Tourism bureau bets on day trips

If you happen to see more Clemson Tiger stickers on South Carolina vehicles around town, it could have something to do with our convention and visitors bureau's marketing blitz in Greenville.


The Augusta Convention and Visitor's Bureau is promoting Augusta to the Greenville-Spartanburg area until October.

We're talking radio spots, ads in newspapers and magazines, billboards and some internet ads on The Greenville News Web site.

Sounds like a blitz to me.

At $154,000, the program isn't cheap. Some of that is coming from marketing grants, some from partner businesses. The bureau itself is shelling out $40,000 for it.


We're just a day trip away.

ONE OF THE FUNNIEST LAWSUITS I'VE SEEN: Movie producer Mirchi Movies -- wait, you never heard of them? Well, they are in Bollywood, also known as Mumbai, India. They've got a movie coming out called Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors.

The Indian movie producer claims there is nothing in Hari Puttar to link it with Harry Potter except the pronunciation of the title.

The plot of the movie is closer to Home Alone than Harry Potter, but Warner Bros. wants the movie kept on the shelf because the title resembles the Potter films.

Do you get the feeling some businesses are drawing that intellectual property line in the sand a little too deeply?

I guess we'll never see Hairy Putter, Caveman Golfer , either.

SPEAKING OF LAWSUITS: Xethanol, the company behind our local never-built ethanol plant, is going to pay $2.8 million to settle a shareholder class-action suit.

People who bought shares in 2006 banded together and sued the ethanol company over what they say were false claims and omissions. Mainly, Xethanol claimed it would sustain itself with corn ethanol while it was trying to get its biomass ethanol off the ground.

It didn't.

Its stock price fell from $15 to $4 per share in eight months in 2006. Hence, the suit and the payout.

The lawsuit contends that the company misrepresented the experience of management and standards of ethics.

The company made more than $3 million off selling the old Pfizer equipment at the Augusta site.

WAFFLING: In the east Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates, the founders of Waffle House have turned their first store into a museum.

The only food available there will be the inedible kind, which will be on display along with the old uniforms and place settings.

There are now 1,550 Waffle Houses in 25 states, but the first one was in Atlanta in 1955.

ADD ANOTHER TO THE INC. LIST: Last week, I told you about the Augusta businesses on Inc . magazine's 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the country. A son of Augusta also made the list, though his business is in Athens.

Fire & Flavor, run by Davis and Gena Knox, ranked No. 264 on the list of 5,000. It makes all-natural rubs and food seasonings.

The business is on the list because of its 1,005 percent growth there over the past three years. Revenue of $353,359 in 2004 grew to $3.9 million in 2007.

The business found its niche selling cedar grilling planks that you soak in water before grilling on them.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or



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