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APRIL 27–MAY 24, 2018 • THE CSRA’S MONTHLY BUSINESS MAGAZINE

LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!

AUGUSTA SEEKS PIECE OF GEORGIA’S BOOMING FILM INDUSTRY BY WITT WELLS

In 2016, more top-100 box office films were shot in Georgia (17) than in any other state, including California (13), according to a report from FilmL.A., the official film office for the Greater Los Angeles region. That trend likely won’t end anytime soon. The program that started bringing filmmakers to Atlanta — the Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which was signed into law in 2005 — allows filmmakers to reduce production costs with a series of robust tax incentives. That legislation has brought big bucks that historically had been spent on the West Coast to the Peach State at a rapid pace. The film and television industry in Georgia created a whopping $9.5 billion impact during fiscal year 2017. Almost all of that money was and will continue to be spent in Atlanta. But Brad Owens, co-founder of the Augusta Film Office, wants Augusta to get a little piece of the pie. Even just 1 percent of that huge figure would be significant. The Augusta Film Office doesn’t think that’s too much to ask of the second largest city in the new Hollywood of the East Coast. “We are the only city of our size that isn’t just scooping it up right now,” said Rick Kelly, Owens’ founding partner at

Rick Kelly, left, and Brad Owens have started the Augusta Film Office to bring a portion of Georgia’s booming film business to Augusta. The industry made a $9.5 billion impact on the state in fiscal year 2017. Photo by Witt Wells

AFO and the CEO of indiegrip.com, an Augusta-based film and video production equipment company that funds the film office. “But we’re getting there.” Augusta lies halfway between two cities where the industry is booming: Atlanta and Savannah. While Atlanta remains the state’s undisputed leader as it hosts the production of blockbusters including Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War (not to mention TV favorites The Walking Dead and Stranger Things), Savannah

brought its fair share of big productions to town last year, including The Front Runner, starring Hugh Jackman, and Killerman, starring Liam Hemsworth. Last year’s comedy hit Baywatch was filmed on Tybee Island. As it turns out, Augusta’s location might just be perfect. As Kelly puts it, there comes a point when you just can’t shoot your romantic comedy with the same backdrop used in last week’s episode of The Walking Dead.

As the bubbles expand from both the east and west, production companies will find their way to Augusta. But why not give them a hand? “This is an economic engine,” Owens said. “This is a job creation engine. And right now, we are seeing a boom that has not been seen in the United States anywhere in this business probably since the ’30s or ’40s in L.A.” See FILM on Page 2


FILM

Continued from Page 1 While Owens and Kelly have fond memories of making local films such as The Battle of Aiken years ago, they didn’t create Augusta Film Office to make movies. Their goal is to attract the film business to the Augusta area to boost its economy. Despite slow film industry growth compared to Atlanta and Savannah, the nonprofit has already had a much larger impact in bringing productions to Augusta than Owens and Kelly anticipated when they founded it in 2015. They expected it would take five years to develop an organization that could bring a professional production company to Augusta. It only took six months. Owens said it wasn’t long after filmmaker Paul Salamoff “really put us on the map” after scouting locations in 2015 for his sci-fi drama Encounter (released earlier this year) that another producer, Richard Clark Jr., came to town to shoot the roadtrip comedy Savannah Sunrise, which was filmed almost entirely in Augusta. “He was supposed to film in Savannah, and Savannah had priced him out of the $600,000 to $700,000 market,” Owens said. “They’re making $15 (million) to $25 million ones. Literally, the movie could not be made there for the money they had. We were the perfect answer here.” As low-budget films are pushed out of Atlanta and Savannah, Augusta Film Office has created a facility and fostered a system of workers ideal for a movie that costs $5 million or less. (So far, Owens estimates the group has helped bring $5 million to $6 million to the local economy over the last three years.) AFO’s new facility, which opened on Gordon Highway in March, has a soundstage, dressing rooms, green room, kitchen, editing suite, grip electric equipment, parking, catering, an art department and even police cars. While most major productions usually have all of their own gear, personnel and supplies if they choose to shoot in Augusta, AFO wants to make producers’ experience filming in Augusta as smooth and enjoyable as possible so they can bring them back. When director Tosca Musk (sister of Elon Musk) was scouting locations for her 2017 film Hollywood Dirt, production manager Kevin Welch, who had worked on the sets of Savannah Sunrise and The Reason (a faith-based film shot in Augusta in 2016), recommended the Garden City. Last fall, the crew, filming an Indian action thriller called Detroit Crossing, decided to move its entire production from Atlanta to Augusta after AFO helped it find five of six crucial locations for the film set in Dearborn, Mich. The crew also

2 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

The Augusta Film Office facility on Gordon Highway includes a soundstage, dressing rooms and editing suite, among other amenities. Photo by Witt Wells

rented out the film office for six weeks. If Augusta wants to compete in Georgia’s film industry, it needs skilled local crews ready to work. That’s one of the city’s biggest challenges right now. In fact, it’s a catch-22. It’s very difficult to develop local talent without movies being made here. And without talented local crews, the prospects of bringing movies to Augusta are slim, because production companies want local crews who can work for them. One of AFO’s primary missions is to develop what is known in the film as “crew depth,” the maximum number of trained, local film crews a city contains at any one time. Owens said Augusta isn’t even one crew deep right now, though he’s optimistic about the future. Each of the professional productions that has come to Augusta over the last few years has honed the skills of local crew members a little more. “The real reason we founded (AFO) was because we wanted to create jobs for all of the people that we had been doing independent movies with for a lot of years that wanted to make a living at this,” Owens said. For a group focused on job creation, a giant studio space would be a home run. If an occasional $3 million movie in town is low-hanging fruit, Owens’ dream is for the Regency Mall site to become a megastudio that would attract filmmakers from not only Georgia but around the country, even if that turned the Augusta Film Office location into a mere storage space. Owens estimates that a professionalcaliber studio of that size (800,000 square feet on 70 acres) would create 400-500 full-time, high-paying jobs and catapult Augusta into position as a major player in an industry that gave the state economy a nearly $10-billion boost last year — not just as an occasional destination for filmmakers but a job-creation machine where filmmakers would be located full-time. For a dream, he’s pretty confident about it. “Here’s what I’m going to tell you: It’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s going to happen. There’s no doubt about it.”


DIVING BACK IN

LESSONS LEARNED RE-ENTERING THE BUSINESS WORLD trust we’ve built through the years. Try not to burn bridges. Give more than you get. Create win-win relationships. Zig Ziglar once said, “If you help people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.”

BY NEIL GORDON

Yours truly is back in business! After an 18-month transition of selling Buzz on Biz to Morris Communications and working for the Morris family, I have joined a different family business – mine! My wife already had Studio Gordon LLC, and now I’m part of her company. She is in the photo business as a professional photographer, and I’m in the video business. I’ll continue to do daily business minutes on News 12/NBC 26 and host the weekly call-in LawCall show on Sunday nights on CBS, and now I’ve added a new brand, “Augusta Business Profiles.” These conversational Q-and-A videos are shot a few days a month at the Moving Canvas Media studio of my longtime friend and business associate, Rob Forbes. That leads me to a series of lessons learned starting in or re-entering the business world:

Lesson #1: Relationships Matter

I first met Rob in 2001 as I was leaving the world of TV news. He has been a trusted vendor of mine, and I’ve paid him by the project or the hour or the day. When my Morris transition was complete, he agreed to partner with me on the ABP project. We have divided up the workload, hard

Lesson #2: Create a Positive Workspace

Neil Gordon behind the scenes at Moving Canvas Media studios after a video interview with Business Consultant Dub Taylor. Photo courtesy of Neil Gordon

costs and revenue. It’s a “win-win.” You’ll notice on this masthead three very talented professionals who I hired before selling the Buzz brand to Morris. Gary Kauffman, Jessica Jones and Witt Wells remain and continue to do great work gathering content, writing and forging business relationships. Even though I am not on the Morris payroll, we are still able to help each other be successful because of the loyalty and

I realized our family home would not provide me necessary space or privacy for an office. So, we moved to a different family home! Besides the “fun” part and the expense side of moving, the new workspace is much less expensive on a monthly basis and more functional than leasing outside space. My wife has an outside office and we have a 4-year-old, so this setup works for our lives and our business. I love doing meetings over coffee or lunch, so “mobile offices” also work well for me. If you’re considering taking the leap into business, another option may be an incubator such as the Clubhou.se on Telfair Street. The rates are so reasonable and the support from and bonding with fellow entrepreneurs is an added bonus.

Lesson #3: Simplify Your Finances

My gifts are not of an organizational nature! I consider myself a people person

Features Something for Everyone.............................. 4 The Augusta Market is growing more diverse. Buzz Bits........................................................ 6 SRP Park Opens............................................. 8 First homestand at new park deemed a success. Openings, Closings...............................12, 13 Upcoming Events..................................14, 15

Women in Business............................... 17-24 Special section puts spotlight on women in business. Businessperson of the Month....................25 Rebecca Rogers, marketing director for the Augusta Canal Heritage Area, says her job is more than just a job. Soothing the Soul.......................................36 Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental helps create a soul-soothing journey along the Augusta Canal.

Columnists Tim Dalton: Why now might not be the time to sell.................... 10 Dub Taylor: Take time to inspect how expectations are met.... 16 Christine Hall: Paying estimated taxes is important for self-employed........................................................................................... 16 Russell Head: IRS updates employer guide for fringe benefits........................................................................................................ 26 Stacy Roberts: A little applause for those who lead..................... 26 Gary Kauffman: Blind spots lead to bad choices, consequences........................................................................................... 28 Jennifer Dawson: A second chance to make a first impression.................................................................................................. 30

Ed Enoch: New administration working to change labor laws............................................................................................................... 30 Dagan Sharpe: Overcoming the mirage of power and success......................................................................................................... 32 Tony Creighton: Pressure washing keeps paved areas gleaming..................................................................................................... 32 Ben Casella: Craft beers pair with just about anything............... 37 Samantha Barksdale: Fun viewing options to sit back and relax............................................................................................................... 37 Millie Huff: Twisted Burrito puts new spin on old favorite........ 38

and have always tried to surround myself with people or trusted vendors who could help me with my shortcomings. Once I get truly settled in, I will cheerfully pay a CPA/bookkeeper to track the important timing of cash flow to include accounts payable and receivables. In the interim, I’ve decided to pay vendors with a credit card rather than filling out credit applications and monitoring invoices to pay. On the receivables side, I am handling billing of clients by invoicing them in one sitting and processing credit cards like that as well. I’ve learned a valuable lesson, and now I am planning to create a file folder for each month to drop in receipts and invoices. If I can do this, so can you.

Neil Gordon founded the Buzz on Biz brand in 2005 with a Business Minute concept on News 12 that still airs daily at 6:25 a.m. Gordon is adding new video concepts to help other businesses grow. To reach him, email thegordongrouppr@comcast.net.

The Buzz on Biz mission is to act as an inspirational tool for those in the workplace and those who are entrepreneurs, and to provide useful, practical information to increase their companies’ bottom lines. To order a 12-month subscription mailed to your home or office, please mail a check for $49 (includes sales tax) to cover postage to the address below. Publisher Ashlee Duren, ashlee.duren@augustamagazine.com Editor in Chief Gary Kauffman Multimedia Journalist Witt Wells, witt.wells@buzzon.biz Photography Witt Wells, Gary Kauffman, Melissa Gordon Layout Amanda Holahan Sales Manager Lisa Dorn, lisa.dorn@augustamagazine.com Sales and PR Jessica Jones, jessica@buzzon.biz, 762-218-0239 Ad Building Michael Rushbrook Distribution Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones Opinions expressed by the writers are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Morris Media Network nor its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only. Like us on Facebook @ facebook.com/buzz-on-biz Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 643 Broad Street, Augusta GA 30901

April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

3


SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

IN NEW SEASON, AUGUSTA MARKET IS MORE DIVERSE THAN EVER BY WITT WELLS

When Brooke Buxton was in her first year as director of The Augusta Market, there were 20-30 small business vendors opening up shop on Riverwalk Augusta at Eighth Street on any given Saturday. Ten years later, that figure has more than doubled. Buxton estimates that 5075 vendors now sell their goods at the market each weekend, depending on the weather. The market boasts a wide range of products from all kinds of people, some of whom travel around 75 miles to the market each weekend. Fresh shrimp from the Gulf Coast isn’t out of the ordinary. The owners of Comer, Ga.-based bakery The Comerian travel 90 miles every Saturday in a van loaded with bread, croissants, streusel and the like. Last season, Uwe Happek, who runs the business with his wife Angela Cooper, said that Augusta reminds Cooper of what her former home, Savannah, felt like 20 years ago. That might be part of the reason that the couple decided to open a bakery on Eighth Street later this year, if all goes as planned. Happek’s and Cooper’s desire to bring The Comerian to Augusta embodies Buxton’s goal for any business getting its start at The Augusta Market. “Our whole mission is to support them The Augusta Market, held downtown each Saturday from March through November at Eighth Street and Riverwalk Augusta, has a enough to where they’re going to take a little something for everyone, including the chance to adopt a retired racing greyhound. Photo by Witt Wells risk and open a business,” Buxton said. For some vendors, their activity at Earth and Paleo Num Yums, and Cohen brell, a regular attender of the market. Bonny Garrison said 7 South’s consisThe Augusta Market is just a fraction of cooks in an industrial kitchen he rents from “That’s fun to watch.” tent presence at the market had an “enorthe exposure they get in the area. Dur- the Augusta Jewish Community Center. Kimbrell credits a sort of “relaxed di- mous effect” on the business. ing the week, Michael versity” for “You would not believe how many peoChildress, a jeweler, bringing her ple who you can network with,” Garrison and Kevin Warning, and her hus- said. “Everybody who comes here is from whose family business band back to every walk of life around Augusta.” sells various cheeses at the market on In addition to a field of vendors that is the market, sell their a consistent as large as ever and spans every inch of products at North basis. They’ve available space from Reynolds Street to Augusta’s Riverfront learned to the Savannah River, The Augusta Market Antique Mall. expect new has also benefitted from partnership with Others hope to sights and ex- the new Riverfront Y and hosts a weekly make the market a periences. run called the Triple 8, an 8-mile race – Bonnie Garrison, of 7 South Coffee, on The Augusta Market stepping stone. “I like com- that starts at 8 a.m. on Eighth Street each Solomon Cohen ing down here Saturday. started selling the and getting Buxton said the city has also made signature products of empanadas — an effort to improve the experience that his startup vegan food company, Papa It’s new businesses with fresh ideas like those are so good,” said Jonathan Kim- visitors have at the riverwalk. The marMountain, at The Augusta Market. Cus- Cohen’s that keep many of the market’s brell, Brooke’s husband. “We combine ket added musical entertainment at the tomers caught on to unique items in- visitors coming back every year. Around fresh grocery shopping, ethnic food and Eighth Street Bulkhead Stage by the river cluding gluten-free cheese bread (Papa 35 percent of the vendors this year are people watching.” to complement its longstanding Garden Mountain’s signature product) and BBQ new, according to Buxton. Waiving apFood, art, wellness products and every- City Jazz act, and since then landscapjackfruit sliders, a vegan alternative that plication fees and lowering fixed costs for thing in between come from anywhere ing improvements have given a welcomhe says has even received the approval of booths in recent years has attracted more and everywhere. One family coffee busi- ing feel to a recreational area that sees a barbecue fanatics. businesses to take the step. ness called 7 South Coffee is supplied by steadily growing number of vendors. Now, Papa Mountain’s food can be “We come often enough that we like Indonesian coffee farms, and the coffee is “We’ve basically got something for evfound in a few local stores such as Good seeing new vendors,” said Brooke Kim- roasted in Aiken. erybody,” Buxton said.

“You would not believe how many people who you can network with. Everybody who comes here is from every walk of life around Augusta.”

4 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018


April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

5


buzz bits ‘VERYVERA’ HOST HAS NEW COOKBOOK OF FAVORITES METRO CHAMBER PLANS ANNUAL GOLF CLASSIC The Augusta Metro Chamber has announced its 2018 Annual Golf Classic. The tournament is scheduled for Monday, May 14, at Gordon Lakes Golf Course at Fort Gordon. Registration and the practice range will open at 11 a.m., with lunch at 11:30 a.m. and a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Dinner and awards will follow at 5:30 p.m. The event will include a free practice range, a putting contest with a raffle and prizes, a silent auction, prize items from Mercedes-Benz of Augusta and Textron Specialized Vehicles, a holein-one contest and lunch and dinner provided by Chick-fil-A and Tin Lizzy’s Cantina. Advanced registration is required and is available at augustametrochamber.com. Interested parties may sign up individually or in groups. The tournament is being sponsored by State Bank & Trust Company.

EDTS CYBER CLEARED TO ASSIST SC LAW ENFORCEMENT EDTS Cyber has been approved by the state of South Carolina as a vendor qualified to access and support South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) entities. EDTS Cyber employees have received the necessary clearance and have undergone training and fingerprintbased background checks. Managed information technology (IT) and security services, such as 24/7 advanced security monitoring, incident response and security awareness training, are now available to South Carolina agencies as they seek an improved Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) compliance standing.

6 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

A popular host of a local food show has released a new cookbook. Vera Stewart, host of the syndicated The VeryVera Show, seen locally on WISH-TV, released her cookbook, The VeryVera Cookbook: Recipes From My Table, in April. The cookbook contains all the recipes she sold in her cafe and through mail order. It tells the story of Stewart’s life while sharing recipes that are easily recreated at home. Stewart began a catering business in 1984 that quickly became one of the most notable in Augusta. She eventually diversified to include a mail-order cake and casserole business (her products were sold in Costco, HSN, Saks and Neiman Marcus), a local cafe and a cooking camp for children. In 2010, she appeared on Throwdown with Bobby Flay and won with her carrot cake, which led to having her own local cooking show in Augusta. In 2015, The VeryVera Show was first syndicated and has picked up additional markets each season since. Last year, VeryVera Cooking Camp, for ages 6-10, was franchised to two locations. “We’re excited to help criminal justice organizations in the state of South Carolina and beyond prepare for their federal audits,” says Delano Collins, chief information officer of EDTS Cyber. “Our company practices are the result of over two decades of IT and cyber security audit and management experience.” Law enforcement agencies with access to National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and other criminal justice information must abide by CJIS compliance standards. To meet and maintain compliance standards, many agencies hire IT support and security vendors such as EDTS Cyber. “The threat landscape is dangerous and disturbing,” says Charles Johnson, founder and CEO of EDTS Cyber. “In helping criminal justice organizations protect their information, we’re aiding their fight to protect all the people under their care — and our justice system as a whole.”

If a SLED agency hires an entity that has not been vetted or that cannot validate certain employees are vetted, it runs the risk of violating portions of the CJIS security policy. Failed audits may result in a loss of access to criminal justice records. CJIS audits occur at least once every three years and can be initiated at the state or federal level. The audit evaluates the agency’s adherence to the 13 CJIS policy areas designed to protect the privacy and authenticity of vital criminal justice records throughout the nation.

TAXSLAYER NAMED A TOP INNOVATIVE COMPANY TaxSlayer has been named one of the Top 40 Innovative Technology Com-

panies in Georgia by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). TAG’S Top 40 awards recognize Georgia-based technology companies for their innovation and financial impact and their efforts at spreading awareness of the state’s technology initiatives throughout the United States and worldwide. Originally founded as a familyowned tax filing business over 50 years ago, TaxSlayer has transformed into a digitally driven business providing easy-to-use, technology-based solutions. The company successfully completed more than 10 million state and federal e-filed tax returns in 2017, representing a 200 percent increase over the past three years. Additionally, TaxSlayer developed industry-first features including refundNOW, which allows customers to receive up to $1,000 of their tax return just 48 hours after IRS approval, weeks earlier than through standard filing alone. New customer acquisition rose by 19 percent and website traffic 20 percent within two months of launch of refundNOW. “TaxSlayer’s goal is to make people’s lives easier by developing technology that gives them more time to do the things they want to do instead of things they have to do. “Our easy-to-use offerings are unique in that they offer high-touch, personal service alongside simplified technology at reasonable prices,” said Brian Rhodes, president and CEO of TaxSlayer. “This award recognizes the incredible work our employees do every day to reduce stress for our customers.” In September 2018, TaxSlayer will open its new Innovation and Technology Campus, a modern, collaborationcentered workspace designed to better leverage the region’s booming cyber economy. The building will serve as the company’s new corporate headquarters in downtown Augusta. TaxSlayer will continue to use its current location in Evans to house some of its 600 employees.

Catch the Buzz! Get more on business and economic news across the CSRA at buzzon.biz.


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April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

7


More than 5,900 people packed SRP Park for its first game on April 12. This view from left field shows the design of the stadium. Photos by Gary Kauffman

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME SRP PARK’S INITIAL HOMESTAND DEEMED A SUCCESS

BY GARY KAUFFMAN

By almost any measure, the first homestand for the Augusta GreenJackets in their new stadium was a success. Opening night at SRP Park in North Augusta drew more than 5,900 fans, a record for a GreenJackets baseball game. The first three-game series drew in excess of 15,000 people, about 4,000 more than a typical season-opening series, and placed the GreenJackets fourth in the league in attendance. GreenJackets’ Vice President Tom Denlinger said that parking for the games went better than anticipated, considering that not everything has been completed. Parking was available in the new parking deck near the stadium, at the Medac parking garage, the Municipal Building parking lot and other locations in downtown North Augusta, with golf cart shuttles available. But perhaps the best measure of success was what Denlinger called the “awe factor.” “This is a beautiful showcase venue,” he said. “Everyone was enjoying the amenities. They were on the TaxSlayer Terrace taking in the game and the river views. It’s an experience.” Many fans enjoyed the ability to walk around the entire stadium on the concourse walkway, where they could take in views of the game from many angles. Others gravitated toward the two-deck TaxSlayer Terrace, the Sweetwater Pavilion or the E-Z-Go Picnic Porch, where conversation with friends was as impor-

8 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

John Gavin of the Augusta GreenJackets delivers the first pitch of the first minor league baseball game in SRP Park in North Augusta.

tant as watching the game. Lights beneath the roof of the upper deck terrace flashed in multiple colors throughout the game, in tune to music or announcements. The large video board on the left-field wall allowed fans to view between-innings activities and commercials from local advertisers. During the opening ceremonies of the inaugural game on April 12, fireworks boomed in concert with the national anthem. Following the final notes of the anthem, the crowd was awed by a low flyover of a military jet. Even residents of Hammonds Ferry, some of whom had attempted to block the construction of the stadium in North

Augusta, didn’t seem affected. One resident said she didn’t hear any noise and could barely make out the lights from her house. Another reported that there were none of the traffic problems some residents had feared. “One of the big things people noticed is that we have LED lights that point directly onto the field, so there’s not a lot of light pollution,” Denlinger said. “We’re here to be good neighbors with the River Club and Hammonds Ferry.” In addition to baseball games, the new stadium is being used for other activities. So far those have included a craft beer festival and the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala. Country mu-

sic star Jake Owen will be in concert at SRP Park on May 19. All of these events, plus 70 home baseball games, are expected to have an impact on downtown businesses in both North Augusta and Augusta, especially restaurants, although it has been too early to determine the extent of the impact. Some restaurants have reported increased business on game nights, and several have hired additional employees in anticipation of higher customer volume on event nights. Of course, there are still bugs to be worked out as the season progresses. Denlinger said ingress and egress to the stadium could be better, and there are still processes to be worked out with food service. Construction is also still ongoing on the Riverside Village complex around the stadium. “By 2019 — or even later this year — this will be an exciting place to live, work and play,” Denlinger said. By the end of this year, construction should be completed on an apartment building behind the left-field wall, a Crowne Plaza hotel, a 270-unit apartment complex, a 125-unit senior living center, 12 single-family homes, a 72,000-square-foot office building and 55,000 square feet of retail space. In addition, a small amphitheater/garden area will be placed behind the right-field wall of the stadium along the North Augusta Greeneway, looking out at the Savannah River.


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9


FUTURE FUTILITY

WHY NOW MIGHT BE THE RIGHT TIME TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS BY TIM DALTON

Are you trying to time the sale of your business so that you exit when both your business and the economy are peaking? While your objective to build your company’s value is admirable, here are five reasons why you might want to sell sooner than you might think:

1

You may be choking your business. When you start your business, you have nothing to lose, so you risk it all on your idea. But as you grow, you naturally become more conservative, because your business becomes worth something. For many of us, our company is our largest asset, so the idea of losing it on a new growth idea becomes less attractive. We become more conservative and hinder our company’s growth.

2

Money is still fairly cheap. We’re coming out of a period of ultra-low interest rates. Buyers will likely borrow money to buy your business, so — at the risk of oversimplifying a lot of MBA math — the less it costs them to borrow, the more they will spend to buy your business.

3

Timing your sale is a fool’s errand. The costs of most financial assets are correlated, which is to say that the value of your private business, investment real estate and a Fortune 500 company’s stock all move in roughly the same direction. They all laid an egg in 2009, and now they are all booming. The problem is, you’ll have to do something with the money you make from the sale of your company, which means you will likely buy into a new asset class. As the value of your business is rising, so is its value in the stock market, real estate market or other investment avenues. So, any substantial gains you hope for in trying to sell at a peak also mean your reinvestment of the sale proceeds will also be invested in other markets that are at their peak in pricing.

4

Keeping up with technology. As an example, if you have moved your customer data into the cloud, it is only a matter of time before you become a target of cybercrime. Randy Ambrosie, the former CEO of 3Macs, a Montrealbased investment company that manages $6 billion for wealthy Canadian families, decided to sell in part because he feared a cyberattack. Ambrosie and his partners realized they had been underinvesting in technology for years, at a time when cy-

10 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

bercrime was becoming more prevalent in the financial services space. He decided to sell his firm to Raymond James because he realized the cost of staying ahead of hackers was becoming too much to bear.

As the value of your business rises, so does its value in the stock market, real estate market or other investment avenues. If you are thinking of selling, waiting for the economy to peak before doing so might not be the best decision.

5

There is no corporate ladder. In most occupations, the ambitious must climb the ladder. Aspiring CEOs must methodically move up, stacking one job on the next until they are ready for the top post. By choosing a career as an entrepreneur, you get to skip the ladder entirely. You can start a business, sell it, take a sabbatical and start another business, and nobody will miss you on the ladder. Your second (or third) business is likely to be more successful than your first, so the sooner you sell your existing business, the sooner you get to take a break and start working on your next successful venture. It can be tempting to want to time the sale of your business so that the economy and your company are peaking, but in reality, it might be better to sell sooner rather than later. Tim Dalton is president of Integra Business Brokers and has more than 19 years of experience in the Augusta area assisting business buyers and sellers. He is also a Certified Business Value Builder. Additional services include targeted business acquisitions, business valuations and financing assistance. Dalton is a licensed real estate broker in Georgia and South Carolina and can be reached at 706.650.1100 or tdalton@integrabrokers.com. Visit Integra’s website at www.integrabrokers.com.

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4468 COLUMBIA RD, SUITE B MARTINEZ, GA 30907 | 706-650-1100


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706.821.2222 601 N. Belair Square, Suite 16, Evans, Ga www.csralawyer.com

April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

11


Openings, Closings and Moves

OPENINGS

Sweet Charlie’s is best known for its Thai rolled ice cream.

Sweet Charlie’s A Philadelphia-based ice cream store is preparing to open in Augusta as the chain continues to expand across the country. Sweet Charlie’s, a chain that has become known for its Thai rolled ice cream, first opened in Philly’s Washington Square in 2016 and has steadily grown into a network of 20 stores around the country. The Augusta location is set to open this summer, according to the company’s chief financial officer, Brandon Billig. Thai rolled ice cream has become a nationwide trend, and spots selling the stylish dessert have started popping up in New York and other big cities over the last few years. Now, Augusta will be in on the fun. “Augusta is a beautiful demographic with a rich history,” Billig said. “Our brand will embrace the gracious Southern charm that Augusta offers and is certain to be a crowd favorite for those who stroll along the Savannah River and surrounding areas.” The 1,200-square-foot ice cream shop will open at 630 Crane Creek Drive, in the new Crane Creek development that will be anchored by Sprouts. Marco’s Pizza A new pizzeria is preparing to open in Augusta. Marco’s Pizza, which currently has locations in Augusta, Evans, Grovetown, North Augusta and Aiken, will soon open at 3513 Walton Way Extension, across the street from First Baptist Church of Augusta. Tim Gagner, general manager of Marco’s Pizza on Furys Ferry Road, said more information about the restaurant’s opening will be released soon.

12 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

COLUMBIA COUNTY TO GET AR WORKSHOP LOCATION A popular DIY workshop whose fans have flocked to franchise locations around the country at a rapid pace will soon open in Columbia County. AR Workshop, a network of boutique DIY workshops founded by designers Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff, began to gain popularity when the designers started offering hands-on workshops for people who wanted to create and complete passion projects for themselves. This summer, Augustans will be able to get in on the DIY fun when the mother-daughter duo of Anita Barr and Brandi Collins opens a 1,800-squarefoot AR Workshop at The Market at Riverwood in Evans. All that locals will have to bring to the project is themselves; all the necessary materials — including wood, non-toxic stains and more than 50 colors of paint — are stored in-house. The workshop will be at 3116 William Few Pkwy., Ste. 2. Classes will be planned in 3-hour time slots and will seat up to 36 people. “We instruct you from the beginning, you just work at your own pace,” Collins said. The workshop is designed for creators who want to see a project through from start to finish rather than have a product made for them, although the workshop will also include a retail section with gifts and home decor items. At the workshop, customers sand

The Flying Biscuit Cafe, now open in The Market at Riverwood, specializes in breakfast dishes.

The Flying Biscuit Cafe It’s taken eight months for The Flying Biscuit Café to open since word started to spread that the Atlantabased breakfast spot would be coming to Evans, but the restaurant has finally opened its doors.

AR Workshop provides people the space and time to complete their own DIY projects. The Columbia County location, at 3116 William Few Pkwy. in The Market at Riverwood, is set to open this summer. Contributed photo

down the wood themselves and customize it however they want. Workshops will primarily take place at night, and Collins plans to host workshops for kids and corporate events. She also calls AR Workshop “the perfect date night.” The space will also be available for private parties to rent for a maximum of 36 people. Collins doesn’t have a grand opening The Flying Biscuit opened in The Market at Riverwood in mid-April. It is at 3118 William Few Pkwy. The Augusta area is a new region for The Flying Biscuit; all of the restaurant’s current Georgia locations are in Atlanta and surrounding areas. The chain has also expanded into North Carolina, Florida and Texas. The Flying Biscuit is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Foundry Place An Urban Redevelopment Agency project broke ground in the historic Laney-Walker district on April 20. Foundry Place will be a 221-unit apartment complex that will focus on its proximity to the medical district. In

date nailed down but says the workshop will open in the summer. She moved to Augusta in February and hit the ground running with the new business. “It’s basically a big AR Workshop family,” she said. “Everyone is awesome who I’ve met so far. It was started by women, run by women still, and most of the location owners are women. It’s a very supportive, strong environment. It’s empowering, honestly.” addition to apartments, the complex will feature amenities such as a pool, yoga studio and dog park. It is expected to be ready for occupancy in late summer 2019. The $30 million project will be funded publicly through bonds and privately with an investment from Columbia Ventures of Atlanta. Sprouts Farmers Market Sprouts Farmers Market is set to open May 2 on Walton Way Extension, just north of Interstate 20. The market is in front of the Crane Creek Apartment development. Sprouts is a full-service grocery store that focuses on fresh and organic items. About 90 percent of its products are classified as organic. Unlike many grocery stores, Sprouts places its produce


Openings, Closings and Moves

in the center of the store. Sprouts stores are smaller than average grocery stores; the Augusta store will be about 30,000 square feet. Sprouts has 280 stores nationwide, 16 of them in Georgia. As part of the opening, the first 200 shoppers will receive 20 percent off their total purchase. On May 5, the first 200 customers will receive a $5 off coupon for their next purchase of $15 or more. On May 6, every 15th customer checking out will receive that coupon.

A Camping World SuperCenter is opening in the former Gander Mountain location. The company will sell RVs.

Camping World SuperCenter

The former Gander Mountain building on Augusta’s west side will soon be occupied again. Camping World SuperCenter has announced that it will move into the location to sell recreational vehicles. It is one of three RV dealerships Camping World is opening in 2018. Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis bought Gander Mountain and renamed it Gander Outdoors. Augusta’s Gander Mountain store had been in business for only about three years. It was built in 2014 on Mason McKnight Parkway, near the Wheeler Road exit of Interstate 20. Camping World owns 140 SuperCenters nationwide.

EXPANSIONS Crickets Dry Goods Four years after opening gift shop Crickets Dry Goods, the motherdaughter team of Susan Bone and Alison Smith has launched a new clothing

division at their shop in Evans. “Customers were asking to bring in more clothing and asking to expand,” Bone said. “It started as a gift store with one rack of clothes, and we just kept growing.” Two years ago, Smith and Bone doubled the space of the boutique that Smith had founded, resulting in a roughly 2,000-square-foot store that carries soaps, candles, jewelry, lotions and art produced by more than 50 regional artists. Recently, the owners officially launched a new section of the shop: a wide range of women’s clothing branded “Crickets Boutique Collection.” The selection includes clothing for all ages. Crickets Dry Goods is at 4446 Washington Road at the Shoppes at Camelot.

Comfort Keepers North Augusta Comfort Keepers, a leader in senior in-home care serving the greater North Augusta area, announced plans to expand its services to government agencies. “The opportunity to service government accounts opens up significantly more markets throughout the region as our goal continues to be to expand our in-home and in-facility care services in the Central Savannah River Area, and to service all federal agencies, including local Veteran Affairs centers,” said Janet Baumgardner, founder of North Augusta Comfort Keepers. “We provide both customized personal care plans and companionship-homemaker services and have worked extensively with Veterans and the Department of Veteran Affairs.” Comfort Keepers will apply for a General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule Contract. Government officials use GSA Schedules as a means of procuring goods and services, knowing that companies on these schedules have been qualified and thoroughly vetted. North Augusta Comfort Keepers recently introduced the “GrandPad,” an easy-to-use tablet designed to assist seniors to effortlessly connect and socialize online, plus providing simple joys like games, music and photos. These

new tools also provide secure ways to connect with families or caregivers, friends and the local Comfort Keepers office. North Augusta Comfort Keepers was founded in 2002 and provides customized care plans that include personal care and companionship-homemaker services. It helps seniors and other adults live independent, quality lives in the comfort of their own homes.

MOVES

TruFlame Gas Co. TruFlame Gas Co. has opened a new location at 1006 S. Main St., Sylvania, Ga. The propane gas company already has four other office locations in Georgia — Augusta, Springfield, Statesboro and Waynesboro. TruFlame is a locally and familyowned and -operated business with its main office in Waynesboro. The business serves 16 counties in Georgia and four in South Carolina. TruFlame specializes in propane delivery and installation, and it offers sales and installation of vent-free heaters, gas fireplace logs, gas fireplaces, outdoor grills, tankless water heaters and more. North Augusta Pediatrics North Augusta Pediatrics has opened a new office that is almost triple the size of its old office. The new building, which is 12,800 square feet (compared to the previous 3,400 square feet), is on Martintown Road just north of Exit 1 of Interstate 20. It sits on 10 acres that is being developed into a small medical complex. In addition to North Augusta Pediatrics, a pediatric dentist, orthodontist and allergist all plan to build on the site.

DEVELOPMENT

King Mill King Mill, the historic downtown mill which is a part of Augusta Cyberworks, is gearing up to provide both housing and industrial space for downtown Augusta. The owners’ plans for 250 marketrate apartments are moving forward, and they have recently made 102,000 square feet of industrial space available for lease. The group continues to work alongside the greater cyber-related movement to provide premium space for cyber clients to live, work and play in the scenic and highly functional Mill space.

The industrial space, which once housed Standard Textile, features 18-foot-high ceilings, 36 loading docks, gated access and an opportunity to be connected to Augusta Cyberworks. Cape Augusta has enlisted Presley Realty to lease the space. King Mill, which was built in 1882 by John P. King Manufacturing Co. to serve as a cotton mill, is located adjacent to Sibley Mill along the Augusta Canal.

SALES & ACQUISITIONS

Augusta Mall is now wholly owned by Toronto-based Brookfield Property Partners.

Augusta Mall Augusta Mall now belongs wholly to Brookfield Property Partners of Toronto. The company already owned a third of the mall with General Growth Properties but recently reached a deal to acquire the remainder of GGP’s interest for $15 billion. The deal makes Brookfield the second-largest mall owner behind Simon Property Group. GGP had purchased the Augusta Mall in 2004 from Rouse Co., which had developed the mall in 1978. Juneau Empire An Alaska newspaper with longtime ties to Augusta was recently sold. The Juneau Empire and Capital City Weekly had been part of the Morris Communications holdings since 1969 until it was sold, along with The Augusta Chronicle, to GateHouse Media in August 2017. Recently, GateHouse sold the Alaska paper to Seattle-based Sound Publishing. The Empire was founded in 1912 and was independently owned until Southeastern Newspapers Corp., owned by William Morris III, purchased it in March 1969. April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

13


UPCOMING BUSINESS EVENTS

Saturday, April 28

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

Free Shred Event, 8 a.m., at Cleveland Group, 3740 Executive Center Drive, Martinez. Clients and friends of the Cleveland Group are invited to bring documents for shredding. All documents will be shredded on-site and recycled. For more information, visit columbia countychamber.com.

Monday, April 30

Candidates Forum, 5:30 p.m., Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Center (Columbia County Library), 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Tuesday, May 1

Meet. Mingle. Mesh., 5:30 p.m., Riverfront YMCA, 1 Seventh St., Augusta. A fun evening of networking, food, fun and prizes. For more information, visit augustametro chamber.com.

Friday, May 4

First Friday Means Business, 7:30 a.m., 117 Newberry St. NW, Aiken. Informative breakfast meeting with a keynote speaker. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. First Annual Leadership Columbia County Unity Day, 8:30 a.m., Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3300 Evans to Locks Road, Martinez. An event for graduates of Leadership Columbia County. For more information, visit columbiacounty chamber.com. SCORE: Buy a Franchise or Build a Business from Scratch?, 10 a.m., North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave., North Augusta. This workshop explores the pluses and minuses of franchises and building a business from scratch. Presented by Anna Wilds, a Certified Franchise Executive. For more information, visit northaugusta chamber.org.

14 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

RIBBONS CUTTINGS SCHEDULED April 27: Motel 6/Studio 6, 3421 Wrightsboro Road, Augusta, 1 p.m.

Monday, May 14

18th annual Golf Classic, 11 a.m., Gordon Lakes Golf Course, 537 Range Road at Fort Gordon. Individuals and teams welcome. Sponsorships available. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

Tuesday, May 15

Women in Business, 11:30 a.m., Legends Club, 2701 Washington Road, Augusta. Speaker and topic to be announced. Reservation deadline is May 11. For more infor-

mation, visit augustametrochamber. com.

Wednesday, May 16

Post-Legislative Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3300 Evans to Locks Road, Martinez. Jay Roberts, director of planning for the Georgia Department of Transportation, will speak on “Transportation and Regional TSPLOST.” For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Thursday, May 17

Third Thursday Business Builder, 11:30 a.m., Augusta Metro Chamber office, 1 10th St. Mike McCurdy, executive director of the Georgia Employers’ Association, presents “Retaining Value: Effective HR Practices for Recruiting, Training and Retention.” Registration required by May 14. For more information, visit augustametrochamber. com.

AYP Third Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. An opportunity for individuals age 22 to 39 to meet other young professionals in a relaxed atmosphere for networking. Registration required. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

Friday, May 18

Good Morning North Augusta, 7:30 a.m., Palmetto Terrace of North Augusta Municipal Building, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. Will Williams, president/CEO of Economic Development Partnership, will give an economic development update. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Thursday, May 24

Business After Hours, 5 p.m., Fairfield Inn & Suites, 185 Colony Pkwy., Aiken. An opportunity for businesses to present themselves to the business community. For more information, visit aiken chamber.net.


AUGUSTA’S INNOVATION NEWS

THE

AT THECLUBHOU.SE

ACCELERATOR

ONGOING EVENTS • Augusta Locally Grown has its downtown pickup location at theClubhou.se every Tuesday, 5-7 p.m. • Entrepreneur members of theClubhou.se meet every Wednesday morning for Founders Circle, 9-10 a.m.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP Cre8 Augusta Christopher “Topher” Townsend FOUNDER

The Cre8 Conference was unlike any other creative conference in the CSRA. We provided free professional headshots to use for promotional purposes, a free magazine that spotlighted some of the amazing talent in Augusta, and a quality, delicious meal for lunch. The conference started off with session mentoring, accompanied by breakout sessions, and was brought to a close by a strong, diverse power panel. Our goal was to bring creatives from different professions and races together under one roof for a day of enlightenment, networking, and celebration.

1: What is the business?

UPCOMING EVENTS May 2: 1 Million Cups will host Shirlonda Evans-McCain and Latasha Louis to share about their respective entrepreneurial endeavors. 8-9 a.m. May 3: The Augusta Developer brings together developers and managers to talk about the developer culture in Augusta. 6-8 p.m. May 9: ATDC Lunch & Learn: Raising Your First Round of Funding, with Jim Flannery. Noon to 1 p.m. May 10: Monthly meetup of Augusta Cloud, a user group for those interested in the cloud and its applications to IT. 6-8 p.m. May 15: Our Manufacturing Meetup currently focuses on exploring the possibilities of the laser cutter we have at theClubhou.se. 6-8 p.m. May 17: PyAugusta is a monthly gathering of Pythonistas interested in data science. 6-8 p.m. May 18: Growler Gardening gets together the horticulturally minded for some garden maintenance and good beer! 5-7 p.m. May 21: Check out the monthly Robotics Meetup! 6-8 p.m. May 22: Agile Augusta meets to discuss agile project management. 6-7 p.m.

Cre8 Augusta Ltd. is a performing arts advocacy program specializing in the education and development of creatives. 2: When and where did you found it? Cre8 Augusta was founded on January 22, 2018 in Augusta, GA.

my spirit was at peace with him being a part of it.

We are currently located at theClubhou.se in downtown Augusta.

9: How did you fund the business?

4: Any previous entrepreneurial experience? Lessons learned?

Lucky for us, there aren’t any major startup costs associated with what we are doing. The most I’ve had to invest is time and few bucks here and there.

5: What appealed to you about entrepreneurship? Honestly, as a creative, I really value creative control and freedom of expression. These tend to be limited when you are working for someone else. 6: How did you get the idea? Cre8 Augusta was something that grew from my own experiences in Augusta and from the woes of many other artists. God highlighted a problem, so I made it my purpose to address it. 7: How has your idea progressed over time? It went from just helping the next man to a full blown movement that will eventually extend beyond the city. 8: How did you find your cofounders? My wingman and good friend, Michael Manning, reached out to me about helping him put together a conference that followed right along the lines of what I was trying to accomplish. I knew I would need an amazing team to launch this idea and

Get more at www.theclubhou.se

15

TOPHER TOWNSEND

3: Where is the business now?

When I first started as an independent artist, I wasn’t as successful as I hoped. What I’ve learned is that the music wasn’t the problem, it was the business I didn’t understand at all. Since then, I’ve greatly increased my knowledge of the music industry and now I’m in an ideal situation.

Be on the lookout next month for the beginning of a web/ dev-themed gathering of sorts for developers, managers and hiring agents.

April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

15: What is next for your business?

10: How business?

did

you

market

your

I started with promoting Cre8 Augusta’s services to local creatives within the CSRA. I conducted surveys to gauge the climate of the community as a whole and that determined our initial steps. 11: How did you choose who to hire? God literally brought the people we have on staff together in an effortless way. We meshed well together while offering our different areas of expertise. 12: Who are your main competitors? As far as I have researched, there is not another organization attempting to do what we’re doing. We are the trailblazers. 13: Best piece of advice? Seek your purpose, think positive, and be persistent in what you are trying to become. 14: Common misconceptions about your business/entrepreneurship in general? With music in general, people tend to disassociate artists and musicians from entrepreneurs. This couldn’t be more misleading. The very moment you pick up that instrument or mic and decide to make it a career, you are an entrepreneur.

We are planning for our second Cre8 Conference in the fall. In the meantime, we will be holding workshops focused on empowering creatives. The website for Cre8 Augusta is under construction at the moment, so Facebook is the best way to stay connected and up-to-date concerning our activities with @cre8augusta. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram. 16: What is next for you? The moment I try to devise a plan, it fails; therefore, I want to see what God has to say about my future. 17: How has theClubhou.se company?

working out of benefitted your

theClubhou.se has given me such a confidence boost about my abilities as an entrepreneur. The mixed atmosphere of new and seasoned professionals gives me multiple perspectives to the business that I haven’t been privy to prior to becoming a member. I’m glad to call it a home for Cre8 Augusta. The moment I try to devise a plan, it falls short of my expectations; therefore, I want to see what God has to say about my future.

WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER? VISIT www.theclubhou.se Would you like to schedule a tour? STOP BY 540 Telfair St. Augusta, GA EMAIL ivy@theclubhou.se


THINKING AHEAD

PAYING ESTIMATED TAXES IS IMPORTANT FOR SELF-EMPLOYED BY CHRISTINE HALL

Even when your company’s goals are being achieved, effectively measuring performance — how your expectations are being met — is crucial to maintaining success.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

TAKE TIME TO INSPECT HOW EXPECTATIONS ARE MET BY DUB TAYLOR

If you want to improve your performance, you must measure it. “Inspect what you expect” is not just a cliché. It’s hard to tell who coined that phrase, but one thing’s for certain: It’s an accurate admonishment to anyone who wants to be an effective manager. Consider this to mean “great leaders inspect what they expect.” In business, leadership inspects as part of its risk management and quality assurance. Without proper inspection methods, even successful leaders experience how quickly things can go wrong. After more than a decade of developing people and performance, I realized it is an important principle of success to inspect what you expect and to do it the right way. Therefore, whether you are a sales coach, training manager or trying to improve your own methods, here are a few practical hints for getting the most out of your team. Expectations: First, you must set expectations. There are a few effective ways to do this. The simplest way is to put together a comprehensive team or business plan of action that outlines not only policies and procedures, but also the culture of the company. You should also take the time to craft an engaging process that will help assimilate tasks and duties more effectively. Accountability: Second, it’s a good idea to have a regular means of accountability, even when things are going well. Too often, leaders don’t review policies and ask questions unless things are going poorly. It’s important to proactively see if there are any

16 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

misunderstandings that might cause trouble later if they aren’t cleared up. Get Feedback: Third, and this is difficult for a lot of leaders, get up out of your chair, walk around and talk to your employees, partners and customers, when applicable. Small talk is OK, but it’s more important that you ask specific questions about things related to your expectations: “Hey, Dave, about those new time reporting requirements, how’s that going for you? It’s really important that we do it this way because …” This is a wonderful way to reaffirm policies while gaining honest reviews on their effectiveness in the process. These three take-action strategies are a terrific way to establish realistic expectations that are relevant to the goals of your organization and the best way to start and grow a successful team. Following up with good inspection of how your expectations are being met is the only way to ensure success. Dub Taylor, the CEO of Dub Taylor Consulting, holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Management from the Jack Welch Management Institute and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Stillman College. He is pursuing his doctoral degree in business with a concentration in leadership at Walden University. Contact him at info@dubtaylorconsulting.com, call 205.454.7242, follow #askDub or visit his website, dubtaylorconsulting.com.

Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. This includes income from selfemployment, interest, dividends and rent, as well as gains from the sale of assets, prizes and awards. You also may have to pay estimated tax if the amount of income tax being withheld from your salary, pension or other income is not enough. Both individuals and business owners may need to file and pay estimated taxes, which are paid quarterly. In 2018, the first estimated tax payment is due on April 17, the same day tax returns are due. If you do not pay enough by the due date of each payment period you may be charged a penalty, even if you are due a refund when you file your tax return. If you are filing as a sole proprietor, partner, S corporation shareholder and/or a self-employed individual, you generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe taxes of $1,000 or more when you file your return. If you are filing as a corporation, you generally have to make estimated tax payments for your corporation if you expect it to owe taxes of $500 or more when you file its return. If you had a tax liability for the prior year, you may have to pay estimated tax for the current year; however, if you receive salaries and wages, you can avoid having to pay estimated tax by asking your employer to withhold more tax from your earnings.

tax by asking your employer to withhold more tax from your earnings. To do this, file a new Form W-4 with your employer. There is a special line on Form W-4 for you to enter the additional amount you want your employer to withhold. You had no tax liability for the prior year if your total tax was $0 or you did not have to file an income tax return.

Estimated tax due dates

For estimated tax purposes, the year is divided into four payment periods, and each period has a specific payment due date. For the 2018 tax year, these dates are April 17, June 15, Sept. 17 and Jan. 15, 2019. You do not have to pay estimated taxes in January if you file your 2018 tax return by Jan. 31, 2019, and pay the entire balance due with your return. The easiest way for individuals and businesses to pay their estimated federal taxes is to use the electronic federal tax payment system (EFTPS). Make all of your federal tax payments, including federal tax deposits (FTDs), installment agreement and estimated tax payments, using EFTPS. If it is easier to pay your estimated taxes weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc., you can, as long as you have paid enough in by the end of the quarter. Using EFTPS, you can access a history of your payments, so you know how much and when you made your estimated tax payments.

Who does not have to pay estimated tax?

You do not have to pay estimated tax for the current year if you meet all three of the following conditions: • You had no tax liability for the prior year. • You were a U.S. citizen or resident for the whole year. • Your prior tax year covered a 12-month period. If you receive salaries and wages, you can avoid having to pay estimated

Christine Hall is a partner in Hall, Murphy & Schuyler PC, a full-service accounting firm. For a complimentary accounting, tax or business consultation, call 706.855.7733 or email cmh@ hmandscpas.com.


Women in Business

Sabina Khoja, Northwestern Mutual ..................... 18 Radisha Brown, TLC Services ................................... 19 Brandi Collins & Anita Barr, AR Workshop .................................. 20 Amanda Clements, C&C Automotive ............................ 21 Sue Garland & Jennifer D’Zio, Persnickety Interiors....................... 21 Robin Baxley & Sandi Shields, Best Office Solutions ....................... 22 Kellie Pugh, Morningside of Evans ..................... 23 April Ledbetter, Allstate Insurance ........................... 24

April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

17


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Sabina Khoja: Experienced Beyond Her Years Diverse Background, Youth are an Asset in Financial World By Gary Kauffman Born and raised in Georgia by immigrant business owners, Sabina Khoja has participated in budget and other financial discussions since her early teen years. It seemed natural, then, that when it came time for college she would attain a degree in business administration, with a concentration in finance, from the Hull College of Business at Augusta University. That led to a chance to intern at Northwestern Mutual, which led to her full-time job there as a financial planner. “Everyone in my family is in business as owners or financial planners,” she Sabina Khoja said. “Finance was always the common denominator for us. It’s truly in my blood.” In a world where the average financial advisor is 51 years old – according to Cerulli Associates, only 10 percent are younger than 35 – Sabina sees her youth as an advantage, not a disadvantage. As a Millennial, it gives her insight in how to help them plan for the future. Many studies have shown the huge advantages of creating financial plans before age 30 to have maximum impact for funding college and retirement expenses. “Millennials are not lazy,” Sabina said. “They want a comprehensive plan and want to follow through on that plan. You’d be surprised at how many Millennials want to talk about money.” Her youth also gives her another advantage, she believes – longevity. That can be important when a person is ready to retire. For example, she said a 45-year-old may feel confident talking to a 60-year-old advisor, but when the 45-year-old client is ready to retire, the advisor likely will be long gone in retirement. “But I have a long career ahead of me,” Sabina said. “When that 45-year-old client is retiring, I’ll still be here.”

All of that, she believes, will help her reach her goal of making an impact. “Impact is the key word,” she said. “It’s what drives me personally.” That’s also why she is so pleased to be part of the Northwestern Mutual team. According to Forbes, Northwestern is one of the most admired financial companies. Its products, services and financial soundness have been ranked No. 1 in the industry, it ranks in the top 10 in internship programs and is among the leaders in management. “Cheesy as it sounds,” Sabina said, “what attracted me to them is that they truly put their clients first. Every year I get that reassurance that Northwestern is the best company for me.” Part of her reassurance is in the team concept at Northwestern, where she can draw from the expertise of other advisors. But she also knows that her contributions are valued by her fellow advisors. On a personal level, Sabina is also in tune with Northwestern’s emphasis on community involvement. Charitable work has always been part of her life, with her family helping raise funds to combat global poverty. Although Northwestern’s primary emphasis is on cancer research, Sabina can relate to that spirit of giving back. She is involved in the local community through the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. She serves as the vice chair for Chamber’s ambassador committee, participated in the 2018 Leadership Columbia County class and in Women on the Way, where she was named Woman of the Year for 2017. She was also Financial Representative of the Year in 2017. She is also a part of the Junior League in Augusta. Sabina also believes she will be able to help women meet their unique needs for the future. Financial advising has traditionally been seen as a male role. “When I got into the industry, I didn’t know how large the gender gap was,” she said. “I was never raised to think of it as a man’s job. There are thousands of women business owners in the community and state; why would they want to work with other women?” Her diverse background – Malaysian, Pakistani and Persian – and growing up as a child of immigrants give her unique insight into the needs of various ethnic groups that may be underserved in financial planning.

Sabina Khoja, Financial Representative 3605 Exchange Lane, Augusta • 706-855-8811 • sabina.khoja@nm.com

18 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

Sabina Khoja was named the 2017 Women on the Way Woman of the Year by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.

“People want to work with people who understand them,” she said. “Why would they not want to? It’s important to relate to your clients’ needs.” Seeing the hard work her parents put into their financial success motivates Sabina to help others to have a successful financial future. But whether man or woman, Millennial or Baby Boomer, immigrant or longtime resident, Sabina has one goal – to help her clients reach their goals. “At the end of the day, what is someone’s why?” she said. “Everyone’s so scared to talk about money, it’s very emotional, but when you open the conversation, that’s where it all starts. When you figure out their why, you figure out what really matters to them and you develop the solutions to get them to their goals.” That happens regardless of a person’s income level. “Whether it’s $30,000 or $5 million, everyone needs a plan,” Sabina said. “Our advantage is our unique individuality of the plans. We’re not focused on just one solution – there’s one goal but many solutions. We take a holistic view.” “Another advantage is that I’m not a fee-based planner,” she said. Sabina spends the first 20-30 minutes of the conversation talking about a variety of subjects other than money because she wants to understand what’s truly important to the client. That has led her beyond just client relationships to friendships with her clients. “It’s not a transactional company – everything is relationship based,” she said. “I look forward to connecting with many more women and continuing to impact their families by providing financial security,” Sabina added. “You can contact me at 404-988-4690 and set up a consultation at no cost. Let’s start planning for your financial success today!”


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LOCAL THERAPISTS LOOK TO FILL GROWING NEED IN AREA Dr. Radisha Brown knows full well the barriers that lie between a person who is suffering and the help they need in their darkest times. Brown grew up with an alcoholic mother who wasn’t able to raise her because she never received the outside help she so desperately needed. And it was easy for Brown to feel like her mother’s addiction was her fault. It was through her own experience in therapy that Brown began to learn the life-changing impacts that a new perspective and healthy self-esteem can have on a person. Unfortunately, there are still so many who haven’t. “Therapy was tremendously beneficial to me personally, so I wanted to make it available to others if they so choose,” Brown said. The barriers are many, Brown says, which is why 60 percent of people with mental health illnesses never receive the aid they need. It’s not that there aren’t enough therapists. Seeking therapy requires a level of vulnerability that is often stigmatized in our society. In an effort to remove as many of those barriers as possible, Brown and her team have launched TLC Services, a company that provides confidential, convenient, affordable counseling with a licensed professional therapist via text message, online video or phone. In her experience, those are the channels that will help those who wouldn’t normally reach out for help. “In a lot of respects, it’s more confidential because clients don’t have to worry about somebody seeing them going into a practice,” Brown said. “People are afraid of somebody knowing or afraid of being labeled in some way.” Those aren’t the only barriers either. Many people bottle up their struggles because they don’t want sensitive mental health information to affect their employment status, which is why TLC Services doesn’t require insurance at all. Brown has also found that focusing on the hours of 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. allows a lifeline for people at times when they are struggling the most to keep their heads above water. “In the evening, when things are quiet, nobody’s around, or the kids go to the bedroom, and your spouse is away—

those are when the symptoms are most severe,” she said. Another major advantage to the online approach to therapy is the accessibility of it. TLC Services therapists have the ability to speak to anyone in Georgia and some in South Carolina. The service does not provide in-person interviews, but that was never Brown’s intention. She knows there are plenty of skilled counselors and therapists in the area that do, and her goal is not to compete with them. Rather, she saw a need among those who wouldn’t normally seek the help of a therapist at all. With the ease that comes with an online therapy, maybe some of them will. “So many people are suffering,” Brown said. “We just want to help them. The vast majority of people who are struggling with mental health issues aren’t even getting into the system. Working in the emergency department, I found that if we get to those people early enough, they don’t get to the point where they want to hurt themselves.” When Brown started putting her team together, she wanted a deeply experienced group with a variety of differ-

ent skills. But trust was most important. She would only hire fellow therapists who she would go to herself. One of Candice Cruse’s areas of expertise, for example, is gender identity, while Tiarra Hodges specializes in parenting and child development. Brown’s own focus includes depression, anxiety and family-related issues. Together, the team of three covers a lot of ground. TLC Services also provides therapy for clients seeking help with grief and loss, PTSD, sexual trauma, addiction, mood disorders, marriage and many others subjects and issues. Brown says one unique element of her business is that clients get to pick their therapist, which is not the case with many practices. TLC Services is truly client-centered. “There’s freedom in getting to the other side of things,” Brown said. “Therapists help you get a different perspective. It just opens your eyes to a whole other level of living.” Clients interested is seeking consultation from TLC Services can find more information at talk2tlc.com.

Dr. Radisha Brown

125 Commercial Blvd, PO Box 211317 Augusta GA 30917 1-833-Talk2TLC (1-833-825-5285) www.talk2tlc.com April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR WANTS TO CREATE COMMUNITY WITH NEW WORKSHOP

Brandi Collins has only lived in the Augusta area for a couple of months. But she is already, quite literally, building community. This summer, Collins will open AR Workshop, a DIY workshop that is part of a company founded by designers that is gaining huge popularity around the country. This summer, Augustans will be able to get in on the DIY fun when the mother-daughter duo of Anita Barr and Brandi Collins opens a 1,800-square-foot AR Workshop at The Market at Riverwood in Evans, which will be one of around 80 locations nationwide. All that locals will have to bring to the project is themselves; all the necessary materials–including wood, non-toxic stains and around 70 colors of paint–are stored in-house. The workshop will be located at 3116 William Few Pkwy, Suite 2. Classes will be planned in 3-hour time slots and will seat up to 36 people. Collins says she’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She’s the only one of her four sisters who doesn’t live in the Charlotte, NC-area, so coming to Augusta with her husband was a new adventure.

20 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

Because of the slower pace of life in Augusta, it’s been difficult for her to find community at times. So Collins took initiative. Her mom, Anita Barr, who is the co-owner of the new AR Workshop on William Few Pkwy in Evans, already wanted to open one after attending a workshop at the Charlotte location. Once Collins looked at the website, she was hooked. “You get a new project every time,” Collins said. “Something different every time. It’s all unique to you.” Collins says working with her hands has given her and many others a great sense of purpose in their projects at AR Workshop. The company has hundreds of designs to choose from. Patrons place an order for the design they want, the company sends it to the local store, and Collins has a stencil ready for them when they arrive at the shop. From there, it’s all fun and games. “Whatever you want it to be, it can be that,” Collins said. “There’s lots of different seasonal designs. You can get lost in all the pictures of the designs that we have.” Collins is passionate about giving people in her area something fun to go do both during the day and at night. Most

workshops will take place in the evening and will be an ideal place to meet new people, bring a group of friends or have a fun-filled date night. “We wanted to provide the people in this community somewhere to go, to hang out, to be proud of,” Collins says. “It’s a place for community to build community. You get to meet new people. You might come in and not know anyone in a workshop and sit beside someone whose son goes to the same high school as yours, and you guys become fast friends.” Collins gives credit to the founders of AR Workshop for creating what has become a special place for so many people. “They have built this community— this awesome community—of people who are creatives by right, by birth. They have sparked that creativity in so many other people.” It all became real when Collins completed her sign that says AR Workshop Evans. The empty building at 3116 William Few Pkwy is still a couple months away from being ready, but Collins is prepared to hit the ground running. She can’t wait to wake up every day with a renewed sense of purpose—

being able to head to the shop and provide a place for people to come together. “It’s awesome that I honestly will look forward to getting up every day,” she said. “Let’s get to know the people in this community and make friends…and have a sense of growth and excitement about doing something.” She wants the rest of Augusta to be able to do it too.

3116 William Few Pkwy #2, Evans, GA 30809 (706) 817-4113 www.arworkshop.com/evans


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AS STYLES SHIFT WITH TIME, LOCAL DESIGNERS GO EXTRA MILE FOR AUGUSTANS Now that the 2017 Masters has ended, business at Persnickety Interiors has slowed down, as it always does. But when you’re an interior designer, life tends to stay interesting. For co-owner Jennifer D’Zio, the best part of the business is the constant change. While Augusta is a largely traditional market when it comes to style, people are always looking for ways to freshen up their living room, or maybe even their whole house. Co-owner Sue Garland’s favorite part is getting to spend her time in a beautiful space every day. “We know what works for our store,” D’Zio said. “We gravitate toward the same things.” “We know our market, and we know what’s going to sell here and what’s not going to sell,” Garland said. What sells most are accessories like lamps and pillows;

D’zio and Garland say that many people have told them they have the prettiest lamps and pillows in town. Even those accessories have changed over the years. Popular styles and colors were much busier when D’Zio came on board at Persnickety’s in 1993. These days, people want their homes to look simple and clean. Because Augusta has a lot of customers who want both traditional and transitional (more contemporary pieces), the duo has made a point to subtly introduce trendier products in their showroom. And having a showroom is a big difference maker for consumers who want to sit in a chair before they buy it. “People still come to us because they need to touch and see and feel,” D’Zio said. Not only does Persnickety Interiors allow people to come look at the products they sell in their showroom on Walton Way, but they put together whole presentations for clients who want professional help in their stylistic

decisions. That’s not something people can get when they buy a piece of furniture online that gets shipped to their doorstep. Everyone always wants ideas on how to freshen up,” D’Zio said. “And pillows, lamps and artwork typically does the trick. Everybody’s tastes are different,” D’Zio said. “That makes it exciting for us.” “It’s very rewarding to see what you started with and then to finish and they be so excited and so pleased,” Garland said.

2021 Walton Way Augusta, Georgia 30904 (706) 736-6400 www.persnicketyinteriors.com

FAMILY AUTO REPAIR BUSINESS KEEPS ROLLING ALONG Years ago, when John Clements stepped back and took a look at his family business, he wasn’t sure how much longer it would last without a young man to take over the operation. One of his daughters was getting a psychology degree, and the other was preparing to go to medical school. But when Amanda Clements actually started her schooling, she decided that medicine wasn’t the field for her. “I channeled my passion for science into the mechanics of auto repair,” Clements said. “Everything works perfectly when it’s perfectly timed.” C&C Automotive was opened in downtown Augusta in 1977 by Clemente’s grandfather and father. Her grandfather, John Clements, was already an experienced mechanic. When her father, Aaron, got out of the Air Force, the father and son decided to go into business together and opened their own shop. Multiple members of the family have contributed to the successful business, including Clements’ grandmother. The downtown location has moved to larger

locations four times and is now located on Telfair Street. In 2011, C&C Automotive opened a shop on Wrightsboro Rd. Now, the company is getting ready to open up its third shop in Evans this year. C&C Automotive offers full-service auto repair and specializes in everything from axle repair to oil changes to cooling systems. “For me, it’s the family aspect of it,” Clements said. “My mom works for this company, but she also takes care of my son. Everybody’s understanding. I know no matter what, I’ve got plenty of helpers.” For Clements, one of the most important advantages of running a family business was the advice she received from her father. While they ended up pursuing different things in the car service industry— John is an expert technician while Amanda is the business-savvy “big-picture” type— she’s soaked up a lot of wisdom from John. “We’ve never taken the fact that customers come back to us for granted,” Clements said. “He’s always taught me to never not appreciate every customer. That’s the main thing he taught me.”

When it comes to the craft of auto-repair, Clements said there’s a perception of the job causes people who otherwise might enjoy it to gravitate away from it. But she says the field is increasingly becoming more like engineering for mechanics, a reality she says would likely draw more interested people if they knew about it. “These guys are the best technicians in Augusta,” Clements said. “I don’t think it gets the proper publicity.”

WEST AUGUSTA 3954 Wrightsboro Rd, Augusta GA 30909 (706) 863-9318 | www.ccautomotive.com April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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“WE’LL HANDLE THE SUPPLIES, SO YOU CAN HANDLE YOUR BUSINESS”

OFFICE SUPPLY COMPANY STAYS RELEVANT WITH GRIT AND CREATIVITY When Robin Baxley and Sandi Shields first started their business, their most important set of office supplies was seven gallons of Clorox. That’s because they had to use it to scrub down an old meat shop. In exchange, they got a month of free rent as they launched an office supply business after leaving one that had come to an end after 53 years. Baxley would work from the makeshift home base while Shields went out and saw customers. “We had so many people in town saying, ‘We want to be your first order,’ Shields said. “We told everybody they were our first order.” Nearly two decades later, Shields and Baxley are at the helm of a multimillion dollar office supply company. And in a rapidly changing technological landscape, that is no small feat. “As the baby boomers retire and the millennials become more in the marketplace, we’ve got to learn more to go with this crowd while we’re still serving these people,” Shields said. She jokes that while millennials are taking over the marketplace, there are still plenty of people answering the office phone on the first or second ring and gracing Shields or Baxley with a little James Brown soul while they’re on hold. So they have to make sure they keep all of their bases covered, and that takes consistent dedication. “We have to go above and beyond because there is the depot with two clicks and the Staples with two clicks and that kind of thing, and we understand that,” Shileds said. “When we sell them a chair, we’re not going to sell them a box of parts. We’re going to put it together, roll it in, all they have to do is sit down, tell them how to use it…all that stuff.” There are many things that Best Office Solutions simply can’t sell much of anymore. Filing cabinets just aren’t useful to people in the digital age. But the way Baxley and Shields see it, for every invention that has gone the way of the dinosaur, there’s a new invention that they can be creative with. They sell a chair in the form of an exercise ball and objects that transform into multiple useful tools. “We try to be everything that we can be that the customer needs,” Baxley

22 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

said. “We’re on the verge of having a mobile app. You still can order online, and we’re coming up with some fun products.” Dirtiest work drawer contests are the kind of fun marketing that millennials can connect with, and Best Office Solutions takes advantage of that. But the duo is careful never to get to comfortable. Baxley tends to be the one to keep the business driving ever forward by embracing the latest trends in digital marketing. In the end, though, their favorite thing to do is take an ugly office and make it useful, sensible and attractive for the person who spends their day there. “We just take it one day at a time, and we just choose to have fun every day and give every day our best,” Shields said. “We’d both love to retire one day. But right now we’re just enjoying the moment and enjoying working and doing the best we can.” There’s no project too big and no

project too small for Best Office Solutions. Shields and Baxley have worked on transforming single office space, and they’ve completed ambitious projects for 50-100 offices. From coming out to a new office and getting measurements to moving a new piece of furniture into the office, they want to be a part of the process from start to finish. The two give a ton of credit to their seasoned team, which includes faithful employees who have worked for Best Office Solutions for nearly two decades.

Over the years, they’ve come to realize that the bottom line cannot be a priority. It’s merely a means of survival. What they truly want to do use their skills to help people, even if it doesn’t always get them a sale. “We can design a beautiful space all day, but we’d like to meet with the end user because it needs to meet their function,” Baxley said. “If it doesn’t meet their function it doesn’t matter how good it looks. It needs to be user friendly as well.”

142 South Liberty Street, Waynesboro, GA 30830 | 706-437-9771 | 1-800-533-BEST(2378) www.bestofficesolutions.com


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ASSISTED LIVING DIRECTOR LEADS WITH LOVE Kelly Pugh, the executive director of Morningside of Evans assisted living, didn’t want to work with seniors growing up. She was born to a family in the industry and wanted to do something else. As Pugh says, “it just kind of happened.” “I think that it is where God wants me,” Pugh says. “I do have a passion for it. I advocate for the elderly. I think there needs to be advocates for our seniors.” For Pugh, it’s very fulfilling, wonderful thing to be able to go on a daily journey with families in residence and be able to provide a quality of life for seniors. Pugh’s career started in South Carolina, where she is a licensed administrator for community residential care. After developing her career in Columbia, SC, Pugh decided to make a change and headed to Augusta, where she’s created a welcoming home at Morningside. “It’s a very special culture,” she said. “It’s very inviting, warm, caring, loving and nurturing, and I think that’s just unique, because you don’t find that everywhere you go. It’s very familial here.” Pugh takes that privilege seriously. She takes it upon herself to help families make a highly delicate and meaningful decision for their loved ones, and she doesn’t need Morningside to be the answer. She will follow through in everything she does, but she also won’t promise something she can’t deliver on. In the end, that’s all about trust. “I really take the time with families when they come and inquire about Morningside,” Pugh says. “I really take the time to get to know them, to learn about their family members and what their concerns are and what their specific needs might be. Establishing that level of trust and rapport with them is so very important, because to me the community sells itself. What they’re buying into is the people.” There is no shortage of assisted living environments that are of ill repute, and Pugh says that breach of trust hurts not only everyone involved but the industry as a whole. Assisted living has changed over the years—individuals are noticeably older and feebler when they arrive than they used to be due to desire to stay at home longer, Pugh says. But she also says families are also

much better informed these days, which makes it easier for her to help those families find what is best for them. “If they want to talk to me, I’m available to them,” Pugh said. “It doesn’t matter how busy I might be or how bogged down I might be with a report. If they want to talk to me, I’m available to them. And I take their concerns very seriously. I act on them.” At the root of Pugh’s love for her work is relationship. If she could create a reality show depicting the weird, funny, surprising experiences that she and her residents have every day, she would. She loves to hug them. She loves to laugh with them. She loves to provide for them in every way she can. “When the family calls me….to let me know that their loved one who was one of my residents has passed away, that means so much to me,” she says. I’ve had that happen twice within the last several months. Their resident was no longer here, he’d been away from our community for a year. The family actually took the time to reach out to me to let me know. They didn’t have to do that. To me, that speaks volumes of the relationship that we had, that they thought of me enough to let me know something like that.” Those are just a few of the many memories that Pugh forms with families every day. It’s not about filling beds. It’s about fulfilling the needs of each and every person who walks through the door. And the only way Pugh and her colleagues can do that is by getting to know each member of the Morningside family intimately. That’s what makes the community so special for residents. “I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk,” Pugh says. “I take a lot of ownership in what I do. It’s a huge responsibility, and it’s one that I take very, very seriously.”

“MORNING SIDE, BECAUSE IT FEELS LIKE HOME”

353 North Belair Road, Evans, GA 30809 706-228-4709 www.morningsideofevans.com April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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APRIL LEDBETTER ALLSTATE INSURANCE AGENT

BY GARY KAUFFMAN The name on the sign at the Allstate Insurance agency in Grovetown may be different, but it is in many ways a continuation of a business that has been around for a quarter of a century. April Ledbetter took over the business in 2016 after a career in customer service and sales at AllTel and ADP. She has worked hard since then to continue and grow the insurance business she was – somewhat surprisingly – able to purchase. April and her husband, Breamon, weren’t exactly looking to get into the insurance game but their interest was piqued when they heard the business was available. Already Allstate customers, the Ledbetters began researching it from the business side. They found that usually Allstate agencies are legacy businesses, with the agents passing it on to a child when they retire. That helped the Ledbetter’s in their decision to buy it. “You’re not going to leave it to your kids if it’s not a good business,” April said. One area that appealed to April about the business is the opportunity to forge long-term relationships. She admitted that some insurance providers can beat her on price, but those companies are transactional businesses that don’t educate customers on what they truly need. “The bottom line is only good until you have to use it,” she said. “If you’re not taking the time to find out about that customer’s life, you have no idea if you’re really protecting them. We don’t give a five-minute quote. We ask the important questions.” That relationship is strengthened by periodic phone calls to see if a customer’s insurance needs have changed. She said customers often don’t realize that a life change or a change to property means that the insurance coverage should change as well. Ledbetter also enjoys the flexibility the job gives her for family activities.

24 Buzz on Biz April 27 –May 24, 2018

Allstate Insurance Agent April Campbell Ledbetter, Grovetown GA | Home, Life, Motorcycle, Auto and Car PHONE: (706) 650-8272 FAX: (706) 650-8395 EMAIL: aledbetter@allstate.com ADDRESS: 585 E Robinson Ave Grovetown, GA 30813 AREAS SERVED: Proud to serve the areas of Grovetown, Harlem, Martinez, Augusta, Hephzibah, Evans, Thomson, Appling, Wrens, Louisville.

With two children and another on the way, she knows how frantic life can be for her customers as well. So even on week nights, weekends or while she is at the ball field watching her son, she can still serve her clients. That flexibility is enhanced by the two staff members who came with the agency. Her office manager has been with Allstate for 27 years and with her agency for nine years. “She knows everybody,” April said. “I think if I hadn’t retained her I’d have lost a lot of customers. It’s extremely important to have the right staff in place.”

April grew up in Louisville, Ga., but has lived in the Augusta area for 20 years. She plans to remain a fixture with her agency for the long-term, especially in the rapidly growing Grovetown area. And, she hopes, it will continue beyond her. Like other Allstate agents, she has a desire to some day pass her business along to one of her kids. “They’re still young and we don’t want to push them into anything,” she said. “But our hope is that one of them will want to take it over. But if not, I want to make sure it’s well established for someone else to take over.”

Get a Quick, Personalized Insurance Quote. • Auto Insurance • Home Insurance • Condo Insurance • Renters Insurance • Motorcycle Insurance • Business Insurance • Life Insurance • ATV Insurance • Boat Insurance


BUSINESSPERSON OF THE MONTH

‘MORE THAN JUST A JOB:’ CANAL HERITAGE AREA MARKETING DIRECTOR HAS EYE ON HISTORY BY GARY KAUFFMAN

Rebecca Rogers enjoys the kind of career as the director of marketing and public relations for the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area that most people long for — a perfect blend of what she’s trained for and what captures her passion. “It’s really a great combination of skills for me,” Rogers said. “It gives my inner history geek an interesting place to play.” It’s a job Rogers had her eye on before it was even a job, and one that seems perfectly suited for her. Rogers graduated from college in 1975 with a degree in American Studies.

Rebecca Rogers, Augusta Canal Heritage Area “It was a good degree for me, but one that didn’t afford a lot of job trajectories,” she said. After a brief stint in a federal government job, she moved to Augusta with her husband in 1979 and landed a job with the Augusta Chamber of Commerce. Realizing she needed a better grasp of the business world, she enrolled at Augusta College and earned an MBA. She then worked at University Hospital before taking a marketing role with the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was in the latter position that her interest in the Augusta Canal piqued. “The canal was coming into its own, and I was keeping an eye on that because it would be an exciting addition to the attractions in the area,” she said. When a position opened for a marketing director, she took it. That was 15 years ago, and Rogers has enjoyed it ever since. “It’s more than just a job,” she said. “I’m a non-native but Augusta has been my adult home for almost 40 years. The Canal represents a really interesting story that I believe people need to know. They need to see how the decisions people made back then affect our community today, how the decisions those leaders made then helped Augusta survive and be the viable town it is now.” Rogers’ passion for history was kindled on a childhood trip to Winston-Salem, N.C., where a Colonial-era Moravian settlement was recreated, similar to Colonial Williamsburg. “That was my first exposure to History

Rebecca Rogers stops by one of the exhibits in the Augusta Canal Discovery Center in Enterprise Mill. Photo by Gary Kauffman

with a capital H,” she said. “It kindled my interest in the history of this amazing country.” But Augusta Canal is still attractive to people who don’t share her passion for history. The recreational side, from fishing, kayaking or just walking along one of the trails, draws many people to the area. The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area encompasses the walking and nature trails along the canal, as well as the boat historical and music tours and the Discovery Center, an interactive museum full of displays of the history of the canal. It is located in Enterprise Mill on Greene Street. The mill’s electricity is still generated by water from the canal. The beauty of the canal not only makes a great work environment for Rogers, but also feeds her other passion — photography. She is president of the Augusta Photography Festival, held every other year. The sixth festival is set for October. “One of the areas I discovered I enjoy is photography, which is a handy thing to do when you’re in the travel industry,” she said. Although she deems herself as only a photo enthusiast because she’s never had formal training, some of her photos have been published, including some of the canal on the National Park Service website. It was her fascination with photography and the work of other local skilled photographers that brought her into contact with another photography enthusiast

who was trying to put together a show. “It was sort of like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland saying, ‘Hey kids, let’s put on a show!’ ” Rogers recalled. Because of her organizational skills and ability to run a meeting, she was soon named president of the organization. Organizing the biennial fete is no small feat. It usually runs about 10 days and includes 30-35 workshops and photo opportunities, as well as exhibits in several Augusta-area locations, including Helms College, the Jessye Norman School of the Arts and Enterprise Mill, and a finalist competition at the North Augusta Arts and Heritage Center. This year’s keynote speaker is a photographer for NASA. Although Rogers enjoys photography, she hasn’t been as active recently. But she expects that will change soon: “Springtime in Augusta gets it going again, as it does for a lot of people.”

In her own words

What are you passionate about in your business? “I genuinely believe that understanding history is important in preparing for the future. History is stories, and that’s what we emphasize here. It’s great to work in a place that respects and presents our little piece of the American story.” What have you learned about yourself in working here? “It’s reinforced my understanding that I enjoy collaboration. I’m a bigger advo-

cate of my adopted hometown. And I’ve learned to multitask because I have a rich and interesting job.” How do you unwind? “I’m a reader of history. I’m a fan of David McCullough. I’ve read almost all of his books. I also enjoy cooking, although nothing too exotic.” Do you have any favorite photographs or photography subjects? “There are several I’ve taken of the canal and the Sibley and King Mill area. If you catch them in November as the sun comes down, the bricks almost glow. The reflection of the chimney glowing off the canal water is one of the ones that have been published and that a lot of people recognize.” How do you give back to the community? “The nature of the work I do is kind of that, and my part-time gig of running an arts festival. My husband and I donate to charities that matter to us, the things good citizens do.” What does the future hold for you? “In a few years I think I may dial it back, but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. I expect I’ll have some type of engagement with this organization in retirement. I may try my hand again as a tour guide. I’ve also thought about going back to college to audit some classes. I’d like to try some subjects that I should have paid more attention to when I was in my 20s.” April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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ON THE FRINGE

IRS UPDATES EMPLOYER GUIDE FOR FRINGE BENEFITS BY RUSSELL HEAD

A “fringe benefit” is a form of additional pay for an employee’s performance of services. Fringe benefits may include, for example, employer-provided cars, discounts on property or services, memberships in country clubs or other social clubs, and tickets to entertainment or sporting events. Fringe benefits are generally included in an employee’s gross income, unless a specific tax exclusion applies. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released the 2018 version of Publication 15-B — Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, which has information for employers on tax treatment of fringe benefits. The 2018 version is significant because it incorporates the changes made by the new tax law — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — to several fringe benefit categories. Key provisions of Publication 15-B include: Qualified transportation benefits: Effective for 2018, no employer deduction is allowed for qualified transportation benefits. IRS Publication 15-B clarifies that the employer deduction is disallowed when the qualified transportation benefits are paid directly by the employer, through a bona fide reimbursement arrangement or through a compensation reduction agreement. Thus, employers cannot deduct the wages that employees choose to contribute on a pretax basis for qualified transportation benefits. Moving expense reimbursements: The tax exclusion for qualified moving expense reimbursements is suspended for tax years after Dec. 1, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2026. During this period, the exclusion is only available for members of the U.S. armed forces on active duty who move because of a permanent change of station. Employee meals: Effective for 2018, the 50 percent limit on deductions for food or beverage expenses also applies to food or beverage expenses that are excludable from employees’ income as a de minimis fringe benefit. However, food or beverage expenses related to employee recreation, such as holiday parties or annual picnics, are not subject to the 50 percent limit on deductions when made primarily for the benefit of employees, other than certain highly compensated employees. Employee achievement awards: Employers

may exclude the value of tangible personal property that is given to an employee as an award for either length of service or safety achievement. The new tax law clarifies that the tax exclusion does not apply to awards of cash, cash equivalents, gift cards, gift coupons or gift certificates (other than arrangements in which the employee selects from a limited array of items preselected and preapproved by the employer). The tax exclusion also does not apply to vacations, meals, lodging, tickets to theater or sporting events, stock, bonds, other securities and similar items. Key fringe benefit limits include: Mileage Reimbursement: The business mileage rate is 54.5 cents per mile. Employers may use this rate to reimburse an employee for business use of a personal vehicle. Under certain conditions, employers may use the rate under the cents-per-mile rule to value the personal use of an employerprovided vehicle. Qualified Transportation Benefits: The tax exclusion for qualified parking benefits is $260 per month. The tax exclusion for commuter highway vehicle and transit passes is $260 per month. Health FSA Contributions: For plan years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, an employee’s salary reduction contributions to a health flexible spending account (FSA) may not exceed $2,650. HSA Contributions: For 2018, health savings account (HSA) contributions cannot exceed $3,450 for individuals with self-only coverage under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and $6,850 for individuals with family coverage under an HDHP. Individuals who are age 55 or older may make an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution. Employers that offer fringe benefits should review IRS Publication 15-B and work with their tax advisors to implement any necessary changes.

Food or beverage expenses related to employee recreation, such as holiday parties or annual picnics, are not subject to the 50 percent limit on deductions when made primarily for the benefit of employees.

26 Buzz on Biz April 27—May 24, 2018

Russell T. Head is CEO of Head Capital Advisors, an Acrisure agency partner and Augusta’s largest employee benefits brokerage. He can be reached at 706.733.3459 or rthead@headca. com.

There is a big difference between being a person who manages and a person who leads. Those who step up to lead deserve our thanks.

SAYING THANK YOU

A LITTLE APPLAUSE FOR THOSE WHO LEAD BY STACY ROBERTS

Have you ever thought about the impact of the two simple words “thank you?” This expression of appreciation is so valuable; however, many people take it for granted when it comes to appreciating those in leadership positions in their homes, organizations and communities. Have you ever taken a moment to really consider all the work your leaders do and the trials they face? I want to encourage everyone who reads my column this month to tell a leader thank you. To every leader: • Thank you for taking the reins and accepting your leadership role. You could have said no. • Thank you for handling the challenges you face every day with courage and class. You could have backed down. • Thank you for the late nights you have worked to make sure that your teams and organizations were taken care of. You could have, and probably should have, gotten some rest. • Thank you for operating ethically and with honesty and integrity. You could have chosen to be deceitful. • Thank you for motivating your teams when they had no idea that you, in fact, needed motivation yourself. You could have not cared. • Thank you for standing up for what is right and not siding with

wrong actions. You could have been unfair. • Thank you for taking hits and being a buffer for your teams. You could have let them take the fall. • Thank you for your prayers. • Thank you for your sacrifices. • Thank you for doing the right thing, and most of all, thank you for just being you. I understand it might not always seem like your teams and followers understand all that you do, but I want to let you know that you are appreciated. People are watching and learning from you. There is a big difference between a manager and a leader. Thank you for being the leader who your families, teams and communities need to reach their full potential and success. Your efforts, drive, passion and heart have not gone unnoticed. Thank you and keep up the good work. S t a c y Roberts is president of SMR Leadership Solutions LLC. As an executive coach with extensive HR and corporate leadership experience, she assists in providing leadership coaching and training. She also authored Boomer, Be Nice and Roscoe’s Rescue. She believes that leadership skills can be taught to help children develop into successful adults. Contact her at stacy@smr leadershipsolutions.com.


April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

27


OBSCURED SIGHT

BLIND SPOTS LEAD TO BAD CHOICES, NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES BY GARY KAUFFMAN

It’s rather amazing to watch an intelligent person do something that seems to make little sense. My thought is always, “How could someone so smart do something so stupid?” Of course, this is often my response when I read about a politician or other public figure, but I’ve even observed it in some of my friends and acquaintances. And, unfortunately, I’ve experienced it myself far more often than I’d like to admit. The answer to the question is that all of us, even those with reasonable intelligence, have blind spots that occasionally lead to unintended consequences or stupid choices. We’re familiar with the term “blind spot” when it comes to driving. Those are the areas that we cannot see either in front of us or in our rearview mirrors. Semi trucks often contain warnings with diagrams about where their blind spots are. People can have blind spots in other areas of life as well. Emotional intelligence guru Daniel Goleman said, “A blind spot is an appropriate metaphor for our failure to see things as they are in actuality. We fail to see what it is that we do not see. And it’s those very things we do not see that cause intelligent people to do stupid things.” We often see this in abusive relationships, where one person fails to see how he or she is being taken advantage of, or in people overestimating their abilities. In the business world, it might be something like insisting on stocking a product or offering a service despite the fact that there is no demand for it. A blind spot is anything that keeps you from seeing the reality of a situation, which can cause you to make erroneous decisions. There are four common blind spots that can affect us:

The Yogi Bear Syndrome

If you remember the old cartoons about Yogi Bear and his constant quest to steal picnic baskets, you’ll remember his catchphrase: “I’m smarter than the average bear.” The assumption in this blind spot is that “I am uniquely smarter or cleverer than others, so their negative experiences don’t apply to me.” Or “I believe my own previous negative experiences don’t apply to the next new situation.” Yogi always got caught by Ranger Smith, but he never seemed to remember that in the next quest.

28 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

It isn’t so much that we think we’re superior as that we’re unique. In the reverse, we sometimes underestimate our abilities, thinking that the gifts and talents that lead to success in others won’t apply to us because of a unique inability. Generally, as you might expect if you’ve watched any reality show, the least skilled overestimate their abilities, while the most gifted underestimate theirs.

The Fantasy World Approach

The reality of life is that it contains pain. If you’ve seen the movie The Princess Bride, you’ll recall that when Princess Buttercup told the Man in Black about her pain over losing Westley (before he revealed himself to be Westley), he replied, “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” But trying to avoid pain can create a blind spot, which can lead to living in a fantasy world were that pain doesn’t exist. A spouse, faced with the real pain of divorce, refuses to acknowledge the other spouse’s infidelity. A business owner, faced with the real pain of losing a valued employee, won’t see that the employee is stealing from him. The fantasy can lead to short-term choices to avoid pain that create even worse long-term problems. Sometimes the fantasy is enhanced with substance abuse to dull the reality of the pain, itself a bad choice.

The Forest for the Trees Attitude

The famous da Vinci painting of The Last Supper covers an entire wall. If you

stand with your nose practically against it, you may be able to focus on the brush details in the tablecloth, but you’ll miss the drama and beauty of the entire painting that can only be achieved by stepping back to gain perspective. In this blind spot, a person might focus on the positive details and miss the negative ones, or a person might focus on the wrong details. One study found that college-age women focused on the few women with perfect bodies and assumed that was the norm to strive for when in reality, those women were far outside the norm. That distorted focus on the few caused normal women to make poor decisions that led to food disorders and negative self-esteem. It can also cause people to make choices that violate their core values.

The Lack of Knowledge Vacuum

I once spoke with a man who had grown up on a farm, where the term “dressing” meant the stuffing his mother served with the Thanksgiving turkey. When he entered college, he took a date to a nice restaurant and was confused when the waiter asked what kind of dressing he’d like. He only knew of turkey “dressing,” so he ordered what his date ordered. When his salad came it had some kind of strange sauce on it, but he never got the “dressing” he expected with his meal. It wasn’t until later that he learned about salad dressings. “I didn’t know that I didn’t know,” he said. We can’t know everything, and so sometimes our lack of knowledge is a

blind spot. We make erroneous decisions simply because don’t know that it can affect us negatively. For example, research shows that great relationships, whether personal or in business, require a degree of positive conflict. It creates an exchange of ideas and a common goal of finding a solution to the conflict. But we’ve often been conditioned to avoid conflict at all costs, so without knowing about positive conflict, we may shut down all conflict. That can lead to getting stuck in a rut and failing to grow in our relationships or businesses. Often, we’re not aware of our blind spots, but others are, especially those closest to us. To change those blind spots into positive areas in life usually requires some kind of outside help. That’s where a life coach can be especially helpful. The coach will be able to look at those blind spots more objectively than a friend or loved one. A life coach is also trained in techniques to help a person deal with and overcome those blind spots. It might take a little time and money, but it will be well worth it to keep from being that intelligent person making the stupid decisions. In addition to serving as editor of Buzz on Biz, Gary Kauffman is also a Christian life coach working from an office in Martinez. Contact him at 803.341.5830 or glkauffman77@gmail.com.


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29


HELPING HAND

A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION BY JENNIFER DAWSON

Take a moment and ask yourself, “When was I given a second chance?” How did you feel about getting that second chance? Many of us have been fortunate to experience second chances at something at one point in our lives, either in a relationship, a school assignment or in our careers. No one is immune to the need for a fresh start. However, a reboot is not always possible because others pass judgement or are doubtful. As an employer, when hiring someone, take a few extra moments to evaluate a potential employee who might just need a hand up or foot in the door to improve his or her life. Remember that past mistakes do not define a whole person or a whole future. My life began as planned when I graduated high school and went on to college with a full scholarship. I was a good student and a responsible employee with high ambitions for my future. However, life had different plans for me. As things that were out of my control began to happen, I started down the wrong path. I made some mistakes and bad choices that would affect my future. I dropped out of college and went from one job to the next, continuously burning

As an employer, when hiring someone, take a few extra moments to evaluate a potential employee who might just need a hand up or foot in the door to improve his or her life. bridges along the way. The one thing that stayed the same was my drive to better myself, but I simply did not have the tools or know of the right resources at that time to achieve my goals. At the age of 35, I have finally gotten my life together. In the process of getting back on track, I found myself in a rehabilitation center for substance use disorder. I was finally getting the tools that I needed and learning about the resources to achieve my goals. I quickly learned that my resume in no way demonstrated who I am today. I have experience in waiting tables on and off for 10 years and several failed attempts at college. Employers who browsed through my resume quickly brushed me off. How was I ever going to land an interview with that background? I wanted a solid career! I was terrified as I began to apply for administrative po-

sitions, but I continued to apply, attended interview skills classes and resume-building classes. I went from interview to interview and received the same “we regret to inform you …” follow-up emails. Just as I was beginning to think that all hope was lost, Georgia Military College contacted me to interview for a part-time evening receptionist position. The day of my interview, I decided to be confident and prepared to explain how my experience as a server could translate into great customer service skills. I knew from student experience that GMC cares about our community and strives to produce contributing members of society. I went in as an open book and gave honest answers, even about the mistakes I had made. Because of my confidence and honesty, I could see on the faces of the interview panel members that they believed

in me. GMC hired me on June 28, 2017, and I have already received a promotion. I am excelling in my career and going to further my education in the fall. This is the foot in the door that I needed – the second chance. I am not suggesting that employers take uncalculated leaps of faith on anyone and everyone. Hiring and training employees is expensive. But I am suggesting that if you find a resume in front of you that shows limited experience, gaps in employment or perhaps a less-than-perfect criminal record, give that person a shot. Conduct the interview with an open mind and look for a drive in that person, and then remember that time in your life when you needed a second chance.

Jennifer Dawson is a receptionist at Georgia Military College. GMC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. For questions about Georgia Military College, call 706.993.1123 or visit www.gmc.edu.

CHANGING TIMES

STAY IN TOUCH TO KEEP UP WITH THE FAST PACE OF RULINGS BY ED ENOCH

In his 1964 R&B ballad, Sam Cooke sang, “It’s been a long time coming, But I know a change is gonna come ... .” Before his election, President Donald Trump promised that his administration would eliminate two rules for every rule it makes. What Trump failed to understand is that working inside the government is like going into the Upside Down in Stranger Things: Nothing works as you would think. In the world of federal regulations, to get rid of a rule you must make a new rule eliminating the old rule. And, by design, rulemaking takes time. President Barack Obama, stymied by a Republican Congress, used the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to push forward his employ-

30 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

While rulemaking takes time, issuing guidance interpreting the current laws and rules can happen quickly. ment law agenda. He had eight years to make rules. Now, Trump’s appointees are working hard to undo much of the work of the last administration. One federal agency in particular, the Department of Labor, has become very active since the appointment of the new Secretary of Labor. While rulemaking takes time, issuing guidance interpreting the current laws and rules can happen

quickly. So much of the changes taking place in employment law are happening through opinion letters produced by agency staff. Obama’s administration used agencies to greatly expand the reach of labor laws to affect the relationship between employers and employees through social media policies, rules on employee handbooks and even the fundamental definition of an employer. The new administration is now in the process of undoing many of these policies. Here is the danger. Department of Labor opinion letters or NLRB rulings rarely make the news. So, change will come and you will not even know it. That is why, particularly in times as volatile as these, it is important to keep in close contact with the professionals who work in this field all the time: either your professional human resources staff or an

employment law attorney. Have someone in your office subscribe to the Department of Labor, EEOC and NLRB e-blasts that go out multiple times a week. At least then you will get a heads up that change is coming, and you can engage the professionals to be prepared.

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


NORTHPOINTE TO MANAGE NORTH AUGUSTA HOTEL Augusta’s oldest hotel and North Augusta’s newest hotel have a connection — both will be managed by NorthPointe Hospitality Management. NorthPointe has managed The Partridge Inn-Hilton Curio hotel for four years, and it recently was hired to also manage the Crowne Plaza hotel cur-

rently under construction in North Augusta’s Riverside Village. The Crowne Plaza will be a fivestory, 180-room facility with a rooftop bar, large conference center and a ballroom. Jeff Brower, who served as the general manager for The Partridge Inn for four years, will manage the Crowne Plaza property.

SAVANNAH LAKES VILLAGE COMES UNDER ONE OWNERSHIP

#AchievingMoreTogether

Savannah Lakes Village might have received the shot in the arm it needed in April, when its properties were brought into the fold of the principal development partner. Savannah Lakes Village Property Holdings acquired 530 acres of developed and undeveloped land in the community in McCormick County and bought 2,000 home sites from the McCormick County

Forfeited Land Commission. The purchase includes the 80-room lodge that has been closed for three years, in addition to the conference center, a restaurant, two tennis courts and the pool. Having all the properties under one company is expected to spur growth in the area. Savannah Lakes is located next to Hickory Knob State Park.

Thursday, May 17

Retaining Value: Effective HR practices for recruiting, training and retention 11:30 am, Augusta Metro Chamber office Register at augustametrochamber.com

Presented by:

Mike McCurdy Executive Director, Georgia Employers Association

April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

31


WOUNDED WARRIORS

OVERCOMING THE MIRAGE OF POWER AND SUCCESS BY DAGAN SHARPE

I recently had the honor and privilege to meet and interview baseball legend Darryl Strawberry. He has achieved great fame and success in the sporting world as a four-time World Series winner. He is also well known for his various struggles off the field. Today, he is a champion of encouragement to others and leads a powerful Christian ministry. During our interview at a men’s conference hosted by my church, he shared how no matter how many games he won, how much fame he achieved, how much money he made or how much professional success he achieved, none of it could quench the thirst and emptiness he harbored deep inside. Truth be told, many of us can relate to this struggle and the weary search for fulfillment. Although we might never have the heightened platform of a Darryl Strawberry, we do have our own platform, which is just as real and just as relevant — it is our story, our life. Why so many continue to chase after “things” to satisfy is mind-boggling — even for those who should know better. It’s like a constant nagging that’s hard to escape. We manipulate and poison our thinking to believe our positions, power,

Former professional baseball player Darryl Strawberry has admitted that his fame, money and success were never enough to fill the emptiness he felt inside. File photo

possessions, platforms and prestige are what make us successful in life — and that without these things we aren’t truly relevant. We falsely estimate that these things will heal our hurts and keep us safe from rejection, but naturally this never proves true.

These lies are ancient and tell us our self-worth is determined by our net worth. Obviously, there is a thread of validity to this. It would be foolish and naive to say the world doesn’t acknowledge fame, money and power. However, ultimately, these things are mirages. They can’t satisfy beyond a certain extent because they all expire. We all know what it’s like to have something new and for that “new thrill factor” to eventually wear off or wear out. Then it’s off the next thrill, chasing another temporary thirst quencher that will never satisfy us long-term. My two books, Highways End and Full Disclosure, share in both a fiction novel and nonfiction narrative my own struggles in this area. I write about these things because the struggle is deep and extremely personal. For those who have had the lie and myth that power and success will make you happy shattered, it’s nearly impossible to keep that fact to ourselves. We discover we have to write about it, speak about it and do all we can to help others avoid the trap. I believe a “wounded warrior” knows best how to relate to another bruised brother in a unique way and that a “weary

wanderer” knows the desperate plight of a restless heart. I am convinced the beautifully broken make the most impactful leaders, because they lead with compassion, sincerity and sacrifice. They seek to reach beyond themselves to genuinely benefit others. May we all be so bold as to break free from the falsehoods of material success and reach for something greater — to help others who are broken, beaten and bruised. We can all do this in our jobs, hobbies, families and communities by making it how we live, empowered by a living legacy that lasts far beyond the grave and any money, titles or possessions we might have acquired along the way.

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

PAVEMENT PERFECTION

PROFESSIONAL PRESSURE WASHING KEEPS PAVED AREAS GLEAMING BY TONY CREIGHTON

Whether it is out back in the garden or out by the front driveway, there are more houses than ever that utilize paved patio and deck areas. While these outdoor areas are enjoyable and add to the overall appeal of your home, they must be maintained to keep looking good and to stay in a healthy condition in the long run. If they aren’t maintained through regular cleaning, there is a real danger of dirt, grime, algae and other organic growth, oil and stains ruining the look of your paved areas. Of course, the main advantage of pressure-washing your concrete outdoor surfaces is to keep the area clean, and a licensed pressure washing company will use the right equipment and commercialgrade detergents to get the best results possible. While this might seem like an easy DIY weekend project, most electric or gas pressure-washing machines you can buy

32 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

or rent from the local home improvement store won’t be able to effectively clean your home’s hardscape surfaces. Professional pressure-washing companies use commercial-grade machines, detergents, cleaners and tools that have the power to treat and remove most stains, algae and other growth using methods learned through years of experience and training. Another factor to consider is cost-effectiveness. In recent years, financial difficulties have led people to reduce their spending, sometimes doing so in misguided areas. For example, you should never stop going to the dentist, because you face the risk of missing a potential problem before it turns into something worse. In the same way, you shouldn’t forget to clean and seal your driveway or patio; doing so removes the risk of larger problems occurring in the future. Keep in mind that your home is one of the biggest investments you make,

and money spent on its upkeep is always money well spent. As we touched on earlier, grass, weeds and algae growth can be a nightmare for patio and hardscape areas. These types of organic growth are not only unsightly, but they can cause slip hazards when wet. Additionally, when algae and other organic growth grow and spread between pavers, bricks and mortar in your home’s outdoor surfaces, the integrity of these surfaces can be compromised. Bricks and pavers can begin to crack and become loose, making it more likely that someone will trip and fall. Regular pressure washing can eliminate organic growth such as this, ensuring a clean, slip-free outdoor area safe for all to enjoy and highlighting any areas that might need repairs. Ultimately, all the benefits we have mentioned so far, plus many others — oil/stain resistance, better color of paving, keeping sand in place — work together to

keep your paving healthy and strong. As long as you clean and maintain your driveway using a licensed pressure washing company you trust, you will not need to pay for major repairs or a complete replacement for a long time! For a free estimate on concrete surface cleaning, or any of our other exterior cleaning services, call (706) 651-8089 or visit us online at www.allcleanpressure washing.net.

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


CHAMBER NEWS: FORMER MAYOR NAMED CITIZEN OF THE YEAR Former North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones was presented as the Citizen of the Year at the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Banquet on April 20. This year’s event, “A League of Our Own,” was held at the new SRP Park, home of the Augusta GreenJackets. In addition to naming the Citizen of the Year, the Chamber awarded Rest Master Bedding Co. as its Small Business of the Year and Faye Purcell as Ambassador of the Year. The annual event celebrated the Chamber’s success in 2017, revealed and launched the Chamber’s new logo and website and celebrated the opening of SRP Park in North Augusta. As the 2017 Citizen of the Year, Jones was honored for his outstanding leadership and citizenship in the community, including his exemplary vision, civic pride and commitment to the betterment of society. Jones retired as North Augusta’s mayor in 2017

after a 32-year political career. Before he was elected mayor in 1997, he had served as a member of city council for 12 years. During his time in office, the city of North Augusta saw many renovations, expansions and overall beautifications at multiple locations, including Riverview Park, the North Augusta Greeneway, Brick Pond Park, Hammond’s Ferry Soccer Complex and the Municipal Center. Two of Jones’ favorite hobbies include bicycling on the Greeneway and attending the Masters Tournament — he has ridden at least 7,000 miles, and he has not missed a round of the tournament in 54 years. Rest Master Bedding Co. was presented the award for 2017 Small Business of the Year, which honors a small business that has dedicated its time to the community while growing its business, making outstanding achievements in management, customer service and innovation. Rest Master was established in 1982 and has

been rated the top independent manufacturer by Carpenter Co. This business prides itself on earning the respect and trust of its employees, community, customers and competitors. Its goal is to open 10 outlet stores in and near the CSRA. Purcell was named 2017 Ambassador of the Year, an award which recognizes the efforts of a Chamber Ambassador Council member who has volunteered many hours of time, talent and energy to the success and growth of the Greater North Augusta Chamber. A native of Eastman, Ga., Purcell now resides in North Augusta with her spouse after her retirement as a mortgage servicing supervisor. Purcell has served on the Ambassador Council since 2016. She also represents the North Augusta Lions Club, a nonprofit organization that provides hearing aids and eyeglasses for those in need, in which she has been a member for 16 years.

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3200 MIKE PADGETT HIGHWAY. April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

33


JUICY BUSINESS

COLD-PRESSED BEVERAGES ARE THE STAR OF CHEF’S NEW VENTURE BY WITT WELLS

Jeremy Miller isn’t interested in being a Michelin three-star chef anymore, even though he achieved that goal with stints at renowned restaurants Jean-Georges in New York City and The French Laundry in California. As he has gotten older and raised a family, his focus has shifted. These days, more than anything, Miller just wants to make food that helps people. Even for seasoned chefs like Miller, that can sometimes happen by accident. A few months ago, Miller, his business partner Shannan Monson and their families were in his kitchen trying out a new juicer. Miller grabbed a few ingredients — pineapple, carrots, turmeric, lime — and tossed them in. What resulted was a surprisingly tasty beverage that the duo later named “Golden Tonic,” one of the five juices at the core of Miller and Monson’s startup, Nutrition Simply, a new cold-pressed juice business based in Augusta. “I just have a passion for creating the option of living a healthy lifestyle,” Miller said. “The idea of a cold-pressed juice business fit my professional vision.” That vision shifted about five years ago, when Miller and his family dove headfirst into an all-vegan diet. After Miller and his wife tried a raw vegan taco recipe with walnuts, cashews and probiotics, his eyes were opened up to “a whole other galaxy,” and he knew it was something he was “meant to do.” He also found fresh, inventive flavor to be just as important as healthy ingredients. “If you’re not using amazing, pristine ingredients, it’s going to taste terrible,” Miller said of vegan and vegetarian cuisine. “I had a lot of respect for that. As chefs, we have a responsibility to provide options. I dedicated my life to it.” Miller met Monson, a registered dietician who launched her first nutrition coaching business in Washington, D.C., at Oxygen Fitness Studio, a healthy community that became a testing ground for Nutrition Simply. Miller said he and Monson had “the same passion for juice,” and Monson reached out to him about starting a business. Miller had launched a health-based soda business in Atlanta, but it never took off. Even when Miller and his family moved to Augusta, he was skeptical about the city’s reception of healthy cuisine. But after spending 18 months in his new hometown, Miller has a sense that

34 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

Jeremy Miller greets a customer at his new juice business, Nutrition Simply. Photo by Witt Wells

“I think that’s probably our biggest focus, that we can help become a part of your healthy lifestyle and make it easier and more fun and part of a community for you to be living this way, rather than trying to sell a product.” – Shannan Monson, a partner in Nutrition Simply with Jeremy Miller Augustans want it. In fact, juice is still just a side hustle for Miller and Monson. After resigning from his positions as executive chef at Champions Retreat and “chef de cuisine” at Abel Brown, Miller started working with Brad and Havird Usry on a new Southern salads concept that is set to open on Broad Street this year. Signature salads, smoothies and grain bowls will be a few items at the core of the restaurant’s menu, with local ingredients being of paramount importance. “You’ll know the Southern salad you’re eating has been grown 30 minutes away, straight out of the ground,” Miller said.

As for Nutrition Simply, Monson said juices including Naked Roots (beet, apple, cucumber, ginger, lime) and Activated Lemonade (charcoal, lemon, agave) have received praise at Oxygen, where the first sample batch of 80 juices sold out three times faster than Monson anticipated. The team has now made Nutrition Simply’s juice available for pickup and through delivery service Augusta To Go. “The knowledge that ( Jeremy) is bringing from the French Laundry and JeanGeorges and these Michelin star restaurants … the knowledge that he’s gained as someone who is vegan and an animal rights activist … I’ve had juice from all over the country, and hands down, his is

the best,” Monson said. Monson and Miller officially launched their juice line at the end of January with a vegan pop-up dinner at Nutrition Simply’s 12th Street location, which is an integral part of Monson’s vision for the business. She has created the space to be a dynamic location for dinners, wellness events and a gathering place for creative minds. If there’s one thing that Monson has learned as an entrepreneur, it’s that genuine community is at the core of a thriving business in today’s world, whether it’s her local business in Augusta or her online business that reaches a community of 20,000 female entrepreneurs around the world. “Our goal is to really create a lifestyle rather than a product, and that’s what we’re aiming with events,” Monson said. “Spring meal planning with recipes and meal prep guides. It really is a lifestyle rather than a one-off product. I think that’s probably our biggest focus, that we can help become a part of your healthy lifestyle and make it easier and more fun and part of a community for you to be living this way, rather than trying to sell a product.”


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KAYAK JOURNEY CAN SOOTHE A STRESSED-OUT SOUL BY GARY KAUFFMAN

Sometimes, when the stress of the business world begins to weigh heavily on the soul, a little quiet time away is just the right medicine. “I cannot think of a better place for that than in the solitude and peace of God’s creation,” said Leslie Wright, who along with her husband, Steve, owns Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental. Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental operates along the Augusta Canal, a few hundred yards from the headgates. More than 90 brightly colored kayaks are available to rent for a cruise along the canal that winds up at Lake Olmstead. The journey can be as short as two hours when paddling but can take longer for those who are content to let the current pull them along. It can be a soothing, soul-cleansing experience. “There something about the water that refreshes your soul,” Wright said. The Wrights got into the business when they retired as school teachers (Leslie was an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Greenbrier Middle School, and Steve was a biology teacher at Hephzibah High). Bruce Cliatt, of Escape Outdoors, started the kayak rental business but because of a full slate of other interests, after five months sold it to the Wrights on Sept. 1, 2012. It was a great fit. “We kind of grew up on the canal and the river,” Leslie Wright said. “We’ve been on the water all our lives.” There’s also a historical connection — Leslie Wright’s parents had their first date at Savannah Rapids Park in 1947, and her grandparents had their first date at Lake Olmstead in 1927. The Wrights initially had 36 kayaks (“and one lonely canoe,” she added) but have built up their fleet to more than 90 kayaks, plus paddleboards. They expanded the business to be open weekdays and longer hours on weekends. “This is all about location,” Leslie Wright said. “The beautiful historic Augusta Canal — what a treasure.” The most popular kayaking route is the Augusta Canal. Kayakers launch in Sa-

36 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

Steve and Leslie Wright, inset, own Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental. They bought the business in 2012 and today offer more than 90 brightly colored kayaks to use for leisurely trips down the Augusta Canal or Savannah River. Photo by Gary Kauffman

vannah Rapids Park, paddle about three miles to a turnoff into Lake Olmstead, then another three-quarters of a mile across the lake to a boat ramp. There, a van from Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental picks up the kayaks and kayakers and transports them back to the park. But kayakers have other options — they can also explore the Savannah River above the headgates, where several islands can provide views of wildlife. Paddling down the Savannah River is also an option if the water levels are right. Wright said the kayaks are built for safety — low and heavy for stability. She said it is an activity that can be enjoyed even by those who aren’t into sports or who are wary of being on the water. Tandem kayaks allow two people to work together, although the person in back can do the bulk of the paddling while the person in front becomes acclimated to the experience. “It’s a confidence-builder,” she said. Kayaking along the canal is a popular family activity for all ages — and can include the family dogs — and groups often

create their own flotillas by stringing several kayaks together. There might not be an upper age limit — Leslie Wright said one 86-year-old woman piloted a single kayak on her own. “It’s a great thing to do with family because it’s so easy,” she said. The kayaks are popular among youth groups, church groups and family reunions. Locals also find it a popular option to give their out-of-town guests a unique experience. Often trips include stopping along the way to have a picnic. There is a sense of camaraderie that happens when cruising the canal with others. “When you do something in nature with someone else, something magical happens,” Leslie Wright said. But there are also ample opportunities to enjoy solitude. She said weekday afternoons offer a great chance to paddle the canal without seeing many other people. Last year, the Wrights opened a second location at Wildwood Park at Clark’s Hill that will soon be known as Keg Creek Water Sports. It will include some jet

skis in addition to the kayaks and paddleboards. That location also offers paddleboard yoga classes. Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental is a family business. Children Katie and Steven helped the business get off the ground, although Steven is now a tour guide on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Katie works at a ski resort in the winters and helps out with the daily operations of the kayak business during the summer. She also has a business degree, which Leslie Wright said is vital to their success. “We’re just old retired schoolteachers,” Wright said. “We didn’t know what we were doing.” Wright said she and husband expected to stay active after retirement, probably playing golf and tennis and enjoying their 35 acres along the South Edisto River in South Carolina. But, she said, Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental has been an unexpected blessing that allows them to stay active in something they enjoy. “We give God the glory for this business,” she said. “I can’t believe I get to do this every day.”


IT’S AUTOMATIC

CRAFT BEERS PAIR WITH JUST ABOUT ANYTHING BY BEN CASELLA

Do you ever find yourself questioning societal rules pertaining to which wines are supposed to go with which foods? Have you ever been glared at for ordering a sparkling rosé with your Spaghetti Bolognese? Has someone ever given you a second glance because there’s a glass of chardonnay sitting perched next to your 22-ounce porterhouse? Well, my good friend, I have an answer for you: craft beer. No one is going to snub you for mixing that beef wellington up with a double IPA. No one’s white-gloved grandmother is going to have a spell of the vapors because you washed down your Chilean sea bass with an oatmeal stout. You see, we just don’t tend to concern ourselves with such, well, frivolities of life, in general. So, with this in mind, let me pause my alienation of oenophiles for a moment and actually review a beer — a good beer — that I believe would pair with most anything.

Automatic, from Athens, Ga., brewery Creature Comforts, will suit any food you’re hungry for.

Automatic

This brew from Athens’ Creature Comforts holds a name that would bring to mind Weaver D’s iconic restaurant made famous by both the band R.E.M. and the presence of delectably yummy Southern soul food. To me, it also brings to mind the first and only time I got my hands on it while on a short trip to Athens, Ga., back in the fall. At 5.2 percent ABV, this American pale ale is quite, well, let’s say “user-friendly.” I could see this beer as serving as somewhat of a consummation of craft beer aficionados and

those who get angry because there’s no Natural Light at the gala. It would seem to appeal to various and different milieus, and I would pair it with most foods I enjoy consuming. The pour from can to glass yields a clear(ish) pale gold with a frothy white head that laces well as you sip. The nose conveys a welcome balance of citrus and earth with a tinge of evergreen in there somewhere. The taste begins with a hoppy tone, which is accentuated by oranges and pine but not over-the-top bitter by any means — just a significant amount of hops. The malts come in

soon after and complement these other savors nicely, while a tinge of grain persists throughout. The dampening of these aspects happens just in time for another sip (or another bite of whatever it is you’re eating these days). I had mine with a slice of pizza, and I would recommend this brew with pretty much whatever you’re hungry for — especially if it’s fried chicken and corn fritters.

Ben Casella’s favorite beer: So hard to say, as there are so many diplomats from various crafts of beer which are each outstanding in their individual ways. Ben Casella’s favorite wine: Red.

STRESS FREE

FUN VIEWING OPTIONS TO SIT BACK AND RELAX BY SAMANTHA BARKSDALE

Spring break is officially over. As a teacher, these final weeks of school are daunting. End-of-the-year testing is right around the corner, and everyone is just trying to finish strong. This is the time of year when I have no desire to think, and that includes my viewing choices. So, this month, my Netflix reviews are laid-back and stress-free. Time to sit back, relax, and enjoy.

‘Gad Gone Wild’

I first found out about the French Moroccan comedian Gad Elmaleh on an NPR segment. He has made the news because he has chosen to do something most of us would never dream of: Leave a highly successful career in one country to start from scratch in another. After hearing the interview with Gad, his English teacher and several American comedians, I was intrigued. We don’t of-

ten think about it, but comedy is different across cultures. On more than one occasion I have turned off a British comedian because I just didn’t get it. Fortunately, it was easy to get Gad’s humor. He has been working on his American career for quite some time, and he has sought professional help in everything from choosing subject matter to which syllables to stress. In his special, he addresses the difficulties he had throughout the process, along with his inability to understand American women. If you’re looking for a fun, vulgar-free comedy special, Gad is right up your alley. His comedy is intelligent but doesn’t venture into any controversial topics. It’s perfect for vegging out after a long day.

‘Poh and Company’

I love food. I love growing it, cooking it, eating it and watching other people

cook and eat. I also love to be adventurous with food. If you love these things the way I do, you should definitely give Poh and Company a watch. Filmed in Australia, this show follows Poh Ling Yeow and her merry band of creative friends and family. Born in Malaysia, Poh creates dishes inspired by her native culture, in addition to Australian favorites. Poh is not just a chef — she’s also an artist and a business woman with a desire to turn her horrendous backyard into an edible garden and open up shop in one of Australia’s most famous shops. One thing about this show that you might find a little odd is the fact that Poh and her husband work very closely with her ex-husband and his new wife, who just happens to be her best friend of 20 years. They all seem to be great friends, but they do throw that tidbit of information

into the intro as if there’s nothing to it, which left me to do a little Googling. While this show has a lot of great recipes, my absolute favorites are the desserts Poh makes. She’s a late-night artist and gets her creative juices flowing by baking up a sweet snack. Yup, Poh is my kind of girl.

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

April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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CHANGE OF TASTE

TWISTED BURRITO PUTS NEW SPIN ON TRADITIONAL FAVORITE BY MILLIE HUFF

With a name like Twisted Burrito, all I expected of my lunch at the Evans restaurant was pretty basic: burritos. But I didn’t anticipate how the “twisted” part would impact my experience. Generally, I am a fan of burritos. In fact, my husband and I are regulars at a particular establishment that offers discounted burritos on Mondays. I love that they can be customized to taste. I lean toward loading mine up with veggies, grilled chicken and mild spices, while my husband prefers beef, beans and spicy peppers. Before opening the Evans restaurant in September 2015 in a shopping center across from the Evans Walmart, the owners/creators of Twisted Burritos realized that a burrito was the perfect vehicle to showcase their creativity and individuality. With menu selections featuring names including the Bada Bing and the Fresh Prince, I would say they’ve done a stellar job of “twisting” burritos to a whole new level. My colleagues and I were first-time visitors to Twisted Burrito. Even at our later-than-usual lunch time of 1:30, there was a good crowd, but we were seated quickly. On our way to the main dining room, we passed a bar that serves craft beers along with other adult beverages. I was immediately struck by the décor and music, both an eclectic mix. The walls are decorated with music paraphernalia, old hubcaps and posters from local musical events mounted on corrugated tin. Over our table was an autographed poster of local favorite Lady Antebellum. The background music was a little loud for my taste, and I found it an impediment to any serious conversation –

The Goodfella Burrito at Twisted Burrito resembles lasagna wrapped in a tortilla and contains smoked chicken, marinara sauce and mozzarella sticks. The Sweet Georgia Fries were the big hit of the meal. Slightly sweet, crunchy on the outside and soft inside, they were popular with everyone at the table. Photo by Millie Huff

or maybe I’m just getting too old to appreciate a little volume, as my colleagues kindly pointed out. Our friendly and patient server gave us extra time to order: a challenge thanks to the quantity and complexity of choices. Selections include almost a dozen unique burritos, a half-dozen interesting appetizers and five healthy-ish salads. On my next visit, I want to try one of the delectable-sounding desserts – The Caddyshack, which features a deepfried, tortilla-wrapped Snickers bar, or The Chase, a Nutella-filled tortilla topped with chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream. The prices are higher than the typical cafeteria-style burrito restaurants but

not too high for a sit-down restaurant. The unique ingredients also justify the higher prices. My total, including tip, was about $12. After much discussion and the decision to each try something different, I ordered the Bada Bing, and my colleagues chose the Bob Marley and the Goodfella, all with a side of Sweet Georgia Fries. Once our order was placed, it gave us a few minutes to appreciate the cool décor and the diversity of the other diners. Our food was delivered to us promptly, and we were all struck by the size of our burritos, which are served in a basket. While we all enjoyed our burrito

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38 Buzz on Biz April 27–May 24, 2018

See HUFF on Page 39

Twisted Burrito Food Price Location Networking Noise Level The restaurant is at 4446 Washington Road, across from Walmart in Evans. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. MondaySaturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Get more information by calling 706-869-4622 or visiting twistedrito.com. A second location is now open at the intersection of Jimmie Dyess Parkway and Harper Franklin Avenue in Grovetown, near Fort Gordon’s Gate 1. Reach it at 706-814-5131.


MEALS ON WHEELS

DELIVERY SERVICES BRING RESTAURANT FOOD TO YOUR DOOR BY WITT WELLS

Steady growth in metro Augusta apparently hasn’t gone unnoticed in the restaurant delivery world. When Augusta Takeout Express (ATE) launched in August, it was the only restaurant delivery service in the area (aside from a limited Grubhub presence). Now, there are four. In the last year, ATE, Augusta To Go and Waitr have all announced their entrance into a local market (along with an expansion from Grubhub) where consumers have suddenly found themselves with a wide array of choices. So, we decided to break them down for you.

Augusta To Go

Since the delivery service launched in September, Augusta To Go has made some of the city’s favorite restaurants available for delivery, from Bee’s Knees to Taqueria El Rey. With Waitr entering the market recently and Grubhub expanding, Augusta To Go remains one of two locally owned delivery services. They also deliver to Fort Gordon, offer 24/7 service and will even deliver your first order free if you use the coupon code “TRYUS.” Restaurants: Bee’s Knees, Hive, Laziza Mediterranean Grille, The Pizza Joint, New Moon Cafe, Twisted Burrito, Taqueria El Patron, Southbound

HUFF

Continued from Page 38 choices, we were in hearty agreement that the Sweet Georgia Fries were some of the best we’d ever eaten. They are slightly sweet, crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle. These fries don’t need ketchup to be enjoyed, which is a testament to a good fry, in my humble opinion. My Bada Bing burrito was filled with the gooey, warm, rich goodness of smoked chicken, white rice, sundried tomato bruschetta, black beans and mozzarella cheese, all melted together with pesto aioli in a flour tortilla. Not a morsel of this delicious burrito was left behind. I had good intentions of not eating all of my fries, but my colleagues finished off the two I left behind in the interest of my spring diet. One colleague enjoyed the slightly spicy Bob Marley burrito, which featured jerk chicken, saffron rice, black beans, tomato-pineapple bruschetta, mixed cheeses, crispy tortilla strips and chipotle mango aioli wrapped in a flour tortilla. My other colleague ordered my second choice: the Goodfella. It resembled lasagna wrapped in a tortilla and tasted just as good as it sounds. A flour tortilla enveloped smoked

Smokehouse, Chick-fil-A, Ephesus Restaurant, Nutrition Simply, New Ming Wah, Belair Donuts, Taqueria El Rey, Mellow Mushroom, Lahore Express, Pita Pit, Tin Lizzy’s, Crab King II, The Fat Butcher, McAlister’s Deli, Firehouse Subs, Hardee’s and Jersey Mike’s.

Augusta Takeout Express

Last summer, Heather White moved from her home in Statesboro, Ga., to Augusta, where she launched Augusta Takeout Express. ATE has much more competition than when it started, but it now offers nearly 20 different food options and delivers as far as Hephzibah. Restaurants: Tbonz, Big Daddy’s Bar and Grille, Atlanta Bread Company, Taqueria El Rey, Bill’s Family Restaurant, Crab King II, Domo Japanese Grille, Willie Jewel’s Old School BBQ, Belair Donuts, Firehouse Subs, McAlister’s Deli, NYCE Treats, Paleo Num Yums, Shishkebab, Chicken Fingers, JT Yesterday’s, Woody’s BBQ and Krystal.

Waitr

Louisiana-based Waitr has now spread to 34 cities in eight states in the Southeast and is the latest delivery business to enter the Augusta market. Waitr

charges a $5 flat fee regardless of driving distance, and customers making takeout orders can use Waitr free. Restaurants: Great American Cookies, Chickfil-A, Bodega Ultima, Belair Donuts, Fujiyama, Ephesus Restaurant, Jersey Mike’s, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, New Ming Wah, Middle Eastern Deli and Grocery, Buffalo Wild Wings, Firehouse Subs, Yosko Japanese Steakhouse, Taqueria El Rey, Cheeseburger Bobby’s, Salsa’s Bar and Grill, Mot’s Barbeque, Taqueria El Patron, Little Jamaica Authentic Cuisine, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Mellow Mushroom, Your Pie, El Teresa’s Mexican Restaurant, Chicken Fingers, Pita Pit, Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, Teriyaki Japan and That Flippin’ Egg.

Grubhub

Recently, Grubhub announced that it had expanded its delivery capabilities in 34 cities across 19 states, Augusta being one of them. Restaurants: Chicken Salad Chick, Pita Pit, Barberitos, Hooters, Krispy Kreme, K’s Buffalo Wings, Firehouse Subs, Woody’s Bar-B-Q, Buffalo Wild Wings, Roly Poly Sandwiches, Red Robin, Denny’s, Poppin’ Stop, Krystal Burger, Ephesus Restaurant, Hardee’s and The Pearson’s Smokehouse BBQ.

chicken, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese sticks, sundried tomato bruschetta and shredded mozzarella cheese and was covered with extra marinara, cheese and pesto aioli. Go hungry for this one! Twisted Burrito exceeded my expectations for interesting and delicious food. It certainly lives up to its motto: Where pandemonium meets intention, satisfying your taste buds and soul, bite after bite. It might not be the most appropriate choice for a “serious” business meeting, but it is a fun, unique restaurant to join co-workers for lunch or after-work drinks and dinner. I’m saving room for dessert on my next visit. Millie Huff is a freelance writer, parttime teacher and new executive director of Sacred Heart Cultural Center. She has eaten lunches in the Augusta area since 1996 and loves any excuse to dine with friends and colleagues. Her restaurant reviews are written with a businessperson in mind.

The burritos at Twisted Burrito have creative names, like the Bob Marley, which is stuffed with jerk ingredients, and the Bada Bing, with smoked chicken, white rice, black beans and mozzarella cheese. Photo by Millie Huff

April 27–May 24, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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