From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Tim Rausch on December 5, 2014 - 3:19pm - Add new comment

What government statistics are saying about Augusta’s job market:

 

The area had 9,400 more jobs in October than it did in January.

 

April is normally the highest month in total jobs because of the Masters Tournament, and then it drops off. But that didn’t happen this year; it got higher instead.

 

There are 27,000 people working in leisure and hospitality, which is the most ever.

 

The number working as professionals or in business services has increased all year to 32,900, also the highest historically.

 

By: Tim Rausch on November 28, 2014 - 1:56pm - Add new comment

I occasionally get calls (or e-mails) from people who’ve got franchise concepts and want to put a few locations in Augusta, although they don’t have a franchisee yet.

 

The latest one is out of suburban Charlotte, N.C. – a gourmet-breakfast concept called Toast Café.

 

Robert Maynard, the CEO and co-founder, said he’d like to open four locations in Augusta, possibly starting in 2015.

 

There are five open now in North and South Carolina. Five more are in “process,” he said, including Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

 

By: Tim Rausch on November 24, 2014 - 10:27am - Add new comment

A million tractors have come out of John Deere in Grovetown.

 

It took 22 years to do it.

 

The milestone tractor was a 100-horsepower 5100M, which is an agriculture tractor, that came off the production line on Nov. 6, said Mary Pat Tubb, factory manager.

 

It was not placed aside as a keepsake – the tractor was sold.

 

“It went to a customer in Mississippi. It is going to be used to maintain the Natchez Trace, which is a parkway,” she said.

 

By: Tim Rausch on November 17, 2014 - 10:01am - Add new comment

WifeSaver cut its teeth on small- volume, neighborhood-based restaurants. That worked in the 1970s and ’80s.

 

WifeSaver President Chris Cunningham has spent a few years sending the local fried chicken chain in a new direction: remodeled restaurants with drive-throughs, larger dining rooms and locations in higher-volume traffic areas.

 

The WifeSaver on Mike Padgett Highway at Lumpkin Road quietly closed this month, Cunningham said, because its owner-operator retired. (Rick Whitehead had been there 36 years and retired at age 65.)

 

By: Tim Rausch on November 6, 2014 - 10:53am - Add new comment

There is a social media backlash afoot about shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

 

They are saying no to “Black Thursday” and want support for the retailers that aren’t opening on Thanksgiving. (I thought we were calling Thanksgiving shopping Brown Thursday or Gray Thursday.)

 

By: Tim Rausch on October 31, 2014 - 12:43pm - Add new comment

What happens to old vending machines? Some of them will end up in Graniteville upon retirement.

 

Pepsi Bottling Ventures, the largest privately held Pepsi-Cola bottler in North America, has an agreement with Recleim in Graniteville to dispose of old vending machines, fountain drink units and other Pepsi parts.

 

Recleim will transport retired equipment from Pepsi Bottling Ventures’ central distribution center in Winston-Salem, N.C., to its recycling facility in Graniteville – along with a “certificate of destruction.”

 

By: Tim Rausch on October 17, 2014 - 10:41am - Add new comment

The gamesmanship over the starting times for Christmas shopping has started. We can see by walking through stores that the holiday decorations are already stocked, and now the announcements of opening times for Thanksgiving are coming.

 

Macy’s said it will open two hours earlier than last year. So “Black Friday” at Macy’s will actually begin at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

 

There will be more announcements in the coming weeks as chain stores jockey to beat each other to your first holiday dollar.

 

By: Tim Rausch on October 1, 2014 - 12:06pm - Add new comment

Aiken is going to help out Hercules. Well, it’s more like HERCULES – Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift Evacuation System.

 

BAE Systems has been awarded a $153.6 million contract from the Army to convert 53 of the A1-configured M88 recovery vehicles to the A2 configuration, known as HERCULES. BAE will be doing some of that work in Aiken and in York, Pa.

 

The Army’s fleet of Armored Brigade Combat Team vehicles is getting heavier, making it increasingly important that the recovery fleet is upgraded to support them.

 

By: Tim Rausch on September 26, 2014 - 1:33pm - Add new comment

Not everyone has a grand nest egg sitting around for retirement, so Social Security is going to be the primary income for many Americans.

 

Will Rogers, an Ameriprise adviser in Evans, sees some common mistakes when it comes to Social Security benefits.

 

People draw too early.

 

Or they don’t take advantage of the scenario that allows them to draw spousal benefits – a double-dip scenario.

 

“And they will not plan their income to keep their Social Security tax free, or reduce the taxes on it,” Rogers said.

 

By: Tim Rausch on September 18, 2014 - 10:26am - Add new comment

An Augusta credit union picked the third anniversary of a branch-destroying fire to start building its replacement.

 

Augusta VAH Federal Credit Union lost its branch on Augusta West Parkway on Sept. 23, 2011. So it picked Tuesday (Sept. 23) to break ground on a 6,000 square foot branch.

 

The fire destroyed everything except the bank vault.

 

It will take about six months to complete the building at 1267 Augusta West Parkway, said Dana Johnson, marketing manager.

 

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