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First Data: Consumers held back on spending until end of Nov.

First Data: Consumers held back on spending until end of Nov.

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- Consumers knew better deals were coming on Black Friday and held back on spending until the end of November, according to First Data's latest SpendTrend report.

VIDEO: Black Friday brawl at Ellijay Walmart

The privately held Sandy Springs-based electronic payments company reported year-over-year dollar volume growth was up 7.3 percent in November, down from October's 9.4 percent jump.

Dollar volume growth was 8.1 percent, while transaction growth was 6.1 percent in November.

Sweet deal: Planet Smoothie sold to Tasti D-Lite

Sweet deal: Planet Smoothie sold to Tasti D-Lite

ATLANTA -- Tasti D-Lite has purchased Planet Smoothie for an undisclosed amount.

Atlanta-based Planet Smoothie sells smoothies and all-natural snacks at more than 100 stores, mostly in Georgia and Florida.

In April, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Planet Smoothie generated $25 million in revenue in 2010, down from $26 million in 2009. Its parent company, Petrus Brands LLC, said at the time it was not giving up on the brand and planned to expand by 10 to 15 stores in 2011.

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Franklin, Tenn.-based Tasti D-Lite is a frozen dessert chain that caters to health-conscious consumers. The chain has international locations in Mexico, United Arab Emirates and Australia.

Preparing for Taxageddon: Interstate Tax Strategies is Helping Atlanta Disarm Tax Time Bombs

Preparing for Taxageddon: Interstate Tax Strategies is Helping Atlanta Disarm Tax Time Bombs


With the United States’ growing unemployment rate and rising deficit, state governments have become very aggressive at finding additional tax revenue. They are actively looking for companies that they can audit and assess for back taxes. According to Internet Retailer, e-commerce rose 14.8% in 2010, creating a golden opportunity to help states, including Georgia, supplement their income. More and more local businesses are hearing the word “nexus” brought into play, leaving a thin line in sales tax obligations. Regardless of the industry, companies with customers in multiple states should carefully evaluate the tax filing requirements and the tax rules where their customers are located. 

Interstate Tax Strategies P.C. is working to correct sales tax problems for multistate businesses—before the auditor arrives!

Stucco company fined $78K by OSHA

Stucco company fined $78K by OSHA

POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. -- A Powder Springs-based company has been fined $78,000 for exposing workers to fall hazards, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This is the third time Escape Stucco and Stone has been fined by OSHA; previous incidents were reported and investigated in January 2011 and December 2010.

About $70,000 of the proposed fine involved workers using a scaffolding system that was not well supported while working on a chimney at a building on South Cobb Drive in Smyrna.

The remaining $8,000 revolved around the company's reported lack of a written hazard communication program for employees who were using strong chemicals, as well as additional scaffolding issues.

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Revenue stamped its approval on $50 million in donations under the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program.

The program lets people and businesses get tax credit for donations to scholarships for Georgia children to attend private schools.

Fifty million dollars is the most allowed under the program. In 2012, the statewide cap on donations will increase by the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index until 2018.

Individuals can donate up to $1,000, while married couples have a donation cap of $2,500. Corporations can donate up to 75 percent of their state income tax liability.

The American Federation for Children estimated more than 6,000 students last year got scholarships to attend private schools through the program.

Atlanta Restaurants Provide Traditional Thanksgiving Fare and Black Friday Escape

Atlanta Restaurants Provide Traditional Thanksgiving Fare and Black Friday Escape


With Thanksgiving less than a month away, there are two important choices to be made. Atlantans must decide whether to cook or to make reservations, and whether to shop Black Friday or to leave the bargain hunting to others. Whichever decision wins out, the city’s dining scene has something for everyone.

Atkins Park Tavern in Virginia-Highland and Atkins Park Tavern in Smyrna are offering guests Thanksgiving menus that will certainly leave them giving thanks for the chef. At both restaurants, the meal is $20 for adults, $15 for young adults and $8 for children 10 and under (tax and gratuity not included). Patrons can start celebrating the holiday at 5 p.m.

KENNESAW: Home Depot to create 700 jobs

KENNESAW, Ga. -- The Home Depot, based in Cobb County next to Atlanta, will open a new national customer support center in Kennesaw, also in Cobb County, next year, ultimately creating 700 jobs.

RELATED: Ricoh to expand, add 70 new jobs

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced the $24 million project on Wednesday.

"The Home Depot is a great Georgia success story, and this announcement of significant job creation adds to the company's well-established track record of creating meaningful work opportunities for Georgians," Deal said in a statement.