Business

Business
10:03 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Whole Foods Opens in South Austin

Employees literally broke bread at a Whole Foods opening this morning.
Mike Martinez, facebook.com/ElGalloMike

A new Whole Foods opened in South Austin this morning, the second location of the Austin-based chain to open within the region in as many months.

The original Whole Foods market opened in Austin in 1980 with a staff of only 19 employees.  Today its Austin locations number four, out of 310 locations internationally.

The store will reflect the “laid back, at home feel of the South Austin community” store team leader Steph Steele said in a statement. The store aims to provide “an intimate community grocery store experience,” Steele added – a seeming contrast to Whole Foods' bustling flagship location downtown (now complete with  self-driven shopping carts).

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Economy
11:03 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Younger, Less Educated Take Hit in Recession

Increased education is associated with fewer losses from the Great Recession, according to census data.
flickr.com/maysbusinessschool

New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the effects of a down economy: median household net worth declined by 35 percent between 2005 and 2010. That’s a loss of over $36,000, falling from $102,844 to $66,740.

”The overall decline in net worth reflects drops in housing values and stock market indices,” Census Bureau economist Alfred Gottschalck says in a statement.

While the households of people over 65 lost more money over the period, people under 35 lost a much greater percentage of net worth. Similarly, while groups at all levels of education also experienced declines, education provided a degree of economic insulation.

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Business
1:35 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Austin's Unemployment Rate Rises From April to May

Although Austin added jobs last month, May saw the biggest unemployment increase in nearly a year.

Austin’s unemployment rate went up last month.

It hit a three-year low in April of 5.5 percent, but grew last month to 5.8 percent.

According to the Workforce Solutions Capital Area Workforce Board, that increase is the largest the Austin area has seen since June 2011 (6.7 percent in May 2011 to 7.6 percent in June 2011). 

“Going up three tenths of a percent – it’s never positive to go up, we’d love to see the continued decreases that we’ve seen over the last few years – but we still created 2,000 jobs in the month of May. So while it may not be the number that we’re hoping for, it’s definitely positive and we continue to encourage employers to look at new job opportunities locally,” said Tiffany Daniels, Communication Coordinator for Workforce Solutions Capital Area Workforce Board.

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Finance
8:14 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Credit Card Debt Cut: The Reason May Surprise You

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 6:17 pm

A Federal Reserve study showing that Americans lost wealth in the Great Recession turned up another, perhaps more surprising, result: Credit card debt fell sharply.

"The percentage of families using credit cards for borrowing dropped over the period; the median balance on their accounts fell 16.1 percent" between 2007 and 2010, the report concluded.

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Business
4:01 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Business Offers Shared Office Space, Childcare Under One Roof

Plug & Play offers supervised childcare along with "coworking" space for non-traditional workers.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

One problem many freelancers, the self-employed and would-be entrepreneurs face is the challenge of balancing child care and a productive work life.

When Amy Braden had her son three years ago, she struggled with the same issues until hitting upon a solution of her own: creating a “coworking” space that also offers child care.

“Our tagline is: Make your life work,” Braden said of her new work-life center, Plug & Play. “I thought that there had to be a better way for working parents with young children to enjoy their children while they’re young and also be committed to their careers.”

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Politics
10:07 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Obama: Congress Needs To Do More Than Talk About Jobs

President Obama during this morning's news conference at the White House.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 11:58 am

President Obama used the White House press briefing room this morning to again make the case that Congress — and in particular the Republican-controlled House — needs to take up more of his ideas about how to boost job growth.

He also said it's "offensive" to suggest "my White House" may have leaked some secrets to gain political advantage.

We updated with highlights, so hit your "refresh" button to be sure you're seeing our latest.

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Romney Says Obama Is 'Out Of Touch':

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Business
3:35 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Newest Downtown Tenant: A Tech Start-Up Space

Tech Partnership Chair and CEO Bryan Jones explains the new TechLive venture in the room Capital Factory will be using as its main office.
Photo by Robb Jacobson for KUT News

The 16th floor of the Omni Hotel will now be a shared workspace for start-up technology companies.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce announced the initiative today. They’re calling it Austin TechLive.

The facility will provide entrepreneurs with office, meeting and event space in exchange for monthly membership. And with over 4,000 tech companies responsible for over 100,000 jobs in the Austin area – and that number expected to grow by 5,000 jobs this year – the city's tech community is burgeoning. 

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Business
3:24 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Survey Says Austin Tops for Small Business

Austin ranks well in a survey of small business owners in the service industry.
Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

Austin scored an A-plus in a survey of small business friendliness.

The capitol city ranks as the nation’s fourth friendliest city to small business, according to a survey by Thumbtack.com and the entrepreneurship-focused Kauffman Foundation.

The nationwide survey asked 6,000 of the small business owners registered with Thumbtack – a service which aggregates bids for hiring local help – questions about small business friendliness and finance in their city.

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Business
4:30 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Facebook Stock Falls Another 9 Percent

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 3:52 pm

Facebook's stock fell $3.07 to end the day at $28.84. That's first time it's fallen below $30 since the stock went public.

That price is also 24 percent below its opening price of $38.

The Wall Street Journal that the drop had to do with negative sentiment about the stock, as well as the fact that today traders were able to trade on derivatives.

The Facebook stock saw so much trading, the Journal reports, that it triggered Nasdaq's short sale circuit-breaker.

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food
12:22 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Development Pushes Out Another Food Trailer Court

Snap Kitchen is one of several food vendors that will have to leave this lot on June 10.
Photo courtesy of Snap Kitchen, snapkitchen.wordpress.com

Several food trailers downtown were told Tuesday night they have to move by June 10, to make way for a J.W. Marriott hotel that will be built there.

“It’s upsetting,” said Martin Berson, co-owner of Snap Kitchen, one of the food vendors on the site at Congress Avenue and Second Street. “My hope is that we’re not going to have to move out of downtown.” Berson says he’s been offered lots in north and south Austin, but is trying to find another spot downtown.   

Other food vendors at the site include Padika CoffeeKebabaliciousTurf ‘n’ Surf Poboys, and Chi’Lantro.

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Business
1:41 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

The Last Slice: Campus Gatti's Pizza Closing After 40 Years

This time next week the Gatti's Pizza buffet will be no more.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

After four decades in business, local pizza purveyor Gatti’s Pizza is closing its campus location on Martin Luther King Boulevard this Monday, May 28.

The location is currently Austin’s oldest continuously running pizza place. The restaurant is closing its doors after it lost its lease with the landlord of the property.

The restaurant is somewhat of a fixture in the campus area, it’s buffet having filled untold numbers of undergraduate bellies since its founding in 1972. When KUT News visited this afternoon, the line was stretching out the door. (It doesn’t hurt that from now until closing, all buffet customers pay the “kid’s price” of $5.49.)

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Business
5:18 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Protesters Attempt to 'Occupy' Chase Bank

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Members of Occupy Austin staged a protest at a local Chase Bank branch this afternoon, resulting in protesters’ ejection from the building.

Occupy Austin had pushed for the City of Austin to move their funds from Bank of America. In February, the Austin City Council passed a resolution looking at that possibility. But instead of shifting those funds to smaller banks or credit unions, as Occupy Austin had hoped for, the city transferred its money to JP Morgan Chase.   

On the heels of JP Morgan’s disclosure of billions in losses from risky financial trades, Occupy Austin members protested at a Chase branch on 19th and Guadalupe Street.

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Business
1:04 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Chamber of Commerce Aims to Lure Tech Talent to Austin

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce hopes this new website will attract new talent.

Today the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of a new website designed to help fill Austin’s so-called “technology gap.”

The chamber says that Austin tech companies are having trouble finding qualified local candidates for mid-to-senior level positions. Last month the chamber found that 28 percent of posted job openings in the area were tech-related.

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Business
3:15 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Asian Chambers of Commerce Merge to Serve Growing Population

Austin’s Asian population is growing – and now it’s leading to some big changes for two organizations that support Asian businesses.
Photo courtesy Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

Austin’s population is more Asian than Texas as a whole – but it has a lower percentage of Asian-owned businesses.  That’s one reason two local chambers of Commerce are merging.

Today the Texas Asian Chamber of Commerce and the Austin Asian American Chamber of Commerce officially joined forces to form one group: the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Board member Ying McGuire says the united chamber will offer help to Asian-Americans, immigrants and refugees.

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Business
10:56 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Postal Service Presents Plan to Keep Thousands of Rural Post Offices Open

This post office in Cat Spring, Texas is one slated for fewer hours instead of closure under a new proposal.
Photo courtesy Jimmy Wayne, flickr.com/auvet

The United States Postal Service has announced a plan that will keep thousands of small and rural post offices open – cancelling an earlier plan to close up to 3,700 locations. The new plan will keep the current post office locations in place but will modify their hours of operation.

Lobby and post office box services will remain the same, but over 13,000 smaller post offices could reduce their business day to two to six hours, including over a dozen location in Blanco, Martindale, Maxwell and Caldwell counties.

Postmaster General and USPS CEO Patrick R. Donahoe cites demand from customers as the reason for the shift. “We believe today’s announcement will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability,” he says in a press release.

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Business
11:36 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Today at UT: The 'Super Bowl' or 'Project Runway' of Business Pitches - Take Your Pick

The McCombs Business School is sponsoring a high stakes venture competition today.
Photo by Teresa Viera for KUT News

Rental maternity clothing? Malnutrition-fighting porridge? Dust compressors? Soon, one of these inventions could be part of your daily life.

Beginning today and running through Saturday, the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition will evaluate business concepts from 40 teams around the world. Hosted by McCombs School of Business' Texas Venture Labs, it's the longest-running competition for graduate student entrepreneurs – the "Super Bowl of business plan competitions," as the school describes it in a press release.

To qualify for the competition, teams had to win regional competitions first, with competitors culled from 13 countries including Thailand, Brazil, Germany and Norway. UT's team has invented a product called eyeQ, which according to McCombs School of Business spokesperson Renee Hopkins, uses video-based technology to monitor consumer purchasing behavior. In other words: Stores get information about how their customers shop, and customers will get an Amazon.com-like retail experience in a brick and mortar store.

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Business
2:25 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Travis County Approves Apple Incentives Deal

Travis County joined the city and state in offering incentives to Apple today.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/cdnphoto

The Travis County Commissioner’s Court has approved an incentives package for computing company Apple to expand operations in Austin.

As reported earlier today,Travis County is estimated to give Apple between $5.4 and $6.4 million dollars in tax rebates over 15 years. This comes on top of Austin's estimated $8.6 million in tax rebates over the next ten years, and the state's $21 million in incentives. In return, Apple says it will bring well over 3,000 jobs to the Austin area.

County commissioners said Apple should consider economically disadvantaged individuals for employment. However, that’s not stipulated as part of the contract’s requirement.

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Business
11:29 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Amazon to Start Paying Texas Sales Tax

Amazon has promised a Texas expansion, in addition to paying sales tax starting this summer.

After talks between online retailer Amazon.com and the state over paying sales taxes collapsed last year, the parties have reached an agreement.

The Office of the State Comptroller and Amazon stated today that beginning in July, Amazon – which had a distribution center in Irving, Texas – will begin paying state sales tax.

Amazon also announced it will “create at least 2,500 jobs and make at least $200 million in capital investments” in Texas, over the next four years.

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Business
8:18 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Report Says Wal-Mart Hushed Bribery Campaign In Mexico

A van covered by a mural sits parked outside a Walt-Mart Super Center in Mexico City. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. hushed up a vast bribery campaign that top executives of its Mexican subsidiary carried out to build stores across Mexico, according to a published report by the New York Times.
Dieu Nalio Chery AP

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 7:17 am

In a massive investigation, The New York Times reported Saturday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. silenced a vast bribery effort that top executives of Mexican subsidiary Wal-Mart de Mexico carried out in order to build stores across the country.

According to the report:

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Business
12:55 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Trader Joe's to Open Austin Location in 2013

Rendering courtesy of Trader Joe's

Austinites woke up this morning to the news, first reported by the Statesman, that Trader Joe's plans to open a location at the soon-to-be-constructed Seaholm Development downtown.

The Monrovia, California-based specialty grocery retailer first revealed its Texas expansion almost a year ago, but announced stores in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, the Woodlands and Plano before saying it would open a store in the city that spawned Whole Foods. 

Here are some details on the planned Austin location:

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