Students of the Scuttlebiz know that numbers can be made to say anything. So there’s your grain of salt warning for the latest quarterly home value report from the real estate Web site Zillow.com that is making its way across the nation’s business pages.
Zillow reported this morning that the downturn in home prices has left 20 percent of the nation’s homeowners owing more on the mortgage than the house is worth – the jargon term is negative equity.
The furlough idea has taken hold at E-Z-Go. Tell your employees they’re taking a week off without pay, and you shave 1.9 percent of your payroll costs.
(For you math fans, one week is 1.9 percent of the year.)
E-Z-Go is requiring its salaried staff – about 35 percent of its workers – to do this three times this year, once a quarter.
Raising Cane's is seeminly razing the restaurant.
The chicken restaurant chain has two locations in Augusta: 2849 Washington Road and 407 Furys Ferry Road. Both are closed.
I drove past the one on Furys Ferry to see a sign on the door saying it is permanently closed. I think they mean it. There's a dumpster out front and a semi trailer.
The company does thank us for our patronage for these last few years.
Why? Waiting to hear that answer. The whole corporation isn't going under, the Dallas-based chain opened a new store today in Columbus, Ohio.
The scuttlebutt into the official scuttler is that the Masters Tournament economy was not down as much as had been feared before the tournament. Several people who know people in the hospitality industry have said similar things to me this week.
It seems that when golf enthusiasts saw reports that the “unofficially purchased” tickets were on sale, they made a last-minute decision to come to Augusta.
A certain downtown hotel was close to the number of people that stayed there last year, too, I’m told.
SubAir got bigger since we last checked in with the company during Masters week last year. The Graniteville company makes machines that make it easier for golf course superintendents to control turf growing conditions – think giant underground hair dryer.
In August, they started adding onto their building. And now they’re starting to ship products made through that expansion. It has a new metal fabrication division.
Call it insourcing.
The used-car chain CarMax is still apparently maxed out despite recently opening a new store in Virginia.
Their Augusta store is done at 130 Mason McKnight Jr. Parkway near Interstate 20. Built. Signs up. Just missing the cars and the sales staff.
When I saw their announcement about opening a new store in Woodbridge, Va., I thought an announcement for Augusta’s grand opening would soon follow. Nope.
Watching the stock market start to gain ground again prompted the question of whether this is the first indication of the turnaround that economists were predicting would start in the middle of this year and revising to say will happen toward the end of the year.
The stock market has people sucking their thumbs in the fetal position on their bedroom floors, but a lot of companies whose stock values are dropping are still making profits. The profits aren’t as high as they once were, but there is still a profit.
Take Procter & Gamble. Its stock price was at a high of $73.57 per share. Now it is trading in the neighborhood of $44.
The company isn’t tanking, though. In the last three months of 2008, it turned out quarterly earnings of $5 billion, up from the $3.2 billion it had in the last three months of 2007.
If you have phone conversation skills, there are jobs coming to take advantage of those skills.
The head of Richmond County’s economic development authority tells me that Teleperformance is asking for assistance in expanding its location in the old Waccamaw Building behind the Augusta Mall.
Reaction to the master plan from its potential champions has been positive.
Implementation of the projects in the master plan relies on people and organizations in the community taking them off the drawing board and working to make them reality.
With such an emphasis on waterfront development – four of the nine market creation projects involve housing and parks along the canal – the Augusta Canal Authority is cited most often as a potential champion for projects, assuming a leadership role in a public-private collaboration.