Originally created 07/05/99

Local briefs



Local impact of P&Gcutbacks uncertain

Procter & Gamble Co. announced June 9 that it plans to eliminate 15,000 jobs worldwide -- about 13 percent of its work force -- during the next six years. It also plans to close about 10 plants, but officials are not saying which ones.

The cuts, scheduled to begin July 1, likely will have little impact on any of the three P&G plants in Georgia, said Guy Griswold, a spokesman at the P&G plant in Albany. The Augusta P&G laundry detergent plant employees about 280 and provides jobs to about 350 contract workers.

Augusta P&G spokesman, Harold Petteway, declined to say if jobs would be cut locally.

Shortage of wallboardhurting home building

Local builders are having to adjust their construction schedules and, in some cases, their wallets to deal with a nationwide shortage of gypsum wallboard -- the paneling material used to make walls in most American homes.

The cost of wallboard has increased 15 percent this year, according to government reports compiled by National Association of Home Builders. But low interest rates and a strong economy still make now a good time to remodel or build a new home, said Michael Carliner, an NAHB economist.

Souper Salad opensin Augusta Exchange

Souper Salad, a restaurant chain serving soups and salads, opened in May at the Augusta Exchange off Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway.

It is the sixth restaurant to open at the rapidly expanding shopping center. Souper Salad, based in San Antonio, has 122 restaurants in 15 states.

The restaurant offers a 60-item salad bar, a soup bar with four specialty soups daily, a baked potato bar and a homemade bread bar.

Ceramic fiber demandsaved jobs at plant

An unexpected upswing in the ceramic fiber business saved about twenty jobs at Thermal Ceramics in late May, according to the company's human resources director.

Thermal Ceramics planned to lay off workers when demand for its heat-resistant bricks declined, human resource director Walt Alexanderson said. The company no longer needed as many workers to fill orders and shut down its third kiln. But plans changed when demand for ceramic fibers increased.

Now those workers will be shifted to the ceramic fibers business.

Oldenberg bankruptcywon't affect restaurant

Oldenberg Brewing Co., based in Fort Mitchell, Ky., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Locally-based Oldenberg Grill, a brew pub operating under a licensing agreement with the Oldenberg Brewing Co., will not be affected by the company's financial woes, restaurant operating partner Tom Clark said.

The grill also is under investigation by Georgia's Department of Revenue and has stopped serving some of its beer brands. Mr. Clark has acknowledged there is an investigation but said the pub is cooperating and has not violated any laws.

City earmarks moneyfor Regency Mall study

Augusta officials, eager to protect their investment in the infrastructure at the ailing Regency Mall, have offered $100,000 to study what should be done with the shopping center.

Paperwork for the grant, which has been under discussion for months, was signed at the beginning of June, said Mayor Bob Young. The money is coming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and will go to Greater Augusta Progress, a development group that will hire consultants.

City to pave entranceto corporate park

The Augusta Corporate Park, the city's largest undeveloped industrial property, could see its first major construction activity later this year.

The Development Authority of Richmond County on June 14 gave the go-ahead to cut an entryway into the park, a thickly wooded, 1,522-acre plot located 15 miles south of the city.

The paved entrance, which would extend about a quarter-mile into the property, will make it easier for economic developers to market the land to potential industrial tenants, officials said. Augusta-Richmond County will award the road contract on a competitive bid process, officials said.

Wall Street firm investsin James Brown's songs

An undisclosed major Wall Street financial institution is lending James Brown, who lives in Beech Island, $30 million in exchange for future royalties earned by his recording catalog, USA Today reported June 15.

The deal was brokered by New York bond whiz David Pullman. Brown bonds are priced to yield the lending institution 7.98 percent a year. The cost to Mr. Brown will be from 8 percent to 10 percent annually. Mr. Brown will get cash flow in return, rather than waiting years for royalties to be calculated and paid.

Bankruptcy of partnernot to affect Poteet

Eight years ago, Poteet Funeral Homes partnered with Vancouver-based Loewen Group Inc. in an effort to offer better benefits to employees and improved service to customers.

But June 3, the Loewen Group announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Del., and for creditor protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act in Toronto, Ontario. The four local Poteet Funeral Homes are still open and will not be affected, said funeral home director Thomas Poteet.

In the past year, the Loewen Group stock has declined from a high of more than $28 a share to a low of 50 cents a share.

Temporary employmentoffice opens in Augusta

Global Employment Solutions Inc., which does business as TPS Staffing & Recruiting in Washington, Thomson and Statesboro, Ga., launched its Augusta operation in May. The Golden, Colo.,-based company's local office is headed by Augusta native Michael Sizemore, a former Sizemore Personnel executive, who established the regional TPS office in 1994.

The company will focus on administrative/clerical staffing and operate a professional employment organization, known in the industry as an employee leasing "PEO." PEOs contract with employers to provide all their personnel functions, including payroll, taxes and worker's compensation.