Archive for November, 2012

Georgia Powerball players spending millions daily in quest of jackpot

Powerball mania. It’s unstoppable.

With tonight’s jackpot at a half-billion dollars, Georgians stormed state lottery retailers Tuesday for their chance at a ticket and the big bucks.

Stormed isn’t too strong a word, either.

Consider: Georgia Lottery officials report that the average daily Powerball with Power Play sales in Georgia for the current fiscal year, through October 2012, are approximately $364,000.

Tuesday’s Powerball sales in Georgia topped $4 million, as of  7 p.m.

Can’t wait to see the number today.

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SEC Championship tickets, or Hawks tickets? What do you want to spend?

As the media have been reminding everyone, Georgia’s football squad will play its most important game in nearly 30 years Saturday. So it comes as no surprise that the price of admission to the game in the Georgia Dome has hit nosebleed levels.

How high?

The latest check at online ticket sales site StubHub! shows tickets going for as much as $2,500 and as low as $315.

The high end gives you a spot in the Verizon Wireless Club in section 247, at midfield. Nice seats, to be sure.

As for the low end, that’ll put you in row 12 of section 336, up in the upper end zone where the game is just a rumor.

Nearly 2,600 tickets were available as of Monday morning, with prices running in between those two extremes, so pick your poison.

Incidentally, if you have a hankering to see a big-time sports event this week, and don’t much care what game or what teams are involved, you might consider taking in the Atlanta Hawks. They’re playing the Charlotte Bobcats this Wednesday night at Philips …

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Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate falls to 8.2 percent in October

Employers in metro Atlanta stepped up hiring in October — partly for the holidays — pushing down the area’s unemployment rate to 8.2 percent, from 8.3 percent in September, the state labor department said Thursday.

There was an increase of 19,500 new jobs in metro Atlanta in October, which boosted the total number of jobs by 0.8 percent from September.

The growth came in a wide variety of industries. Retail gained 5,900 jobs; professional, scientific, and technical services was up 2,800; education and health care — up 2,600; accommodations and food services — up 2,200; local government — up 2,200; technology — up 1,400; construction — up 1,200; and financial services — up 800.

Metro Atlanta’s jobless rate has fallen from 9.4 percent a year ago, as the number of jobs increased by 33,700, or 1.5 percent.

In the core metro areas, Clayton County had the highest unemployment rate at 10.5 percent. It was followed by Fulton at 9 percent, DeKalb (8.8 percent), Cobb (7.5 percent) and …

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Auto buyers warned of Sandy-damaged vehicles

Vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy. (Associated Press)

Vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy. (Associated Press)

In the market for a pre-owned vehicle? Look before you sign, Georgia consumer protection officials are warning.

A day after the National Automobile Dealers Association reported that flooding and other damage from Hurricane Sandy destroyed around 100,000 vehicles, the state Attorney General’s Office and the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection is warning auto buyers to have the vehicle you want to buy thoroughly inspected before sealing the deal.

The vehicles could be sold at auction, cleaned up afterward (or before) and end up on metro Atlanta’s hundreds of car lots or in online listings. While titles are required to indicate whether the vehicle is “flood,” “junk,” “salvage,” “rebuilt,” or “reconstructed,” they don’t always, even if insurers have salvaged or totaled them out.

“The best advice is to check out the vehicle before you purchase it because after the fact it’s going to be very difficult to get …

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Are you willing to donate to the national debt?

U.S. Tresury in Washington (Associated Press)

U.S. Treasury in Washington (Associated Press)

The nation’s $16 trillion-plus debt has some Americans so worried that they’ve donated nearly $8 million – outside of federal taxes -  to help pay it off.

Yes, it’s less than a drop in the bucket, but every little bit helps, according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, which annually accepts such “gifts.” The donations have been going up since the 2008 federal fiscal year, when Americans donated $2.1 million. Last year, $3.2 million was donated, but this year the donations more than doubled to $7.7 million.

According to a CNN report, the first contribution to the national debt was in 1961 when an anonymous estate left Uncle Sam $20 million. A law was passed to accept the money and donations have trickled in ever since. The bureau says $85 million has been donated so far.

Here’s a link to the public debt just in case you want to keep track of it.

And just in case you’re in a giving mood, Uncle Sam wants you to know you …

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Macy’s CEO standing by Trump despite petition

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren is sticking by billionaire Donald Trump and his apparel line despite an online petition to “dump Trump.”

The petition was started by Angelo Carusone of SignOn.org, a liberal website “Powered by MoveOn.org.” Carusone is trying to gather 650,000 signatures to persuade Macy’s to drop Trump’s merchandise and ads after the businessman’s repeated criticisms of President Barack Obama, culminating in an online tirade that called for a “revolution” after Obama was re-elected Nov. 6. So far, Carusone said, the petition drive has gathered more than 500,000 signatures.

Lundgren, however, told Carusone in a recent letter that while he appreciated the “clear and reasonable way” he’s expressed himself, Macy’s isn’t dumping Trump. Lundgren wrote, in part:

Please understand and appreciate that Macy’s marketing and merchandising offerings are not representative of any political position. Ours is a free society compromised of a wide range …

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Millennium Mat chief: ‘You’ve got to turn the world upside down’

From getting expelled from high school in England to co-founding a mat manufacturer in Suwanee, Ian Malpass has walked an unconventional path. Malpass, an entrepreneur at heart, is president of Millennium Mat Co., an international producer of business floor mats, residential rugs and car mats, including those licensed with team logos through the pro football, baseball, basketball and hockey leagues. With factories in Suwanee, Dalton and overseas, annual revenue has hit $100 million.

Ian Malpass

Ian Malpass

Malpass, 53, has had to recreate his career several times. Without the aid of a high school or college degree, he’s soaked up ideas from his eclectic experiences to develop a business savvy. He talks about some key lessons, including a successful sales approach and getting the best out of employees.

Q: Why did you get kicked out of school?

A: My father worked in sales and marketing for Procter & Gamble in the U.K. We literally moved every two or three years. He wanted us to have stable …

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Delta flies to profitability in older planes

Delta Air Lines is boldly going where other carriers aren’t.

Old.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Atlanta’s cost-conscious hometown airline is saving money flying older planes, in stark contrast with its competitors who like them shinier and newer.

“… that cost-cutting effort has focused on an asset most airlines avoid: older planes,” it wrote.

The Journal says, “Most large carriers prefer fuel-sipping new planes with the latest high-tech gadgetry. But Delta, which has one of the oldest fleets in the U.S., is making a habit of succeeding by zigging when its rival zag.”

By that, they are referring to Delta’s purchase of an oil refinery, its operation of a big maintenance subsidiary, and its mostly non-union status.

Together, that’s left Delta “in the catbird seat …”

But are older planes safe?

The Journal notes that, “Though some safety experts once fretted about them, most now say that, with careful maintenance, older jets can fly safely.”

It also notes that, “There is no …

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FDA investigating deaths, possible 5-Hour Energy link

5-hour Energy is also sold in vending machines. (Christopher Seward, cseward@ajc.com)

5-Hour Energy is also sold in vending machines. (Christopher Seward, cseward@ajc.com)

Follow us on Twitter.com for real-time business updates: @AJCBiz

The distributor of 5-Hour Energy insists the caffeine-loaded “shot” is safe when used as directed following news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had received reports from the company that the product may be linked to 13 deaths in recent years.

The FDA confirmed a New York Times report that it is investigating the deaths, which occurred in the last four years. The investigation is similar to one the agency has launched targeting Monster Energy drink and reports of five possible deaths related to that product.

Elaine Lutz, a spokeswoman for Living Essentials, said the distributor is unaware of any deaths proven to have been connected to 5-Hour Energy and the NYT report acknowledges a filing to the FDA does not necessarily mean the energy shot was ultimately responsible for a death or injury.

Living Essentials …

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Atlanta small business owners look to hire in ‘13

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Small business owners in metro Atlanta are feeling good about the future, especially compared to those elsewhere.

According to a Bank of America survey done just prior to the recent elections, 36 percent of small business owners here expect to increase staff in the next 12 months. That’s the biggest gain among nine markets measured, and better than the national average of 31 percent. Another 50 percent here expect to maintain current staff levels.

“They’re very optimistic about where they are now as well as where they will be in 2013,” said Felicia Lewis, the bank’s small business banker manager.

One reason for their optimism may be that 58 percent of small business owners here expect their revenue to increase in the next year, better than the national average of 54 percent.

When the previous semiannual survey was released in May, 33 percent of metro Atlanta small business owners expected to hire more workers, …

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