Articles

Article Title Issue

State of the unions

Labor eyes public employees to bolster ranks that, though they are weak, still stir strong opposition.

2012-01

Water war

Alcoa battles government officials over hydropower on the Yadkin River, and Badin is caught in the middle.

2012-01

Hot Stocks 2012

A panel of pros pick the North Carolina stocks they think will perform best in 2012.

2012-01

Fuming over the gas tax

Mooneyham: Over the last decade, the clamor and downright demagoguery surrounding North Carolina’s gasoline tax rival that of any topic in state politics.

2012-01

Paper thin

Up Front: I have a special place in my heart for newspapers. I grew up the son of a newspaperman.

2012-01

The shovel-ready rate hike

Gearino: What’s the functional difference between a tax-funded federal stimulus program and Duke Energy Corp.’s recent rate-hike request?

2012-01

Bringing them to the table

Small Business of the Year Runner-up: Jill Marcus and Karen Teed juggled day jobs with cooking at night to get Something Classic Catering & Cafes Inc. going. In 2000, after working out of sometimes rented — and always cramped — spaces for 11 years, they borrowed $250,000. “We took a giant leap of faith and opened an 8,000-square-foot kitchen,” Marcus, 45, says. “We hocked our houses and our firstborn children.”

2011-12

Dear departed

Up Front: Though it barely touched upon business, last month’s column about my dog’s passing prompted the most reader response of any piece to appear in the pages of this magazine. You’ll find a sampling on page 6, but I thought I’d share this one here. It’s from Rufus Edmisten, the Boone native who was deputy chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, North Carolina’s attorney general for 10 years, the Democratic nominee for governor in 1984 and secretary of state for two terms.

2011-12

Down in the trenches

Small Business of the Year Runner-up: In 2008 and 2009, Marvin Mercer scrapped for clients, calling on everyone he knew. Once, he heard two strangers talking about engineering in a restaurant, so he just walked up to the table and laid down his card. Nothing seemed to make a difference. Money was so tight that he and his wife, Wendy, who together own Mercer Design Group PC, were scrimping on paper and ink, and he had taken to nagging employees about turning out the lights. They even considered filing for bankruptcy. “We were probably within a week or two weeks of closing the doors,” he says.

2011-12

File and rank

Capital Goods: Every year, groups of all shapes and sizes rank state legislators. Liberal advocacy groups put together their lists; conservative advocacy groups compile theirs. There are rankings of the most effective, most business friendly, most consumer friendly, most environmentally friendly and so on.

2011-12

Occupy your mind

Fine Print: I’ve studied the Occupy Raleigh movement on a daily basis since the protest began but not exactly by choice. I can see the protesters from my desk in downtown Raleigh, and it’s not a matter of my having to take the trouble to look out the window. Thanks to the placement of my desk, I have to go to the trouble not to see them.

2011-12

Wait and seethe

2011 Top Contractors: Anxious for an upturn, top contractors keep their companies stoked with whatever work there is, wherever they can find it.

2011-12

Where the heart is

Feature: Two Tar Heels injured in Iraq prove charity starts at home by building and renovating houses for disabled vets.

2011-12

Sticking to his knitting

Small Business of the Year: In the early ’90s, after six years of playing bass guitar for a rock band, Shane Cooper became obsessed with bicycle racing. He didn’t excel as a rider, so he took to coaching, and his team from Hickory went on to win several regional and state championships. He also became obsessed with socks — bike socks.

2011-12

Regional Report Triangle December 2011

“When I grew up, tobacco was something you smoked or chewed or dipped.” — Gov. Beverly Perdue at the opening of Medicago USA Inc.’s headquarters and production plant in Research Triangle Park Nov. 14.

2011-12

Rhino extends its range

Small Business of the Year Runner-up: The world turned upside down in late 2008,” says Dan Brooks, president of Rhino Assembly Corp. “All of a sudden, every manufacturer was saying, ‘They’ve cut my budget. I’m not allowed to spend at all.’” Rhino, which specializes in providing customized tools for auto and aircraft manufacturers, was losing $50,000 to $100,000 a month. To survive, Brooks says, “we knew cutbacks had to be made, but we were not willing to cut employees.” 

2011-12

Regional Report Triad December 2011

“We’ve been growing throughout the whole downturn.”— Daryl Bible, chief financial officer of Winston-Salem-based BB&T Corp., after the bank agreed to acquire BankAtlantic in November. Bible was referring to BB&T’s deposits minus CD accounts, which have fallen off since the recession started in December 2007. But its expansion has come with a price: Its 2009 acquisition of failed Colonial Bank forced it to write off millions of the bank’s nonperforming assets a year later.
2011-12

Regional Report Charlotte December 2011

“Get the heck out of that bank.”— Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin’s advice to Bank of America customers Oct. 3 after it announces it will institute a $5 monthly debit-card fee. Reason: the Durbin Amendment (named for you-know-who) to the Dodd-Frank Act, which limits “swipe fees” — what banks charge merchants for debit-card transactions — and will diminish the nearly $16 billion a year Charlotte-based BofA and others get from them. He makes his comment on the Senate floor.

 

2011-12

Regional Report Eastern December 2011

Once touted as a growth industry, the number of Tar Heel fish farms has sunk by a fourth in five years, from 200 to 150, due largely to soaring prices of corn and soybeans, the primary ingredients of fish feed. But vertical integration — controlling every aspect of production — has allowed Carolina Classics Catfish Inc. to keep revenue and profit stable.

2011-12

Regional Report Western December 2011

In October, Asheville Savings Bank converted from a mutual association owned by its members to a financial institution owned by stockholders, selling more than $55 million of shares through subscription and a community offering. 

2011-12