BiS: - Business news for the creative coast.

Katie Nussbaum

Hotel industry expert predicts slight increase in Savannah occupancy rates

Savannah’s hospitality industry continued growing last year with hotel occupancy rates finishing about five percent above the national average. The outlook for 2017 and beyond continues to put the local occupancy rates on the upward trend, according to a presentation Thursday to a group of industry professionals.


Tech group aims to grow IT apprenticeships

For many college graduates a degree doesn’t always guarantee a job. Employers often seek experience in addition to education or training, which can pose a problem for recent graduates, so one local group is helping to promote the benefits of apprenticeships within the local tech community in an effort to bolster the local job market.

Photo special to the Savannah Morning News - An Industrial Maintenance System student from Savannah Technical College works during his apprenticeship at JCB in Pooler.

Creative Coast broadens its community with new place, goals

For the last 10 years, the Creative Coast has worked to cultivate a creative and innovative environment where Savannah’s entrepreneurs from medical startups and web developers to clothing design companies have access to resources and mentoring to put their companies and Savannah on the map.

An attendee of Innovation Day at the Creative Coast’s Bull Street Labs tries out some virtual reality gear. (Photos courtesy of the Creative Coast)

Codebase offers chance to grow new mobile apps

Nearly 80 percent of Americans own smartphones, making mobile apps part of our everyday lives. From ordering groceries to controlling your thermostat and household lighting, there’s an app to do it.

Aleshia Howell

Universities contribute $400M to local economy in 2016

Armstrong State University and Savannah State University contributed more than $400 million to the local economy during the fiscal year 2016 and provided nearly 5,000 jobs, according to recent study conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

According to an annual study conducted by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, Armstrong State University contributed more than $252 million dollars to the local economy during the fiscal year 2016. (Savannah Morning News file photo) According to an annual study conducted by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business Armstrong State University contributed more than $252 million dollars to the local economy during the fiscal year 2016. (Savannah Morning News file photo)

Bakery brings special flavor to Sundays

It hasn’t taken long for Auspicious Baking Company to live up to its name. The shop at 5224 Skidaway Road has only been open for two months, but you can find a line outside every Sunday morning — the only day they’re open.

Mark Ekstrom grabs a plate of chocolate filled croissants, a customer favorite that Kaytlin Bryant just baked at Auspicious Baking Co. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)

Hospitality publication highlights Savannah success stories

There’s a success story behind nearly every one of the 27,000 tourism and hospitality industry jobs across Chatham County. Whether it’s a former dishwasher turned general manager or a cook who now owns a successful restaurant group, the opportunity to climb the ladder is ever-present.

Sharing their tourism success stories at Thursday’s Tourism Leadership Council luncheon were Guillermo Montes, Tracy Boles, Sherrie Spinks, Leonard Massey and Kal Patel. The group along with hundreds of others are featured in TLC’s “I am Tourism; Opportunity is Here” publication, which highlights hundreds of local hospitality success stories. (Shelly Mobley/For the Savannah Morning News)

HOS Management breaks ground on Pooler retail center

A few shovels full of dirt made history for HOS Management on Tuesday as they broke ground for the company’s first retail development, the Commons in The Village at Savannah Quarters.

HOS Management team members along with City of Pooler and Savannah Quarters officials break ground on HOS’s first retail development, the Commons in the Village at Savannah Quarters, on Tuesday. (Katie Nussbaum/Savannah Morning News)

Savannah’s Rousakis Riverfront Plaza celebrates 40 years

For many visitors and residents alike, it’s hard to image River Street without Rousakis Riverfront Plaza.

Robert Seay/Savannah Morning News Savannah River Street in May 1976.

LongHorn restaurant donates to Savannah shelter

For many people, a wholesome, hot meal is something that isn’t always guaranteed, but Savannah’s LongHorn Steakhouse and its parent company Darden Restaurants are helping to change that with their Harvest program.

LongHorn Steakhouse culinary manager Kenneth Johnson, center, helps Inner City Night Shelter volunteers load their weekly food donation Wednesday. The restaurant has donated 72,900 pounds of food to nonprofits in the area since 2003. (Katie Nussbaum/Savannah Morning News)

Papa’s celebrates 45 years of barbecue

Frank and Judy Ouzts, owners of Papa’s Barbecue and Seafood, have got lots of reasons to celebrate — 45 of them to be exact.

Judy and Frank Ouzts, owners of Papa’s Barbecue and Seafood. The Whitemarsh Island restaurant will celebrate 45 years on Monday with a party and fundraiser for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. (Special to the Savannah Morning News) Judy and Frank Ouzts, owners of Papa’s Barbecue and Seafood. The Whitemarsh Island restaurant will celebrate 45 years on Monday with a party and fundraiser for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. (Special to the Savannah Morning News)

Review board gets extra hotel floor question for a third time

After a heated meeting on Thursday, the City of Savannah Zoning Board of Appeals voted to send a much-contested height plan for a downtown hotel back to the Historic Board of Review for reconsideration. It will be the third time the HRB has heard the matter.

The City of Savannah Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday voted to send plans for the Liberty Hotel back to the Historic District Board of Review after an appeal hearing challenging the bonus story of the hotel. (Rendering courtesy of Lynch Associates Architects)

Savannah barbecue spot to be featured on Food Network

A staple in Savannah’s food scene since 1963, Walls’ BBQ will soon be getting some national recognition on the small screen.

Customers wait outside of Walls’ BBQ on Tuesday as filming for a new Food Network show, Super Southern Eats, happens inside. (Katie Nussbaum/Savannah Morning News)

Savannah-area home sales continue to thrive

Savannah area home sales continue their climb, setting another record for sales in June, which saw 778 homes sold across Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties, according to data recently released by Savannah Multi-List Corp.

DeSoto Hotel moves to new era, brand

On a recent rainy Monday morning, telephones buzzed, elevators dinged and dozens of guests mulled about under the warm glow of the antique crystal chandeliers in the lobby of the Hilton Savannah DeSoto.

The lobby of the Hilton Savannah DeSoto has been re-imagined as an art gallery and the former Lion’s Den bar, now Edgar’s Proof & Provision, also has been renovated as part of the hotel’s rebranding as it ends its affiliation with the Hilton brand and becomes the DeSoto once again. (Photo special to the Savannah Morning News ). TOP RIGHT: John W. Carswell, right, president of DeSoto Inc. was the first guest to register in 1968 at the opening of the new DeSoto Hilton Hotel. Watching are William L. McDonald, executive vice president of DeSoto Inc., his 9-year-old granddaughter, Bernice Morris, and Mrs. Carswell.

Ga. Tech-Savannah graduates its first Coding Boot Camp

The internet is the best, and sometimes only, link to fundamental information and networks, but code is the power to unlock it all.

The inaugural class of Georgia-Tech Savannah’s Coding Boot Camp. The six-month program teaches the fundamentals of coding and web development, while offering one-on-one time to students. (Photo courtesy of Back River Photography/Wayne C. Moore)

Savannah tourism leaders talk crime, hospitality at annual luncheon

The Savannah hospitality industry employs more than 27,000 people who work year round to serve millions of visitors and residents. On Thursday, some of those industry leaders had the chance to voice their comments and concerns on a wide range of topics, including hotel development, health of the industry, parking and crime, during the Tourism Leadership Council’s annual State of Tourism Conversation luncheon.

Michael Owens, president/CEO of the Tourism Leadership Council

Savannah Spirits finds history, challenges in pursuit of new distillery

Savannah has long been known for its spirits of both the haunting and distilled variety, and they’ll soon be a few more of the latter calling downtown home.

This rendering shows the future site of Savannah Spirits craft distillery at the corner of Whitaker and State streets. Renovations on the 12,000-square-foot establishment, which will also include a chophouse, have been ongoing since March 2016. (Rendering courtesy of Savannah Spirits)

Board OKs hotel projects for Drayton, River streets

The design of a hotel that spurred confusion and conversation over zoning districts received the green light from the Historic Review Board on Wednesday.

An artist’s rendering shows the proposed West Elm Hotel at 607 Drayton St. The Historic Review Board voted to approve the design plans for the four-story building Wednesday. (Renderings provided by Gunn Meyerhoff Shay)

Lunch group hears how good habits build fitness at work

Replace your candy bowl with fruit. Take the stairs. Drink water.

Paula Kreissler, director of healthy living and community development for Healthy Savannah, talks about simple tips for a healthier lifestyle during the Savannah Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Power Hour lunch on Tuesday. (Katie Nussbaum/Savannah Morning News)