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That's The Randle Report for Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Join us again tomorrow morning for all of the American South's business, economic development and political news in real time and in one place. Use the sort buttons or the search window above to find your favorite stories from yesterday, last week, last month or last year. Click on the headline to access Southern Business & Development magazine.
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Florida CFO tells N.Y. governor to stop the ads
Florida’s chief financial officer is entering a war of words with New York’s governor, saying the state is using misleading ads to try to lure Florida businesses to the Empire State. State CFO Jeff Atwater took issue with New York’s $113 million television and radio campaign called “START-UP NY” which boasts of business incentives and promotes the state’s favorable business climate, the Miami Herald said. Atwater sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo a letter expressing his displeasure and was interviewed by the New York Post. “The reality is that New York boasts the highest taxes in America, the highest costs of living in the country, and one of the worst business climates in the nation,” wrote Atwater. “Conversely, by every objective measure, Florida continues to be one of the best states in which to start a business and raise a family.” South Florida Business Journal
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Publix tops ranking of Southern grocery store brands; Harris Teeter ranks fifth
Publix Super Markets Inc. ranks No. 1 among grocery store brands in the South, according to the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study. Matthews-based Harris Teeter, a subsidiary of The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR), ranks No. 5 on the list. Other grocers with a North Carolina presence that made the list are Wal-Mart (No. 2), Trader Joe's (No. 4), Whole Foods Market (No. 6), Sam’s Club (No. 8) and Target (No. 9). The study found that Salisbury-based Food Lion ranked below the category average. The poll surveyed nearly 42,000 people online on brand equity for more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories. It looked at familiarity, quality and purchase consideration. Triangle Business Journal
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N.C. largest job-slashing machine in South
Mass layoffs, like that of Microsoft jettisoning 18,000 workers, were a frequent occurrence of the past, but in North Carolina it appears to be a reality of the present, as job cuts continued to be widespread in June. According to a report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, North Carolina had the largest number of planned job cuts of all Southern states in June, with 1,494 layoffs. Its year-to-date figure of 7,559 job cuts was only behind Florida. However, the Triangle is not suffering as much as other regions. Urban areas in North Carolina have fared better than their rural counterparts in the realm of jobs. Triangle Business Journal
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Energy expats return to Houston for jobs
Global competition for skilled workers and engineers is fierce, but one growing trend is the amount of American expatriates returning to the U.S. as domestic energy production continues to grow. Many Americans who went overseas for energy jobs are now returning to Houston and other areas now that the United States has taken the lead in global oil and gas production during the ongoing shale boom, said Denise McAnulty, COO at the Hydrogen Group PLC for the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Africa. "There's a lot of people coming back into the U.S. for energy," McAnulty said. "From what we've seen, we're proactively trying to get a lot of the U.S. citizens back." Houston Business Journal
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Oxford, N.C. company is reinventing the zipper and creating 155 jobs
Ideal Fastener Corporation announced Tuesday it will add 155 jobs to its Oxford headquarters, investing $5.7 million. While the company is not releasing many details about its upcoming plans, an executive said the company is working on a technology "unlike anything you've ever seen before." Jeff Gut, the New York-based vice president of the zipper manufacturing firm, said in a phone interview the company is adding a production line for the new technology. He says he can't give more information about the product because it's to fulfill a client contract, which is bound by non-disclosure agreements. Triangle Business Journal
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Beretta moving all of its U.S. manufacturing to new Gallatin, Tenn., facility
Beretta USA is moving all of its Maryland manufacturing operations to its new production facility in Gallatin, a move that will greatly accelerate the company's plans to add 300 jobs in Middle Tennessee, the company announced today. The Italian firearms manufacturer initially planned to use its new $45 million Gallatin facility only for the production of new products and research and development. In a statement, Jeff Cooper, the general manager for Beretta USA, expressed concerns over gun legislation in Maryland that led to company to pick a location outside of the state for its new manufacturing plant. Nashville Business Journal
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Amazon bringing sorting facility, 100 jobs to Nashville
Amazon.com is bringing a new sorting center, its first in Tennessee, to Nashville. The facility is expected to create 100 jobs. The center will operate out of a 214,000-square-foot warehouse Amazon has leased near Nashville International Airport, The Tennessean reports. Renovations and upgrades at the former Ceva Logistics facility total $3.25 million. Amazon already employs 5,000 people statewide, including at fulfillment centers in Lebanon and Murfreesboro. Nashville Business Journal
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Texas City site in the running for multibillion-dollar Chinese methanol plant
Chinese companies are exploring plans to build a large methanol production and export facility at Shoal Point in Texas City, according to a statement released by the Galveston County Economic Alliance. The proposed facility would be operated by Fund Connell USA Energy and Chemical Investment Corp., the U.S. arms of Connell Group of China and Sino Life Insurance Co. The companies have initiated engineering pre-design and feasibility studies and plan to decide on a location for the project during the second quarter of 2015. Houston Business Journal
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Tiger Woods' golf course north of Houston begins construction
Golf legend Tiger Woods will finally get to see his first U.S. golf course come to life at a Houston-area private club and community, as construction has officially begun, developers announced July 21. Bluejack National sits on 755 acres that will include Woods' 18-hole golf course, surrounded by natural water features and wooded countryside, and "The Playgrounds," a short course also designed by Tiger Woods Design. The developer is Dallas-based Beacon Land Development, and Georgia-based Medalist Golf Inc. is performing the construction. Construction has started on both The Playgrounds and the championship course. The Playgrounds and the practice facilities will be open to members in the spring, but the championship course is slated to open later that fall. Houston Business Journal
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