Yes, 2016 certainly was a year to remember.
Here is a look back at a few of the most talked about local business stories:
The two stories that caught the attention of Statesboro Herald readers last year were the salvation of R.J.'s Grill by local entrepreneur Stacy Underwood and the opening of Krispy Kreme.
Locals were stunned when the sudden closing of the landmark R.J.'s Grill was announced in early August. It seemed certain that once again we would lose another Statesboro iconic restaurant, which would have been a major setback to the Blue Mile project.
But, just days later, Stacy Underwood came forward to rescue the business. Stacy has made very few changes to the operation and has maintained the original staff. Former owner Randy Nessmith still visits the restaurant regularly and has worked to mentor Stacy to ensure R.J.'s continues to thrive for decades to come.
When Krispy Kreme opened in October hundreds camped out overnight to be the first in town to have a "Hot Now" doughnut melt in their mouth. For weeks after the opening, the store paid off duty police officers to help direct traffic as faithful customers lined up for their sugar rush. Krispy Kreme shattered every first week sales record for the company. Local manager Jeremy Henning confirmed that Krispy Kreme is very happy with their decision to bring the "Hot Now" craze to the Boro. The store continues to exceed expectations.
Local entrepreneur Brandon O'Mahoney, purchased Vandy's Bar-B-Q and brought back Holiday Pizza. Vandy's has operated since 1929 and is one of only four Bar-B-Q restaurants in Georgia that cooks over an open pit. Brandon has updated both Vandy's restaurants and completely renovated the mall location.
After being closed for nearly three years, O'Mahoney partnered with brothers Nick and Johnny Kalloniatis, along with their mother Dia, to reboot the popular eatery. Holiday reopened in the same location they had operated successfully for 14 years before closing in 2013. The popular Greek and Italian Restaurant has picked up where their left off in becoming a favorite spot for locals.
Panda Express, America's largest family-owned Chinese restaurant, introduced Statesboro to their famous Orange Chicken when they opened in November.
Little Italy, famous in Athens, has entered the Statesboro market and will open their newly constructed restaurant the end of January.
Statesboro was named one of the America's Best Communities (ABC) competition eight finalists for the $3 million grand prize. The ABC competition is sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH, CoBank and The Weather Channel. The enthusiasm, excitement and synergy created by this competition has been a boom to downtown. Downtown and the Blue Mile are the new hot spots for residential and commercial development again thanks to the competition and the team leading the Blue Mile imitative.
2016 was the year to sell your business:
We started out the year announcing the Redding family had sold their Statesboro NAPA store to Stan and Terry Mann. NAPA was owned and operated by the Redding's for 75 years.
Brian Glenn and Sean Davis, principles of Glenn Davis Insurance, merged their firm with AssuredPartners, Inc. AssuredPartners, Inc., headquartered in Lake Mary, Fla., and led by Jim Henderson and Tom Riley, is the 13th largest independent insurance brokerage firm in the nation.
After 45 years of local ownership, the Mooney family sold Willingway Hospital to Summit BHC (Summit), a leading provider of addiction treatment and behavioral health services headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn.
Gentilly Gardens, an assisted living and memory care facility on Gentilly Road, was acquired by local entrepreneurs Ralph Cowart and Alan Skipper. They rebranded the facility to The Gardens at Southern Manor making it a sister facility to Southern Manor.
Dr. John Gerguis was the first doctor in Statesboro to convert his practice to a direct primary care practice. The model uses a combined system of monthly installments and a la carte point of service menu payments without direct billing of insurance.
Dr. Stanley Shin and his partners moved into their new 10,000-square-foot, two-story office, which has become the home of Statesboro Cardiology and the centerpiece of one of the largest medical complexes in Statesboro.
East Georgia Regional Medical Center welcomed new CEO Paul Theriot, Jr. and began one of the most significant facility enhancements since the hospital was constructed 14 years ago. Highlights of the $2.5-million project will be a larger ER and a new Endoscopy Center.
Georgia Southern cut the ribbon on its new 40,000-square-foot Health Services center. The state-of-the-art health facility is double the size of the old center. Also, they also added services, including physical therapy on site and moved the eye care center into the Health Services building.
In closing, the story that has everyone talking now is AgSouth Farm Credit multi-million dollar expansion of the Statesboro footprint in the heart of our downtown. The nearly three-acre Ag South campus will include the construction of an additional 7,780-square-foot building. When completed, the three-building campus will be joined together by a beautifully inviting green space.