Monthly Archives: August 2010

New mayors pledge support for Pellissippi Place

IMG00152.jpgWith some 200 business and political leaders from the Knoxville-region watching, the lights came on Tuesday evening at Pellissippi Place, the mixed-use tech park under development in Alcoa.

 A glitch-free “Lighting of the Park” ceremony was important, but perhaps more important was the pledge of support the 450-acre project received from newly elected local government leaders.

The mixed-use project is being funded by $5 million investments by four different local governments — Knox and Blount counties and the cities of Alcoa and Maryville.


Continue reading

Will the GOP help small business?

President Obama on Monday urged the Republicans to support passage of a small business aid package ASAP when they get back to Washington after Labor Day.

So far, Republicans have threatened a filibuster and otherwise kept the package of small biz tax cuts and financial aid from being considered. Kind of bizarre when you consider small business is generally considered a loyal supporter of the Republican Party.

Here’s hoping Tennessee Republicans Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander will break with the party and help small business.

American Book Co. closing, eliminating 250 jobs


The company issued a press statement late Monday, saying it is laying off 100 workers and closing its Knoxville warehouse and combining it with a distribution center in Jefferson City, Tenn.

Company Chairman Dean Winegardner was not available to talk. The statement released to the media did not address the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce announcement which said 250 jobs were affected.

* * *

Wholesale book distributor American Book Co. will close its Knoxville operation by the end of the year, eliminating 250 jobs, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said on Monday. are set to begin Oct. 6 and end on Dec. 31, according to the announcement.

Overall, metro Knoxville’s unemployment rate has been slowly dropping in recent months, but it’s never good to see notices like this.

Continue reading

Consumer sentiment up slightly

Despite a string of headlines touting bad news about the economy, consumers feel better about the economy than they did a year ago, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for August.

The August consumer sentiment index was 68.9, up 4.9 percent from 65.7 in August 2009 and a slender 1.6 percent higher than 67.8 for July 2010.

Continue reading

Knoxville drug wholesaler No. 15 on Inc. 5000

Twenty-five East Tennessee companies are on the 2010 Inc. 5000 list released this week.

Tops among the ET companies is Physicians’ Pharmaceutical at No. 15 with 2009 revenue of $8.7 million and an astounding 9,307 percent revenue growth from 2006 to 2009, according to the magazine.

Physicians’ Pharmaceutical, founded in 2005, is a “wholesale distributor of pharmaceutical medications to physicians,” according to Inc.

Continue reading

VW’s 30-mile supplier zone doesn’t worry Knoxville Chamber

A story in today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press says Volkswagen will encourage all suppliers for its new Chattanooga plant to locate within 30 miles of the soon-to-open factory.

Since Knoxville is about 100 miles from the VW plant, the 30-mile limit would seem to spell
012010volkswagen.02.jpgtrouble for Knoxville-area economic development officials’ effort to recruit VW suppliers.

But Knoxville Chamber officials say they aren’t worried.

Continue reading

Bernie Madoff’s life behind bars and other Ponzi news

Fix some popcorn and call your accountant, tonight’s the premiere of CNBC’s “American Greed: Madoff Behind Bars”, an inside look at Bernie Madoff’s life behind bars. 

According to some reports Bernie is a celebrity among the inmate population, but he doesn’t much like life in the federal prison.

Well, darn, isn’t that a shame.

Show’s at 9 p.m. ET.

In other Ponzi news, here’s the latest on alleged investment scammers R. Allen Stanford and Nevin Shapiro.

Texas financier Sanford is accused of bilking investors out of $7 billion. Shaprio is the Florida businessman charged with scamming investors out of $880 million. Both are hefty sums, but they pale compared to the estimated $18 billion that Madoff’s investors lost.

Here’s an interesting Forbes story that looks at why Americans fall for Ponzi schemes.

Gerdau Ameristeel goes private

The deal is done, Gerdau Ameristeel is going private.

Shareholders of Gerdau Ameristeel Corp., which has operated a mill in Knoxville for many years, on Tuesday approved a deal taking the company private.

bjgreenreport02_MP_13231.jpgBrazilian steelmaker Gerdau’s plan to buy all of the shares it did not already own for $11 each was approved by 93 percent of the votes cast in a special shareholders meeting, Gerdau Ameristeel announced.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of August.

Original announcement of Gerdau’s stock purchase plan.

Photo: Knoxville News Sentinel/ Michael Patrick

A section of molten steel is cut to length during the manfacturing of rebar at Gerdau Ameristeel in Knoxville.

Tennessee Solar Institute offers $14.5M in grants

Tennessee Solar Institute has $14.5 million burning a hole in its pocket and wants to give it all away.

bjgreenreport06_MP_13101.jpgThe institute announced Tuesday that it is accepting grant applications for its Solar Innovation Grant Program.

Grants of up to $500,000 may be awarded.

Continue reading

Green Mountain among fastest-growing companies

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which has made a sizable investment in its Knoxville
coffee1.ASB%2310644.jpgoperation, is No. 2 on Fortune’s annual list of the fastest-growing companies.

 That’s up from No. 11 a year ago.

 The maker of Keurig single-serving brewing systems has seen 55 percent revenue growth and 96 percent earnings per share growth.

Continue reading