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Map aims to promote downtown Augusta

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It started in a bar – Whiskey Bar Kitchen, to be exact.

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The downtown Augusta walking map has been distributed at nearly 50 downtown restaurants and shops.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
The downtown Augusta walking map has been distributed at nearly 50 downtown restaurants and shops.

Local billboard broker Stuart Rayburn stopped in, expecting lunch. He left with an idea to help small businesses in downtown Augusta.

Sitting nearby at lunch that day were Kimberly Beasley of Curvitude Boutique on Broad Street and Karen Gordon of Garden City Jazz.

“I overheard them talking about the need for a downtown map,” said Rayburn, the owner of Billboard Guru. “I had been thinking about it for awhile. Downtown could and should be like an outdoor walking mall. We talked about it for about an hour. I decided, I’ll put my money up. I’ll put my time into this. I believe in it.”

The first edition of the map, released in March, highlights restaurants, nightlife, family entertainment, retail shops, parking and ATMs from Riverwalk Augusta to Ellis Street and Fifth to 13th streets.

“We wanted it centered around the downtown area,” Rayburn said. “We want people to think about it as a place they can come and meander.”

The map has been distributed at nearly 50 downtown restaurants and shops.

“We promised to print 20,000. We printed 24,000,” Rayburn said.

Copies are flying off hostess stands and counters.

“It’s a great piece of literature,” Beasley said. “I have a lot of people come through who want to know what to do and where to go. As soon as I hand them the map, that’s the answer.”

A fall 2013 downtown walking map is due out in September. Rayburn expects to print 30,000 copies that will be distributed to an additional 75 sites.

Each map includes more than two dozen ads from local businesses, a self-guided walking tour, a list of downtown events and information on how to deal with panhandlers.

From its inception, the map has been a collaborative effort, Rayburn said.

The idea came from Gordon and Beasley, current and former board members of the Downtown Augusta Alliance. Local artist Gabe Marshall designed the map. And Rebecca Rogers of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area and Erick Montgomery of Historic Augusta proofed it.

“Everybody who cares about downtown is doing what we can to promote downtown,” Rayburn said. “We all want to see downtown develop as an economic center and tourism magnet.”

LEARN MORE

Go to facebook.com and search for “Downtown Walking Map” for news on the Downtown Walking Map.

Comments (12) Add comment
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LuvMyTown
2009
Points
LuvMyTown 05/24/13 - 09:51 pm
1
0
The JB Whites Building also offers a nice walking map

It's available right at the building entry.

Brad Owens
4917
Points
Brad Owens 05/25/13 - 04:28 am
2
2
Good job Stuart...

I am glad to see this come to fruition.

Brad

soapy_725
44144
Points
soapy_725 05/25/13 - 06:37 am
0
0
Re-invent the wheel??? Great brainstorming???
Unpublished

A Tanger Outlet Guide has been a staple for decades. Does the ARC version have discount coupons? Locations of security and public restrooms? Maybe the CBD could be sold to Tanger Outlets?

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 05/25/13 - 11:41 am
2
1
Brad!!!

Brad, my Hale Tiki t-shirt is slap wore the eff out. Open another Hale Tiki and we will come.

Beavs Dad
31
Points
Beavs Dad 05/25/13 - 01:15 pm
1
1
Was this map paid for by this person as a contribution

to the downtown area and city of Augusta or did he sell ads to local businesses as a salesman would for Billboard Guru? If sold to the local businesses how much was it for an ad? Is this story an ad for his business or for the city or both? If he believes in downtown does he live downtown and also work downtown? Is this the same guy who was involved in controversy with Corey Johnson in 2011 reported by AC? The story said political contribution made, ad space provided and transit bid rejected by Augusta? Again the question is does this map generate income for him as well as the city? That would be considered working in sales for a paycheck versus making a charitable contribution to the downtown area growth and development. If he was not paid but created the map at his own expense and time then he truly did the city a favor using his skills and knowledge at no benefit to himself. But which is it?
Another one will be produced in September? Free of charge or not?
Someone needs to publish more information for the public. Aren't there several maps available for downtown Augusta anyway? And where are those maps located or distributed and by whom?
Alot of questions surrounding this piece. Time to answer them AC.

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 05/25/13 - 02:12 pm
1
0
Good story, however if a

Good story, however if a merchant did not pay $250, they were not included in the map.

Beavs Dad
31
Points
Beavs Dad 05/25/13 - 04:06 pm
1
1
$250.00!!!!! The price to "believe" in something!

Each merchant had to pay his business Billboard Guru $250.00 to be placed on the map? Slight difference between selling ads for income to himself and "helping" downtown business owners and Augusta without profit or promotion of his own agenda. Isn't this similar to what was said to have happened in 2011 when a reported contribution and "favor" for CJ involved his business bid for city transport which was not viewed well?
How large or small is Billboard Guru? 1 employee, 5 employees, 150 or more? He mentioned his own business and provided details to the public but never stated he charged the merchants! Who is this guy? He wanted to be placed in the spotlight with the article being published. Ego? Certainly isn't a genuine "good deed" for Augusta or downtown with further information. How many businesses paid for an ad on this map or how many did not? Any special favors or trade outs?
AC please follow up with an additional report for the city to know and rest easy this is not yet another slippery fish involved with downtown politics which ends up casting a dark shadow. Already questions are being asked because people want real change and not the same old system.
A successful, honest business owner does not leave out important details while promoting a product. If they do there is more to the story. Poor judgement here to get published in AC for all to see business owners were not included unless they could pay a fee to BG.
Dig deeper on this one. The city wants to know!

Brad Owens
4917
Points
Brad Owens 05/25/13 - 07:13 pm
0
2
Beavs Dad...Have another cup of Haterade will ya?

I am not sure what your beef is but I am pretty sure the folks that purchased ads in the map knew what they were doing when they wrote the check.

from the article, it seems to me it is pretty clear (no reading comprehension problems on my end) that the map is "free" not the ads in it. Also, folks did donate time to help make it, so it was a joint effort of volunteers as well.

What is wrong with Augusta? The small businessman out there hooking and crooking always seems to draw the most ire while the wasted millions in tax dollars for the cabal is lauded with banquets and awards. Think it's easy to make things like this happen? You gotta chase that dollar, you gotta run fast to catch it and seems Stuart is making a difference and trying to make a living too.

I am a private enterprise capitalist myself, so good on Stu for making this a reality.

Seems to me that anyone who comes up with a free market capitalist idea which also helps promote downtown without using our tax dollars should be applauded, like Stuart was in this article, not made to sound like he is doing something wrong.

Too many socialist, communist and giverment types in Augusta these days.

By the way, what's your idea?

Beavs Dad
31
Points
Beavs Dad 05/26/13 - 03:35 am
1
0
Your idea is a good one

Your idea is a good one. You stated each business wrote a check to be included on the map. Did they? To state it means you know for certain.
Right? Or wrong? Maybe? Ask the business owners, merchants or organizations possibly?
Would each downtown business like to have the option to be included on the map if unable to pay the fee? Sure. Is it a choice to barter and trade services with this guy instead of writing a check? And every merchant will be given all options in the future?
He can come forward to tell the city how this map and the ads placed were paid for or otherwise negotiated, right?
Citizens will be pleased to know if it is fair and transparent. Not another tickets traded or food and drink vouchers given for his own personal benefit type of business. That would be "giverment" you mentioned but in a different way?
You mentioned tax dollars too. If a check was written then taxes are involved. But if a business did not write a check how do taxes get paid? Do you know if his or anyone elses taxes have been filed and paid for the misuse you speak of? It would be "crooking" if a citizen did not pay their share of taxes correct?
Mr. Rayburn or "Stu" as you called him can provide the city, readers, leaders, supporters and merchants with statements and documents to clarify how each ad was negotiated. He doesn't have to but if no back door deals were made who wouldn't?
And thanks for the ideas. Very good ones indeed.

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 05/26/13 - 07:28 am
3
0
Love going to California wine

Love going to California wine country. There are at least a dozen maps one can pick up to know where all of the wineries are, especially the obscure ones. I always made sure to pick up the map done by the Chamber of Commerce. That way I know that every winery was listed, and not just there because they bought an ad. Would have missed out on a lot of good stuff relying on the others.

Brad Owens
4917
Points
Brad Owens 05/26/13 - 07:58 am
0
2
Hmmmmm Beavs Dad

I am not sure what is so confusing about this for you.

This is a private enterprise, for profit that was put together by a man that sells advertising.

It is his business to sell ads and he created this map as a way to make money and provide a needed item for downtown visitors to have to know where businesses are. This is in the "Business" section of the AC.

Nothing in the story is not factual.

Stu approached me about putting an ad in the map, I declined because my business does not depend on walk-ins or tourist, but I supported his idea and encouraged him to do it.

So let's recap; Private business in the business of selling ads creates advertising tool for downtown in the form of a map, that private business invests their own capital into the project, that private business sells product (ads in map) and then over delivers on numbers of product promised to customer, Newspaper writes flattering article about the obvious success of the business venture and puts it in the business section of the paper.

I just don't see a smoking gun here ... so please help me see why any part of this is inappropriate (business story in business section) or how this is anything but a good story?

Seems to me you have some beef with Stu on a personal level here.

Beavs Dad
31
Points
Beavs Dad 05/26/13 - 01:24 pm
2
0
Good story

Mr. Rayburn is the only person who can answer questions arising from this. Will he? Or will others continue to respond instead? The story is a "good" one. There are merchants who would like to hear from him who were not included on his map. Business is not personal. It is business. Mr. Rayburn needs to answer if he did or did not accept trade outs from some organiztions and or merchants of his choosing while he accepted cash or check from others. If everything is as clean as it should be then he will speak for himself to clear the matter. We can all choose to make trade outs with him in the future which would make the map larger and be of even more benefit to downtown growth and development.

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