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Baked good economics, and CTG hiring 100 in Buffalo

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Bagels are a more expensive proposition than you might expect.

Tom Tobin at the Democrat and Chronicle has a look at what a revolution in Tunisia has to do with the price of a bagel in Brighton.  Small business owners are being hit hard by rising prices for everything from gasoline to flour:

...local small businesses — bagel shops, bakeries, delicatessens — may be feeling the pinch more acutely than the large retailers. "The big stores have more ways than the specialty shops to compensate for price increases," said Randy Thompson, general manager at The Bagel Bin in Brighton. "Raising our prices is not really a consideration right now. After all, people have to buy gas. They don't have to buy a bagel." As it happens, a bagel — whether plain or flavored — is a compendium of many of commodity price increases seen in recent weeks. The price of a bag of flour has risen from 14 cents a pound last summer to 26 cents a pound now. Bakeries need affordable flour the way a seafood restaurant needs a good catch. And flour is anything but affordable these days.

And while we're talking baked goods with holes in them, Matt Glynn at the Buffalo News has a profile of Timothy E. Cloe, the entrepreneur who's taken on 11 Buffalo Dunkin' Donuts restaurants:

Cloe said buying the Buffalo-area stores was an appealing idea to him, for a few reasons. "This is a great area," Cloe said. "I've had friends here all my life. Buffalo is a great market for the value proposition we offer." Cloe's company, Northern Star Restaurant Management, already has 21 Dunkin' Donuts locations in Massachusetts, after acquiring his first location there almost 11 years ago.

While commodity prices might be on the increase, so is hiring at the nation's small businesses, according to Kathleen Madigan at the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog:

The National Federation of Independent Business‘s small-business optimism index last month increased 0.4 point from January, to 94.5. The subindex of expected business conditions in six months slipped one percentage point to 9% although small-business owners expected an improvement in demand, with the expected sales index up one percentage point to 14%. Hiring also made gains. The February employment subindex increased two points to 5%. The average employment change per firm was reported to be 0.17 employee over the past three months, up from a negative 0.15 reported in January.

Meanwhile, Computer Task Group is adding 100 jobs as demand rises for information technology in the health care sector, reports David Robinson at the Buffalo News:

Behind the hiring spree is the rapid growth in CTG’s health care business, which helps hospitals and other health care organizations implement electronic medical records systems and other computer-based products. CTG’s health care revenues jumped 37 percent during the fourth quarter and now account for a little more than a quarter of the company’s $331 million in total sales last year. CTG expects its revenues to rise by another 13 percent this year, with its health care-dominated solutions business providing much of the growth. [Chairman James] Boldt expects CTG’s solutions business to grow at least twice as fast this year as its larger, but less lucrative, business of providing information technology staffing services to clients.


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