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VOL. 127 | NO. 15 | Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Business Licenses Rise Slightly in 2011

By Aisling Maki

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The Shelby County Clerk’s Office issued 5,751 business licenses in 2011, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com. It’s about a 5 percent increase from 2010, when 5,489 were filed in the county.

John Duncan, vice president of member development for the Greater Memphis Chamber, said he thinks there’s a parallel between business licenses edging slightly up and chamber activity.

“A lot of our metrics, a lot of the trends are positive,” he said. “Our membership dues revenues were up in 2011 versus 2010. Our numbers of new members were up, and the drops – people who leave or do not renew – were down significantly.”

Duncan says he expects these trends to continue in 2012.

“I’m not going to tell you we’re going to blow the roof off of it, but I like the trends we’re seeing,” Duncan said.

Unchanged from 2010, Hickory Hill North’s 38115 ZIP code again led the way with the most business licenses issued in 2011, with 290. In 2010, that ZIP had 273 filings.

The University of Memphis area’s 38111 ZIP and Southeast Shelby County’s 38125 had the second highest number of business licenses issued, with 260 each, followed by Oakhaven/Parkway Village’s 38118 (244), Raleigh’s 38128 (240) and Whitehaven’s 38116 (236).

In 2010, Whitehaven’s 38116, Southeast Shelby County’s 38125, Oakhaven/Parkway Village’s 38118 and Bartlett’s 38134 rounded out the top five.

In 2011, the month of July saw more licenses issued than any other month; in 2010, the top month was March. Both years, June was the slowest month.

The number of filings in which the applicant is a Tennessee resident rose to 5,411 permits in 2011, a 4 percent increase from 5,204 issued in 2010.

Proprietors planning to do business in Shelby County can file from any location, and filings by non-residents increased again in 2011, with the remaining 340 licenses issued to residents of 34 other states, compared to 285 non-resident filings in 2010.

Mississippi, which accounted for 96 Shelby County business licenses in 2010, represented the most out-of-state filings in 2011, with 129.

Business licenses covered a wide range of sectors, with an overwhelming focus on the service industries.

Licenses filed included those for numerous bars, restaurants and food services; convenience stores; daycares; cleaning services; tax businesses; tree and landscaping services; hair and nail salons and barber shops; auto repair services; flooring, roofing, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning businesses.

The number of corporate charters filed in 2011 was up a little more than 4 percent from the previous year, with 1,793 issued compared to 1,720 in 2010.

In-state limited liability companies again comprised the largest number, with 881, up from 819 the previous year.

The year included a number of notable licenses.

The second quarter of 2011 saw the issuing of licenses for a number of restaurants, including the 2,500-square-foot Gus’s Fried Chicken at 730 S. Mendenhall Road; the 8,600-square-foot Cheddar’s Café at Centennial Commons, at the intersection of Tenn. 385 and Winchester Road; and Imagine Vegan Café, the city’s first all-vegan, full-service dining establishment, at 2516 Young Ave.

Arguably one of the most notable business license filings of the year took place in the third quarter, when The Kroger Co. filed licenses for seven Memphis-area grocery stores – the sites of former Schnucks – including those at 1761 Union Ave. in Midtown and 799 Truse Parkway in East Memphis.

In September, Kroger purchased eight local stores from its supermarket rival and reopened them under the Kroger name.

Also in Q3, despite stiff competition with national chains, locally owned YoLo Frozen Yogurt stores continued strong with new licenses. The company now includes a mobile unit and 10 stores and has plans to open additional stores.

Another Q3 filing was that of Krispy Krunchy Chicken at 51 S. Main St., a national fried-chicken chain and the latest addition to the ever-growing Downtown dining scene.

And Taylor-Brown Apothecary, which claims to be the only African-American-owned and operated drugstore chain in the Southeast, filed for a license for its second location, 3333 Shelby Drive. The full-service retail chain’s original store is at 568 Poplar Ave., and the company plans to soon open a third drugstore in South Memphis’ Soulsville neighborhood.

Licenses issued in the final quarter of the year show a trend toward more mobile businesses, from Mobile Feet & Hands Reflexology to a mobile pro shop and a mobile drug-testing business.

The last quarter of the year also saw a license filed for A. Schwab Co. LLC. The famous Beale Street general store recently reopened under new ownership.

Its ground floor will remain retail with the upstairs keeping some of its retail function. Half of the upper floor will probably be given to a museum and will double as a rental space for private parties and possibly a gallery to sell art.

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