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VOL. 6 | NO. 36 | Saturday, August 31, 2013

Daily Digest

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Archer-Malmo Listed Among Fast-Growing Firms

Memphis-based marketing communications firm archer-malmo is included on the fourth annual Agency 100 list from industry publication “The Agency Post.”

The list includes the fastest-growing advertising and marketing agencies in the U.S.

The agencies listed on the Agency 100 demonstrated substantial growth over the past three years.

Founded in 1952, archer-malmo employs 130 full-time professionals and was listed as having a 46 percent growth rate.

Local Business Women’s Group Looks to Re-Form

A group of local businesswomen is meeting Friday, Aug. 30, to discuss re-establishing a Memphis chapter of the Business and Professional Women of Tennessee.

The group is meeting at 11:30 a.m. at Jason’s Deli, 3473 Poplar Ave.

Meeting organizer Martha Ervin said the group welcomes any woman who is interested in “sharpening your leadership skills, developing opportunities to meet and share experience with other women and becoming more informed on issues crucial to women in business.”

Ervin is finance chair for Business and Professional Women of Tennessee, a state affiliate of BPW Foundation. The national group is an advocate for women on work-life balance and workplace equity issues.

Miss Lee’s Preschool Earns Reaccreditation

Miss Lee’s Preschool, the preschool of Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School, has been reaccredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The accreditation includes more than 450 criteria and 10 standards on which a preschool’s operations are judged every five years.

The preschool, which was founded in 1924 and became part of Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal School in 1987, has been accredited since 1998.

Miss Lee’s has a current enrollment of 125 students, including three new classrooms for 2-year-olds that opened in August. The new classrooms were added in an expansion several years ago during a renovation of Grace-St. Luke’s.

Chamber Teams Up With Gazelles Growth Institute

The Greater Memphis Chamber has teamed up with online executive education company Gazelles Growth Institute to offer members access to online training from the nation’s top business experts at an exclusive discount.

The Gazelles Growth Institute has similar arrangements with other chambers of commerce across the U.S., including the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and plans to expand its offer to chambers in Canada and Australia as well.

Through these partnerships, chamber members are able to purchase a corporate membership at a 10 percent discount.

US Economy Grew at 2.5 Percent Rate in Spring

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate from April through June, much faster than previously estimated. The steep revision was largely because U.S. companies exported more goods and imports declined.

The Commerce Department said second-quarter growth was sharply higher than the initial 1.7 percent rate it reported last month. And the growth this spring was more than double the 1.1 percent rate from January through March.

The improvement in the trade deficit helped offset a weaker government spending.

Economists expect growth will stay at an annual rate of around 2.5 percent in the second half of the year, helped by steady job gains and less drag from federal spending cuts. Still, some say higher interest rates might restrain the economy’s expansion in the second half.

Rates could rise even further if the Federal Reserve decides to reduce its $85 billion a month in bond purchases at its September meeting. The Fed will consider the stronger second-quarter growth when making a decision next month. The bond purchases have helped keep long-term borrowing rates low.

30-Year Mortgage Rates Decline to 4.51 Percent

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages declined this week but stayed close to their highest levels in two years.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.51 percent. That’s down from 4.58 percent last week, the highest since July 2011.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage dipped to 3.54 percent from 3.60 percent, also the highest since July 2011.

Rates have risen more than a full percentage point since May when Chairman Ben Bernanke first signaled that the Federal Reserve might reduce its bond purchases later this year. The purchases have helped keep long-term interest rates low.

Mortgage rates remain low by historical standards. But the sudden spike in rates could slow the housing recovery’s momentum.

U.S. sales of newly built homes dropped 13.4 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000, the government said last week. That’s the lowest level in nine months.

Also in July, fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes for the second straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors. Still, the decline has been modest and the level of pending homes sales remains close to a 6 ½ -year high reached in May.

Mortgage rates have been rising because they tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The yield also has surged on speculation that the Fed’s stimulus will slow. But the rate on the 10-year note declined this week to 2.78 percent from 2.90 percent last week.

Unemployment Benefits Applications Fall to 331,000

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits remained near the lowest level in more than five years last week, a sign that companies are cutting few jobs.

First-time applications for benefits fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 331,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, inched up 750 to 331,250 after falling to its lowest level since November 2007 the previous week.

Applications for unemployment benefits reflect layoffs. At the depths of the recession in March 2009, they numbered 670,000. The average has fallen 10 percent this year.

All told, nearly 4.5 million people received unemployment benefits in the week that ended Aug. 10, the latest period for which figures are available. That’s about 30,000 more than in the previous week.

The figures “signal no let-up from the recent pace in employment growth, which has been strong enough to keep unemployment trending down,” said Jim O’Sullivan, an economist at High Frequency Economics. “If anything, claims are suggesting further acceleration.”

Though employers are cutting few jobs, most have yet to start hiring aggressively. Fewer layoffs can increase net job gains, even if hiring doesn’t rise much.

Employers have added an average of 192,000 jobs a month since January. That’s enough to gradually lower the unemployment rate, which fell to 7.4 percent in July.

Nonprofit Alliance Expanding, Moving

The Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence is expanding and plans to move from 5100 Poplar Ave. to 1919 Lynnfield Road, Suite 200, in September.

“We want to make it easier for our more than 200 agency members from West Tennessee, East Arkansas and North Mississippi to engage with us and participate in events and networking,” said Nancy McGee, who leads the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence.

McGee said the alliance has been working to let the Mid-South nonprofit sector know that the organization provides training, education, management consulting, research and advocacy outreach.

“The main thing we want to accomplish is for the nonprofit sector to develop a clearer understanding of what we do,” McGee said.

Small-Business Loan Workshop Set for Sept. 9

Sue Malone, the founder of San Francisco-based group Strategies for Small Businesses, will facilitate a small-business loan workshop in Memphis Sept. 9.

The event, to be held at the Renaissance Business Center at 555 Beale St., will feature Malone discussing funding availability for startup businesses or expansion options for current businesses.

The public is invited to the workshop, which will be hosted by Tennessee Small Business Development Center and the U.S. Small Business Administration. It will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with another from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 pm. At the conclusion of the workshop, attendees can have a loan application ready to submit.

Battledish Competition Coming to Memphis

The international chef competition Battledish is coming to Downtown Memphis in October.

Six chefs will compete for titles such as “most delicious” and “most creative” as well as for best modern, best cocktail and “most authentic.”

The event is Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. All ticket holders will get to vote for their favorites, along with a panel of guest judges.

Chefs and other details will be released weekly. The contest website at dishcrawl.com/memphisbattle has more information and registration details.

Homeless Organizers Host ‘Know Your Rights’ Event

Members of Homeless Organizing for Power and Equality, an organization made up of men and women who are currently or formerly homeless, will be hosting the fourth in a series of “Know Your Rights” workshops for the city’s homeless.

The workshop will be Saturday, Aug. 31, at St. Mary’s Episcopal, 700 Poplar Ave.

Members of H.O.P.E.’s Street-Watch initiative will be available to help individuals fill out surveys about their experiences with the Memphis Police Department.

Organizers with the Street-Watch initiative will also have complaint forms available to document instances of police harassment.

“We believe that over time, we can use data compiled from these complaints to pinpoint areas where police harassment is most likely to occur, what time of day or night, and begin to weed out officers who believe that a badge and a gun give them the right to treat people on the streets of Memphis like second-class citizens,” said Marcus Mitchell, a project organizer.

Visible College Starts Student Work Program

Visible Music College is launching a student work-scholarship program this fall.

The new program will employ 70 students in positions transferrable to the professional, post-collegiate world. Students will work hours weekly in recruitment and advancement, media and marketing, building management, music publishing, hospitality, admissions and more.

The college is preparing to start its fall semester with a capacity enrollment of 129. Students moved in to campus housing in Memphis on Aug. 10.

US Home Prices Rise 12.1 Percent in June

U.S. home prices rose 12.1 percent in June from a year earlier, nearly matching a seven-year high. But month-over-month price gains slowed in most markets, a sign that higher mortgage rates may weigh on the housing recovery.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slowed only marginally from May’s year-over-year gain of 12.2 percent, the fastest since March 2006. And all 20 cities posted gains from the previous month and compared with a year ago, according to the report released Tuesday.

Home prices in Las Vegas soared 24.9 percent from a year earlier to lead all cities. Purchases by investors have helped.

Other cities hit hard by the housing bust also posted stunning gains in the past year. Prices have jumped 24.5 percent in San Francisco and nearly 20 percent in both Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Still, 14 of the 20 cities posted smaller gains in June compared with May. That’s unusual considering June is the middle of the summer buying season.

And in cities less affected by the housing crisis, gains have been more modest. Prices in New York and Cleveland are about 3 percent higher than a year earlier. Prices rose 5.7 percent in Washington, D.C., and 6.7 percent in Boston.

Most economists expect the overall index to slow to single digits in the coming months, which they see as a more sustainable pace.

Dot Foods to Build Dyersburg Plant

Dot Foods Inc., an Illinois company that redistributes food to convenience stores, vending machines and other food service vendors, will build a $24 million distribution center in Dyersburg, Tenn.

Company officials and state and Dyersburg leaders announced the plans Monday, Aug. 26, in Dyersburg.

The warehouse, the company’s first in Tennessee, is to be built on Tenn. 211 in the Dyersburg Industrial Park and will mean 157 new jobs in the Dyer County area in the warehouse’s first three years.

A temporary office opens in the fall, with the center itself scheduled to open in September 2014.

The company begins hiring truck drivers and looking for management staff immediately.

The 166,494-square-foot warehouse will include frozen, refrigerated and ambient storage as well as a 9,500-square-foot garage for tractors and trucks.

The center will serve Dot customers in a five-state area.

District Attorney Offers Bikes for School Attendance

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich is offering a bike to each student with perfect attendance in 12 elementary and middle schools in the Shelby County Schools system and Achievement School District.

The Bike Rewards program is funded by the Hyde Family Foundation and is part of the District Attorney General’s office Truancy Reduction Program.

The bicycles will be awarded at the end of the school year to students who have no absences and no tardy occurrences for the entire year.

The elementary schools in the program are Ford Road, Hickory Ridge, Shannon, Westwood and Winridge.

The middle schools in the program are Chickasaw, Georgian Hills, Hamilton, Hickory Ridge, Ridgeway, Sherwood and Westside Achievement.

The schools have approximately 7,500 students.

PepsiCo Executive Shares Rags-to-Riches Story

When Richard Montanez started working for PepsiCo, he was a janitor.

Today, he’s 56, he heads multicultural sales and community promotions across PepsiCo’s North America divisions, and he is the company’s top Latino executive.

Montanez was this month’s featured speaker of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club.

He spoke to a crowd Thursday, Aug. 22, at the BRIDGES facility Downtown about how he achieved success after inventing the idea and recipe for “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos” – one of the company’s top-selling snacks – and how that success had roots early in his childhood.

“Let me tell you about everything that came my way when I was your age,” Montanez told the young people in the crowd at BRIDGES. “Nothing came my way when I was your age!”

Instead, his was a classic rags-to-riches story. “Why can’t I fit in like everyone else?” he asked his mom at one point during his grade school years. It was at a time when other children shot him quizzical looks when he’d do “strange” things like take out his packed lunch and unwrap – a burrito.

“This is who you are,” his mother told him. One day, she packed him an extra burrito to give to a friend. Soon, he was sharing his food.

And after that, he was selling burritos for 25 cents. It was an anecdote that displayed his early affinity for seizing opportunity.

“Young people, be who God created you to be,” Montanez said. “Once you fall in love with yourself, you’re free.”

Once he got a foot in the door at PepsiCo mopping floors, he made up his mind: “I’m going to mop this floor where everybody who walks on it is going to look twice.”

Boscos Brings Back Derailleur Ale

Boscos Restaurant and Brewing Co. on Sunday, Sept. 1, will be bringing back its Derailleur Ale custom brew.

The light, hoppy beer will be available for sale at all Boscos locations in Tennessee and Arkansas.

Boscos Squared in Overton Square also will celebrate the beer’s return with an evening of beer and live music Sunday.

The event begins at 5 p.m., and all proceeds from the evening will benefit Boscos Cycling and the Mid-South Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 64 16,477
MORTGAGES 72 72 21,504
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 6 6 4,272
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 39,378
BANKRUPTCIES 69 69 15,611
BUSINESS LICENSES 13 13 5,504
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 84 84 23,657
MARRIAGE LICENSES 37 37 5,072

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