Monthly Archives

October 2007

(SAVANNAH/BLUFFTON) Jeff and Josh Klein Donate Closet at Smart Women Luncheon

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Jeff and Josh Klein, owners of Closet Specialist, donated a state of the art closet, at the Smart Women Luncheon and Expo’s silent auction.  The closet had a retail value of $2,500.
 
There were four different “tiers” of donation levels at the event.  Because of the value of his donation, Klein and Closet Specialist were named a “silver sponsor” for the Expo—the highest donation level.
 
Proceeds raised at the Smart Women Luncheon and Expo will benefit The Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital at St. Joseph’s/Candler.  The event was held September 19, 2007 at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. This year’s speaker was Academy Award winner and author, Ellen Burstyn
 
Closet Specialist LLC is located at 1204-A Highway 278 in Bluffton.  There is also a Savannah showroom at 7701 Waters Ave and a Jacksonville store and St. Simons store will be opening in the near future.  For more information, call (843) 837-9944 or log onto www.closetspecialist.com .
 

(Savannah, GA) CCCS — Americans Owe Close to $13 Trillion in Mortgage Debt

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(SAVANNAH)   Recent data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows that counseling is an extremely effective way to help consumers facing foreclosure and improve communication between consumers and lenders.  Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Savannah does just that by helping local residents get control of their mortgages.
                         
“For many years, our network of trained and certified counselors has helped consumers avoid foreclosure,” says Sonny Colley, President of CCCS of Savannah.
 
”In the current housing crisis going on both locally and nationally, we are prepared to stand by consumers to provide assistance and do everything possible to keep them in their homes.”
 
Facts about the current situation:
 
Americans owe close to $13 trillion in mortgage debt.
The number of foreclosed homes in the first six months of 2007 surged by 58 percent.  That equals approximately 573,397 homes in danger.
Most analysts predict that the condition will worsen through the end of the year, with 2.5 million first mortgages defaulting in 2007.
Close to 50 percent of consumers whose homes face foreclosure never speak to their lender prior to foreclosure.
 
CCCS of Savannah was established in 1965.  It is a non-profit community based organization that helps people manage debt by setting up a budget and payment plan.  To date, the local CCCS offices have returned more than $70 million to creditors; money that would have otherwise gone unpaid or been lost to bankruptcy.
 
CCCS of Savannah is open from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday.  Evening appointments are available at 4:30 and 6:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The office is located at 7505 Waters Avenue, Suite C-11.   For more information, log on to www.cccssavannah.org or call 912-691-2227.  
 
In addition to the main office there are several CCCS satellite offices.  They are in Statesboro (912) 489-2227, Brunswick (912) 261-0060, Hinesville (912) 370-2227, Beaufort (843) 379-2227.

(SAVANNAH) Floor Depot is Proud to Announces Its Newest Hires Joshua Morris

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Floor Depot is proud to announce one of its newest hires. Joshua
Morris joined the team as a sales manager in mid-September. His primary
responsibilities include inventory, billing, sales calls and stocking.

A 2006 graduate of the University of Georgia, Morris previously worked for a
real estate investment company in Jacksonville. The Savannah native says he is
thrilled to be working back in his hometown and couldn’t have picked a better
company to join.

“I enjoy it. Floor Depot is a quality company that offers quality top-notch
products. I think it’s a great fit for me… I really like it,” Morris says.
Floor Depot is an importing company that represents one of the largest floor
manufacturers in Brazil. The company opened it’s doors in August and now serves
several floor distribution companies in and around the Savannah area. The wood
offered is considered to be 3-10 times stronger than North American wood
species. Different grades are offered.

To learn more about Floor Depot, log on to www.floordepotinc.com or call (912)
898-2352.

(SAVANNAH, GA) Park Place Outreach, Inc. Is Hosting a Fundraiser to Outfit Its New Facility

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Park Place Outreach, Inc. is hosting a fundraiser and housewarming event to help outfit its new facility currently being built on E. Henry Street. As part of the event, Park Place has made arrangements with several businesses and organizations in the area to host what is called a “Housewarming Registry,” meaning each store will have a list of items needed for Park Place’s new facility and those who want to help can either purchase the items or make donations.
 
“The house needs many items to make it a home such as kitchen supplies, house goods, linens and electronics just to name a few,” said Elizebeth Overton, fundraiser coordinator for the event.
 
Businesses who have offered to help with the registry include Linens & Things, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, LaZboy, Circuit City and Best Buy. The Savannah College of Art and Design’s Interior Materials II class designed Park Place’s new interior and SCAD’s Graphic Design department designed the fundraising signs.
 
The public is invited to visit participating stores starting Friday, October 26 through Sunday, October 28 to purchase items from the registry. Contributions can also be sent to Park Place Outreach. Tables and signs will be set up at participating stores and will be manned by Park Place Volunteers and SCAD students.
 
 
“We also encourage private citizens and church groups to organize their own “Housewarming Events” for us in their homes or churches,” said Overton.
 
Those who contribute will receive a tax receipt for their donations and will be invited to attend the “Housewarming Thank You Party” to be held in March at the newly completed home.
 
Park Place provides emergency shelter and street outreach for adolescents ages 11 through 17 and their families. It is the only agency located within Chatham County that serves youth at no charge who are accepted without a referral to receive help.  With 6000 square feet, the new shelter will accommodate up to 12 youth.    
 
Park Place opened in 1984. There are approximately 15-30 youth residents served each month and about 200 each year.
 
For more information of Park Place, call (912) 234-4048.

(Savannah, GA) Businesses Can Save Money with Simple and Inexpensive Steps

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Wasting energy wastes your company’s money, so profit by making some easy changes
 
(SAVANNAH) – Many companies are leaving money on the table, but that’s likely to change soon as executives discover that small investments in energy efficiency can pay big dividends. Companies can save a lot of money while helping the environment.
 
Green choices aren’t just good for the environment – they can be good for business and the bottom line. Many steps to reducing energy usage are simple, inexpensive and smart. Reducing energy use through energy efficient lighting, for example, lowers operating costs while also reducing carbon emissions.
 
“There’s a direct financial benefit,” said Camille Pope, Finance Manager for sustainable development and real estate company Melaver, Inc. Energy efficient lighting pays for itself relatively quickly, and then continues to pay dividends.
 
GREEN STEPS
 
Look first for the easy and inexpensive changes. For example, simply turning off all computers or putting them on sleep mode at night will add up to energy savings and make a difference (screensavers don’t save energy).
 
Melaver, Inc. stopped buying bottled water and switched to a water filter and glasses because of the environmental issues with the plastic bottles and the carbon impact of transporting them via truck. This move also saves money, as bottled water averages close to $10 per gallon, versus $0.40 for filtered tap water. Also, switching out aerators on faucets is simple, cheap and can cut water use in half.
 
Heating, cooling and lighting account for a large portion of a building’s energy use, so making those systems more efficient can save a lot of money. For commercial buildings nationwide, almost 35 percent of energy is used for space heating (15 percent for space cooling), according to the government’s Energy Star program.
 
Turn back or turn off heating and cooling equipment when not needed. If you can cut back just one hour of operation out of every 12, the energy savings will be roughly 8 percent, according to Energy Star. Make sure to inspect and maintain heating and cooling equipment and weatherize, seal, and insulate for more cost savings.

Lighting uses roughly 13 percent of the energy consumed in commercial buildings, the second largest use after heating and cooling equipment. It is often cost effective with today’s technology to replace older lighting systems, resulting in a savings of 30 percent or more on lighting expenses, or 5 percent or more on overall energy expenses.
Make sure that lights are turned off when not in use. Leave on only a few for security, or use sensors.

Replace incandescent bulbs with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent bulbs, which use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.

Purchase U.S.-government rated Energy Star heating and cooling systems, appliances, lighting, etc. Energy Star products can cut your energy bills by up to 30 percent.
 
For large purchases, take a longer range view. Often energy efficient choices are the better financial decision long-term. Purchase fuel-efficient vehicles. For building projects, use “green” building methods and products. When renovating or building, pick water-efficient plumbing fixtures and energy saving light fixtures.
 
If you will be in the same location for several years, consider solar water heating, which can pay for itself in about seven years and then heat your water for free. If you’ll be in the same location long term, consider solar panels to provide your electricity.

All these moves reduce a company’s environmental or carbon “footprint.” That’s a metaphor used to represent the amount of land and area that a human population (or in this case, an organization) would hypothetically need to provide the resources required to support itself and to absorb its wastes.
 
A company wanting to reduce its environmental footprint should start with an analysis of its current environmental footprint as a baseline or starting point from which to reduce. Once the analysis is done (using an online calculator), opportunities to improve may become more apparent
 
Investing in energy efficiency and being environmentally responsible is an investment in your children and grandchildren’s futures, and the planet’s. But it is also good business. Some of the changes or investments start saving you money right away. Others start paying dividends over time.
 
GETTING THE COMPANY ONBOARD
 
When friends ask her how to get their company to think green, Pope tells them to take a few steps and coworkers or employees will get involved when they see they can make a difference.
 
“You have to start somewhere,” she says. “Any time you’re looking at changing your culture it happens over time. Over time you’ll see benefits. The more people you get involved, the quicker the cultural shift will happen.”
 
“Just get started,” she advises. “Any step you take can become contagious and people will get on board. Every small thing you do helps, and collectively you can make great strides.”
 
It is important to bring employees into the process so they buy in and are part of the solution. Don’t just have a top-down policy – get everyone involved and brainstorm solutions in order to get a collective buy-in. 
 
To encourage everyone to participate, translate wasted energy into a cost for the company and quantify the savings. Equate the savings to something meaningful to your organization. For a school, it could be the quantity of textbooks you could purchase with the savings, http://www.energystar.gov suggests.
 
“When people see the benefits of their actions, they start taking steps in their communities and in their homes and talking to friends about it,” Pope said. “That’s one of the greatest impacts you can have.”
 
ADVANTAGES OF GOING GREEN
 
Melaver sees reducing its carbon emissions as part of its environmental and social responsibility. The company is committed to sustainability – the triple-bottom line approach to economic performance, environmental impact, and social engagement with the community.
 
Many large companies are finding a business advantage in going green – not only in lower operating costs, but also in consumer awareness of their efforts.
 
“For us, that’s not our reason for doing it, but for some companies it is, and those companies are all seeing a benefit,” Pope said. “(Going green) is bringing some companies to the spotlight and forefront. … Based on what I’ve seen, they’re getting pretty good bang for their buck.”

Many of these large companies are discovering that carbon reduction can mean cost reduction in the form of lower energy bills and other savings.
 
“After a couple of years, it has a real financial and environmental benefit,” said Tommy Linstroth, Head of Sustainable Initiatives for Melaver.
 
Wal-Mart and Kroger, as well as several other large corporations, have found ways to save big money through energy efficiency and environmentally friendly initiatives. PepsiCo, Nike, Kraft Foods and other large corporations have said they are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprints.
 
Melaver, Inc. is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program.
 
“We’re sort of an anomaly,” as a relatively small real estate company since most members of the group are large international and manufacturing companies, said Tommy Linstroth, Head of Sustainable Initiatives for Melaver. “We’re in a unique position, and we’re learning as we go.”
 
Collectively, small companies can make a big difference for the environment because they represent a huge portion of the economy. Small businesses in particular can implement changes that quickly reduce their environmental footprint. And cost savings may be even more important for them.
 
Nearly 98 percent of all U.S. firms employ less than 500 people, with 90 percent having fewer than 20 workers, greenbiz.com noted. Small businesses generate more than half of the private gross domestic product and nearly half of all sales activity, and they consume more than 50 percent of all commercial energy use, according to greenbiz.com.
 
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
 
When companies lower their emissions, the overall effect can be remarkable, said Sara Barczak, Safe Energy Director of the non-profit educational and policy resource Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
 
“The beauty of working to reduce your carbon footprint is that there are so many other advantages – societal benefits, an improved economy and an improved environment,” Barczak said. When companies reduce their carbon footprint, that creates jobs, especially ones related to technology, cleaner energy and energy efficiency, as well as making possible cleaner fuels and less air pollution and water pollution. “It’s a win-win in terms of making a difference for our future.”
 
“It’s important for companies in Savannah and the coastal area to work to reduce their carbon footprint because we will be on the frontline of the predicted effects of global warming – sea level rising, tropical storms, and diseases spread by factors such as mosquitoes,” said Barczak.  “It’s our obligation to do whatever we can to lessen our contribution.”
 
Melaver, Inc. has been focused on environmental responsibility for generations, Pope said, and the company donates funds to tree plantings, green power and such because of its passionate commitment to the community and the environment.
 
Melaver, Inc. employees are hoping other small companies can benefit from what they’ve learned at the forefront of the green movement.
 
“We have one of the most ambitious plans of reaching net carbon neutral, and we’re happy that we have already reached that goal,” Linstroth said. “Hopefully we can use it as a teaching tool.”
 
Melaver, Inc. is a third-generation, family-owned business based in Savannah, Georgia. The company recently received the Business of the Year award from Buy Local of Savannah for its local commitment to environmentally responsible projects. The company developed one of the first LEED certified buildings in the U.S. that is also on the National Register of Historic Places. It has also developed the first all-retail LEED shopping center in the country, Abercorn Common, including the first LEED McDonald’s worldwide.
Contact: (912) 236-0781
www.melaver.com
 
RESOURCES FOR REDUCING YOUR CARBON EMISSIONS:
 
First, analyze your current environmental footprint as a starting point. Visit http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html
 
For energy saving tips and information, visit
www.energystar.gov
and  http://www.kilowattours.org/energy-bill-savings.php
 
 
Other ways to reduce carbon emissions

Some of these suggestions might not save your company any money, but they will help the environment.
Recycle
Think of how your company operates. Are there more environmentally friendly ways to create the same product or provide the same services? Your competitors are likely considering the same question.
Encourage carpooling, which saves  gas money and reduces emissions from the thousands of miles of commuting that were avoided.
Consider reusable mugs, glasses and water bottles instead of disposable cups and bottles
Consider all the environmental costs associated with your purchases, such as how far they had to be transported.
Consider the packaging of your products and purchases; is it excessive and wasteful?
Choose environmentally friendly products and items made from recycled materials when possible. Use materials such as bamboo flooring that are rapidly renewable, unlike woods that take many years to grow.
Donate items when possible instead of throwing them away.

(SAVANNAH, GA) It Is Just Human Nature. We Notice the Faults of Others More Than Our Own

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Simple, inexpensive changes pay off in a faster home sale and a higher price
The  competitive market means it’s  even more important to make your home stand out
 
It is just human nature. We notice the faults of others more than our own.
 
And that is never more true than when it comes to buying a home.
 
“People are much more critical of someone else’s home,” said Celia Dunn, owner of Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty. “We often overlook our home’s shortcomings … We don’t see the peeling paint, the clutter.”
 
But when you’re trying to sell your home, you have to look for and fix those shortcomings, so they don’t turn off buyers. That is especially important in the current buyers’ market.
 
Many of the most important changes are free or inexpensive. Even a few hours of your time can net a “Wow!” from the buyers instead of a “Whoa!” It pays to put a little time and a little money into your home when you put it on the market.
 
“So many people cannot visualize what a space could look like, and if someone has freshened up their home it makes the place look so much better,” Dunn said. “Paint does wonders.”
 
A clean, neat home without clutter makes all the difference when potential buyers look at a home, Dunn said.
 
Renee Meighan, a sales associate in the Bluffton, S.C. office of Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty, tells her clients to think of it as “pre-packing.”
 
Clutter, personal photos, and such are obstacles for potential buyers, who will have a hard time looking past all those things to really look at your home.
 
“Most people have a tendency to live with things so long that they don’t see it as being messy or out of place,” Meighan said. “However, when someone sees your home for the first time, this is what they normally see first.”
 
“Given our current market, if your home is not showroom ready, you will often pay for it with lower offers or no offer,” Meighan said.
 
Virginia Lee and Karen Davis of Savannah Home Staging and Design say paring down and depersonalizing is important in staging a home. They say they turn a home into a house, rather than a house into a home. Working mostly with vacant homes, they’ve had their staged houses come under contract within days.
 
“A staged house sells,” Davis said. “It opens up the house, so the buyer can see where their furniture and belongings could go.”
 
Agents need to be very straightforward with their sellers about what changes need to be made, said Pam Sutton, a sales associate with Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty.
 
Often the potential buyers won’t even be conscious of the effect these small things have. They decide they don’t like the house, but don’t realize it’s a small fix. These little problems set the stage for how they see the house.
 
“That’s a terrible turnoff for buyers,” Sutton said.
 
“It takes much less time to sell it when it’s been freshened up,” she said. Your home might take an extra six months to a year to sell if you don’t.
 
 
When you’re putting your home on the market, these moves pay off in higher sales prices and speedier sales:
 
Clean your home. If it’s not completely clean, potential buyers will notice and even if their home isn’t any cleaner it will turn them off the sale. Don’t forget outdoor areas and the garage.
 
Clear out the clutter. The time spent clearing out your clutter will make a huge difference in how your home shows. For daily items like bills or schoolwork that can’t be eliminated, file them in a drawer or put them in an attractive basket with a top.
 
Clear out the clutter again. Even magnets and kids’ art on a fridge look like clutter to potential homebuyers. Pack up some of the toys –  your kids can live with fewer for awhile if it means a faster, more profitable sale. Try to make your closets, pantry and garage look neatly organized. And why move all your clutter to your new home? Sort out items to donate or sell now, rather than at your next house.
 
Get a storage unit or portable storage unit for items that you’ll keep but won’t need, to make your home look more open. The portable storage unit is then stored until you move.
 
Take down your personal items. Your photos will distract homebuyers.
 
Paint. Choose neutral colors so you don’t turn off buyers, but don’t paint your walls white, which can give an impersonal or apartment feel. Don’t forget your garage and laundry room.
 
Keep your lawn trimmed, buy a new doormat and see if your yard needs perking up with plantings to enhance curb appeal. Look at your home from the street – would you stop to tour it?
 
Walk through your house with your agent as if you had never seen it before. Do you have too much furniture in one room, making it feel cramped? Is your wallpaper dated, or your window coverings? Look at outside areas as well.
 
Watch out for small but annoying problems that might signal to a buyer that your home hasn’t been cared for. Make sure your doors and drawers all open smoothly, and your doorknobs work well. Make sure banisters don’t wobble and light bulbs work.
 
Some small changes like cabinet hardware or a new light fixture can update your home.
 
Simple window treatments that let the light in look more current than big draperies or vertical blinds. Make sure you let in enough light. Keep your curtains open for natural light when the view is attractive.
 
Have your carpets cleaned, especially if you have pets or get new carpet if the old is stained or damaged. Make sure you don’t have pet or smoke odors.
 
Don’t leave your pets in the home during showings.
 
Have a live plant or fresh flowers (artificial ones don’t have the same appeal).
 
The aroma of fresh baking or cinnamon is appealing.
 
Known for its tradition of integrity, Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty specializes in residential and commercial properties in Savannah and the Low Country of Georgia and South Carolina. Founded in 1981, Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty is noted for outstanding service to its clients, thorough knowledge of Savannah and the South Carolina Low Country, and excellent staff, in addition to having one of the region’s top property management departments. The owners are natives of Savannah who have more than 60 years’ combined experience in real estate. The offices are located at 9, 13, and 17 West Charlton Street on Madison Square in Savannah and 6 Bruin Street in Bluffton, S.C.
 
For more information, call Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty at (912) 234-3323 or visit www.celiadunnsir.com . To contact the Bluffton office, call (843) 836-3900.
  

Closet Specialist Donated State of the Art Closet At Smart Women Luncheon and Expo

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(SAVANNAH/BLUFFTON)  Jeff and Josh Klein, owners of Closet Specialist, donated a state of the art closet, at the Smart Women Luncheon and Expo’s silent auction.  The closet had a retail value of $2,500.
 
There were four different “tiers” of donation levels at the event.  Because of the value of his donation, Klein and Closet Specialist were named a “silver sponsor” for the Expo—the highest donation level.
 
Proceeds raised at the Smart Women Luncheon and Expo will benefit The Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital at St. Joseph’s/Candler.  The event was held September 19, 2007 at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. This year’s speaker was Academy Award winner and author, Ellen Burstyn
 
Closet Specialist LLC is located at 1204-A Highway 278 in Bluffton.  There is also a Savannah showroom at 7701 Waters Ave and a Jacksonville store and St. Simons store will be opening in the near future.  For more information, call (843) 837-9944 or log onto www.closetspecialist.com .

(SAVANNAH)Chef Matt Cohen (The New South Café) to Participate in Savannah Annual Chocoholic Frolic

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www.liblines.org  

www.thenewsouthcafe.com

(Savannah, GA)  Chef Matt Cohen, owner of The New South Café, is proud to participate in Savannah’s Annual Chocoholic Frolic on October 11th at the Savannah Civic Center.  “This is a fun event and we enjoy contributing our time and food for such a good cause,” Chef Matt said.  “It is an honor to support the research and education for breast cancer.”
 
Chocoholic Frolic is an event which samples sweet finger foods from some of Savannah’s most popular restaurants and dessert bars, benefiting the cause of breast cancer.  All proceeds go to Liblines, a non-profit organization facilitating open communication between breast cancer fighters and their family and friends with targeted greeting cards.  This year’s contributions will go toward providing services for people battling the disease as well as fund research and education.  www.liblines.org. 

Opened in 2006, The New South Café offers comfort food gourmet style, matching your appetite for a new culinary experience with your hunger for the authentic food of the south.  Their menu showcases Georgia’s finest food ingredients, from wild shrimp to Vidalia onions.  Owner Chef Matt Cohen, a fifth generation Savannah native, and Executive Chef Scott Gordon, are both graduates of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York.

Chef Matt Cohen has opened a new section within his popular eatery called The New South Express Café.  The New South Express Café offers nearly double the seating capacity within The New South Café, with 24 more seats. Guests who dine in the express section of the café guests can belly up to the bar with the option of ordering off of the express menu.  Each day of the week a different gourmet meal will be featured on a steam table allowing the guest to get in and out of the restaurant in about thirty minutes.  Plates off of this express menu are $10 and include a biscuit and sweet tea.
 
The New South Café is open Tuesday through Saturday, offering lunch from 11 AM — 3 PM and dinner from 5 PM — 10 PM.  Chefs Matt and Scott offer upscale catering services for corporate events, conventions, executive lunches, private parties, weddings, receptions and bar mitzvahs.