Books-A-Million sees dollars in ducks, will sell "Duck Dynasty" merchandise


The Duck Commander display that will be installed in Books-A-Million stores. (Special)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Things are just ducky at Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc.

The bookstore chain today announced that its stores will sell more than 40 items from Duck Commander, the line of goods associated with the popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

Camo store displays will be stocked with DVDs, books, t-shirts, hats, key chains and other novelties. The displays also will include duck calls, the product that made the extended Robertson family wealthy and ultimately got them on television.

The show, which is AE’s highest-rated program, follows the antics of the unconventional Louisiana family and its business. The show’s popularity led to the extended Duck Commander product line. On the Duck Commander website duck calls range in price from $24.95 to $179.95.

Jeff Skipper, Books-A-Million vice president of marketing, said the push to sell Duck Commander merchandise is in response to explosive demand.

“We saw a tremendous amount of interest in all things “Duck” during the holiday selling season,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our team made the decision to create a custom, in-store display so that we could give our customers a one-stop-shop for all their favorite Duck Commander gear.”

The displays will be installed in all Books-A-Million stores before the television show begins its third season on Wednesday, the company said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/books-a-million_sees_dollars_i.html

Friday recap: The week’s Alabama business news in review

Alabama business news you may have missed this week:

J.D. Power and Associates releases its 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study.

Best Buy to extend its price matching guarantee to major online competitors.

Communications experts dissect Carnival Cruise Lines’ response to the Triumph debacle.

Vulcan Materials begins blasting on Gurley Mountain.

A Montgomery auto dealer is named vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The Department of Defense considers an alternative to sequestration that would reduce civilian employees’ pay and hours by 20 percent.

HealthSouth saw a 6.7 percent increase in full-year revenue in 2012, generating $2.16 billion in business over the 12-month period.

Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex eagerly awaits the addition of new tenant Airbus.

Work begins on the new Birmingham School of Law.

Investors with Audley Capital Advisors accuse Walter Energy’s leaders of having mismanaged the company.

International Shipholding is preparing a $25 million stock offering.

Lesley McClure, regional executive at the Atlanta Fed’s Birmingham Branch, sees strength in the state’s auto industry.

Alabama’s brewing industry has doubled in size each of the last three years, a new report shows.

AirWalk, a new extreme trampoline arena in metro Birmingham, draws thousands.

Office Depot is set to acquire OfficeMax, a move that may accelerate the closing or selling of stores. The retailers have a combined 32 stores in Alabama.

Alabama’s second annual sales tax holiday for severe weather gear kicks off Friday.

Walmart plans to hire 175 people for two of its Neighborhood Markets opening in Decatur and Florence.

How many engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Huntsville is celebrating National Engineers Week.

The Mobile Boat Show kicks off Friday as optimism is again running high in the marine manufacturing industry.

Alabama’s economy supports slightly fewer jobs than it did at the start of 2000. But non-manufacturing jobs have increased.

BAE Systems Ship Repair in Mobile will avoid layoffs.

First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based restaurant chain, is headed for Birmingham.

Winn-Dixie is moving into a space in Inverness Corners vacated by Bruno’s market.

There was a leadership shuffle at Mobile’s White-Spunner Construction Inc.

Express Oil Change Service Center, a Birmingham-based company with operations in 12 states, acquires Tire Engineers.

Ignite Fitness, a Crossfit affiliate, is expanding in Vestavia Hills.

Cahaba Brewing and Hop City unite to make beer backing home brewing law.

Mercedes plant gets a new boss, but it’s a familiar face.

Knology buyer Wow! investing and rebranding in North Alabama.

Divided Birmingham Water Works Board approves $145 million bond deal.

Airbus plant, along with expanding training and infrastructure programs, cited as progress for Accelerate Alabama.

Regions CEO Hall to assume chairmanship in May.




     

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/friday_recap_the_weeks_alabama_1.html

Birmingham business news has moved to a new location on AL.com




 To get the latest Birmingham-area business news, please visit al.com/business/birmingham. For more business news, visit al.com/business.

If you’re an RSS subscriber, you can find the new feed here.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/birmingham_business_news_has_m.html

Obama gun-ban boost: Last Resort on target to open shooting range by summer

MADISON, Alabama — Call it a lucky hunch or incredible instinct, but either way, there’s no denying Russell Durling and his two partners opened their gun shop at an opportune time.

Russell Durling said he knew gun sales would boom if President Obama was re-elected, and his new store is on target to open a larger facility with shooting range this summer. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

Spurred by a surge in gun sales this winter, their store, Last Resort Guns, is on target for moving to a larger location by summer that will have the biggest indoor shooting range in Madison County. The new 11,000-square-foot store will still be on County Line Road, only further south in a new building currently under construction near Palmer Road.

Last Resort opened last April at 11156 County Line Road with the intention of building a client base and training its staff before starting a shooting range, Durling said.

“It was a big bite of the cherry to think you could open a range and open the shop at the same time. That’s a recipe for failure,” he said.

But it’s hard to say Last Resort took a cautious business approach after listening to Durling describe how he and his partners started stockpiling guns and ammo for an inventory months before they opened – all based on their belief that demand would boom once President Obama was re-elected.

“I bought every penny of gun stock I could, starting in 2012,” he said. “And after President Obama was re-elected I was convinced, no, I was convicted, that he would find a cause to push gun control.

“One of the reasons we started this business when we did – whether it was experience, a gut feeling, I don’t know – but our belief was that though President Obama had not put gun control on his first-term agenda, when re-elected and nothing to lose in a second term, the gun control agenda would resurface,” Durling said.

Though dozers already are moving dirt, Last Resort Guns will have a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the new County Line Road location. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook School gave gun control proponents the opportunity to play on public fears and outrage, he said, and just as he and his partners envisioned, throngs of gun buyers have rushed to Last Resort.

As the Times reported earlier this month, Alabama saw the nation’s largest spike in applications for firearm background checks, a sudden rise of 145 percent, between the months of October and December.

Durling said holiday shopping created some of that, but Last Resort saw sales triple since the Sandy Hook shooting Dec. 14.

The number of customers has generally followed the number of television “talking heads” debating the gun control issue, he added.

But that didn’t happen Thursday, as Democratic lawmakers theatrically announced plans for an assault weapons ban, the first gun control legislation from Capitol Hill since the shooter in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 children and six adults. There were seven customers in the store at 5 p.m., but that’s common when commuters stop by returning home from work, employees said.

Surprisingly, this past few days have been the quietest since days after the shooting, said Andy Jones, store co-owner.

“We’ve basically had people in store every moment of the day we’re open,” he said of December and January traffic. “Only in the past two days has there been a moment when a customer wasn’t in the store.”

The new store — next to Wing Zilla Grill — will have nearly twice of much showroom space as the current location, as well as a classroom for gun safety classes and a waiting lounge next to the shooting range, which will feature 12 lanes (expandable to 17) for target practice for pistols and .223 rifles.

The new facility under construction down the road will have a showroom nearly twice the size of the current store. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The shooting range was always going to be part of the Last Resort, Jones said, and the reasoning was when the United Kingdom banned hand guns in 1998, the last place handguns were allowed were at shooting ranges.

Durling and Jones came to America from England, so they saw the U.K. gun ban and reaction firsthand. While that experience helped them decide to open a gun shop, they said the main reason for starting the venture stemmed from a need for new jobs. Both are defense contractors, and they said starting a new business was in anticipation of canceled military projects.

There was some homework involved, too, Durling said, not just hunches based on experience.

Last Resort conducted a survey with the National Sport Shooting Foundation, which used a commercial database to show the Huntsville-Madison area could support a shooting range, he said.

“Other than Larry’s (Pistol Pawn), you have to go 30 miles to find another indoor range,” Durling said.

Last Resort will have a groundbreaking ceremony with the Madison Chamber of Commerce at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but earth-moving equipment was already at work this week. The owners said they hope the new store is open by June.

Until then, they will try to stay ahead of demand for guns and ammo, which Durling described as selling faster than they can replace. The storeroom shelves were nearly bare of bullets and the showroom was out of .22-caliber shells and 9mm range shells.

“If this (demand) keeps up, this thing’s going to come to a head and we’re going to run out of stock,” he said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/01/obama_gun-ban_boost_has_last_r.html

Alabama appeals court overturns former Madison Academy custodian’s disability award

(stock image) 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Madison Academy won a victory in a state appeals court today in opposing full disability benefits to a former school custodian whose health problems were compounded by working around chemicals, leaving her unable to work.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a Madison County Circuit Court ruling from February 2013 that awarded permanent disability benefits under Alabama’s workers compensation to Lisa Hanvey.

Tommy McMurtrie, Hanvey’s Huntsville-based attorney, said she is in a difficult situation.

“We are disappointed in the majority opinion which reversed the decision of Judge Smith, who heard the evidence,” he said. “This young lady became totally disabled after exposure to chemicals at work. According to experts she will never be able to work again. This once-independent lady is now totally dependent upon Social Security. We believe the workers’ compensation laws were enacted to protect injured workers like Ms. Hanvey.”   

Ed Starnes, an attorney who represented Madison Academy, did not offer an immediate comment on the case.

The trial court found that she suffered a work-related injury from exposure to chemicals used for cleaning floors and stripping gym floor wax. The exposure aggravated an existing condition of myasthenia gravis, or MG, the trial court found. Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune, neuromuscular disorder that affects muscle function. There is no known cure, but early treatment can help control it, the court said.

A vocational training expert testified at the trial and found that Hanvey was “functionally illiterate” and unable to be retrained in a job that allow her to work despite her illness, the appeals court noted.

The trial court awarded Hanvey, who is in her mid-40s, $35,000 in accrued benefits, just over $50,000 in attorney fees and ordered the defendants to pay her $438.46 per week — her previous wage — less the 15 percent that covered the attorney fees, which is taken from the projected lifetime of the payments. So, under the order, Hanvey was to be paid $372.69 per week, for as long as she remained “permanently and totally disabled.”

Madison Academy appealed that ruling and the appeals court, in a 4-1 decision, today reversed Circuit Judge Jim Smith’s ruling. Judge Terry Moore wrote for the majority and was joined by judges Terri Willingham Thomas, Scott Donaldson and Craig Sorrell Pittman, presiding Judge William Thompson wrote a dissenting opinion.

The court’s dissenting opinion noted that Hanvey had been a janitor at the school for nearly five years before a floor refurbishing project was undertaken in 2011. The chemical exposure caused breathing problems and she was hospitalized three times in the summer and early fall of 2011.

In the appeals court’s majority opinion, the judges found that Hanvey’s problems were related to her illness, not her work.

“The employer does not dispute that the employee is unable to work, but it correctly observes that her permanent incapacity stems solely from her lingering and incurable MG, as established by undisputed evidence,” the opinion found. “By reviewing the record and determining that no substantial evidence supports a finding that the employee is permanently and totally disabled from the aggravation of the MG, as opposed to the MG itself, this court is not reweighing the evidence, or substituting its opinion for that of the trial court, but applying the law to the undisputed facts.”

The majority opinion also found that the trial court was not awarding compensation because “a preexisting condition has increased or prolonged the disability of the employee from her work-related exertion and chemical exposure,” but instead was applying the law of “medical causation,” which provides compensation “only for disabling injuries caused by the employment.”

The dissent argued that Hanvey had been able to perform her duties until the exposure to the chemicals cut short her work life.

“In this case, Hanvey’s exposure to chemicals rendered her MG symptomatic and prevented her from performing work that she was able to do before the exposure; that is, it accelerated her disease to the point at which her physicians determined she could never perform manual labor again, even though the MG was under control with medication,” the dissent argued. “Evidence also indicates that Hanvey is functionally illiterate and is not a suitable candidate for training for a desk job.”

The dissent argued under Alabama’s workers compensation law, “MA(Madison Academy) is responsible for providing Hanvey with workers’ compensation benefits for her permanent and total disability.”

The case was remanded back to the trial court to enter a judgment consistent with the appeals court opinon.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/04/alabama_appeals_court_overturn.html

YP Summit award nominations: recognize the incredible young professionals in Huntsville


UPDATE: The deadline for nominations has been EXTENDED to May 26!

Know some young people on the rise in Huntsville? AL.com is seeking nominations for Alabama’s Young Professional Awards, to be presented at the July 10 Alabama YP Summit in Birmingham.

There are 10 different categories for nominations from the public. Nominees have to be full-time Alabama residents, finalists must be able to attend the YP Summit and you can’t nominate yourself.

Nominations will be accepted through May 26.

NOMINATE OUTSTANDING YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN YOUR MARKET USING THIS LINK.

Finalists will be announced June 1, and the public can vote to narrow the field of finalists through June 8. The award winners will be announced at the YP Summit Friday, July 10, at 4 p.m.

The categories are:

  • YP Project of the Year, which recognizes a person or group that led a specific project that has made an impact on their community.  
  • YP Comeback of the Year, which recognizes a YP individual or group who made the most of a business, project or not-for-profit failure by bouncing back and continuing to make a positive impact on their community.
  • YP Agent of Change, which recognizes a person or group whose efforts created a turning point on an issue, paving the way for much more substantial change.
  • YP Entrepreneur, which recognizes a person or group leading a small-to-mid sized business.
  • YP Leader, which recognizes a person who works or volunteers for a not-for-profit, faith organization or public sector organization, including governmental entities.
  • YP Hero, which recognizes a person or group, 55 years or older, who goes above and beyond in their investment of time, talent and treasure in young professionals.
  • YP Rebel, which recognizes a person or group who not only walks to the beat of their own drum, but tends to set new trends whether it is their style or their substance.  
  • YP Influencer, which recognizes a person who uses social/new media to have a positive impact on their community.
  • YP Social Justice Champion, which recognizes a person who works hard to ensure fairness, equity and inclusion in their community.
  • YP Unsung Hero, which recognizes a person or group who does things for the right reason, but have not ever been publicly celebrated for their effort to make their company, organization or community better. 

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2015/05/yp_summit_award_nominations_re.html

Chief of Naval Operations: Sequestration will not affect Austal’s existing LCS and JHSV contracts


austal2-22.JPG

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle (L) and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert, discuss sequestration and how it will affect Austal’s Mobile shipyard, Feb. 22, 2013 in Mobile, Ala. (al.com/ Ellen Mitchell)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — Sequestration cuts will not affect Austal USA’s 10-ship, $1.6 billion joint high-speed vessel contract with the U.S. Navy, nor will it affect its contract to build five 127-meter littoral combat ships, according to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert.

During a tour of the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile today, Greenert said sequestration cuts will not affect projects that are already under contract, including Austal’s JHSV and LCS Navy deals.

“Sequestration will impact every single program; it requires a cut in every budget line,” Greenert said. “However, all those ships here that are under contract will not be affected, but we’ll have to move some money within the program line.”

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said Austal is optimistic that it’s providing a low cost
solution to the Navy, and does not expect any job cuts from
sequestration in regards to Austal’s existing Navy contracts.

“All
of our focus right now is delivering a great quality product to our
customer and that’s what we can control,” he said. “We’re confident,
based on the feedback that we’re getting from our customer, that we’re
stable on the contracts we have going forward.”

Standing alongside Perciavalle, Greenert addressed sequestration concerns, recent LCS criticisms and the future of the Navy’s partnership with Austal.

In a Bloomberg article released this week, critics inside the Navy referred to the LCS as the “Little Crappy Ship.” The article also discussed the debate over how vulnerable the LCS may be to attack, and cited numerous problems with the newly built vessels, including a six-inch crack in the hull of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s USS Freedom that had to be repaired, and “aggressive” corrosion in the propulsion area of Austal’s USS Independence.

Greenert said despite the LCS coming under fire recently for its design and cost, he’s looking forward to the Navy’s use of the ship.

“The Freedom and the Independence have proven their worth for the design of the ship,” he said. “Some folks felt that the ship should be used for missions or for capabilities which it frankly will not do. Some folks will put it in a situation and say ‘it’s not made for this, it won’t do well in this.’ I would acknowledge that.”

Greenert went on to say that the Navy has intentions to operate the ship in conjunction with other, larger ships, so he’s very optimistic that the ship will do well.

Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Maryland and Austal Ltd., based in Henderson, Australia, build two separate versions of the LCS. The dual sets of ships were meant to get them built faster, at a rate of four a year rather than two a year.

Lockheed makes a steel-bodied version in partnership with Marinette Marine Corp., at Marinette’s yard in Marinette, Wis., while Austal makes an aluminum version in partnership with Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. under a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract. The estimated price to build each LCS is $440 million.

The LCS is intended to perform missions such as destroying mines, hunting submarines, interdicting drugs and providing humanitarian relief.

“As a customer, I’m here to check out the wares that we buy,” Greenert said of his shipyard tour. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve got a lot of capacity for future building.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/chief_of_naval_operations_sequ.html

Alabama State Port Authority: Shipping report for Feb 24


port.jpg

The MSC LAURA docks at APM Terminals Mobile, June 4, 2012 in Mobile, Ala. (Photo courtesy of the Alabama State Port Authority)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — The Alabama State Port Authority provides its weekly port activity report, including ship departures and arrivals for the next week.

Departure and arrival dates, vessel name, berth, destination and cargo are provided below. Look for the report here on al.com each Sunday.

Arrivals:

Feb. 23: OSTENDE MAX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 23: INTERLINK ACUITY; ASD PIER SOUTH D 1; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 24: STAR EAGLE; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; PANAMA CITY; GENERAL CARGO

Feb 24: AM CONTRECOEUR; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; SWINOUJSCIE, PL; BULK CARGO

Feb 24: MSC JORDAN; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: MSC BARCELONA; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: LIJUN C; ASD SOUTH B 2; KINGSTON, JM; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: BBC ROMANIA; ASD PIER 5; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: LETO; ASD MCDUFFIE; IMMINGHAM, GB; BULK CARGO

Feb. 25: SPIEGELGRACHT; ASD RIVER END C; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: BANDA SEA; ASD RAIL FERRY RAMP; COATZACOALCOS, MX; RAIL

Feb. 26: OCEAN BEAUTY; ASD NORTH A 2; NEW ORLEANS; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: STELLA BECRUX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; CONSTANTZA, RO; BULK CARGO

Feb. 26: THOR; ASD PINTO ISLAND; UNKNOWN, US; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: SEA-LAND EAGLE; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Feb. 26: MALTE B; ASD PIER 5; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: STAR EPSILON; ASD NORTH A 2; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: MARITIME SUZANNE; ASD LIQUID BULK TERMINAL ; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 27: LATMAR; ASD NORTH A 2; BROWNSVILLE-CAMERON COUNTY; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: ALBION BAY; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: CMA CGM NEW JERSEY; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/alabama_state_port_authority_s.html

Mobile business news has moved to a new location on AL.com


We've Moved (Blogs)



Read the latest Mobile business news at al.com/business/mobile, or read all our business news at al.com/business.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/mobile_business_news.html

Books-A-Million sees dollars in ducks, will sell "Duck Dynasty" merchandise


The Duck Commander display that will be installed in Books-A-Million stores. (Special)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Things are just ducky at Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc.

The bookstore chain today announced that its stores will sell more than 40 items from Duck Commander, the line of goods associated with the popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

Camo store displays will be stocked with DVDs, books, t-shirts, hats, key chains and other novelties. The displays also will include duck calls, the product that made the extended Robertson family wealthy and ultimately got them on television.

The show, which is AE’s highest-rated program, follows the antics of the unconventional Louisiana family and its business. The show’s popularity led to the extended Duck Commander product line. On the Duck Commander website duck calls range in price from $24.95 to $179.95.

Jeff Skipper, Books-A-Million vice president of marketing, said the push to sell Duck Commander merchandise is in response to explosive demand.

“We saw a tremendous amount of interest in all things “Duck” during the holiday selling season,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our team made the decision to create a custom, in-store display so that we could give our customers a one-stop-shop for all their favorite Duck Commander gear.”

The displays will be installed in all Books-A-Million stores before the television show begins its third season on Wednesday, the company said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/books-a-million_sees_dollars_i.html