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Bank is one of many new businesses

Posted: May 22, 2013 - 12:08am
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Rodney Scruggs makes a deposit with First Bank of Georgia teller Stephen Cordaro. The new bank, located in the Kroger shopping center in Evans, is First Bank's seventh branch in the area.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Rodney Scruggs makes a deposit with First Bank of Georgia teller Stephen Cordaro. The new bank, located in the Kroger shopping center in Evans, is First Bank's seventh branch in the area.

When the new First Bank of Georgia branch holds its ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning, it will be celebrating the bank’s third presence in Columbia County.

“Evans is a fast-growing market,” bank president and CEO Remer Brinson III said. “We were near that market and had a lot of customers in that market but didn’t have a physical location.”

That changed when the 3,000-square-foot, full-service bank opened at 4349 Washington Road, in front of Kroger.

The bank has six other local branches: two in Martinez, one in Thomson and three in Augusta.

Plans to expand into Evans have been under way since bank officials purchased the corner parcel in 2002 for $400,000, according to Columbia County mapping documents.

“It’s a site we’ve owned for a number of years and actually were planning on starting a branch (on) in 2006 or 2007 when the economy really turned,” Brinson said. “We paused during that time.”

The branch includes a banking staff of seven full-time employees and will offer extended drive-in hours.

In other business openings in Columbia County:

• A Fuji Asian restaurant has opened at 4414 Evans-to-Locks Road, next door to the Vineyard Wine Market.

The full-service restaurant features Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine.

• A nearly $2 million renovation is under way to turn the former Food Lion in the Village at Furys Ferry into a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Columbia County Development Services recently issued a building permit to Walmart for $1.9 million for renovations at the former Food Lion in the Village at Furys Ferry shopping center on the corner of Furys Ferry and Evans-to-Locks roads.

That grocer, in addition to two other Food Lions in Columbia County, closed more than a year ago.

Neighborhood markets are smaller than a traditional Walmart Supercenter, which is about 182,000 square feet. The stores, averaging about 38,000 square feet, offer grocery items, household supplies, health and beauty products and a pharmacy.

This is Walmart’s first neighborhood market in the metro Augusta area.

A second shuttered Food Lion on North Belair Road, next to Home Depot, is being renovated to become a Big Lots store.

• Smallcakes, a cupcake bakery, recently opened at 4460 Washington Road in Liberty Square shopping center in Evans.

The store is owned by Jeff Martin, a Hephzibah native who competed for three seasons on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

The Evans store is operated by Martin’s partner, Lori Pitts, and employs about 10 people.

• Dean and Denise Dozier, of Appling, recently started a Kona ice franchise with a vehicle offering flavored shaved ice.

• Wifesaver has opened its new Grovetown location after closing the restaurant at 116 N. Belair Road near Columbia Road.

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