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Garner theater switching to $2 movies

The Triangle is getting a new choice for cheap movies.

Garner Towne Square 10 on Friday will stop showing the latest blockbusters and start screening second-run movies for $2.

There are only a handful of second-run movie theaters in this region, including Carmike Cinemas Blue Ridge 14 and the Raleighwood in Raleigh, and the Howell Theater in Smithfield.

The switch in Garner is partly a response to the recession. The 10-screen theater's business has suffered as competition increased and customers cut back on entertainment, said general manager Robert Hughes.

A new owner, Carolina Cinemas, took over in May and decided to try reduced prices to attract moviegoers.

"Garner is a blue-collar kind of community, where every penny matters even more," said Hope Branch, district manager for Carolina Cinemas. "If you get enough people through the door, that's a lot of $2 tickets."

ChannelAdvisor resumes hiring

ChannelAdvisor is hiring. A few years back, that wouldn't be stop-the-presses sort of news.

But this is the great recession, after all. And it is the same technology company that in January announced its second layoffs in four months, cutting about 50 workers, including 25 at its headquarters in Research Triangle Park.

Now its business has improved and the company is hoping to hire 20-25 people, mostly in sales but also a few engineers.

"In January, we were sitting there looking over a cliff and we didn't know what was at the bottom," said CEO Scot Wingo. "The word a lot of our partners are using is 'stabilized,' which is good."

Offshoring increasing

A new study from Duke University and the Conference Board offers some
chilling news for workers: The percent of U.S. companies with an
offshoring strategy more than doubled from 2005 to 2008.

Last year, more than 50 percent of the companies surveyed said they
had a plan for putting some of their work in countries other than the
United States. That was up from 22 percent in 2005. Sixty percent of
the companies that already had some operations overseas said they had
aggressive plans to expand those activities.

Highwoods signs big deal in Nashville

Highwoods Properties caught a big one in Nashville. The Raleigh real estate investment trust signed a long-term deal with Simplex Healthcare, a company that provides healthcare products to patients with diabetes.

Manufacturing layoffs planned in Kinston

Another mass layoff is in the offing for local workers, this time at the Kinston manufacturing plant of William Barnet & Son. The company is one of the oldest manufacturers in the country and has evolved into a global producer of synthetic materials.

The company late Friday notified the N.C. Department of Commerce that about 110 plant workers will lose their jobs in October as the company severely scales back operations. Since the extent of the layoffs is not clear, the company has warned all 163 employees that for personal planning purposes they should all assume their positions will be eliminated.

"This decision is mandated by a combination of conditions which are beyond our control," Ray Deane, plant general manager, wrote to the state commerce department.

Average fares drop at RDU

Average airlines fares at Raleigh-Durham International Airport dropped in the first quarter, giving local travelers a welcome price break.

The average domestic fare at RDU was $271 during the first three months of the year, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported last week.

That was down 10 percent from the same quarter last year. And it was well below the national average of $315. The national average dropped 6 percent from last year.

Nucor CEO dines at White House

A few days after President Barack Obama visited Raleigh and thrust several Raleigh businesspeople into the spotlight, a Charlotte corporate chieft got a turn today.

Dan DiMicco, CEO of Charlotte-based steelmaker Nucor, was one of four CEOs who had lunch with Obama at the White House.

DiMicco ate a cheeseburger, waffle fries and iced tea, reports Charlotte Observer staff writer Stella M. Hopkins. Alas, there was no beer.

Time Warner Cable settles in new digs

After more than 20 years of renting, the folks at Time Warner Cable finally have a room of their own.

The telecommunications company began occupying a $33 million energy-effiicent building in Morrisville this month that will be command central for 800 to 900 Time Warner workers.

Time Warner is the Triangle's cable TV provider, with 800,000 cable, phone and Internet customers in the Eastern half of the state.

For years Time Warner employees had been scattered at three different offices in Morrisville.

"This is the first time we have all been under one roof," said spokeswoman Melissa Buscher.

Liquidia wins $7 million in venture capital

Liquidia Technologies scored $7 million in venture capital this month to continue refining chemotherapy and other treatments not to attack healthy tissue. Now the Durham biopharmaceutical company is moving forward with developing a vaccine and testing it on people as early as next year.

Liquidia's technology can mold nanoparticles into desired shapes and sizes to target specific tissue. Currently, treatments like chemotherapy work like napalm, a scorched earth blast that destroys healthy tissue along with tumors.

This month's round of venture capital was led by Canaan Partners, Pappas Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, bringing the company's total raised to $31.5 million.

Inspire CEO Shaffer to step down

Christy L. Shaffer, who has been one of the Triangle's most visible business leaders for more than a decade, plans to step down as CEO of Inspire Pharmaceuticals.

The Durham drug company announced this morning that Shaffer will quit once a successor is in place. She joined Inspire in 1995.

Inspire also reported a net loss of $9.5 million for the second quarter. That was worse than a loss of $6.4 million during the same period in 2008.