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Masters Week events Page 39

MARCH 30–APRIL 26, 2018 • THE CSRA’S MONTHLY BUSINESS MAGAZINE

MORE THAN A GAME

FIRST TEE USES GOLF TO TEACH YOUNGSTERS CORE VALUES, HEALTHY HABITS BY GARY KAUFFMAN

On the golf course one March day, drives often sliced away from the intended target, chips sometimes barely dribbled onto the green and putts either sailed alarmingly far past the hole or stopped disappointingly short of it. That might describe a typical day on the course for the average golfer, but on this day, the golfers were dozens of Augusta elementary school students testing the golf skills they learned at The First Tee of Augusta. But golf is only a small part of the lessons learned at First Tee. Golf is a vehicle for teaching more valuable life skills and healthy habits. And for many youngsters, the First Tee experience is their introduction to all three of those. “We look like a golf course and smell like a golf course, but the core of what we do is making people better through the game of golf,” said Jill Brown, executive director of First Tee of Augusta. The First Tee of Augusta started in 2001, as part of the national First Tee program that began in 1997 (Aiken also has a First Tee program). The First Tee of Augusta has a six-hole regulation-size course set on 40 acres between Augusta Municipal Golf Course and Forest Hills Golf Club. Nationally, The First Tee started as a collaboration of the LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, the PGA Tour and the United States Golf Association (USGA) to answer the question, “Why don’t more kids play golf ?” While it started as a way to promote youth golf, it quickly became an avenue for teaching youngsters important life skills that many were not learning in

Participants in The First Tee of Augusta carefully line up their putts during the skills test portion of the program. First Tee teaches young people core values and healthy habits through playing golf. Photo by Gary Kauffman

other places. All First Tee programs use the same curriculum that teaches nine core values, nine healthy habits and a code of conduct. “We’ve all encountered those people whose attitudes and actions are less than desirable,” Brown said. “But sometimes it’s because young people are not exposed to the tools to process things well.” She cited the example of a girl in the program who was not being courteous to others. While talking to her, Brown discovered that the girl had never heard the word “courteous” before and was unfamiliar with the concept of courtesy. “At that point I realized there’s a lot we

take for granted with kids,” she said. “It takes a concerted effort to teach kids and help them understand what that means. We give them core values to make good choices and life skills to process everyday life in a positive way.” Hopefully, she said, the skills learned at The First Tee will carry over to home, school and, ultimately, the workforce. Already some graduates of The First Tee of Augusta have gone on to successful college and work experiences. But the course work at The First Tee is not a cursory program. Students take See TEE on Page 2

“We look like a golf course and smell like a golf course, but the core of what we do is making people better through the game of golf.” – Jill Brown, executive director of The First Tee of Augusta


TEE

Continued from Page 1 a written exam for every skill level – including golf – and must pass with a score of at least 80 percent. The First Tee of Augusta takes students from age 7 through high school graduation from Richmond, Columbia, Burke and McDuffie counties. Last year, 1,003 students went through the program. Many come as part of an after-school program or through summer camps, but Brown is extending The First Tee’s reach with a program for physical education teachers to use at schools. The two-week course teaches the same core values and life skills and includes a trip to The First Tee to test their students’ golf skills. Brown said part of the program’s purpose is to grow the game of golf. As many local golf courses have discovered, their customer base is aging, and there is a diminishing amount of young blood to take current golfers’ places. “For a lot of people, the real barrier for golf is the cost,” Brown said, citing the price of equipment and course fees. “And there is a lot of competition for students’ attention, from cellphones to other sports.” There’s also the perception that golf is hard to play and lacks the action of sports such as football or soccer, which goes for the parents as well. “When they play baseball or soccer, the parents can sit in the bleachers, eating popcorn and cheering their kids on,” Brown said. “In golf, if you want to support your kid, you have to walk the course with them. We have to overcome the hurdles of convenience and personal sacrifice.” The First Tee addresses the cost issue by allowing kids to play six holes for a dollar. The school phys ed program allows the students to try golf without any cost, and the skills test brings parents – many of them nongolfers – to the course to see firsthand what the game is about. As rewards for their behavior, students can earn Monopoly-like money to use toward the purchase of equipment. First Tee also organizes fun tournaments, one based on the Ryder Cup for boys and one based on the Solheim Cup for girls. “It gives them something to look forward to,” Brown said. In addition to life skills and healthy habits, Brown said golf also teaches students a level of self-discipline and humility, because it takes away the excuses of their failures being someone else’s fault. “Golf is a little different (than team sports), because the ball is just sitting there and if you don’t hit it, it’s because of something you did,” she said. “It takes a lot of practice and perseverance. And it can be pretty humiliating.”

2 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

WHAT FIRST TEE’S ABOUT The First Tee’s 9 Core Values 1. Honesty 2. Integrity 3. Sportsmanship 4. Respect 5. Confidence 6. Responsibility 7. Perseverance 8. Courtesy 9. Judgment The First Tee’s 9 Healthy Habits 1. Energy 2. Play 3. Safety 4. Vision 5. Mind 6. Family 7. Friends 8. School 9. Community The First Tee’s Code of Conduct • Respect for myself • Respect for others • Respect for my surroundings Learn more at www.thefirstteeaugusta.org Golf also gets kids away from video games and into the outdoors in a nice, calm environment, she added, and it is good for personal interaction. Through The First Tee, students from a wide variety of racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds mingle and cooperate in a way they often don’t have an opportunity to experience. “It’s great to see kids come together whose paths may not cross in other ways,” Brown said. The First Tee also works with students who have special needs, both emotionally and physically. Brown said playing golf often has a positive effect on those students. And for adults who want to volunteer to help at The First Tee, there is a three-level training program available. Even the casual spectator can see the program has a positive effect. On that March day when dozens of students gathered to test their skills, there was none of the energy-driven rowdiness often seen at such gatherings. The students were well-dressed; they walked, showed courtesy and respect to everyone; and they cheered on and encouraged their teammates. Above all, they were having fun playing golf.


MASTERS MEMORIES

MANY CHANGES HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN A QUARTER CENTURY BY NEIL GORDON

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years at the Masters Tournament is the very affordable food available for patrons. Photo by Gary Kauffman

Just think how far four-time Masters Tournament champion Tiger Woods has come since video of him surfaced playing golf at the age of 4! Many other things have changed around the Masters Tournament in the 25 years that I’ve been around it. I vividly recall covering the business aspects of the tournament in the early 1990s when I worked for News 12. Berckmans Road was a key entry point into the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club. Families parked cars in their front yards and charged $5, $10 or $20 per car! Much of that has changed, as Augusta National has acquired a lot of land surrounding the 350-plus-acre course. In the ’90s, it was easy to tell the ticket brokers from the wide-eyed golf fans trying to desperately to acquire badges by holding up signs. Now, some of the acquisition is done through national ticketing sites like StubHub and, more recently, the “neighbors” part of the Nextdoor App, an online community of neighbors within a few miles of one another.  This year, I noticed practice round and final round badges for sale, complete with the name and Augusta-area address of the badge owner! No, it isn’t

illegal, because these sales are occurring far enough away from the course that the authorities won’t get involved — but these transactions are frowned upon by Augusta National. Sometimes, the zeal for profits turns deadly. When Woods won his first green jacket in 1997, his new sponsor Nike bought up a big supply of the printed badges from brokers so they could attend and support Tiger’s efforts. The demand was so high and the supply was so low that one Augusta ticket broker took his own life that week when he could not deliver badges that were paid for in advance. In addition to the golf, while in Augusta, check out the many quality restaurants, from those in downtown Augusta to rapidly growing Columbia County. One Masters Week tidbit I picked up this year involved Mi Rancho’s Mexican restaurant in the growing Riverwood subdivision of Evans. Owners got the bad news in early March that major underground utility issues have forced the closing of the restaurant until late April, after the tournament! There is still plenty to see and do that helps keep our economy thriving and supports community efforts.

Features Play Ball!........................................................ 4 SRP Park, the CSRA’s new state-of-the-art entertainment venue, is set to open in less than two weeks. Buzz Bits.................................................. 6, 12 Openings, Closings................................. 7, 13 Growing Pains............................................... 8 City developers form vision as the area changes.

Upcoming Events.................................. 14, 15 Businessperson of the Month.................... 22 Tom Denlinger has fun leading the Augusta GreenJackets after making the right choice in college. Creating Community.................................. 34 Canal Music Cruises promote camaraderie in a relaxing setting.

Columnists Mark Alison: The right advertising requires sharp discernment........10

Gary Kauffman: Stress is all around, but it can be mastered...............26

Danielle Harris: Developing these traits helps female entrepreneurs soar..........................................................................................................................16

Tammy Shepherd: Leadership class educates leaders about Columbia County..............................................................................................28

Christine Hall: Businesses are increasingly targets of tax identity fraud.......................................................................................................................16

Russell Head: Tax reform bill reduces ACA penalty to zero..................30

Stacy Roberts: Providing training benefits a company in many ways........................................................................................................................18 Dagan Sharpe: The best leaders develop honest, open relationships........................................................................................................18 Tim Dalton: 10 steps to make your business worth more to buyers....................................................................................................................20 Ed Enoch: Labor departments make changes to previous rulings...20 Kurt Mueller: Roth investment option attractive to some....................24

Dub Taylor: Your first priority is to nurture, develop your employees............................................................................................................30 Lonzo Smith: Use cognitive dissonance to push out of the comfort zone........................................................................................................................32 Tony Creighton: Clean exteriors can lead to improved home sales.32 Susan O’Keefe: Solé offers great options for business dinners...........33 Samantha Barksdale: Father-daughter movies spark thoughts of new beginnings.................................................................................................36

Take a look at the Calendar of Events surrounding tournament week on page 39, and please read our cover story about the efforts of The First Tee of Augusta, our local community mission to grow the game of golf with young players while teaching strong core values and healthy habits. Also check out the story about the opening of the Augusta GreenJackets’ new minor league baseball stadium on page 4 and information about the changing of the guard at the Augusta Economic Development Authority on page 8. And if you’re going to be around later in the spring, be sure to find out more about the Moonlight Cruises on the Augusta Canal on page 34.

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

Ben Casella: Brews fit for pondering azaleas and fairways...................36

March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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PLAY BALL!

SRP PARK, ‘CROWN JEWEL’ FOR THE CSRA, SET TO OPEN APRIL 9 BY GARY KAUFFMAN

When SRP Park opens in less than two weeks, Augusta GreenJackets’ Vice President Tom Denlinger expects a lot of reactions like those of a recent visitor. “He said, ‘I wasn’t expecting this. I thought it’d just be a nicer version of Lake Olmstead Stadium,’” Denlinger recalled. SRP Park is far beyond merely a “nicer version” of the GreenJackets’ previous home. It is a state-of-the-art entertainment venue and the centerpiece of North Augusta’s Riverside Village. Nestled on the shore of the Savannah River, SRP Park is set to open less than two weeks from the publication date of this issue. A high school baseball game is scheduled for April 9, a college game for April 10 and then the GreenJackets’ home opener will be played on April 12. “This place is meant to be the crown jewel for the CSRA,” Denlinger said. “It’s an entertainment venue, not just a baseball stadium. It’s built for the community to utilize and be proud of.” The multiuse facility will host much more than baseball games. For example, country singer Jake Owen will perform there on May 19. But it is a state-of-the-art baseball facility, the only new baseball stadium to open in 2018 in the minor or major leagues. It is designed, on scale, to mirror AT&T Park, the home of the GreenJackets’ parent team, the San Francisco Giants. “It’s a Single-A ballpark but with a major-league feel,” Denlinger said. Some of the attributes of a major league stadium incorporated into SRP Park are a giant 22-foot by 44-foot video board that can show replays, highlights and live between-innings activities; four LED ribbon boards around the outfield fence; a high-definition sound system; LED field lights that can strobe in a variety of colors; major league-quality signage; a terrace walkway that extends around the outer edge of the stadium; and plenty of food venues. There are also 10 suites along the upper level and padded seating for the terrace-level season-ticket holders. In addition, there is a 4,000-squarefoot meeting room that holds 197 seats for games but can be used for business meetings, wedding receptions and other functions. That room opens onto an outdoor terrace. Denlinger’s favorite spot in the new park is the Home Run Terrace in right field, a standing-room-only spot with a bar rail for drinks and food. Not only does it give a sweeping view of the field, but it also offers a spectacular vista of the

4 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

The Home Run Terrace in right field offers a sweeping view of new SRP Park. The state-of-theart entertainment venue in North Augusta is set to open in less than two weeks. Photo by Gary Kauffman

Augusta GreenJackets Vice President Tom Denlinger sees lots of opportunity. Page 22

along the right field line that seats 400 and can accommodate groups as small as 20.

Savannah River flowing behind the park. The river is a dominant theme in SRP Park. It is visible from most vantage points along the terrace walkway.

The entire park seats 4,200, but with all the standing-room-only areas, Denlinger expects as many as 5,500 people to attend the Georgia-Clemson baseball game on April 10. The GreenJackets have already sold five times more season tickets than they sold at the old stadium. Almost half of the seats will be occupied by seasonticket holders. Denlinger said the new stadium is a boon for the players, the fans, the community and for area businesses. “It’s exciting for the players,” he said. “It’s a state-of-the-art facility, and we’ve spared no expense. There’s an excitement of coming to the park. You play better whenever there are bigger crowds.” For the fans, Denlinger’s goal is to create a memorable experience, whether from the game itself, the kids’ play zone in center field, a visit from GreenJackets mascot Auggie or the on-field contests between innings. “This is affordable family fun, and we need to entertain you for three hours from the moment you walk in,” Denlinger said. “You may not remember who won or lost, but there will be a special moment to remember.” Denlinger has also been pleased with how the business community has rallied around the park, from naming rights of different areas to buying season tickets to sponsoring promotions. Some of the sponsored locations are the Sweetwater

Food for every palate

An upper-level bar is known as the South Carolina Dispensary, a nod to a Prohibition-era bar of the same name in the same area. The bar contains a few artifacts from that 1920s establishment. “We’re trying to do a lot of things to tie into the history of North Augusta and the CSRA,” Denlinger said. One of those is golf. The first base side of the stadium is known as The Front Nine and the third base side as The Back Nine. Concession stands in both those sections go by the same name, and another concession stand is known as McGavin’s Grill, a tribute to the golf movie Happy Gilmore. In addition, there’s also another concession stand known as The Bee’stro, in keeping with the GreenJackets’ logo, and two food carts, one serving steak sandwiches and brats, the other dishing out funnel cakes. Southbound Smokehouse has a two-story restaurant in the stadium that can be accessed from the outside for year-round service. “We’re offering foods that we didn’t have at Lake Olmstead Stadium,” Denlinger said. “There’s something for all palates.” SRP Park also features a picnic area

Creating a memorable experience

Beer Garden, the E-Z-Go Picnic Patio, the TaxSlayer Terrace and the Augusta University Health Kids Zone. “The business community is looking for ways to connect with the community and just the signage alone allows an opportunity to engage in that way,” Denlinger said. “There are 70 games so there are 70 promotions. We’re making it a win-win for everyone.” He said a state-of-the-art entertainment venue can serve as an enticement when recruiting employees, especially those of the millennial generation who thrive on live entertainment. SRP Park also contains several retail locations that will be accessible on nongame days from outside the stadium.

Ongoing construction

Even as SRP Park opens, construction will continue on the rest of Riverside Village. One of the most noticeable projects is the apartment/retail building behind the left field wall that will contain 32 apartments. That construction should be finished this summer. Behind the first base side of the stadium, work is continuing on a 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. That part of the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year. 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.


CONFERENCE SPOTLIGHTS CYBER, TECH LEADERS The Invest Augusta Conference will be held May 10 at the Legends Club in Augusta to showcase the business leaders, investors and companies who are driving cyber business in Augusta. Conference speakers from U.S. Cyber Command; Chamber of Commerce; Fort Gordon Cyber District; Augusta University; Morris, Manning & Martin and more will take the stage to discuss the cyber industry and business. The conference also showcases representatives from tech startups from throughout the Southeast who will demonstrate and pitch their products and services. “Augusta’s workforce, cyber expertise and startup ecosystem position Augusta as a global leader in cybersecurity,” said Invest Augusta founder Tony Lever. “I encourage entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders to take advantage of the opportunities available at the Invest Augusta Conference to connect with the cybersecurity leaders in the region.” For more information, visit investaugusta.com/conference.

SYMPHONY GETS NEW NAME, BRAND Along with a newly renovated Miller Theater, 2018 has brought Augusta a newly rebranded symphony that has been part of the fabric of Augusta since 1954. In February, Augusta’s symphony orchestra announced it is rebranding as Augusta Symphony, a return to its roots under that name, which the orchestra took soon after it was founded (it began as the Augusta Civic Orchestra).

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buzz bits Grovetown Heritage Festival will be a prime opportunity for local businesses to connect with community members. The 16th annual Grovetown Heritage Festival will be held Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors from various businesses will be at the event, and space is still available for new vendors to get in on the action. The festival will be held at Goodale Park, 5207 Wrightsboro Road. Applications must be turned in by April 13, and vendors must provide their own equipment, furniture, tents and supplies. More information can be found at columbiacountychamber.com. Photo courtesy Augusta Regional Airport

AUGUSTA REGIONAL HOSTS RECORD NUMBER OF PASSENGERS Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) saw a record number of passengers travel through the airport in 2017. A total of 580,755 passengers flew into AGS last year. “This record passenger increase is just one element of our comprehensive vision to provide more air connectivity and related opportunities for our citizens,” said Herbert Judon Jr., Augusta Regional’s executive director. Last year’s total passenger count shattered the previous record that was set in 2015 by nearly 30,000 people. Airport traffic has also increased 5.18 percent since 2016. “When I started, there were a lot of misconceptions about the airport,” said Diane Johnston, the airport’s director of marketing and business management, in “For some time now, our leadership and many patrons and musicians have been pressing for an official return to a name that most folks use anyway,” said Anne Catherine Murray, the symphony’s executive director. Dirk Meyer, the symphony’s music director, followed Murray’s statement with a preview of the orchestra’s 201819 season. Upcoming shows include a diverse array of classical, jazz and Latin performances, along with a performance of the score of the Wizard of Oz. A list of scheduled performances can be found at the symphony’s website. The Augusta Symphony will also perform a series of pieces at the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center in Evans. “Our new season is just as fresh as our new brand: fresh, exciting and in-

an interview in October. Johnston said flight costs have dropped as much as $300 to $400 in recent years and that the number of passengers coming through the airport has doubled since 2008. Since a new terminal building was built in 2007, several other renovations have been made over the last few years to keep the airport up to date for a growing number of flyers, including a $15 million taxiway rehabilitation project, canopies over some parking areas and expanded bathrooms. “With the efforts of the airport, our partners, the tremendous growth in our region, and the community’s support, I anticipate continued airport enhancements and positive passenger trends,” Judon said. viting,” Meyer said. “No matter if you are a connoisseur of orchestral music or if you have never been to a performance, I am certain that people will enjoy the passion and virtuosity that is the Augusta Symphony.”

GROVETOWN FESTIVAL SHOWCASES BUSINESSES Local business owners will have a chance to showcase their businesses and network with others in an upcoming festival in Grovetown. Along with children’s activities, crafts, food and other things, the

Augusta’s Riverwatch Brewery is bottling its brews to sell in local stores.

BREWERY’S WARES WILL BE AVAILABLE IN AREA STORES Two years after opening as Augusta’s first local brewery, Riverwatch Brewery is bottling its brews for sale at local stores. The brewery’s first batch of 240 cases of beer, which is being bottled at the brewery, made it to stores in the last week of March. Brey Sloane, owner of Riverwatch, said the beer will be distributed to grocery stores including Kroger, Publix, Fresh Market and Vineyard Wine Market. The brewery’s expansion into bottled beer will also allow Riverwatch to distribute to more restaurants and bars that have limited or no beer on tap. For now, Riverwatch is bottling four of its best-sellers: Scenic Overlook (blonde ale), Cautionary Tale (double IPA), Route 104 (Pale Ale) and Three Under Par (Belgian Tripel). Sloane said Riverwatch will roll out two more of its beers into stores in the coming weeks. Savannah River Brewing Co. started selling bottled beer in the Augusta area more than a year ago. In the last six months, owner Steve Ellison said the Continued on Page 12


Openings, Closings and Moves

OPENINGS

Sprint Foods has opened a new store at 1050 Edgefield Road in North Augusta.

Metro To Go After closing its Metro To Go market on Broad Street last month, Sprint Foods has opened a new store in North Augusta. It is Sprint Foods’ 20th store in 21 years of business in the area. The new market is at 1050 Edgefield Road in North Augusta and features a drive-thru, gas station and digital kiosks similar to the ones at the former Metro Market on Broad Street. It is open 24 hours every day. The convenience store opened March 8, and a grand opening of the new store was set for March 29. Sprint Foods retains its offices on the second floor of the former downtown Metro Market. IHOP and Aspen Dental North Augustans have a new spot to satisfy their cravings for pancakes, French toast and bottomless cups of coffee. IHOP opened its new restaurant at 1248 Knox Ave. in February, between Arby’s and Starbucks in the KrogerLowe’s shopping area. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day. In addition to serving breakfast all day, it also serves burgers, salads and other entrees. Sharing the same building as IHOP will be an Aspen Dental office, which is expected to open April 23. Patriot’s Smokehouse A new barbecue joint has opened in Clarks Hill, S.C., north of Augusta. Patriots’ Smokehouse, a new restaurant specializing in barbecue, brisket, ribs, chicken and hash, opened Feb. 15 at 2006½ Martintown Road. The eatery is located near convenience store Sportsman’s Corner. “My husband was actually a truck driver,” said the smokehouse’s co-owner Stephanie Crowder. “After 15 years of that, we just decided to try some-

thing different.” Crowder, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Ron Crowder, and friend Adam Fay, said the log cabinstyle building has housed restaurants in the past and is surrounded by a growing amount of development. Crowder said Patriots’ Smokehouse also caters and continually keeps the menu fresh with new additions to the restaurant’s core items. Patriots’ Smokehouse is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Top China and Ironwood Tavern A new restaurant opened in February in Evans’ Riverwood Town Center, the Publix-anchored shopping center that has drawn several new businesses over the last year. Top China, a new Chinese restaurant that currently has a location on Columbia Road, will open a new location in Riverwood Town Center. Another new restaurant has filled the hole at the Market Place at Riverwood that Armando’s Pizza left when it suddenly closed last summer. Ironwood Tavern, a new restaurant concept from the owner of Limelite Cafe, will soon open in the shopping center. The restaurants join Rooted Coffeehouse and Ocean Nails and Spa, which both opened recently. Papa John’s opened a location in the center last fall. Bogey’s Grille Bogey’s Grille has taken over the spot formerly known as Birddog Grille in the Village at Furys Ferry, at the corner of Furys Ferry and Evans to Locks roads. Birddog Grille closed in October. Bogey’s is a 3,600-square-foot restaurant (it also took over the vacant space next door) and includes separate dining room and bar areas. Big T’s Seafood A new Southern-style seafood restaurant has opened in Grovetown. Big T’s Seafood Restaurant, which opened at 4314 Wrightsboro Road at the beginning of February, offers a variety of seafood platters, fish sandwiches, wings and other items. Big T’s owner Tim Daniels first opened the self-described “seafood fried Southern style” restaurant in Harlem in 2010. After moving it to Thomson two years later, Daniels and his family ran Big T’s there until they closed it in 2016 after the daily commute became tiresome.

Now Daniels, who developed a passion for cooking seafood at a young age, has opened Big T’s in the CSRA and is doing it in classic Southern style. “Everything is hand-breaded, and we get fresh fish every Tuesday and Thursday mornings,” Daniels said. “We take pride in good quality and good fish.” Big T’s will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and has both dine-in and carry-out options. Miracle Method A nationwide surface refinishing franchise recently opened in Augusta, according to a statement from the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based company. Bathroom and kitchen refinishing franchise Miracle Method announced it will serve the entire CSRA when it opens. Local entrepreneurs Chris and Lana Tomblin will operate the franchise. Tomblin bought the franchise after failing to find an affordable local refinishing solution for the home he considered buying. Miracle Method specializes in ceramic tile, countertops, vanities, bathtubs and surrounds, showers and sinks. The franchise also offers bathing safety modifications including nonslip surfaces, grab bars and bath-to-walk-in showers. MOD Pizza MOD Pizza, a build-your-own pizza restaurant, opened in the Augusta Exchange shopping center on Feb. 28 and donated all of its opening day proceeds to the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University. The pizzeria, at 229 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Pkwy., is the 338th MOD Pizza location in the United States. MOD Pizza shares a building with Chipotle, which also opened in February.

CLOSINGS

Café on the Canal The Cafe on the Canal at Augusta’s Kroc Center is closing its doors April 1. Cafe staff will be focusing their efforts instead on feeding the needy at the Salvation Army Center of Hope, a homeless shelter downtown. In a statement, Salvation Army officials said Kroc is “excited to expand our catering options which will provide a better experience” for Kroc events, in connection with the change. The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center opened on Broad Street in 2011 with a bequest from the estate of McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc and more than $20

million in local contributions. At more than 100,000 square feet, the center includes a family pool with water slides, fitness equipment, meeting rooms, a performing arts center and other facilities. The cafe offered affordable breakfast and lunch options. Last year, the cafe closed for five weeks for renovations and menu changes that were intended to expand its customer base.

The Williams-Sonoma store at Augusta Mall is expected to close April 22.

Williams-Sonoma Upscale kitchenware retailer Williams-Sonoma, located at the Augusta Mall, has announced that it will close soon. It is the retailer’s only location in Augusta. A sign outside the store reads “Thank You. We will be closing this location. We apologize for any inconvenience and invite you to visit or call us at our nearby locations.” An employee who confirmed Williams-Sonoma’s closure said the store’s last day open will be around April 22. Until then, all of the store’s items are discounted 20-30 percent. “We’re going to miss Williams-Sonoma significantly,” said Amy Dalton, general manager of the Augusta Mall. Neither Dalton nor the employee was able to provide a reason for the closure. Olde Town Diner The Olde Town Diner at the corner of Sixth and Greene streets has closed, according to the owner of the property. Fred Daitch, a real estate developer and owner of International Uniform, said the diner, which opened in January 2017, closed in February 2018. The building used to be the location of The Whistle Stop, which closed after a fire in the building in 2011. Toys R Us Just two months after announcing Continued on Page 13 March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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GROWING PAINS

CITY DEVELOPERS FORM VISION AS AREA CHANGES

Part of Augusta’s changing skyline is the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center (far right) under construction along the riverfront. Photo by Witt Wells

BY WITT WELLS

Deke Copenhaver knows he is often viewed as a cheerleader for Augusta, and he doesn’t mind. The way he sees it, Augusta is a good investment, plain and simple, with its low cost of living, good health care and high quality of life. “People from all over the country are like, ‘Oh my gosh, we love your city!’” the former mayor said. From 2005 to 2014, Copenhaver became particularly passionate about economic development and helped bring companies including ADP, Unisys and Rural Sourcing Inc. to Augusta. “After leaving office, I thought that I still have value to add to the situation with regard to our economic development efforts,” he said. “Not to get in the way or do anything to interfere with the efforts, but really to help supplement the efforts of different organizations like the Development Authority.” Now, as a consultant through Copenhaver Consulting, the former mayor advises and aids the Augusta Economic Development Authority, a role that he says allows him to focus fully on issues he loves to deal with, ones that were only a few of his many worries while in office. Meanwhile, the Augusta Economic Development Authority has a new leader guiding it into a period of transition as the city experiences some growing pains. After Walter Sprouse retired as the head of the authority last fall (he oversaw $3 billion in investments and the creation of 15,000 jobs during his 15-year tenure), a search for his replacement ended in Clarksville, Tenn., where Cal Wray had drawn $850 million in investments from Google and LG Electronics for a new data center and manufacturing plant to the area. Wray and Copenhaver bring different experiences to the table as they help the development authority move forward. But as each described his vision for growing the economy by bringing new industries to Augusta and by empowering local businesses to succeed in the coming years, a few common ideals were expressed.

selves fighting to keep James Brown Arena downtown. The stadium felt like a huge loss for Copenhaver, but now there’s a different project rising on the same riverside site where he wanted to build a stadium, a project that will seal Augusta’s status as one of the world’s most important cybersecurity hubs: The Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center. In the end, Copenhaver said, when the authority brings new business prospects to Augusta, those prospects don’t see the dividing lines that Augustans have imposed on themselves. They see one place. “If you’ve got somebody looking to invest in Augusta, it doesn’t matter if you’re taking them across the river,” he said. “You’ve got the city skyline as a backdrop. I think people are starting to get that what’s good for Augusta is good for North Augusta and Columbia County and vice versa. We need to get over this mentality that someone’s going to be left behind, because that’s not going to happen.” That includes south Augusta. Last year, Starbucks announced a $130 million expansion at Augusta Corporate Park on Mike Padgett Highway. Wray sees massive potential for further development at the park, where Starbucks is currently the sole tenant. In March, he told the development authority board that five companies are scouting the property for potential investment and that one would be a “very, very large investment.” The authority is marketing 21 sites over thousands of acres there.

Education, particularly in cybersecurity, has to be a priority

In an interview at last year’s TechNet Augusta conference, which brings military personnel, government officials and entrepreneurs to Augusta to share ideas and discuss cyber warfare and workforce training, Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford stressed the importance of incorporating cyber education into school curriculum long before students reach college. Copenhaver echoed Crawford’s urgent call for change, adding that he has already seen considerable progress. “We need an educated workforce, and that starts in the elementary school — literally,” Copenhaver said. “ComAugustans need to start embracing a panies would prefer to hire locally. But with cyber, it’s unified mentality While in office, Copenhaver pushed to put the new like building a bridge while you’re walking across it, tryAugusta GreenJackets stadium on the Georgia side of ing to figure it out as we go along. We can try to look at the Savannah River. It didn’t work out. SRP Park is near- other communities, but what’s happening here is unique ing completion across the river in North Augusta, much to our community.” Meanwhile, Wray is still learning about his new city. to the dismay of many Augustans who now find them-

8 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

Gaining an understanding of the workforce at Fort Gordon is near the top of his to-do list. He said the presence of 28,000 soldiers at Fort Campbell near Clarksville — and the soft skills and discipline they brought to the table — were a deciding factor in the decisions of both Google and LG to invest there. “Sites are important, buildings are important,” he said. “That used to be the driving factor. Now, the driving factor is workforce. So, learning what the military component is, learning what the civilian component is, learning what our school system here in Richmond County can do and bringing all of those components together to understand the workforce here is the quickest way to get prospects and consultants to consider the community for investment in locations.”

The city needs a ‘thriving place’ strategy

Growth can be good, but it’s not always good if you don’t prepare for it. If you don’t prepare, Copenhaver said, you get run over by it: “I’m interested in smart growth.” Smart growth, according to Copenhaver, was recruiting Costco to Augusta at the height of the Great Recession and giving 200 good jobs to local people. Copenhaver, like many local developers, is bullish on downtown and wants to capitalize on developing the heart of the city the right way as it enters a new phase. Both Copenhaver and Wray are concerned about the lack of downtown housing options. Augusta has a limited amount of time to fix that problem as workers move to the area from places like Washington, D.C., following the relocation of the U.S. Army Cyber Command. Bryan Haltermann is developing two apartment buildings downtown, but Copenhaver thinks mixed-income housing will be key. “People hear affordable housing and they’re like, ‘Oh, they’re gonna move a bunch of poor people in,’ ” he said. “It’s firefighters, policemen, teachers and students who need affordable housing. So I think there’s a real opportunity there, but we need housing options for everybody. That’s some of the investment I’m trying to recruit. There’s plenty of room for upscale housing downtown, too.” And that includes some places that have been neglected in the past. “I would say Harrisburg is going to become the funky, cool neighborhood,” he said. “That’s going to happen, but we need to mitigate that, and we need to have a ‘thriving place mentality’ where we don’t displace all the residents of these neighborhoods.”


March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

9


ON THE RAZOR’S EDGE

THE RIGHT ADVERTISING REQUIRES SHARP DISCERNMENT BY MARK ALISON

Double-edge, single-edge, cartridge, Trac II, Mach 3, Fusion Power Phantom — I’ve tried them all. I bought into the 1989 Super Bowl campaign created by BBDO Worldwide: “Gillette, The Best a Man Can Get.” I think I still have most of those razors in a drawer someplace. Every new iteration promised to shave closer, last longer and work better and with less drag than the previous version. And with every new razor came a new type of blade that definitely cost more. Last month, I came across my original double-edge adjustable safety razor. For kicks I bought a pack of five blades for about six bucks at Walgreens and lathered up using the classic badger-hair brush and soapy mug. Styptic pencil in hand just in case, here we go. And “surprise, surprise,” as Gomer Pyle used to say, it did a fine job. No cuts, scrapes or tiny scraps of toilet paper stuck to my bloody face. It worked just like they said it would when it was new. I have now put away my Quadromega-beard-buster and the $32 pack of four blades for a while — at least until I get through the $6 five-pack of doubleedgers. It’s not for everyone, I am sure, but for me it gets the job done. If you are a longtime local business owner you probably started advertising back when there were fewer TV stations, far fewer radio stations and one newspaper — you get the picture. As time went by, you might have been wooed by the promise of media, like those razors, that claimed to work better and last longer. Here’s the history: Word-of-mouth gave way to newspapers, direct mail, radio, television, cable, satellite, texting, online advertising and Facebook — which is essentially just another version of word-of-mouth. Advertising went 360 degrees, right back to where it started. Advertising media is simply a way to reach and influence people with your message. If you can only handle 10 customers a day, why pay to reach 10,000? If I only need one blade to shave my face, why buy four? The tool that does the job the best for the least is probably the tool to stay with. If you are frustrated by all of the new digital media claims and you’ve had

10 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

Sometimes, the way we’ve “always” done things turns out to still be the best way.

When you deal with customers, give them the service and courtesies that make them want to tell their friends. There’s a new/old idea for you. Word-of-mouth. It’s not for everyone, I’m sure, but for most it gets the job done. success with direct mail or another medium, stay with it. Try other media if you have the budget, but don’t be lulled into the idea that the newest is way better than the oldest. Or that more of anything is better. As a young ad salesperson working for the newspaper, I was trained that more is better. After all, my job was to sell ad space. Then I bumped into a customer who said, “We don’t want to run an ad this week, or every week. We can barely handle the customers we got from last week’s ad.” “But don’t you want the 10 percent multi-ad discount?” I countered. And she said, “When we don’t run at all, the

discount is 100 percent.” Oops! No commission for me this week. Quoting Abraham Lincoln, sort of, “You can reach all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t reach all of the people all of the time.” No media is perfect, and if one could reach all of the people all of the time it might be more expensive than those Quadro beard buster blades. Use media to talk to the people you want to call customers. Oh, and when you deal with customers, give them the service and courtesies that make them want to tell their friends. There’s a new/old idea for you.

Word-of-mouth. It’s not for everyone, I’m sure, but for most it gets the job done. That should be the end of this article, but I want to take one final shot to emphasize “customer service.” If you have employees who deal with your public, do some covert research to be sure they are giving the service you expect. From the receptionist to the bookkeeper, it only takes one negative to cancel out a whole lot of positive. Don’t give poor service and don’t put up with poor service. No amount of media can overcome a bad reputation.

Mark Alison, the Business Accelerator, is an independent marketing counselor. He can be reached at mark9226@me.com.


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March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

11


buzz bits Continued from Page 6 brewery has expanded its Georgia sales to Lake Oconee, Athens, Gainesville, Covington and Savannah. Riverwatch will also expand its distribution area, though not as extensively. The brewery is currently focused on distributing its bottled brews in Georgia, but Sloane plans to expand into nearby South Carolina markets soon. “Once we’ve got our routine going, we will go ahead and expand into North Augusta and Aiken,” Sloane said.

LOCAL ADVISOR EARNS ELITE HONOR A local Ameriprise Financial advisor has attained the rare status of Private Wealth Advisor, an achievement that is only reached by 15 percent of financial advisors at the company. Will Rogers, a private wealth advisor with the company, recently received the honor through demonstrated excellence in client service, completion of industry-recognized qualifications and extensive experience serving the complex financial needs of affluent clients. Private wealth advisors provide clients with personalized advice and tailored financial solutions that encompass retirement, wealth preservation strategies and asset management.

EDTS ON LIST OF TOP 100 SECURITY FIRMS CRN, a brand of The Channel Company, has named EDTS to its 2018 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the “Managed Security 100” category. The annual list recognizes North American solution providers with award-winning approaches to delivering managed information technology (IT) services. These providers have formally showcased how they help companies navigate the complex and everchanging landscape of IT, improve operational efficiencies and maximize their return on IT investments. The list is divided into three categories: the MSP Pioneer 250, the MSP Elite 150 and the Managed Security 100, recognizing MSPs focused primarily on off-premise security services. “Offering sound IT security prac-

12 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

tices is the most important thing any MSP can do for our clients in the current day,” said Charles Johnson, CEO of EDTS Cyber. “As cyber crime continues to gain traction, so do financial losses caused by data loss and exposure.” Johnson advises small to midsized businesses to examine the security practices included in their MSP contracts and the qualifications of the provider. For companies that have managed services but are still concerned about security, he recommends a security risk assessment performed by a certified information systems auditor.

BANK RAISES $70,000 FOR FOOD BANK Bank of America’s annual Give A Meal campaign raised nearly $70,000 for Golden Harvest Food Bank’s hunger-fighting mission last year. The fundraising campaign features a match component that triples donors’ gifts. For every dollar donated through Give A Meal, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gives two more dollars up to $1.5 million. The Give A Meal campaign’s donations totaled $69,274 last year — the equivalent of 228,604 meals. It was the campaign’s seventh year in existence. “We are proud and honored to have had an opportunity to support the great work of Golden Harvest and to have an impact on such a critical issue in the areas we serve,” said Ora Parish, Augusta/Aiken market president for Bank of America. “By providing nearly 229,000 meals, we are helping to alleviate food insecurity, which is a critical stepping stone on the path to economic mobility.” Local Bank of America leadership volunteered with Golden Harvest in the Faith Food Factory on the food bank’s Augusta campus. Parish and other leadership team members weighed and sorted coffee and drink packets for distribution to partner agencies. More than 48 million Americans struggle with hunger, including nearly 16 million children. In the CSRA, one in five adults and one in four children sometimes go hungry. “Bank of America’s focus on local branches helping local communities is a testament to their dedication to helping end hunger in our neighborhoods,” said Travis McNeal, executive director of Golden Harvest. “We’re grateful for their continued support and friendship.”

AIRPORT EXPANDS TSA PRECHECK SERVICE

BILL WOULD END SPRING, FALL CLOCK CHANGING

Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) has made a number of renovations and adjustments over the last several years in an effort to become an attractive option for travelers. Add to that list an extension of expedited screening procedure TSA Precheck, which the airport recently began operating daily during the peak hours of 4 to 8 a.m. “The Augusta Regional Airport has grown tremendously over the past decade,” said Herbert Judon Jr., the airport’s executive director. “TSA Precheck will be especially beneficial for our business and frequent flyers.” TSA Precheck first became available to the general public in 2013 as an answer to the long lines at airport security checkpoints. In exchange for a background check and a fee, Precheck passengers go through an expedited security check that does not require them to remove their shoes, laptops, jackets, belts or liquids. At AGS, a line will be dedicated to Precheck during the peak period, and TSA will operate an additional screening lane. For people departing AGS at others times, TSA will offer similar expedited screening procedures for Precheck members.

Changing clock settings each spring and fall is not only an annoyance, but it could affect the nation’s economy. At least that’s the belief of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). On March 14, he announced that he has filed legislation to allow not just Florida but the entire nation to stay on daylight savings time year-round. He believes the legislation, called the Sunshine Protection Act, will help the nation’s economy. Currently, daylight saving time runs from early March to early November. It was established by the Uniform Time Act of 1966 and revised in 2005. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave states the right to opt out; currently, only Arizona and Hawaii do not follow daylight saving time. Rubio believes keeping clocks on the same time year-round will eliminate an economic decline that he said sets in every November. He also believes that later sunsets will lead to fewer robberies and a decline in auto accidents.

NEW HOME PROJECT SLATED FOR GROVETOWN

Aiken Technical College (ATC) radiation protection technology students have new equipment to prepare them for the workforce, thanks to a $5,000 grant from Savannah River Remediation (SRR). With the grant, the college purchased a stretch scope, video camera and tripod, a glove bag and a replacement radioactive needle source. “The equipment for this program is so expensive that every little bit helps significantly,” said Dr. Raghunath Kanakala, dean of technical education at ATC. SRR President Tom Foster said SRR supports ATC because of the institution’s history of providing the community with a pipeline of graduates ready to work. “Savannah River Remediation is fortunate to have students who graduate from Aiken Technical College,” Foster said. “We look forward to a continued partnership, which is of significant benefit to both of us.”

A new neighborhood is under development to accommodate growth in Grovetown. Ivey Homes plans to develop the Caroleton neighborhood, just minutes from the planned new Gate 6 at Fort Gordon. The new neighborhood will contain single-family homes ranging from three-bedroom to six-bedroom floor plans. It will offer community amenities including a swimming pool, sidewalks, pavilion and playground. A model home is under construction and will be completed in early June. Until then, Ivey Homes’ other Grovetown location, Canterbury Farms, will be the hub for sales and information.

SRR HELPS AIKEN TECH BUY EQUIPMENT


Openings, Closings and Moves Continued from Page 7 it will close 182 stores, Toys R Us has now decided to sell or close all of its U.S. stores. The chain has 791 stores across the country. The closings will put about 30,000 employees out of work. They were promised 60 days of pay but will not receive any severance. The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2017. It had been in business for 70 years but had been saddled with billions of dollars of debt that kept it from making necessary investments in its stores.

EXPANSIONS

Sparkle Express Car Wash Another Sparkle Express Car Wash has popped up in Martinez. The former Shine Shop Full Service Car Wash and Detail Center at 414 Furys Ferry Road has been converted into a Sparkle Express, a locally owned collection of car washes that now number seven throughout the CSRA. The business is owned by Columbia County Commission member Gary Richardson, who started acquiring local automated car washes in 2004, 12 years after he bought his first self-serve car wash. Sparkle Express Car Washes are open every day of the week, with varying hours at each location. First Community Bank First Community Bank has opened an office in downtown Augusta at 771 Broad St. The 3,100-square-foot office marks the 20th location for the bank and its third in the Augusta-Aiken region. Commercial banker James Heffner will lead the new office. “We believe it is important for customers to have convenient access to the quality service they’ve come to know at our Walton Way location,” Heffner said. “With the remarkable changes happening, it is a great time to be downtown.” In addition to its downtown and Walton Way offices, First Community Bank operates an office in Aiken and has purchased property in Evans, with plans to further expand its footprint in the region. The bank entered the market in 2014 by acquiring Savannah River Banking Co. Trane Heating and air conditioning systems manufacturer Trane Inc. has opened a

DENTAL PRACTICE OPENS NEW SOUTH AUGUSTA FACILITY

A local dental practice has opened a new office in south Augusta. Dental Partners of South Augusta recently cut the ribbon on a 2,800-square-foot facility at 2105 Faircrest Ave. The practice is owned by Dr. Palmer Westmoreland, who bought Dental Partners of South Augusta after a year of being an associate there. He has owned the practice for six years, and he said a new facility has given him more and improved opportunities. The new office is also outfitted with an improved X-ray machine, plus television screens that allow patients to watch videos and see their own X-rays. Dental Partners of South Augusta is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday. commercial office and expanded supply store in Augusta. Trane has had an equipment supply store in Augusta for more than 20 years, but the company’s new facility is roughly five times larger than the old store. The expanded supply store is at 804 Trane Road, which is off North Leg Road. The 35,000 square feet of space will be used for display, shopping and onsite storage space. The new facility will also allow Trane to ship products locally and drastically cut shipping times. Trane Inc. is a brand of Ingersoll Rand, which also owns Club Car.

RENOVATIONS

Chick-fil-A Mullins Crossing Continued growth has led Chick-filA to temporarily close its store at Mullins Crossing to increase its size. Remodeling began March 3 to add a second drive-thru lane and to work on the back of the store. The store is expected to close completely on March 30 for the full reconstruction and expansion and is scheduled to reopen in early May. Chick-fil-A opened its store in Columbia County 13 years ago and its business has grown along with the county since then. Chick-fil-A Mullins Crossing currently employs 90 staff and will be placing them at other area restaurants

for training during the bulk of the construction in April. The location will add about 30 additional staff in the updated eatery and will be hold a hiring fair in April to fill those positions.

The Mi Rancho restaurant at 3108 William Few Pkwy. is closed for renovations until the end of April.

Mi Rancho Local Mexican restaurant Mi Rancho has temporarily closed for renovations, according to the real estate company that manages the property. Jordan Trotter Marketing Director Juli Means said the restaurant has closed because of underground utility issues and is scheduled to reopen in April. A sign on the property said the restaurant will be closed for remodeling until the end of April, which means that the restaurant will be closed during the Masters Tournament. The restaurant is at 3108 William Few Pkwy. in Evans and is one of Mi

Rancho’s four locations in the area. The others are downtown, in west Augusta and in Clearwater, S.C. Twin Peaks A restaurant damaged by arson last year has had its reopening delayed. Twin Peaks in the Augusta Exchange shopping center had originally expected to reopen in late March, but that has since been pushed back until April 21. The restaurant was gutted by fire in June 2017, when a former employee crashed his truck into the building, doused the eatery with gas and set it on fire. The knife-wielding man was detained at gunpoint by a private citizen until police arrived to arrest him. No one was injured in the attack. Metro Coffeehouse A newly renovated Metro Coffeehouse and Pub reopened on March 15 after a brief closure. The spot at 1054 Broad St. in downtown Augusta reopened with a few additions aimed at drawing a more diverse crowd, including a broader selection of non-alcoholic drinks, new espresso machine and pastries.

Catch the Buzz! Keep up with business and economic news across the CSRA at buzzon.biz.

March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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UPCOMING BUSINESS EVENTS

Friday, April 6

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.

Tuesday, April 10

Facebook 101: Ads & Boosting, 11:45 a.m., 604 Ponder Place Dr., Evans. This class will give the ins and outs of boosting and running Facebook ads, with step-by-step instructions. Lunch provided. $49. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Friday, April 13

SCORE: Improve Your Internet Search Engine Presence, 10 a.m., North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave., North Augusta. This workshop includes information on how search engines work, website page content, keywords, Google Analytics and Google best practices. Presented by Jeremy Mace of NewFire Media. For more information, visit northaugusta chamber.org.

Monday, April 16

Chamber After Hours, 5 p.m. A networking opportunity for Chamber members. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber. com.

Tuesday, April 17

Women in Business, 11:30 a.m., Legends Club, Augusta. Topic is Golf and Southern Hospitality, an inside look at the Red Carpet Tour Showcase. Guest speakers include Sue Parr, president/CEO of Augusta Metro Chamber; Lessie Price, manager of Community Relations and Government Affairs at URS Corp.; Jessica Hood, executive director of Development Authority of Burke County; and Phil Wahl, of Security Federal Bank. Registration deadline

14 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

RIBBONS CUTTINGS SCHEDULED March 29: Precious Memories Sitter Services, 1000 Business Blvd., Augusta, 11:30 a.m. March 29: Sprint Foods, 1050 Edgefield Road, North Augusta, 8:30 a.m. April 9: Drew Passmore Battlewon Foundation, Jones Creek Golf Club, 777 Jones Creek Drive, Evans, 12:45 p.m. April 19: First Community Bank, 771 Broad St., Augusta, 4 p.m. April 24: Scottish Rite of Augusta, 2553 Washington Road, Augusta, 11 a.m. is April 13. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

Thursday, April 19

Third Thursday Business Builder, 11:30 a.m., Augusta Metro Chamber office, 1 10th St. Registration required. 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 network-

ing. Registration required. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

Friday, April 20

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

67th annual Meeting and Banquet, 5:30 p.m., SRP Park, 187 Railroad Ave., North Augusta. The North Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting will celebrate successes and present awards for Citizen of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Ambassador of the Year. Individual and table tickets available. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

der Place Dr., Evans. This class will give step-by-step instructions on how to engage and communicate with your followers on your Facebook posts and ads. Lunch provided. $49. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Saturday, April 21

Networking for Leads, 3 p.m., Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 1000 Business Blvd., Evans. This is a structured program that encourages businesses to give leads, create mutually beneficial relationships and develop a net-weaving experience. For more information, visit columbiacounty chamber.com. Business After Hours, 5 p.m., Cumberland Village Clubhouse, 3070 Wise Creek Lane, Aiken. An opportunity for businesses to present themselves to the business community. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

16th annual Grovetown Heritage Festival, 10 a.m., Goodale Park, 5207 Wrightsboro Road, Grovetown. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Monday, April 23

Chip Away Hunger Charity Golf Outing, 10:30 a.m., Champions Retreat Golf Club, Evans. All proceeds go to Golden Harvest Food Bank. Individuals and teams welcome. Sponsorships available. For more, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Tuesday, April 24

Facebook 101: Engagements and Insights, 11:45 a.m., 604 Pon-

Thursday, April 26

Friday, April 27

North Augusta Rotary Golf Outing, 12 p.m., Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Course, North Augusta. Proceeds benefit Golden Harvest Food Bank’s Children’s Backpack Program. Individuals and teams welcome. Sponsorships available. Registration deadline is April 25.


Saturday, April 28

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 columbiacountychamber.com.

Monday, May 14

18th annual Golf Classic, 11 a.m., Gordon Lakes Golf Course. Individuals and teams welcome. Sponsorships available. Early-bird prices available until April 13. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

AT THECLUBHOU.SE • 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. April 2-6: theClubhou.se will be closed the week of the Masters Tournament April 11: ATDC Lunch & Learn: Best Practices for Hiring Development Talent. Noon to 1 p.m. April 12: Monthly meetup of Augusta Cloud, a user group for those interested in the cloud and its applications to IT. 6-8 p.m. April 17: Manufacturing meetup focuses on exploring the possibilities of the laser cutter at theClubhou.se. 6-8 p.m. April 18: Entrepreneurs Night, presented by ATDC, is casual networking with beverages followed by a quick informal presentation by an entrepreneur of some distinction. 5:30-7:30 p.m. April 19: PyAugusta is a monthly gathering of Pythonistas interested in data science. 6-8 p.m. April 20: Growler Gardening gets together the horticulturally minded for some garden maintenance and good beer! 5-7 p.m. April 23: Check out the monthly Robotics meetup! 6-8 p.m. April 24: Agile Augusta meets to discuss agile project management. 6-7 p.m. Be on the lookout next month for the beginning of a Web/Dev-themed gathering for developers, managers and hiring agents.

AUGUSTA’S INNOVATION NEWS

THE

ACCELERATOR

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Netflixing, a must-have 26 minute nap, etc. 10. Favorite books?

Latasha N. Louis FOUNDER

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, Make Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky, The Red Rubber Ball at Work by Kevin Carroll, Friction Passion Brands in the Age of Disruption by Jeff Rosenblum, Rework by Jason Fried

1. What is the business? VERBATIM is an innovation and intellectual property design firm specializing in idea to market efficacy. We design, produce, and engineer products and product collections for business to business distribution.

11. Best piece of advice? Protect your imagination.

2. When and where did you found it?

12. What is next for your business?

We officially launched on February 1st of 2017 in Tennessee. 3. Where is the business now? VERBATIM is utilizing lean startup techniques, and testing our assumptions by creating minimum viable products and product collections for early adopters. 4. Any previous entrepreneurial experience? Lessons learned? In 2006, I started a group in Augusta called The Walking Canvas Movement (WCM). The group was designed to provide a platform for creatives interested in fashion related careers (designers, models, photographers, etc.) to develop their skills and interest by creating opportunities rather than complaining about what didn’t exist. My entrepreneurial experience has been cultivating my ability to identify feasible and desired opportunities and then designing a way to make it viable. Lesson Learned : Value is found in the ability to serve people. The more often you feel without acting, the less you will be able to act, and, in the long run, the less you will be able to feel. Being is doing. 5. How did you get the idea? VERBATIM is a solution based around problems I’ve encounter throughout my experience as a young, woman of color in design and engineering, as well as a consumer with proven cultural and economic influence yet consistently experiencing a sort-of second class citizenship within the retail industry. 6. How has your idea progressed over time? My ideas have always been focused toward a universal theme, but the progression comes from the development and growth

LATASHA LOUIS in my confidence to execute my vision. I know that I am the best person to solve this problem - there’s a faith and authenticity that I have in what I’m building that goes unmatched. 7. How did you fund the business? After reading $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, I developed a business model canvas and used $87.69 from my savings to cover the initial startup costs - website, domain name, business cards, craft tools, etc. For my first product collection of redesigned greeting cards called Organic Convo Starters, I created product photos for the website using mockups made with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and relied on a made-to-order system which eliminated inventory costs. I used the remaining money left in my budget to print and package samples that I kept on-hand for day-to-day networking. 8. How did business?

you

market

your

Building relationships, sharing my process via Facebook, and giving back. 9. What does a typical day involve for you? How has this changed over time? Routine. Routine. Routine. Growing up, my parents called me a “creature of habit”. Monday thru Friday, I’m up by 5:30AM and the day starts with my candid conversations with God, meditation, time budgeting, adulting (paying bills, e-mails, etc.), an intense 15 minute workout while blasting music, and breakfast. I love breakfast - food in general. When I budget time for the day, I’m always carving out blocks of time designated for designing, reading, researching, networking,

VERBATIM exists for one reason - to connect people. We will continue to learn from exploring culture, utilizing simple design to solve problems and sharing truth. I have some ideas about what that looks like over time but you can definitely expect us to design a way to give back by exposing others to creative careers that they may not have considered based on access, exposure and opportunity. 13. What’s next for you? Completing my fellowship at Startup Life via theClubhou.se and potentially pursuing a Juris Doctors in Patent Law/Technology Transfer from Emory University School of Law. 14. How has theClubhou.se company?

working out of benefitted your

theClubhou.se does an amazing job of connecting like minds within the CSRA. Being exposed to this type of environment has helped me to protect my entrepreneurial spirit because all of its members freely give of their knowledge and insights. theClubhou.se is truly a refreshing environment for anyone pursuing entrepreneurship.

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March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

15


SECRETS TO SUCCESS

DEVELOPING THESE TRAITS HELP FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS SOAR through speaking engagements and blogging. Consider avenues such as television, YouTube, Facebook Live and podcasts to keep you visible.

BY DANIELLE HARRIS

I was in my 20s when I started my entrepreneurial mentoring company SDI, and I worked hard with my team of volunteers to make it successful. After years of growing my business, I’ve had the chance to coach female millennial entrepreneurs, and I began to notice a pattern of how these young ladies are unapologetic when it comes to taking risks and being leaders in their respective fields. After years of working with female millennipreneurs, I’ve compiled the following list of traits that help young women business owners turn obstacles into opportunities and lay a path for the next generation of female business leaders.

Be your own greatest cheerleader

American billionaire businesswoman and Spanx founder Sara Blakely once said, “Don’t be intimated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do

Bounce back from failure

By taking risks and leading without apology, today’s young female entrepreneurs are forging a path for the next generation.

things differently from everyone else.” It’s easy to make the mistake of underestimating your potential, especially if you feel as if you’re not as qualified as your competition. However, you have to be your own greatest cheerleader and believe in your abilities. Never forget the reason you started your business, and always

realize you have what it takes to be great.

Position yourself as an expert

The marketplace changes quickly, and remaining an avid learner in your field will keep you relevant as an expert. Position yourself as an expert by showcasing your knowledge

My mother, Regina Harris, is a highly acclaimed pastor, and she always told me, “Danielle, you never lose but you learn.” I take these words of encouragement as a reminder to use failure as a tool for learning. No one wants to experience setbacks, but challenges are necessary for growth. Rather than worry about these moments, develop what I like to call “bounceback strategies” so you can react with action instead of worry.

Cherish your support system

You will meet doubters along the way, but avoid these people and surround yourself with those who will inspire you and hold you accountable. In fact, get a business mentor and glean from their advice. Remember, what you’re doing is too precious to be halted by those who don’t understand your vision.

Make the connection

One of the secrets to building a strong business is having a network of people to collaborate with. Networking events can be intimidating, but overcome your fear of rejection and start working the room. You never know whom you might meet.

TAX THIEVERY

Danielle Harris is the CEO and founder of SDI, a leadership mentoring program for entrepreneurs. She earned her certification as a Personal Development Coach from the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute, an affiliate of the International Coach Federation. Reach her at 762.333.2868 or SDILeadershipAcademy@gmail.com.

BUSINESSES ARE INCREASINGLY TARGETS OF TAX IDENTITY FRAUD BY CHRISTINE HALL

Small business identity theft is a big business for identity thieves. Just like individuals, businesses might have their identities stolen and their sensitive information used to open credit card accounts or file fraudulent tax returns for bogus refunds. As such, small business owners should be on guard against a growing wave of identity theft against employers. In the past year, the Internal Revenue Service has noted a sharp increase in the number of fraudulent Forms 1120, 1120S and 1041, plus Schedule K-1. These fraudulent filings apply to partnerships as well as estate and trust forms. Security Summit partners (the IRS, state tax agencies and the private-sector tax community) have expanded efforts to protect business filers better and identify suspected false returns. Identity thieves display a sophisticated knowledge of the tax code and industry filing practices and have long made use

16 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

of stolen Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), which they use to create fake Forms W-2. These fake Forms W-2 are then used to file fraudulent individual tax returns. Fraudsters also used EINs to open new lines of credit or obtain credit cards. Until recently they were only targeting individuals, but now they are using company names and EINs to file fraudulent business returns. As with fraudulent individual returns, there are certain signs that may indicate business identity theft. Business, partnerships and estate and trust filers should be alert to potential identity theft and contact the IRS if they experience any of these issues: • Extension requests are rejected because a return with the EIN or Social Security number (SSN) is already on file. • An e-filed return is rejected because a duplicate EIN/SSN is already on file with the IRS; • An unexpected receipt of a tax tran-

script or IRS notice that doesn’t correspond to anything submitted by the filer. • Failure to receive expected and routine correspondence from the IRS because the thief has changed the address.

New procedures to protect business in 2018

The IRS, state tax agencies and software providers also share certain data points from returns, including business returns, which help identify a suspicious filing. The IRS and states also are asking that business and tax practitioners provide additional information that will help verify the legitimacy of the tax return. For small businesses looking for a place to start on security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has produced the publication Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals. NIST is the branch of the U.S. Commerce Department that sets information security frameworks followed by federal agencies.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has a special section on its website dedicated to resources for small and midsize businesses. Many secretaries of state also provide resources on business-related identity theft as well. For more information about businessrelated identity theft, visit the IRS website, www.irs.gov, and search for Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance.

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


March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

17


PLAN FOR SUCCESS

PROVIDING TRAINING BENEFITS A COMPANY IN MANY WAYS BY STACY ROBERTS

Imagine you decide that your family’s summer trip is going to be a weeklong stay at Disney World. Although this is sure to be an epic trip, full of memories to last a lifetime, there is planning that goes into deciding which parks you’ll visit, what hotel you’ll stay in and where the family will eat, in addition to many other details. Most people just don’t wake up and decide that their family is going to Disney World for a week without proper planning. They want to be prepared for any mishaps that might occur to make sure that the trip is seamless, enjoyable and that no negative surprises surface. The same thought process should be present for training and development for an organization. We all have heard “We’re fine,” or “Our HR department has all the training we need.” While this might be true in some cases, there is always a need for growth and development. Hiring a qualified trainer to assist in the professional development of employees can make an exponentially positive impact on an organization. Let’s be honest: Every organization has its flaws. There is

The need for training should not be viewed a something negative. It means a company is looking for growth.

no company out there that has not had its share of problems. Whether it’s conflict, financial or leadership issues, every organization has experienced the need for growth and development in a variety of areas. The need for training should not be viewed as a negative. In fact, admitting the need for help is healthy for an organization. Bringing in an external voice has had such a positive impact on organizational morale and production that more and more companies are adopting this practice daily. Here are some ways hiring

an outside expert can help your company: Improvement: It’s OK to admit that your organization needs external help to improve. This does not indicate failure. In fact, acknowledging that training and development is needed for organizational leaders and employees shows that there is genuine concern for the success of the organization. Invest in improvement. Growth: As an organization grows, it is not wise to do things the way they were always done. If there is a lack of knowledge of managing the organization at a higher level, bring in experts

who can assist. Also, it does not make sense to have market growth as a goal for your company without preparing your employees to work with a larger market. You will set yourself up for failure. Provide the proper training in advance for where you want to go. Development: Whether it’s for organizational leaders or entry-level employees, development is important in every company. Some individuals might not know how to effectively work with a team, handle conflict or communicate peacefully. By providing training, many areas that cause setbacks for organizations can be properly addressed. Also, hearing the information from an outside source is beneficial. Employees can feel that the company’s human resources personnel or an internal trainer will be biased. Sometimes a fresh face or perspective is the best route for coaching on the challenging topics. Morale: I have found that employees who don’t feel valued, who have survived a layoff or have experienced challenging leadership have the lowest morale and will likely find another job. No company wants to have high turnover or unhappy employees, because that directly

impacts its customers. When morale is low, a qualified trainer who provides coaching on team-building or other topics of cohesion is ideal and can save the organization a great deal of headaches. Hiring a trainer is a great investment and can provide a variety of gains, including a great reputation, happy employees, loyal customers and higher profits. Successful organizations invest in their employees and secure victories for the future. Evaluate your coaching requests and find an expert who aligns with your organization’s needs. Trust me. You will be glad you did.

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

LONELY AT THE TOP

THE BEST LEADERS DEVELOP HONEST, OPEN RELATIONSHIPS BY DAGAN SHARPE

It’s said to be lonely at the top. Indeed, being a leader is a difficult position to hold — especially for those who desire to have an impact, show good stewardship and be highly effective in their calling. There are unique contradictions leaders must face. They must learn how to deal with rejection, judgment and divisions. This creates internal conflict for leaders. They desire to influence others and create positive outcomes, but they must do so knowing that not everyone will agree, or like their ideas, voice and/or direction. Therefore, the temptation to surround oneself with trusted alliances and distance oneself from the antagonists becomes enticing.

18 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

There is also the temptation to try and win a higher degree of public approval. The desire to please the masses may begin to encroach on the leader’s thoughts. Then, there is the knowledge and awareness leaders possess of their own weaknesses. This, when mixed with the inclination to try and hide those weaknesses from others, can create barriers and cause the leaders to isolate themselves even further from close relationships. This reflex reaction is perhaps wrapped with the idea that if no one is allowed to get too close, no one will see their weaknesses and flaws. Finally, there is the potential envy others might hold towards leaders — desiring what they have and hoping for their

fall from the platform they hold. Or there are those who truly support the leaders and hold a false assumption that they are all they appear to be, never truly seeing or allowing the leaders to be fully human and authentic. Thus, any fall leads to the fan’s own discord and cynicism. Ultimately, there is a lot that goes into being a responsible leader, and the truth is no leaders will ever be truly palatable to our liking — nor should they be. May we understand we are all called to leadership and are ultimately responsible to be the best we can be — honest with our flaws and wise enough to always “lead with a limp.” As leaders, we know we are broken

vessels, willing to be misjudged and misunderstood, even cast aside, but always determined to finish the race with honor and glory for a greater good, not merely our own personal achievements.

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.


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March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

19


CHA-CHING!

ABOUT FACE

10 STEPS TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS WORTH MORE TO BUYERS BY TIM DALTON

In pricing a business for sale, we usually look at a multiple of cash flow or seller’s discretionary earnings for the industry of the business we are valuing and arrive at a sales price. But what if I told you there was a way to maximize your business’ value and receive more than your industry peers? Here are 10 value-building strategies. Recurring Revenue: The more revenue you have from automatically recurring contracts or subscriptions, the more valuable your business will be to a buyer. Think of ways to implement service contracts or devise automatic reorder of your product. Something Different: Companies with a unique product or service that is difficult for a competitor to knock off are more valuable than a company that sells the same commodity as everyone else in their industry. Work to differentiate your business. Growth: Acquirers looking to fuel their top-line revenue growth through acquisition will pay a premium for your business if it is growing much faster than your industry overall. Update: Tired, old companies often find it hard to significantly update their brand and will try to buy sex appeal through the acquisition of a trendy, young company in their industry. Innovate and stay in the forefront of your industry. Location: If you have a great location with natural characteristics that are difficult to replicate, you’ll have the buyers who understand your industry as interested in your location as your business. Often, the ability to reproduce a unique market place or location is difficult. Diversity: Ensure that no one customer accounts for more than 15 percent of your revenue, and your company will be more valuable than an industry peer that has just a few big customers. Determine your most profitable product, service or type of customer and concentrate on gaining new customers in that arena. Predictability: If you’ve mastered a way to win customers and have documented your sales funnel with a predictable set of conversion rates,

your customer-acquiring formula will make your business more valuable to a buyer. Clean Books: I mention this all the time, but a good set of financial statements is critical to achieving more value for your business. Smaller companies that invest in accountantprepared financial statements and larger companies that have audited

statem e n t s are generally viewed as more trustworthy and are therefore worth more to an acquirer. Management: Companies that have a second-in-command who is willing to stay on with the business after the sale produce more value than a business where all the knowledge and expertise will be leaving the business with the owner upon the sale. Happy Customers: Being able to objectively demonstrate through surveys, reviews or other means that your customers are happy and intend to repurchase from you or refer your business to a friend or colleague in the future will make your business more valuable. As with many things in life, you really only have one shot to make a great impression when selling your business. The above strategies and 25 others are known value builders for a business. Business owners need to plan ahead for their exit strategy and implement systems within their business so when it is time to go to market, they can maximize its value.

20 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

Successful strategies to improve a business’ value take time to build but are well worth the effort when it’s time to sell.

Most strategies take up to a year or more to develop and track the positive results. Start now, be proactive and realize a great financial success when the time comes to sell your business. If you’d like more information on utilizing a proven Value Builder System for increasing your business’ value, please give us a call. 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.

LABOR DEPARTMENTS MAKE CHANGES TO PREVIOUS RULINGS BY ED ENOCH

There is a mixed bag of news for employers coming from a couple of different government agencies lately. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it is rolling back changes instituted during the Obama administration concerning employee handbooks. The previous administration used a very broad interpretation of the law to strike down many provisions frequently found in employee handbooks, such as restrictions on employee postings on social media. Recently, the NLRB reversed that interpretation, with guidance about specific categories of rules ranging from always permissible to never permissible. In another case, there was a very strange turn of events. The NLRB first overturned an earlier ruling concerning when two companies are considered joint employers, then a few weeks later flip-flopped back to the Obama-era interpretation. This rule is particularly important to franchise businesses, as it is how opponents have worked to attack the franchise model in recent years. The Department of Labor has also gotten into the act. The department recently announced a program to help employers fix problems they might have with employees who are misclassified for overtime pay purposes. In my experience, many small businesses have this problem and do not know it until somebody sues. When that happens, it costs double the unpaid wages, and the company pays the employee’s attorney fees. So, this program is kind of a get-out-ofjail-free card — not something we typically expect from government agencies. The big message here is that things are changing very quickly in the world of government regulations. Make sure you stay in touch with your business attorney so you keep up with the changes. 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.


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March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

21


BUSINESSPERSON OF THE MONTH

THE RIGHT CHOICE: DENLINGER HAS FUN LEADING GREENJACKETS

IN HIS OWN WORDS

BY GARY KAUFFMAN

When Tom Denlinger started college, he had to make a choice — play sports or find another avenue to fulfill his passion for sports. His decision eventually led him to Augusta five years ago to serve as general manager for the Augusta GreenJackets. Last season, he was promoted to vice president of the team. Denlinger grew up in the country outside Paradise, Pa., near Philadelphia. He cheered for the Phillies and played baseball (shortstop and outfield) and soccer in high school. But he decided against playing those sports while attending Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Tom Denlinger, Vice President, Augusta GreenJackets “I’m a huge sports fan,” he said. “Baseball and soccer are my huge passions. But I realized in college that if I wanted to stay in sports I had to find another way than playing it.” After changing majors several times, Denlinger finally landed on sports management. He was in the first class to graduate with that major from Messiah College. But it was the internship that he had the summer after college graduation that started him on his current career path. That summer he interned for the Reading Phillies, the Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. “I got to dip my toe into it and got hooked,” Denlinger said. After that, he served in group and sponsorship sales for the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, and then as assistant general manager with the Daytona Cubs (then the Chicago Cubs’ Advanced Single-A affiliate). “I was at the beach for the first six years of my adult life,” Denlinger said with a laugh. In 2010 he was presented with a new challenge — helping bring baseball back to Richmond, Va. The city had hosted the Triple-A affiliate of the Braves since the team made the move from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966. But after the 2008 season, the team

22 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

Tom Denlinger’s college decision to pursue sports management lead him to minor league baseball and now has him leading the Augusta GreenJackets’ transition to the new SRP Park in North Augusta. Photo by Gary Kauffman

packed up and relocated in Georgia’s Gwinnett County. After living without baseball in 2009, Richmond became the home of the San Francisco Giants’ Double-A team in 2010. The newly created Flying Squirrels offered Denlinger the job of assistant general manager. “That was a big challenge, bringing a team back after not being there for a year,” he said. Several years later, he took the job as general manager of the GreenJackets, the Single-A club serving the Giants. Last summer, with the prospect of organizing a move to a new park, he was promoted to vice president, and Brandon Greene became general manager. Serving as a minor league general manager and vice president isn’t exactly a glamorous job. Before games, Denlinger can often be spotted helping get the field ready and scurrying around the stadium to take care of myriad details before the first pitch. Fifteen-hour days are not unusual in the world of a minor league executive. “We get here at 8:30-9 in the morning and leave around 11 or midnight,” he said. “And then we’re back to do it again the next morning.” There’s more than baseball involved in

the job. He also coordinates other events at the stadium, such as concerts, or helps other groups coordinate their events. “You can go from one event to a completely different event the next night,” he said. “You have to plan in advance and keep an eye on the calendar. It keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure.” But it appeals to Denlinger because he enjoys organizing live events. “I’m an events person,” he said. “I’m able to be outside, and the social aspect is a big part of it, too.” Baseball alone, with 70 home games, provides plenty of events. The new SRP Park increases Denlinger’s opportunities to do what he loves. “SRP Park amps that up, because I’m working with promoters to see what other live events we can bring here,” he said. Not only does Denlinger have to use his organizational skills, he also has to be a creative thinker. “Trying to come up with 70 different promotions definitely pushes the needle on creativity,” he said. It takes a lot of people to make that happen, and Denlinger has assembled a good team in the front office. “It funnels from me down,” he said. “You’ve got to have the right people in place. I put a lot of trust in them.”

What are you passionate about in your job? “I love to have fun. That’s why I’m in baseball. When you open the gates and the people come in, all the hard work you did in the offseason and before the games is all worthwhile. Especially in SRP Park; I’ve never been able to work in a ballpark this nice.” What is something most people don’t realize about your job? “A lot of people don’t realize that I work here year-round getting ready for the next year. I don’t know what they think I do after the season. My ‘spring training’ starts on Sept. 8 or whenever the season ends. I think that perception will change with SRP Park. People also don’t realize that during the game we don’t watch the game. We’re working to make sure you can watch the game.” What have you learned about yourself in your years in baseball? “Minor league baseball is a different industry, because you can work 12-15 hours a day during the season, and we know that. But you have to stay positive. I like to think that one of my best traits is staying positive with the staff. I’m a big fan of Disney — whenever you go to Disney World, you never see anyone not smiling.” How do you unwind? “I’m a big fan of the beach. And if there’s an event in the CSRA that we’re not hosting, you can usually find me and my girlfriend Molly at it. Also during my free time, I go to other minor league games to see what they’re doing.” How do you give back? “Personally, I serve on the board of the North Augusta Family Y, the Augusta Sports Council Board and was just elected to the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce Board. I’m also in the Rotary Club. From the team perspective, we work with a lot of different nonprofits in the area and try to get engaged in the community in a bunch of different ways.” What does the future hold for you? “When I first started in baseball, my goal was to be a general manager. I’ve been fortunate to get that role, and now as vice president at SRP Park, that role is expanding. I’m always growing and learning. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of a new ballpark, and a lot of people in my role don’t get to do this. I’m not interested in the major leagues. That’s a different animal. I like minor league baseball.”


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March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

23


RETIREMENT PLAN OPTIONS ROTH INVESTMENT OPTION ATTRACTIVE TO SOME EMPLOYERS, EMPLOYEES BY KURT MUELLER

When it comes to choosing investments, most retirement plan participants worry about whether to choose a stock, bond or fixed-income investment option. But there’s another investment option that is often overlooked by many: the Roth option. Since 2006, sponsors of 401(k), 403(b) and, effective in 2011, governmental 457 retirement plans have had the ability to offer their plan participants an investment option that enables them to make contributions to their account on an after-tax basis through the Roth investment option. Although all retirement plans do not offer this option, it is becoming more popular as employers seek low-cost ways to enhance their employee benefit offerings. The Roth investment option offers retirement savers many of the same benefits as a Roth IRA — along with one key advantage.

What are the benefits of the Roth investment option?

• The plan participant pays taxes on Roth contributions before they are made. The money contributed to the Roth option then grows tax-free. • Withdrawals from your Roth investment option will be tax free — as long as you are at least 59½ years old when you withdraw your money, and your Roth investment option has been in effect for at least five years. • From an eligibility perspective, the Roth investment option has no income limit. As long as your employer offers this type of investment option, you are eligible to make Roth contributions. This makes the Roth option ideal for high-income individuals who might not be able to contribute to a Roth IRA because their adjusted gross income (AGI) is too high. (The IRS limits Roth IRA contributions to those individuals whose AGIs do not exceed a certain level. The amount of this threshold tends to change each year and is set by the IRS.)

Some things to keep in mind

• Any Roth contributions that you make through your employer’s retirement plan will count toward your total contribution limit for the year. For example, if you participate in a 401(k) plan, the maximum amount that you can contribute to your account in 2018 is $17,000 — through both before-tax and Roth (aftertax) investment options. (If you are age 50

24 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

If your employer offers it, a Roth investment option can help you build your nest egg. But there are certain considerations that must be taken into account before deciding whether a Roth investment is right for your portfolio.

or older in 2018, your total contribution limit for both before-tax and Roth contributions is $22,000.) • Roth contributions will mean that more money is taken out of your pay (versus before-tax contributions), since you are making your Roth contributions on an after-tax basis. • If your employer offers a Roth investment option as part of your retirement plan, there might not be an employer match for the Roth money that you contribute. Keep in mind that if your employer does match your Roth contributions, your employer’s contributions, and investment earnings, will be taxable when you withdraw them from the plan. • If your employer matches your retirement plan contributions, be sure to check whether your Roth contributions will be matched. Not all employers who offer Roth contributions provide matching contributions for these dollars. If your employer matches only before-tax contributions, be sure to consider contributing the maximum amount of before-tax contributions that your employer will match.

• You may make Roth contributions in addition to your before-tax contributions (up to the IRS annual limit) — but if you make only Roth contributions under these circumstances, you’ll be leaving money on the table with every paycheck, since your retirement account will not benefit from your employer’s matching dollars. • If you change jobs and wish to move money out of your former employer’s retirement plan, you may transfer any money you have in a Roth investment option to a Roth IRA.

Is the Roth option right for you?

Only you can answer that question. But you don’t have to do it alone. For guidance on retirement planning, be sure to contact your financial professional. For questions on whether your employer offers a Roth investment option in your retirement plan, contact your human resources department or benefits administrator.

Who should consider the Roth investment option?

Many financial professionals advise that the Roth investment option may be best for those individuals who feel that income tax rates will rise in the future, or those whose tax bracket might be higher in retirement. Many of those same professionals, however, also tell their clients that a Roth investment option can be yet one more way to diversify the investments in their retirement plan account.

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


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March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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LIFE ON THE EDGE

STRESS IS ALL AROUND, BUT IT CAN BE MASTERED THROUGH RELAXATION BY GARY KAUFFMAN

A few weeks ago, my wife and I moved to a new home. We had decided rather quickly that we were going to change locations and decided that we would move ourselves rather than hire a moving company (a decision we will not be making again!). Talk about stress — we lived among boxes for weeks before moving, only to be living among boxes again after the move. Moving is one of the more stressful events in life, but in today’s world, stress is an almost constant experience for many people — including many children. According to some surveys, at least a fourth of American adults have experienced high stress levels in the past year. Dr. Archibald Hart, an internationally renowned psychologist who has studied stress and the resulting mental disorders, says that Americans are living on the edge and it’s killing us. “The bad news is that the stress that kills us feels good,” he said. That’s because “good things” like cellphones, computers and social media keep us connected to things that can cause stress, including our jobs, bad news and anger-inducing posts on Facebook. It’s not so much that stress is bad for us, but that we have too much of it too often. Stress increases the production of adrenalin, which creates the fight-orflight response in our bodies. This is a positive thing when faced with imminent danger or when a deadline has to be met. It makes us sharper, more alert and even physically stronger. The increased adrenalin is useful for those short bursts when it is needed. But then the body is designed to recover from that overproduction of adrenalin through relaxation and deep sleep. And that is where our modern society has created a problem. Our connectivity has increased the number of times a day we have adrenalinproducing stress, to the point where some people have almost continuous high levels of adrenalin. At the same time, our connectivity has decreased our recovery time. Almost half of adult Americans report having problems sleeping. Oh, that adrenalin rush can feel good at times, creating a reaction almost like a drug. And, like a drug, a growing number

26 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

It’s not so much that stress is bad for us, but that we have too much of it too often. of people rely on constant excitement to keep them happy. But, like the negative effects of a drug, too much stress and high levels of adrenalin can cause serious physical and mental problems. People under high stress experience more pain, increased cholesterol levels, a decreased immune system and increased fatigue and depression. Those symptoms can lead to an increased dependence on pharmaceuticals, which carry their own risk of problems (about a quarter of American adults take some form of antidepressant drug). So, what can be done? Interestingly, the best solution is one that costs nothing — relaxation. Hart says the evidence is overwhelming that the most powerful antidote for stress is relaxation. While that might be easier said than done, here are a few ways to relax in the midst of stressful times. Take time for yourself: Whenever possible, take a quick break from your task. Even a short break of 10 minutes can bring your stress levels down considerably. But make sure it’s a break to do something relaxing, like taking a walk or working a crossword puzzle, and not just to do some other task. Read a novel: Not only will this allow your mind to quit thinking about the stressful situation, research has shown that reading novels (rather than nonfiction or self-help books) expands intellectual horizons, broadens vocabulary and sharpens your mind to better deal with your tasks. Meditation: No, this is not some New Age pseudo-religious mumbo jumbo. Just taking time to consider the good things in life, counting your blessings and being thankful puts any stressful situation into better perspective. Exercise: Stress reduces the brain’s production of mood-lifting endorphins. Physical activity, on the other hand, increases the production of endorphins. So,

Research has shown that reading novels is not only relaxing, but it also expands intellectual horizons, broadens vocabulary and sharpens a person’s mind.

the more you exercise, the better you’ll be able to handle stress. Set boundaries: As much as possible, leave work at work. Be wise in deciding what can wait until tomorrow — not every email needs to be answered immediately. Turn off your notifications after work, or get a separate phone that you use only for work so you can tuck it away during non-working hours. Wind down: Sleep plays a vital role in recovering from stress. Spending too much time watching TV or videos before bedtime, or even playing games on the computer, can disrupt sleep. Reading is a good way to relax at the end of the day,

but if you’re using a tablet to read in bed, set it on the nighttime mode and reduce its brightness to the lowest setting. We can’t eliminate stress, but by doing a few of the things listed above, we can be the master of stress rather than its slave. 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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PLEASE CONTACT DOUG @ 706-495-5978 FOR MORE INFO. March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

27


Leadership Columbia County is a 10-month program that brings together business leaders to help them understand the facets of community development. Photos contributed

CLASS ACT

CHAMBER’S LEADERSHIP CLASS EDUCATES LEADERS ABOUT COLUMBIA COUNTY BY TAMMY SHEPHERD

Want to be a part of the best class ever? Applications for the Leadership Columbia County Class of 2019 are now available! As a community awareness program of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Columbia County brings area business leaders together to show them many aspects of the region. The 10-month program for adults consists of one day per month to explore areas of community development. Various class days focus on teambuilding, military, community service and media, economic development, law enforcement, state and local governments, education and workforce, history and health care. With each class day, participants meet top officials in each area and learn about the opportunities and challenges of each category. From 1985 through 1986, when the Columbia County Extension Service recognized that the county was experiencing a huge growth spurt and future planning was critical for continued growth, three classes were coordinated to fulfill that mission. In 1990, the Columbia County Chamber partnered with the Extension Service in executing the third Columbia County Leadership program. Almost two decades later, in 2009, the Columbia County Chamber Board of Directors agreed it was time to restart our Leadership Columbia County adult leadership program to further develop cur-

28 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

rent and emerging leaders for the future growth of and investment in our region. Since then, Leadership Columbia County has held nine classes, with an average of 27 participants per class. Many of these graduates serve in a multitude of capacities in our region. You can find them on the Chamber’s and Chamber Foundation’s Board of Directors, on other nonprofit boards or serving as elected officials. The graduates also have grown professionally, using the knowledge gained to develop their own companies. One graduate said, “Even though I have lived here for years, I still learned so much about my community; I learned how all the pieces go together.” A sales manager who moved here from the Midwest said, “This program has given me roots, a community family, and I want to be a part of its future.” In addition to our regular 10-month program, the Chamber has hosted three Leadership Columbia County Executive Forums (2013, 2016 and 2018) which invite top area executives and their spouses to participate in a condensed, 2½-day leadership community awareness program. This is one of the best ways to quickly educate and engage business leaders in our community. We congratulate the Leadership Columbia County Executive Forum Class of 2018. Participants in the 2018 Executive Forum Program include Scott Ansede, University Health Care Physicians;

Caroline Ashe, Ivey Homes; Cordell Carter, Atlanta Gas Light; Bob Damen, Raytheon; Gina Damen and Rick Evans, Serotta Maddox Evans & Co CPAs; Kim Evans; Mary Anne Harasim, IntelliGenesis LLC; Peter Huestis, Augusta Preparatory Day School; Penny Jackson, Columbia County Board of Education; Bob Kazimer, Fort Gordon; Ellen Kazimer; Glenn Kennedy, Columbia County Board of Commissioners; Angela Kennedy; Rick McLeod, SRS Community Reuse Organization; Matt Mills, Southeastern Development; John Nixon, Dawson Taylor & Co.; Jordan Pierce, First Community Bank; Gary Richardson, Columbia County Board of Commissioners District 3; Chris Sniffen, NSA; Suzanne Sniffen; Mel Valenzuela, SRP Federal Credit Union; Doug Varnadore and Cathy Varnadore, AB Beverage; Keith Wood, AECOM; and Bill Ziesmer, Doctors Hospital.

Team-building exercises are just one part of the leadership program.

Want to be a part of the legacy of leadership in Columbia County and the greater Augusta region? Applications are available through April 19. Please visit our website, columbiacountychamber. com, for an application and more information.

Tammy Shepherd is president of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and has worked at Disney World, Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Columbia County Magazine. Email tammy@columbiacounty chamber.com.


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Financial Advisor gil.eaves@nm.com March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

29


NOTHING FROM NOTHING

TAX REFORM BILL REDUCES ACA PENALTY TO ZERO took effect in 2014, requires most individuals to obtain acceptable health insurance coverage for themselves and their family members or pay a penalty. The mandate is enforced each year on individual federal tax returns. Starting in 2015, individuals filing a tax return for the previous tax year indicate, by checking a box on their returns, which members of their family (including themselves) had health insurance coverage for the year (or qualified for an exemption from the individual mandate). Based on this information, the IRS then assesses a penalty for each nonexempt family member who does not have coverage.

BY RUSSELL HEAD

On Dec. 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law the tax reform bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, after it passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives. This tax reform bill makes significant changes to the federal tax code. The bill does not impact the majority of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax provisions. However, it does reduce the ACA’s individual shared responsibility (or individual mandate) penalty to zero. Although the tax reform bill eliminates the ACA’s individual mandate penalty, this repeal does not become effective until 2019. As a result, individuals continue to be required to comply with the mandate (or pay a penalty) for 2017 and 2018. A failure to obtain acceptable health insurance coverage for these years may still result in a penalty for the individual.

Effect of the tax reform bill

The tax reform bill will reduce the ACA’s individual mandate penalty to zero, effective beginning with the 2019 tax year. This effectively eliminates the individual mandate penalty for the 2019 tax year and beyond. As a result, beginning

The individual mandate

The ACA’s individual mandate, which

with the 2019 tax year, individuals will no longer be penalized for failing to obtain acceptable health insurance coverage for themselves and their family members. Non-exempt individuals should continue to maintain acceptable health coverage in 2017 and 2018 and should indicate on their 2017 and 2018 tax returns whether they (and everyone in their family): • Had health coverage for the year; • Qualified for an exemption from the individual mandate; or • Will pay an individual mandate penalty. In addition, keep in mind that individuals who are liable for a penalty for failing to obtain acceptable health coverage in 2018 will be required to pay that penalty when they file their federal income taxes in 2019. As a result, some individuals might be required to pay the individual mandate penalty in early 2019, based on their noncompliance for the 2018 tax year.

Effect on other ACA provisions

Despite the repeal of the individual mandate penalty, employers and individuals must continue to comply with all other ACA provisions. The tax reform bill does not affect any other ACA provisions, including the Cadillac tax on highcost group health coverage, the PatientCentered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fees and the health insurance providers’ fee. In addition, the employer shared-responsibility (pay or play) rules and related Section 6055 and Section 6056 reporting requirements are still in place. 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.

CHANGE OF FOCUS

YOUR FIRST PRIORITY IS TO NURTURE AND DEVELOP YOUR EMPLOYEES BY DUB TAYLOR

As a manager, you might be guilty of becoming very task-focused and not taking the time to develop your people. If you’re like most, you probably find yourself focusing more on your customers than on your internal team, putting them above all else — and usually taking it upon yourself to handle the difficult customer issues. With this in mind, you might have also noticed that the faster you develop and nurture your people, the better your customers will be taken care of. Therefore, the question becomes, what’s the fastest way to ramp up and nurture your team while not skipping a beat with your customer experience? As a business development executive who has coached leaders for more than 20 years across the United States and internationally, I’ve become keenly aware of the challenges that exist between pleasing your internal teams and external customers in tandem. My research shows that nearly half of all managers struggle with this same challenge. It’s a true career blocker since, as leaders, we want what’s best for our customers with minimal opportunities for potential

30 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

The faster you develop and nurture your people, the better your customers will be taken care of. screw-ups in the process. Here are four potential strategies that can work: Build staff development time into your day. Regularly have inexperienced members of your team partner with you when you work with customers. Coach them in advance regarding the customer’s situation and assign them a role that requires face-to-face problem-solving with the customer. Create a formal mentoring program. Assign senior and junior team members to work together. Celebrate and reward good behavior. Don’t write an email or call only when there’s been a problem. Instead, create a reward system that acknowledges small and large achievements.

Business leaders face several challenges when trying to balance pleasing both customers and employees, but it can be achieved.

Use pairing across your team. Have people work in pairs, and mix up those pairs on a frequent basis. Each of these strategies can work, but the key is to support the growth holistically. Make sure you document what you do and the results you obtain — collect data and use it to analyze and adjust your strategy as often as needed. For this and more on equalizing the competition contact me at the address to the right.

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.


CLUB CAR WILL ANCHOR NEW INDUSTRIAL PARK BY WITT WELLS

“He who does not toot his own horn, the same shall remain in a state of untootedness.” Those were the words of wisdom offered up by Georgia Public Service Commission Chairman Lauren “Bubba” McDonald as officials prepared to break ground on a new business park in Columbia County on March 19. Columbia County had plenty of reason to toot its own horn as executives and local government officials gathered at the new White Oak Business Park, which was designed to draw industry to the rapidly growing region. The park will be anchored by a new 550,000-square-foot distribution center for vehicle manufacturer Club Car. Club Car CEO Mark Wagner said that the facility will consolidate several of the company’s plants throughout the country, including three regional facilities. “What will come in here is all of our after-market parts for the globe,” Wagner said. “So, everything that we sell in utility and consumer and golf vehicles will be supported for their life, which in some cases is 15 years, with all the after-

market parts that come into the facility.” The new facility will also fully supply Club Car’s plant on Washington Road in Evans, which Wagner said will push out 10,000-12,000 vehicles in March. “We have a state-of-the-art facility for 100 full-time employees here. From a safety perspective, from an efficiency perspective, from a comfort perspective, this is what they need and deserve,” he said. The 270-acre business park is off Appling-Harlem Road near the intersection with Interstate 20. Robbie Bennett, executive director of the Development Authority of Columbia County, described White Oak as “a modern upscale business park focused on strengthening the county’s innovative manufacturing sector while simultaneously preserving the area’s natural resources.” “The park is the ideal location for companies and operations that are focused on production and movement of goods in an area that offers competitive operating costs, excellent infrastructure and prioritizes eco-friendly business practices,” Bennet said.

March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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LIVING IN DISCOMFORT

USE COGNITIVE DISSONANCE TO PUSH OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE BY LONZO SMITH

I teach a course at Georgia Military College called Perspectives. What I attempt to do is introduce students to the idea that there is weight in what they think and that every day is an opportunity for growth and change. However, work is required — and often radically honest personal assessment using the concepts of cognitive dissonance and discomfort are required to experience growth. Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. Dissonance is the lack of harmony. Discomfort is an uneasiness, hardship or pain. When cognitive dissonance exists in our lives, we are experiencing inconsistency or conflict in our beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and perception. This produces discomfort. Our natural response is to take action to reduce discomfort by focusing on more supportive beliefs, seeking and acquiring new information, and reducing the importance of the conflicting belief. For example, if a person smokes, that person might know that smoking negatively affects overall health, but by focusing on more supportive beliefs, rationalizing that it’s just one unhealthy habit or negotiating that he or she will eat healthy as if it’s a tradeoff, that person reduces the discomfort in his or her mind. I tend to think there is power in discomfort and that it brings about engagement and change. Often, we want to change, but we don’t want the discomfort that comes with the change, such as going back to school to have a more rewarding career or working out to get better abs. I believe we run from discomfort because we have equated comfort with happiness. People can become so comfortable that they are miserable, and they accept the status quo of their lives because it is easier. When we experience pain and tragedy, we put on a

When we experience pain and tragedy, rather than putting on a brave face we should use that discomfort to spur us on toward growth.

brave face and tell people we are fine, struggling to find that same level of comfort. Instead, we should lean in and stop trying to re-create comfort, equating that to happiness. Pain is the catalyst for change. It is part of the effort and it is everywhere — at home, at work and in every relationship. It is in the struggle that we will find magic as we stretch our limits, improve ourselves, change our way of thinking and grow. Once we push forward through the discomfort and feel the reward of growth and change, once we experience the rush that discomfort provides, we learn that there is massive potential on the other side. The next time you think you don’t have time or that

you’re just too busy, stop and think about whether this thought is a bout of laziness in disguise, attempting to hold you down in the comfort zone and not enter the courage zone to make a change. Lonzo Smith is the senior admissions counselor and adjunct faculty for 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 its website at gmc. edu.

MAKING A FIRST IMPRESSION

CLEAN EXTERIORS CAN LEAD TO IMPROVED HOME SALES BY TONY CREIGHTON

As the saying goes, “first impressions stick” — and there is nowhere that is more evident than when a home is on the market. The very first impression is often the one that stays with prospective buyers, and a home covered in dirt or algae usually doesn’t stand a chance. Indeed, when a home does not look clean, nothing else seems quite right. A SoftWash of your home’s exterior siding, stucco or brick, driveway and walkway surfaces increases the home’s value because it removes dirt, grime, mold, mud, algae and other organic growth and materials. By so doing, it increases the aesthetic value of the house, making it visually appealing to the buyers.

32 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

Additionally, a clean home exterior will give prospective buyers the impression that your home has been well maintained. You as a Realtor or seller are communicating to prospective buyers that your home is worth the time, effort and money you’ve put into it through regular care and maintenance. It can greatly add to the value of your home. Given all the advantages of pressure washing, Realtors and homeowners must consider hiring professional pressure washing companies if they want to increase their curb appeal and subsequently the value of their property. Selling a house at the highest possible value is not an easy task and requires your full attention to detail. The exterior parts of the house, such as the roof, sid-

ing, driveway/walkway and patio surfaces are the focal points of the entire house; without an appealing curb aesthetic, prospective buyers might never even make it inside to see the rest of your home. Professional cleaners are trained to use the proper equipment, techniques and detergents to ensure the highest-quality cleaning of your home’s exterior surfaces. By using a professional pressure washing company, you’re guaranteeing that your home will receive the highest-quality clean while also ensuring that no damage is done to its surfaces. Everyone loves a clean environment. Pressure washing makes the house exterior clean and helps prospective buyers feel that the house is the best one for them. You can easily move into a pressure-

washed house and settle down faster than in one that has not been pressure-washed. Indeed, buying a dirty house when clean ones exist beats logic, and that is why pressure-washed houses normally sell faster.

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.


SAVORY SUSHI

SOLÉ OFFERS GREAT OPTIONS FOR BUSINESS DINNERS BY SUSAN O’KEEFE

Grit fritters! Sushi rolls! And shrimp tacos! Oh, my! These delectable delights are listed as favorites on the menu for one of downtown Augusta’s newest eateries. Solé Grill and Sushi Bar is quickly earning a reputation as an urban go-to. Its online photos boast the brilliant colors of tantalizing offerings such as black and bleu salmon served over creamy stone-ground grits, as well as rainbow specialty rolls stuffed with crab, cucumber, avocado, salmon, tuna and yellowtail. From the enticing pictures, customers might be lured to investigate for themselves. My colleagues and I were thrilled with Solé’s presentation and execution, plus the fanfare and flavor. For the business person interested in a few late-afternoon appetizers or dinner with clients, Solé presents a suitable option (it doesn’t open until 4 p.m.). While it tends to lean on the loud side, there are opportunities to request a quieter area of the restaurant. Although the floor plan is open, side tables could provide privacy. With colorful, artistic foods being delivered to nearby tables, my colleagues and I glanced this way and that to determine what seemed to be the most popular picks. From burgers and sides to a wide variety of salads topped with grilled chicken, sesame-crusted seared tuna or blackened filet mignon, Solé has a menu for all — but not so much that patrons are overwhelmed. For those clients who enjoy sampling and sharing, the tapas menu is beneficial (“tapa” means appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine). For the heartier appetite, consider ordering a bit more or steer clear

The food at Sole, Grill and Sushi Bar, one of downtown Augusta's newest eateries, is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Photo by Susan O'Keefe

of the tapas offerings. As our waitress gathered our orders and provided drinks and general service, I spied the manager making his rounds in the dining room. He spoke to us on more than one occasion and inquired about our food. He was open to suggestions and showed a genuine interest in our opinions. “The fish tacos were delicious but really messy!” one colleague said. She playfully proposed a bib as an appropriate side item. “I had the shell roll sushi with tempora shrimp. It was fresh. It was light. It was delicious,” added another diner. And finally, the pageantry of presentation. One customer was awed by the creativity. “Everything is so pretty! There’s a really interesting combination of foods,”

she said. Solé Grill and Sushi Bar is open Monday through Thursday from 4-10 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sole is at 1033 Broad St. in Augusta. It has a sister restaurant in Seneca, S.C.

Sole, Grill and Sushi Bar Food Price Location Networking Noise Level

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

For more information, check out the restaurant’s Facebook page at Solé Augusta, email soleaugusta@ gmail.com or call 706-432-9898.

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March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

33


CREATING COMMUNITY

CANAL MUSIC CRUISES PROMOTE CAMARADERIE IN RELAXING SETTING BY WITT WELLS

If you take a ride on one of the Augusta Canal music cruises — aboard a 65-foot-long Petersburg boat to be exact — on a mild night this spring, you have a range of musical styles by which you might be serenaded. It could be Augusta area folk band The Henrys, who happen to share a name with the man who first envisioned the Augusta Canal, Henry Cumming. It could be Asheville, N.C.-based group The Clydes, whose “old-soul Americana” will grace the canal’s open air for the second consecutive year. It might be Aiken’s own Matthew Dickerson playing the dulcimer, in which case you might have to make the trip just to find out exactly what a dulcimer is. “You can’t help but get swept up,” Roy Lewis, a tour guide for the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area’s historical boat tours, said of the music cruises. “It’s a strong sense of camaraderie and community.” Lewis doesn’t often tire of guiding tours. The canal’s open air, peaceful atmosphere and wildlife are good for the soul, and he never knows who he’s going to meet. One time, it was a family from Poland who wanted to learn the history of the Augusta Canal. “You never know who’s going to be on your boat,” he said. That’s just the fun of a 90-minute music cruise. When around 35 people hop aboard one of the 12 tours from April through June or September and October, many of them won’t know each other. Few things create friendship quite like music, a natural landscape and the good food and drink the guests bring on board. “When you get back to the dock, you have new friends,” said Julie Boone, the Heritage Area’s educa-

Friday night Moonlight Music Cruises on the Augusta Canal are a great way to relax and meet new people. Photo contributed

tion and program coordinator. Before they carried dozens of tourists on a daily basis, the 10-ton Petersburg boats — still considered to be the largest electric boats in the world — carried produce and livestock from farms into the city. That began in the mid-19th century, just after the 7-mile-long canal was constructed in 1847. The boats were named after the town of Petersburg, Ga., an old center for trade that was later abandoned and is now submerged in Thurmond Lake. “Sometimes you can still see a chimney or remnant of the old town,” said Rebecca Rogers, marketing director of the Heritage Area. As Petersburg faded into the past, Augusta gained prominence as a dynamic industrial hub with a canal system optimized for easy transportation of cotton and other goods. From 1870 to 1890, Augusta’s population doubled.

34 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

The canal was enlarged in 1875, but it lost relevance over the course of the next century as local industry shifted south. It took a U.S. Congress designation as a National Heritage Area for the canal system — one of the only canals left in the country that still serves its original purposes of providing power and municipal drinking water — to become revitalized as a tourist destination and recreational playground. Starting April 13, musicians will breathe a little life into that playground as locals and tourists alike break bread together. “All of a sudden it becomes a buffet,” Lewis said. “Everybody’s sharing, everybody’s talking.” Historical tours are offered daily year-round (with some special hours in summer and winter). The Moonlight Music Cruises take place on Friday evenings from April through June and September through October.

MOONLIGHT MUSIC CRUISES, SPRING 2018 April 13: The Henrys (folk/bluegrass), 6:30 p.m. April 20: Carey Murdock (American folk), 6:30 p.m. April 27: Gwen Hughes (jazz), 6:30 p.m. May 4: Christian Ndeti (rock/soul), 7 p.m. May 11: Chris Hardy (acoustic), 7 p.m. May 18: Mike Frost and Lauren Meccia (jazz), 7 p.m. May 25: The Clydes (old-soul Americana), 7 p.m. June 1: Tara Scheyer (singer/songwriter), 7 p.m. June 8: Matthew Dickerson (dulcimer/guitar), 7 p.m. June 15: Garden City Jazz, 7 p.m. June 22: Art of Expression, Jonay Bailey (R&B, jazz), 7 p.m. June 29: Keith Gregory (classic rock, pop, R&B), 7 p.m. Learn more about Petersburg boat tours at augustacanal.com/boat-tours.php


MILLER THEATER ONE OF BILLBOARD’S TOP 20 VENUES Now that Miller Theater has been brought back to life, it’s not just getting attention from locals. The theater’s renaissance is on par with some of the biggest and best new venues throughout the country. Last week, entertainment media brand Billboard published its list of “The 20 Freshest (and Refreshed) Venues to Watch in 2018,” and the Miller made the cut. “I think it’s really a sort of recognition of the level of detail that has gone into this project from the beginning,” said Steven Uhles, Miller Theater’s sales and marketing director. “They are recognizing that we are putting a great deal of effort into making sure this is a memorable place.” The Miller is one of three Georgia venues on the list, with Atlanta’s Buckhead Theater and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Uhles said that the Miller has

“When people come into the Miller, they are really seeing the theater as all it was intended to be seen as.” – Steven Uhles, sales and marketing director for Miller Theater now become not only a destination for locals but has drawn fans from as far away as Texas for its shows this year. And fans of Weird Al Yankovic booked a trip from North Carolina to Augusta when they found out the parody singer-songwriter was coming to town. Thoroughly executed seating design, acoustics, technology, support from the Augusta Symphony and, especially, the historic preservation don’t go unnoticed, Uhles said. “I think what was key was the desire and ability to keep it as historic as possible,” he said.

“Everything that could be saved was saved. When people come into the Miller, they are really seeing the theater as all it was intended to be seen as.” Other facilities on the Billboard list include The Anthem in Washington, D.C.; Augusta Hall in San Francisco; Detroit’s Little Caesar’s Arena; and the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Miller was built in 1940 and closed in 1985. It reopened Jan. 6, 2018, after a 12-year, $23 million restoration project. It is owned by the Augusta Symphony and managed by venue management company SMG.

The Miller Theater on Broad Street in Augusta recently completed a 12-year, $23 million restoration project. Photo by Gary Kauffman

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SPRING FEVER

FATHER-DAUGHTER MOVIES SPARK THOUGHTS OF NEW BEGINNINGS air as she removes the dust covers from the furniture. Norman, on the other hand, is as crotchety as ever, complaining about an old screen door and anything else that comes to mind. Norman is on the precipice of his 80th year and, while he doesn’t admit it, this is one reason for his poor disposition. Ethel has invited their daughter and her new boyfriend to come celebrate this milestone with a birthday party for Norman, who is not excited. While the arrival of their daughter should bring joy, conflict overshadows jovial feelings. The relationship between Norman and his daughter has been strained for some time, and things come to a head when she arrives not only with her new boyfriend, who asks for Norman’s permission to sleep in the same bed with her during their visit, but also with his 14-year-old son, who needs a place to stay for the rest of the summer. I absolutely loved every moment of this film. Watching Norman and his daughter work through their difficulties was heart-warming without being banal, as is the tendency with most modern movies. Emotions are expressed through looks

BY SAMANTHA BARKSDALE

Springtime in Augusta is like nothing else. Sure, a blanket of pollen covers every inch of surface space, but with that pollen comes beauty. Every day is a little longer than the last, giving you more time to enjoy the warm weather and the blooming azaleas or maybe catch a few rounds of a pretty famous golf tournament. This month’s reviews are dedicated to Spring and all her glory.

‘On Golden Pond’

When it comes to the classics, Netflix usually leaves a lot to be desired. You can only imagine my surprise when I found this Oscar-winner from the year of my birth. Starring Katherine Hepburn and Henry and Jane Fonda, this film is the epitome of family drama, consisting of broken relationships in need of mending and the realizations of one’s own mortality. On Golden Pond opens with Norman and Ethel arriving at their summer lake house. They have been married for many years, and they have a pretty set routine. Ethel is filled with happiness, basking in every ray of sunshine and breath of fresh

and actions, rather than predictable dialogue. This is a true film, and it would be worth your while to spend a couple hours On Golden Pond.

‘Trouble With the Curve’

Clint Eastwood. Enough said. I realize I can’t actually submit a four-word review to my editor, but you catch my drift. Eastwood doesn’t make a bad movie. Combine Eastwood with the start of the baseball season, and you’ve got a winning film on your hands. If you’re a baseball aficionado, Trouble With the Curve is the movie for you. It’s fantastic. The film’s portrayal of the game and the business of the game is not the reason I included this film in my reviews, however. Spring brings new beginnings, and often, our relationships need new beginnings. Like On Golden Pond, Trouble With the Curve features a strained fatherdaughter relationship. Eastwood’s character is rough and rugged, and his daughter, now a successful lawyer, must put her own career aside to accompany him on a scouting trip that will determine the fate of his career. As you might imagine, he

does not take kindly to this idea. The beauty of this film is the forced reconciliation between Eastwood’s character and his daughter. The resentment and awkwardness the two feel toward each other is outweighed by their desire to see each other safe. They speak through baseball, using the game to express their love for one another. Trouble With the Curve shows us that, sometimes, the words needed to overcome familial struggles don’t have to be specific to the issue. They just have to reach the other person’s heart.

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.

THAT TIME OF YEAR

BREWS FIT FOR PONDERING AZALEAS AND FAIRWAYS BY BEN CASELLA

Spring in Augusta means a time in which the international appeal of our sweet Southern city comes out of its dormancy for a couple of weeks. The azaleas bloom, and the grass turns the loveliest shade of green imaginable. The Carolina wrens chirp, and the loblollies sway just so in the winds at Augusta. I’m aware this is a craft beer column (I’ve only been writing it for nine years); just allow me to attempt to wax poetic on my favorite week of the year … OK, back to the brews.

Stone IPA

If you find yourself having one of those front-porch rocking chair debates regarding the exact date and time when the azaleas will be in full bloom, you might want to consider doing so while holding a Stone IPA. This West Coast IPA from the CaliInnis & Gunn Rum Aged Ale is a rich brew, perfect for days when the golf course is chillier than you expected.

36 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

fornia brewery of the same name boasts a grassy, hoppy and somewhat floral aroma. An expected moderate head gives way to an expected hoppy bite, but the floral notes dampen this appeal with a mild tone, giving way to a finish that’s just

malty enough to let you know how much time and talent goes into balancing this well-respected brew from a well-respected brewery. You can usually find this on draft at Sheehan’s. It would also go well with a fried chicken sandwich and a bag of barbecue potato chips.

Innis & Gunn Rum Aged Ale

Now, if you’re having one of those 19th holes in which your feet are tired from all the hills you just walked, and even though the high was 57 you wore shorts because you’re from Ohio and you don’t bring long pants when you travel south of Cincinnati, you might be better served with something a bit different. If I were you, I’d have a brew such as Innis and Gunn’s Rum Aged Ale.

This Scottish brew is typically available in the winter. However, you might be able to find one at Arsenal Taproom (if you can’t find it there, they’ll definitely be able find something else to fit your palate). The sweeter side of this rich brew lives up to the name’s implications. However, the drier finish cleans you up just enough to welcome that moment when you have swallowed your sip, breathed out and noticed that hint of rum on your tongue.

If you want to run into Ben Casella during Masters Week, he might just pop up at one of the aforementioned locales. If you want to be sure you don’t run into him, stay in the fairway.


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FEELING BLUES

GROUP FORMED TO PROMOTE MUSIC STYLE IN AUGUSTA BY WITT WELLS

A longtime fan of blues music is making his presence known in Augusta by fostering a music scene that, despite its influence on an Augusta icon, has been absent from the city of late. In fact, he’s already well on his way. A few weeks ago, Mike Gallucci, a New York-born, harmonica-playing blues fanatic who recently moved from Daytona, Fla., to Augusta to be closer to family, officially registered Augusta Blues Company as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit. “Georgia has a rich history of a lot of blues legends,” Gallucci said. “At the end of the day, James Brown’s roots were really rooted in blues.” Gallucci said that in a city as large as Augusta, it’s only a matter of time before more blues musicians and fans start coming out of the woodwork. They just need to know they have a local support system. Gallucci doesn’t lack experience in that arena. He was the operations manager for Daytona Beach Blues Festival for four years, and he founded the Volusia County Blues Society in 2015 before heading north to Augusta to start fresh in the Garden City. In Volusia County, Gallucci created an organization based on bringing blues musicians, fans and newcomers together to hear good music, taking social action, and educating the young musicians in workshops to allow them to develop their skills. He wants to do the same thing in Augusta. “It’s an exciting opportunity that young kids haven’t had exposure to,” Gallucci said, adding that he wants to align Augusta Blues Company with music programs at local schools. “If we can be teaching in line with what (schools) are teaching, we’ll have better acceptance into the school system.” Workshops will cover blues fundamentals including how to play a blues song using an AAB scale, plus how to write songs. Musicians of various skill levels will have the opportunity to explore melodies, rhythms and bass rhymes and learn from seasoned talents about their own inspira-

The Augusta Blues Company plans to celebrate the tradition of musicians such as local blues legend Blind Willie McTell (shown here in a hotel room in Atlanta) by promoting the blues in the Garden City. Photo courtesy of Wikicommons

“Georgia has a rich history of a lot of blues legends. At the end of the day, James Brown’s roots were really rooted in blues.” – Mike Gallucci, founder of the nonprofit Augusta Blues Company tions in the genre. “What we’re trying to do is take the curriculum and reinforce its connection to what they’re learning every day,” Gallucci said. Community service, Gallucci said, has become an integral part of blues communities nationwide and is one of the major reasons why he has found the genre to be so important in

38 Buzz on Biz March 30–April 26, 2018

today’s world. The Daytona Beach Blues Festival regularly supports groups that combat opium addiction, while a similar festival in Tampa Bay, Fla., partners with organizations to end homelessness. “You can’t say that about any other genre,” Gallucci said. “There are not many groups of musicians and fans that get involved in the community, every one of them.” He isn’t wasting any time getting started. The company hosted a show at the Fox’s Lair on Telfair Street on March 23. Performing at the Augusta institution was Brody Buster, runner-up in the solo/duo category of Memphis’ International Blues Festival last year. Gallucci also hopes to make connections at this year’s Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival in Thomson, where the company will host a kickoff party. The festival is in May and will feature artists including Samantha Fish and Kenny Neal. “We’re hoping to build that base to bring those great artists here,” he said.

JOKER’S COMEDY CLUB OPENS IN SOUTH AUGUSTA “Laughing out loud in Augusta” is a little easier with the opening of a new comedy club. Joker’s Comedy Club opened March 23 at Private I Sports Entertainment Complex, 2507 Thomas Lane. The club seats up to 300 people and has a bar, kitchen and buffet. The complex also has a sports bar and swimming pool. The club’s co-owner, Cardell Gunn, said he is planning for the venue to be open two nights a week. The new club made its debut with a couple of well-known performers: Chris Thomas, who has appeared on Def Comedy Jam and Late Night with David Letterman, and A.J. Johnson, another Def Comedy Jam comedian who is best known for his role in the 1995 film Friday. The sports complex is in its 25th year, and Gunn said he thought it was high time to bring some laughs to a city that hasn’t had a proper comedy club since The Comedy House Theatre closed in 1998. A two-in-one sports bar and comedy club called Augusta Athletics Sports Bar and Grille opened on Walton Way Extension in 2016, but it closed after less than a year in business. “People were going to Columbia,” Gunn said. “The people of Augusta needed one in Augusta.” Gunn also said that Reginald Ballard, known for his recurring role as Bruh-man on the acclaimed sitcom Martin, will perform at a show at Joker’s Comedy Club with Thomas on April 6.

GROUCHO’S DELI PLANS TO OPEN ON BROAD STREET The east side of downtown Augusta is about to get a little taste of a South Carolina success story. Groucho’s Deli, a Columbia-based franchise with 32 locations throughout North Carolina and South Carolina, will open at the corner of Eighth and Broad streets this summer, according to a Facebook post made by the local franchise’s account. The deli will open at 758 Broad St., the site of the now-closed Augusta Grooming Lounge. The opening will make that location the deli chain’s first in Georgia in its 77-year history. There is a Groucho’s Deli in Aiken. Groucho’s Deli’s corporate office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The deli’s top specialties are salads and subs and featured items such as “Apollo Dipper” and “White Moose,” sandwiches packed with ham, turkey, cheese and Groucho’s famous dressings. Groucho’s Deli first opened after Harold Miller moved to Columbia in 1941 with a few original recipes. Locals thought Miller looked and talked like Groucho Marx, and the name stuck. Groucho’s began franchising in 2000.


EXPERIENCE TOURNAMENT WEEK Whether you are simply visiting for the Masters Tournament or you’re a resident looking for something different to do during the week, here’s a list of special events planned across the area. Monday, April 2

Tuesday, April 3

Rock Fore! Dough Concert, 4-11 p.m., Lady Antebellum Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park, Evans; $29 in advance/$39 day of. The 14th annual Drive for Show, Rock Fore! Dough concert features Scotty McCreery, Jordan Davis, DJ Rock, Shaun Piazza and the first-ever “Jacket Jam.” The Jacket Jam will feature an allstar band headed by Jeff Marino, the bandleader/drummer for Darius Rucker. The rest of the band will include members from the Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan bands. Proceeds benefit The First Tee of Augusta. Visit RockFore Dough.com for ticket and event information.

Mayor’s Masters Reception, 5-10 p.m., Augusta Common, downtown Augusta; $12. This annual event honors those who have contributed to the game of golf. This year’s honorees will be Augusta natives Jim Dent and Vaughn Taylor. Taylor (above) is the namesake for the E-Z-Go Vaughn Taylor Championship, an annual junior golf tournament held at Jones Creek Golf Club, while Dent, named an Augusta “local legend” in 2013, grew up caddying at Augusta Country Club and Augusta National Golf Club and paved the way for black youngsters to play the game. For more information, go to VisitAugusta.com.

Friday, April 6

First Friday, 5 p.m., downtown Augusta; free. Enjoy live music and shop with local vendors along Broad Street and in Augusta Common. Discover restaurants, galleries, stores and nightlife. Many businesses offer specials. The Major Rager, 5 p.m. to midnight, Augusta Common, downtown Augusta; $30 general/$100 VIP. The Major Rager, a golf-centric music festival, is an annual tradition. Performers this year are the legendary George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic (below), The James Brown Band + Special Guests, and many more! This rager will

Wednesday, April 4

ParTee on the Green, 5-9 p.m., Augusta Common, downtown Augusta; $3 in advance/$5 day of. ParTee on the Green is a dance party with music – beach, soul, pop, jazz, house, reggae, R&B, funk – for all ages. It features performances by community dance groups, a DJ mashup, line dance finale and live band. Featured artists and performers include the Eastern Star Dance Theatre, Drum Circle Augusta, Dancing Through the Skirt, DJ Bizzo Beats, The Soul Sliders of Augusta and more. JAMP ( James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils) will headline the event with the sounds and spirit of the Godfather of Soul and native son James Brown. Visit parteeaugusta.wordpress.com for more information.

Thursday, April 5

First Thursday, 5 p.m., 2113 Kings Way, Augusta; free. Spend your evening exploring the shops of midtown and the historic Summerville neighborhood. Special sales, live music, local art and tours of Old No. 7, a 100-year-old fire station. The Grand Ole Rager, gates open at 6 p.m., Lady Antebellum Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park, Evans; $59.50. Concert features country music star Keith Urban (right). Supporting Urban are emerging country artist Russell Dickerson, whose song, Yours, is a No. 1 Billboard hit on the country charts, and Ray Fulcher. Visit fwbpro.com/grand-ole-rager for ticket and event information.

benefit the nonprofit James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils ( JAMP), which furthers music education in Augusta. The after-party is at Sky City, 1157 Broad St. $25. Visit fwbpro.com/ major-rager for more information. Schrodinger’s Cat – Extreme Theatre Games, 8 and 10 p.m., Le Chat Noir, 304 Eighth St.; $12. Watch comedy happen on the spot as two teams of crack improvisers battle it out in the continuing quest for comedic domination as Schrodinger’s Cat presents eXtreme Theatre Games. Visit lcnaugusta. com/events for more information.

Saturday, April 6

The Augusta Market at the River, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., 15 Eighth St., Augusta; free. Explore handmade art, jewelry and crafts, local produce and baked goods and enjoy breakfast and coffee or lunch from local vendors. Musicians from Augusta’s River Region set the mood with live music. Runners can meet for a morning run with the Triple 8 Run Group. Pets on a leash are welcome. Visit theaugustamarket.com for more information. Beer Yoga, 11:30 a.m., Savannah River Brewing Co., 813 Fifth St.; $16. Grab a few pints and get a good workout! Admission includes the yoga class and beer. First-time attendees should arrive at 11 a.m. to allow time to fill out the waiver and secure a spot. James Brown Family Historical Tour, 11 a.m., Augusta Museum of History, 560 Reynolds St.; $15. A 25-passenger bus will take fans of music legend James Brown on a narrated tour that stops at places that are significant to his life growing up and living in Augusta. Highlights include the el-

ementary school he attended, the home where he lived as a child, businesses he owned, the James Brown statue, James Brown Arena and much more! The tour includes admission to Augusta Museum of History, where the largest collection of Brown memorabilia is located. Souvenirs can be purchased at the museum after the tour. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. Call (803) 640-2090 for reservations. Historic Trolley Tours of Augusta, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Augusta Museum of History, 560 Reynolds St.; $15. Board the Lady Liberty trolley and explore downtown. You will see historic homes, hear about the bones in the basement of the Medical College of Georgia, see where a U.S. president lived as a boy, get a glimpse of the Augusta Canal and hear the legend of the Haunted Pillar. Price includes admission to Augusta Museum of History, where you can explore Augusta’s journey. 24-hour advance reservations are required. For reservations, call the Augusta Visitor Center at (706) 724-4067.

March 30–April 26, 2018 Buzz on Biz

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