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Capital Bank boss is a High School Musical fan

Grant Yarber will spend part of his Saturday night on stage in front of an audience of mostly young girls.

His company, Capital Bank of Raleigh, is one of the top corporate sponsors of N.C. Theatre and its production of High School Musical 2.

As he did last weekend, Yarber will join the group's executive director Lisa Grele Barrie and others in saying a few words before the curtain lifts.

Mostly, he'll thank parents for bringing their kids, and for supporting the arts in Raleigh. As he does, he'll also further his efforts to market Capital Bank.

"Parents are very loyal," Yarber said. "If you're doing stuff to help out their kids and entertain their children, parents look favorably on that. They remember that."

State jobless rate rises to 11.1 percent

North Carolina unemployment surged to 11.1 percent in May, a sign that despite glimmers of optimism in the economy, the labor market is continuing to take a wallop in this

The total number of people employed in the state fell by 28,855 during the month, according to data released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission. The labor force also contracted, suggesting that some workers gave up hope of finding a job altogether.

In April, N.C. unemployment was 10.7 percent. Nationwide, it was 9.4 percent in May.

Duke Energy's Jim Rogers on Colbert...

For those of you who missed it, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers appeared on Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" Tuesday night...

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jim Rogers
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Stephen Colbert in Iraq

Durham Lincoln Mercury dealer to close

Add Michael Jordan Lincoln Mercury in Durhamto the growing list of Triangle auto dealers closing for business.

The dealership at 3621 Chapel Hill Blvd. will close at the end of the month, said sales manager Mark Sidney.

Sidney declined to say why the dealership is closing, though it’s no secret that sales for all automakers have been slumping. General Motors and Chrysler are closing hundreds of dealers across the country to cut costs and reduce supply.

While Ford has not followed GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy, sales for the Detroit automaker were down 24.2 percent in May, compared to the same month a year earlier. On the plus side, May’s results were the highest monthly sales figures since July for Ford.

Sidney said the dealership’s eight sales and service employees will mostly transfer to the company’s nearby Nissan dealership. The body shop will remain open as it serviced Nissans in addition to Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.

“It’s a shame, for sure,” he said.

McKinney wins Aprica account

Baby talk is in at Durham advertising agency McKinney.

The Triangle's largest ad agency announced this morning that it has been hired by Japan-based Aprica -- maker of baby strollers, car seats and other children's products -- to work on global campaigns that will incorporate both traditional and new media, including the development of a global Web site.

"A key part of this assignment is bringing [Aprica products] back to America," said McKinney President Jeff Jones.

Aprica, acquired last year by Newell Rubbermaid, which also makes Graco brand infant products, is the No. 1 stroller brand in Japan. It posted worldwide sales of about $122 million in the fiscal year that ended July 31, 2007. But Aprica's products haven't been available in the U.S. for years.

Financial details weren't disclosed.

Jones said the agency's latest client resonates with McKinney's 162 employees, many of whom are parents.

"It's hard not to fall in love with working in this category," he said.

Last month McKinney was retained by giant insurer Nationwide, the agency's largest account win ever. Other clients include Coldwell Banker, Gold's Gym, NASDAQ, Sherwin-Williams, Travelocity and Virgin Mobile.

CeNeRx raises $9 million

A Cary company developing a new type of antidepressant and other experimental medicines has raised $9 million to continue research on its products.

CeNeRx BioPharma also used some of the money to buy the rights to an early stage compound that could be developed into treatments for degenerative nerve diseases such as Alzheimer's.

The economic downturn "allowed us to bring in a very exciting compound at a reasonable price," said CeNeRx CEO Barry Brand.

A 'Today Show' disappointment

For local product developer Rob Jordan, Monday was a disappointing day. Two products from his Fortis Design company were supposed to be featured on a "Today Show" segment on unique Father's Day gifts. But Evette Rios, who was the guest on the segment simply ran out of time to get to them.

The two products to be featured were the designer duct tape that I mentioned on this blog a few months ago
and a magnetic wristband marketed under the name Magwear. It is used for holding things like screws and nails while working on a project and would be a great gift for a handy dad. Rios did try to make it up to Jordan, giving his items prominent mention on her latest Rachael Ray blog post. Locally, you can find Magwear at NOFO in Raleigh's Five Points.

Quintiles No. 16 on Computerworld's IT jobs list

Durham pharmaceutical research company Quintiles Transnational ranked higher on a magazine's list of the "Best Places to Work" for information-technology professionals than two of the Triangle's top tech employers.

Quintiles was No 16 on Computerworld's 2009 IT list, released this morning. That's up from No. 37 last year. Cary-based SAS came in at No. 19 and Raleigh-based Red Hat is No. 95.

The magazine surveys companies and workers, and ranks them based on factors such as benefits and salaries for IT workers, staff turnover rates, training opportunities, and diversity. The top of the list is a diverse bunch: Food maker General Mills is No. 1, followed by biotechnology company Genentech, San Diego Gas & Electric, University of Pennsylvania, and crop and chemical company Monsanto.

The full list is online here.

Quintiles, which recently moved into a new headquarters in Durham, employs more than 1,700 in the Triangle and 23,000 worldwide.

Trader Joe's coming this fall...

If you missed my story in this morning's paper, the new Trader Joe's store in Raleigh has finally set a timeline for opening.

The developer for the project surprised me yesterday when he said the opening would take place in October. Given that construction on the brand new store just started two weeks ago, that is a seriously speedy construction schedule.

There's a new sign at the Holly Park shopping center on Wake Forest Road in front of the area that will become Trader Joe's. So if you had any doubts, rest assured. The store is coming. No exact date has been set yet. Stay tuned.