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Julia Ritchey

Business Reporter - 912-652-0362 - Email me

TEDx returns to Savannah for sixth year

The independent conference series TEDx is returning to Savannah for its sixth year today, featuring 15 speakers expressing their ideas about this year’s “Balancing Act” theme.

Julia Ritchey/Savannah Morning News - Giselle Rahn practices her TEDx speech on Thursday. The sixth annual event will be held at the Jepson Center with a livestream available for those who missed out on tickets.

Savannah sign company celebrates 50 years in business

Few people can drive down Savannah’s main thoroughfares and see their life’s work every day, but James Beasley Sr. can and does. Beasley, 69, is the owner of SignMart, maker of hundreds of business signs in the area, from Carey Hilliard’s to Parker’s convenience stores to SCAD’s Trustees Theater’s iconic neon marquee.

From left, Bubba Beasley, Norma Beasley and James Beasley Sr. outside of their business on King George Boulevard. The Beasleys are celebrating SignMart's 50th year in business.

Board gets variance happy

Need a variance? There’s a board for that.

Savannah’s Zoning Board of Appeals, perhaps one of the most mercurial and least publicly attended of the city’s various planning boards, has approved nearly every petition before it in 2015.

A first lap for food trucks

Like many transplants to Savannah, entrepreneur Ryan Giannoni has found a lot to like about his new home away from Athens, a lot except for the conspicuous lack of food trucks anywhere in the city. 
A first lap for food trucks

Gamer pub Chromatic Dragon to open next week on MLK

Somewhere at the intersection of Dungeons and Dragons and Dave & Buster’s, a new gaming restaurant and bar is set to open May 1 in downtown Savannah.

Julia Ritchey/Savannah Morning News- Jacob Heider and Clegg Ivey, co-founders of The Guild Hall, stand in front of their new gaming pub The Chromatic Dragon. The restaurant and bar is scheduled to open May 1 on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Office vacancy rates drop

Savannah’s office and industrial markets ended the first quarter of 2015 with lower vacancy rates, helped along by absorption of existing space, according to commercial real estate information company CoStar.

Savannah tourism futures study casts an eye toward emerging trends in travel

When considering Savannah’s defining characteristics as a city and tourism destination, what’s the takeaway — are we a haunted city, a historical city, the most romantic city or simply a good place to get buzzed while staggering around River Street?

Photo by Beau Kester/ Round 1 Productions- A segway tour in Savannah’s Historic District. A new tourism futures study suggests ways to capitalize on Savannah’s assets to ensure sustainable growth.

Shoppers descend on Pooler for Tanger Outlets grand opening

A blast of metallic confetti cut through the gray skies over Pooler to mark the grand opening of the new Tanger Outlets Savannah, as thousands of shoppers quickly filled the parking lot.

Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News HGTV’s “Property Brothers” Jonathan and Drew Scott greet the audience for the grand opening of Tanger Outlets Savannah.

Officials warn of traffic delays on eve of Tanger Outlets opening in Pooler

Airport and Pooler officials are warning commuters to expect delays today in anticipation of the new Tanger Outlets opening off Pooler Parkway and Interstate 95.

Ian Maule/ Savannah Morning News- Customers seek shelter from the rain under a Polo Ralph Lauren store during the pre-opening party for the Tanger Mall on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015.

Tax lawyer gives tips on dealing with IRS to Small Business Council luncheon

Jeffrey L. Williamson of J.L. Williamson Law Group, spoke on Tuesday to the Savannah Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Council SMART luncheon, hosted monthly at the Savannah Morning News headquarters on Chatham Parkway.

Photos by Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News- Jeffery Williamson, founding partner of J. L. Williamson Law Group, was the speaker at the 2015 SMA RT Lunch Series hosted by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council at the Savannah Morning News Auditorium.

March home sales skyrocket

Metro Savannah home sales skyrocketed in March, surpassing February sales by 119 units as buyers snatched up homes in Pooler, southside and Richmond Hill at an encouraging clip.

 
Realtor Austin Hill adjusts a for-sale sign at a property in the Kensington Park neighborhood off Oxford Drive and Paulsen Street. Local home sales skyrocketed in March as new buyers snatched up homes in Pooler, Richmond Hill, the southside and midtown. - Julia Ritchey/Savannah Morning News

Tanger Outlets Savannah new regional retail mecca

With its 85 brand-name stores, freshly poured asphalt and a red-and-white lighthouse to beckon shoppers traveling on Interstate 95, Tanger Outlets Savannah looks right at home as the area’s newest regional shopping hub.

Ian Maule/Savannah Morning News A construction worker walks by a Coach store at the Tanger Outlets in Pooler on Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Tanger opening to add to Pooler's traffic woes

Like a bad pollen allergy to a clogged nasal cavity, even the most casual observers agree that Pooler Parkway’s already congested roadways are about to get even more occluded with Tanger Outlets Savannah grand opening.

Tanger opening to add to Pooler's traffic woes

Savannah brewers hope for governor's signature on Beer Jobs Bill

Local craft brewers are hoping a legislative bill easing some restrictions on retail beer sales will get signed into law, although the measure falls short of what they originally had wanted.

 
Savannah Morning News file photos- People at Southbound Brewing Company enjoy beer samples and tours of the brewery. A new bill awaiting the governor’s signature would allow Georgia breweries to sell more beer in to-go containers and on site.

Development plans for President Street apartment complex gets OK'd

A proposed 231-unit President Street apartment complex received a recommendation Tuesday for its general development plan.

 
Photo from Metropolitan Planning Commission- An aerial of the 10-acre tract where a 231-unit apartment complex is proposed. The site sits close to Epic Midstream, a liquid bulk storage facility for commodities such as caustic soda, distallates, gasoline, lube oil, biodiesel and ethanol.

Two fashion events go on hiatus as Savannah's local retailers focus on the future

Two signature catwalk events showcasing Savannah’s local fashion scene are going on hiatus this year, though organizers insist it won’t be the last of either.

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller / Savannah Morning News file photo- Tiffani Bunch models a dress for Custard Boutique during the 5th Annual Savannah Fashion Week runway show at Forsyth Park in 2014. Organizers are taking a year off to focus on their own projects.

Forsyth Farmers Market gets $50,000 USDA grant

Forsyth Farmers Market has received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, part of a new initiative to help low-income families gain access to healthier foods.

Bluffton lamp-maker channels steampunk aesthetic

Among the many treasures scattered inside local consignment store Two Women and a Warehouse, a new line of hand-crafted steampunk lamps may be the ultimate find for retro-futurists.

Steampunk lamps by Bluffton artist Tom Davis can be purchased at Two Women and a Warehouse. It can take Davis up to six hours to create a single lamp.

State transportation bill's lodging tax sparks ire of local industry groups

Three Savannah industry groups are protesting a last-minute provision added to the state’s new transportation funding bill that would add a special flat tax on hotel rooms across Georgia.

A new co-owner for E. Shaver, Bookseller

Longtime independent bookstore E. Shaver, Bookseller has been a stalwart of Madison Square for 40 years. A new partnership between the store’s owner, Esther Shaver, and Jessica Osborne, an employee of three years, will ensure that legacy continues.

Photos by Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News Esther Shaver, E. Shaver, Bookseller, is retiring and Jessica Osborne, above, a worker at the 40-year-old landmark Madison Square bookstore, has been named co-owner. Shaver has said she will still be in the shop about once a week. Osborne has pledged to ensure that Shaver’s legacy at the shop continues.