Statewide initiative for a ‘healthy Georgia’ gains momentum as participant numbers continue to grow.
As billboards and a variety of grassroots promotions continue across the state, the Georgia Safety Promise public-private partnership, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), has announced that more than 1,000 Georgia businesses, local authorities and officials throughout the state have committed to the Georgia Safety Promise.
Governor Brian P. Kemp launched the Georgia Safety Promise last month to encourage all Georgians to do their part to keep Georgia healthy and open for business by following the latest Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines, including wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and regularly washing and sanitizing hands and surfaces.
Large and small businesses, from restaurants, hotels and salons, to manufacturers, banks and retailers, have made the Promise to do their part to stop the spread of the virus. Additionally, individual chambers of commerce, municipalities, economic development agencies and tourist destinations across the state have committed to the Promise.
Many signers include businesses with multiple locations in the state, bringing the total number of commitments well above the 1,000 mark. To view the full list of participants in the Georgia Safety Promise, click here.
“I commend our state’s business owners and leaders for heeding public health guidelines, encouraging best practices, and doing their part to keep their fellow neighbors safe as we continue to fight COVID-19,” said Governor Kemp.
The Georgia Chamber has become an official partner of the Promise, joining the Georgia Restaurant Association and other key industry organizations that have committed to the Georgia Safety Promise.
Official supporters also leading the effort include the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Korean American Restaurant Association and The Home Depot. Small businesses such as Atlanta’s Park Tavern are featuring their commitment on the home page of their website; tourist destinations such as Albany’s Chehaw Park and Zoo, the Flint RiverQuarium, and Thronateeska Heritage Center have joined together as members of the Artesian Alliance; and the Mayor’s Youth Council in the City of Douglas, Georgia, has said, “I’m in,” for the Georgia Safety Promise with a special public service announcement.
Business and industry-leading partners recently penned an op-ed published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgians and businesses: Commit to the Safety Promise, outlining the resiliency of the Georgia business community, and the measures implemented to keep the workplace safe for employees and patrons.
“This state is home to world-renowned restaurants, vibrant cities filled with history and culture, and nearly 800,000 small businesses,” wrote leaders from the Georgia Restaurant Association, Georgia Retailers Association, Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Bankers Association, Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association, and the National Federation of Independent Business. “It is up to all of us to keep Georgia safe so it can continue to remain open for all to enjoy. Taking the Georgia Safety Promise is a simple, but critical way to do just that.”
Participants in the Georgia Safety Promise voluntarily agree to follow the latest guidelines from the Governor’s Office and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Those who join the campaign receive a full digital toolkit of resources to help publicly share their commitment, including social media posts, signage and more.
In addition to signage in participating businesses, the Georgia Safety Promise campaign is being promoted on digital billboards around the state through the Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia. Participating businesses who agree to the Promise are also displayed on a comprehensive list of participants on the Georgia Safety Promise website.
“I appreciate our partners in both the public and private sectors for continuing to promote the Georgia Safety Promise in their local communities,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson.“From Valdosta to Blue Ridge, the Georgia Safety Promise is not only helping encourage Georgians to follow crucial public health guidelines, but also assisting in restoring consumer confidence so our local businesses can safely remain open.”
To learn more and make the Georgia Safety Promise, visit www.GeorgiaSafetyPromise.com.
About the Georgia Safety Promise
The Georgia Safety Promise campaign is led by the Office of the Governor and is supported in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Georgia Bankers Association, Georgia Chamber, Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association, Georgia Retailers Association, Georgia Restaurant Association, and Georgia National Federation of Independent Businesses.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Visit www.georgia.org for more information.
Parker’s Donates 600 KN95 Masks to Frontline COVID-19 Healthcare Providers at East Georgia Regional Medical Center
Parker’s, an award-winning, nationally acclaimed convenience store company and food service leader, recently donated 600 KN95 masks to frontline healthcare providers at East Georgia Regional Medical Center during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of our entire East Georgia Regional Medical Center family, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Parker’s for their recent donation of KN95 masks for our healthcare team,” said Jenny Maddi, BSN RN, patient safety officer and director of risk management at East Georgia Regional Medical Center. “Through this donation, we will continue to be able to protect our staff and provide the best care to our patients and community. We are very thankful for this support and appreciate Parker’s for always being an engaged partner in our community.”
To date, Parker’s has donated over 7,000 KN95 masks to hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout coastal Georgia and South Carolina.
“We’re honored to serve our healthcare heroes, who are providing exceptional medical care to area residents throughout the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Parker’s founder and CEO Greg Parker. “We know that mask shortages have impacted our community and want to make sure our doctors, nurses, clinicians and staff members have the Personal Protective Equipment they need to stay safe while caring for patients.”
Founded in 1976, Parker’s is one of America’s most respected convenience store brands. Parker’s gives back to every community where it does business through the Fueling the Community charitable giving program, which donates a portion of gas sold at all Parker’s locations on the first Wednesday of the month to area schools, healthcare facilities and other important causes. To date, the company has given more than $7 million in local charitable donations.
Parker’s has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest Growing Companies in America for five years and currently has 66 retail stores throughout coastal Georgia and South Carolina. The company employs more than 1,200 individuals throughout the region and completes more than 125,000 transactions daily.
Known as America’s cleanest convenience store company, Parker’s is strategically redefining the nation’s convenience store industry, offering customers high-quality products, freshly prepared food and superior customer service at retail stores throughout southeast Georgia and South Carolina. Headquartered in Savannah, Ga., Parker’s has a commitment to exceeding customer expectations and has repeatedly been recognized as one of the nation’s leading convenience store and food service companies. Parker’s Kitchen, the new food-centric brand under the Parker’s umbrella, serves world-famous hand-breaded Southern Fried Chicken Tenders as well as made-from-scratch mac ‘n’ cheese, a breakfast bar and daily specials. The company’s popular Parker’s Rewards loyalty program, which includes more than 150,000 members, has saved Parker’s customers more than $10 million to date. Learn more: www.parkersav.com.
RECENT AWARDS AND ACCOLADES:
● America’s Best Convenience Stores – Food and Wine
● 2019 Southeast Retailer of the Year – The Shelby Report
● 2019 Fastest Growing Companies in America – Inc. 5000
● 2018 Convenience Foodservice Leader of the Year – Convenience Store News
● Top 10 U.S. Gas Station Brands – Gas Buddy
● 50 Most Influential People in Convenience Store History – Convenience Store News
● Best Convenience Store – Savannah Morning News Readers’ Choice Awards
● Best Convenience Store – Savannah Magazine Best of Savannah Awards
● Best Convenience Store – Statesboro Herald “Best in the ‘Boro” Awards
● Best Convenience Store – Bryan County Now “Best of Bryan” Awards
● Regional Economic Impact Award – Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce
● Best Convenience Store – Island Packet
● Most Fab Convenience Store – Effingham Herald
● Most Fabulous Gas Station – Effingham Living
● Wayne County’s Favorite Convenience Store – Jesup Press-Sentinel
● Citizen of the Year Award – Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club
All of the Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market vendors have a story. Some are of decades old generational family farms. Some are of the desire to see healthier food options and increased environmental sustainability. And some are simply those who turned hobbies or crafts into steady sales. The 24/7 House, Inc. is no different. Here is their story.
The 24/7 House is a faith-based residential recovery facility that began in 2009. They operate in a renovated nursing home purchased from Appling County Healthcare Systems for $1.00, serving men and women who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The staff conduct a multi-faceted and comprehensive program for recovery. Residents participate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a minimum of one year to achieve a success rate that is over twice the industry average.
One part of that program is the greenhouse.
All residents at 24/7 House work in the greenhouse where they cultivate and harvest hydroponic local produce everyday. Currently, that includes living butterhead lettuce, camaro cucumbers, vine ripened beefsteak tomatoes (large and small), and green beefsteak tomatoes (perfect for frying!).
All proceeds from 24/7 Houses’ farmers market and Market2Go go to helping addicts in recovery.
Visit twentyfour7houseinc.com come for more information.
Go to statesboromarket2go.locallygrown.net to order from 24/7 House and dozens of other farmers market vendors.
Vandy’s Barbecue is the very definition of a “local institution.” Established in 1929, it celebrated its 90th birthday last year. Their iconic location at 22 West Vine street has been there since 1943, but that was not their original location. Vandy Boyd actually started his business in the town of Portal. He clearly knew what he was doing, since he moved his business into Statesboro’s downtown, taking up residence at the Simmons Shopping Center (formerly located on the block bordered by Elm Street, between North Main and North Walnut). Their “newest” location at the Statesboro Mall is over a generation old, established in 1970.
From their open-style barbecue pit (one of only six left in the state) they serve up roasted pork and chicken, alongside regional favorites like Brunswick stew. Since they use local oak wood to smoke their meat, you can say that everything they do is literally permeated with local flavor!
The restaurant has changed hands several times in the last couple decades but subsequent owners have maintained the local character of the establishment that has served the Statesboro community and beyond for over ninety years.
“It is all about the staff…We have a lot of great people doing a great job.” – Brandon O’Mahoney, Owner
Current owner Brandon O’Mahoney is tenaciously trying to keep the downtown location open for take-out and serving the community while respecting the restrictions around social distancing. O’Mahoney says “It is all about the staff…We have a lot of great people doing a great job.”
Their signature barbecue sauce is available on their website in case you find yourself missing your favorite sauce, or have since moved away and crave a taste of Statesboro.
These are unprecedented times, full of unexpected changes. Locals can take comfort in the fact that one thing that does not seem to change is Vandy’s.
Willliam Samuel “Blind Willie” McTell (May 5, 1898 – August 19, 1959)
Willie McTell was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist that predominantly played Piedmont blues and ragtime. He wrote the song “Statesboro Blues.”
McTell was born at the turn of the 20th century in Thomson, Georgia. His mother brought him to Statesboro where he learned to play the six-string guitar. Eventually he would transition to the 12-string guitar which he would play exclusively for the remainder of his musical career. McTell left Statesboro after the death of his mother and traveled playing music from Atlanta to New York.
McTell wrote “Statesboro Blues” and recorded the song in 1928 with Victor Talking Machine Company.
Blues musician Taj Mahal recorded an adaptation of “Statesboro Blues” on his debut album in 1968. Then in 1971 The Allman Brothers Band released their version of “Statesboro Blues” on their album At Fillmore East. This version of the song has garnered several accolades including being named number nine on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “100 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
The song is still played on the radio worldwide and brings many visitors to Statesboro annually.
Blind Willie Statue
The Statesboro Blue Mile Committee commissioned the creation of a statue honoring McTell and graciously decided to place it at the entrance of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2018.
Since it’s installation, numerous groups and individuals have stopped by the Visitor Center to see the statue. It’s always a bright spot in our day when we look out the window and catch someone taking a selfie or a picture of their loved ones with Willie.
McTell was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1990.
If you are in need of a hotel room during this time, we are keeping a running list of hotels that are still open. There is also a list of other open businesses in Statesboro and Bulloch County that can be found HERE.
This list has been updated as of: 3/31/2020 1:03pm
Comfort Inn – Open
Super 8 – Open, lobby closed
Holiday Inn – Open, Emma’s and Pool closed, limited room service
Holiday Inn Express – Open
Knights Inn- Open
Home2 – Open
Eagles Nest – Open, pool closed, no breakfast
Quality Inn- Open
Studio 6- Open
Red Roof Inn – Open
Patriot Inn – Open
Parkwood RV Park and Cottages – Open, over-the-phone reservations
Deluxe Inn – Waiting to hear back
Eagle Inn- Waiting to hear back
Stiles Inn – Waiting to hear back
Stay Plus- Waiting to hear back
Springhill Suites – Closed
Hampton Inn- Closed
These are difficult times for all of us, and local restaurants are no exception. They are one of the many industries that can’t “work from home” or survive long in a social distancing movement. In response to this, many Statesboro restaurants are making significant adjustments to accommodate the current situation.
The status of these restaurants changes every couple of days, but here is an update-to-date list being maintained by Grice Connect and the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce.
4 ways you can support your favorite local restaurants and eat local:
1. Purchase Gift Cards
Most restaurants offer some form of gift card or gift certificate. This is something you can do to ease their burden of the loss of your normal spending. This is also something you can do while staying at home. Many local restaurants will provide a way to order gift cards over the phone or online. Once things return to business-as-usual, use the gift card sparingly and spread out over a period of time to make sure these businesses have a steady flow of revenue afterwards. Or better yet, give it as a gift to a friend you’ve been trying to convince to try your favorite place!
2. Order Takeout
A lot of restaurants are streamlining their takeout services. Many dine-in restaurants are changing to take-out only. Even fast food chains, that normally thrive on takeout, are making adjustments to their order handling processes. Check your favorite dining establishments for how they are providing to-go meals.
3. Order from Market-2-Go
The Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market has a year-round online market where you can order locally grown and locally made products like produce, dairy, meat, herbs, plants, seeds, jellies, preserves, and more! Ordering must be completed by midnight on Tuesdays to be picked up at the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau on the following Thursday. CLICK HERE for more information.
Several local restaurants are still open for business. Some have even adjusted their dining room to allow more space between customers, and staggering seating times to make sure safe distances are kept between parties. This means they are valuing social distance over the quantity of customers they can serve during this time.
In fact, all restaurants seem to be posting about stepping up their cleaning & sanitation game. And for food service establishments that already operate under stringent health codes this means quite a lot. Could you imagine if your kitchen was scrutinized the same way theirs are even under normal circumstances? Not sure we’d all get passing grades.
These are four simple ways to make sure that we all support each other during this time and to help ensure the recovery period afterwards goes quickly. Let’s be an example for others to follow and show the world why we’re The City that Soars!
Statesboro Landmarks Coloring Page
Looking for a few extra activities while the kids are at home? If you have a printer, feel free to click on any of these images for a printable PDF coloring page. There are also facts and summaries of each landmark you can use to teach your kids a little something about Statesboro.
The first coloring page is all of the landmarks combined and based on a vintage-style print available at the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Averitt Center for the Arts
This beautiful building, constructed in 1911, was originally the Bank of Statesboro. Sadly, the bank closed down in 1932 after it could not recover from a “run on the bank” during the Great Depression.
The City bought the building in 1997 after decades of various uses and they established a community arts center for the downtown area.
The Averitt Center for the Arts has been very careful to upkeep the historical integrity of the building, and the old Bank of Statesboro now contains art galleries, visual and performing arts studios, classrooms, and office space.
Bulloch County Courthouse
The centerpiece of downtown Statesboro is the Bulloch County Courthouse. The courthouse was deliberately placed at a high point to permanently make it the most prominent landmark around. The commercial hub of the city developed around the courthouse square.
The courthouse was built in 1894 and renovated in 1914. Since then it’s been renovated several times using many different colors of brick. It was eventually completely coated in white plaster until the county commission decided to restore the courthouse to it’s original look by removing some of the plaster and painting over the rest. The courthouse is still in use today!
Eagle Nation on Parade
Eagle Nation On Parade is a public art project that salutes the University’s traditions, celebrates the unity of campus and community, contributes to the economic vitality and quality of life in Statesboro, and supports student scholarships and research.
These eagles can be seen all over Statesboro, each painted with a different theme. Create your own theme on this eagle!
For more information on Eagle Nation on Parade CLICK HERE
Emma Kelly Theater
Originally called the Georgia Theater, it was constructed in 1936 in the Art Deco style, reflecting the glamour of Hollywood. It was among the first of its kind to offer air conditioning and steam heat, as well as a coffee shop in the library.
The theater was operated as a movie theater until the 1970s, previewing movies such as Gone With The Wind in 1940.
In 1997, the City of Statesboro purchased the building for renovation as part of the Averitt Center project.
It was decided the theater would be named after local legend Emma Kelly, the “Lady of 6000” songs. She was dubbed this title by songwriter Johnny Mercer. Kelly sang for many U.S. Presidents and appeared in John Berendt’s ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.’
Allen E. Paulson Stadium
Paulson Stadium is the 25,000 seat home of the Georgia Southern Eagles Football team. It completed construction in 1984 and coined “The Prettiest Little Stadium in America” by legendary Coach Erk Russell. It has also become known as “Our House” by Eagles fans.
The stadium was named after the founder and owner of Gulfstream Aerospace, Allen E. Paulson, who donated $1 million to the project. A $10 million renovation was completed in 2014.
Fun Fact: The first touchdown in Paulson Stadium is credited to Tracy Ham (quarterback) after a 36 yard run in September of 1984.
City Hall / Historic Jaeckel Hotel
The current City Hall was once the social center of town. In 1905, the Jaeckel Hotel opened its doors to the booming tourist city. The hotel was constructed by local architect AJ Franklin for Berlin–native Gustave Jaeckel.
The first floor of the hotel contained a grand dining hall and gentlemen and ladies parlors. The porch on the second floor once sported a garden and canvas cover for use in the warm months.
The hotel played host to many guests like: Henry Ford, William Jennings Bryan, former Secretary of State; Blind Willie McTell who played countless songs on the hotel steps, and Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1935.
In 1994, the city purchased the hotel, and after a $1.5 million renovation, readapted it to become City Hall. The historic character of the Jaeckel is still present in the building and the old neon sign for the hotel hangs on the east side.
After careful consideration and following the recommendation of state leadership, we have decided it is in the best interest of our community, staff, and partners to temporarily close the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau. We will still maintain operations, delivering the Statesboro message across our social outlets and online presence, project development, and community assistance.
We can still be reached at the following:
Becky Davis, Executive Director
Justin Samples, Marketing Director
Live music, food trucks, and local vendors: Battle for the Boro has it all! On May 16, 2020, stage bands from across the Southeast will compete in beautiful Downtown Statesboro for up to $1000 in cash prizes and the title of “Best Band in the Boro.” The competition, a traditional battle of the bands event, will feature not only competing bands, but local celebrities and performers, as well. The event venue will feature a food truck park and vendor marketplace set in the heart of the downtown area.
Bands of all genres, food trucks, and vendors are invited to apply to be a part of this family-friendly community event. To learn more and get involved, please visit http://borobattle.com.
All proceeds from the event benefit Statesboro High School music programs.