Business

The Upper Valley Business & Education Partnership makes connections between schools and their wider communities. Tyler Mansfield and Jim Madden met through the Partnership’s “Everybody Wins!” reading mentoring program.

JIM: I’ve always loved to read so it was really just sort of a natural fit to share my love of reading with the students. I guess we both discovered we kind of liked mysteries.

A former executive at the center of the meltdown of brokerage firm MF Global appeared before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers. Members of the House Financial Services Committee were hoping assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien would explain the actions of the firm's CEO, ex-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

You may have heard of "flash mobs," where a mass of people invade a public space to make a scene. Now the idea has been turned on its head by "cash mobs," where large crowds of consumers show up at small businesses to spend money. But it's not just about propping up the local economy.

It's 5 o'clock on a Friday, and mostly quiet in the Lander's Men's Store, a mom-and-pop clothing store in Jamestown, N.Y. But shop owner Ann Powers is anticipating a mob.

LLC Filing Overhaul Passes Senate

Mar 28, 2012

A bill overhauling the way numerous businesses file with the state has passed the Senate by a wide margin.  The AP reports SB 203 passed on a 22–2 voice vote:

“It includes provisions for electronic communication, conflicts of interest and provides an

easier path for corporations to move to New Hampshire. Supporters say this will

bring New Hampshire up to speed with its neighbors.

Dollar General Pushing For More Granite State Stores

Mar 28, 2012

Discount chain retailers have historically faced resistance in New Hampshire.  But as Kathleen Callahan reports for the New Hampshire Business Review, that’s not stopping Dollar General from drawing up ambitious expansion plans:

Executive Council Mulls Massive Medicaid Contract

Mar 27, 2012

The Executive Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a new Medicaid contract worth an estimated $2.2 billion–believed to be the largest contract in state history.

But signs from an Executive Council meeting Monday suggest that vote may be pushed back.  And the state may struggle to meet its July 1 deadline.

It’s a huge contract financially, handing over several billion dollars to three managed care companies to run the state’s Medicaid program.  And it’s huge for the some 140,000 New Hampshire residents who rely on Medicaid.

Best Buy must live in fear of shoppers like Ave Lising. He and a group of friends walk through the Stanford mall in Palo Alto, Calif., their cellphones clutched in their hands.

Lising visited the electronics retailer recently, shopping for a video game.

"I went to Best Buy [and] looked at the price," Lising says. "I was like, 'Ehh — I'm sure I can find this cheaper online.' "

So he whipped out his smartphone and scanned the barcode, found it cheaper and ... no sale for Best Buy.

There's a word for that kind of in-store comparison shopping: "showrooming."

100 Jobs To Return To NH From China

Mar 27, 2012

A New England-based manufacturer is moving some of its operations from China to New Hampshire–and bringing 100 new jobs with it.  Watts Water Technologies is building up its facilities in Franklin.  As

Photo by Hapal via Flickr Creative Commons

Late last week, an investigative report from Reuters’ Enterprise Team uncovered the details of a big money contract between the Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE and the Telecommunication Company of Iran that included technology that can be used to conduct surveillance and crack down on dissidents. The details of the deal revealed surprising end-runs being made by Iran around global sanctions.

A house bill that would consider giving the Public Utilities Commission authority to force PSNH to sell its power plants to open up market competition is getting vocal opposition from business leaders and mayors in the state.

Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier says the move will raise electric rates and scare businesses away from his community.

These days, hotels aren't just looking to hire bellhops, concierges and housekeepers. What the industry really needs are digital bloodhounds: people who understand how to use new technologies to track — and attract — potential guests.

One of those newfangled workers is Greg Bodenlos. At 24, he's just a couple of years out of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. His official title is digital marketing strategist at The Mark Hotel, a luxury hotel in New York City.

Fairpoint Communications customers might get a small sliver cut from their phone bills.  It all depends on an upcoming Public Utilities Commission decision about how, exactly, the company can pay some hefty fees.  As Bob Sanders reports for TheLobbyNH.com, the PUC recently slapped Fairpoint with $2.8

Seniors Increasingly Target of Scams

Mar 22, 2012
RGotbaum

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of complaints about consumer fraud against seniors has more than doubled since 2009. So called imposter scams, when someone poses as a relative or friend to extort money from someone they don't know increased by 22 percent last year.

Airlines started charging fees for checked bags a few years ago. Now passengers are testing the limits of what they can carry onto planes. Some flight attendants say it's getting out of hand. But airlines are trying to address the problem with bigger overhead bins.

At the end of 2011, Apple had a very enviable problem. It's not too many companies that have more cash than they know what to do with, and for the electronics giant, that amounted to nearly $100 billion burning a hole in its pocket.

So it certainly pleased current and potential investors when Apple announced that, for the first time since the mid-1990s, the company will start paying a dividend.

145,000 businesses start-up each year in the US.  Many launch in garages, home offices, or in the case of Stonyfield Farm, a drafty old farmhouse on a New Hampshire hilltop with seven cows, and a dream. Like most entrepreneurial ventures, the company also had vision, tenacity, some capital, market research, and an understanding of expenses, competition and supply chains. How a new business will affect the personal lives of its leader, or the lives of their families and spouses, however, rarely figures into a business plan.

Shell Oil Co. has chosen a site near Pittsburgh for a major, multibillion-dollar petrochemical refinery that could provide a huge economic boost to the region.

Dan Carlson, Shell's general manager of new business development, said Thursday that the company signed a land option agreement with Horsehead Corp. to evaluate a site near Monaca, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Part of a series

Thanks to high commodity prices and surging productivity, U.S. farmers earned a net income of nearly $98 billion last year — a record, according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

On Utah's 'Silicon Slopes,' Tech Jobs Get A Lift

Mar 12, 2012

Last year, Utah created jobs at a faster pace than any other state in the country — with the single exception of North Dakota. While the boom in North Dakota is being driven by oil and gas, the hot job market in Utah is being powered by technology companies.

Computer-system-design jobs in Utah shot up nearly 12 percent in 2011. Scientific and technical jobs jumped 9.7 percent. With job opportunities expanding, the state is having little trouble attracting new residents.

For Jill Layfield, the decision to move here from Silicon Valley was not a tough call.

Part of a series

Economists say many industries are looking up this year. But perhaps none has a better outlook than the energy sector.

New drilling technologies and rising fuel prices have generated a boom in drilling — and lots of high-paying jobs for people with the skills to work in the oil patch. On some college campuses, companies are so eager to find petroleum engineers that they are offering jobs to students even before they have graduated.

Optimism is growing about the U.S. jobs market. Fewer people are applying for unemployment benefits, and hiring is up. The lion's share of new jobs are coming from small and medium-sized firms. But even if the economy comes roaring back, many small businesses aren't likely to hire with wild abandon.

"It's a huge commitment, when you're a very small firm, to add someone," says Kate O'Sullivan, director of content for CFO magazine. "And I think that the outlook is still not completely firm."

Doing More With Less

The agricultural port city of Stockton, Calif., has made national and international news in recent years — for all the wrong reasons. In a new record, the city recently marked its 56th homicide in one year. And the BBC recently reported that a greater proportion of Stockton residents face the loss of their homes to foreclosure or repossession than anywhere else in America. If that's not enough, it ranked No.

Looking at media rankings of companies–“Most Innovative,” “Fastest-Growing,” or other roundups of various firms–we aren’t often surprised.  Take the magazine Fast Company.  For this month’s issue, they’ve listed “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.”  Dominating the Top 4 are the perennial occupants of the corporate Cool Kids’ Table: Apple,

You've heard of identity theft — someone using a person's credit information or a Social Security number for ill-gotten gains. Well, experts say similar crimes are also affecting businesses.

Business identity theft involves posing as a legitimate business in order to get access to credit lines or steal customers. Experts believe that the practice has become more prevalent in the past two years.

Business Boot Camp Gives Veterans A New Start

Feb 28, 2012

The pullout of American troops in Iraq and those returning from Afghanistan have brought many service members back to their families and into the civilian job market.

While there is a new law that offers incentives to employers who hire them, many veterans across the country are trying to start their own businesses. A rigorous, free program started at Syracuse University is giving them the tools to be their own boss.

One day Chris Woehrle decided to finally leave his corporate job and pursue his dream: to become an artisanal food craftsman. And so, every day at home, he'd basically pickle stuff.

"I had a refrigerator full of plastic food buckets that were full of pickles and kimchee and sauerkraut and harissa and salsa and ketchup and mustard and, you know, any kind of craft food you could make," Woehrle says.

Mitt Romney says his experience in private equity taking over troubled companies would make him a good manager of America's economy. So we're reporting on companies that Bain Capital bought while Romney was in charge of the firm. This morning, we told the story of one that went bust. Here's the story of one that succeeded.

How A Private-Equity Firm Turns A Company Around

Not all that long ago, many Americans thought of Chinese food as fried rice, chow mein and orange chicken. And one reliable place to find it was at the mall, at places like Panda Express.

But food court mainstay Panda Express is now in the midst of a major transformation. That means moving from mall basements to stand-alone restaurants and keeping pace with an increasingly sophisticated American palate.

Photo: Amanda Loder / StateImpact-NH

First of all, if you haven’t read

How Communities Are Reclaiming Vacant Malls

Feb 17, 2012

Since the economic collapse, the commercial real estate market has been faced with a glut of vacant buildings. And that chief icon of American consumerism–the shopping mall–hasn't been spared. But that's not to say these massive markets can't be reclaimed. Recently, NHPR's Word of Mouth host Virginia Prescott dished with a New York Times reporter about the rising trend of "repurposing" the American mall.

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