Business roundup

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Cleaning Authority has named Jessica Park the 2011 employee of the year.
Park has been an employee of The Cleaning Authority, 512 Klumac Road No. 7, for the past year and has received more than 60 unsolicited customer praise and special thanks. She achieved the cleaner’s “Rock Star” status eight out of the last 12 months for special achievement.
She works as a mentor to new employees and provides assistance to teams in need of additional help. “I always take pride in what I do. I really enjoy the opportunity to be able to help people and enjoy taking care of their homes. I have met a lot of sweet families and their pets,” Park said.
Realtor with Keller Williams honored
Kelly Lowe, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Kannapolis/Concord has earned the 203-K Specialist designation from REbuildUSA.
Keller Williams, 6001 Gateway Center Drive, Suite 105, Kannapolis, can be reached at 704-232-4269 or by emailing
Free lecture for retirees is Thursday
John K. Anwar and Thomas R. Sanford II will speak at the Estate & Elder Planning Center of North Carolina’s Senior Financial and Legal Workshop lecture for retirees on Thursday at 1 p.m.
The free lecture will be at the JF Hurley Family YMCA, 828 Jake Alexander Blvd.
Topics to be discussed include how to protect your life savings from nursing home costs, mistakes to avoid in protecting your estate, possible veterans’ benefits, new Medicaid law changes and a critical legal document.
For reservations, call 800-445-1157.
Delhaize a possible Kroger suitor
Kroger Co., the largest U.S. grocery-store chain, has been trading at an 86 percent discount to its projected sales this fiscal year, leaving it cheaper than 99 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and reported last week in Bloomberg Businessweek.
The Cincinnati-based company, which lost $4.7 billion in market capitalization during the last recession, was valued at 10.8 times estimated earnings, the lowest level for a U.S. food retailer greater than $2 billion, the data show.
Kroger, which has increased sales in every year since at least 1987 even as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. grabbed market share from other supermarkets, may now become a target for retailers outside the U.S. or private equity firms, according to Northcoast Research Holdings LLC. Valued at $13.7 billion, Kroger could still attract a takeover offer 30 percent above its current price, Point View Wealth Management Inc. told Bloomberg BusinessWeek, making it the largest grocery acquisition on record.
While Kroger is an attractive business, its size may make buyers hesitant to do a deal that large as the industry faces increasing challenges and competition from unconventional food retailers, according to Edward Kelly, a New York-based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG.
“Kroger would be too large,” Kelly said in a telephone interview. “It’s a good, well-run company, but it’s in a tough business. There’s a lot of different places that consumers can go to buy food today and the supermarkets are kind of caught in the middle because they’re losing share.”
Size may not be an issue if private equity were to team up with an overseas grocery chain such as Delhaize or Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer, said David Dietze, president and chief investment strategist at Summit, N.J.-based Point View. Buyers could pick and choose which brands and assets they want and private equity could decide to restructure the real estate, he said.
In addition to Delhaize and Carrefour, Ahold may also want to expand its footprint in the U.S. by acquiring Kroger.
A spokesman for Brussels-based Delhaize didn’t respond to telephone calls or emails seeking comment.
Food Lion foundation gift for pantry at Camp United Methodist
The South Brunswick Interchurch Council received $3,000 from the Food Lion Charitable Foundation. The council will use the gift to help provide food for the needy at its food pantry at Camp United Methodist Church in Shallotte.
“Food Lion has been an invaluable partner with Feeding America for years. This is a company with heart and compassion for those in need,” said pantry coordinator Mary Pritchard.
Established in 2001, the Food Lion Charitable Foundation provides financial support for programs and organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry in the communities it serves.
EnergyUnited’s basketball camp offer includes scholarships
EnergyUnited and other North Carolina Touchstone Energy cooperatives are providing all-expense paid scholarships this summer for 52 youth from across the state to attend basketball camps.
Young women can apply to attend the Kellie Harper Wolfpack Basketball Academy at N.C. State University in Raleigh, and young men can apply to attend the Roy Williams Carolina Basketball Camp at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. EnergyUnited will award scholarships to one boy and one girl and is accepting applications through March 30.
Students entering sixth, seventh and eighth grade are eligible to apply. More information and applications, which are judged on academics, extracurricular activities and an essay, can be found at www.ncelectriccooperatives. com or by contacting Lindsey Listrom at 800-662-8835.
Stanly Chamber chief picks up veterans advocate award
Tom Ramseur, Stanly County Chamber of Commerce CEO and president, is the first recipient of the North Carolina Career Center 1 Annual Veterans Advocate Award.
The presentation was made by Gerry Pion, NC-AMVETS Career Center 1 Deputy Commander, at the chamber’s annual awards program Jan. 30.
North Carolina’s first AMVETS Career Center was dedicated Dec. 7, on the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is on the main campus of Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer.
The nonprofit veterans organization provides free career and job assistance to active duty, guard, reserves and veterans. Volunteers work with veterans to provide assistance with individual skill assessments, resumé writing, interviewing and exploration into education, training, licensing and certification opportunities. The center is in Jane Freeman Hall and is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The email address is and the phone number is 704-463-3026.
Post office holding direct mail workshop on Friday
The Salisbury Post Office invites small business owners to attend a “Grow Your Business Day” workshop designed to help those who want to promote their businesses through direct mail advertising.
The workshop is from 2-3:30 p.m. on Friday at Bailey’s Quick Copy Print Shop, 324 E. Fisher St.
Officer-in-Charge Ellen Hebert will discuss the Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) service, a recent Postal Service initiative to make growing your business with the mail more efficient and affordable.
Business Development Specialist Timothy Clair will demonstrate how to select a campaign message, target an audience and prepare EDDM mailings.
Several “Grow Your Business” events are planned during the next two months. The events are free and pre-registration is requested but not required.
More information is available at . Look for the “Grow Your Business Days” logo and select the applicable link below.
State offers new wellnessresource kit online
RALEIGH — Gov. Bev Perdue announces the launch of a free, web-based tool to help small businesses develop worksite wellness programs. WorkWell NC, coordinated through the N.C. Division of Public Health, offers free resources to help small business owners and their employees who want to lose weight, quit smoking and manage stress.
The WorkWell NC toolkit may be found at
TheWorkwellNC resources provide small businesses the opportunity to offer employees a benefit that will help keep them healthier and ultimately reduce health care costs.
Information includes implementing a worksite wellness program and measuring results. Business owners can download posters, newsletters, sign-up sheets, certificates, surveys and evaluation tools. The kit also includes links to videos featuring fellow business owners from a variety of North Carolina companies promoting healthy lifestyles and seeing results.
Racing Electronics is Small Business of Year in Cabarrus
CONCORD — The Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce presented Racing Electronics with its Small Business of the Year award at a recent luncheon held at Embassy Suites in Concord.
The Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Awards recognize the entrepreneurial achievements of Cabarrus County’s smaller for-profit companies.
Racing Electronics is the worldwide leader in providing radio communications products to the motorsports industry and was grown from a home-based business. Bruce Silver, owner and chief executive officer, started the business in 1988. He has developed scanners and headphones for race fans, adding advanced technologies for radio wiring and two-way radio equipment. In 2005, the company relocated its world headquarters to Concord and has created over 70 jobs.
In 2011, Racing Electronics was one of first companies to participate in the Opportunity North Carolina (ONC) job creation program offered by the NC Division of Employment Security. Through this program, Racing Electronics has trained several local jobless workers and given them an opportunity to demonstrate their skills for long term employment.
Mount Ulla farm among those getting value-added grants
KANNAPOLIS — N.C. State University’s North Carolina Value-Added Cost Share program at the N.C. Research Campus provided more than $100,000 in matching funds to help agricultural producers secure nearly $1.2 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture grants. The USDA announced its recipients of its Value-Added Producer Grant, and eight were N.C. businesses.
Agricultural businesses receiving VAPG funding, with the help of NCVACS, included:
• Bobcat Farms (Clinton) – $140,000
• Chapel Hill Creamery (Chapel Hill) – $180,000
• Cottle Farms (Faison) – $300,000
• Honey Mountain Farm (Mt. Ulla) – $120,000
• Nooherooka Natural (Snow Hill) – $130,000
• SleepyGoat Cheese (Pelham) – $22,500
• Smoky Mountain Native Plants Association (Robbinsville) – $20,000
• Sunburst Trout Co. (Canton) – $283,884
Funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, NCVACS presented cost share awards ranging from $3,500 to $23,500 to assist these agricultural producers in offsetting the costs of applying for the VAPG funds (such as those incurred by professional grant writers and feasibility study consultants). For every $1 NCVACS invested into helping businesses apply for the VAPG grant, $11.29 were returned to the state via the USDA funding.
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