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Giuseppe’s owners, Gentile “Joe”, Donna, and Nicky (from left to right).

Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant Celebrates 20 Years I

Christopher Selmek | Freelance Writer/Photographer

Buzz on Biz, LLC 3740 Executive Center Drive Martinez, Ga 30907

n 1970, Giuseppe Gentile got his start in the restaurant business. He was an 11-year-old son of Italian immigrants living in Brooklyn, NY. He and most other kids in Brooklyn were working at the time; their parents encouraged them to get jobs so they were not running the streets causing trouble. Giuseppe and his wife moved to Augusta in April of 1985, for the opportunity to purchase Dino’s Pizza at the Regency Mall. Giuseppe said he gained a lot of experience working for the original franchise owner, Nino Bonsante, who helped him and several others go

into business for themselves. “In the early 90s the Regency Mall was starting to go downhill, and the lease was coming up; we had to make a decision,” he said. “We liked Augusta; our children were in school, and through the encouragement of our friends we built this restaurant.” On Sept. 28, Giuseppe, who most customers know as Joe, his wife Donna, and his oldest son Nicky, who is now the general manager, celebrated their 20th anniversary as owners of Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant at their stand-alone location at 3690 Wheeler Road. At the time the restaurant opened there was nothing nearby except Doctor’s Hospital, a funeral home and a few doctors’ offices. Now, with the Augusta Exchange drawing competitors like Romano’s Macaroni Grill, O’Charley’s and Logan’s Roadhouse, it is impressive that Giuseppes’s continues to draw lunchtime and dinnertime crowds, but

Joe says he hasn’t done anything that special. “We just keep doing what we’ve always done, which is to give the best product we can give,” he said. “We have a pretty restaurant people can come to with a nice atmosphere, and we really care about our customers, all our employees do, and people feel special when they come in here.” Although their lunchtime pizza buffet is one of their top sellers for professionals working in the area, which is all-you-can eat from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for only $5.75, Joe insisted they are not a pizza restaurant. Giuseppe’s has always been a full-service Italian restaurant with over 70 menu items, prepared using family recipes and only the best ingredients. “Our buffet is convenient for a lot of professionals in the area, so they can come in and grab a quick lunch during the day,” said Joe. “But pizzas are only

one-third of our offerings; we have extensive Italian entrees and excellent subs with bread that comes from New

Continued on Page 6


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Bowles Construction Named to Remodeling Magazine’s Annual Top 550 List

Bowles Construction, an insurance remodeling business which specializes in emergency home repair, was recently named to Remodeling Magazine’s annual top 550 list for their financial stability, number of jobs performed and customer satisfaction, placing them among the most successful construction companies in the nation. “I think it goes to show to our customers the satisfaction and the financial stability of the company,” said company controller Joe Bowles. “So many times with contractors people get in bad situations where contractors will start a job and not finish it, and take the money and run; I think it proves our credibility that we’ve been here for 35 years.” The primary mission at Bowles Construction is to provide professional service and quality workmanship in a timely manner throughout the restoration or remodeling process by working with homeowners, co-workers and insurance companies so that everyone benefits. Although Bowles Construction started out as a home building business, they eventually branched out into insurance repair. “Back in the 90s, when home building first slowed down a little bit, we picked the insurance repairs as a business that might not have a lull like home building,” said Senior Estimator Ralph Bowles. “We don’t have to worry about the home buyers in the real estate industry, so it turned out to be a decision that worked out really well for us. Last year was a slow time -- first time in 15 years that we had a lull -- but hopefully it will be just a steady business and keep on going. “Probably 95 percent of our work is totally insurance repair fire, water, restoration, and we see a lot of it,” he continued. “Trees fall on houses and we need to be set up to go on a moment’s notice.” Ralph is a graduate of Georgia Southern with a degree in homebuilding with buildings-grade technology, and said that despite the bad situations he sometimes walks into, it gives him satisfaction to find a way to turn people’s lives around. “When you come up against somebody whose loft was destroyed by fire, it can be as traumatic to them as somebody losing a loved one,” he continued. “It can be a very bad experience to start with, and it can be hard to get turned around; however, we are able to use our many visual aids, such as before and after pictures, to show homeowners what they’re house can look like; it can be better than ever.” For more information about Bowles Construction, visit





“When You’re Here, You’re Family” NEIL GORDON | President, Buzz on Biz LLC


know what you are thinking. That slogan is from an Italian chain restaurant. It is, but after meeting the Gentile family, I think they should stake claim to that claim! In late September they celebrated 20 years at Giuseppe’s on Wheeler Road in Augusta. I was instantly drawn to Papa Joe (Giuseppe), his wife Donna and son Nick when I met them a few times last month. We’re native New Yorkers, and I too got started working young (though

not 9 like Nick!). Mostly what impressed me was the authenticity of the Gentile’s, their staff, and the food they prepare for lunch and dinner. They do not take business for granted -- and often told me that they were blessed to have customers when there are so many other good choices in the area. The Gentiles and Giuseppe’s are the subjects of Christopher Selmek’s cover story this month. I hope you get to visit their restaurant during their 20th Anniversary celebration. You really will feel like family!

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:, 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. 3740 Executive Center Drive #300 Martinez, GA 30907



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Dear Business Owner: I Hope You Never Have to Say This to Me Kim Romaner | Business Broker


talk to a lot of business owners. I hear the following sentence or some variation of it way too frequently: “Boy, I sure wish I’d come to you a year ago.” Please don’t ever let me hear you say that! These business owners had to because they waited too long to sell their businesses. What does “waited too long” mean? It means basically that they’re losing money. And by losing money, I don’t mean the net income of the business is negative on the annual tax return. Business owners have many ways to take the profit out of their businesses that may cause that result. I mean when it’s really losing money. The owner is not taking a salary. The owner is putting money in instead of taking money out. The owner is not getting ANY value from owning the business but is still slaving away and

keeping open to serve customers; they’re not only suffering financial losses, but time losses, energy losses and possibly mental health losses, as the situation drags on and on and becomes more and more difficult. When a business is really losing money it’s only worth the fair market value of the assets and possibly some small amount of goodwill. I’d like to help you get more than that. You see, none of us knows exactly what’s going to happen. I’m pretty good at reading the future, but not even I can predict when your particular business will hit a roadblock. It might be a health issue…A big competitor moving into the area; a manager leaving and taking your customer list with him; a manager staying and stealing you blind. You thinking that the business is your baby and you can never give it up. And that’s the reason for my tagline: Owning a small business doesn’t have to be a life sentence. As I mentioned last month, you need to sell your business when it’s a going and growing concern. You should



have presentations on employersponsored holiday parties several times this year and thought it was time to revisit an article I wrote a couple of years ago on the topic. So here

it is: Why do employers sponsor holiday parties? To show our appreciation for our employees’ work and, hopefully, celebrate a successful year in business. However, in my experience holiday parties are fraught with as much opportunity to damage morale as to improve it. So here are some thoughts from a war-scarred veteran of many year-end parties. First, let your employees help plan the party. It is not really a party unless the people you plan to honor and entertain actually want to come. I cannot discuss holiday parties without discussing the issue of alcohol. To paraphrase, “What happens at the holiday party, does not stay at the holiday party.” Behavior at any office party comes back to work. The party is not a free pass for adolescent behavior and there is no law against discharge or discipline for actions taken at the party. Don’t punch out the boss. “Innocent flirting” with a subordinate at the party can become sexual harassment in the cold light of day. For the employer, alcohol includes the possibility of “social host liability.” In

Georgia, social hosts can be held liable for the damage caused by someone to whom they serve alcohol if the person was noticeably intoxicated at the time and the host knows the person will soon be driving a motor vehicle. In South Carolina social host liability is limited to hosts who serve alcohol to minors (including providing open access, such as a keg). My rule of thumb when advising clients is -- all things in moderation. Here are some tips… 1. Invite spouses if the party is after business hours; 2. Do not serve unlimited free alcohol. If the party is a dinner, have an open bar for 45 minutes or an hour before dinner and then go to a cash bar. Hand out two free drink tickets to each person; 3. Serve food to help slow alcohol absorption; 4. Do not serve unattended alcohol, particularly if there are minors attending the party; 5. Hire a professional bartender. Happy Holidays! 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

have an exit strategy when you start your business. And here’s the truth: The business owners wishing they’d come to see me a year ago should have come to see me about five years ago. Selling a business takes time and planning. If you’re in business and you don’t have an exit strategy, I invite you to take advantage of our free exit strategy consultation that will inform you of your options and provide steps you can take now to one day avoid wishing we’d met a long time ago.

PeachMac Closes

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 70 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

The Buzz on Biz was the first to report that the PeachMac Store in Evans was closing in late September. Customers are asked to email for information on other locations or to ask any questions. Five years ago, PeachMac became the anchor tenant in a pair of strip centers called Park Place in Evans. The store listing is now removed from its website. They have 11 other stores in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Virginia. PeachMac’s business model is to be Apple resellers, offering up to 1,500 products. The sign on their door prior to closing indicated that they decided not to renew their five- year lease. Unfortunately, the fate of the store was partially sealed early within their lease. Inc Magazine interviewed the PeachMac founder Daryl Peck from his headquarters in Athens years ago and it was clear he was concerned about “Big Brother” moving so close to him in the Augusta Mall. “We figured out from zip code tracking that a good amount of our customers were driving 40 miles to get here. So after a lot of research, we opened the second store in Augusta in 2008. Turns out, a few days later, Apple announced they would open a store three miles away, said Daryl Peck of PeachMac. When asked if they were shocked, Peck responded, “Stunned. We certainly felt the impact for a brief amount of time, but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. We fought back by starting new programs and workshops for our customers. We have free workshops twice a week. Of course, we believe that our programs are better than those of the Apple mother ship down the street.  We definitely have to pay attention to what is going on in the Apple Stores”.


Giuseppe’s is 20! Continued from Page 1

courtesy the Giuseppe Facebook page

OCTOBER 2013 York. When you order off the menu it comes out piping hot and everything is made to order.” All the pizza is New York style, which starts out with an excellent crust using dough that they make fresh every day. They use peeled and crushed tomatoes to make their own sauce using family recipes, and a gas-fired, stonebottomed over so the pizza cooks right on the stone. Joe also prides himself on their top quality ingredients. One such ingredient, the flower and Grande Cheese, Giuseppe called “the Cadillac brand of Mozzarella cheese”. “We use imported Romano cheese from Italy to make our own authentic Alfredo sauce,” he said. “About the only thing missing is Alfredo, the guy who originally invented it; but every ingredient we use is the best possible.” Whereas Joe got his start in the restaurant business at age 11, he says that his son, Nick, got his start even earlier at age 9, when he wanted to come in to work with his dad. Most of the recipes he uses have been passed down from his mom and dad, but he has also had the opportunity to create a few of his own. One of his specialties is Chicken Nicky, made from tender chicken sautéed and topped with fresh basil, sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce and served with penne pasta and tomato sauce. “It’s something that’s inborn, and it’s been a part of my life since I was a child,” said Nick. “I always knew I wanted to be a part of this business.” “When we started out I was a cook, but we’ve grown and I can’t really do that anymore because I have to do everything else,” said Joe. “We’re here every day and very rarely is a member of our family not in the restaurant taking care of things. I think people appreciate

that they see the family here and they appreciate the customer service. We know there are many, many places to eat in Augusta, and when people choose to eat with us that is important to us.” Giuseppe’s is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. They have never been open on Sundays because of their strong belief in making time to spend with family; each Sunday Joe, Donna, Nick, their two daughters and Donna’s parents, who moved to Augusta after retiring in 2000, all get together for a big family meal. “Now that our children are grown and are married we still get together every Sunday at grandma’s house, at our house or one of our children’s home for a nice meal together.”, said Joe. “In the beginning we were open for six days a week, but we decided as a family to close on Monday also to spend quality time with our family.” “We’ve had the good fortune of seeing the full circle of life because we’ve been here for so long,” he continued. “Kids come in here for prom, and then a few years later they come in for their wedding rehearsal dinner; then they’re having babies, and before too long the kids are coming in for their prom and they’re still coming here. That’s special to our culture to be part of that. We want to thank Augusta, and we appreciate that they’ve allowed us into their families and the events in their lives, and we appreciate their patronage.”

By Christopher Selmek



The Future Looks Bright TAMMY SHEPHERD


Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO


he message for the night was clear: Columbia County is thriving, the future looks bright and the spirit of cooperation among the leaders continues to make good things happen. The annual State of the Community Address on September 26 gives residents and our business members a chance to hear first-hand where our leaders plan to take us in the future. New development, building new schools, improving our infrastructure are part of these leaders’ plans to prepare for the continuing influx of people who have discovered our wonderful community. The growth brings many challenges, but our leaders are meeting those head-on and making the tough choices. About 300 people attended the dinner and program at Liberty Park Gym in Grovetown. It was hosted by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, along with our economic development partners the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Columbia County Economic Development Authority. The speakers, Grovetown Mayor George James, Harlem Mayor Bobby Culpepper, Board of Commissioners Chairman Ron Cross, School Board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco, Sheriff’s Office Captain Butch Askew and Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Samuel G. Anderson, all had about 10 minutes to speak. Afterwards, they answered questions submitted by the audience. Here’s what they had to say.


Mayor James, who was battling a cold, turned his portion of the program over to City Planner Frank Neal. Business is booming in Grovetown and officials there don’t expect it to slow down. In the past year, several retail businesses have opened and the number of homes being built continues to climb. Neal focused on the city’s growth and redevelopment, including its Urban Redevelopment Plan to create a true downtown area for Grovetown would have shops, businesses, gathering places and green spaces along the Robinson Avenue corridor. The city also plans to continue razing dilapidated structures and widen the roadway there and add islands and sidewalks. Neal said it should take about 3 to 5 years to complete.


While Harlem isn’t seeing the growth Grovetown has, it does have several projects to improve the community, Mayor Culpepper said. There are plans for a new Depot Pavilion Park. The new Mayor’s Memorial Clock has been placed at City Hall and landscaping and lighting is being added downtown, he said. The City also has hired an event planner. The Mayor managed to get a plug in for the Oliver Hardy Festival on October 5!

Columbia County

Chairman Cross warned the audience they would be seeing a lot of road construction in the coming year throughout the county. While he said he preferred to answer residents’ questions rather than making speeches, he did

say there’s a lot of excitement about several projects in the works. Part of the key to success is collaboration. “I think that the cooperation between the cities and Columbia County have never been better.”


Chairwoman Buccafusco had a long list of major projects: the new Evans Elementary and Columbia Middle schools; land has been cleared for the new Martinez Elementary; a 12-classroom addition has been completed at Evans Middle; the Alternative School has moved into the old Evans Elementary; and the old Columbia Middle is now being used for the maintenance and nutrition programs. “The good news is we are totally out of debt,” she told the audience to a healthy round of applause. She went into detail about the drastic funding cuts the County has endured over the past few years. Today there are more students than ever, but fewer teachers than there were just a few years ago. This year there were 700 more students in the schools than there were when school closed in May – that’s enough students to fill a school. This year the school board had to decide whether to furlough teachers, cut the number of school days, or raise taxes. The board raised taxes. “We felt it was the best choice and one we had to make,” she said.

About 300 people gathered for the annual State of the Community Address. Local leaders gave residents an opportunity to give residents a personal update about where the County is heading and what’s in store for the future.

Grovetown Mayor George James talks with Yvonne Meeks, of SRP Federal Credit Union and a former Chamber Board Chairman, during the Business Expo before the State of the Community Address. About 30 businesses and organizations set up display booths at the event.

Sheriff’s Office

Capt. Askew was rightfully quite proud of the decreasing crime rate. Even though the population of Columbia County has increased 6.1 percent since 2010, crime has decreased 13.4 percent. The department is using improved technology and communication tools to increase its effectiveness -- it has even joined the world of social media to get more information out quickly to more people. A new radio system that increases officer safety and provides for quicker communication has been installed. There are more communications advances on the horizon that the department is planning for, he said. Askew said it has been three years since the Sheriff’s Office has asked for funds for more manpower, but as the County grows, it may have to. Also, the department has outgrown its training center, built in 1995, and will need to consider adding more space.

Fort Gordon

Col. Anderson said the relationship between Fort Gordon and the surrounding communities “is far in excess of anything I’ve witnessed in my career.” That relationship, he said, will be vital as the Fort’s missions grow. Anderson said the Fort has been able to maintain its critical missions despite civilian worker furloughs that decreased its workforce by 20 percent. The recurring theme of the evening was clear: Good things happen when you work together.

TAMMY SHEPHERD is the president/ CEO of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. She can be contacted at (706) 651-0018 or tammy@

Columbia County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ron Cross addresses the crowd of about 300 gathered for the annual State of the Community Address at Liberty Park Gym in Grovetown. From the right: Grovetown Mayor George James, Harlem Mayor Bobby Culpepper, Cross, Sheriff ’s Office Capt. Butch Askew, School Board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco and Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Samuel G. Anderson.

Janeabeth Wells and Lee Briggs at Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership program booth at the State of the Community Address. Both are graduates of the program.

Tony Ferguson (at podium), of Georgia Power and Chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, introduces the speakers during the State of the Community Address. Panelists were: (from left) From the right: Grovetown Mayor George James, Harlem Mayor Bobby Culpepper, Board of Commissioners Chairman Ron Cross, Ferguson, School Board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco, Sheriff ’s Office Capt. Butch Askew and Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Samuel G. Anderson.

photos Courtesy Jennifer Miller/Columbia County Chamber



Website to Launch on Bosses Day

Tax Considerations for Household Employees Christine Hall, CPA | Hall, Hall, & Associates P.C


f you employ someone to work for you around your house, it is important to consider the tax implications of this arrangement. While many people disregard the need to pay taxes on household employees, they do so at the risk of paying stiff tax penalties down the road. Commonly referred to as the “nanny tax”, these rules apply to you only if you pay someone for household work and that worker is your employee. Household work is work that is performed in or around your home by babysitters, nannies, health aides, private nurses, maids, caretakers, yard workers and similar domestic workers. A household worker is your employee if you control not only what work is done, but how it is done. It is unlawful to employ a person who cannot legally work in the United States. When you hire a household employee to work for you on a regular basis, you and the employee must each complete part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. You must verify that the employee is either a U.S. citizen or a person who can legally work in the United States and you must keep Form I-9 for your records. If you have a household employee, you may need to withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, or you may need to pay federal unemployment tax, or both. You do not need to withhold federal income tax from your household employee’s wages. But if your employee asks you to withhold it, you can choose to do so.

Both you and your household employee may owe Social Security and Medicare taxes. Your share is 7.65 percent (6.2 percent for Social Security tax and 1.45percent for Medicare tax) of the employee’s Social Security and Medicare wages. Your employee’s share is 6.2 percent for Social Security tax and 1.45 percent for Medicare tax. You are responsible for payment of your employee’s share of the taxes as well as your own. You can either withhold your employee’s share from the employee’s wages or pay it from your own funds. Employment taxes are paid to the Internal Revenue Service on schedule H and attached to your 1040 form each year. In order to file schedule H you must obtain a federal identification number; you cannot use your social security number. The wages and withholding are reported to your household employee on form W-2. A Georgia unemployment form also needs to be completed on yearly basis. As you can see, tax considerations for household employees are complex. Therefore, we highly recommend professional tax guidance in these complicated matters. This is definitely an area where it’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you have any questions at all, please contact us. We’re happy to assist you. 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

The website will host their hard launching on Bosses Day, Oct. 16, mainly by inviting 1.6 million potentially interested Facebook customers the opportunity to go online and write their feelings about their bosses in a completely anonymous format. “It’s an electronic way to rate your boss,” said company owner Doug Fine. “People can go on the website, pay us 99 cents (or less if you buy in bulk), rate your boss, and say good things about them or ways that they can improve. And if you want you can give the boss an option to see your rating. It’s strictly anonymous, and the boss will never know who rated him.” By launching on Bosses Day, Fine is hoping to encourage people to give their bosses positive feedback. Eventually, he hopes to have enough information in the online database to offer companies the opportunity to purchase information about where the best and worse bosses in their industry are located. The website features a publically viewable rant of the day, positive of the day, lowest rated boss and highest rated boss. According to Fine, they have been receiving 15-20 rates a week since their soft launch July 31. To become a member and rate your boss, visit

“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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OCTOBER 2013 Romantic Farmhouse Now Open in Lowes Shopping Center

Romantic Farmhouse, an eclectic home décor store that owner Melissa Thompson describes as having a little bit of everything, recently opened its doors at 218 Bobby Jones Expressway in the Lowe’s shopping center. “I was a stay-at-home mom forever, with three boys” Thompson said. “I started painting furniture at home and got into a couple different antique places around town. It’s always been a dream of mine to have my own place, so I started one.” “We have around 20 different dealers that each have their own style, so we cater to a lot of people. We have everything from antiques, furniture, chandeliers, home décor and garden accents to American Girl doll clothes, candles, jewelry and more.” According to Thompson, everything is reasonably priced so it moves quickly. The vendors bring new things in almost daily so there’s always a new selection for customers to sort through. Romantic Farmhouse hosted its grand opening September 28 with hot dogs, drinks and door prizes donated by each of the vendors.



Customize your Web Address JEFF ASSELIN | Powerserve, Director of Sales and Marketing


e’ve all seen websites ending with .COM, .NET, .ORG, .EDU or .BIZ. These are called generic Top Level domains (gTLDs), the last segment of a domain’s name. TLDs are regulated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit organization that is responsible for the coordination of the Internet’s global systems of unique identifiers and ensuring it’s stable and secure operations.

The landscape for gTLDs is getting ready to change rapidly. While you may have once looked up a company at companyname.COM (still the most popular web domain extension) businesses are beginning to see a lot more options. Newer TLDs will identify something about the website it is associated with, such as its purpose, the organization that owns it or the geographical area where it originates. ICANN allows anyone to register and reserve any unused letter sequence as a TLD for their exclusive use. A company that sells software, for example, might like to

use .soft as a TLD. Such expansions could lead to thousands of new TLDs over the next few years. The number of potential new TLDs will allow countless numbers of name configurations, and will better connect people to the products, services and individuals that matter to them. Whether you want people to stay at your .HOTEL or buy your .MUSIC there is bound to be a Top Level Domain for your business. We’re seeing some of the world’s largest cities jumping on board, having applied for TLDs like .LONDON, .TOKYO and .NYC. Each of these cities hopes to use their signature TLD to connect their local culture to billions of internet users worldwide. With the large demand and low supply of .com domains now is a great time for companies to reserve and acquire their new generic Top Level Domains. ICANN plans to release more than 700 new domain extensions over the next 3 years. The new TLDs will cover topics such as technology, industry, location and hobbies. The new TLDs will bring about tremendous branding opportunities for companies. Search engines have already begun adjusting their algorithms so that new

TLDs will index as highly as regular domain endings like .COM. Domain endings will also help search engines determine relevancy. Some top pre-reserved domains in the United States include: .WEB, .INC, .BLOG, .ONLINE, .SHOP, .NEWS, .APP, .TECH, .SITE and .MAIL to name a few. The popularity of TLDs is growing and gaining attention every day. Be sure to speak with a reputable website developer to discuss what makes the most sense for your company.

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 (, Email (, Visit (961 Broad St, Augusta) or Call (c: 706-691-7189, o: 706826-1506, Ext 122). This is a sponsored article.



A Deal With The Devil DON MACNEIL |


Crown Point Communications at Windsor Jewelers

ontaminated lettuce in a pair of national chain restaurants. Cruise ships at a standstill on the open sea. Appalling conditions in understaffed assisted living facilities. A maze of audio menus when phoning a company. Surprise service charges from banks. You probably have your own list. What do they have in common? Chances are, they’re public (stock trading) companies. This all coalesced in my mind recently when the local outlet of a national media company (and aren’t they all now?) begged me to do some extra cut-rate business with them so, “We can hit our numbers”. It was not the first time they’d called. Did local management of this company consider the annoyance downside to these regular appeals? Here’s the big one: could they afford to consider the annoyance? You see, I knew any complaint would fall on deaf ears because local management was surely being leaned on by the Regional VP who in turn was under pressure from corporate headquarters. Best I could hope for was their making a note to stop calling me, but they’d still be calling you. If a given public company fails to show shareholders both quarterly and annual growth, firings commence up and down the corporate food chain until it does. Is there any greater recipe for accounting black arts and reduced quality of customer experience than that? My favorite, ultimate example is the case of investment firm Goldman Sachs – once the standard bearer of investment bank behavior and last such major firm to succumb to the Public Offering temptation – who was recently

found to be selling their own investment products to eager investors and then placing huge bets against them in the marketplace. In your case, discovering your health care provider sports a ticker symbol would be reasonable grounds for lying awake at night. The point? Going public is a corporate deal with the devil. The founders and management team at the time of the initial offering get rich. The company coffers suddenly overflow with investible cash. After that? A nightmare of public company regulations and being dogged 24/7 by demanding investors. And moving manufacturing overseas to cheaper labor. And cutting corners. Taking chances. And never again being able to take the greater good side of a hard business decision, known commonly as Doing The Right Thing. If you’re reading this chances are taking your company public isn’t a realistic option. Yes, that may deny you a summer house at the beach, but you’ll still be in control of your own code of honor and how that plays out through your business. And trends are on your side. Fewer companies are choosing to go public in the 21st century. The smart money these days builds a business that one day can be sold to a bigger business. Next time two and two starts to equal five and a company’s performance makes you shake your head, look for that telltale ticker symbol. Next: Call Me Earlier 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@



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First-Time Home Buyers: Expectations vs. Reality Lelia SAKATA Williams | Meybohm Realtors


hopping for a new home is exciting, exhausting and a little scary, especially for first-time home buyers. If you’ve decided the area in which you want to live, determined the amount of income you are willing to spend and watched enough HGTV that you are ready to launch a career in real estate sales, you know all there is to know, right? Wrong. Many first time home buyers go into the real estate market with expectations that just simply cannot be met. Below are examples of these expectations expectations and the realities that come with them. First, it is very important to get preapproval for a loan before looking for a home. Many first-time home buyers fall

in love with homes for which they simply cannot obtain loans. Searching within your means will save you from heartbreak and from wasting time. Consider that what a mortgage company says you can afford and what you know you can afford or are comfortable with paying are not necessarily the same. The average family budgets 28% of their monthly income on housing. Lastly, although you have been preapproved for a loan, it does not mean it has been finalized; your loan can fall through at the last minute if you do something to alter your credit score like buy a car or finance furniture. After obtaining pre-approval through a mortgage company, you know a general idea of what you can afford and are ready to start the search for your new home. Once you have secured a REALTOR®, he/she will be able to walk you through the home buying process

and find homes for you to visit. It is important that you are upfront with your expectations; this will make the process move more quickly. There are television shows that portray finding a home as a choice between three homes that can be made in 24 hours; this is unrealistic in the truest form of the word. Many home buyers will look at a minimum of 6 new homes or 10 existing homes before committing to a home to purchase. It’s important to research average prices for areas in which you are interested to determine whether or not you can afford to buy in these areas. In addition, keep realistic expectations for the time it will take to find your new home and move into it. Closing usually takes thirty days from the date of a contract being signed by both parties; however, if there are complications with financing or if buying a foreclosed home or short sale, closings can take much longer.

As a first-time home buyer, you must budget for unplanned expenses. Utilities and Insurance are generally in the thought process, but often overlooked are the home owner’s association fees and home furnishings, which can be hefty expenses. Shopping for a new home is exciting, exhausting and a little scary, but choosing the right REALTOR® to help you research properties, having realistic expectations and properly preparing for expenses, it will be the most rewarding venture yet! Good Luck!

Lelia Sakata Williams is the Marketing Director for Meybohm REALTORS®. She also serves as the cochair for the Greater Augusta Association of Realtors- Young Professionals Network and is co-owner of Geez Louise Special Events. She spends her extra time being mom to a busy 8 year old son, Bobby.



Send Could Be the End Rebecca Vigné | South Company


exting and driving accidents have increased significantly with the increased use of cell phones on the roads. Last year, over 11,000 fatalities were reported due to distracted driving. The majority of these accidents involved cell phones and teenage drivers. Three local attorneys from Vic Hawk Law Group have launched a “Send Could Be the End” campaign to combat texting and driving accidents. The campaign targets young drivers in particular, but it is a message for all who text and drive. The goal is to save lives through awareness, and drivers are encouraged to take the “Don’t Text and Drive Pledge”. Vic Hawk, Reid Sanders and Melissa Detchemendy plan to visit high schools in Georgia and South

Carolina this fall and into the spring to talk with students about why they text and drive and address some ways that they can break the habit. South Company, a marketing firm based in Aiken, South Carolina, has worked with the law group to come up with the campaign title, slogans, marketing materials and an outline of the seminar. Christina Crowe, Social Media Coordinator at South Company, explained, “We wanted to create something fun and catchy that would interest students and really make an impact.” The marketing team is now working to book schools for the 20132014 school year. The “Send Could Be the End” seminar includes texting and driving statistics,

an interactive lesson, tips to avoid texting and driving and question and answer time with the speaker. Attorney Vic Hawk explained how the program is different from what most students have heard before. “The idea is not to lecture the students because they already know that they should not text and drive. We want to explain why they have this need to text and drive, and we want to present some ways that they can avoid texting and driving.” The minimal amount of time that texting and driving takes a driver’s attention away from the road is five seconds. Driving 55 mph, 5 seconds is the length of a football field. On hundred yards is a long distance to drive without glancing at the road, and if five seconds is the minimal amount of time for most drivers, the majority of drivers are spending greater lengths of time driving without looking at the road.

The “Send Could Be the End” seminar keeps students engaged by allowing them to pull out their cell phones and “practice” texting and driving. The seminar also features a live Twitter question and answer session. The Vic Hawk Law Group hopes to get as many students to make the “Don’t Text and Drive Pledge” as they can. Each seminar lasts approximately 30 minutes, and the information is invaluable. Along with visiting high schools, the law group will be out at community events to get people to make the “Don’t Text and Drive Pledge”. They are also looking into speaking with home school groups as well as church groups and youth organizations. For more information on the “Send Could Be the End” campaign or to schedule the seminar, contact Christina Crowe at 803.331.6946 or by e-mailing

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EDTS Named to CRN’s 2013 Next-Gen 250 List

EDTS, a regional IT services company specializing in advanced infrastructure, network security and managed IT services, announced today it has been recognized as a member of CRN’s 2013 Next-Gen 250 list. The CRN Next-Gen 250 highlights up and coming value-added resellers (VARs) that have entered the market with a differentiated approach to solution selling and integration. The list identifies solution providers who are zeroing in on emerging technologies including cloud computing, unified Charles Johnson, communications, virtualization, mobility, and business CEO of EDTS analytics and business intelligence. “EDTS is earning growing national recognition as an IT service provider that is committed to the use of best practices and processes, and this honor reflects that,” said Charles Johnson, CEO of EDTS. “Making the Next-Gen 250 list is further evidence that we are committed to keeping our client’s business networks running at the highest levels of performance and efficiency.” In naming the honorees, the editors of UBM Channel -- parent company of CRN and a leading provider of IT channel-focused events, media, research and consulting -- cited a willingness to adapt to evolving channels and business models as a common thread. “All the companies on this year’s list have transformed their business to meet the demands of a changing market. We congratulate each company for making this year’s list,” the editors wrote. A sample of the Next-Gen 250 list is available online at The entire 2013 database will be published only in CRN’s App for iPad, CRN Technology News.


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My Role as a Life, Career and Business Coach (Part 2)


LARRY RUDWICK | The Buzz Business Coach

elping business owners do better in their businesses is a challenging and rewarding career. Here is a summary of topics outlining how I go about tuning up a business. Included are some questions that I ask during the process. Business Owner’s Goals/ Desires: It is vital to first get “buy in” from the business owner. We agree which goals are most important, such as 1) growing revenue , 2) increasing profit margins, 3) making business easier to run, 4) reducing costly errors, 5) making coming to work more enjoyable and satisfying, 6) increasing and clarifying what opportunities exist for the employees to move up, etc. What’s holding back progress? Then we figure out why the business isn’t doing better. What processes could be simplified? Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing at all times? Is the staff fully trained? What is the morale like? Is backstabbing and/or passive aggressive behavior part of the culture? Is lack of sufficient financial resources slowing progress? Any one of these could be greatly reducing the bottom line. Questions to focus on to Improve Performance: What are the firm’s true strengths that could be capitalized on more? What “hidden

talents” does the staff have that could be utilized? Do we spend much time putting out “frequent fires”? Are there additional products and/or services that should be added/offered? How well do we communicate, and how could that be improved? What new technologies should we invest in? How well is productivity being measured? How can we motivate people more effectively? Improving The Management of the Business: Does everyone know to whom they report? Do the managers need some management training? Are comprehensive performance reviews done with everyone at least once a year? Are processes and procedures well thought out, written down, and adhered to? What is the culture of the business -do people like working there, and do people, in general, get along well and fully cooperate with each other? Compensation and Financial Incentives: Are people paid fairly for what they do? Do people know what they need to do to earn a bonus or raise? Are the high achievers paid significantly better than those who don’t produce as much as they should? After these questions are answered, it’s time to start putting together a list of “special projects” that will strengthen the business once accomplished. The projects

should be mostly prioritized based on the principles of “hanging fruit”; the easiest ones with significant returns on investments should normally put at or near the top of the list. My exact role varies with each engagement based on its own nuances, challenges, personnel and potentially practical solutions. The specifics of a particular business (the market it’s in, its strengths, weaknesses, existing owners and employees, etc.) all go in to help determine what will likely be a practical, cost-effective solution to tune up that business.

Feel free to contact me! Look over my website, sign up for my newsletter, give me a call, or email me. Larry Rudwick 571-331-6102. Rudwick@cox. net LARRY RUDWICK This is a sponsored Business-Talk article. A lot more about this can be found on the www.BusinessTune-Ups. 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 or calling 571-331-6102.

I help people do better... in their Businesses,

Careers and... Personal Lives Call for a Free Consultation: 571-331-6102 Larry Rudwick, Business & Relationship Coach



CareSouth Hospice of Aiken Now Accepting Patients

CareSouth Health System, Inc., a leading provider of in-home health services, announced on September 18 the opening of its newest hospice location in South Carolina. The state-licensed hospice is now available to serve patients in the communities of Aiken County, as well as the adjacent counties of Allendale, Barnwell, Edgefield, Lexington, McCormick and Saluda. CareSouth Hospice of Aiken is directed by Suzanne Principi, RN, MSN, CHPN. The office is located at 410 University Parkway, Suite 2000, in Aiken. CareSouth’s first hospice office, CareSouth Hospice of Augusta, opened in 2012. “Aiken is one of the most beautiful cities in the south, and we are so honored to be a part of it,” said Lance Danko, Vice President of Hospice for CareSouth. “Our CareSouth family of hospice healthcare professionals, caregivers and volunteers are ready to provide compassionate care to our South Carolina patients who wish to live their remaining days in the place they call home and, hopefully, surrounded by their loved ones.” CareSouth Hospice includes expert medical and nursing care, pain management, emotional and spiritual support, specifically tailored to each patient’s needs as well as those of their family and caregivers. Hospice care can be provided in patients’ homes, hospitals, nursing homes and dedicated hospice facilities in partnership with CareSouth Hospice. The goal of hospice is to focus on caring, not curing, providing the highest quality of life possible for the time remaining.

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Casella Looks Forward to Downtown Improvements Christopher Selmek | Freelance Writer/Photographer


owntown Augusta doesn’t have a crime problem, we have an image problem,” said Dr. Ben Casella, president of the Downtown Augusta Alliance, a downtown merchants association that meets regularly to discuss issues of importance to downtown business owners. Last month Rock Bottom Music, a business with roots in the downtown community for 15 years, decided to relocate to Washington Road, citing that they had lost customers due to the perception that the downtown area was rife with criminal activity. “We’ve been big supporters of downtown Augusta and will continue to patronize downtown Augusta, and I wish everyone the best,” said Rock Bottom owner, Jonathan Karow. “A lot of people have stopped going downtown and it is unfortunate because most of the crimes people hear about occur well after business hours; but the public doesn’t see it that way. It took me about 11 months to find the location we’re in now, but now we’re the closest music store to I-20 and Washington Road, and everybody agrees it’s a good fit.” Casella, an optometrist at the Casella Eye Center along with his father, says that he has not noticed any drop in customers at his business and appreciates all his returning customers, especially with so much competition coming from West Augusta. However, he understands how the parents of children buying band instruments at Rock Bottom Music may be more conscious of safety issues. “People like to say downtown is dying, but the truth is that all downtowns are in a state of flux, not just Augusta,” he said. “A lot of people are also upset that downtown has been designated a ‘slum’ by members of the commission, but the issue is purely semantics and they only use that word because it has something to do with getting federal funds. Those of us who live and work downtown know that it isn’t a ‘slum’, but it doesn’t help anybody when the Augusta Chronicle plasters it across their front page and gets everybody worked up.”

Casella himself is a frequent visitor to downtown establishments such as the Boar’s Head Pub and Stillwater Taproom and says that the people who visit those places will continue to patronize downtown regardless of the label commissioners use to describe it. “I think what really bothers people is when they see big buildings vacant and falling apart, like we have on the 800 block and to a lesser extent on the 900 block,” he said. “I was sad to see CADI go because it provided downtown ambassadors, a liaison between the public and the police and a free street cleaning service. But I think something like it will come along later on, down the road.” “Like many people, I think, I didn’t realize so many people still smoked until after CADI went away, and we started to see cigarette butts showing up everywhere!” Nevertheless, Casella is looking for ways to attract visitors to downtown. In addition to First Friday and the Saturday Market, which continue to draw large crowds in spite of any public perception issues, Casella hopes to sponsor a Literary Pub Crawl in the early or late winter. It would involve several local bars and a reading at each stop, but he is still working to get business owners on board. “Also look for a Restaurant Week sometime around January, which is a typically slow time for businesses,” he said. “We’ve already talked to the Convention and Visitors Bureau and a few restaurants, but we are also hoping to collaborate with North Augusta. It’s not that we want customers to leave Augusta, but there’s a lot of good food over there at Manuel’s or Taste, and it doesn’t have to be a fierce competition.” In the meantime, Casella is encouraged by potential improvements to downtown, such as the Mills campus or Artspace project. “And, I will continue to get my strings from Rock Bottom Music,” he added, “because now they’re right next to DiChicko’s, which is one of my favorite places to get a chicken sandwich in all of Augusta.”



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The Veteran Perspectives


G. Brian Hendricks |

eople pretty much understand you go to college to learn. What they may miss is how a lot of what you learn may not come from books or even in the classroom. Some of the most important lessons we learn come from those around us. When we interact with others, we help each other grow and learn. (Hey, Confucius built an entire philosophy around that!) Just by being there, military veterans contribute to a better college experience. Quiet and contained or boisterous and visible, veterans are leaders, not just learners. Their skills, abilities and perspectives enrich everyone around them. At Georgia Military College, veterans not only get the skills and knowledge they need for success, they also share valuable skills and knowledge with others. That makes college a place to grow and succeed for life, not just a place to burn off those last twelve months of VA benefits. A community college like Georgia Military benefits veterans by providing a smaller and more relaxed environment. Classes are smaller. The relationship with the faculty is more direct. Many members of our faculty are veterans, too. We have a student-

Ft Gordon Coordinator and Recruiter

led veterans’ organization where students can interact with others who understand who they are and where they have been. We have staff that understand military and veteran benefits programs and want to see all our students succeed. Our student population is interesting and diverse. Our credits are designed to transfer to regionally accredited colleges and universities, saving you time and money. Whether you prefer to blend in or stand out, beginning with Georgia Military can make a difference in your life. Georgia Military College cares about who our students are and who they want to be. Come share your perspectives with us. Learn with us. Start making your dreams come true today.

G. Brian Hendricks represents Georgia Military College in the Education Center on post as the Ft. Gordon Coordinator and Recruiter. He has also taught history classes for the college. For questions about how to enroll in Georgia Military College’s degree programs, please call (706) 993-1123, email, or visit www.



Not Seeing Results? Solutions to Success… Owner, Team Fit ED REID |


veryone wants to see results -- it is one of the reasons we exercise. Are you getting the most from your workout? Here are a few tips: 1. Don’t Forget the Basics There is so much information surrounding fitness that it is easy to get overwhelmed. Supposed state-ofthe-art devices and newly discovered exercise moves will sound enticing, but proceed with caution! The old faithful exercises like bench presses, squats, curls, pull-ups and deadlifts, should all be staples of your routine. 2. Skipping from Program to Program Once you have chosen the correct routine, stick with it. There are no quick results. For the average program, it usually takes six weeks to see real outcomes. Be patient and stay focused. 3. Level of Intensity How hard and focused are you training? Many believe just going to the gym and spending a certain amount of time there will garner results. Not if you lack intensity! Time spent is not

the same as time well spent. Intensity is achieved by working out at a faster rate, decreasing rest periods and increasing difficulty on the machines. 4. Continue to Progress Intensity and progression work together. Doing the same routine with the same weight or the same routine at the same level of intensity will prohibit forward progress. Every time you train, strive to be better. Add a little more weight. Run a little faster. Jump a bit higher. 5. Proper Fuel Required It doesn’t matter how hard or how often you train, you can and will derail your advancement with unhealthy eating habits. You must eat the right things to get the most from your training. You would not add the wrong fuel to a car -- why add it to your body? Eat well, train well.

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 Road, Suite 10. For more information, call Ed at 706.877.0556 or e-mail him:



Bear Shelton and Patti Cornette say Nerium has taken years off their lives and added money to their wallets.

Relationship Marketing to the Next Level: Nerium Skincare Christopher Selmek | Freelance Writer/Photographer


hen a new product becomes available, marketers have a choice among several methods of selling their product. Some choose to put it on store shelves; others choose to advertise on late-night infomercials. But in the case of Nerium Skincare, they decided that the best way to sell their product is simply to let people try it. “We have tons of before and after pictures, and everybody is having noticeable results,” said Bear Shelton, a brand partner with Nerium International. “We all use it, and we tell our network of friends and acquaintances about it, but we’re really not salespeople. We do more of sharing the product than selling. It will sell because we let people use it, and our system is allowing people to get the product into their hands.” Nerium International is a nationwide company getting ready to expand to overseas markets after just two years. This growth and expansion is largely due to the reputation of CEO Jeff Olson, sometimes referred to as the Millionaire Maker, because of his success taking small companies to multi-million dollar status. The relationship between Olson and Nerium International sparked a relationship marketing campaign that is defying some people’s negative expectations of relationship marketing. “The home-based business industry has been the answer to so many people’s prayers to allow mom’s to stay at home or people to retire from their jobs or get out of debt,” said Shelton. “It’s gotten a bad rap over the years

because there have been some bad companies, but now with a company like Nerium being led by Jeff Olson, it boosts our credibility.” Brand partners here in Augusta include Shelton, who owns Eco Prime Lumber and has experience with relationship marketing, Patti Cornette, who has 26 years of experience in the real estate business with PrudentialBeazley, Dr. Adam Waller, who runs his own gastroenterology practice in Martinez, and Rev. Steve Sturgell, a minister at Steven’s Creek Church. “Network marketing has gotten a bad rap over the years, but here you have four people who actually have full-time jobs and do very well; this is helping us with many dreams that we have for the future,” said Cornette. “As a realtor I am self-employed and I work a lot of hours. This job does not get any easier, and I was already looking for something else to help me with retirement. I know Bear, and when I found out he was doing this and the success he has had in the past because of the product and the leadership, I knew that it was going to be good.” Nerium Skincare was an accidental discovery by scientists using the Nerium Oleander plant to conduct skin cancer research; they discovered that while Nerium does not prevent or cure skin cancer, it does make skin look noticeably younger. ST Laboratories discovered that while the average anti-aging cream reduces skin damage by 2-5 percent, which is considered a dramatic change, Nerium reduced skin damage by 30

percent. A third party and multiple recalibrations of the machine assured that this was a true result, and Nerium Biotech started Nerium International to be their distribution arm for this product. “Then they created Nerium Skincare and started figuring out ways to get it into the market,” said Shelton. “It was a six month long process. They looked to Jeff Olson, who did not yet know about them, but it was a fortuitous meeting that led to him becoming CEO of the company. He had taken two other companies to billionaire status and another four that were grand-slams, and it was through their relationship marketing that he got involved with Nerium.” Olson, author of “The Slight Edge” and a keynote speaker at multiple corporate events, recognized that the anti-aging industry is an 80 billion dollar a year industry. It is projected to grow by a billion dollars a year over the next three years, in the United States alone. And in this industry, Nerium Skincare was the best tested product on the market. The company made 100 million dollars in the first full year and was the youngest company to be featured in Success from Home magazine; it also received the Bravo Award from Direct Selling News. Shelton himself didn’t find out about the company until May, when a friend from Facebook introduced him to the concept. “I’ve been in the relationship marketing industry for ten years, and I was taking a hiatus for a while, but this was a combination of great product with real

results and a no hype, great leadership, great compensation plan,” said Shelton. “It’s not based on talent, or on someone’s personal ability. We market this product based on something that everyone can do. I have my sphere of influence, and Patti and Adam were two of them, but they also have their own sphere of influence, so it just continues to grow through relationships and creativity.” The company is still relatively new in the CSRA, but through Cornette’s weekly radio segment every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. on the Buzz on Biz, they hope to expand significantly. Nerium Skincare had been featured on The View, was a gift for the actors and actresses at the Emmy’s, and by the end of 2014 will be sold in 26 countries including Australia and the UK. “There’s stuff on the internet that says Oleander is a poison, but we have several safety videos that show clearly it has no toxicity,” said Shelton. “Nerium Oleader has proven to be non-toxic; it is yellow Oleander that is poison. This is a great product that helps with wrinkles, fine-lines, emerging lines, discoloration, large pores and acne scarring, and it comes complete in one bottle.” For more information about how to become a preferred customer or brand partner, visit

By Christopher Selmek



Bee-healthy Comes to Aiken Bee-Lite Healthy Medical Weight Loss and Wellness Centers are opening their third location in the CSRA. The newest location will be at 550 Silver Bluff Road in Aiken, not far from the new Fresh Market. It is the second location for Larry and Vicki Gore. They opened one in Lexington, South Carolina in late 2012. There are thousands of monthly clients losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. The Gore’s live in Aiken and will manage this location, while having a manager take care of operations in Lexington. The original location is going strong on Washington Road in Evans. All three locations provide nutritional counseling, weigh-ins, appetite suppressants, B-12 Lipotropic injections and healthy snacks. The build-out of the newest location is ahead of schedule and the Gore’s are confident that the Silver Bluff Road clinic will open by November 1. For more information, visit their website at



About Thyme Café Opening Second Location in Evans

Great Wraps Closes Evans Location

Great Wraps, which for the last six and a half years has provided dozens of varieties of sandwiches on thin, soft taco-like wraps, sub rolls and pita bread, will be closing its operations in Evans. “It is with sadness that the management team at Great Wraps in Evans announced the restaurant closing on Sept 15 due to the continued economic downturn,” said Beth A.Schwenzfeir, co-franchisee. “The management team thanked the employees and customers over the last six and a half years.” Great Wraps is headquartered in Atlanta. The local franchisees also operated a smaller, food court version of their restaurant at the Augusta Mall and transferred ownership some time ago. That store remains open. Buzz of Biz got word that the store had closed from a disappointed NutraSweet employee. Great Wraps of Evans had provided lunches to NutraSweet for some time, and they were recently notified it would not continue. Competition in the Evans area has increased greatly with word Pita Pit is coming next month – and with the addition of many options in the last few years.

About Thyme Café, which for the past year has attracted a reliable lunchtime crowd to their restaurant at 220 Georgia Avenue in North Augusta, will be expanding into a second location at 4534 Washington Road in the Eagle Point Shopping Center. The new café is set to open in October. “One of my dear friends, Theresa Farrow, lives in Evans. She brought a group of her girlfriends in to the café for lunch, and they loved it. They kept saying that we needed to come out to Evans,” said owner Liz Victor. “I just said okay and thank you, but they kept coming in and bringing different groups of friends who all said the same thing. Theresa finally asked, ‘What if I found a place for you in Evans?’ I said, ‘Go ahead and find a place for me,’ and she did. It was so perfect; it all worked out, and so we just thought this came to us for a reason.” The food served at both About Thyme Café locations will look and taste the same, duplicating a business model that has been proven to work. Both locations will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit or call 803.426.8306.




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hope you enjoyed our piece on the Exchange Model Notices in the September edition. On the date you are reading this article, it will be after October 1, and the Marketplaces/ Exchanges will be open for business. Some in this industry hoped that it would all go away. We have been studying, adapting and watching since March of 2010. The waiting is over. In the past nine months, I have discussed many aspects of The Affordable Care Act (ACA) on this platform -- some at length and some in summary. As the exchanges open, I would like to provide an overview of the tax credits and plans that are available in the Marketplace. Insurance Affordability Programs • Advance Premium Tax Credits – These tax credits will reduce insurance premium amounts for people enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP). The credits are designed to assist people who meet certain financial criteria in obtaining the required

coverage. Tax credits can be paid in advance to assist in paying premiums but will be reconciled and recovered with the individual’s annual tax return. • Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR) – This is a new federal program that will help QHP enrollees reduce the amount of their out of pocket expenses such as deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance affiliated with the plan they are enrolled in. The payments are made directly to the insurance company that issues the plan an individual is enrolled in. • Medicaid – States have the option to expand access to more low income adults. Georgia and South Carolina have opted not to expand their Medicaid programs. • Children’s Health Insurance Plan – This is an existing federal program for low and moderate income children that provides health care benefits with affordable out of pocket costs. Qualified Health Plans The Marketplace will be offering 4 QHP’s that are known as “Metal Levels”. Each QHP will vary by the amount of costs they will be covering such as the percentage the plan will pay, the amount of the deductible or office visit co-payment.

• Platinum Plans – This level will provide coverage at 90 percent. It is the most expensive QHP with the highest premium and the lowest out of pocket expenses. • Gold Plans – This level will provide coverage at 80 percent. • Silver Plans – This level will provide coverage at 70percent • Bronze Plans – This level will provide coverage at 60 percent. It is the least expensive QHP with the lowest premiums but the highest out of pocket expenses. Note: Catastrophic Plans will in offered in the Marketplace but will not be eligible for the Advance Premium Tax Credits and the plans are available with or without financial assistance.

Next Issue: One Month Into The Marketplace For further explanation of the ACA/ PPACA provisions outlined in this article, please refer to the following resources: Russell T. Head is a Partner and Chief Visionary Architect with Group & Benefits Consultants, Inc., Augusta’s largest, privately held employee benefits consulting firm. He can be reached at 706-733-3459 or Visit Group & Benefits Consultants at



North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover makes the case for Aiken County Council participation in the funding of Project Jackson in North Augusta, including a minor league baseball stadium, a convention center, hotel and numerous retail spaces.

Aiken County citizens crowd into the County Council chamber to hear discussion of Project Jackson, a proposal that asks the county to help pay for a new riverside baseball park and convention center in North Augusta.

Project Jackson Passes Aiken County Council: Team is Set to Move to North Augusta Stephen Delaney Hale | Freelance Writer


nd so decisions are made in a democracy. Over months, the process grinds slowly, like sausage being made, and the people work through to a conclusion. Tuesday night, Sept. 17, the Aiken County Council gave its blessing to a critical part of a funding mechanism, birthing a political entity now called Project Jackson. No one knows what name it will wear into the future. For most folks what it means is that The Augusta GreenJackets minor league baseball team will move across the Savannah River to a grand new home built for them and surrounded by a forum of shops, offices, housing, meeting spaces and a grand hotel. It should be quite the showplace with an estimated price tag of a little more than $140 million. The developer, Greenstone Properties of Atlanta, headed by Chris Schoen, has committed $101 million to the project and has asked the City of North

Augusta to come up with about $40 million. The City went to Aiken County and the Aiken County School Board to partner in their share and it has taken all this year to get that many politicians to swallow a lump that large. But, using a TIF District financing mechanism, the city, county and school board didn’t actually have to put up any money. They had to agree to not collect taxes, for 15 years (school system) and 30 years (county), that they are not getting now from a development that doesn’t exist and won’t exist without the funding. In that argument, say the proponents, the governments weren’t risking anything -- especially since North Augusta has put it in writing that should the deal fail, they will be responsible for any debt. Opponents didn’t buy the argument that such a prime location -- between the city and the river -- would remain a swamp. Some upscale development surely would come in time, from which the county and schools would benefit, but not likely anything on the ambitious scale of Project Jackson. “We deliberated conscientiously, and I believe we came up with the best

decision for all the people of Aiken County,” said County Councilman Andrew Siders. “This will create an economic engine in North Augusta that will provide jobs and revenue for all the people of our county, far in excess of what might have been gained from undeveloped land.” But nobody is ready to holler “Play Ball!” yet. The next step, according to North Augusta City Manager Todd Glover, is to have that City Council join the TIF. Then subcontractors and specific plans must be agreed upon. Next, the city has to find funding for the $40 million, probably on the government bond market, Glover said. He also said that with the city’s A+ credit and sound fiscal reputation, that will not be a problem. After completing their due diligence with financial consultants Davenport and Company, they might find a better funding source than the bond market. GreenJackets President Jeff Eiseman is enthusiastic with the plan on behalf of the baseball team, but also for North Augusta and the entire Central Savannah River Area. Schoen,

a partner in both Greenstone and the GreenJackets, echoed Eiseman’s enthusiasm. “We can bring 300,000 to 400,000 people to that location just for baseball, said Schoen. Eiseman said the organization has plans to use the versatile new stadium for as many as 225 events a year, starting with the GreenJackets but including concerts, festivals, expos, horse shows, high school championships and many more possibilities -- all of that producing revenue for local businesses, people and governments. The project will also feature town homes and single-family residences. Exact plans for housing are yet to be drawn up, but anyone interested in getting a head start on others who may want to live in the development should call Hammonds Ferry Real Estate Manager Will Green at 706. 799.9998. The GreenJackets’ goal is to throw out the first pitch on opening day, 2015, but that is an ambitious goal, said both Eiseman and Glover. “We’re ready to go,” said Eiseman of his team’s target opening date, “but we realize there are other pieces to the puzzle.


OCTOBER 2013 Area Companies Receive BBB Torch Awards

The Better Business Bureau held its annual Marketplace Ethics award ceremony at the West Lake Country Club on September 19. In the small business category, Evans Animal Hospital was given the award. Recently, they were accredited for the 25th straight year with a National Animal Association. They are located on Evans To Locks Road. Advanced Services For Pest Control won in the medium sized company grouping. They formed in 1986 and have grown each year in revenue, staff, and services to the community. Part of the secret to their success is creating a family friendly

lifestyle and training opportunities. Goodwill won the BBB Torch Award for a larger sized company beating out E-Z GO and Doctors Hospital for the honor. They received their award for their reinvestment into creating jobs for the community. In 2012, they began taking students for Helms College and then opened Edgar’s Grille on the same campus that has a thrift store, cafÊ and job training area. Buzz on Biz founder Neil Gordon was on hand for the awards and took pride in knowing that all three winners are Buzz on Biz business partners.





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Drew Belt on the 18th hole at Westlake Country Club.

How Do You Lay Up?

Drew Belt | Assistant Golf Professional at West Lake County Club


he common thought process of laying up on a par 5 or a short par 4 is to try to play a shot to attempt to get your “favorite yardage”. Usually this will be a full swing somewhere between 100 and 125 yards. Here is a new way of thinking: lay up as close as you can to the green while still being in the fairway. While 105 yards might be your favorite yardage, you can be much

closer if you layup closer to the hole. I know you might think you aren’t very good from 50 yards, and do not really like to hit a 75 yard, ¾ swing, but you will still be closer to the flag then where you would be from your favorite yardage. The reason the average player believes that is 15 feet from 105 yards is a good shot, and 15 feet from 50 yards might not look as good. Therefore, this thought in your mind tricks you into believing you aren’t as good from 50 yards as 105 yards. Here are some numbers from the PGA Tour: the 100th ranked player (Justin

Rose), from the fairway, averages 14’9” to the hole from 50-75 yards. The best player on the PGA Tour from 100-125 yards from the fairway (Paul Haley) averages 15’1”. In other words, the best player in the world from 100125 yards is no better than the 100th ranked player from 50-75 yards. Here is another interesting stat: the 100th ranked player (Morgan Hoffman) from 50-75 yards, in the rough, averages 23’1” from the hole. So, being in the rough from 50-75 yards does not help the average player compared to 100-125 in the fairway. So, what is the

best way to lay up on a par 5 or short par 4? Your thought process should be this: 1. Hit the ball in the fairway. 2. Advance the ball as far as you can. Scoring is what wins tournaments and understanding the proper way to lay up is the first step to lowering your score and winning a tournament! 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



GOOD MEXICAN FOOD: GOOD MEETING Nola Bon Viveur | Fun-Loving Foodie


’ve had a busy month with several occasions for working lunches. Only, they’ve been different kinds of working lunches than I have written about in the past. While I am able to do most of my work in my office or in my homeoffice, to do my writing I sometimes just need to escape to a corner somewhere… somewhere to foster creativity and avoid distraction. You know, phones ringing, people coming in the office and office chatter can cause a mind to wander (especially this mind). I used to have to look for places that offered free Wi-Fi in order to work on the go, but with the technology of today, all I need is a comfy spot and some good, brain-boosting food. The patio at Pablano’s Mexican Grill on the corner of Fury’s Ferry and Baston Roads is quickly becoming one of my favorite lunchtime escapes. It’s not a particularly quiet spot, but -- especially when the weather is nice -- it’s a great cure for writer’s block. And you cannot beat the price at Pablano’s. Even on the days when I “splurge”, I can still have lunch for less than $10. Lunch entrees range in price

from $3.95 to $7.95. My favorite menu item is the lunch chicken chimichanga. It’s served with rice or beans and guacamole salad -- and of course, unlimited chips and salsa. I cannot cite the science behind it, but I am pretty sure it’s a proven fact that chips and salsa stimulate writers’ brains. I’ve also had the lunch fajitas, Pollo con Crema and several other dishes, and I have enjoyed them all. Another of my favorites is their signature Guacamole Casero. The guacamole is made fresh to order at your table, with fresh avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, lemon and salt. I’ve been known to make a meal out of it. Pablano’s has two CSRA locations -- the Baston Road location, which I frequent, and another on Evanstown Blvd. in Evans (just down from the Lady Antebellum Amphitheatre). Both locations are easy to access and always draw large crowds, at lunch and at dinner. With new businesses popping up everywhere in Columbia County, Pablano’s fits the criteria for being conveniently located for working lunches. On several occasions I have run into business acquaintances while hanging out at lunch. Despite the run-ins defeating the specific purpose of getting away to avoid distractions, the place gets thumbs up for networking


possibilities. If you are looking for a place to spread out and get some work done, or if you just need to get out of the office and take a breather, I definitely encourage you to head to Pablano’s. The food is consistently tasty, the staff is friendly and the fresh air is good for the brain (and the soul).

regular contributor for Buzz on Biz. She is a native of Augusta, and is well acquainted with the local food scene.


Nola Bon Viveur the “Fun-Loving Foodie,” is on the quest to find the best local hotspots for business power lunches. Nola is a


Sonic Restaurant Re-Opens on Fury’s Ferry Road

Rick McMurtrey was able to live his dream…at least for a few short months. The longtime Sonic franchisee turned his state-of-the-art Sonic into a Barbecue restaurant -- a dream of his. Unfortunately, the Roadhouse Rib Café lasted less than six months, and McMurtrey closed it in the spring. He spent a few months retrofitting Roadhouse back into a Sonic restaurant. Based on an informal study by Buzz spotters, business has been much more brisk -- in terms of customer counts. McMurtrey is offering large discounts to drivers who pass by during off times of the day -- like 99 cent large drinks before 11 a.m. and half price shakes after 8 p.m. -- preserving full prices for peak hours of lunch and dinner. McMurtrey closed both of his Road Sonic locations to make room for this state-of the-art Sonic several years ago. Kroger took over the lot in National Hills, and a local car lot owner is utilizing the old Sonic space at Davis Road. McMurtrey still owns more than 10 Sonic restaurants in the CSRA.


Open s 24 Hour

4361 Washington Road Evans, GA 706-364-2095

3125 Peach Orchard Road Augusta, GA 706-364-6147



Fall into Fun at the Office: Tailgate Edition Lelia Williams | Geez Louise Special Events


inally a chill has swept into the CSRA -- and with it came fall! There are many aspects that people look forward to, but football has to be one of the most anticipated parts of the fall season. With the holidays coming just around the corner, what better way to let your employees kick off the season, enjoy the cool weather and show a little team spirit while inspiring company moral than a company tailgate party? Many companies use tailgate parties in the fall as a means to allow employees to relax and mingle. Here are a few tips to putting together a great tailgate party for your office. There is no better location for a tailgate than your own company parking lot. It is convenient for your employees, and it comes at no cost to your company. With room for a grill and tables, it is the perfect setting. I would recommend roping off a section of the parking lot the evening before the event for safety, as well as, having to avoid asking employees to move their vehicles the day of the event. Football decorations are fairly inexpensive and can be found at most party supply stores. Another fun decorating idea is decorating each table in a team or a conference theme. You can’t have a tailgate without tailgate food! As a company you could provide hamburgers and hotdogs and encourage your employees to bring their favorite tailgating dishes. This is a great way to get variety in your food and

also cut down on food cost. Wholesale stores, such as Sam’s and Costco, are the best options for buying meat, buns, drinks, plates and flatware in bulk for the tailgate. Some other items that are easily forgotten are trash bags, napkins and condiments. The most important purpose of your tailgate is pump up your employees! The greatest part of any tailgate is getting excited about the game. Encourage your employees to wear college or NFL apparel to the event. This not only allows your employees to show their team spirit, but also allows them to break away from the normal dress code and relax. You can also incorporate games that will encourage company moral. Some examples are spirit competitions or tailgate games such as corn hole or ladder golf. You can even have custom corn hole boards made with your company logo on them. Employees can come dressed in your company’s brand or work together to decorate office space leading up to the event. Gift cards to nearby restaurants make great prizes for these games. These are just some ideas for your company event, but remember tailgates are a time for food, fun and camaraderie! Enjoy the party, and GO DAWGS!

Lelia Williams is co-owner of Geez Louise Special Events. Geez Louise specializes in all events from corporate fundraisers and parties to the popular Pinterest party! Call us today (912)3120866 for any of your event needs or visit


OCTOBER 20136, 2013 JAN. 10 –FEB.



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Reithoffer Shows: Bringing Fun to the Fair R

Rebecca Vigné

| South Company

eithoffer Shows has been providing rides and attractions for the Western Carolina State Fair for 16 years. The ride company, which began in 1896, is a Floridabased company that provides rides and attractions for fairs and festivals throughout the east coast. Reithoffer Shows is the largest traveling midway in the world with over 100 rides to choose from and attractions from all over the world. Reithoffer Shows’s busiest months are February through November, when they travel up and down the east coast for large festivals and fairs. The company has been divided into two units: Orange and Blue. The orange unit will be coming to Aiken for the Western Carolina State Fair held from October 17 through October 26. Western Carolina State Fair Vice President of Fair Operations, Warren

Lucas, explained why the fair board chose Reithoffer Shows. “They have over 100 rides, and we are able to try to get new rides every year for our fair goers. We like to bring in new attractions to the Western Carolina State Fair so that there is always something new and fun.” This year, the fair, with the help of Reithoffer Shows, will bring in two new rides. The Stinger, which lasts approximately 2 minutes, is a spectacular ride that flips up to 16 people at a time 360 degrees vertically and horizontally. Vertigo is the other addition, and this spectacular ride will have heads spinning. The ride, which lifts fair goers 100 feet in the air, is a spinning swing that that spins at 11 rpm and lifts riders high above the fair grounds for the best views. The Western Carolina State Fair and Reithoffer Shows have

partnered to create promotions giving fair goers a break on certain days. Midnight Madness on Friday, October 18, allows fair goers to enter the fair after 9 p.m. and pay $20 for admission and unlimited rides until close. Car Load Monday will be held on Monday, October 21, and $50 includes parking, admission, and unlimited rides for up to 7 people (who are legally seat belted) per vehicle. Ten Buck Tuesday allows fair goers to pay $10 for unlimited rides on Tuesday, October 22. This price does not include general admission, but it does provide a more affordable fair experience. If the daily specials do not work with attendees’ schedules, the fair and Reithoffer Shows offer the Mega Pass for $25 per person which includes admission to the fair and unlimited rides. This pass must be

purchased on or before October 16. The pass can be used for any day of the fair. Reithoffer Shows owns a variety of amusement rides and attractions ranging from spectacular rides to kiddie rides. Last year’s fair featured Kiddie Land, which is popular with the younger crowd. Rides in Kiddie Land include the Carousel, Orient Express, Dizzy Dragons, the Fun Slide and more. Kiddie Land will return again this year along with the spectacular rides which include the Dutch Wheel, Full Tilt, Tornado, Tilt-A-Whirl, Yo Yo, Adrenaline Rush, Pharaoh’s Fury and so many more! For more information about the Western Carolina State Fair visit or find them on Facebook. For more information on Reithoffer Shows, visit



See Horses Fly this fall! Aiken Steeplechase Rebecca Vigné | Freelance Writer


all is finally here, and the holidays are rolling in. The season is a time for family, good food and the Fall Steeplechase. The Aiken tradition is a wonderful way for families to enjoy a tailgate and see some exciting racing on the track. This year’s 22nd running of Aiken’s Fall Steeplechase will be held on Saturday, October 26 with gates opening at 9:30 a.m. The event will be held on Ford Conger Field and consists of 5 races with post time for the first at 1 p.m. Other events include the carriage parade, stick horse races, hat contests, shopping and children’s games at the Paddock Playground. The Steeplechase Event Coordinator, Mia Miller, explains, “Fall Steeplechase is the perfect way to spend a fall day! There are so many components that make this event so special including the history, the location, the beautiful autumn weather, and the family-friendly events.” The Fall Steeplechase has more of a “family feel” than the Spring Steeplechase. The fall event is a great time to bring family and friends to watch the races and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather. It is also a perfect opportunity to kick off the holiday season with work associates. The Steeplechase Association encourages companies and organizations to participate in the event. “In the past, we have had Parsons,

Cedar Creek, Cumberland Village, Mead Hall, St. Thaddeus Church, Woodside Development, Academy for Life Long Learning at USCA, and many more,” Miller says. The Village of Shops will open at 10 am and will feature jewelry, Aiken Steeplechase merchandise, hats, artwork, boutique items, equestrian clothing and goods and more. The Fall Paddock Playground, located near the center of the infield, features local nonprofit organizations that provide activities and games for kids, and it opens at 10 a.m. The Aiken Steeplechase Association is the semi-nonprofit organization that hosts the fall and spring steeplechase events which are sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association each year. The association, which was founded in 1930, is made up of a volunteer board of directors as well as community members and other supporters. The Fall Steeplechase donates a portion of its proceeds each year to the Hitchcock Woods Foundation. The Hitchcock Woods is the location of the first Aiken Steeplechase which was held in 1930. It is among the largest urban forests in the nation with approximately 2,100 acres of forestland resources. Each year before the Fall Steeplechase, the Steeplechase

Association hosts the Fall Fête which is a coat and tie dinner and dance to kickoff the Steeplechase. This year’s fête will be held on Friday, October 25 beginning at 7 p.m. The theme is Lost in the Woods: A Grimm Fairytale Fête, and tickets are available for $90 per person and costumes are encouraged. Ticket packages for the Fall Steeplechase include the General Admission Railside Package for $100, which includes a railside parking spot and 2 general admission tickets; the Subscriber Railside Package for $150, which includes a railside parking spot and four subscriber admission tickets; and the Guarantor Railside Package for $450 which includes a railside parking spot and 4 tickets to the Guarantor Tent Party. Both general admission tickets

and general parking are $10 in advance or $15 at the gate. Advance tickets may be purchased at the following locations: Aiken Drug, Aiken Saddlery, Aiken Ship, Boots Bridles and Britches, Floyd & Green Jewelers, Ingate Professional Pharmacy, Lominick Pharmacy, North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Plum Pudding, Southern Bank & Trust, Southern Saddlery, Stoplight Deli, and Unique Expressions. For more information or to purchase tickets to Aiken’s Fall Steeplechase or the Fall Fête, visit or call 803.648.9641. You may also find the Aiken Steeplechase on Facebook. See Horses Fly this fall at Aiken’s Fall Steeplechase!


OCTOBER 2013 — Women Enlightened for Better Health is a unique health initiative created to empower women to manage the member, demands of daily life. As a you’ll have easy access to the resources and support you need to keep you and your loved ones in good health, and achieve balance in your life. benefits include: • Personalized Support from our Women’s Health Nurse Navigator • Membership packet that includes a free LIV® self breast exam aid designed by Olivia Newton-John • Free and Low-Cost Health Screenings • Health Education and Support Programs for Every Age • Monthly Lunch Outings and Year-Round Social Events

be the



you can be— join

Olivia Newton-John joins Aiken Regional in promoting women’s health.

“You now have a partner to guide you through the healthcare system.” ONJ

Join today and begin your journey to optimal health! Membership is free – just visit to enroll. Or call ARMC at 803-641-5926 for a free brochure.

an Aiken Regional Medical Centers Women’s Health Initiative Physicians are on the medical staff of Aiken Regional Medical Centers, but, with limited exceptions, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Aiken Regional Medical Centers. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.



The Mill on Park Business incubator coming to downtown Aiken in February Stephen Delaney Hale | Freelance Writer


ome might use the trite 90s saying that Catie Rabun and David Sacks are ‘thinking outside the box.’ But, at 19,000-square feet, it’s a rather large box, and if it all works according to plan, there will be a whole lot of thinking going on. The Mill at Park is conceived as a ‘business incubator’ where smalltime entrepreneurs can come to dream big, make connections and grow their businesses out into downtown Aiken or across the country. Tenants will be able to rent professional office space for just one or two people -- or six or eight. Giving a tour of the imposing two-story brick building to two prospective clients in September, Rabun said that existing small businesses that never had a professional downtown space to meet clients might find it just right for them, or it might attract “that one person with a dream who now has a place to live it.” Rabun, a graduate of the University of Miami and already the project manager of the highly successful Hammonds Ferry commercial and residential development on the Savannah River in North Augusta, is first a true child of downtown Aiken. David is both her business partner and her father. He and Catie’s mom, Maggie, have operated Newberry Hall, a highly successful catering business about two blocks away, since 1991. Her uncle is Sam Erb, who until two months ago, owned and operated The West Side Bowery restaurant, a downtown Aiken institution for the past 32 years. If ever a new business had the goodwill of its neighbors, it is The Mill at Park. They know everybody downtown and everybody wishes them well. Rabun and Sacks are using local professionals to establish “The Mill,” as some have already begun calling the project; the architect is Cam Scott, and local Stewart Builders are the contractors. Rabun explained that the former Regions Bank operations center is “very well built. It doesn’t require a lot of construction work, other than basics such as a new roof, HVAC system, knocking out office partition walls to allow different configuration and lots of windows.” When the walls and ceilings are removed, many of the bricks and much of the

new ductwork will be left exposed, giving the look of the cotton mills that defined the economy of this part of the country for 150 years. Rabun and Sacks have formed Caradasa, LLC and have purchased the building. While they are looking for a February opening, she says she is already keeping a reservation list of people and companies who want to move in, and it’s growing. Since some very favorable early publicity -- it was announced by the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce and the University of South Carolina Aiken -- Rabun says she is hearing from a variety of professionals and small businesses, such as “PR companies, an engineer, a consulting company, editors, graphic artists, photographers, writers and others who work by themselves and might need the services of the others.” The university and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) were the first two on the list and the offices of the publication, The Best Doctors in America already had most of the space on the first floor. The SBDC will advise resident businesses, and it is likely that intern services will be available through the university. The school also plans to operate an MBA program out of The Mill. The eyes of the two taking the tour widened as Rabun went on. Said one of them about half-way through as he started to get it, “As a freelance writer for almost twenty years, I’ve never had any of this kind of support service. More than that, I’m isolated at home without the energy of all the creative people who are going to be buzzing around here!” “We intend to produce a cooperative environment, where some clients might work with others on some projects. We would love to see businesses feed off of each other in a creative atmosphere,” explained Rabun. Long considered the best available address in Aiken, the building has been a sleeping giant for years since the operations center closed over a decade ago. It sits behind at the corner of Park Avenue and Laurens Street between the federal courthouse and the old post office with the Morgan Circle fountain cascading right out front. But it is also protected from the street by one of its two parking lots and some formidable trees and bushes, shielding The Mill from street noises and making it, in a way, almost cloaked in quiet.

Catie Rabun, managing partner of The Mill on Park with Chasiti Kirkland Jackson, director of Dirt Road Media, a prospective client, after a tour of the new business incubator on Laurens Street and Park Avenue in downtown Aiken.

Monotone walls and tight halls are about to give way to lots of light, greenery, rotating art exhibits, light fixtures from area mills and exposed brick and air vents. There will be signage on the ground floor that directs people to your office. Many windows are going to be cut into the walls to make the offices full of light and interior offices will have frosted glass walls to let in the light while providing privacy. Rabun is very much looking forward to welcoming someone who wants to operate a café@ themillonpark on the ground floor for the nourishment of tenants and people from around town. As she mentions the café for the third time her visitors begin to smell the coffee and pastries that are clearly already a

part of her vision. Starting to express the value of a coffee shop on that section of town but then thinking of the much greater influence of the spread of ideas and commerce from The Mill at Park, Rabun has already convinced her touring group, “Downtown will benefit from the activity and growth emanating from here.” For directions to The Mill on Park, Google 237 Park Ave., Aiken, S.C., 29801. To get on Catie Rabun’s reservation list, call 803-215-4731 and ask for a tour. More information can also be had by writing her at or by visiting their web site at www. and heading for their page on Facebook.



Local Business Looking to Hire Veterans T

Chasiti Jackson | Freelance Writer

he number of unemployed veterans in South Carolina continues to fall, but much work remains to ensure viable jobs for our hometown heroes. To do its part, Signet Service Group has joined the state Department of Employment and Workforce to offer qualified servicemen and women positions on its team of security officers. The local company, within walking distance of the Aiken Municipal Airport, is among South Carolina businesses showing, with jobs, their appreciation for the loyalty and service that military men and women have given their country. To be fair, it’s an attitude widely shared throughout the Palmetto State, and more openly so in the last two years. That’s when the S.C. National Guard Employment Program began, and it has helped drop the jobless rate for its soldiers and airmen from 16 percent to 4.7 percent in just two years. Before the recent return of two large guard units from Afghanistan and Kosovo, the unemployment rate among the state’s 9,000 or so parttime soldiers and airmen had been as low as 3.7 percent. “The program was developed to help curb suicides, divorce rates, drug and alcohol addictions and other problems among military members,” said Col. Ronald Taylor, director of the S.C. Guard’s Service Member and Family Care programs. “Joblessness often is the root cause of those problems,” he said. So Taylor and other high-ranking officials formed the National Guard Employment Program around a basic business tenet -- building relationships. They appointed seven caseworkers -- one for each congressional district -- because the Guard has service members and armories statewide. One by one, the caseworkers, who are stationed within regional offices of the S.C. Department Employment and Workforce, reached out to potential new employers, and Taylor and his team raised awareness through Rotary Clubs and other speaking engagements. At the same time, the Guard intensified workshops to teach returning service members how to find civilian jobs. The program offers tips on resume writing, dressing appropriately and what to expect in an interview. When the guardsman is adequately prepared, the caseworker puts him in touch with an employer. Prior to the program, employers who wanted to hire veterans might not have been aware of qualified guard employees, and the veterans were equally unaware of job openings, Taylor said. Signet Service Group was among the employers recently identified by Taylor and company, and it was an easy fit. Signet Service Group was incorporated in January 2013, as a reorganization of the security and investigations business earlier known as Dobbins and Associates. Beginning in 2007, the company focused

primarily on surveillance, covert imaging and GPS tracking services. During that time the company’s founder saw a growing need for executive protection and special security as his team occasionally countered internal and external risk factors that threatened their customers. In 2010, Signet’s founder joined a surveillance team overseas, playing a role in the war on terror. When he returned to South Carolina, he expanded the company’s services to include uniformed security and aerial surveillance. Shifting the emphasis to security at home and abroad seemed logical since members of Signet’s staff include former law enforcement and military men and women trained in special operations. Some of them have spent repeated tours of duty in the desert and in the desolate corners of the African continent. Others have protected prominent political figures including former U.S. presidents, state governors and international dignitaries. Their job is to keep clients and their families, businesses and belongings safe through disaster response, investigations, weapons training, security consulting, threat management and executive protection. Much like the people they are looking to hire, team members are “disciplined, prepared, on time, follow rules, and are good communicators,” said Director of Operations, Dave Dobbins. To be qualified as a security officer, the state requires certification through a S.C. Law Enforcement Division licensed instructor. Luckily, it’s a course that Signet offers, and passing it can certify a graduate for future employment with any security firm operating in South Carolina -- Signet Service Group included. The ideal candidate for an armed security position is an honorably discharged veteran with some of these attributes: • Reasonable fitness and body mass index standards • Groomed appearance • Expertise with combat arms • Successful deployment experience • No psychological diagnosis (including Post Dramatic Stress Disorder) • Specialized training such as Airborne, Special Forces, Ranger, explosive ordnance disposal, military police, etc. • Special awards (Bronze Star, Purple Heart or above) • Other certifications such as but not limited to, pilot, diver and instructor ratings Veterans with these qualifications are the first considered to fill future job openings. Even if you don’t want to work with Signet you are encouraged to apply for training, as it may lead to a job with another security firm or related business. Call 803.335.2795 or visit www.

Want to Hire a Vet?

Visit the list S.C. National Guard website, and then click its list of employment advisers: www.scguard. com/j11-employment-advisers.php. The Aiken contact is: Lorie Ryan, Aiken Employment Adviser 1040 York Street Aiken, SC 29801 (803) 552-7743



Family Owned and Operated Since 1964

Commercial Printing

Direct Mail

Vinyl Graphics & Signs 502 EDGEFIELD ROAD • NORTH AUGUSTA, SC 29841 Open Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

fax -- 803.278.4831 • email --

Manuel’s Bread Café Celebrates Five Years

Manuel’s Bread Café, located at 505 Railroad Avenue in Hammond’s Ferry, North Augusta, celebrated its fifth year anniversary on September 18 with a costume-themed 5K road race. After the race, owner Manuel Varney served his famous Paella and hosted a wine tasting at the restaurant. “Being in Hammond’s Ferry was a big start for Manuel’s,” said Varney. “The festivals there really helped me kick start the restaurant. I had great support from the neighbors and the neighborhood as a whole, and Hammond’s Ferry has been growing steadily since I started. Almost every month we have a new family moving in, and that’s more customers for me.” When Manuel first opened his restaurant in Hammond’s Ferry he was the only café there, but now Taste has opened a restaurant across the street; Manuel hopes to see more in the years to come. “The more businesses we have then the more food traffic it’s going to generate, and we can feed off each other,” he said. “For that reason I think Project Jackson is going to have a big effect on North Augusta as a whole. I am waiting eagerly for that Project Jackson to start because I think I would like to open another store with a different concept within the same neighborhood. While Manuel loves working at the café and says he plans to be there for the next 20 years if possible, he is also eagerly awaiting Project Jackson, a proposed development centering on a North Augusta baseball stadium for the Augusta Green Jackets. Months of planning and design yet lay ahead for the neighborhood projected to be complete for the 2015 baseball season. Manuel hinted that a second location might focus on gelato, but that in the meantime he is happy with the staff and customer base at the café. “It was challenging in the beginning starting a business, but after five years we are doing good business day in and day out, and I have good people working for me,” said Varney. “That is a key part of the restaurant. You can be as organized as you want and serve all the best food in the world, but if you don’t have the right people working for you you’re going to fail.” In the past five years, Manuel has expanded the outdoor component of his restaurant with nice tables and chairs; he now says that 50 percent of his business involves the patio. He has also taken his business into the information age by posting his specials on face book and Twitter every day, and by taking most reservations from the internet. Manuel’s Bread Café is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. For reservations, call 803.380.1323 or visit



Why the New Look? Miss Bossy Pants | Humorous thoughts on the workplace

Nora Blithe | Freelance Writer


strolled through the lobby of my office. Pam, the receptionist, looked up as I entered. “Wow, Nora, you look great today,” she said. “That’s a great jacket. Is it new?” I thanked her and proceeded to the break room for my morning cup of coffee. Ben dropped the folder he was holding and Andy’s jaw fell open. “Are you up for a promotion or something,” he asked. I smiled enigmatically and poured my coffee. “It’s the Peterson account isn’t it,” Ben asked. “You landed it and Theodore is promoting you.” I shrugged and added cream. “No, no,” Andy said, “I heard Jessica got the Peterson account. I bet you got the Giovanni account!” “Holy crap,” Ben gaped in awe. “That’s huge!” “Is that why you’re dressed up,” Andy prodded. “Maybe,” I shrugged. Erica stuck her head in the door. “Nora, you,” she broke off and stared. “Geez you look fantastic. Is that a new outfit?” “What was it you wanted to tell me,” I asked her.

“Oh, you have a phone call,” she stared transfixed by my shoes. They were great shoes. “Thanks,” I told her. “I’ll take it at my desk.” As I left, I heard the three of them discussing me. “I heard she landed the Giovanni account,” someone muttered. “Wow, no wonder she’s dressed so nice today. I bet Theodore promotes her.” At my desk, I answered my waiting call, returned emails and made my daily to-do list. My friend Vicky stopped by on the way to her desk. “You look nice,” she said. “You usually dress so casually. Why the big change?” I shrugged. “I heard it’s because you landed the Giovanni account,” she continued. “Yep that’s it,” I said. Vicky leaned over and casually said, “You didn’t get the Giovanni account. I did.” I grinned. “You got me. It was the Peterson account.” “No it wasn’t. Jessica got that it,” she folded her arms and stared hard at me. “You’re wearing that outfit because it was the only thing that was clean. Admit it. It’s laundry day isn’t it?” “You got me,” I laughed. “The only thing I’ll land today is the bleach load.” 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



group and bennifits ad

Healthcare 4

Buzz on bizz october 2013  

Augusta Ga Business News and Marketing

Buzz on bizz october 2013  

Augusta Ga Business News and Marketing