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VOL. TMN-6 | NO. 7 | Saturday, February 9, 2013
Weekly Issue

Lighting the Spark

Small-business stakeholders lead city’s entrepreneur spirit to new level

Somewhere, there’s an entrepreneur scribbling an idea on little more than the back of a napkin. Someone else has all the pieces of a new company in place, and now they’re ready to dial for dollars. Entrepreneurs are a talented bunch, but that talent doesn’t always include a knack for management or finance – skill sets that plenty of experts in Memphis stand ready to help explain.

Local Efforts Make Small-Business Inroads

Cash mobs and MEMshop and angels and mentors and launches – they are all part of an atmosphere in our city that encourages small-business development in the shadow of a historic recession.

EMPHASIS Economic Development

Downtown Focus

City center a microcosm of economic development activity

With its own tax incentives, a narrowly focused group of development boards, a variety of neighborhood demographics and development clusters that run the gamut from commercial to residential, Downtown Memphis is a veritable petri dish of economic development.

Conference Brings Jobs Creation Into Focus

Jim Clifton, CEO of the Gallup organization since 1998, believes the stakes are extraordinarily high in the global arms race for jobs.

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Lawrence’s Background a Fit for Work at EDGE

It might be said that John Lawrence has a background made to order for looking at the big picture – one of real estate, urban planning, marketing and organization management. Through the course of various career moves, he’s developed the tools necessary for the use in his position as manager of strategic economic development planning for Memphis and Shelby County’s Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE).

Alt.Consulting Provides Businesses Help With a Little Quality Time

New businesses are beginning to blossom as the post-recession economy recovers, but some may fall victim to their own lack of business experience.

Suburban School Talks End

Private talks between the Shelby County Commission and the county’s six suburban mayors on suburban school districts have ended, according to Shelby County Commission chairman Mike Ritz and Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

LaunchYourCity Moving to Playhouse on the Square

The LaunchYourCity entrepreneurial platform, which includes elements like Upstart Memphis and the Seed Hatchery startup accelerator, is getting set to relocate out of the EmergeMemphis building Downtown.

Petties Case: Vaughn Gets 36.5 Year Prison Sentence

Vacha Vaughn, a high ranking member of the Craig Petties drug organization, was sentenced Friday, Feb. 8, to 36 years and six months in prison on a federal drug conspiracy conviction.

Forrest Fire

Historians bring differing perspective to park debate

When the Memphis City Council got around to the discussion that counted this week on the future of Forrest Park and, as it turns out, two other Civil War-themed parks, council member Myron Lowery was adamant.

Luttrell ‘Alarmed’ Over Budget Numbers

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell meets Friday, Feb. 8, with Shelby County Schools superintendent John Aitken to look over the still tentative budget plan for the consolidated school system that debuts in August.

January Home Sales Up 46 Percent

January home sales increased 46 percent from the same month last year, and pricing and new-home transactions improved year over year as well.

Madewell Coming to Saddle Creek

The Shops of Saddle Creek in Germantown will soon gain another national retailer with no other presence in Tennessee.

Expanding Distribution

Budweiser of Memphis works to expand local craft brew scene

Budweiser of Memphis is dedicated to expanding the craft beer segment in Memphis following its acquisition of Southwestern Distributing’s sizable craft beer portfolio last October, making Budweiser of Memphis the largest wholesaler of craft beer in the Memphis market.

Legislation Propels Parks Controversy to New Level

As Shelby County suburban leaders were meeting in Nashville Tuesday, Feb. 5, with Tennessee legislators about possible moves toward some version of suburban school districts, the Memphis City Council was reacting to a pending bill in the state Legislature.

Memphis Law Firm Now Part of Regional Practice

Rebecca Adelman’s new law firm launched Jan. 1 after a group of attorneys left one firm to start a new practice with her.

Vaco Memphis Adds Two Divisions

Vaco has added two new divisions to its Memphis office, growth partners of the consulting and placement firm say is an organic extension of its service offerings.

Funding Film

Officials continue analyzing state film incentives, challenges

A prominent Republican state senator recently asked the state Department of Economic and Community Development to make sure and take the call if the department gets a ring from Molly Mickler Smith, the daughter of FedEx founder Frederick W. Smith.

Businesses, Schools to Participate in Citywide Weight Loss Challenge

Memphis businesses, school systems and individuals are gearing up to participate in the HealthyWage $10,000 Team Weight Loss Challenge, a citywide three-month weight-loss contest beginning Feb. 22 that will reward three top-performing Memphis teams with a total of $18,000.

Seminar to Tackle Reappraisal, Consolidation

Real estate industry professionals will soon have the opportunity to learn more about two ongoing issues that will affect every homeowner and taxpayer – the 2013 Shelby County reappraisal and the school consolidation.

CBU Partners With Congregational Health Network

Christian Brothers University’s RN to BSN Nursing Program is strengthening its relationship with the Congregational Health Network with a new online training course.

Fields Gets 37-Year Sentence in Petties Case

Demetrius Fields, a high-ranking member of the Craig Petties drug organization, drew the longest jail term yet as those convicted in the largest drug case ever brought in Memphis federal court continue to be sentenced.

Spirited Debate

Contentious bill allowing wine sales in grocery stores hits legislature

The accessibility of wine for Tennessee residents could soon increase tenfold. 

State Budget Will Include Local Medical Community

The two biggest capital spending items in Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s state budget proposal are a $62 million renovation of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis and a new $60 million Community Health Building at the University of Memphis.

Mayor, Banks Revive Program Targeting City’s Unbanked

It started with a letter. More than two dozen of them, actually. Bankers from around Memphis got a missive from Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. in 2010 that solicited help from bankers like Joe DiNicolantonio, West Tennessee area president for Regions Bank.


Grizzlies Must Reset Season’s Shot Clock

In the NBA, everyone’s used to living with the tight deadline that is the 24-second shot clock. Players and coaches are always turning the page from last possession to next possession.

New Uniform, Same Rudy Gay

Rudy Gay is incognito now – disguised as a genuine star player who had to go north of the border to take his rightful place center stage. In his Toronto Raptors debut, Gay came off the bench and scored 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 3-of-6 from 3-point range, in a dominating victory over the L.A. Clippers (albeit, without Chris Paul). In his first start, a loss to the Miami Heat, Rudy scored 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting.


Rix Discovers Everyone’s Perfect Chocolate Flavor

“What does your business taste like?” That’s one of the first questions Chef Phillip Ashley Rix asks when company leaders commission his signature chocolates to represent their brands. It’s an unusual way to start a business conversation, and it usually jolts people into thinking outside the box, he says.


Austin Takes Reins Of Wolf River Conservancy

Commercial real estate lawyer Stewart Austin of Glankler Brown, PLLC, has been named the new board president for the Wolf River Conservancy as of Jan. 1.


Lovette Heads Career Services at Remington College

Demetrius “Dee” Lovette has been named director of career services at Remington College’s Memphis campus. In the role, Lovette provides job placement services to students and graduates, and works with local employers to assess their workforce needs and provide qualified applicants.


Nike Buys Frayser Land From Belz for Expansion

200 acres in Frayser Sale Amount: $2.2 million


Book Depot Owner Maintains Familiar Place for Bibliophiles

When customers walk into The Book Depot in Germantown, they often comment on the smell, says owner Kathy Waldrop.


War Within the State

TENNESSEE HAS DECLARED WAR ON SHELBY COUNTY. We now have renamed three parks. Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park. Confederate Park to Memphis Park. Jefferson Davis Park to Mississippi River Park. The new names are uninspired and uninteresting – they might as well be Boring Park, Bland Park and Whatever Park – but what inspired them is what makes them interesting.

Saluting UNCF Founder Patterson

Black History Month celebrations are incomplete without a salute to nationally recognized fundraiser Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson, founder of the United Negro College Fund. Named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Patterson was committed not only to fundraising but to collective fundraising that has changed the lives of generations of African-Americans.

Reconsider Your W-4 Withholding

Ray’s Take It’s that time of year again. Your mailbox is receiving the annual tax form allotment. In addition to filing your income tax, take time to evaluate your withholding. It might be that you should adjust the deductions on your W-4 form to change the amount withheld from your paychecks.

What Tangled Webs of Ego

In December, the star athlete was in New York for the festivities surrounding the presentation of a major sports award. The media were all over him, and he, thus, was on his best behavior – perhaps. He was, I take it, on that circuit that athletes apparently are put on by silent agents, wherein they get their pictures taken while bringing cheer to people with bleak futures – such as sportswriters.

Let’s Start a Currency War

Prior to Nixon’s closing of the gold window in 1971, world currencies traded in value relative to the U.S. dollar, which was tethered to gold at $35 an ounce. Following the divorce, currencies began trading relative to the dollar, but the dollar in turn began trading relative to other currencies.

Economic Development Through Entrepreneurism

Last week we visited downtown Las Vegas to tour and learn more about what Zappos founder Tony Hsieh is doing to stimulate entrepreneurial activity and urban revitalization through his Downtown Project initiative. Hsieh is personally investing $350 million to transform downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world in less than five years.

Community Ties Into Elevator Pitch

Last week we highlighted the importance of being intentional to share hope-filled and uplifting stories that infuse positive energy into our community, so we can take control of our perspective and future. This week let us tie that positive perspective and our central theme of community engagement into a few tips that can help us refine our story and elevator pitches.

The Story in the Numbers

I began my career as a CPA with one of the major accounting firms. It was fun for a while, but after a few years I decided the profession was not for me. That’s OK – different strokes for different folks and all that kind of stuff.

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Blog News, Training & Events
PROPERTY SALES 85 317 11,842
MORTGAGES 99 353 13,780
BUILDING PERMITS 304 784 24,948
BANKRUPTCIES 54 233 7,706

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The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.