Business

Business
6:33 am
Mon March 30, 2015

More Video Gamers Are Calling Metro-Atlanta Home

A screenshot from the video game SMITE. This year, the developer, Hi-Rez Studios in Alpharetta, is pushing the game on a new platform, XBOX One, and in a new market, China.
Credit Courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios

Hi-Rez Studios, an online game developer in Alpharetta, announced it’s expanding its headquarters again and adding another 50 jobs.

They're one of a growing list of companies who call metro-Atlanta home.

Asante Bradford promotes video game development for Georgia. Eight years ago, he says, there were only about six gaming companies in all of metro-Atlanta. Now, there are more than 70.

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In Conversation With Valerie Jackson
9:00 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

BrightHouse’s Joey Reiman Discusses Corporate Culture Changes

Joey Reiman, CEO and founder of Brighthouse, a global ideation consultancy, discusses purpose-driven goals in corporate world.
Credit Monika Nikore

In this installment of "Valerie Jackson In Conversation," we speak to former advertising and marketing guru of the Joey Reiman Agency, Joey Reiman.

Reiman is the current CEO and founder of BrightHouse, a global ideation consultancy that teaches companies how to use purpose to achieve success. Reiman is also the author of "The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy." He was named by Fast Company magazine as one of 100 people who will change the way the world thinks.

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Business
6:04 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Vacation Home Rental Service Flatbook Launches In Atlanta

Flatbook purchased new sheets and towels for this condo in West End. Flatbook is paying the owner $1,650 a month.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

If you’re planning to be away this summer and need to lease out your place, a Canada-based start-up may be the easiest option.

Flatbook, which has just launched in Atlanta, takes over the entire subletting process.

Ricardo Theiner is Flatbook’s regional manager. He moved here from Vienna, Austria, recently and is eager to show off a condo in the West End that got a makeover. 

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A Closer Look
5:00 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Obamacare Subsidy May Impact Tax Returns

This is the first year that tax filers will submit Affordable Care Act paperwork to the IRS along with their 1040’s.
Credit John Morgan / flickr.com/aidanmorgan

This is the first year that tax filers will submit Affordable Care Act paperwork to the IRS along with their 1040s. Georgians who purchased health coverage through the federal exchange had to estimate their 2014 income in order to receive a subsidy to help pay for their insurance. 

That subsidy was paid as a tax credit, and the healthcare marketplace recently provided enrollees with the new form 1095-A.  It confirms the amount of credit received. 

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Airlines & Aviation
6:22 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Airports And Airlines Locked In Fight Over Fee Increase

A new runway is one example of how airports like Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International spend Passenger Facility Charges.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

Every time you take off from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International – or any domestic commercial airport – you and everyone else on the flight fork over $4.50 to pay the  Passenger Facility Charge, or PFC.

The money goes to fund airport infrastructure. PFCs paid for half of Atlanta's airport new $1.4 billion international terminal. They also funded a wildlife hazard study at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany.

Airports want the fee increased to $8, they say to keep up with their more than $14 billion in annual infrastructure costs. 

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Business
6:15 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Spalding County Approves First Home-Based Shooting Range

A shooting range was approved for a business license in Spalding County. The owner says he hopes to have more than 600 paying students come through his shooting range this year.
Credit Courtesy of Michael Ranew / Full Blown Firearms

After weeks of debate, Spalding County commissioners approved a business license for its first backyard shooting range. 

Brad Ward has had a shooting range in his backyard for more than 14 years in Williamson, just south of Atlanta.

“Most everybody that has property out here has some type of a makeshift shooting range," Ward says. "Gunfire out in the country is not a bad thing, it is consistent.” 

But his is not your average shooting range.

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Airlines & Aviation
6:29 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Will More Seats Plus More Travelers Equal Lower Airfares?

Times are better, and airlines are adding back in some lost seats.
Credit Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

When the bottom dropped out of the economy, airlines parked planes and pulled seat capacity.

Times are better, airlines are seeing more passengers, and they’re adding back in some of those lost seats. That's creating "capacity pressure" in a number of markets, including Atlanta.

"There are a number of skirmishes breaking out, and ultimately the marketplace and consumers will determine what happens with fares," said John Heimleich, cheif economist for the industry trade group Airlines For America.

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Airlines and Aviation
5:58 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Group Petitions Hartsfield-Jackson Airport For Indian Or Middle Eastern Carrier

In this May 8, 2014, file photo, Emirates passenger planes are parked at their gates of Dubai airport in United Arab Emirates.
Credit Kamran Jebreili, File / Associated Press

Atlanta maintains its long-standing bragging rights as home to the “World’s Busiest Airport,” at least in terms of passenger volume.

But from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, there’s just one flight to the Middle East.

And if you want to fly directly from Atlanta to India, you’re completely out of luck.

In fact, Atlanta trails a host of other U.S. cities in terms of International access, including: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and New York. Each of those cities offers non-stop service from Dubai-based Emirates.

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Airlines & Aviation
12:54 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Southwest Airlines Offers Atlanta Unprecedented Perk

Since finishing its integration of AirTran Airways, Southwest has aggressively focused on courting Atlanta travelers.
Credit Mark Stevens / flickr.com/14723335@N05

Southwest Airlines, the No. 2 carrier by passenger volume at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is offering the Atlanta market a perk normally reserved for the most elite travelers – a companion pass. 

The company called the promotion "historic." 

According to a Southwest press release, metro Atlanta residents "who fly three qualifying round trips on Southwest Airlines from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport between today and May 17, 2015, will earn a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Companion Pass valid through the end of 2015."

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A Closer Look
7:16 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

GOP Lawmaker Files Bill To End Delta's Tax Break On Fuel

Delta recently reported a $2.8 billion profit for 2014.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

One of the leading Republicans in the Georgia House, Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs, has filed a bill to do away with the exemption Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has received on state fuel taxes since 2006.  

At the time lawmakers passed the exemption for Delta, the carrier was trying to emerge from bankruptcy and facing rising fuel costs.

But Ehrhart argues the exemption was not initially intended to be permanent, and Delta recently reported a $2.8 billion profit for 2014.

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Business
5:20 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Vendors Can Finally Return To Turner Field

City Hall official Billy Warren, left, comes out to speak with street vendors as they prepare to enter the Council Chambers to protest the city's policy on selling items on public property on July 1, 2013, in Atlanta. In March, Atlanta police told vendors they were violating an ordinance that prohibits the obstruction of city sidewalks through the sale or display of goods.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Atlanta City Council members voted to pass an ordinance to allow vendors to return to Turner Field

Up to 15 vendors will be allowed to sell their goods again outside the stadium, but only for the next two years.

City councilwoman Mary Norwood says for the last few months, vendors have been showing up at her Public Safety Committee meetings.  

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Business
4:09 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Mercedes-Benz To Relocate Headquarters To Sandy Springs

Mercedes-Benz's corporate headquarters will be located in the city of Sandy Springs.
Credit Axion23 / flickr.com/gfreeman23

Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon says the company's corporate headquarters will be located in the metro Atlanta city of Sandy Springs.

Cannon joined Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and other officials at a ceremony Tuesday at the state Capitol. Mercedes-Benz officials announced in January that the car manufacturer would relocate its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Georgia. But a specific location wasn't clear.

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A Closer Look
2:11 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

How FEMA Uses Waffle House To Measure Disasters

If a Waffle House is closed after a storm, then things are really bad.
Credit Bob B. Brown / flickr.com/beleaveme

When a big storm or tornado devastates a community, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) usually steps in to help state and local officials. But in recent years, FEMA has been getting some help of its own from an unexpected source – one you see on almost every highway throughout the Southeast: Waffle House.

During a busy lunch hour at a Waffle House in Norcross, Ga., manager William Palmer grills up a Texas Lover’s BLT for one of his customers on the high counter.

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Airlines and Aviation
7:32 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Southwest Unveils 'Heartlanta' Campaign, Fare Sale

Southwest Airlines entered the Atlanta market in February 2012 through its merger with AirTran Airways. Southwest finished integrating AirTran in December and is now focused on gaining domestic market share at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

Three years to the month after Southwest Airlines began service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Dallas-based carrier kicked off a campaign Monday aimed directly at luring local travelers.

Southwest calls it “Heartlanta.”

The kitschy advertisements feature smiling faces, dancing Atlanta-based employees and Southwest planes crossing the screen in dramatic slow motion.

“Hey Atlanta,” a female voice says at the start of the 15-second commercial. “You know how we know this is a real relationship? We’re picking you up at the airport.”

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Women
5:23 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

City Looks To Help Women Start Small Businesses With New Incubator Program

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) CEO Grace Fricks says they will provide loan capital to the 15 women in the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative program.
Credit Tasnim Shamma / WABE

In the Atlanta area, there are more than 200,000 businesses owned by women.

Mayor Kasim Reed says there could be more. So he’s launching a program to help women start their own small businesses. It’s called the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. 

Mayor Reed says when he was running for mayor, he heard from many women entrepreneurs. And he says they had two concerns: 

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Business
6:37 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Philips Arena Among Most Profitable Venues In The World

Sir Paul McCartney's ''Out There'' show was among the best-selling concerts at Philips Arena last year.
Credit Dan Harr / Invision/Associated Press

Philips Arena is the 10th most profitable venue in the world, according to Pollstar Magazine.

The home of the Atlanta Hawks hosted 64 events in 2014, selling nearly 610,000 tickets.

Among the best-selling concerts last year: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and Fleetwood Mac.

The O2, in London, topped Pollstar's list of arenas, followed by two others in the United Kingdom.

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Business
6:00 am
Sat January 17, 2015

"Selma" Brings Big Dollars To Georgia

The production crew of "Selma" filmed in Georgia for 95 days.
Credit Paramount Pictures

The Oscar-nominated movie, "Selma," picked up a big win for Georgia's economy.  

The film — which traces a pivotal time in the civil rights movement — spent more than three months shooting in Georgia, in places like Marietta Square and the Georgia State Capitol. 

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, production of the film contributed more than $10.3 million to the state's economy. The association said the film's production hired more than 400 local crew members — and paid over $5 million in wages.

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Uber Strike
4:46 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Uber Drivers Shut Down Tonight

Uber drivers in Atlanta are protesting fare cuts from 5 tonight to 3 a.m.
Credit Julio Cortez, File / Associated Press

Their phones are logged out, and the cars are in park. Uber drivers in Atlanta are responding to a 20 percent fare cut by the company.

Prices for a ride dropped last week in nearly 50 cities. Protest organizers want drivers to stop taking clients from 5 tonight until 3 a.m.

Louise Cook has been driving for Uber for nine months. “It was really sort of a crushing blow. We all love our clients. We all want to drive for Uber. But we can’t do it if we don’t make at least some money," said Cook.

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Business
6:00 am
Fri January 16, 2015

States Use Big Tax Breaks To Lure Companies, But What's The Payoff?

Credit Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen / flickr.com/peterras

Georgia’s business and political circles have been buzzing about Mercedes’ planned move since the German car company announced plans to move its U.S. headquarters to the state last week.

The move is such a big get for the state that Gov. Nathan Deal even slipped it into his State of the State address Wednesday.

“The announcement last week that Mercedes-Benz is moving its North American headquarters to Georgia is further evidence that our state will continue to be a leader in job creation,” Deal said, garnering a round of applause from state lawmakers.

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Business
5:43 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Businesses To Georgia Lawmakers: Fix Transportation, And Fix It Soon.

Gridlock is expanding beyond Atlanta, and some businesses are concerned they'll be unable to efficiently transport their products once they arrive at the Port of Savannah.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press

Be it spruce, noble fir or pine -- if it’s fake, and it’s a Christmas tree, Caroline Tuan is waiting for it at the Port of Savannah.

"Most of our product is imported," says Tuan, COO of California-based Balsam Brands. The company imports artificial Christmas trees through the Port of Savannah.

“What’s getting increasingly difficult for trucking companies is to stay on schedule," she says. That's because traffic congestion is increasing, causing longer and unpredictable travel times between the Port and Balsam's Atlanta warehouse. 

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A Closer Look
1:31 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

The Mall Of The Future…On Buford Highway?

Another busy Sunday at Plaza Fiesta.
Ryan Nabulsi / twinlensatl.com WABE

A lot of stories these days tell us the American shopping mall is in trouble. But Buford Highway's Plaza Fiesta might set an example for an entirely new model of mall.

Or maybe it’s not so new after all.

WABE’s Kate Sweeney has the story.

The story of a new kind of shopping mall starts with the story of some of the very oldest shopping malls. These were conceived of by a man with a vision.

Live, Work, Play...1960s-Style

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Business
4:09 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

NCR Corp. To Build New Global Headquarters In Atlanta

NCR Corp. has announced that it will move its headquarters operations from Duluth to Atlanta.
Credit Dayton Daily News, Ron Alvey / Associated Press

Authorities say the technology firm NCR Corp. plans to build a new headquarters in midtown Atlanta. The firm is now based in the northeast Atlanta suburb of Duluth.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday said that its new global headquarters will bring 3,600 jobs to Atlanta. It is being planned for a site on Spring Street near the Georgia Institute of Technology campus.

Reed said in a statement that NCR also plans to maintain a significant presence in suburban Atlanta.

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Business
3:10 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

MARTA Is Making A Comeback, With Or Without Funding

MARTA is the ninth largest transit agency in the country.
Credit Allison Guillory / WABE

MARTA is no longer a four-letter word in metro Atlanta.

For years, MARTA has been the battered and neglected transportation stepchild in Georgia. But today, it's on the rebound.

The ninth largest transit agency in the country operating in the black. Its ridership is up. Its trains are running more often. It's even improving its bus service ─ cut during the Great Recession and tight budget years.

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Business
11:20 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Coca-Cola Cuts 500 Atlanta Jobs

Coke is planning to lay off up to 1,800 people across the country.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

Coca-Cola is slashing jobs.

According to a written statement from the Atlanta-based beverage giant, Coke will lay off up to 1,800 people across the country.

These cuts are part of Coke’s plan to trim its bottom line by $3 billion before the end of this decade.

Consumption of Coke’s soft drinks has dropped recently in North America and Europe.

The company posted a 14 percent drop in its third quarter profits last year.

The layoffs are scheduled to take place over the next few months.

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Business
5:56 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Georgia Workers, Union Leaders Call For Minimum Wage Increase

Workers gathered together today to support raising the minimum wage to above Georgia's current $7.25 an hour.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

A coalition of union leaders, workers and workers' rights advocates rallied to raise the state’s minimum wage Wednesday. They support a proposal that calls for Georgia workers to earn a minimum of $15 per hour.

Right now, employers have to pay Georgia employees at least $7.25 an hour. At a union hall in downtown Atlanta, dozens of people called for more than twice that amount for workers like Rhonda Levitt. She currently works four part-time jobs to help support her grandchildren and her mother. But Levitt says still has trouble paying her bills.

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Business
7:19 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Mercedes Confirms Plans For Metro-Atlanta Relocation

Luxury car company Mercedes-Benz is moving its U.S. headquarters to the metro-Atlanta area.
Credit Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen / flickr.com/peterras

Luxury car company Mercedes-Benz is moving its U.S. headquarters to the metro-Atlanta area.

The company and Gov. Nathan Deal made announcements about the relocation within minutes of each other Tuesday evening after months of speculation that the German brand was eyeing a move to the Southeast.

In a statement released online, Mercedes said the move was “designed to better serve its growing customer base and strengthen the company's position for long-term, sustainable growth.”

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Business
3:51 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Mercedes Eyes Metro Area For New $93M US Headquarters

Paperwork filed with the county lists the location of the possible new Mercedes facility as “TBD – Sandy Springs.”
Credit Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen / flickr.com/peterras

Luxury car company Mercedes-Benz is asking Fulton County officials to help foot the bill for a new $93 million U.S. headquarters, according to documents filed with the county’s development authority.

Mercedes officials met with the Development Authority of Fulton County early Tuesday to discuss a possible relocation deal for the car company.

Paperwork filed with the county lists the location of the possible new facility as “TBD – Sandy Springs.” Mercedes officials also estimated the new U.S. headquarters would bring 800 jobs to the area.  

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Business
6:00 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Maria Saporta: Finally, A Vision for Underground Atlanta

At long last, a developer has come up with a viable plan for Underground.
Credit Charles Edwards/WABE

At long last, a developer has come up with a viable plan for Underground.

It’s not surprising it had to be someone from out of town who was willing to take the risk to realize Underground’s true potential.

Many Atlantans are jaded when it comes to Underground. They may remember the lively nightspot of their youth, a distant memory of what it is today – a place visited by the confused tourist, the occasional office worker or people who don’t have anything better to do.

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Business
4:42 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

Publix To Offer Same-Sex Marriage Benefits

Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE News

Starting this year, Publix will offer same-sex marriage benefits to its employees. The southern grocery chain, which has a major presence here in Atlanta, will give full spousal benefits to couples who wed in states where gay marriage is legal. WABE’s Michelle Wirth got reaction from local residents.

Most local residents say they’re pleased Publix will offer the benefits. Terrence Cox is a Brookhaven resident.

“I think it’s fantastic.”

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Business
5:52 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Big Layoffs Reportedly Coming At Atlanta-Based Coke

Consumption of coke’s soft drinks has been falling in North America and Europe and flatlining in Latin America.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is reportedly expected to announce it's cutting between 1,000 and 2,000 positions globally in the next few weeks, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.  

Many of those positions are expected to be in the Atlanta headquarters.

Coke didn’t respond to emails from WABE for confirmation or comment, but earlier this year the company announced plans to expand a five-year cost cutting program to $3 billion from $1 billion in February.

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