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VOL. 131 | NO. 3 | Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Farewell For Now Midtown Kroger, Weather Hype and Tri-State Bank Clues

By Bill Dries

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A moment of silence for Midtown Kroger if you will, now that you’ve been through the New Year’s mountain of emails etc.
Where to shop with the Midtown supermarket landmark now closed was the water-cooler question of the day for those who have had a love-hate relationship with the store.
If you are a creature of habit and your habit is that store, you’ve known it by many names – Seesel’s, Seesel’s by Albertson, Schnucks and Kroger.
And as many bad names as you called its original parking lot, you came up with some new ones for the God-forsaken parking lot and its marked pedestrian walkway to hell built on the elegant ghost of the old Trousseau shop.
The store's interior wasn’t quite “Double Indemnity” tiny – think Barbara Stanwyck in cat sunglasses talking furtively over doll-like shelves to Fred MacMurray before “My Three Sons.”
But the “super” in its version of a supermarket was the 1950s black-and-white television Superman.
When Pau Gasol – the original Gasol -- was still playing for the Grizzlies, I ran across him on a late-night grocery excursion able to shop two aisles at once peering over his own aisle to the one I was on, suddenly having that feeling that someone was watching me.
An informal and decidedly unscientific sampling Monday found the alternative sites were the Kroger at Poplar and Cleveland, Cash Saver on Madison, West Memphis WalMart (a go to destination for left of Midtowners, otherwise known as Downtowners) and “I’m still waiting for Trader Joe's."
The old Midtown Kroger has closed as the new and bigger Kroger is starting to take shape behind chain link fences with tarps and other construction barriers just west of the original store but still within earshot of the Idlewild Presbyterian Church carillon.

Market turmoil in China and beyond at the start of the work week. And U.S. manufacturing shrank for a second month in December figures released Monday.

That sets the stage for an interesting session at the Economic Club of Memphis next week with Jim Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
There was already anticipation about Bullard’s appearance before the economic events of Monday. Bullard was of the opinion the Fed should have raised interest rates a year ago instead of just last month for the first time in seven years.

On the local business front, we began the week with word of a NexAir merger and acquisition and CBRE Memphis goes from working with CBRE Group Inc. as an affiliate to becoming part of CBRE Group.

Lots of speculation around the story we broke Thursday evening about the sale of the Tri-State Bank headquarters at Beale and Main. Here is some more context about the bank and its role in Memphis history, the value of the property and some of the indications out there about what could happen when Tri-State relocates in the next year and a half.

The same day that we learned of the Tri-State Bank sale, there was a legal opinion that promises to revive the controversy over overflow parking by the Memphis Zoo on the Overton Park greensward.

We remain on River watch here although the forecast of a river crest of around 40 feet on Friday seem to be holding.

An interesting debate possibly about to be underway on social media over weather models and predictions as well as the whole business of the potential for severe weather versus severe weather.
Erik Prosseus, Memphis Weather.net meteorologist, offers some thoughts on “hype-casts.”

New Year’s resolutions come and go but it seems yoga endures.

Ellen Degeneres is donating $200,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, her latest contribution to the hospital and her latest recognition of efforts on several fronts in our city.
This past October, Degeneres donated $50,000 to Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Frayser for raingear after seeing photos of the school’s teachers walking students home from school. She made the donation during a Skype session with the students.
In lieu of Ellen moving to Memphis, she at least needs a green LifeLine T-shirt with the slogan “You Can Find Me In Frayser.”

Don Wade with a Tigers football and basketball notebook that includes Coach Norvell rounding out his football staff.

Meanwhile, Jim Ryan is the new Rhodes College football coach coming from being defensive coordinator at Washington University in St. Louis for the last four years.

Here’s a rundown of Tuesday’s Memphis City Council agenda, the first meeting of the four-year term for those elected and re-elected in 2015. It’s a slow and steady start that will inevitably get more complex.

The Tennessee legislature goes back to work next week in Nashville. This week legislators across the state are hearing wish lists from constituents including the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The THEC list is topped by more funding to pair employers with colleges.

With that we return you to the bold new vistas of 2016 as you bravely seek out the new aisle for peanut butter, hoping this isn't one of those stores that only has smooth.

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108