Authority seeks success in meeting face to face

While waiting for the Red Carpet tour to arrive on Thursday morning, I sat down with Walter Sprouse in the chamber of commerce's courtesy tent.


He told me the Development Authority of Richmond County is adopting a different marketing strategy.

Instead of spending money on national magazine advertising, they've invested that funding into a membership with an association of asset managers. Translation: Sprouse gets to hob knob with the people who buy and sell the real estate for their corporations and who will likely be the people trying to find land for building projects.

The membership fee is $1,400 annually, and then factor in a couple of $900 trips, he said.

"We have more success seeing people face to face," he said.

The organization is called Industrial Asset Management Council, and Richmond County is among the elite few economic development members.

"My job is to build relationships with these different people," Sprouse said. So he goes to breakfast with the top guys at top corporations, access that would never happen individually.

IN COLUMBIA COUNTY: Troy Post was at the Red Carpet. He is the director of economic development for the county.

What he's seeing is established businesses trying to "secure their foothold" through small expansion projects.

"We've got a lot of projects being driven by the public sector. We're doing what we can to get some retail," Post said.

A WORD ABOUT BURKE: Jerry Long, head of economic development in Burke County, suggested the county might try to create a megasite, on the small side of that scale, about 300 acres.

They've also got a pad ready for a 300,000-square-foot building.

CALIFORNIA SOLD: Augusta-based CareSouth Homecare Professionals announced that it has sold its four California home healthcare agencies to Kindred Healthcare Inc.

The agencies are located in Southern California and the San Jose area.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"This is a powerful move that will allow CareSouth to better utilize our resources closer to our core operations," said Rick Griffin, President and CEO of CareSouth. "While we were not seeking a buyer for these operations when Kindred approached us, this transaction made a lot of sense for all, both financially and strategically."

CareSouth is a home healthcare company with its corporate offices off Reynolds Street.