Updated: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 00:13

Business in Savannah news summary

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Harbor Foundation awards funds to charities

The Savannah Harbor Foundation awarded $26,500 to 17 local charities Thursday at a partner breakfast at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.

The 2014 recipients were One Voice, Xcel Strategy, Greenbriar Children’s Center, 200 Club, Lowcountry Down Syndrome, Second Harvest Kids Café, Second Harvest Food Bank, Savannah Eagles, Voice Experience, Savannah Music Festival, First Tee of Savannah, West Broad Street YMCA, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Park Place Outreach Center, Give One Glove, The Living Vine, World Ocean School and the Empty Stocking Fund.

The resort also recognized its Partners of the Year: Fire Marshal Craig Landolt, Yates Astro, Gulfstream, Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, US Foods, Coca-Cola of Savannah, Resort Services Inc. and the Savannah Morning News.

The foundation’s mission is to organize and promote community events with the aim of raising money for youth and family charities based in Savannah. Events included donations raised through the 2013 Festival of Lights and other community event initiatives.

Mark Spadoni, president of the foundation, said, “This event to present checks to worthy organizations is the highlight of my year. When we started the Foundation over 11 years ago, the thought of impacting so many organizations annually didn’t even register. Through the giving of others, either of their time to volunteer to help us put on our events or through their financial resources, we are able to help some great charities perform the much needed services they provide to the community. In other cases, to be able to offer resources to help children through the arts, is humbling. We are already looking forward to a successful year of creating and delivering events in 2014 that will enable us to help even more people next year.”

Pace Lighting showroom honored for fifth year

Pace Lighting of Savannah has been selected as a finalist for the fifth annual National Lighting Showroom of the Year Awards, presented by Residential Lighting magazine and the Dallas Market Center. It is the company’s fifth consecutive nomination for the Showroom of the Year Award. It is a three-time winner.

Since opening our showroom on Chatham Parkway in 2008, our mission has been to provide the best in lighting product selection, technical expertise and top-notch customer service. To be annually recognized among our peers as the best of the best is truly remarkable,” said Frank Bartlett, chief executive officer.

Visit Savannah upgrades Visitor Information Centers

A number of upgrades have been made to Visit Savannah’s Visitor Centers at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and River Street to include new iPads, new brochure racks and colorful banners in the parking lot.

“We also now have full-time staff at the I-95 Welcome Center. All of this is designed to drive more tourist traffic to area businesses and to offer the best visitor experience possible to our guests,” said Joseph Marinelli, Visit Savannah president.

The new iPads at the MLK location display the VisitSavannah.com website, which provides visitors with information about accommodations, activities, dining and events.

They also provide a way for Visit Savannah to capture information about where Savannah’s visitors are traveling from and how long they are staying. For more information, contact Taylor Griffin at 912-644-6429 or TGriffin@VisitSavannah.com.

Outpatient center opens in Bluffton

BLUFFTON, S.C. — Rendina Cos. announces the completion of the $16 million Bluffton Medical Campus, a 60,000-square-foot, two-story outpatient center located off U.S. 278 in Bluffton, 12 miles from Hilton Head Hospital.

The Bluffton Medical Campus consolidates many of the services Hilton Head Regional Healthcare offers throughout greater Bluffton. The new facility is home to specialized health care services that include an imaging center with a CT scanner, a nuclear medicine camera and additional equipment for ultrasounds and radiography.

Other building services include orthopedics, a breast health center and various types of therapies and physicians’ offices.

Representatives from Rendina Companies, Hilton Head Regional Healthcare, Tenet Healthcare Corp., Fraser Construction and local government officials attended a Jan. 14 ribbon-cutting.

U.S. Chamber names TailsSpin finalist for award

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Friday announced TailsSpin Pet Food and Accessories, with stores in Savannah, Pooler and Macon, as one of the winners of its annual Blue Ribbon Small Business Awards. This program recognizes companies for dedication to the principles of free enterprise and contributions to restoring jobs and supporting economic growth. This year’s winners were selected from a record number of applicants across the nation, and each demonstrates exceptional business practices in areas including strategic planning, employee development, community involvement and customer service.

“As the business community has worked hard to do its part in moving the country forward economically, small businesses have continued to be the driving force responsible for much of our progress,” U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said. “Our Blue Ribbon Award winners are the best of the best — growing and succeeding despite significant challenges.”

The Chamber will announce seven regional finalists on March 19 and honor all of this year’s Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners at the 10th annual America’s Small Business Summit, taking place in June.

Tybee Island wine festival coming in April

The sixth annual Tybee Wine Festival, presented by Friends of the Tybee Theater Inc., will be held April 9-13.

The festival will offer five wine-pairing events featuring international wines, fresh coastal cuisine, cooking demonstrations and live entertainment at various island locations, including the Tybee Light Station, local eateries and beachside.

The event will offer a five-course wine dinner at the Tybee Island Social Club, table decorating and cooking demonstrations at the Tybee Lite Shrine Club, beachside oysters and wine at Marlin Monroe’s Surfside Grill, a wine tasting on the lawn under the Tybee Light Station and a Sunday champagne brunch at The Crab Shack.

Proceeds benefit restoration of the Tybee Post Theater.

For ticket information, go to www.TybeeWineFestival.com or call 912-663-1099.

Cable TV, Internet services improved in Bryan County

Pembroke Advanced Communications, part of Pembroke Telephone Co., has completed a multi-million-dollar investment in north Bryan County to bring advanced communications services to its subscribers.

“This network means we can provide our subscribers with services unavailable from any other communications company in the area,” said Jeanne McCormick, co-owner and president of PAC.

The project took more than three years to complete and includes voice, broadband Internet access and digital high-definition television and reaches every household in the company’s north Bryan County service area.

Founded in 1906, PAC is a family-owned business that employs about 40 people.

Winner of Plaid Nation Celebration contest named

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Erica Sullivan of Macon has won the Plaid Nation Celebration contest. With the win, announced Monday at the 46th annual Media Day for the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament, Sullivan and a friend will get a VIP golf experience, including behind-the-scenes access at the RBC Heritage, a Doc’s BBQ Club 15 ticket booklet, a ride in the MetLife Blimp, Plaid Nation memorabilia and a South Carolina Just Right prize package.

The RBC Heritage, presented by Boeing in partnership with South Carolina Tourism and MetLife, hosted the Plaid Nation Celebration contest. To enter, fans had to answer the question “Why do you love the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing?” Five finalists were named based on entries with the best content and most votes, which included retweets on Twitter and likes on Facebook comments.

To see Sullivan’s entry, go to RBC Heritage on Facebook.

Industrial Service Exchange website launched

BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority, in partnership with the Savannah Economic Development Authority, has introduced the Industrial Service Exchange, an online tool designed to encourage regional economic development by providing easier communication between manufacturers about new business opportunities.

The ISE allows users to post services they offer and services they need. The tool automatically matches companies based on the information provided in the company’s customized user profile. Also, ISE provides the opportunity for companies searching to fill positions on active projects to find jobs suited for their business.

“There are numerous opportunities for the region’s manufacturers to work together, and I feel this initiative will create new business opportunities and partnerships right here in the coastal Georgia region,” said project manager John Scott. “The Industrial Service Exchange gives existing manufacturers the opportunity to thrive and grow.”

To access the ISE, go to http://www.industrialserviceexchange.com.

Averitt earns carrier of year from Wal-Mart

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Averitt Express, a transportation provider that services the Savannah area, has been named Wal-Mart’s LTL Regional Carrier of the Year for the third straight year.

“We’re honored when customers like Wal-Mart feel that our efforts are worthy of recognition,” said Gary Sasser, Averitt’s president and CEO. “This is truly a team effort, and we’re proud of how our associates continue to rise to challenges and follow through on our commitments to our customers.”

Averitt is one of several regional LTL carriers that provide transportation from thousands of vendors to Wal-Mart’s distribution centers.

DoubleTree by Hilton opens at Savannah Airport

Hilton Worldwide and DoubleTree by Hilton have announced the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Savannah Airport, a four-story, all-suite property formerly known as the Cambria Suites Savannah Airport.

The property with 97 one- and two-bedroom suites is owned and operated by Pooler Financing LLC and managed by Image Hotels.

The opening also marks the launch of the hotel’s bistro-style lobby restaurant and bar, Savannah Kitchen, with a range of comfort foods and local cuisine for lunch and dinner. For more information, go to www.doubletree.com or call 912-965-9595.

Real estate firm extends franchise agreement

Sperry Van Ness|GASC, a commercial real estate firm with offices in Savannah and Hilton Head, S.C., has announced the extension of its franchise agreement with Sperry Van Ness International Co. as well as the addition of new partners Michael Bone, Adam Bryant and Vonnie Majewski who join current partners Jim Bryant, Tom DeMint and senior advisor Bill Bosley.

Bone specializes in the sale and leasing of industrial, office and investment properties in the Savannah market; Bryan includes Effingham County in his area of interest and Majewski specializes in the Beaufort and Jasper county markets in South Carolina.

For more information, go to www.svnsavhh.com.

Collectively, Sperry Van Ness|GASC completed in excess of $40 million in transaction volume while ranking 14th out of 175 Sperry Van Ness offices during 2013.

Harvey’s stores to be sold in Vidalia, Statesboro

Two Harvey’s stores in Statesboro and one in Vidalia will be sold to Homeland, an Edmond, Okla.-based grocery chain, as part of a deal for Bi-Lo Holdings to buy substantially all of the Sweetbay’s, Harvey’s and Reid’s supermarkets from the Delhaize Group. Homeland’s stores carry the Food World banner.

Bi-Lo also will sell a Harvey’s in Sylvanis to W. Lee Flowers and Co., which operates as KJ Markets IGA. As part of the deal, Bi-Lo agreed to sell 12 stores in markets where it already has operations.

The deal is subject to final approval by the Federal Trade Commission after a 30-day comment period.

Home prices in Savannah increase

According to CoreLogic, a property financial information firm, Savannah home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 3.8 percent in January 2014 compared to January 2013.

On a month-over-month basis, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 1.6 percent in January 2014 compared to December 2014.

Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 5.1 percent in January 2014 compared to January 2013. On a month-over-month basis, excluding distressed sales, the CoreLogic HPI indicates home prices increased by 2.1 percent in January 2014 compared to December 2014.

Nationally, home price, including distressed sales, increased 12 percent in January 2014 compared to January 2013. This change represents 23 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally.

Bryan County schools receive donation

Parker’s convenience stores recently presented a $2,000 Fueling the Community check to Bryan County Schools in Richmond Hill. The unrestricted donation was presented at Richmond Hill Elementary School on Feb. 24.

“We’re deeply committed to giving back to every community where Parker’s does business,” said Greg Parker, president and CEO of Parker’s. “I truly believe education is the rising tide that lifts all boats and makes Bryan County a stronger community.”

Parker’s donates 1 cent of every gallon of gas purchased at all of its convenience stores on the first Wednesday of the month to area schools through the Fueling the Community program. The company’s charitable initiative officially launched in the fall of 2011 and has donated money to public and private schools in Georgia and South Carolina. Parker’s operates 34 convenience stores across the region and plans to open additional locations within the year.

Jersey Mike’s, Children’s Hospital team for fundraising

Children’s Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center is joining forces with five Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants in the Savannah area for the fourth annual March “Month of Giving” fundraising campaign.

During March, customers can make a donation to the charity at any area Jersey Mike’s restaurant. On March 26 on Jersey Mike’s Day of Giving, 100 percent of the day’s sales will go to the Children’s Hospital.

“We are so grateful to Jersey Mike’s for inviting The Children’s Hospital to participate in their month of giving,” said Phoenicia Miracle, vice president, Memorial Health Foundation. For a list of participating restaurants, go to www.jerseymikes.com/mog.

New bank branch opens in downtown Savannah

S Bank has opened a new full-service branch office at 120 Drayton St. at the intersection of East President and Drayton streets in downtown Savannah.

“S Bank is proud to be bringing our 70-plus years of community banking experience to Savannah,” said Robert Mays, president and CEO of S Bank. “We are looking forward to being a positive community focused force providing common sense based financial solutions to the business community.”

S Bank specializes in small and mid-size businesses, Mays said, and the Savannah office has been designed to feature access to a business center that will provide meeting space, networking opportunities and other resources for Savannah’s business community.

S Bank has four locations in Georgia. For more information, go to SBank.com or call 912-654-3411.

Publix sales up in 4th quarter

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix announced Monday its sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 were $7.4 billion, a 5.3 percent increase from last year’s $7.0 billion. Comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 increased 4.3 percent.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013 were $422.0 million, compared to $392.8 million in 2012, an increase of 7.4 percent. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter increased to $0.54 for 2013, up from $0.50 per share in 2012.

Publix’s sales for the fiscal year ended Dec. 28 were $28.9 billion, a 5.2 percent increase from last year’s $27.5 billion. Comparable-store sales for 2013 increased 3.6 percent.

Net earnings for 2013 were $1.7 billion, a 6.6 percent increase from last year’s $1.6 billion. Earnings per share increased to $2.12 for 2013, up from $1.98 per share in 2012.

As of the end of 2013 Publix operated 759 stores in Florida, 181 in Georgia, 55 in Alabama, 48 in South Carolina and 36 in Tennessee. The company will expand into North Carolina this year.

Sporting goods store opens in Pooler

Sporting goods retailer Hibbett Sports has opened a store at 254 Pooler Parkway in the Village on Pooler Parkway with about eight full and part-time employees.

“This convenient new location is a win-win for our company and the Pooler community. We are very excited to serve the customers in this area,” said Jeff Rosenthal, president and CEO of Hibbett Sporting Goods.

With the addition of the Pooler location, the company has 94 stores in Georgia, including in Rincon and Hinesville.

Nationwide, Hibett operates more than 900 stores.

CCDS finds more than 30 jobs

The Coastal Center for Developmental Services (CCDS), which provides services to adults with developmental disabilities, and its Community Employment Services team placed more than 30 people with developmental disabilities in competitive jobs during the past six months.

Aeronautics giant Gulfstream Aerospace led the way by hiring six new workers from CCDS in clerical, human resources and workforce assistant roles. Optim Health hired four to work in its Savannah facility at the front desk, in scanning and as an administrative assistant. Chatham Area Transit hired three maintenance positions. Five Guys Burgers and Fries each hired three. Store associates were hired at retail/specialty stores Kohl’s, Once Upon a Child and Kitchen on the Square. Office/records clerks started new careers at Candler Hospital, Chatham County and Marchese Construction. Courtesy clerks were hired by Publix and Smith Brothers’ IGA. One was hired in housekeeping at the Wingate Hotel. B&D Burgers hired a dishwasher/prep cook. DIRTT (Doing It Right This Time) hired an assembly worker. Maintenance positions were filled at Lanier Supply, Mitsubishi Power Systems and O&A Logistics.

For more information, go to www.ccds-sav.org and www.quantuminc.biz.

TailSpin receives Blue Ribbon award

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced TailsSpin Pet Food and Accessories, with stores in Savannah, Pooler and Macon, as one of the winners of its annual Blue Ribbon Small Business Awards.

The program recognizes companies for their dedication to the principles of free enterprise and contributions to restoring jobs and supporting economic growth. Each winner, from a record number of candidates, demonstrates exceptional business practices in areas including strategic planning, employee development, community involvement and customer service.

Animal Hospital recognized for excellence

Wilmington Island Animal Hospital has earned accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) following a review of the hospital’s practice protocols, medical equipment, facility and client service.

Accredited animal hospitals have chosen to be evaluated on approximately 900 quality standards, ranging from patient care and pain management to staff training and advanced diagnostic services.

To maintain accredited status, Wilmington Island Animal Hospital must continue to be evaluated regularly by AAHA.

The hospital, located at 7802 U.S. 80 E., can be reached at 912-897-3300 or www.wiahga.com.

19.9 percent of Savannah mortgages in negative equity

In Savannah, 19.9 percent, or 10,671, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity as of the fourth quarter 2013 compared to 20.8 percent, or 10,989 properties, in the third quarter of 2013, according to CoreLogic, a residential property information provider.

An additional 6.1 percent, or 3,279 residential properties, were in near negative equity for fourth quarter 2013 compared to 6.3 percent, or 3,309, in third quarter 2013, CoreLogic reported Thursday.

Nationally, 4 million homes returned to positive equity in 2013, bringing the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity to 42.7 million.

General Dynamics board increases dividend

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The board of directors of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) Thursday declared a regular quarterly dividend of 62 cents per share on the company’s common stock.

The dividend represents a 10.7 percent increase from the previous quarterly dividend of 56 cents per share. This is the 17th consecutive annual dividend increase authorized by the board.

General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., is the parent company of Savannah-based Gulfstream Aerospace and employs approximately 96,000 people worldwide. The company’s interests include business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems and information systems and technologies.

For more information, go to www.generaldynamics.com.

Savannah Tech picked for Achieving the Dream network

Savannah Technical College is one of 12 institutions selected this year into the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, and school officials say they will immediately begin to identify and implement evidence-based strategies for closing achievement gaps and increasing student retention, persistence and completion rates.

“The college’s administration, faculty and staff firmly believe that all students are entitled to a quality educational experience that will enable them to achieve their desired outcomes,” said college president Kathy S. Love. “The college is focused on student success and continues to make strides in improving graduation, retention and job placement outcomes.”

Savannah Technical College has improved its graduation rate over the past seven years. In academic year 2008, Savannah Tech’s graduation rate was 51.7 percent. In 2013, the most recently completed academic year, the graduation rate was 63.7 percent.

24e Design Co. supports St. Andrew’s fundraiser

St. Andrew’s School has announced plans for the 29th annual Live Auction and Gala on March 8 at the Savannah Golf Club with 24e Design Co. as this year’s platinum sponsor.

Guests will choose from numerous fine art selections and bid on a variety of silent and live auction items. Last year’s event seated 180 guests for dinner and raised more than $100,000.

For tickets, go to www.saintschool.com/liveauction

Concert raised $48,500 for Park Place Outreach

The Celebration of Love event held Feb. 7, raised $48,500 to benefit The Park Place Outreach Youth Emergency Shelter and its Street Team program for local youth.

The event was held in recognition of the organization’s 30-year anniversary, and the money will pay for services for children at the shelter.

Sponsors included Joe Dobransky, Georgia Power, Sea Island Bank, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Derst Baking, OC Welch, Korean Presbyterian Church and Savannnah Tire.

Park Place Outreach Youth Emergency Shelter, 514 E. Henry St., provides support for troubled children and teens. For more information, go to http://parkplaceyes.org.

Fort Pulaski worth nearly $23 million to local economy

A new National Park Service report indicates 385,751 visitors to Fort Pulaski National Monument in 2012 spent $22,865,00 in communities near the park and supported 307 local jobs.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy — returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service — and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well,” said Superintendent Melissa Memory. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. It shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park.

To download the report, go to http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

Orthopedic group receives seal of accreditation

JESUP — The Bone & Joint Institute of South Georgia’s Jesup Surgery Center has earned its second consecutive seal of accreditation.

The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval was awarded in January for demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and patient safety. The first seal of accreditation was awarded in April 2011.

The Bone & Joint Institute has offices in Jesup, Hinesville, Baxley and Waycross. For more information, go to www.BJISG.com.

Staffing firm wins ‘best of’ award

SelecSource Inc., an Atlanta-based staffing agency with offices in Pooler and Vidalia, has been named as one of Inavero’s 2014 Best of Staffing Client Award winners.

The fifth annual best of staffing award was presented in partnership with CareerBuilder. Fewer than 2 percent of all staffing agencies in U.S. and Canada receive the award.

SelecSource Inc. received satisfaction ratings of 9 or 10 out of 10 from its clients.

“It is an honor and privilege to be included in the top 2 percent of North America staffing firms for best of staffing client satisfaction,” said David Webb, president and CEO of SelecSource.

Botanical garden to get help from Macy’s

Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens has been selected for “Heart Your Park,” a program introduced as part of Macy’s “Secret Garden” campaign that aims to raise awareness of and dollars for local parks across the country.

Through March 31, customers at Macy’s Oglethorpe Mall Store can donate $1 or more at the register, with 100 percent of the donations benefiting the botanical gardens. Macy’s will match the total customer donation across all stores, dollar-for-dollar, up to $250,000 in total.

The gardens, part of the University of Georgia, are located at the corner of U.S. 17 South and Canebrake Road. For more information, go to www.coastalgeorgiabg.org.

Locals make Flavor of Georgia list

Four Savannah-based products are among 35 that will compete in the final round of the 2014 University of Georgia Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest on March 17-18 in Atlanta.

The Flavor of Georgia contest is a chance for food businesses to highlight products and receive feedback from food industry professionals.

This year’s finalists from Savannah include the following.

In the confections category:

• Tybee Turtle French Macaron; Maison de Macarons; Savannah

In the jams and jellies category:

• Raspberry Jalapeno Jam; Leoci’s; Savannah

In the meat and seafood category:

• Leoci’s Handcrafted Cured Duck Prosciutto; Leoci’s; Savannah

• Vidalia Onion Sausage; Ogeechee Meat Market; Savannah

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