From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Tim Rausch on January 8, 2009 - 5:33pm - Add new comment

Owners of stores that re-sell children’s clothes and toys can breathe a sigh of relief.

There was a worry that a new law would force most of them out of business because they would be have been required under a new federal law to test all of their clothes and toys for lead content before selling it, a costly burden.

But today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a clarification of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that exempts the sellers of used children’s products from certifying lead limits.

By: Tim Rausch on January 7, 2009 - 2:50pm - Add new comment

Goody’s is bidding goodbye for good.

Last year, the area lost two of its three clothing stores, in Aiken and south Augusta. The last remaining store in west Augusta will now be closing along with the rest of the clothing retail chain nationwide.

An employee at the Goody’s Family Clothing store at 216 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway said today that the store will close its doors in the next four to six weeks. The employees are waiting for an exact closing date. A liquidation sale will be forthcoming, though.

By: Tim Rausch on December 19, 2008 - 12:01pm - Add new comment

CarMax said this morning that it will finish building its Augusta store, but it won’t open it right away.
The nation’s largest used car retailer is on target to have the store near the intersection of Wheeler Road and Interstate 20 done by March. What this means is the 50 to 85 people that were going to work there won’t have a job until “market conditions improve.”
The company released its corporate earnings this morning. It didn’t have earnings, it lost $21.9 million in the third quarter.

By: Tim Rausch on December 16, 2008 - 10:09am - Add new comment

Augusta’s housing market is strong. Say what? Repeat that.
Augusta’s housing market is strong.
Our market is second in the nation in home value appreciation – not the “I like your house” brand of appreciation, but the increase in value version.
In the past year, the value of area homes increased (in total) 5.5 percent.
Those California cities that have been rocked by the housing bubble bursting and now rampant foreclosure are going down: 42.3 percent in Merced, 41.4 percent in Stockton and 36.7 percent in Modesto.

By: Tim Rausch on December 2, 2008 - 1:33pm - Add new comment

Delta Air Lines this morning let the world see a memo that it sent out to 75,000 employees that set the table for some buyouts to reduce its staff.
Next year, the airline is going to reduce its capacity, for Northwest flights too, 6 to 8 percent. Specifically, domestic seats are going to be cut 8 to 10 percent and international capacity is going down 3 to 5 percent in 2009.
The memo, signed by CEO Richard Anderson and President Edward Bastian, said the reduction comes as a result of the global economic recession and a weaker demand for air travel.

By: Tim Rausch on December 1, 2008 - 1:41pm - Add new comment

It has not escaped my attention that some major money is going to be invested in South Carolina.
American Titanium Works is going to build a titanium mini-mill in Laurens County. The Chicago steel company is going to spend $422 million on a plant that will employ 320 people.
As if that wasn’t enough, 40 engineering jobs are going to be created at Clemson. The company is setting up an engineering technical center at the university’s automotive research campus.

By: Tim Rausch on November 24, 2008 - 10:27am - Add new comment

Even the Downtown Development Authority of Augusta has been affected by the credit crunch. This quasi-governmental agency has $184,000 deposited with Bank of America and paid its bills on time, but its credit card was revoked.

The executive director relayed the message that the revocation was a credit decision.

No surprise, the DDA is switching banks for its checking and savings.

U.S. banks charged off more than 5 percent of all credit card loans in the second quarter, representing some $50 billion that they’ll likely never collect, according to the Federal Reserve.

By: Tim Rausch on November 17, 2008 - 8:55am - Add new comment

It is the time of the year where my sister and I start the song and dance about what to get our parents for Christmas. It is a question that usually provides a shrug as an answer, so the common fall-back is a gift card. Hey, it lets them pick what they want.

But there’s a new worry. Is the retailer going to be there right after Christmas? We need to choose a little wiser now in case the store goes bankrupt at the conclusion of the holiday season.

By: Tim Rausch on November 9, 2008 - 9:15pm - Add new comment

The document that will be used to drive discussion on Augusta and North Augusta’s downtown development over the next few decades is being written right now.

By: Tim Rausch on November 2, 2008 - 5:48pm - Add new comment

There are indications that Xethanol might not be leaving town. First of all, the company is no longer known as Xethanol.

The New York-based alternative ethanol company has turned itself into an Atlanta-based alternative energy technology company that now goes by the name of Global Energy Holdings Group.

It already has changed its stock exchange ticker. (For those of you who want to invest, it is GNH.)


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