Carolinas Roundup |

No-frills Bottom Dollar Food to open in Mooresville

Bottom Dollar Food, Salisbury-based Food Lion's no-frills, discount grocery concept, is opening a new prototype store at 8 a.m. today at 247 Plaza Drive East in Mooresville.

Food Lion introduced Bottom Dollar in 2005, and the brand has since grown to 27 stores in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. However, previous Bottom Dollars have opened in converted Food Lion locations, while the 20,000-square-foot Mooresville store is a design all its own.

The company conducted significant research with the aim of improving on Bottom Dollar's existing theme of bright, cheerful decor with a mix of national and store brands and affordable fresh meats and produce, according to a news release. The new store, for instance, will include a walk-in produce cooler that doubles as part of the sales floor, allowing customers to shop in the cooler while still feeling like they are in the store, not a back room.

Jen Aronoff

AT&T center to hire 50 more than planned

AT&T will hire 50 more employees than originally planned at the company's new customer service center in Goldsboro, for a total of 400 workers by the end of this year.

The official opening of the call center Tuesday had the grandiose feel normally associated with a groundbreaking ceremony for a Fortune 500 corporate headquarters. That's how much Wayne County, a rural community an hour east of Raleigh with a large military population, values the creation of entry-level jobs in a renovated Winn-Dixie grocery store.

The festivities were infused with civic pride, patriotic speeches and a NASCAR race car on display.

For the entry-level employees, many who lack college educations, the call center is a step toward the American Dream: a full-time job with a major corporation, potential promotions and a stable career.

“Hopefully, I'll retire from this company,” said Torangela Miller, a 26-year old Army veteran and mother of four children who works the 3 p.m. to midnight shift. “This is the last stop – I'm not going anywhere.”

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson attended the ribbon-cutting along with the national president of the Communications Workers of America trade union, as well as several lawmakers and regulators.

“It's a huge deal down here,” said James Kerr II, a Raleigh lawyer who recently stepped down from the N.C. Utilities Commission, which oversees AT&T's phone rates and service quality. “Four hundred jobs in this community – it's absolutely vital.”

AT&T opened the facility in April after a $4.5 million renovation of the empty grocery store. The nation's largest communications company received $600,000 in state and local incentives.

It's one of 13 AT&T customer call centers in Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Michigan and other states that will create 5,000 jobs previously moved overseas. AT&T promised to bring jobs back to win regulatory approval for its acquisition of BellSouth. Most jobs pay in the low $20,000-a-year range, less than the Wayne County average.

(Raleigh) News & Observer

GlaxoSmithKline to cut employees at RTP

GlaxoSmithKline's plan to reshape its research-and-development efforts calls for the elimination of 850 positions in the United Kingdom and U.S., including an undisclosed number of employees in Research Triangle Park.

A majority of the cuts planned by the British pharmaceutical giant involve scientists – the third time this year that GSK has cut scientists. Administrative staff also will be affected, spokeswoman Melinda Stubbee said.

RTP workers were notified of the job cuts Tuesday, but some employees could remain with the company for weeks or even months, Stubbee said.

An undetermined number of the positions that the company expects to cut are vacant.

GSK has about 5,500 workers in the Triangle; 900 are at a manufacturing plant in Zebulon.

The cuts are part of a continuing effort, announced in October 2007, to save $1.4 billion a year over the next three years. Since then, GSK has laid off more than 200 workers in the Triangle and more than 1,500 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

“GSK, along with all of the large pharmaceutical companies, is looking for ways to lower costs and improve efficiencies across the board,” said analyst Linda Bannister of Edward Jones in St. Louis.

“One area of lackluster return has been in the research and development area, where pharmaceutical companies, including GSK, are getting less than $1 in return for every dollar invested. That's not a sustainable business model.”

In that context, Bannister said, GSK CEO Andrew Witty “is making the tough decisions necessary in order to position GSK for long-term growth.”

GSK and other drug companies have been buffeted by competition from generic drugmakers, increased scrutiny from regulators and limited success in developing medicines.

In mid-June, GSK eliminated about 250 scientists that were based in RTP and Philadelphia. The company also eliminated 22 chemists' jobs in August.

(Raleigh) News & Observer