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VOL. 126 | NO. 24 | Friday, February 4, 2011

Daily Digest

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Building Permit Filed for Poplar/Highland TCBY

A $122,380 building permit application has been filed with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for a TCBY Frozen Yogurt store in University Center, 3445 Poplar Ave., at the southwest corner of Poplar and Highland Street.

The permit application states it is to remodel the property, which is near the University of Memphis, into a self-serve frozen yogurt store. The property lessee is Neshoba Landholdings, which is subleasing the space to Eric Tushek Enterprises LLC.

Rip Crain, owner of Neshoba, is also a partial owner in Eric Tushek Enterprises.

Crain said the 1,225-square-foot site formerly was a doctor’s office.

The contractor listed on the permit application is Dan Walker Associates Inc.

The new TCBY, which stands for The Country’s Best Yogurt, follows the growing local trend of self-serve yogurt stores. It’s Crain and Tushek’s fourth area TCBY.

For more information on the new TCBY, see the Jan. 21 Inked column at www.memphisdailynews.com.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Unemployment Drops in Memphis

Memphis kept pace with the nationwide joblessness trend of late, with unemployment falling or staying the same in about two-thirds of the nation’s 372 largest metro areas in December, according to new figures.

Unemployment in Memphis dropped from 9.7 percent to 9.4 percent from November to December. From December 2009 to December 2010, unemployment dropped a full percentage point – from 10.4 to 9.4.

In Nashville, the trend was a little more pronounced. Unemployment there fell from 8.4 percent to 8.1 percent.

– Andy Meek

Fred's Reports 3 Pct. Sales Increase

Fred’s Inc. has reported $129.1 million in total sales for January, an increase of 3 percent from last year.

Comparable store sales rose 2.1 percent compared with a decline of 2 percent in the same month last year.

Total sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 increased 3 percent to $485.6 million and comparable store sales increased 2.3 percent compared to a decline of 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter the previous year.

Fred’s total sales for fiscal 2010 increased 3 percent to $1.842 billion compared with $1.788 billion for fiscal 2009. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales rose 2.2 percent versus an increase of 0.4 percent the previous year.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Bella Vita Expands Collierville Store

Upscale home décor and gift retailer Bella Vita is literally “raising the roof” on its Collierville store at 3670 Houston Levee Road – an expansion that’s not exactly common these days in the world of retail.

Bella Vita has raised the ceilings more than eight feet and extended the sides by almost six feet. The store will celebrate the new look and space Saturday during the store hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As a special thank you to customers, Bella Vita will hold a drawing for a painting by artist Deann Hebert.

Known for unique, high-quality and mostly locally sourced items along with superior customer service, Bella Vita is owned by Stephanie Singley, who bought the store in 2003 weeks before graduating from college.

Originally located in Cordova, Bella Vita opened its Collierville location in 2006. The Cordova store closed in 2008.

For more information or to shop online, visit www.shopbellavita.com or call 850-0892.

– Andy Meek

Nonresidential Construction Spending Dips in December

Total nonresidential construction spending – which includes both privately and publicly financed construction – dipped 1.6 percent in December 2010, and is down 6.4 percent from December 2009, according to the Feb. 1 construction spending report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Total nonresidential construction spending totaled $552.2 billion in December on a seasonally adjusted annual rate.

Meanwhile, private nonresidential spending slipped 0.5 percent in December following three straight months of increases, and is down 12.3 percent from the same time one year ago.

Only three of the sixteen construction subsectors posted increases in December – power (2.1 percent), communication (1.6 percent) and transportation (0.7 percent). Six subsectors finished the year higher in terms of construction spending including power (13 percent), highway and street (7.6 percent) and amusement and recreation (4.4 percent).

Public nonresidential construction fell for a second consecutive month, down 2.6 percent in December and 0.5 percent year-over-year. Residential construction spending fell 4.4 percent for the month and 6.3 percent from the same period one year ago.

Total construction spending – which includes both residential and nonresidential – dropped for the third straight month, down 2.5 percent in December 2010 and down 6.4 percent from December 2009.

“Without a doubt, the nation’s weather played a role in shaping the December construction spending data,” Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu said in a statement.

“Prior to December, private nonresidential construction spending was rising in America.”

– Sarah Baker

Baubles & Bordeaux to Benefit Le Bonheur

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s Baubles & Bordeaux event, formerly known as Wine, Women and Shoes, will take place Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central Ave.

Guests will be invited to sip wine and shop for designer shoes and accessories from Memphis-area boutiques. In addition, they will be able to taste delicacies from local restaurants and enjoy a fashion show showcasing the latest trends in women’s footwear.

Tickets to Baubles & Bordeaux are $50 in advance and $65 at the door. VIP admission, which includes premier parking and special seating at the fashion show, is $100 per person.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, which treats more than 130,000 children annually and is known for its cutting-edge programs in pediatric neuroscience, orthopedics, critical and cardiovascular care.

Visit www.lebonheur.org for more information.

– Aisling Maki

Hospice Counseling Among Possible TennCare Cuts

Potential TennCare cuts could include eliminating counseling services in hospice care provided by the state’s expanded Medicaid program.

The spending reductions were presented by TennCare officials at a budget hearing with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam at the state Capitol on Thursday.

Hospice patients would still be eligible for medical services like pain control, home health and physician care.

But the state would save about $14 million by doing away with the counseling services.

The Tennessee cut would also erase a federal match of $43 million for hospice benefits.

The hospice cuts would be in addition to a previously announced plan to cut $103 million in state spending to make up for the loss of federal stimulus money and other reimbursements.

– The Associated Press

Tenn. Proposal to Help Fight Production of Meth

Lawmakers are hoping to curtail the production of methamphetamine in Tennessee through the use of an electronic tracking system.

State Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet and state Rep. Debra Maggart of Hendersonville, both Republicans, proposed legislation on Thursday that would use a statewide electronic logbook to stop illicit purchases of over-the-counter cold and allergy products containing pseudoephedrine. The ingredient is used to cook methamphetamine.

Lawmakers say many pharmacies and retailers currently rely on handwritten, paper logbooks to track purchases.

Earlier this week, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said he supports requiring prescriptions to buy cold and allergy products that contain pseudoephedrine.

He said moving products like Sudafed and Claritin-D behind the counter would make it more difficult to obtain the pseudoephedrine.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028