From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Tim Rausch on June 25, 2009 - 8:21am - Add new comment

The Greater Augusta Economic Activity Index had me cringing.

First, I cringed because it is the last one. Its caretaker, Augusta State University economist Mark Thompson, will be teaching at Texas Tech this fall.

Secondly, I cringed because the blue line is under 100. That mean’s the local economy is less than it was in 2002, which was the baseline.

By: Tim Rausch on June 18, 2009 - 7:09am - Add new comment

We know what’s going in with Publix in the Riverwood Town Center under construction in Evans. Charlotte-based Crosland LLC, part of the joint venture, has lined up four businesses to open by the end of the year: Great Clips, Sky Nails, White House Cleaners and Woody’s Spirits.

Riverwood Town Center is a 100,000-square-foot neighborhood retail center, anchored by Publix, located at the intersection of Washington Road and William Few Parkway. It serves as the gateway to Riverwood Plantation, a 3,800-acre master-planned community.

By: Tim Rausch on June 11, 2009 - 12:35pm - Add new comment

The economy claimed an Augusta book publisher.

Harbor House is out of business after a decade, the victim of the economy, said publisher Randall Floyd.

Harbor House’s Web site is still working, but the office on 10th Street has a new owner.

The company printed books in different genres: supernatural horror to Civil War fiction to modern romances.

By: Tim Rausch on June 3, 2009 - 7:14am - Add new comment

General Motor’s plan to purge more dealerships sounds like the demise of the small town car dealer.

Among the mountain of documents filed with a New York bankruptcy court is an affidavit from Fritz Henderson, GM’s chief executive. It covers a lot of ground on how the automaker got into financial trouble, but it also has plans for the future.

The New GM, for example, will only have a dealer network of 4,100. The current GM has 6,000 of them.

By: Tim Rausch on May 28, 2009 - 9:19am - Add new comment

The Georgia Department of Labor says Augusta added 1,300 jobs to its economy from March to April. 

Drilling down into the data from the labor department and the industries that gained jobs were federal government, leisure and hospitality, private serve providers and professional and business services.

We lost jobs in retail, transportation, local government and manufacturing.

The hospitality and business services were the biggest gainers, so that explains a portion of the labor department estimate on the number of jobs the area got back last month. 

By: Tim Rausch on May 19, 2009 - 8:08am - Add new comment

From Wednesday through the end of the month, folks that visit the new Queensborough National Bank & Trust branch on Walton Way Extension may get a surprise when they use the ATM there.

The bank randomly put in some bigger bills into the machine.

So when you’re trying to withdraw a $10, you might see a $20 pop out.
It is all part of their grand opening celebration. The building at 3617 Walton Way Ext. is Queensborough’s 22nd branch office.

By: Tim Rausch on May 14, 2009 - 7:38am - Add new comment

We don’t have an Olympics coming to town, we have a science Olympiad tournament.
Its going to give Augusta a good tourism bump five weeks after the biggest tourist draw to the city, the Masters Tournament.

What does more than 3,500 people mean? $1.7 million in spending, says the convention and tourism bureau.

Most of the “academic track meet” for the high school and middle school scientists will be at Augusta State University, but that’s going to spill out into businesses across the city core.

By: Tim Rausch on May 6, 2009 - 12:40pm - Add new comment

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 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.

By: Tim Rausch on April 24, 2009 - 2:52pm - Add new comment

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.

By: Tim Rausch on April 21, 2009 - 6:46pm - Add new comment

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.

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