Table of Contents February 2013
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.”
“I’m packing up my desk,” Furr said.
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
Glass for houses
That's what Andrew Pearson wants to design, if only the economy doesn't hurl another stone.
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.
Shop till you drop.
How the economy turns.
Free & Clear
Paved with good intentions.
New take on tax reform.