Will our smart gadgets become trusted or oppressive companions?

Like legions of hyperactive butlers, many of the brainy gadgets being developed for the Internet of Things will anticipate our needs and make choices for us - without being told what to do - marking a momentous transformation in our relationship with machines.

Updated: Jan. 28, 2015 8:14 AM | Full Story

Companies rethink the office break room as a collaborative workspace

For generations, office kitchens were hidden out of sight, an unloved necessity kept stark to ensure that workers didn't linger.

Updated: Jan. 27, 2015 8:11 AM | Full Story

Small-business owners align with state and local organizations

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked small-business owners about what organizations and associations they aligned with. This is what they said.

Updated: Jan. 24, 2015 10:40 PM | Full Story

Backstory: Durham’s Magpie Boutique fulfills a passion for clothes, accessories, beauty

Po-Ming Wong is on a mission to create unexpected beauty in every woman who crosses the threshold of her downtown Durham shop Magpie Boutique.

Updated: Jan. 26, 2015 8:49 PM | Full Story

Cybersecurity proves to be a necessity for owner of Durham’s Cocoa Cinnamon

Cocoa Cinnamon co-owner Leon Grodski de Barrera was skeptical about his small-business being hacked until he faced a brute force attack.

Updated: Jan. 24, 2015 10:55 PM | Full Story

Steve Judd invents groundwater monitoring system after a drought

From an inventor’s puzzle to a small business, Steve Judd and his family are working to take Eno Scientific to the next level.

Updated: Jan. 26, 2015 8:44 PM | Full Story

Statistically speaking: Super Bowl spending up from 2014

This Sunday, an estimated 184 million viewers are expected to watch Tom Brady and NC State alum Russell Wilson square off in Super Bowl XLIX. According to the recent National Retail Federation Super Bowl Spending Survey, more than 13 million viewers plan to see the game at local bars and restaurants.

Updated: Jan. 26, 2015 6:19 PM | Full Story

Ask the experts: Valerie Fields says to do research before cold calling potential clients

If picking up the phone and calling a business prospect leaves you cold, reconsider. Cold-calling actually can be an enjoyable and productive way to build relationships and expand your business.

Updated: Jan. 26, 2015 7:09 PM | Full Story

Upcoming: Small-business networking events

Where and when to network and learn on the small-business circuit.

Updated: Jan. 24, 2015 10:45 PM | Full Story

Father-son shop restores vintage cars for clients around the world

Don Valenti and his son Steve restored the gleaming red 1961 Corvette about 25 years ago as nothing more than a hobby, with no intention of selling it and no notion that when they did so, they were embarking on a joy ride across the global economy.

Updated: Jan. 23, 2015 8:05 AM | Full Story

Nebraska Furniture Mart in Dallas burb is as big as it boasts

Nebraska Furniture Mart is grabbing the attention of anyone who drives just west of Frisco along State Highway 121 in this Dallas suburb.

Updated: Jan. 22, 2015 8:10 AM | Full Story

LA's Playa Vista neighborhood turning into Silicon Valley South as tech firms move in

First came Facebook and YouTube. Then Microsoft moved in. Google is on its way. And now Yahoo, too, is joining the high-tech cluster that has sprouted in Playa Vista.

Updated: Jan. 21, 2015 8:10 AM | Full Story

Google Glass, apps and interactive exhibits change the museum-going experience

Looking at a painting no longer means simply looking at a painting.

Updated: Jan. 21, 2015 8:10 AM | Full Story

Programs foster leadership in most 'cared-for' generation

Amanda Olar had an abundance of empathy for others. She'd earned an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and spent more than two years working at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Updated: Jan. 20, 2015 8:05 AM | Full Story

Statistically speaking: Majority of owners have positive 2015 outlook

According to a small-business customer survey released Monday by Endurance International Group, 66 percent of owners have a positive economic outlook for this year.

Updated: Jan. 19, 2015 6:00 PM | Full Story

Family business turns Carolina Ale House into a regional chain

The new flagship Carolina Ale House reflects the culmination of years of lessons and experiences of an aggressive Raleigh-based family business that oversees 25 Carolina Ale Houses across six states and seven other dining concepts in the Triangle and coastal North Carolina.

Updated: Jan. 20, 2015 2:00 PM | Full Story

Triangle small-business owners monitoring education, digital privacy issues

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked small-business owners which federal and state issues they are monitoring and why.

Updated: Jan. 16, 2015 6:15 PM | Full Story

Ask the experts: Target specific customers with direct mail

Paul Spinak, president and creative director of The Marketing Machine in Raleigh, says direct mail marketing can be effective because companies are delivering their message directly to the consumer. Companies also know that that advertising will be touched and seen.

Updated: Jan. 19, 2015 6:25 PM | Full Story

Upcoming: Small-business networking events

Where and when to network and learn on the small-business circuit.

Updated: Jan. 16, 2015 6:20 PM | Full Story

Backstory: Barber builds business with late hours and $5 cuts

The owner of 24/7 Barber Shop, who has run barbershops and cut men’s hair for more than 20 years, has built a business model of late hours and low prices.

Updated: Jan. 28, 2015 7:06 PM | Full Story