- Created on 03 June 2013
(CNNMoney) -- For years, Wayne Brandenburg shopped at his local Wal-Mart three or four times a week. He never thought he'd pick up a wife, or marry her, there.
But that's exactly what happened.
Last February, Brandenberg and his bride Susan, both in their mid-sixties, said "I do" in the layaway section of the Shallotte, N.C., Wal-Mart, just a few feet away from where they first met around 2005.
Susan worked as a cashier, after having gone through a difficult divorce. Wayne, whose wife had passed away, made sure to get in the line at her checkout counter, just so he could say hello.
"I'd ask her how she was that day, and tell her she looked very nice," he said. Susan said that she felt safe with him and that he seemed very kind.
Wayne asked her out for a Chinese buffet dinner on their first date. She brought along her two daughters and he brought his two granddaughters so that Susan would feel comfortable. Wayne had a full beard and looked like Santa Claus, he said, which made him an easy sell to the kids.
After that, Wayne started making her lunch every day and bringing it to the Wal-Mart store.
"He was very much a gentleman, and I looked forward to seeing him," she said.
A year later, Wayne proposed to Susan. He couldn't kneel down because of his bad knees. So he handed her a diamond ring and asked her to marry him.
Susan said she shouted something like "don't you do that," only peppered with expletives. She came around to the idea shortly after.
The couple was engaged for six years. When they finally settled on a wedding date, Wal-Mart was the natural choice for the location.
"I first said it as a joke," Wayne said. "But we batted it around and realized that it's where we met, where we dated and where most of her friends worked, so we asked the store and they gave us their blessing."
One of Susan's coworkers bought the wedding cake from the store's bakery. Her daughters jazzed up the cobalt blue walls with bells, lace and ribbons bought from the home decor aisle. Hordes of Wal-Mart staff joined in and cheered when a local pastor said, "You may kiss the bride."
"That kiss was the most special part," she said. "I feel thankful to Wal-Mart for bringing us together. It's the best thing that ever happened to me in my life."
The Brandenbergs aren't the only people to find their match under the halo of Wal-Mart's fluorescent lights. A study of "missed connection" posts on Craigslist, where lovestruck hopefuls try to track down a stranger who caught their eye, found that Wal-Mart is the most popular place to find love at first sight, according to Psychology Today magazine.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie said the nation's largest retailer is flattered to be a place where picking up something as mundane as milk can lead to something magical.
"Perhaps the saying should go, 'love comes when you least expect it -- or when you go to Wal-Mart,'" she said.
- Created on 31 May 2013
One of the nation's largest housing builders is moving its headquarters to Atlanta and is looking for a home in the metro area. A top official at PulteGroup, formerly located in the Detroit area, confirmed early today that the company is moving its headquarters from Bloomfield Hills to Atlanta.
"We have historically managed our growth from Michigan, but the Company has reached a point where we must pursue a strategy that better fits with the long-term growth trends for our company and industry. This relocation will bring us closer to our customers and a larger portion of our investment portfolio," said Richard J. Dugas, Jr., PulteGroup's CEO.
"This was not an easy decision but I am confident that it is the right choice, at the right time, for the ongoing success of the organization."
PulteGroup spokesman James Zeumer had earlier confirmed to WWJ Newsradio 950 that the company's board of directors approved the move and they are now looking for office space.
"This was a very, very hard decision for us," Zeumer told WWJ. "Bill Pulte started this company in Michigan in 1950, so you're looking at more than six decades of history. We certainly appreciate that, but what really has to be noted here is that over a third of our business now, of our closings in 2012 took place in the southeast."
The Bloomfield Hills headquarters employs about 370 people, but not all of those jobs will be moving to Atlanta as the Michigan division operations will stay in the state.
"This was about an opportunity for us to get a little bit closer to our customers and where our investments are being made, and that was really the focus and the genesis for the decision," he said.
Zeumer said the move, which isn't expected to take place until 2014, also has nothing to do with the current CEO of PulteGroup, Richard Dugas Jr., having a history in Atlanta.
Citing an "individual with knowledge of the matter," the AJC reports that PulteGroup is likely moving to an undetermined office building in the Buckhead area.
- Created on 31 May 2013
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce has released its 2013 Legislative Scorecard on on which members of the Georgia General Assembly were graded based on their votes related to certain pro-business measures addressed during the 2013 legislative session.
Nearly every lawmaker in both the Georgia House and Senate earned a passing grade, with an 18-percent increase in passing scores as compared to the Chamber's 2012 report.
"What is clear from this year's scorecard is that lawmakers – both Democrat and Republican – are taking private-sector growth seriously. They realize how important these issues are to the state and to their constituents and that we must take action to encourage investment and job creation," said Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark.
"We are proud that there was such broad-based, bipartisan support for each of the scorecard bills. As a result, we will improve Georgia's overall competitiveness and reputation as a state that is open for business. We commend the members of the General Assembly for their dedication and commitment to the betterment of our state."
The 2013 Legislative Scorecard is based on legislation that the Georgia Chamber believes will directly impact the business community in areas including education and workforce, civil justice reform, business climate, health care, and economic development. Prior to votes being taken, the Chamber communicated its position on each bill to members of the General Assembly as well as the fact that the bills were eligible to be designated as "scorecard issues."
Legislators were assigned final grades of A, B, C, or U based on their votes for each scorecard bill – nine votes in the state House and 10 in the state Senate. To receive a grade, the legislator must have been present to vote for 50 percent of the total scorecard votes. If the legislator was not present for 50 percent of the votes, they received an 'N/A' grade.
For some legislators, subjective factors – including but not limited to sponsoring bills, speaking for or against bills, voting in committees, offering amendments, and furthering the Chamber's legislative priorities – were taken into account.
Each legislator's grade on the 2013 Scorecard reflects a midterm assessment of their support for the business community. A final grade for their two-year term in office will be given following the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly.
To view and download the complete 2013 Georgia Chamber Scorecard, please visit www.gachamber.com.
- Created on 31 May 2013
Rock Anderson has been promoted to vice president and chief people officer for Manheim, a leading provider of vehicle remarketing services, effective July 1.
"Rock has been an important part of Manheim leadership for many years, as a key advisor to the senior executive team and as an advocate for our employees," said Sandy Schwartz, president of Manheim. "As Rock takes on this vital leadership role, I know I will be able to count on his experience, judgment and perspective to prepare the best workforce in the industry for future success."
As a human resources leader at Manheim for more than seven years, Anderson has an understanding of the business and employee culture. He also has well-established relationships with key business and community leaders, says Schwartz.
Anderson most recently served as vice president of people strategies for Manheim. In this role, he was responsible for all human resources functions, including overseeing corporate and field operations, security and employment practices. Before joining Manheim, Rock held leadership positions with several large companies including Siemens, Wachovia Bank and INROADS Inc.
Anderson is a member of the board of directors and serves as chairman of the strategic implementation committee for the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. He is chairman of the benefits committee and a member of the finance committee for the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta and president of the finance committee for St. Anthony Catholic Church. Rock is also a Leadership Atlanta alumnus and a member of the One Hundred Black Men of Atlanta.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Manheim is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media and automotive services company.
- Created on 31 May 2013
More than 50 volunteers will spruce up and plant flowers along Peeples Street in Atlanta's Historic West End on June 4 as part of the 30th annual national NeighborWorks Week. Four non-profits, Invest Atlanta, Trees Atlanta, two neighborhood associations and Wells Fargo will pitch in.
The groups named the work day NeighborhoodLIFTSM Beautification Day to highlight the millions of dollars in down payment assistance still available to boost homeownership in the city. Three homeowners on Peeples Street each recently used $15,000 from the NeighborhoodLIFTSM program to buy their houses.
In addition to NeighborWorks America, volunteers from its local network members Resources for Residents and Communities, NeighborWorks Columbus and Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership will take part. Others will come from the neighborhood groups West End Neighborhood Development, known as WEND, and the West End Neighborhood Association Residents – or WENAR. The volunteer event will take place 8:30 am – 12:00 pm.