From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Rumors usually turn out to be true

One thing the past week taught me is that the “word on the street” – which we all know contains a smidgen of truth – is sometimes right on the money.

On Day 1, we hear that Clay Boardman is planning to purchase the old Sibley Mill property. On Day 2, we make contact, and he says the equivalent of, “Well, I can’t talk about that right now.” On Day 3, he puts out a news release through Historic Augusta that says (drum­ roll, please) he is planning to purchase the old Sibley Mill.

Not long after that story broke, Augusta Chronicle business reporters found out retailers Williams-Sonoma (which I outed in this column in March) and Dick’s Sporting Goods had filed building plans with Richmond County for stores at Augusta Mall.

See how quickly rumors (which are often just facts that haven’t been confirmed yet) become real? I’ll throw out some other rumors that are currently circulating out there, just to see what happens:

1) Bass Pro Shops, the Val­hal-la of sporting goods stores, has acquired Wheeler Road land.

2) Rooms to Go, located in the old Rhodes Furniture buil­ding on Wrightsboro Road, will move to Mullins Crossing in Evans.

3) The Medi­cal College of Georgia is planning to build a satellite version of Sanford Stadium on land occupied by Gilbert Manor.

OK, I made that last one up, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spread it around, right?

SPEAKING OF MCG: I’m not going to weigh in on the whole MCG-University of Georgia medical campus debate (I’m horribly uninformed on this one, but at least I admit it) other than to say this: Isn’t it funny how the overall community’s interest, opinions and expertise on physician education go from zero to extremely profound almost overnight?

A SCRAPPY STARTUP: Last week, I mentioned that Xethanol Corp. was going to hold a conference call to talk about management changes and updates on its various projects – including its planned ethanol refinery in east Augusta.

The talk was light on details, as has been the case since the New York-based company announced last year that it would buy the former Pfizer pharmaceutical plant on Lovers Lane and convert it into a facility to produce alternative fuel, first from corn, then from cellulose derived from paper-mill waste.

The company’s newly hired chief executive, David Ames, would not provide a timeline for the opening of the Augusta plant (the original timeline has it going operational by the end of this year) but did indicate that Xethanol has so far recouped 36 percent of the $8 million it spent to buy the Pfizer property by selling off scrap metal and machinery.

Maybe if they selling off the plant one piece at a time, they can turn a profit without ever building a refinery.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM: I get a lot of marketing materials for business- and management-theme books. Two I received in recent weeks made me chuckle: The Obvious: All You Need to Know About Business. Period, by James Dale, and In the Sphere of Silence, by Vijay Eswaran.

The appropriately titled The Obvious contains Yoda-esque nuggets such as: “Simple is better than complicated,” “listen more than you talk ” and “open your mind – let ideas in.”

The promo material says Mr. Dale “shares the simple ways any businessperson can put these 'ah-ha’ lessons into practice and achieve success.”

Mr. Eswaran’s book doesn’t sound quite so cerebral. It’s premised on the author’s Malaysian childhood learning of the mouna, or silence.

“It is the only book published providing secrets of success based on the importance of silence,” the book’s marketing material says.

I think I’ll take his advice by shutting up right now.

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