Saddle up for Augusta Futurity.
JAN. 26—FEB. 22, 2018 • THE CSRA’S MONTHLY BUSINESS MAGAZINE
BUSINESS OWNERS THRIVE IN PEER GROUPS BY GARY KAUFFMAN
in a renaissance period.” The population has grown by 7.5 percent since 2010, but could grow by another 20 percent by 2035. The region’s per capita income has also increased during that time. “That means we’re creating good jobs,” he said. The driving factor, Bennett said, has been government spending, primarily at Fort Gordon. “Without the growth at Fort Gordon, I’m not sure we’d be at the same
Fifty years ago, the Beatles sang that they could get by with a little help from their friends. It turns out that peer involvement is still a great strategy in the business world. Local retired businessman Jeff Annis is forming a Vistage Small Business group to connect small business owners with peers in the business world. The goal is that collectively they can help each other be more successful in their individual businesses. “The reason that Vistage peer groups are necessary is because most businesses are not successful,” he said. “At worst, a large percentage of businesses fail over five or 10 years and leave the poor, discouraged owner broke and looking for a job.” The entrepreneurial peak in the United States occurred in 1989. Since then, more businesses have been sold, merged or closed each year than have been created. “Even in the successful companies, those people are working hard, working long hours, with no succession plan or exit strategy,” Annis said. “They’ll work until they become disabled or die. “It’s a very strenuous life without much track record of success.” Annis believes it doesn’t have to be that way, and that’s where peer support can help. Statistics show that business owners in a peer group grow their businesses 2.2 times faster than those who go it alone. They also weather the bad times better with peer support. “The secret sauce of the peer groups is that you have 12 to 16 people around a table you can bounce ideas off of,” Annis said. “If you have a
See GROWTH on Page 2
See PEERS on Page 2
Cyber-related technology growth, including the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center under construction on Reynolds Street in downtown Augusta, is one reason for economic optimism for the area in 2018. Photo by Gary Kauffman.
BRIGHT ECONOMIC FUTURE OPTIMISM SEEN FOR GROWTH LOCALLY, ACROSS GEORGIA BY GARY KAUFFMAN
Georgia’s economy will continue to grow at a faster rate than the United States as a whole, and the greater Augusta area should be at the forefront of that growth. “The greater Augusta area is poised for growth that we haven’t seen in a generation – or possibly ever,” Robbie Bennett told the audience at the 35th annual Georgia Economic Outlook meeting on Jan. 11. Bennett, executive director of the Columbia County Economic Development Authority, spoke after Jeff
Humphreys, director of the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, had outlined why he believes Georgia will continue to outpace the rest of the country in economic growth. The annual economic outlook meeting is sponsored by the Terry College of Business at UGA. Bennett based his optimism on the continued growth of what had taken place in 2017 and saw Augusta named the Mid-Market City of the Year. “The growth we saw in 2017 will pale in comparison to the growth and opportunities in 2018,” he said. “We’re
Continued from Page 1
level we are,” he said. He also mentioned the quality of life in natural and recreational resources that draw people to the area. “We’re blessed to have so much at our fingertips,” he said. Industries to watch during this growth track are cyber technologies, where more than $100 million in capital investment has already been poured into the downtown; professional services; health care, especially as more people move to and retire to the area; advanced manufacturing; nuclear power, especially at Savannah River Site, where about 3,000 retiring employees need to replaced over the next few years; and construction because of the community growth. Bennett added that entrepreneurship, health IT and the film industry could all emerge as contributors to economic growth. But growth isn’t a stroll in the park; the area needs to continue invest-
Continued from Page 1 problem, you can come to them. If you have a strategy you can’t get to work, or you have that immovable mountain in your business, you can tell the peer group about it. It’d be rare if you didn’t find a solution.” Vistage is the granddaddy of peer groups, founded in 1957 and now with more than 16,000 members and more than 600 “chairs,” or leaders. A chair forms a group of 12 to 16 business owners from noncompeting businesses who meet each month, eight times for a half-day and four times for a full day that includes a presentation from a nationally known business leader. The chair meets individually with each member during the month. The peer group members work to help solve problems and develop strategies for each other. To be invited to join, the business owner has to agree to be transparent about his or her business problems and successes, be willing to be brutally honest with others and to be held accountable, as well as to hold others accountable to follow through on strategies and solutions. “Shields and weapons are left outside, and you come in transparent and naked to reality,” Annis said. “One of the biggest values to me has been people being upfront with me about my abilities and disabilities.” That transparency and accountability helps business owners develop real solutions, which accelerates their confidence and focus, empowering them to grow their business. “It’s like getting a Ph.D. in a year’s time,”
ing in infrastructure to ensure continued growth. In addition, more office space is needed for the influx of businesses. He also said care needs to be taken in how new businesses are recruited so they don’t conflict with existing businesses and their continued expansion. Skilled labor to staff the business growth, both in recruiting and in educating homegrown talent, is also a necessity. “If we don’t address this issue, we will slow down,” he warned. He added that community buy-in – making sure that everyone in the community realizes that the opportunities affect everyone – is also important. While perhaps less optimistic than Bennett, Humphreys was still optimistic that Georgia’s economy will continue to push forward, probably at about the same rate of growth as the previous year. “The forces pushing us forward are slightly stronger, but the headwinds are also slightly stronger, so they cancel each other out,” Humphreys said.
Annis said. “Twelve times a year you’re going to spend at least three hours in the issue-solving model. If you handle 12 issues 12 times, that’s 144 business issues you take part in solving. What university can deliver 144 real-life issues? None.” Having peers discuss issues can help an owner see his business from a higher altitude, something that is often impossible in the day-to-day of running the business. “If you’re in the blender you can’t reach the buttons,” he said. “The owner should be on the outside pushing the buttons.” Annis said the business and employees benefit from the owner’s absence one day per month. “When you go back to work your morale, confidence and energy are high,” he said. “Your team will be glad you decided to go to Vistage.” Annis is no stranger to consulting with other businesses. Even before retiring from the day-to-day operations of Advanced Services for Pest Control, he regularly worked with other businesses in the area, and he now also consults outside the area. But as chair of a Vistage group, Annis feels he can use his time more efficiently. “I can have a profound effect on 16 businesses without getting on an airplane and working with one business and one businessman at a time,” he said. “In one day a month I can help 16 businesses.” Annis is currently interviewing business owners to populate the Vistage group. He expects to interview 50-75 people to get the right group. Once he narrows the list he will hold a Peer Power breakfast Feb. 20.
2 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
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CONSULTANTS HELP BUSINESSES IMPROVE BY NEIL GORDON
I’m just back from “warm and sunny” Anchorage, Alaska, my second trip there to help some talented journalists and salespeople at one of our Morris properties. The highlights of my trip included the savings of nearly $50,000 I found in printing expenses for 2018 of the three publications there. What I hope will be most sustainable is how the team and I came up with ways to improve the process of sales – identifying key industry categories for market to and prospecting differently by networking more – and the implementation of a monthly goal program I borrowed from Augusta Magazine. It struck me how many talented consultants we have writing for Buzz on Biz and helping in the community. Our cover story features a mentor to many in the CSRA, Jeff Annis. Jeff taught me to never become a commodity or get in a race to the bottom in terms of valuing the fees charged for our services. Jeff has transitioned from day-to-day CEO of Advanced Services for Pest Control into a local leader in the movement to help entrepreneurs and business owners grow. He’s done so with a local consulting company he co-owns and now through his involvement with Vistage
I got to see some snow when I traveled to Anchorage, Alaska, to work with the journalists and salespeople at one of the Morris Communications properties. Photo by Andrew Jensen, Alaska Journal of Commerce
and SCORE. Please also review his call to action advertisement inviting your participation to a free breakfast workshop on Page 5. We’re also blessed to have some really
smart marketing, HR and leadership consultants write for us. Columnist Ed Enoch is a trusted advisor of mine, and in his article this month he relates the importance of having a stable of professionals guiding your success. Besides the need for business attorneys such as himself, he shares the need for good financial advisors. In this issue, CPA Christine Hall simplifies the new tax laws and how they can help your business and your family. Financial adviser Kurt Mueller often advises business owners on certain deductions to take, and he lists some in our pages. I have often wished I had Mark Alison’s intellect and thought process. He lets our readers know that if you “train your brain,” you will come up with bigger and better ideas to help your team improve. Stacy Roberts encourages us to better leaders by not trying to wield the power of our titles, but instead relating better to those who make us look good. Columnist Danielle Harris reminds us to define who we are in business by understanding our “personal brand” and what messages we are putting out to the community. Liz Klebba wants us to dress for success and proves her point by giving examples
Features Celebrating a Century.................................. 4 On Feb. 18, the Imperial Theatre turns 100. It has four major events scheduled to celebrate in 2018. Buzz Bits.................................................. 6, 12 Openings, Closings................................. 7, 13 Upcoming Events...................................14-15 Businessperson of the Month.................... 20 Norman Dunagan of Dumpster Depot has learned to work less and do more.
Tax Reform.................................................. 31 New tax reform bill impacts local small businesses. Peaceful Warrior......................................... 33 Army vet helps people find calmness through holistic healing. East Meets West.....................................36-37 The Augusta Futurity has been a staple of Augusta for 39 years.
Columnists Dagan Sharpe: Everyone has potential to help others achieve more.................................................................................................................8 Ed Enoch: Pick the right ‘team’ to help your small business...........8 Tim Dalton: More common mistakes to avoid when selling a business........................................................................................................10 Liz Klebba: Civilian garb has parallel with military dress codes.16 Stacy Roberts: Being a good leader takes more than a title....... 18 Danielle Harris: Build your personal brand to stay ahead of competitors................................................................................................18 Tammy Shepherd: One major road project completed, others underway......................................................................................22 Christine Hall: New tax law creates many changes........................ 24
Tony Creighton: Regular cleaning makes a business look inviting to customers.............................................................................. 24 Kurt Mueller: Planning for tax deductions can save money....... 26 Mark Alison: Your brain can do amazing things – if you let it.... 28 Missie Usry: Set Smaller, achievable goals to yield big results... 28 Gary Kauffman: Taking Sunday off has important benefits........ 30 Susan O’Keefe: Metro Diner recreates popular hangouts of the past.........................................................................................................34 Ben Casella: Rare brew adds to writer’s catalog of beers............. 38 Samantha Barksdale: Netflix explores real world issues in sci-fi settings...............................................................................................38
of how Fort Gordon’s finest can help area business professionals make a statement! If you have “been there and done that” and are in a different place in your business, you might be consider “cashing out.” Our business broker consultant, Tim Dalton, continues his series on avoiding common mistakes as you attempt to sell your business. Buzz on Biz hopes you enjoy all of our columnists’ thoughts. Their article titles and page numbers are below. Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
Neil Gordon is the founder and publisher of Buzz on Biz, which includes a daily TV segment on News 12 This Morning at 6:25 a.m., a daily e-newsletter and www.buzzon.biz. Reach him at 706.589.6727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Buzz on Biz mission is to act as an inspirational tool for those in the workplace and those who are entrepreneurs, and to provide useful, practical information to increase their companies’ bottom lines. To order a 12-month subscription mailed to your home or office, please mail a check for $49 (includes sales tax) to cover postage to the address below. Publisher Neil R. Gordon Editor in Chief Gary Kauffman Multimedia Journalist Witt Wells, email@example.com Layout Amanda Holahan Ad Building Michael Rushbrook Photography Witt Wells, Gary Kauffman, Melissa Gordon Sales Manager Neil Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-589-6727 Sales and PR Jessica Jones, email@example.com, 762-218-0239 Distribution Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Morris Media Network nor its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only. Like us on Facebook @ facebook.com/buzz-on-biz Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 725 Broad Street, Augusta GA 30901
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
A CENTURY OF ENTERTAINMENT
ICONIC IMPERIAL THEATRE TURNS 100 BY GARY KAUFFMAN
Jacob Wells was part of Augusta for a brief time, but his contribution to the city is still going strong a century later. Wells built Imperial Theatre – then known as Wells Theater – 100 years ago, and it opened on Feb. 18, 1918. Except for a couple of years in the early 1980s, the theater has been an active part of Augusta’s entertainment scene ever since. Wells had enjoyed a brief career as a professional baseball player in 1888 and 1890 before retiring to Virginia. It was there that he recognized the power of moving pictures and began building theaters in the Southeast, first in Virginia and North Carolina before reaching Augusta. “This was his piece de resistance, because he named it after himself,” said Charles Scavullo, executive director of Imperial Theatre. It seemed earmarked for success – just two months after its opening, silent film star Charlie Chaplin stopped at the theater to sell war bonds to support America’s involvement in World War I. But then Wells’ luck took a turn for the worse. A few months later, as the war drew to a close, soldiers returning to Augusta brought back a vicious strain of the Spanish flu, which resulted in a quarantine that prohibited public gatherings, like attending the theater. “Financially, Wells couldn’t make it,” Scavullo said. He sold the theatre to an out-of-town movie group, which renamed it Imperial Theatre. Because the theater wasn’t locally owned, Scavullo said archival records of the Imperial’s activities over the years are scant. It originally opened to host vaudeville shows but began screening movies. An organ was purchased in 1925 that not only played music during the silent movies, but also provided sound effects. From the 1940s through the 1960s, it was primarily a movie theater. As downtown declined in the 1970s, so did the Imperial. It began to show second-run and B movies, although 1971 saw the beginning of the Nutcracker ballet performances there, which continue today. By the early 1980s, the theater had shut its doors and was scheduled for demolition. But thanks to the efforts of local performing arts groups and the foresight of the city, that never happened. “At that same time, the Miller Theater had just closed, and the Bell was undergoing renovations,” Scavullo said. “The performing artists who had been using those lost a venue to practice. They came
Above, Imperial Theatre is celebrating its 100th anniversary in February. Inset, an exterior view of the Imperial in late 1933. Photos by Gary Kauffman, contributed
to the city fathers, saying they needed a place to practice.” The Imperial, having originated for stage productions, was perfect for their needs, so the city arranged for it to reopen. By 1985, an investment group purchased it and did some renovations. But ownership changed hands several times, and by 1992, it was in danger of closing. The local performing arts community and the city came to the rescue again. The city paid the remaining debt, then sold the theater to the nonprofit Imperial Community Theatre Inc. group for a dollar. “The Imperial Theatre has always enjoyed a great relationship with the local performing arts community,” Scavullo said. “Live performance has been the theater’s bread and butter.”
4 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
The Colton Ballet Company, Augusta Players and Columbia County Ballet all perform regularly at the Imperial. It also hosts musicians and the Morris Museum of Art’s Southern Soul and Song event. With a new state-of-the-art laser projector, it will begin screening some movies. In 2017, the Imperial spent $1.25 million on infrastructure improvements, most out of public view but necessary to keep the theater functioning. They included a new roof, electrical and mechanical upgrades and systems to drain off water that had been flooding the basement and even seeping into the auditorium carpeting. Renovations will continue in 2018, including an ongoing painting project. Parts of the entryway and auditorium have already been repainted to reflect
The Imperial Theatre has four major events planned to celebrate its 100th anniversary, starting Feb. 2 with the help of a New York dance company, Ballets with a Twist. The show is called Cocktail Hour: The Show. One of the dance numbers will feature members of the Richmond Academy Purple Pride marching band. On May 4, the Imperial will host a Hat Party to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. It will feature a performance by the JAMP band and a screening of the Marx Brothers classic comedy, A Day at the Races. In September, Columbia County Ballet will perform Cinderella, and in November, the Imperial will host a themed event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. the original colors of the theater. Plaster moldings and the proscenium, damaged by water infiltration, will also be repaired. Scavullo said the Imperial was built solidly for a long life. “It’s built with steel and concrete construction, so it’s not going anywhere,” he said. “We hope this is just our first 100 years. We’re looking forward to keeping this building going for another 100 years.”
DEAR BUZZ ON BIZ READERS: I am inviting you to attend a special breakfast and workshop with me on February 20th, hosted by my friend and mentor Jeff Annis. You may know Jeff from his decades at the helm of Advanced Services For Pest Control and his extensive community involvement. You may not know that Jeff stepped away from the day to day operations years ago to grow his involvement in small business research and advisement through his partnership Work Life Advisors, LLC, which he co-owns with Dena Thomas, a 22 year associate. “Since 1998 more businesses fail, close or merge than are newly created. This does not bode well for our way of life,” said Annis. “Most toil and struggle for years and then ultimately fail. Other business persons struggle working 55 hours a week for a lifetime and barely eke out a living. Even those who succeed to a good degree struggle mightily. They have great strategic ideas or creative impulses that would be quite profitable, but they cannot seem to get them going. Most fail to ever get to where they work entirely on their business. 90% stay mired in the day-to-day operations and never get to a point where they can take a few weeks off and are able to have a rich personal family life,” added Annis. Jeff has worked on growing as a business owner for decades and credits peer groups as the biggest reason for his success. The value of peer groups can be traced back to Benjamin Franklin, who assembled a group weekly with the goal of helping each other succeed. As part of the Work Life Advisors menu of services, Vistage Small Business Peer Group formation was added as of fall of 2017. Vistage is a 60 year old company with 16,000 members and 600 Vistage Chair people like Jeff Annis. The Vistage process for helping people succeed is well proven. “I will end up interviewing around 50 to 75 people in person to find the right persons to invite to join the peer group. My struggle is to find the best people to populate the CSRA peer group so that they provide value to those across the table from them and at the same time, are able to be transparent enough to allow others to help them as well. Our peer group will act in strict confidentiality and people must honor each other’s needs and be mutually respectful at all times,” said Annis Each Vistage member will be from non-competing industries and from diverse business types. Vistage peer groups come from diverse viewpoints and past experiences. It is very valuable to have 12 to 16 business owners and top managers around the table when you have a problem to solve or an idea you want to get going. It is well documented that Vistage member companies experience higher success and faster growth than non-Vistage companies. When the last recession hit, Vistage businesses did better than others and weathered the storm and still grew. In a recent independent research project, Vistage companies grew 2.2 times faster than non-Vistage companies. “Only a handful of small business owners end up retired having cashed out with great wealth, long-term legacy income or significant retirement savings. I want to help you succeed.” said Annis. Sincerely, Neil Gordon Buzz on Biz Publisher
VISTAGE PEER POWER DEMONSTRATION Date: February 20th | Breakfast at 7 AM | Program 7:30- 10:00 AM For Info reach Jeff Annis: firstname.lastname@example.org | 706.941.8140 | www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-annis-51b527b/ www.vistage.com
JEFF ANNIS Vistage Small Business Peer Group Leader
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
buzz bits TEDX EVENT IS SET FOR FEB. 3 TEDxAugusta 2018 will take place Feb. 3 at the Miller Theater on Broad Street. The local version of the internationally known TED talks has been around since 2014. TED is the acronym for “Technology, Entertainment and Design,” and the talks of 18 minutes or less cover a wide range of topics. The local event features 18 talks, most of them by local residents. Speakers scheduled for this year’s TEDxAugusta are Ashish Thakur, Colin Owen, Jame Geathers, Jared Williams, Jeff Annis, Julie Robins, Matthew Malcolm Banks, Michael Rollock, Natalie Schweers, Patrick Darnell, Rob Lamberts, Scott Thorp, Tara Rice Simkins, Tirrany Thurmond, Tom Hubbard, Tom Patterson, Travis Hamilton and Victor Hwang. Topics range from entrepreneurship, business success and investing to reimagining church, ancestral research and the healing power of horses. More information and tickets are available at tedxaugusta.com.
COLUMBIA CO. CHAMBER’S SHOWCASE, BANQUET SET The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce will hold its 13th annual Banquet on Feb. 8 at the Columbia County Exhibition Center in Grovetown. The evening starts with a cocktail reception and premier business showcase at 4:30 p.m., with the dinner meeting and awards presentations starting at 6:30 p.m. More than 1,000 business and community leaders from across the greater Augusta area are expected to attend this annual night of celebration. During the program, the Business of the Year, the Small Business of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards will be presented. For more information, visit columbia countychamber.com
YMCA HELPS KIDS SLEEP BETTER Because of a lack of resources, some children in the CSRA do not have a bed of their own. To this end, the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta developed the program “A Place to Dream,” which helps these children get the sleep they need. Mercedes-Benz of Augusta has announced its support of the program. The CSRA has many social service agencies which help low-income families obtain housing. However, few agencies have the ability or resources to help these families turn this housing into a fully functional home. Thus, family members are often forced to sleep on the floor, on a sofa or on an
CRANSTON WINS TWO AWARDS The International Association of Business Communicators recognized Cranston Engineering in two categories during its annual Palmetto Awards. Cranston’s 50th Anniversary Brochure was given an Award of Merit for Publications, and its Take It To The Streets Block Party received an Award of Excellence for Special Events, the highest statewide award possible in the category. Cranston Engineering Group has worked on some of the CSRA’s most notable structures.
6 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
air mattress, or several members trying to fit into the only bed the family could obtain. Families receive beds via an application process with area social service agencies. Started initially in November 2017 with more than 125 beds delivered in Richmond County and North Augusta, plans are underway to expand the program throughout the CSRA as resources and volunteer manpower allow, with an annual goal of more than 500 beds. There is already a waiting list of more than 100 families. Mattresses will be provided by Badcock Home Furnishings of Thomson at a significantly reduced price.
From Riverwalk Augusta to the engineering of bridges and roadways at Palmetto Dunes in Hilton Head, S.C., the group of civil and structural engineers has played a vital role in many communities. Cranston was excited about celebrating 50 years and decided to kick off the celebration with an updated identity. It employed Alison South Marketing Group to create its signature event, “Take it to the Streets Block Party,” and to design a 50th anniversary logo that was unveiled during the event. Alison South also helped Cranston in creating a signature invitation, a brochure about its history and branded every piece of the party, from street signs to cornhole boards used during the event.
ALLSTATE AGENTS GIVE GRANT TO SAFEHOMES Ten Allstate agency owners and financial specialists from the Augusta area recently came together to secure a $10,000 Allstate Foundation Helping Hands grant to benefit SafeHomes of Augusta. The grant will support Safe Homes of Augusta’s mission to end domestic violence through advocacy, awareness and education. The agency owners and financial specialists earned $1,000 each for SafeHomes of Augusta by volunteering at the organization’s facility. Volunteers packed freezer meals, painted and completed general cleanup work around the facility. Safe Homes of Augusta will use the $10,000 grant for its operations and financial assistance including first month’s rent, child care and transportation. SafeHomes of Augusta is one of thousands of organizations this year to receive Allstate Foundation Helping Hands grants secured by agency owners and financial specialists on behalf of the nonprofits where they volunteer. The grants support organizations addressing domestic violence, youth empowerment, disaster preparedness, hunger and other causes. Participating Allstate agency owners and financial specialists include Matthew Banks, Martinez; Tony Barr, Augusta; LJ Brown, Martinez; Larry Edmond, Grovetown; Jamie Felder, Evans; Abu Khan, Augusta; Rick Kilpatrick, Augusta; Matt Murphy, Martinez; James O’Neal, Augusta; and Dale Villemain, Martinez.
AUGUSTA TELEPHONE’S FOUNDER RETIRES Augusta Telephone rang in the new year with a big change. Cooper Cliatt, the founder of the communications equipment provider who has run the company for the last Continued on Page 12
Openings, Closings and Moves
Riverfront YMCA The new Riverfront YMCA has officially opened, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening Jan. 13. The new facility is upwards of 11,000 square feet and offers an up-close view of the Savannah River from atop Riverwalk Augusta. Among other amenities are a 3,000-square-foot outdoor workout area, a patio lounge for members, virtual bikes with video workouts from around the country, a steam room, sauna and physical therapy services. Perhaps best of all for Y members is ample parking. The Riverfront YMCA is at 1 Seventh St., Suite B, the former Fort Discovery, which is now home to Unisys.
TATTOO PARLOR MAKES A BIG MOVE A local tattoo parlor has moved downtown. Aces and Eights Tattoo, which was previously on Wrightsboro Road, has opened its new, fully renovated shop at 584 Broad St., next to Luigi’s. Store owner Robert Willey and his wife and business development manager Sandie Crowley opened the shop Jan. 5 after three months of continuous renovation to the building that last functioned as a Christian center. The removal of old carpet, installation of hardwood floors and a total paint job have completely transformed the building. Inside, a leather couch and chairs, a pool table and wealth of artwork (much of it Willey’s) and antlers on the wall create a distinctly warm feeling in downtown’s newest tattoo parlor. “It was more of a decision to support the downtown community,” Crowley said. “It’s insane, the transformation of this building.” Aces and Eights is a small shop; two artists – Twilley and Gus Rich – share the
Cheeseburger Bobby’s location on Bobby Jones Expressway is finally open for business.
Cheeseburger Bobby’s Cheeseburger Bobby’s, a Kennesaw, Ga.-based restaurant that was founded by brothers Bob and Richard Stoll in 2007, opened at 212 Bobby Jones Exp. on Jan. 8. The restaurant was initially expected to open in 2016, but development was delayed in construction. The burger joint is housed in a building that was erected after the one that housed pizza joint Stevie B’s (also owned by Bob Stoll) was torn down in 2015. The 2,400-square-foot building is in front of Lowe’s and Urban Outfitters. Cheeseburger Bobby’s has opened new locations throughout Georgia and Alabama over the last decade and currently has 15 locations between those two states. The burger joint has gained appeal among southerners in recent years with its build-your-own-burger bar, which offers a variety of toppings, sauces and French fry seasonings. The new restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate nearly 100 people and features roll-up garage doors that can be opened in mild weather. “It’s possible we could even do outdoor music,” Reagan Williams said.
Ulta Beauty plans to open a shop in Mullins Crossing in Evans.
Ulta Beauty Ulta Beauty plans to open a store in Mullins Crossing. The store will be in the site of former rue21 store. No opening date has been announced. Ulta sells a variety of cosmetics, fragrances, skin care products and beauty gifts. Ulta also has a store in Augusta Exchange at 257 Robert C. Daniels Jr. Pkwy. McAlister’s Deli McAlister’s Deli, a leading fast-casual chain, opened its doors in Grovetown at 230 Meridian Drive on Jan. 15. The Grovetown McAlister’s is owned by franchise group DMAC81. The DMAC81 group owns more than 70 additional McAlister’s restaurants throughout Georgia, Alabama, South
space. Crowley said she and Willey designed it to be a welcoming environment. The 2,300-square-foot shop has private booths, including one for piercings. A refrigerator stocked with drinks invites customers to relax in the main lounge. “We want to be very welcoming to Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. The Grovetown McAlister’s will be DMAC81’s 74th McAlister’s restaurant and eighth in Georgia. McAlister’s in Grovetown will serve guests from Monday to Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Guests always have the opportunity to skip the line by placing their order through the McAlister’s app or online at mcalistersdeli.com. McAlister’s also offers a variety of fresh, made-to-order catering options, including breakfast, snacks, spud bars, salads, sandwich trays, box lunches and desserts, and always comes with a side of genuine hospitality. Dunkin Donuts A new Dunkin Donuts has opened on Lewiston Road in Grovetown. The coffee and donuts destination is open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. The new store is 1,960 square feet and features a “cappuccino blend” exterior design that is new to the Augusta market. It also has a patio that seats around 20 people. The shop is at 417 Lewiston Road. A Town Wings A Town Wings is opening its eighth location in the CSRA at 190 Baston Road, at the site of Embers Grille in
anyone,” she said. We’d much rather someone come in and take their time.” The shop is open Monday through Thursday from 2 to 10 p.m., Friday from 2 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. the Circle K convenience market. The Embers Grille will move to Grovetown. The new restaurant will give A Town Wings five locations in Augusta, in addition to one in Grovetown and one in Aiken. The Atlanta company now has 17 locations in the South. In addition to wings, it also serves Philly cheese steaks, fish and Southern-style fried rice.
The new Chicken Salad Chick location in Evans features a drive-through window.
Chicken Salad Chick Chicken Salad Chick has become a popular place to eat in Augusta, and Evans residents are now able to enjoy it at a nearby location. The area’s second Chicken Salad Chick opened Jan. 23 at 4429 Washington Road, in the former Evans DinContinued on Page 13
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
EVERYONE HAS POTENTIAL TO HELP OTHERS ACHIEVE MORE tell when coaches are sincere and in it to help others rather than solely in it to help themselves succeed off the backs of others. Confidence: Without confidence in others and ourselves, we won’t risk anything. Insecurity suffocates growth. Confidence is not arrogance or narcissism – it’s realizing our strengths and weaknesses and caring enough to share our mistakes and testimonies with others. Who better to help someone struggling in a particular area than a person who has been through and overcome that same struggle? We must be willing and confident enough to express our care and concern, and to step out with it and to share it, despite the potential critics.
BY DAGAN SHARPE
I recently attended my daughter’s cross country awards banquet and was impressed by something her coach shared. After celebrating their state championship win and recognizing all her runners, the coach asked the audience members to raise their hands as high as they could. Everyone did. Then she asked for everyone to reach a little higher – and everyone could. She pointed out that even though we were all asked to raise our hands as high as we could, we were still able to reach a little higher. She did this with her runners as well at practice to remind them that they had more to give at practice, in the race and in life. This coach helped my daughter realize this truth this year, and that day, she helped others in the audience, too. That’s what good coaches do, isn’t it? They remind us we can do more, be better and reach higher. They pull the best out of us. I like to believe we can all do this every day, no matter our roles. Whether we are parents, spouses, relatives, advisors, friends, colleagues or basically anyone who deals with other people on a regular basis, we all have opportunities to help others if we choose. This gift isn’t limited to coaches. It does require three vital components:
The gift of motivating others to seek greater success isn’t limited to coaches.
Care: If we don’t care about getting any better ourselves, we won’t care to help others improve. We have to possess selfdiscipline and discernment that compels us to improvement. Complacency and stagnation can never exist, for they are the opposite of care. Concern: If we care about the opportunity to move forward in areas of our life,
we are in stronger positions to help others do the same – but there must be concern to even do so. Our self-drive must move out from self to others. Self-absorption stifles outreach. Selfishness can never affect greater good and change, because it means we are always thinking about and motivated for self rather than others. People, like my daughter, can always
Dagan Sharpe is senior vice president of Queensborough National Bank & Trust and the author of a stewardship book, Bank On It. Email dsharpe@qnbtrust. com.
THE BIG THREE
PICK THE RIGHT ‘TEAM’ TO HELP YOUR SMALL BUSINESS BY ED ENOCH
Around Augusta, the “Big Three” are Jack Nicholas, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. They are the golfing legends whose companies designed Champions Retreat’s courses. However, when I talk about the big three for small businesses, I mean something very different. My friends at the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center tell people all the time about the “big three” that all small businesses need – an accountant, an attorney and a banker. They call these three “the team.” And the team needs to be made up of specialists who focus their work on small businesses. If you own a small business, you know the ins and outs of one small business – yours. The right team of advisers can help by giving you a perspective based on their experiences working with lots of small
businesses. Not every possible team member is right for every small business. Based on my experience, I have a very strong preference for getting my clients to bank with local, hometown banks. Local bankers will take the time to get to know you and your business. They will go to bat for you with a credit committee when you need a loan to expand your product line or open a new location. The situation is similar with attorneys. Before they go into business, most people only know the lawyer who closed on their house or the lawyers who were involved in their divorce. These lawyers might not be a good fit to represent your small business. Do not just assume that because a lawyer says he can set up your LLC that he will be able to represent your business through its entire life cycle. Ask questions
8 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
about how much of the attorney’s practice focuses on issues relevant to small business, such as employment law, contracts, and mergers and acquisitions. For accounting, once you own a business it is time to move beyond doing it yourself or using an “adviser” who is trained for a few weeks to help people file individual tax returns. The accounting firm can be large or small, but again, the focus should be on how they treat you and your small business. When a small business has an accounting problem, such as an IRS notice or a state tax penalty, it generally creates a sense of urgency that dominates the business owner’s time and energy until the problem is under control. You should pick an accountant who will act accordingly. The new tax bill passed in December is a perfect example. We have all heard so
much hype about what could be or might have been in the bill. Now is the time for you to reach out to your team and find out what that tax bill really means for your business now and in the future. If they cannot answer those questions, it’s time to look for some new teammates.
J. Edward “Ed” Enoch has practiced law in Augusta for more than 20 years, mostly focusing on helping business owners and companies to include formation, transition, business planning, contract writing, employment law and other areas of the law. Email jenoch@ enochlaw.com.
HI! I’M COACH KURT. I WANT YOU ON MY TEAM IN 2018! “I became a financial professional in 2012... to help others learn from our family mistakes. My elderly mom didn’t put away money and my disabled brother is not self-sufficient. It’s now on me to provide for them.”
KURT MUELLER FINANCIAL ADVISER CLU, CHFC, MS
As your coach we’ll plan for LIFE • Investments • Insurance • Business/Personal Financial Planning Join our team by making an appointment at one of two convenient CSRA locations. Let us help you avoid costly fumbles in life.
CELL: MUELLERFG.COM Village at Woodside 137 Old Market Street, Suite 102 | Aiken, SC 29803
North Belair Square 601 N.Belair Square, Suite 26 | Evans, GA 30809
Registered Representative and Financial Adviser of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). OSJ: 4201 Congress St., Ste. 295, Charlotte, NC 28209. Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect,wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Consolidated Planning is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. 2017-51331 12/19
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
MORE COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN SELLING A BUSINESS BY TIM DALTON
Last month, we looked at six of the most common pitfalls sellers might make when marketing their business for sale. This month we look at five more.
A seller needs to remember that the marketplace sets the price that will be paid for the business. Many sellers inquire from a variety of sources what would be a good selling price for their business. Some of those sources might be reliable, but sellers have a tendency to filter what they hear and gravitate toward an unrealistic sales price. This ultimately leads to not finding a buyer for the business. Timing is the other issue. Finding the right buyer and closing on the sale could take up to a year in some cases. So timing and pricing go hand-in-hand when keeping expectations reasonable.
Pressuring a buyer
All buyers have concerns about what they might be missing when evaluating a business. The seller, on the other hand, has complete confidence in the business operations and can’t understand why a buyer is being so diligent in the evaluation. If you want to turn a buyer off from putting together a deal, pressuring the buyer to move too quickly will do that. The prudent thing to do is to establish a time period that is contractually agreed upon by seller and buyer – the due diligence period. That way the expectation of time is decided upfront and all parties are on the same page.
Overselling the opportunity
As mentioned, buyers are highly suspicious when evaluating a business oppor-
When negotiating the sale of a business, there is a lot more at stake than the price. There are several pitfalls a seller should strive to avoid, including unrealistic expectations and failing to consider the big picture.
tunity. After all, if it is such a great business, why is it for sale? Sellers need to be positive when presenting their business to a buyer but careful not to oversell. No buyer ever wants to be “sold” on a purchase. Buyers want to evaluate the positives and negatives and make their own decision. If they feel they are being sold, they will back away from a purchase.
Leaving the business before the deal is closed
For a seller, the deal is not finalized until he or she has a check in hand. Just because the due diligence is completed and a closing date has been established, someone still needs to look after the business as the owner. To allow the business to run itself, or even allow the buyer to take over operations before the deal closes, can lead to problems within the business that can kill the deal. Sellers need to remember it is still their business until they have re-
10 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
ceived funds at closing.
Failing to look at the big picture
In the sale of a business there are negotiations other than the price to consider. Areas such as noncompete clauses, training and transition periods, accounts receivable and payable, work in progress, obsolete inventory and other areas have to be agreed on by the seller and buyer. Both parties can get a win-at-all costs attitude and forget to look at the big picture. If you are a seller, determine what is really most important to you and get that accomplished. Be willing to negotiate on lesser issues that are not as important. A sale will not go through if either party feels the deal is too one-sided. Selling a business has its nuances. If you are a business owner who has never sold a business before and want the best opportunity for success, study up on what it takes to sell.
Incorporate professionals such as a business broker, accountant and attorney to assist you. A little professional help can go a long way toward getting to the closing table with a deal that works for you.
Tim Dalton is president of Integra Business Brokers and has more than 19 years of experience in the Augusta area assisting business buyers and sellers. Additional services include targeted business acquisitions, business valuations and financing assistance. Tim is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Georgia and South Carolina. Contact him at 706.650.1100 or tdalton@integra brokers.com. Visit Integra’s website at www.integra brokers.com.
REGIONAL VISION. HOMETOWN FOCUS.
When it comes to your real estate, hire a hometown company with a regional perspective. We are the region's leader in commercial sales and leasing and our property management portfolio boasts more than 3,000 units and 4 million square feet. Learn more at shermanandhemstreet.com.
3523 Walton Way Ext. Augusta, GA 30909 706-722-8334
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
buzz bits Continued from Page 6 35 years, has retired. Cliatt has turned the business over to son and company president Hartie Cliatt and lead installer Trey Edwards. “I am most appreciative of the business and trust you have placed with me,” Cooper said. “It is truly a pleasure when you can call your customers friends.” Now that he has some extra time on his hands, Cooper plans to put the real estate license he received in the 1970s to good use and specialize in rural land, lake homes, lots and commercial real estate. “Who knows commercial buildings better than an old telephone man?” he said. Hartie Cliatt and Edwards took over on Jan. 1. Augusta Telephone specializes in business systems, VolP, Hosted PBX and SIP Trucking.
TWO AREA STARTUPS WIN AWARDS In December, a couple of up-andcoming local businesses were awarded for the strength of their business ideas and plans after a two-month startup boot camp that was hosted by theClubhous.se, a local business and technology incubator. The Augusta Chronicle reported the results of the contest. Of the seven entrepreneurs that completed the course, one was named the winner of the Startup Bootcamp Demo Day after being judged by a panel, which included Alex Wier, cofounder of local advertising agency Wier/Stewart, Commissioner Sean Frantom, Augusta University Hull College of Business Dean Richard Franza and Augusta Metro Chamber President Sue Parr. A second contestant won the People’s Choice Award, which was selected by the audience members at the competition. Owen Timlin was named the winner of the contest by the panel for his business plan for Score Clip Pro, which creates 3-D printed clips that connect golf score cards to golf carts. It was Timlin’s second time going through the course. Angel Andino, founder of Dino’s Arcade, was the winner of the People’s Choice award. Andino has created a
business called Dino’s Arcade, in which Andino provides virtual reality gaming experiences for people wherever they are, be it their houses, meetings or at parties. “There’s such a wide variety of experiences you can have,” Andino said in an interview in October. “I tell people the age range is 18-80.
TAXSLAYER OFFERS NEW TAX REFUND PROGRAM Following TaxSlayer’s rebranding effort in 2017, which was executed by local advertising agency Wier/Stewart, the Evans-based tax preparation company made another big move at the end of 2017 that will likely be big hit with customers. In December, TaxSlayer announced that its new tax refund program, refundNOW, will allow customers to receive up to $1,000 of their tax refund in as little as 48 hours of their return being filed with the IRS. TaxSlayer is the first U.S. company to launch a fully-online advance refund offering. “We know that people count on that money,” said Seth Babb, TaxSlayer’s director of director of consumer products. “We wanted to provide a product for the online tax community that didn’t exist yet.” TaxSlayer launched refundNOW in January, which is when the IRS announces the commencement of the 2018 tax season and begins accepting tax returns. In order to receive an advance refund, customers will need to electronically submit the customary paperwork, including W-2, valid and current government-issued photo identification and also meet certain eligibility requirements. Customers can receive funds via direct deposit into their bank account or an American Express Serve Prepaid Card. “Internally, we have always referred to ourselves as TaxSlayers,” Babb said. “We wanted to shift the focus to the users themselves and make them the TaxSlayers.” Through a series of focus groups and anonymous research, the financial ser-
12 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
RIVERFRONT Y OFFERS NEW AMENITIES AND ACTIVITIES The new Riverfront YMCA held its grand opening in mid-January as visitors gathered at the former Fort Discovery building to check out the facility. Augustans have been waiting for this one for a while. The gym doesn’t have a pool, which will be a drawback for some members. But the new state-of-the-art facility on the river has a few other advantages for downtown dwellers to enjoy. A View of the River: The new moniker isn’t an exaggeration. Step outside the back door of the Riverfront Y and you’re only steps away from downtown’s riverscape. Of course, there’s a nice view out the facility’s windows that run parallel to the Savannah River, much to the delight of treadmill enthusiasts. But members also have access to a Life Fitness outdoor training system, which is essentially a jungle gym for adults that allows for seemingly limitless body weight exercises. In-House Therapy Facility: Aegis Therapies has been partnering with the downtown Y for more than a year. Now the in-house rehab center, which partners with LA Fitness in Atlanta, has a new facility at the Riverfront Y. Physical, occupational and speech therapy services are all available, and the center’s Rehab Director Lauren Ryther said being at the Y’s newest local facility has maximized Aegis Therapies’ potential in getting patients into a consistent routine of exercise and health. New Classes: Yoga, tai chi and BodyPump (a high-energy fitness routine that uses barbells) are a few classes that regular Y members have become familiar with over the years. At the new Riverfront facility, a few more have been added. High-intensity interval vices company determined that for the 93 percent of Americans who say they receive a tax refund, the most common use of those funds is paying off debt. Babb said most people who are awaiting their tax refunds have already allocated the money to their debt payment, savings or possibly a vacation or major purchase. The refund that TaxSlayer provides its customers is a loan that has a zero percent interest rate and no upfront fees, which generated significant interest among customers.
A great view is just one feature of the new Riverfront YMCA. Photo by Witt Wells
training (HIIT), Free Cycle and Barre (based on postures inspired by ballet, yoga and pilates) have all been added to the weekly classes, along with RPM (Spin), BodyFlow (a yoga, tai chi and pilates workout), BodyPump, Fitness 101, CX Worx (core strength), Tai Chi, Zumba, Tango, BodyStep and L.I.F.E. (low-impact interval training). Parking: The lack of sufficient parking has been one of the primary complaints of longtime downtown Y members, who had minimal parking options in front of the former location on Broad Street. At the Riverfront Y, parking has vastly improved. The facility has secured around 65 spaces available in the parking garage and more in lots surrounding the facility. Virtual Bikes: One of the most exciting technological upgrades to the Riverfront Y’s equipment collection is one of the first things members see when they walk in the door: virtual bikes. In the cold of winter, riders can compete in thrilling races or take relaxing rides through any landscape and climate of their choice. The bikes are equipped with heart rate monitors, track mileage and pull riders into a race environment with competitors.
U. OF PHOENIX PLANNING CAREER FAIR The University of Phoenix will hold a two-day Career Fair on March 23-24. In addition to job opportunities, the school will also hold workshops during the fair. University of Phoenix’s Augusta campus is at 3150 Perimeter Pkwy. For more information, contact the university at 706-868-2000.
Openings, Closings and Moves Continued from Page 7 er near Walmart. The diner will seat 60 people and will feature Chicken Salad Chick’s first drive-thru window. The restaurant offers a variety of flavored chicken salad sandwiches and side salads.
TBonz The Seventh Street building that used to house Town Tavern and has been vacant for more than a decade appears to be coming back to life. On Dec. 21, 2017, the owners of local steakhouse TBonz, which currently has locations in Augusta and Evans, bought the former tavern for an undisclosed amount and have plans for a total renovation, according to TBonz co-owner Henry Scheer. Scheer said the building’s former owner did not want to be named. “We saw everything was going downtown,” Scheer said. But the future of the building, which is located at the north end of Seventh Street and had most recently housed Mally’s Bagels, is still unclear. Although opening a downtown location of Tbonz remains a possibility, Scheer said the owners would prefer to lease the first floor of the 13,700-square-foot building to someone looking to open a different restaurant. Put simply, Scheer and his partners are “getting old.” “We realize it takes a whole lot of work to open up a restaurant,” said Scheer, who shares ownership of TBonz’ local restaurants with Jerry Scheer, Mark Cumins and Tom Jastrom. After the original location at the corner of Seventh and Broad streets was demolished, Town Tavern moved to the other side of Reynolds Street in 1965 and remained open for nearly three more decades before closing permanently in 1993. The building has housed multiple businesses since then but has been empty for years.
Scheer did not share any names of restaurants or individuals who have shown interest in the space; he is still looking for interested parties. While the building will need plenty of work, Scheer said he would love to see someone young, with a vision for a restaurant, come in and transform the place. Regardless of what becomes of the first floor, Scheer and his partners plan to convert the second floor into around five lofts, each one approximately 800 to 1,000 square feet. Scheer said he does not yet have an estimated time of completion for the restaurant or the lofts. There are currently six TBonz restaurants in Georgia and South Carolina. Jerry Scheer and Cumins founded Tbonz Restaurant Group in Athens in 1985.
Fleetcare Commercial Trucks Fleetcare Commercial Trucks of Augusta is changing its company name to Matthews Motors, a nod to the family’s legacy in the automotive business. The company was founded in 1991 by Bob Matthews as a mobile, commercial-vehicle repair service that specialized in preventative maintenance. Matthews’ sons Aaron and Austin now run the business with him. Austin Matthews said the rebranding will officially happen in 2018. The family-owned business will be expanding its services beyond medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles. Matthews Motors will include an automotive division as well. “For all your transportation needs, now we are truly a one-stop shop,” Matthews said. The Fleetcare name will retain its own identity within the new Matthews Motors company as a premium maintenance plan under the service department. The company plans to move to a new location at 1357 Gordon Hwy. in January.
Catch the Buzz! Get more on events and follow business and economic news across the CSRA at buzzon.biz.
The Mullins Companies has plans to renovate several apartment complexes across the area.
LOTS OF DEVELOPMENT UNDERWAY AT MULLINS Joe Mullins’ property development company has been busy. The Mullins Companies had previously announced a plan to purchase three apartment complexes in south Augusta, downtown and North Augusta. Mullins said recently that the purchase is still in process but that “the deal is done.” The property development company has also moved its Augusta Commons headquarters to 220 Boy Scout Road, near Southern Grace Apartments, which the company has been slowly renovating for the last 20 years. During that time, Mullins bought all 144 units in the complex and says he has raised the value from $40,000 per unit to more than $100,000 per unit. “I started in 1998, and many people told me buying a complex up one-byone couldn’t be done,” Mullins said. “It took many years, but now it’s complete.” The other apartment complexes that Mullins is purchasing are Baywood Apartments (2413 Baywood Drive) in south Augusta, Cascade Apartments (2511 Cascade Drive) in downtown Augusta, and Conifer Apartments (140
Conifer Drive) in North Augusta. Mullins described all three properties as distressed, and The Mullins Companies plans to renovate and restore them with a package that includes fiber internet, cable, telephone and a fitness membership. “I believe in south Augusta and I feel like that community has a niche and can be restored using some of the benefits of what’s coming into our area,” Mullins said, noting the addition of cyber, students and medical facilities. “Regardless of what happens at the old Regency Mall, I believe enough attention has been brought to the area to know something needs to happen. My hope is that something will come in to bring lots of jobs to restore that area.” Mullins said the ultimate goal to improve a distressed area and increase the quality of life and value has been accomplished. “I believe in these areas, and with all this coming to the Augusta community, I believe that if areas like these are restored and marketed properly, we can revitalize them,” Mullins said.
“I believe in south Augusta and I feel like that community has a niche and can be restored using some of the benefits of what’s coming into our area. ... Regardless of what happens at the old Regency Mall, I believe enough attention has been brought to the area to know something needs to happen. My hope is that something will come in to bring lots of jobs to restore that area.” – Joe Mullins January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
UPCOMING BUSINESS EVENTS
Friday, Jan. 26
Catch the Buzz! Get more on events and follow business and economic news across the CSRA at buzzon.biz.
Good Morning, North Augusta, 7:30 a.m., Palmetto Terrace, North Augusta Municipal Complex, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. Presented by The First Tee. Pre-registration required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.
Thursday, Feb. 1
Active Shooter Training, 8:30 a.m., USC Aiken Penland Building, Room 106. FBI Special Agent John Chadwick will lead a workshop to help employees respond and survive an active shooting until help arrives. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. Greater Augusta Day at the Capitol. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.
Friday, Feb. 2
First Friday Means Business, 7:30 a.m., 117 Newberry St. NW, Aiken. Informative breakfast meeting with a keynote speaker. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. Fifth Annual reNew & Brew, 7 p.m., Snelling Center, 3165 Washington Road, Augusta. Join Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA for a benefit for Helms College. Craft beers from Southeastern breweries and hors d’oeuvres prepared by Helms College chefs and students will be served. For more information, visit goodwillworks.org/renewandbrew
Tuesday, Feb. 6
Caffeinated Conversations – Makin’ Students Workforce Ready, 8:30 a.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. Dr. Forest Mahan, president, Aiken Technical College, speaks about how the college is preparing the future workforce. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. Meet.Mingle.Mesh, 5:30 p.m., Miller Theater, 708 Broad St., Augusta. Meet new connections, mingle with business community professionals and come
together for success. Registration required. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com.
Thursday, Feb. 8
QuickBooks (Basics and Beyond), 9 a.m., UGA Small Business Development Center, 1450 Greene St., Ste 3500, Augusta. A daylong class providing a handson approach to learning the features and functions of QuickBooks. Registration required. For more information, visit georgia sbdc.org/augusta-office.
Monday, Feb. 12
Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Raffle Drawing, 6 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale for prizes that include $1,500 cash, bedding, a grill, a Windsor Jewelers gift certificate and a Belk shopping spree. Tickets are available at North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Rhodes Murphy North Augusta and First Citizens Bank. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.
Tuesday, Feb. 13
Caffeinated Conversations – Real Estate and the Economy, 8:30 a.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. Kristyne Shelton of the Aiken Board of Realtors will give an update on
14 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
RIBBONS CUTTINGS SCHEDULED Jan. 30: G reubel’s Mixed Martial Arts, 12 p.m., 2917 Riverwest Dr., Suite 105, Augusta Feb. 6: Tidal Wave Auto Spa, 11 a.m., 2841 Washington Road, Augusta Feb. 21: H omewood Suites by Hilton, 4 p.m., 312 Timbercreek Lane, Augusta Aiken’s real estate trends. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. 13th Annual Banquet and Business Showcase, 4:30 p.m. Business Showcase, 6:30 p.m. dinner meeting, Columbia County Exhibition Center, 212 Partnership Drive, Grovetown. During the program Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards will be presented. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.
Thursday, Feb. 15
Third Thursday Business Builder, 11:30 a.m., Augusta Metro Chamber office, 1 10th St. “Generational Diversity in the Workplace: Managing Across Generations
and Retaining Millennials,” presented by Hull College of Business and Hull Barrett. Registration required. For more information, visit augustametrochamber.com. AYP Third Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. An opportunity for individuals age 22 to 39 to meet other young professionals in a relaxed atmosphere for networking. Registration required. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net.
Friday, Feb. 16
Good Morning, North Augusta, 7:30 a.m., Palmetto Terrace, North Augusta Municipal Complex, 100 Georgia Ave., North Augusta. “Everyone Communicates. Few Connect.” Pre-registration required. For more information, visit northaugustachamber.org.
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Caffeinated Conversations – Building Connections Across the Community, 8:30 a.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. An update on higher education with Sandra Jordan, chancellor, USC Aiken. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. Women in Business, 11:30 a.m., Legends Club, Augusta. Speaker to be announced. Registration deadline is Feb. 16. For more, visit augustametrochamber.com.
Thursday, Feb. 22
Business After Hours, 5 p.m., Aiken Municipal Building, 214 Park Ave. SW, Aiken. An opportunity for businesses to present themselves to the business community. For more information, visit aikenchamber.net. Continued on Page 15
AUGUSTA’S INNOVATION NEWS
Continued from Page 14
Monday, Feb. 26
Chamber After Hours, 5 p.m. For more information, visit columbiacountychamber.com.
Tuesday, Feb. 27
Caffeinated Conversations – Riverside Village: A Whole New Way to Live, 8:30 a.m., Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken. An update on Riverside Village (Project Jackson) presented by Todd Glover, North Augusta city administrator. For more, visit aikenchamber.net.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP Jennifer Tinsley FOUNDER 1. What is the business? Field Botanicals is a cruelty free, vegan skincare brand. I create skincare products with inherent plant based benefits as well as aromatherapeutic benefits. All ingredients are cruelty free as well as ethically sourced, which means my ingredient sources certify that their growers use fair labor practices and environmentally responsible ethics. None of my products have any synthetic additives, colors, preservatives, or fragrances. 2. When and where did you found it? I launched Field Botanicals in July 2015, but it was a side hustle until February 2017. I’m hustling full time now! 3. Any significant experiences/ skills that (with hindsight) influenced your business? Hindsight for sure! If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you aren’t learning. I have a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and several certificates from Formula Botanica, an accredited online school in the UK. This has given me extensive knowledge in skincare formulation. 4. What appealed to you about entrepreneurship? Being an entrepreneur is liberating, frustrating, exhilarating, challenging, exhausting and energizing. All in the same day. And I love it. 5. How did you get the idea? Long story, but the short version is I had some skin issues that were not being resolved by conventional medicine or skincare products. I ended up healing myself holistically, then developed a deep interest in empowering women (and men) in protecting themselves from potentially harmful ingredients in beauty products.
JENNIFER TINSLEY 6. How did you market your business? Social media is a huge part of my marketing strategy. This includes content creation, targeted Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads, collaborations with influencers and allied businesses. I’m easy to find; just search for Field Botanicals on those social media sites, or link from my website. I’m also working at building my email list. I provide a lot of content and resources to my email list clients only, so I can provide value and not just be selling all the time. 7. Best piece of advice? I’m going to answer this one by talking about my lessons learned. The 3 P’s: planning, patience, and partnerships. When I first started Field Botanicals, I had unbridled enthusiasm which was very energizing, but it also led to a lot of doing and not enough planning. You really need to have a business plan that identifies your market audience and their needs, and the steps and costs involved with creating products for that market. Once I targeted my goals, a lot of the steps started to fall into place. Patience comes from realizing that you are going to be putting copious amounts of sweat equity into your business if it’s really going to be a game changer. Nothing happens overnight. People aren’t going to be lined up to give you money once you hang
up the OPEN sign. Do your research, do your work, develop your skill or product. Celebrate the little victories, because the little things matter and all count towards building your brand. Finally, partnerships are so important if you’re a solopreneur like I am. When I went full time with Field Botanicals, I started attending meeting after meeting of local groups of small business owners, creatives and makers groups, and the like. In just a couple of months I’ve made countless new connections and now have so many local resources. One of the most beneficial things I did was join theClubhou.se. Everyone at “theC” is so friendly and helpful and provide great moral support. 8. What is next for your business? I’ve got some exciting things happening in 2018, not the least of which is a total rebranding campaign, new product launch, and possibly a retail location in a year or so. In the short term, I’ll be hosting some workshops on DIY skincare, natural perfume making, diet and skincare, and essential oil therapy. The first workshop will in mid-February and the topic will be “REBOOT for Healthy Skin.” I’ll be discussing how to eat locally and seasonally for great skin, as well as how to take care of your skin in the winter months. Follow Field Botanicals on Facebook to find out more the workshop and how to sign up.
WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER? VISIT www.theclubhou.se Would you like to schedule a tour? STOP BY 540 Telfair St. Augusta, GA EMAIL email@example.com
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
CIVILIAN GARB HAS PARALLEL WITH MILITARY DRESS CODES BY LIZ KLEBBA
Whether you are a civilian or in the military, think about what your day holds and dress accordingly. Neatness counts.
During a radio interview last summer, interviewer John Patrick drew a connection between my time in the Navy (and as a Navy spouse) and my personal wardrobe philosophy. Many of my attitudes about clothing and wardrobes come from this part of my history. Here are a few military basics, and how they relate to civilian business dress.
Uniform of the Day
Sure, a military uniform is easy. You don’t have a lot of choices, and the work of the day generally determines what uniform you will wear. One day you might dress in a working uniform, another day in a service uniform. You have what you need for everything from scrubbing bathrooms and repairing equipment to attending a military ball. You might not have a lot of options, but you are covered for all occasions. Civvie Parallel 1: Think about what your day holds, and dress accordingly. Have a “you-niform” to fall back on when time is tight, all goes haywire or plans are changed. Yours might be jeans or khakis and a button-front shirt (or blouse) topped with a blazer. Unless you are a yoga instructor, your “you-niform” should not be yoga pants. Civvie Parallel 2: Make sure you have what you need for the life you live and the unexpected moments (funerals, jury duty or visiting your lawyer, banker or accountant). You don’t need a lot of options, but your wardrobe should cover all the bases!
Polish Your Shoes
One of the quickest hits during inspection is/was for shoes: Scuffed heels or toes, raw laces, not edge-dressed or with run-down heels. We would put on freshly polished shoes at the last second and walk carefully down to line up for inspection. Civvie Parallel: Take care of your shoes. Find a good cobbler, not just a quickie repair place (although it can be a godsend for heel taps in a pinch). Cobblers do still exist but are becoming rarer than hen’s teeth. Find one, respect the craft and treat him or her like the amazing gift he or she is. Buy shoes that can be improved. Care for them. Clean them. Polish them. Store them properly at the end of the season.
The Details Matter
Are your ribbons on straight? Did you check with a ruler? Are they in the right order? Are your creases crisp? Is the edge of your belt buckle lined up exactly with the keeper? These details might seem trivial, but when everyone is wearing the same clothing, those little details stand up and shout. Civvie Parallel: Choose pressed clothing that is crisp. Wear your trousers at the right length. Adjust your necklace(s) so that they hang at a flattering point. Check the dimple in your tie. Make sure your shoes are laced the same way. Change your shirt if the buttons are straining (at bust or tummy). Check yourself from head to
toe (or even better, snap that full-length selfie!) before you head out the door.
Your (Work) Wardrobe Can Fit in a Sea Bag (or Suitcase!)
This is a holdover from carrying a year’s clothing in a sea bag. For those of you with no “squidly” experience, a sea bag is the vertical green duffle bag issued to Navy recruits to transport their uniforms from boot camp to future schools and duty stations. Everything except the cover (hat) and travel uniform was to fit into your sea bag. (Yes, uniforms have changed since the 1980s!) Civvie Parallel: If you plan well, your clothing wardrobe can fit into a suitcase and will take you far. Note: Any trip less than a household move will not require a 70-pound suitcase! I’d love to hear what dressing tips other veterans have for the civilians out there. Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to share yours! Liz Klebba of CP Image is a trained image and wardrobe coach and skilled member of the Association of Image Consultants International. She helps clients express their personal style in a way that is integrated with their lifestyles and values and helps businesses finesse the tricky waters of employee dress issues with workshops, training and mediation. Contact her at email@example.com or 706.691.4298.
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BEING A GOOD LEADER TAKES MORE THAN A TITLE BY STACY ROBERTS
Have you ever met someone who wanted to be in a leadership or managerial role but never displayed any reason or characteristics why he or she might be a good fit for that role? Have you ever worked with someone who received a promotion and all the “power” went to that person’s head to the point where he or she began to mistreat others? Many people want to be promoted into positions for the notoriety that they believe comes with them, but many of those people have never portrayed any reason why they would operate successfully as a leader. One great way to evaluate how someone would be as a leader is to see how that person follows other leaders. Effective leaders know how to be effective followers. I have had great leadership training and examples in my life for many years. Two key people who have provided me with leadership training are my pastors, Claude and Regina Harris. They’ve spoken many words of wisdom, and I will share some of those with you over time. Once while he was speaking, Pastor Claude told the congregation that we don’t get a title to work. Instead, we are to work for a title. This is very important to remember. Titles don’t mean anything if you don’t have the character, skills and be-
A good leader knows how to be a good follower and puts the interests of the team ahead of his or her own.
havior that goes along with them. Many individuals have gone into roles and realized that they are much more complex and challenging than they were ready for. There are many organizations with individuals in management and leadership roles who are lazy, unethical and self-serving and who handle their teams poorly in the way they treat them. It’s a recipe for disaster and self-destruction. This can result in employee morale being low, high turnover and tension within the organization. Before you step into any leadership
role, make sure you understand what you’re getting into. Leading others and helping your organization succeed is very rewarding. It is also involves a lot of work and management. I challenge you to examine yourself. Do you respect the leaders in your life? How well do you follow? How do you handle success? Are you humble? How do you treat others who are in roles subordinate to yours? Do you treat the custodian with the same kindness as the CEO? How do you handle stressful situations? Do you know how to motivate others? Are you
honest and do you operate with integrity? Do you make unethical decisions when it benefits you? These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself before you step into a leadership role. Wanting a bigger office and salary are not the only reasons you should seek promotion. Leaders bring about change and impact others in a positive way. They also are constantly developing. Being responsible for the development and success of others and your organization is no small task and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Are you really ready to be a leader? If you are already in a leadership role, are you operating effectively as a leader? Stacy Roberts is president of SMR Leadership Solutions LLC. As an executive coach with extensive HR and corporate leadership experience, she assists in providing leadership coaching and training. She also authored Boomer, Be Nice and Roscoe’s Rescue. She believes that leadership skills can be taught to help children develop into successful adults. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO ARE YOU?
BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND TO STAY AHEAD OF COMPETITORS BY DANIELLE HARRIS
In the Bible, in Mark 8:27, we read how Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” Believe it or not, this is a good question every entrepreneur and intrapreneur should ask themselves when building a personal brand. In the world of business, you want to look for ways to stay ahead of your competitors, and your personal brand will help you catch the attention of potential investors and employees. As we dive deeper into personal branding, think of it this way: You’re successfully positioning yourself in a niche so that people see you as an expert in that industry. I have been an entrepreneur for almost 10 years, and through my travels I’ve learned that anyone can start a business, but very few people are willing to put in
the work of becoming a thought leader and influencer. Trust me: You have something special that separates you from your competitors. You just have to embrace what that is and make it great. Here are four ways to build your personal brand: Be real with yourself. Building a personal brand on a lie is like building a skyscraper out of sticks. It might appear strong, but one strong wind will tear it down. There’s no way you can build a successful brand on a lie. If you did, you would spend most of your time, energy and money pretending to be something you’re not. Your personal brand should be a reflection of you who are, including your beliefs, weaknesses and strengths. People connect with authenticity, and they shy away from inconsistency.
18 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
Find out what you’re good at doing. One of the worse things you could do is something you know you don’t enjoy. So, find out how you can benefit from your strengths and commit yourself to being as great at that one thing as you can possibly be. Get your name out there. No one will know what you have to offer if you keep it hidden. So, get your name circulating in the community with speaking engagements, posting thoughtful messages on your social media platforms and writing articles based on your expertise. This attention will help you build credibility with your followers, and you will be considered an authority in your niche. Stay relevant. Strengthen your personal brand by remaining a student of your industry. No matter how long you’ve been in your field, that area of expertise is ever-
changing, and you can stay ahead of your competition by being in the know on the latest trends. Stay on top of your game by reading journals, books and articles, and even attending workshops. Danielle Harris is the CEO and founder of SDI, a leadership mentoring program for entrepreneurs, and earned her certification as a Personal Development Coach from the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute, an affiliate of the International Coach Federation. Reach her at 762.333.2868 or SDILeadershipAcademy@gmail.com.
POPULAR CSRA BARBECUE RESTAURANT ADDING THIRD LOCATION Phillip Pye, left, will open an Aiken franchise of The Pot Smoker, a restaurant started by Bobby Boggs, right. Photo by Witt Wells
BY WITT WELLS
A go-to spot for local barbecue fans will open in Aiken soon. A new franchise of The Pot Smoker, a North Augusta barbecue restaurant, is set to open on Silver Bluff Road in the former Buckwheat’s Bar-B-Que, which closed in December. In early January, Philip Pye, who opened the restaurant’s first franchise location in Columbia last spring, and his mother, Kathy Pye, finalized a deal with the owners of Buckwheat’s Bar-B-Que to open a second franchise location of The Pot Smoker in the Buckwheat’s building at 651 Silver Bluff Road. The Pyes are leasing the building from Buckwheat’s owner Dewayne Jones and have also taken over the restaurant’s catering business. Philip Pye said he aims to open the restaurant in four to six weeks and has no doubt that the constant flow of traffic on the busy thoroughfare will draw plenty of hungry Aikenites. “I learned a lot about barbecue by doing this,” he said. “It’s an art form to me.” Pye is no stranger to the restaurant business. His father, Andy Pye, has owned and managed dozens of restaurants over the years. Philip Pye followed a similar path and has done everything from managing multiple Firehouse Subs franchises to launching his own tapas concept in Columbia. But for Pye, something was always different about the North Augusta barbecue spot that Bobby Boggs and his family opened in a mobile unit in 2013. The Boggs family would camp out at a shopping center on Saturdays and sell as much barbecue as they could. After consistently selling 500 pounds of meat in three hours every weekend, the family decided to upgrade to a restaurant. In November 2016, Andy Pye came by The Pot Smoker with Philip, who was looking for new ideas. One taste was all it took. “I was like, ‘This is it,’ ” Philip Pye said. “ ‘This is what I want to do.’ ” Pye asked Boggs if he would consider franchising the restaurant, and Boggs said yes. He just wanted to be assured that Pye would value the culinary experience that he and his family had created in North Augusta and would do the same in the new restaurant. Boggs wasn’t disappointed. He has received strong reviews of the Columbia restaurant.
“People in today’s society are so stressed. They’re here for an experience, not just to eat.” – Bobby Boggs, who started The Pot Smoker restaurant
The Pot Smoker sells barbecue and sides. It started when Boggs and his family began selling their food from a mobile unit on Saturdays in North Augusta in 2013. They later opened a restaurant. Photo by Witt Wells “He does everything exactly how we do it in North Augusta,” Boggs said. Pye will now do the same thing in Aiken. Prior to launching the Columbia restaurant, he spent about four months shadowing a pitmaster at Boggs’ restaurant, where he learned every step of the process of smoking meat, from holding the meat correctly to using the exact temperatures for an optimal slow cook. But he has his own plans to improve the Aiken restaurant, including building a
patio in front of the restaurant that spans the entire length of the building and can accommodate 50-60 people. “People in today’s society are so stressed,” Boggs said. “They’re here for an experience, not just to eat.” Boggs’ philosophy is that the restaurant experience doesn’t begin with the first bite; it starts at the door. When Boggs is behind the counter at his family’s North Augusta restaurant and sees someone new walk in, he yells “One shot!” Customers, who are often
caught off guard at the thought of immediately taking shots of alcohol upon entry, are then presented with a small cup containing their first bite of Pot Smoker barbecue. Boggs first started handing out samples of his product at a Kroger store after years of compliments from friends. He hasn’t stopped just because he owns a restaurant now. “I’ll stop at every table,” Boggs said. “There’s an interaction between us and the customer that happens multiple times throughout that experience.” Pye isn’t planning on the Aiken location being any different when it opens. He’ll split his time between Aiken and his restaurants in Columbia, and Boggs plans to drop by on occasion. “(Columbia’s restaurant) is a mirror of us,” Boggs said. “This will be another mirror.”
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
BUSINESSPERSON OF THE MONTH
SECRET TO SUCCESS: NORMAN DUNAGAN WORKS LESS TO DO MORE BY GARY KAUFFMAN
Norman Dunagan stands by one of the recycling belts at Dumpster Depot, one of eight businesses he owns in the Aiken area. Photo by Gary Kauffman
Norman Dunagan has a secret that he wishes other small business owners knew: How to do more in less time. Dunagan owns Dumpster Depot in Aiken, plus seven other businesses in the Aiken area. But he works less now than he did when he only owned one business. Back then, he put in 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week, with Dumpster Depot. Now, with eight businesses, he works only five days a week.The secret was in finding the right strategy.
Norman Dunagan Dumpster Depot and 7 other businesses Seven years ago, Dunagan got involved in Strategic Coach, and it revolutionized the way he did business. “The main thing it taught me was to use my unique abilities,” he said. “But you’re taught in a 9 to 5 job to do everything. It made me focus and it made me find the right people. It’s not what do you do next, but who do you get involved?” In addition to Dumpster Depot, Dunagan owns Greenworks recycling; Double D Logistics trucking; Aiken Ice House; Aiken Organics, an online farmer’s market; the Alley Downtown Taproom; Whiskey Alley; and Dumpster Depot Event Services, his newest venture started in collaboration with AllStar Tents and Events. It all came about because Dunagan was let go after 14 years from a sales job he loved with Frito Lay. “My boss sat me down and said, ‘You’ll be just fine, you just won’t be here,’” Dunagan recalled. “I planned on spending the rest of my life there. If they hadn’t fired me, I’d still be there.” But that was the impetus for Dunagan to put his entrepreneurial spirit into play – one that had already led to three failed businesses – even if he didn’t want his wife to know. He spent the money in their savings account to buy four rollout dumpsters to start Dumpster Depot and went looking for another job. While he was out applying for jobs, the dumpsters were mistakenly delivered to his home address, prompting a call from his bewildered wife. He eventually had to admit to his
investment. “That’s how she found out about my fourth business,” he said. “She had to think that either I was crazy or she was. The most amazing part of this whole story is that my wife stayed with me.” Dunagan did take a position at Fastenal for six years while getting Dumpster Depot up and running. While his first three businesses failed, his fourth one took off, and he discovered that he has a true entrepreneurial spirit. “Failure is just practice for success,” he said. “People ask how you (survive failure). You just got to learn to get back up and do it again.” Although he still gets nervous about the success of any new venture, Dunagan said his aptitude for risk is greater than most. “One person told me, ‘The difference between you and me is that I think about it, but you do it,’” he said. Although he once dreamed of an ideal executive office, Dunagan doesn’t have an office in any of his businesses. “I’m the world’s most unorganized person,” he said. “If I had a desk it’d be covered with paper and getting piled higher. To me, an office is like quicksand. Once I get in it, I get drowned in everything.” Dunagan is a board member and avid supporter of Megiddo Dream Station, a nonprofit job and personal skilling training program that helps people become gainfully employed and achieve dreams, such as home ownership. He uses his own story of failure and success to inspire those going through the program.
20 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
“It’s always great for them to see that they can turn the page of the calendar and tomorrow is a brand new day,” he said. What are you passionate about in your business? “I want to inspire people that they can do more than they think they can do. Words are powerful. What people tell you has a major effect on what you do. I only want to be around like-minded people. I’ll get up and walk out of a meeting if there’s negativity in the room.” What’s the best thing and worst thing about being an entrepreneur? “The best thing is being able to create your own future and find that the future is bigger than the past. The worst thing is that with great success comes great sacrifice. I’ve had a hard time finding balance, and it’s been hard on my family. My daughter is off in college and I missed a lot of her growing up. Someone asked me if I was happy – I said I was but I don’t know about my wife.” Who or what inspires you? “All of us have to have some form of faith. The focus of mine is Jesus Christ. If you have purpose, you have a sense of serenity.” How do you unwind? “We’re taught (in Strategic Coach) to have three types of days – focus days, buffer days for planning and free days. I haven’t perfected that yet. I do a lot of reading on Saturdays, preparing my mind for the next goal. Sundays is all about going to church and spending time with the family. I don’t have any hobbies – being broke early in life takes away hobbies. I’ve
committed to my wife that we will take four vacations a year. I’m hoping this is the year I’ll do it. We’re all wired differently, and what I enjoy is what I do every day.” How do you give back to the community? “My dad was a laborer and he thought that if you did something, you should get paid for it. So, I wasn’t a giver and I wasn’t a churchgoer. Now I understand that fulfillment is in helping others, and it’s real fulfillment when you don’t get credit for. So, we do a lot of things we don’t talk about. But we have asked all of our 40 employees to do 16 hours of volunteer work in the community, and we pay them for it (if it’s done during the work week). We donate services to a lot of local events and festivals, and we always report back how much of it we recycled. I like to think it’s made a shift in how people think about recycling. We also installed 12 charging stations in Aiken and Augusta for electric cars, in collaboration with the businesses where we installed them.” What do you see for the future personally and for your businesses? “I see a future that is bigger than the past. As entrepreneurs, we have the chance of creating the future we dream up. Retirement is an antiquated idea. That’s the worst thing I could dream up. Unless my health gives way, I’ll never completely retire. For the businesses, I take very seriously that the decisions I make will affect everyone I employ. I want to create a great work environment where they feel they can continue to progress.”
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
Remember these signs that helped encourage a “yes” vote on the Transportation Investment Act in 2012? Contributed photos
FULL STEAM AHEAD
ONE MAJOR ROAD PROJECT COMPLETED, OTHERS UNDERWAY BY TAMMY SHEPHERD
I have seen it all in Columbia County, and major growth tops the list! As someone who in 1980 could ride her horse from the stables on Belair Road – now the University Medical Complex – across Washington Road and down North Belair Road and back, I have witnessed firsthand the bustling growth Columbia County has experienced. Back then it was easy to walk across Washington Road from the former Evans High School/Junior High to Evans Baptist Church – now First Baptist of Evans – and across the street to Roundtree’s convenience store. Today, it is a totally different story. For newcomers to Columbia County and the greater Augusta area, the Columbia County Chamber took a bold stand in 2012 to advocate for the passage of the Transportation Investment Act (TIA), otherwise known as T-SPLOST. This legislation was a statewide referendum to impose a one-cent sales tax per region for identified transportation project. If passed, the region’s sales tax would increase from 7 percent to 8 percent for 10 years. These funds would pay for eight major corridor road projects in Columbia County and more than 50 projects in Augusta. The Columbia County Chamber and the Augusta Chamber, in partnership with the Georgia Chamber, understood that critical infrastructure was needed to spur economic development and growth for our area. Convincing people to tax themselves would not be an easy task. The Chamber invested about four months advocating and educating groups about the vote to be held on July 31, 2012. It was a complicated piece of legislation and would have been easy for people to vote “no” on because it was a tax increase. We made presentations to many organizations including civic clubs, builders and Realtor associations. The estimated revenue for Columbia County alone was $165 million for the eight projects plus an additional 25 percent in discretionary funds for other transportation improvements. Luckily for
PLANNED PROJECTS So, what about the other seven TIA projects and other road improvements that are planned? According to the county’s project summary list, here’s the timeline. Project Wrightsboro Road Grovetown Improvements Flowing Wells Road widening project Lewiston Road widening and intersection Horizon South Parkway widening Fury’s Ferry Road widening to the SC line Robinson Avenue widening Appling-Harlem Bridge replacement over I-20
Funds Construction/Completion $3 million in TIA funds Under construction/June 2018 $20 million in TIA funds 2018/2021 $33 million in TIA/State funds 2019/2022 $26 million in TIA funds 2020/2022 $50 million (TIA) 2019/2022 $8 million in TIA funds Under construction/Fall 2018 $11 million in TIA funds 2020/2022
All of these quality-of-life features, from good schools and parks to safe infrastructure, are why Columbia County is one of the fastestgrowing and most attractive places for businesses and residents. our region, the yes votes outweighed the no votes for Region 7. Remember these signs all over the county! The Chamber led the charge on the following principles: • Based on the previous 10 years (200010), Columbia County grew by more than 35,000 residents. If we stayed on that same projection (which we currently have), our roads would not support this growth. Roads would have to be built, and the funding could come from property tax instead of sales tax. This would burden only homeowners and business owners. A sales tax was the fairest way to tax everyone who purchased goods in our region. • All revenue collected had to be used for identified local projects, and a citizen’s advisory council would serve as oversight group to insure our region got what residents were paying for. • The tax increase is only for 10 years. We will reap the reward of our investment in the time we save from not being stuck in traffic.
22 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
Fast forward to February 2018, and Columbia County will celebrate the first and largest TIA project accomplishment, budgeted at $65 million – half of which was included in federal funds. The completion of Riverwatch Parkway from Baston Road to Washington Road will benefit the 70 percent of the professional workforce that leaves Columbia County to go to work and will increase commerce for the entire region. We have been waiting on this project for almost 20 years! It is long overdue. Other road projects under design, but not yet funded, include the widening of Hardy McManus and Hereford Farm roads. What about Washington Road from Gibbs Road to William Few Parkway? The $30 million project is almost complete, too! The county SPLOST funded this road. “SPLOST” is a special purpose local option sales tax that voters passed for specific projects only in the county, not the region. The projects can be infrastructure,
parks, buildings and more. Examples of these include Savannah Rapids Pavilion, Evans Town Center Park, and the library and performing arts center. Voters have the option to extend the county SPLOST every six years. The Columbia County Chamber’s Board of Directors also supported the passage of the county’s most recent SPLOST and the educational SPLOST. The E-SPLOST allows the Board of Education to build new schools without any debt or a mortgage. This helps keep property taxes lower. All of these quality-of-life features, from good schools and parks to safe infrastructure, are why Columbia County is one of the fastest-growing and most attractive places for businesses and residents. By passing TIA, and the county and educational SPLOSTS, the citizens of Columbia County took control of their own hard-earned money and assessed themselves, and ultimately they will reap the rewards of a great quality of life!
Tammy Shepherd is president of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and has worked at Disney World, Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Columbia County Magazine. Email tammy@columbiacounty chamber.com.
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
SIMPLIFICATION IS NOT SIMPLE PASSAGE OF NEW TAX LAW CREATES MANY CHANGES
BY CHRISTINE HALL
As the New Year rolls around, it’s always a sure bet that there will be changes to current tax law, and 2018 is no different. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act that recently passed will have some consequence on every taxpayer, both corporate and individual. These changes took effect Jan. 1, 2018, but are not retroactive to 2017. Therefore, you will not see the changes mentioned here on the income tax returns that will be prepared in the next few months. However, the deviations from the 2017 tax laws are relevant now for 2018 taxplanning purposes. There are too many changes to mention in one article, but here are a few of the highlights: The tax rate structure, which now ranges from 10 to 37 percent, remains similar to 2017 in that there are seven tax brackets, but the tax-bracket thresholds increase significantly for each filing status, and the top rate was decreased from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. Personal exemptions have been eliminated through tax year 2025.
The standard deduction increases to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples. Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) exemption amounts increase to $70,300 for individuals and $109,400 for married couples filing jointly. The deduction threshold for deductible medical expenses is temporarily reduced beginning in 2018 to 7.5 percent (down from 10 percent in 2017) of adjusted gross income (AGI). The legislation limits the mortgage interest deduction to interest on $750,000 of acquisition indebtedness beginning Jan. 1, 2018. For acquisition indebtedness incurred prior to Dec. 15, 2017, the law allows current homeowners to keep the current limitation of $1 million for married filing joint taxpayers. It also allows taxpayers to continue to include mortgage interest on second homes, but within those lower dollar caps. However, no interest deduction will be allowed for interest on home equity indebtedness. The reform limits annual itemized de-
ductions for all nonbusiness state and local taxes deductions, including property taxes, to $10,000 for married filing joint taxpayers. Miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2 percent floor have been repealed. The deduction threshold for deductible medical expenses is temporarily reduced to 7.5 percent of AGI. The additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax on wages above $200,000 for individuals ($250,000 married filing jointly), which went into effect in 2013, remains in effect for 2018, as does the Medicare tax of 3.8 percent on investment (unearned) income for single taxpayers with modified AGI of more than $200,000 ($250,000 joint filers). The child tax credit temporarily increases to $2,000 per child, up from $1,000 in 2017, thanks to the passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Most of the changes listed above are temporary and will expire in 2025. At that time, the laws will revert back to 2017 laws unless legislation is passed to extend or make them permanent. Although our government attempted
to “simplify” taxes, I can assure you that many aspects of this legislation are far from simple!
Christine Hall is a partner in Hall, Murphy & Schuyler PC, a full-service accounting firm. For a complimentary accounting, tax or business consultation, call 706.855.7733 or email email@example.com.
Find out what the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce recently learned about the tax reform plan. PAGE 31
KEEP IT CLEAN
REGULAR CLEANING MAKES BUSINESS LOOK INVITING TO CUSTOMERS BY TONY CREIGHTON
Imagine cleaning your bathroom surfaces only once every three months. Or only cleaning your kitchen surfaces once a year. What if a restaurant manager never scheduled any employees to clean the toilets in the men’s restroom or mop the dining room floors? You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could successfully argue in favor of such cleaning schedules. Yet, how often are the areas of your properties, such as the service entrance concrete, dumpster pad areas, concrete entryways or the exterior of your building’s siding, brick or stucco surface properly cleaned? We often see restaurant service entrances and dumpster areas that are so infrequently cleaned that they bring to life the analogy of how a kitchen only cleaned once a year would look – unsightly, unsanitary and eventually suffering irreparable damage. Next time you go into any commercial store, restaurant or mall, look down at the concrete at the entrance doors. Is it cov-
Regularly scheduled cleanings of your property’s exterior surfaces not only maintain a clean and inviting appearance, they will also prevent wear and tear that can be costly to repair. ered in discarded chewing gum splotches and stains? Discarded chewing gum that sits on concrete for weeks or months will eventually cause a permanent stain to the surface, one that will still be visible once the actual gum blob is melted away with hot water pressure washing. So, even though the surface has been cleaned with a pressure washer, it will still have dirty-looking “gum shadows.” A regularly maintained commercial property that is professionally cleaned with proper detergents and hot water pressure cleaning systems will see immensely cleaner and more sanitary con-
24 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
ditions, ensuring that you never see a “shadow” stain. In addition to stains, the accumulation of algae, dirt, pollutants and other environmental materials will begin to deteriorate the surfaces of your property over time if left uncleaned. Regularly scheduled cleanings of your property’s exterior surfaces not only maintain a clean and inviting appearance, they will also prevent wear and tear that can be costly to repair. Regularly scheduled exterior cleanings from a reputable pressure washing company to maintain clean concrete surfaces
and building exteriors will be significantly less expensive over time than doing cleanings on a sporadic basis. Properly cleaned and maintained properties are also safer for tenants, customers and employees. In the long run, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual exterior cleanings with a licensed, knowledgeable pressure washing company can leave your property with a clean and professional appearance, all while saving you money and the headache of exterior building repairs.
Tony Creighton is the owner/operator of ALLCLEAN™ Pressure Washing LLC and its subsidiary, Augusta PROCLEAN™ – committed to providing high-quality cleanings for the CSRA’s commercial properties and homes. Call 706.651.8089 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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▪ Towing ($100 – $1,200) ▪ Impound fees ($200-$1000) ▪ Bail ($150 – $2,500) ▪ Legal fees ($2,000 – $25,000) ▪ Fines ($300 – $1,200) ▪ Expert witnesses ($2000-$25,000)
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507 CDP Industrial Blvd Suite 2 Grovetown, GA 30813
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www.duplicatingsystems.com January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
A PENNY SAVED
PLANNING FOR TAX DEDUCTIONS CAN SAVE MONEY BY KURT MUELLER
When you’re in business for yourself, every penny counts. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of as many tax deductions as you can. But the time to start planning for these deductions is not tax time – if you wait that long, it’s often too late. As a business owner, you have many opportunities to generate tax deductions throughout the year. Whether you are self-employed or run your own corporation, you can plan ahead to save tax dollars by taking advantage of all the deductions to which you’re entitled. Here are some to consider:
Home Office Deduction
You may deduct expenses allocated to that portion of your home that you use exclusively and regularly for business purposes. To qualify: Your home must be your principal place of business or be used to meet with clients in the normal course of business. If your home office qualifies, you can deduct a pro rata share of your total rent or mortgage interest payments, real estate taxes, depreciation, homeowner’s insurance and utilities. Planning Idea: It’s easier to qualify if you set aside a whole room exclusively for business use.
Business Use of Automobile
Business owners commonly use personal cars to run work-related errands, visit clients or buy supplies. While the cost of commuting from your home to a separate office is not deductible, if you qualify for the home office deduction (described above), you can deduct the cost of traveling from your home office to any other work-related location. How to calculate your deduction Two methods are available. You may deduct either: 1) a standard IRS-approved cost per mile driven; or 2) the actual costs of vehicle operation, based on the portion of total miles driven for business use. In most cases, mileage is the simpler calculation, but in either case, the IRS requires you to document all business miles. Planning Idea Keep a notebook in your car. For every business trip, log the starting and ending odometer readings, the business purpose and the date.
If you give gifts to clients, such as a fruit basket at the holidays, the IRS allows you to deduct only $25 per person annually. However, with smart planning, you may be able to increase the deduction. For example, you may deduct the cost of wrapping, delivering or insuring gifts above the $25 limit. Planning Idea If a gift is intended to be used by a number of people, not an individual, you may be able to deduct more than the $25 limit. For example, suppose you regularly send a $100 holiday fruit basket to the president of a client firm. Ordinarily, only $25 would be deductible. However, if you send the same basket to “all employees” of this firm, the full amount could be deductible, thanks to the $25-per-person gift deduction allowance.
If your business provides free meals for employees and does not include their value as taxable compensation, you generally may deduct only 50 percent of the cost. However, there is an exception called
26 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
“meals for the convenience of the employer” that can increase the deduction to 100 percent. To qualify for the 100 percent deduction You must show that the free meals you’ve provided: 1) were consumed at a worksite; 2) were offered to at least half of all employees; and 3) met a business purpose, such as increasing productivity. Planning Idea If you regularly “order in” food for employees and pay for it, document on the receipt how many employees participated, how many employees were present that day, the date and time of the meal, and the business purpose.
sonal expenses, the interest is not deductible, but if you use the money for business expenses, it might be deductible. These are just some ideas for businessrelated tax deductions. Be sure to talk to your tax adviser throughout the business tax year, so you can plan appropriately to help reduce your next tax bill.
Business Interest Expense
With the exception of the interest payments on a home mortgage, most personal interest is not deductible. However, 100 percent of the interest on business-related loans may be deductible. To claim this deduction Be sure to separate business loans from personal ones by using a separate consumer credit account, credit card or bank loan for your business-related expenses. Planning Idea If you borrow money and use it for per-
Kurt Mueller is an independent financial advisor for the Consolidated Planning Group and worked on preparation of this article with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. The information contained in this article is for general, informational purposes only. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents or employees do not give tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your individual situation. For more ideas on deductible business expenses, visit the IRS’s Web site at www.irs.gov and download a copy of Publication 535, Business Expenses. To make an appointment with Kurt, call 803.671.8792 or email email@example.com.
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January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
YOUR BRAIN CAN DO AMAZING THINGS – IF YOU LET IT BY MARK ALISON
Have you ever been doing something and had a totally unrelated thought or idea pop into your head? If so, you have experienced the creative process. Here is how it works: You saturate your mind with the subject matter – you look at visuals, read material, even discuss with others and then tell your brain you need an answer to the issue in the next 24 hours. And give it a very powerful reason why you need it; powerful like a deadline or an expectation from someone you don’t want to disappoint. Then, forget it. Go about your regular routine. Your brain goes to work, and it will work night and day in the background while you do other stuff. When the time comes, it will pop the answer into your conscious mind. That is how the creative process works! Famous creative people including Robert Browning used this process frequently. He said he would be facing a deadline and would go to sleep telling the “brownies” to have him an idea by in the morning. When he awoke, he claimed, the idea was already there and ready to complete. Browning’s brownies did their job. Paul McCartney was 22 and trying to write a new song. He woke up with the tune for Yesterday in his head. He wrote down a few words to help remember the music and later substituted the real lyric
to complete the work. Jack Nicklaus changed his golf swing after seeing himself in a dream. He was winning in the dream, holding the club differently than he did when really playing. “I tried it the way I did in my dream and it worked,” the six-time Masters Tournament champion said. “I feel kind of foolish admitting it, but it really happened in a dream.” Train your brain. Do we use all of our brain? The answer is yes, but you can ask more of your brain than you do. Sleep is something we all require but how we wake is even more critical. Have you ever woken up before the alarm and said to yourself, “Wow, if I feel this good now, imagine how much better I will feel in 20 minutes when the alarm goes off ?” But when it does go off you are
much worse off than if you had gotten up earlier. Here’s why – we sleep in a rhythmic sleep cycle and move in and out of deep (REM) sleep to a lighter, almost awake, state. If you wake up at the top of the sleep cycle you will feel rested, but if it is at the bottom, during REM, you will feel tired. The alarm clock doesn’t know the state of sleep you are in, so it snatches you out of REM. Try this: Look at the clock as you retire and notice the time. Close your eyes and see the same time on a digital clock. Then, imagine the numbers turning and landing on the time you want to wake up. Tell your brain why it is important that you wake up at that time. Your body will regulate your sleep cycle so you are at the top of the waking state when it tells your conscious mind to wake up. You will awaken rested. And you’ll never set an alarm clock again. I’ve taught this to hundreds of people, and they also say it works. Your brain works all the time. Even now it is regulating your respiration, keeping you cool or warm, commanding the heart to pump. But it is also processing information as you read this article. It stores data for immediate and future recall. It could be working on a problem right
now, just waiting for a quiet time to give you the answer. Give it that time. Meditation is good. Anything that allows your mind to be still – this means you are not loading it with thoughts, worry, concerns and data. Breathe and relax. The answers are in there and they will come out – if you give them the right environment. We all have creative imagination: It’s part of our DNA. Interestingly, the shape and structure of DNA eluded scientists for years until James Watson followed the process above. In 1953, his brain gave him the idea of the double helix – two intertwined serpents with heads at opposite ends. So, if it is in you already, give it a chance to mature and come out to your conscious mind. You can use this technique for answers to business questions, too. It’s unlimited in scope and potential – just like your brain.
Mark Alison, the Business Accelerator, is an independent marketing counselor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SET SMALLER, ACHIEVABLE GOALS TO YIELD BIG RESULTS BY MISSIE USRY
Perhaps you’ve made some resolutions for the new year. You’ve decided to eat healthy, save more money, have more fun, shed your stress, lose weight, spend more time with family … the list could go on for a mile. By the time this issue hits the streets, you might have already stumbled and let some of those resolutions fall to the wayside. Maybe it’s because you didn’t have a plan or you didn’t set some realistic goals. Not all is lost, because you can form a plan and use each day to begin again. There’s no reason to wait until next week or next month. Each minute, each hour, each day is a chance to begin again or continue forward. Begin again by setting a goal. In business, SMART goals often are discussed with employees at evaluation time with their manager. SMART stands for Spe-
cific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Setting goals is important! Top athletes and successful business leaders set goals to measure success. Goals give us all a vision and set us up to be motivated. If there’s a big goal to achieve, you can certainly take a look at the big picture over a period of time, then break that goal into smaller goals that can be easily met. Perhaps you want to go back to school, but it seems too overwhelming. Start by giving yourself a deadline to choose a school, then another deadline to submit the application. You can track your progress by meeting each deadline. If you want to save money, decide how much you want to save by the end of the year, and then set benchmarks for how much you’ll save each month or each paycheck. Setting these smaller tasks and chip-
28 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
ping away at them with ease will make your big-picture goals seem much more tangible and less overwhelming. Next, choose a time to evaluate your progress. If you’ve done well, keep going! If you’ve not done as well as you hoped, consider whether your goal is realistic or needs to be tweaked. Are there ways you can improve? What happens if you didn’t stay on course at all? Look at your plan. Did you set goals based on outcome or based on performance? Sometimes you can’t control all the variables, so be sure to set your goals based on what you can personally control. Working to stick with a resolution isn’t always easy, but deciding what you want to achieve and separating the actions into separate benchmarks will keep you on task. Continuously evaluating your perfor-
mance to see your smaller accomplishments will help keep you motivated and build self-confidence to continue until the ultimate goals are achieved.
Missie Usry is the Enrollment Manager and advises the Community Involvement Club at Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus. 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. For questions, call 706.993.1123 or visit gmcaugusta.com.
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
THOU SHALT REST
TAKING SUNDAY OFF HAS IMPORTANT BENEFITS BY GARY KAUFFMAN
Recently while traveling, my wife and I decided to stop for a delicious Chick-filA sandwich – until we remembered that it was Sunday. That meant every one of their fast food chicken restaurants would be closed. At other times, after church, my wife has wanted to swing by Hobby Lobby, only to realize that, like Chick-fil-A, it is also closed on Sunday (thus answering the prayers of many a husband). Both of these franchises have become well known for publically demonstrating their Christian faith by closing their stores on Sundays (Chick-fil-A even makes it a permanent fixture on its signs). It is something that was common in my childhood but is increasingly rare these days. As a Christian business owner, should you follow their lead, or is the Sunday shutdown merely a personal preference? The command to rest on the Sabbath is found as the fourth of the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20. It is the longest of the 10 commandments and specifically says that followers of God are to do all their work in six days and then rest on the seventh, and it adds that they are not to make their children, servants, foreigners or even their livestock work on the seventh day. (Technically, the Sabbath is sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, but since Jesus rose from the grave on the day after the Sabbath, or Sunday, and because of references in the New Testament to believers gathering on the first day of the week, Christian tradition has made Sunday the Sabbath day.) This theme of Sabbath rest continues in the Old Testament with a Sabbath rest of the land every seven years, and a Year of Jubilee after seven Sabbath years. One of the reasons Israel was punished in the Bible was for not keeping its Sabbaths and Sabbath years. As a result of that punishment, a ruling Jewish class known as the Pharisees created a number of harsh rules to avoid the merest hint of working on the Sabbath – proscriptions on the length of distance you could walk, how much weight you could lift, what you could eat, etc. Jesus criticized this practice, stating that the Sabbath was created for man, and not man for the Sabbath. In recent years, this has been one of the reasons why many Christians have foregone the notion that working on Sunday is bad.
Chick-fil-A makes a point of telling customers it is closed on Sundays, even putting it on store signs. Photo by Gary Kauffman
When you shut down completely, you’ll find the next day that your mind – and your body – are fresher and able to do more in less time. ... You’ll enjoy your work – and your family – much more. And the value of that is priceless. But when Jesus said the Sabbath was created for man, he wasn’t saying the Sabbath (or Sunday) wasn’t important, or that believers could do as they wished on that day, including working. In fact, the idea was that the Sabbath was created so that people had one day a week to rest and recuperate.
30 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
Recent research in several scientific and medical fields has shown that rest and rejuvenation of the body are vital to good health. Constant stress elevates production of adrenaline, which can lead to unhealthy effects on the body. Our bodies are designed to need rest every night and every seventh day. So, if for no other reason, shutting a business down (and not doing any of the office work at home) on Sundays is healthy for you. But as Christians, we’re also called to be different from the world, and in today’s world, being closed on Sunday is certainly different. That’s why Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby stand out. It certainly hasn’t hurt them financially – both are hugely profitable companies. They receive high praise from employees and customers alike, and even the grudging admiration of people who don’t hold to the same religious beliefs. The day you set aside is perhaps less important than that you set a day apart for your rest. If your business has a strong weekend crowd (say, a recreational business, or you’re a pastor) set Monday aside as your
Sabbath. Avoid the temptation to use that down day to catch up on all the business stuff you didn’t get done during the week. When you shut down completely, you’ll find the next day that your mind – and your body – are fresher and able to do more in less time. It might never make you as profitable as Chick-fil-A or Hobby Lobby, but you’ll enjoy your work – and your family – much more. And the value of that is priceless.
Gary Kauffman of North Augusta is a freelance writer and product photographer and is studying to become a Christian life coach. Contact him at glkauffman email@example.com or 803.341.5830.
ALL ABOUT TAX REFORM
NEW LAW COULD IMPACT MOST LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES BY GARY KAUFFMAN
On Dec. 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law the biggest tax reform in more than three decades. The sweeping reform affects taxes for individuals and businesses, for the most part starting in 2018. But what will it mean for small businesses? Jessica Cain, a shareholder with Elliott Davis, told the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 9 that the reform involves some give-and-take – some tax breaks and deductions were added, while others were eliminated. The change that will affect the majority of local small businesses is the deduction for flow-through, or pass-through, businesses. A pass-through business is one where the business income “passes through” the business to the owner and is taxed as individual income. Sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations are all pass-throughs. According to the Brookings Institution, 95 percent of all U.S. businesses are passthroughs, with sole proprietorships accounting for 43 percent of those and 41 percent of all businesses. Most pass-throughs are small businesses: Brookings says that 99 percent have annual revenues of less than $10 million. According to PayScale, the average annual income for a small business owner is less than $100,000, and for some, less than $50,000. The new law provides a 20 percent deduction on qualified business income (QBI) for pass-through businesses. The QBI includes everything except investment income, wages or guaranteed payments, up to $157,500 or $315,000 if married and filing jointly. So, if the QBI is $100,000, the owner would be taxed on only $80,000. But there is a caveat – some passthrough services businesses are in an excluded category. “If the business depends on the reputation of the person providing the services, they’re in this category,” Cain said. That would include services such as health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, athletics, consulting, financial services and brokerages. The corporate tax rate for C corporations was lowered to a 21 percent flat tax – but individuals will now also pay a tax on their wages and dividends. Cain said there are also changes in property depreciation and for property put into service.
Reforms from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act will involve some give-andtake for businesses, Jessica Cain, a shareholder with Elliott Davis, told the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.
One elimination of a deduction that might have an impact on the local scene is that entertainment expenses can no longer be deducted – meaning taking a client golfing no longer can come off your taxes. Meal expenses, however, can still be deducted. The law also eases the requirements for using the cash method of accounting, raising the limit to $25 million. Contractors are also now able to defer reporting income up to two years rather than filing a percentage of completion. While the provisions for the Affordable Care Act remain in place, the new law reduces the penalty of not complying to zero percent, effectively canceling it. There’s another change might affect local businesses more indirectly – all foreign earnings will be taxed as if they had been earned in the United States, even if the earnings are placed in a foreign bank. Cain said this could be as much as $2 trillion and helps level the playing field for small businesses. With no incentive to place the money offshore, Cain said, that money could be brought back to the United States, helping to stimulate the economy. Most of the changes are for the 2018 tax year, which means businesses should start planning now to make the most of the changes. In addition to talking to a tax professional, Cain suggested that businesses perform cost-segregation studies and
debt-structuring analysis, analyze accounting methods, do tax projections
and set up an accounting system to track meals and entertainment expenses.
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
SKY’S THE LIMIT
COCO RUBIO PASSES THE TORCH AT SKY CITY
BY WITT WELLS
After spending nearly a decade bringing well-known national acts and local bands to an increasingly vibrant downtown, the owners of music venue Sky City have sold the business, according to former co-owner Coco Rubio and the venue’s new owners. On Monday, Dec. 11, Sky City co-owners Coco Rubio, Jayson Rubio and Eric Kinlaw sold the venue to George Claussen and Brian Brittingham, co-owners of Southbound Smokehouse and local entertainment promotion and production company Friends with Benefits, which Claussen founded. The Rubio brothers and Kinlaw had acquired the business in 2008, when it was named The Mission. “It felt like it was the right time,” said Coco Rubio, who also owns Soul Bar and has been hired as operations manager at the Miller Theater. Tommy Wafford and Andrew Duke, co-founders of Augusta-based company Mealviewer, also have a stake in the new ownership and will be “partners in everything,” according to Brittingham. Claussen and Brittingham took over at Sky City on Jan. 1. The pair signed a five-year lease on the building, with an option to renew for another five years. The building is owned by Bryan Haltermann. “Those guys will want to put their personality into it,” Rubio said. Claussen and Brittingham are no strangers to the music industry. Friends with Benefits has brought dozens of acclaimed bands and musicians to Augusta in recent years, including The Flaming Lips, Jason Mraz, Lil Uzi Vert, Kid Rock and others. Before their collaboration at Friends with Benefits and Southbound Smokehouse began in 2015, Claussen had been helping bring acts to Sky City for several years, starting with Cage the Elephant in 2010. Brittingham had owned Red Lion Pub in the early 2000s and had booked and managing shows at music venues Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta and
Cumberland’s in Charleston, S.C. “We already have our finger on the pulse of what’s going to sell and what people want,” Brittingham said. “I think we’re going to try to keep it as similar as we can but up the quality. We’re looking to bring bigger acts more consistently.” Even before opening Southbound in 2015, Claussen and Brittingham had considered acquiring Sky City. Southbound Smokehouse has hosted shows, but Claussen said their ability to do what they wanted musically was very limited. Even when Southbound opens the event space that is awaiting completion next door to the restaurant, that venue won’t be conducive to large crowds and rock ’n’ roll bands. “It was a natural progression,” Brittingham said. “We’ve been looking to do something bigger than Southbound.” Claussen and Brittingham plan to continue the legacy of Sky City and say they “don’t want to go in and
32 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
change what’s already working.” Both Rubio and Claussen referred to the sale as “passing the torch.” “Coco is such a good friend of ours that he wasn’t just going to give it to anybody,” Claussen said. But Sky City’s new owners do have big plans to improve the venue with an ambitious technology overhaul that will include new screens in the front of the venue and a new ticketing platform and app that will be spearheaded by Wafford and Duke. Claussen and Brittingham are also working on incorporating augmented reality at the venue, which Claussen said would allow concertgoers, for example, to be able to take a photo of an old poster and view video of that live show at Sky City on their phones. “We’re going to do stuff nobody’s ever seen in this town,” Brittingham said. After renovations in early January, Sky City opened its new season with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on Jan. 18.
Meanwhile, Rubio said his role at the renovated Miller Theater down the street will be the same as it was at Sky City: a little of everything – frontof-house operations, helping bring new acts to the venue and overseeing the bar, among other things. He also said he wants to help Claussen and Brittingham in any way he can. Rubio said his position at a new venue will also allow him to collaborate with Sky City, particularly when Friends with Benefits brings to town musicians and bands that might be more suited for shows at the Miller rather than Sky City. Brittingham and Claussen also plan to work in conjunction with other local theaters. “You kind of see there’s synergy between everybody, where we work with any and all of them, and I think that’s what separates us from a lot of other cities,” Claussen said. “You don’t see that in other cities, the camaraderie between everybody. Everybody’s here to work together, especially right now.”
FROM WAR TO PEACE
MILITARY VETERAN TRANSITIONS INTO HOLISTIC HEALTH AND WELLNESS BY WITT WELLS
The “peaceful warrior” is most commonly known as a yoga pose. For Kelly Baker, it represents a change she made in her life: the pursuit of calmness in the midst of a “crazy lifestyle.” After a nearly seven-year career in the Army that included two six-month tours as a staff sergeant assisting in interrogation at a detention facility in Afghanistan and teaching interrogation tactics at a base in Arizona, Baker was drawn to the idea of a slower pace. “Today’s environment makes us think we need to run and catch the next thing,” Baker said. “I’m still a warrior in some respects, but in different modalities.” After her retirement from the Army, becoming a mother and moving from Kansas to Augusta with her husband in 2009, Baker has settled into a change of pace that exercise her skills and passion in a realm much different than that of the traditional American warrior. Baker now sees herself as a “peaceful warrior.” And Peaceful Warrior Apothecary, her new holistic health and wellness venture in Martinez, is the beginning of a new chapter in her life. Military interrogation and holistic healing methods are just about as far from each other as two professions can be. For Baker, they’re connected by one thing: her love for teaching. She spent much of her time in the Army teaching interrogation tactics to students ages 18 to 35, and she traveled around the world training with special forces groups from Denmark to New Zealand. “I love the teaching aspect of it,” Baker said. “That’s why I want to make sure I do that at the store.” Baker’s chiropractor father instilled in her a love for medicine at a young age. The holistic element came later. Baker now has a master’s degree in holistic health and wellness from the American College of Health Care Sciences in Oregon and has almost completed another master’s degree in herbal medicine. Now that Baker has received a wealth of education herself, there are few things she enjoys more than teaching others about the connections between mind, body and spirit. Herbal remedies and essential oil remedies have reduced headaches, arthritic pain, anxiety and depression for users for centuries. Lavender oil, for example, has been shown in some studies to improve sleep (including one study that found that col-
Kelly Baker left the Army to open Peaceful Warrior Apothecary, which sells herbal remedies and essential oils. Photo by Witt Wells
“Today’s environment makes us think we need to run and catch the next thing. I’m still a warrior in some respects, but in different modalities.” – Kelly Baker lege students who struggled to sleep benefitted from inhaling lavender before going to bed). Mullein leaves, which Baker sells at her shop, have been used for their health benefits as a cough suppressant and for respiratory health. But as a whole, research documenting the benefits of the “alternative medicine”
field is slim. Baker admits that among those who are most critical of her new profession are seasoned medical doctors. Her answer is simple: attitude changes everything. “Changing your thought process can influence the physical aspects of your life,” Baker said as she explained the mental stress that can cause physical symptoms such as stomach ulcers, for example. Baker remembers walking into the health and wellness department of a local grocery store when she moved to Augusta and asking about a particular herb. To her surprise, she received a response of bewilderment and disregard. She realized her knowledge could be of service to the people around her. Peaceful Warrior Apothecary arose out of Baker’s instinct to fill a need when she saw one. “I’ve grown up in a holistic world my whole life,” she said. “I’ve always had a passion for the holistic health field.” Baker sells 96 different herbs, teas and
essential oils at Peaceful Warrior. While it’s hard to find a wellness department at a large retailer that has knowledgeable staff members ready to assist customers, Baker said, she’s on duty as long as her shop is open. She is also looking to educate locals in a slightly more formal setting at her store. She’s putting together a series of classes that will cover a variety of health topics. “I’m always winning if I get to talk to people,” Baker said. Baker’s shop is in a log cabin off Washington Road behind Gary’s Hamburgers, at 3909½ Washington Road. It has housed several businesses in recent years, including a dog grooming center, a candle store and a shop that sold woodwork, according to Baker. Most notably, the small cabin served as the headquarters for Donald Trump’s election campaign last year. “It’s got peaceful warrior energy now,” Baker said.
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
METRO DINER RECREATES POPULAR HANGOUTS OF THE PAST BY SUSAN O’KEEFE
There’s a new restaurant on the Augusta National Golf Club end of Washington Road. Metro Diner hails from Jacksonville, Fla., and in recent months has made its way north. Based on the crowds, it seems the Garden City is giving the diner a warm welcome. Eager to try a new spot and armed with rave reviews from friends, I met a few colleagues for a holiday gathering at the diner in December. It was quite a treat. From the friendly waitress who disclosed how well management runs the eatery to the plentiful portions served with a smile, Metro Diner is a must. Imagine the popular hangout diners of the 1950s and ’60s. That’s a glimpse of Metro Diner. For the business guru seeking networking opportunities, Metro Diner is bustling with activity. I dare say, it’s where the locals eat (or will eat once word spreads). There were countless conversations happening amidst the energetic environment. Patrons ranged from serious business folks sipping a cup of joe and taking “The 12-Inch Challenge,” which includes a lot of pride and a fluffy 12-inch pancake, to college students cramming for exams and loading up on the protein power in eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese. Colorful, artistic writing listed the daily specials on a large mounted chalkboard. Chef Jeff Freehof, who owned and operated The Garlic Clove in Evans for a decade, has brought his expertise into Richmond County. Since Metro Diner serves breakfast all day, every day, it seemed logical to order from the breakfast side of the menu. My two colleagues and I each chose a simple omelet, griddle great and side. Once our food was delivered, our table resembled an athletic training table. The wildly generous portions add pleasure to the purse. From the calorie counter’s perspective, the meals are easily enough for two. From the bean counter’s perspective, 10 bucks is an economical delight. Our nearby neighbors, who graciously allowed
For about $10, the omelet was a tasty, filling choice at Metro Diner, a new eatery that offers breakfast items all day, plus other diner staples. Photo by Susan O’Keefe
me to snap a few pictures, ordered the house favorite – half a fried chicken and a Belgian waffle topped with an array of sweets including strawberries, powdered sugar and butter. That meal costs more than a Hamilton by a few bucks. Lunch and dinner options include meatloaf, fish and chips, pot roast and fried chicken. There are burgers and sandwiches (Philly cheese steak, French dip, Reuben and, for our vegetarian friends, an avocado veggie wrap), plus salads and a few soups to warm patrons on a brisk winter day. With only three months under its belt, Metro Diner earns a superior service rating, complete with prompt, pleasant staffers. It seems like a perfect place to treat a client to lunch, seal a deal or pitch a proposal. With ample seating and room for rearrangement, a small business gathering could easily be accommodated.
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34 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
Metro Diner Food Price Location Networking Noise Level Metro Diner is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, with hours extended until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Its location is 2820 Washington Road. Call 706-750-0520 for more information or reservations.
Susan O’Keefe has been reviewing restaurants for Buzz on Biz since August 2015. Her restaurant visits and reviews are done with a businessperson in mind.
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January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
BEST IN SHOW
AUGUSTA THRIVES AS THE EAST COAST’S ANSWER TO A WESTERN SPORT BY WITT WELLS
Becky Huggins looked up at the scoreboard in James Brown Arena a few minutes after her 2½-minute run and liked what she saw. Her horse’s name, Lee Manigo, was in the second place slot with a score of 215 in the $35,000 amateur division (amateur riders who have collected less than $35,000 in career winnings) of the Augusta Futurity, the nation’s biggest cutting horse show east of the Mississippi River. She would eventually finish third and take home a sum of $1,044. For Huggins, who lives in Barnwell and for whom the Augusta Futurity has been a family tradition for years, it was a childhood dream come true. “I’ve been coming here since I was a tee-tiny girl,” Huggins said. On the opposite end of the sand-filled arena, against the far wall, was a herd of around 30 cattle. A horse and its rider quietly approached the herd from one side and slowly moved it toward the center of the arena. Eventually, one cow was singled out. As the cow made continuous attempts to return to the herd, the horse darted back and forth in front of it, doing its best to mirror the lone cow’s every move. It’s a highly specialized skill that is displayed in just a few short moments, and the hundreds of horses competing in the futurity (a competition for which a horse is bred) have been trained for those 2½ minutes. In the stands, a smattering of riders, trainers, family and friends, and dedicated fans were scattered throughout the arena. Monday, Jan. 14 – the second day of this year’s futurity – brought a light crowd. On one side of the arena, a handful of cutters and trainers were spread out comfortably over a few rows, each one watching the herd and taking notes on the behavior of every cow that was cut, noting their instincts, tendencies and energy. Knowledge of the herd can make the difference between a bad show and winning a competition. Among the trainers in the stands sat Chubby Turner, a longtime trainer and regular attender of the Augusta Futurity. Turner has been cutting since he was 13 years old. Six years later, he moved to Weatherford, Texas, the city known as the cutting horse capital of the world. He’s a three-time National Cutting
Judges keep an eye on a horse and rider as they cut a cow from a herd at the Augusta Futurity. Photo by Witt Wells
“I honestly believe that the futurity is one of Augusta’s best-kept secrets. We need to toot our own horn a little more and let people know. You’re seeing the cream of the crop.” –Augusta Futurity Show Manager Sherry Fulmer Horse Association World Champion and has been inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame. He’s showing horses in multiple opens (shows open to riders of any skill level within a given set of parameters) at this year’s Augusta Futurity. Turner laughed as he mentioned that he’s only two years younger than the history of cutting as an official sport, which got its first set of rules and regulations with the establishment of the NCHA in 1946. “It’s a tough game, but it’s so much fun,” Turner said. “It’s, like, addicting, and it gets in your blood.” In a sport that is heavily centralized in Texas, the Augusta Futurity brings the top competitors in the business to James Brown Arena for the premiere horse cut-
36 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
ting show on the East Coast. This is its 39th year. Still, the origins of cutting go further than the Augusta Futurity and Chubby Turner and have deep roots in the American West. What is now a competition started out as a routine process for branding cattle. The cutter’s job was to enter the herd, find an animal that had not been branded yet, separate it from the rest of the cattle and keep it isolated until it had been branded. “The horse counteracts their moves much like a defensive back football player does defending the goal,” Turner said. “And he works that cow until it gives up trying to come back.” In a cutting horse show, five judges rate each horse and rider and give them scores
between 60 and 80 points. Riders are penalized or gain points depending on the horse and rider’s form in cutting a cow from the herd and their collective ability to prevent the cow from returning to the herd. Failure to do so results in a five-point deduction from each judge. Turner finds a certain amount of excitement in the fact that, despite his age and experience, the shows at a big futurity like the one in Augusta are wide open. Anyone can beat anyone. “A 9-year-old kid can get into this if he wants to,” Turner said. “I’ve been beaten by some 9-year-old kids.” Over the years, the sport of cutting has been continually expanded to include shows for contestants who are not fulltime professional cutters. That doesn’t make the competition any less stiff. The skill level shown in the Augusta Futurity’s open, non-pro (between amateur and professional), amateur and youth divisions demonstrates the sheer amount of talent that exists in the sport. In cutting’s first decades as an organized competition, that talent mostly stayed out west. See FUTURITY on Page 37
“It’s a tough game, but it’s so much fun. It’s, like, addicting, and it gets in your blood.” Chubby Turner, a longtime trainer, is a regular at the annual Augusta Futurity. Photo by Witt Wells
Continued from Page 36 Texas is the home state of the cutting tradition (the first competition was held in Dublin, Texas) and the home of the NCHA World Championships in Fort Worth. For trainers looking for the best opportunities to improve their skills and compete as much as possible, Texas is the place to be. Last year, there were nearly as many Texans competing in the Augusta Futurity as Georgians. In the late 1970s, an Augusta businessman sought to pull the center of gravity of the world of cutting eastward. In the midst of frequent visits to Texas to tend to various business holdings there, Morris Communications President Billy Morris discovered cutting and quickly took a liking to the sport. Morris held a meeting in Augusta with around 10 other East Coast businesspeople and pitched the idea of starting a futurity event in Augusta that could become a hub for the East Coast cutting community and a destination for trainers and riders across the country. The nonprofit Atlantic Cutting Horse Association was established in Augusta, and in 1980, the Augusta Futurity was born. Austin Shepard – a four-time Augusta Futurity champion, the 2017 NCHA Futurity champion and the 2017 Open World Champion – grew up going to the Augusta Futurity. His father judged that
first show in 1980. Now the Alabama native is winning its shows on a consistent basis. “Our business has gotten very centralized around Fort Worth,” Shephard said. “I think for it to stay really healthy, it needs to grow from coast to coast. So we try to support every show that we can.” Shepard ranks fourth among the sport’s all-time leading earners, with more than $7 million in earnings over the course of his career. Winnings-wise, making a stop in Augusta became more enticing for cutters last year. The addition of the Augusta Futurity to the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting (WSC) in 2017 made the Garden City one of eight shows in a tour that ups the stakes by $50,000 per show – $25,000 from the NHCA and $25,000 from the host of the show. This year, the Augusta Futurity was included on the eight-stop tour once again. “It is awarded to the eight best shows across the nation that they feel can handle it,” said Augusta Futurity Show Manager Sherry Fulmer. “We had it last year and we got it back again this year. It’s an honor to host that event.” Last year, 597 contestants showed at the Augusta Futurity, an increase of 33 percent over the year before. The addition of Augusta to the Mercuria tour was a major reason for that uptick, which has helped lift the futurity out of a post-recession lull.
As entries are still being processed at press time, this year’s purse and the number of cutters that show over the course of the week were yet to be determined. But the ACCHA expects that at the final tally, there will be at least as many cutters competing this year as last year. “Everybody quit spending, buying,” trainer Trey Wilson said of the recession’s effect on the sport. “Horses got cheaper. People are like ‘If my horse is not ready, maybe let’s don’t spend that $1,800 entry fee or whatever.’ Your priorities kind of change. But now … the economy’s kind of boosting up.” Wilson, who lives south of Nashville, Tenn., estimates that he put between 30,000 and 40,000 miles on his truck last year as he and his wife traveled to shows from Texas to South Carolina. Wilson has been cutting for 25 years. He can’t always show horses at every futurity he wants to attend – a few hundred head of cattle make that difficult. Wilson also has family to think about; his fatherin-law had a stroke last year and needed open heart surgery. Hitting the road, Wilson said, isn’t always the right thing to do, as much as he might enjoy it. For a lot of riders, potential winnings make a big difference in deciding whether the cross country trip is worth the time and effort. “If you want to go East Coast, this is the biggest show,” Wilson said. “As far as being here and feeling it, there’s more
people and more entries than there was say, the last two or three years.” The Augusta Futurity also features a diverse entertainment lineup. The week was kicked off by the University of South Carolina-Aiken Extra Inning Bull Riding event, a big hit among locals that drew thousands of spectators and featured some of the most talented bull riders in the world. A stallion stakes auction, dinner dance and the Wrangler Family Fun Fest are among the weeklong event’s nighttime and weekend entertainment. “I honestly believe that the futurity is one of Augusta’s best-kept secrets,” Fulmer said. “We need to toot our own horn a little more and let people know. You’re seeing the cream of the crop – you’re seeing horses from Texas, horses from the Pacific coast. “If you are interested in seeing the talent of a horse that has been trained, you need to come here.” The Augusta Futurity is no lightweight on the Augusta entertainment scene, either. The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated that this year’s show pumped in about $2.4 million to the local economy.
Learn more about the 2018 Augusta Futurity at augustafuturity.com.
January 26-February 22, 2018 Buzz on Biz
RIDING A UNICORN
RARE BREW ADDS TO WRITER’S CATALOG OF BEERS BY BEN CASELLA
I don’t have a smartwatch. I don’t count my calories. I try to count my steps. Truth be told, I’m really not that much of a quantitative person, in general. With that said, I can, in fact, quantify most beers I’ve tried since February 2009, when I started writing the progenitor of this column. Over the last nine years, the research for these articles has taken my taste buds and olfactory senses on journeys spanning six continents (that I know of ) and just about every craft of beer imaginable. And with that said, last month I finally tried my unicorn of beers. My buddy, Will, got a four-pack of the beer from our buddy, Mike, who got a couple of four-packs from a guy, and that’s as far as we’re going to pry as to the origins of my fortunate encounter with a unicorn.
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Yes, I am aware that it’s sold in different parts of the country and that you used to drink it all the time when you lived in Delaware and your cousin from D.C. can get it for you anytime you want and blah, blah, blah. However, while not a regionalist in any sense, I’ve never made a road trip for a brew. Notwithstanding, the review: It’s good. Really good. The hoppy bite you’ve come to expect from our generation of high-gravity IPAs (this one is in the neighborhood of 18 percent – yes, eighteen percent) is quieted by the richer aspects one would attribute to a barley wine. Alcohol is present throughout the nose and tongue, as is homemade bread (I’m thinking the bread they use for the smelt grilled cheese at The Grit in Athens). Now, don’t get me wrong. This is a hoppy, hoppy beer. However, its other aspects are
also so robust that it’s, well, balanced. The lingering note is bitter, and the mouthfeel is well coated. So, if you haven’t yet had my unicorn of beers and get to someday, try it alone at first and then perhaps with some fine aged cheddar (and a piece of lamb). Your inner brewmaster will thank you.
Ben Casella also recommends Dogfish Head Chicory Stout (to be imbibed in a thick glass while wearing a cable-knit sweater and talking about your day at sea fishing for cod, as sad sailor shanties play in the background).
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA is a unicorn I’m really glad I encountered. Photo by Ben Casella
OUT OF THIS WORLD
NETFLIX EXPLORES REAL-WORLD ISSUES IN SCI-FI SETTINGS BY SAMANTHA BARKSDALE
If you aren’t into sci-fi, you might be tempted to skip this month’s movies. Don’t do it. Sci-fi might not be your thing, but these are films worth watching. This month, all of my friends are aliens.
This film has been called “the worst movie of 2017.” Many reviewers have said it is a cliché, a “tired buddy-cop flick” that lacks coherence. They’ve also said that it is visual mess. Well, you know what I think? Those people need to chill out. Bright is set in a world in which humans, aliens, fairies and elves live amongst each other. Racial differences have bred hatred in this world, the various groups tend to stick together and anyone crossing lines is seen as a traitor. Sound familiar? The two main characters in this film are Daryl Ward (played by Will Smith), a human, and Nick Jakoby, an Orc. Jakoby is the first Orc to ever serve as an LAPD officer, but the department isn’t happy about it. Neither is Ward, his partner. If I’m being completely honest, I have to admit the movie has a lot going on. You have to pay close attention if you’re
The message is simple; your family consists of the people who love you, and appreciating them is the most important thing you can do. going to keep up with the backstories behind each character and each race. Are there a few plot holes? Probably. But the film moves so quickly, I didn’t notice during an initial viewing. Another thing you should know is that the movie is your typical “shoot ‘em up” cop movie. Explosions and gunfights are prevalent throughout, and even my husband asked when they were going to run out of bullets at one point. With all that said, I loved this film, and I truly respect what Netflix is trying to do. Racial tension is a real thing, and pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t going to fix the problem. Truth be told, the problem might never be fixed, but we can at least try to understand one another. Bright seeks to show us ways to do that. Is it cliché? Of course. But at least Netflix is brave enough to tackle tough issues, even if they do it with gunfights and car chases.
38 Buzz on Biz January 26-February 22, 2018
‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’
If you haven’t watched the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, you need to. You can most certainly enjoy the sequel without having seen the first (my husband did and he doesn’t even like sci-fi), but the original is a classic. The entire cast is back in Vol. 2, and, after a brief flashback, the film begins with witty banter between the characters as they prepare to fight a gigantic monster. And yes, the fight scene is accompanied by some great music. The premise of the sequel is similar to the original; the guardians save the galaxy. They are no longer criminals, but heroes for hire. Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and one member of the group steals something very valuable, forcing the team to flee with a bounty on their heads. If you’re familiar with the original, you’ll remember Quill, the Star Lord. His mother died when he was a boy, leaving him only with a mixtape, and he has trav-
eled the galaxy ever since he was taken by an alien after his mother’s passing. Vol. 2 explores his lineage, and let’s just say that things are not always as awesome as they appear. If you haven’t seen the original, all of this is probably a little confusing, but don’t let that stop you from watching this movie. It’s easy to follow, the characters are hilarious and the music is fantastic. It’s a fun film that you can watch with older kids if you don’t mind a little language. The message is simple; your family consists of the people who love you, and appreciating them is the most important thing you can do.
Samantha Barksdale, “Sam the Movie Chick,” is on a mission to find the best movies and TV shows for you to stream from Netflix. She loves good flicks, good food and good friends. Her eclectic tastes are sure to give readers a wide range of viewing choices.
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