Arkansas Business

Governor Mike Beebe is to join Arkansas Economic Development Commission officials and local leaders to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Community Development Block Grant program.

The program was created by Congress in 1974 and has since provided more than $700 million to Arkansas communities for projects such as community centers, street repair, wastewater systems, local museums, homeless shelters, childcare facilities and libraries.

A shoe company says more than half its workforce at a Hot Springs manufacturing facility will be laid off, leaving 56 people out of work.

Munro & Co. says the first round of layoffs will happen in June with a second round occurring in July. The company produces the Munro American line of women's footwear and also imports shoes.

Last year, Munro & Co. closed its Mount Ida facility, putting 85 people out of work.

CEO Bruce Munro says the company has moved some operations to the Dominican Republic to remain competitive.

The Chi family of Little Rock is announcing it will turn the century-old Boyle Building at the corner of Main Street and Capitol Avenue into an Aloft Hotel.

The family already owns two hotels and several restaurants in Little Rock.

David Robinson, one of the partners for Main Street Lofts who until recently was the owner of Boyle Building, said the Chi Hotel Group purchased the building for $4.6 million.

Arkansas Business

Arkansas Securities Commissioner Heath Abshure has been cleared of any ethical violations after a complaint was filed by Little Rock-based investment firm Stephens Incorporated.

But now the company’s top lawyer says there ought to be a law against what the commissioner did.

Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz has been following the ongoing allegations being fired back and forth between the Abshure and Stephens.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A company that will manage operations of Entergy Arkansas’s power grid, broke ground on a new facility in Little Rock Friday. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator or MISO, is establishing a regional headquarters that it says will employ 50 people at average salaries of 85,000 dollars a year.

Local elected officials and company representatives gathered in the middle of a dusty construction site in West Little Rock to move dirt with golden shovels and give a ceremonial blessing to the arrival MISO’s new facility in Arkansas

A third, and likely final, wave of layoffs at Little Rock-based Acxiom Corp. began on Wednesday as the database marketer continued its push to realign its workforce to meet changing industry demands.

Acxiom indicated in November 2013 it would cut its overall labor force by March in an effort to save $20-$30 million annually.

Acxiom has been investing in new products and services geared towards more sophisticated consumer data collection and target marketing via the Internet as some of its traditional, core business silos have seen declines in revenue and profitability.

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Restaurants, along with jewelers, candy companies and florists all look forward to Valentine’s Day.

One restaurateur says it and New Year’s Eve are typically the busiest days of the year.

“Valentine’s is a very important holiday for us, and I’m sure it is for a lot of other places in the restaurant business, especially fine dining places. This is the time of year when it slows down and it’s slower through March.  Our sales are down and this gives us a boost to get us over the hump,” said Brent Peterson, co-owner of Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock.

New Report Shows Home Sales Are Up In Arkansas

Jan 29, 2014

The number of homes sold in Arkansas is up. A report out Wednesday from the Arkansas Realtors Association says home sales are up by 17%, as compared with the same time last year.

Carolyn Cobb, Executive Broker with Coldwell Banker says People are able to sell homes for a bit of a profit and interest rates are down. But she doesn’t foresee too much changing over the next few months.

Cobb says last year’s average price for a home was just over $150,000.

Mark Friedman / Arkansas Business

It’s not immediately clear why, but federal agents Tuesday executed search warrants at a North Little Rock company that has become well known for licensing and digitizing the photo collections of notable newspapers around the country. They were also at the expansive home of John Rogers, owner of Rogers Photo Archive.

Reporters were kept across from the locations, as boxes were removed and loaded into vehicles.

Tyson Foods, one of the world's  largest meat-processing companies, says it's acquired the assets of Bosco's Pizza of Warren, Michigan.   Bosco's produces a variety of stuffed bread sticks and  frozen pizzas for food service and retail customers throughout the Midwest and at some national retailers.   Tyson officials say the acquisition is part of the Springdale company's plan to grow its domestic prepared foods business.   Bosco's employs about 150 people, all of whom are expected to work for Tyson.

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