VOL. 7 | NO. 6 | Saturday, February 1, 2014
Last Ike’s Store Closing Saturday
It will be the end of an era when the Ike’s store at Eastgate Shopping Center closes Saturday, Feb. 2.
When the East Memphis store closes its doors for good, the Ike’s brand will be gone.
Ike’s was formed in 1983 by Memphis-based Malone & Hyde Group. The stores, with their distinctive yellow and red colors and elephant mascot, offered deep discounts on everything from sodas to prescription drugs.
USA Drug bought Ike’s and closed two Ike’s stores in 2010 in a deal with Walgreen Co., which owns the Ike’s name and left the stores on Union Avenue and Park Avenue as the only remaining locations.
The Union Avenue store has closed in anticipation of being converted into a Fresh Market. The Eastgate store is closing as the Walgreens store at Poplar Avenue and White Station Road prepares to open. A sign outside the store in recent days said it would open Monday, Feb. 3.
Sanitation Workers Marker to be Unveiled Saturday
A historical marker in the East Memphis neighborhood where two sanitation workers died in the back of a garbage truck will be unveiled Saturday, Feb. 1, at 10:30 a.m.
The ceremony by the Tennessee Historical Commission and the Memphis Pink Palace Museum comes 46 years to the day after a short circuit in the truck’s compactor crushed Echol Cole and Robert Walker to death at Colonial and Sea Isle roads as their crew made its rounds on a rainy day.
Their deaths were the spark that ignited a wildcat strike by sanitation workers 11 days later, setting off already simmering tensions over the working conditions and city’s treatment of African-American sanitation workers.
The strike brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis as the conflict quickly came to include other social issues. When King returned to the city in early April 1968 to lead another march, he was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
Memphis Tennis Tourney Draws 18th-Ranked Player
Kei Nishikori, who won the U.S. National Indoor Championships title in Memphis in 2013, is returning for this year’s tournament.
Nishikori, 24, from Shimane, Japan, is currently ranked 18th in the world. He has three career titles on tour and did not lose a set in the Memphis championship last year.
He reached the round of 16 in the recent Australian Open and will compete in a field that includes former Memphis champion Sam Querrey, 2013 runner-up Feliciano Lopez, Vasek Pospisil and Lleyton Hewitt.
The U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships will be played at The Racquet Club of Memphis Feb. 8-16. Tickets to all sessions are on sale now at memphistennis.com.
Sullivan Branding, Running Pony Win Regional Emmys
Memphis creative groups Running Pony and Sullivan Branding have won regional Emmy awards for work they produced for the University of Memphis Tigers football team.
The two companies shared an Emmy in the Commercial Campaign category for their “Watercooler Guys” ads that sparked a local catchphrase: “Mind your business, Dennis!”
Running Pony won a second Emmy in the Sports Promo category for the team’s intro video, “A Storm Is Coming,” which features the Tigers and The Mighty Sound of the South marching band playing in a rainstorm.
HopeWorks Fundraiser To be Held March 1
Dr. Ben Carson, an emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, will speak at the sixth annual Morning of Hope breakfast and fundraiser Saturday, March 1.
The program will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Woodland Hills Event Center, 10000 Woodland Hills Drive.
Tickets are $60 each or $600 per table of 10 and may be purchased at whyhopeworks.org. The deadline for all ticket purchases is Friday, Feb. 21.
HopeWorks is also seeking sponsorships for the event. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, call Ron Wade at 901-272-3700.
West Cancer Center Names Clinical Research Director
Dr. Ari VanderWalde has joined the West Cancer Center as director of clinical research.
An internationally recognized cancer researcher, VanderWalde will also hold an appointment with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as associate vice chancellor of research and assistant professor of hematology/oncology.
Previously, VanderWalde served as Amgen Inc.’s United States medical lead and clinical research medical director, directing U.S. global development of a viral-based immunotherapeutic that has shown efficacy in late-stage clinical trials in melanoma.
Sutton Reid Advertising Nominated for Award
Political campaigns journal Campaigns & Elections has chosen Memphis advertising agency Sutton Reid Advertising as a finalist for the 2014 Reed Awards, honoring the firm for being among the nation’s best creative agencies in political advertising and public affairs.
The company’s 60-second radio commercial called “Obama” was chosen as a finalist in the category of Best Radio Spots: Best Use of Voice-Over Talent. The ad was created in 2013 for the citywide campaign to fund universal pre-kindergarten classes in Memphis.
Winners will be announced Feb. 7.
First Tennessee Opens Jacksonville Office
First Tennessee Bank has opened a new office in Jacksonville, Fla., that will serve the Jacksonville market with private client banking, wealth management, commercial banking and commercial real estate services.
Full-scale banking will be offered when the office moves to a downtown business district location in late spring.
Caywood Law Renews Clark Tower Lease
The Law Offices of David Caywood has renewed its 2,261-square-foot lease in Clark Tower for two more years.
Dede Malmo of MalmoMemphis Real Estate handled negotiations for Caywood. Brand Cook of Commercial Advisors represented the building owner In-Rel Properties.
A release about the renewal included a quote from Caywood about the transaction: “I run into people all the time who think I’ve either retired or died, so I thought I’d better renew the lease to assure everyone I’m still practicing law.”
Trustee to Hold Workshops for Delinquent Taxpayers
Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir has announced the 2014 schedule for the Project H.O.M.E. (Home Ownership Made Easier) financial literacy workshop series, increasing the number of workshops from 11 to 15.
Workshops are held on Tuesdays or Saturdays, with the first event scheduled for Feb. 11 at Glenview Community Center, 1141 S. Barksdale St.
Project H.O.M.E. workshops are conducted by the Trustee’s Community Outreach and Financial Empowerment staff, along with its banking partner, Regions Bank. Attendees learn the basics of budgeting and have the opportunity to complete a spending plan and payment schedule with Trustee staff to pay their delinquent property taxes. Compliance with the payment schedule prevents taxpayers’ property from being sold at a tax sale.
Since 2011, nearly 1,300 delinquent taxpayers have attended a Project H.O.M.E. workshop.
This year, the four Saturday workshops are March 22, May 31, Aug. 16 and Nov. 22. At Saturday workshops, Trustee staff will be available to make payment arrangements and accept payments on site. Saturday workshops are typically held prior to the county’s four tax sales.
Project H.O.M.E. workshops are scheduled every three weeks through December. Visit shelbycountytrustee.com or the Shelby County Trustee’s Facebook page for dates and times.
Commercial Advisors Funds U of M Scholarships
Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors is helping fund scholarships for students at the University of Memphis’ Fogelman College of Business and Economics.
The Finish Line Scholarships are designed to assist students who have exhausted other sources of funding and do not qualify for merit-based awards. Scholarships will be awarded as needed, and preference will be given to students in their final semester who are planning to live in Memphis after graduating.
“These Finish Line Scholarships are significantly important because they allow hard-working students the ability to earn their degree despite financial challenges. It is a win-win for all parties involved – the students, the college and the Memphis community,” Fogelman College Dean Dr. Rajiv Grover said in a statement.
School Board Could Vote On Attendance Zones Soon
The Shelby County Schools board could vote in two weeks on new attendance zones for the 2014-2015 school year.
SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson set the very tentative date during the board’s Tuesday, Jan. 28, meeting. The county school system and the forming suburban school systems began surveying parents this week about their school choices for the upcoming year.
Those tentative responses will influence the attendance zone recommendations to come.
Hopson also indicated he will probably call a special meeting of the board next month to get the attendance zones set as soon as possible. The school board holds its voting meeting on the last Tuesday of each month.
Bus Tours to Celebrate Black History Month
Every Tuesday in February, Heritage Tours and the Memphis Area Association of Governments will host the West Tennessee Heritage and “Roots” Day Trippin’ Bus Tour.
The tour will feature sites in Memphis and West Tennessee, ranging from the National Civil Rights Museum to the Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center in Henning, Tenn.
The bus will leave the Memphis Visitor’s Center on Riverside Drive each Tuesday in February at 9 a.m. and return at 3:30 p.m.
The cost of the tour is $40, but the first 10 seats each Tuesday are free, thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Department of Tourism.
Call Heritage Tours at 527-3427 to reserve a seat.
Legacy Wealth Management Adds Three Staff Members
Legacy Wealth Management has added a few professionals to its ranks.
Brent Westbrook has joined Legacy as managing director of business development and client service. Westbrook came to Legacy from Argent Financial Group and introduces Legacy’s services to individuals, families and business-sponsored retirement plans.
Stephen Russell also has joined Legacy as a financial planner. He came to Legacy from the Russell Law Firm PLLC and is responsible for delivering financial plans to new and existing clients while helping with portfolio management needs.
Jeffrey Barnes has joined the Legacy team as director of retirement plan services. Before joining Legacy, Barnes was founder and president of Barnes Retirement Plan Specialists Inc.
1973 Tiger Basketball Team to Reunite
Forty-one years after the 1973 then-Memphis State men’s basketball team reached the NCAA championship game, members of the team will reunite in Memphis and will be honored at halftime during the Tigers’ Feb. 8 game against Gonzaga at FedExForum.
Three starters from the championship game against UCLA – forwards Larry Kenon and Billy Buford, and point guard Bill Laurie – are expected to attend, as well as many teammates and all the members of the late Gene Bartow’s coaching staff.
“Our fans, as well as local civic leaders, are quick to point out the healing effect that team had on the city of Memphis during a very difficult time,” Tigers Athletics Director Tom Bowen said, referring to tensions that remained after the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “We are pleased that so many of the surviving players and coaches are coming back to enjoy a weekend of Tiger basketball.”
Guns-in-Parks Bill Headed to Full Senate
A proposal that seeks to do away with local government’s power to decide whether to allow firearms in public parks advanced to a full Senate vote on Tuesday despite opposition from the governor.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 6-2.
The Legislature in 2009 gave city and county governments the ability to opt out of a new law that allowed firearms in public parks, playgrounds and sports fields.
Under Campfield’s proposal, permit holders would be allowed to carry, unless there’s a school function.
“There have been multiple rapes in our parks,” Campfield said. “Someone should be able to defend themselves ... no matter where they are.”
A representative from Bill Haslam’s office reiterated Tuesday that the Republican governor is against the legislation. Haslam told reporters last week that he has “major concerns” about the proposal.
When Haslam was Knoxville mayor, he supported a 2009 city council vote that kept in place a ban on handguns in some of the city’s parks.
“I have a concern about that in the sense of I think if that property belongs to local governments then their locally elected officials should be able to decide what happens to that property,” Haslam said last week.
Groundbreaking Set For Local Hilton Garden Inn
The groundbreaking for the first Hilton Garden Inn in Memphis was scheduled for Friday, Jan. 31, at 10 a.m.
Hilton Worldwide and Globus Partnership are hosting the groundbreaking at the site of the new hotel, 7955 Market Plaza Drive in Cordova.
The property is owned by Globus Partnership, and construction will be provided by Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC. The five-story, 124-room Hilton Garden Inn Memphis-Cordova/Wolfchase is expected to be completed in December.
The Cordova hotel could be the first of two Hilton Garden Inns to break ground this year.
In December, Turkey Creek Hospitality announced it had has signed a licensing agreement with Hilton Worldwide to develop a 140-room Hilton Garden Inn at 235 Union Ave., the site of a former structured parking facility at the corner of Union and Fourth Street. Knoxville-based Turkey Creek Hospitality would own and operate the new hotel.
Evolve Bank & Trust Offers Challenge Grant
Evolve Bank & Trust is offering a challenge grant of $25,000 to Neighborhood Christian Centers Inc. if the nonprofit raises $50,000 by Feb. 28.
Because of the challenge grant, Neighborhood Christian Centers will leverage all gifts of any size that are designated for the “Evolve Matching Gift” from now through the deadline.
To have their gifts matched, donors may mail contributions to Neighborhood Christian Centers (785 Jackson Ave.) or donate at ncclife.org and note “Evolve Matching Gift.”
Neighborhood Christian Centers President and CEO Ephie Ballard Johnson said the grant will allow the group to engage its donors and leverage each of their gifts.
Commission Votes Down Fairgrounds TDZ Resolution
Shelby County Commissioners on Monday voted down a resolution by Commissioner Steve Basar urging the Tennessee Building Commission to reject Memphis government’s coming application for a Fairgrounds Tourism Development Zone.
The commission’s addition of the ballpark deal to its Monday agenda did not extend to adding a resolution that would change the size and districts of the Shelby County Schools board.
Commissioner Mike Ritz said earlier this month he is ready to propose changing the 13-member school board, which is to debut in September, to a nine-member school board whose districts cover only the city of Memphis and unincorporated areas of Shelby County.
The current seven-member school board covers all of Shelby County, as would the 13-member board.
The district lines to be proposed by Ritz would reflect the formation of six suburban school systems, each with its own elected school board. Leaders from the six districts are hoping to open their separate systems when the new school year starts in August.
The change, if approved, would also come as the filing period for candidates in the 13 races on the August county general election ballot is already underway.
Haslam Named Policy Chair Of GOP Governors Group
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has been named policy chairman of the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee.
The group is the policy arm of the Republican Governors Association. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is the chairman of the 29-member national association, in a release called Haslam “a true pioneer in the public policy sphere.”
Haslam said states are flourishing while the federal government is unable to implement its own policy priorities. The governor stressed his own accomplishments in overhauling civil service rules in Tennessee and reducing what he called the government footprint in the state.
Haslam is up for re-election this fall but has yet to draw a serious opponent for the primary or general election.
US Home Prices Dip Slightly In November
U.S. home prices fell slightly in November as colder weather slowed buying, ending nine straight months of price gains.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slipped 0.1 percent from October to November, partly reversing the previous monthly increase of 0.2 percent. But the index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the monthly decline partly reflects slower buying in the late fall as temperatures drop.
“November was a good month for home prices,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones index committee. “Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter.”
Despite the overall decline, home values have continued to rise in many Sun Belt cities. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix have registered 20 straight months of rising prices.
But home prices surged for much of 2013, driven by big gains earlier in the year. Prices have risen 13.7 percent over the past 12 months.
The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The November figures are the latest available.
US Consumer Confidence Hits Highest Since August
U.S. consumer confidence has risen to its highest point since August on the strength of a brighter view of the job market and business conditions.
The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday its consumer confidence index rose to 80.7 this month from a December reading of 77.5. It was the second consecutive strong gain.
Consumer confidence is closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
For 2013, the confidence gauge averaged 73.3, the highest since 2007. That’s above the 45.2 average in 2009 when the economy was in recession for half the year. But it is still below the reading of 90 that economists view as consistent with a healthy economy.
Firm Buys Majority Stake in Sedgwick
Investment firm KKR is acquiring a majority ownership stake in Memphis-based Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., a provider of technology-enabled claims and productivity management solutions.
The agreement announced Monday, Jan. 27, calls for KKR buying the stake for about $2.4 billion from the current group of investors. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.
Sedgwick handles more than 2.1 million claims each year and has fiduciary responsibility for claim payments totaling more than $11 billion. Sedgwick and its affiliated companies deliver services to clients in 200 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Flowers Recognized With AIA Award
Memphis attorney and architect Josh Flowers has been honored with the American Institute of Architects’ Young Architects Award.
Flowers, the in-house legal counsel for Hnedak Bobo Group, served as AIA Memphis chapter president in 2012. He founded and currently hosts the Emerging Professionals Leadership program, which connects young architects with AIA Fellows. As the knowledge director for the AIA National Young Architects Forum, Flowers launched “YAF Fireside Chats” at the 2013 national convention.
The Young Architects award is given to members who display leadership on the field early in their careers. The 2014 recipients included 18 architects, the largest group to be awarded the honor.
Opposing Sides Speak Out on School Vouchers
Opposing sides to a school voucher program in Tennessee are holding a series of events this week as Republican lawmakers and the governor try to reach a compromise on voucher legislation.
Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence, a grassroots organization opposed to vouchers, held a news conference on Monday in the Legislative Plaza across from the state Capitol. And the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free market think tank that is advocating for a broader voucher program, has an event scheduled for Tuesday.
Last week, Republican state lawmakers filed a school voucher bill they hope will be acceptable to Gov. Bill Haslam, who has repeatedly said he favors a more limited version of the program that gives parents another option for educating their children.
TREE president Lyn Hoyt says more resources should go toward public schools rather than vouchers.
Audit of Children’s Services Finds Numerous Problems
An audit of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services finds that the state child-welfare agency is plagued with numerous problems, including its failure to report the deaths of children in its custody.
The audit also found that DCS conducted sloppy child-abuse investigations and was not adequately tracking juvenile delinquents put on probation.
The audit, which was conducted by the state comptroller’s office, was released on Monday.
It found that the agency needed to do a better job of investigating child abuse and neglect complaints. It also found that the agency had violated a state law requiring it to report the deaths of children in its custody to the legislature.
DCS has come under fire for a series of failures. A commissioner appointed last year has vowed to reform the agency.
Southwest Announces International Flights
Southwest Airlines Co. is expanding beyond the continental United States with flights beginning in July to the Caribbean. The airline began selling tickets on Monday for flights to Aruba, the Bahamas and Jamaica. The Southwest flights will start July 1 and operate from Atlanta, Baltimore and Orlando.
Southwest has been talking about going international for several years.
Survey: Businesses More Optimistic
Businesses expect their companies to perform better this year but that optimism still isn’t translating into a push to hire more workers, according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics.
Of the 64 members who responded to NABE’s January survey, most said they saw stronger sales in the final months of 2013, and 43 percent expect their companies to modestly hike selling prices this year. That’s the highest percentage in more than 12 months. Most respondents don’t expect the new health care law or the Federal Reserve’s easing of its stimulus policies to have a major impact on business, either. However only 37 percent expect to create jobs in the next six months, the same as in NABE’s October survey.
For the fourth quarter, only about a quarter of respondents said their companies expanded payrolls. Those most likely to report increased hiring were from the manufacturing, finance, insurance and real estate sectors.
About 70 percent of those who responded to NABE’s survey predict that the economy will grow between 2.1 and 3 percent this year. That is little changed from October, but it is more optimistic than the 2.3 percent growth forecast by the Fed.
Savory Chocolate Dishcrawl Coming in February
Dishcrawl Memphis has a chocolate “crawl” in the works for February.
The event, on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m., will be Dishcrawl’s Savory Chocolate Crawl. Chefs will attempt to surprise guests with different ways chocolate can be used.
More information is available at dishcrawl.com/memphis, and in keeping with the surprise tradition of Dishcrawl, the location will be kept a secret until shortly before the event.
Iberiabank Completes Trust One Conversion
Iberiabank has completed its acquisition of certain assets and the assumption of certain liabilities of Trust One Bank.
All aspects of the client and branch conversion process were completed over the weekend of Jan. 18-19. The acquired branches also now carry the Iberiabank brand name. With the acquisition, Iberiabank has about $400 million in total deposits and about $500 million in loans outstanding to Memphis clients.
Hollywood Feed Expands Into Texas
Memphis-based Hollywood Feed is expanding into Texas, opening two new stores in Dallas in the coming months.
The stores – a 2,100-square-foot location set to open in mid-February and a 3,000-square-foot location expected to open this spring – target geographic areas Hollywood Feed has been wanting to reach for some time.
“We have had our eye on Dallas for a while, but wanted to wait until we found the optimal fit for our store layout and our customer base,” said Hollywood Feed president, Shawn McGhee.
The two Dallas locations give the pet retailer a total of 25 stores.