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VOL. 133 | NO. 162 | Thursday, August 16, 2018

Daily Digest

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County Mayor-Elect Harris Starts Transition to Office

Shelby County Mayor-elect Lee Harris told 35 members of his transition team that they will probably continue working through the end of October, two months after he takes office as mayor.

Meeting at the Burch Porter law firm Tuesday, Aug. 14, Harris told the team he is looking for short-term and long-term recommendations. He said he would continue to use the group as a sounding board as he moves into his administration.

Almost two weeks after his election as mayor, Harris used a description he frequently used during the campaign to describe the pace. “It’s still like drinking water from a fire hydrant,” he said of the gap between the election and taking office Sept. 1.

“There are so many ideas in this room. People really talked about a lot of things,” Harris said after the session. “They’re lasered-focused on education, they’re lasered-focused on poverty. It’s a challenge that’s affected so many generations in this community and they want to talk about how we turn the corner and how we reduce it.”

Transition team co-chairman Paul Morris circulated a list of 142 high-level appointments the county mayor will make and urged the group to forward resumes and other contact information for those who might fill the jobs.

Morris also said that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a change in every position from the administration of outgoing county mayor Mark Luttrell.

“There are a lot of incumbents who are doing really good work,” Morris said. “We are not looking to clean house.”

But the new administration wants to make sure all of the positions are open for citizens to apply for.

The transition team is a mix of business leaders, those new to public service and veterans of past administrations and transition teams in city and county government.

Transition team co-chairman Lionel Hollins noted the diversity.

“They have great things going on in their own lives and to be able to come together and bring this transition smoothly, and even further, as we help the mayor to implement what he set out to do in his campaign,” he said.

– Bill Dries

TruGreen Hires FXI Exec As Next President, CEO

TruGreen, the Memphis-based lawn care company serving more than 2.3 million customers across the country, has a new driver behind the wheel.

On Tuesday, Aug. 14, the company announced the appointment of John Cowles as president and CEO, effective Sept. 17.

Cowles is leaving his position as president and CEO of FXI, a foam innovation producer for the home, health care, electronics, industrial, personal care and transportation markets. FXI is based in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The appointment comes with the news of current president and CEO David Alexander’s retirement. Alexander has served as the company’s president since 2012 and its CEO since 2014.

“We are grateful for David’s service to TruGreen. His leadership was instrumental in the successful transition of TruGreen as an independent company and through the merger with Scotts LawnService, while creating significant, sustainable growth,” John Compton, TruGreen chairman and operating partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the private equity firm that owns controlling interest in TruGreen, said in a news release.

Compton said Cowles’ focus on service innovation, building a strong team and culture, and delivering best-in-class customer service will be “tremendously beneficial” as TruGreen enters its next phase of growth.

Cowles has worked in business for 30 years, holding senior leadership positions at companies such as Touchstone Wireless, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup Co. and George Weston Bakeries.

– Special to the Daily News

Trader Joe’s Moves Closer To Germantown Opening

After years of waiting, anticipation and uncertainty over reports of Trader Joe’s arrival in the area, the California-based business is on the verge of opening its Germantown location.

The red-lettered Trader Joe’s sign recently was erected above the entrance to the former Kroger location at 2130 Exeter Road. The store is one of the main tenants in the Germantown Collection Shopping Center undergoing a makeover near the northeast corner of Exeter and Poplar Avenue.

Trader Joe’s aims to open its Germantown store early next month, the chain’s public relations director, Kenya Friend-Daniel, said Tuesday, Aug. 14.

The opening is close enough that the store has attached a banner on the fence in front of the construction site seeking applications.

Crews worked across the property early Tuesday morning, while inside more workers revamped the interior.

“We hope to confirm a date by the end of the week,” Friend-Daniel said of the opening. “… Hiring is underway. The sign went up yesterday. Things can come up at the last minute, but we feel good about an early September date.”

The opening will finally end about three years of starts and stops by Trader Joe’s, which announced in 2015 a store was coming to Germantown. Trader Joe’s originally was to have opened in the third quarter of 2016.

Among the twists and turns that delayed the project was a change in developers.

The space became available after Kroger moved from the former location on Exeter to a new, expanded store on Farmington between Germantown Road and Exeter, across from Germantown City Hall.

– Special to the Daily News

Taylor on Watch List For Earl Campbell Award

University of Memphis running back Patrick Taylor Jr. has been named to the watch list for the sixth annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.

The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity; specifically, tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals.

In addition, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four-year college.

Taylor led Memphis with 13 rushing touchdowns last season, finishing the year with 157 carries for 866 yards. He tied the single game school record for touchdowns with his four-touchdown performance at Houston in 2017. Taylor appeared in all 13 games for Memphis in 2017, with two starts, and finished second on the team with a 72.2 yards-per-game rushing average.

Taylor also had 19 catches for 148 yards and one touchdown, and his 14 total touchdowns last season trailed only NCAA Consensus All-America honoree Anthony Miller’s 18 touchdowns, which led the nation.

– Don Wade

REI Sets Plans For Memphis Grand Opening

REI is planning special events and giveaways for the opening weekend of its Memphis store, Aug. 24-26.

The outdoor retailer’s grand opening at 5897 Poplar Ave. in Ridgeway Trace Center will feature parking-lot parties with free breakfast, music, games and REI Outdoor School programs. The events start at 8 a.m. Aug. 24-25 and 9 a.m. on Aug. 26, and end at noon each day.

Vendors who supply products to REI will be there to offer demonstrations and give away products.

The store’s doors will open at 10 a.m. that Friday, 9 a.m. that Saturday and 11 a.m. on that Sunday. The first 250 people 18 and older who enter will receive a water bottle with a $10, $50 or $100 gift card inside.

Starting next month, REI Memphis will hold in-store workshops on camping basics, backpacking basics, and women’s kayaking basics.

Seattle-based REI will partner with Ghost River Brewing in the creation of an India pale ale called “Happy Herd IPA.” The reference is to the buffalo herd at nearby Shelby Farms Park, and 10 percent of beer sales will go to Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.

REI also announced it will invest $20,000 in three Memphis nonprofits: the Wolf River Conservancy, Overton Park Conservancy and Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. The money will support improvements including trail restoration.

Fifty employees will work at the 23,000-square-foot store that previously housed a Sports Authority.

The consumer co-op has more than 17 million members and 152 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

– Special to the Daily News

PROPERTY SALES 68 162 2,781
MORTGAGES 60 97 1,880
BUILDING PERMITS 148 769 6,470
BANKRUPTCIES 61 172 1,149