals are there. So, what are some of those fundamentals? A leader. I’m not talking about someone with a title; this is the person who makes sure not only that everyone working on the project is headed in the same direction, but that the operational parts also happen the way they’re supposed to. That means everything from greeting dignitaries to making sure there are enough chairs. A team. The best events operate when a core group of people work together. Having an engaged team also discourages the natural tendency of leaders to run ahead so there are plenty of people around in case of a stumble. Backups. Always have a backup plan for any major component. What if the caterer flakes out? What if the band members get sick? What if your event is out-

doors and it rains? Having a backup doesn’t necessarily mean an exact replacement; it just means having a good-enough substitute or a scheduling work-around so the visitor experience isn’t harmed. In the end, it also helps to stay flexible and keep a sense of humor. After all, of the millions of events taking place every year, virtually none will operate without flaws. If they did, God wouldn’t have as much to laugh about, would he?

Barry L. Paschal is senior director of Marketing and Communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, which operates Helms College. Learn more at



Abraham Lincoln once said, “A person who represents himself in a court of law has a fool for a client.” Just think about that for a second; most people aren’t trained as lawyers, so they won’t know all the legal terms, procedures and loopholes to give themselves the best chance, especially when going up against a trained professional. Thus, their chances of winning their case will be slim to none and their attempt to do so awkward at best. Why take the risk? So, how hard could it possibly be to properly and safely maintain the exterior of a commercial building, restaurant or strip mall? Timmy and Tina, the teenagers who were just hired last week, or Mr. Wilson, the in-house maintenance manager, should be able to pressure-wash the siding and concrete walks in your 75unit apartment complex, right? Isn’t that the easiest, most cost-effective way to do things? Think about it again. Please. Set aside the thought that in either case above, neither person would likely have the experience and knowledge to

Think about the risks of having an inexperienced employee using a high-pressure wand that could very easily cause damage to concrete, windows, stucco or vinyl siding. remove gum from concrete, remove mildew or graffiti from vinyl siding without damaging it or remove dangerous, slippery grease from restaurant entrances that a professional, experienced, properly equipped exterior cleaning contractor would provide. Also, set aside the thought that, in addition to needing the proper experience and equipment, one would need the proper knowledge and professional-grade detergents to get the best possible results. Additionally, think about the risks of having an inexperienced employee using a high-pressure wand that could very easily cause damage to concrete, windows, stucco or vinyl siding. A high-pressure stream of water that accidentally comes

42 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

into contact with bare skin can create painful and dangerous injuries to your employees. Imagine if the inexperienced employee incorrectly tries to use a dangerous caustic chemical to remove grease or stains and ends up splashing it in his eyes or skin, causing dangerous burns. The costs of dealing with the legalities of job-incurred injuries to the employee will far outweigh the cost of any perceived savings by trying to handle it yourself, inhouse with an employee – guaranteed. Secondary to the liability risk, when you consider the entire financial costs: paying the employee hourly rate, paying for the pressure-washing equipment, the gas to run it, the cost to repair it when it

breaks, the costs of any chemicals or detergents that need to be purchased out of your budget, you simply can’t do it more cost-effectively in-house. There is hardly a scenario where it would make sense to try and handle your pressure washing in-house using your current employees. It is for all of these reasons that we recommend hiring a licensed, knowledgeable pressure-washing company to meet your exterior cleaning needs. In the long run, it will save you time, money and possible legal hassles.

Anthony Creighton is the owner and operator of AllClean Pressure Washing as well as its subsidiary, Augusta ProClean. He is committed to providing a highquality exterior clean on homes and businesses for the CSRA and can be reached at 706-651-8089 or 762383-5185 or via email at

December 22-January 25 Buzz on Biz


Upcoming Business Events Tuesday, Dec. 27 Toastmasters, Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center-Uptown, Room 3B125, 1 Freedom Way, Augusta. 5 p.m. A proven leadership and communication program in a fun and supportive environment that helps to improve public speaking and leadership skills. For more information, visit cnvamc.toastmasters

Wednesday, Dec. 28 Success Starts with You Program, Medical Associates Plus, 2467 Golden Camp Road, Augusta. 5 p.m. The purpose of the series is to educate individuals on a variety of topics that will equip him/ her with tools needed to enhance decision making and improve his/ her professional career. Topics will include social media etiquette, workplace attire, interview skills, public speaking and goalsetting. Reserve your space by contacting or (706) 922-1862. Space is limited.

Wednesday, Jan. 4 Membership 101 presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia County Chamber Office, 1000 Business Boulevard, Evans. 1:30–2:30 p.m. Membership orientation for the Columbia County Chamber. If you are a new Chamber member or just want a refresher course, plan to attend the Membership 101 Class.

Thursday, Jan. 5 BNI, Holiday Inn Express, 1073 Stevens Creek Road, Augusta. 7:15 a.m. BNI provides a positive, supportive, and structured environment for the development and exchange of quality business referrals. It does so by helping you build personal relationships with dozens of other qualified business professionals. Weekly meetings last for 90 minutes. Members need to arrive on time and stay for the entire meeting. For more information, visit http://

Friday, Jan. 6 First Friday Means Business

presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, Newberry Hall, 117 Newberry Street SW, Aiken. 7:30–9 a.m. $18. First Friday Means Business is the Greater Aiken Chamber’s informative monthly breakfast meeting. This event features a keynote speaker who addresses issues of interest to the business community. First Friday Means Business includes City, County, Chamber and Sponsor talk. This monthly meeting also allows for networking opportunities. For more information, visit

Tuesday, Jan. 10 Toastmasters, Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center-Uptown, Room 3B125, 1 Freedom Way, Augusta. 5 p.m. A proven leadership and communication program in a fun and supportive environment that helps to improve public speaking and leadership skills. For more information, visit

Tuesday, Jan. 17 Chamber Before Hours presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia County Chamber Office, 1000 Business Boulevard, Evans. 7:30-9 a.m. The Chamber Before Hours Breakfast brings together members from all councils and programs to network and hear short updates from the city, county and the Chamber. In addition, there will be a keynote speaker to present on a specific issue that is relevant to Chamber businesses. For more information, visit Women In Business Luncheon presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, The Legends Club, 2701 Washington Road, Augusta.11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. $30 Members, $40 non-members. Advanced Registration Required. For more information, visit

Thursday, Jan. 19 Area Agency on Aging presents “Got 30 Minutes?”, Kroc Center of Augusta, 1833 Broad St., Augusta. 1 p.m. The Area Agency on Aging conducts 30-minute educational classes on an overview of services that are available for those who

44 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

are caregivers, the aging and for those with disabilities in Georgia. If you need assistance with anything from personal care, meals or subsidized rental housing, this class is your one-stop shop for all information. For more information, visit AYP Third Thursday presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Third Thursday is an opportunity for individuals ages 22 to 39 to meet other young professionals in a relaxed atmosphere for networking. Members and first time guests are free. Registration is requested. For more information, visit Third Thursday Business Builder presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, Augusta Metro Chamber office, 1 Tenth St., Suite 120, Augusta. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. $15 nonmembers. Complimentary for members. Lunch provided. Advance Registration Required. For more information, visit

Tuesday, Jan. 24 Toastmasters, Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center-Uptown, Room 3B125, 1 Freedom Way, Augusta. 5 p.m. A proven leadership and communication program in a fun and supportive environment that helps to improve public speaking and leadership skills. For more information, visit cnvamc.toastmasters

Thursday, Jan. 26 Business After Hours presented by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 5-7 p.m. Business After Hours provides an excellent opportunity for a company to introduce itself to the business community. This program allows the host/ sponsor to showcase its business, services, and facilities to fellow Chamber members. It also offers members the chance to meet one another and network in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. For more information, visit Networking for Leaders presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia County Chamber Office, 1000 Business Boulevard, Evans. 3-4 p.m. A structured program designed to

promote an environment which cultivates meaningful business relationships which not only promotes one’s business, but identifies the needs of other business owners. The goal of the program is to encourage businesses to give leads, create mutually beneficial relationships and develop a net-weaving experience where leads are received. The program will consist of a round table activity which will be followed up by an optional lunch connection, based on appropriate matching, to further enhance the leads experience. For more information, visit

Wednesday, Feb. 1 Greater Augusta Day Atlanta Leadership Trip 2017 presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Join The Augusta Metro Chamber, Columbia County Chamber and the Burke County Chamber of Commerce as we travel to Atlanta to meet with our state legislators. For more information, visit Membership 101 presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia County Chamber Office, 1000 Business Blvd., Evans. 1:30–2:30 p.m. Membership orientation for the Columbia County Chamber. If you are a new Chamber member or just want a refresher course, plan to attend the Membership 101 Class.

Friday, Feb. 3 66th annual Meeting and Banquet presented by the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave. Cocktails: 6 p.m. Dinner and program: 7-10 p.m. The Annual Meeting & Banquet is a celebration of the year’s successes and a time to honor annual award winners. The upscale evening begins with a cocktail hour and is followed by a dinner and program. Awards will be given for Citizen of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Ambassador of the Year. For more information, visit

CPC groundbreaking for new Aiken office The Center for Primary Care held its groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 30 on the three acres purchased for the new home of another Aiken office located at the corner of Hitchcock Parkway and Rinehart Way. The healthcare provider currently has two office locations in Aiken, but these offices will soon merge into this one new facility. The new location will house Dr. Robyn Fallaw, Dr. David Zimmerman, Dr. Leo Muniz and Dr. Chad Millwood. Now that the groundbreaking is complete, construc-

tion on the 12,000-squarefoot, state-of-the-art office will begin immediately. The office is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. “We couldn’t be more excited about expanding our practice in Aiken,” Lou Imbrogno, the CEO of CPC, said. “This new office will provide the community with a greater array of services, with room for adding providers to meet growing demands.” CPC has nine locations with 36 primary care physicians. Its services range from lab testing, Medicare preventative and chronic care services to imaging services and more.

For additional information on CPC’s services and locations, please visit

Pictured from left: Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon, Dr. Robert Suykerbuyk, Dr. David Zimmerman, Dr. Robyn Fallaw, Dr. Leo Muniz, Dr. Chad Millwood, David Jameson and Lou Imbrogno.

(Paid Advertorial)

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


‘This is The go-to place’ Columbia County continues growth

By Amanda King

“Go west, young man, and grow up in the country.” When newspaper editor Horace Greeley popularized that phrase in the 19th century, he was referring to the tremendous growth in the western United States. However, he could just as easily have been speaking about the growth in Columbia County, whose roots began growing even before Greeley’s declaration. “So many good things are happening in Columbia County, and it serves as a place where families want to come,” County Administrator Scott Johnson said. Columbia County has seen its fair share of growth over the years. After its early development in the 1700s, early Americans flocked to Columbia County as it had the only Baptist church for many years. From a population of 9,525 in 1950 to a current estimated population of 148,677, the bedroom community of Augusta, which is the second largest city in Georgia, is growing at a staggering pace. It is the 28th fastest-growing county in the country and third fastest in the state. “This is the go-to place for growth,” Jay

An artist’s rendering shows the proposed plan for The Plaza at Evans Towne Center across from the popular Lady Antebellum Amphitheater in Evans. Photo courtesy Columbia County Development Authority

Garner, president of Garner Economics, said. In November, the Development Authority revealed its findings after Garner Economics conducted an in-depth analysis. The average household income for the county is $88,000 per year, but on average, jobs in Columbia County pay 32 percent less than the national average. “The average weekly wage as of 2015 is $679, so that’s below $40,000 per year,” Garner said. Although the area has seen a substan-

tial amount of growth. Roughly 76 percent of its residents work outside of Columbia County, creating traffic issues and economic and tax benefits for other areas. Many Columbia County residents continue to grumble about their taxes compared to other communities in the area, but Johnson pointed out that millage rates for Columbia County are lower than those of any of its benchmark counties, including Cobb and Gwinnett. “Our taxes are high because our values are high,” Johnson said. “The assessment

on your property is high, which means when you get ready to sell it, hopefully you can sell it for more than you bought it for.” According to Robbie Bennett, executive director for the development authority, Columbia County is expected to gain 72,000 more people in the next 20 years. That growth does not include the 15,000 soldiers, civilians and their families expected to come to the area with the cyber command growth. With population growth comes business growth. Land is being cleared across the street from Lady Antebellum Amphitheater to make room for the new Plaza at Evans Towne Center, and Mullins Crossing II has one confirmed big-name retailer ready to come to town while another has tentatively committed. The westward expansion is expected to begin affecting Appling, too. Despite all government complexes being located in Evans, Appling is the county seat and has a rich history not only in Columbia County, but the state of Georgia, by having the oldest courthouse still in use. “We really want to revitalize that area of Columbia County,” Johnson said.

Long Live the King

Despite Many Options, There’s No Substitute for a Desktop Editor’s note: This column first appeared in Buzz on Biz in June of 2015.

Charles Kelly

What kind of computer should you buy and how much should you pay for it? These are the questions business owners have asked since computers have become first available, then affordable and now, a requirement. Purchasing the cheapest computer you can find is almost always a bad idea for a business. The cheapest name-brand computers are often made of excess parts inventory and pieced together for a very low price. So, skipping the low-end retail and closeout models, what should you buy? What are you getting when you spend $800 instead of $400 on a computer? Besides the obvious things, like a faster processor, more ram and a bigger hard drive, what you are really buying is years of use. It’s that “years of use” that makes an enormous difference in productivity. Every time you take a computer out of service for repair or replacement you

lose time and productivity, which equals money. Many customers say, well, I just check my email and write a few letters, and use QuickBooks, so I don’t need the fastest processor. They are right, they don’t need the fastest, but they do need something in the mid- to upper-range, so that they can work for many years before replacing the system. In many cases, it’s the small business owner that relies on one or two computers to run their entire enterprise. Those computers should be well constructed, balanced in design, have the right operating system and should be backed up regularly. Anything less can put your business at risk of loss of productivity and loss of data.

46 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

In a busy office that uses medical, accounting or legal software, it’s even more important to have robust workstations with a balance of quality components, higher speed processors and, especially, better-than-average cooling and power systems. Things like higher wattage power supplies and large cooling fans in a chassis designed for constant use make the difference between a productive day and frustrating day of down time. For the power user such as graphics designers, engineers, media editors, gamers or someone who simply wants a very fast computer that will last a long time, you will want closer to the high end, maybe one or two steps below the fastest processor on the market, a well known moth-

erboard, a solid state hard drive, a very good graphics card and a great chassis. A machine like this will be very fast, will last for years and if a component does fail, it will be worth repairing. Better computers will cost a little more up front, but studies show that in the long run, a mid- to upper-range computer costs less per year and provides a much more stable platform to run your business.

Charles Kelly is President of Computer Exchange with four locations in the CSRA: South Augusta, North Augusta, Martinez and Grovetown. Computer Exchange specializes in computer solutions for home and business. For answers to your computer questions, email him at

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



I have said before that the whole Internet phenomenon is marketing voodoo. It changes rapidly and there are practitioners who are quick to sell the latest quackery but don’t take responsibility for the results. Like a craps table when the seven is thrown ahead of the point, money is literally raked off the table and there can be nothing to show for it. Social media requires a solid and integrated strategy, the right message, implementation, accountability, and incessant attention to detail to work well. But when it does…look out!

Mark Allison

The whole marketing landscape has changed with the introduction of Social Media. If you thought it was just for personal use, you are missing out on a serious marketing tool. Years ago, I sat in a conference and the speaker said, “In the future you will be driving along the interstate, your car will transmit that it is low on fuel and you will receive notifications from gas stations competing for your business.” While it hasn’t gotten that invasive yet, I do use GasBuddy to find the best gas prices. At the last NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) trade show I attended, GasBuddy had a huge booth. Obviously, it is driving traffic (literally) to fuel stops and that is one of the primary purposes for social media. Driving traffic in the social realm is far different than blaring radio commercials. It’s really a matter of creating positive user impressions that influence potential users. Word of mouth endorsement is super powerful. I use TripAdvisor when planning a visit to another city. Other traveler comments can influence my decision on restaurants,

hotels, and things to do. But more important to me is when the restaurant replies to a comment, whether the comment is positive or negative. That simple interaction will help me decide because the social aspect tells me the restaurant or hotel cares about what people say. Engagement is powerful in social media marketing. Social media is also visual media. Branding is king here. You will recall from an earlier article that branding is more than a logo. It is the look, feel,

profile and general characteristics of the brand. Zappos for example has a longstanding policy of distributing used and new shoes and clothing to needy nations. It is part of their DNA and it shows in their marketing and branding. Millennials have made this on-line shoe store into a social phenomenon because the brand story touches a nerve through social media. What is your brand story and is it communicated to an interested audience through social outlets?

Mark Alison’s title is Business Accelerator. He works with leading businesses that want to grow. He is COO of Alison-South, a regional advertising/marketing company with a diverse client base. Contact 706-724 3758

SC’s First Registered Apprenticeship Program Welcomes Newest Class By Kelsey Morrow

Rolls-Royce hosted a signing day event at its Graniteville facility on Nov. 16 to welcome its fifth class of MTU America apprentices and to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week. MTU is part of Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “MTU’s signing day event highlights a special moment in our apprentices’ careers,” Jeremy Diebel, senior machining manager and apprenticeship coordinator at MTU America, said. “These high school students are signing on to an experience that will give them a solid resume, marketable technical skills and important soft skills. We are eager to have them join the MTU family and we are excited to help them grow.” National Apprenticeship Week, the third week in November, was established in 2015 to recognize apprenticeships for fostering innovation and prosperity in the United States. It recognizes the important role apprenticeships play in offering employers an opportunity to develop a highly skilled workforce and career seek-

Top row, pictured left to right: William Hudson, Jeremy Diebel, Joerg Klisch, Arjonetta Gaillard, Natalie Fox and Quentin Cooks. Bottom row, pictured left to right: Zeth Siry, Ronald Campbell, Chase Harper, Dawson Lee, Eric Bellinger and Anthony Lee Jr. Special

ers the chance to earn a wage while learning the skills necessary to succeed. MTU America’s plant began its U.S.based apprenticeship program in 2012 in partnership with Aiken County’s high

48 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

schools, its career and technology center and the support of Apprenticeship Carolina. As the first registered high school apprentice program in South Carolina, MTU America’s apprenticeship program

gives high school juniors and seniors a structured training system to obtain work skills immediately sought by employers for careers in manufacturing. Since its inception, MTU has had more than 30 students go through the program. Upon passing the program’s final exam, MTU’s apprentices receive certification as an industrial mechanic (Basic), an international credential that qualifies them to work in any manufacturing facility in South Carolina or Germany. Graduates of the apprenticeship program are armed with the skills needed to pursue high-paying, full-time employment with MTU or other area manufacturers. They can also choose to continue their education at two- and four-year institutions. MTU America’s German-modeled apprenticeship program has gained much attention since its launch, including honors from the South Carolina Department of Education and the Association for Career and Technical Education for its ingenuity in technical education and community partnership.

Making Change in the New Year Start 2017 Off with a Plan from a Pair of Experts..........50 Northwestern Mutual.......................................................51 Lessons From Scrooge: Turn Holiday Humbug Into New Year’s Cheer.................................................... 52 APP-y New Year: Social Media Resolutions For 2017........ 53 Lanier’s Meat Market......................................................... 53 2017 Compass: Setting Sail For the New Year...................54 Team Fit...............................................................................54 Personal Growth: Journey with Food Led to a Life of Helping Others...................................... 55 Tuscany Luxury Salon.......................................................56 Unique Salon...................................................................... 57 Putt-Putt............................................................................ 58 XP Gaming........................................................................... 59 Walton Way Veterinary Clinic........................................... 59 YMCA.................................................................................... 59

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Figuring out what’s important


The childhoods of 54-year-old Gil Eaves and 33-year-old Kurt Mueller, financial advisors of Northwestern Mutual, made a profound impact on their careers. Eaves’ father, a primary care physician, purchased a whole life insurance policy for Gil when he was a teenager living in Aiken County. “I didn’t get rich overnight, but it is worth a sizeable amount of money now,” Eaves said. In the early ’80s, Eaves was finishing up undergraduate school at USC and preparing to go to med school and join his father in his practice. He took an internship with Northwestern Mutual in Columbia and started earning money, and his father suggested he follow that path as he saw the government taking medicine into managed care. With the same methodical approach as his father’s initial investment, Eaves has built a base of 5,600 clients in a span of 31 years of working for Northwestern Mutual. He is now mentoring Mueller as they share an office and administrative expenses. Mueller was born in St. Louis, Mo., and was raised in a difficult environment in which his parents were always fighting about money while trying to care for an adopted son, who was previously abused. “I remember as a young child hearing arguments about the same, recurring investment theme,” Mueller said. His parents would often say that they would wait until the summer or after Kurt graduated from high school to put money away. “No one made it a priority,” he added. His brother’s mental and physical condition got worse, as did the finances and the marriage of Mueller’s parents. The Muellers divorced when Kurt was 19, and his mom’s health deteriorated. After college and a successful sales career, he went to work for Northwestern Mutual in Columbia and bought a longterm care policy for his mom. He knows the day is coming when he’ll need to utilize those benefits. “I hate to say it, but my mom has become a financial burden on me,” Mueller said. What’s more challenging for Mueller is that he took out a life insurance policy on his brother with his mom as the beneficiary, but it still wasn’t enough. “My brother was diagnosed with terminal leukemia in 2015. I wish I had gotten a larger policy so there would be more mon-

Northwestern Mutual Financial Advisors Kurt Mueller, left, and Gil Eaves work together to help clients prepare for their financial futures. Photo by Melissa Gordon

ey left for mom to live out her remaining years,” he shrugged. “Just like my parents. I made excuses.” Now, he cannot add to the policy because his brother’s cancer is uninsurable. In the spring of 2016, Mueller, his wife and children moved to Augusta to join Eaves. He is on a mission to rewrite his family story through his influence on his clients. Mueller belongs to several Chambers of Commerce and Business Network International (BNI) chapters in the CSRA. He is currently president of one of those chapters. Any chance he can, he tells the story of regrets over not putting enough money away for his mom and brother. “Put money away today. If you don’t want to call me, call someone you trust,” he added. Eaves also takes a personal approach with his clients. Many times through the years he’s had to visit with a client’s widow after the funeral. “They all have the same question for me,” he said. “ ‘Will I be alright?’ ” In most cases he answers “yes,” because those clients followed his advice. However, sometimes,the answer is “You’ll have to get used to a new lifestyle” because they

50 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

did not heed Eaves’ wisdom. You have to figure out what’s important, he said. “For me it’s my wife, my older kids and my grandkids. I want to make sure they are secure financially. If I have to give up an extra ski trip to make sure that is the case, then I do it,” he said with conviction. Besides skiing, Eaves enjoys hunting. He wants to continue to cut back on time at work a little more each year and then create a succession plan. He’s setting up his full retirement in 10 years where eventually he’ll transition some clients to Mueller. Together the advisors manage an office comprised of Client Relations Director Tiffany Garland, Office Manager Gena McNair, Financial Representative Abby Boyd, and Associate Financial Representative Lauren Ledbetter. They both believe “one size doesn’t fit all” as a holistic approach to helping their clients. With Northwestern Mutual, they have the ability to help clients with investments and insurance and typically focus on four core areas: Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Investment Strategies, and Disability Income Planning.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. (NM), Milwaukee, Wis., (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Gil Eaves and Kurt Mueller are Insurance Agents of NM and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Co., Milwaukee, Wis., (long-term care insurance) a subsidiary of NM and a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA ( and SIPC ( Representatives of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, Milwaukee, Wis., (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), a subsidiary of NM and federal savings bank.

December 22-January 25 Buzz on Biz


LESSONS FROM SCROOGE Turn Holiday Humbug Into New Year’s Cheer

Dagan Sharpe

Many of us know of Ebenezer Scrooge from the classic story, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, but how many of us identify ourselves with him? Clearly, we’d rather see ourselves in a very different light, and for good reason. After all, Scrooge is a mean, stingy, greedy, grumpy old man who thinks and cares for no one but himself. In fact, he may even remind us of people we don’t care for. However, there are at least five lessons most of us can learn from Scrooge financially, professionally and in life. For when we look closely at ourselves, we may find some startling similarities we can use as motivation to help us change for better years to come: Attitudes Are Contagious Have you ever noticed how when some people enter a room, they either brighten it up or dampen it down? For example, some eagerly share smiles, engage in encouraging conversations and generally show interest in others. However, there are others who jump right into gossip and negative talk and reflect downcast demeanors. Now, consider - which are we? Just as Ebenezer’s attitude affected those around him, both before and after his conversion, so does ours. When we are positive, kind and encouraging, whether it be at work, at home or simply around town, it helps others do the same; but even if it’s doesn’t, we still don’t have to be the ones to dampen the room, but rather seek to brighten it. Choices Matter Ever think how great it would be to do something different? When Ebenezer decided to choose his money over love, it left him in a dark place. Yet, how many times have we misaligned our priorities? We may fool ourselves for a while, but not many of us want to look back on our lives with nothing to show for it but some money left over. We may think that money will solve all problems, but when it becomes our primary motivator and priority over caring for others and even ourselves, it has typically proven to result in more harm than good. It’s Better To Give Than Receive Scrooge is known for his greed. However, in the end, he realizes the power of generosity. As he gives, he grows, and through his generosity, others grow. This is also true for us at work, home and in our communities. When we are gener-

We can learn a lot from grumpy old Ebeneezer Scrooge, not just at Christmas but anytime.

ous with our time, talents and treasures, we typically discover an interesting surprise – we realize the joy, fulfillment and goodwill we receive in return far exceeds what we give. Consider The Welfare Of Others When we focus solely on ourselves and our needs, we miss the opportunities around us that we are uniquely gifted and positioned to help solve. For example, when Scrooge worked Bob Cratchit to the bone, he not only affected his employee, but also his employee’s family. Yet, when he began considering ways he could help Bob and his family, the life of Tiny Tim, Bob’s son, was greatly rewarded. The same is true for us. When we consider others, the effects of our actions not only impact them, but

52 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016—January 25, 2017

perhaps even generations to come in ways we could have never imagined. Thus, why let opportunities pass by simply focusing on me, myself and I? It’s Never Too Late To Change Last, but not least, we see with Scrooge that it’s never too late to change. We may think the mistakes we made, the roads we chose and the damages we caused are forever cemented, but thankfully, they are not. Rather, those same mistakes can result in empowering testimonies to help us encourage and elevate others. In conclusion, none of us knows how much time we have left, but with the time we do have, may we be courageous enough to identify the areas of our life we can improve and then commit to making change, the kind of change that demon-

strates happy endings don’t have to be limited to fictional stories but can happen in reality, too.

Dagan Sharpe is senior vice president of Queensborough National Bank & Trust. He previously served as National Director for Wells Fargo’s Wealth Management division. He is the author of a stewardship book, Bank On It. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Augusta. Contact him at

APP-y New Year

Social Media Resolutions For 2017 Kelsey Morrow

Whether it is a new type of post or a new social media platform entirely, the new year is a great time to break out of your comfort zone.

A new year is upon us and that means one thing: New Year’s resolutions! This year, think outside of the gym or the health food store and consider something a little more social. Social media, that is. Here are three tips to keep in mind when planning your company’s social media strategy for the new year. Aim for Consistency I am a big proponent of tailoring your message to each specific social media channel. Something that works on Instagram, a photo sharing platform, may not have the same effect on Twitter which is primarily text based. However, the one exception to this rule is your account profile picture. This issue comes up primarily when a follower of one of your platforms decides that they want to find you on another platform. Having the same profile picture on each of your business’s social media accounts allows your page to be instantly recognizable when viewers are searching across platforms. Particularly if you are a small business, the chances are good that a business somewhere else in the world has a name similar to yours. For example, there is a marketing firm in Florida that has a name very similar (minus a key “The”) to a marketing firm here in Augusta. Similar imagery makes it immediately clear to the searcher that they have found your company’s correct account and not just one with a similar name. Develop a Social Media Schedule The new year is a great time to sit down and reflect on your current social media posting habits. One of the biggest problems that people tell me they have experienced with social media is not having enough time to post. That can be solved with scheduling. Platforms such as Facebook and Mail Chimp offer scheduling options. Just create your post or e-newsletter like you normally would, and then set a day to post/ send your creation. Another scheduling option is Hootsuite, a social media dashboard that allows you to connect all of your social media accounts and post from one location. Hootsuite currently connects with over 35 social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and LinkedIn, but is always in the process of adding more. Are there certain times of the year that you know will be particularly busy? If

you know ahead of time which days or months social media will not be a priority, you can schedule posts for these times in advance. That way you will avoid long gaps of non-activity, but won’t have to add any stress to your busiest moments.

existing accounts or to add new ones, make 2017 your best social media year yet!

Kelsey Morrow is the media coordinator at Buzz on Biz and handles its social media, web and e-newsletter content. She has a master’s in public relations from the University of Georgia. Contact her at kelsey.morrow@

Try Something New Whether it is a new type of post or a new social media platform entirely, the new year is a great time to break out of your comfort zone. As I mentioned in my previous column, videos on social media are extremely popular right now, and predicted to become even more so in 2017. Have you tried the Facebook Live option on your company page? We just started doing regular Facebook Live posts at Buzz about a month ago, and we are already hooked. They are a simple way to showcase just about anything. Having a special event at your company? Use Facebook Live to share the event with your followers! Have some important news to share? Use Facebook Live to tell it in video form. The possibilities are endless. Is there a social media platform that you want to try, but haven’t yet? Start the new year off by making an account. Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only platforms used by businesses anymore. Instagram launched ads earlier this year and has become increasingly popular with businesses. Snapchat as well is a rapidly growing platform with business marketing implications. Whether your goal is to spruce up your December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Recently I was thinking about a sailing trip I took with a dozen teens when I served as a church youth group leader. We lived in Minnesota, and the opportunity to sail for a week on a Canadian lake too appealing to miss. One memory was that before we set sail, we tossed our watches (devices worn on one’s wrist before cellphones were invented) in a box. We were to go the entire week without knowing what time it was. We just slept at dark and sailed at light. The second memory was the reminder that when you’re sailing, you’re NOT in charge. The wind is. It’s a big lesson – Learning to adjust to the wind. A brand new year awaits us – we’ll have opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Will you embrace those open doors? Or will you continue to live the same, doing the same things and still hope for different results? The definition of insanity is … I am confident that you have access to resources to ponder, contemplate and sort. Many are designed to focus you on the direction for your future. Here are some questions to consider for your life and future. These are inspired by an article I read before Y2K. (Remember that time?) The original questions were compiled by Monica Bernstein and Anne Louise Fritz. The big idea is to reassess, reaffirm, and rejoice. 1) If I were given an extra hour of free time each day, how would I spend it? 2) Have I given up on any dreams or goals and wish I hadn’t? 3) If I had ONE goal for the coming year, what would it be? What will it take to make it happen? 4) Am I as healthy as I want to be? 5) Who are my heroes? Why? Am I a

hero to someone else? 6) Do I find something to laugh about every day? 7) Do I spend too much time worrying about things I can’t control? 8) What’s the best part of me that no

54 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

one sees? 9) When was the last time I “walked in someone else’s shoes?” Do I put too much pressure on myself? On those I love? 10) Is there someone I’ve lost touch with and want to connect with? 11) Am I holding anger in my heart? What do I need to let go of it? 12) Do I make the most of every day and celebrate the little things? 13) Am I good with my current relationship with God? Am I as spiritually committed as I want to be? 14) What 25 things do I want to accomplish before I die? Back to my sailing adventure. It was very strange not to have access to a time piece or be bound by a schedule. However, after a couple of days, it was very freeing and relaxing. You may wish to try it. There is also the matter of adjusting to the wind.

Unexpected breezes and possibly a few storms will likely blow through your life in 2017. Remember to ask for God’s help as you “adjust to the wind.” Life goes MUCH better. Have a HAPPY, amazing New Year!

Steve Swanson serves as the station manager for Family Friendly 88.3 WAFJ. He’s invested 30-plus years in the world of radio and was named the Christian Music Broadcasters Program Director of the Year in 2009 and 2011. He and his wife, Susie, live in North Augusta. For comments, email


JOURNEY WITH FOOD LED TO A LIFE OF HELPING OTHERS lenge with “breaking through” the diet cycle is for people to understand that they must change the way they look at food for the rest of their lives. After consultations and goal-setting, change occurs. The ultimate goal is to educate people on proper nutrition, appropriate portion sizes and when to eat certain foods. While that might sound daunting, you change a little over time until eventually, it becomes second nature. To do that, food, even “healthy” food, must be appealing and delicious. Clients range from the serious athlete to the busy professional to the stay-at-home parent. Their goals are different, but each one of them, including myself, has decided that they needed to be the change. In the coming months, I’ll share quick, and healthy, Paleo recipes to help you focus on work and your health.

Onnie Sanford

My journey started about 3½ years ago in between my second and third child. I was unhappy with my body, unmotivated in the gym and had every excuse of how I had gotten here. I was a nurse with a crazy schedule, I had kids, a husband who worked and I loved food. But I was tired of not liking what I saw in the mirror. I decided that something had to change, but I knew I could not do it on my own. Over the course of the next 18 months, I got a trainer, had a baby and slowly changed what I was eating. It was the nutrition part that really opened my eyes. I started to see results. My husband, friends and family saw results. I felt good, and now, at 38 years old, I look amazing. I know that may sound conceited, but I worked very hard to get here, and that is the basis of my company, Paleo Num Yums. Let me first define what paleo meals are. The simple explanation is removing processed foods, including sugar and gluten, from your diet and replacing them with meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds and limited fruits. The idea is to give your body easily and readily digestible food that maintains your energy level and prevents you from crashing throughout the day. My meals are meant to be part of a five- or six-meal day in which you eat every 3-4 hours, which keeps your metabolism run-

ning for the entire day. By doing this, your body knows that it will get a constant supply of fuel and it will learn to use it immediately instead of storing it. Nine-to-five jobs are almost nonexistent these days in the CSRA. Nutrition is a difficult thing to understand, and eating healthy is time consuming. The biggest chal-

Onnie Sanford is a wife and mother and has been a nurse for seven years, but she followed her passion of cooking to open Paleo Num Yums. They are a meal prep service that specializes in healthy, fresh and delicious meals that are ready to cook and make your life more convenient. For a free consultation, call 706-699-1383.

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Tuscany offers escape in the New Year By Amanda King With the holiday season coming to a close, you may notice a few more knots in your back from family stress, chipping nails from wrapping dozens of gifts and occasionally find yourself muttering “bah-humbug” under your breath. Tuscany: A Classic Italian Spa is a great retreat from the holiday madness that seems to get our tinsel in a tangle. Nestled on Ponder Place in Evans, Tuscany offers a tranquil atmosphere filled with essential oil fragrances and airy instrumental music that begins the relaxation experience from the moment customers walk in the door. Earthtone paint and ornate decor give a feeling of escaping to a Tuscan villa despite being less than a mile from Washington Road. “I just wanted to make it someplace different, where when you came in you felt you were somewhere else,” owner Leigh Ann Keels said. Keels opened Tuscany in 2004 after many years in the massage industry. Designed and built by a close friend, Keels and her husband, Matt, wanted to create a “pure and tranquil escape from the hurried nature of modern life.” Although massage treatments make up most of its business, Tus-

cany offers hydrotherapy, facials, manicures and pedicures and has a hair salon on its bottom level. The award-winning spa also offers the only Vichy shower in the CSRA. A Vichy shower involves seven massaging showerheads used for body wraps and scrubs. All services may be purchased individually or multiple services in pre-designed packages. Packages range from one to seven hours, and some include an organic lunch or afternoon tea. A special treatment Tuscany will offer for Valentine’s Day includes a 90-minute exfoliation, massage, body wrap and foot scrub for $150. “People come here because it’s special. It’s an escape and something different to take a break,” Keels said. In addition to making customers feel incredible, Keels gives special treatment to some strong ladies as well. Once a year, the spa is closed to the public as its technicians work with the CSRA Gynecological Cancer Survivors Group, providing space for health-related classes and top-notch services for the survivors. For more about Tuscany, including a full list of services, visit

(Paid Advertorial)

56 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

Taking a first step into a unique vision Melanie Taylor knows the importance of getting that first chance. The owner of Unique Vision Salon is helping others in the Augusta community take their first step toward running their own business with a new work hub in Summerville. “I never dreamed I would own my own business, and I would not have if someone had not given me a chance to grow and gain experience,” Taylor said. Taylor set out to begin her career as a cosmetologist right after graduating from high school by enrolling in Augusta Tech. She started out at a local salon, where her clientele grew quite rapidly. Being a young stylist in the industry, she began attending educational classes held by Ashtae Products to further her knowledge in the industry and later became an educator for the company.

Melanie Taylor believes in mentorship. The hair stylist is opening Stepping Stone, a co-working and educational facility for new businesses.

During that time, she learned her personal strengths and weaknesses as well as what works in the hair care industry and what doesn’t. In addition to learning and teaching others, Taylor’s work was featured in hair magazines, commercials and a TV show produced by former “Facts of Life” star Kim Fields. In 2008, she took a leap of faith and opened Unique Vision Salon.

After success with her own salon, Taylor is now ready to help others realize their potential with Stepping Stone, a co-working space and educational center she purchased across the street from her previous salon. A caterer and boutique have already signed up to begin working at the 7,000-square foot building at 1433 Stovall St. in Augusta. Taylor plans to host an open house to recruit more business owners, followed by the grand opening in January. She would like to see the facility turn into a “multiplex” for entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds. Stepping Stone is more than office space. Taylor wants to make as much impact on the community as possible and see businesses take a role in educating children and teenagers, allowing them the ability to shadow or even intern with Stepping Stone businesses. She hopes to help spread the message that people can

accomplish their dreams no matter what their background may be. “This is my purpose,” Taylor said. “That’s how I know I’m not walking on my own, the purpose is bigger than me.” Taylor relies heavily on her faith in God to accomplish her dreams and help others reach theirs. Unique Vision received its name by merely flipping through the phone book trying to get ideas. A book she read by evangelist Myles Munroe gave her the real purpose behind her name and vision. “Your gifts will make room for you,” Taylor said. “God makes what may seem impossible possible, and His greatest gifts sometimes come in flawed containers.” For more information on Unique Vision Salon or Stepping Stone, contact Melanie Taylor at 706-945-0182 or

(Paid Advertorial)

57 Buzz on Biz December 22-January 25

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


58 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

TEAM LEAN 2017 JOIN OUR TEAM! Free TEAM LEAN Entry when you sign-up for a Y membership between now and December 31st. Already a member? Refer a friend for membership between now and December 31st and you and your friend get free entry into TEAM LEAN. For more information:

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December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




To market, to market, to buy lots of crafts, animals and food! The inaugural North Augusta Junior Leadership program opened its Brick Pond Market this fall. The leadership program is made up of 11th- and 12th-grade students and is a part of North Augusta Forward, which seeks to make North Augusta a better place to live, work and play. The idea came from one member of the leadership team, and the rest of the students began planning the logistics of the market, primarily communicating with the vendors about plans each week. “We’re trying to establish it so when it comes time to hand it over, it will pretty much run itself,” said Brice Smoker, vice chair of Junior Leadership. Vendors from across North Augusta set up from noon to 3 p.m. on the first and third Sundays at Brick Pond Park, across the street from the North Augusta Municipal Building. Farmers sell fresh produce, and crafters and artists sell their work. There is also a small selection of animals available, including chickens and dogs. Julie Gazda, a retired teacher from North Augusta, snuggled with a puppy

“We’re trying to establish it so when it comes time to hand it over, it will pretty much run itself.” – Junior Leadership Vice Chair Brice Smoker that was for sale at her first trip to the market on Nov. 20, but ultimately opted to wait about bringing the fur baby home. “I mainly enjoyed learning that a group of high school students is willing to contribute to a project that has such potential to benefit our community,” Gazda said. The market gets bigger each week. On Dec. 18, Anna and Elsa from Frozen made an appearance to take pictures with patrons. The Brick Pond Market is open every first and third Sunday of each month. They are always looking for new vendors and invite the whole CSRA to come out to visit. For more details, contact Mary Anne Bigger at 803-510-0011.

At left, retired teacher Julie Gazda snuggles with one of the puppies for sale at Brick Pond Market. Above, Karen Denny browses through fresh produce. Vendors from across North Augusta participate in the farmers market at Brick Pond Park, across from the Municipal Building, on the first and third Sundays of each month. Photos by Amanda King

60 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Susan O’Keefe

It’s sandwiched between a couple of businesses in a strip mall on Walton Way. It’s easy to miss but not easy to forget. Walton Way Deli is conveniently located at 1944 Walton Way near downtown Augusta. On the advice of several business colleagues, I recently made a stop at the deli. It had a very cozy, homey feel, with antique copper molds displayed on the wall. It felt a little dated but sweet all at the same time. Half a dozen people waited in line. They were talking casually, commenting on the weather and inquiring about the soup of the day. After my colleague and I ordered, we poured our tea and lemonade from the self-serve drink station, which was constantly being wiped clean by an extremely attentive staffer. While the dining area seats about 60, most people were in parties of two or three. A few tables squeezed four into one space. Speedy service staff delivered food to tables left and right of ours. Steaming homemade soups added a serving of warmth to the otherwise cool fall day. Various sandwiches, including the everpopular pimento cheese, was brought to a nearby table and welcomed with rave reviews. A mouthwatering Monte Cristo sandwich also passed by on a tray. It seemed to be heading for a good home. Within a few minutes, a hospitable server delivered our food with a smile, and a genuine “What else do you need?” She almost seemed disappointed when we replied that we were all set. It’s that type of top-notch, sincere service that seems to be a lost art in our technology-driven electronics era. At Walton Way Deli, however, service with a smile

Walton Way Deli Food Price Location Networking Noise Level Walton Way Deli is located at 1944 Walton Way in Augusta. Their website is The phone number is 706-736-4008.

A smile and a genuine “What else do you need?” … It’s that type of top-notch, sincere service that seems to be a lost art in our technology-driven electronics era. seems to be the norm. As we settled into our meal, my colleague commented on his packed and stacked club sandwich. It was a hoagie loaded with his favorite deli meats and cheeses. The husband and wife team clerk and chef earned an A+ from our table. For 15 years, the dynamic duo has worked at perfecting their craft.

62 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

Although some say the proof is in the pudding, at the deli the proof is in the sauce – specifically the homemade cranberry sauce. Initially, I thought the sauce was seasonal, only to be informed that it’s a Walton Way Deli specialty that is available year-round. For a casual lunch between a couple of business associates, Walton Way Deli

is a first-rate choice. The tables are close enough for comfort but not so close that conversation is stilted. The outdated television that sits atop a high shelf offers scrolling news headlines, but is muted which keeps it from being a distraction to discussion. For the businessperson meeting a client or colleague for lunch, Walton Way Deli has earned its place on the list of lunch options.

Susan O’Keefe has been reviewing restaurants for Buzz on Biz since August 2015. Her reviews are based with a business lunch in mind.

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


father and son successes Highly Anticipated Restaurant Finally Opens By Kelsey Morrow

The wait is over: Culver’s® of Grovetown, at 4020 Gateway Blvd., opened its doors on Monday, Dec. 5, at 10:30 a.m. Known for its famous ButterBurger® and creamy frozen custard, the restaurant serves fast-casual food cooked-to-order. “We’re thrilled to bring handcrafted, high-quality meals and desserts to the community of Grovetown,” Kraig Tabor, franchise owner and operator, said. “We think it’s a wonderful area, and we are excited to become a contributing and active member of the community.” Tabor and his business partner and son, Tom Tabor, are originally from Wisconsin. The Tabor family has been fans of Culver’s for over 25 years. “Owning our own Culver’s restaurant has been a lifelong family dream,” said Tabor. “My son Tom and I are excited to introduce Culver’s to the Grovetown community.” For over 30 years, Culver’s guests have been treated to cooked-to-order food made with farm-fresh ingredients and served with a smile. The expanding franchise system now comprises more than 600 restaurants in 24 states. “Culver’s was founded on the idea of providing excellent service and high-quality food made with the best ingredients,” Tabor said. “The outstanding people who serve our guests behind the counter have helped us earn our reputation, and we’re

Kraig and Tom Tabor have opened Culver’s restaurant on Gateway Boulevard in Grovetown. Photo by Melissa Gordon

“Owning our own Culver’s restaurant has been a lifelong family dream.” – Co-owner Kraig Tabor excited to have team members from the surrounding Grovetown community as part of our team.” Culver’s signature sandwich and guest

favorite, the ButterBurger®, is made with 100 percent fresh U.S. beef made to order and topped with a lightly buttered and toasted bun. Culver’s Fresh Frozen Custard gets its creamy decadence from high-quality, fresh Wisconsin dairy. In addition to making their own creations, guests can customize their desserts with more than 30 mix-ins and toppings. Culver’s offers three flavors of frozen custard each day: vanilla, chocolate and a flavor of the day. The restaurant also features other delicious choices, including real Wisconsin

cheese curds, a dairyland delicacy, fresh garden salads, chicken and fish sandwiches and dinners. Kid’s meals are also available. The hours of operation for the Grovetown location are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with the exception of a few holidays. Connect with Culver’s of Grovetown via eClub and Text Club. Sign up via and look forward to delicious discounts, coupons, menu news and a special treat for becoming a member.

Seafood Restaurant Celebrates First Anniversary By Kelsey Morrow

JC’s Seafood has been in business for eight and a half years, but a year ago the owners cast their net into new waters. The “catch” was good. Father and son team John and Chris Hyder had a lot of success with their seafood and oyster roast catering and their fresh seafood market, “but we wanted to give people somewhere to eat their food as well,” John Hyder said. And so a year ago, The Bait Shack was born. “We wanted to let people experience a coastal atmosphere,” Hyder said, “When you walk into The Bait Shack, you feel like you are in Tybee Island or Hilton Head.” The restaurant, at 3189 Whiskey Road in Aiken, delivers on more than just atmosphere. The Bait Shack receives its

The Bait Shack’s lowcountry boil is a customer favorite. Special

seafood fresh from the coast and is one of the premier places in the CSRA for oysters. “Our claim to fame is our lowcountry boil. Folks drive down from Columbia, Saluda, Augusta and farther for our lowcountry boil,” Hyder said. The Bait Shack commemorated its first anniversary with dine-in specials on Saturday, Nov. 19. The anniversary celebration had two special offerings — a halfpound of extra-large seasoned shrimp

64 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

“We wanted to let people experience a coastal atmosphere. When you walk into The Bait Shack, you feel like you are in Tybee Island or Hilton Head.” – Co-owner John Hyder and a domestic beer, or a dozen steamed oysters — each for under $10. The shrimp offering was inspired by a popular weekday event that the restaurant began hosting a few months ago. “We do a ‘High Tide Happy Hour’ every Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.,” Hyder said. “The shrimp and domestic beer combo have received such a tremendous response during Happy Hour that we decided to offer it to every-

body for our anniversary.” The Hyder family’s passion for seafood, as well as for serving their customers, is a welcome addition to the CSRA community this year and beyond. “We love what we’re doing; We love seafood; We love our customers,” Hyder said. For more information about JC’s Seafood or The Bait Shack, visit facebook. com/jcseafoodaiken or

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz



TRY CHOCOLATE STOUT ALE INSTEAD OF DESSERT couple of minutes after you’ve swallowed. Again, it’s not the most bitter chocolate stout around, and that comes as welcome news to me. All in all, this is a beer to which I would compare other high gravity chocolate stout ales. It would go perfectly as a dessert all by itself (not even kidding). I think we’ll be serving it on Christmas Night with a tenderloin and pecan pie. Ahh… the holidays… .


The holiday season means many things to many people, and it means several things to me, as well. In keeping with the theme of this column, chewy, dark brews are high on the list. You know, chocolate stouts, oatmeal porters … beers you’d have to run a half marathon to work off. Maybe that’s why it’s cold outside during dark beer season – so we can all wear thick clothes which don’t accentuate where the calories from the beers settle. I’ll tell ya, whoever came up with that combination, well, I’d like to buy that guy a beer. Rogue Chocolate Stout This is a nicely balanced chocolate stout ale that’s not too high on the gravity or heaviness. I had it once on draft at the Rogue bar in San Francisco with my buddy, Mitch. It came served in a heavy chalice (but not the kind that are really thick, thus yielding less beer without you knowing it). The nose conveys more of a milk chocolate than a high-cocoa scent (think more sugary and less bitter). The taste isn’t

for something more like the next beer below if you’re looking to sit down with a single brew and not go anywhere for a little while. dampened, but it’s not quite as robust as the nose. All aspects of this stout ale are on par for the 5.8 percent ABV. It would be a little chewier with an ABV up around 8 percent, but not everyone needs to sign up for that. If you’re looking to have more than one chocolate stout ale in a sitting, then this one would be a nice choice. However, opt

66 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

Southern Tier Choklat Chewy. Thick. Strong. Sweet. Malty. Of or pertaining to dessert in a bottle. You get the point. This American Imperial Stout Ale from New York’s Southern Tier Brewery comes pretty close to nailing it with a beer of this craft. The chocolate comes at you hard from the first smell, and it doesn’t let up until a

Among other things, the holiday season means that Ben Casella’s radio will be switched from his usual and customary NPR to Christmas carols. How much Burl Ives and Andy Williams can he take in a month or so? More than you’d think (and more than he’d like you to think).

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Ever had one of those days when all you do is sit and stew over every bad decision you’ve ever made? It’s as if the past has ripped you out of the present and every failure is right there, replaying before your very eyes. Pardon my language, but those days suck. I know it’s early, but my New Year’s resolution is to never let myself have another one of those days. Here are a couple Netflix choices that will give you that extra boost of encouragement when you need it. Starting Over with Andy Stanley Andy Stanley is an Atlanta pastor who hosts the show Your Move. According to its website, the show is an “exporter of innovative ideas designed to simplify and enhance life.” I don’t know about all that, but I did enjoy a pretty short episode from his series Starting Over. I know you may have been turned off as soon as you read the word pastor. Sometimes a good message is a good message, whether you agree with the messenger or not. I learned a few things watching. First, we all tend to learn from our mistakes in the areas that don’t mean anything, like video games. We tend

68 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

to continue making mistakes in key areas like finances or relationships. I’m not ashamed to admit, I’ve been guilty of that. Another thing I learned while viewing is that time is my friend. Stanley talks about taking time to evaluate your situation so that you avoid making repetitive mistakes. The most relevant topic for me was on failures. We all have them, and sometimes they’re embarrassing. If you’re willing to accept responsibility for your role in the failure, however, you can use it as a learning experience and turn it into something good. No matter the circumstances, you have a purpose. Don’t ever forget it. Romans 8:28. Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru Tony Robbins has been around for decades, but I never paid any attention. Boy, was I missing out. If Andy Stanley was a little too vanilla for you, Tony Robbins will get your heart pumping. I Am Not Your Guru documents the 2014 Date with Destiny seminar in Florida. This annual seminar costs about $5,000 a person and lasts six days. IT IS PACKED. Robbins is bold and brash. Within the first two minutes he dropped the F-bomb at least seven times and made a reference to pleasuring one-

self. None of this was vulgar, however. According to him, he uses the “science of taboo language” to snap people out of dysfunctional patterns. It works. I have so many favorite moments there simply isn’t enough space to describe them all. If you’re still on the fence, digest this quote from him: “If she had been the mother I wanted I wouldn’t be the man I’m proud to be.” Don’t feel sorry for yourself, don’t live in your past. Get up, get a plan and get to work. Your life will only change if you put in the work. So, how much does it mean to you?

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

December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


70 Buzz on Biz December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017

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December 22, 2016-January 25, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Buzz on Biz: December 22, 2016- January 25, 2017  
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