Table of Contents February 2013

February 2013

Cover story

Minding the store

Having the world's biggest retailer — Walmart — as the state's largest employer affects North Carolina's economy in ways obvious and subtle.
By Erin Dunn and Edward Martin

Retailers hold four of the top 10 spots on Business North Carolina's ranking of the state's largest 100 employers, more than any other industry, reflecting a major shift in the way this state works. In 1977, the four largest employers were textile companies. When BNC published its first ranking in 1991, four of the top 10, including No. 1, were manufacturers. Only a handful are on it now. “North Carolina isn’t unique,” says Patrick O’Neill, executive vice president of the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union in Washington, D.C. “We’re becoming a nation of consumers, not producers, and Wal-Mart’s helping accelerate the downward spiral. It used to be Wal-Mart imported 72% of its goods. Now that’s about 90%. It’s a race to the bottom, and they’re responsible for a lot of the off-shoring of jobs you see in North Carolina.”


Catching more flies with vinegar

When their stockbroker jobs soured, partners turned to the art of the dill.
By Katherine Archer
Yucca — a whole lot of vodka mixed with fresh-sliced lemons and a dash of sugar — is not named for its taste. It’s named for the way it makes you feel the next morning. But in June 2009, as she sipped some from a gallon pickle jar while sitting on the beach at Sea Island, Ga., Jenny Fulton felt good. The sun was bright, the waves aquamarine, her skin brown, and her children were at home in Winston-Salem. She was starting to feel warm, and not because of the sun, when her phone rang. It was Ashlee Furr, her sales assistant in the Greensboro office of Morgan Keegan & Co.

“I’m packing up my desk,” Furr said.
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“Laid off.”

Photo Feature

Glass for houses
That's what Andrew Pearson wants to design, if only the economy doesn't hurl another stone.

By Edward Martin, Photography by Mike Belleme

Sue and Hal Brownfield’s calling was crystal clear. “Hal liked product design and was really good at it,” she says. He designed his first piece — a spiraling, stacked-glass lamp table — loaded it in the trunk of his car, went to National Bank of Detroit and got a loan. So began the couple’s sometimes-bumpy road from working in the auto industry to owning Andrew Pearson Industries Inc., a Mount Airy company that makes architectural and decorative glasswork.


Up Front
Shop till you drop.

NC Trend
How the economy turns.

Free & Clear
Paved with good intentions.

Capital Goods
New take on tax reform.

Regional Report
Eastern Triangle Triad Charlotte Western

Special Advertising Sections and Publications

Economic forecast round table

First In Flight

Best Employers in N.C.

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