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Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager: Smart City Expo, Curiosity Lab, the city’s first craft brewery and more.

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This podcast also includes information about hosting a special event for the first day of the Smart City Expo Atlanta 2019, the opening of the city’s first craft brewery, upcoming developments in the city and the city’s response to urban camping.

About Smart City: “It won’t be long until, literally, you could be walking down the street and your phone’s talking to the cars driving by, talking to the phones of other pedestrians, talking to the buildings, talking to the light pole. I mean – it’s a both amazing and sometimes scary environment we’re going to be in.”

On the Chattahoochee River (Fiserv) development: “So it’s a very complicated site both from an environmental standpoint, as well as because of its sheer size, there’s a lot of, you know, back of house negotiations that the master developer has to do with lining up the team that’s going to develop it. Because this is a mix of uses, so you’ve got different contractors that specialize in different types of housing.”

On expanding the Town Green: “Essentially, the eastern side is currently in development. The city owns it, and we have wanted the town green to be activated and to watch kind of how it’s playing out, and take feedback from our citizens on what we could do on that six acres to be a value add to the town green. So that discussion will be happening over the next three to six months…”

Transcript of the podcast:

Rico [00:00]: Hey! This is Rico Figliolini, host of Prime Lunchtime with Brian Johnson, city manager. We do this every month, and we have great discussion of all things going on here in the city on Peachtree Corners. Before we start, Brian, do you mind saying hi?

Brian [00:15]: Oh absolutely! 

Rico [00:16]: Excellent. So a couple of sponsors. So first off, Prototype Prime, which is – we’re using the studio here – the podcast studio we’re at. They incubate here in the city Peachtree Corners, which is part of the Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners.

Brian [00:30]: It is. Curiosity Lab is really three things. It’s a mile and a half-intelligent mobility and smart city laboratory which has an autonomous vehicle test track. It’s a 25,000 square foot technology incubator. And it’s all the technology within both the building and the one and a half mile for you to test anything from drones to, you know, autonomous, you know, vehicles to on the uh, you know, to smart city connected vehicle. I mean, anything you could think of.

Rico [01:03]: So, this place has grown since I’ve been doing this podcast. This is unbelievable growth over the next few months than we’ve probably seen. Companies coming here from all over, not only the metro area, but the country and the world. We’re gonna be on the map. Peachtree Corners will be known, hopefully as well as Atlanta in some ways. So Prototype Prime, Curiosity Lab, sponsor of the podcast. And also want to thank a new sponsor that’s coming on – Gwinnett Medical Center. They’re now going to be insuring Peachtree Corners. You can learn more about their premier services. They’re gonna be conveniently located where the old Ippolito’s Restaurant used to be, and people know where that is. That’s the shopping center south of the QT on that side of the road on Peachtree Parkway. So they’re entering. They’re going to be having first-rate primary care services and specialty services. You can find out more about that at gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/PTC. So that out of the way, there’s just a lot to talk about.

Brian [02:03]: Sure there is!

Rico [02:05]: And in fact, the third sponsor on the radio – we’re a media sponsor – Peachtree Magazine. Peachtree Corner Magazine. Smart City Expo, Atlanta. So that’s just the – let’s start off with that.

Brian [02:16]: Sure!

Rico [02:16]: It’s such a huge thing.

Brian [02:19]: It is.

Rico [02:18]: You were in Barcelona last year. This is the first big expo on the North American continent for this.

Brian [02:24]: So, the Smart City Expo World Congress is the largest Smart City conference in the world. And, annually, it’s in Barcelona, and it has 35 to 40,000 attendees. And it got so big that they decided to create regional, kind of affiliate or feeder ones. You know, they have an Asian one, a European one, and the North American one, which started this year because of the work that Metroland and Chamber and others did. We are lucky enough to have the very first North American version here in Atlanta. And then, given that it was here, we were able to, um, kind of brief the powers that be about what Curiosity Lab is, and they were like, “Wow! We’re doing a Smart City conference and you have this living laboratory for Smart City testing and demonstration. Let’s make it an official demonstration site.” So we’re also a partner of Smart City Expo, and we’re going to be a demonstration site the morning the conference begins which is September 11th. 

Rico [03:29]: Right. Three day weekend. Three day conference. And it’s the first of three years that they’re going to do this in such a place. And the whole idea is to be able to, not only show off Smart City IMT, you know, Internet and Memory Thing – Internet talking tower thing. Um, but it’s also to bring it down to a more usable level for the common man and woman. And how sustainability, smart technology, how it affects everyone. 

Brian [03:58]: Right?

Rico [03:59]: Right, not just corporations.

Brian [04:00]: No, we’re at the cusp of really – the way we do, you know, anything, changing because of the ability to have, you know – to create that internet of things, which is everything being able to communicate with everything else. And we’re, you know, especially with 5G rolling out, we now have a wireless environment where it can happen. And so, it won’t be long until, literally, you could be walking down the street and your phone’s talking to the cars driving by, talking to the phones of other pedestrians, talking to the buildings, talking to the light pole. I mean – it’s a both amazing and sometimes scary environment we’re going to be in.

Rico [04:43]: And it’s kind of interesting because if you go onto the basic, let’s say, warehouse for example, where the sustainable – what they’re doing is, as you walk the warehouse floors and the warehouse – the lights come on as you walk through. Heat and other sensitivity things come on as this human person walking that area, occupying it. These are all things that can happen in a 5G world.

Brian [05:08]: They can! I mean, you literally can control everything wirelessly and not have latency issues where it’s lag time. All the controls – you could have so much more on the wireless environment. We’re used to 4G or even your conventional 4G LT – you could put so much on it that it starts to get, you know, have a little bit of lag, get slow. And 5G we just – we have so much more to work with. So it’s an exciting time!

Rico [05:40]: So now – because we’re demo aside – the Expo is in September. We’re not that far where we – 

Brian [05:47]: 48 and a wake up.

Rico [05:49]: Yeah, 48 days.

Brian [05:50]: Who’s counting?

Rico [05:52]: How far are you going to be. Is it going to be, like, complete almost past city hall? I mean I know the whole stretch won’t be completely – 

Brian [06:01]: Right. With every aspect of the lab on this one and a half mile section – for every single thing to be done by then, probably not. So what we’ve done is – all the work we’re doing, we’ve had them do it in a linear fashion. Normally, if some contractor is putting something in, they would – entire projects – they get to choose what order they do. In this case, we’re like, “No, we need you to start at the technology parkway 141 intersection. The Marriott. And then work north and, at a minimum, we’ve got to get it past City Hall, because that’ll be the main stretch for the Smart City Expo that people will both be coming to the demonstration site and where the demonstrations will take place. So that’ll – that’s the stretch we’re concentrating on.

Rico [06:55]: So there’ll be shuttle buses coming from the expo for people attending the demo?

Brian [07:00]: We’re gonna be – we’re gonna facilitate two things. You know – for those conference attendees that sign up to do this, we will have buses available to bring them up from the Georgia World Congress Center. But for attendees who are – who live close by, they won’t have to go all the way and cut back. They can just go right to the site.

Rico [07:22]: So what are you planning? What demonstrations? Anything particular yet?

Brian [07:28]: Yes. So, I don’t want to share the companies yet, but I can share the type of stuff. We’re gonna have everything from fully level 5 autonomous vehicles, driving a track or a portion of the track. Tele-operation vehicles. We’re gonna have drone autonomy – and these are autonomous. These are not, you know, done by human. Drones showing off capabilities of package and food delivery. You know, some of those kind of things. Also – other package delivery robot components. Let’s see, what else have we got? We’ve got some connected vehicle demonstrations to show how vehicles talking to each other can actually alter the way that the car drives itself, even with a human in it. So we’re wanting these companies to come in, and, again, we’re kind of inviting anybody who – we got a couple of like, one company – we’re not sure we can get them. But they actually have a vehicle that is – it’s kind of like the smart car, you know that really small – their vehicle contracts or expands for purposes of urban use. So when you’re driving it, it can – when you get in, it expands so that the wheelbase and everything is stable. But when you go to park it, you can actually – you can park it in the same size space that you could put a Harley Davidson.

Rico [09:07]: Really? All by itself? So you get out of it and itself – it’s like the Jetsons.

Brian [09:14]: Yes! I mean – so, that one we’d like to have. So those are some of the things we’re gonna have at this demonstration. And so it’ll be, uh, interesting.

Rico [09:24]: Excellent. Lots of stuff. There’s a lot of things happening here in the city, too, so we should probably talk about – besides the autonomous vehicle tries. So, I know we have a city council meeting. Um, the mayor also had a state of the city on Tuesday night.

Brian [09:44]: Monday night. Tuesday night was the city council.

Rico [09:47]: That’s right. So there’s a lot of things that Mike Mason talked about.

Brian [09:53]: 72 slides worth.

Rico [09:54]: Right, yeah? But he went through it fast. I gotta say.

Brian [09:57]: Oh, I mean, you know – look. We’ve learned, you know, we being staff have learned where the mayor’s real, um, his real strength is. And he is phenomenal when, you know, you put him in that environment and he’s talking with, not to, the citizens of the city. And so, yes, he knows how to, you know – we all warned him this was a lot of slides. But he went through it quick. I mean he got it done in an hour, and it was good. But he’s amazing, how he can interact and just make everybody feel like they’re part of the discussion.

Rico [10:36]: Oh yeah, you could see, I mean, he’s not a politician per se. He came from a corporate environment, so you can see how that works. And he – there was a lot of things that he talked – he talked about the infrastructure improvements. Over 2[0 million dollars since 2[015. About the town center, about the pedestrian bridge coming online soon, probably within a month or so. We might even see ground –

Brian [10:59]: Oh yeah, I mean it’s underway.

Rico [11:01]: Okay so, we’ll see – and I saw – I wish I had the slide on this. I saw the picture of the newest picture, um, where the work clock. It looks fairly good, actually.

Brian [11:12]: Just saying – now you were – you were a part of all of it to begin with, so you may be better positioned than me to comment. But I, you know, our hope was – we went from the initial versions – 

Rico [11:24]: The double spires – 

Brian [11:26]: And to one that is maybe, you know, it’s more modest, but it’s not, you know…It still has a distinctiveness that you won’t be like, oh yawn another pedestrian bridge. Distinctiveness, but it’s not over the top.

Rico [11:43]: No. And it looks really good now, from what I saw on it. And then I saw something else somewhere about the botanical gardens that might be an offshoot walk through the bridge – 

Brian [11:53]: There is. So when you go in, you know, on the south side of Lazy Dog, um, you’ve got the creek. And so for – we will have a path that goes along the creek but elevated. Kind of in between the creek and Lazy Dog, or the parking deck. So it’ll have to be elevated. And then we’re wanting to put a section that allows you to go down to that level, and then maybe put some other plant material there, make it a unique section.

Rico [12:23]: If you want to get to a cool place on a hot day, that’d be the perfect place to go. So you have that, and of course the mayor wants to talk about Georgia Tech, professional education, the on site. And we came just before, saw kids walking – they must be walking to the uh –

Brian [12:41]: Well that’s the coding for kids. That’s not Georgia – Georgia Tech is on the evening or weekend. This is a summer camp, so we actually have coding for kids camps that have been conducted here over the summer.

Rico [12:54]: It’s cool. So you have the young kids, the high school, middle school kids, and then you have the professionals who are coming back to learn a bit more.

Brian [13:01]: Well, yeah, they are officially coders when they are done with that with the Georgia Tech diploma.

Rico [13:06]: Absolutely. There’s only two – I didn’t realize there’s actually three Georgia Tech – 

Brian [13:12]: Well that’s all professional education. So Georgia Tech only teaches professional education in three locations. Their main campus, then they have their Savanna campus, and then here.

Rico [13:25]: It’s amazing. I mean Georgia Tech – everyone wants Georgia Tech. The other thing that the mayor talked about and we featured in the upcoming Peachtree Corners magazine is the, uh, Anderby Brewing that just opened. We’ll be up there – 

Brian [13:41]: Tomorrow night is their grand – their little grand opening.

Rico [13:45]: Gotta go. This is a great craft brew – 

Brian []:13:47 Craft brewery?

Rico [13:49]: Yeah! First one in Peachtree Corners. I mean, brewing their own stuff.

Brian [13:52]: Right on the end of Curiosity Lab.

Rico [13:54]: We passed them coming in. I mean, this is great stuff. I mean it’s just – the funny part was the mayor saying, “We know it’s near the high school, but it’s far enough so it’s okay.”

Brian [14:05]: We had a few people bring that up. But yeah, there – you know, all that stuff said, like state law in some cases and locally and it meets all the requirements-

Rico [14:17]: Um, so there was that, um, that – we saw the things that the mayor talked about. Then we had the city council meeting on Tuesday night. So I just want to go through a couple of things. I know Lazy Dog is going to be up pretty soon. They just, um, applied for their – 

Brian [14:34] Liquor license, yeah.

Rico [14:36]: And that got passed. The other thing is that uh this – I don’t know what this is. The MRPA – I should know what this is.

Brian [14:45]: Metropolitan River Protection Act.

Rico [14:46]: Ah. Okay. That was for the 55 law – 

Brian [14:50]: Fiserv property.

Rico [14:52]: So they got approved? Or was that public hearing?

Brian [14:54]: It did. Well, and action items. So they got it approved.

Rico [14:59]: So what does that mean to them? Because people have been asking, what is that – 

Brian [15:02]: Right. So, this is a hundred plus acres of development in the Chattahoochee River corridor. So it’s a very complicated site both from an environmental standpoint, as well as because of its sheer size, there’s a lot of, you know, back of house negotiations that the master developer has to do with lining up the team that’s going to develop it. Because this is a mix of uses, so you’ve got different contractors that specialize in different types of housing. They’ve gotta line those up, they’ve gotta line up financing, they’ve gotta come up with the timing. Because, you know, they can go as high as – and I think it’s 916 total units on the…And let’s just say that they did that, and they may not, but you don’t – at something that big, you don’t build 916 units just…You tend to do it in phases and you’ve gotta master plan it out, so there’s been a lot of work behind the scenes. But the first thing they have to do is, they have to get a certificate allowing them to develop within the protected river corridor. That’s the Chattahoochee River. So that’s what this was. The city and the Atlanta Regional Commission, the ARC, together we regulate state law. Which is the Metropolitan River Protection Act. This was us approving the fact that they’ve met the requirements when it comes to things like – how many trees that they want to remove, or how close to the river they can add impervious surface – 

Rico [16:50]: So this is going to be different size buildings. From what I understand, at least going to be four or five story buildings towards the river because that’s the lower end – 

Brian [16:56]: That’s correct. I think they can go as high as six stories up the other end that – where no one other than, like, Country Club of the South residents could see it, which is, you know, across the river, but – 

Rico [17:07]: But they’ll be able to see the river. It’s a great view for, I mean, no matter how you look at it – living in a place like that it’s a great view. And that’s – 

Brian [17:16]: And I think they recognize that. I mean, look. When you’re 20 miles from downtown, show me another location where you can go on a property and literally be outside the view of anything else like you can on that property. You get in off of East Jones bridge and you wouldn’t even know that you’re not in the middle of nowhere. Along the river. And so I think they recognize that it’s kind of – it’s a unique place to build residential. And so your’e right. They’re going to build everything from two-story detached residential to stacked flats, to townhomes, to condos, to multistory, you know…

Brian [17:58]: What they’re doing is – I think it’s supposed to be 55 and older. And as you get Ricoolder, there’s memory centers, supposedly will come on three years into the development and stuff like that.

Brian [18:10]: So it’s moving. I mean there’s no doubt about it. It’s just that, sometimes people have to have a lot of talk and public hearings for them to get their first special use permit. They think that as soon as it’s approved they’re gonna go. That was merely for the developer to know that they can do it, then they have a lot of work behind the scenes.

Rico [18:29]: Same thing with the apartment building and boutique hotel on Town Center. I mean that was approved over a year ago or longer, and they haven’t done anything.

Brian [18:39]: Well they haven’t done anything that we can point to. But there’s lining up financing, there’s deciding who’s going to build this, there’s the design of what is the building exactly gonna look like.

Rico [18:51]: Right, which they still have to come back and share. Um, Instant Mechanicsville – that area is also getting rezoned from M1, which is industrial office to residential.

Brian [19:03]: Yup.

Rico [19:04]: Um, what’s going on there as far as – 

Brian [19:07]: Well the request – so that was just the first rating. But that said developer wants to come in and build townhomes.

Rico [19:11]: In that area?

Brian [19:13]: In that area. 

Rico [19:14]: Which is the oldest part of the city, isn’t it? Mechanicsville is fairly old.

Brian [19:19]: It is. As a residential area, it is. You know, Pinckneyville and the Term is, you know, older as it relates to when it was referred to back in time. I mean the intersection and Spaulding and Medlock bridge – that’s, like a corner that has existed when the Pony Express came through. I mean, so, there’s some older sections of – But as far as a currently existing residential community, Mechanicsville is our oldest.

Rico [19:49]: So is that taking – that’s only converting – it’s converting about 20 acres.

Brian [19:53]: It’s converting 20 undeveloped acres but that were zoned for an industrial use.

Rico [19:59]: So is that all empty land?

Brian [20:01]: It is undeveloped, just tree, just wooden land.

Rico [20:04]: So obviously no one’s looking to do industrial there. There’s no demand for it, but there is for townhomes.

Brian [20:11]: I mean, there is a demand for it, actually. I mean you get out there, go along Buford highway. You know, in that area. You’ve got – there’s new recycling’s got a big wing. So there’s demand, but sometimes the demand is one thing, but the political, you know, interest in facilitating that is sometimes uh – and this, these parcels are at the edge of this neighborhood, so I would imagine…I mean they haven’t voted on it yet. But normally, cities very – look very favorably on somebody wanting to rezone on an intensive use like manufacturing, you know, industrial to a residential. Because most people are like, okay.

Rico [21:00]: I’m actually surprised that it was M1 to begin with and it butts up to residential – it almost never happens that way.

Brian [21:07]: It has probably happened because it was industrial to begin with and some parcels got residential.

Rico [21:14]: Um, the next thing was the consideration of ordinance for the city. Nuisances – urban camping – that’s the first that caught my eye. So let’s go on about that. Are we having urban campers?

Brian [21:28]: Well, I mean, so urban camping is just, you know, a municipal way of talking about people who are sleeping out in public spaces. For various reasons – probably, you know, most of the time it’s done by people who are homeless and they’re moving around. But, yes, we have had some problems of late in the town green. 

Rico [21:54]: Oh really? In the wooded area, likely?

Brian [21:59]: Yeah, or just out on the town green itself. And so we’ve had, you know, fortunately, there are instances where there are people who, you could argue, make a living from moving from location to location, and begging for money from those who are frequenting establishments there. So now we’ve got a bunch of retail and restaurant space and a location that people are going to. And so you’ve got the panhandling and…so they’ll do that, and they’ll sleep there overnight. And so we needed to have something so it’s in violation – doing so is in violation of local law because it is public property. So somebody can say “I have a right to be here.” We’re saying, “You do, but you can’t camp there.”

Rico [22:51]: In Simpson Park – because it’s a park and that’s a camping park – I think they allow camping.

Brian [22:58]: I’m not sure they do. I mean it’s because – you know – I’m not sure they do. 

Rico [23:01]: You know they let the staff – 

Brian [23:05]: Yeah, but that’s probably under special – part of a special event permit. Jones Bridge I think has done the same – but I think you apply and they give you a special event permit for that particular thing. They say, “Hey, we’re gonna be doing this.”

Rico [23:23]: Yeah, I mean you can’t just show up and camp. They’re pretty good about controlling some of those things like that. Alright, so there’s that. There was also resolution about the call for an election qualifying and all those things that have to be done on a regular basis.

Brian [23:39]: I mean, you know, so we all know that our staggered terms are every two years. So you know, this year, four of the seven are up for re-election. And so when that’s the case, we have to set certain dates um and locations for our election within the guidelines of the state sets. And so that’s what that was. Was setting the qualifying period, setting the location where you would go to the polls, setting the election dates.

Rico [24:12]: So is that – these – so this election won’t be part of the county.

Brian [24:16]: That’s correct. This is – there will not be any county vote in November. Unless they, you know, decide to hold some special election for something. If not, it will just be at City Hall.

Rico [24:30]: Do you see that changing next year during presidential election where – because I know there was a rule passed that allows cities to approach the counties that include the same election name to save space?

Brian [24:43]: Well, so, what you’re referring to is the Gwinnett County board of elections had an actual prohibition of running, managing, the election for a municipality within Gwinnett County. Which we – I know absolutely for sure that no other metro-Atlantic county is that way. I think that, of the 159 counties, Gwinnett County was the only one that had that prohibition. So you’re referring to the fact that that was removed. So now, Guinnett County board of elections could provide election services for municipality for a fee.

Rico [25:26]: Right. It’s a governmental arrangement system.

Brian [25:29]: Right – what hasn’t happened since then is there has not been a negotiated rate and all that stuff hammered out so that a city could say, “Yep, we want you to run ours.” There’s a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of details in that because there’s a lot of differences between if the county already had to open a precinct versus they didn’t have to but a city wants them to open one special. So, like, you know, if the county is already going to be holding an election anyway at a certain location, you know, I think some cities are like, “Why can’t we pay you based on whatever additional cost it would be to just add a line or add a, you know, to the ballot that they’re already having to –

Rico [26:21]: Because right now, essentially, next year for example, nothing changes. Most people know you go to vote for your local precinct, you go to vote for the presidency, the Senate, Congress, whatever. And for me, that would be let’s say at Peachtree Corners Baptist Church is my precinct. But then I’d have to go to City Hall separately to vote for my city council people. Which is, like, really – 

Brian [26:47]: Well it really came up last November when the city and Gwinnett County has a special referendum. On – well actually it was earlier this year, it wasn’t last November.

Rico [26:57]: Are you talking about the March Martyr thing?

Brian [26:59]: No no no, the Sunday alcohol sales. So they held a special referendum to change the start date – was it back from 12 to 11. And we did too. We wanted to put it to our residents. So, to go and vote for that, you had to go to your county precinct. And that was going to determine whether unincorporated Gwinnett County. And that – and then you had to go to the city – to City Hall to vote on whether the city could – and that kind of is what prompted this movement to say, “Wait a second, why is this prohibition in there? We’re not saying any city has to use Gwinnett County board of elections, but if there’s a fair price to pay to have, you know Gwinnett County board of elections, couldn’t that option be there?” And that’s where we’re headed, but that has not been negotiated yet. So in our case, November and Gwinnett County Board of Elections doesn’t have an election this November to do right now. So it’ll just be City Hall and it’ll just be municipal elections. We have four positions.

Rico [28:16]: Not bad.

Brian [28:17]: Which actually – four positions are up. There may not be candidates. In which case, they would not be on the ballots.

Rico [28:24]: Qualifying is going to be next.

Brian [28:26]: It’s middle of August.

Rico [28:27]: Middle of August? Long way off, but if you’re thinking about something, it’s time to do it I guess. Um, anything else new? I know that you had a chance to speak, but I don’t know if there’s anything else from your department, from the city manager?

Brian [28:42]: I didn’t have any updates at that meeting, no.

Rico [28:44]: Anything else that we should be aware of that’s, uh, maybe coming up?

Brian [28:48]: I mean, you know, we’re gonna be talking shortly about locations to put the video cameras that we budgeted for out. You know, we’ve talked about here soon – 

Rico [29:02]: Security cameras – 

Brian [29:03]: Right. The license plate reader video cameras that we’d like to make available to police department if we’ve got a crime that’s been committed and they want to – 

Rico [29:14]: So that’s all budgeted and now you’re just gonna decide – 

Brian [29:16]: Yeah it’s all budgeted. We’re just gonna decide which intersections we want to put it in. You know, that’s coming up, um…

Rico [29:24]: The – I know that the mayor also talked about the acreage. Um, several different options for that – almost six acres or –

Brian [29:33]: Yes. So you know, if you go to the town green, you know, two of the four sides if you consider the green a square, even though it’s a circle, but you know, two of the four sides are developed. Center Vista on one, all the shops on another. Then the north side of it will have the townhomes. They’re getting ready to go vertical. But the – essentially, the eastern side is currently in development. The city owns it, and we have wanted the town green to be activated and to watch kind of how it’s playing out, and take feedback from our citizens on what we could do on that six acres to be a value add to the town green. So that discussion will be happening over the next three to six months as we again keep activaty – because this Saturday night we’ve got the Journey cover band. You know, so, we’ve got some – right. We’ve got some good events that have happened out there already and some more to follow. And we’re learning and we’re taking feedback and, well, we’ve got some things that are, you know, will be here before – 

Rico [30:49]: So Alex Wright – city councilman Alex Wright actually pointed out a few things that people pointed out that you guys may be adjusting. For example, the playground area, which may be adding some more, um, onsite playground equipment.

Brian [31:06]: There will be. We’ve just gotta decide which type and of course how much.

Rico [31:13]: And shelter from the heat.

Brian [31:15]: Well yeah, so correct. The slide – that one’s already done. And that one’s gonna be here soon. But yes, a shade structure over the side. But those are the kind of things, you know, feedback we’re taking. Even having them manage the crowds over there. Talked about we may need to rope off an aisle or two to walk, you know, across it. Because we had the Queen Nation, literally was just – 

Rico [31:43]: Six thousand people. That place was jammed with people.

Brian [31:47]: It was. It was great to see, but little things – little things that we’re learning and our residents are telling us. “Hey, think about this.” So we’re gonna continue to improve it.

Rico [31:58]: I think some of the – I think there was some landscaping where they thought maybe – a slight hill where they could do some seating actually.

Brian [32:05]: Yup. We’re looking at that. 

Rico [32:07]: And I think the mayor also discussed either – those six acres could either be expanded into – discussed it at one point – either part of the town green maybe becomes, or it might be a pavilion that might be able to handle a hundred people at some party – 

Brian [32:22]: It could be a mix of uses. It could be on the ground floor. You could have maybe covered event space or more seating. And then higher up, you could have, you know, anything from the commercial performing art center, more seating to overlook the green. I mean, the sky’s the limit.

Rico [32:40]: And I found that interesting, you know, one of the options you pointed out was that someone actually – one of the companies actually approached the city to say, “What if we did, like, a four-story building and two stories down below would be the art center, and two stories above would be office space?” And I thought that would be a great way to actually help finance – 

Brian [33:00]: That’s correct. And that’s why we will have and will entertain some sort of potential public/private partnership on that. Because it takes what investment we make and it, you know, it – 

Rico [33:13]: Maximizes and leverages – 

Brian [33:15]: It does. Just a force multiplier to let us do more with less money coming out of our budget to go to it.

Rico [33:22]: That was exciting. That part was a decent way to go actually. Earth Fare – the empty store. Anything new on that?

Brian [33:29]: Um, well actually, there is – I mean, other – the owners just contacted us recently to say they think they may have got a scenario to where they’re, you know, prepared to take over the lease from Earth Fare. And have it go to another tenant. So, that’s about as far as I can – 

Rico [33:49]: Can’t tell us? Big boss – 

Brian [33:51]: It would – it would occupy the whole thing. If this one plays out.

Rico [33:58]: Okay. Part of the entertainment district, it is?

Brian [33:59]: It is.

Rico [34:01]: And related to that, maybe? Just curious.

Brian [34:03]: Potentially.

Rico [34:06]: I have to push.

Brian [34:08]: Oh, I don’t blame you. I mean economic development is a tough one. You know, sometimes you get excited, but you have to be cautiously optimistic because some of these things fall through.

Rico [34:19]: Oh, for sure. For sure. We’ve – I’ve kept Brian long enough. I think he has real important meeting to go to after this regarding Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. So, great and local – well not a local, international company, really. And they have a local office. So he’s heading out that way. So we want to say thank you to Brian for coming out, sharing his time with us. And also to say, look out for Peachtree Corner Magazine. It’s going to be hitting the post office Friday, which means you should be getting it in your mailboxes early next week, if the post office delivers it on time and it’s not three weeks late. But look forward to a cover story on Titan Pictures, on the movie industry in and around Peachtree Corners. The boy scouts, the Gwinnett swim local team won the Gwinnett swim championship, which is cool. And a lot of other stuff that we have packed in there. So that’s coming out and, that’s it. Thank you all, appreciate it.

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Capitalist Sage: How to fund your business growth [Podcast]

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Capitalist Sage with Anita Davis

Business banking and funding your business can be intimidating. Luckily we have the help of business banking expert Anita Davis – Chief Funding Matchmaker, sharing her sage advise on how to access capital and fund your business growth through SBA and alternative loans. Join Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini on the latest episode.

Recorded at Atlanta Tech Park in the City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia.

Where in the podcast to find these topics:

[00:00:30] Intro
[00:04:42] When to Reach Out to a Bank
[00:05:31] Risk and Funding
[00:06:52] Credit and Funding
[00:11:28] Options for Funding an Acquisition
[00:13:54] Loan and Funding Rates
[00:16:09] What is SBA?
[00:22:43] SBA Structures
[00:24:39] Industries SBA doesn’t fund
[00:26:18] SBA Requirements
[00:29:15] Funding in 2020
[00:34:51] How to reach Anita

Resources:
Phone: (770) 365-0858
Website: Praxstra.com
Linkedin: Anita Davis

“So even with your good credit score, now they want to see not only your credit, they want to see your bank balances in their bank for over a period of time. And so what happens is people don’t know that, that the banks and all of these lending sources are already making the defense decisions about how they’re going to restructure and how that tightening up on that credit. And if you’re not prepared, you don’t have any projections, you don’t have any resources on your team to help you with that, then that’s that. That’s, that’s, this is the time to explore. Where can you get that support?”

Anita Davis

Podcast transcript

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage podcast. We are here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey, Rico. How’re you doing?

Rico: [00:00:45] Hey, Karl. Alright,

Karl: [00:00:47] Why don’t you introduce some of our sponsors today?

Rico: [00:00:50] Sure. I want to introduce our lead sponsor for the first time, Hargray Fiber. They are a business that is very unique to this area. The two piece is the city of Peachtree corners. Actually, they just moved in a little while ago. So they have philosophy is that every business is unique. That the, they craft customized solutions for our hundreds of businesses here in the Southeast that based out of Savannah, they’re looking to work with small businesses to create affordable bundle services on other, that level or even enterprise cause this level where they can talk about managed, bundled sites, full suite of managed IT services and all that. So they customize a solution. Every business that needs fiber cable in there. Our sponsor. Thank you for doing that. No matter what industry though, you run you should take a look at them. They can do internet, TV and phone solutions and they can meet your local need and be local so you’re not dealing with a cable company that then you have to call some service and they might or might not show up.

Karl: [00:01:52] Well, they’re in a perfect spot if they’re looking at growth for business. Peachtree Corners has a lot going there. Atlanta Tech Park and Curiosity Lab and all the businesses that are joining the community. So glad to have them onboard as a sponsor and also a member of the business community.

Rico: [00:02:07] And the other thing too, Atlanta TechPark, right? We’re here in the podcast studios, Atlanta Tech Park in the City of Peachtree Corners.

Karl: [00:02:14] Yup. Wonderful coworking space for folks that are building their business. There’s 70 plus companies here, events held here throughout. we have a network of resources available to entrepreneurs to be able to leverage, to grow their business. And Atlanta Tech Park are right here in Technology Park, in Peachtree Corners. Come check out Atlanta Tech Park. Well, today’s guest is Anita Davis. She is the founder, president of the chief funding matchmaker of Praxis Strategic Solutions. It’s a consulting firm that helps companies fund business expansion that, and also they’re able to help support corporate and government customers and training people on funding and business, et cetera. So really thankful to have you join us today. And today’s topic we want to talk about, it really relates to funding, funding your business growth. Anybody that knows and owns a business knows that to grow a business takes input of resources, both capital and people and time and strategies. But right now, if you’re looking at the beginning of 2020 it’s the time to look at what are the funding needs you’re going to need over the next year? And we’re here to talk about the different options that are available from
SBA to some alternatives, and some of the things you should be thinking about and misconceptions of seeking bank funding for your endeavors. So anyway, why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got into this?

Anita: [00:03:49] Thank you so much for having me. First of all, it’s, it’s a pleasure to be here and always talking about money. I am the money lady, so I love money. I used to be a banker for 20 years. A business banker and a commercial lender. And so that is where my passion has come from. I started my own firm four years ago under the name Business To Banker Connection, because I connect people with money and I’ve navigate the funding process for my clients. My passion is to make sure that small businesses that are intimidated by the process of acquiring capital to grow their companies, have somebody to navigate that for them. Most of my companies that I work with, Karl and Rico, they are small companies and they don’t have a CFO in place to navigate that for them. So they hire me to take care of that process for them, and I make sure, let’s say I can direct them directly to the places that’s going to give them the capital that they need to grow.

Karl: [00:04:42] Oh, it’s fabulous. It’s, it’s interesting when, when you start thinking about, lending, what are some of the, when, when do, should people start considering whether or not they need to reach out to a bank to start funding, what would be your recommendation?

Anita: [00:04:57] So you need to know when you have expired your capacity to internally manage that growth. Then you have more clients than you can fund their needs. Or you’re expanding, you need equipment, or maybe you’re growing and you need to ask staff and space that that will require some outside funding solutions. So when you can no longer internally generate enough to run the business and or scale the company, then you need to start thinking about your capital structure and where are you going to go for that funding.

Karl: [00:05:31] The saying that, you know, every funding decision from a banker is a risk decision. Can you explain what that really means? When people start talking about risk and funding, what are, what are things looking at?

Anita: [00:05:43] So when I’m working with my clients, that’s the first thing that we talk about. Every decision, whether it’s bank funding or whether it’s any external nontraditional funding, every funding decision is really a risk. Decision and their risk decision. It’s around what is the likelihood that this company is going to default and not pay us back. And then the second question that’s always asked is, given a loss, what is the likelihood that we would be given a default? What is the likelihood that we’re going to take a loss on this funding opportunity? So most clients don’t think about funding from that perspective. They don’t think they know, I have a need. This is what I need, and this is what we can do. And they have, they’re clear about their position, but they’re not really clear that the bank is making a totally different view on it. The view is what is, what is their history of repayment? Are they stable and can they support this new funding requests that they’re making? And so they make that decision with a totally different set of eyes that I is on risk

Rico: [00:06:52] Relevant right perspective, I guess. So every business owner thinks they do it really well. Maybe, although not everyone’s credit report is pristine, you know, everyone looks at a certain rate and said, well, you know, it’s cheap money out there. It’s like whatever, 0% from the, from the money fund there, but you know, really you’re lending out at a certain rate, maybe four and a quarter or mortgage or more. But individual bankers, business owners, you know, their, their backgrounds may be different than credit reports may be different for a variety of reasons. How long would that affect the way you would approach something like that for, for them?

Anita: [00:07:29] Credit is very important in the funding process because even if it’s a nontraditional solution, credit is going to come into play. Most clients that I, that I work with, actually, most people think about it from their experience with their home mortgage, that everybody can understand buying a car or purchasing their home and they, and they think about funding from that perspective. But business funding is totally different from that. They’re not looking at that. Again, they’re looking at the risk and the process and one of the things, one of the qualifiers that determines whether or not you are a good risk is your credit history because that’s a standardized process that’s standard for everybody. In the United States you have a credit score. If that credit score is certain, a certain level, and that means you’re a good risk decision. If it’s below a certain level, then you’re probably not as strong about above decision, I mean, good risk for that institution. It could be a bank and it may not be a bank. So even when they are not looking at, say your performance in your company to determine the qualifications for a lending decision, they’re going to look at credit. So that’s why I always encourage people, if you’re going into business or if you are in business, make sure that that part of your business growth strategy is intact. And then if it’s not intact that you’re putting in some processes and plans to strengthen that because it’s always going to put you in a better position. So I always encourage my clients, get in the 700 club and try and stay there. The 700 club is a good place to be because it really is a differentiator between whether you’re going to get a good pricing on whatever that funding solution is, or you’re going to pay a premium. And when you start to pay premiums, that takes out money from your bottom line that you can take home to feed your family and put your kids in school and do all the things that you really want to do.

Rico: [00:09:17] So it doesn’t necessarily negate you from getting a loan. It’s just the guys shoot from getting the best rate for the loan.

Anita: [00:09:23] And that depends on how unhealthy that credit score is because they can, the gate, you can’t prevent you from acquiring capital, but if it’s not, so 680 is considered a decent and good credit score, 700 is safer and you’re, you’re on the road to being really great. And, so that determines really what they’re going to, determine the right that you’re going to pay for your, whatever it is that you need.

Karl: [00:09:46] You’re highlighting something that I think a lot of people don’t think when they’re thinking of starting a business, they start thinking of the idea. They may start looking at a plan and how they’re going to market it and how they’re going to sell. But they never look at their personal financial situation. And if I were to advise anyone looking to start a business, or even someone who has an that owns a business today, it’s maybe talking with your financial planner or your people that advise you and make sure that part is solid. So if you know you’ve got some hits on your credit. If your debt ratio is off balance before you ask someone else to lend and invest in you in your business, show that you’re able to get control of your own finances and drive your credit score. And that might take two or three years before you do it. But it’s something that everyone could start working on. Know what their score is today, understand what it takes to get into 700 club and make those adjustments to their personal lives, budgets, whatever their situation is. So they could be a good risk for lenders.

Anita: [00:10:52] That is such a, that’s just an accurate way to capture that, capsulize that because it’s really important for you to plan for, your business funding your business. Because even if it’s going to be self funded to a degree, you’re going to have to buy something outside of what you do to make your business run. If every decision is going to cost you money. And so if you don’t understand what that cost of capital is, then you’re going to end up paying more. Or if your credit is not in a position to get you to the best rates that you can, then it’s just going to take you longer to pay it off or cost you more in the long run.

Karl: [00:11:28] So I know, I know in my world, most businesses that we look to find buyers for are funded through some kind of lending. And it’s, it’s, it’s a high in the 75 to 80% are, especially if they get into a larger value. Can you share, the various options people have for funding growth or funding an acquisition?

Anita: [00:11:53] So most people fund acquisitions that I know of and have experienced with through bank funding of some sort and bank funding. You have two different kinds of options with the bank funding. If you are a strong solid and have a really strong savings account or some kind of investment vehicle, then you can find that traditionally. Through a conventionally through our traditional wall. But most lenders like to add a SBA guarantee on to that process. So the SBA guarantee does a couple of things. It guarantees that the bank will, if they invest in your bright idea, in your company that if there is a default, again, the risk process, if there’s a default, then the gate, the bank is guaranteed that they’ll get back 75 to 90% of the monies that they lent. The other benefit of looking at it through SBA guarantee, even from the bank’s perspective and from the buyer’s perspective, is that your cash injection in terms of long, it’s less. So your requirement that you have to come up with, for a conventional loan, it’s typically going to be 20% of that acquisition. If you are in a riskier business, sometimes they want more than 20% for that acquisition. However, SBA guarantee tacked on to that loan requests will minimize that, bring that cash injection down to 10% and for a riskier business, another 5% that may be 15% and say a riskier business would be maybe a gas station, a convenience store, car washes, things like that, that they have a special use. Those kinds of business acquisitions really require some additional risk from the lender’s standpoint and from the SBA standpoint. So they have a
higher cash injection requirement. But if you are solid enough to get a bank acquisition and you have the extra funding, then your rates are probably going to be a little bit lower because with that additional SBA guarantee comes a little bit of a price hike.

Karl: [00:13:54] When you, when you think about people buying, their experience with bank lending, it comes with buying a house and mortgage and you often see people making that mortgage decision a lot around what is the rate they’re getting for that long? They’re looking quarter points and half point. If you’re looking at a commercial loan for business, is it the same thing? Is the rate the biggest sole determination of who you should lead with and who you should work with or well, the other factor that they should consider?

Anita: [00:14:21] So rate is very important in terms of just, you know, how much it’s going to cost you to maintain it and pay the loan over time. However, the biggest thing you want to do when you want to make an acquisition is know am I able to able to make this business profitable and what would the little profitable profits look like over time. So you may pay a different rate. So again, the rate structure that you will pay for personal loan or mortgage loan, that is not going to be the way they process and review and analyze a decision to make a business acquisition. So the whole process is completely different. They’re going to be looking at the cashflow of the business and is it, is it likely to be stable? And if you’re making an acquisition, there’s your background and your history in that industry. Right? Inland to you. I’m having more success in the business. And so those factors, your, your historical performance and knowledge in that industry is going to be an important factor when you’re making an acquisition. The, the, and sometimes that can determine your rate and then the money that you have to invest in. So you are your resources that you have after you’ve made that investment is very, very important because people are like, okay, I can come up with my 10% now, but it’s going to suck up every resource that I have in order to be able to do that. So if that’s the case, what a, the bank wants to know is that you’re going to have some kind of reserves. Is there something to fall back on in the event that all of those cash flows that that came to the business came to bear when you just purchased the business, is that going to automatically transition over time? Because there’s usually a difference than a ramp up. When you change management, you change only shifts, different styles, different plans, different strategies. All of those things come into play, and so those are some of the factors that you should consider when you’re making an acquisition. That’s where the lender is going to be looking at when you’re making an acquisition as well.

Karl: [00:16:09] Okay. So you think about, we’ve been using this term SBA and, and it should be fair. Some people may not be familiar with what that is, the small business administration and loan. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of that and what that is and how it’s helped people get into small businesses?

Anita: [00:16:27] Yeah. The small business administration is, a government entity. And that government entity is designed to help small businesses prosper, to, to start to prosper and to grow and scale. Cause really small businesses really make up the bulk of the economy and, and in jobs resources available. So since this small businesses are run in the country, it is
vested in, the government has a vested interest in making sure that small businesses succeed. So what they do, the small business administration is not a direct lender. They use outside resources like banks and some other non-bank, funding resources to you to guarantee that indeed that there is a loss. Again, the risk and all, I was going back to that risk. If there is a loss that the bank will not have to bear that whole burden or whoever that funding source is, they won’t have to bear the full burden of that loss. The government will come in and back up that loan, and that’s a very, very strong mitigant right. For a lender to, to, to have as a resource in the event that there is there, there’s a challenge with that loan.

Rico: [00:17:40] Cause the, does the sba then provide a better chance of getting a loan? Like if I went to the bank, normally obviously the rules would be a little bit more stringent on a, on a direct loan from a bank without the SBA. Does this guarantee? Sort of makes it less trenchant.

Anita: [00:17:59] It’s considered a mitigant. It mitigates the risk involved with taking on a newer, younger business that may not have been established or is not well established in that.

Rico: [00:18:12] Are there specific things though that SBA will forgive or look over, if you will? The specific guidelines that someone can look at and say, Oh, okay, well, if I went this SBA route, maybe I need one year less financial information, maybe, you know, is there, aside from money going down maybe?

Anita: [00:18:31] So you talked about a little bit about their investment. Their capital investment is, it’s usually less, but also the credit score requirement may be a little bit more flexible. If you have a SBA guarantee that industry may, maybe, they may not like that industry, but they would lend in the event that there is a SBA guarantee. To shore up that long. It could be, your, just your background, you don’t have, the lender may not be comfortable enough to lend you a conventionally because you don’t have enough history in that industry. So a SBA guarantee can be a mitigate. And so usually what I think, from my history as a banker when a bank is, is looking at a mitigation, they will mitigate maybe one one shortfall. They’re not going to mitigate, you know, you can’t be, had bad credit. No, you’re no bad idea. No history, cause they’re not going to mitigate all of them. But say for instance, if, if most, if you have most of the requirements and there’s one short fall, that would, would not allow a bank to be comfortable enough to make a conventional loan to you, then they all say. This SBA can come in and mitigate that risk. Typically, one of the other things that we haven’t talked about is collateral. So you know the business, the lender’s decision, again, we talked about the likelihood of a default and then the probability of a loss given a default. That is what the SBA guarantee is really designed to help shore up that short falling collateral because most people when they start a business, they may have some of the resources that they need, but they don’t have a lot of collateral to support that. So if you are a business that you’re not buying equipment where the equipment is going to be in the collateral, you’re not buying a building where the building would be the collateral. I’m buying a business, right? I’m buying a business and you’re getting good wheel for that. The name of that business, and maybe their client list. There’s nothing for a bank
to say that we can fall back on what? Nothing. There’s nothing there. So, right. So the SBA guarantee becomes that mitigate.

Karl: [00:20:33] So if you think about it, and when I also think about that as well. Some business historically had a lot of assets. Maybe it was a building, and the business was sort of building other value that the bank could lend on. If something happened, they could take the building and sell it to someone else. It could be the equipment. But if you think about it in the last 40 years, the shift to service industries, what is a software company? Someone that’s generating software, e-commerce habits, assets. What does anybody that owns that, a medical practice or things that delivering service, beauty salons or these service oriented, you would think the economy expanded in the service industry so much. How would banks fund those types when they don’t have assets? The SBA allows working, cashflow for the business to make up some of that, to look, this business is good. It has got a track record, and if people are able to, to fund and pay off the loan, but a traditional bank would say, but I want assets. I want something. And I think that’s what the SBA is, is created to help close the gap.

Rico: [00:21:36] They might even look at, let’s say a hair salon or, or a medical practice and said, well, you know, those patients. Like the practitioner practitioners gone with those 80% of that business disappear or melt away. You know, over a year. I can see issues like that.

Anita: [00:21:53] Yeah. Those are very, very real issues when you are making a decision to make an acquisition. So they want to know what, what’s going to still be there to stabilize the company. And that’s why it’s so important that the new owner, the purchaser of that business to have some background in it. And so, or if they don’t have background themselves, that they hire talent that has the background to manage the day to day operations.

Rico: [00:22:16] And this goes back to what you’ve taught me, is that you want a business where there’s a manager managing the business. You essentially, that you’re not coming in to do that part of it necessarily. You’re coming in there to do the other parts of it.

Karl: [00:22:30] Yeah. I mean, the infrastructure and the leadership team in place in the business insurance, better continuity. So it’s not all relying on just the owner of the business that’s generating all of, all of the value in the business, is key.

Rico: [00:22:43] I did have another question too. I mean, it’s been a loan sounds, like it’s an SBA loan, but all the different, various SBA loans, different levels or different, products or structures?

Anita: [00:22:56] Structures. Probably structures would be, or products could, you could use either one, but, there are several different SBA products that are out here on the market that are available. So if you want to a traditional working capital loan, if you’re a small business looking for something under $350,000 and some bangs, $250,000 they’ll end up the SBA express product. And that’s a product that doesn’t require as much collateral. Usually for younger companies or companies that don’t need a great deal of capital. Once you get over and get over
that $350,000 mark, then you’re probably moving into a larger loan category. That 350 up to $5 million, will allow you to get a SBA 7(a) Loan. And that loan is designed a lot around working capital, but you can do quite a few other things with it. You can purchase equipment, you can also get real estate with that loan, and it’ll allow you to get the working capital needs as well as, say a building and the equipment that you might need to run a building inside that inside the building with a 7(a) loan, and then the other product that’s very, very attractive. One of my favorites for commercial real estate purchases, the SBA 504 loan and that loan allows you to have a lower cash injection in it, and it’s strictly for business and maybe heavy equipment that might go inside. There’s a building that would be maybe attached to the building as opposed to small pieces of computers. You wouldn’t buy that on the real estate.

Rico: [00:24:21] Commercial real estate? Not residential necessarily.

Anita: [00:24:26] Absolutely not residential. So the SBA does not fund residential use, and it does not fund any residential products. It is, SBA is for commercial acquisitions, commercial purchases, commercial, commercial activity only.

Karl: [00:24:39] There’s some industries that they do not fund, some financials. And what are some of the industries?

Anita: [00:24:46] Well, some of the ones that, so the SBA does have a little bit more flexibility than maybe your average bank that you would see on the corner. They, they will fund, they will not fund typically, if you are in business to lend money to somebody else, they don’t fund that. They don’t find any, what’s the right word? Sexual kinds… Thank you. That was the word that would come to my brain. But adult entertainment, they don’t find some of those. And those are restricted and prohibited. They don’t find any businesses if you are renting, so say for instance, in Atlanta tech park, if they want it because they lease space out to another tenant. They don’t fund those kinds of business. They consider that investment real estate and they won’t fund those. So those are some, some a few that come to mind.

Rico: [00:25:38] Just to kind of piggyback off that. So if I wanted to buy a commercial building, put my business in it. It also rent maybe a couple of spaces out of the to help with the mortgage payments.

Anita: [00:25:47] That’s a good differentiator. So if you are going to operate 51% of the business with your company, that will be the difference where you can lease out the space. As a matter of fact, I just, we’re closing on a loan for $1 million, an acquisition of a building and she is going to be written now 49%. Oh, that too, to another tenant. So they will allow that. But you have to maintain the majority of that they’re building for your own business. Square footage Is the differentiator.

Karl: [00:26:18] Are there things that when you work with clients and they go through the best pay process and now they’re, well, they’re in underwriting. Things that they, they, that they find
out or learn that that, may cause them pause. Things that they could be aware that they may be asked to do or, or things that they may have to account for that the SBA requires. is there, are there any things like that, that you’ve seen people have paused with.

Anita: [00:26:43] Absolutely. In this process, the SBA process is, it’s beneficial that in ways that will allow you to get access to the capital. But it is a very stringent process. So the government is, it does a lot of due diligence around making sure that your business is viable and legitimate in order to, to grow so credit. I can tell you that, for instance, recently I’ve experienced, companies that have a really good business model and good cash flow, but bad credit from the owners, they will pass, they will pass, or they will make you go through a credit repair process so it can delay the process. Some of the other things that you said they, they do look at, all of your business, all of your resources when they, when you’re looking at an SBA loan. So if you have a house that has equity, because they are going to be gaming at 90 or 70 to 90% guarantee, they’re going to take all of their global assets that you have, as, as a lien, they’re going to put a lien on it. So that’s something that people, sometimes that gives them heartburn. But it’s a true thing and it’s a very real thing that you need to know on the front end. I would hate to somebody about getting in the middle of that process and didn’t know that. Yeah, you should know that on from the first conversation that you really have.

Karl: [00:28:00] Is when you, in most cases, when you go down that path. They most likely will ask for a personal guarantee that would be secured against your all your personal assets in the business.

Anita: [00:28:12] Absolutely personal guarantee is required. And typically almost every business loan, whether it’s conventional, well, I shouldn’t say every conventional and SBA funding, some of the outside nontraditional lenders may not require your personal guarantee. But if you’re going to look at conventional SBA funding that you do have to guarantee it personally, anybody who has 20% or more ownership in the business will have to guarantee. So if you have partners, everybody who owns 20% or more. So I used to tell people, if you’re going to get partners, make sure you cut them off at 19% you know, or give them, you know, under 20% so that they won’t have to go through that funding process. And they look at any additional businesses that you may have. So some people are going into a second or third business there. They’re going to look at everything that you have to make sure that your capacity to pay that obligation back is met.

Rico: [00:29:03] And it doesn’t matter the corporate structure, it could be LLC or C corporation. There’s no, no?

Anita: [00:29:09] There is no differentiation in that in terms of whether you guarantee the loan. Yeah, the structure doesn’t matter.

Karl: [00:29:15] Okay. I’m wondering about if you’re going into 2020 anything that’s trending in the SBA world and lending world that you see coming. What should business owners know. About over the next say, year or so that they should, that should impact their decision on when and how and why they should seek funding.

Anita: [00:29:34] Thank you for asking that question because I think it’s when I’m telling my clients and anybody that I’m in front of and speaking opportunities, I’m asking them to pay close attention to our economy. The recession that has been teeter tottering over the last year. We’re in a good economy today, but economic cycles happen. So we are, we are due for another economic downturn, economic cycles. We’re in a 10th year of a, a progressive, robust economic cycle. But it is going to end and it will probably end soon. And typically, when we have an economic downturn in the country, what happens is credit titans. So if your company is healthy, like you mentioned earlier, if a customer or is thinking about getting capital and they’re healthy enough to get capital, they haven’t done it yet, this is the time to do it. And also rates are really, really good right now, but I don’t think it’s going to be sustained for, you know, indefinite years. So you need to start thinking about that and you should never wait to get funding until you desperately need it because you desperately will not get it. So you have to be in a healthy position in order to acquire capital. So I think the recession and the economic conditions, the election will impact what’s, what, what rates and what the, what’s happening in our economy. Obviously, it always does. And one of the things that I’m particularly an advocate of is for people to understand when you’re looking at easy capital, easy money, some of the online lending, some of those quick and easy resources that you know you get in the mail. The cost of that capital can be very, very expensive. And I, people come to me saying, you know, I’ve got a couple of these loans and if it really, really easy for me to give, but now they’re in my checking account every day, every week, every month. And those kinds of, capital funding solutions sometimes they’re not sustainable. I tell people, the only time that I would recommend one of those kinds of solutions for funding is if you, for instance, maybe had an opportunity to buy some books, inventory, and you knew that you can turn that inventory in a short period of time and get in and out of that obligation. Obligations are designed to just be 12 months long, so they’re so short term that the payment repayment structure on them is so difficult for most people to maintain that as one of the, that’s the second thing that I would say, you shouldn’t look at as an outside of the Academy.

Karl: [00:32:05] Yeah. That you, you mentioned those, those loans and that short term, they were originally designed for someone that received a PO for a big order from some big company and you had to outlay for inventory or get things built and bring in, but you have certainty that you’re going to sell them, so you have to fund it. It’s expanded to, you know, I need money and you may not, yeah, I got this hip product, I’m going to buy all this inventory. It’s going to sell, and if it doesn’t sell, you still owe for that money and now you’ve got inventory that you get a discount. So really being careful, and that’s where I think planning. Is if, if, if there’s one thing that business owner can do is develop a robust planning process that includes understanding projection of financials of their business. Because through that process, they’ll start to discover where they might have cash flow short needs or growth and how to fund it
efficiently at the right time so they’re not in desperate measures and they can do scenario testing. What if it’s 20% more, 20% less, and having those discussions and having a lender, somebody that’s expert in finding sourcing funding. On their team advising them on, here are your options. If you decide now, these are your options and these are the potential pros and cons. If you wait, that’s, this isn’t later, your options shrink to these fewer options. And at least when people have that information, they can make better informed decisions.

Anita: [00:33:36] And, and I agree with that. I’ll give you a quick example because I work with lots of lenders, lots of banks, lots of non bank lenders across the country. And one of my lending sources that I had that, that was just three months ago. I’m doing unsecure working capital to those, 700 club, clients that I work with often too. They were doing unsecured credit lines based on, on your good credit score. Now, because they know that the economic conditions in this country are about to change now they don’t offer that solution. You now you have to bank with them for over 12 months. And then after 12 months, they’ll let you look at a, a secure vehicle. So even with your good credit score, now they want to see not only your, your credit, they want to see your bank balances in their bank for over a period of time. And so what happens is people don’t know that, that the banks and all of these lending sources are already making the defense decisions about how they’re going to restructure and how that tightening up on that credit. And if you’re not prepared, you don’t have any projections, you don’t have any resources on your team to help you with that, then that’s that. That’s, that’s, this is the time to explore. Where can you get that support?

Karl: [00:34:51] I like the, a little bit about, you know, if folks wanted to learn more about, what you do and how you help client navigate these waters, what’s the best way they can reach you?

Anita: [00:35:03] The best way to reach me, LinkedIn is a great way to reach me at Anita Davis on LinkedIn because I’m in the process of rebranding, but you can also give me a call at the company (770) 365-0858. That is a good number to reach me and look for Praxstra.com. That is my new website as we rebrand.

Karl: [00:35:28] So I’m wondering, what do you have coming up? Do you have anything coming up? over the next few weeks and months?

Anita: [00:35:34] I have lots of things coming up Karl. I’m, I’m teaching a class. Who are on tomorrow, here in Atlanta tech park. And we’re talking about funding and we’re going to go into a deeper dive conversation over all of the different funding solutions that are available. But I also have other, workshops and conversations on podcasts from being invited to speak. And then this summer I’m working with the WE bank, which is the women’s enterprise business national council that, certifies women business owners that are having a national conference here this summer. And I am on the host committee for that. So it allows me and other women business owners to get an app access to corporate and government contracting. Great things going all for Praxis.

Karl: [00:36:18] Well, absolutely. Well, well, I want to thank you very much. Anita Davis, chief funding matchmaker for Praxis Strategic Solutions, for your time and, and helping to begin to unravel. I think we’re going to have to have you come back a little bit and we can peel back the onion on some more topics around, around funding. You provided some great kind of advice and things for people to think about and I just say to anyone out there that’s, that’s thinking about their 2020, if they think they might need funding, and if they don’t know, they can reach out to their advisors, they can contact me, Karl Barham at Transworld Business Advisors, we tell business owners help navigate, their, their business strategy and including, you know, when they’re ready to exit their business. Well, it’s really important to have that discussion, put a plan down on paper, and have these conversations with people that can help get you funding for, for, for the businesses that they, that they have. I also want to thank Atlanta Tech Park, for hosting the Capitalist Sage Podcast. And, and, and if you’re interested in starting a business, having access to folks like, Anita and others here through various forum gives you knowledge and information to be more successful and build networks around that and also a few here you can meet. Rico, who’s also here doing a fantastic job with the Peachtree Corner Magazine. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got coming up?

Rico: [00:37:49] Sure. So Peachtree Corners Magazine, we’re working on the next issue, the first week of February, it’s February/March issue. The Major feature in that issue is innovative companies in Peachtree Corners. So that’ll be, we’ll be discussing half a dozen companies. We’ve interviewed already about four or five, tech firms, and there’ll be an article about some of the other innovative companies here in Peachtree Corners and a few other good stories in there. So, you should pick up a copy. It will go to our Facebook page, if you’re watching the live stream, there would be Peachtree Corners Life, Facebook and like us on that page. If you’re listening to the podcast, go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. You can find out all sorts of new things going on in the city and they’ll associate the digital edition on there. And if you’re looking to, because I do other things. If you’re looking to do online content, brandings, social media, video, product, product videos, and such, go to MightyRockets.com and maybe I can help you there.

Karl: [00:38:50] Oh, fabulous. I’d also mention iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, spreaker. If you’re a business owner, I get it, You’re busy. I get it. You don’t have time to show up at every, lecture or workshop and so on, but you do have time in your car if you’re in Atlanta to listen to a podcast and, and learn stuff that could help you improve your business. So with that I want to thank, thank you for tuning in. I’m Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini for Capitalist Sage podcast. Thank you.

Rico: [00:39:24] Thank you guys. Thanks.

Anita: [00:39:26] Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

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CPA Firm Celebrates Opening of its new Peachtree Corners Office

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Hancock Askew

Over 75 well-wishers joined Hancock Askew’s partners, staff and city leaders recently to celebrate the opening of its new Peachtree Corners office with a reception and ribbon-cutting event.

The accounting and CPA firm relocated into a 13,000 square-feet remodeled office on Davinci Court from another Peachtree Corners office when it outgrew that space. The new office accommodates the firm’s 60 employees and has room for 30 additional workers as the company expands, said Hancock Askew partner Russell Reece.

Mayor Mike Mason, Councilmembers Phil Sadd, Eric Christ, Lorri Christopher and Weare Gratwick were on hand for the celebration along with members of the Peachtree Corners Business Association and Hancock Askew partners and business supporters.

Just before the ribbon was cut, Mayor Mike Mason addressed the Hancock Askew team saying: “Your decision to remain in Peachtree Corners when there are plenty of other locations from which to choose is not lost on us,” he said. “The city council and I are delighted that you have again chosen Peachtree Corners for your business location. It speaks volumes to our efforts as a business-friendly city.”

Founded in 1910, Hancock Askew & Co. LLP has six locations:  Peachtree Corners, Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah and two in Florida, in the cities of Miami and Tampa. The company’s first office was established in Savannah. Through a series of mergers and expansions, its most recent, Miami, 2016 and Tampa, 2018, the century-old business has 14 partners and 140+ highly skilled professionals. Its expansion into Florida allows the business to expand into international markets.

The company provides audit, tax, accounting, internal audit and other services to individuals, small businesses, mid-size and public companies. The Peachtree Corners office is located at 3740 Davinci Court, Suite 400; telephone: 770-246-0793, website: www.hancock.askew.com

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Capitalist Sage: Building a Brick n Mortar Retail Business Based on Healthy Living [Podcast]

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Press Blend Squeeze

You may not think much of eating your fruits and vegetables, but Matt Scott, CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze and our guest on this episode of the Capitalist Sage has something to say about eating healthy. After prolonging his father’s life through diet and nutrition, he went on to open up his health food business to keep his community healthy too. Join Karl, Rico, and Matt
as they discuss just exactly how he has worked his way into the health food business.

Social Media:
http://instagram.com/pressblendsqueeze
https://twitter.com/PBSjuice
Website: https://www.pressblendsqueeze.com/
Email: Info@PressBlendSqueeze.com

“As much as people know or don’t know you could really change the way that you feel, not only physically, emotionally. And so we changed his diet and instead of the five month diagnosis we had him for over five years through food. So literally from that, I felt a calling to put together a strategic business plan on how can we change and save lives through food. So that’s literally our mission at Press, Blend, Squeeze, that’s to save lives through food.”

Matthew Scott

Podcast Transcript:

Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing today?

Rico: [00:00:48] Good. Good.

Karl: [00:00:49] Any sponsors today for the podcast?

Rico: [00:00:53] Well, Atlanta Tech Park is a major sponsor. We’re in their podcast studio, so Atlanta Tech Park here in the city of Peachtree Corners in Tech Park. It’s an accelerator just down the block from and right on the road of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. So this is one and a half mile autonomous vehicle track. For those that don’t know, it’s the only one of its kind in the Southeast and to some degree, the only open live living at lab, if you will, in North America or other States in the United States. So lots of things going on, and I’m looking forward to doing this episode.

Karl: [00:01:30] Absolutely. One of the other nice things is it is powered by 5g, Sprint’s 5g system here, so that if you have a company that wants to be on that higher speed internet mobility, internet system, you can work out of Atlanta at their park or others. Do test here. Run that. So just a great hub of technology right here in Peachtree Corners. Today we’d like to introduce our guest Matthew Scott, founder and CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze Cafe and Juice Bar. I guess it’s a, it’s a local juice cafe, juice bar that opened up in the forum. There’s a couple of them here in the Metro Atlanta area, and we’re going to talk about starting and building a retail business focused on the healthy food movement. We know that everyone has been trying to get healthy and we see folks trying different types of diets, trying different types of alternative to the traditional fast food. And we found really interesting your approach and taking a look at this market and being an entrepreneur and trying to build one. So we want to talk a little bit about your journey in doing that. Matt, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Matt: [00:02:50] No, absolutely. And guys, thanks very much for having me. I really appreciate it. You know, before two years ago, I was not in this business. So I was in corporate America for about 15 years, both from significant leadership roles in fortune 500 companies down to startup companies and taking them public all in high growth areas. And I saw an opportunity here and you know, it’s kinda like how most people get brought to changing their diets. It’s when you get punched in the face. And so myself, my dad looked at me and he was given five months to live. From the doctor told me that he had stage four esophageal cancer. And he was my best friend. And I’m sure like I did, like the rest of us would do and say, well, what can we do about that? What, what, you know what, what options do we have? And, you know, so diet is an extremely. Strong portion of influence into everyone’s life. As much as people know or don’t know you could really change the way that you feel, not only physically, emotionally and so we changed his diet and instead of the five month diagnosis we had him for over five years through food. So

literally from that, I felt a calling to put together a strategic business plan on how can we change and save lives through food. So that’s literally our mission at Press, Blend, Squeeze, that’s to save lives through food. And we do that multiple ways and we could get into that a little bit on, on, on that as we go forward. But that’s what we’re trying to do. We had the opportunity, I’m glad that you noted that, It’s just starting out here, down here in Atlanta. We had the opportunity, we were living in Chicago when we started this business, and we could have put this anywhere in the United States that we wanted to put it. Because we moved back to Atlanta to put it here. We saw a significant void in the Atlanta market in comparison to other areas of the country from a quick service, healthy restaurant and juice bar. If you’re driving around Peachtree Corners, there’s not that many options that you’re going to be able to get to. And people thank me each day for opening up and we’re truly seeing the snowball going downhill right now. From people, you know, grabbing on, we actually took over an old juice bar there, but people, it was out and closed for I think almost a year. And so we took it over. And so people are just beginning to realize that we’re back in there and, and they’re very thankful for it.

Karl: [00:05:52] So I can ask the question around you know, your background. Did you have a food background when you started thinking about nutrition background? Tell me a little bit about your background and, and how it helped you, you know, come up with the concept.

Matt: [00:06:07] Yeah, sure. So food background and if you call it this when I was putting myself in high school through college, I had the privilege of going to work for a quick service restaurant. That was the first location of then soon to be broadly franchised restaurant. So I was a hard worker. They brought me in and they allowed me to be one of their lead trainers and opener of new locations. So I got some good experience on how to take a model and replicate it and open it you know in, in a new location and to train the staff. In addition from a food customer service aspect, I worked in restaurants going through college to make Money. So I, I dealt with customers, delivered customer service, was able to take orders attentively and, and give that customer level of customer service in the food industry. But as far as you know being knowledgeable in the space, I was I consider myself a relatively healthy eater. I was always an active in sports physical working out and exercise. And, and so I would eat healthy, but my knowledge increased via doing my due diligence over the web and talking to industry professionals, doctors, nutritionists, et cetera. Once I started looking into it for my dad.

Karl: [00:07:46] So what, what, what most people don’t really understand about the food choices they make and how are you able to, to help modify your dad’s diet. What were some of the changes that you saw really have an impact?

Matt: [00:08:00] Sure. So after my father passed the, I, I was a little bit anxious. I said, doc, you know, my dad was 67. I got two young kids like this, you know, help me out here. And he said, you know, your father’s cancer was not genetic. It was not hereditary. Because there’s three things proven to fight cancer, and that’s eating clean, eating green, and exercise. So, you know, reality is, is that a majority of Americans, I would voucher to say that the majority of people in the world don’t eat enough green vegetables. Green vegetables that basic biology, it has

chlorophyll and photosynthesis, and that’s what gives your cells energy. It also allows your cells to reproduce, gives them the strength to reproduce at a high level. And so cancer feeds on deficient cells. So if you’re in, and this is, this is part of what extent am I, my dad’s life is by having cells that are strong and can defend themselves. Cancer got nowhere to live. I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of people being able to overcome cancer and become cancer free. And some of that’s through killing, you know, radiation and killing all those cancer cells. But that kills all the good with the bad. So if you do some research people have become cancer free through diets. And so greens are that prominent thing.

Karl: [00:09:42] And you know one question along that. Why don’t people eat more green? It’s here, here in the U.S., here in Georgia. What’s, what’s holding us back?

Matt: [00:09:49] Okay. So let’s be real. It is accessibility. It is convenience. Our lives are not going to get any slower. Our lives are not gonna get any less busy. and the food that we have at our disposal. Is a convenience factor. And it’s gotten to the place where the food industry is a business rather than a need. So you know, when we were all, go back 200 years in the United States and we’re farmers and gatherers and everything we ate to survive. Now, people, the food is a business. They’re trying to make it. What do you do in a business? If you’re not going to grow from a volume standpoint, you’re going to try to make it less expensive. And so the majority of food choices at our disposal are from large businesses that are trying to make food cost-effectively.

Karl: [00:10:56] So is this part of the movement that makes like Whole Foods, Sprouts, these types of places? Cause you know, on one hand you see these, these places that are popping up everywhere. So the, there is, for those that they can access it. They’re still not making the choice whether the, you are, you’re in a supermarket, they’re not building diets around fruits and vegetables and increasing the amount of greens in there.

Matt: [00:11:23] Well I would, I would be careful because the fastest growing segment of the supermarket is organic vegetables. If you’re looking at all the areas.

Rico: [00:11:33] I mean, I can see when I go to H Mark, for example, and you go to an Asian supermarket, you will see a big area of vegetables. When you go to a Walmart, only recently have they increased it a little bit and only in those areas where they’re competing with an H Mart or something along those lines. So Americans still are not consuming. You’ll find South Americans use farm communities that are first generation, maybe American. They’re still consuming that. But as they get further away from that generation they’re going back to the processed stuff, they’re going back to the easy stuff.

Karl: [00:12:09] I mean, when you think about it and growing up in New York, how many fruit stands you would go to fresh if you’re in Brooklyn picking avenues. And the city…

Rico: [00:12:23] Tomato, tomato is the big one over there.

Karl: [00:12:23] All of these places that, that had that. And so yeah, accessibility made it easier for people to get fresh, good quality, healthy, healthy food choices. And, and so as part of that, the shifted in parts of the country where, where that tradition wasn’t there and it was more based on supermarkets, they were, where they can control. What people are selecting is, is impacting that.

Matt: [00:12:51] Yeah, I agree. It’s so, it’s accessibility. It’s knowledge. So you know, people say, Oh yeah, I like to eat healthy, but they don’t necessarily know what that means. So like it’s, it’s being able to, to truly understand, you know, even my father, you know, he would even joke to me and be like, Oh, I’m eating an organic banana. And I’m like, well, you don’t have to eat an organic banana. The skin on the banana protects the banana, like so, so like it’s the knowledge of you know how to do it. But it’s also, there is so much of an emotional, psychological, it’s almost reactive because we’re so busy. So all of a sudden instead of it, you know, you being conscious about what you’re eating, your brain goes, Oh, I’m hungry. And. The reality is, is studies show that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. And what you can find is in majority of that quick service food that you have an emotional reaction that says, I’ve waited so long, I’m starving. Now I need to go get something to eat. Let me pull over into this drive through. I’m almost certain than almost any option that you choose there has sugar in it, high fructose corn syrup in it. And, and, and so your body reacts. And there’s, there’s a, an emotional receptiveness that goes off in your brain, that says that.

Rico: [00:14:18] You brought something up that really, and I haven’t seen this, and then it doesn’t make sense to me now that you’re talking about this, is that you have Starbucks, you have Dunkin donuts. The majority of what they sell is true through that drive through. You’ll never see a Starbucks without, without a drive through. But there was one that I remember, there was located somewhere and they asked and they got a rezoning, so then they were able to have a drive through through that one because that was the only way to save that store. And I have yet to see it think a drive through juicing bar. And it doesn’t take long to, to create it. It’s just as long to critical lotta. I think in a, in a Dunkin, not sure. So I haven’t seen that and that we talk about how easy, if that was easy, if I could drive through that, I probably would get that over something else.

Matt: [00:15:06] I’m sure. People ask for it all the time. It’s, it’s absolutely on the radar as far as like convenience. Now what I would say is that it because a lot of times you’re making it to order. It’s not going to be necessarily the speed of others. But you know.

Rico: [00:15:28] I’d wait there for a minute. I mean, it doesn’t take long for, depends on the process.

Matt: [00:15:33] Yeah, no, it’s, it’s absolutely on the radar. We’ve, we’ve discussed it. We’ve looked at locations. We’re not there yet as far as, you know, but it is on the radar. And I’ve had a lot of people bring up the convenience factor. So it goes back to three things. It goes back to

convenience. It goes back to knowledge, and it goes back to emotional, kind of reactions and, and, and addictions to sugar. And, and I even go to people, the, the, the misunderstanding that healthy can’t taste good. So a lot of people kind of coined. I used to have people come into our Dunwoody location and the, the wife and the kids would order something and the husband was there and I said, Hey, you know, can I get you something? He goes, I don’t eat healthy. And I said, well, hold on. Like, what? What, what does that mean? I was like I was like, you don’t like guacamole? No, no. I like guacamole. And I go, well, hold on. Can we get you some, a Turkey wrap with some, some hummus and some roasted peppers and some, you know balsamic glaze on it, man, it sounds really good. And then, you know, I’d say, well how about PB and J smoothie tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but doesn’t have any sugar in it, but it’s really good. Oh, I like PB and Js. Avocado toast, soup. Like they’re like, Oh man. And then they eat it and then they go, man, this is really good. I go, I guess you eat healthy. Like, so it’s that coined a misconception of it’s true, healthy can taste good.

Rico: [00:17:14] And you also have food though, right?

Matt: [00:17:15] Oh, we do. Yeah.

Rico: [00:17:16] See now that didn’t, and I know that vaguely you have food there, I haven’t been into the store yet. But I would not realize that. I think if I was passing by would think juice point. I wouldn’t think food just that. But you do have a menu though?

Matt: [00:17:30] Absolutely. We do about 50% of our business in food, we do a ton of catering. One of our biggest growth pillars is in corporate catering. You know, when I was in corporate America eating the same, we would cater probably three to four times a week for lunch. And it was kind of from a rotation. And, you know, I’d get a pizza. I could tell you I’m probably going to get pizza. I can tell you, I might get a fried chicken sandwich for breakfast. And you know, I might get Mexican or some type of Southwestern and majority of those after I ate them I was ready for my couch. And corporations are realizing this and, and they’re actually like. You know, some of the large corporations and the reasons why we chose these locations are strategically positioned to align with those corporations. So like Newell Rubbermaid further snack attack on a quarterly basis caters 600 as eyeballs from us IHG regularly for their executives. I’m actually in February, I’m going down and meeting with the CEO’s executive assistant, and she has 14 people that report up to her, that schedule for hundreds of people, but we’re giving them a tasting of our lunch. I mean, so we have these large corporations that are not only providing lunch for their employees, but they’re being more conscious of what they’re providing because it’s actually leading to productivity. Like they, they, you know, they’re, they’re going back and not trying to, you know, relax at their desk.

Karl: [00:19:19] No, I was going to say, I remember doing meetings and corporate training around the world for, for years, and we’d have four or five days of, you know, catered and meals and so on. And we would always, I would actually ask for certain menus on certain days because what happens right after lunch and they come back in and that energy drop.

So we would actually specifically pick activities and exercise right after lunch, which had movement. Kind of wake people up because those heavy lunches, they’d come in with pasta and folks would be ready to go to snooze town and, but, but even having options that gave energy boost you. The afternoon snack break would have muffins and donuts and cakes and cookies. And we started shifting to nuts and try and start a team that shift. But that was my two choices there. There wasn’t a menu of stuff that people could do on that break time. that helps boost that productivity that, that you were mentioning. So, so, so I think that’s, that’s, that’s something that’s seeing, that’s happening in the market.

Rico: [00:20:27] Also, we were talking a little bit before the show before you showed up, and we were talking about how it’s Amazon proof almost. You can’t ship, you can’t ship certain things. You still gotta eat, you still can’t go out that way. But how, how do you find the challenge of doing, you opened a brick and mortar store? You didn’t have to build it, obviously it was built out and you’re there.

Matt: [00:20:49] We build out our last one, our first one. Yeah.

Rico: [00:20:51] So how do you find that? How do you in a world where people are shifting away to Amazon ordering, like I said, over Amazon proof. Or Uber, Ubereats, Dash, Door Dash and stuff like that. How do you find that? How did you find it opening up a place like that? That’s not a franchise essentially.

Karl: [00:21:12] You chose brick and mortar and retail location to deliver this concept. What were you thinking? How do you, how do you, how do you make that decision?

Matt: [00:21:22] So when I experienced the benefits of what we provided, like, and I would encourage anybody that listens to this podcast, I’d encourage you guys go in and grab a juice, go grab a roots and fruits, which is a juice that has some beets in it and has a little bit of orange and ginger. Tell me how you feel in 30 minutes. Dynamically different than anything that you’ve ever eaten or drinking or drank from any other place. So, you know, the reason or how I did that is said, man, this is amazing, you know?

Rico: [00:22:07] But, but how did you find, how did you develop the idea into a business? I mean, how you, you had to open a brick and mortar. What did you fit. You know, buying equipment, the ingredients. How, what’s the actionable side of that?

Karl: [00:22:22] The rest of their business. Often the products, the product and the need is clear and you’re matching those two up, but you’re running a business, right. And it takes, it takes a bunch of things coming together.

Rico: [00:22:33] And this is the second location, right? That you have. So you’re working towards either a chain of them or franchising at some point? How is that working? Doing that?

Matt: [00:22:41] So, so again, I go back to my experience. I was part of a startup. When, when, when we’re, when I was at a startup, we wear many hats. I got recruited actually I should say when I was part of Rubbermaid and my initial job was for a division that started around 30 million. And I got put into at a young age, I’m blessed. And, and believed in by a president and a mentor that gave me significant responsibility to take that 30 million of vision, gave me a significant amount of budget. The ability to strategically put the Strat plan together and grow that business within four years to 150 million globally. I got tapped out of Rubbermaid and recruited out of Rubbermaid to go be part of the largest office products company in the world. And then they brought me in with a pipeline funnel of zero, and they said, we brought you in here because your skillset is different and in the need of nothing that we have internally. And they tap me. And within two years we had a sales funnel of over 150 million in the pipeline. And I had a team of eight, you know, rolling up to me. And so I wrote those trap plans. I built those trap lines. So the way that I did this was I treated this, I said, Hey, there’s an opportunity. Let me, let me develop this business as I would develop any other business. So I went and sourced out partners. I went and did my research on how other competitors were running. I identified machinery that we needed. I put together the menu. I oversaw all the marketing. And I mean, like we, we’ve had wildly success in two years. That, that I like feel so good about, I mean, and blessed honestly, we get like almost 9,000 unique people that have come into our store and given us their telephone number and said, Hey, we are okay with you contacting us, here’s our telephone number. We want to be part of your membership program. Like, I don’t see businesses that are like national brands even, you know, doing that in, in single locations and stuff. So, so we’ve been putting the right strategy around the business to, to have a performance or whether I have experience or not, I treated it like any other business or any other product line and I was about to grow and, and put the…

Rico: [00:25:26] Any challenges that you’d like to share that you’ve overcome?

Matt: [00:25:28] Yeah, I mean, we all got challenges. But I would say, you folks that are entrepreneurs is, be careful of your blind spots. We all have, we all, we all have things that we overlook. You know, one of the biggest hurdles is going from one to two. So as an entrepreneur, you’re at that location. You’re there, you’re, you’re, you’re a part of that location. Yeah, you can’t cut yourself in half. So you know, I would say you know, put the process in place, you know, and just because, you know, the process, operational efficiency and, and that’s something that we had to build out. And, and it’s, you know, a continuous work in progress.

Karl: [00:26:29] So I, I would, I think, I think what you’re describing though is. You know, a theme across big corporations or small business, and it’s the question of scaling. I’m doing it once. It could have been lucky. Right time, right place. Stars align. A thousand reasons why you’re able to achieve success. And sometimes it’s brilliance and hard work. But to replicate it in another location. What are some of the things that would, you know, knowing what you know now, you would, you would advise someone going, thinking of doing, you know, multiple, like what would be things they can put in place that would ease that transition, right? To grow?

Matt: [00:27:13] I probably, we say to people to create a network, right? Because we’re all good at something and we’re all not good at everything. So by having a network of, a sounding board or afforded a trusted board of advisors, it allows you to be stronger in areas that you’re weak. So it allows individuals that might be able to be stronger in certain areas to help you strengthen, sharpen, or have a visible blind spot.

Karl: [00:27:54] I think, I think you’re hitting on something. If you’ve seen many successful people and they talk about this success, there’s usually a network of advisors they have. Even if you look at a large corporation, they’ve got a board of directors, nonprofit governing boards. There are these folks that serve multiple functions. One is to hold a mirror up to you and say, Hey, you know, I know what you’re saying and seeing, but here’s what I’m seeing and here’s things you may not notice. May, may help with the blind spot. They have wisdom and advice to give in the area that you may have the expertise to be able to do that. Third, they can help hold you accountable if you said you were going to do something, if you’re the boss who’s gonna, who’s gonna challenge you, if you decide, ah, we’ll do that next month. But, but, but if you have that advisory group, they, they can be in a position to hold, hold you accountable for them. And the last one is some of the networks that that affords you. they know people that might help you be more successful. And it’s one of the things we often see entrepreneurs struggling with. They eventually build it. We were talking earlier about these groups that do that. But they may have got 15 years of pain in before they realize, man, if I only knew someone that knew about payroll and what can happen if I mess that up.

Rico: [00:29:15] It’s like anything else in life. If you’re a writer or you’re a sports person. Everyone thinks you’re an overnight success, but it took you those years of pain to be able to get there. And most people don’t want that. They want to be able to see success. And maybe you get that advice from that successful person or that team of people to help you get there.

Karl: [00:29:35] Absolutely.

Matt: [00:29:35] Yeah. I’ve been, I’ve been really fortunate and blessed for the people in that have come into my life and, and you know what? A lot of times people have the desire to help people, you know? Sometimes you just have to ask for it. Other times you just, you have to go look for it. But, but people want to help people. And, and so you know, entrepreneurs often like to think they have to do everything themselves. And, and that’s something that an additional piece of advice I would give to entrepreneurs is, you’re no good to anyone if you’re burnt out. So give yourself some space and give your team some trust.

Karl: [00:30:24] No, I agree. I said, the one thing you can’t manufacture and create more is time. And so there’s only so much time that an individual has, and as you grow a business, it actually requires more time very often. And if you don’t build a team to support, it supports you to be able to do that. It makes that a, a challenge. So tell me a little bit about what you got going on next. What’s next for the company and for you?

Matt: [00:30:50] So for a, happy new year to you guys, 2020, it’s going to be a great year. We are gangbusters into new year’s cleanse programs. So it is the best way to reset your palate, control your addiction to sugar, get you jump started into your nutritional needs. It’s amazing the results that we see. We’ve been doing this for over two years. People come back re-energized, they sleep better, their skin’s better. And this is in three days. They, last time I did a cleanse, I lost eight pounds. I hear that over and over again. But you’re refreshed, you’re rejuvenated, and then crazy enough you might think, Oh yeah, I’m you know, after three days I’ll be ready to eat a cheeseburger. You know what? You’re not like, you’re ready to go down the road of, you know having that healthy palate, that healthy diet, and it’s, it’s crazy what it does for you. So that’s, that’s number one. Number two, I would ask any business within this kind of Metro Atlanta area to give us a chance at catering. Everybody has a need one time or another, probably in the next couple of weeks. I’m sure every single business has one lunch that they’re going to be looking to serve to multiple people. Give us a chance, put us in there. And, and, and I think you’re going to love it. I think you’re gonna enjoy it. And I want to be talking to you about your second order. So give us a catering opportunity because it’s a, it’s, it’s totally an awesome experience. And we got resoundingly reviews and feedback from it. So we’d love to work with people.

Karl: [00:32:34] Awesome. I’m glad. Well, located in the Forum your first location is where…

Matt: [00:32:41] It’s in Dunwoody Village. So where the Fresh Market is, or if you know where Village Burger is, or if you know where the post office is down there, so it’s in Dunwoody village, which is getting rejuvenated as well. So that’s kind of exciting.

Karl: [00:32:55] How can folks reach, you learn more online. social media.

Matt: [00:32:59] So we got thousands of followers on Instagram and which is @PressBlendSqueeze. The location here has Press, Blend, Squeeze at Peachtree Corners. Facebook Press, Blend Squeeze. If anybody wants to shoot me an email, if they have questions about a cleanse Info@PressBlendSqueeze.com comes directly to me. I see them all. I’d love to do a group cleanse. We’re doing it with a lot of gyms. So we had, last week, we had like 70 days of cleanses go out. And, and so this next week we’re partnering with another gym here in this area. And, and we have a couple more on the radars. So it’s, it’s time. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for your energy, but do it to feel better. So it’s, it’s pretty cool.

Karl: [00:33:56] Well, I want to thank you very much for being our guest today. Our guest, Matt Scott, CEO of Press, Blend, Squeeze, for your time today and sharing part of your journey and, and inspiring others that may be thinking about making a change in their career and their life. And finding ways to do it in a way that’s aligned to something that you’re passionate about. Being healthy and how to, how to solve this problem where folks can’t find it as convenient to get nutritional greens into their, into their bodies that they can. So we really appreciate your joining us for that. We also wanna thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting us every time we have one of our episodes here to Capitalist Sage Podcast. If you’re starting a business and looking

for a great environment to come and work and be around people that are going on this entrepreneurial journey along the way with you, it’s a great way to build network. Entrepreneurs sometimes can be a very lonely endeavor. So having other founders and makers and, and business leaders to collaborate with is, is really, is really powerful. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to consult on your business, whether you’re looking to improve or grow the business, or you’re looking to exit or start a business. You can contact any one of our agents to be able to help you with that are available at ​www.TransworldBusinessAdvisors.com/AtlantaPeachtree​. And Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got going on and going to the next couple of weeks.

Rico: [00:35:32] Sure, so I run Mighty Rockets. We’re a social media online company. We provide content branding and whether it’s on LinkedIn or Instagram and soon to be Tick-Tock, cause there is a market out there and believe it or not, in the United States, it’s like 24 million users and tick tock and 40% of them are between 18 and 24. So that age. Voter age, if they felt maybe so, I do that. That’s MightyRockets.com. But I also published Peachtree Corners Magazine and you could find, you could go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and find our website. We talked about what’s going on in the city. We’re doing several podcasts upcoming in with Peter Coin, his life with some interesting guests. Also Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager is coming up Thursday. After the fourth Tuesday, we’ll be discussing what’s going on in the city of this month and let’s what the city is planning over the next few months. A lot of new stuff happening out there and we’re working on the next issue of Peachtree Corners Magazine and the cover story, I believe that comes the story we’re working on right now, and it should be, the cover is innovative and innovative companies and organizations in Peachtree Corners. I will be doing some podcasts as well for that to complement that. So this is just a lot of stuff going on. So if you’re looking for any either trends to reach the audience here on Peachtree Corners through the family podcast, or you need someone to work with you online or branding, that’s what I do.

Karl: [00:37:03] Oh, fabulous. Well, you know, I really look forward to the next edition of the magazine and folks, if you go around and take a look and read through it, just knowing what’s going on here in the local community, whether it’s business, whether it’s what’s happening in the political team, what’s happening with, with, with various organizations. It’s just a good way to keep up with events and activities and in the area. So one of the thank you for that. That’s all we have for today. Look forward to talking to you some more and having some more great guests like Matt Scott that came to visit us today. Thank you everyone.

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