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Project Jackson lawsuits at an end?........................ 2 Buzz Bits.........................................................................8,9 Businessperson of the Month.................................13 Jamail Larkins flies high in aviation......................15 Converting more sales from your website.........21 Casino Night to raise funds for SafeHomes.......30

Taking business on the road A growing number of CSRA businesses are finding success with mobile services

By Stephen Delaney Hale The Great Recession of 2008-9 has been blamed for many of the country’s economic woes. On the flip side, it is also cited as the reason for several innovations in American business. One such innovation is the increasing number of merchants who now bring their product or service to their customers instead of waiting for the public to walk in their door. Of course, this “new” idea is as old as travelling salesmen and phone-in pizza, but the concept is gaining more adherents since the retail sector took such a dramatic hit in the last half-decade. Now some types of businesses that customers typically had to go to, often meaning rearranging of schedules, are coming right to the door of your home or business. Dog Grooming Melinda Corley, owner of Scissors & Suds Mobile Dog Grooming, had a grooming shop for 23 years before going mobile nine years ago. “I really like the concept and so do my clients, the humans and the dogs,” she said. “This allows me to be more personal with clients and spend that one-on-one time with your customer. You are able to give that extra time to somebody. There aren’t any other dogs barking and bothering the dog you are working with, no phones ringing or people knocking on the door and interrupting you with your client.” Corley added that is a convenience for people. “With some customers, they don’t have to be there or take their pets somewhere and leave them for the day,” she said. “I can just arrive, take care of their pet, lock up and leave.” Scissors & Suds Mobile Dog Grooming covers most of the CSRA. There are two other mobile dog grooming services in the area that she sees more as colleagues than com-

Justin Brandon of Hang It Up Dry Cleaning is one of a growing number of businesses that go to where customers live and work. Customers appreciate the convenience of not interrupting a work day for the tasks. Photo by Gary Kauffman

petition. They often recommend each other and cover for each other. “I think it’s an awesome way to do business,” Corley said. “My daughter is a beautician and the state of Georgia doesn’t allow you to do someone’s hair at home, but the states of Florida and California do. It would be great for her to develop this kind of mobile business doing hair.” Dry Cleaning Dry cleaning has typically meant driving to a building, waiting to drop off, driving back a few days later and waiting to pick up the clothes. Hang It Up Dry Cleaning takes all the

driving and waiting out of the equation. Owner Justin Brandon’s mobile service picks up clothes at a residence or business, takes them to the cleaners and delivers them back to the residence or business the next day. The best part, from the customers’ standpoint, is that the service is free. “The customer pays only for the cleaning,” he said. “Our prices are the same as local cleaners here in Augusta. It’s the same price, but more convenient.” See MOBILE BUSINESS, page 4

Project Jackson lawsuits may be at an end By Stephen Delaney Hale When it comes to Project Jackson, the people of North Augusta may feel a little like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” reliving the same day over and over again. Once again Steve Donohue filed suit to stop a major riverside development codenamed Project Jackson. Once again, a judge has ruled against him and in favor of the City of North Augusta. And, once again, thousands of people wait to see if Donohue will file yet another appeal and delay yet again what many see as a transformational development for North Augusta. For the past two years, Project Jackson has been the working economic development title for a multi-million dollar project slated for the banks of the Savannah River, below the city and between the upscale developments of Hammonds Ferry and The River Club. The Augusta GreenJackets minor league baseball team wants to build a modern baseball stadium there and thousands of other people wait to see if the proposed $141 million investment will mean economic boom times for the city or whether North Augusta will settle back to the quiet, comfortable bedroom community it has been for 110 years. Those who have spent the past two years watching the two-steps-forward, one-stepback progress of the development, are again forced to wait and see if Donohue will ap-

2 Buzz on Biz October 2014

An artist rendering of one view of proposed Project Jackson in North Augusta.

peal the judgment and stall the project yet another time. However, this could be the end of the road for Donohue. It appears clear to several legal authorities that Donohue could next bring a notice of appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals and has a maximum of 40 days to carry that out. Court of Appeals Clerk of Court Ginnie Kitchings confirmed that time schedule and said that no such appeal had been received in her office by Sept. 26.

She also said that the appeals court could refuse to hear an appeal if they find there is not an appealable issue involved in the case. If stretched to the maximum, Donohue would have 30 days to give notice of appeal to the City of North Augusta and co-defendants Mayor Lark Jones and the City Council and then 10 more days to file it with the Court of Appeals, probably taking the time limit to Oct. 31 or Nov. 3, depending upon when he first received Judge Kinard’s ruling, Kitchings said.

The appeals court often decides to not hear an appeal, which must show a new legal argument or some flaw in the first judge’s ruling. If the subsequent three-judge appeals panel doesn’t take up the case, Donohue may have nowhere else to go. Running at the same time is a lawsuit by plaintiff North Augusta Riverfront Co. vs. Stephen Donohue. The plaintiff is an affiliate of Greenstone Development of Atlanta, primary owner of the GreenJackets and the larger development. That suit claims that Donohue’s legal maneuvers are insincere and are actually delaying tactics designed to frustrate partners in the development, thus sabotaging the project and dissolving it from within. Aiken County Clerk of Court Liz Goddard said her office has had no activity on the countersuit since it was filed in May. Most speculation has been on the hardships placed on the GreenJackets baseball franchise in scheduling the 2016 season. However, an executive with Hammonds Ferry, Project Jackson’s next-door neighbor, said it is not the baseball team or stadium that is the main concern, but the hotel. As important as the ballpark to the small businesses that are considering taking up residence in the development is the building of a 200-room, resort-style hotel and conference See JACKSON, page 6

Buy Local? Yes, we do!

For the past five years, Buzz on Biz and, later, Verge magazines were printed out of state in North Carolina and Alabama. We now make our checks out to Morris Communications on Broad Street for our printing. Even though it is printed at a sister site in Savannah and driven to our storage facility by an Augusta driver, we feel good knowing money stays local. You may notice the format is quite different. The width and height of the publication are a bit different and it is no longer folded. Our team has gotten amazing feedback on our first issue of Verge printed by Morris Communications. We hope you like the new look of Buzz as well – and we hope you buy local, too. Our cover story is all about supporting local business. Yes, you can take your pet to be groomed at one of many capable national pet stores in the CSRA. Why not let a local groomer come to you? In fact, writer Stephen Delaney Hale profiles numerous entrepreneurs who have found a way to efficiently provide us a convenient service that saves us time and gas money! Neil Gordon You’ll also find a feature about a local entrepreneur, Jamail Buzz on Biz Larkins, who has made it big in aviation in Atlanta and has gained national attention. He visited his hometown recently for Publisher GRU’s Diversity Summit. While these are newer businesses, there’s also a feature on Luanne Hildebrandt, who runs one of the oldest businesses in Augusta. Hildebrandt’s has been keeping its business local for 135 years! We also welcome our paid intern, Alexandrea Daitch, to the pages of Buzz. She and our editor Gary Kauffman enjoyed lunch on da’ boss, while discussing Buzz on Biz matters. Find out if she felt California Dreaming is a “dream or nightmare” place to take a client to lunch and to talk business! Finally, our Career Expo is set for Thursday, Feb. 12. Last year, the Ice Storm diverted our plans for five days. Say a prayer for us that Mother Nature cooperates this year!  Neil Gordon is president of Buzz on Biz, LLC and produces a daily TV segment on News 12 This Morning, a daily radio show on WRDW 1630 AM, a daily website, a weekly email business newsletter and the monthly publication Verge in addition to Buzz on Biz, the CSRA’s only monthly business publication. To learn more, visit or email him at

THE CSRA’S ONLY MONTHLY BUSINESS MAGAZINE 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 $36 to cover postage to the address below. Publisher Neil R. Gordon Editor in Chief Gary Kauffman/803-341-5830 Sales Manager Neil R. Gordon/706-589-6727 Sales Janine Garropy/803-480-2800 Design Gary Kauffman

Photography Gary Kauffman Melissa Gordon/ Paid Interns Daniel Marshall Alexandrea Daitch Submit Information

Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Buzz on Biz LLC or its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only.

For more information, visit us at or like us on Facebook

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October 2014 Buzz on Biz


What qualifies a buyer for an SBA loan? The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal entity that guarantees up to 75 percent of a business loan offered by a bank. This typically allows the bank to take on more risk when selecting business sales transactions to fund. There are many misconceptions about SBA loans. One of them is that the loan has to be completely c ol l ate r a l i z e d. Kim Romaner This is not necesBusiness Broker sarily true. I recently had a conversation with Bruce Marks, senior SBA lender and VP at Atlantic Coast Bank in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., regarding two large business sale transactions – $1.96 million and $5 million – he was able to fund with an SBA guarantee that were “goodwill only” transactions, meaning no collateral. How did he get it done?

Bruce has been in the SBA lending business for 25 years, and has closed more than 1,000 SBA loans. He has been awarded the Small Business Advocate of the Year Award by the SBA. Prior to his SBA lending career, he was a business owner himself for 13 years. Business acquisitions are what he considers his sweet spot. These two transactions were pretty typical for his bank, as it turns out. So I asked him a few questions. Q: What is the difference between Atlanta Coast Bank and other banks? A: A couple of things. Our loan committee consists of our four executives, local in Jacksonville. They are able to come to quick decisions, because the four of them are sitting around a table. We preview the deal with them. We know our bank’s credit blocks, we understand the types of transactions they want to see and the deals they want to approve, so we’re able to move quickly. In the $1.96 million transaction, which included $200,000 in operating capital, the buyer put in $500,000. The business is strong, throwing off about a half a million in cash flow per year, so cash flow could eas-

ily handle the debt service. The buyer had a very strong background, and a proven track record of success. That’s what pays back loans, not collateral. Q: So, the profile and background and creditworthiness of the buyer is fundamental to getting the deal done? A: Absolutely! In the $5 million transaction, the buyer put in $750,000, the seller is holding $500,000, and the bank is holding the rest. The buyer was strong, and we went with him. Q: Bruce, what can a seller do to improve his or her chances of selling a business, from your perspective? A: Clean books and records! Make sure that whatever you’re providing to the buyer can be proven in due diligence. Keep in mind that any expenses you’ve run through the business to save on taxes is money you’ve already earned, and you’re not going to get that again in the purchase price. Have a plan, and just like selling your home, work on your curb appeal – but make sure it’s solid on the inside, too – no rot in your drywall. Q: What can a buyer do to improve his

or chances of being approved for financing? A: Have a proven track record – make sure your résumé clearly shows transferrable experience to the business. Show the most pertinent skills first. Don’t have a lot of indebtedness. Don’t put that burden on the business, pay it down.   State your personal financials clearly and accurately. Bankers don’t like it when forms are half filled out and things don’t add up. Remember, the lender often never meets the buyer. It’s all on that piece of paper.  Make it accurate. That’s where the decision is going to be made.

Joyner takes the used oil and parts back to his shop, where it is picked up for recycling. “Our customers know their oil is not polluting our area,” Joyner said. Restaurants Enrique Romero, owner of The Brown Bag restaurant at 215 10th Street, said his mobile business and his “brick-and-mortar restaurant” have so much synergy that they created each other. “In the beginning, that’s how we started our business,” Romero said of his mobile business. “We were out doing things in our food truck at different locations. As things started to roll we were approached about a location next to the medical college.” As the restaurant evolved, so did the mobile business. “Once we had that brick-and-mortar location we were able to expand our services in other areas, breakfast and more,” Romero said. “That is where we really started to gain our momentum, so people knew us from the food truck plus the restaurant – then that’s where our catering business really took off.” After being near the medical district for two years, he began building his present location on 10th Street.

“Now, we have the best of both worlds,” Romero said. “Being here downtown has helped our catering business in general. We still do quite a bit of catering over in the medical district, and we are now catering on rotation with several businesses downtown; for example, second Mondays or third Tuesdays at a certain office. He said the two halves of the business promote each other. “We are bringing something new and different downtown,” he said. “We are taking pages right out of the food truck but also adding other things.” It’s Unanimous Every businessperson contacted said taking their business mobile is the best thing that ever happened to their bottom line and their personal freedom. They are not tied down to a rigid schedule unless they set it themselves and they are not paying for expensive office space or employees to keep it manned all day. “I would encourage anybody in business to think about going mobile,” Melinda Corley said. “My customers love the convenience of it, and so do I.”

This is a sponsored article. Kim Romaner is president of Transworld Business Advisors of Augusta, a business brokerage that helps people buy and sell businesses, and also enter into the franchise world. With more than 70 locations in the United States and abroad, Transworld has sold thousands of businesses. If you’d like to talk to Kim about selling or valuing your business, buying a franchise or turning your existing business into a franchise operation, call 706-383-2994, or email her at

MOBILE BUSINESSES continued from page 1 Customers don’t have to be home when he calls on them because Hang It Up supplies a wreath hanger made for front doors. Hang It Up services residences and businesses throughout the area, including Fort Gordon. Brandon is hoping to expand the commercial side of the business, emphasizing the convenience for both employees and employers – dry cleaning needs can be taken care of by one stop without employees having to leave work. Fort Gordon has latched onto that convenience. Because of the recent expansion at Fort Gordon, Brandon landed a five-year contract for cleaning uniforms. “There’s a convenience aspect because a lot of them are paying for the employees’ cleaning,” he said. “And it’s convenient because the officers aren’t having to go out and find cleaners on their own.” Automotive Services Another area of life that often means taking a significant chunk out of the work day is automotive services. This can be particularly hard on occupations where employees can’t leave for an extended period of time, like teaching. Wayne’s Automotive and Towing Center in Aiken came up with a solution: Pick-up and delivery of the vehicle to be serviced. Wayne’s started with a pickup and delivery service for teachers but has since branched out to offer the service to others. “We began offering a shuttle service to educators,” said Sherry Corbett, co-owner with her husband, Jeff. (There is no Wayne around.) “We have two technicians set up to take appointments from teachers with car problems,” Sherry explained. “We then pick up their

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vehicle from the parking lot while they are at school, service it and take it back to them while they are at work. It’s just the peace of mind of not having to worry about their vehicles while they are busy with their students.” The teachers are also presented with a basket of school supplies, paper, pens, markers and more, “because we know that most teachers use their own finances to make sure their students have what they need to learn,” Corbett added. “We started with teachers but it has grown where we do it for any profession, any customer that needs it,” she said. Joyner Mobile Lube is another company that takes car care on the road. Owner Ricky Joyner has a self-contained mobile unit that allows him to go to a customer’s location, drain the vehicle’s oil into a tank in his van and pump in the new oil with an air compressor – saving the customer time and money. “Customers love it,” Joyner said. “One businessman told me that as far as he is concerned, his oil changes are free because before he was paying for employees to drive to get an oil change and sit in the truck during the process, so he was paying twice. We service their vehicles when they are already down at their businesses, so we are not tying up their employees.” Joyner Mobile Lube does some minor repairs but mostly oil changes and preventative maintenance. “We have regular customers, both personal and businesses, and some fleet business,” Joyner said. “You want to try to schedule in the same area, because we lose a little down time between jobs that are far apart, but we go where we are needed.”

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Calls wanting tax money not IRS The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration continue to hear from taxpayers who have received unsolicited calls from individuals demanding payment while fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS. Based on the 90,000 complaints that TIGTA has received through its telephone hotline, to date, TIGTA has identified approximately Christine 1,100 victims who have lost an estiHall, CPA mated $5 million Hall & from these scams. Associates The IRS will not call, but instead sends official correspondence through the mail. A threatening call from a person who says they are from the IRS urging immediate payment is not how the IRS operates. If this happens to you, hang up immediately and contact TIGTA or the IRS. Additionally, it is important for taxpayers to know that the IRS: Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

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The IRS sends correspondence through the mail.

Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations. Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies. Potential phone scam victims may be told that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or they are entitled to big refunds. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what to do: If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue. If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to

TIGTA at 800-366-4484. If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint. The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. Also, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also doesn’t ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam or need more information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS visit the IRS web site at and type “scam” in the search box. Their web site is user friendly, informative and set up to assist taxpayers. This is a sponsored employment article. Hall & Associates LLC is a full-service public accounting firm established in 1979. They have a staff of experienced professionals that stand ready to meet all of your accounting, tax and general business needs. For a complimentary consultation, call 706-855-7733 or visit

JACKSON continued from page 2 center with multiple meeting spaces. The hotel would either hold or attract numerous restaurants, offices and a forum of retail spaces as well as apartments and townhouses on the North Augusta riverfront. The Hammonds Ferry source said the hotel’s developers long ago set Masters Week 2016 as their opening target, “and if they could start today they would already be close to that deadline schedule,” she said. North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover said the city is undaunted. “We are certainly pleased by Judge Kinard’s second ruling and we are anxious to get started. We think the people of North Augusta and the entire region will greatly benefit from this project, once it is realized. We have three high-quality restaurants and a hotel that are sitting there waiting, that just can’t commit to anything until the lawsuit is final. It’s not just the stadium that is being held up by this lawsuit.” Greenstone Properties’ CEO Chris Schoen is enthusiastic about the plan on behalf of the baseball team, but also for North Augusta and the entire Central Savannah River Area. “We can bring 300,000 to 400,000 people to that location over a year just for baseball,” said Schoen. The organization has plans to use the versatile new stadium for as many as 225 events a year.

Alternate financing: A better option for small businesses Frequently, I am asked why there is an alternative business finance industry. The simple reason is that it is hard for a small business to get a bank loan. Various experts in the field have called today’s market the “Ice Age of Bank Small Business Lending.” The New York Fed’s recent spring survey found that 58 percent of small businesses wanted credit; however only 16 percent received the amount they Ronald Garnett Small Business wanted. Approval rates for Financial Solutions small business loans according to industry data are not very encouraging. Studies found that the approval rate among big banks for small business loans is around 13 percent, while the approval rate at small community banks is better at 48 percent. A small business owner has a better chance of receiving funding at a small community bank but these resources are quickly drying up because national banks are increasingly merging with these community banks. These approval rates are so low because banks do not make the type of profits they want to generate by doing small business lending. Given these conditions the average small business owner must look elsewhere for credit and business financing. If a business has A-one credit; the owner has a clean record and great collateral; and the loan is large enough for the bank to make a good profit, then bank financing is a great option. The statistics show, however, that the aver-

age business owner does not fit the bank’s financing criteria. In today’s market a business owner must realize there are alternatives to bank financing and that in many cases the alternatives are the only option. Due to the complexity and size of the

The approval rate among big banks for small business loans is around 13%

alternative finance industry it has become increasingly specialized, with funders restricting the industries they will work in. In most instances, a business owner can find a responsive partner in the alternative business finance industry; however it normally takes an expert in the field to link the business owner with such a financial partner. Because of the market conditions, almost every small business expert from the SBA to SCORE is encouraging small business owners to look at the alternative finance market as a valuable funding resource. E. Ronald Garnett has managed and owned businesses for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Augusta State University, and holds graduate degrees from Georgia State University, and Indiana University. For the past several years he has taught classes in micro-enterprise development, and is a certified instructor in micro-enterprise business planning and development. He has worked with numerous businesses and was able to obtain funding for their enterprises. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia teaching Business Law. Call him at 706-303-8766.

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Isaac Kelly named to Georgia’s 40 Under 40

A 2014 recipient of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s “Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch” award has received another prestigious honor. Isaac Kelly, a Recruiter/ Staffing Specialist with Augusta Staffing, has been chosen as one of Georgia Trend’s “40 Under 40.” Each year, Georgia Trend Magazine highlights 40 individuals under the age of 40 who make an impact on their professions, communities or state. Kelly was nominated by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce as part of the award for winning the area’s Top 10 in 10 competition. In submitting nominations on behalf of recipients, the Chamber’s goal is to expand recognition for Augusta’s young professional talent throughout the State of Georgia. Kelly has played an integral role in re-shaping the Job Shop/ Augusta/Aiken Staffing brand by leading an innovative charge in developing a new company logo and color scheme, managing 18 company social media networks and co-managing company sponsorships of groups, causes and events.

Small biz seminar set for Oct. 24 in Aiken

SCORE and Sam’s Club will present Learn To Soar, a small business training and networking event for local entrepreneurs, in Aiken on Friday, Oct. 24. The training seminar will run from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the USC Aiken Business and Education Center, room 122. The seminar is free. The goal of the seminar is to teach business owners the basics of running and growing a business. Topics to be covered including marketing, customer service, human resources and how to buy and sell a business. To register visit

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buzz bits Salvation Army gives CSRA businesses chance to match giving in Red Kettles CSRA area businesses are embracing a new program developed by The Salvation Army in Augusta. The Red Kettle Match program lets businesses sponsor a kettle at Christmas with a matching gift challenge. It gives kettle donors the opportunity to double their gifts by sponsoring a kettle and matching every gift up to a dollar level they choose. The famous Red Kettles are one of the most recognized symbols of benevolence during Christmas, and businesses benefit from that visibility with a sign above the kettle letting everyone know they’re matching every donation, gift-for-gift. The business name and logo (or organization or family name) is featured on the kettle stand. They set the dollar

Local company recruiting new workers

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) will help Huntsman Pigments recruit about 100 workers for a new manufacturing facility under construction near the Augusta Regional Airport. The recruitment will be held Thursday, Oct 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the James Brown Arena, 601 7th St.   Previously known as Rockwood Pigments, the company will produce synthetic iron oxide pigments at the facility. The pigments are used to color items in construction, coatings, plastics, and specialty products.   The company is recruiting process operators and supervisors, mechanical maintenance technicians, electrical and instrumentation technicians, control technicians, and electrical maintenance workers. Due to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, applicants must be at least 18 years old. And, they must meet the physi-

match limit, starting at $200. The program provides great visibility for businesses while supporting local families in need. The matching gift amount is a tax-deductible donation, and all gifts stay right here in the CSRA to help our neighbors in need. Businesses have the option to choose their Match kettle for their employees to ring the bell wearing company shirts and name badges letting everyone know they’re matching every gift. Donors feel great about having their gifts cal requirements of the jobs and be able to work 12-hour shifts.   The company offers benefit packages to all employees. Applicants should bring copies of their resume, dress appropriately, and be prepared to complete applications at the recruitment.  More information about the positions may be found on the GDOL website

Dumpster Depot celebrates 10 years in CSRA Dumpster Depot is celebrating 10 years in the CSRA . To celebrate 10 years in the CSRA, Dumpster Depot is the new sponsor of the USCA Convocation Center’s VIP Room that can be rented out for events. The company is also participating in the Thursday night Aiken Farmer’s Markets by providing free, reusable bags for market goers. “We are fortunate to be located in such a supportive community,” Norman Dunagan, owner

doubled to one of America’s most trusted charities. This new program originated in Augusta, and the Salvation Army in Atlanta and Savannah have already adopted the program. The Salvation Army maximizes donations; out of every dollar, 85 cents goes to program and services. Businesses have the choice of more than 40 kettles locations in Augusta, Augusta Mall, Evans, Grovetown, Hephzibah, Martinez, North Augusta, Thomson, and Waynesboro from Nov. 13 – Dec. 24. Sign up early for the best choice of locations and dates. For more information, contact John Sebby, Email:, or call 706-434-3177 or 706-550-2796. of Dumpster Depot, said. “Our newest initiative, #GreenerAiken, is focused on making Aiken and the CSRA a more sustainable, cleaner place to live.” Dumpster Depot is also working to install charging stations for electric cars throughout the CSRA. Charging stations are free of charge for the business that hosts a station at their location as long as they do not charge customers to use the station. Locations will include Top Notch Car Washes, USC Aiken, Marriott of Augusta, and The Mill on Park.

Cyber Ed Summit planned at GRU U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, will host a Cyber Education Summit at Georgia Regents University on Oct. 23. The summit begins at 10:30 a.m. with a keynote address from Admiral Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, as well as other leaders from the NSA and

the Department of Defense. The event will also include a series of panel discussions designed to inform the development of robust industry, higher education and government education partnerships as Augusta becomes home of the Army Cyber Command. The one-day event will include panelists from higher education, the Department of Defense and industry. The event will have discussions related to becoming a designated NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense; higher education cyber partnerships with industry; and novel cyber threats to Department of Defense medical platforms. The following sessions will be offered: Adapting University Programs to Today’s Hacker, Grooming Youth for Careers in Military Cyber Security and How Industry Supports the Department of Defense and Homeland Cyber Mission.

Brigham named president of state accountants Jerry Brigham of Augusta was elected President of the Georgia Association of Accountants and Tax Professionals at their annual meeting in Atlanta. This is his second consecutive term as president. The Georgia Association of Accountants and Tax Professionals, founded in 1958, is a professional accounting organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of accounting and taxation in Georgia. “The mission of the Georgia Association of Accountants and Tax Professionals is to protect the rights of its membership to provide professional accounting, tax and financial services,” Brigham said. “Plans are in place to provide excellent educational opportunities and support for our membership in order to have a very successful year at GAATP.” Brigham is a graduate of Augusta College with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting. He is a newly appointed member of Board of Zoning Appeals.

Georgia ranked No. 1 in nation for business Gov. Nathan Deal announced that Area Development magazine has ranked Georgia as the No. 1 place in the nation in which to do business. Area Development is a leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection and relocation. “This is the third time in less than a year that objective judges have named Georgia the top state for businesses,” said Deal. “Since taking office, I’ve made it my top priority to make Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business and create jobs. We’ve accomplished that goal three times over, and will continue working to cultivate a business environment where companies can grow and succeed. These successful policies have allowed us to create nearly 300,000 private sector jobs; that translates directly in better lives and better communities for the people of Georgia. This recognition, alongside our previous national rankings, will build on our momentum and keep the jobs engine humming.” In addition to being the top state for business, Georgia ranked first for labor climate and second for business environment, overall infrastructure and global access. In 13 of 18 subcategories, Georgia placed in the top three, including first for cooperative state government and leading workforce development programs. “The fact that these site consultants ranked us No. 1 for cooperative state government and for our leading workforce development programs is a testament to the governor’s leadership and the pro-business environment he has created here in Georgia,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr. “These new rankings spotlight our overall economic development package and solidify Georgia’s role as a leader in the global marketplace.” Area Development’s rankings are based on the number of mentions by site consultants in

buzz bits

three overall categories and 18 subcategories. The categories include: • Business Environment: overall cost of doing business, incentive programs, corporate tax environment, cooperative state government, access to capital and project funding, speed of permitting, most favorable regulatory environment • Labor Climate: availability of skilled labor, competitive labor costs, labor climate for rightto-work states, labor climate for non-right-to-work states, leading workforce-development programs • Infrastructure and Global Access: distribution and supplychain hubs, rail and highway access, certified sites/shovel-ready programs, competitive utility rates, energy reliability and smart-grid deployment, water outlook, including availability and cost.

Burroughs, Elijah garner state honors Attorneys Daniel Burroughs and Brandon Elijah, founding partners of Burroughs/Elijah Law Firm in Augusta, recently achieved state and regional recognition for public service and business leadership. Elijah received the Outstanding Service to the Public award by the State Bar of Georgia-Young Lawyers Division for his work as co-founder of the First Responders Wills Clinic program. Elijah volunteered 332 hours to organize will clinics throughout Georgia that provided 354 free estate planning documents for 118 first responders and their families.  As a result of co-founding the state’s first wills clinic program, Elijah has also been selected to serve as state bar committee chair for the 2014-2015 Georgia Wills Clinic program.  Burroughs was selected and recognized by Business Network International (BNI) as Member of the Year of the Augusta Referral Powerhouse chapter where he serves as president. BNI is the largest business networking organization in the world.

Campbell joins South Company Ashley Campbell recently joined South Company as the Marketing Associate. She will manage and assist with mass communications for clients in the Aiken-Augusta area. South Company is a marketing and public relations firm. Campbell comes to South Company from NBC 26 News in Augusta, where she worked as an award-winning anchor, reporter and producer. She was also part of the NBC 26 Digital Media team, in which she was responsible for generating news to the web and engaging viewers through social media. Campbell helped develop and execute the segment, “Restaurant Report Card,” which showcases new and popular restaurants in GeorgiaSouth Carolina. Before her role at NBC 26, Campbell was the Public Awareness Coordinator for Richmond County Babies Can’t Wait Early Intervention Services. She helped with the marketing plan for its public awareness campaign, creating ads for billboards, magazine and newspaper. She also wrote and voiced several public service announcements for radio and wrote and directed commercials for the program.

Muns Group marks 25 years Small businesses can make it in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). Muns Group, Inc., in Beech Island is a testament to the adage that an entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with hard work and a commitment to integrity, are the necessary ingredients that give a small business staying power. On Sept. 25, Lee Muns celebrated that staying power with a day dedicated to his employees, customers, family and God to honor those who have helped lead him through a quarter of a century of success. “Only 47 percent of construction businesses are still in existence after four years of operation, but here I stand,” Muns said.

Concert to help create revival for city’s Riverwalk The Riverwalk Revival, featuring the nationally renowned Yonder Mountain String Band, welcomes three new event partners with the Augusta Recreation, Parks & Facilities, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and Georgia Regents University (GRU). The concert, benefitting Jordan’s House and The Bond Crosby Fund, is set for Thursday, Oct. 23 at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater in downtown Augusta. “This show of support by major organizations in the CSRA is crucial in holding a great benefit concert in “Over the past 25 years, I have not become a rich man by the world’s standards; however, I am a blessed man. I look back and it seems like yesterday I started this.” In 1989, at a mere 27 years old with three children and only a high school education, Muns recognized the value of his welding trade and chose to launch out on his own. He turned his trade into a successful business despite the challenges involved in starting a small business and keeping it running. Through the years, the company has transitioned from more than 100 employees to five and back up again. The 14,000-square-foot fabrication shop and 3,800-squarefoot administration building in Beech Island houses what has now grown to three separate companies: Muns Welding & Mechanical, Inc., Muns Mechanical, Inc. and C & M Equipment Leasing, Inc.

downtown Augusta. We need the entire CSRA to support the efforts, and this show of commitment by Augusta Recreation, Parks & Facilities, DDA and GRU is a great step in the right direction for our city,” said George Claussen, CEO of Friends With Benefits Fund. “The Riverwalk Amphitheater is a wonderful, but underutilized venue, and this concert will bring it back to life while benefitting Jordan’s House and The Bond Crosby Fund. “ Tickets for the concert are on sale now at

GR med center among nation’s best with families Caregiver Action Network – one of the nation’s leading family caregiver organizations – has named Georgia Regents Medical Center to its list of 25 of the Nation’s Best Practices in Patient and Family Engagement. Only nine U.S. hospital systems were recognized, and the medical center was the only one in Georgia. In addition, six health care employees and 10 individuals in the patient/caregiver category rounded out the list of honorees. “It’s great to be recognized for our work and accomplishments in Patient-and Family-Centered Care, but patient and family engagement is an ongoing process,” said Bernard Roberson, Administrative Director of Patient- and Family-CenteredCare at Georgia Regents Medical Center. “

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Business openings, closing and moves Openings Mathnasium Mathnasium held its Grand Opening event on Oct. 10 for its newest location on Whiskey Road in Aiken. Jeff and Christine Rucker opened the new location just after Labor Day and enrollment is tracking the same as the opening of their Evans location two years ago. That location is in the Target Shopping Center on Washington Road. Their second location opened earlier this year at the Target Shopping Center in West Augusta. The math learning center is designed a bit like a fitness membership in which students are allowed to come as many times per week for Math help as they like. Cafe on the Canal The Café on the Canal, located inside The Salvation Army Kroc Center, has teamed up with West End Market and Bakery to provide locally sourced, sustainable, and organic menu items. The West End Market and Bakery is a new addition to the historic West End – Harrisburg area, offering fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat and more from local farmers. Each week, Chef Tony DiRenzo receives a CSA basket full of locally sourced, organic produce, and he whips together delicious weekly specials using the items. Aiken School of Barbering A new barbering school opened in downtown Aiken on Monday, Oct. 6. Aiken School of Barbering is the only barbering school in the area, and the school is already enrolling students. Aiken School of Barbering will be open Monday through Friday, and will offer day and night classes. The barbering license can be completed in 10-18 months, depending on the students schedule and determination. The school will also have a clinic floor open to the public shortly after the school opens. Aiken School of Barbering is located at 215 Richland Avenue in downtown Aiken. For more information on Aiken School of Barbering, call 803-522-4436 or visit Crickets Dry Goods Crickets Dry Goods recently opened in its new location on Washington Road in Evans.

10 Buzz on Biz October 2014

They are located in the same center as Shane’s Rib Shack, The Retreat and a freestanding Georgia Bank & Trust. They will offer classic accents for the southern lifestyle crossing into home, clothing, jewelry and gifts. Curry Hut The Curry Hut is now open on Washington Road in the former Thai Jong Restaurant in front of the Publix Plaza. This is the first Indian restaurant to open in the CSRA since several closed on Washington Road, Furys Ferry and off Walton Way. Thai Jong was open for 25 years in a former Taco Bell building. The owners decided to close the 2,000-square-foot restaurant on July 12 to retire. Medical Weight and Wellness Specialists Dr. Mayssoun Elchoufi of Evans recently passed the American Board of Obesity Medicine certification exam and became certified in the subspecialty of obesity medicine. She was among 158 physicians nationally to complete the exam. Dr. Elchoufi earned her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2002 and her residency training in Internal Medicine at Medical College of Georgia in 2005. She became impressed with the magnitude of medical issues she encountered which could have been prevented, cured or significantly improved by lifestyle modifications. In 2014 she founded the Medical Weight and Wellness Specialists in Augusta. Discovery Zone Kids Discovery Zone Kids childcare center held an open house on Sept. 24. Discovery Zone Kids is designed to teach math, art, science, social studies, English, foreign languages and eventually music, as well as health and fitness. It will also provide a site for students who are enrolled in Georgia’s K-12 virtual program or need homework help. The center will have a 20 computer classroom and teachers dedicated to these children to assist them in their educational journey. Jayshri Soni is the owner and the director of the center. Its location makes it convenient for working parents as it is surrounded by neighborhoods and schools and is en route to Gate 2 of Fort Gordon.  The center will operate Monday through Friday from

5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will serve children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Discovery Zone Kids is now registering children and hiring employees. For more information, check the center’s website or call Katie at 706-804-0020. Half-Moon Outfitters Half-Moon Outfitters opened in the Washington Crossing Shopping Center on Sept. 23. Half-Moon Outfitters, started in North Charleston, S.C., in 1993, offers outdoor clothing and footwear, paddleboards and camping, climbing and skiing gear, as well as accessories. The 7,500-square-foot store will include an outdoor courtyard and an exterior climbing wall for all ages and skill levels. Riverwatch Auto Sales Riverwatch Auto Sales opened recently about a mile from I-20 on the Riverwatch Parkway. The facility’s parking lot can hold about 30 vehicles and the building itself is spacious, with room for at least 10 offices. The location is the site of the former ProNet Computer and Digital Services center. Prior to that in 2006 and 2007, it was the corporate headquarters of the now-closed franchise, eAuction Depot. Closings

Be My Guest The executive chef and owner of Be My Guest closed down the meeting room space and restaurant earlier this month after several years in operation. The two large meeting rooms and kitchen are in the same shopping center as Academy Sports on the corner of Washington and Cox roads in Evans. The buzz is that rent is prohibitive in that shopping center and rent was near $10,000 per month for owner Terri Freeman. Be My Guest was open several days a week for a homestyle buffet lunch but made the majority of its revenue from special events. TGI Fridays Employees of the TGI Fridays on Washington Road did not have a TGI Sunday on Sept. 28.

Employees were informed that morning that the restaurant was closing its doors for good. The owner of the restaurant said the closing is for business purposes. Employees told WJBF news that the city will extend Stanley Drive and it will take over the restaurant’s space. Reports are that Berckmans Road will be extended through The Masters parking lot to connect with Stanley Drive. NutraSweet Company The NutraSweet Company announced that it will exit the aspartame segment of its business to concentrate on sales of other more profitable sweetener lines. As a result, the company expects to shut down its aspartame and L-phenylalanine production plant by the end of 2014. The facility currently employs about 210 people, including contractors. NutraSweet is offering severance payments and outplacement assistance to its affected employees. NutraSweet is based in Augusta, with a global sales and distribution network. Its products include NutraSweet aspartame, neotame and Twinsweet.

Moves Great Deals on Furniture An Augusta business received an offer it couldn’t refuse and will be relocating soon. Great Deals on Furniture announced that it will be moving from its location next to Sam’s Club on Bobby Jones Expressway because a national retailer wants the 65,000-squarefoot space. The property owner gave Great Deals a number of incentives that made it worthwhile to leave the space. Great Deals will eventually move back to its original space within the same shopping center. WifeSaver Wife Saver has moved from its building on Wrightsboro Road to a new building just a few blocks away on North Leg Road. Wife Saver owner Chris Cunningham and his owner/operators have been busy with construction in the past few years, having rebuilt their North Augusta store and opening new ones in Evans and Grovetown. The new stores have a more modern design and extra space.

Not all charitable giving tax deductible According to the Giving USA Foundation, individual giving accounted for 72 percent of all contributions to charitable organizations in 2012. People give to charities for a variety of reasons. They give: • Because they have compassion for the less fortunate. • From a belief that they owe something back to society. • To support a favored institution or cause. • For the recognition attained Mike Herrington by making subFiscal Fitness stantial charitaInvestment Advisor ble donations. • To benefit from the financial incentives our tax system provides for charitable gifts. Regardless of your reasons for giving, a careful review of the various ways to structure charitable gifts can help make your gifts more meaningful, both to you and to the charities you choose to support. A charitable gift is a donation of cash or other property to, or for the interest of, a charitable organization. The gift is freely given with the primary intention of benefiting the charity. Whether given during lifetime or after death, charitable gifts are eligible for a tax deduction, but only if made to a qualified charitable organization. For example, you may have a relative who has fallen on hard times, someone you choose to help with gifts of cash. While you may be motivated by charitable intentions in making these gifts, you cannot deduct them for either income tax or estate tax purposes. In general, qualified charitable organizations include churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations, colleges and other nonprofit

Charitable gifts are eligible for a tax deduction, but only if made to a qualified charitable organization

educational organizations, museums, nonprofit hospitals, and public parks and recreation areas. Gifts to these types of organizations qualify for a federal income tax deduction if made during your lifetime or, if made after your death, can be deducted from the value of your estate for federal estate tax purposes. On the other hand, examples of noncharitable groups include labor unions, social clubs, lobbying organizations, chambers of commerce, for-profit groups and individuals. Gifts to any of these are not eligible for a charitable tax deduction. If in doubt about an organization’s qualified status, ask the charity for documentation of its tax-exempt status. Alternatively, the IRS provides a complete listing of approved charitable organizations in Publication 78, Cumulative List of Charitable Organizations ( Please contact my office if you’d like more information on charitable giving. This is a sponsored financial column. Mike Herrington is the President of Herrington Financial Services, Inc, a Registered Investment Advisor. Mike is a Certified Financial Planner licensee(CFP), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a Certified Estate Planner(CEP). He has been serving clients in the CSRA since 1984. He can be reached at 706-868-8673 or

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Ways to create and retain great employees Many small businesses stay small, not because they don’t want to grow, but because the managers are not very good at managing their businesses effectively. One of the key, if not most important, roles of a business manager is to effectively delegate to others so their staff becomes highly productive. Four steps to Larry Rudwick producing and Business and keeping highly productive em- Relationship Coach ployees: The following is simple to explain, and may seem quite obvious but unfortunately, small businesses don’t often do all of these steps well. Bigger businesses often have room for improvement, too. Step 1 – Hire the right people: The “right people” have many (or maybe all) of the skills needed for the position, are interested and able to learn and grow with the business, and have really good attitudes. Hiring the “wrong people” is a recipe for disaster. Some things needed are well-thought-out step-by-step processes including a) how to find good candidates, b) how to interview them and test their skills, and c) how to ne-

12 Buzz on Biz October 2014

gotiate terms of employment. Step 2 – Train them properly: If you hire the right people, but don’t train them properly, it hurts both the organization and the employees. Each organization has its unique ways of doing things, and if not properly trained, the employees will not be as productive as they could be, lack confidence and, over time, will become unhappy. Some things needed include: a) written job expectations and procedures, b) a written training program, c) a trained trainer, who is really good at training new people, and d) some tests (or quizzes) that insures that the new employees know what to do and what to say, especially in common situations that often occur. Step 3 – Manage them well: Managing means to provide the correct balance of communications, feedback and support, in ways that truly resonate, provided on a timely basis. Often, the marginal employees get the most attention, and the highly productive ones get the least. This is a common mistake managers make. (If you don’t understand why this is a mistake, please contact me, and I will explain this to you.) Employees should have a career path – a good idea how they will be able to grow within the business over time. Smart employees really want to know if they have a good future with their employer, and what that future holds for them. Step 4 – Compensate them Properly:

“Properly” does not mean to overpay them so they will stay. In fact, some of the bestrun businesses pay less than market wages because they have other forms of compensation, including having “excellent training”, “a wonderful culture”, or a “great place to work.” Xerox Corporation has been a great example of this for years. Businesses should want their employees to really like where they work, as opposed to just working there “for a paycheck.” “Properly compensated” often means to set up an incentive plan that pays bonuses for great performance. (This takes careful

thought because, if not well thought out, this can backfire.) Businesses and organizations that do all four of these steps very well will have productive, focused, loyal employees. These smart organizations will likely grow much faster than their competition, and may even cause their competition to eventually close its doors. For more information, to go www., sign up for the free newsletter, listen to the podcasts, contact me through the website, or call me for a free consultation at 571-331-6102.

All in the Family

Luanne Hildebrandt keeps iconic Augusta food store going By Gary Kauffman When Nicholas Hildebrandt opened a grocery store on Sixth Street, Augusta and the rest of the South were still recovering from the Civil War, Reconstruction and carpetbaggers. That was in 1879 and now, 135 years later, Hildebrandt’s has become an iconic fixture of Augusta, the second-oldest downtown business (only Platt’s Funeral Home is older). The store doesn’t sell as many groceries as it once did, but a lot more specialty

Businessperson of the Month Luanne Hildebrandt, Hildebrandt’s Food Store sandwiches, most notably those of German origin. Nicholas Hildebrandt sold his grocery store to his German-immigrant nephew, also named Nicholas, in 1902. The business passed to his wife, Edna, and then his son, Louis. Today, Louis’ daughter and the original Nicholas’ great-great niece, Luanne, runs the business. For most of its existence, Hildebrandt’s sold groceries. A lack of time led to the business becoming a sandwich shop. Lacking time to go home to eat, Louis often made himself a sandwich from his stock of deli meats. The sandwiches looked so appetizing to customers that they began ordering them. About 25 years ago the business became primarily a lunch counter. German meats, shipped from Milwaukee, are a staple and the King Louis – a four-meat, two-cheese sandwich – is one of the favorites. German potato salad is another staple. The business still offers odds and ends of grocery items, an array of antiques and

plenty of eclectic seating. Portraits of Hildebrandt family members, some going back more than a century, line one wall. It has become an iconic Augusta fixture that the locals point visitors to when asked for a local place to eat. Luanne has been an integral part of the business for the past 40 year, although it wasn’t her first choice for a career. As the oldest daughter, she wanted to get away and attended colleges in Minnesota and Illinois, and then taught parochial school in Connecticut. She eventually returned to Augusta as an elementary education teacher. In 1972-73 she went to school in Oregon.

While she was on the West Coast, a friend told her that her parents, who were running the store by themselves, needed some help. She returned to “straighten things out” until her brother could take over the store. But he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in 1979, and she continued her role in the family business. When her father died in 1993, Luanne knew it was up to her to continue the family business. What are you passionate about in your business? Giving everybody a good experience, doing their sandwich right, the way they want it. Are there any special pressures or benefits

from being in a business with a long family tradition? Knowing that the family has been involved in the business as long as it has makes me want to keep it going. The business has been tough the past couple of years, but now that there is some family involved there’s a fresh outlook. For years we were the only Hildebrandts around even though it’s a common German name. We hosted a Hildebrandt reunion here in 2011 and people from all over and Germany came. Some of the first Nicholas’ great grandchildren came. My grandfather was known to take in any of his nephews; he was the one everyone looked to for help even if he didn’t have much himself. He was even known to give up his bed to the preacher when he came to town. So it’s an inspiration. What would people be surprised to learn about you? When I lived in Oregon I lived in a tent and camped out on a beach. I call that my hippy phase. But when I was growing up you couldn’t get me to sleep in a tent. I slept in the car when we went camping. What are the best and worst things about your job? The best is meeting people. The worst is the hours because everything we serve we make here. It’s been much better the last few years with Fred and Joyce here, and the seating up front. What is one thing you always make sure you pack in your suitcase? My toothbrush. How do you give back to the community? We try to support some non-profit organizations, and we support some fundraisers, sometimes by furnishing lunches. What does the future hold for you and Hildebrandt’s? I hope to be able to work another four or five years. I have a cousin who might be interested in the business. I want to try to keep the family involved. I think it’ll stay a sandwich business although there’s been some interest in adding breakfast.

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Some spouses carved out of health coverage To help control their health care costs, some employers have adopted group health plan provisions restricting coverage of spouses or requiring additional premiums for spousal coverage. These provisions take the form of spousal carve-outs or spousal surcharges. They can be cost-savings tools for health plans, particularly when there are Russell T. Head generous provi- Employee Benefits sions for dependent Consultant coverage and plans where a significant portion of the enrolled population elects family coverage. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is contributing to the growing popularity of spousal carve-outs. Beginning in 2014, the ACA provides spouses who are ineligible for coverage under an employee’s group plan with a way to secure their own health insurance, through the law’s health insurance exchanges and market reforms. Effective for 2015, the ACA’s employer mandate provision requires large employers to provide health coverage to their full-time employees and dependent children or risk a penalty, but the coverage requirements do

14 Buzz on Biz October 2014

not apply to spouses. What is a spousal carve-out? Spousal carve-out is a plan provision that restricts coverage for employees’ spouses who are eligible for other coverage, such as through the spouse’s employer. One type of spousal carve-out provides that working spouses with health coverage available through their own employers are ineligible for coverage under the employee’s plan. This saves the employer the premium contributions that it would have otherwise made on behalf of the employee’s spouse. For 2014, some employers have announced they are dropping spousal coverage altogether, regardless of whether spouses are eligible for group coverage elsewhere. Another type of spousal carve-out provides that working spouses must enroll in coverage offered by their own employers to be eligible for coverage under the employee’s plan. In effect, the employer’s plan becomes a secondary payer to other plans where employees’ spouses are covered. What is a spousal surcharge? A spousal surcharge is an additional premium contribution that an employee must pay for coverage for their spouse. The surcharge generally applies if the employee’s spouse has a source of coverage available through his or her own employer, and chooses not to enroll in that coverage. Most spousal surcharges do not apply to spouses

who are not employed or whose employers do not offer health insurance. They also are not applicable to coverage for children. Surcharges are designed to encourage spouses to use their own available health coverage and to contribute to the added cost of covering spouses who choose not to do so. Potential legal issues Some states have laws and regulations that limit the design of spousal carve-out and surcharge plan provisions. In many cases, these laws and regulations prohibit discrimination (for example, sex or marital status discrimination) that can result from an employer adopting spousal carve-out or surcharge provision in a plan. Before implementing a spousal carve-out or surcharge, check with your state insurance commissioner for any laws, regulations or public policy issues that may impact this design, and consult with your insurance broker and carrier before amending your plan. For more on the ACA/PPACA provisions, see:,, and Russell T. Head is President/Managing Partner with Group & Benefits Consultants, Inc., Augusta’s largest, privately held, locally owned employee benefits consulting firm. He can be reached at 706-733-3459 or rthead@ Visit Group & Benefits Consultants at

Jamail Larkins: Into the wild blue yonder Augusta native turns love of flying into business success By Gary Kauffman When most of us were 15, our thoughts were about adapting to high school, trying out for extracurricular activities and wondering if that cute person of the opposite sex would ever notice us. And maybe a second or two about school work. When Jamail Larkins was 15 and attending Evans High School in Augusta, he was starting his own business. Today, 15 years later, that company has morphed into Ascension Air in Atlanta, employs 28 and has done $30 million in business since 2007. The business has earned a number of national accolades and Larkins has garnered plenty of individual awards as well. In September, Larkins returned to his hometown to speak at the Diversity and Inclusion Summit presented by Georgia Regents University. “It’s a cool and unique experience to walk into a place and know that a concept you came up with is now providing income for people and their families,” he said. “The

Jamail Larkins visited his hometown in September.

decisions you make will have an impact on other people’s lives.” Larkins’ rise to such honors as being named to Fortune 500’s 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs began with an airplane ride when he was 12. He became so enamored with the idea of flying that he did whatever he could to be around it. He washed airplanes for pilots at no charge and did such mundane tasks as

“When you don’t know what you’re not supposed to do, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.” picking up trash. Soon the pilots noticed his interest in flying and began offering to take him aboard their flights. By the time he was 13 he’d amassed enough flying hours to earn the right to fly solo. One problem stopped him, though: Federal law does not allow anyone under age 16 to fly solo. Undaunted, Larkins learned that Canada allowed solo flights at age 14. He made his own arrangements to live in Canada long enough to earn his solo license. Larkins returned to Augusta and petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to allow him to fly solo in the States since he already held a Canada license. His letter finally reached the Secretary of Transportation before ultimately being turned down. But Larkins flipped that negative turn of events into a positive. “Nothing said I couldn’t start my own company,” he said. He started selling flight training materi-

Augusta native Jamail Larkins owns Ascension Air in Atlanta.

als, and a year later added pilot supplies. Eventually he went into aviation consulting. All while still leading an active high school life. The fact that he didn’t know how to run a business at age 15 didn’t slow him down. “Sometimes ignorance is bliss,” he said. “When you don’t know what you’re not supposed to do, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.” Larkins said he’s learned a lot of business axioms from firsthand experience, such as it’s never as easy as you think it’ll be and when raising capital, figure out how much you need and double or triple it. “That’s a 100 percent true statement,” he said. He also learned the hard way the importance of diversifying. By 2009 his company was growing at an astronomical rate and he was enjoying life.

Then the recession hit. His largest customer, who was doing $3.2 million worth of business with him annually, filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. “All of a sudden what had been an asset was now no longer making money for you but it was now costing you money,” he recalled. His company fought through it and today is diversified with three income streams and many customers supporting the business. “One of the biggest things I can tell someone is, diversify,” he said. “Diversify your revenue stream and diversify your customer base.” He also encourages people in the business world to take time to expose young people to their work, just as he was to the world of flying. “You never know what will happen in 10 or 15 years from now.”

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Desktop computers are still alive and well Since the introduction of personal computers we have become used to two constants: That computers will double in speed every 18 months, known as Moore’s Law (Moore’s Law actually states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double every 24 months), and that more computers will be sold every year. Charles Kelly Moore’s Law Computer Solutions is essentially still Consultant a relevant measure, although it is not referenced as much as it used to be. In reality, processor power (not clock speed) doubles every year and in the near future we will see this annual doubling increase exponentially as we develop nanotechnology. The second constant – that more computers will be built and sold every year – has changed. The first annual decline of year over year computer sales was in 2001 (Hal 9000 anyone?) caused by a tech financial downturn. In 2012, the first real dip occurred as tablets caught on and cut into laptop and desktop sales. This trend continued in 2013

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as more and more people browsed on smartphones, and tablets continued to sell millions of units. So headlines appeared like “Huge sales declines!” “The end of the road for desktop computers!” “Cloud computers will do away with all hardware but a simple terminal!” In reality, the hardware tech environment – meaning the things we use to communicate, create, connect and consume our digital diet – have simply fragmented into more and more choices. Although I was not surprised at all about the true facts of the state of the desktop computer market, you may be. For the year, 2014 sales will be flat or slightly up in the desktop computer market in the United States. Around 80 million desktop computers will be sold in the U.S. market this year and predictions even 10 years out show the desktop computer will continue to be a healthy part of the tech segment. The reason for this is something you have experienced yourself. You have that great new tablet or phablet and it is an awesome phone, computer, browser, etc. But when you go to actually type a letter, you want to feel a comfortable keyboard and look at a nice screen that doesn’t make you run for your reading glasses. That new Basis health monitor that I wear on my wrist... well, when it’s not on my wrist, it’s on a charging station connected to my

custom-built media center computer. There is nothing like an always on, fullsized keyboard, large monitor, computer system that serves as the hub of your activity. This is the reason American businesses and individuals will buy 80 million desktop computers this year.

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

And the trend is, if you are going to have one desktop, make sure it is a good one. My rule of thumb is to spend as much on a desktop computer as you would on the non-contract price of that smart phone on your hip or in your purse. It will last longer, allow you to create more and won’t have you squinting at a tiny screen. The desktop computer will be around for a long time to come, so when you shop for one, think through the process and get one that will meet your needs not only for today, but for the next three to five years. The hard home phone line has gone the way of the Dodo bird but the home computer is here to stay.

Security that won’t bust your bank account Acquiring new security equipment (surveillance, intrusion, access control, etc.) is most likely one of the larger capital investments you will make for your business. Security systems leasing is an easy, economical way for businesses of any size to get them without making a large cash investment. Your decision to lease security systems should not be taken Chris Shelton lightly. Security system leasing has Electronic Security many advantages Consultant for your business, including conserving your cash and reducing taxable income for your business. Security system leasing is a form of credit and can extend your company’s borrowing power outside of conventional loans. Every business needs new or additional security options at some point. Existing systems get old and outdated and additional equipment is often needed to grow a business. Nearly 80 percent of companies in the United States lease equipment to remain competitive. They recognize that it is more important to have and use the equipment

than it is to own the equipment. There are many advantages to leasing: • Credit Availability • Conserve working capital • Flexibility • Prevent equipment obsolescence • Tax advantages • Budget friendly • No down payment required • Fixed monthly payments • Choose payments and terms Credit Availability – Leasing preserves your lines of credit. Save your bank borrowing capacity for other needs or emergencies. Conserve Working Capital – Get the equipment and technology you need today while spreading your payments out over time. Capital budgets can be used for other business expenses and more productive operational uses. Flexibility – Changes in the economy, emerging competition and expansion require flexible options for a small business. Leasing allows your business to grow or change with the tide quickly, without large upfront costs. Prevent equipment obsolescence – Technology changes rapidly. The software and equipment you purchased two years ago is most likely outdated. With leasing, when your term is over, you have the option to purchase your equipment, trade it in for new equipment or return it outright. Keep

Security systems leasing is an easy, economical way for businesses to get them without a large investment

your business at the forefront of your industry through leasing. Tax advantages – For most term lease agreements, businesses can deduct monthly payments. The benefits and amount changes annually, so you should consult your tax advisor for more information. Budget friendly – Leased systems can create income for your business that far exceeds the cost of your monthly payment. You can stretch your budget to obtain additional equipment for your system that you couldn’t have afforded otherwise through fixed monthly payments. No down payment required – Unlike some loan programs you can lease 100 percent of your equipment, and include additional costs such as software, shipping, installation, maintenance and training into your total leasing package.

Fixed monthly payments – Leasing allows you to use equipment you need for as long as you need it, with a fixed monthly payment. If interest rates skyrocket, your payment does not change. Choose payments and terms – You know how much your business can afford to spend on your new equipment. With leasing you can pick the best payment solution for your business, extended terms, flexible payment options and equipment upgrades are all available. Shelton Security and Networking provides equipment leasing for a broad range of industries. We will work with you and create leasing solutions to cater to the distinct needs of your business. With extensive product knowledge and market expertise we serve as more than just security leasing specialist – we serve as an extension of your business. Christopher Shelton has 29 years of experience installing, repairing and integrating commercial and industrial electronic security, IT, control and A/V systems. He is a Georgia-licensed and fully insured contractor of burglar, fire, telecomm and general low voltage systems. Chris has installed, maintained and integrated electronic premise systems for all types businesses, including Chic-fil-A, Bojangle’s, Wal-Mart and several schools and churches. Contact him at 706-541-0878.

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


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SALES & MARKETING Smile! You’re on everyone’s candid camera “Candid Camera” is back. I wish them luck. The show’s 1960s premise seems a little quaint now, calling back as it does the days when the only spy cam around was Allen Funt’s. These days, in the form of litigation-conscious businesses and law enforcement, Allen is everywhere. And have you noticed? Few of us have made the adjustment. Getting our shenanigans exposed is what happens to other people, not us. Safe in the dimly lit, anonymous corners of our lives, we foolishly think we’re free to conjure up all manner of outrage. And then we’re stunned when our Ponzi scheme or wife beating leads the evening news. Ladle in a generous helping Don MacNeil of internet and you have a new world with which most of us Crown Point haven’t yet come to terms. Communications at Fume all you want that our Windsor Jewelers privacies are melting away like polar ice caps, you have to admit we’re slowly being hammered into better behavior because of it.

Sociologists aren’t surprised. They’ll tell you that populations/cultures are like living organisms in that when one part of the body begins to malfunction, the remainder immediately goes into corrective action, whether it’s a virus loose in your tummy or the outbreak of music file-sharing in the early days of the internet. They also know from rodent experiments that, be it a community or a country, lawlessness increases exponentially as populations expand. Put the two together and society’s response is an Allen Funt world. So how does this impact you and your business? You need to make yourself a role model for impeccable professional behavior in your workplace, and insist on the same from your associates. Set aside for a moment that this is what you should be doing anyway, and ponder instead the reality that most of us are now armed with a device capable of not only recording any given customer interaction, but then sharing it with the world, too. A lifetime of your getting it right can be brought down in a single day. Many businesses have resorted to threatening negative Don MacNeil is a traditional media expert, having spent more than 30 years on-air and behind the scenes in media and marketing. If you have any comments or questions, email him at

online posters with litigation as a defense against this reality, but in doing so come off as bullies by a public wondering, “What are you trying to hide?” It’s a no-win situation. Make your people aware of all of this, with periodic reminders. Equally as important, appoint or hire someone to monitor online reviews of your business or performance, and aggressively make peace with negative posters. In an Allen Funt world, it’s just what you do now.

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Skills needed for social media management

Your customers expect to find your business on their favorite social media platforms. They expect to see your specials, new merchandise and product information online. But, social media marketing for business is more involved than many business owners may realize. Many business owners who Pat Homer manage their Social Media own social media find it to be Communications a never-ending, time-consuming activity. And, it is. If you are debating whether to handle your business’s social media, you should consider the skills necessary to present your business at its best professionally. A business owner must have more than basic skills in these five areas to get the most benefit from social media. Writing Skills. Well-written, grammatically correct text is a must for your blog or website, as well as any other social media platform. Customers equate professionally written text with your overall expertise. Your customers need to trust your abilities

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to meet their needs. In addition, your text needs to be optimized for search engines (SEO). Web browsers continually search web content for valuable information to serve up in search results. Graphic Design. Graphics are just as important as well-written text. Your graphics should consistently brand your business across your website and other social media platforms. Your customers should recognize your business wherever they find you online. Good design is appealing. A well-designed website invites customers to linger. The longer customers stay on your site, the more likely it will turn up in future web searches. Also, your social media posts benefit from the use of graphics. Studies show that people are more likely to click on posts with graphics or pictures. One difficulty that business owners often face with graphic design is expensive software that comes with a stiff learning curve, taking time to master. Another difficulty is that good design takes years to master. We all know good design when we see it, but it’s harder to create fresh, original designs without training. Photography and videography. If your product lends itself to visual representation, your photos and videos should be top-notch. A poorly done photo or video is almost worse than none at all because they detract from your business’s professional image.

Many business owners who manage their own social media find it to be a never-ending, time-consuming activity. Photo and video equipment is costly, and mastering the technology and techniques for high quality outcomes takes time and practice. Knowledge of social media. Each form of social media has a different style of post, different etiquette and a different demographic. Blogs can be long while other forms are short and filled with searchable #hashtags. While there is some overlap, many social media platforms attract specific age groups and types of customers. Knowing where these groups of customers are hanging out can help you decide where to place your efforts on social media. Adapt to constant change. Social media is a rapidly changing medium. Existing social media platforms change the rules constantly. The style of post that worked last week is a no-no this week. Then, new platforms come along and attract new users, requiring business owners to research and evaluate their social media strategy. If your customers swap platforms, your business needs to follow them. Social media is valuable because no other

medium offers such potential reach. But, to take advantage of it, a business owner needs lots of time and an advanced skill set, which is unlikely to be found in one person. This is where a social media management company can help. A company has highly skilled people with expertise in visual arts and writing. And, because these people are involved with social media on a daily basis, they are familiar with the eccentricities of the different platforms. When you look at the time and expense involved with social media marketing, you see that hiring a social media company makes sense. Instead of taking time away from your business to learn a new skill set, hiring a social media company frees you up to do what you do best – run your business. Pat Homer is Vice President of Social Media Communications at SocialPAJE, a Social Media Management and Branding company. Contact SocialPAJE at (706) 564-4135 or Also visit SocialPAJE. com or search for us on any of the social media platforms.

Converting more sales through your website If your business is suffering, it can seem easy to give up on your business’ online presence and repurpose the money elsewhere; however, before you do, make sure you take the time to do everything you can to get your website performing. The five strategies detailed below can often make the differGeorge Garner ence between a Brilliant Wealth simple website versus one optiConcepts mized for massive business sales. 1. Ensure Your Website is Optimized for Mobile. As smart phones become the standard, it should no longer be a surprise that 50 percent of searches for a product or service now start on a mobile device. If your site is not optimized for mobile (i.e. mobile responsive), you will lose out on the 50 percent of customers who are searching this way to your competition. So, how can responsive design help you to increase your conversion rate? Quite simply, it makes it easier for mobile users to convert

who might otherwise have trouble doing so and not bother. Mobile now encompasses a sizeable portion of all online users – it is imperative that business owners’ have a website that is mobile friendly. 2. Ensure Your Website Content is Updated. The main point of entry on your website is the home page – it is critical this information is updated consistently. Having an updated homepage makes users more interested to see what else your business has to offer and will help make users more likely to click through to your product or sales pages and become customers. It’s not enough to just update your copyright date – ensure your website’s content is updated on a regular basis. If you want users to come back, make sure you don’t keep showing them the same old content. 3. Ensure Your Website is Retargeted. The first visitor and the first sale are the most expensive for an online business in terms of marketing cost, so getting users back to your site is critical in order to generate more sales. This can be accomplished either by using retargeting ads directed at users who come to your website but don’t end up purchasing through an ad or email. Email marketing can be an extremely powerful tool for bringing users back to your website to purchase a product, while also helping you to stay in touch with your customers in order to build long-term

50% of searches for a product or service now start on a mobile device brand loyalty. 4. Ensure Your Website Is User Friendly. One of the most disappointing findings when I review a website is one that “looks good,” yet the content is poorly organized. You have three seconds to get a user’s attention. Seeing as people don’t like to read a lot, you need to make sure you’re giving them what they need to know in very few words. Text should get to the point about why people should care about you and your business and help them take action while they are there. Having a navigation structure that makes sense to a user will help them get to what they are looking for and will ultimately create more sales for your business. Be sure not to neglect the importance of maximizing your navigation structure for tablets and mobile devices. 5. Ensure Your Website is SEO Rich. As we transition away from the old ways of doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it is still a necessary evil for all websites. Most customers Google everything

before making a decision. To gain more customers and brand awareness, SEO is critical to stay competitive. It is imperative the pages within your site rank high for relevant key words people use to search for your products or services. If not, you will surely lose out on potential sales opportunities and new customers – allowing your competition to take advantage of your market share. Increasing your website’s conversion rate is one of the most important things a business owner can do to help their business get more out of an online presence. It’s no wonder then that businesses are spending up to 25 percent more on developing and designing their websites. The bottom line is web design – your bottom line begins with web design. Taking these tactics into account will help your business get the most out of a website, while converting visitors into customers quickly and efficiently. George Garner is owner and founder of Brilliant Wealth Concepts. He is an educator and advocate for the success of your business and customers. His mission is to ensure all small businesses have a well designed website and marketing strategy to strengthen their brand and maximize profits. For a complimentary analysis of your website, please email or visit

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Learn how you can get to yes! Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In By Roger Fisher and William Ury

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, being an effective negotiator is critical to your business success. Whether your staff wants extra time off or extra hours to work or your landlord wants to raise your rent or your advertiser wants to increase your ad budget, you are constantly Eddie Kennedy negotiating. Business Book An inexperienced negotiaReviews tor may be consumed in defending a position instead of finding a workable agreement. In the book, Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher and William Ury, show you the pitfalls to avoid and the steps to take to become an effective negotiator. Step 1. Separate the People from the Problem. To properly negotiate a solution to a problem, you must understand that everyone sees the problem differently. That

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means that the individual’s viewpoints are not going to be the same. Their ideas may even be opposing. Many people get emotionally involved with the problem and tend to make the issue personal. To separate the emotions from the problem, you must step back and look at the problem from a more realistic perspective. Then you should be able to see the real issue and focus on it instead of all the emotional interactions. Step 2. Focus on Interests. Many times in negotiating, you are unwilling to move from your interest. When both parties take this stance, agreement is difficult to accomplish. Instead of asking, “What do you want?” ask “Why do you want that?” Understanding the “why” can lead you to the real purpose or motivating factor in the other party’s negotiations. Knowing this can help you get to a solution that could please both parties. Step 3. Develop Options. Brainstorm with the other party to come up with

multiple options to solve the issue. The authors suggest that shifting between four types of thinking – stating the issue, analyzing the issue, considering general solutions and considering specific actions – will help the parties come to a workable solution. When both parties stay focused on common shared interests, then there is less of a tendency to fall into the “I winyou lose” trap. Step 4. Use Objective Criteria. Objective criteria should be used when the parties are directly opposed to resolve their differences. This would include industry standards, market values, replacement costs or any other standard that both parties can agree on to be fair and reasonable to resolve the issue. Everyone wants the best deal and outcome, but you will solve more problems if you separate the issue from the people, find out the “why” behind the “what” and work together to find options that will solve the problem agreeably. Eddie Kennedy is the owner of Great Deals on Furniture in Augusta and an avid reader of business books. Eddie believes every business owner should invest in themselves by reading, but if you can’t, then read his column every month to see what he learned. Have you read any great business books? Let Eddie know at

Aiken Tech given grant for unique tower program

Aiken Technical College received a $2.45 million grant from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program for the expansion of the College’s nationally unique Tower Installation training program. ATC’s Tower Installation program, which launched in November 2013 as the first training program of its kind in the southeastern United States, prepares citizens for entry-level jobs in the growing 4G wireless communication industry. ATC’s existing tower installation program produces entry-level authorized climbers through an intensive 5-week, 16-credit hour program. The grant will allow the College to expand the Tower Installation I certificate program to include multiple stackable credentials that can lead to an Associate of Applied Science degree. ATC was the only institution in South Carolina to receive funding from the $450 million job-driven training grant awards. For more information about ATC’s Tower Installation program, visit www. or call (803) 508-7263.

CAREERS & EDUCATION Young entrepreneurs capitalize on movies Website sells clothing like those worn in movies, including recent James Brown biopic By Jennifer Reynolds What do four friends, Clemson University and Hollywood memorabilia have to do with Augusta’s favorite son? Saw it in the Movies is a website that sells recreations of costumes and outfits worn in major Hollywood films. The recent release of Get On Up, a movie chronicling James Brown’s rise from poverty to superstar fame, inspired several of the outfits for sale at Together with her father, Diana True came up with the idea to recreate the outfits

worn in popular Hollywood films. “My dad and I came up with an idea to find clothes that are similar or just like clothing in movies or peoples’ favorite actors and actresses and sell them on our website,,” True said. True, a student at Clemson University, teamed up with three other Clemson students: her brother Dorian True, Nate Pocta and Tyler Johnston. Diana True does the creative work and assembles the outfits. Dorian True seeks out affiliate sites. Pocta and Johnston, both comClemson students Dorian True, Diana True, Morgan Todd, Tyler Johnston and Nate Pocta were at the Red Carpet premiere of Get On Up in Augusta in July to promote their clothing business, Saw it In the Movies. Photo by Gary Kauffman

A screen capture from the website shows a blue satin suit like the one worn by Chadwick Boseman portraying James Brown in Get On Up.

puter engineer majors, are the web masters. “They’re absolute geniuses,” True said of Pocta and Johnston. Though the site is new and won’t officially launch until later this fall, True couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Augusta for the premier of Get On Up. Known for his flamboyant dress, James Brown provides costumers and costume recreators the opportunity to step outside normal, everyday wear. Saw it in the Movies has several recreations of James Brown’s costumes, including a sequined jumpsuit and a blue sequined suit that figured prominently in the film. “We found the Mrs. Clause outfit that his wife wore and a couple of the suits that he had,” True said. True, a marketing major, has big plans for the growth of the company. The site is cur-

rently up for a soft launch with the official launch expected later this fall. Currently, there are costume recreations from Transformers, Ninja Turtles and even TV shows like Sex in the City. Visitors to the site can shop by movie, by actor or actress or by genre. The official launch will include many more products, including additional costumes from Get On Up. “We hope to eventually add costumes for different gaming conventions and Halloween,” True said. Clothing currently on the site for sale is new but they plan to add vintage pieces in the future or even the original costumes worn in the film when possible. Woman ages 18-30 are the target audience but True explained that as the company grows, they plan to expand the current limited selection of men’s wear.

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Dual enrollment can earn college credit Did you know that your high school student has several options for getting ahead on earning college credit? The dual enrollment program, also known as ACCEL in Georgia, allows high school students to enroll at a college or university tuition-free. Specific courses will earn the student required credit towards high school graduation and college simultaneously. The ACCEL Missie Usry dual enrollment Enrollment Manager, program has Georgia Military several distinct College advantages over other college credit programs such as Advanced Placement (AP) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. For example, students are guaranteed college credit as long as they pass courses with a grade of “C” or better. In AP or IB courses, if the teen is not a strong tester, they may pass the course, but not pass the difficult end-of-course standardized test required for college credit.

24 Buzz on Biz October 2014

Through the dual enrollment program at Georgia Military College, high school juniors and seniors have the option of earning more than 80 hours of college credit before graduating from high school. That means up to two years of free college tuition just for being a Georgia high schooler! There is, of course, the benefit of saving time and the possibility of graduating with a bachelor’s degree at the age of 20. Georgia’s ACCEL program covers tuition for up to three quarters per year for Georgia residents; Georgia Military College waives fees for dual enrollment students. The only out-of-pocket expense for participants is textbook rentals and course materials. Georgia Military College also has a fourth-quarter, full-tuition scholarship for students who successfully com-

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

plete the first three quarters through ACCEL. This means a savings of up to $10,000 in college tuition when students successfully participate in this program during their junior and senior years. Eligibility for participation in the dual enrollment program is based on a student’s high school GPA, approval by the high school counselor (or our Academic Dean for home schooled students) and SAT or ACT scores. Students who have not taken the SAT, ACT, or those who did not score high enough can opt to take the COMPASS placement test at our campus.

College prep beyond guidance counselors Daily in high schools all over America college environments, researching monies students make appointments to talk to that will not leave a debt, preparation for their guidance counselors about college. interviews and more. Students want to know the registration Two clients have included one senior and test dates for the who was acACT/ SAT. They need cepted into the FAFSA forms, school college of his codes to use for regchoice in Sepistration and copies of tember of his transcripts. They are senior year. keeping calendars of What a joy to deadline dates. be able to plan Parents feel reashis entire year sured that their teens with this goal in are finally taking review! sponsibility! Another client Rewind! For the asked for help College Checks Consultants when she ran vast majority of teens, College Prep for Students & Families out of money the college search is still a mystery. And to continue her while school counselors do an excellent job studies. In May of her second year toward of de-mystifying that process, with a stu- a nursing degree, we were able to help her dent ratio of one counselor to 25 students receive a work-study in a local medical (or many more), even the best become facility. Her supervisors tailor her work weary. They are asked more often about schedule around her class and clinical college football teams than the college’s schedules. And upon graduation, she will graduation rates. have a job in her chosen career, which she College Checks Consultants views this loves. scenario differently. Meeting with students As experienced educators with a genuand parents simply to discuss the family’s ine love of young people, College Checks goals is the first step. Families then decide Consultants works to see that families reif they want any number of our services: ceive college information that often does standardized test preparation, writing in- not make it past the school doorway. For struction for essays, choosing compatible example, in Georgia, some colleges waive

While school counselors do an excellent job, even the best become weary

the application fees for in-state students applying during the month of October. The earlier students work with us, the more helpful we can be. For example, college scholarships hinge on standardized test scores in part. Has your sophomore taken the PSAT? It is free for them, but juniors may take it also for a small fee. Call 706-305-0531 to schedule a consultation. College Checks Consultants, LLC, is an educational consulting company owned by three retired educators who have, together, amassed more than 110 years of experience advising and assisting high school and college graduates with all steps in this process. University professor Dr. Elizabeth Evans, AP math-endorsed high school teacher Debbie Lancaster, and AP English literature-endorsed high school teacher Sandy Perry will meet with families to discuss all steps of this process and provide services for each step. Let us help to change your future! Call 706-3050531 for more information.

SWU, USC Aiken rated military friendly schools

Southern Wesleyan University in North Augusta and The University of South Carolina Aiken have been designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School. Victory Media, publisher of “G.I. Jobs” and the “Guide to Military Friendly Schools,” ranked the schools in the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and dedicating resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. Southern Wesleyan recognizes the service of military personnel in protecting the nation’s freedoms. The university offers tuition discounts to active duty military, National Guard and reserve members, as well as for the spouses of active duty military personnel – available for both undergraduate and graduate programs. The survey captures more than 50 leading practices in supporting military students and is available free of charge to the more than 8,000 schools approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.n University has been designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School.

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


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LEISURE & HOSPITALITY A near-death experience with a computer “No. No, no, no, no, no.” I banged ineffectually on my keyboard. The computer screen stared back blandly, impervious to my meltdown – a meltdown that it caused. “You don’t even care,” I snapped at it. Su d d e n l y, there was a whirring from the tower. Lights flickered. The Nora Blithe monitor went Humorist blank. “N N N N NOOOOOOOO,” I wailed. I dove for my cell phone and frantically dialed IT. Since I’m self-employed my IT is my husband Brian, our resident computer nerd. I dashed off the numbers for his cell but there was no answer. I texted him, “Call ASAP! The computer is trying to kill me.”

My phone rang. “Really,” he said instead of hello, “the computer is trying to kill you?” “Close enough,” I muttered. “It died! I was working on my column and it froze then went dead! I have a deadline!” “Have you tried turning it back on,” he asked. I pursed my lips. “I have not,” I replied curtly. I punched the power button. “Nothing,” I reported. “Hold on,” he said. “Don’t you save all your documents to a cloud?” “Yes,” I replied. “Had you recently saved your work?” “Of course.” “Then why can’t you use your laptop to finish the story,” he asked, exasperated. Technically, I could. Because the file was Nora Blithe is an Augusta native, an entrepreneur and a syndicated humor columnist. She lives in Greenville, S.C., with her husband, Brian, and their pets. Read her syndicated humor column Life Face First in Verge, or find her online at

saved in a cloud and not on the actual computer, I could open it from another computer. Because I save after almost every sentence I type, it should all be there. If anything, I may have to backtrack a few words at most. “Of course I can use my laptop to finish the story! That’s not the point,” I snapped. I could hear him take a deep, calming breath. “I know I’m going to regret asking but why can’t you use your laptop?” “Because I want to use my desktop. I feel more creative there today,” I replied with a tone that said duh. “You feel more creative there today,” he

muttered. “Yes, some days I feel more creative on the desktop and some days I feel more creative on the laptop, usually when I want to go out for breakfast and work over a bagel.” “Couldn’t you decide you want to go out for breakfast and finish the piece on your laptop?” “No, it’s three in the afternoon. Breakfast ended hours ago,” I replied. “I’m hanging up now. I’m actually at work.” The phone clicked off. “Typical,” I spat at the phone. “No one wants to help when you have a real crisis.”

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


California Dreaming a dreamy place for lunch One restaurant that may get overlooked as a hot spot for cuisine is California Dreaming on Washington Road. This Augusta gem has a great atmosphere for business meetings or gathering for a lunch break. The restaurant is rather large but has tiered seating that provides intimate arrangements for personal conversations. While eating there I found the atmosphere to be welcoming and comfortable. I find air conditioning to be a controlling factor in how I will enjoy my meal, and I was content with the temperature the enAlexandrea Daitch tire time. Power Hour Lunch Another major factor in the initial assessment of any restaurant is the volume of noise the restaurant produces; this is anything from the kitchen, the music or other customers. The noise on all levels was appropriate, the kitchen was hardly noticeable, the music was loud enough to hear but not to distract from discussion, and the layout of the restaurant was designed in such a way that other customer conversation was not noticed. When all things line up perfectly it makes for a delightful place to conduct a business meeting. Business aside, the food is something to rave about. The first recommendation I have is to order one of their signature croissants, no matter what else you are ordering. They come out fresh, flakey and fluffy. Glazed with honey and butter, they make a great appetizer but could also be a savory desert. Honestly, if it would be socially acceptable I would just order a glass of milk and a plate of croissants. I debated between two sandwich options for lunch, the

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BBQ pulled pork or the steak sandwich. The waitress recommended the BBQ pulled pork and I am glad she did. Instead of getting the French fries that come with the sandwich, I substituted them for the redskin mashed potatoes. I thought the sandwich would be an average size of pork in between the two sides of the brioche bun; boy was I wrong. It was a monstrous amount of pork, definitely not a “prison sandwich.” Not only was it a hearty serving but it also was full of flavor and perfectly coated with BBQ sauce. I am a southern girl at heart so BBQ is important, but not as important as mashed potatoes done right. The redskin mashed potatoes were done to perfection! They melted in my mouth and I caught myself scraping out the bowl to get the last little bit. My co-worker had a similar experience. He had never been to California Dreaming and ordered the California Dreaming Salad, which contains mixed greens, shredded ham and turkey, cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, chopped eggs, tomatoes and toasted almonds, topped with warm Hormel ham and bacon. He topped this substantial salad with their homemade blue cheese dressing. I had known what the salads looked like but to watch his face when this massive salad was placed in front of him, overflowing with toppings, was priceless. After a couple of bites he looked up with a mouth full and mumbled, “This may be one of the best salads I have ever had.” For the amount of food you get at California Dreaming, the prices are more than reasonable. The service was average, and the food came out within a reasonable amount of time, not super quick but we weren’t looking at each other wondering when our food was going to arrive, either. Put it this way – our waitress did not come up to the table and say, “Your food will be just a few more minutes.” All and all, California Dreaming is a great place to go for

a business lunch meeting. The customer clientele during the day is business professionals and groups of people ranging in age from 26-plus. I recommend this as a great spot for a daytime or nighttime meeting. It is quiet, has great food and is reasonably priced.

Logano on the right track with victory It is always a great sight to see a young athlete mature in his sport. Joey Logano certainly has come a long way since I first met him when he was introduced to the media as the new driver at Joe Gibbs RacGlenn Campbell ing several years ago. On the Road with His victory Lugnut Oct. 5 at Kansas Speedway was his fifth of the season and secured him a spot in the Elite Eight of this year’s Chase. Logano avoided the bad luck that fell against several of his Chase contenders during the day, most noticeably six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. “You see other cars that are having trouble, guys you know you are going to be racing for this championship with and it goes through your mind,” said Logano on avoiding the tire issues of the day. “But at the same time you’ve got to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year, and that’s been trying to win the race and not points racing, so we’ll keep trying to do that.” Logano entered the race looking for a win and as it has turned out this season, he

found a way to make that happen. “We came into here thinking we need a solid finish,” he said. “We can’t win the championship today but we can definitely lose it.” The wins have been nice but, Joey is keeping his mind on the grand prize, which is a Sprint Cup Championship at season’s end. “We’re excited about our shot to win this championship this year,” observed Logano on his chances. “We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing.” For Joey, it’s not just the personal victory that he is excited about. It’s the chance to give his team owner, Roger Penske, something that he has never experienced, either – especially after all he has done for him. “It would be a dream come true to win a championship in this series,” Joey said. “But to get Roger two in a year and hopefully three in a year would be awesome for me.” The Championship battle is certainly not over yet, but the personal battle that Joey Logano has been fighting as a driver is definitely headed in the right direction. A Championship title would certainly be icing on the cake. Glenn Campbell is a syndicated columnist and radio and TV show host. For more information, visit

Joey Logano with his winning car. Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images

Fund raising walk helps fight Parkinson’s The 15th annual Parkinson’s Walk fundraiser will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Wilson Family Y track. For the third year, this walk will be known as Moving Day. It is sponsored by the CSRA Parkinson’s Support Group. Parkinson’s is a disease that affects the ability to move and often first shows evidence through uncontrolled shaking. It can lead to complications that can cause death.

Businesses and other groups can form teams to take part in the walk. The goal is to raise $35,000 through Moving Day. Proceeds are used for research into a cure for Parkinson’s. Some of the funds stay within the local medical community for research. For more information about how to enter a team in the walk, visit movingdayaugusta. com.

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


Casino Night will help raise funds for new shelter Often domestic abuse seems like something that happens far away, but it is an issue that the people at SafeHomes deal with every day. SafeHomes is currently raising funds for a new shelter that will more than double the number of women they can help. The new facility will have 36 beds, compared to the 16 in the current home. Last year SafeHomes had to find alternate lodging for 329 victims because of the shortage of space. The new facility will also include a training and conference room, a meditation room, a multipurpose room and the administration offices (the offices are currently in a separate facility). There will also be a children’s play room and a teen room. One of the fundraisers is the annual 7th annual Casino Night on Nov. 1 that will help provide funds for the new shelter (see ad on page 17). This year’s Casino Night has two additions – a spin-to-win prize wheel and a reverse auction. For the auction, only 150 tickets will be sold and throughout the night, ticket holders will be eliminated. The final five ticket holders have the choice to divide the winning between them, or to continue for the chance of the entire $5,000 prize. The fundraisers and new shelter are vital because of the need. In 2013, SafeHomes served 1,833 people, including children. “We see it all,” Aimee Hall, director for SafeHomes, said. “There are different reasons why they come.” Women and men come to SafeHomes because of one or a combination of physical abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse and isolation. And almost always there is emotional abuse as well. “They’re beaten down before they’re beaten up,” Hall said. The stereotype that victims of domestic abuse are the poor and uneducated is false, Hall said. She has seen spouses of doctors, judges, law enforcement officers and the military come through the doors. “Our services are not just for the poor and

30 Buzz on Biz October 2014

needy,” she said. And while the majority of the victims coming to SafeHomes are women, men can also be victims of domestic abuse. Last year, 15 percent of the people SafeHomes served were men. SafeHomes offers all of its services to men except for temporary shelter. While the amount of victims SafeHomes helps may seem like a lot, Hall said many times domestic abuse goes unreported. And often by the time someone turns to SafeHomes, the abuse has been taking places for a long time. “A lot of the time by the time they come to us they’ve already left and returned several times,” she said. The national average is that a victim will leave and return to an abuser seven times. “Many are at the end of that cycle when they come to us,” said Jennifer Kresslein, development director for SafeHomes. “A lot of them make that choice to break that cycle when they see the affect it has on their children,” Hall added. For those on the outside, it seems incomprehensible that someone would choose to remain or return to such adverse conditions. Hall said fear, financial issues and the desire to make the relationship work keep many victims with their abusers. “A lot are in disbelief that it happened to them,” Hall said. “They believe if they just changed their behavior it would stop. The problem is that it’s about power and control, and the abuse escalates.” Kresslein added, “Many times that’s the only relationship they’ve known and there’s not anything they can compare it to.” Deciding to end the cycle of abuse is difficult and frequently dangerous. “When the victim is ready to leave is the most volatile time because the abuser realizes they’re losing power and control,” Hall said. When a victim contacts SafeHomes, the first goal is to make sure they’re in a safe environment. For women, if they have no safe place to go SafeHomes offers temporary shelter, usually for 30 days. But shelter is only a portion of the services SafeHomes provides. Because of the emotional abuse victims usually endure, SafeHomes provides counseling services and support

An artist rendering of the proposed new SafeHomes shelter.

groups. SafeHomes also provides help with legal matters, such as acquiring a temporary protective order. “We help them with any barriers they may face, such as financial barriers or establishing a household,” Kresslein said. Education is a significant part of SafeHomes’ overall strategy. SafeHomes started a teen program that helps educate young people about dating violence. They also work with law enforcement officials to recognize the signs of abuse and how to talk to the victims. After a person leaves the shelter, SafeHomes

continues working with them for about a year to help them establish a firm foundation in their life. “If a client goes through our program in its entirety and keeps up with a support group, then we have a good success rate,” Kresslein said. But breaking the cycle of domestic abuse ultimately depends on the willingness of the victim to break that cycle. “It has to be their choice,” Kresslein said. “We have the resources, we have the means but at the end of the day, it is her or his choice.”

October 2014 Buzz on Biz


32 Buzz on Biz October 2014

Buzz on biz issue october 2014  
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