Business

Black Santa
3:42 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Black Santas In High Demand For The Holidays

Skip Osborne is Kente Claus, he's been working at the West End Mall for 12 years.
Credit Candace Wheeler / WABE

It's 7 p.m. on a weeknight and Juanita Mickens is at the mall.

She’s not here shopping for last minute gifts - she’s looking for Santa Claus.

“I was looking for an African-American Santa Claus for my African-American grandson,” says Mickens when I talk to her at South Dekalb Mall.

Mickens couldn’t find many African-American Santas for her 7-month old grandson’s holiday pictures.

“Well actually, I went to Southlake, Northlake – they told me to come to South Dekalb Mall, so I’m here,” says Mickens.

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Business
11:18 am
Thu December 18, 2014

More Jobs In Georgia, According To State Labor Officials

Trade, transportation and warehousing added 16,000 jobs, largely due to holiday hiring.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was for November was 7.2 percent, according to state's Labor Department.

  That’s down nearly half a point from November 2013, when it was 7.6 percent.

"In addition to strong job growth that has made Georgia a leading state in job creation for several months, we saw our total number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in November fall to the lowest point in more than 14 years," said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

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Business
5:30 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Number Of Holiday Package Deliveries Expected To Rise This Year

Atlanta-based UPS anticipates an 11 percent growth in package deliveries this holiday season.
Credit Kari Bluff / flickr.com/mrsbluff

You might get more presents at your doorstep this Hannukkah and Christmas. That’s because there’s expected to be an increase in the number of packages being shipped.

Atlanta-based UPS anticipates an 11 percent growth in package deliveries this holiday season. The U.S. Postal Service expects to top that with 12 percent increase in parcels. Michael Miles is a spokesman for the Atlanta District of the U.S. postal service.

“Most of that volume is due to the growth in ecommerce.”

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Business
11:38 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Carmike Cinemas Still Considering Options For "The Interview"

The movie "The Interview" has made a lot of controversy and it hasn't been released yet.
Credit Eric Charbonneau / Invision/AP

Updated at 5:40 p.m.

NPR is reporting that Sony has canceled the Christmas Day release of "The Interview." This comes after recent reports that most of the major cinema chains were not going to screen the film - citing concerns over threats.

"We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public," Sony said in a statement. "We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."

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Business
4:37 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

McDonald's Launches Customized Meals To Attract Millennials

Credit Don Ryan / Associated Press

Sales at McDonald’s are down and in an attempt to boost revenue the fast food chain is expanding its "Create Your Taste" program, which lets patrons customize their own burgers and sandwiches.

  Georgia is one of five test markets for the program.

McDonald's officials say its an attempt to reach millennials.

So what exactly do millennials want when they eat out?

According to Atlanta advertising executive, Peter Bunarek, that isn't always clear.

Last year, Bunarek's agency, BBDO Atlanta, conducted a study on the eating-out habits of millennials.

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Business
8:29 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

A Talk With The Vermont Artist Who Won A Trademark Fight With Chick-fil-A

Vermont artist Bo Muller-Moore, wearing one of his "Eat More Kale" T-shirts, in a photo from his website.
Credit eatmorekale.com

  A Vermont artist has won a three-year trademark fight with Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A.  Despite the company's objections, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave Bo Muller-Moore the trademark rights to the phrase, "Eat More Kale," which he puts on the T-shirts he sells.  

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Business
12:27 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Bloomingdale's Launches New Department For Film And Television

This month, Bloomingdale's at Lenox Square Mall opened a new department for film and TV projects.
Credit Wally Gobetz / flickr.com/wallyg

The film and television business has brought over $5 billion to Georgia just this year, according to state officials.

Now, retailers are hoping to cash in even more.

This month, Bloomingdale's at Lenox Square Mall opened a new department for film and TV projects.

The studio services department is tucked away behind the lingerie on the third floor of the department.

Mara Maddox, with Bloomingdale's, says visitors are asked to sign in and given a badge.

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Business
6:02 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Connect With Government Decision Makers

Kurt Sobotka (R) and Kyle Sobotka (L) speak with government contractors at the National Veterans Small Business Engagement
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Recent data show veterans who have served since September 11, 2001, have a higher unemployment rate than the national average. As the government works to reduce that rate, a convention in Atlanta this week focused on helping veterans who own small businesses.

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Airlines and Aviation
5:43 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Fly On Christmas, Save On Airfare

Credit Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

The Christmas holiday travel period is expected to be brisker this year, according to the industry trade group Airlines 4 America. About 45 million passengers are expected to take to the skies. That's up two percent compared to last year.

The good news? Airlines have added seats to accommodate the extra 47,000 passengers a day.

No surprise, Atlanta’s airport will be robust.

During a media briefing Wednesday, John Heimlich of the airline trade group Airlines 4 America said Hartsfield-Jackson will be the busiest, followed by LAX and Chicago-O'Hare.

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Business
5:00 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Neighbors Brace For Apartment Boom

A developer wants to build a 22-story apartment building overlooking Piedmont Park.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Buckhead isn't the only part of Atlanta getting a face-lift.

There's a construction boom underway in Midtown Atlanta and it does not show signs of letting up anytime soon.

The most recent proposal comes from developer Wood Partners, LLC.

Officials there want to build a 22-story, high-rise apartment overlooking Piedmont Park.

It's called "Alta at the Park" and officials made a pitch for it in front of the Midtown Development Review Committee on Monday.

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Business
6:00 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Chefs And Tourists: Two New Markets For Metro Atlanta Farmers

Buckeye Creek Farm in Cherokee County grows and mills tri-colored corn.
Lisa George WABE

Farms were once common in what we now consider metro Atlanta, but their numbers are dwindling. In the last ten years alone, metro Atlanta has lost more than a third of its farmland.

Lisa George visited some metro farmers who are keeping their businesses alive by finding new markets.

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Business
12:57 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Local Christmas Tree Sales "Brisk" For First Time In Years

A barn dubbed the "Christmas Cottage" is one way Big John's Christmas Trees makes money during the holiday season. Big John's owner says customers are more interested in ancillary services this year compared to the past few, a move he thinks represents an improving economy.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

The Great Recession proved to be rough for Christmas tree growers and sellers. But those who made it through believe this year could be the best they’ve seen since 2006.

There’s early evidence to back up the that theory. To see it, one only needs to spend a few minutes watching the busy crews at Big John’s Christmas tree lot in Buckhead.

A team led by Gary Algers, Big John’s tree inventory guru, is busy shaving off from the bottom of an already-cut Christmas tree. It’s what Algers calls shaping the tree’s “butt.”

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Business
12:46 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Mega Hotel May Come To Downtown ATL

There may soon be a new addition to downtown Atlanta's skyline, a mega hotel.
Credit Georgia World Congress Center Authority

It could be the largest hotel downtown Atlanta has ever seen.

"It's pretty exciting time for Atlanta, it's definitely a renaissance," says Paul Breslin, a hotel consultant with Horvath HTL.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority wants to build a high-end hotel on Northside Drive, near the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium.

The proposal calls for a minimum of 800 rooms.

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Business
6:47 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Employee Theft Is More Widespread Than You Think

Retailers lose more than 41 percent of their inventory because of employee theft.
Credit David Duprey / Associated Press

Think of all the ways stores lose money.

Pricing Errors. Damaged Goods. But what about when employees steal merchandise? It's actually a lot more common than you would think. 

There’s a reason your average shopper doesn’t know about this problem. 

“It’s kind of an embarrassing topic,” says Richard Hollinger. He’s a criminology professor at the University of Florida and he’s been studying why and how employees steal for more than 25 years.

It all started when he was 16. He was working at a small grocery store just south of Macon, Georgia.

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Business
6:33 am
Wed December 3, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Looks At UPS Rules For Pregnant Workers

A former UPS employee is taking her pregnancy discrimination claim to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Credit zyphbear / flickr.com/zyphbear/

A former employee of UPS is taking her case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The plaintiff, Peggy Young, says, in 2006, during her pregnancy, she was told not to lift heavy items by her doctor.  

She then claims the Atlanta-based company placed her on unpaid leave because of it. 

Young is now suing the shipping company under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

That is part of a 1978 amendment added to the Civil Rights Act.  It prevents companies from firing pregnant employees.

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Business
3:41 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Retailers Say It's Too Early To Tell If Black Friday Boycotts Affected Sales

Shoppers search for doorbusters during Macy's Lenox Black Friday store opening. Many in the African-American community called for a national boycott of Black Friday in protest over the events in Ferguson.
Credit John Amis / Associated Press

A Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown sparked demonstrations across the nation and calls for protest online.

Many in the African-American community called for a national boycott of Black Friday at retailers like Walmart and Target.

Throughout the holiday weekend hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackoutBlackFriday made the rounds on social meia.

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Airlines and Aviation
8:31 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Busiest Travel Day of Year Full of Flyers' Faux Pas

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year. Experts say that has the potential to bring out the worst in people.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is one of -- if not the busiest -- travel days of the year.

Hartsfield-Jackson International officials predicted more than 7-million passengers will pass through its gates during November, which includes the busy Thanksgiving travel period.  They expect today to bring the most travelers of the week.

That's a lot of people.  So if you're flying this travel season, chances are you’re going to run across fellow travelers who aren’t as, um, considerate as others.

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Business
1:08 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

Consumers Reveal the Stress of Holiday Overspending

A Harris poll survey found nearly 40 percent of people said they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford.

The holidays are for giving, spending time with family and for many being stressed out about how to pay for it all.

In this two-part report, WABE’s Rose Scott reports that overspending is a stressful feeling for consumers and John Lorinc talked to shoppers.

There was a time when I just had to have a certain pair of jeans for Christmas.

Those Jordache jeans were pretty expensive, at least, according to my father.

Decades later, it appears consumers are still worried about spending too much this holiday season.

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Business
1:00 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Coke Looks To Conquer Dairy Market With New Milk Product

Coca-Cola announced it’s launching a new line of milk called Fairlife.
Credit fairlife.com

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola announced it’s launching a new line of milk nationwide called Fairlife, and if that conjures images of cute kids with milk mustaches from the ‘Got Milk’ ads, think again.

The ads for Fairlife depict fit, 20-something women in revealing dresses made of milk.

“It’s not a family around where they’ve replaced the traditional milk with this new product for their breakfast cereal. It looks to me like it’s trying to get at someone who’s currently not drinking milk,” said Doug Bowman, who teaches marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

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Airlines and Aviation
9:06 am
Mon November 24, 2014

AirTran Enters Final Month Of Four-Year Phase Out

Check-in kiosks stand at the ticket counters for Southwest and AirTran Airways at Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Soon AirTran will be phased out as Southwest Airlines completes its four-year acquisition.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

AirTran Airways’ final flight is now about one month away.

The airline - which for nearly two decades has maintained its primary hub here in Atlanta - is being phased out as Dallas-based Southwest Airlines completes its four-year acquisition.

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Business
6:00 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Krog Street Market Opens

Michelle Wirth WABE

After much anticipation, the Krog Street Market officially opens in Inman Park today. Developers say the new market is the first “food hall” to open in Atlanta.

Inman Park resident Lee Arno stands in front of the 30,000 square foot market. Inside there are stores, several food, retail stalls and a handful of restaurants. Arno lives just steps away and is looking forward to its opening.

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Business
6:23 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Graco Recalls 5 Million Strollers For Amputation Hazard

A safety-related concern causes Graco to recall millions of its strollers.
Credit Gracobaby.com

Graco Children’s Products is recalling 11 types of its strollers for safety related reasons.

Officials with the Atlanta-based company say a folding hinge on the sides of the strollers can close on a child’s finger, posing a potential amputation hazard.

The models in question include Aspen, Breeze, Capris, Kite, TravelMate Strollers and Travel Systems.

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Business
5:35 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Why You'd Never Know Atlanta is Tops for Data Centers

Office parks, like this one in DeKalb County, are one place data storage centers are housed. Chances are you'd never know it, though. Companies prefer to keep their data center locations top-secret.
Credit Jim / WABE News

Big data needs big closets.

Turns out, Atlanta’s among the best when it comes to storing the stuff.

Real estate giant CBRE recently looked at the top 23 markets for data hubs, and found Atlanta is among the most cost-effective.

“You’ve got a combination of lower cost utilities and very competitive rental prices,” says Pat Lynch, CBRE’s manager of data center solutions. “The tax component is the third part.”

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Business
9:20 am
Thu November 20, 2014

UPS Store Creates App for Sending Video Messages

With the Delivering Holiday Happiness app from the UPS Store you can send customized video messages along with your packages.
Credit The UPS Store Inc.

Would you like to deliver a special video message to friends and family this Christmas?

There's an app for that.

The UPS Store Inc. is giving people a chance to "Deliver Holiday Happiness."

It's a new app, which debuted this week, that gives customers the chance to record a brief video.

The person who receives the package gets a sticker with a URL address that leads them to the video.

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Business
5:18 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

When a High Unemployment Rate Isn't Bad and Low Gas Prices Aren't Good

Joe Warner fills up his tank at a gas station in Atlanta.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

It might seem strange for an economist to say a state's high unemployment rate isn’t necessarily bad.

Equally flummoxing? When an economist says falling gas prices aren’t necessarily good.

But both were points Georgia State University economist Rajeev Dhawan made Wednesday during his quarterly economic forecast. 

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Business
4:43 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Experiences Growth In Revenue, Jobs

The departure board for Delta's terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Credit David Tulis / Associated Press

In the past four years, Atlanta’s airport has seen a boost in revenue and a growing number of jobs. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed touted the increases today during the release of a 2013 economic impact study released by the airport.

Mayor Reed said last year, Hartsfield-Jackson International generated more than $34 billion in direct business revenue to metro Atlanta. That includes money from airlines, concessions and local hotels. And Reed said it’s about $2 billion more than in 2009, the last time this type of study was released.

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Business
2:51 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Animal Rights Group Calls On Chick-fil-A To Reform Supply-Chain Practices

Mercy for Animals' Matt Rice at a Wednesday press conference in Atlanta.
Credit WABE

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A denies working with a poultry supplier accused of abusing chickens. The fast food chain claims it cut off the relationship in early 2013.

But an animal rights group says it has evidence Chick-fil-A used the supplier into this year and is calling on the company to change its practices.

Matt Rice with Mercy for Animals says abuse and torture remain rampant by Chick-fil-A’s suppliers.

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Business
11:15 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Atlanta Business Reporter Maria Saporta Remembers Herman Russell

The late Herman Russell.
Credit H.J. Russell and Company

Atlanta businessman Herman Russell passed away Saturday at the age of 83.

Russell was a pioneering African-American business leader, who forged partnerships with Atlanta's white business community during a time of racial discrimination.

Atlanta business reporter, and family friend of Russell, Maria Saporta, wrote a tribute to him after hearing of his death. Here, she talks with WABE's Martha Dalton about Russell's legacy. 

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Business
6:00 am
Tue November 18, 2014

What's in a Nickname: Murder Kroger or BeltLine Kroger

With a slew of upgrades and improvements, the Kroger on Ponce de Leon Ave. in Atlanta hopes to change its nickname from "Murder Kroger" to "BeltLine Kroger."
Credit J.C. Burns / flickr.com/jcburns

Later this week, Kroger officials will hold a grand reopening of the Ponce de Leon Avenue store.

Along with trumpeting some upgrades to both the interior and exterior, management will try to shed a rather ominous nickname that’s stuck for more than a decade: Murder Kroger.

Likely named after a woman was shot and killed in the parking lot back in the early 90s, the store even inspired a song by the local band Attractive Eighties Women.

But Kroger thinks with the changes, it should get a new nickname. 

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Business
3:11 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Remembering Trailblazing Business Icon Herman Russell

Credit H.J. Russell and Company

Look around any street or upon any building in the city of Atlanta and there’s probably something built by H. J. Russell Construction Company.

The company was founded by Herman J. Russell, an Atlanta native who turned a small plastering business into several successful others.

Russell died in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014.

And as we hear from WABE’s Rose Scott, Russell’s achievements are far beyond brick and mortar.

Perhaps in this day and age, taking $125 to start a business may seem like a long shot.

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