An Aiken-based bank is branching out into the Evans area with its first branch in Georgia.
Officials at Security Federal Bank announced Wednesday that they will break ground Dec. 20 at the corner of North Belair and Evans to Locks roads. The three-story building will be the lender's banking headquarters in the Evans area for future branches, said Chris Verenes, the bank president.
Verenes said an Evans branch is a natural extension for the company because of the area's growth. Besides, many of its customers hail from Richmond and Columbia counties, he said.
"There is so much growth in Columbia County, we felt like we could be competitive there," he said.
The branch, which company officials plan to open by the end of 2007, will offer Security Federal's full line of banking, mortgage lending, financial planning and insurance services.
Security Federal Bank is one of several businesses on the move recently in the county.
In Evans, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, a national chain specializing in high-end hamburgers and other casual-dining fare, is building a 5,700-square-foot restaurant at Mullins Crossing shopping center. Kim McBee, the vice president of marketing for Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Red Robin, said the restaurant should be open in April.
Most of Red Robin's 340 restaurants are in the West. The one in Evans will be the company's fourth in Georgia. The chain's menu lists nearly two dozen varieties of gourmet burgers and several signature beverages.
On Dec. 18, George Duehring will open his fourth Zaxby's franchise, on Jimmie Dyess Parkway at the Columbia-Richmond county line. The restaurant's proximity to Fort Gordon was a main consideration for the choice of location, Duehring said.
He is the owner of the Ronald Reagan Drive and Furys Ferry Road Zaxby's. Duehring said additional restaurants are planned, though he declined to offer specifics.
Between company and franchise locations, he said, the Jimmie Dyess Zaxby's will be the eighth in the Augusta area.
"We're very proud and thankful for the way the community has treated us," Duehring said.
The new Zaxby's will employ about 40 to 45 full- and part-time workers.
In other business news, Funsville on Wheeler Road near Interstate 20 has been purchased by area investment group Alphatopo LLC. It is closed but will reopen in early 2007 as a family recreation and sports-theme complex to be named Adventure Crossing.
The first phase of the development will include a redesigned arcade and laser tag facility set to open in the spring, according to a company news release.
Additional phases will include indoor turf fields to accommodate a variety of sports, which should be completed in coming years.
Also opening soon in Grovetown is an Aaron's Rental Center on Horizon South Parkway near the Food Lion.
Damon Cline, the usiness editor of The Augusta Chronicle, contributed to this article.
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