BiS: - Business news for the creative coast.

Katie Martin

Business Reporter - 912-652-0314 - Email me

Best-selling author touts community involvement, uniqueness during Savannah tour

A New York Times writer praised Savannah on Tuesday for its efforts to work together on tourism issues including the debate over allowing cruise ships and the adoption of short-term vacation rental regulations, which she said are some of the best in the United States.

Elizabeth Becker

Recent compromise still poses tight regulations for state's breweries

The ongoing battle between Georgia breweries and the Georgia Department of Revenue seemingly came to a compromise in late January when lawmakers announced a deal had been reached on the regulations surrounding State Bill 63, better known as the Beer Jobs Bill. 

Eric Burnett pours out a beer sample during a tour at Southbound Brewing Company in July. (Savannah Morning News file photo)

Savannah's Johnny Harris: What's next?

Despite the recent announcement from Johnny Harris Restaurant president Norman Heidt that the longtime Victory Drive restaurant will be demolished regardless of whether a current deal with an Atlanta-based development firm is completed, members of the public are not backing down in their efforts to save the structure, which has been at its current location at 1651 E. Victory Drive since 1936.

Savannah accounting firm celebrates 30 years of business

As most accounting firms are preparing for their busiest time of year, one Savannah firm is also looking to celebrate three decades of serving the Lowcountry.

Photo courtesy of Kellie McCann Photography- Founded by Gary Sadowski in 1986, Savannah accounting firm Sadowski & Company is celebrating 30 years of business this year.

Richmond Hill resident launches software designed to increase online security for children

Smartphones, Facebook, Instagram and Vine have drastically changed the way we communicate. We can virtually connect with anyone in the world with the touch of a button — but that connectivity has also raised a big question among parents. Brian Bason, a Richmond Hill resident and father of two boys, has the answer.

Brian Bason talks about his software Bark, during the Geekend Pitch Circus presentation at the Guild Hall in October. Bason's software, which monitors children's social media, text and email for signs of cyberbullying launched earlier this month. (Carl Elmore/Savannah Morning News file photo)

Chattanooga mayor shares development ideas with Savannah leaders

Since Andy Berke was elected mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2013, he has worked to grow jobs, make the streets safer, invest in smart development and provide what he says is the fastest and cheapest Internet in the world.

Katie Martin/Savannah Morning News - Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke speaks Wednesday at the Savannah Downtown Business Association's monthly luncheon at the Charles H. Morris Center.

Visit Savannah chief talks new year, new visitors

With the influx of visitors in 2015, especially during the summer months, Savannah is on track to see some of the highest tourism numbers on record, according to Joe Marinelli, president of Visit Savannah.

Official numbers arrive in the spring, but for now Marinelli and his staff have all eyes on 2016.

Joseph Marinelli

Verdant Kitchen grows their roots

Documented in Savannah’s earliest years by Salzburger Philip von Reck, the community’s ginger growing roots date back to 1736, but Verdant Kitchen is helping to usher them into the 21st century.

Lifelong friends pen guidebook to the Hostess City

Life-long friends Polly Cooper, 75, and Laura Lawton, 74, have combined their talents to write a 368-page guide book to Savannah and Georgia’s coast.

Photo special to the Savannah Morning News Laura Lawton and Polly Cooper show off the newly published “Savannah Guidebook.” The Savannah natives took about two years to complete the extensive 368-page guidebook.

Local barber making clean cut

Slated for demolition this spring, the little row of shops at Skidaway Road and 51st Street will soon be nothing more than a memory, but the owner of GQ Tonsorial Parlor hopes to take a little bit of the place he’s called home for more than 20 years with him.

Thaddeus Bennett, GQ Tonsorial Parlor manager, and Durrell Williams cut clients’ hair.

Deal or no deal: Savannah's Johnny Harris to fall

Longtime Victory Drive restaurant Johnny Harris will be demolished regardless of whether a current contract with an Atlanta-based development firm goes through, according to a letter sent by restaurant president Norman Heidt to Metropolitan Planning Commission executive director Tom Thomson on Tuesday.

Photo by Josh Galemore/Savannah Morning News

Home sales finish strong

The housing market usually fares better for either buyers or sellers — not both — but that wasn’t the case in the Savannah area in 2015, according to Patrick Kelley, director of Savannah Multi-List Corp., a local real estate tracker.

Viera at Whitemarsh sold for $20M

The Viera at Whitemarsh apartment complex will soon be getting a face lift after being acquired in a $20 million joint venture between a Washington, D.C., private investment firm, Militello Capital, and Atlanta-based real estate investment firm, QR Capital.

Residents fight to save Johnny Harris building

While the end may be near for fried chicken and world famous barbecue at Johnny Harris Restaurant, a group of residents who have taken their efforts to save a part of Savannah history to social media and the Historic Savannah Foundation won’t allow the Victory Drive building to disappear without a fight.

Savannah Morning News file photo- Johnny Harris Restaurant is shown after being remodeled in 2012. A group of Savannah residents is hoping to see the building included in future site plans for a proposed retail development on the 11 acres that surround the building at 1651 Victory Drive.

Savannah area building permits break records in 2015

A few years ago, local leaders and city officials began a quest to make Savannah a better place for businesses by implementing a more streamlined approach for those looking to do business in the city.

Those efforts are paying off, according to Julie McLean, city engineer and director of developmental services.

Katie Martin/Savannah Morning News - Developers and city officials break ground on the Mariner Grove luxury apartment complex Wednesday. The 320-unit complex is expected to be completed by fall 2016.

Renovation of Juliette Gordon Low birthplace garden garners public opposition, online petition

Some of Savannah’s most historic homes are known for their perfectly manicured gardens, quietly tucked away from the busy tourist-filled streets, but the garden that sits next to the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace is generating a lot of unfavorable online chatter after plans to renovate it were introduced last year.

The wisteria vine wraps itself around the iron fence at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace.

State reps talk transportation bill, revenue during Savannah town hall meeting

Two state legislators appearing in Savannah on Wednesday to talk about transportation funding in Georgia praised a measure passed last year to increase the amount of money available for highway construction and other transportation projects.

Christian Coomer

Creative Coast gearing up for FastPitch competition

Do you have a unique business idea or a profitable business? Or maybe you’re stuck somewhere in between. If so, the Creative Coast, which is gearing up for its sixth annual FastPitch event, wants to talk to you.

Photo via

William Sprague Jr., former Savannah Foods CEO, community leader, dead at 89

William W. Sprague Jr. was a businessman, community leader and military veteran who was known by his family and friends as a man with an irrepressible sense of humor and zest for life whether in the boardroom or fishing boat.

William Sprague Jr.

BiS Small business of the year: Blue Force Gear

Always better. That’s the trademark of Blue Force Gear, a Pooler-based military gear manufacturer, and it rings true not only in their products but also in customer service and daily operations.