Grizzlies to Retire Numbers Of Z-Bo and Tony Allen

The Memphis Grizzlies have released statements from controlling owner Robert Pera and general manager Chris Wallace that the team plans to retire former Grizzly Tony Allen’s No. 9 jersey and the No. 50 worn by Zach Randolph.

Allen, aka The Grindfather, returns to FedExForum with the New Orleans Pelicans for a preseason game on Friday, Oct. 13, and again on Oct. 18 in the season-opening game for the Grizzlies.

Randolph is now a member of the Sacramento Kings.

“Tony was a driving force behind the Grizzlies’ seven straight playoff appearances and he remains a beloved member of the Memphis community,” Pera said. “Tony played with a level of passion that is unrivaled. He helped establish a Grizzlies culture focused on toughness and effort, and he challenged every player that put on Beale Street Blue to match his fiery intensity. … We are proud that The Grindfather’s No. 9 jersey will hang in the rafters of FedExForum alongside Zach’s one day.”

Wallace brought Allen to Memphis after they were both in Boston with the Celtics.

“Tony will forever be one of the Core Four responsible for the turnaround in the Memphis Grizzlies’ fortunes and our surge in pSouthernpularity,” Wallace said. “There would never have been seven straight years of playoff appearances, the incredible electricity in FedExForum for home games, ‘Grit and Grind’ and ‘Believe Memphis’ without Tony Allen’s contributions to the team.”

– Don Wade

Holmes Road to Close For Repairs 3 Weekends

Parts of Holmes Road between Hickory Hill and Malone roads will be completely closed to traffic for the next three weekends as city crews repair pavement sections.

The first section is Holmes between Hickory Hill and Lamar Avenue, which will be closed to all through traffic from 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 16.

The second section is Holmes between Lamar and Pleasant Hill Road, which will be closed to all through traffic from 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23.

And Holmes between Pleasant Hill and Malone Road will be closed to all through traffic from 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30.

– Bill Dries

SCO Gave $1.8 Million In Uncompensated Care

During its 2016-2017 fiscal year, Southern College of Optometry’s clinical programs provided more than $1.8 million in uncompensated optometric care in the Memphis community, a 183 percent increase since the college began tracking it in 2009, SCO announced this week.

The numbers represent 17 percent of SCO’s gross charges, well above the industry standard of 10 to 12 percent for charitable care.

About 80 percent of the college’s uncompensated care came through professional services in one of the college’s clinical facilities, including services offered through collaborations with Church Health, InfantSEE, Baptist Outreach Programs and others. The remaining 20 percent came from community-based services like education events and SCO’s School Screenings Program, which serves area students.

The uncompensated care total was bolstered by the expansion of MobilEYES, the college’s mobile care unit, and its new strategic plan. Uncompensated care represents numerous outreach programs geared toward bringing eye care to the community, as well as care for uninsured or underinsured patients.

– Andy Meek

NFIB: Tennessee Business Optimism Dips Down

Anxiousness about congressional action on health care and tax reform were factors contributing to a decline in the NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism in Tennessee last month.

“It's too soon to know what's going to happen with these issues, so that's creating a lot of uncertainty,” said Jim Brown, Tennessee director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NFIB index declined in September from 105.3 to 103 led by a steep drop in sales expectations, not just in hurricane-affected states, but across the country, according to NFIB.

“The temptation is to blame the decline on the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, but that is not consistent with our data,” said Juanita Duggan, NFIB president and CEO. “Small-business owners across the country were measurably less enthusiastic last month.”

The number of small-business owners who expected better sales plunged a net 12 points last month. Owners who think it’s a good time to expand dropped a net 10 points. Also, those expecting better business conditions declined by a net 6 points and fewer business owners touted capital expenditure plans, down a net 5 points.

The declines in optimism were consistent around the country regardless of region, NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a release, who noted hiring activity also declined in projections given by NFIB members.

Six of the 10 index components dropped in September, three improved, and one remained unchanged. The bright spot last month was inventory plans, which gained 5 points as more business owners anticipate a strong fourth quarter.

– Daily News staff

U of M, ALSAC Partner On New Coursework

The University of Memphis Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration is collaborating with ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness arm for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, to create new courses and course content focused on philanthropy and nonprofit administration.

As part of the collaboration, the university is working to identify internship opportunities and bring student groups to ALSAC’s headquarters to learn more about the organization and how it operates.

The U of M currently offers a graduate certificate in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership.

"This partnership will allow us to move to the next level," U of M president M. David Rudd said in a release. "This is a great opportunity for the department and the university to increase our national and international presences, provide online learning opportunities for the philanthropy and nonprofit sector, and provide our students with opportunities to learn from and work with a world-class organization."

Education and lifelong learning have been foundations that ALSAC and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital “have always held in high esteem and we will continue to nurture, grow and support,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC.

“It is especially imperative for us to amplify initiatives like these in our local community, and I'm confident that by working with a partner like the University of Memphis, we will reach new and important audiences around the world,” Shadyac said.

– Daily News staff

Swift Transportation Co. Recognizes Local Drivers

Five Memphis-area drivers for Swift Transportation Co. LLC have been honored as Diamond Drivers, a recognition that is based on miles driven, commitment to safety, on-time deliverables, low customer-service failure rates and total days of employment.

Swift’s driver ranking program ranges from bronze to diamond status, with diamond being the highest-achieving drivers in the program.

The honorees, with the number of times they’ve achieved diamond status, include:

Anita McCoy – Double Diamond Driver

• Brian Scuilli – Diamond Driver

• Charles Basler – Quintuple Diamond Driver

Jimmy Bowen – Double Diamond Driver

• Larry Hutzler – Quadruple Diamond Driver

“Diamond Drivers are our most exceptional drivers, with the strongest records of dedication to safety, efficiency and service to our customers,” Scott Barker, vice president of driver engagement at Swift, said in a release. “We are honored to have the opportunity to applaud these drivers and recognize them for this incredible achievement.”

Swift Transportation, a subsidiary of Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc., is the nation’s largest truckload provider with 40 terminals across the country.

– Daily News staff

Freewheel Bike Tours Return to Medical District

Freewheel, the community bicycling program of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative in partnership with the Downtown Memphis Commission, has launched its third season of rides, which take place every Wednesday through Nov. 15.

Freewheel’s “slow rides” provide a free opportunity to casually explore neighborhoods by bike with friends and fellow riders.

Each Freewheel ride departs from 603 Monroe Ave. at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and explores a specific neighborhood of Memphis:

• Oct. 18: Martyrs Park

• Oct. 25: Elmwood Cemetery

• Nov. 1: Vance, Peabody & Annesdale

• Nov. 8: Downtown Memphis

• Nov. 15: Uptown

The rides last around 45 minutes, and all ages and skill levels are welcomed.

More than 500 riders from 20 ZIP codes have participated in Freewheel’s weekly rides during the past two seasons. This spring, Freewheelers covered 1,600 miles through seven neighborhoods.

“More and more Memphians are discovering that biking really is the safest, healthiest and most fun way to explore their city, including neighborhoods that they may think they already know,” Abby Miller, MMDC director of programs and data, said in a release.

Riders may bring their own bikes or borrow one from the MMDC fleet on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who wish to borrow a bike should arrive by 5:30 p.m. to be fitted.

Visit for more details.

– Daily News staff

JCPenney To Add 750 Holiday Jobs In Tennessee

JCPenney plans to hire more than 750 associates for the holiday shopping season at its Tennessee stores, the company announced Wednesday, Oct. 11.

The 750 jobs, which span a variety of store positions, are part of nearly 40,000 seasonal jobs the retailer plans to add at its 875 stores across the U.S.

As part of the effort, every JCPenney store across the country will hold a National Hiring Day Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Management at the stores will be interviewing job applicants during National Hiring Day and making job offers. The stores are also taking online applications at

– Bill Dries

Sweet Potato Baby Owner To Open G. Alston Oct. 27

Chef Aryen Moore-Alston, the owner and executive chef of Sweet Potato Baby LLC, is opening a fine-dining restaurant in Cordova.

G. Alston will open Oct. 27 at 8556 Macon Road, in the 1937 Farley House in Old Town Cordova. The restaurant serves “new southern cuisine” that integrates Western ingredients and techniques with southern Italian, Indian, Caribbean and Japanese cooking. A selection of private wine labels will also be available.

G. Alston is named after Moore-Alston’s father, Gary Alston, an actor and vocalist for the U.S. Navy Band who performed all over the world. Alston taught his daughter how to cook from the age of 6 until his death when she was 11.

G. Alston will serve lunch Tuesday through Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

– Daily News staff

Twitter Reverses Decision To Block Blackburn Video

Twitter is reversing a decision to keep Tennessee Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn from promoting a campaign video on that platform because of the congresswoman’s statements about the sale of fetal tissue for medical research.

Blackburn, a Republican running for the seat being opened by the pending retirement of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, boasts in the ad that she “stopped the sale of baby body parts.”

Twitter initially told the candidate’s vendors that the statement could be perceived as “inflammatory” and evoke a negative reaction.

The decision kept Blackburn from paying to promote the video on Twitter but it didn’t prevent individual users from posting it or linking to other social media platforms.

“After reconsidering the ad in the context of the entire message, we believe that there is room to refine our policies around these issues,” Twitter said in a statement.

Blackburn was quick to see political gain in the short-lived ban, posting on Twitter about “standing up to Silicon Valley.”

“It’s a real shame that this censorship happened in the first place,” said Blackburn spokeswoman Andrea Bozek.

Blackburn was the chair of a Republican-run House panel created to investigate Planned Parenthood and the world of fetal tissue research that urged Congress to halt federal payments to the women’s health organization.

Democrats said the GOP probe, concluded earlier this year, had unearthed no wrongdoing and wasted taxpayers’ money on an abusive investigation.

The panel was created after anti-abortion activists released secretly recorded videos in 2015 showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they sometimes provide fetal tissue to researchers, which is legal if no profit is made.

Fetal tissue research has strong backing among scientists for its value in studying the chromosomal disorder Down syndrome, eye disease and other problems.

But Blackburn’s committee report said fetal tissue “makes a vanishingly small contribution to clinical and research efforts, if it contributes at all,” and recommended curbing federal grants for such research.

– The Associated Press

Kroger Says It May Sell Its 780 Convenience Stores

Supermarket operator Kroger says it is considering selling its gas station convenience stores, such as KwikShop, Loaf ‘N Jug and Turkey Hill Minit Markets.

Kroger Co. says the business, which has more than 780 stores and 11,000 employees, would be more valuable outside of the company.

A sale would leave Kroger with about 2,800 supermarkets.

Grocery store operators have been under pressure after Inc. bought Whole Foods this summer.

Some in the industry expect that the online retail giant will shake up how people buy groceries.

– The Associated Press

Apartment Community Sells for $50 Million

One of Memphis’ largest apartment communities, the 1,002-unit Madison Cypress Lakes Apartments, has sold for $47.8 million, or $47,704 per unit.

Rockville, Maryland-based CAPREIT, working as Tilden Fundamental Cypress Lakes Apartments LLC, bought the East Memphis property Friday, Oct. 6, from Water Grove Investors LLC, an affiliate of Philadelphia-based Madison Apartment Group LP.

CAPREIT said in a statement it plans to rebrand the community as Waterview Apartments.

Built in 1985 and 1986, the community contains 155 apartment buildings across roughly 145 acres at 6860 Quince Road. The one- and two-bedroom units range from 533 to 1,160 square feet, and the property also includes multiple lakes, including some stocked with fish; indoor and outdoor pools; three clubhouses; and indoor sports courts, among other amenities.

The Shelby County Assessor’s 2017 appraisal of the Class C property totals $27.1 million.

“Waterview will provide the Germantown/Collierville area with quality affordable housing that is much needed in the submarket, and we plan to invest a significant amount of capital into upgrading the community,” Brendan Majev, a senior acquisitions associate for CAPREIT, said in a statement. “Our intention is to contribute to the continued growth of one of Memphis’ top submarkets with updated, reputable homes. We are excited about the opportunity to provide renovations in a growing area, and are confident these upgrades will make an already affluent submarket even more desirable.”

The seller, Madison Apartment Group, paid $46 million when it bought the property a decade ago from the community’s developer, Fogelman Management Group. At the time, the community was called Watergrove Townhomes, but Madison – the multifamily arm of private equity real estate firm BPG Properties Ltd. – rebranded it as Madison Cypress Lakes.

CAPREIT, which was founded in 1993, owns or manages around 14,000 apartment units in more than 20 states, totaling $5 billion in multifamily assets. In June, the company purchased 430-unit Legacy Crossing apartments in Southaven and announced plans to renovate the community and upgrade some units.

– Daily News staff

Developers Pull $24M Permit for Midtown Market

Midtown Market, a mixed-use project Belz Enterprises and Harbour Retail Partners are developing at the the corner of Union Avenue and McLean Boulevard, appears set to move forward soon.

Developers have filed a $24 million building permit application for the project, which appears to be in line with a scaled-back outline of the project presented to Downtown Memphis officials earlier this year. Interim Downtown Memphis Commission president Jennifer Oswalt told The Daily News, in response to the permit, the project looks headed in the same direction as plans presented to the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. and Design Review board in February, and “we are excited that it is getting started.”

Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC is listed as the contractor on the permit application.

The plan for the project – as spelled out earlier this year and via the new building permit – is to renovate the vacant eight-story Artisan Hotel into apartments; to demolish the Towery office building at the southwest corner of the intersection and to build new commercial space there.

– Andy Meek

Collierville Man Awarded $140M in Androgel Lawsuit

A federal jury in Chicago, Illinois, has awarded a Collierville resident $140 million in punitive damages against pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc., the plaintiff and maker of Androgel, a topical men’s testosterone replacement product the jury found caused the man to have a heart attack.

The jury awarded Jeffrey Konrad of Collierville $140,000 in compensatory damages related to his 2010 heart attack, which occurred after his primary care doctor prescribed Androgel for symptoms attributed to low testosterone levels.

Five law firms representing Konrad, including Memphis firm Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz PLC, argued that AbbVie failed to adequately warn consumers about the cardiovascular risks associated with taking Androgel, in spite of clinical data linking use of the drug with “significant health risks,” including heart attacks and strokes, according to a release.

Androgel was originally developed to treat a condition called hypogonadism, but was subsequently marketed more broadly to treat conditions associated with “low T” or low testosterone levels, such as loss of energy, sex drive and moodiness, the law firms argued.

Androgel was approved for commercial use by the FDA in 2000.

The case, Konrad v. AbbVie Inc., is the first in a class of more 4,200 cases accusing AbbVie and other drug makers of selling testosterone replacement drugs and failing to warn doctors and consumers of potentially deadly side effects.

– Daily News staff

Dickson Names President Of Tennessee Realtors

Leon Dickson Sr., owner and principal broker of BenchMark at Southwind Realtors LLC in Memphis, has been installed as the Tennessee Realtors’ 2018 president, becoming the first black president of the organization in its nearly 100-year history.

A Realtor for 28 years, Dickson’s experience spans the national, state and local levels. For the National Association of Realtors, he has served as a Professional Standards Committee member, a director, and a member of the Risk Management Committee. In Tennessee, he was president-elect in 2017, secretary-treasurer in 2016, and a division vice president in 2013 and 2014. In addition, he has served as a TREEF trustee, a director, a Budget & Finance Committee member and more.

Locally, Dickson served as president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors in 2011, among other leadership roles. His distinctions include being named Realtor of the Year by MAAR in 2012 and named BenchMark Realtors’ 2005 top producer for real estate and mortgages.

He is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the Women’s Council of Realtors and the Certified Real Estate Specialists chapter, and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland appointed him to serve on the MLGW Board of Commissioners last November.

– Daily News staff

Guest House at Graceland Named Among ‘Best of Best’

The Guest House at Graceland is among the “best of the best” in tourism and similar amenities as listed by Destinations magazine.

The resort-hotel, owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, made a list of 42 hotels, museums, festivals and other attractions that the travel and tour magazine considers worth visiting.

Guest House opened a year ago this month, the beginning of a $135 million expansion of the Graceland campus in Whitehaven that also included Elvis Presley’s Memphis, an entertainment complex with restaurants, museums and shops on the west side of Elvis Presley Bouelvard, opposite the mansion that was the home of the late entertainer Elvis Presley.

– Bill Dries

Attorney Lewis Donelson Marks 100th Birthday

Memphis attorney Lewis Donelson marked his 100th birthday Monday, Oct. 9.

The senior counsel and co-founder of Baker Donelson has had a 70-year career in the law and had been active in politics before he founded the law firm in 1954, including the founding of the modern Republican Party in Tennessee and Shelby County at a time when political boss E.H. Crump would not even allow the party to hold primaries in Shelby County.

Donelson was also the person who told Tennessee Gov. Ray Blanton in January 1979 that Blanton would not be allowed in the governor’s office as Gov.-elect Lamar Alexander took the oath of office early to block Blanton from pardoning and paroling more inmates in state prisons.

Donelson’s only elected office was as a member of the first city council elected in 1967. He took office in 1968 as the city made the transition from the city commission form of government to the mayor-council form of government that continues today. He was among those instrumental in the change of the structure of city government, and he ran with the pledge that he would only serve a single four-year term.

– Bill Dries

Ring Partners With Conagra On PAM Spray Bottles

Ring Container Technologies, a product packaging and plastic container manufacturing company based in Oakland, Tennessee, has completed a collaboration with Conagra Brands to create a new plastic bottle for PAM Cooking Spray.

PAM will still be available in an aerosol can, but the project gives consumers another packaging option to choose.

The pump-spray bottle was produced at Ring’s Innovation Center in Oakland as Conagra was preparing for a major product launch, according to a release.

Ring Container, which has grown to become one of the largest plastic container manufacturers in North America, employs more than 700 people in 17 cities across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

Ring entered into an agreement last month to be purchased by MSD Partners LP, an investment group started in 1998 to manage the capital of Dell Computers founder Michael Dell. MSD Partners makes investments in public and private companies, real estate and other securities.

Financial terms of the deal were not announced.

The acquisition essentially transfers the ownership interests of Carl Ring and his family. The company will continue to be led by CEO Ben Livingston and Ring’s executive team, all of whom will retain ownership interests in the company. The acquisition by MSD Partners is expected to close before the end of the year.

– Daily News staff

Prologis Sells 2 Industrial Buildings for $23.8 Million

San Fransisco-based Prologis Inc. has sold two parcels of its Memphis portfolio for a combined $23.8 million.

In the first sale, Prologis, doing business as Prologis Development Services LLC, sold a warehouse property at 5295 Logistics Drive in southeast Memphis to Exeter Property Group, acting as Exeter 5295 Logistics LLC, for $16 million.

Built in 2001 and sitting on more than 22 acres, the 350,000-square-foot building was appraised at $11.8 million by the Shelby County Assessor this year.

The second property, located next door at 5305 Logistics Drive, was also purchased by Exeter, this time for $7.8 million.

Built in 2005, the 175,000-square-foot warehouse sits on just less than 10 acres and was appraised at $5.8 million this year.

– Patrick Lantrip

Kele Inc. Buys Control Consultants Inc.

Kele Inc., a Memphis-based distributor of building automation products and controls solutions, has acquired Boston-based Control Consultants Inc.

Terms of the deal were not announced.

CCI, which specializes in HVAC systems and controls distribution in the New England area, will remain headquartered in Boston and operate as a separate brand.

Kele president and CEO Richard Campbell will serve as president and CEO of the combined company, while John Donahue will continue to serve as president of CCI.

– Bill Dries