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JLA Global may be moving headquarters

Although the deal is not completed and company officials don't want to

talk yet, JLA Global Inc. is likely moving from East Albany to the former Bennett's West building off Kensington Drive.

The company has about 25 workers at its East Albany site.

The company provides services in agronomy, agricultural economics, statistical quality control, analytical systems, and food safety and management.

It's a former winner of the Small Business of the Year given by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.

The facility needs to be remodeled to suit the needs of JLA Global.

The new location is more suitable for several reasons, including access to transportation and proximity to hotels for clients visiting the company.

Officials with the company say that the move should be completed by mid 2010.

The company was formed in 1990 by Jim Leek and has offices in the United States and several other countries including Argentina, Brazil and China.

It's one of those quiet, under-the-radar companies that is a solid contributor to the local economy.

THIRD STORE: The new Zaxby's restaurant under construction at 405 N. Slappey Blvd. is expected to add 40 to 50 new jobs to the Albany economy.

This is the third store that Doug and Deborah Durden will operate in metro Albany. Their first store was built 10 years ago in northwest Albany at Dawson Road and Pointe North. The second store is on U.S. 19 on the southern rim of Lee County.

The Slappey Boulevard store will be the 184th Zaxby's in Georgia. Nationally, the company has 485 locations in 11 Southeastern states.

The first store in the franchise was opened in 1990 in Statesboro.

GOAL EXCEEDED: Members of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors were sitting around the table a few weeks ago discussing how they would be able to come up with the $250,000 annual contribution to help keep the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission operating.

It's not the best time to be asking business people for money when you can't promise them an immediate return on their investment.

Chamber Chairman John McDuffie and CEO Catherine Glover turned to Sherman Willis, Luke Flatt and Barry Cohen to lead the fund drive.

Termed the "gray beards" by McDuffie, the trio asked Joel Wernick to join the effort.

In a report last week to the Chamber board, McDuffie said the fund drive has not only reached its goal but has obtained donations and commitments of $458,000.

Amazing.

CREDIT: I wrote last week about improvements in the city of Albany's fire department system, which has benefited homeowners across the county in terms of lower insurance rates.

I'd be remiss if I did not credit City Manager Al Lott for getting the ball rolling toward the Class 2 ratings.

Lott authorized the spending of contingency funds from the budget to hire a consultant to prepare for the Insurance Services Office inspection.

The consultant worked with Fire Chief James Carswell to make the changes needed to gain the lower rating.

Without Lott recognizing the importance of hiring the consultant, the lower ratings may not have happened.

Danny Carter can be contacted at (229) 888-9346 or emailed at danny.carter@albanyherald.com.