Best Buy rumors grow

We've noted here in previous months that Best Buy was looking at moving into Albany following the demise of Circuit City.

Sources, who won't go on the record, now say that it's 90 percent certain that Best Buy will be coming to Albany in the former Circuit City location at the Home Depot shopping center. Renovations to the building to prepare for the new tenant reportedly are under way, but no building permits have been issued.

Local realtor and developer Larry Walden owns the property.

The source says contracts are close to being signed, and Best Buy hopes to open around Easter.

SAFETY MAX: Ken Barnhill, president of Safety Max at 1206 N. Slappey Blvd., reports that his company has purchased Albany Safety.

Safety Max has been operating in Albany for about 15 years and has a dozen employees. Albany Safety was owned by David Peacock. Albany Safety was on Oakridge Drive, but the operation will be moved to Slappey Boulevard. Albany Safety has been in business for about 35 years.

Safety Max sells business safety supplies and equipment. Albany Safety marketed similar products, but also did employee drug testing and prescription safety glasses, two additional services that Barnhill plans to keep.

Safety Max sells to clients throughout Southwest Georgia.

EXPANDING: Without much fanfare, Albany-based F&W Forestry Services Inc. has ventured into the Northeast by opening two offices in central New York to serve forestland owners in upstate New York.

Employees in those offices will provide management for about 90,000 acres of forestland recently purchased by RMK Timberland.

F&W President Marshall Thomas says the move is just one more step in the company's expansion plans. F&W also has offices in Uruguay and Brazil.

FORECLOSURE: There's no doubt that metro Albany's real estate market is not faring as poorly as those in many other areas of the country. However, foreclosure rates here continue to climb.

First American CoreLogic says 5.58 percent of mortgage loans in the metro area were 90 days delinquent in November. The foreclosure rate here is 1.23 percent. Both the delinquency rate and foreclosure rate have been increasing since the beginning of 2009.

The national foreclosure rate is 3.09 percent. The Georgia rate is 2.53 percent. The 90-day delinquency rate in Georgia is 8.72 percent, more than three percentage points higher than metro Albany.

CHAMBER AFFAIR: The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce plans to conduct its annual meeting on Jan. 26 -- the first major event during a year in which the local business organization will celebrate its 100th year of operation.

The annual meeting at the Albany Civic Center begins at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and business exhibits. The dinner and program begin at 6:45 p.m.

Featured from 8:30-10 p.m. will be dancing to the music of Reflections featuring Karla Heath Sands.

Individual reservations are $60 through Tuesday. Tickets will be $75 after Tuesday or $85 at the door.

Tables of eight are available for $500. Call the Chamber at (229) 434-8700 for additional details.

PEANUT SHOW: Taking advantage of one of their few down times during the year, Georgia peanut producers will gather in Albany Thursday for the 34th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show.

The show opens at the Albany Civic Center at 8:30 a.m. and is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission in cooperation with the University of Georgia.

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