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Editorial Results (free)

1. Commercial Appeal Cuts Nine Employees -

The Commercial Appeal is planning another round of layoffs, the Memphis Newspaper Guild announced Tuesday, Dec. 6.

In an email to members, guild president Wayne Risher said The Commercial Appeal informed the guild Tuesday morning the news that nine guild-covered employees will lose their jobs by Dec. 20 as part of a “reduction in force.”

2. Urban Garden -

An ambitious new model in green business is set to roll into Memphis’ Edge District in early May.

The Trolley Stop Market, a permanent farmer’s market at 704 Madison Ave., will sell locally grown and produced foods including organic fruits and vegetables, herbs, meats, honey and baked goods.

3. Biz Licenses Down From Year Ago -

Business licenses issued during the first quarter of this year plunged 31 percent from a year ago – a steep drop that could be an anomaly.

An unusually high number of permits was issued during the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2010.

Desperation and misrepresentation could be factors, according to local experts.

Jeff Jacobs, manager of the business tax division of the Shelby County Clerk’s Office, said he thought several individuals may have obtained permits in the first quarter of 2009 just to claim federal income tax deductions.

However, Mark Taylor, an adviser at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Memphis, said many more people were looking to start their own businesses during that period.

“I’m sure for the first quarter of last year there was a big surge in business licenses,” Taylor said. “Everybody was desperate. I think people were just scrambling.”

A total of 1,590 business licenses were issued during the first quarter of this year, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

That compares to 2,316 in Q1 2009.

Taylor said fewer people are inquiring about opening businesses now because of the tight credit market.

Banks are reluctant to loan money for startups.

“Money is still tight,” Taylor said. “We’re not seeing any real big shift on that yet.”

That trend could be changing, said an official from the research division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

David C. Wheelock, a vice president at the Federal Reserve who is an adviser on financial markets, in a recently published essay said, “Business lending may be poised for a rebound.”

His essay was based on quarterly surveys of banks by the Fed concerning lending activity.

“The percentage of respondents reporting tighter standards has declined in recent surveys,” Wheelock wrote. “In the January 2010 survey, no banks reported tighter standards on loans to large- and medium-sized firms,

while 5.5 percent reported that they had eased terms somewhat.

“This was the first survey by the Fed that reported a net percentage of banks easing terms for loans to large- and medium-sized firms since 2007:Q2.”

However, he also noted that 3.7 percent of banks had tightened standards.

Wheelock found a silver living to this number, pointing out that it was the lowest percentage of bank tightening since the second quarter of 2007.

During the prolonged credit crunch, many people have financed startup endeavors mostly from their own pockets.

Keith and Jill Forrester, the owners of Whitton Farms in Arkansas, are about to expand their operation into Downtown Memphis with the Trolley Stop Market at 704 Madison Ave. Keith Foster said they’ve borrowed only $10,000 and drawn on savings for the rest.

“It’s been a hurdle,” he said. “We’ve just been able to piece it together here and there.”

The couple had hoped to have the farm-fresh market and restaurant open by now. The opening depends on how quickly some interior renovations can be completed, such as the installation of a kitchen venting system.

The business will hire 10 to 12 people initially, he said. It could open by the end of April or in May.

In Memphis, lending by banks to small businesses remains tight, Taylor said.

“Here recently, the biggest surge of interest I’ve had in small businesses has been due to the Hickory Ridge Mall reopening,” he said.

“It sounds like the mall may make a goal of it. At least one client quoted a low rental per square foot. They obviously are making some deals.”

The Hickory Hill North ZIP code of 38115 was where the most business permits were issued during the first quarter. A total of 93 permits were issued.

The Oakhaven/Parkway Village ZIP code of 38118 had the second most with 92, followed by the Bartlett ZIP code of 38134 with 85.

...

4. Trolley Line Businesses Coming to Life -

New businesses are bringing life back to the storefronts along the Madison Avenue trolley line, especially near the line’s easternmost stop at Cleveland Street.

The spaces are filling at the southwest corner of Madison and Cleveland. The Smoking Caterpillar and Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies have opened since November.

5. Archived Article: This Week - HEADLINE

Memphis Bar Presents Estate Planning Update

June 20

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency presents an earthquake town meeting at 7 p.m. at Dyersburg High School in Dyersburg, Tenn. Experts from the Center for Earthquake Researc...

6. Archived Article: This Week - HEADLINE

Chamber, Technology Council Host Speed Meeting

April 4

The National Ornamental Metal Museum presents a commemoration ceremony and candlelight vigil for the 37th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 5:...