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VOL. 124 | NO. 166 | Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Daily Digest

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Lit Buys Former Chism Trail for $500K

A partnership related to the Lit Refrigeration Co. restaurant supply stores has bought the former Chism Trail grocery store at 1665 Winchester Road in Whitehaven for $500,000. Operating in the transaction as Noble Partners Winchester LLC, the group bought the property Aug. 18 from Remark Chism and will open a Lit store at the site.

The Class C, 30,988-square-foot store, zoned for a supermarket, was built in 1976. It sits on 3.24 acres at the southwest corner of Winchester and Millbranch roads.

Noble Partners Winchester financed the purchase with a $400,000 loan through SunTrust Bank. The company lists a 309 Union Ave. address, which is home to Lit’s main restaurant supply store. Samuel Notowich and Scott Blen, the two members of Noble Partners Winchester who signed the trust deed, also work for Lit. The word “Noble” comes from the first few letters of each partner’s last name.

Blen said the new location will be a “Lit Jr.” store, which is smaller than Lit’s main store on Union and offers a slightly different product line. It will be similar to the company’s Lit Jr. store at 2965 Summer Ave., and it fits a need for the company to expand its footprint.

“We don’t have a Whitehaven presence, so I think that was a good opportunity over there,” Blen said.

Blen said Lit Jr. doesn’t offer the same supplies that Lit’s main store offers, which Blen said has “one of everything for restaurants,” from food to basic supplies to heavy equipment. The junior store doesn’t have all the large items, but the Winchester store might thanks to its square footage.

“That one may have some of the heavy equipment in it, because it’s a bigger building,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of different things we could put in there.”

Blen said a lot of work is required for the property before the store can open because it had been abandoned for a long time, and he couldn’t put a time frame on it, but the wheels are in motion.

“We’re checking out the building as we speak,” Blen said.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Prices of Wood Products Are Stabilizing

Prices for wood products this month show that the market for paper and paperboard parts is stabilizing, albeit at low levels, analysts said Monday.

Longbow Research analyst Joshua Zaret, reviewing newly released price data from Pulp & Paper Week, said the data is encouraging. It “shows signs of continued price stabilization, but also reflects still challenging market conditions.”

UBS analyst Gail Glazerman said the publication’s finding of an average 1.2 percent price decline over all grades is less than half the declines in recent months.

“Overall, we remain impressed with the industry’s price performance during the downturn in the face of the worst demand trends in decades, falling input costs and receipt of (federal alternative fuel) tax credits,” Glazerman said.

Among paper and paperboard companies, both analysts selected as their top picks corporations that are major producers of cardboard box parts, prices for which were flat this month.

Glazerman’s top pick is Memphis-based International Paper Co., the largest North American producer of cardboard box parts.

Zaret’s top pick is Norcross, Ga.-based Rock-Tenn Co., one of the lowest cost producers of cardboard box materials.

In midday trading, Rock-Tenn rose 53 cents to $50.53 and International Paper gained 13 cents to $21.31.

TECworks Offers Technology Venture Training

TECworks will offer the nationally recognized FastTrac TechVenture program developed by the Kauffman Foundation.

The business planning program addresses the needs of technology-oriented, high-growth, start-up entrepreneurs. It combines instruction from experienced business professionals, one-on-one business mentoring and peer learning. Since it was developed in 1993, the program has served nearly 300,000 entrepreneurs and companies.

The program will run for 11 consecutive Thursdays, beginning Sept. 3, from 5:30 pm. to 9 p.m. The program is limited to 20 participants.

For more information, e-mail jan@tecworks.org or call 866-1420.

CBU Ranked Nationally In Two Publications

Christian Brothers University has been ranked nationally in U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review.

CBU ranked 19th among the best Southern Universities in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.” CBU also ranked 19th among Tier 1 Southern Universities granting master’s degrees.  

The university was recognized for its economic diversity because 36 percent of its undergraduates receive Pell grants and it was recognized as an “A+ Option for B Students.”

U.S. News and World Report uses 15 indicators of excellence to group schools based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching.

CBU was ranked among the “Best Colleges and Universities in the Southeast” by The Princeton Review as well.

The Princeton Review rates each college based on institutional data, visits by staff, opinions of independent and high school-based college advisers and student surveys.  

Oil Nears $75 per Barrel On Economic Optimism

Oil prices approached $75 a barrel Monday for the first time in 10 months amid growing optimism that the world’s economies are on the mend.

Benchmark crude for October delivery rose 73 cents to $74.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil last topped $75 in October.

Natural gas rebounded strongly from new seven-year lows Monday, though prices remained well below $3 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Expectations that demand for energy will grow were spurred Friday by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said the U.S. economy is reviving. Bernanke’s remarks and signs of improvement in the U.S. housing market sent stock markets higher, and that carried over into the new week.

Even before Bernanke spoke, however, prices already had begun to rise on a large and unexpected drawdown in U.S. oil supplies last week.

Equities appeared to follow energy prices, which took off midweek.

Asian and European markets were higher Monday, and the Dow Jones industrial average rose moderately in early trading.

This time, it appeared energy prices followed equities trading.

“No doubt about it, we’re riding the wave of a strong stock market,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultant Ritterbusch and Associates. “These bullish financial developments have forced a huge amount of passive capital into commodities, especially the oil space.”

It’s been slightly more than a year since a barrel of crude soared close to $150 a barrel. No one expects another run to those heights anytime soon, but even the prospect of increasing demand is sure to keep upward pressure on oil prices.

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