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VOL. 130 | NO. 90 | Friday, May 8, 2015

Daily Digest

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State Systems Acquires Mississippi Company

State Systems Inc. has acquired Ver-Max Inc., a Corinth, Miss.-based fire protection company.

The move is the fifth acquisition in nearly 10 years for State Systems, a Memphis-based total protection business.

The acquisition further bolsters State Systems’ reach into North Mississippi. Ver-Max has about 500 active customer accounts within a 50-mile radius of Corinth.

Terms of the deal, which closed May 1, were not disclosed. All Ver-Max employees will join State Systems’ existing North Mississippi team.

“This was a natural move for our company and one that enables our footprint to continue growing beyond the Mid-South,” said Bob McBride, president and CEO of State Systems, in a statement.

With the acquisition, State Systems – a privately owned company known for its fire protection equipment, prevention training and cleaning services – now employs 118 people.

– Daily News staff

Simply Fashion and Dots Stores Closing Nationwide

Simply Fashion and Dots stores nationwide are closing, and going-out-of-business sales are starting Thursday.

Simply Fashion, a discount retailer of women’s clothing, accessories and footwear, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. The privately held company currently runs about 243 stores under the Simply Fashion and Dots names.

Simply Fashion operates nine stores in the Memphis market.

The Memphis area previously counted four Dots locations, all of which closed last year.

Liquidators Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Merchant Resources are managing the closings.

The company says all merchandise will be discounted, and store furniture, equipment and fixtures will be for sale. Gift cards will be honored.

Simply Fashion, which was founded in 1987, is based in Birmingham, Alabama.

– The Associated Press

Memphis Youth Fund Kicks Off With MLGW Partnership

The city of Memphis’ summer jobs program and its Memphis Ambassadors Program are seeking private donations to expand through regular contributions via the monthly Memphis Light Gas and Water Division bill.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and MLGW president Jerry Collins announced the Invest In Memphis Youth Fund Wednesday, May 6. Wharton reminded those present that the MPLOY summer jobs program had 7,882 applications from teenagers and young adults for the 1,000 jobs offered.

Starting this month, MLGW ratepayers can fill out a card that allows the utility to add a recurring dollar amount contribution to each monthly bill. The commitment cards will be included with the next monthly bill.

The money from that and from private donations outside the billing process will specifically fund scholarships in both programs.

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis will administer the fund.

Wharton said both programs are “here to stay” because the problems underlying their creation are “the new norm” in America.

“It would be my suggestion to all of us in leadership positions that we adopt this just as we plan for storms, snow, ice,” Wharton said. “I was looking for a way to institutionalize a way for every resident, every citizen to say, ‘I can help.’”

– Bill Dries

Cooper-Young ‘Pup Crawl’ to Benefit Humane Society

Twelve Cooper-Young Historic District restaurants are teaming up for a pub crawl to benefit the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County.

The Cooper-Young Pup Crawl will be held Thursday, May 14, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The 12 Cooper-Young restaurants will offer special canine-themed drinks during the event and will donate 10 percent of sales from “pup crawlers” to the Humane Society.

Participants should first stop at the renovated gazebo at the intersection of Cooper Street and Young Avenue to get a free wristband, which will ensure that their sales are counted.

The event will feature live music by the Side Street Steppers and will be emceed by FM100 radio personality Michelle Lewis.

Humane Society dogs will serve as outdoor greeters at each participating restaurant so attendees can mix and mingle with some of Memphis’ finest adoptable canines.

– Amos Maki

Cowork Memphis to Host Revenue Building Class

Cowork Memphis and startup partner The unFunnel.com will host a revenue building class May 19 at Cowork Memphis, 902 S. Cooper.

The event, “Digital Revenue Engine 2.0: Triple Your Revenue in any Market,” is aimed at small business owners and entrepreneurs and will teach participants how to raise their revenue by increasing the number of customers, the average transaction value per customer and the number of transactions per customer.

The $47 class is part of what Cowork Memphis hopes to be an ongoing series of workshops at its space, in the former Literacy Mid-South building.

– Andy Meek

Tennessee’s Postsecondary Initiatives Show Success

Gov. Bill Haslam’s efforts to persuade more Tennesseans to get a postsecondary education appear to be paying off.

Recent enrollment figures show high interest in three programs the Republican governor launched as part of his “Drive to 55” initiative, which aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with a degree or certificate beyond high school from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025 in order to help improve overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.

Of the state’s 74,000 high school graduates, 58,000 have applied for the program that offers free tuition at any of the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology. More than 38,000 of the applicants have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

The other two programs are geared toward adults. A push to provide free tuition at the state’s technology colleges has received 8,000 applicants, and a nonprofit online university that offers a competency-based degree program has an enrollment of 2,000 — a nearly 200 percent growth rate since it was launched in 2013.

– The Associated Press

Haslam Signs Bill Requiring Racial Profiling Ban

Gov. Bill Haslam has signed legislation that requires all of Tennessee’s law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies to ban racial profiling.

The Republican governor signed the measure earlier this week. It unanimously passed the House 93-0 and was approved 27-0 in the Senate during the recent session.

Supporters say the measure is in response to a series of incidents involving white police officers killing unarmed black men over the last year.

Previous efforts to require racial profiling policies fell short in the Legislature over the years.

Lawmakers in 2005 ordered a comptroller’s study on the role of ethnicity in traffic stops by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

– The Associated Press

McDonald’s Embracing New Ingredient: Kale

McDonald’s may be developing a taste for a new ingredient as it fights to reinvent itself: Kale.

The world’s biggest burger chain says it’s testing two breakfast bowls in Southern California, one of which includes the leafy green as an ingredient.

The test comes as McDonald’s Corp. works to shake its junk-food image, with sales at established U.S. locations declining for six straight quarters. CEO Steve Easterbrook, who stepped into the top spot March 1, has said he want to turn the chain into a “modern, progressive burger company.”

Lisa McComb, a McDonald’s representative, said in an email the kale is included in a Turkey Sausage & Egg White bowl, which also has spinach and bruschetta. The other option is a Chorizo & Egg bowl, which includes a hash brown, cheddar jack cheese and pico de gallo.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 56 94 12,852
MORTGAGES 23 50 8,053
BUILDING PERMITS 285 422 30,356
BANKRUPTCIES 23 67 6,131