Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Movie theatre mogul Herman Stone gets 'Big Heart'

Herman Stone, founder and CEO of Stone Theatres and lifetime film industry entrepreneur, recently was awarded the 2013 Mac McAfee Big Heart Award by Atlanta-based children's charity Variety Tent 21 for his funding and support for thousands of children affected by physical and mental disabilities.

“This award isn’t just for my own efforts,” Stone said, in a statement. “I have worked with some dedicated people during my years in the business. I might have been the face of the business, but it’s their extraordinary work and their commitment to quality that has helped make what we do a success.”

Established in 1939, Variety Tent 21 is a nonprofit in Atlanta and part of Variety Clubs International. Variety of Georgia’s mission is to aid and enhance the lives of children in need who may be challenged by
physical and/or mental disabilities, poverty, abuse or neglect.

A North Carolina native, Stone has spent more than 40 years in the film industry. After graduating from Pfeiffer College in 1965, he joined Consolidated Theatres to handle booking, film buying and business development.  He worked his way up through the ranks of the company to become president in 1986. After
selling the business to Carmike Cinemas, Stone founded Consolidated Theatres, Inc. in 1990, which became
the ninth largest theater chain in the U.S., operating 421 screens in 30 locations in South Carolina, Maryland,
Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. 

Herman Stone formed Stone Theatres in 2008 and now operates locations throughout the Carolinas. 

Stone has been recognized for his philanthropy and financial support of many organizations over the years. Stone has also donated to the Charlotte Regional Film partnership, the Make‐a‐Wish foundation and Multiple Sclerosis Society, and many local churches and charities.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Survey: small business optimism in the doldrums

SURVEY: Small Business Optimism in the Doldrums; Owners Not Hiring, Expanding
Small businses optimism is in the doldrums, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses' recent Small Business Optimism Index.

Small-business optimism remained flat in August, dropping 0.1 points from July,

The total reading showed little change over the prior month, but some details appeared "incongruent," an NFIB press release stated. Job creation plans went to pre-recession level and sales expectations improved, but quarter-to-quarter sales and profit trends deteriorated. And expectations for improved business conditions were negative.

North Carolina data isn't available, but Gregg Thompson, state director of NFIB/North Carolina, said small-business owners here are just as discouraged as those in other states.

“I think the survey shows there’s still a lot of uncertainty out there,” Thompson said in an emailed statement. “You’re not going to invest in new employees or new equipment or a bigger space unless you’re pretty sure the investment is going to pay off. Right now, though, small-business owners don’t know what the health-care law is going to do to them. They don’t know what their taxes will be. And they don’t know what new regulations the government’s going to throw at them.”

Here are highlights from the August survey of 759 randomly sampled NFIB members and small business owners. (Download the complete survey here.)

JOB CREATION: August marked the fourth consecutive month of negative job growth for small-business owners. The average increase in employment for small firms surveyed was negative 0.3 workers per firm. Dramatic employment reductions have ceased but hiring has not resumed at normal levels.

JOB OPENINGS: Sixteen percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period (down 4 points), and 9 percent reported using temporary workers, down 6 points from July. Most new jobs being created are likely to be in the part-time category, according to the NFIB.

SALES: The net percent of owners reporting higher nominal sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months plunged 17 points to a negative 24 percent — the second steepest monthly decline in survey history. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes surged 8 points, to 15 percent of all owners, a new high for this recovery period.

EARNINGS AND WAGES: Earnings trends took a hit in August with the major softening in sales, falling 13 points to negative 35 percent. Five percent of owners reported reduced worker compensation and 21 percent reported raising compensation, yielding a seasonally adjusted net 15 percent reporting higher worker compensation (up 1 point). A net 12 percent plan to raise compensation in the coming months, up 1 point.

CREDIT MARKETS: Credit continues to be a non-issue for small employers, 7 percent of whom say that all their credit needs were not met in August, up 2 points from July. Twenty-nine percent of owners surveyed reported all credit needs met, and 49 percent explicitly said they did not want a loan.

CAPITAL OUTLAYS: In August, the frequency of reported capital outlays over the past six months rose 3 points to 57 percent. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next three to six months rose 2 points to 25 percent.

EXPANSION PLANS: In August, only 7 percent characterized the current period as a good time to expand (down 2 points). The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months was a net negative 10 percent, 4 points worse than July’s reading.

INVENTORIES: The pace of inventory reduction continued in August, with a net negative 11 percent of all owners reporting growth in inventories, 1 point down from July. For all firms, a net negative 1 percent (up 1 point) reported stocks too low, unchanged from July. Plans to add to inventories were up 3 points to a net 2 percent, in line with an improvement in expectations for sales growth.

INFLATION: Seventeen percent of the NFIB owners surveyed reported reducing their average selling prices in the past three months (up 3 points), and 18 percent reported price increases (up 1 point). The net percent of owners raising average selling prices was 2 percent, down 2 points. As for prospective price increases, 21 percent plan on raising average prices in the next few months (up 5 points), and 3 percent plan reductions (unchanged). A net 20 percent plan price hikes, up 5 points.

Monday, September 9, 2013

NoDa Brewing Company releases 16 oz. cans of pale ales

NoDa Brewing CompanyNoDa Brewing Company's Todd and Suzie Ford -- who were recently profiled in ShopTalk for starting the business with 401K funds -- announced they'll be rolling out 16 oz. cans of Jam Session, their pale ale, and Hop, Drop 'n Roll, their signature IPA, in late September 2013. 

“Jam Session and Hop, Drop ‘n Roll are two of our most popular beers and having them available in a portable form (can) is the next logical step for us,” Todd Ford said in a statement. “Instead of the traditional 12 oz. cans, we have opted for a 16 oz. can. If you are going to drink a 16 oz. pint in restaurant or pub, why accept less from your can?”
Initially, NoDa Brewing cans will be available at bottle shops, specialty markets, bars and restaurants in the Charlotte metro. The cans will roll out to supermarket chains within the year. In addition to NoDa Brewing Company's current drafts available at Panthers games within the Bank of America Stadium, the canned version of Jam Session and Hop, Drop ‘n Roll will be available at the stadium starting in October.