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Chamber program helps young women build confidence. Page 4

MAY 2019 • THE CSRA’S MONTHLY BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Looking for an outdoor adventure? Augusta has plenty to offer, including hiking, biking and running trails and a favorite local activity, kayaking. Photo by Gary Kauffman

TIME OUT

By Witt Wells

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, as the saying goes (and surely the same holds true for Jills). With spring weather finally here, now is a great time to get out of the office or retail shop for an evening or weekend of exercise. Exercise relieves stress, fights obesity and increases productivity, so there are plenty of reasons to take a little time away from your business to enjoy the outdoors. Plus, who doesn’t need a little fun every once in a while? But for those of us who are amateurs, all the organization that goes into out-

AUGUSTA AREA OFFERS MANY OPTIONS FOR OUTDOORS R&R

door activities can seem daunting, especially when gear is involved. Here are some of your most reliable local options as you prepare yourself for some of the top outdoor adventures Augusta has to offer:

Kayaking, canoeing and paddle-boarding

Kayaking down the Savannah River and Augusta Canal has become one of the most popular activities for Augustans, but it’s an activity that might seem inaccessible to those who haven’t done it before. Fortunately, there are a variety of options for those looking to rent or buy a kayak in the Augusta area.

Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental: This facility offers the perfect introduction to kayaking. Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental, located next to Savannah Rapids Pavilion on Evans to Locks Road, has a convenient launch site right on the Augusta Canal and allows aspiring kayakers to get their feet wet with a serene, 5.3mile route down the canal, from the pavilion to Lake Olmstead. Once you’re there, you don’t have to worry about the grunt work; the company’s staff will pick up the kayaks, return them to the launch site and provide a shuttle service back to the pavilion. If you’ve got a few hours on a Saturday this spring, this is a no-brainer.

THE

Cole Watkins Tours: If you’re looking to take your kayaking skills for a test drive (or maybe you’re a seasoned veteran) on the Savannah River, Cole Watkins Tours offers both rentals and guided tours down the river, from Lake Thurmond to Lake Olmstead. The business operates out of Betty’s Branch, a tributary of the Savannah River in Evans. The company also does guided tours on the Augusta Canal. Outdoor Augusta: Located at Riverside Park in Evans, Outdoor Augusta is a goto spot for those interested in kayaking, See OUTDOORS on Page 2

Ultimate TOBACCONIST

2834 Washington Rd, Augusta 5121 Washington Rd, Evans

(706)-737-0477 (706)-250-3618

marcellascigars.com


There are several popular areas for cyclists in the Augusta area and events and shops that can help aspiring cyclists get started. Buzz on Biz file photo

OUTDOORS

Continued from Page 1

paddle-boarding and canoeing. Kayak rentals are available.

Cycling and running

Whether you’re hitting North Augusta’s Greeneway under its canopy of trees or catching a view of the Savannah River on the Canal Trail, the CSRA has no shortage of stellar routes for cyclists, along with some solid local outfitters to get you started. Top trails l Since it was created in 2005, The Forks Area Trail System (FATS) in North Augusta has become widely known as one of the best mountain biking trails in the country for its smooth flow. The trail can accommodate a wide range of cyclists — in other words, you can make its hills, jumps and terrain as laid-back or challenging as you want. The system has six loops, each with a different look and feel, from tough climbs to stretches that make cyclists feel like they’re surfing. Learn more about it at www.sctrails.net. l The Canal Trail might be the most popular trail in Augusta. Aside from its breathtaking views of the Savannah River, one of the Canal Trail’s best attributes is its wide range of entry points throughout the city. With six trailheads from Savannah Rapids Park to the Old Turning Basin at 13th Street, it’s the most accessible path in the area for cyclists and runners. The trail is approximately five miles from the headgates at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion to Sibley Mill. l The seven-mile Greeneway weaves through the forest and neighborhoods

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of North Augusta, hugging the Savannah River before cutting back east and finding its way through the area’s scenery until it arrives at Interstate 20. It’s open from dawn to dusk and has three different access points: the western terminus at Pisgah Road just off Five Notch Road; the eastern terminus off Riverside Boulevard across from River Golf Club; and the trail’s midpoint at Riverview Park. Outfitters l Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse has been in Augusta since 1974 and is the exclusive dealer in the area for brands including Giant and Specialized. The staff does bicycle maintenance and repairs and provides riders with the equipment appropriate for their interest and skill levels. Andy Jordan’s is still at its original downtown location at 527 13th St. l Outspokin’ Bicycles, at 1904 Walton Way, also offers a wide variety of expertise and equipment for cyclists, as well as weekly group rides at the Augusta Canal, Lake Olmstead and downtown. Outspokin’s weekly schedule (events wind down during the late spring and summer months) can be found on its website. l Fleet Feet is one of the premiere outfitters in the area for runners with a wide selection of shoe brands and equipment. It will also do a gait analysis for runners to determine the best shoe for each runner’s stride. The store is at 229 Furys Ferry Road, Suite 107, in Furys Ferry Station. Fleet Feet also has an active run club, including “Fun Run Thursdays” and training programs for marathons, halfmarathons, 10k and 5k races, and a VIP training program.

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FROM THE EDITOR

Getting older just means more wisdom to share By Gary Kauffman I am writing this specifically for those of you out there who, like me, are more experienced in life — and by experienced, of course, I mean old. I’m now 60 years old (I know, my dashing good looks and youthful spirit make that hard to believe) and I have gray hairs in my beard plus the aches and pains associated with that age. But I have also garnered lots of experience and, I dare say, wisdom that comes from living that many years on this planet. Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly aware of the necessity and privilege those of us well into the back nine of our work careers have in passing along that wisdom to the generations behind us. Don’t think that that’s not wanted or needed. The Millennial generation, especially, seeks the insights and wisdom of those with more experience, especially those of us in the Baby Boomer generation. Maybe we remind them of their grandparents. And it’s good for us to look back at how we used to be at that age — full of hopes and dreams, a zeal to make the world a better place, a head full of undyed hair

Relationships with people are so much more important and valuable than anything I could do or possess. — and reflect on what we’ve learned and how we can help the younger generations navigate the tough road of life. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the four decades of adult life. Life will knock you flat but rewards those who get back up. Fresh out of college, I had a number of aspirations for life (not counting the one where a scout would discover my amazing baseball talent and sign me to a Major League contract). Being newly minted with a college education, I had no doubt that every one of my plans would result in a rousing success. Then life said, nuh-uh. Some plans failed because of bad luck, others failed because of lack of knowledge, some pe-

tered out because I lost interest. Some survived, like having a career as a writer. But what I discovered is that there’s no point in crying over the proverbial spilled milk. That milk never gets put back in the glass. So, pour yourself a new glass of milk — or sometimes, something much stronger — and move on. There have been rewards along the new path that I would have never dreamed of or discovered had my original plans not failed. People are much more important than things. In 1980, I spent the summer working in Gatlinburg, Tenn., as part of a Campus Crusade for Christ project. I made many wonderful friends there and have many fond memories. But when I look back through my pictures of that summer, I see mountains, streams, even some animals. Virtually none of the people, though. At that point in my life I was much more wowed by things, and that spilled over into my career as well. Writing stories, meeting deadlines, buying things all seemed so important then. Now, I look at life much differently. Relationships with people are so much more important and valuable than anything I could do or possess. I wish I could regain some of those relationships from 40 years

Features Young Women on the Way..........................4 Program helps women build professional and personal confidence.

Upcoming Events................................ 14, 15

Buzz Bits................................................... 6-7

Businessperson of the Month.................. 20 Divine intervention led to success for ‘superhero’ Bryan Williams.

Dressing for Success....................................8 The right wardrobe plays a role in confidence and success.

Sharing a Vision........................................ 27 Artist hopes project brings enjoyment, investment in public art.

Extending the Local Presence.................. 10 EDTS takes the next step in expanding its business.

Legacy of Education... 29 Museum of Black History honors the memory of Lucy Craft Laney, other black Augustans.

Openings, Closings............................. 12, 13

Columnists Mark Alison: Message, method and a touch of magic..............16 Samantha Barksdale: TV good guys sometimes use the wrong ways..............................................................................................30 Terra Carroll: Chamber gives future leaders a boost..................24 Ben Casella: Start thinking ahead to summertime brews.......30 Tony Creighton: Partial house wash does little to save money........................................................................................................21 Ed Enoch: Build trust by living by the Scout code......................26

Christine Hall: Fraudsters continue to develop new tax scam calls..................................................................................................18 Russell Head: A little forethought helps stretch your health dollar............................................................................................25 Millie Huff: New hotel’s restaurant ideal for business lunches......................................................................................................31 Dagan Sharpe: With relationships, learn to control yourself......................................................................................................22

ago, but even if I can’t, I can make an effort to make new relationships and value them properly. Think bigger than yourself. One of my favorite pastimes is wandering through old cemeteries. It sounds weird, but it reminds me that even if I live to 100, my life span is relatively short and will ultimately be reduced to a marble slab with the date of my birth and the date of my death, separated by a short dash. What I do in that dash, then, is what really matters. And what I give to the generations after me now will allow me to have an impact and an influence beyond that death date. Rather than being morbid, that outlook makes my forays into old cemeteries inspirational. So, as the calendar pages continue to be whisked away, it’s important to remember that we still have time to leave a legacy, even if it’s just helping a younger colleague navigate a rough patch of life. In addition to serving as editor of Buzz on Biz, Gary Kauffman is a Christian life coach. He recently authored an e-book, The Other Side of Jesus, available for Kindle and Nook. Contact him at 803.341.5830 or kauffmancoaching@gmail.com or visit kauffmancoaching.com.

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 Assistant Editor & Layout Amanda Holahan Multimedia Journalist Witt Wells, witt.wells@buzzon.biz Photography Witt Wells, Gary Kauffman Sales Manager Lisa Dorn, lisa.dorn@augustamagazine.com Sales and PR Leslie Whitney, leslie.whitney@augustamagazine.com, 706-823-3719 Ad Building Michael Rushbrook Distribution Ken Brown 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. For the latest news, visit us at buzzon.biz Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/buzz-on-biz Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 643 Broad Street, Augusta GA 30901

May 2019 Buzz on Biz

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YOUNG WOMEN ON THE WAY

PROGRAM HELPS WOMEN BUILD PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL CONFIDENCE By Gary Kauffman About five years ago, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Shepherd noticed a disturbing trend — a high turnover rate among women in the Chamber’s Young Ambassadors program. “I started seeing these young professional women, 23 and 24 years old, coming into the workforce, and they lacked confidence and they lacked professional skills,” she said. “They were job hopping and in need of some guidance and leadership.” The action point for Shepherd came when she had lunch with a young woman who had been through the application process for Leadership Columbia County twice and been turned down both times. The problem wasn’t gender or age bias, but a lack of confidence. “One-on-one she was fine, but in a group setting she was lacking confidence,” Shepherd said. That led Shepherd and the Chamber to develop Women on the Way, now called Young Women on the Way. The program is designed for professional women ages 23-30 to be mentored by established businesswomen in the community. “I was fortunate in my life to have positive female role models,” Shepherd said. She wanted to create the same opportunity for other women. Young Women on the Way is now in its fifth year, and about 80 women have been mentored through it. Each 10-month class has about 20 young women and five mentors, along with various speakers for the monthly meetings. In addition to the monthly meetings, each mentor meets with four women individually each month. “It has such a huge impact on anyone starting out in the first part of their career — networking, professional development — and it’s definitely a confidence boost,” said Ashley White, 24, admissions counselor in Augusta University’s Office of Academic Administration and a graduate of the 2018 Young Women on the Way class. Sabrina Griffin, coordinator for the program, said some of the topics discussed in the sessions are how to dress for success, how to communicate in today’s world, sexual harassment, work-life balance and personal finance, including how to save for retirement. In addition, participants can submit areas of interest for discussion or bring questions to discuss in their mentor groups. “It’s a safe space where they can come up with their ideas,” Griffin said. “What’s said in the room stays in the room.”

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Members of a Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Young Women on the Way class listen to a speaker during one of their monthly sessions. Photo contributed

Chamber starts program to help young men in business, too After four years of the Young Women on the Way mentoring program, the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce discovered that the need extends beyond young women. “The same skill sets we saw needing [development] in young women five years ago we now see in young men,” Chamber President Tammy Shepherd said. “When we said we needed to start something for young men, our employers said, ‘Definitely.’” So, in 2019, the chamber is holding its first Young Men on the Move class for male professionals ages 23-30. The classes cover mostly the

Young Women on the Way offers a bridge for the gap that had existed between the chamber’s Youth Leadership Columbia County, for high school juniors and seniors, and Leadership Columbia County, designed for more established members of the community. Applicants have to be recommended by their employers. Shepherd said this helps the local workforce develop and retain employees by giving them valuable training and a confidence boost.

same topics as Young Women on the Way. Like the women’s program, applicants for Young Men on the Move must be recommended by their employer. While the women’s program runs January through November, the men’s program runs February through December. One perceived difference between men and women so far has proved to not be true. Shepherd had expected the men to be more close-mouthed than their female peers but in the first meeting the men proved to be as verbally engaged as the women’s groups. – Gary Kauffman

“It’s a great thing because it says to the young person that (their employer) thinks they’re valuable,” Shepherd said. The mentors, selected from the area’s leading female professionals, make a three-year commitment. Three have been past Columbia County Chamber board presidents. They pass on valuable life and professional experiences, but sometimes they’re on the receiving end, too. “The mentors we have, not only do they feel they’re pouring into the participants,

but they’re learning as well,” Griffin said. Caroline Ashe, sales and marketing director for Ivey Homes, has been a mentor for three years. She said Young Women on the Way allows her to achieve her desire to give back to the community. “I remember when I was starting out I had some influential women who gave me advice and pointed me in the right direction,” she said. Ashe said it is rewarding to see the changes in the participants over the course of the 10 months. “At the beginning they’re young and scared,” she said. “Afterwards they have a lot of confidence, they’re excited about getting out into the community and growing in their individual fields and positions.” The program even opens new avenues to explore. White said that since going through the class she is interested in learning more about the Chamber and sees herself in the future fitting into a Chamber or economic development role. “It spurred me to take a master’s class in public administration,” she said. The impact of Young Women on the Way goes beyond the working environment. “Now that the program has ended, I can see the benefits of it more and more on a daily basis, how it has an impact in my work life and my personal life,” White said. One session about communication in the workplace helped White see how that could apply to her personal life as well. “I was able to translate that session from work to relationships in all areas,” she said. “It’s amazing how much we see them grow from beginning to end,” Shepherd said. “We’ve had employers come back and say they’ve seen so much growth. That’s the goal, to make the (Chamber) members happy and know they’re investing in a program that has a positive impact.” Now five years into the program, the Chamber plans to have a reunion of past participants in June. “We want to see the development that’s occurred in those five years,” Griffin said. One of those who will show a marked change is the young woman whose lunch with Shepherd sparked the formation of Young Women on the Way. She is now the store manager for a local insurance company, a position Shepherd said probably would have taken her longer to attain without the class. And on her third application to Leadership Columbia County, after graduating from Young Women on the Way, she was accepted. “She just needed that extra confidence,” Griffin said.


IN YOUR HOME AND COMMUNITY WHEN YOU DONATE TO YOUR LOCAL GOODWILL! www.goodwillworks.org

May 2019 Buzz on Biz

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buzz bits outstanding service. The AOA strives to improve the quality and availability of eye and vision care.

Golf event to help fight Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s Ben Casella

Casella named Optometrist of the Year Ben Casella of Augusta was named Optometrist of the Year by the American Optometric Association. The award will be presented in St. Louis in June. A third-generation optometrist, Casella owns and operates Casella Eye Center on Broad Street, which was established in 1948 by his grandfather, Victor. After graduating from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry and completing his residency at State University of New York College of Optometry, Casella joined the family practice in 2008, continuing the tradition of providing quality care to the local community alongside his father. In addition to managing the family practice, Casella serves as the chief optometric editor of Optometry Times. He is active within the professional optometric community, holding many positions within the Georgia Optometric Association, serving on the AOA Evidence-Based Optometry Committee, and having been named the Young OD of the South by SECO International in 2014. “I am thrilled and humbled by this award,” Casella said. “I never expected such an honor, and I’m very grateful to my optometry families at the AOA, the GOA and Optometry Times, as well as my own family for affording me the opportunities to play a small role in the advancement of our profession.” The award is presented by the AOA, a professional association representing more than 44,000 optometrists, to one doctor of optometry each year who goes above and beyond in providing

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Day One Fitness, a nonprofit organization helping fight Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, will hold its first annual charity golf fundraiser, Birdies for Brain Health, on May 20 at Woodside Plantation in Aiken. Proceeds from the tournament will be used to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Registration is $110 per individual or $400 per team. The tournament includes a $10,000 hole-in-one competition, along with various other contests, a raffle, auctions, food and a $400 cash prize to the winning team. For more information, contact Tambra Wilkerson at 706-799-9506 or visit adpdbirdiesforbrainhealth.com.

Sue Parr

Parr again named to influential Georgian list For the second consecutive year, James Magazine’s Most Influential Georgians list includes Augusta Metro Chamber President & CEO Sue Parr. Each year, James Magazine publishes a roster of major business, political and media players from across the state of Georgia. The magazine’s 2019 Most Influential Issue brings a wide selection of col-

Lieutenant governor to speak at chamber event Geoff Duncan, Georgia’s 12th lieutenant governor, will give the keynote address at the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Post-Legislative Breakfast on Wednesday, May 8, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3300 Evans to Locks Road. A former professional baseball player and successful entrepreneur, Duncan was elected lieutenant governor in November 2018. Originally elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2012, Duncan is the second Republican lieutenant governor in the state’s history. A graduate of Chattahoochee High School in Alpharetta, Ga., Duncan enjoyed a standout career as a pitcher at Georgia Tech before being drafted by the Florida Marlins. He spent six seasons in the minor leagues, advancing as high as Class AAA before a shoulder injury forced him to retire. Along with his wife, Brooke, Duncan founded a small marketing firm and later served as the CEO of a health technology startup prior to his election to the state House. umns on many political, business and news topics of interest to Georgians. The Most Influential Georgians list provides a glimpse at an array of Georgia’s accomplished men and women and their contributions to the state, and brings attention to Augusta’s mission “to become the ‘cyber-capital’ of the South.” As the leader of the premier business association in the CSRA, “Parr finds herself at the center of Augusta’s booming commercial growth,” the magazine reports.

EDTS joins forces with Corsica Technologies EDTS, a leading information technology service provider, and its sister

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan

The Post-Legislative Breakfast will also feature a panel discussion with state Senate and House members from Columbia County. The state leaders scheduled to attend include: Sen. Jesse Stone, Sen. Lee Anderson, Rep. Tom McCall, Rep. Barry Fleming, Rep. Jodi Lott and Rep. Mark Newton. Registration is currently available online at columbiacounty chamber.com or by calling 706651-0018. For more information, contact Sabrina Griffin, events & programs manager for the Columbia County Chamber, at sabrina@ columbiacountychamber.com.

Read a Q&A with Charles Johnson, CEO of EDTS. Pages 10-11 company, EDTS Cyber, a provider of security services, has announced a partnership with private equity firm Inverness Graham. As a part of this relationship, EDTS and EDTS Cyber will merge with Inverness Graham portfolio company Corsica Technologies, another leading IT Service Provider in the mid-Atlantic region. EDTS specializes in managed IT services, professional services, cloud services and disaster recovery and business continuity solutions. In addition, EDTS Cyber is an award-winning cybersecurity practice focused on 24/7/365 security monitoring, threat prevention, assessments, incident response, and consulting services for clients concerned about cyber risks.


buzz bits Updates are planned for parts of Greeneway

Several new apartments now open downtown

Parts of North Augusta’s Greeneway walking-biking trail will look a little better by the fall. The North Augusta city council agreed to resurface and renovate the portion of the Greeneway between Center Street and Riverview Park. The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism gave the city a $100,000 grant for the resurfacing and repaving project. The city will pay $60,000 toward the project. The section of the Greeneway affected extends from Center Street by the Municipal Building, through the Hammonds Ferry area to Riverview Park. The project is expected to be completed by September. It will cause intermittent closures on parts of the trail.

Twelve new apartments have been completed on Ellis Street. The apartments are at 941 Ellis St., next to the old handkerchief and shirt factory (“Augusta I Love You”), which is slated to be converted into loft apartments. The renovation at 941 Ellis St. was done by Peach Contractors and comes at a time when an expected increase in demand for housing downtown has resulted in a few new residential projects on Broad Street, Ellis Street and the Riverfront at the Depot development on Reynolds Street. The building next door, the former handkerchief and shirt factory at 943 Ellis St., was purchased by Bryan Haltermann in 2017. Haltermann said the

Twelve new apartments are available at 941 Ellis St. in Augusta. The building at 943 Ellis is also slated to be converted into apartments. Photo by Witt Wells

building will be converted into loft apartments, along with the nine new

apartments units that will open at 901 Broad St.

House Doctors franchise wins company award House Doctors, an Atlanta-based source for professional handyman services and home repairs, home repair and home improvement, recently awarded Mark Boyd, owner of House Doctors of CSRA, with its 2018 sales increase award at the company’s 2019 annual franchisee convention in Nashville, Tenn. Celebrating significant systemwide milestones as well as individual franchise owner accomplishments, House Doctors recognized Boyd with the honor during a special awards dinner celebrating the accomplishments of high-performing franchisees in 2018. “I feel extremely lucky to be a part of an organization that recognizes its franchisees for their success,” said Boyd. “This award is a celebration of the last year, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish with House Doctors moving forward.” Themed “Opportunity Rocks!,” the convention created a space for House Doctors franchisees from across the nation to connect and share knowledge and accomplishments from the previous 12 months. In addition to

House Doctors of CSRA owner Mark Boyd received the company’s 2018 sales increase award thanks to his business’s 44 percent increase in sales from the previous year.

celebrating accomplishments, franchisees also used their time at the convention as an opportunity to exchange best practices to capitalize on business growth in the year ahead. The House Doctors corporate team completed comprehensive assessments prior to deciding which owner would win the sales increase award.

Boyd achieved the recognition thanks to a 44 percent increase in sales from the previous year. “House Doctors has earned its reputation as the trusted source for handyman and home repair services because of owners like Mark, who operate the business at a high level and more importantly, truly take the time to build

strong relationships with local customers,” said Jim Hunter, president of House Doctors. “From the franchisor perspective, there’s truly nothing more fulfilling than the opportunity to come together as an entire network to celebrate so many franchisee accomplishments.”

May 2019 Buzz on Biz

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DRESSING FOR SUCCESS

THE RIGHT WARDROBE PLAYS A ROLE IN CONFIDENCE AND SUCCESS

The color and style of clothing we wear play a big role in presenting who we are to the rest of the world in both our business and personal lives, says Liz Klebba, owner of Closet Play Image.

By Gary Kauffman I have never been much of a clothes horse. In fact, my wardrobe has trended toward T-shirts featuring my favorite sports teams’ logos or pithy sayings. But according to Liz Klebba, how you dress does lead to success, both personally and professionally. Klebba is a wardrobe, image and color consultant under the umbrella of her company, Closet Play Image. She provides services for businesses, such as workshops and speaking engagements, but she also offers around 30 different services on the personal side, including creating a personal image, a new wardrobe and travel packing. “I collaborate with clients to cultivate their personal style, curate their closet wardrobe and create outfits they love — and that love them back,” Klebba said. She said the idea is to create confidence. “Confidence comes from the inside and from the outside,” she said. “When it comes from both directions, it creates a very powerful synergy.” What we wear reflects how others perceive us, but also how we perceive ourselves. And it affects our performance. Klebba referred to a study in which three test groups were given a baseline test. Then they were divided into three groups — one took the test again in the same way it already had, the second group took the test while wearing a white coat identified as a doctor’s coat, and the third group took the test wearing the same white coat, this time identified as a painter’s coat. The first group scored about the same. The second group, thinking they were wearing a doctor’s coat, performed significantly higher, while the third group, the “painters,” performed statistically lower. Klebba helps clients develop the right clothing style based on their physical looks, personality, lifestyle and values. “So, they wear the clothes instead of the clothes wearing them,” she said. “It’s being authentic about who I am. The more we are ourselves, the more we inhabit our own skin or clothing, the more authentic we come across.” Clothes have physical characteristics that “speak” for a person,” Klebba said.

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Seams and pointed collars and pockets, for example, say business, while flowing clothes with rounded edges are more casual. The day I met Klebba, I wore a checked shirt in blue and green, untucked, with the sleeves rolled up one turn to expose my watch with the leather band, and black jeans. The look, Klebba said, is casual, which is the look I would have been going for had I known how to express it. And my inability to verbalize it is not unusual. “Clothing is a language we all understand,” she said. “It’s hardwired into us, but most of us don’t have the vocabulary or language to speak it.” One thing that speaks volumes is color, both appropriate for a person’s skin coloring and for the work environment. Color plays a significant role in how we perceive a person, especially at work. A Clemson fan might want to dress his employees in orange, but orange comes across as juvenile and untrustworthy in the work environment. Blue, on the other hand, is perceived as trustworthy. “Blue is the world’s favorite color for a reason,” Klebba said. Style also speaks volumes. While she doesn’t advocate “chasing” fashion, especially not fads, Klebba does urge clients to keep their wardrobe current. “Old clothes are associated with old ways and old thinking,” she said. Much of what a person should wear depends on situation, circumstances and location, Klebba said.

“You may wear different things on vacation than you would at home or when working,” she said. Which brings us to the work environment, where dressing for success can be critical. Klebba tries to keep to a person’s personal style within the context of the work environment. For example, a nature-loving businessman might choose a wardrobe with more of nature’s colors of browns, blues and greens. But businesses also often have to address what not to wear to work. Often, in the CSRA, that is clothing that is too casual. “It starts with Masters Week, when everybody rolls into Masters casual, and some never come back,” Klebba said. For women, especially, that can mean clothing that is a little too summery for the work environment. Klebba’s suggestion is to base women’s clothing off the men’s dress code, since men generally have fewer options. “If men aren’t wearing shorts to work, then skirts should be knee length,” she said. “If men aren’t wearing sandals, then wear mostly closed shoes. If you wear something strappy, then you need a sweater or jacket to wear over it when you leave your cubicle.” Her rules have a practical reason behind them. “If you look like you’re ready to go to the beach, then you’re not ready to do business,” she said. “It’s harder for us to be in work mode and harder for people to treat us like we’re in work mode. If you

really want to wear whatever you want, then work at home or be ready to face the consequences.” Part of the problem is that many businesses assume that employees will know how to dress properly and don’t have any set policies. Klebba urges businesses to have written guidelines. “If you don’t have a policy then you need a policy,” she said. “As employers, you have to set the expectations — your policies and procedures.” But it is still tricky for employers and human resources managers, Klebba said, because enforcing dress codes can seem petty and even bordering on sexual harassment. Klebba said common mistakes she sees in the business environment for women are dresses that are too short, shoes with heels that are too high, and tops that are too low-cut. For men, common faux pas are clothes that are too big and baggy, clothes that are too snug and poor grooming. Both men and women can be guilty of using too much perfume, cologne or body spray. “Any time you’re in a client-facing position, always err on the side of caution,” she advised. “Look approachable — not stuffy — tidy and clean.” One axiom that Klebba waves off is “never wear white after Labor Day.” “If you look good in white, wear it all year long,” she said. “Especially here, where it can be 95 degrees at the end of October.”


CUSTOMER FOCUSED.

QUALITY DRIVEN.

Two brands you can trust under one roof. www.ETGaugusta.com 706.793.0186

May 2019 Buzz on Biz

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EXTENDING THE LOCAL PRESENCE

EDTS TAKES THE NEXT STEP IN EXPANDING ITS BUSINESS By Witt Wells While most of Augusta was in the thick of the Masters Tournament and the celebration and entertainment that comes with it, Augusta-based information technology (IT) service provider EDTS, along with its sister company EDTS Cyber, announced that it would merge with mid-Atlantic company Corsica Technologies, an IT provider owned by Philadelphia-based private investment firm Inverness Graham. The firm, which has $500 million of assets under management, will oversee around 160 employees following the merger. Corsica’s presence in the Houston, Washington, D.C., and New York City metro areas will give EDTS opportunities for expansion outside of Southeastern mid-markets, which has been EDTS’ focus — outside of Augusta, EDTS, which was founded in 1999, has offices in Charleston, Greenville and Columbia in South Carolina, and Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina. The merger comes less than two years after the launch of EDTS Cyber, the business unit focused specifically on cybersecurity solutions. I talked to Charles Johnson, CEO of EDTS, about what the merger means for EDTS and EDTS Cyber, and his vision for the company going forward. What was your vision for this merger with Corsica, and why now? “I realized that we’re kind of hitting the glass ceiling. I even needed to bring in some heavy-hitters on the management level to help get to the next chapter of our career here at EDTS. I started looking around, and there’s a lot of different options out there: private equity, venture capital, strategic buyers of other companies throughout the U.S. “After going through a process with a broker to analyze each of those and talk to probably two dozen opportunities, I realized that venture capital was the way to go. And, specifically, Inverness Graham was the way to go. “They’re a great group, same culture, same values. That was the right company to deal with as far as private equity. When we started, they were in the process of talking with Corsica. So, I got to meet Corsica CEO Dale Walls and the Corsica team prior to them even doing that acquisition. We fit together like puzzle pieces anyway. It couldn’t have been a better fit as far as me picking Inverness and Corsica.

10 Buzz on Biz May 2019

Charles Johnson, the CEO of EDTS, said the company’s merger with Corsica Technologies will give the company the opportunity to make its “local presence” extend far beyond the Southeast. Photo by Witt Wells

They’ve got an office in New York, so I’m excited to really hit that market with cyber. I’m just ready to get to work. We’ll be fully integrated in less than six months.” How will the merger affect the way EDTS operates? “It doesn’t. We’re still delivering that local service. We really have two separate sides of the business: the cybersecurity side and the IT services. In IT services, where the rubber meets the road is how quickly you can get on-site with a client and solve a problem. That’s all they judge you by. “Without that local presence, you’ll never be able to solve problems quickly. About 80 percent of them can be done over the phone. But that 20 percent, they expect somebody to be there, fixing their systems and getting their business back up and running. So, we have to have that local presence. “And I think that’s the differentiator; we’re all always going to deliver locally. ‘Think globally, deliver locally,’ is kind of the mantra. We aren’t going to lose that. “We’ve got good presences in locations

we’re already in in the Southeast. We do have clients that have locations in Maryland and New York and even Texas. This will just give us the hands-on element and really expand that offering.” What capabilities does the merger provides for EDTS and EDTS Cyber? “Both sides of the house will be 24/7, and EDTS will have a 24/7 help desk. They have some very good capabilities. I think that complements what we’re already doing in that space. “EDTS brings some large-projects experience, both on the federal government side and also being able to do these large infrastructure projects like the GreenJackets stadium. “I couldn’t be happier at the choice of Corsica. They are using a system that we were already moving to. I put it on hold knowing what was transpiring. Now we’re going to be able to integrate into their management platform. They were trying to do security on a platform, and we already have that security platform with EDTS Cyber. This is a very good and easy migration. Seamless.” Why did Corsica and Inverness Gra-

ham make sense for EDTS? “Some of these folks have just come in and wanted to throw money. I had opportunities where they said, ‘We’ll just write you a check, you do what you need to do to grow this thing, and then call us when you’re done. By the way, send reports every week.’ “Really, you’re the puppet with them. That wasn’t the right fit. “These are like-minded individuals that understand the market, they understand this industry, and Inverness is the right partner to understand how to infuse the capital and put the right strategic players in place to make this thing happen and go nationwide. “Once we get our integration down, when we go buy that third company, fourth, fifth … it’s going to integrate very quickly and seamlessly, because we’ve already got the platform and systems in place. Kind of the overarching goal here is to build out a 350–400-person company in four to five years. “As far as Corsica’s founder Dale Wallace and I, it’s really uncanny how similar our stories are. The different levels


growth, the pain points we have, the client-centric focus. It was just a good fit. “It’s less about sizing — top-line revenue or numbers of users. It’s about maturity level. We’re able to now service every maturity level of client, from that small client that says ‘Hey, I just want it to work,’ to that enterprise or multinational company that says, ‘We have a need for this particular area.’ “They’re willing to pay for it, they understand the differences, they understand the credentials needed and the cadence needed. That’s where we fit. That’s the company we’re building — we can service all of those levels. “And the beauty of it is, if EDTS Cyber leads, and we get in there, and they have bad foundational security — they’re not doing their patching, they’re not doing their IT services side of the house very well — we have a solution. It takes both sides of the house. It’s been a very good process.” How will this allow you to focus more on EDTS Cyber? “We formed EDTS Cyber in 2017 for that differentiation. It seemed like then every IT company that could install a computer started throwing the word cybersecurity on their website. “Well, since inception, security has been No. 1 for us. We always build in security. But back then it was called net-

“We will compete and can compete with anybody in the country — the big boys like Dell and SecureWorks — that provides cybersecurity. That’s my vision.” – Charles Johnson, CEO of EDTS work security. It wasn’t until 2016 that the word ‘cyber’ started being thrown around, especially in this town. “We formed EDTS Cyber to be that cyber house to differentiate from the IT security side. We’re doing the advanced security pieces. So, my vision is to take that nationwide. That is going to be our flagship. We will compete and can compete with anybody in the country — the big boys like Dell and SecureWorks — that provides cybersecurity. That’s my vision. To go into those mature organizations — these Fortune 1,000 companies, these larger organizations — that need that a specific tool set and talent set and be able to solve that problem for them and be able to be their trusted advisor. It’s just about what flavor they’re consuming, what level they’re consuming. “If you’re on the airplane, you have

the main cabin, you have the ‘comfort plus’ and then you have first class. Each of them have different levels of service — things like space and legroom — it just depends on what you want. You can purchase either one, you can upgrade into different levels. Or maybe you didn’t want to pay for everything in first class, but you can buy a drink. You can pay to play on a level that makes sense for you. That’s kind of the model I wanted to build out on security.” What are your plans to expand EDTS Cyber? “As far as specifics, I’m not going to get into that. We’ve got a lot of very specific plans on that. But I’m excited about now having the capital to do it. “As an entrepreneur, you have to understand when you’ve hit your maximum, and I was there. So, something had to change, I had to have some capital infu-

sion, I had to have some new brain cycles to come in in some capacity. That’s why this was the best of both worlds. “It really frees me up from the day-today cadence of having to deal with HR and payroll and all the things that are distractions. It gets me back out into the marketplace, meeting with clients, talking about solutions, how to service their needs. That’s what I really love, that’s what I cut my teeth doing. “Who are the first three people you’re going to call when something major happens in your business? Right now, IT is not it. It’s your lawyer, your accountant, your significant other. In IT right now, the low-cost provider wins. And that’s just not the case in reality. “Because if you choose poorly in that decision, it can affect the rest of your business. If your computer system went down in a lot of companies, they’d be out of business. There’s no failing back to a pencil and a piece of paper in a manufacturing environment that is running automated equipment. “I just want to educate folks that it’s not ‘low cost wins.’ You need to look at the value, you need to look at the company providing the service. You have to help business owners make that connection and get in that trusted circle. I’m ready to get back out there and start taking that message again.”

“SPRING” INTO THE SEASON! WISHING YOU ALL A GREAT WEEK! BE SURE TO CALL US FOR YOUR GARAGE REPAIR/ SERVICE NEEDS! #GARAGEDOORREPAIR #GARAGEDOORSERVICE

May 2019 Buzz on Biz

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openings, closings and moves OPENINGS

Second City Distillery is now open at 4 Eighth St. in downtown Augusta.

Second City Distilling Company Second City Distilling Company, downtown Augusta’s first small-batch distillery, opened on April 8. Second City, the second venture of the owners of distillery Carolina Moon in Edgefield, S.C., is at 4 Eighth St., which used to house Cafe 209. The 6,000-square-foot building next to Augusta Riverwalk houses Second City’s entire distilling operation, including a tasting room, retail space, mash room, distillation room and bottling room. According to co-owner David Long, the distillery will have a wider variety of products than Carolina Moon, distilling whiskey, rum, vodka and gin along with moonshine. The distillery also has a small bar, and visitors will be able to enjoy cocktails and flights. Long said in an interview last year that Second City will be similar to Carolina Moon but “with a little bit of polish on it.” The Legacy A new development called The Legacy will bring a restaurant, retail and high-end office space to Evans. Joe Edge, president of Sherman and Hemstreet, said the development, a mixed-use project on Belair Road in the heart of Evans, will likely be complete by the fourth quarter of 2019. It is being developed by Sherman and Hemstreet, Clifton Construction and JLA Architects. The Legacy will be at 444 Belair Road. “The goal was really to do something unique,” Edge said. “Not your standard square strip center that you see up and down Washington Road.” Edge said the original plan was for the building to be a one-story strip center. But as plans developed, a lack of high-quality office space in the area prompted a bigger vision that includes a restaurant and two stories of Class A office space.

12 Buzz on Biz May 2019

New casual seafood spot open in Aiken A new seafood restaurant opened at the end of March, replacing Aiken’s former Willie Jewell’s BBQ, which closed in February. Aiken Fish House and Oyster Bar, owned by Damian and Rachel Blevins, is the owners’ transition to seafood after the barbecue restaurant never took off the way they envisioned it would. They also saw a big need for quality seafood in the area. The fish house is at 1376 Whiskey Road. “There’s no real seafood in Aiken, where you can get what we’re gonna offer on the menu,” Damian said. “Most of the seafood in Aiken is fried. All the seafood here is fresh and domestic, nothing frozen. Everything that we carry is coming from the Atlantic Ocean or the gulf.” The menu features a variety of fish, three preparations of oysters (raw, steamed and charbroiled), Lowcountry boil, shrimp and grits,

and more. Beer, wine and cocktails are on the menu as well. “It’s not fine dining by any means,” Damian said. “It’s a casual environment. It’s just a casual dining spot. We want people to feel comfortable when they come in.” Damian said the restaurant was largely inspired by OP Fish House and Bar in Oyster Park, Fla. Nathan Stuart, owner of that restaurant, has partnered with the Blevinses on the development of Aiken Fish House and Oyster Bar. The 3,500-square-foot restaurant will have a casual feel, with light colors and decor, including an 82-inch marlin. Overall, the concept has been very well-received by the community, Damian said. “I’ve been doing Facebook marketing, and honestly, I’ve been doing this for years, and I’ve never seen the response that I’m getting for this restaurant,” he said. “I know the product will keep people coming back.”

Aiken Fish House and Oyster Bar is now open at 1376 Whiskey Road.

“We feel very confident about being able to build the space up, so we might as well want to build it out as much as we can,” Edge said. The development will be just over 20,000 square feet. Edge did not disclose the cost of the project. The devel-

opers have not solidified any tenants at the moment but are in talks with multiple restaurants about the first-floor space, which he said has all the necessary infrastructure for a restaurant. Cyber defense contractors will be one of the primary targets to fill the office

space on the top two floors. “There’s really nothing available (in Evans),” Edge said. “Defense contractors all want space, and they want it now.”

CLOSINGS

Fred’s The Fred’s discount store on Martintown Road in North Augusta is one of the 159 stores the chain plans to close by the end of May. That is nearly a third of all Fred’s stores. Like many other brick-and-mortar locations, Fred’s has been affected by internet retailing. The company decided to close underperforming stores and those with the shortest leases.

EXPANSIONS

Chicken Salad Chick Chicken Salad Chick has opened a new location in Grovetown. It is the Alabama-based chain’s third location in the area. The other two are in Evans and on Washington Road in west Augusta, next to World of Beer. The new restaurant is at 4990 Steiner Way. Chicken Salad Chick has become known for its unique approach to chicken salad and serves more than a dozen variations with ingredients including buffalo sauce, bacon, cheese and fruit. The chain was founded in Auburn, Ala., in 2008 and has around 115 locations across the United States, most of them in the Southeast. Diablo’s Southwest Grille Diablo’s Southwest Grille officially opened its long-awaited new location on Washington Road on March 26. The restaurant’s address is 3102 Washington Road, next to Chick-fil-A. The new location includes indoor and outdoor dining, with a retrofitted garage door that can be opened or closed depending on the weather. Diablo’s fast-casual Southwestern fare has taken off in the area over the last few years, and this is the Diablo’s seventh restaurant in the region. The chain has expanded to Columbia, S.C., Braselton, Ga., Thomasville, Ga., and McCalla, Ala. When the chain’s Evans location opened last May, Carl Wallace, one of the co-founders of Diablo’s and partner in the venture, said that the company is also looking to open a location in south Augusta.


openings, closings and moves ACQUISTIONS

MOVES

The old City Club building at 724 Broad St. will soon be the new home of event company Toaste of Augusta. The facility will include a bed and breakfast.

New Goody Two Shoes owner Freda Keck said that the store’s concept — offering high-quality shoes at discount prices — hasn’t changed.

Goody Two Shoes A few months after closing, shoe store Goody Two Shoes is back in business, under new ownership. Goody Two Shoes officially reopened April 4 at the same location, 201 Milledge Road. New owner Freda Keck, used to work at the shop. “Wayne and Dotty (McGaha) are just very near and dear to me,” Keck said of the former owners, who owned the Harrisburg business for 34 years. “I worked here on and off for about 15 years. When they had their going-outof-business sale, I couldn’t say no.” While Keck has made changes to the interior and exterior of the store, the brands, prices and services remain the same, she said. The store sells a wide variety of quality shoe brands at discounted prices. “I think really what makes it special and so unique is our customers,” Keck said. “We get our shoes from department stores, so you’re able to get really nice brands for a fraction of what they would cost in department stores.” Goody Two Shoes is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. União Química Farmacêutica União Química Farmacêutica Nacional, a Brazilian animal pharmaceutical company, has purchased and plans to start operations in the former Elanco animal pharmaceuticals plant on Lovers Lane in Augusta, between Bobby Jones Expressway and the Savannah River. The Brazilian company manufactures a hormone used to stimulate milk production in dairy cows. União Química Farmacêutica is Brazil’s largest pharmaceutical company. It expects to create 100 new jobs during the next year.

Garnett Johnson (right), owner of Augusta Office Solutions, said the Acquisition of Weinberger’s Office Supply will help the company better serve the Augusta area. He is shown with Weinberger’s owner Mark Weinberger. Photo contributed

Office supply purchase expands local company Augusta-based business solutions provider Augusta Office Solutions has acquired Weinberger’s Office Supply. Financial terms of the deal completed in late December were not disclosed. According to Augusta Office Solutions owner Garnett Johnson, the acquisition will give the Augusta region stronger support and expertise in all office-related necessities. “Both AOS and Weinberger’s have always shared a vision of providing exceptional local service while battling the big-box and non-local competitors,” Johnson said. “The goal here to enhance efficiency and create even more value for customers. This combined, knowledgeable staff is optimistic about offering the highest level of service for everything office, every day.” Johnson, who was named the 2018 Augusta Entrepreneur of the Year, founded Augusta Office Solutions in 2010 to provide the greater Augusta region with everything from general office supplies to commercial office furniture. With the expansion, Augusta Office Solutions will be the largest independent business solutions

provider in the Augusta region. Weinberger’s is a long-standing, family-operated business that has provided residential furniture in the Augusta area for five generations. “We are most looking forward to being able to focus more on the residential and business furniture side of the business as a main priority,” said Weinberger’s owner Mark Weinberger. “I am happy that the team from Weinberger’s Office will be working for another locally owned business that provides the same level of care with a more specialized eye for the office supply sector.” This is the second acquisition for Augusta Office Solutions. In 2017, the company purchased Wrensbased office supply dealer Home and Office Technical Solutions to expand its presence in the Burke, Jefferson and McDuffie county areas. Augusta Office Solutions is a division of Integrated Supply Solutions, a certified Minority Business Enterprise that specializes in serving enterprise-level national account customers with multiple locations across North America.

Toaste of Augusta A new event and hospitality venue will open on Broad Street on April 27, and the owner plans to build out a bed and breakfast in the months following the grand opening. Toaste of Augusta, a one-stop event venue that will provide catering, event planning, photography, videography and bartending services, will open at the old City Club building at 724 Broad St. Toaste is currently at 1127 Broad St., but that space is around 1,000 square feet, and owner Dominik Simonz said the business has outgrown the venue. The new venue is 3,500 square feet, which doesn’t include the top three stories that will be dedicated to the bed and breakfast. The building is around 15,000 square feet in total. The 1127 Broad St. location will close when the new space opens. “We’re not a normal venue,” Simonz said. “We’re an intimate venue that caters to people’s needs and wants. The difference with us is it’s personal.” The building at 724 Broad St. has been sitting empty for years. Simonz said it last functioned as Word of Mouth Cafe around five years ago. Simonz plans to build a patio in the back of the building and eventually build out 13 bedrooms on the top three floors for the bed and breakfast. The venue will be designed for a wide range of events, including parties, weddings, baby showers, shows and more. Simonz used to operate a similar venue called C’est La Vie in Atlanta. He said his hope is to eventually open Toaste in Atlanta as well.

Follow business and economic news across the CSRA at buzzon.biz.

May 2019 Buzz on Biz

13


upcoming business events Monday, April 29

a solid foundation during the business’s formative years. Registration is required. For more information, visit georgiasbdc.org.

Business After Hours, 5 p.m., Rosemary Inn Bed & Breakfast, 804 Carolina Ave., North Augusta. A business networking event for business professionals. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Ribbons cuttings scheduled

Tuesday, April 30

Women in Business, 11:30 a.m., Newberry Hall, 117 Newberry St. SW, Aiken. Cynthia Hill, executive director at Westminster Assisted Living and Memory Care, will speak on “Under Construction for a Better You.” The emphasis will be on helping attendees identify their strengths and weaknesses. Registration is required. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

Thursday, May 2

SCORE Seminar: Understanding Basic Business Financials, 6 p.m., Second Providence Baptist Church, 1202 Old Edgefield Road, North Augusta. This workshop will take a simple, step-by-step approach to understanding business financials to give business owners more confidence in running their business. Registration is required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Friday, May 3

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, May 7

Meet.Mingle.Mesh., 5 p.m.,

14 Buzz on Biz May 2019

Ellefson Transportation Group, 3122 Mike Padgett Hwy., Augusta. A chance for Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce members to meet each other and make new connections, mingle with community professionals and mesh together for success. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

Wednesday, May 8

Columbia County Chamber Post-Legislative Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., Savannah Rapids Pavilion, Martinez. An opportunity to hear from state legislators about the proceedings of the most recent legislative session. Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan will be the keynote speaker. State Sens. Jesse Stone and Lee Anderson and state Reps. Tom McCall, Barry Fleming, Jodi Lott and Mark Newton are also scheduled to speak. Registration is required. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Thursday, May 9

State of Our Community, 5:30 p.m., North Augusta High School, 2000 Knobcone Ave., North Augusta. Representatives from local government, education and the military will comprise a community panel to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they face in the year ahead. Registration is required.

May 1: Helping People Start Over, 1758 Gordon Hwy., Augusta, noon May 2: Best Lawyers LLC, 801 Broad St., Augusta, 4 p.m. May 7: John Harris Body Shop, 410 Merchants Way, Grovetown, 11:30 a.m. May 7: Ellefson Transportation Group, 3126 Mike Padgett Hwy., Augusta, 4:30 p.m. May 9: Spa Indigo–New Skin Medical, Martinez, 4:30 p.m. May 10: Augusta & Co., 1010 Broad St., Augusta, 5 p.m. May 16: DoubleTree by Hilton, 2651 Perimeter Pkwy., Augusta, 4 p.m. May 22: Fairfield Inn & Suites, 30231/₂ Washington Road, Augusta, 4 p.m. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Monday, May 13

Augusta Metro Chamber 19th Annual Golf Classic, 11:30 a.m., Gordon Lakes Golf Course. A chance to promote your business, do some networking and enjoy a day of golf. Registration is required. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

Tuesday, May 14

Starting a Business, 5:30 p.m., 2907 Professional Pkwy., Suite B, Augusta. This course covers important tools and resources a business owner needs to establish

Wednesday, May 15

Small Business Roundtable, 7:30 a.m., Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 1000 Business Blvd., Evans. A chance to interact with some local business experts. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.

Thursday, May 16

Aiken Young Professionals Third Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 108 Laurens St. NW, Aiken. Mix and mingle with others ages 22-39 in the Aiken area. Registration is required. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

Monday, May 20

Business After Hours, 5 p.m., Rest Master Factory Outlet, 16 Rest Master Lane, North Augusta. A networking and relationshipbuilding experience. Registration is required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Tuesday, May 21

Women in Business, 11:30 a.m., Legends Club, 2701 Washington Road, Augusta. Speaker and topic to be announced. Registration is required by May 17. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.

Thursday, May 23

Business After Hours, 5 p.m., Honda Cars of Aiken, 550 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Warrenville. A


networking event for local businesses. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.

AUGUSTA’S INNOVATION NEWS

Tuesday, May 28

THE

Good Morning, North Augusta, 7:30 a.m., North Augusta Municipal Building, Palmetto Terrace, North Augusta. Speaker and topic to be announced. Registration is required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.

Thursday, May 30

Business Planning Essentials, 1 p.m., 2907 Professional Pkwy., Suite B, Augusta. If you’re ready to start a new business or have already started one, this course will give you the business planning essentials you need. Registration is required. For more information, visit georgiasbdc.org.

At theClubhou.se All events are held at the Georgia Cyber Center location unless otherwise noted. May 1: 1 Million Cups features Transparent Interiors. 8-9 a.m. May 2: Augusta Blockchain plans to start building community around blockchain projects in greater Augusta. 6-8 p.m. May 8: Beer & Bytes welcomes Yuri Eleizer, partner at Founders Legal. He will share tips on “Securing Intellectual Property.” 5:30-7 p.m. May 16: PyAugusta is presenting on data analysis. 6-8 p.m. May 21: Join Peacing Life Together for an evening of talking about grief at the Academy on Telfair Street. 6-7:30 p.m. May 21: Agile Augusta presents on Example Mapping – Simplifying Complex Ideas. 6-7 p.m. May 23: Augusta Developer is calling everyone out for a Show & Tell! 6-8 p.m. May 31: AFCEA Small Business Roundtable connects the public with activities surrounding Fort Gordon. 8-9 a.m. May 31: Growler Gardening with Augusta Locally Grown at theClubhou.se Community Garden on Telfair Street. 5-7 p.m. ONGOING l Entrepreneur members of theClubhou.se meet every Wednesday morning for Founders Circle, 9-10 a.m. l Augusta Locally Grown’s downtown pickup location is at theClubhou.se’s Telfair Street location every Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. ALG has launched its initiative Nourishment19 out of theClubhou.se. This includes a variety of agricultural endeavors, from harvesting to buying local produce, to educational movie nights and collaborative projects. Read more at its website, augustalocallygrown.org.

ACCELERATOR

ENTREPRENEURSHIP Softact Solutions Sam Anderson, COO

Sam Anderson retired from the military in November 2018 after 28 years mainly working in support of special operations. His last position was as the Chief of Staff of the Cyber Center for Excellence at Fort Gordon. His final assignments in the Army, both at Fort Gordon, allowed Sam to interact with the community outside of Fort Gordon, preparing him for his next career. Sam is now the Chief Operating Officer for SOFTACT Solutions, a woman-owned, small business which focuses on the Department of Defense sector. They are a small company working with larger firms, enabling a boutique experience for the client. Sam explained, “We believe our niche is in hands-on problem solving. We provide a variety of services including Engineering (mainly in the communications and telecommunications disciplines), Strategic Advisory and Consulting, and Program Management/Oversight of hardware/software implementation and services based contracting.” Some of their recent work has involved kit-building for the communications arena, creating radio packages for use in the field, and integrating software solutions to DOD customers. Speaking to next steps, “In the near term we will expand our portfolio to encompass Cyberspace Operations and Electronic Warfare disciplines as well as expand beyond the DOD sector to work closely with local and state officials to help drive businesses in our market space to the Greater Augusta region.” In discussing “cyber”, Sam elaborated on his experience from a military perspective of cyberspace electromagnetic activity, which encompasses protecting the greater network that is our society. To him, cyber truly entails

nearly every aspect of the infrastructure of our society, from energy grids to information systems to finance. Sam is passionate about Cyber Operations and Cyber Security and recognizes the need to produce talent. He sees that a workforce is needed to design, produce, and defend information systems. Sam says, “Who you hire will be the most important decision you make. Hire based on talent and fit, not based on need. Personnel must be well respected in our customer base and possess not only the technical acumen but also the work ethic and interpersonal skills necessary to be the right fit on our team. In our case, hiring goes beyond individual hiring decisions; it also requires vetting companies we choose to partner with to deliver capabilities to the customer.” Sam shared, “My experience in the Army allowed me to have a pretty good understanding of how a company such as SOFTACT Solutions could achieve success.” With SOFTACT’s previous military experience, they are able to act as a bridge to the private sector, “interpreting communications applications to how DOD does business,” Sam says. “Our CEO and I started as business associates and over time became close friends. At that intersection of business and friendship, we had several conversations about how we thought we could simply be better, be more responsive to the needs of the community we served, and simultaneously establish a culture that attracted the type of people we want in our business and in our lives. Timing is everything, and the CEO decided to commence this venture at the same time I was transitioning from the Army, so it seemed like a perfect fit.” Sam had this to say specifically about Augusta. “While much of

our work is in North Carolina, I am also attempting to maintain relationships in the Greater Augusta area with future growth in mind. In addition to providing low cost office space, being associated with theClubhou.se has allowed me to remain connected with the expansion of Cybersecurity initiatives in the region, maintain my relationships I fostered while in the Army, and it has also exposed me to a whole segment of entrepreneurial spirit that I otherwise would have been oblivious to. It is motivating to see a whole generation of local talent getting after tough problems that are of national significance. I also want to give back to this community and be part of the transformation of this area towards a mecca of Cybersecurity talent and expertise.”

WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER? VISIT www.theclubhou.se Would you like to schedule a tour? STOP BY 100 Grace Hopper Lane Suite 3700 Augusta, Ga EMAIL heythere@theclubhou.se

May 2019 Buzz on Biz

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BUSINESS BASICS

Message, method and a touch of magic can take you to the top By Mark Alison You don’t need a fancy consulting firm to take your company to the top. Here are three things to concentrate on. MESSAGE. This is not a mission statement. “Mission statements” are way overblown, and virtually no one can remember all of the words, much less the meaning. “Message” is what you want to communicate both internally and externally. It is not something you put on and take off like clothes. You don’t get up in the morning and say, “Well, I’ll now put on my message and go to work.” Message is something you live. When you become the “living message” 24 hours a day, the way you handle problems and opportunities will change. The way you deal with people will change. And when you have staff who voluntarily accept and become the message, the business will change. You can communicate your message with a mantra. “Mantra” is a Sanskrit term meaning “sacred utterance” or “thought.” Mantras are concentration aids provided by Hindu gurus to facilitate transformation via repeated utterance. In business, a mantra is the “living message” or fundamental purpose. It goes to the core of the company. It’s simple, short and repeatable. It is not tied to target markets, demographics or stock prices. Google’s “don’t be evil” mantra doesn’t

16 Buzz on Biz May 2019

conflict with products or services it sells. “Just do it,” by Nike is an excellent example of a mantra that stands the test of time. “Embrace the suck,” a military mantra used by Navy SEALs during rigorous training, connects the dots for mantras. It is both simple and deep while embracing personal motivation. It says life is not always easy and can take hard work, but we celebrate success and setbacks together. It screams “team,” and that is what mantras are — a rallying point for employees and perhaps customers alike. The Blue Angels represent the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent of pilots. Imagine the mantra that group could have: “Give them a show.” “Fly high.” “Errorless.” It’s none of those. The group’s mantra is “Glad to be here.” After close flying in formation and dangerous exercises, members close each program with “Glad to be here.” It’s a statement of gratitude and recognition that life is a privilege and should not be taken for granted. Businesses could adopt a similar mantra — a culture of gratitude both for the employees and for the customers. Gratitude is an attitude. Imagine if you wore that “living message” every day. METHOD. This is the style, the process, the procedure you use to accomplish a goal. What is your method of communicating your message? One of my ad agency friends in Hous-

ton has a “director of first impressions,” whose job is to manage the message and the initial relationship the company shares with potential customers. Even more than initial impressions, what is your method of helping your customer with ownership? That’s the part of the relationship that is “after the sale” and often goes ignored. Most business articles dealing with customer value calculate financial value based on purchase potential and the cost of acquisition and retaining a customer. But there is an intrinsic value that can’t always be measured. For example, the daycare connected with a church also introduces new couples to the church fellowship. MAGIC. It’s the spark that makes the difference, the joy, enthusiasm, higherbar, surprise of your company. Disney doesn’t have a lock on magic, although it does a great job of creating it throughout the theme parks. The company knows all too well what some businesses need to learn. There are two pieces to the magic puzzle — internal and external. The internal goes back to the “mantra” idea earlier in this article. The mantra is a good place to begin the internal magic. But it can amplified by management by way of gratitude, surprises and bonus time off. In a New York Times article, research validated that time off is more important

than money when it came to greater happiness. Then there is the external magic. It is created by added value, attention to detail and sincere personal communication. It really doesn’t take much to be magical: a surprise mint on a pillow or an eye-to-eye greeting and handshake. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: I was waiting in line at a bakery in Chicago. The woman in front of me was buying a cake for her office. “I’ll take this one,” she said, eyeing the one in the glass case. The clerk took it out and noticed the icing was not perfect on the side the customer couldn’t see. She pointed it out and asked when the cake was needed. “At lunch” she was told, for the office about a block away. The clerk said, “We will bake one fresh and bring it to you then.” Attention to detail, added value, sincere personal communication. There was magic created that day for everyone in line. And I am certain created some customers for life. Got any good stories yourself ? Shoot me an email at mrkalison@yahoo.com. Mark Alison, the Business Accelerator, is an independent marketing counselor. He can be reached at mark9226@me.com.


EXCITING NEW TENANT

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May 2019 Buzz on Biz

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TAX MATTERS

Fraudsters continue to develop new tax scam calls By Christine Hall Like clockwork, every year, there’s a new twist on old scams. This year, it is the IRS impersonation phone scam whereby criminals fake calls from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). The TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that helps protect your taxpayer rights. TAS can help if you need assistance resolving an IRS problem, if your problem is causing financial difficulty, or if you believe an IRS system or procedure isn’t working as it should. Typically, a taxpayer would contact TAS for help first, and only then would TAS reach out to the taxpayer. TAS does not initiate calls to taxpayers out of the blue.

During the 2019 tax season, some scammers are trying to take advantage of people by calling, pretending to be from the Taxpayer Advocate Service and telling them that they owe the IRS money.

How the scam works

Like many other IRS impersonation scams, thieves make unsolicited phone calls to their intended victims, fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS. In this most recent scam variation, callers “spoof ” the telephone number of the TAS office in Houston or Brooklyn, N.Y. Calls may be “robocalls” that request a call back. Once the taxpayer returns the call, the con artist requests personal information, including a Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). In other variations of the IRS impersonation phone scam, fraudsters demand immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The callers are often hostile and abusive. Alternately, scammers might tell would-be victims that they are entitled to a large refund but must first provide personal information. Other characteristics of these scams include: l Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves. l Scammers might know the last four digits of the taxpayer’s Social Security number. l Scammers spoof caller ID to make the phone number appear as if the IRS or a local law enforcement agency is calling. l Scammers might send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their bogus calls.

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Victims hear background noise of other calls to mimic a call site. l After threatening victims with jail time or with driver’s license or other professional license revocation, scammers hang up. Others soon call back, pretending to be from local law enforcement agencies or the Department of Motor Vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim. l

Telltale signs of a scam call

While the IRS or the TAS will never do any of the following, scammers will often: l Call to demand immediate pay-

ment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a paper bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. l Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying. l Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. l Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. l Call about an unexpected tax refund.

Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time, and it’s important to stay alert to scams that use the IRS or other legitimate companies and agencies as a lure. If you have any concerns, please call the office.

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


BUSINESSPERSON OF THE MONTH

DIVINE INTERVENTION LED TO SUCCESS FOR ‘SUPERHERO’ BRYAN WILLIAMS In his own words

By Gary Kauffman Bryan Williams almost missed the divine intervention that put his company, Bryton Entertainment, on the national map. It was around midnight of a hot August day in 2007 when Williams and his business partner, Denton Adkinson, entered Huddle House for a late meal after spending the day filming music videos. As they waited for their food, the discussion turned to the premonition that Williams’ wife, Annette, had that they were going to produce a documentary. At that point in the young business, they’d not done a documentary, only music videos and commercials.

Bryan Williams, Bryton Entertainment “We said, ‘We don’t do documentaries’ and asked, ‘What would we do one on?’” Williams recalled. “The ideas kept getting stupider.” He decided they needed prayer, so they paused to pray for God’s discernment. “We waited about 13 seconds and nothing happened, so we kept talking about it,” he said. Once the meal arrived, Williams blessed the food and finished with another request for God’s discernment. As he finished the prayer, the door opened, and in walked an old black man wearing a jacket and hat of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black pilot squadron from World War II. Both Williams and Adkinson commented on the rarity of seeing one of these famed figures — then continued their discussion of increasingly absurd topics for a documentary. “I looked up and the guy was just smiling at me, so I asked him if he was a Tuskegee Airman,” Williams said. “He said he was, so I asked him if I could tell his story. It was a divine meeting.” That divine encounter led to nearly four years of time- and money-consuming work to produce In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen, a documentary that has gained national and international acclaim. Proudly displayed in Bryton Entertainment’s North Augusta headquarters is a letter from film producer George Lucas — who produced the movie Red Tails about the Tuskegee Airmen —

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Bryan Williams, a co-founder of production company Bryton Entertainment, says the company’s passion “is to make the world a better place.” Photo by Gary Kauffman

praising Williams and Denton for their documentary. The documentary opened a lot of doors for Williams and Bryton Entertainment. That includes now doing a local TV series, CrossTalk, with Neil Gordon. Williams’ interest in filming began with a high school passion to be a comedian. He did his standup routine for his grandmother, Augusta singing legend Flo Carter, who believed in him enough to buy him a camera to put his routines on film. “I started filming everything,” Williams said. “Me and my buddies started making movies.” That eventually led to a gig with Channel 6. Meanwhile, he lived in a house with four other guys on Columbia Road. It was there that he met a friend of a friend, Denton Adkinson, a high school student with a budding film career of his own. In 2003, they formed Bryton Entertainment (David Kaplan joined them in 2013). Williams and Adkinson started filming weddings, but they also took the entrepreneurial step of filming commercials for things they liked. One was for Buck’s Pizza. They showed it to the owner of the local franchise, who agreed to pay them $100 and two large pizzas for it. That led to a meeting with the owner of the pizza chain, although it didn’t result in being hired. Later, they did a spec commercial for

the video game Madden Football and took it to a gaming tournament in Atlanta. It garnered the attention of EA Sports, the game’s creator, and was shown to the top executives as a possible national commercial, although intercompany politics kept them from landing a contract. Williams tells those as success stories, even though they ultimately didn’t land jobs. “It fueled our company,” he said. “We knew we’d made it to the top.” Although Bryton Entertainment has gained national recognition and boasts a wall full of pictures with celebrities, Williams is better known locally as Superman. One Friday a month, Williams and a cadre of friends don superhero outfits — Williams is Superman — and visit children in hospitals. It’s a mission born partly out of his own encounter with Spider-Man when he was 5 years old and in the hospital to repair a hole in his heart. “Stan Lee (creator of Spider-Man and many other superheroes) taught me that heroes care about us,” he said. “When Spider-Man came into my room it didn’t surprise me, because of course he would, because Spider-Man cares about people.” Now Williams sees just how much it means when a superhero visits a sick child in a hospital. “You see the change it makes,” he said. “Just five minutes in the room makes them happy the rest of the day.”

What are you passionate about in your business? “Our passion is to make the world a better place, because it kind of sucks unless you look at it through God’s eyes. We look at what’s right and go from there. I can’t stay focused on what’s wrong, because that takes too much out of me.” What role has faith played in your business? “We always said we’d be a Christianbased business. We don’t work exclusively with Christians, but we have Christian values. With the Tuskegee Airmen, every step of the way God put someone there to help us. All of these things are just God. You dig and plant and it will be rewarded.” What have you learned about yourself in business? “I’ve had to learn everything in a selfimposed hard way through trial and error. I don’t have a marketing degree, but if you want to get something out nationally, you have to figure out how to get the press for it. In going to the Discovery Channel with Tuskegee Airmen, we had to put up some money (through sponsorships), so I had to get a thick skin. I’m not used to be told no 15 times a day.” What did you learn from the Tuskegee Airmen? “Those guys taught me so much that I’ve used in our business. They said to never let anyone tell you what you can’t do until you find it out for yourself. But when you do that, you’ll find there’s nothing you can’t do.” How did your own health problems show you the impact of your superhero visits? “I have a heart defibrillator, and in 2013 my heart jumped out of rhythm. I went into the hospital on Monday and they made me stay until Friday. Meanwhile, my wife’s mother died and I had to miss the funeral. My goal was to cheer up the hospital staff, because I know how hard they work, but I ended up feeling down. That Friday, a custodian came into my room who had been on the pediatrics floor when the superheroes visited, and I would always stop and hug her. She held my hand and said, ‘Do you know how many people you’ve touched in this hospital? Do you know how much you’ve affected the doctors and nurses? Don’t you stop doing this! Don’t you let this get you down!’ I was absolutely meant to stay there that Friday so I could hear that.”


INFRASTRUCTURE & LOGISTICS

Partial house wash does little to save money By Tony Creighton At least once a week, a prospective customer will request an estimate on a partial pressure wash of his or her home. The customer will say things like, “Only one side of my home really needs to be cleaned” or “I’ve completed two sides of my home and just don’t have the time to finish the rest.” While we’re happy to provide those estimates and agree that in today’s economy any chance to save money is a great idea, a partial cleaning is just not practical. One reason a partial house wash is impractical is that the cost difference between a partial and full is so minimal that it doesn’t make any financial sense to not have the whole house washed. In fact, most service-related industries, such as pressure-washing companies, have a company minimum price that they cannot go below without losing money on a job. What most customers don’t realize is that majority of the cost in washing a house is related to the unseen factors of simply being in business. Insurance, employee-related expenses, equipment maintenance, marketing, utilities, shop rent, phones, fuel, training, detergents and travel time all are still necessary, regardless of whether one side or all sides of a home get washed. The technicians still need to travel to the property, still need to unroll all the hoses, still need to mix detergents, still need to allow the dwell time before a rinse that would normally occur while soaping another side of the home, and must still roll up all the hoses again. Generally, the request for a one-side wash is the dirtiest side, which, during an entire-house wash, would have taken the longest amount of time. So, you see that doing the rest of house only adds a minimal amount of time. Thus, the cost difference is of no impact. Additionally, the quality of the clean and longevity of the clean are hindered when partial washes are done. Imagine only washing one side of your car because the mud and pollen are only seen on that side. Once you’re finished, you’d see dirty water and soap stains splashed

The request for a one-side wash is the dirtiest side, which, during an entire-house wash, would have taken the longest amount of time. … Doing the rest of house only adds a minimal amount of time. Thus, the cost difference is of no impact. onto the other side of your car, as well as being able to see just how dirty all your car was to begin with. This is precisely what happens when you only clean one side of your home. Water and detergents used during the cleaning splash onto other sides, leaving clean streaks and highlighting all the dirt and mildew left behind. Also, those sides of the house that the customer feels don’t need washing do, in fact, have the same mildew that the dirty sides have. It just isn’t thriving in the same way that it thrives on the northwest side, where it builds up to large colonies of mold and algae. If all of the mold and algae isn’t killed and removed, the rest of house becomes infested quicker and the clean isn’t as long-lasting. Lastly, the request for a partial wash typically comes from a failed attempt at DIY washing. Some customers think that washing a house is a no-brainer, easy-to-do procedure. Then, they begin work and discover that using a rented pressure washer can be difficult and time-consuming and that the job requires more than one person to do effectively. Having licensed and insured pressure-washing technicians who are trained to safely and effectively clean the exterior of your home not only saves you time, it can also save your body the aches and pains of hours’ worth of labor

and sun exposure. So, the next time you’re in the market for the exterior cleaning of your home, remember, it’s always costand time-effective to take care of all four sides. Dedicated, knowledgeable pressure-washing companies want to do the best, most thorough job for you to ensure you get your money’s worth.

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.

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PERSONAL GROWTH

With relationships, learn to control yourself By Dagan Sharpe We’re all in the people business, meaning much of our life is centered around relationships — either building them, repairing them, mending them, helping them and even exiting them. As such, people can often be the source of many of our challenges. Perhaps it’s in the various areas of our disagreement, disregard and/or different perspectives. Yet at the same time, the reactions, attitudes and opinions of others are largely out of our control. Therefore, the key to overcoming many of the challenges we face with others is in focusing on what we can control – i.e., ourselves. Thankfully, we can learn to control our reactions, expectations, perspectives, attitudes, actions and even our emotions. Far too often we allow our circumstances and relationships to control our behavior — and this an easy trap to fall into. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.

When you are having difficulties or frustrations in dealing with other people, try to remember the “Q-tip:” Quit taking it personally.

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For example, I love to watch skilled debaters and negotiators in action. They have learned the discipline and elite skill of self control. They do not allow their circumstances or the reaction of others to control them. Rather, they remain in control of their emotions, tone and projection, and thereby maintain a higher level of control over a desired outcome. Again, this isn’t easy, but it can be learned, and even the Bible speaks of the value of self-control, calm temperament and discipline. Personally, this skill is a work in progress, and I’m still a long way from where I desire to be. However, there are some tools we can all apply when dealing with others to help promote reconciliation, peace and progress: Try to find common ground. Are there any similarities and threads of unity we share? Strive for win-win outcomes. Be an advocate to help both sides achieve some victory. Try to see the other person’s perspective and point of view. Why might that person feel and act the way he or she does?

Don’t take it personally. Sometimes this is the hardest thing to do, but a counselor once admitted to carrying a Q-Tip in his pocket to help remember the acrostic — Quit Taking It Personally. Breathe. Sometimes, when we’re in tense situations we can hold our breath and/or forget to breathe regularly. Simply being aware of our breathing patterns can help maintain stability. In the end, we are emotional beings, but we don’t have to allow others to control our behaviors, actions and attitudes. These are things we can control. So with relationships, whether professional or personal, there’s much wisdom in focusing on what we can control, and not on the others we can’t. Dagan Sharpe is senior vice president of Queensborough National Bank & Trust and the author of Highways End and Full Disclosure. Email him at dagan.sharpe@qnbtrust. com.


Your time is better spent... Let us handle your home maintenance, repairs, and renovations!

THE CONVENIENT HANDYMAN We Focus on the Science of your home; You focus on the Art of Living is the mission of a new home maintenance, repair, and renovations, called OnDemand Home Services, LLC. “In today’s world, we feel like homeowners have better things to do with their time than worry about the maintenance and repairs of their homes. Some safety things are overlooked due to a lack of time, such as cleaning out dryer vents, which account for 34% of house fires in the US”, said the founder and co-owner of OnDemand. Handymen at OnDemand Home Services are called “fixologists”, who are highly trained, vetted, and bring a valuable work ethic that customers will appreciate. Their Fixologists are trained to work for their customer’s best interests, while respecting their time and budget. Your Fixologist

will always leave your home in better shape than when they got there. For jobs outside the scope of a handyman, OnDemand has partnered with respected industry professions, including roofers, plumbers, electricians, and more! There is no job too small or too large for this dynamic group, who plan on making the experience of hiring a home services professional easy and convenient. The use of online scheduling and payments, along with small conveniences like “on the way” texts and fast service will raise the bar of the industry. OnDemand has packages for every need and budget for homeowners, investors/landlords, and Realtors. For most folks, their home is their largest asset. If that’s true, then place it in the reliable hands of your own Fixologist with OnDemand Home Services!

We focus on the Science of your Home You focus on the Art of Living


ADVOCACY

North Augusta Chamber giving future leaders a boost through Junior Leadership Academy By Terra Carroll There is a leader inside each of us, and that leader gets started in our youth. If we believe the children are our future, what happens if we fail to prepare them? Turning ordinary students into growing leaders who will transform our community happens when forces join together to show models of integrity, strength, commitment and creativity. The Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the development of our Junior Leadership Academy ( JLA). JLA is a program designed to promote leadership development by helping teens identify their own characteristics, personality traits and strengths to best understand how they can be successful in any area of their choosing. The curriculum will acquaint participants with community needs, opportunities, challenges and resources. It will give them the tools to develop leadership, communication and team-building skills and provide them with the channels to interact with students from other schools, community leaders and decision-makers. The program will be offered to rising ninth graders who reside in North Augusta. JLA is conducted during the month of July and will consist of an orientation, seven six-hour sessions, and a graduation ceremony. Public, private and homeschool students may apply. Here is key information about the program:

Session dates

July 10, orientation l July 11, team building session 1 l July 16-18, sessions 2-4 l July 23-25, sessions 5-7 l July 31, graduation l

Expectations

Orientation is a mandatory evening event for parents and students. l Active participation in the class project discussion and events. l Attendance at all sessions is expected. l

Program objectives

Encourage students to recognize and develop the skills needed for leadership potential. l Provide opportunities for a diverse group of students to interact with one another and with community leaders and decision-makers. l Acquaint students with community needs, resources and other important aspects of the greater North Augusta area. l Introduce students to emerging career opportunities by working with a variety of professionals. Students will also discover what it takes to reach their goals and acquire some of the skills needed to get there. l Foster students’ interest in volunteer community service. l

Learn more

While application window for the inaugural class has passed, anyone who is interested in participating in future Academy sessions can see the application and more information on the Chamber’s website, www.north augustachamber.org. The program has a fee of $50. Scholarships may be considered for students with little to no family income. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Terra Carroll is the president and CEO of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at terra@northaugustachamber.org.

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Turning ordinary students into growing leaders who will transform our community happens when forces join together to show models of integrity, strength, commitment and creativity.


HEALTH CARE

A little forethought helps stretch your health care dollar By Russell Head As health care costs continue to rise, it is increasingly important that you take an active role in decisions about your health, the care you receive and your health plan. Here are some tips to help you get the most for your money.

At the doctor’s office

Make a list of your questions, symptoms or concerns before a visit to a clinic or doctor’s office. Use this as a checklist to be sure you address all of your issues. The fewer appointments you have to make, the less money you’ll spend. l Ask your doctor questions. You deserve an explanation that you understand completely. l Keep records of all appointments and outpatient visits. The records should include the provider’s name, procedures or tests performed, and supplies or medications received or purchased. l Get copies of all charges at the time of service or have copies mailed to you. l Keep track of any explanation of benefits (EOBs) you receive and compare them to the invoices you receive. l Review your provider payment status and record the dates that payl

ments are made.

At the hospital

If possible, find out in advance how much you will owe. l If necessary, get an estimate and check with your health plan about its reasonable and customary rates for the procedure. l Ask your physician if he or she accepts your health plan’s reasonable and customary rate. l Ask if the procedure can be performed in an outpatient setting rather than an inpatient setting. l Ask for a semi-private room rather than a private room. l Know the difference between situations that call for urgent and emergency care in order to avoid unnecessary and expensive trips to the emergency room. If an illness or injury is too serious to wait for a scheduled doctor appointment but is not an emergency, urgent care is the best choice. l

At the pharmacy

Follow instructions carefully. Medications are most effective when used according to your physician’s instructions. l Ask your doctor if an over-thecounter medication would be appropriate for your condition rather than a prescription medication. l

l Ask your doctor if there is a generic version or less expensive brandname drug that is just as effective as a drug he or she prescribes. l Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if tablet-splitting is an option, and if it could result in savings for the medication that has been prescribed. l Ask for a limited portion of any new prescription to avoid waste.

With your health plan

Submit claims on time, know the deadline for submitting claims and keep copies of your claims. l Make copies of all bills, receipts and co-payments. l Complete your claim forms clearly and check them for accuracy. l Review your EOB and follow up on any requests. l Keep records of your interactions with member services department representatives or provider billing representatives. l Get itemized bills for hospital stays and check to ensure that they reflect the care you’ve received. l

the cost with your health care provider. If the price you are quoted is more than the listed fair value, let the provider know and ask if it can match the fair value. l Ask for a discount, especially if the service is not covered by insurance. Many providers are able to offer lower prices than what they originally quote you, but if you don’t ask, they will charge you as much as they can.

Stay healthy

Living a healthy lifestyle is perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself to save money on health care. Here are some basics for maintaining a healthy lifestyle: l Eat a nutritious diet. l Manage your weight. l Exercise regularly. l Take steps to reduce your stress. l Ensure that you are getting enough sleep. l Don’t smoke.

Get lower prices

l Don’t automatically accept the price that you’re told a service costs. Look up the fair value of the service(s) you need at www.health carebluebook.com prior to discussing

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.

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BUSINESS BASICS

The best way to build trust is to live by the Scout code By Ed Enoch I went to a meeting this morning where a consultant with a Ph.D. spent an hour explaining to human resources professionals how to teach their bosses to build trust in their workplaces. Listening to this highly educated speaker, it occurred to me that everything we need to run a successful business I learned at the age of 11. That is when I first memorized the 12 points of the Scout Law. I learned a Scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Right there it is, first in the line — trustworthy. As businesspeople, it is the core of what we want, need and expect from our relationships. The only way to get these trustworthy relationships is to first and foremost be truly worthy of trust. For our customers, vendors and, especially, our employees to trust us, we must live by two other points of the Scout Law — obedient and brave. Obedient does not mean subservient or submissive. It means doing what you say and saying what you do. It means keeping promises to the best of your ability.

Brave does not just mean risking your life in a military fight. It also means having the fortitude to admit to a customer or an employee that you made a mistake or do not have all the answers. There is a library full of books by management gurus trying to evaluate and understand the changing dynamics of our workforce. As a small business owner, I read a fair amount of that literature. I keep coming back to this. These 12 points of the Scout Law have existed relatively unchanged for more than 100 years. They are as good a guidepost for organizing your life and your business now as they were then. Our esteemed speaker today proved that point. So, save yourself thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours spent in organizational behavior classes and instead start with these 12 points. J. Edward “Ed” Enoch has practiced law in Augusta for more than 20 years, mostly focusing on helping business owners and companies to include formation, transition, business planning, contract writing, employment law and other areas of the law. Email jenoch@enochlaw.com.

The new business-class Hyatt House hotel, at 1268 Broad St. in downtown Augusta, opened in early April. The facility has a banquet space, rooftop bar and patio, and parking decks. Photos by Witt Wells

HYATT HOUSE OPENS IN DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA

By Witt Wells

At the beginning of April, Augusta’s newest business-class hotel opened just as Masters Week tourists descended upon the city. The 141,000-square-foot Hyatt House hotel at 1268 Broad St. opened 50 of its 100 rooms just in time for tournament week. The hotel has a lobby bar, a 4,500-square-foot banquet space, fitness room and a rooftop bar and patio with a stellar view of the city. “What they wanted to do was bring a whole new feel to Augusta,” said Timothy Lawandus, assistant general manager for Hyatt House. “Places in Savannah and Atlanta have this kind of stuff. But not here.” The hotel filled up quickly and remained almost completely booked for Masters Week. The hotel has four varieties of rooms: standard “guest rooms” (includes basic kitchen appliances), king studios (with full living room and kitchen), onebedroom and two-bedroom units. Jamie Corley, director of sales for the hotel,

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26 Buzz on Biz May 2019

Hyatt House’s rooftop bar, Bar 111, will be open to the public when it is not reserved for events.

said the banquet space is ideal for events such as wedding receptions and corporate meetings. The second and third floors of the hotel are parking decks, and each of the next four floors contains 25 rooms. The rooftop bar and patio, referred to as Bar 111 because it is 111 feet off the ground, will be open to the public when it isn’t reserved for events.


SHARING A VISION

ARTIST HOPES PROJECT BRINGS ENJOYMENT, INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC ART By Witt Wells If they’re paying attention, locals and tourists taking Petersburg boat rides down the Augusta Canal this summer will catch a glimpse of a shadow of the historic vessel on the banks of the canal, across from Sibley Mill. It’s a shadow that’s still in the works, one that, for some passersby, looks more like an excavated ruin than an unfinished stone sculpture of a Petersburg boat. Then again, that’s exactly what the artist is going for. “I just like this idea of kind of playing with a sense of time,” said Brian Rust, a sculptor and professor of arts and humanities at Augusta University. “And when you use material like this, it’ll just feel like it’s sort of been here forever.” Petersburg boats, now a centerpiece of the experience that the Augusta Canal Authority uses to showcase Augusta as a destination rich with historic and scenic beauty, became one of the primary means of transporting produce and livestock from farms into the city during the mid19th century. The 10-ton boats, named after the town of Petersburg, Ga., now not only serve the local community as a tourism enhancement, but as a link between historic Augusta and an Augusta that is trying to reinvent itself as an attractive destination in the modern world. The same is true of Rust’s depiction of them. “Well-conceived, integrated public art that people can go and visit is one of those things that helps define a city as more livable,” Rust said. “And I think Augusta has finally caught on to that. I’ve been here a long time.” Being a university professor, Rust’s time to pursue large-scale public art projects like this one is limited — he only gets such an opportunity every one or two years. Among his recent public pieces is a sculptural bridge in a Henry Lay Sculpture Park in Louisiana, Mo., about 100 miles northwest of St. Louis. Rust’s work has been on display around the country, from Chautauqua, N.Y., to Lexington, Ky. But there’s something special about creating a 40-foot-long stone sculpture in Augusta, where Rust has been creating and teaching for 26 years. Rust’s sculpture lies at an intersection of nature and communal activity that he hopes will allow the Petersburg boat to be more than a nice piece to look at. The sculpture is tucked between the canal and

Brian Rust, a sculptor and professor of arts and humanities at Augusta University, is working on a commissioned piece that will live alongside the Augusta Canal, a few feet away from the Eve Street bridge. Rust hopes that his stone version of a Petersburg boat will be something that draws in people and helps encourage public art. Photo by Witt Wells

“Well-conceived, integrated public art that people can go and visit is one of those things that helps define a city as more livable.” – Sculptor Brian Rust the Augusta Canal Trail, just a few feet north of the Eve Street bridge between the Kroc Center and Sibley Mill. Rust hopes to finish the project within the next month. But he wants the piece to be more than an admirable sculpture — he wants the community to interact with it and take advantage of its value as a place to sit by the canal and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area — the

birds, trees and the real Petersburg boats passing by. If anything, Rust’s piece is accessible, both as a work of art and a part of the city’s infrastructure that encourages people to participate in shared spaces. “I don’t want it to be overly complicated,” Rust said. “You can still sit here and watch the boat go by. It’s got to be the best PR there is. I tend to do either benching areas, bridges, something that engages people to interact with it. It’s like a physical invitation.” Having engaged with a wide variety of public art over the years, Rust is encouraged by his observation that as a whole city, Augusta seems to have realized to value of public art and has begun investing in it. He hopes his own piece, which received a $14,000 commission last year, and the viewers it draws, will demonstrate such value. It’s not always tangible, especially in the early stages of a city’s revitalization. “When you think of all the great cit-

ies, they all had that sense of civic pride,” Rust said. “Whether it’s performances, whether it’s festivals, whether it’s art … that sense of the community celebrating itself.” A trip to Lexington several years ago comes to mind when Rust thinks about what can happen when a city is invested in public art from the top down. The unity with which everyone from the mayor to the city council to the water department worked in prioritizing public art projects was a pleasant surprise for Rust. If that kind of cooperation and vision becomes normal in Augusta, the sky is the limit. “If you go to a city and their city hall is behind (public art), their commission is behind it, it makes a huge difference,” Rust said. “If they’re interested in it and they recognize the benefits of several thousand people coming to their town, then all of a sudden, that can get done. It takes a commitment from the city hall down to make that kind of stuff happen.” May 2019 Buzz on Biz

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things to do

when off work

MUSEUM HONORS THE MEMORY OF LUCY CRAFT LANEY, OTHER BLACK AUGUSTANS By Gary Kauffman A small house on a side street a few blocks from the medical district looks unassuming, but it’s a rich repository for the history of African Americans in Augusta. The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is located in the house where the museum’s namesake lived, at the corner of Laney-Walker Boulevard and Phillips Street. It celebrates the life of Lucy Craft Laney, one of the first black educators in the South, and the schools she founded. But it contains much more, including portraits of historical leaders in the African American community, artifacts from Pilgrim Health and Life Insurance Company, tributes to native Augustans in the arts and a number of seasonal exhibits, including one in April that featured black golfers and caddies. The house was damaged by a fire in 1986 that claimed the life of Laney’s niece, Margaret Louise Laney, who had lived there since Laney’s death in 1933. It was purchased by Delta Sigma Theta sorority and turned into a museum in 1991. “It was decided to make it a museum after we realized we needed to keep Miss Laney’s story alive,” said Christine Betts, executive director of the museum since 1995. The house has been restored to much of its original condition, and a meeting room/ exhibition hall was added to the back of it. The interior of the original home is a tribute to Laney, the schools she founded — Haines Normal and Industrial Institute and the Lamar School of Nursing — and portraits and memorabilia of other prominent members of Augusta’s African American community. “Black Americans did outstanding work in Augusta,” Betts said. Among those honored are Judge John Ruffin, who helped desegregate Augusta National Golf Club; Bettieanne Hart, Georgia’s first African American judge; R.A. Dent, a minister whose name is on a major road in the medical district; and Mary McLeod Bethune, who taught with

28 Buzz on Biz May 2019

The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is in the former home of the educator. Her portrait and items from her years as an educator can be seen, as can displays about prominent members of Augusta’s African American community. Photo by Gary Kauffman

Laney in Augusta before founding the college that bears her name, BethuneCookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla. Two upstairs rooms are dedicated primarily to Augustans who gained fame beyond the city, including funk legend James Brown, author Frank Yerby, actors Laurence Fishburne, Jerome Preston Bates and Butterfly McQueen, opera singer Jessye Norman, artist Alice Davis, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and many others. The brightly lit basement of the home is designed for children. Art classes are taught there by artists, and it has a number of computers students can use. Betts also teaches an etiquette class for the children.

Laney started the school that would become known as the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in 1883. It merged with another school in 1949 and became Lucy Craft Laney High School.


The art classes have been so popular that more will be scheduled. “This summer we’ll do much more artwork,” Betts said. The museum also includes pictures of the graduating classes of Lucy Craft Laney High School, located across the street from the museum, from 40 and 50 years ago. It also now has Laney’s upright piano, which Betts obtained from Union Baptist Church in exchange for a desk. Flowers and plants cover the grounds of the museum and the neighboring home, which contains the museum’s administrative offices. The museum continues to add to its collection as more people donate items. “There’s so much history, but we don’t have enough space,” Betts said. “It’s amazing how many people in the community save old papers and magazines. We have a lot of them.” The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is one of just a handful of museums in the Southeast that covers general black history rather than specific subjects such as civil rights. “It’s important for Augusta because it focuses on history and it focuses on our children,” Betts said. “It’s very important that we do this. It’s something to think about, not just one time, but every day.”

Lucy Craft Laney was on cutting edge of Georgia education The first three portraits of African Americans hung at Georgia’s state capitol in Atlanta were of Martin Luther King Jr., Henry McNeal Turner and Augusta educator Lucy Craft Laney. Laney was born April 13, 1854, in Macon to David and Louisa Laney. Her father was a minister and skilled craftsman and had purchased the family’s freedom from a slave owner in the 1830s. Although they were free, it was illegal for African Americans to read at that time. However, the sister of a slave owner taught Lucy how to read and write by the time she was 4 years old. She was only 15 when she enrolled at Atlanta University in 1869, and she graduated four years later. After teaching in Macon, Milledgeville and Savannah, Laney settled in Augusta in 1883 and opened a school. Three years later, Francine Haines invested $10,000 in the school and Laney named it the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute. Laney was at the cutting edge of education. In 1890, she started the first kindergarten for black children in Georgia. In 1897, she added the Lamar School of

Nursing to train nurses for the newly opened Lamar Hospital for African American patients. Laney remained the principal of her school for 50 years. She was recognized for her work throughout the state and even nationally. Although she never married and had children of her own, she became affectionately known as “The mother of the children of the people.” She died Oct. 24, 1933, at the age of 79. In 1949, her school merged with A.R. Johnson school to become Lucy Craft Laney High School. A new building replaced Laney’s school building in 1953. Laney’s grave is on the school property at the corner of Phillips Street and Laney Walker Boulevard and is guarded by an eternal flame. –Gary Kauffman

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ARTS & LEISURE

Time to start thinking ahead to summertime brews

With its citrus tones and dry finish, the Rinse/ Repeat Brut IPA is perfect for summer. Photo by Ben Casella

By Ben Casella

the Deep South. Shall we?

Man, did it feel like late fall the other morning or what! I believe it was the Monday after the tournament. The temperature was maybe low 50s, and the humidity was negligible. Well, I hope you stopped and took a picture, because I sure didn’t. Now we have that purgatory of a time when we simply wait for the heat to rise. For me, this is the time of year during which I gradually change out my natural-fiber golf shirts for ones with athletic material. It’s also the time of year during which I begin to write about brews which may serve well as quenchers of thirst on a muggy afternoon in

The Westbrook Brewing Company across the creek is particularly known for its Two Claw and Three Claw around these parts — watch out for that Three Claw. This specific craft of beer (as trendy as it may seem at first glance) can be done, well, decently or not. Admittedly, to say I have limited experience with the Brut IPA would be an understatement. So, I’d better get started. Rinse/Repeat pours a hazy orange gold with a white head. The galaxy hops are evident throughout, with notes of citrus zest and a pleasant bite. The taste is significant, with

Rinse/Repeat Brut IPA

more of a citrus body to it than bitter peel. The decay? Well, it’s perfect for the summertime. The finish is really quite dry — a welcome attribute to polish off a substantially good taste. I’ve never sprung for an expensive bottle of brut, but I would definitely spring for this brut IPA again — soon. Try it with a meal that includes apricots. Ben Casella thought he was drinking champagne for years until someone told him it was brut because it didn’t come from the right region. He thought about it for a minute, had a nice chuckle, and just kept on walkin’.

TV good guys sometimes have to use the wrong ways By Samantha Barksdale As a mother, I have an uncanny ability to know when my child has done something wrong, proof or not. I’ve also been a teacher for a very long time. During my career, there have been moments when I’ve known without a doubt that one of my students was responsible for something but had no way to prove it. Luckily, lives don’t depend on whether I punish little Johnny for cheating on his test. For members of law enforcement, however, the burden of proof can sometimes be the reason the bad guy gets away. This month’s reviews are dedicated to those times when enforcing the law means breaking the law.

‘Luther’

I realize this show has been around for nearly 10 years, but my dedicated readers know I like to be late to the party. Luther is a British crime drama starring Idris Elba. Even if you haven’t seen the show you’ve probably heard his name, considering he was named People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2018 and made the publicity rounds that go along with the title. Be warned: He doesn’t play that nice guy you might have seen on late-night TV. John Luther is a detective chief inspector who works some gruesome crimes. He’s the guy you call on to solve the

30 Buzz on Biz May 2019

The Highwaymen stars Woody Harrelson (left) and Kevin Costner as the Texas Rangers who are determined to track down outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. Photo courtesy Netflix

case everyone else has given up on. He’s consumed by his work and finds no rest until the bad guys are behind bars. This devotion to his job may make him a great detective, but it has taken a toll on his marriage. Luther’s wife leaves him for several reasons, but one thing that drives them apart is his last major case. He has been suspended from the force for seven months, after a serial kidnapper he had cornered fell several stories and wound up in a coma. Luther has been investigated and is constantly worried about what the man will say if he wakes up. Luther is a good cop with a bad temper and questionable methods. I’m a veteran

crime drama fan, but this show is far from a standard cop show. This show is original, with many moments of suspense and shocking revelations. He doesn’t follow the rules, but he gets the job done, and that’s the kind of guy I want on my side.

‘The Highwaymen’

They say fact is stranger than fiction, and in the 1930s there was no question about it. Imagine this: A young couple has been crossing the country, robbing banks and killing officers of the law in cold blood. The public is enamored with this couple, mimicking their style of dress and keep-

ing their whereabouts a secret from those in authority. This isn’t fiction folks; it’s the real-life story of Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie and Clyde may have been perceived by the general public as a wily young couple fighting against the status quo, but law enforcement saw them as plain old murderers. During their crime spree the pair killed at least nine officers, making authorities desperate to get them off the streets. For that reason, two members of the then-defunct Texas Rangers were called upon to do what local and federal authorities could not — stop Bonnie and Clyde. Frank Hamer and Manny Gault were well-known for getting their man by any means necessary. While The Highwaymen depicts them in a favorable light, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding them and the Texas Rangers as a whole. That being said, someone had to stop Bonnie and Clyde, and they were the men who made it happen. Did they follow all the rules? No. Did the crime spree stop? Yes. Right and wrong aren’t always so easy to tell apart. 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.


AT THE TABLE

New hotel’s restaurant ideal for special business lunches By Millie Huff There’s been a lot of buzz over the past couple of months about the new Crowne Plaza Hotel in North Augusta in the beautiful riverfront complex surrounding SRP Park. Many happy couples have posted selfies on social media taken from the fifth-floor, open-air, rooftop bar named Jackson’s Bluff. The scenic views of the river from that vantage point are certainly picture-worthy. So, I was excited when my editor suggested a review of the hotel’s main-floor restaurant, Salt + Marrow. Entering the main entrance of the hotel, guests walk into a large, sunny lobby. The registration desk is on the right as you enter, but the largest part of the room is to the left, beyond a double-sided, modern gas fireplace. A chic seating area with sleek furniture is arranged in front of the fireplace, creating an inviting conversation area. Walking through an area known as the “Parlor Bar,” the entrance to the restaurant is at the far end. We were greeted by a server who told us that breakfast and dinner are served in the main restaurant, but lunch service is in the open area directly in front of a beautiful, well-appointed bar. We were invited to choose any table, as my colleague and I were among fewer than a dozen guests, and had our choice of tiny, two-seated bistro tables, square tables for four or a long table that appeared to seat at least 20. My colleague and I chose a four-top table and were quickly greeted by our friendly server. We were handed an interesting, however sparse, lunch menu with two soup, two salad, four sandwich and four lunch plate options. Several of the selections tempted me, but upon our server’s recommendation, I ordered the daily fish special and my colleague chose the Grilled Prime Burger. I’ll definitely try a soup-and-salad combination next time, since the choices were unique: fish or sweet potato soups and a BLT or kale-and-apple salad. I’m always happy to find sweet potatoes or kale on a menu. No, really, I am. Our server brought an elegant glass bottle of chilled water to our table, poured each of us a glass, and left the remainder of the large bottle with us for refills. We had a moment of levity when we couldn’t immediately open the bottle’s levered glass stopper. Thankfully, we figured it out without the necessity of asking for our server’s assistance. As we were waiting for our meal to be

Salt + Marrow Rating is based on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best).

Food Price Location Networking Noise Level Salt + Marrow is at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1060 Center St., North Augusta. Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. daily; lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily; and dinner from 5-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reach it at 803-349-8401 or visit saltandmarrow. com.

The lunch menu at the new Salt + Marrow in North Augusta is small but delicious. The grilled salmon served atop a bed of creamy, delicious grits with roasted broccoli (above) was perfect, and the burger (at left) was juicy and cooked to perfection. Photos by Millie Huff

served, a few more groups of diners were seated. Our server appeared to be the only wait-staff on duty, and she did an admirable job taking care of several tables at once. Our meal arrived in an appropriate length of time and was well worth any extra wait. My colleague’s hamburger was thick and juicy, served with small ramekins of condiments so that he could fix it just the way he desired. It was topped with a thick slice of American cheese, lettuce and sliced tomato.

He was offered a side of kettle chips or French fries, but he asked instead for a side of grits since grits were a component of several other dishes. The cheesy goodness of the Anson Mills Stone Ground grits will definitely draw him back again. Those delicious grits played a leading role in my fish special, too. My meal came served in a large, angled bowl with a base of creamy grits topped by a grilled salmon filet and a scoop of roasted broccoli. Everything was perfectly cooked and the flavors of each component blended

perfectly. I was truly sad when my meal was finished, but I’m sure I’ll go back for another helping soon. In addition to the food being delicious, the restaurant offered a pleasant environment for a quiet business meeting, ladies lunch or a lunch date with your beau. Salt + Marrow is sure to catch on as a quiet, sophisticated choice for a business luncheon. The prices are a little high to be an everyday lunch choice, as both my colleague and I spent more than $20 each for our meal, soft drink and tip. However, the food was delicious, and I’ll remember it for a special occasion or when I need another taste of those wonderful grits. The spring day I visited Salt + Marrow felt more like January than April, but we still couldn’t resist taking the elevator up to the fifth floor to admire the rooftop view from the bar. Despite the chilly wind that day, the view of the river and baseball stadium was worth the shivers, and I’ll look forward to going back for a more leisurely visit when the weather warms. Crowne Plaza Hotel is a beautiful addition to the North Augusta riverfront, and Salt + Marrow offers a memorable lunch experience for business people from both sides of the river. Millie Huff is a freelance writer, part-time teacher and new executive director of Sacred Heart Cultural Center. She has eaten lunches in the Augusta area since 1996 and loves any excuse to dine with friends and colleagues. Her restaurant reviews are written with a businessperson in mind.

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