• The City of Swainsboro and the Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce will hold a “Starting a Business” workshop from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the Sudie A. Fulford Community Learning Center on the campus of East Georgia State College. The workshop will walk entrepreneurs through the steps of starting a business, including conducting market research, estimating start-up costs and cash-flow projections, securing financing, developing business plans and determining a legal structure for the business.
The workshop will be presented by the Small Business Development Center, a division of the University System of Georgia’s SBDC Network, which provides business consulting and training for Georgia entrepreneurs.
The class, which normally costs $69 per person to attend, will be offered at a special rate of $39. Participants may register by visiting www.SavannahSBDC.org or calling (912) 478-7232. Enter the discount code DDA2015 to receive the reduced rate.
In April 1988, when Gary Davis opened his first Subway restaurant on South Main Street, no one could imagine the incredible success the chain would have globally.
I remember the newspaper ads that teased the "construction" of Statesboro's first Subway. The chain was so new that no one locally had any idea what it was about. Most of us thought it was some sort of practical joke. There was no way anyone would actually consider constructing an underground transportation system as the city's first public transit system.
Fast forward 27 years and Statesboro still has no public transportation plan, but we do have six Subways in Bulloch County. The early years were a struggle as a business. In the '80s, no one really understood the health implications of not eating fried food at all three meals per day.
In 1990, Davis hired Jim Good, a seasoned Subway operator,who had helped open the 178th store in the company's franchise in Florida. Davis focused on the finances and Good the operations.
The dynamic duo proved to be a formula for incredible success. At one point, they owned and operated Subways in Vidalia, Pooler, Savannah and Macon. They have since sold all the stores but the five Subways in Statesboro and the one in Brooklet.
I asked Good if he ever imagined that the stores would be so successful. He recounted how most of his friends thought he had lost his mind transitioning from operating a national chain known for its hamburgers to Subway.
"My friends thought it was hilarious," he said. "They told me that there was no way you could make a living selling sub sandwiches. Now, when I talk to them, they all wish they had invested with me. I was attracted to the Subway concept because there was no grease involved, its simplicity operationally and the uniqueness and freshness of the product."
Currently, there are more than 45,000 Subway franchises globally, and the Statesboro group of restaurants consistently ranks in the top 20 percent in every category from sales and operations to employee turnover.
"No question, the key to our success has been our ability to recruit and retain some of the best employees anywhere," Good said. "Our teams are committed to making every customer's experience one to remember every time they enter one of our stores."
In addition to being great operators, Davis and Good were very focused on finding ways to give back to the community.
In the early 1990s, I was working for Northland Cable and was very active in the local chapter of the American Heart Association. Each year, the association's largest local annual fundraiser was a live televised cable-thon hosted by Dr. Bill Perry, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Statesboro at the time.
It was a great evening of awareness in addition to helping raise critical funds for the Heart Association. Good was touched by the cable-thon and reached out to see how Subway could partner with the group. Good's mother died of heart disease when he was 19 and she was 42.
This was the beginning of the Subway Day of Giving in 1997.
For the next 14 years, the American Heart Association was the primary beneficiary of the event. Several years into the event, Northland began a nightly television newscast along with hourly local news inserts on Headline News.
Dal Cannady, Josh Aubrey and Paul Floeckher were the anchors of these newscasts, and they began the Subway Challenge. There were only three Subway locations at the time. Each of them would pick a store and would work with other volunteers making sandwiches during the event. The one who sold the most won the bragging rights for the entire year. I can't remember the winners from each year, but I am sure if you ask the three of them they can tell you who the victors were.
What makes this event so incredibly unique is that Davis and Good give 100 percent of the proceeds to charity. They cover all the food and operational cost, so every penny you spend, except sales tax, is contributed to the charity.
Eighteen years later, the event is still a huge success. A few years ago, Good asked local store managers to pick their favorite charity.
The 2015 Day of Giving is set for Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at all Bulloch County Subway locations. United Way volunteers will be at the Lanier Drive restaurant, Humane Society at the Highway 80 East Subway in Buckhead, the Boys and Girls Club at the Highway 80 West location, Habitat for Humanity at the store on 301 South and the Bypass, Open Hearts Community Mission at the Chandler Road location and Fostering Bulloch at the Subway restaurant in Brooklet.
You can also preorder $7 box lunches for your business by contacting your favorite participating charity. Remember, 100 percent of the proceeds and any additional contributions made during the event will go to the participating charity.
With your support, this could be a record year for each of these deserving charities. The "Day of Giving" has raised more than $350,000 since Davis started the event in 1997. It is always refreshing to see business like this finding ways to give back in incredible ways. Now, let's all do our part and get out and support Subway and the charities on Friday.
Please email DeWayne at email@example.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.