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W H A T ’ S IN S I D E

MARCH 2014 • The CSRA’s Only Monthly Business Magazine

Cupid versus Ice Storm Pax

Hope for Graniteviille.................................5 Buzz Bits...................................................... 8,9 Chocolatier enjoys sweet success...... 12 Businessperson of the Month.............. 21 Augusta Canal tour launches............... 23 Careers and Education Section........... 25

Career Expo survives Pax and thrives

Storm wreaks havoc on Valentine’s trade, businesses rebound

By Gary Kauffman and Stephen Delaney Hale Like a woman scorned, Winter Storm Pax unleashed its fury on the CSRA in mid-February, bringing the wheels of industry – and anything else with wheels – to a grinding halt. Although the storm itself barely lasted 24 hours, and the ice it brought melted long ago, the effects of the storm are still visible today piled along roadways and in yards. The weight of the ice brought tree limbs and often entire trees to earth by the tens of thousands. The debris blocked portions of many roads and streets, including I-20. Although most roads were open within a few days, tree companies from many states are still working to clear the fallen timber. Electricity was also a victim of the storm, with virtually every neighborhood from Grovetown to Aiken experiencing at least a short loss of power. Many homes went three or four days without power. Thousands of utility workers from throughout the South rallied to help the Augusta area regain power relatively quickly. Thousands more volunteers trundled into the CSRA to help with the cleanup. The final financial toll to city governments and individuals won’t be known for several more weeks, but early estimates are already well into the millions. Businesses, of course, were also victimized by Pax. Although few suffered any physical loss, most lost power, which often meant no computers or phones. The resulting lost income was staggering. Among the hardest hit were the businesses that cater to Valentine’s Day trade. “We lost two days leading up to Valentine’s Day,” Don MacNeil of Windsor Jewelers in Augusta said. “You can imagine what that did.” For restaurants and florists, Valentine’s Day is second in importance only after Mother’s Day. Even though many of those regained power by Feb. 14, having no power or phones on Feb. 12 and 13 meant no one could call in orders or reservations. “It was a sad disaster for it to happen that week,” said Susan See ICE STORM, page 2

Photo by Gary Kauffman

Robert Kelly of Augusta Staffing talks with one of the job seekers at the 1st Annual Buzz on Biz Career Expo.

1st Career Expo connects job seekers and providers

By Gary Kauffman The old adage “the show must go on” applied to the 1st Annual Buzz on Biz Career Expo – but not without a delay, thanks to Winter Storm Pax. Originally slated for Feb. 13, the Career Expo, like most of the rest of the area, fell victim to Pax. Buzz on Biz President Neil Gordon decided to postpone the event to Monday, Feb. 17. “I’m so appreciative to all our sponsors and vendors who were able to alter their schedules during the ice storm to set up on President’s Day,” Gordon said. Despite the delay, the Expo was deemed a success by job seekers and those offering jobs. The event drew 136 job applicants. The majority of the attendees came from the immediate area, with 96 from Augusta, Martinez, Evans or Grovetown, and 10 more from North Augusta. But they also came from such out-

lying areas as Orangeburg, S.C., and Crawfordsville, Ga. Most seemed appreciative of the chance to meet with the 35 vendors on-hand to talk about their business. “Thank you so much for rescheduling this,” one job seeker said. “I was afraid you wouldn’t after it was canceled on Thursday.” About two-thirds of those attending reported being unemployed, although among that number were college students getting ready to enter the work force, mothers seeking to return to the work force and a few retirees with designs on a second career. There were some who were more curious about the job market than active seekers. Cliff McGhee of Augusta brought his 24-year-old daughter to expose her to the job market. Although he had a job he kept an eye open See EXPO, page 2

ice Storm

Continued from page 1 Bone, owner of Ladybug’s Flowers in Martinez. “It hit us on our biggest three days. On Friday we had power, but no telephone or Internet, which is where we get the majority of our orders.” Sue Phillips of Ivy Cottage Florists in downtown Aiken said her store was without power from Wednesday through Sunday, and the loss of power damaged one of her coolers, resulting in thousands of dollars of loss. “It was just a nightmare,” she said. “It was our worst Valentines ever.” But thanks to some MacGyver-like ingenuity and an everybody-pitch-in attitude, most businesses came through the storm with less loss than expected. Many business dusted off manual credit card machines, or used old-fashioned pencil and paper to write up orders. David Towles, owner of Edge Salon in the Hammond’s Ferry area of North Augusta, found himself with two pageant contestants to get ready on that Saturday morning without any power. He searched several auto parts stores until he found an inverter to hook into this car. With the juice from his car battery, he was able to use hair dryers and curlers. “So, first I was able to plug in my computer to see my schedule, that I hadn’t been able to look at for three days,” Towles said. “We had hot water and a curling iron. Eventually I was able to plug in four sets of curlers getting the two contestants ready for their pageants. You can do makeup with sunlight, but you’ve got to have heat to curl hair!” Jeff Freehof of The Garlic Clove restaurant in Evans was able to pack his food into a large walk-in cooler that was so well insulated that it remained cold even without two days of power. When the electricity was restored to the restaurant Friday morning, he stilled faced not having a phone. Using some ingenuity, he managed to have the restaurant’s phone forwarded to his cell phone. Once he did that, it rang incessantly. “If I hadn’t done that I possibly could have lost a lot of business,” he said. The Willcox, the fashionable hotel in Ai-

Scenes like this downed tree at the GRU-Augusta State campus were typical of scenes throughout the CSRA following the ice storm.

ken, fired up its food catering truck to protect food, flowers and perishables. Its two fireplaces were stoked for heat. Many businesses found that their employees and others willing to volunteer their help to keep a business going. “We have contract drivers who help out on Valentine’s Day and they were kind enough to come in and make deliveries,” Susan Bone of Ladybug’s said. “I’m real proud of them and all of my employees. They pitched in and did the job.” Although the storm struck during one of the busiest holidays, hitting near Valentine’s Day may have also helped the affected businesses recoup their losses a little faster as many couples seemed determined to have their romance – even if it was delayed by a day or two. “We were phenomenally busy on Friday night,” Freehof said. “And we had a strong

Saturday and little stronger than usual Sunday.” Casa Bella, the Italian restaurant in Aiken, also had a steady stream of customers that Friday and Saturday. “People had been cooped up for days and they were desperate for a nice place to eat, a place they could enjoy a little Valentine’s togetherness,” said Arlene Iannelli, co-owner of Casa Bella. “We did about a hundred and forty Valentine’s Day dinners with little warning and without knowing if our reservations could be honored. Then Saturday was really busy too.” For florists, the Valentine’s Day holiday spilled into the following week. Several reported taking Valentine’s orders during the week following the storm. Towles said that on the Saturday after the storm the dress shop portion of Edge Salon was packed with people who wanted to get

out after several days trapped at home. “Everybody was stir crazy without power for three days,” he said. “They were driving in from everywhere to buy gowns, people from Grovetown and Aiken, from 50 and 70 miles away getting their gowns for prom season.” At The Willcox, the cancellation of guests who couldn’t travel because of the storm was at least partially made up by locals looking for a place to stay while without power in their homes. “We had a lot of cancellations of people expected later in the week, but then a lot of locals booked in,” said general manager Tina McCarthy. “Lots of people just relaxed in our lobby/living room in front of the big fires and whomever came in could eat whatever we had. Everyone was quite gracious and everyone became one big family during the whole thing.”


Job seekers at the Career Expo were able to gather information from many sources.

2 Buzz on Biz March 2014

Continued from page 1 for new possibilities. “I’m always interested in a career change,” he said. Because of the way Buzz on Biz marketed the Expo, the vast majority of the job seekers were high-quality employees. “I have set up booths at a lot of job fairs over the years and the Buzz on Biz Career Expo provided us with a higher level of candidate,” said Robert Kelly of Augusta Staffing, one of the Expo’s premier partners. “We have distributed resumes to our different divisions and think these candidates can step into open positions right away.” Gordon has heard words like that from other vendors as well. “Our special projects coordinator Erin Campbell and I have been doing followup meetings and have received great feedback,” he said. “One of our premier partners is Troy University and just three days

after the Expo they held an open house on their campus in Augusta. They told us they enrolled a number of students who they first met at our event.” Among those attending were a number of people retired from the military and looking to return to the civilian work force. “It was very informative,” said Jonathon Beaver, who recently left the National Guard and is seeking a civilian job. “There are some definite possibilities.” Gordon and Campbell are already looking ahead to next year’s Career Expo with an eye on improving it for job seekers and vendors alike. “We’re looking at a computerized checkin system, nametags, bottled water for vendors and other enhancements,” Gordon said. No date has been set yet for the 2015 event, but Gordon said he will try to plan it so it doesn’t come during any major ice storms.

Icepocalypse can’t stop our Career Expo Our team consisting of Erin Campbell, Gary Kauffman, Kyle Evans and myself worked parts of six months to make the 1st Annual Buzz on Biz Career Expo come off without a hitch. Mother Nature had other thoughts. I had to make a tough call in the thick of the storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12. My options came down to keeping the Expo on schedule for the next day and keeping the thousands of dollars in TV, radio, print and poster advertising in place or moving the Expo to a (gulp) holiday on Monday Feb. 17. In the end, I chose safety first – and it was a wise call for that reason and more. The Legends Club lost power so there would have been no Expo on that Thursday in any case. Roads were not drivable, and all of the ordered materials like road signage and custom tablecloths never made it in due to transportation delays. Presidents’ Day was really the only option as other days of the following week were either booked at the Legends Club or filled with competing Career Expos at other venues. Thanks to our great team for pulling it off, to wonderful Neil Gordon business partners and more than 130 candidates who came Buzz on Biz out to apply. Many of them saw or heard re-worked promoPublisher tional advertising highlighting the new day. We opened it up to their children to come along so as to not prevent their attendance. Everyone was well behaved. We’re already looking forward to the 2015 Career Expo, but may push things back a bit to avoid another Icepocalypse! 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 neil@

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 Kyle W. Evans/706-288-9957 Special Projects Erin Campbell/706-589-2033

Photography Gary Kauffman Melissa Gordon/ Design Gary Kauffman Distribution Coordinator Erin Campbell 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.

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March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Hope for Graniteville’s old textile mills Small town looks for revival through efforts at South’s first textile mill By Stephen Delaney Hale Towns going from boom to bust is a familiar story in America. But sometimes a town will rise from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix and thrive again. Graniteville, South Carolina, could be one of those towns in the near future. It has gone from the top to the bottom but now is on the way back again. Graniteville’s high point came more than a few years ago but in 1845, Graniteville was the face of a new trend. It housed the first significant manufacturing operation in the South. Located on fast-flowing Horse Creek in what was then Edgefield County, the manufacturing venture was the brainchild of Charleston visionary William Gregg. Gregg argued that the South must develop manufacturing if it was to survive as anything but the mercantilism vassal of the North – the same argument their grandfathers had successfully made against English dominion leading to the American Revolution. Through great effort and ingenuity, Graniteville and the surrounding mill villages became leaders in cotton milling and garment production for the next 120 years. But hard times hit “The Valley” and a cycle of unemployment and poverty that had begun in the Great Depression began wiping out the mills, the overwhelming source of employment in the area. You could say that even into the next century, Graniteville and the valley to its south never really escaped the depression. And then the train crashed Killers often strike at night. At 2:40 a.m., on Jan. 5, 2005, a Norfolk Southern train crashed into a parked train in the center of Graniteville, tearing open a tank car and releasing approximately 82 tons of chlorine gas into the still night air. Heavier than air, the deadly gas crept through the village in the dead of night, silently entering mills and homes like the unseen hand of the Grim Reaper while people slept. The gas killed 10 people, sent 250 to hospitals and required the evacuation of 5,400 inhabitants. Aside from the toll on human bodies, the gas eerily crept close to ground level and the highly corrosive chlorine eventually ate away the mills’ metal machines, destroying the factories where they stood. While people mourned, the layoffs began and within about a year, Avondale Mills, until then the area’s lone surviving major employer, crumbled into bankruptcy. Well-meaning people rallied in support of Graniteville, but after the cheering squads had left their good-intended messages, many here fell back into a sinkhole of a depressed economy and an epidemic of human depression.

Photo by Gary Kauffman The old Hickman Mill in the center of Graniteville, the site of the South’s first textile mill and now the site of potential growth.

Like a Phoenix But it is not hyperbole to compare the town to the rebirth of the ancient Phoenix. Nine years later, all is not as it was, nor do people want it to be, but everywhere one looks are signs of recovery, renewal and a new vitality. The latest major announcement came in February from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley who was on hand with hundreds of people for the opening of Christ Central Ministries’ Hope Center on Hickman Drive, a new medical center and mentoring resource for the unemployed and impoverished in the community. The facility should generate across-theboard benefits for the community, including improving the health of residents and offering individuals a chance to get a better footing in life. The center will provide free dental care, eye exams and health screenings that can ensure the well-being of underprivileged local residents. Additionally, it will offer educational opportunities as part of a mentoring wing where at-risk elementary school children will get help. Nursing assistant, carpentry and forklift classes will also be available – each designed to get people trained quickly and find employment in entry-level positions. The establishment of the 15,000-squarefoot facility is intended to guide the future of Graniteville. Refitting the old mill Atlanta-based Recleim is hard at work refitting the old Hickman Mill in Graniteville to bring 200 jobs in a more than $40 million investment it announced last summer in this hard-hit symbol of Southern independence. The news brought out virtually all of Aiken County’s political representation and many of its townspeople to witness

a groundbreaking ceremony intended to showcase an economic step forward for this ravaged town. The jobs to be created, and where they will be working, are as important as the investment money, said nearly everyone gathered at the old Hickman Mill property in the center of Graniteville. Between Reclaim and New Hope, only yards apart, is the siding where the trains collided. Recleim hopes to have the plant fully functional by this fall and will soon begin the process of filling the jobs. Within a few miles of Graniteville, the enormous Sage Mill Industrial Park continues to grow, with colossal additions at Bridgestone and Tognum America, recently cited in the New York Times for its innovative employment policies among local teenagers. County Councilman and resident Phil Napier said it has taken some time to get to this point of revitalization. But strength within the community made it possible, he said. “It shows when a community pulls together, we can progressively move forward,” Napier said at the Recleim announcement. Just a shop, but also a symbol The Curiosity Shop, a fascinating collection of all things British and Irish with a smaller mixture of other European influences, owned by husband and wife John Heaton and Amy Neeley, moved its main store from downtown Aiken to the Masonic Shopping Center in Graniteville in September. Heaton said he’s found the Graniteville community welcoming and supportive of the store’s decision to relocate. He said the new location puts the store between the cities of Aiken and North Augusta and on an interstate axis with Atlanta, Columbia, Charleston and Charlotte. It is close to I-20 and not too far from I-26, I-77, I-75, I-85 and I-95. “We’re a destination store, so we almost

had our pick of places, and we picked Graniteville,” Heaton said. “It’s a great little town, a friendly little town.” He said he often hears from residents that the shopping center itself seems to be turning around with his store, plus Napier Hardware, a new beauty shop and other businesses occupying the spaces. “They tell me there’s a new life to the center and to the town in just the recent past,” he said. Heaton added that the location has some irony for his shop full of English tea, Scottish kilts and Irish music. “In a sense, the people of this area are my market!” he said. “They may have forgotten some of their roots over the past two centuries, but this area was settled before and shortly after the American Revolution by people of Scots-Irish decent.” Taking action for the future The Community Development and Improvement Corporation (CDIC) is putting a $200,000 job training grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to work at Aiken Technical College, training workers – eventually 60 of them – to restore closed textile mills across Graniteville, Warrenville and Vaucluse. The CDIC is a non-profit subsidy of the Housing Authority of the City of Aiken and has become a leading tax credit developer in the state. CDIC CEO Reggie Barner earlier announced $800,000 in federal grants to assess what chemicals and contaminants need to be cleaned up to begin restoring 15 closed mills and a steam plant to a ‘development-friendly’ state. Once the assessment is done, Barner said officials will apply for federal grants for the cleanup. He said the See Graniteville, page 6

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Graniteville Continued from page 5 total redevelopment could take 15 to 20 years. The job training grant will produce an Environmental Field Technician Program in partnership with Aiken Tech, training locals to supply the workforce for longterm employment. “The major goals are to create permanent employment and to restore some of the 150

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years of history in The Valley, but in the short term provide these students with hands-on experience that will make them more valuable to the next employer,” Barner said. Barner added, “The U.S. EPA wants us to focus on getting our students trained and getting them some experience at the local Brownfield sites.” The first of these is the four-story Warrenville Mill. If everything goes according to plan, when the Warrenville Mill is refitted, some of the students would get the jobs to make it clean and possibly work in it afterwards.    CDIC is working with various local organizations including the Graniteville Vaucluse Warrenville Community Investment Corporation and the Graniteville Community Coalition. “They are very committed organizations,” Barner said. “They know the people and can introduce them to our efforts to revitalize the community.”  As many as 15 mills and other historic buildings stand vacant but still in good enough shape where some hard work, financial investment and ambition can transform them into something useful. Barner said saving as many of the old mills and turning them into centers of their communities is his mission. If he accomplishes his mission then not only will Graniteville rise from the ashes but other communities in the area will have their own phoenix-rising story.

South Carolina once again tops in foreign investment For the last two years, South Carolina has topped the list for attracting investments from foreign companies, and Aiken County is certainly part of that equation According to a press release, IBMPlant Location International released its annual Global Location Trends report, which ranks South Carolina as first in the nation for per-capita employment by foreign-owned firms in 2012. More than 1,200 operations of foreign-owned companies are in the state, and they employ 100,000 South Carolinians. Aiken/Edgefield Economic Development Partnership (EDP) Director Will Williams noted that the Aiken County economy includes investments from Japan, Germany, Finland and the United Kingdom. For example, Williams said, Bridgestone Tire Company was founded by Shojiro Ishibashi in Japan. Bridgestone operates a plant in Graniteville that’s continuing to grow and create hundreds of new jobs in the Aiken area. In fact, Bridgestone announced the single largest capital investment in South Carolina history to date in 2011

in Aiken County. This expansion project represents a $1.2 billion investment and is estimated to create more than 850 jobs. Tognum, headquartered in Germany, is another example of a foreign company that’s located in Aiken County and one that continues to grow. Tognum produces off-highway engines in a variety of industries, including mining, commercial marine, rail and industrial. In 2010, Tognum announced a $45 million investment to this area and the creation of 250 new jobs. Tognum later unveiled a new $40 million facility in Sage Mill, near Graniteville, in April and created 20 new jobs. In August, it announced a $22.5 million expansion and the creation of another 10 jobs. “Aiken County recognizes and appreciates the global diversity of companies that make up our industrial community,” Williams said. “Our close proximity to the Port of Charleston via road or rail and having 75 percent of the U.S. population less than a 12hour drive away are some of our selling points for future foreign-direct investment.”

Social media is 21st Century word of mouth We’re already a couple of months into 2014 – how’s your Social Media Marketing going? Does your business really need to be on social media? The purpose of this media approach is simple: Gaining website traffic or attention using social Jeff Asselin media. Director of Sales One of the biggest reasons & Marketing at to increase your Powerserve social media presence is its ability to establish consumer trust and calls to action. Social media is the 21st century’s “word of mouth.” People will do business based on recommendations from people they know. This trust turns into action when people are deciding to utilize your goods and services. After Augusta’s ice storms in February, electric co-ops, emergency management officials and various utility companies were asked what they learned from the major outages and what they would change moving forward. Each spoke about how social media helped their communications plans and that they planned to refine their strategies moving forward.

During the recent ice storm, social media was beneficial in helping to get the word out and sharing real time information. People checked their Facebook and Twitter feeds because they did not have electricity or television. This behavior illustrates the trust that we place on the friends and businesses we follow on social media to get us information we need. How do you build trust? Having an effective content management strategy is a great start. Consider creating an annual plan with monthly ideas on topics for posting. Executing your strategy is key. Tying in blog posts and website content changes will also have tremendous value on helping your company’s website perform better in search engine results. Gaining website traffic and attention through social media channels can be a tremendous benefit to your company. Social media marketing is all about having conThis is a sponsored article. Jeff Asselin is Director of Sales and Marketing for Powerserve, a web development company that focuses on websites, custom business software, search engine optimization, graphic design and social media marketing. He will put his more than 16 years of advertising and marketing experience to work for you in helping grow your business. For more information , visit or his office at 961 Broad St., Augusta. Contact him at or706-6917189 or 706-826-1506, ext 122.

versations between you and your clients and potential clients. There are many tools available to help a business be effective in this space. Be sure to

speak with a trusted expert on Social Media Marketing to ensure that you use the latest best practices that will help ensure you get maximum return for your efforts.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


buzz bits Riverwatch Parkway to extend into Columbia County In February, officials in Columbia County broke ground for an extension of Riverwatch Parkway. The extension will start where Riverwatch Parkway currently ends along Baston Road and carry through to Washington Road in Evans. The $34 million project is being paid through the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. “So many people in Columbia County work in other parts of the region,” said Tammy Shepherd, president and CEO of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. “For example, 1,5000 residents work at the Savannah River Site and 2,800 work at GRU. So Riverwatch is a conduit to their employment.” The project is expected to be completed in 2017.

Brashear named to state Realtor position Ryan Brashear, vice president of Brashear Realty Corp. in Augusta, was recently named the vice president of administration and finance for Georgia Realtors. Georgia Realtors is the largest trade organization in the state, with more than 26,000 members.

Former Masters Champ Johnson, Stewart Cink to speak April 8 A former Masters champion and a British Open winner will headline this year’s Masters Golf Breakfast presented by the Greater Augusta Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Warren Baptist Church. Zach Johnson, winner of the 2007 Masters, and Stewart Cink, winner of the 2009 British Open, will share the podium at the breakfast held at 7 a.m. April 8. The breakfast is an annual

8 Buzz on Biz March 2014

EDTS recognized as one of elite technology providers and consultants EDTS, a regional IT services company specializing in managed IT services, network security and advanced infrastructure for Southeastern businesses, has been named to CRN’s Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list as an inaugural member of the MSP Pioneer 250. The list recognizes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose cutting-edge approach to managed services puts end-user customers in the best position to improve efficiencies, cut costs and speed time to market for their own products and services. Honorees on the MSP Pioneer 250 have a business model heavily weighted toward managed services focused on the smalland midsize-business market, according to CRN, a leading media outlet for IT vendors and solution which selected the top MSPs. “The managed services landscape continues to evolve rapidly as organizations are discovering they can impact both bottom-line and top-line growth,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company, tradition that draws about 1,000 people. Both Johnson and Cink have been breakfast speakers in the past. Both spoke at the 2002 event, and Cink again in 2008. Greg Wilson, director for the Greater Augusta FCA, said both will stay around after the breakfast to sign copies of a book they co-authored. The breakfast is free. A complimentary ticket to the event can be printed at

Trinity Hospital renovates Women’s Center Trinity Hospital of Augusta announced the re-opening of its fully renovated Women’s Center. Trinity’s New Beginnings Women’s Center includes Labor and Delivery, a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care and Post-Partum Unit. “We have certainly made an investment to provide a unique birthing experience for women in our community,” said Megan Freeman, Chief Nursing Officer. “From prenatal classes, to supportive and personalized patient care, our goal is to truly offer our patients the accommodations they desire.” The Center includes seven renovated labor and delivery

parent of CRN. “When it comes to strong managed services and off-premise solutions, these companies are the industry’s proven leaders, showing just how they can change the game for their customers.” EDTS has also been ranked 148 among managed service providers worldwide on the 2013 MSPmentor 501 Global Edition list, and has been named to the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in

suites, a surgical suite for mothers undergoing Cesarean section deliveries, a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care, and a post-partum unit that includes 13 mother-baby rooms and five deluxe suites. The Center is equipped with smart televisions in each room so mothers can share the special occasion with family and friends all over the world. “Including smart televisions was important to offer our military families,” said Freeman. “Our military moms do not always have their spouses and family present to support them through labor, but now they can be virtually with them from anywhere in the world.” As the area’s only faith-based hospital, Trinity Hospital of Augusta is an acute care hospital offering progressive health care through cutting-edge technology. For more than 60 years, the hospital has provided surgical, and inpatient and outpatient services to meet the community’s needs. Accredited by The Joint Commission, Trinity Hospital is recognized as a provider of quality health care designed to meet its patients’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The hospital offers a range of services, including emergency care, bariatric services, cardiopulmonary, obstetrics, neonatal intensive care unit, radiology, sleep lab, geriatric psychiatry and wound healing.

America for four consecutive years. The firm ranks among the fastest-growing companies in South Carolina on several lists. “We are proud to be recognized in this top tier of managed service providers,” said Charles Johnson, CEO of EDTS.  “It is a testament to the commitment to excellence of our employees and the confidence and support of our growing client base that affords us this honor, and we look forward to sharing insights and best practices from this group with each client that we serve.” Founded in 1999, EDTS  has grown to a staff of over 50 professionals serving clients 24/7/365 across the Southeast from offices in Augusta, and Columbia and Greenville, S.C.  A full-service technology consulting firm, EDTS specializes in networking, security and managed IT services for businesses.  The firm helps customers increase productivity and reduce cost associated with information technology.  Visit them at

Wilson home closed for repairs The boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson is undergoing plaster repairs and other preservation work and will be closed to the public until March 26. No tours of the museum will be given during this time. For an update on progress visit www. The Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 419 Seventh Street in downtown Augusta. It is owned and operated by Historic Augusta, Inc., as a house museum and tourist attraction. Guided tours are normally offered Thursdays through Saturdays on the hour from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Hayes Marine named to Top 100 boat dealers Hayes Marine of Appling has been named one of the Top 100 boat dealers in North America by Boating Industry, the leading trade publication for the marine industry. The Top 100 is chosen based on financial success, business acumen, customer service, marketing tactics and more. “From their investment in employee training to its empha-

sis on customer service, Hayes Marine clearly stands out from other dealers in North America,” Boating Industry Editor in Chief Jonathan Sweet said. Hayes Marine was selected for the fifth year in a row, which recognizes the best-of-the-best of the more than 3,000 marine dealers in North America. “Our editorial staff was extremely impressed with this dealership’s devotion to developing its employees and customer service,” Sweet said. “Hayes Marine developed a relationship with a leadership coach to provide instruction on topics such as leadership and communication.”

Coupon firm changes format Tranter Grey Media made some changes to its direct mail coupon campaign. Beginning in March, homeowners will receive a coupon booklet of approximately 48 coupons in the same size as before—8 inches wide by 3 inches tall. The coupons will perforate so consumers can carry the booklet with them and tear off what they use throughout the month. Bailey is also combining postal codes and will divide up the CSRA into six zones of 25,000 homes and businesses.

GreenJackets announce new ticket plan The Augusta GreenJackets have announced a flexible season seat package for their upcoming season. Their 6-Game Custom Ticket Package gives fans the opportunity to choose the games they prefer, all while receiving savings from the box office individual price. Fans can choose either Reserved Seating (theater-style) or General Admission Seating (bleacher). Pricing for the Reserved Seating package is $57 per seat and General Admission is $51 per seat. (For every “Feed Your Face” Monday game chosen, there is a $4 charge per seat. That pricing includes an all-you-can-eat buffet for limited menu items.) With the 6-Game Custom Package, GreenJackets fans can work around their personal schedule and the GreenJackets promotional schedule (including post-game fireworks, giveaways, touring entertainment acts, and theme programs) to choose the games they prefer. Those who purchase a 6-Game Custom Package receive the following benefits and incentives: A personal GreenJackets Account Representative, access to the Early Entrance Gate, 10 percent off merchandise in The Hive, access to an online ticketing management system, eligibility for any upgrade, and priority pre-sale for any Lake Olmstead Stadium Special Events and GreenJackets Post-season tickets. 2014 marks the 26th consecutive season of professional baseball in Augusta, which kicks off at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Thursday, April 3 at 7 p.m. All GreenJackets ticket plans, including full, half, weekend and custom plans are on sale now for the 2014 Season. For more information, including pricing and benefits, visit or contact

2013 ends on a low note Simon Medcalfe, economist with the GRU Hull School of Business, reported that 2013 finished weakly. National job creation figures were disappointing and locally no new

buzz bits

jobs were added overall in December. Some industries did see job growth, particularly retail, which added 900 jobs, but this was cancelled out by losses in other industries (construction, education and health services). The Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.5 percent from November. The index has increased 5.9 percent from December 2012. However, because the index is a threemonth moving average it hides some bad news: Initial claims for unemployment insurance spiked to 2,752 in December 2013, the highest December figures since 2009. Housing permits came in slightly higher than expected providing five consecutive years of growth. Job openings also increased.

First Tee testing monthly adult memberships The First Tee of Augusta is offering a limited number of “Member by the Month” monthly memberships to adults. The First Tee of Augusta is a non-profit golf course for youth, and has driving range and golf course availability, especially during weekdays when students are in school. In a news release, First Tee said becoming a “Member by the Month” is a great benefit to budget-conscious adults, and helps maximize use of its golf facility. It also funds youth programming at The First Tee of Augusta. A limited number of monthly membership will be available during the three-month pilot period of February, March and April. Just prior to the end of the pilot period, The First Tee will assess the feasibility of continuing the monthly membership opportunity through the remainder of the year. Monthly memberships are only available for persons ages 18 and older and who are not high school students. ​​ Monthly memberships are good from the first day to the last day of the month for which it was purchased. No refunds or transfer of months will be permitted after purchase. Monthly membership benefits include unlimited golf range balls, unlimited greens fees and

50 percent off cart fees. The facility is located on 40 acres and offers a beautiful Arnold Palmer-designed golf course that can be played as 6 or 9 holes, a driving range, chipping green, full service golf shop and a snack bar. Appropriate golf attire is required: Collared shirt tucked in, no denim/jeans or cut-offs on the course or practice facility. In keeping with our youth and family-friendly environment, The First Tee of Augusta is a tobacco- and alcohol-free environment.

CallingPost expands services CallingPost is no longer just a phone messaging company. It now bundles communication tools (phone, text and email) with its group sites tools (personalized websites for groups of all types and sizes) and its mapping tools to help churches better reach into the community and engage participation. CallingPost helps turn groups into teams. It launched its new software last week. For nearly two decades, CallingPost has helped churches and other volunteer-driven organizations focus on achieving their core goals by enabling them to turn groups into teams efficiently, effectively and affordably. Built on a solid foundation of excellence, trust and reliability, CallingPost has delivered over 1 billion messages and serves over 60,000 groups and organizations in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

G-P shutdown in Atlanta helps Augusta plant Georgia-Pacific says it plans to permanently close a corrugated packaging plant in the Atlanta suburb of Doraville. Some of the business from that plant will be absorbed by the Augusta facility. The Georgia-based paper and building products firm says the closing will affect about 90 employees in the town just northeast of Atlanta. Company spokeswoman Karen Cole says operations are expected to be completely

Premier Outlet mall coming to Riverwatch Parkway in 2015 Premier Outlets, a division of Ben Carter Enterprises, announced Wednesday that it is planning a 400,000-squarefoot fashion outlet mall to open in Fall 2015. The mall will be located at I-20 and Riverwatch Parkway (exit 200) next to Costco, Cabela’s and Georgia Theatre. “We think the location with the exposure from I-20 at Riverwatch Parkway will provide great access from a regional trade area of 50 miles,” Ben Carter said. “Lake Oconee to the west and Columbia to the east, plus the Augusta trade area include approximately 1.5 million residents. We have received very good initial interest from our key retailers. After breaking ground on our Savannah project in August of this year, it is natural to introduce Premier Outlets of Augusta to our retailers.” Quito Anderson, CEO of Ben Carter Enterprises said, “A fashion outlet mall brings retailers to a market that look at a large trade area and attracts retailers that might not be in the local mall. We believe the shopping experience will be an exciting addition for the Augusta community. We expect our project will contribute an investment of $200 million and create 1,500

new jobs.” Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver added, “The addition of the Premier Outlets of Augusta to our already strong retail sector will undoubtedly build on our city’s growing reputation as a regional shopping destination while helping to continue the positive growth of our local economy. A thriving retail sector is a clear indication of a growing city and the Premier Outlets of Augusta will provide high quality retail options to our local citizens as well as families and individuals throughout our region. I would like to personally thank Ben Carter Enterprises for choosing Augusta and I look forward to a long term community partnership with a truly first-class organization.” Ben Carter Enterprises is a commercial real estate firm specializing in outlet and conventional retail and mixed-use development. Benjamin M. Carter founded the company and its predecessor company, Ben Carter Properties, with the core philosophy of understanding the needs of both the shopper and the retailer and developing the highest quality project in the best location.

shut down in April. Employees are being encouraged to apply for other openings within the company. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia-Pacific has two other packaging plants in the state, in Augusta and Albany.

Cole said much of the business from the Doraville plant will be absorbed into the Augusta and Albany facilities. Half of the company’s more than 6,000 Georgia employees in work in metro Atlanta. The company employs a total of about 35,000 workers.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Business for sale? Here’s how to value it Your business is unique. Your industry is unique. The characteristics of each will have an impact on the selling price of your business. Underlying those differences, however, are some fundamentals to business valuation that can be applied in most cases. Generally, if yours is a “Main Street business,” with gross revenues ranging from $50,000 to approximately $5 million, you’ll Kim Romaner want to come to an understandBusiness Broker ing of what comprises Seller’s Discretionary Earnings, or SDE, and keep track of it on an ongoing basis. Very often, the selling price of a small business is calculated as a multiple of SDE. The higher the SDE, therefore, the higher the valuation. Some items can be included in the calculation of SDE, and some cannot. Here are some of the components of SDE that can be found in your P&L or tax return and which are legitimate. Net income. Pre-tax net profit is the starting point for your calculation, and you can find this on the front page of your tax

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return. (If you’re working from a P&L, you would add back state and federal income if already listed as expenses, since your tax situation will not be the same as the buyer’s.) Interest. This is usually a 100 percent “add-back,” although there are some exceptions for inventory financing, etc., which must continue after the business is purchased. Depreciation and amortization. Since these are not hard expenses but accounting adjustments, these amounts can be added back. Rent. If you as the seller own the building you’re in and you’ve been paying yourself rent, you may be writing yourself a bigger check than you would ask of the buyer. The difference in these two numbers can be added back. Benefits. Health and life insurance, pension or profit sharing paid to the owner, the

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

value of which are considered owner benefits that would accrue to the new owner as cash that can be invested similarly, or completely differently. Owner’s salaries. If you, or possibly you and your spouse, are being paid salaries by the business, these salaries can be added back. Other salaries can sometimes be added back as well, under certain circumstances. Other non-essential expenses of the business can sometimes be added back as well, including personal travel and entertainment; vehicle expenses for personal vehicles; rent or mortgage payments made on a personal vacation home; a salary paid to a child who was away at school, etc. These items are pretty easy to define and prove. There is a place where proving the personal nature of an expense becomes too difficult, and adding these expenses back to SDE becomes a burden in the due diligence phase of the business buying process. For example, when the buyer wants to see your personal mileage log for fuel you put into your car and charged to the business, but now want to add back to the bottom line as SDE. Lastly, adjustments can be made for some one-time, non-recurring expenses, such as expensed capital expenditures (a new roof); bad debt (when it’s an anomaly); theft; or legal losses. Consult your advisor when considering which add-backs are appropriate and which are not.

The end of civilization as we know it I get it that one of the early clues you’re not 28 anymore is the increasing numbers of things you see that strike you as the first signs of the apocalypse – the end of civilization as we know it. To wit: In the past year alone, large publ i cly - hel d retailers moved Black Friday to the day before Thanksgiving. (See previous column, A Deal With The Devil, in which I suggest that, once Don MacNeil publicly held, Crown Point companies can Communications at never again take the greater Windsor Jewelers good side of any hard business decision if even the possibility of reduced revenue exists.) Early sign of the apocalypse? And just a few weeks ago companies could no longer wait for the Super Bowl to debut their Super Bowl commercials. We saw many of them unveiled through the week leading up to the big game. (As an aside, if you’re an ad agency that didn’t jump the gun, do you think you’re going to make that “mistake” next year?) Early sign

of the apocalypse? As a culture, it appears we can no longer afford the luxury of delayed gratification. In an ocean of media networks, online blogs and news sites, discretion will only leave you sucking the exhaust fumes of the competitor who jumps ahead of you just to be perceived as “first.” We should all have seen this coming when television’s annual Year in Review specials began running earlier and earlier. If you’re a network today running a Year in Review in the traditional after-Christmas time period your ratings will suffer because a slew of your competitors will have already run the same show right after Thanksgiving. Early sign of the apocalypse? What’s next, Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving? Oops. Already there. Halloween merchandise in September? Blush. So I pose the $64,000 Question: When starting early can be stretched no earlier, how will quarterly revenue targets be met then? When will we, the public, rise up and no longer play along? When will we

vote with our Bronx cheers? I actually work with a (much younger) colleague who was absolutely certain that jumping the gun on Black Friday this past November would, for shoppers everywhere, be the last straw, and participation would dramatically draw back in disgust. I wish he’d been right. And if all this behavior seems new, consider: Wouldn’t you give a week’s salary to jump in a time machine, transport yourself back to 1935, run into our nation’s Capitol and at the top of your lungs scream, “ARE YOU NUTS? USING SOCIAL SECURITY WITHHOLDING TO

PAY OUT NOW INSTEAD OF CREATING INTEREST BEARING ACCOUNTS? ANY IDEA OF THE TIME BOMB YOU JUST CREATED?” (earliest sign of the apocalypse?) So what can you do? At Windsor Jewelers we’ve developed a plan that may work for you, too. We let the Big Kids jump in first…let them roll out all of their desperation for us to see and quietly shake our heads at, and then as that negative sentiment dissipates we take an added beat and finally launch our message. Our little push back at the end of civilization as we know it.


Augusta Branch Coming Soon! Concourse Branch Six Concourse Parkway Suite 1750 Atlanta, GA 30328 ww Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc., DBA Element Funding, NMLS #3094. Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee 6521. Subject to credit approval. Some restrictions may apply.

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


Senior Mortgage Consultant NMLS #169459


March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Love for chocolate turns into sweet success Visit to Belgium leads Bebette Smith to becoming Augusta’s only chocolatier By Gary Kauffman Few, if any, business models would suggest following the method Bebette Smith took in establishing her business. But despite her fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants approach, Smith has developed a successful chocolate business. A native of Belgium, Smith has been a chocolatier in Augusta for more than eight years, making a wide variety of chocolate goodies at her store, La Bonbonniere at Fury’s Ferry Station in Martinez. It is the kind of craft that many chocolatiers spend a lifetime perfecting. Smith chose her new career on a whim at age 55. She had visited her hometown in Belgium in 2004 and, as usual, visited a chocolatier to buy chocolates for her friends in Augusta. The chocolatier’s wife mentioned that

Bebette Smith prepares some of her chocolate creations. During busy times like Valentine’s Day and Christmas, she may make 4,000 or more candies per day.

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her husband was making chocolates in the basement of their combination store-home. “I said, ‘I would love to see how chocolates are made,’” she recalled. “I ate chocolates like these all my life but never asked how they make them.” Smith plied the chocolatier with many questions as he showed her the process. At the end of the tour she said, “I want to do that.” She told her husband, Larry, about her newfound desire and he was supportive of her career change. Changing careers was nothing new for Smith. After 20 years as an elementary school teacher, she had switched to teaching in the fitness field, then had moved into the role of life enrichment director at a senior care residence in Aiken. But making the transition to chocolatier wasn’t easy. Smith found that she didn’t have the necessary culinary education most American and Canadian schools required before allowing a person to train as a chocolatier. Finally about six months after her visit to Belgium she found a three-day workshop in making chocolate – in Belgium. The workshop was aimed at homemakers, not those who wanted to pursue a profession, but she took the course anyway. Armed with only that small amount of instruction and a large amount of determination, Smith opened a small store in June 2005. She can laugh at her own naivete now. “You’d be crazy to do that,” she said of opening her store on such scant knowledge. “I really didn’t know what I was doing.” But she found an ally – the Belgian chocolatier whose tour had inspired her new career. He shared his recipes and guided her to sources of buying equipment. Then he, his wife and two children traveled to the United States for the grand opening of La Bonbonniere. “While he was here he showed me all his tricks and professional way of doing things,” Smith said. She soon discovered another ally in Helene Hondrum. During her first week in business, while her daughter was minding the store, Hondrum stopped in after eating at a nearby restaurant. A native of Holland, Hondrum was familiar with Belgian chocolates and left a note saying she would be glad to help out with the store. Smith called her and Hondrum has been an integral part of the success of La Bonbonniere ever since. Bebette Smith makes many of the traditional chocolates people love. But you’ll find a few unique creations at La Bonbonniere. When Smith came to the United States she became fond of red

Bebette Smith and her “everything” Helene Hondrum with a display of Smith’s creations.

“She’s my everything,” Smith said. “She’s my counselor, accountant, has ideas, does customer relations. Together we can do everything.” Another important person in the store’s success is her husband, Larry. During the busy times of the year he mixes the recipes and he makes the weekly deliveries to their small store in Aiken. “The three of us form a very good team – an excellent team,” Smith said. Smith’s busiest times of year are the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, when she makes 4,000-5,000 chocolates a day, Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day, and to a lesser extent, Master’s Week. Her chocolates are also popular for weddings, birthdays and other special events. She can also print edible photos and logos on candies, making them ideal for corporate events. After almost nine years, Smith hasn’t lost that initial spark that made her a chocolatier. “I still have that excitement every day,” she said. “It’s enjoyable and people are so happy when they come here.”

velvet cake, something not found in her native Belgium. A few years ago she wanted to translate that taste into one of her chocolate offerings for Valentine’s Day. She succeeded and the result

proved so popular that she has continued it as a regular offering. Two other of her own creations, tango – a combination of tangerine and blackberry – and gingerbread are also popular tastes.

Several business open doors, one moves During the past month, a number of CSRA businesses were started, changed ownership and moved to new locations. Here is a recap of those business happenings. New Businesses Ella Pools A new pool store has opened in South Augusta to fill a void in that area. Michelle Price, an Augusta native, noticed that when a local pool store moved to Grovetown, her area of the city was left without a nearby store to purchase pool supplies. Drawing on the experience of her fiancé, Tim Wilson, former owner of Wilson Pools, as well as her own administrative skills and customer service experience, she launched Ella Pools in February. She will sell pool supplies and offer a place for water testing. Ella Pools is located at 3240 Peach Orchard Road, just off the Bobby Jones Expressway. Starbucks Starbucks has opened on USC Aiken’s campus. The newest dining option, which provides coffee and specialty beverages, baked goods and snacks, is taking the place of a student hangout area located in the Student Activities Center, according to the university and its dining service partner, Aramark. Starbucks – which first opened in 1971 with a single store in Seattle’s Pike Place

Mart – now serves millions of customers internationally and has more than 19,000 retail stores in more than 60 countries. “We are excited to bring the Starbucks brand onto the campus,” said Brent Wustman, food service director for USCA dining services/Aramark. “We are confident that the new addition to campus dining will be a popular choice among students, staff and guests.” Currently, the only other Starbucks in Aiken is located in the Kroger Shopping Center off Whiskey Road. The location will be open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Mercy Ministries Mercy Ministries has announced the “soft” opening of its first neighborhood thrift store located at 207 Milledge Road (the shopping center on the corner of Broad and Milledge Road). The store opened in February. In the beginning the hours will be 10 a.m.—6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The Mercy Center on 15th Street will still be Mercy Ministries’ warehouse. Donations can be dropped off at Fenwick Street. Mercy Ministries is waiting to see how many days the warehouse needs to be open, but they can arrange to be there if for donation drop offs. They will also pick up donations. Mercy Ministries offered a special

thanks to the Eagles Perch volunteers and Michael Pontiff who provided all the cleaning, stocking and setting up the thrift stores. The remodeling at the Walton Way store has also wrapped up. This store will also take consignments. Volunteers are needed for both Milledge Road and Walton Way stores for management, cashiers, and stockers. One hundred percent of the sales are used to support the program. Divine Health Water Geoffery A. Jackson, USA, SGM (Ret.) has started a new business called Divine Health Water 4U, Inc. After 26 years in the military protecting the people of the United States, Jackson says he is still protecting them as a civilian and a store owner by providing them with the healthiest and best-tasting hydrating drinking water in the CSRA. He is offering free samples of his alkaline ionized water that he says will provide more energy and hydration. Divine Health Water 4U is located in Fairington Plaza, 2636 Tobacco Road, Hephzibah. American Deli The American Deli is now open in the Washington Walk Kroger Shopping Center in National Hills. It is located near Little Caesar’s and joins a Japanese restaurant in the plaza with Moe’s, Five Guys and Einstein Bagels nearby. Although their name implies deli sand-

wiches, that is just part of the menu. They also make hot wings, subs, gyros, philly cheesesteaks and more. In 1989, they opened their first restaurant in the South Dekalb Mall in Atlanta. Columbus, Ga., was next and then they flooded the Atlanta market with more franchises, and now have grown to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. They now have nearly 100 stores including the Augusta store and plan to expand even more. Business Moves Marcella’s Cigars Marcella Perez, owner of three Marcella’s Cigar stores, has relocated one of them to a Washington Road Shopping Center behind Hooter’s and near The Country Club Dance Club and Saloon. Perez had to move in January as part of the renovations of the Washington Crossing Shopping Center. Her departure makes room for Whole Foods, a number of other retailers and much needed parking. Shangri-la Chinese Restaurant and Fred’s Discount Center, plus other tenants, had already been displaced. Perez had considered at least two other National Hills options before settling on her new location. She looked at purchasing or leasing those properties before settling on the Washington Crossing site. Marcella’s Cigars’ other two locations are on Whiskey Road in Aiken and in the Riverwood Shopping Center on Washington Road in Evans.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Eliminating the buts with remanufactured cartridges

Motivate employees to do what you want Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do … And What To Do About It by Ferdinand Fournies 208 pages. Available in paperback. Have you ever been frustrated with your employees and their lack of job production? Sure you have, if you’re a small business owner like me. You learn early in your business life that employees will never care about your business or your customers as much as you will, but with the techniques you learn from this Eddie Kennedy book, you can improve their Business Book job performance. Reviews In this book, former Columbia Graduate School professor and consultant Ferdinand Fournies gives real, practical methods that will help handle some of the top reasons why employees don’t perform the way they should. Based on actual experiences of real world managers, he looks at the cause of the problems that employees have and creates plans for preventing the problems from happening again. Here are the top 10 reasons that Fournies identified as why employees don’t do what they’re supposed to: 1. They don’t know why they should do it. 2. They don’t know how to do it. 3. They don’t know what they are supposed to do. 4. They think your way will never work. 5. They think their way is better. 6. They think something else is more im-

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portant. 7. There is no positive consequence to them for doing it. 8. They think they are doing it. 9. They are rewarded for not doing it. 10. They are punished for doing what they are supposed to do. Fournies points out that it is the manager’s responsibility to correct or remove these obstacles so the job can be done. Making a few small changes in how jobs and tasks are delegated can help an employer improve the employee’s job performance. I learned that having clear, concise written job descriptions, job procedures and guidelines, along with a list priorities, will help the employee learn the why, the what, the how and the way to do the job to the standard you have set. Getting your employee to buy into the job and understanding how important they are to the business is a key to your success. Get this book and keep it on your desk. Refer to it often. Make it your guidebook to help your employees achieve the desired results. 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 eddie@greatdealsaugusta. com.

You hear it all the time, you can save money by taking some action but – and that’s the word that gets all of us because there always seems to be a catch. And so it is with remanufactured ink and laser cartridges. Yes, you want to do the right thing and keep waste out of the landfill, but… yes, you want to do your part and help reduce the carbon footprint Robert Amos by consuming less oil, but… yes, Cartridge World you want to help support the local economy, but… and yes, you absolutely want to save money, but… There always seems to be a catch. Well, the good news is, not always. Ink and laser cartridges that are remanufactured correctly can take the “but” out of all these accomplishments. Cartridges that have been remanufactured correctly will function just like an original, providing you with the same quality and service as a name brand cartridge, all the while saving you 30-40 percent vs. the high cost of that name brand cartridge.

In that rare case where there is an issue, they will carry that 100 percent guarantee just like an original. Unlike an original cartridge, a properly remanufactured and tested Cartridge World cartridge will provide a lot of environmental savings, as well as savings to your wallet. Now, not all remanufacturing is the same. There is a reason that you can go on the Internet and find a cartridge for rockbottom prices. It is often made with inferior parts, can be patent infringing vs. the original manufacturer, and is almost always imported (usually from China). There is also the issue with trying to deal with any problem and either trying to get your money back or getting a replacement sent (but by then that important job you needed to print is two weeks past due). So don’t let your concerns stop you from trying to help your wallet and the environment. You can do this while shopping locally, where you don’t have to wait for shipping and if you have an issue, there is a real person to deal with your problem and correct it now. Robert Amos owns Cartridge World in Augusta. For nine years Cartridge World has been helping the CSRA save on their printing needs, whether for home or for business. Visit Cartridge World, 592 Bobby Jones Expwy, or call 706-228-6000.

Columbia Co. Chamber draws large crowd Thom Tuckey, Gold Cross, Ladybug’s among the winners

By Tammy Shepherd Columbia County Chamber President/CEO Snow forced the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s 9th Annual Banquet to be postponed for a week, but that didn’t dampen the spirits when the festivities at the new Columbia County Exhibition Center began on Feb. 4. The new venue meant more space for booths in the Business Showcase, and more space for members to network and reconnect. There were 577 reservations made for the dinner, the largest crowd yet for the banquet. The handiwork of the many teams of people transformed the huge warehouse space into an elegant dining and entertainment space. It was a night of change – the reins of the Chamber were ceremonially turned over to Rick Crawford from out-going Chair Chris McLaughlin. And it was a time to honor the hard work and achievements of the past year by announcing the winners of the annual awards. In my annual State of the Chamber Address, I highlighted the advocacy, education, business development and leadership achievements of 2013, with a nod towards 2014 with new workforce and education initiatives, applying for re-accreditation, and adding a staff member to help with member retention. I challenged the membership to spread the word of what the Chamber does; that we are more than just a group that does ribbon cuts. The highlight of the awards ceremony was the announcement of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Thom Tuckey, a retired Army Colonel who is the Executive Director of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon. Ron Cross, Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, presented the award.

Susan Bone of Ladybug’s won the Small Business of the Year Award.

Ret. Army Colonel Thom Tuckey won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce in February.

“This gentleman is like Columbia County, like the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce – his biggest challenge, and his biggest success, lies ahead of us,” Cross said in reference to the recent announcement that the Army Cyber Command will move its headquarters to Fort Gordon. “With the

things happening in this area and this region we all are challenged to continue to do what we’ve done to make it better and to accommodate the tremendous growth that’s coming this way,” Tuckey kept his remarks brief, saying that he was humbled by the honor.

Vince Brogdon of Gold Cross EMS accepts the Business of the Year Award from Jay Forrester of Georgia Bank & Trust.

“I do what I do because I love taking care of soldiers and it’s something that this community does extremely well and it’s something that I ask you to continue to do,” he said. “And there’s a lot more soldiers coming so we have a lot more work ahead of us.” Other winners of our annual awards were: Business of the Year – Gold Cross EMS Small Business of the Year – Ladybug’s Flowers and Gifts Ambassador of the Year – Bob Kendra, New York Life/Kendra Financial Group Volunteer of the Year – Darrell Byrd, First Bank of Georgia Leadership Columbia County Alumni Award – Pat Goodwin, Better Homes & Garden Real Estate

Pat Goodwin received the Leadership Alumni Award.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Tax brackets impact funding of insurance Did you know that tax brackets have an impact on funding insurance solutions to the needs of closely-held corporations and their shareholders? For example, a corporation in the 15 percent tax bracket gets to keep 85 cents of every taxable dollar it makes, while an individual in the 35 percent tax bracket gets to keep only 65 cents of every taxable dollar he Mike Herrington or she makes. Fiscal Fitness Since life insurance pur- Investment Advisor chased to fund a buy-sell plan must be paid for with after-tax dollars, it may make more sense to pay the premiums with 85 cent dollars as compared to 65 cent dollars. Conversely, the marginal tax brackets of the corporation and shareholder-employees can have an impact on the total cost of a selective benefit plan. Benefits provided to corporate employees on a selective basis generally are either tax-deductible by the corporation or are not currently taxable to the employee, but not both. As a result, the relative impact of tax brackets should be considered in selecting a selective executive benefit plan that produc-

16 Buzz on Biz March 2014

es the most advantageous overall tax results. Impact of Tax Brackets on Buy-Sell Planning Lower bracket corporation – If the corporation is in a lower tax bracket than the shareholders, a stock redemption buy-sell plan can be funded with enhanced dollars, since premiums are paid by the corporation. Higher bracket corporation – If the corporation is in a higher tax bracket than the shareholders, a cross purchase buy-sell plan may be more cost effective since premiums are paid with enhanced dollars by each shareholder. Impact of Tax Brackets on Executive Benefit Planning Lower bracket corporation – When the corporation is in a lower tax bracket, selective benefits that are non-deductible by the corporation and non-taxable to the shareholder-employee generally produce the better overall tax results. Higher bracket corporation – When the corporation is in a higher tax bracket, seThis 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

lective benefits that involve tax-deductible corporate payments are generally more advantageous, even if taxable to shareholderemployees. Why people buy life insurance For the Death Benefit: To replace earning power at death To pay for cash needs that arise at death As a Disciplined Savings Program: To help pay for educational costs To supplement retirement income To take advantage of business opportunities For financial emergencies Because of the Risk of Waiting: To replace earning power at death

To pay for cash needs that arise at death For the Tax Advantages: Death proceeds are received free of income tax Cash value accumulations are tax deferred Cash value loans or withdrawals* are free of tax, as long as the policy stays in force Accelerated death benefits are received free of income tax In Recognition of Personal Responsibility to: Family, Banker or Mortgage company For the Flexibility: Benefits may be available regardless of whether the policy owner lives, quits, dies or becomes disabled

Another look at ACA provisions in place Last month we covered three main provisions of Health Care Reform 2014 implementation – the 90-Day Waiting Period Limitation, Cost Sharing Subsidies and Essential Benefits. Even as we see changes or delays to the law occur on a regular basis there are specific parts that are crucial to the success of the Affordable Care Act. Coverage Mandates (1) The Indi- Russell T. Head vidual Coverage Employee Benefits Mandate – The Consultant ACA requires most individuals to obtain acceptable health insurance coverage or pay a penalty, beginning in 2014. The penalty will start at $95 per person for 2014 and increase each year. The penalty amount increases to $325 in 2015 and to $695 (or up to 2.5 percent of income) in 2016, up to a cap of the national average bronze plan premium. After 2016, dollar amounts are indexed. Families will pay half the amount for children, up to a cap of three times the adult penalty if they cannot obtain affordable coverage. (2) The Employer Coverage Mandate – The employer mandate provisions were set to take effect on January 1, 2014, but have

been delayed for one year, until 2015. Employers with 50 -99 full-time employees may qualify for additional transition relief that extends the compliance deadline for the employer mandate to 2016. Guaranteed Issue and Renewability Health insurance issuers offering health insurance coverage in the individual and group market in a state must accept every employer and individual in the state that applies for coverage and must renew or continue to enforce the coverage at the option of the plan sponsor or the individual. So this provision leads to the next obvious question: Does guaranteed and renewable mean affordable? Absolutely not. There are specific requirements within the ACA that outline acceptable rate increase in the individual and small group arena. However if you are an employer with 50+ employees you might be in for some future unpleasant surprises if your utilization and health care expenses are higher than your issuer anticipates. It will be interesting to see how the insurance

carrier market reacts in competitive markets. Pre-existing Condition Exclusions Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, group health plans and health plan issuers may not impose pre-existing condition exclusions on any covered individual, regardless of the individual’s age. This provision will have a dramatic effect on the individual health insurance market and to a degree in the small group market. Insurance carriers and HMOs have traditionally been able to exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage if

the covered individual did not have 12 months of continuous qualified health coverage. While this benefit is a pleasant surprise to all covered individuals it will not come without a cost in higher premiums to the covered individual and/or the employer. Next month we’ll continue with the third segment of HCR changes that may affect you in 2014. For further explanation of the ACA/ PPACA provisions outlined in this article, please refer to the following resources:,,,

Russell T. Head is a Partner and Chief Visionary Architect with Group & Benefits Consultants, Inc., Augusta’s largest, privately held, locally owned employee benefits consulting firm. He can be reached at 706-7333459 or Visit Group & Benefits Consultants at

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Stop tax refund identity fraud with a few precautions Stopping refund fraud related to identity theft is a top priority for the IRS. With more than 3,000 employees working on identity theft cases, the IRS is focused on preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible and has trained more than 35,000 employees to work with taxpayers to recognize and provide assistance when identity theft occurs. Ta x p a y e r s might encounter Christine identity theft involving their tax Hall, CPA returns in several Hall & ways. One posAssociates sible scenario is where identity thieves try filing fraudulent refund claims using another person’s identifying information, which has been stolen. Here are some tips to protect you from becoming a victim, and steps to take if you think someone may have filed a tax return using your name: Tips to protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). -Don’t give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required. -Protect your financial information. -Check your credit report every 12 months. -Secure personal information in your home. -Protect your personal computers by us-

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ing firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts. -Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with. If your tax records are not currently affected by identity theft, but you believe you may be at risk due to a lost or stolen purse or wallet, questionable credit card activity or credit report, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800908-4490, extension 245 (Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. local time). Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive a notice from the IRS, if you believe you’re a victim of identity theft, or if you learn from your tax professional that: -More than one tax return for you was filed; -You have a balance due, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return; -IRS records indicate you received more wages than you actually earned or -Your state or federal benefits were reduced or cancelled because the agency received information reporting an income change. If you receive a notice from the IRS and suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice. Please call us if you’re not sure what to do or would like assistance with this. This is a sponsored Employment article. Hall & Associates P.C. 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

Do employees get paid when an ice storm hits? Ice Storm Pax raised a consistent question with my clients: “Do I have to pay employees for ‘snow days’ they did not work?” And the answer is … wait for it … it depends. Typical lawyer answer, right? For hourly employees the answer is easy. No, you do not have to pay hourly employees for hours they do not work. You can let them use vacation or PTO if you have such a plan. Of course, you can J. Edward always pay them Enoch, J.D. even though the law does not re- Business Attorney quire it. If you do pay more than the law requires, let your employees know it so that, one, they know what a good person you are, and two, they do not think they are entitled to it the next time this happens. For salaried exempt employees the answer is more complicated. Exempt means

the employee is exempt from the requirement to pay overtime for hours worked over 40. The analysis of whether an employee is exempt is way beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say getting paid on a salary is generally one of the requirements to be exempt. You must be very careful if you are going to take money away from a salaried employee. The general rule is you can deduct from a salaried employee’s paycheck if: They did not work at all on the day in question, they do not have vacation or sick time to cover the time off, and the absence was for personal reasons. Then the question becomes did they miss for personal reasons? If you close the office and tell people not to come in, the missed time is not for personal reasons and you should pay the salaried employees. If the office is open and they do not come in at all that day, you can deduct for the full day. This is a sponsored Law Talk article. Ed Enoch’s practice focuses on business, employment and real estate law. He is a 1992 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Washington and Lee School of Law. He has served in many leadership roles for SHRM, Rotary, the Family Y and the United Way. Reach him at 706738-4141 or

Governor’s panel discusses winter weather preparedness Winter storms within two weeks of each other that caused havoc throughout Georgia have the attention of Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly. They plan to do something to be better prepared for future storms, but just what that something will be has yet to be determined. The Governor’s Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force, comprised of 33 government and business leaders and meteorologists, met the week following Ice Storm Pax to discuss the best options. All options could carry a hefty price tag, and left some members wondering how much Georgia was willing to spend, con-

sidering that in all likelihood winter storms will still be rare. One option that caught Deal’s attention was sensors that would monitor road temperatures, which are different than air temperatures. But the sensors cost about $25,000 each and no one knew how many would be needed to adequately cover the roads. Other options discussed included more road clearing equipment and salt barns. Deal said the cost of worthwhile fixes could easily be in the millions of dollars. The group plans to convene again on March 4 with recommendations for further discussion.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


How to survive a balloon death match Through the years, I’ve seen bosses do desperate things to promote their businesses: Spend $400 save 30 cents!, Buy a mattress, win a free EyePad! or Sign up two friends for a Pap smear, get a free mammography! Another, more subtle brush with Leadership Letdown came when the owner of an antique store I once worked for promoted a furniture sale with balloons. “Look at this,” Kelly snapped when I walked in the door. Four red helium-filled balloons with cherry red strings were tied to the back of a chair. “What are those for,” I asked. “We’re supposed to put them out to promote the sale,” Jess Nora Blithe said. Humorist “So,” I shrugged. “So? So, we have to write ‘SALE’ on them with markers,” she answered sharply. “They couldn’t even spring for balloons with ‘SALE’ already written on them?” I asked. “That’s not the point,” Kelly said. “The point is that balloons pop when you write on them.” I stepped back. “I’m terrified of balloons popping near my face.” “So are we,” said Kelly. We paused and stared at the black, ominous markers and their unknowing victims bobbing happily on the chair. I eased toward the door. “Don’t even think about it,” Jess snapped at me. “You’re the marketing director. You should handle the balloons.” “Those balloons weren’t my idea,” I retorted. “What are we? A used car lot? Besides, Jess, you have the best handwriting.”

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She shot me an ugly look and I knew I’d won. She picked up a marker, removed its cap and slowly walked toward the balloons. She gave us a nervous grin. “How bad can it be?” She gently and steadily touched the marker to the balloon and BLAMO! the balloon exploded! We screamed in terror and threw our arms up to protect our faces. Two customers left the store. Buying antiques wasn’t worth the risk. “I’m done,” Jess said. She retrieved the marker from the corner she flung it to and passed it off. “Kelly.” Kelly shook her head no. “You can do it,” I said supportively. I knew who would have to do it if she refused. Kelly untied a balloon from the chair and moved away from the remaining, intact balloons. “Just in case,” she said. I wasn’t sure what she meant but I nodded anyway. Her hand shook as she moved the marker toward the balloon. Suddenly, the balloon slipped free! “It’s loose,” Kelly screamed. I shrieked and dove for the floor. In the background, I could hear Jess screaming. Then, there was silence. The balloon bobbed harmlessly against the ceiling. Sheepishly we grinned at each other. Without a word, Jess took the balloons outside and let them go. “We don’t get paid enough to risk our lives,” she said. 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 or email her directly at

Passion for people helps business thrive Lanier starts his own business after years with family shop

By Gary Kauffman, Editor Lanier’s Fresh Meat Market has been an Augusta institution since 1969, although it moved from its location on the outskirts of the city to Walton Way less than year ago. Wayne Lanier has been an integral part of the business during that time, although ownership is a fairly new venture. He worked for his older brother when he first opened it on Dean’s Bridge Road as a mostly custom butcher shop for local farms. He continued working there when another brother ran it as a retail business in the 1990s. Then last fall Lanier decided to venture out in faith to take over the business and move it to 1831 Walton Way between Druid Park Avenue and Baker Street. Lanier graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in agricultural economics and a minor in animal science. He has worked in every aspect of the business. Lanier’s Fresh Meat Market carries fresh pork, beef and chicken, but also less-usual meats like goat, lamb, buffalo, duck, alligator, quail and a wide variety of seafood in its 4,000-square-foot store. It is the only licensed dealer of certified Angus beef in the city.

Businessperson of the Month Wayne Lanier, Lanier’s Fresh Meat Market

What are you passionate about in your business? People. I love everybody and I love to serve people. Usually I carry every bag out to the car. There are people I remember as children shopping with their mothers, and now they’re in here with their children. When I hear that they’re sick or have problems, it bothers me. What are you passionate about outside your business? I love farm animals. Goats are my favorite, and I have about 50 chickens. My favorite thing to do is go to a small animal auction to see what’s there. What is the key thing you’ve learned in your years in business? You have to know your market and know your custom-

Wayne Lanier offers many kinds of fresh meats in his new store on Walton Way.

ers. And you have to be broad enough in your business to support yourself. Once you know your market you have to target your market with advertising and in the products you carry. If you don’t sell what the people want they’ll go to someone who does. What is one thing your employees would be surprised to learn about you? Nothing. I’m a pretty open book and I’ve told them everything. In hindsight, is there anything you’d do differently in your business? I don’t think there’s anything in my life I’d do differently. I’ve sinned a lot in the past. But that puts me in a position that not only do I have a testimony, I can understand what

a person is going through. I’m satisfied with my age. I wish I had more money, and one day I will. How do you unwind? I go out to the barn and feed everything. Then I turn a five-gallon bucket upside down and sit and watch them eat. What were some important steps in starting your own business? After planning to open my own business I got a lot of counsel from the Small Business Administration and the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. They did a lot of demographics that proved the plan I had would probably be successful. Everything came together for me but it doesn’t come together on its own. You put everything you can into it and the Lord does the rest.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


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Augusta Canal tours launch again in March Augusta Canal is back in operation with its regular schedule of tours, as well as some new events. After a month in dry-dock, Augusta Canal’s Petersburg boats began operating their seven-day-per-week schedule on March 1. Tours are available 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1-5:30 p.m. Sunday. The Canal is also now offering bicycle tours along the towpath. Participants can bring their bicycles and ride with a guide who will explain the history, engineering and the natural surroundings of the Canal. The rides will be offered one Saturday per month, starting at various locations. The first ride, on March 22, will depart at 10 a.m. from the Lake Olmstead bulkhead entrance. The next, on April 17, starts at the Lock Keepers Cottage at Savannah Rapids. The bicycle tours are free but a $5 donation is suggested. The Canal Discovery Walks will take place on selected Sundays. Local experts will guide the tours and explain the various features and history along the way. The walks start at 3 p.m. and last for about an hour. The Discovery Walks are free for members of the Lock Keepers Society, with non-members paying $2 for adults and $1 for children. The first walk will be on March 23, titled The First Siege of Augusta; September 1780. The next is April 6, titled ColdBlooded Critters.

The popular Moonlight Music Cruises launch in April. These live performances aboard the Petersburg boats feature an array of musicians and musical styles. The cruises will run every Friday evening through June. They start at 6:30 p.m. through April, then at 7 p.m. the rest of the summer. The initial moonlight cruise will be April 4, featuring The Henrys, a folk/bluegrass/ Americana group. Cost is $25 per person

and reservations are required. The Canal will also again offer its Saturday Sunset Cruises, every Saturday evening from April through June. This cruise travels from Enterprise Mill to the headgates at Savannah Rapids Park and back. The cruise takes about three hours, departing a 5:30 p.m. through April and May, and at 6 p.m. in June. Cost is $21 per person and reservations are required.

The Canal will also continue to celebrate the Civil War’s sesquicentennial with its Food, Fabric and Firepower: Augusta, the Canal and the Civil War tour. It presents the behind-the lines story of the Confederate Powder Works and Augusta’s role in supplying Southern troops. It departs daily at 1:30 p.m. For reservations, call 706-823-0440, ext. 4. For more information, visit

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


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careers & EDUCATION Some work sectors will be hiring in 2014 Health care, manufacturing jobs among the hottest Economists across the country and locally have issued cautiously optimistic outlooks for job growth in 2014 and beyond. No one is predicting a huge upsurge in jobs but most foresee an increase rather than a decrease. But as several economists have noted, the jobs that will be available may be different than in the past. Randstad, one of the world’s top human resources firms, has offered a list of some of the hottest jobs for the coming year. Not surprisingly, considering the impact of the Affordable Care Act, jobs in the health field are predicted to be in high demand. Primary care physicians and registered nurses are high on the list. Also needed are medical assistants and hospitalists. In addition to the requisite schooling for these positions, employers will also be looking people who can work flexible hours, both night and day, and who have computer skills to handle electronic medical records. Bi-lingual skills, especially English-Spanish, are a plus.

“With the anticipated increase in patients who have access to health insurance, it’s no surprise that primary care physicians continue to be the most in-demand physician specialty in the U.S.,” said Steve McMahan, president of Randstad Healthcare. Also on the health side, jobs in pharmacology are expected to be needed, especially specialists in drug safety and regulatory issues. Knowledge of FDA requirements and understanding local and regional issues will be necessary for many of those jobs. Greg Coir, president of Randstad Pharma, said, “Candidates with experience in study management, pharmacovigilance (PV) and medical writing are critical for companies developing drugs and treatments within a broad range of therapeutic areas, including orphan diseases.” With manufacturing expected to rebound, especially since Wal-Mart’s announcement that it plans to invest $250 billion over the next 10 years in U.S. manufacturing, jobs will also be needed in that sector. Among the top jobs will be machine operators and maintenance technicians –

Health care workers, especially primary care physicians and registered nurses are high on the lis of most desireable in 2014

but they won’t be jobs people can just walk into off the street. They will require a technical degree or certification and programming skills. “Manufacturing is projected to drive growth for America’s economy in 2014, but there is a persistent concern among hiring managers about the emerging skills gap

within the industry,” said Phyllis Finley, executive vice president for Randstad. Along with manufacturing comes a need new construction. In that field, jobs will be opening for civil and manufacturing engineers. These will require at least a B.S. See HOT JOBS, page 27

Employees to be more active in managing their health New research from Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health business of Aon plc, shows that the majority of employers plan to continue sponsoring health benefits for active employees and retirees, but will change the way those benefits are managed and delivered in the coming years. According to  Aon Hewitt’s  soon-to-be-released Health Care Survey of more than 1,230 employers covering more than 10 million employees, 95 percent of employers say they plan to continue providing health care benefits to active employees in the next three-to-five years. However, a growing number plan to move away from their traditional

“managed trend” approach, which includes aggressively managing costs through vendor management and employee cost sharing. Almost 40 percent of organizations expect to migrate toward a “house money/house rules” approach, which requires employees to take a more active role in their health by offering them a few plan options, plus initiatives designed to improve health and reduce costs. Thirty-three percent said offering group-based health benefits to active employees through a private health exchange will be their preferred approach in the next three-to-five years.    “Traditional cost management tactics do not address

foundational issues in health care, including worsening population health and misaligned provider payment methodologies,” said Jim Winkler,  Aon Hewitt›s  chief innovation officer for Health & Benefits. “Employers remain committed to providing health benefits, but recognize the need for new approaches that fix those problems.” Despite having the ability to direct part-time employees to purchase health coverage through the public marketplaces, Aon Hewitt›s survey shows very few employers plan to do so in the near future. See EMPLOYEE HEALTH, page 27

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Tips to help navigate world of financial aid For first time college students, the process of applying for financial aid can be confusing. How do you apply for federal financial aid? What information do you need to apply? What are the different types of aid? Below are some tips and guidelines for successfully completing the financial aid application process. -It’s important to understand the types of financial aid available before completing an application. All forms of financial aid can be split into two basic categories: money that you will have to pay back and money that you won’t have to pay back. Federal and private loans fall under the first category, while scholarships, grants, and federal work study awards fall under the latter. As a student you want to maximize the money you don’t have to pay back, or ‘free money,’ and minimize any loans. This will allow you to graduate with the least amount of debt after earning your degree. -Students under the age of 24 are required to include their parents’ income information when applying for federal financial aid, so be sure to have copies of your parents’ W2’s and other tax documents handy when you apply.

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-To apply for federal aid, students need to complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The application can be found online at http://studentaid. The FAFSA is available beginning in early January each year, and students are required to reapply annually. The FAFSA is used to calculate your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, which colleges will use to determine the amount of aid you are awarded. -Additional financial aid may be available through your college or university and through non-profit or private organizations in your community. There are many online search tools, such as and www.bigfuture. com, which can help you locate these additional forms of aid. Your high school guidance counselor is also a great resource for locating scholarship and grant opportunities in your community.

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.

HOT JOBS Continued from page 25 degree in engineering and Six Sigma certification. Within the office realm, accountingtype jobs will be in demand. Accounting managers, accounting assistants and public accountants are all on the list. These will require knowledge of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and a certified public accountant (CPA) certification. But increasingly these jobs require a bit more. “While industry experience remains critical, employers are increasingly looking to talent with greater soft skills – such as strong communication and analytical skills – which transfer to all facets of business,” said Rebecca Callahan, group president of

professional solutions for Randstad. In addition, employers are seeking customer service representatives who can multitask, handling everything from light bookkeeping to interacting with customers. Perhaps indicative of more hiring in the future, companies are also seeking more people for their HR departments. Payroll specialists and recruiters will be two of the top jobs. Experience with HR software systems and a PHR or SPHR certification will be needed. “The spike in HR positions in recent months is indicative of an economy in preparation to hire,” Callahan said. “It is a very positive sign for 2014.”

EMPLOYEE HEALTH Continued from page 25 Almost two-thirds plan to continue to offer the same level of benefits to part-time employees as they do to full-time employees, with or without an employer subsidy. Just 38 percent plan to offer no benefits to part-time workers in the next three-to-five years. Pre-65 Retirees According to Aon Hewitt’s  annual Retiree Health Care survey of 424 employers covering 3.8 million retirees, 20 percent said they are favoring moving all or a portion of their pre-65 retiree population to the individual market/state exchanges to purchase coverage in the next three-to-five years. Today, just 3 percent of employers do so. “Employers will be moving at least some portion of their pre-65 retiree populations to state and Federal exchanges, but they are waiting for these marketplaces to become more robust, competitive and mature,” said  John Grosso, leader of Aon Hewitt’s  Retiree Health Care Task Force. “This movement will be slow and methodical, as the public marketplaces evolve and as employers understand the implications of the 2018 excise tax, which will only impact group-based health insurance plans.”   Post-65 Retirees According to  Aon Hewitt, the number of employers offering subsidized retiree health benefits has slowly declined over the past decade, with just 25 percent of large

employers doing so today, compared with approximately 50 percent in 2004. Of those companies that offer health benefits to post-65 retirees, a growing number of organizations now provide or are seriously considering providing health benefits coverage through the individual Medicare plan market. Aon Hewitt’s annual Retiree Health Care Survey found that 30 percent of companies have already sourced benefits through the individual market― most through a multi-carrier private health exchange. Of those companies contemplating future changes to their post-65 retiree strategies, two-thirds are considering this approach.   “A growing number of employers are leveraging multi-carrier private exchanges for Medicare beneficiaries because they see the value in both the competitive mix of plans offered and the Medicare-specific navigation and advocacy offered by these private exchanges,” said Grosso. Added Winkler, “The competitive nature of the individual Medicare market has resulted in more moderate year-overyear rate increases than what employers have experienced on their own. As health insurers regain control for creating a competitive market that is accountable to the consumers within it, we expect to see similar cost moderation across the system, including the new competitive markets emerging for pre-65 retirees and active employees.”

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Study: Minimum wage hike could cause job loss Congressional Budget Office study finds some could win, some lose with higher wage The Congressional Budget Office recently examined the affect of two proposals for raising the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour. (As of January 1, 21 states and the District of Columbia had a minimum wage above the federal minimum wage. The highest was $9.32 in the state of Washington.) Increasing the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers. Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly. What options for increasing the minimum wage did CBO examine? For this report, CBO examined the effects on employment and family income of two options for increasing the federal minimum wage (see the figure below): A “$10.10 option” would increase the federal minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour in three steps—in 2014, 2015, and 2016. After reaching $10.10 in 2016, the minimum wage would be adjusted annually for inflation as measured by the consumer price index. A “$9 option” would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9per hour in two steps—in 2015 and 2016. After reaching $9in 2016, the minimum wage would not be subsequently adjusted for inflation. What Effects Would Those Options Have? The $10.10 option would have substantially larger effects on employment and

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income than the $9 option would, because more workers would see their wages rise, the change in their wages would be greater, and, CBO expects, employment would be more responsive to a minimum-wage increase that was larger and was subsequently adjusted for inflation. The net effect of either option on the federal budget would probably be small. Effects of the $10.10 Option on Employment and Income Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent, CBO projects. As with any such estimates, however, the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO’s assessment, there is about a twothirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1 million workers. Many more low-wage workers would see an increase in their earnings. Of those workers who will earn up to $10.10 under current law, most – about 16.5 million, according to CBO’s estimates – would have higher earnings during an average week in the second half of 2016 if the $10.10 option was implemented. Some of the people earning slightly more than $10.10 would also have higher earnings under that option, for reasons discussed below. Further, a few higherwage workers would owe their jobs and increased earnings to the heightened demand for goods and services that would result from the minimum-wage increase. The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion, by CBO’s estimate. However, those earnings would not go only to low-income families, because many low-wage workers are not members of low-income families. Just 19 percent of the $31 billion would accrue to families with earnings below the poverty threshold, whereas 29 percent would accrue to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold, CBO estimates. Moreover, the increased earnings for some workers would be accompanied by reductions in real (inflation-adjusted) income for the people who became jobless because of the minimum-wage increase,

for business owners and for consumers facing higher prices. CBO examined family income overall and for various income groups, reaching the following conclusions: Once the increases and decreases in income for all workers are taken into account, overall real income would rise by $2 billion. Real income would increase, on net, by $5 billion for families whose income will be below the poverty threshold under current law, boosting their average family income by about 3 percent and moving about 900,000 people, on net, above the poverty threshold (out of the roughly 45 million people who are projected to be below that threshold under current law). Families whose income would have been between one and three times the poverty threshold would receive, on net, $12 billion in additional real income. About $2 billion, on net, would go to families whose income would have been between three and six times the poverty threshold. Real income would decrease, on net, by $17 billion for families whose income would otherwise have been six times the poverty threshold or more, lowering their average family income by 0.4 percent. Effects of the $9 Option on Employment and Income The $9 option would reduce employment by about 100,000 workers, or by less than 0.1 percent, CBO projects. There is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight increase in employment and a reduction in employment of 200,000 workers, in CBO’s assessment. Roughly 7.6 million workers who will earn up to $9 per hour under current law would have higher earnings during an average week in the second half of 2016 if this option was implemented, CBO estimates, and some people earning more than $9 would have higher earnings as well. The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $9 billion; 22 percent of that sum would accrue to families with income below the poverty threshold, whereas 33 percent would accrue to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold, CBO estimates. For family income overall and for various income groups, CBO estimates the following: Once the increases and decreases in income for all workers are taken into account,

overall real income would rise by $1 billion. Real income would increase, on net, by about $1 billion for families whose income will be below the poverty threshold under current law, boosting their average family income by about 1 percent and moving about 300,000 people, on net, above the poverty threshold. Families whose income would have been between one and three times the poverty threshold would receive, on net, $3 billion in additional real income. About $1 billion, on net, would go to families whose income would have been between three and six times the poverty threshold. Real income would decrease, on net, by $4 billion for families whose income would otherwise have been six times the poverty threshold or more, lowering their average family income by about 0.1 percent. Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on the Federal Budget In addition to affecting employment and family income, increasing the federal minimum wage would affect the federal budget directly by increasing the wages that the federal government paid to a small number of hourly employees and indirectly by boosting the prices of some goods and services purchased by the government. Most of those costs would need to be covered by discretionary appropriations, which are capped through 2021 under current law. Federal spending and taxes would also be indirectly affected by the increases in real income for some people and the reduction in real income for others. As a group, workers with increased earnings would pay more in taxes and receive less in federal benefits of certain types than they would have otherwise. However, people who became jobless because of the minimum-wage increase, business owners and consumers facing higher prices would see a reduction in real income and would collectively pay less in taxes and receive more in federal benefits than they would have otherwise. CBO concludes that the net effect on the federal budget of raising the minimum wage would probably be a small decrease in budget deficits for several years but a small increase in budget deficits thereafter. It is unclear whether the effect for the coming decade as a whole would be a small increase or a small decrease in budget deficits.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Marco’s Pizza adding locations in Evans, Aiken

By Stephen Delaney Hale Marco’s Pizza is thriving around the country and now it is multiplying in the CSRA. The top executives for the franchise group that owns the Augusta and Savannah Marco’s Pizza restaurants toured Aiken in January and chose a site on or near Whiskey Road on the south side. The group, Pizza Guys, has had a location on Fury’s Ferry Road for almost three years. They also have locations in North Augusta on Martintown Road, and in Grovetown on Columbia Road. Their fifth Augusta-area spot will be in Evans. They also have four locations in

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Savannah and are adding another, said Pizza Guys Operations Director, Shawn H. Skrip, Sr. Each location employs about 30 people and they will probably hire about 40 in Aiken to start with, says the manager of the Fury Ferry location. The opening date in Aiken has been pushed back a month to August because the first location didn’t work out and they found another, said the Furys Ferry manager. “Marco’s is a booming business right now,” he said. “Our customer satisfaction is very high. One great reason is that our ingredients are superior.”

According to a press release, an Aiken location has been part of their threeyear plan all along and now that they are ready, Pizza Guys Vice President Woody Johnson and Managing Partner Rick Poston, toured the town in January. They say they looked all around Aiken until their search, “centered in on the area down by Whiskey Road and think it is a great location for our expansion.” “Another key reason we’re expanding to Aiken is its thriving downtown environment,” Johnson said. “You honestly don’t see that in a lot of small towns these days. So, we were impressed by that and wanted to become a part of that thriving

culture.” Poston added that when he and Johnson drove through Aiken to look for potential locations, it seemed to be a “bubbling” area and a strong place for business. “We checked our competition, and we decided if they can do well, then we can do well, too,” Poston said. Marco’s Pizza was founded in 1978 by Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco in Toledo, Ohio. Around 2005, the business started expanding at a more rapid pace and today, Marco’s has 450 stores in 33 states. Last year alone, the restaurant opened more than 100 stores, according to the release.

Businesses can help each other do better There are many ways that businesses can help each other. The most common way is when a business buys products or services from another business and pays for it using common currency. This article will, however, focus on less common, but innovative ways that businesses should at least consider working with other businesses.

First Focus on Goals: The basic objectives typically involve ways to increase sales and improve marketing prowess, or various ways to improve operations, including management and employee effectiveness, how to use technology, etc. Since virtually all organizations could handle more business, help in figuring out how to get more orders is typically the area to focus on the most. But if there is a lot of wasted time or too much inventory getting scrapped, these areas should certainly be addressed as well. Marketing Assistance: Businesses can help market other, non-competing businesses. A restaurant that doesn’t offer desserts can simply have a sign that shows if you take your receipt to the ice cream parlor next store, you get 20 percent off your sundaes. A joint marketing example: A printer that does not make signs and banners promotes a sign company, and vice versa. Form business alliances: Small specialized businesses can form a business

team. For example, the team may consist of a CPA, an attorney, a small bank, business investor, and a business consultant or coach. They Larry Rudwick may all specialBusiness and ize in workRelationship Coach ing with small privately-owned businesses and start-ups. They will refer their clients to their team members when their client is looking for a team member’s services. Business Mentoring Groups: Some business coaches and consultants create mentoring groups, which may meet once or twice per month, in person or online. The groups may consist of non-competing business in the same geographic location, non-competing businesses in the same field but not in the same geographic location, employees of the same firm that may or may not be doing the same type of work, and more. The purposes of these groups are to have an open and honest environment where

people can share their current challenges, and their experiences in resolving these and other challenges. The meetings also help keep up with technology, as well as new standards and laws they must comply with. Brainstorming sessions will occur from time to time to help the group better compete with their competitors. Some groups will have a portion of the meeting focus on one member. That member may pick a particular challenge they are currently facing. The group then comes up with ideas and suggestions to overcome

that challenge. Conclusion: It is very important to hire employees who are a good fit, and have complementary skills. Similarly, there are many ways people who manage businesses can greatly benefit from finding and working with other businesses that are the right fit for their business. For more information, contact me. There is no charge for an initial consultation. Look over my website, sign up for my free newsletter, or give me a call at 571-3316102.

This is a sponsored Business Talk article. Larry Rudwick is a long-time business coach. You can request an Executive Assessment via email, a Word document entitled Ten Questions That Can Improve Your Life. Contact Larry at or 571331-6102. For more information visit www.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


GRU gets $6 million from Masters Tournament for cancer research Georgia Regents University will receive $6 million from the Masters Tournament to help fund a new cancer research building and a camp for children with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses. The gift was announced Feb. 18 at a press conference held by the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area, which promotes and manages philanthropic efforts throughout the 13 counties that define the CSRA. This multi-year pledge is the latest in a long history of significant financial contributions from the Masters Tournament through The Community Foundation, including a similar pledge for the construction of the Salvation Army Kroc Center in 2009. Each year, the organization distributes charitable dollars derived from the Masters to deserving local non-profit organizations. “Through the Masters Tournament, we remain committed to the tradition established by our founders to give back, and that includes sharing our resources with the community that supports us so graciously,” said Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament. “Like the Kroc Center, we see this research center and children’s camp as a way to help transform lives and serve the entire city, state and region for many years to come.”

32 Buzz on Biz March 2014

“The Masters Tournament continues to benefit the community that surrounds them,” said Braye Boardman, Chairman of the Board for The Community Foundation. “Their long-term willingness to financially invest in our area’s stability and growth acts as a beacon to others with similar motivations to give back. Because of the Masters Tournament’s leadership, today marks a new beginning to how cancer will be studied and treated throughout the CSRA and beyond.” “Since 1997, our organization has supported the many charities that serve our community through 6,500 grants totaling $52 million, thanks in large part to the Masters Tournament. We continue to be overwhelmed by their generosity and are privileged to use our association to benefit those who are in need in the CSRA,” said Lee Smith, President and CEO of The Community Foundation. Dr. Samir Khleif, Director of the GRU Augusta Cancer Center, has helped develop the vision behind the cancer research center. When finished, the facility would expand current infrastructure to more than 155,000 square feet of clinical research space for more than 500 faculty, staff and researchers dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. “As a city and as a state, despite our existing resources in Augusta, we are still in

need of more facilities to research and treat cancer,” he said. “We believe the leadership shown by the Masters Tournament from this initial donation through The Community Foundation will be the financial catalyst we need to make our campus in Augusta a leading resource throughout this region.” The expanded research facility will assist the university to reach its goal of becoming a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, the second in the state along with Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. Next steps include fundraising. Provided the community can raise the remaining $8.5 million, the State of Georgia will appropriate an additional $45 million needed to complete the project. The donation will also help fund the creation of Camp Lakeside, a collaboration among GRU Augusta Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Georgia and The Family Y. This facility, when complete, will accommodate more than 500 of CHOG’s most critical patients as well as hundreds of children from around the CSRA through The Family Y outreach program. To be located in Lincoln County, Ga., Camp Lakeside will be a place where children of all ages with disabilities and illnesses could take advantage of recreational activities in a medically safe environment.

Ga. Senate caps state income tax Senate Resolution 415, a constitutional amendment prohibiting the Georgia General Assembly from increasing the state income tax, passed the Georgia Senate today by a vote of 42 to 11. The resolution was sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer (R – Duluth), a long-time advocate of limiting income taxation. “Every one of our neighbors has a lower income tax than Georgia, and two states do not tax earned income at all,” said Sen. Shafer. “Capping the state income tax will keep Georgia competitive.  We will be the only Southeastern state that constitutionally prohibits income tax increases.” Senate Resolution 415 would prohibit the Georgia General Assembly from increasing the state income tax above the current rate of 6 percent, if approved by a statewide ballot referendum. In addition, the constitutional amendment would also prohibit the Georgia General Assembly from imposing new state income taxes. “This amendment is a first step toward moving Georgia away from taxing income,” added Sen. Shafer. “As a general principle, I support consumption taxes, not taxes on productivity.”

Leisure & Hospitality

A few tips to make a workout more effective Every day, our training staff fields questions from clients who want to know how to get the most out of their workout. It seems like the answer would be fairly simple: Work hard and push yourself, right? Well, for the most part, that’s true, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help maximize the impact of every minute you spend in the gym. Follow these tips to ensure a powerful and effective exerTammy & Tommy cise routine. Speed up. If Garner you’re spendAnytime Fitness ing more than an hour at the gym, and not seeing the results you want, you might be wasting too much time between exercises. Keep a stopwatch handy, and give yourself no more than one minute between sets and rotations. By trimming the fat from your workout schedule, you might start noticing a big impact on the way your body responds to a trip to the gym.  Slow down. All too often, we see clients racing through resistance or weight-based exercises. While this might seem like it’s in line with “speeding up”, it can actually decrease the efficacy of the action. By lifting and releasing each rep slowly, you increasing the impact of every move your body makes. So, keep it slow through the sets, but keep your eye on the clock while you’re in between.   Follow the correct form. Completing even modest exercise with poor form can be detrimental to your body’s short- and long-term health. Consult your Anytime Fitness trainer before performing any exercise you’re not

familiar with, or about those exercises from which you’re not seeing results. You’ll be surprised at how much difference proper form can make. Find your natural energy clock. If you’re struggling with summoning the motivation to workout, consider tailoring your workouts to fit your body’s natural energy clock. Working out when your body feels energized not only helps you attack your routine with more vigor, but it also helps add to the endorphin rush released during

rigorous exercise. This can be an incredibly powerful motivator as it can become deeply addictive after only a few sessions. At Anytime Fitness we care about you. Helping find a better you is what we do best. Our caring staff and top-rate person-

al trainers make us the ideal club for those new to exercise, those who feel intimidated by large, crowded gyms, or the fitness enthusiast. We make it personal and we make it convenient, 24 hours, 365 days a year.

At Anytime Fitness we care about you physically, mentally, and financially. Helping find a better “YOU” is what we do best. Our caring staff and top-rate personal trainers make us the ideal club for those new to exercise, those who feel intimidated by large, crowded gyms, or the fitness enthusiast. We make it personal and we make it convenient, 24 Hours, 365 days a year. For more information about our four clubs in the CSRA, visit us at martinez-ga-30907 or call us at 706-3642447.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Aiken restaurant evokes images of Roaring ‘20s By Stephen Delaney Hale The owners of the highly popular upscale Italian restaurant on Chesterfield Street in downtown Aiken, Casa Bella, are soon to debut their newest venture, Speakeasy and Eats. Arlene and Joe Iannelli , who own Casa Bella and Speakasy, said there are several things that will make Speakeasy and Eats worth a try. One is their concept that transcends the food and typical ambience. The Iannellis travel a lot and they visit good restaurants. They were recently in New York where they went to a speakeasy – a 1920s-style restaurant that required a password to get in, just like in the old gangster movies. During Prohibition, from 1919 to 1933, selling alcohol in the United States was illegal. Secret restaurant bars popped up all over the country, many of them were owned by the gangsters who either made or smuggled in the booze. These illegal bars, or “speakeasies” as they were called, were often in back rooms accessible only by a secret knock or password for their clientele. Arlene Iannelli said she’s not yet sure how it’s going to work since construction is still underway but the principle will be the same – customers will knock and give a password to gain entry to the restaurant and great food. “We don’t want to categorize it as upscale,” Iannelli said. “We just tell people it is going to be the best of the best.” The food will be an eclectic sampling of

34 Buzz on Biz March 2014

the United States. “In our travels we have picked out what we think is the best of the best and put it on this menu,” she explained. “One of our chefs is from Trenton, N.J., and they are famous for their pork loin, so we’ll serve that. Another is from New Hampshire and people there love their lobster rolls. It is nothing like anybody else in Aiken has on their menu. We’ll have our take on escargot, conk fritters, scallops and for the South, shrimp and grits. We’ll have a wild boar goulash and a fine Porter House steak for a slice of Americana. We’ll also have a Kobe Beef burger that is going to be great.” Joe and Arlene and their children Michael and Heather, plus both their fiancés and longtime Casa Bella chef Matt Barnum, are all cross training on both menus so they can work at either, although Joe will open Speakeasy and Eats. They plan to open in mid-March, hopefully in time to take advantage of the many Triple Crown and Masters fans. Iannelli said she is in the process of designing the menu. It and the restaurant will have a Roaring Twenties look. “Some of the verbiage on the menu will come from that time,” she said. “We’ll have Roaring Twenties Toasties, almost like Bruschetta bread with chilled steak and a cheese spread. The food will be great and the restaurant will be fun.” Getting inside will be fun, too. “We don’t yet know for sure how we’ll

do the password, but we’ll make it fun, and we’ll make sure everybody can get it – we won’t be turning people away because they might be revenuers!” she said. For one thing, at least, the password will be on their Facebook page and there will be other ways to get it. “I think it’s going to be a real asset to the downtown area,” Iannelli said. “It’s going to bring in more walk-in traffic to be on Laurens Street and we hope we’ll attract people

to downtown. It works both ways. We just love Aiken and it’s going to be great.” And Aiken seems the perfect place for this type of restaurant. “We thought it would be appropriate to open a speakeasy in a city whose main road is called Whiskey Road!” Iannelli said. Speakeasy and Eats, however, is located at 126 Laurens Street, NW, in what was Desserves, next to Vista Bank. (803) 2260147.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


Aiken’s Spring Steeplechase set for March 22 Kicks off with Blossoms & Bow Ties event on Friday

By Rebecca Vigné Spring is here, and it’s time to gather friends and family for the Aiken Steeplechase. The Aiken tradition is a wonderful way for families to enjoy a tailgate and see some exciting racing on the track. This year’s 48th running of Aiken’s Spring Steeplechase will be held on Saturday, March 22, with gates opening at 9:30 a.m. The event will be held on Ford Conger Field and consists of six races, with post time for the first at 1 p.m. Other events include the carriage parade starting at 1:15 p.m. and shopping at the Village of Shops. The Village of Shops will open at 10 a.m. and will feature jewelry, Aiken Steeplechase merchandise, hats, artwork, boutique items and equestrian clothing and goods. “Spring Steeplechase is such a fun time to enjoy the weather with friends, family, and co-workers,” Mia Miller, Steeplechase Event Coordinator, said. “There are so many components that make this event so special, including the history, the location, the beautiful spring weather and the family-friendly events.” The Aiken Steeplechase Association is a 501c3 organization that hosts the Spring and Fall Steeplechase events, which are sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association, each year. The association, founded in 1930, is made up of a volunteer board of directors as well as community members and other supporters. The Spring Steeplechase will donate a portion of its proceeds this year to Golden Harvest Food Bank, its 2014 Gala recipient. Blossoms & Bow Ties: A Garden Party Gala is a formal attire dinner and dance to kickoff the Steeplechase. This year’s event will be held on Friday, March 21 at 7 pm. Tickets are

36 Buzz on Biz March 2014

The 48th running of the Steeplechase kicks off on March 21 with a Blossoms & Bow Ties Gala.

available for $125 per person and bow ties are encouraged. Patron tickets for the Spring Steeplechase are $25 per person in advance and $35 per person at the gate on race day. Children 10 and under receive free admission. Advance tickets may be purchased at the following locations: Aiken Drug, Aiken Saddlery, Floyd & Green Jewelers, H. Odell Weeks Center, Ingate Professional Pharmacy, Lo-

minick Pharmacy, North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Plum Pudding, Southern Bank & Trust, Southern Saddlery, Stoplight Deli and Unique Expressions. For more information or to purchase tickets to Aiken’s Spring Steeplechase or the Friday night gala, visit or call 803.648.9641. You may also find the Aiken Steeplechase on Facebook.

38 Buzz on Biz March 2014

Mi Rancho’s outside seating perfect for spring Spring fever…it’s everywhere! Despite the memories of the horrendous ice storm still being very close in the minds of many, the sunshine and spring-like temperatures in the CSRA have many walking around with extra skips in their steps. It’s a perfect time for outdoor lunch meetings! Mi Rancho Mexican Restaurant has a great downtown location on Augusta’s Nola Bon Viveur Riverfront. It is a Power Hour Lunch convenient Powerhour spot for those working in or around Downtown Augusta; it’s even within walking distance for many professionals. It worked out great for me when I needed to meet with a potential client whose office is on Broad Street. The menu is typical of most Mexican restaurants – Americanized Mexican food offerings. I ordered the chicken fajita burrito and a side of guacamole. My client ordered a combination plate containing a beef taco, cheese enchilada, rice and beans. My burrito was average. There were several pieces of chicken that were not quite

appetizing, but the veggies were fresh and well-seasoned. The chips and salsa were average as well. The salsa had great flavor, but the chips tasted a little stale and the guacamole lacked much seasoning. The servers were friendly and attentive. We were seated promptly, and despite having a large lunch crowd, they served us quickly and efficiently. My overall experience at Mi Rancho was a good one. What was marginal on a culinary level was made up for by the service, the patio, the reasonable prices and the sunshine. I will definitely include Mi Ranch Mexican Restaurant on my list of downtown Powerhour spots. If you have not already done so, give Mi Rancho a try. Pick a spot on the patio and settle in for a relaxing, enjoyable break from a busy at the office. After lunch, take a walk on the river. Get out and enjoy Augusta’s spring beauty.

March 2014 Buzz on Biz


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