Matt Kempner

Business columnist

Matt Kempner is the AJC’s sometimes irreverent business columnist, who enjoys finding  the twists behind our adventures with business, money and careers. Prior to his latest assignment, he wrote a regular column on intriguing entrepreneurs and reported on technology and energy. His career has included serving as a business editor and public editor as well as lots of reporting gigs, from business investigations to politics, government and the environment.  You can follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mattkempnercolumnist or on Twitter: @Mattkempner 

Latest from Matt Kempner

Kempner: Ignore call from boss? Georgia shifts on distracted driving
 Georgia’s new distracted driving rules are confusing and watered down, but they give Georgians a legal excuse not to work in their cars and to ignore calls from bosses and customers. Some workaholics won’t take the hint. Not when they spend all that time brewing in Atlanta’s traffic. Not when plenty of employees and business...

Posted: 5 days ago

Georgia’s new distracted driving rules are confusing and watered down, but they give Georgians a legal excuse not to work in their cars and to ignore calls from bosses and customers. Some workaholics won’t take the hint. Not when they spend all that time brewing in Atlanta’s traffic. Not when plenty of employees and business...
Kempner: Will the Amazon-Trump spat cost you? Beware, online shoppers
 President Trump pointedly accused Amazon of not paying enough in taxes. That’s an interesting call for our president, who apparently didn’t pay federal income taxes for years and boasted about “brilliantly” working tax laws as a private citizen. If the president is trying to highlight unfairness in our tax systems...

Posted: 12 days ago

President Trump pointedly accused Amazon of not paying enough in taxes. That’s an interesting call for our president, who apparently didn’t pay federal income taxes for years and boasted about “brilliantly” working tax laws as a private citizen. If the president is trying to highlight unfairness in our tax systems...
Kempner: Big land for big Atlanta dreams is opening up on westside
 A chunk of railroad land that stretches across more than three miles of west Atlanta is going up for sale. It could be developed for more apartments and homes, which I’m told is the most likely demand for it. Or big thinkers could find a more valuable use. This is a city that hungers to think big, after all. CSX’s Tilford Yard...

Posted: 21 days ago

A chunk of railroad land that stretches across more than three miles of west Atlanta is going up for sale. It could be developed for more apartments and homes, which I’m told is the most likely demand for it. Or big thinkers could find a more valuable use. This is a city that hungers to think big, after all. CSX’s Tilford Yard...
Kempner: What will replace all those Toys R Us stores in metro Atlanta?
 Liquidation sales at Toys R Us offer another reason to doubt the survival chances for any and all stores you walk into rather than visit online. But the end of the greatest store of my childhood isn’t the whole story. We’re again about to witness a tantalizing test of brick-and-mortar’s future: seeing what happens to...

Posted: 27 days ago

Liquidation sales at Toys R Us offer another reason to doubt the survival chances for any and all stores you walk into rather than visit online. But the end of the greatest store of my childhood isn’t the whole story. We’re again about to witness a tantalizing test of brick-and-mortar’s future: seeing what happens to...
Kempner: Georgia entrepreneur was wrong about bullet jewelry
 Heather Abbott was dubious when her husband wanted them to create and sell earrings using bullet casings. Because, well, spent bullets as a fashion statement? Really? It became the launchpad for what the Georgia couple says is a million-dollar-a-year business their website describes as “the leader in bullet and shotgun shell style.&rdquo...

11:56 AM Friday, Mar. 23, 2018

Heather Abbott was dubious when her husband wanted them to create and sell earrings using bullet casings. Because, well, spent bullets as a fashion statement? Really? It became the launchpad for what the Georgia couple says is a million-dollar-a-year business their website describes as “the leader in bullet and shotgun shell style.&rdquo...
Kempner: These Atlanta restaurants are dropping dollars
 Allison Hill wants success for the Neapolitan pizza chain she’s helping launch in Atlanta. She just doesn’t want cash. Patrons at The Local Pizzaiolo on Atlanta’s Westside can pay by credit, debit or plastic cash cards, but not with the legal tender of the United States. Some nearby restaurants also recently put...

10:00 AM Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018

Allison Hill wants success for the Neapolitan pizza chain she’s helping launch in Atlanta. She just doesn’t want cash. Patrons at The Local Pizzaiolo on Atlanta’s Westside can pay by credit, debit or plastic cash cards, but not with the legal tender of the United States. Some nearby restaurants also recently put...
Kempner: Atlanta company has your secrets; doesn’t like sharing its own
 Equifax, which controls sensitive personal information on nearly a billion people, becomes a bumbling mess when it comes to quickly and clearly sharing its own troubling information. Either that, or the data and credit reporting agency acts as if it’s trying to hide something. In the fall of 2017, for example, it made a great show of...

1:35 PM Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018

Equifax, which controls sensitive personal information on nearly a billion people, becomes a bumbling mess when it comes to quickly and clearly sharing its own troubling information. Either that, or the data and credit reporting agency acts as if it’s trying to hide something. In the fall of 2017, for example, it made a great show of...
Kempner: Why gun shop owners need to turn away more customers
 Ken Baye sells guns, including assault-style rifles. But sometimes when a customer comes in Stoddard’s Range and Guns to buy a firearm or shoot at targets, Baye and his team go beyond what gun control laws require and turn down the sale if they think the person seems off. If a patron acts distraught, smells like weed or booze,...

10:00 AM Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2018

Ken Baye sells guns, including assault-style rifles. But sometimes when a customer comes in Stoddard’s Range and Guns to buy a firearm or shoot at targets, Baye and his team go beyond what gun control laws require and turn down the sale if they think the person seems off. If a patron acts distraught, smells like weed or booze,...
Kempner: How a cool Georgia food company met Whole Foods reality
 “My heart is broken,” The Big Cheese told me. Ron Marks, who used the titles president and “The Big Cheese” on his now-unnecessary business cards, launched a fancy Greek yogurt venture in Gwinnett County in 2009. The operation, AtlantaFresh, used milk from grass-fed cows and flaunted flavors like black cherry & port...

11:26 AM Wednesday, Mar. 07, 2018

“My heart is broken,” The Big Cheese told me. Ron Marks, who used the titles president and “The Big Cheese” on his now-unnecessary business cards, launched a fancy Greek yogurt venture in Gwinnett County in 2009. The operation, AtlantaFresh, used milk from grass-fed cows and flaunted flavors like black cherry & port...
Kempner: Delta, NRA and Cagle’s political litmus test for taxpayers
 Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is being bad for business. Which means he’s being bad for jobs in Georgia. That’s a problem for a guy running to be governor. Cagle’s economic sin isn’t that he’s critical of Delta Air Lines — the state’s largest private employer — for ending a travel discount...

4:54 PM Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018

Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is being bad for business. Which means he’s being bad for jobs in Georgia. That’s a problem for a guy running to be governor. Cagle’s economic sin isn’t that he’s critical of Delta Air Lines — the state’s largest private employer — for ending a travel discount...
Kempner: Uber Eats murder in Buckhead? Old trouble in new economy
 Who doesn’t like a shortcut? Uber, Airbnb and other cousins of the sharing and gig economy help make our lives easier and, sometimes, more affordable. But digital technology also has reset our tolerance levels. We now accept realities that would have seemed crazy before. People happily get in the personal cars of strangers late at night...

11:00 AM Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018

Who doesn’t like a shortcut? Uber, Airbnb and other cousins of the sharing and gig economy help make our lives easier and, sometimes, more affordable. But digital technology also has reset our tolerance levels. We now accept realities that would have seemed crazy before. People happily get in the personal cars of strangers late at night...