News

Monday Q&A: Summer tourism outlook

Last summer, the tourism industry faced high gas prices; this year, the economy is bearing down on residents’ vacations. But Alisa Bailey, president and chief executive of the Virginia Tourism Corporation said that doesn’t mean people are staying home. They just aren’t straying as far from it, she said.

Ponzi trial with a twist

As far as alleged Ponzi schemers go, Darrell and Cynthia Underwood were almost monastic in their spending. Under the name Walkwood Properties, which had offices in Midlothian, the Underwoods promised investors 50 percent returns within 60 to 120 days, according to the indictment. In one of many strange twists, dozens of “investors” cashed out with large gains.

Local builder files for bankruptcy protection

Prospect Homes, a local homebuilder for more than 25 years, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday. The company owes more than $50 million to hundreds of creditors. Many businesses listed as creditors were not surprised by the news, as checks had been late in arriving for at least six months. But several local business owners said they kept working with Prospect after Audi met with them, in part because they wanted future work and had known the company for decades.

Northside business rocks the world

To thousands of guitar aficionados, Richmond is known as the return address for one of the finest craftsmen in the world. That’s because Lindy Fralin has built a rabid following for his Richmond-made guitar pickups, magnetic and copper wire apparatuses that translates the vibration of metal (the strings) into sound and send it to the amplifier. Fralin’s story is a refreshing lesson for budding entrepreneurs — if you can be the best at whatever it is you enjoy, you can build a thriving business.

Dominion Resources gives $1 million to free clinics

Dominion Resources gave more than $1 million to local free health clinics at a ceremony at Fan Free Clinic Tuesday. And the timing is right — patient volume at the free clinics in Richmond is up 25 percent compared to last year, on account of the economy.

Now playing at Toad’s Place: The fat lady

On Monday, Toad’s Place of Richmond LLC filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The club closed in March when the landlord changed the locks. At that time, the venue fell four or five months behind on its $40,000 rent.

What’s on tap? Beer-tracking technology

Forget Big Brother. From its headquarters in Powhatan County local startup InteliTap, tracks kegs of beer from the brewery to the moment its contents are poured into a customer’s frosty glass. The company can notify a bar owner anywhere in the world when a barkeep is a little too generous with a pint of the good stuff. And business is set to grow 80 percent this year.

Tech Review: Time to learn another social networking site

You know how co-workers or friends e-mail you articles or videos they think you might enjoy? Twine acts as an aggregator, allowing users to post those links directly to their Twine. Then they can match up with other Twiners who share the same interests. There could be a lot of potential there down the road if enough people jump on the bandwagon.