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AUGUST 2013 ISSUE • THE CSRA’S ONLY BUSINESS MONTHLY PUBLICATION
CCPS president Mark Hofilena (center), vice-president of service operation Jimmy McCollum (left) and senior account executive Paul Schwarz (right).
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE J
Christopher Selmek | Freelance Writer/Photographer
Buzz on Biz, LLC 3740 Executive Center Drive Martinez, Ga 30907
immy McCollum was finishing his ushering duties at church one Sunday when his phone rang. It was near the end of the service, he ducked outside to hear one of his customers, the stressed owner of a local pizza restaurant, whose credit card machine had stopped working at noon on a Sunday. Jimmy had programmed and was delivering a new terminal an hour and ten minutes later, citing dedication to local businesses as one of the many reasons people choose Credit Card Payment Systems. “Other companies could only have had them wait until Monday to process the
order, which means they wouldn’t have gotten their equipment until Tuesday,” said Jimmy, the vice-president of service operation for CCPS. “Can you imagine how much business a restaurant loses if they were unable to process credit transactions for a whole weekend? Because we’re local, we can help immediately instead of taking days. Years ago, I was the merchant with a terminal and an 800 number to New Jersey; it makes a difference.” CCPS is the only merchant services company with corporate offices located right here in Augusta. Although the company now has agents and merchants around the country, company president Mark Hofilena is pleased to tell customers that all information still passes over his desk. “You’re dealing with the owners here,” he said. “Accounts in the CSRA are our home accounts, and the business owners who deal with us are going straight to the ownership.
We have literally hundreds of folks who have chosen CCPS, many go back to its beginning in 2007. You can drive up and down Washington Road pointing out all the businesses that we’re privileged to serve.” Mark went on to say that financial institutions can’t entrust their customers to just anyone and CCPS has maintained a great relationship with Savannah River Banking Company, providing merchant services to their commercial clients on both sides of the river since 2008. “Between the Restaurant, the Pro Shop and Training Center, we have different needs,” said Gregg Hemann, of Jones Creek Golf Club. “Each terminal was programmed specifically for its area, and we are saving money. This was a very good move for us.” According to Hofilena, last year only 27 percent of purchases were made with cash and that number is expected to drop to 23 percent by 2017, but this figure does not include specific industries
like hotels that almost never see cash. The majority of monthly fees, nearly 90 percent, goes to Visa and MasterCard,
Continued on Page 6
INSIDE THIS ISSUE: SECTION A
Main Business News
Employment & Education
Leisure & Hospitality
SECTION D South Carolina
A PACKED ISSUE!
NEIL GORDON | President, Buzz on Biz LLC
ow! It’s been a minute since our newspapers have been at 40 pages each. That’s the case with this edition of Buzz and our sister publication, Verge. We’re planning future growth with the hiring of our new sales dynamo Kyle Evans and special projects coordinator Erin Campbell. Our content is packed with neat “buzz bits” nuggets that you won’t find anywhere else and with unique features in each section: SECTION A MAIN -- We tackle key topics like Debt Management and Financing the Purchase of Your Business -- and our cover story is on the team currently helping area and global merchants with their credit card processing. It’s a neat story of local people growing a business that just about every other business needs. SECTION B EDUCATION\ EMPLOYMENT -- Some local REALTORS went to Washington, DC to protect the rights of homeowners and our sponsor, Meybohm, reported on the positive trip. A new Exhibition Center is now open in Grovetown and we “pull back the curtain” on the first event and share some FREE events in midAugust. If your business is lagging a bit, then follow Biz Coach Larry Rudwick’s
take on telephone opportunities. SECTION C LEISURE\ HOSPITALITY -- In our “Powerhour” we look at a new restaurant without them knowing our “foodie” was there to rate em’! There were also a number of openings and closing this month to report. Our columnists also show you the importance of a good golf game, pool chemistry and a training regimen to tackle the business world! SECTION D SOUTH CAROLINA -- Thanks to our Palmetto Photojournalists Stephen Delaney Hale and Chasity Kirkland Jackson, we have four unique features on job growth in Graniteville, Western Aiken expansion, the Aiken Standard’s plan to publish MORE newspapers and a cute Pet Acupuncture business! If you’d like weekly updates of our “buzz” please go to www.buzzon.biz and sign up for our e-newsletter. Buzz ya’ later, Neil
Neil Gordon is President of Buzz on Biz, LLC and produces a daily tv segment on News 12 This Morning, a daily radio show on WRDW 1630 AM, and two hyper-local, niche publications, “Buzz on Biz” and “Verge”. To learn more, visit www.buzzon.biz or email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CSRA’S ONLY BUSINESS MONTHLY PUBLICATION
BUZZ ON BIZ • INDUSTRY EXPERTS • WATERCOOLER STORIES • BUSINESS ADVICE • TRENDS
The Buzz on Biz mission: to act as an inspirational tool for those in the workplace and those who are entrepreneurs and to provide useful, practical information to help increase companies’ bottom lines. To submit editorial content or to order a 12 month subscription mailed to your home or office for $12, mail a check to the address on the bottom of the page Neil R. Gordon: Publisher\Sales Manager (706) 589-6727 Jennifer Pruett: Executive Editor E35 Media: Design and Layout Kyle W. Evans: Sales(706) 288-9957 Christopher Selmek: Senior Writer Erin Campbell: Special Projects Coordinator Melissa Gordon: www.sofiacolton.com, Photography S.C. Contributors: Stephen Delaney Hale & Chasity Kirkland Jackson Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither the Buzz on Biz LLC, or its agents or its employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only.
www.buzzon.biz 3740 Executive Center Drive #300 Martinez, GA 30907
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How to Finance the Purchase of a Business Kim Romaner | Business Broker
ow that the economy seems to be headed in the right direction, banks are loosening their fingers on their money a bit, and more business loans are available for buying businesses. But don’t think that the bank is the only place you can get money! There are many sources of financing available to you, and you can often finance up to 90 percent of the purchase price of a business. Here are some of your financing options: Seller financing -- Let’s say a business is priced at $300,000, but all you have in cash on hand is $150,000. Many sellers will take your $150,000 as a down payment and hold, or “take back”, a note for the remaining $150,000. The seller decides what the terms of the note will be, but these points can be
negotiated and often are in order to meet the needs of the buyer. Franchisor financing -- If you are buying a franchise the franchisor may be willing to extend you financing. Franchises in the United Franchise Group family (such as Transworld) can be financed up to 70 percent. Using your 401K -- It is possible to convert your 401K, or part of, it into an investment in a new business without taking any tax consequences. Call us to find out how. An SBA backed loan -- Yes, a loan backed by the Small Business Administration is still obtained through a bank, but the SBA guarantees repayment to the bank of up to 85 percent up to $150,000 and 75 percent on loans greater than that, with a cap loan amount of $3,750,000. Be prepared to put up your own assets first, though. The SBA will expect you to put what skin you have in the game too. If you are forced to exhaust your
cash resources on the purchase of the business and need to raise some working capital immediately after the purchase, you can sometimes use the assets of the business you’ve purchased to accomplish that. Here are a couple of methods: Factoring -- If you’re buying an existing business that includes some accounts receivable, you can often sell those to a factoring company for up to 70-85 percent of their value. Equipment leasing -- If you’ve purchased a business that included equipment, you may be able to sell the equipment to an equipment leasing company who will lease it back to you. Equipment liquidation -- If the business has underutilized assets, sell them off. Liquidation companies can help you do this. Subletting space -- If the business’ facility is too large, you can
sublet some of the space to provide income while you get started. Creative financing has helped many people become small business owners. Don’t take the possibility of owning your own business off the table without talking to a business buying expert first. Kim Romaner This is a sponsored article. Kim Romaner is president of Transworld Business Advisors of Augusta, a business brokerage that helps people buy and sell businesses, and also enter into the franchise world. With over 65 locations in the U.S. and abroad, Transworld has sold many thousands of businesses. If you’d like to talk to Kim about selling or valuing your business, buying a franchise or turning your existing business into a franchise operation, please call 706-383-2994, or email her at email@example.com.
Trust but Verify J.EDWARD ENOCH, J.D. | Business Attorney
couple of years ago I wrote about the importance of employees taking vacation. A client reminded me of this point recently with his tale of woe. It happens this way all too frequently. The first thing the client says when I answer the phone is, “Ed, I cannot believe it, but my [fill in the blank—office manager, business partner, bookkeeper, etc.] has been stealing from me for years! Can you believe they stole [fill in the blank] thousands of dollars from me over the past five years? How could I have been so blind not to see what was happening?” My first question is, “How did you catch them.” The answer is almost always that the employee was absent for some period of time and the person who filled in for them figured it out…followed by the owner telling me what a dedicated employee this thief was -- how they were always there early, stayed late and never took a day off. He or she was the one employee the owner thought they could trust with the company. Unfortunately, it is that trust which creates the opportunity for mischief. Of course the thief never took any time off! Look what happened when
they did -- they got caught. Insisting that employees take off the time you give them is one of the safeguards that can help keep your business from falling victim to a thief. No one should be indispensable in your business. Employees should be cross-trained to do other people’s jobs. This is just one of the safeguards to help protect your business. In addition, all money handling positions in the business should have checks and balances. More than one person needs to be involved in the process and these people need to know there is oversight of their work. The first step to figuring out how to steal money from where you work is to figure out that nobody is watching Beware the trusted employee who never takes time off and nobody know how to do their job. To quote the Russian proverb adopted by Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify”. J. Edward (ed) enoch This is a sponsored Law Talk article. Ed Enoch’s practice focuses on business, employment and real estate law. He is a 1992 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Washington and Lee School of Law. He has served in many leadership roles for SHRM, Rotary, the Family Y and the United Way. Reach him at 706.738.4141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam G. Nicholson and Harry D. Revell and the law Àrm of
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Nicholson Revell LLP Gateway Professional Center • 4137 Columbia Road • Augusta, GA 30907
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CCPS is the only merchant services company with corporate offices located in Augusta.
Credit Card payment systems Continued from Page 1
but they don’t move merchants’ money. That money, the Interchange, is divided between the card issuing banks each month. The small network fee goes to the card processing companies, who process every transaction, moving the money to the business owners’ accounts. CCPS operates on a sliver of these network fees paid by the processor for maintaining the accounts. “We’re not considered a middleman because Visa and MasterCard don’t have a sales force,” said Mark Hofilena, CCPS president. “We are the sales force, setting up merchants with credit card accounts and providing the service they need to run their business by keeping the funds flowing.”
“We are in the merchant service business. We go to companies, look at their overall situation, and analyze each account to see how we can help them pay less,” said Paul Schwartz, senior account executive. “If somebody has a fantastic rate, we’ll tell them, but we can offer them outstanding customer service not likely to be had with other companies. And let’s not forget about the free Next Day Funding Program.” CCPS offers consulting with no obligation and very often find the businesses they talk to are paying more than necessary for their card processing. According to Hofilena, a merchant should only be concerned with the bottom line, their effective rate, but there are a lot of factors that play into that number that can get quite complicated. “Everything
has to do with risk, average ticket, volume and industry type. The lowest level of risk, and cost, is a debit card, followed by consumer credit cards, rewards, business, then corporate, with purchasing cards being the most expensive to process. If a merchant is a wholesale business to business company and is set up correctly, entering the needed information at the time of the sale, there is a significant savings experienced over being set up as a traditional retail account. Unfortunately, many merchants are incorrectly set up. Different industries have their own pricing, per Visa and MasterCard. It’s just as easy to board a merchant correctly if you’re used to working with everyone. There is a lot to know, as c-stores with petroleum, lodging and internet
businesses are each unique and have little in common with restaurant and retail set ups. CCPS can help companies with POS systems, smart phone apps, PC based virtual terminals. We offer check service, gift cards and advanced funding as well.” Another thing that sets CCPS apart is their month to month agreement. “We have no contract to keep a merchant from going elsewhere, which means if something isn’t right, or if we’re just not a good fit, then a business owner can walk away at anytime,” said Hofilena. “Others have multi-year contracts with early termination fees of hundreds of dollars. We go month to month, and we won’t lease terminals either. Leases are never fair for merchants.” “The company we previously worked for has 36-month contracts,” added McCollum. “In fact, the industry has always had long term contracts, but if we’re not doing our jobs it shouldn’t cost a business owner a dime to do what he feels he needs to do.” Hofilena and McCollum have a combined 23 years of experience in the credit processing industry and are happy to provide solutions for businesses, which include installing equipment, training the staff and being there for servicing needs. To take advantage of their services or for a no-obligation consultation, call CCPS at 706-799-2913. By Christopher Selmek
letter to the editor In Response to “Local Attorney Takes on City Hall”
Article by Ellis B. Albright | CSRA Business League
he article written by Mr. Thomas Scott Hudson entitled “Local Attorney takes on City Hall”, which included the CSRA Business League, Inc. was misleading and not factual, and leads us to believe the author was utilizing your publication to slander our name and cast doubt on our operations. We at the CSRA Business League are at a lost as to why an article voicing the author’s displeasure with the City of Augusta, the DBE Department and the Procurement Department would include the League, especially since we are not a Department of City Government, and we do not occupy office space in the Municipal Building. Understanding the damage the article attempted to inflict on the League, my goal is to educate the readers of Buzz on Biz on the operations of the League and what we do to accomplish our mission and our goals. Please note that the League has no desire to engage in a war of words or waste barrels of ink in a back and forth conversation. Our only goal is to not allow efforts which paint the League as corrupt and misguided, to proceed unchecked. The article which stated “an outfit known as the CSRA Business League had a huge board of shingles on their property advertising a whole bunch of companies” used the words “However, none of the companies had an office in the building or anywhere else in Augusta”. The sign Mr. Hudson referred to is at the back of the League’s office building, out of sight to anyone passing by on 12th Street and is from our former offices when we occupied office space on Laney - Walker Blvd, during which time, the aforementioned shingle board did indeed list companies that leased office space from the League. Secondly, the placement of the shingles as referred to does not indicate nor do we imply that we lease office space to any of the names on the board of shingles as referred to in the article. We believed that the mentioning of the shingles by Mr. Hudson, was misleading and sinister at best, written to infer to the readers of the article that the League was involved in a cesspool of corruption, especially since he failed to mention that the board of shingles was out of view to anyone entering our office. If Mr. Hudson, wanted to write an article that was factual, he would have stated the shingles were on the property in the rear of the building, out of the view of those citizens driving by, not just on the property as written. Mr. Hudson, like every citizen in the CSRA can visit our offices, he has not, nor is his name listed on our sign in sheet, as such the article as written is based on assumptions and not facts. Instead of visiting our office and asking questions, Mr. Hudson felt the need to use his journalistic skills in an “I got
you sort of FOX News moment” and he worded the section to imply to the reader that the League is aiding and abetting companies who are violating the regulations of the DBE Program, which is totally false. Mr. Hudson in his article stated that the “CSRA Business league claims it is a non-profit organization that assists local minority owned businesses to succeed and he went on to write that the League has no website, its Facebook community page shows no members and you could only locate us as he stated through a “a poorly pasted together black and white flier with clip art”. The CSRA Business League, Inc. is not a group or an outfit that claims to be a non - profit organization, we are a certified 501©3 not for profit organization, organized under the laws of the Internal Revenue Service of the United States and the State of Georgia. Our 990’s are filed when required and our registration fees are paid on time as required by the State of Georgia. Nothing I have read, nor have a seen any laws passed which stated “having a website” was a prerequisite for being in business or being of service to the community. The article as written, worded the section in such a way as to imply to the reader that because the League lacked a website or our Facebook page lacked members, it was a bad thing and we must be up to no good. However the article failed to mention that Mr. Hudson never attempted to call the League, email the League, dropped by or have ever stopped in for a visit. In addition, the article mentioned a flyer, which featured clip art, which to the reader; unfamiliar with technology would infer something sinister, again far from the truth. Without knowing what flyer the article was referring too, it would not be wise to comment on what reason the flyer was prepared for, however, if Mr. Hudson would be so kind as to forward the flyer to me, I would gladly explain its usage. The League currently has a Youth Entrepreneur program, and the flyer may be an event flyer for one of our Youth Entrepreneur Program events, if that is the case, I would like for Mr. Hudson to explain how the use of clipart is a bad thing. Mr. Hudson ended the CSRA Business League portion of the article by stating “Perhaps the group has fallen on hard times since their patron, former State Senator Charles Walker went to jail and the DBE program here was suspended”. We are not sure why Mr. Hudson would write such; maybe he has an axe to grind with the Senator or it was an attempt to imply to the readers of the article that the League is not a very reputable organization, especially since at the present time and not since my arrival has the League had any ties to Senator Walker. I cannot
truthfully speak to nor will I speak to what happened prior to my arrival, however, presently, the League has no ties to Senator Walker and we have not fallen on hard times, especially since the City of Augusta Richmond County and not the league is responsible for implementing the DBE program. During the year the League participated in various workshops and seminars sponsored by the City of Augusta - Richmond County and various community groups seeking presenters and vendors. We are proud sponsors of a Women’s Conference held at the Kroc center, a Networking event designed to allow subcontractors to build relationships with General Contractors, a workshop on securing Business Financing, and a Doing business with the Government workshop featuring specialist from the Atlanta Office of the Small Business Administration. We appeared before the Commission to present a certification process for the Small, Women and Disadvantaged business we serve, looking to do business with the City and on 21 June 2013 at the Augusta Marriott Hotel we celebrated our 43rd Anniversary with former Labor Commissioner the Honorable Michael Thurmond as the keynote speaker. The article written by Mr. Hudson was more journalistic innuendo than fact, which is unfair to the readers who rely on Mr. Hudson to report the news accurately and truthfully. If Mr. Hudson had taken the time to be a
Hudson’s Response: While I appreciate the fact that Mr. Allbright took the time to respond to my column, I must point out that rather than tout the success(s) his organization has created over the years, he responds with the usual “shoot the messenger” approach and ultimately attempts to make a racial issue out of something that had absolutely nothing to do with race. The statements made in my column pertaining to the CSRA Business League were based on years worth of research that was conducted prior to Mr. Allbright becoming the group’s leader. Unfortunately, the man that ran the League during the time I investigated their activities, Todd Gaines, is deceased, so he can’t offer a rebuttal. However, Mr. Allbright’s response contains the same double speak and attempts to play the race card that I encountered when I met with Mr. Gains. Mr. Allbright claims that the League is not a “non-profit organization,” but a 501c3 not for profit organization, so – okay – I stand corrected. Mr. Allbright concedes that the group has no website and no Facebook
journalist who sought the truth and not one whose purpose was to defame and disparage, the article would have been much more factual and honest in regards to the CSRA Business League in particular and the Procurement Office and DBE program in general. It is unfortunate that so many citizens in Augusta – Richmond County foster the same beliefs as Mr. Hudson and as such, the city continues to suffer from a 20th century mentality which places roadblocks in the way of progress and hold it hostage to the desires of the few who refuse to believe times have changed and we live in 2013, not 1913. The League believes in diversity and moving forward to build a city for all citizens and all businesses regardless of race, creed or color. The article written by Mr. Hudson is indicative of those citizens whose only mission and desire is to continue the thinking and mentality that has shackled the growth of this city and barred from the table of economic prosperity, all ethnic groups. Augusta will not grow as long as we have citizens who do not understand that this is not the time to continue the divisive talk based on the color of one’s skin, but now is the time to embrace the concept that the only color which should matter in the 21st century is “green”. With the warmest of regards, Ellis B. Albright CSRA Business League
followers, so how is it that a group attempts to teach people on how to go about conducting business successfully, which would include marketing a said business, when they themselves have no marketing materials? In today’s world dentists, cosmetologists, construction companies and liquor stores have websites. A website can be created for free. Finally, Mr. Allbright insists that I am using “journalistic innuendo” from a perspective out of the year 1913 in a manner that furthers “the divisive talk based on the color of one’s skin.” Excuse me? The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program was ostensibly set up to include women as well as any other group of people that can claim “minority” status in the business community. It turned into a corrupt mess that ultimately ended with attorney Robert Mullins successfully winning lawsuits in court. I stand by my research and my story; I told the truth. And in the famous words of Freddie Mercury, I add, “don’t take offense at my innuendo.” Show me what good things your organization has done and I will be happy to devote a future column to your success.
Riverfront Collision Center to close Evans location
Debt Management Christine Hall, CPA | Hall, Hall, & Associates P.C
ith mortgages, car loans, credit cards and student loans, most people are in debt. While being debt free is a worthwhile goal, most people need to focus on managing their debt first, since it’s likely to be there for most of their lives. Handled wisely, that debt won’t be an albatross around your neck. You don’t need to shell out your hard-earned money because of exorbitant interest rates or always feel like you’re on the verge of bankruptcy. You can pay off debt the smart way, while at the same time saving money to pay it off faster. First, assess the depth of your debt. Write it down, using pencil and paper, a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or a bookkeeping program like QuickBooks. Include every financial situation where a company has given you something in advance of payment, including your mortgage, car payment(s), credit cards, tax liens, student loans and payments on electronics or other household items through a store. Record the day the debt began and when it will end (if possible), the interest rate you’re paying and what your payments typically are. Add it all up, as painful as that might be. Try not to be discouraged! Remember, you’re going to break this down into manageable chunks while finding extra money to help pay it down. Some debts are more expensive than others. The worst offenders are probably credit cards. Here’s how to deal with them: • Don’t use them. Don’t cut them up, but put them in a drawer and only access them in an emergency. • Identify the card with the highest interest and pay off as much as you can every month. Pay minimums on the others. When that one’s paid off, work on the card with the next highest rate.
• Don’t close existing cards or open any new ones. It won’t help your credit rating. • Pay on time, absolutely every time. One late payment these days can lower your FICO score. • Go over your credit-card statements with a fine-tooth comb. Are you still being charged for that travel club you’ve never used? Look for line items you don’t need. • Call your credit card companies and ask them nicely if they would lower your interest rates. It does work sometimes! Do whatever you can to retire debt. Consider taking a second job and using that income only for higher payments on your financial obligations. Substitute free activities for high-cost ones. Sell high-value items that you can live without. Look at reducing your monthly bills. For instance, do you really need the 800-channel cable option or that dish on your roof? How about magazine subscriptions? Every little bit helps and you’ll be surprised at what you don’t miss. To avoid increasing debt load, make it a habit to pay with cash. If you don’t have the cash for it, you probably don’t need it. You’ll feel better about what you do have if you know it’s owned free and clear. Each of these steps, taken alone, probably doesn’t seem like much. But if you adopt as many as you can, you’ll watch your debt decrease every month. If you need help managing debt give us a call. We can help. Hall, Hall, & Associates P.C This is a sponsored Employment article. Hall and Hall Associates P.C. is a full-service public accounting firm established in 1979. They have a staff of experienced professionals that stand ready to meet all of your accounting, tax and general business needs. For a complimentary consultation call 706-8557733 or visit hallassociatescpa.com.
Riverfront Collision Center has closed their Evans to Locks Road location and plans to consolidate back to the original location on Sand Bar Ferry Road. Owner Deny Gardner would not say why he was scaling back his operation, but added that his company will continue to offer the same great products and services as before, and will now be adding pickup and delivery service. “In other words, we’ll fix your car up and deliver it back to you when we’re done,” he said. Riverfront Collision Center prides itself on understanding that automotive repair is not only about just fixing cars, but also about giving car owners someone they can trust and standing behind the work that is done long after the repair. Their state-of-the-art facilities and highly-trained staff are committed to quality repairs and customer service and convenience. His main competition until this year had been Cushman’s on Washington Road in Evans. In early 2013, the market leader Kendrick’s opened a new collision center near Cushman’s and impacted Riverfront’s business.
“Right at Home” owners Celeste Hoffman and Kathy Crist introduce therapy dog Snickers to Mrs. Margaret Lista. Photo by Todd Lista.
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Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority Renews Contract with Global Spectrum The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority made the decision to renew their contract with the Augusta Entertainment Complex’s current management firm, Global Spectrum, as well as the in-house catering and concessions firm, Ovations Food Services. Both companies have been in place in Augusta since 2008. They recently lost a major tenant when the Augusta Riverhawks hockey team announced that they were not coming back, but they hope to bring even more great entertainment to Augusta following their successful bid to continue managing the James Brown Arena and the William B. Bell Auditorium. “We look forward to continuing the partnership with the AugustaRichmond County Coliseum Authority,” said Global Spectrum General Manager Monty Jones Jr. “We appreciate the continued support from the CSRA community and the Authority. Global Spectrum’s job here is not done. The first five years are just the beginning of the great things to come.” “I would like to thank the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority for the renewal of our contract at the Augusta Entertainment Complex,” said Bruce Smith, Ovations General Manager. “We will continue to practice our ‘Everything’s Fresh’ approach while taking our food and beverage service to the next level over the next five years.” Based in Philadelphia, PA, Global Spectrum is part of ComcastSpectacor, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies which also owns Ovations Food Service. Global Spectrum owns over 100 other public venues around the world, which hosted nearly 20-million people at more than 11,000 events last year. “We have been very pleased with what Global Spectrum and Ovations have done in the time they’ve managed the Augusta Entertainment Complex,” said Coliseum Authority Chairman Cedric Johnson. “They not only have brought in great entertainment, but they are involved in the community, which is something very important to the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority. We are happy that we have come to an agreement and look forward to having Global Spectrum and Ovations for another five years.”
QR Codes - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly JEFF ASSELIN | Powerserve, Director of Sales and Marketing
hose little squares of black and white dots popping up all over the place are often misunderstood and are not being used by marketers to their fullest potential. QR (Quick Response) codes are images that can be scanned by smartphones using a QR/Barcode reader application. When a user scans a QR code, multple functions can happen, such as intitiating a telephone call, launching driving directions or taking users to your website! QR codes are a fabulous way to engage your customers, if used well. QR codes remind me of my old SAAB convertible -- people either love ‘em or they hate ‘em -- very little in between. Comscore Research shows that less than 25 percent of Americans actually use QR codes. BUT, for those that do scan these puppies, there are tons of useful applications. These little guys are a great way to easily move people into a digital medium. QR codes can hold Website URLs, text messages, download contact information, creat email messages, log-in to WiFi
connection settings, add calendar events and more. When I asked folks who were familiar with QR codes to describe their functionality, most of them told me that QR codes are used to take people to a company’s website on their smartphone. Not everyone knows of the other functions QR codes support. Here is a short list of some great ways to use QR codes: Business Cards Adding QR codes to your business card could allow people to easily add you to their contacts, watch a company YouTube video or view product demonstrations. QR codes on a business card could also take users to the app store to easily download your company’s app. Event Posters People could scan the QR code on your poster, and automatically add your event to their calendar, give a more detailed schedule or get further information about your event. On Your Product Label/ Company Brochures QR codes are on everything from billboards to ketchup bottles. When someone scans a QR code on your product’s label or brochure, they can get nutritional information, place an
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s to open outpost stores in the CSRA Bass Pro Shops and McKnight Properties are pleased to announce that America’s most popular outdoor store will locate its fourth Georgia store in Columbia County. The new 50,000 square-foot Bass Pro Shops Outpost will be located at the intersection of 1-20 and Flowing Wells Road and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014 or the spring of 2015. “We are very excited to bring Bass Pro Shops to this premier site in Augusta and to be a part of this great community,” stated Johnny Morris, Founder of Bass Pro Shops. “This highly visible location is
order or be directed to any other digital medium to showcase even more features and benefits. Gravesites Yep! That’s right…I’ve read that we’re seeing more QR codes being used right on people’s headstones! These QR codes link users to a webpage containing photos, videos and memories of the departed. QR codes are appearing almost everywhere, from subway ads to brochures and even cereal boxes! Whatever your promotional materials look like, there’s bound to be plenty of room to sneak in a QR code. Start inserting QR codes into whatever promotional material you are already using. QR codes can also be a great way to draw users to your various
easily accessible and will allow us to bring Bass Pro Shops’ low prices and friendly, expert service to better serve the many sportsmen and women as well as the many visitors to the Augusta area each year.” “This joint venture between Bass Pro Shops, McKnight Properties and the County is a wonderful example of a public/private partnership,” said Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross. “The addition of Bass Pro Shops greatly coincides with Columbia County’s efforts to provide more shopping opportunities for our citizens and the region. We look forward to this long term partnership.” Bass Pro Shops’ unique exterior and interior motifs have branded them as visually appealing, high quality outdoor stores. The outdoors feel is brought indoors through massive log and rock work, large indoor aquariums and water features stocked with native fish species as well as an extensive collection of museum quality fish and wildlife mounts. Historic photos and exhibits will pay tribute to the regions great outdoor heritage. A gift and nature center will also serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture. One day after Bass Pro Shops’ announcement, Cabela’s announced they will open a new, 42,000 square-foot outpost store in the location where Bass Pro was originally planned for Augusta, on the south side of 1-20 at Riverwatch Parkway in the Village at Riverwatch development. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, and Cabela’s
social media channels, blogs and website. Be sure to speak with an expert on QR codes to enusre that you use the latest best practices that will help ensure you get maximum return for your efforts. Jeff Asselin is Director of Sales & Marketing for Powerserve, a web development company that focuses on Websites, Custom Business Software, Search Engine Optimization, Graphic Design and Social Media Marketing. Let Jeff put his more than 16 years of advertising and marketing experience to work for you helping grow your business. Click (www. powerserve.net), Email (jeff.asselin@powerserve. net), Visit (961 Broad St, Augusta) or Call (c: 706-691-7189, o: 706-826-1506, Ext 122). This is a sponsored article.
plans to open the store in the spring of 2014. “Cabela’s is very excited about our two Georgia locations,” said Thomas Millner, Chief Executive Officer and President of Cabela’s, Inc. “Georgia is full of outdoorsmen and women who have supported our catalog and website for years. The Augusta Outpost store will be a great start to bringing Georgia the full Cabela’s retail experience.” The region enjoys a rich history in outdoor sports with direct access to the Savannah River and 71,000 acres at Clarks Hill Lake. These amenities afford users many exceptional camping, recreational boating, fishing and hunting opportunities. Columbia County also plays host to numerous national fishing tournaments and boat races. Both companies’ unique mega-sized outdoor stores are known for combining retail with entertainment, conservation and outdoor education. More than just a fishing and hunting store, the Bass Pro Shops store will also offer equipment and clothing for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. Cabela’s Outpost stores offer the same quality products and customer service for which Cabela’s is famous, and the Augusta location will feature a Core-Flex floor plan allowing products to be rotated seasonally, as well as a rugged outdoor look and feel. Both stores are expected to employ approximately 90 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. Most will come from Augusta and the surrounding area.
The Call-ToAction Dogma DON MACNEIL |
Crown Point Communications at Windsor Jewelers
ow many times has someone whose marketing chops you admire locked eyes with you and insisted, “Your ad HAS to have a call-to-action!”? Consider this a minority report entitled, “Balderdash”. So we don’t lose anybody at this point, a “call-to-action” is the part of your TV/radio/print ad that insists the viewer act on what he’s just been
have to get inside your prospective customer’s inner voice. And you have to stay with it. Inner voice? If you suspect all this is just highfalutin Windsorthink, let’s say for fun that you run a tire/car repair place and you want to be topof-mind in the community. Do you think we’re all going to break down your door ‘cause P225/50R16 91Ses are 15% off this week? We wouldn’t know a P225/50R16 91S if it slapped us in the face. Instead, ask your most loyal customers why they’ve stayed with you all these years – on camera.
told. “To save 40%, see us TODAY!” I could remind you of the old caution that if you live by the deal, you’ll die by the deal, but really, making my case here won’t even require invoking that. I can count on my fingers the number of times over Windsor’s last 20 years a call-to-action-type ad has seemed useful, usually involving a special purchase, mega-savings limited-time event. The other 19 years and 50 weeks we’ve spent probing the reasons WHY celebrating life’s milestones at our place is something you’ll be very glad you did. By now you may be thinking, “Well, Windsor is a special case. They can afford to ignore call-to-action. The rest of us are out here in Real Life Land.” Granted. Except…once upon a time WE were out in Real Life Land, too. Ignoring the dogma of call-toaction is what has allowed us today to…keep on ignoring call-to-action. But you have to do it right. You
By driving home the point that over a lifetime finding the right “car guy” saves you a world of grief and money, you’ve gently addressed the auto repair trust issue AND heard an unscripted series of testimonials. Have I made my point? Crawl inside your prospective customer’s brain and have a reasonable conversation with his inner voice. Brag, and he’ll simply turn you off. But if instead you identify his hopes and fears and then truthfully address them, you stand a superior chance of making him a client. And not once have you insisted he get down to your shop NOW. Next: The Talk DON MACNEIL is a traditional media expert, having spent more than 30 years on-air and behind the scenes in Media and Marketing. If you have any comments or questions, email Don at windsorway@ comcast.net
AUGUST2013 “Perfect Health” Dr. Develops Medical Membership Plan
Health Care Reform & Your Business by Russell T. Head | EMPLOYEE BENEFIT CONSULTANT
have spent the past six months sharing different regulations regarding the current 2013 and upcoming 2014 Health Care Reform compliance in our Buzz on Biz articles. I have shared new HCR terminology onto Navigators onto Public Exchanges onto Private Exchanges onto the Individual mandate. Needless to say, I hope it has been educational; but now we will tackle the reality. The question everyone wants to know is…What does it mean for me? Well if you are a large employer (50 or more full-time equivalents), then the Obama administration just gave you an early Christmas present. Essentially the reporting that must be completed by large employers has been delayed until 2015, thus there will be no financial penalty to the large employer for being out of HCR compliance in 2014. Please understand the mandate to offer coverage is still there but you will not be penalized for not doing so next year. For many employers this is a breath of fresh air as this will allow more time for employers to do proper planning and budgeting for the future. The Pros of this delay are: Affordability -- if you had not already budgeted for what will be an increase, you just received a year extension. Considering the 9.5 percent of W-2 income for affordability, you will need to be creative without being out of compliance with new non-discrimination rules. Minimum Value --More time for plan design modification for being in compliance with minimum essential
benefits standards set by HCR rules and regulations. Pay or Play -- Calculators and Tools are what we use to make sure a client knows all the options when making that final decision. For some it’s a financial decision while for others its part of the overall Employee Benefits Package to retain or attract the right employee. Reporting -- As issued by the IRS via the Department of Treasury, we anticipate the transition relief of very complex reporting will hopefully be modified to a more simple process in the near future. Time -- You can never have enough of it when it comes HCR compliance. Considering the amount of dollars and staff time large employers have already spent for planning the upcoming open enrollment season, I would imagine another year to rethink or rework a plan is quite alright. As always we would suggest that employers work with their Benefit Advisors or Consultants alongside their team of Accountants and Employee Law/Tax Attorneys when designing their benefits package for the future. For further explanation of the PPACA provisions outlined in this article, please refer to the following resources: www.hhs.gov; www.irs.gov; www. healthcare.gov.
Russell T. Head is a Partner and Chief Visionary Architect with Group & Benefits Consultants, Inc., Augusta’s largest, privately held employee benefits consulting firm. He can be reached at 706-733-3459 or email@example.com. Visit Group & Benefits Consultants at www.groupandbenefits.com. This is a sponsored article.
Dr. Troy Coon has seen many patients without insurance in his many years as an area emergency room doctor. Now that he has established his private practice on Ponder Place in Evans, and with the help of Mass Media Marketing, he has developed a medical membership plan for those without insurance. This medical membership program is a tier system based on how many members of your family or company need his array of family practice services. It is as low as $14.95 per month and as much as $49 per month for unlimited trips to see the doctor for non-emergent care. “As an emergency room physician I can tell you that most patients who present to the emergency department can be treated by email, telephone or a simple doctor’s visit,” said Dr. Coon. “Taking care of most minor ailments via email or telephone reduces travel time, lost time from work for appointments and improves care. Easy access may also help recognize true emergencies and direct people to the emergency department when necessary, or even detect and treat a potentially severe illness in the early stages therefore preventing that catastrophic event.” He also has a weight loss plan for $54.95, in which clients can see his staff several times per month to be weighed in and consulted. For more information visit www.perfecthealth247.com.
Excellent School System ATTRACTS Many to Columbia County TAMMY SHEPHERD
CEO Columbia County Chamber Of Commerce
here are plenty of reasons why Columbia County is one of the fastest growing counties in the country, but the number 1 driver is our excellent school system. We have a strong stable government and a diverse mix of employers; but ask most people who moved to Columbia County why they came, and they’ll tell you it was to be in one of the top school districts in Georgia. That’s why one of the Columbia County Chamber’s most important initiatives is preparing our future workforce. We all must make sure that our students are ready to step into the skilled jobs we have now and those we will have in the future. But that’s no small task given the economic problems plaguing schools and ever-changing world of business and technology. At the Chamber, we have developed several innovative programs designed to bring businesses and schools together. These are coordinated through the Chamber’s Workforce in Education Committee. Teachers in Business There’s no substitute for handson, real work experiences when it comes to training our future workforce. With that in mind, the Chamber has developed a program which puts educators in businesses that parallel the subjects that they teach. Teachers go to one or two businesses and learn the processes, watch the operations and talk with the professionals who have the experience and knowledge of the needs of the future workforce. They take their experiences back to the classroom to provide “real world” examples for students. This program started during the 2012-2013 school year with a group of marketing, broadcast and graphic design teachers visiting WFXG FOX54 and Allegra Marketing Print & Mail. The teachers got to see the variety of different careers within the companies and were exposed to and learned more about businesses involved in the areas they teach; now they can share real-life examples and experiences with their students. The benefit of this program for businesses is that they are able to explain what skills they need in employees and develop relationships with the schools. For the teachers, the program is invaluable. “I gained valuable insights that I can share with my students and
knowledge of needed skills that I can incorporate into my lessons,” said Lakeside High School business and computer science teacher Pamela McKean. This school year, Teachers in Business program will take place on September 19, an early release day for Columbia County schools. Teachers in the high school career classes will be invited to participate. ProSPEAK The Chamber has developed a list of business professionals who have agreed to come to classes and speak to students. They can share their experiences, give students an insight into the real world and what’s needed and hopefully inspire students to pursue their goals. The speakers come from all walks of life, but they all are involved with the Chamber and making Columbia County a better place to live. The Chamber helps coordinate ProSPEAK to make it a simple process for the teachers and the speakers.
Broadcasting and graphics arts teachers from Columbia County high school learn about the operations and processes at Fox54. The program is part of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Teachers in Business program.
National Nuclear Science Week The Chamber is supporting the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization’s Nuclear Workforce Initiative during National Nuclear Science Week, which this year is October 21-25 and will focus on our region. During the week teachers, students and employers will participate in a national recognition of how nuclear science plays a vital role in our lives. Some of the activities planned are: • Education programs focused on nuclear topics such as “Journey to the Center of the Atom, Chemicals, Matter, Probing the Periodic Table and Featuring the Interactive Nucleus • A workforce development day where students can interact with nuclear professionals to learn more about those careers • A tour of Plant Vogtle • The annual Edward Teller Lecture • A workshop for Boy and Girl Scouts to earn a nuclear merit badge For more information about National Nuclear Science Week, visit www.srscro.org/national-nuclearscience-week. SRSCRO is a private, non-profit organization charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to diversify the economy of a five-county region which includes Columbia County. The Nuclear Workforce Initiative works to promote and expand nuclear
Broadcasting and graphics arts teachers from Columbia County high school learn about the operations and processes at Allegra Printing. The program is part of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Teachers in Business program.
workforce development capabilities by facilitating partnerships between nuclear employers and education opportunities. Grants are provided to area colleges to fund needed nuclear programs. The group also develops programs to promote the understanding and interest of the nuclear industry. I am an appointed member of the SRSCRO Board of Directors, whose overall objective is to create an environment conducive to technology-based startups, business expansions and to attract new ventures to the region. All of the programs above are designed to bring the business community and the schools together to share ideas and knowledge and gain insights that you can only get
with first-hand experience. The goal is to improve our schools and help better prepare our future workforce. We also have other programs in the works -- programs designed to bring the business and education worlds together in unique learning situations. If you’d like any more information about any of these programs, please contact the Columbia County Chamber at 706/651.0018. TAMMY SHEPHERD is the president/ CEO of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. She can be contacted at (706) 651-0018 or tammy@columbiacountychamber. com.
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Bill Boatman (left) with Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss (right) in Washington, DC for the REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings.
REALTORS® Do More than Just List and Sell Homes Bill Boatman | Meybohm Realtors
he word REALTOR® is normally synonymous with the listing and selling of real property, and this connection is very accurate. REALTORS® list and sell well over 80percent of all homes sold in the state of Georgia and a much higher percentage in the Greater Augusta area. But most consumers don’t realize that REALTORS® do much more. REALTORS® fight daily for home ownership, private property rights and free enterprise. The issues they work against come in many shapes and forms and can be local, state or national. A great example of REALTOR® advocacy efforts occurred in late March with the Georgia Senate passage of HB83 and the subsequent
signing by Governor Deal the first week of May. The bill cleared up problems in previous legislation, the wording of which put REALTORS® in the position of violating the law as they carried out duties to sellers that required them to facilitate short sales with lenders. The problem was discovered by REALTORS® in the field then reported to Georgia REALTOR® leadership who sought and received cooperation from the Georgia Banking Department. After several meetings with the state agency explaining the problems existing legislation have caused and acknowledging that REALTOR® participation in the short sale process was vital to reduce the number of foreclosures that could occur, Georgia REALTORS®, the Georgia Banking Department and attorneys representing both crafted language for a bill that would solve the issue. When all were satisfied with the language of
the proposed bill, REALTOR® public policy staff went to work at the Capital seeking sponsors and support. The passage of this bill was a model of how REALTORS®, government agencies and legislative bodies can work together to protect homeownership, private property rights and free enterprise. This bill also had strong support from the Mortgage Banking Association. Recently, REALTORS® spent a week in Washington, DC for their midyear legislative conference, visiting Representatives and Senators to discuss key issues of concern. REALTORS® urged their Legislators to preserve the mission and purpose of the FHA Mortgage program, to preserve homeownership tax policies and to restructure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to encourage the return of private capital to the home mortgage lending industry. REALTORS® support responsible lending and responsible loan underwriting. The real estate
market is improving and recovering, but the availability of mortgage money continues to be a concern as well as new regulations from the Dodd Frank Bill that could slow the market and stall the housing recovery. REALTORS®, the true professionals of the real estate industry, do much more than just list and sell. They also serve as an army of defenders for homeownership, private property rights and free enterprise. What REALTORS® actually do is enhance the quality of life in their communities. Bill Boatman This is s sponsored article. Bill Boatman is President of Meybohm REALTORS®, a past President and REALTOR® of the year for the Greater Augusta Association of REALTORS® and a past President of the Georgia Association of REALTORS®. He lives in the Augusta area with this wife and attends Trinity on the Hill Methodist Church.
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BRENT & KELLY MALLEK | Talent Focus Consulting
Talent Focus Consulting is an authorized partner with Profiles International. This article shared from their blog. eadership is a talent like any other -- some are born with it, most are not. Like any talent, leadership has to be developed. Just like an athlete, a musician or an artist, you are born with a talent – but it is up to you to develop it. I am sure you have observed someone in your company who is extremely intelligent get promoted only to fail. Just because someone has great ideas, an analytical mind or is incisive doesn’t make them a great leader. Leadership is more than just a high IQ; it is about Emotional Intelligence as well. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter More Than IQ, said, “IQ tells you what level of cognitive complexity a person can manage in their job: you need high levels for top management, the professions, the sciences, while lower levels work fine in lower echelons. Emotional intelligence sets apart which leaders, professionals, or scientists will be the best leaders.” Emotional Intelligence will help you develop your ability to lead and manage whatever the conditions may be. In order to be a great leader, you must understand and know how to manage yourself first. Being aware of the people around you will help you to be a skilled leader. Just because you may have a high IQ does not mean that you will be a skillful leader. A great leader should have a combination of both IQ and EI. If you understand who you are and what your strengths are (self-
awareness) and you know how to lead yourself (self-management), then you will be a better leader. You will know how to read others and empathize. Being able to control your own emotions, being aware of your behavior and being able to manage yourself will allow you to maximize your potential. Self-management is about having the ability to display the right behaviors when your emotions are pointing in a different direction. Good leaders should also be able to connect the people around them (others-awareness). Employees will follow their leaders if they are able to approach them and relate to them. If the leader has high EI, employees will feel more motivated and committed. Leaders with high EI generate excitement and enthusiasm within their followers, understand how their followers feel, and are able to lead and guide the emotions of employees. Leadership is about relationships, which in turn is a highly emotional process. You can use emotional intelligence to build relationships. As a leader, having high EI will allow you to be more compassionate, more understanding and interact more effectively with others. You will be able to inspire, influence, coach and handle conflict (others-management). BRENT & KELLY MALLEK This is a sponsored article from their company, Talent Focus Consulting. Brent has over 20 years of Human Resources experience as a proven leader, coach, and teacher. His practical yet strategic approach to human capital issues provides great value to the businesses with which he works. Kelly’s successful track record spans 25 years working in sales, customer service, and business operations. Her practical approach puts others at ease while assisting others in driving their business results. Visit their website at www.talentfocusconsulting.com or call 706.945.1592 for a free consultation.
Health and Wellness with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Eliz Erman-Britton | Licensed Acupuncturist @ Hillbrook Medical
raditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been healing and balancing humans for centuries. Written documentation of traditional Chinese medicine dates back to 3000 BC with additional evidence supporting that various methods were also being practiced as far back as 5000 BC. Traditional Chinese Medicine is not only acupuncture. Other treatment modalities include cupping, tui na massage, moxibustion, gua sha, and herbology. By observing humans and nature, Chinese practitioners were able to develop multiple theories and methods for treating ailments and injuries. Those same fundamental theories are still applicable to modern health and wellness today. Acupuncture is what most people find when they research Chinese medicine. One of the major theories used for acupuncture is the meridian theory. The interactions and functions of the meridians can be used for diagnosis and treatment of ailments. Meridians can be thought of like energetic jet streams in your body. Each meridian line represents a specific organ and its superficial energetic pathway in your body. Along those meridians are areas where
your energy (Qi) pools to create an acupuncture point. The majority of acupuncture points have multiple functions that can be accessed through specific needle manipulations and techniques. The ability to insert a hair thin needle without causing pain or discomfort is rendered as a form of art. The science and the art of healing with TCM is based on holistic principals. Your physical, emotional and energetic wellbeing are all taken into consideration when you receive a diagnosis or a treatment. Like the seasons and your emotional states, your diagnosis can change slowly or quickly over time. Some of the more popular uses of TCM include pain management, anxiety, depression, smoking cessation, gastrointestinal disorders, gynecological issues, sleep disorders, sports injuries, headaches, migraines or just for general relaxation and balance. Eliz Erman-Britton is a licensed acupuncturist with Hillbrook Medical Center in Columbia County. For any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone Sales Tips to Earn BIG Commissions! LARRY RUDWICK | The Buzz Business Coach
y first business became the #1 wheelchair replacement parts manufacturer and distributor in the USA; we did virtually all of our sales over the telephone. I was our salesman, selling part-time when I wasn’t developing other areas of the business. Later, we grew and trained our sales department to more than 15 people effectively “working the phones”. Tips we followed: Set goals for each call, such as get the prospect or customer: a) interested in what we offer, b) to place an order, c) to provide possible referrals or endorsements, d) to provide some specific information about themselves, or the company they work for, and e) to agree on goals for the subsequent call. And have good questions prepared to ask, specifically tailored to the goals for the call! Professionalism: We worked to make the called parties into business colleagues, not new friends. We mostly stayed away from talking a) politics, b) religion, c) about personal lives and d) controversially. We found it’s better to err on the side of being a bit “too straight” than too provocative and “out there”. If a call took longer than it should, we analyzed why it happened and tried to avoid an overly lengthy call next time.
We learned things when we let the other party talk. But we were careful to a) steer the conversation to what will achieve our goals, and b) use best practices to discourage the other party from talking too much. When the other party was not answering the question we asked, we nicely said: “John, please excuse me. I don’t think I worded my question correctly. I meant to ask you - - then worded the question more clearly. When we got too much information, we might say: “Thanks Joan, I really understand what you’re saying. I have a few more questions I’d like to ask you, but don’t want to take up too much of your time.” Take Notes: Before we called back our key customers, we reviewed our notes before making subsequent calls; it’s best to start the next conversation by reviewing where the last call left off. We left the other party wanting more, looking forward to the next call. We did our best to make sure each call ended on a positive note. Our goal was to agree on the next action step before we completed each call: who will do what, and by when. Less is More: When you keep conversations relatively short but effective, you will have More Time to
make More Calls, and get More Sales and More Compensation! Another key tip: Role-play before you start promoting something new. Work with an experienced telephone sales veteran and get great feedback, which helps build knowledge, skills and self-confidence. Consider working with someone not affiliated with your business instead of, or in addition to, your own boss. I volunteer, and it’s no charge! Call me if you would like to role-play (or face other challenges). Having interviewed and worked with hundreds of people in sales (and other positions), I can often evaluate people’s
skills, challenges and situations over the phone in a half hour or less, and provide personalized tips to help you become more successful! Larry 571.331.6102. Email: Rudwick@cox.net LARRY RUDWICK This is a sponsored Business-Talk article. A lot more about this can be found on the www.BusinessTuneUps.com website. To do an Executive Assessment requires a Word Document entitled Ten Questions That Can Improve Your Life. I would be happy to email one to you; you may request it from me at Rudwick@cox.net or calling 571-331-6102.
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Why Study History? Lynda Lamarre |
Assistant Professor of History
hy study history? After all, history is nothing more than a bunch of names and dates to be memorized for a test and then forgotten. Who really cares about all that old stuff? Understanding our past, where we came from, how we came to organize as a society and what cultural values we developed, helps us understand who we are and how we relate to others. Knowledge of our past should prevent us from repeating it and help us become better people. Knowing what did and did not work in politics, economics, reforms, etc. helps us become educated citizens who can contribute to our own advancement by making informed choices in politics and society. Studying history is not just rote memorization of names and dates but also an understanding of the sequence of events that have transformed our modern society. To truly understand history one needs to know some geography, anthropology, economics, religion, science, medicine, agriculture, technology, weaponry and literature. Hence, a student of history is a wellrounded scholar. Besides, history is fun! If you are into mystery, intrigue, romance, deceit, magic, science, religion, business,
technology, etc., you will find it in history. History is so much more fun than Hollywood movies, video games, or “reality” TV. So open your minds and delve into the past; you’ll be surprised at some of the things you learn! Employers seek people who are able to gather and interpret data, analyze information and present it in a logical manner through clear writing and articulate speaking. An historian is not confined to teaching or working in museums but may find a career in public service, journalism, law and business. Don’t be afraid to take a step back in history; it may help you find the key to your future. Lynda Lamarre, Assistant Professor of History, earned an Associate of Science degree from Georgia Military College in 2005. She transferred to Augusta State University to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 2007. In May, 2011, Ms. Lamarre graduated with a Master of Arts degree in History from Georgia Southern University then began teaching at Georgia Military College. She has been teaching at GMC’s Augusta campus for two years and has been very involved on campus, helping to develop and grow the History Club, a student organization that helps bring history to life.
Train To Be The Best! ED REID | Owner, Team Fit
iger Woods, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Michael Phelps â€“ what do they all have in common? Besides being World champions in their respective sports, they all engage in strength and conditioning training. The Olympic Games also showcase the best of the best in athleticism and the best in pure fitness training. If someone wants to be better (or, perhaps one day, the best) at their chosen sport, becoming stronger, agile, balanced and smart towards fitness training is paramount. It has been publicized and spoken by both Dennis Rodman and Scotty Pippen (Hall of Fame basketball players) that Michael Jordan believed so much in strength conditioning that he would sometimes work out for up to an hour, right after playing a full, professional basketball game in Chicago! I remember a few years ago, when my wife and I were weight training together at a local fitness center, we saw Tiger Woods and his trainer going through band resistance work
during Masters Week. Tiger was not just practicing his swing at the range; he was conditioning his muscles and possibly increasing his swing speed. Remember, not all strength and conditioning training happens in a conventional gym-like atmosphere. Jerry Rice, one of the greatest football players ever, took ballet lessons to increase his agility and balance. Ironically, he finished Second Place in Season 2 of Dancing with the Stars. So whether you are striving to become a World-Class athlete or to just increase your stamina for both your short and long game at the local golf course, regular strength and conditioning training can help you achieve your goals.
ED REID This is a sponsored Fitness article. Ed is a Certified Personal Trainer and leading fitness expert in the CSRA. He is Retired US Navy with over 15 years experience in the health and wellness industry. Ed owns Team Fit Personal Training located at 4460 Columbia
article reprinted from Summer of 2012 Road, Suite 10. For more information, call Ed at 706.877.0556 or e-mail him: getfit@ teamfitaugusta.com.
The Odyssey Of Self-Publishing These opinions are those of THOMAS Scott Hudson and not necessarily those of Buzz on Biz Newspaper or its staff.
Article by Thomas Scott Hudson
7 Reasons Why It’s Time To Give Up On Windows XP Once And For All KEVIN WADE |
CEO of IntelliSystems, Tek Talk
lthough businesses have been getting rid of Windows XP for at least the last three years, the fact remains that as of last December around 500 million users were still running Windows XP. It has been a wonderfully stable operating system that we knew and loved for nearly ten years, and even helped us survive through the dark ages of Microsoft Vista, but as with all good things, Microsoft Windows XP’s time has come to an end. It’s not just that it’s old, which it is, its age actually is a factor, but it was built for a simpler time when there were fewer hardware options, and it is difficult to continue to put bandages on top of bandages to protect systems from all the malware in the modern era. The new edition of Windows 8.1 (which solves some of the initial complaints with Windows 8.0) is a good option for new systems, and yes you WILL need to upgrade your hardware too. So with that in mind, here are my top 7 reasons to upgrade from Windows XP. Here are 7 of the top reasons it’s time to finally give up Windows XP now. 1. Tons of Viruses. There is a huge library of viruses aimed at Windows XP and only limited antivirus support is still available. 2. XP Is OLD (almost 12 years old!). The 1st iPod was released the same year as Windows XP. In a world where the 5th iPhone has been released, no one should be left using an O/S that pre-dates the 1st iPod! 3. Least Secure Operating System (By Far!). ALL other platforms, including Linux, all versions of Mac OS X, Windows 7
and Windows 8 are more secure than XP by a huge margin. Windows Vista is actually a far safer option (scary!). 4. Built For A Simpler Time. XP was created for a simpler world of technology. It was formatted to fit to a screen only 640 pixels wide, and it showcased Internet Explorer 6 as a new product. The internet was a different place when XP was developed. Smartphones were non-existent, laptops were a luxury, and tablet computers were science fiction. 5. No More Band-Aids. Only so many band-aid fixes on top of each other can be effective. 6. Support Is Ending. Mainstream support of XP ended 4 years ago (April 2009) with only critical security updates since then. All support including security updates end April 2014. 7. Malware Everywhere. You can continue to use XP, but with more malware than ever. XP is by far the most vulnerable platform to connect to the internet. So consider your options and start planning the end of any remaining Windows XP computers you may still be using in your business (or even at home). Windows XP is a relic from a different world. Use at your own risk! Kevin Wade was selected as the 2012 Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneur of the Year”. KEVIN WADE is the CEO and “techspert” for Intellisystems, a small business I.T department for area companies. He works with them to prevent network failure, data loss, or backup disasters and provides technology advice to keep clients and the community informed. Intellisystems is located in the Alley in Aiken, in Columbia at the Atrium on Stoneridge Drive, and in downtown Augusta. For more info, email email@example.com
odern internet technology has turned the publishing world on its head. In the old days, a prospective author either had to win the lottery in the form of a publishing contract, or resort to spending thousands of dollars to self publish in the “vanity” press and attempt to hawk their books out of the trunk of a car. Those days are quickly coming to an end. With the creation of web services such as CreateSpace. com and social networking, anyone with the desire and the time to actually write a book can become an author. Last month I released my second book, The Contract On The Government. Even though I have been published in the mainstream world, I chose to self publish this time around for a variety of reasons. One of the chief reasons was the issue of control. Large publishing houses serve two main functions: they take the author’s manuscript in raw form and provide editing, graphic arts and formatting services, and they distribute the finished work to the large chain retailers. Professional writers, such as me, do not like to have their work edited. Sure, there is always value in having an extra set of eyes combing for minor grammatical errors, but sometimes the writer, to fully express himself, will intentionally write a sentence that technically speaking is not grammatically correct. Publishing houses also tend to be conservative when it comes to cover art. I chose local artist and editorial cartoonist for the Columbia County News/Times, B.J. Wood, to design my cover art. I told him what I wanted, and he drew it. The cover of The Contract On The Government depicts George Washington pointing a gun with “The Constitution” embossed on its side. With the current national debate about gun control, that cover would have likely been nixed by a major publisher. The other main function of the major publisher is to distribute the book and get it on the shelves. However, people’s buying habits are changing. The convenience of being able to sit a computer and browse for new titles continues to chip away at the big box market. These days, you see desperate publishers placing their books in the bargain bins at Costco and Sam’s Club and that is not an
indication that the titles aren’t selling, they are just not selling at the physical retail level. Today, all a prospective author needs is a computer with internet access. With services such as LULU and CreateSpace, formatting and cover creation can be accomplished in a couple of hours. If the author knows someone with website building skills, a website can be created quickly and the cost for a domain name and server space is less than $250.00. People have the wrong impression that major publishing houses handle the lion’s share of the book marketing. One can have the finest written work of the 21st Century published, but if no one knows it’s out there, then no one is going to buy it. However, these days, unless you are Ann Coulter or Jesse Jackson, then you get relatively little help in the form of marketing. Indeed, most publishing contracts these days make it clear it is up to the author to help promote the book by scheduling book signings and taking out advertisements in the media. Again, why would an author sign away more royalties for a service they will not get? Social media has brought down the barriers for authors to self market. Facebook has become an excellent resource with fan pages that can be linked to websites. If the writer has 1000 friends and 10 friends share a post about the new book, then suddenly thousands and thousands of people are aware of it. Add to the mix online forums, blogs and YouTube, the newbee writer has the ability to get his message out to possibly millions of people. The flip side to this new artistic freedom is that the market now is literally saturated with first time authors. The consumer must be wary that there are a lot of awfully written books out there. However, even with the glut in the market, the new publishing world is good for the consumer because unlike the conventional wisdom that hard copy books are going the way of the Dodo, there are more reading choices out there than ever before. Learn more about Tommy Scott Hudson’s “The Contract On The Government” by visiting the website: www.thecontract.us. Thomas scott hudson is a free lance reporter for WGAC News and a local paralegal. For comments or story ideas email firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbia County Amateur Series promotes new Exhibition Center
Christopher Selmek | Freelance Writer/Photographer
o God be the Glory,” sang Funmilaya Ngozi upon hearing that she had won the Columbia County Amateur Series, a five-week long competition which ended with the five finalists performing back to back July 12. She then thanked the audience for allowing her to share her gift with them and posed for photographs as she received her $1000 check. Ngozi will later receive a frontof-the-line pass from WAGT to the nearest regional competition, such as America’s Got Talent or The Voice. But the greatest gift she and the other performers received that night may have been the opportunity to be the first performers onstage at the brand new Columbia County Exhibition Center, located at 218 Partnership Drive in the Gateway Complex near the Grovetown Wal-Mart on Lewiston Road. “It was great,” she said. “I love this area because I am a Columbia County resident, and I think we’ve needed a performing arts center like this for a long time and it’s really great to have. I’ve seen all the rooms and I have to say that the audio system is state of the art.” Construction is 99 percent finished on the 7.3 million dollar project which began last August and is expected to be finished in time for a four-day grand opening celebration Aug. 15-18. Events will begin with a VIP preview at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 15, followed by an open house from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Exhibition Center’s first job fair will begin at 1 p.m. Aug. 16, a family fitness expo will take place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 17, and Faith Day, which will feature various neighborhood churches and several praise bands is Aug. 18 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., “We decided to open it up early just for the Amateur series, because we could fit more people in here,” said Calie Cook, co-host and co-creator of the Amateur series and marketing manager for the facility. “We wanted to test the building and highlight the building and start the process of getting people to know we are here and we can accommodate a large crowd.” Sandy Boner, manager of Columbia County Rental Facilities and Venues Department, admitted she anticipated a problem with acoustics because of the concrete walls and floor which has not yet been carpeted, but was pleasantly surprised by the results. “There are some little glitches we still have to iron out, but they’re little things that are always associated with opening a new building,” she said. “The kitchen is not anywhere near being done, and there’s a small roof leak, but we’re confident it will be ready for the grand opening.” “I would say it’s really a great space and versatile,” said camera technician
Nikki Boner. “It’s very well wired with plenty of places to plug in equipment, which will be good for either a large or a small venue.” “It went fantastic,” said Bobby Ray Bittle, the runner-up for Amateur Series winner who traveled from Gastonia, North Carolina in order to test the new facility. “The acoustics really settled in once there were more people in here, especially for vocals, and it seemed like a good space that you could do a lot with it.” The new Exhibition Center is about half the size of downtown Augusta’s Convention Center, with only one story and free, flat parking. Construction began last August following a Columbia County market survey that determined the area would support a smaller trade show facility. “Being the manager for 15 years, I already knew that we had a built in audience for a facility like this,” said Boner. “When we hired the Smallwood Architectural Firm, they incorporated what we had learned from the Savannah Market Analysis along with their own experience from designing buildings like the Cobb Gallery. Our goal was to have something that would satisfy a multipurpose need as well as be a tradeshow space, so having one that is so big and open is just what we needed.” “We’re real proud of it and I think something we’ve needed for a long time,” said Columbia County Commissioner Trey Allen. “It’s a definite asset for a growing county and something that we really needed.” The Columbia County Rental Facilities and Venues Department also operates the Canal Headgate Building, the Jabez Sanford-Hardin Performing Arts Center, Savannah Rapids and Savannah Rapids Park, but the new Exhibition Center is the largest of all. The completed 31,500 square foot building offers 15,600 square feet of trade show space which can accommodate up to 950 for a banquet style event or nearly 1,500 seated for a presentation. “Prior to opening this building Savannah Rapids was our biggest facility, and we could only fit 420 people into our biggest room,” said Boner. “We wanted to be able to offer something bigger that could be available for luncheon shows, concerts, weddings or anything at all, plus we’re in a good location because we’re only five minutes from the highway.” At present the Exhibition Center shares space with the Family YMCA which opened in mid-May, but according to sales coordinator Ellen Hill, when their lease is up in 3-5 years the Rental Facilities and Venues Department will own that section of the building as well.
Photo of contest winner (courtesy of Chris Selmek) FunmilayaNgozi - Funmilaya Ngozi received a $1,000 check from Columbia County Amateur Series host Justin Cook, co-host Calie Cook, and Sandy Boner, manager of Columbia County Rental Facilities and Venues Department.
Photos courtesy of Sharon Wilson of Sofia Colton Photography: The new Columbia County Exhibition Center, located at 218 Partnership Drive in the Gateway Complex near the Grovetown Wal-Mart on Lewiston Road, is a 31,500 square foot building offering 15,600 square feet of trade show space which can accommodate up to 950 for a banquet style event or nearly 1,500 seated for a presentation.
There are no additional musical events currently scheduled for the building, though organizers are hopeful more people will become interested after the grand opening. A Bridal Fair will come to the building in August, followed by 600 visitors attending a green expo in October, and a planned Christmas and crafts event in November. The entire facility is available to rent for $2,400 a day for private, invitation-
only or non-ticketed events open to the public, or renters may request one of the two exhibit halls or one of three meeting rooms. In addition, facility managers may provide 1,500 chairs, a portable LCD projector, A/V screen, wired microphone and other items for a small fee. For more information and price breakdowns, call 706.868.3349. By Christopher Selmek
AUGUST 2013 JUNE 2012
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
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A Work in Progress: Maverick Antcliff Drew Belt | Assistant Golf Professional at West Lake County Club
averick Antcliff is a rising Sophmore for Augusta State University by way of Beaudestert, Austrailia, and also the golf team’s top performer of 2012-2013. Maverick has an immense amount of power in his golf swing, fantastic hand-eye coordination and great touch around the green. He is constantly working on polishing his golf swing. Maverick tended to cover, or move, his shoulders too far towards the target, which gave him too low or a ball flight and too much of curve in his flight as well. So, what
we have done is begin to work on creating a constant low point in his golf swing, which will in turn create more consistancy in his ball contact and flight. What is the low point in a swing, and why is it so important? The low point in a swing is the bottom of the swing arc and for most shots, the bottom of the divot. It is NOT where the ball sits. The low point will most times occur directly beneath your left shoulder in the swing. If you have a consistant low point in your golf swing, you will then in turn hit the ball solid every time. Remember, hitting the ball solid is the No. 1 ingredient to distance! Also, having a constant low point helps to create consistant curve
in your golf shots. So, how is it done? 1. Hips: Your hips on the downswing move towards to the target athletically to support the upper body. This is done by almost feeling like they slide to the left before they start to open up to the target. 2. Upper body: Feel as though your head is staying still into the downswing or even moving back. This definitely gave Maverick a “reverse C” feeling because it was opposite of before. Remember the club is connected to your hands, which are connected to your arms, which are connected to your shoulders; and your head is the center of all of this. If your upper body moves, then the low point will move!
3. Shaft Lean: Maintain the angle in your hands and arms and shaft through the shot. Do not worry about having too much of this. 4. Baby Steps: The key to speeding up the learning process is to slow down and hit smaller shots. Maverick will spend most of his time hitting shorter half swing to three quarter shots. Drew Belt This is a sponsored Golf article. Drew is an Assistant Golf Professional at West Lake County Club. A PGA of America Class A Member, Drew has been teaching golf to all levels of players for over 10 years. For comments or story ideas email email@example.com
Open s 24 Hour
4361 Washington Road Evans, GA 706-364-2095
3125 Peach Orchard Road Augusta, GA 706-364-6147
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY! PETE ALEWINE |
Owner of Pete Alewine Pool & Spa
he historical amounts of rain that the Augusta area is receiving has no doubt washed out some of your summer plans for outdoor fun. For pool owners the rain is causing a roller coaster for the chemical levels in pools that can cause problems if they aren’t monitored. Here’s a quick “Pool School” on rain, how it affects your pool and what steps you can take to combat problems: Rain water is acidic in nature, and its pH level is lower than normal pool water. The ideal pH of a pool is around 7.5; rain sits at around 5.0. With the buckets of rain that we’ve been getting, that is a significant difference! Low pH will cause scaling, buildup on the walls and a murky look to your pool water. The next thing that deluges of rain will do is dilute the chemicals that you already have in the pool while also adding contaminants from the atmosphere. Diluted water means there is less chlorine available in your pool. A lower level of chlorine to fight increased contaminants is what
leads to green, unhealthy swimming water…A bad cycle in which to get caught! In order to fight back, make sure that you are regularly checking the pH and chlorine levels in your pool. While you can perform a basic test at home, our stores in Evans and Aiken provide free water testing which can pinpoint specific issues and provide immediate feedback. Normally we recommend a test once a month, but with the recent rainfall once every couple of weeks would be helpful until the weather gets back to normal. Stay on top of your pool chemistry! A little work now will ensure that you are ready to swim when the sunshine reappears. Pete Alewine, born and raised in Evans, GA, has owned Pete Alewine Pool Company for 15 years and been a part of the swimming pool industry in the CSRA for over 30 years. Pete Alewine Pool & Spa is located in Evans at 4470 Washington Road and in Aiken at 116 Pendleton Street SW. Services include new pool construction, outdoor kitchen construction, pool renovations, equipment repair and service as well as water testing and pool chemical sales. They are a dealer for Sundance Spas and Big Green Egg grills. This is a sponsored article.
A Good Speaker Shouldn’t Be Hard to Find Advertorial by Barry L. Paschal for Goodwill Industries
n any given week, dozens of clubs and civic organizations across the Augusta area hold a variety of meetings. While these groups are tremendously varied in their goals and memberships, most have one thing in common: Their meetings typically include speeches or presentations. Clearly, as any visitor or member will attest, some of those presentations are better than others. The best ones bring dynamic speakers with engaging topics that not only keep the audience awake, but also leave them more informed – perhaps even inspired. Finding those speakers might seem like a challenge, and indeed, one of the more challenging positions of any civic club often is that of the volunteer who arranges programs for meetings. Fortunately, there’s a better way. One good place to start is with Toastmasters organizations across Georgia and South Carolina. They’re easily found through an internet search, and offer a variety of speakers on a broad range of topics sure to shake up any club’s tired-and-true menu of rubber-chicken talkers. It’s a two-way street, by the way: Confident speakers who graduate from Toastmasters
also can sign up to be available for presentations. Most major organizations also operate speakers bureaus, available to provide commentaries on related areas of expertise. In the Augusta area, local hospitals and universities all provide speakers upon request, as do such utilities as South Carolina Electric and Gas and Georgia Power. Local military bases and government facilities, including Fort Gordon and Savannah River Site, also have a variety of speakers available. Programmers can even gamble with getting a speaker from each state’s lottery offices, which offer presentations on gaming and education funding. One great place to look for speakers is from local charitable organizations throughout the community. They’re eager to share their message, and many also can provide mutually beneficial opportunities for clubs seeking philanthropic partners. That includes Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, which readily provides speakers on a variety of engaging topics sure to hold the attention and spark the interest of any audience. “Our Speakers Bureau has presentations already prepared on topics such as Helms College, an overview of Goodwill services, and on Goodwill’s human and economic impact
on the CSRA,” said Goodwill Marketing Coordinator Kristen Soles, who manages Goodwill’s Speakers Bureau. “We can also customize presentations for audiences who may want to zero in on more specific work that Goodwill performs for our local community,” Soles said. “Our ultimate goal is to present information in an engaging way so the people of the Augusta area can learn all the great things Goodwill has to offer.” In addition to offering engaging speakers, Goodwill’s Hospitality Services (Edgar’s Hospitality Group) can even provide the welcoming venue at the Snelling Center, along with a tantalizing menu for that next
meeting. To get started, find the Goodwill Speakers Bureau at www. goodwillworks.org/speakersbureau, or set up meetings and events by contacting the professional hospitality staff at www.edgarsgrille.com. With so many possibilities available, there are no more excuses for boring speakers -- or rubber chicken. Barry L. Paschal This is a sponsored article. Barry L. Paschal recently retired from 30 years in the Augusta media, most recently as publisher of The Columbia County NewsTimes. He now serves as senior director of marketing and communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA.
Pest Control Technician Achieves Associate Certified Entomologist Status
Advanced Services is proud to announce that our Mike Adams of Team BugStopper has achieved Associate Certified Entomologist Status in June. Mike Adams has been a member of our team since 1999. Mike Adams was recently certified as an Associate Entomologist by the Entomological Society of America Certification Corporation. To achieve Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) status, a pest-control operator must have a minimum of seven years of verifiable pest management experience, the knowledge and ability to pass a rigorous test on insect pest control, a current U.S. pesticide applicators license, and a willingness to adhere to the ACE Code of Ethics. “We’re very proud of the work Mike did and the knowledge he gained in order to become certified ACEs,” said Jeff Annis, president of Advanced Services. “It means a lot to have nationally-recognized, certified experts as part of the company.” The ACE examination includes questions about basic entomology; insect identification, life cycles, and control measures; health impacts of pests; ecological principles pertaining to pest control; environmental impacts related to pest control; integrated pest management (IPM); pesticide safety and health issues; pesticide technology and resources; organizations and associations of significance to the pest control industry; and laws and regulations affecting the industry. Advanced Services for Pest Control was founded in 1986 in Augusta, Georgia and specializes in residential and commercial pest and termite control using the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System. Mike is the second member of our team to achieve this special status. Bo Thomas, our company VP of Technical Services achieved this status in 2012. For more information about the Entomological Society of America Certification Corporation, go to www.entocert.org. For more information about Advanced Services, go to www.bugstopper.com.
St. Louis Original Hamburgers Nola Bon Viveur | Fun-Loving Foodie
was working on the west side of town last week, and I needed a quick place to stop in for an impromptu lunch meeting to discuss some last-minute marketing strategies for the back to school season. I have passed St. Louis Original Hamburgers, at 407 Fury’s Ferry Road (in the Publix shopping center) several times as I drive to my office; and several times I have wanted to give it a try. Once in particular I tried to call in a take-out order, but their phone rang and rang and no one ever answered. I assumed at that point that the restaurant, like several others that have been in that location, had already closed up shop. As I drove past today I noticed there were several cars in the parking lot, so when I got to the office I called to make sure they were open for lunch. Again…no answer. Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided my colleague and I would just go and see for ourselves if they were open. And they were! I did, however, feel the obligation to ask the girl behind the counter if they had an operating telephone. She very lackadaisically responded, “Yeah, but someone else told me once that she tried to call and no one ever answered, but sometimes it works.” It cannot be very good for business to have a phone that “sometimes works”. St. Louis Original Hamburgers is a
locally-owned by Gregory Glover, a restaurateur with more than nine years of experience. He founded the restaurant after working as a South Carolina franchisee and noticing a distinct lack of originality in franchised restaurants and an inability to make changes based on customer feedback. According to their website, their burgers are hand-pattied and made fresh to order with carefullycrafted, fresh ingredients. The set up at St. Louis is this: you walk to the counter, place your order, make your drink and seat yourself. When your order is ready it is delivered to your table by the staff. My first impression was that at 12:30 on a Thursday it was not normal to have such a light crowd. I counted, and there were only a dozen other diners in the restaurant. A couple of folks came in for takeout, but still, business was slow. While I didn’t mind waiting, because I had business to discuss, the service was slower than I expect from a “short order” burger joint. The menu at St. Louis Original Hamburgers includes several signature hamburger and sandwiches in addition to a couple of salads and pita wraps. All entrees are served as combos, with French fries and a drink. I chose the Black and Bleu burger, and Carrie chose the Chicken Club pita. I substituted onion rings for my French fries, and we also shared a piece of cake. Overall, the food was good. They seem to use fresh
and not frozen ingredients. My burger was flavored nicely, and they used just the right amount of bleu cheese. The onion rings looked great, but they were not seasoned well at all. I don’t usually add salt to food, but these needed it desperately. The only complaint Carrie had about her pita wrap was that the veggies (lettuce and tomato) didn’t seem fresh. Her fries, like my onion rings, could have also been seasoned better. The cake…well, let’s just say I could have skipped those calories. Obviously, because there were less than 20 people in the restaurant (including the staff), it was very quiet. We had no trouble getting our work done. I would not rate St. Louis very high on the “networking” scale for the same reason -- with that few people, there aren’t a lot of connections to be made. Our service, and I use the term loosely, was adequate. The girl who took our order was friendly, and she delivered our food and picked up our dishes with a smile. As I mentioned before, the food took a bit longer than I planned for, but that was okay, as I had work to get done.
The restaurant was very simply decorated -- an open dining room with wooden tables and chairs and a patio for outdoor seating. Everything seemed clean except for the sticky that made my shoes stick to the floor. Let’s just pretend that was the cleaner they use on the floor, right? I think this restaurant has a lot of potential despite being located in a building where several others have failed in the past. They’ve only been open since April, so maybe they are still working out the kinks. Nola Bon Viveur the “Fun-Loving Foodie,” is on the quest to find the best local hotspots for business power lunches. Nola is a regular contributor for Buzz on Biz. She is a native of Augusta, and is well acquainted with the local food scene.
LOCATION SERVICE NETWORKING Noise LEVEL
McDonald’s joins hot 1-20 corridor
As demolition continues on the Econo Lodge building on the Jimmy Dyess Parkway and Belair Frontage Road, the buzz is a new McDonald’s restaurant will begin construction later this year. Steak ‘n Shake got off to one of the fastest starts in the history of the franchise and the Buzz on Biz reported that sales at the Jimmy Dyess Parkway Dairy Queen have significantly increased since Steak ‘n Shake opened around the first of the year. McDonald’s opened a restaurant in the spring on Wheeler Road just a few miles from the Jimmy Dyess Parkway location. That store serves the business and medical community, while the proposed Mickey D’s will serve I-20 travelers, Fort Gordon and others.
Local Sub Shop Expands in Aiken
Pat’s Sub Shop, an Aiken area restaurant voted “Best of the Best Sub Shops” in 2013, is moving from 1747 Whiskey Road to 728 Pine Log Road, next to the Wing Place, in order to allow for more dinning and parking space. Buzz on Biz listener Shari Barton alerted us to the move, saying that Pat’s Chicken Salad Sub is her favorite. Soon, she and others will be able to enjoy that and dozens of other recipes at Pat’s new location. In the Aiken area there are competitors like Firehouse, Subway, Blimpie, Groucho’s and Sub Station, not to mention the new Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches franchise opening up near their old location on Whiskey Road.
Malibu Jack’s closed
Malibu Jacks., the sea food restaurant and bar located on Fury’s Ferry Road, has closed for good following the owners decision to get out of the restaurant business “I was just working too many hours, 100 something off hours a week, and I decided it was too much and I needed to get out of it,” said owner Dennis Gould. “Besides, I have two new grandkids on the way and I want to be able to spend more time with them.” Malibu Jack’s had 6 big screens and tried to draw the sports crowd with football games, US Open golf and Nascar. The owners tried to mix in Karaoke, poker, darts, and live music to spur the bar crowd, but despite offering almost 20 options for lunch under $7 -- lunch never took off for Malibu Jacks.
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Up Your Alley ChopHouse
Under the new ownership of brothers and Aiken natives Jeff and Philip Jordan, work is progressing on the opening in The Alley of the Up Your Alley ChopHouse on Sept. 6, the Friday of the popular Aiken’s Maikin’ weekend festival. The new restaurant hopes to replace what was one of Aiken’s foodie icons for the past three decades, Up Your Alley restaurant. Jeff also operates Jordan’s Signature Automotive with another brother, Anthony. Philip is the owner of Aiken Spine Institute at 2741 Whiskey Road.
Ryan’s Downtown Market & Deli Closes
Ryan’s Downtown Market & Deli has closed following three and a half years of service to the downtown Aiken community. “From day one the downtown and broader Aiken community has welcomed us with open arms,” wrote Cutter and Hayes Mitchell, the owners of the closing deli in a letter to their loyal customers. “Never before have my brother or I felt so at home and supported. While we are saddened to see this chapter in our lives come to a close, we are, at the same time, excited for what lies ahead. While we are moving on to other endeavors, we owe our loyal customers, the downtown merchants and so many that have helped us along the way a great debt of gratitude.” They closed by saying that downtown is a great asset to Aiken, and they hope the Aiken community will continue to support the many great business that remain.
AUGUST 2013 6, 2013 JAN. 10 –FEB.
SOUTH CAROLINA BUSINESS
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Local and state officials participate in the groundbreaking ceremony at Recleim on Tuesday. Pictured, front row, from left, are County Councilman Phil Napier, Rep. Roland Smith, County Councilman Sandy Haskell, Recleim President and CEO Ben Hirokawa, Sen. Shane Massey and Rep. Don Wells; back row, from left, are Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce President and CEO J. David Jameson, Sen. Tom Young Jr., Sen. Nikki Setzler, Economic Development Partnership Director Will Williams and Frank Townsend, CEO of Southern Bank and Trust. HaleStorm communications photo taken July
Graniteville “Recleims” Significant Civic Pride Stephen Delaney Hale | Freelance Writer
t might be a bit trite to claim that a Phoenix has risen in Graniteville, which for 150 years was the symbol of textile manufacturing in South Carolina, but some hope was restored on July 9 when an Atlanta industrial recycling company named Recleim held a groundbreaking in a hollowed out old
mill building. The new company will bring 200 jobs and more than $40 million in investment to this hard-hit symbol of Southern independence. In the past two decades Graniteville has been just as much a symbol of decline as it once was of industry, but perhaps now it is being “reclaimed” from its ashes. The news brought out virtually all of Aiken County’s political representation and many of its townspeople to witness a
groundbreaking ceremony intended to showcase an economic step forward for this ravaged town. The 200 jobs to be created, and where they will be working, are as important as the investment money, said nearly everyone gathered at the old Hickman Mill property in the center of Graniteville. Hickman Mill is adjacent to the railroad siding where early on the morning of Jan. 6, 2005, a Norfolk Southern Corp. freight train carrying
more than 250 tons of chlorine crashed into a parked train in the center of town, causing nine deaths and sending 250 people to area hospitals for emergency medical treatment from the deadly gas. Immediately after the accident, the people and institutions of Aiken County rallied around the victims, but the situation continued to disintegrate -- literally. Founded in 1845 as the first manufacturing operation in the Southern states, Graniteville Mill prospered for over a century, making a variety of textiles, even providing uniforms and blankets to Confederate forces during the Civil
Continued on Page 37
Aiken Standard Thriving: Takes Over Gamecock and Ft. Gordon Newspapers Stephen Delaney Hale | Freelance Writer
he Aiken Standard is doing what few papers in the U.S. can claim. They are not just surviving. They seem to be thriving. The Standard is one of several companies owned by Aiken Communications, the proud new (since July) owner of contracts to produce The Signal, the newspaper for Fort Gordon, and, in a coup of statewide importance, they landed the University of South Carolina Gamecocks many athletic department publications, including Spurs and Feathers newspaper and the USC athletic web site. Half-a-decade ago a crisis in the economic efficacy of newspapers put the whole news business into a tailspin. Newspaper advertising in the U.S. fell from $49.27 billion in 2006 to $27.5 billion in 2009 – a drop of over 44 percent in four years, according to Christina Jones, writing in Trends and News in 2012. From 2007 through 2010, 13,500 journalists lost their jobs, with newspapers losing 25 percent of their full-time staff. When Baby Boomers were young, just about every adult read a newspaper every day, but the Trend and News article says that had fallen to 31 percent of adults in the U.S. by 2010. Many newspapers and television stations across the nation went out of business at the end of the last decade. Locally, The Augusta Chronicle had to file bankruptcy, from which it has emerged, and television stations WJBF and WAGT combined their news staffs for efficiencies. Aiken Communications Inc., is a subsidiary of Evening Post Publishing, LLC., publisher of the The Post and Courier of Charleston. It owns the Aiken paper, The North Augusta Star, a commercial printing venture and an adventurous new marketing company called TootSuite that focuses on traditional and digital marketing services. It is TootSuite that will operate the Gamecock and Ft. Gordon media. In announcing the award of the new contract from longtime Spurs and Feathers publishers Gamecock Associates, the Gamecock Club announced that “University of South Carolina Gamecocks soon will have access to a variety of print and digital publications focused on the
activities of the Gamecock Club and the University’s student athletes offered under a five-year agreement with Aiken Communications., Inc.” According to their announcement, “The Gamecock Club was seeking to modernize communications with its membership. The new offerings will include a tabloid newspaper, slick magazines, online features and tablet and mobile apps that will be tied closely to social media. The new Spurs and Feathers will be the official one-stop destination for all Gamecock fans, according to the release. The newspaper will be published 25 times during the athletic year and give Gamecock fans an insight into Gamecock athletics and the inner workings of the University of South Carolina athletic department. The digital editions will be updated daily and be a source for real-time news about the University’s athletic programs. “We are very pleased with the confidence the Gamecock Club is showing in us,” said Scott Hunter, president of Aiken Communications Inc., “This is a very exciting time for USC and Gamecock sports. We are proud to partner with them on these key products. We have already developed a very strong staff.” Aiken Communications, Inc., executive Tim O’Briant will serve as general manager of Spurs and Feathers. A South Carolina native, O’Briant currently is the general manager of TootSuite Communications, where he oversees the development of new strategies and products for Aiken Communications, Inc., and its clients. O’Briant also leads the company’s television and streaming video efforts under the name of ASTV, which operates a leased access cable channel in the Aiken market. Former USC Aiken Assistant Athletic Director Brian Hand will serve as executive editor of Spurs and Feathers. A lifelong Gamecock fan who is the son of two South Carolina graduates, Hand began his career working at the The Greenville News as a sports clerk before moving on to work with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds and the Southern Conference league office. Mike Kucharski, a former assistant sports information director at USC Aiken, will serve as a reporter and South Carolina School of Journalism graduate Kathy Boyette is heading the advertising sales efforts.
Along with producing The Signal at Fort Gordon, Aiken Communications will also support the newspaper’s website, www.ftgordon.com. Aiken Communications will sell advertising, provide photography and page design, print the newspaper and manage the website. The Signal will have a separate staff, but will also enjoy the backing and support of other Aiken Communications operations and products, said Aiken Communications President Scott Hunter.
“We are blessed with a great leadership team here,” Hunter said. They know how to efficiently manage multiple successful publications. The Signal fits very well into our skill set.” TootSuite GM Tim O’Briant will play a key role with The Signal and the lead advertising sales person is Nikki Clark. Longtime North Augusta Star reporter and photographer, Bill Bengtson and Matt Socha will be the key news designer.
Animal Acupuncture: More Pet Owners Get the Point A
Chasiti Kirkland | Freelance Writer
mericans spend more each year on Fido and Fluffy than on booze, bread and everyday pantry staples. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average U.S. pet owner spent $502 on feathered, furred and fishy friends in 2012. That’s more than the $456 the average person paid for alcohol in one year or the $404 they spent on men’s and boy’s clothing. Pet food alone costs the average household $183 -- more than most folks spend on chicken, cereal, bread and candy. So to all who scoffed at the idea of a veterinary practice emphasizing animal acupuncture, massage and house calls, you can stop laughing now. The odds are tilted in favor of Acupet Wellness and Dr. Mandy DuBose. The latest numbers underscore just how much people in the U.S. think of their pets. Collectively, they spent nearly $53 billion on them in 2012. That’s an all-time high and the first time in history that more than $50 billion has gone to dogs, cats, canaries, guppies, reptiles and every critter in between, according the American Pet Products Association, which confirmed the numbers. That’s a lot of zeros to say the least, and the $6.2 billion that went toward grooming and treats last year is more than Facebook made in advertising revenue. The numbers speak volumes. Not even the brutal economy of the past few years has reversed the trend of spending on pets. The totals have risen every year right through the Great Recession. Dr. DuBose hopes the APPA is accurately predicting a climb of at least 4 percent for 2013, particularly in her niche market -- referred to as alternative pet care -- which totaled about $12.5 billion last year. If you thought services like acupuncture were hoity-toity and just for Westminster’s best-of breeds, think again. It’s one of the most popular services offered by Acupet Wellness. That’s good news for Dr. DuBose, who last year made the switch from traditional veterinary care to more unconventional techniques involving
ancient Chinese medicine and herbal therapy to treat animals with chronic conditions. Some of the worst scaredy cats in the world love acupuncture, including the ones that are dogs. Even animals that typically don’t like to be touched don’t seem to mind the tiny needles. Some are so relaxed during acupuncture sessions that they take real catnaps, says Dr. DuBose. “It’s good for them, completely safe and painless. Trust me, lots of people practices like waxing legs or eyebrows hurt worse.” Treatments last from less than a minute to 30 minutes, depending on your pet’s needs and condition. Acupuncture is used to help cats and dogs with all kinds of disorders, including chronic pain, arthritis, asthma, allergies, and even kidney and liver problems. In many cases, acupuncture also helps ease the side effects of cancer treatments. And for animals that are paralyzed or limited by arthritis, acupuncture can make a big difference in restoring their mobility, Dr. DuBose said. Even in conventional practices, acupuncture often is used with analgesics and prescription drugs to speed healing and relieve pain during and after surgery. Dr. DuBose stresses that her treatments are meant to complement, not replace, veterinary medicine. Before acupuncture made it to pets, it acquired an ancient history on people before moving into the modern mainstream. That’s what popularized it for pets as well, said Simon Flynn, executive director of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture. Last year, the nonprofit group had 940 veterinary acupuncturists in its membership, compared to about 200 a decade ago. In its most basic form, animal acupuncture is the application of fine needles to various points throughout the body to treat almost any disease or condition. One of the earliest recorded cases was on elephants in India 3,000 years ago although the father of veterinary acupuncture generally is
considered Shun Yang of China. Acupuncture for humans didn’t catch on in the U.S. until the 1970s, and in the veterinary world it gained footing in the mid ’70s when the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society was founded. But does it actually work? “I totally understand the skepticism. It’s not like you can ask dogs and cats how they feel and if it’s working” Dr. DuBose said. The testimonials are in purrs and wagging tails perhaps. Pets’ families often report that their animals seem more relaxed and perkier, particularly those with low energy levels. Senior pets may act younger, and most owners say their pets do things they haven’t attempted in a while. The results may not be immediate and may require several treatments, but Dr. DuBose says pet owners should see improved behavior and movement nonetheless. To be fair, the American Veterinary Medical Association, which represents more than 78,000 veterinarians, does not endorse animal acupuncture as a specialty, although it does recognize the growing interest in alternative treatments. So if you decide to try it, go with advice from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, says Dr. DuBose. Make sure whoever treats your pets is a licensed veterinarian, which she is, and has formal training in veterinary acupuncture, which she has — from Chi Institute, the leader in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine. If you’re interested, call (803) 4800604. Pets are seen by appointment only and must be referred by a veterinarian. Sessions start at $60. Onsite services are currently offered at Aiken Pet Fitness and Rehabilitation, 307 Willow Run, but in-home care also is available, because “sometimes a friendly house call is just what the doctor ordered,” said the doctor herself. By Chasiti Kirkland
Dr. Mandy Dubose, Owner of Acupet Wellness in Aiken, SC.
Conditions often helped with acupuncture: • Musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis • Conditions exacerbated by stress, including colitis, lower urinary tract disease and inflammatory bowel disease • Respiratory problems, including asthma • Skin diseases • Gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea When should I expect results? Don’t expect instant results, but you will see results 88 to 90 percent of the time. Depending on the condition, the number of treatments varies. Most musculoskeletal conditions show improvement after several sessions. Less complex issues, including fever and infection, tend to heal more quickly. Unfortunately, not every animal responds to acupuncture. Granted, the numbers are low, but your pet could be among that 8 to 10 percent.
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Workers with CIDS, Inc., are hard at the difficult work of preparing the old Graniteville Company Hickman Mill, const. 1900, to become an ultra-modern commercial recycling facility. Hiring for the 200 jobs to be provided is scheduled to start in the fall.
More Jobs on the Way
Continued on Page 33
War. But international economic conditions did what the Union Army could not, crippling the once-proud company until it was taken over by Avondale Mills. That company operated Graniteville’s several mill buildings for a few years, but times were getting progressively tougher -and then the trains collided. Not only did the chlorine kill and injure so many people, but lighter than air, in the middle of the night the deadly cloud crept just above ground throughout this old valley village, spreading a corrosive effect that ate away the manufacturing machinery. The loss of the machinery and operational capacity proved irreplaceable on such a large scale and Avondale closed the following year, putting hundreds more out of work. Since then residents and their representatives have worked to support each other and to bring jobs back. Several economic development accomplishments have occurred nearby, including the massive investment of Bridgestone tires and some creative uses of abandoned factory buildings are being considered. That’s why smiles were everywhere in July when Recleim President and CEO, Ben Hirokawa, told a large assembly of people outside that old Hickman Mill building that, “We have begun conducting tear-down activities,” and the company’s local management team is in place. Hiring for production workers should begin before the end of the year and the plant should begin operations in about a year. “This is a big step for our company,” said Hirokawa. “South Carolina provides us with an excellent business environment and the skilled workforce we need for our operations.”
The firm recycles parts from discarded appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, plus cell phones and computers. Hirokawa, and other senior Recleim executives on hand, said the company uses a system provided by Adelmann Umwelt GMBH, a German environmental engineering services company, that is an international leader in this technology. At full capacity, the plant will recycle more than 400,000 refrigerators each year serving the market in a 600-mile radius of Graniteville, said the plant’s new General Manager Douglas Huffer. Using the environmentally friendly German technology, “gives us a great opportunity and a competitive advantage in the market and will reduce the amount of waste going into our nation’s landfills.” South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt agreed, saying that the commerce department has recruited more than $790 million in capital investment and more than 1,500 new jobs in the recycling-related sector since January 2011. “While I often say ‘we know how to make things,’ it’s also true that we know how to remake things.” Summing up the combined economic development announcement and community hug, Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young said this announcement is extremely welcome news in an area that has suffered a string of severe setbacks over the past two decades. “Since [the plant closing in] 2006, we have been working to attract jobs back into this area. Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for Aiken County, but more importantly for the Graniteville community.”
Is Aiken Finally Moving Westward? Sam’s on the Horizon Stephen Delaney Hale | Freelance Writer
he opening of a massive Sam’s Club is a big deal in any moderate-sized community, but the one going up on the western edge of Aiken seems symbolic in several ways, and to many people. Thirty years ago the Aiken County Council was writing plans preparing for future growth spurts out U.S. Highway 1 toward Graniteville and Augusta -- a westward migration that never came. In 1974, Houndslake Country Club developer Bob Penland and his partners donated the land that became S.C. Hwy. 118, so that folks could get around Aiken’s sacrosanct Hitchcock Woods and get to his huge golf course development. Within a few years, the even larger Woodside Plantation golf and residential complex opened. Literally thousands of affluent families flowed in, sucking along any retail and commercial development -- even a mall! Eventually, Hwy. 118 surrounded the city, coming to be called the Aiken bypass. The section that connected with Hwy. 1 became the de facto western boundary of town and has
remained that for three decades. Now, on a 100-acre parcel high above that intersection, like a citadel commanding the terrain, Sam’s has crossed that boundary and the business community is taking notice. Will that, and several other developments, start pulling growth in that direction? “Absolutely,” said Aiken County Councilman and the owner of Siders and Yarborough Allstate, Andrew Siders in late July. “What we will see is like a natural law, success breeds success. Sam’s has gone there now. A few miles down the bypass the new county building is going up. Between them, and to the northwest, are the huge new housing developments of Trolley Run Station and Sage Creek. Of course, beyond them is where Bridgestone is putting their $1.5 billion expansion and new construction, the largest investment in the history of South Carolina.” Siders and Aiken estates attorney, and commercial real estate owner Buzz Rich, agree that it all started in 2006 with the building of a second Wal-mart in Aiken that is just a few blocks closer to town than the new Sam’s. The Wal-Mart spawned a large new shopping center that connects almost
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Aiken’s new Sam’s Club is under construction, but already dominates one of the busiest intersections in town where the Aiken bypass meets U.S. Hwy. 1, usually called the Aiken-Augusta Highway. In front of the construction is the former Dick Smith car dealership, vacant for six years and speculated to be a hot commercial property as development begins to spread westward out of Aiken.
a county and city as pretty as Aiken. “The historical manner and unique beauty of town won’t be affected with growth toward the west. The county and the city have done a great job protecting the core of what we all love so much in Aiken,” said Siders. “But, if a community is not moving forward it is dying. Just look across the country; look at Detroit, for examples of what negative growth has done. You can’t sustain a vibrant community with negative growth.” “Luckily for us,” said the councilman, “we can still grow in every direction. We need growth and we are fortunate to have lots of room for it.”
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directly to the bypass, with a couple of high traffic volume generators, Aiken Regional Medical Centers and USC Aiken, sandwiched between. The harvesting of the low hanging fruit -- or should we think of them as high value targets -- are already being picked, both businessmen say. Carolina Outdoors recently opened in the vacant former Phelon building on the same intersection. Across the street, many acres of the closed Dick Smith car dealership have remained vacant for several years. Rich speculates that the Sam’s property itself has several outparcels that will be in high demand, just as their cousin store Wal-Mart sparked a shopping center up the street. Also almost vacant for a decade is the significant-sized University Center shopping plaza between the Wal-Mart and the hospital. “Because of those anchors combined with all that vacated spaces, you will see a lot of development in that area,” said Siders, who represents District #1 on the eastern side of Aiken County. “It’s almost a no brainer.” Siders said he understands the ongoing dynamic between people who clamor for economic development and those who oppose change, especially in
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knew to be an adult entertainment establishment. Needless to say, I doubted his story. I leaned back in my chair hoping the current swindler was Miss Bossy Pants | Humorous thoughts on the workplace more entertaining, or at least did better research. By Nora Blithe | Freelance Writer “I called my parents but they won’t send me any money,” he continued. He had my attention. ’m still not sure how the man I had never heard a scam involving asking parents got into the law office. I was for money. “I thought that if an attorney called them fresh out of college and working they might believe me and send me some money.” as an assistant to an attorney. The He punctuated the last word with a jab of his chin. shabbily dressed man who leaned I stared at him. A scam that wasn’t directly asking over my desk resembled more of me for money? I couldn’t figure out his angle but if a street person than our typical he wanted to talk to an attorney I could make that client; not much of a distinction, happen. The attorney I worked for, Bob, was a laidbut a distinction all the same. back guy with a wicked sense of humor. He had no “Can I help you,” I asked. appointments that afternoon. I was sure he would “Yeah, uh, I’m here from out of town and my enjoy the distraction. car broke down,” he began. Even at a young age, I introduced the man to Bob and explained the I was no stranger to con artists. I took a strange situation. He smiled and shook the man’s hand and amusement from listening to their tales of fabricated invited him into his spacious office and closed the woe. My favorite involved a man whose car broke door. I returned to my desk and pretended to work down, naturally, and his kids and sister were waiting until the office door opened and the man left. Eager for him at a nearby business, a business that I
to hear what Bob had done I scurried over and raised an eyebrow. “Well,” I asked. Bob shrugged, “He’s pulling a scam but I can’t figure out what.” “That’s it,” I asked disappointed that Bob didn’t have something funny to say. Bob’s eyes twinkled. “While we talked I checked to see if there were any warrants out on him.” I stared at him in awe. I expected he and I would laugh over the event, not that Bob would send the man to jail. I learned an important lesson that day: never try to swindle an attorney, they’re better at it than you are. nora blithe is an Augusta native, an entrepreneur and a syndicated humor columnist. She lives in Greenville, SC with her husband Brian and their pets. Read her syndicated humor column Life Face First in Verge or find her online at doorinface.com or email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Published on Aug 9, 2013