Blog Archive


COVID-19’s economic impact largely depends on your job title | Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt South Carolina an economic crisis like no other, with a relatively small segment of workers and businesses suffering the greatest losses, while much of the state has weathered the stay-at-home orders and social distancing with little or no lasting financial impact.

Shaniqua McCants has seen the worst of that economic division.

After losing her job as a dispatcher for a North Charleston trucking firm and a side gig as a wedding singer, McCants landed a server position — at about half her previous pay — with James Island restaurant Maple Street Biscuit Co. She has since been promoted to assistant manager and her salary now is close to what she had been making, but the virus definitely threw her for a loop.

By contrast, Ford Simmons and wife Rachel barely skipped a beat when the pandemic hit.

“We were fortunate that we both were able

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  • December 5, 2020

Why Business Travel Will Return | The American Spectator

If there’s one thing this pandemic has revealed, it’s that business travel was never anything more than one gigantic jolly. Call it a gravy train, if you like, or a big trough of goodies into which people stuck their heads and scoffed. Look at the figures from 2019: an absurd, obscene U.S. $1.3 trillion was spent on business travel that year — much of it, I’d wager, completely without justification.

Why am I so sure of this? Because, since March of this year, hardly anyone has flown anywhere. Not on business, anyway. Folk who used to fly twice a week, often long haul, haven’t so much as set foot in an airport for nine months. Those posh business suits have been mothballed, the spare toothbrush chucked in the bottom drawer, the frequent flyer apps deleted, and the gold cards cut in two.

If business folk are honest, many would

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  • December 5, 2020

2 Reasons Tencent’s Advertising Business Is Booming

China’s online advertising market has either been a minefield or a goldmine over the past year, depending on which companies you’ve invested in.

For Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), which owns China’s top search engine, it was clearly a minefield. Baidu’s advertising revenue dropped year-over-year for six straight quarters; it broadly attributed its woes to China’s economic slowdown, the ongoing trade war, the pandemic, and intense competition.

But for Tencent (OTC:TCEHY), which owns China’s top mobile messaging platform WeChat, it was a goldmine. Tencent’s ad revenue rose 16% year over year in the third quarter, accelerating from its 13% growth in the previous quarter and leaving legacy players like Baidu in the dust.

Two young women take a selfie.

Image source: Getty Images.

So why is Tencent’s ad business flourishing while Baidu and other ad companies struggle? Let’s discuss the two main reasons.

1. WeChat is locking in mobile users

WeChat, known as Weixin in China, served

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  • December 4, 2020

After almost 45 years in business, Rose Costumes teeters on brink of closing | News

Rose Costumes has designed and built costumes it would rent and sell to schools, shoppers and theater companies for 44 years.

But without help — and a lot of it — it could be curtains for the Denton business.

Annemarie Aldrich

In 2018, Annemarie Aldrich purchased Rose Costumes from previous owner and founder Judy Smith. The store rents myriad costumes for Halloween and theater productions to customers throughout the country.

“We were on the road to rent costumes for 125 UIL one-act plays [at high schools],” said owner Annemarie Aldrich. “That’s a lot of costumes and a lot of work to do with my wonderful staff. Then COVID happened and that was gone. Then all of our Easter bunnies — we were ready to rent something like 30 of our Easter bunny costumes — were all canceled. Summer musicals, that was the next to go. Then fall musicals, that

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  • December 3, 2020

Friends Step Up to Keep Local Bookstore Open After Owner’s Death, Business Better Than Ever

In April 2017, then 29-year-old Chelsea Carr Rectanus fulfilled a lifelong dream and opened used bookshop Heirloom Books (6239 N. Clark St.) with two pallets of books and a truckload of determination. 

“You’ve got to make those decisions sometimes, just to try,” Carr Rectanus said in a short 2019 documentary produced by Twilight City Studios. “So that you can say later on in life, ‘I tried. It didn’t work out, but I gave it a go.’”

After more than three years of successfully running Heirloom Books, Rectanus passed “peacefully but unexpectedly” Aug. 7 due to complications from a longstanding illness, her father, Earl Rectanus, wrote on the store’s Facebook page. 

In Heirloom’s Facebook bio, Chicago bookstores are described as “heirlooms to our city.” Similarly, in Carr Rectanus’ family, hand-me-down books were heirlooms passed

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  • December 2, 2020

BlackBerry Leaps After Deal With Amazon Cloud Business

BlackBerry  (BB) – Get Report shares surged on Tuesday after the security and software services company signed a multiyear global agreement with Amazon’s  (AMZN) – Get Report cloud business to develop a software platform dedicated to automakers.

Terms weren’t disclosed.

Shares of the Waterloo, Ontario, company at last check jumped 51% to $8.87. Shares of Amazon, the Seattle online-retail and tech giant, were little changed near $3,173.

As part of the deal, BlackBerry and Amazon Web Services will develop and market BlackBerry’s intelligent-vehicle-data platform — called Ivy — to help automakers create in-vehicle services.

“Data and connectivity are opening new avenues for innovation in the automotive industry, and BlackBerry and AWS share a common vision to provide automakers and developers with better insights so that they can deliver new services to consumers,” said John Chen, executive chairman and chief executive at BlackBerry. 

“This software platform promises

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  • December 1, 2020

Could a Review Aggregator Benefit Your Vacation Rental Business?

Online reviews are an excellent way for property owners to get feedback on their vacation rentals. Reviews from past guests — especially five-star ones — are one of the best ways to attract new renters and keep your rental booked all season.

But there are a lot of vacation rental sites out there, and you’ve likely got your rental property listed on several of them. That means your reviews are scattered across the internet, making it difficult to see at a glance to see whether your property is a hit with renters. A review aggregator can make a world of difference in your vacation property bookings.

What is a review aggregator?

A review aggregator is a digital tool that gathers reviews of a product or service from all corners of the internet. For real estate investors who specialize in vacation rentals, this involves collecting all the reviews left by previous

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  • December 1, 2020

‘A leap of faith’ | Three businesses make their debut amid pandemic | Business World

Opening a new business can be a daunting, stressful and exhilarating adventure under normal circumstances. Imagine adding a pandemic and a set of debilitating and ever-changing restrictions that come with it into the mix — not exactly an ideal recipe for success.

How do you build a customer base, get established in the community, or quite frankly, survive your first year while adhering to mandated guidelines and dealing with all the uncertainty that stems from COVID-19?

My Little Valley Customs & Tattoos, Yarn Bird and Green Motion EBikes were all poised to open their doors in the spring, armed with startup financing, business plans and, in some cases, lease agreements. The shutdowns ordered in March to prevent the spread of the virus changed their opening dates, but not their willingness to move forward as soon as guidelines allowed. 

Recent rollbacks on restrictions to combat a statewide surge in cases hints

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  • December 1, 2020

Pamplin Media Group – Business News Update: Elmer’s Flag and Banner

Suggested reading brought to you by Elmer’s Flag and Banner: A Gift For The Ages: An In-Ground Flagpole from Elmer’s Flag and Banner

Let’s talk gifts. Do you really want another bad tie, dish towel set, or set of matching family pajamas? Some Christmas gifts really are better than others. Now is the time to tell someone you love that you want a gift that stands the test of time.

We suggest that you end 2020 on a high note with an in-ground residential flagpole. Whether it’s in your front yard or backyard recreation space, a well-built American-made residential flagpole adds an elegant flair where you can fly Old Glory or one of the hundreds of other flags we sell.

At Elmer’s Flag and Banner, we make the process of buying a flagpole simple and affordable. With 57 years of customer service and experience in the flag and flagpole industry,

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  • November 29, 2020

Small Business Saturday sales & deals

(CNN) —  

It’s been ten years since the first Small Business Saturday was celebrated here in the US, but in 2020, it’s an event that’s taking on outsized importance. Traditionally held on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is your chance to bring your holiday shopping dollars to independent local retailers, who need those dollars this year more than ever.

Of course, there are literally thousands of small businesses around the country that you can visit today, but here’s a small sampling of our favorite small business retailers that you can order from online, many of which are offering discounts during Small Business Saturday and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Amy Kuschel: Looking for a cute and stylish face mask? Amy Kuschel has lots of patterns to choose from, and if you purchase three masks this weekend, you’ll receive a fourth one free with code GIVETHANKS.

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  • November 28, 2020