Every week, Inside Memphis Business issues its Tip Sheet, a digest of business news and trends. It’s a quick and useful read, and it’s easy to get: go to InsideMemphisBusiness.com and type in your email address. To give you an idea, here are some items in recent weeks that we’ve featured.
Construction firms eye growth
Seventy-five percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2018 as contractors are optimistic that economic conditions will remain strong as tax rates and regulatory burdens fall, according to survey results released by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate. Despite the general optimism outlined in Expecting Growth to Continue: The 2018 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, many firms report they remain worried about workforce shortages and infrastructure funding.
“Construction firms appear to be very optimistic about 2018 as they expect demand for all types of construction services to continue to expand,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “This optimism is likely based on current economic conditions, an increasingly business-friendly regulatory environment and expectations the Trump administration will boost infrastructure investments.”
Sisters are doin’ it for themselves
Tennessee has an estimated 233,000 women-owned businesses, employing 151,500 according to the seventh State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN. The report analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners and factors in relative changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The analysis, reported by industry, revenue and employment size at the national, state and top 50 metro levels, shares a new and nuanced investigation into the growth trends over the past 20 years among the 11.6 million women-owned enterprises which employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1.7 trillion in revenues.
Nationally, the number of women-owned firms increased by 114 percent from 1997 to 2017, compared to just a 44 percent increase among all businesses. Over the past 20 years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate of 2.5 times faster than the national average.
Here are some of the numbers from Tennessee:
◗ Memphis ranked 2nd in growth of number of women-owned firms with a 241 percent increase, 41st in growth of jobs created with a 16.2 percent increase and 7th in growth of firm revenues with a 133.3 percent increase.
◗ Nashville ranked 15th in growth of number of women-owned firms with a 107.6 percent increase, 33rd in growth of jobs created with a 22.6 percent increase and 37th in growth of firm revenues with a 48.2 percent increase.
Leadership trio announced at Explore Bike Share
Explore Bike Share has hired Trey Moore as its inaugural executive director to lead the Memphis nonprofit to its Spring 2018 launch of a 600-bike share system. In addition, Sara Studdard has been hired as community engagement and marketing director, and Rajah Brown as operations manager.
Moore, returning to his Memphis roots from Atlanta, has been executive director of voluntary health organizations for more than 12 years. He has worked in strategic relationship management, organizational leadership, as well as entrepreneurial fund development approaches and results.
“I watched my hometown of Memphis from afar and had grown eager to return to experience and take part in the city’s renaissance,” says Moore. “Explore Bike Share’s mission and goals encourage me, and to be a part of connecting people to their city is powerful.”
Roshun Austin, board member of Explore Bike Share and executive director of The Works CDC in South Memphis, says, “Trey understands that Explore Bike Share will neither be static nor exclusive. He is committed to being responsive and adaptive to the needs of the community, as already practiced by our partnerships with a multitude of neighborhood and community organizations.”
Moore will work with the Board of Directors, BCycle, and DCA, Explore Bike Share’s creative agency, to introduce the new transportation system to Memphis.
“Trey demonstrates a keen ability to balance a community engagement mentality with a discernment for financial sustainability and ROI for community partners and corporate sponsors,” said Jaske Goff, Explore Bike Share board hiring committee lead and Vice President, Operations for the Downtown Memphis Commission.
The Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) has been hosting Explore Bike Share’s leadership — including Moore and BCycle’s project lead — in a temporary office space. Simultaneously, Uptown warehouse space, donated by Benjamin Orgel, Billy Orgel, Adam Slovis, and Tom Marsh, will be used in early 2018 for station and bike buildout.
Studdard joins the nonprofit after serving as Explore Bike Share’s project manager for three years at DCA. She will work on program development, community outreach, marketing, sponsorship, and workplace culture.
Brown will guide, implement, and innovate the structure of the bike share system. He has 15 years of recreation management experience, including roles at Memphis Athletic Ministries, Inc. as Chief Program Officer, Director of Sports & Recreations, and Director of Operations. He recently directed the Mayor’s Safe Summer Initiative for the City of Memphis.
Catching up with Edge Alley
A year ago, Edge Alley was an open area in a building next to High Cotton Brewing Company. Tim Barker, Edge Alley’s co-founder and a hospitality consultant, was overseeing the work that was getting underway to transform the spare space full of concrete dust into an attractive mix of small shops and a 45-seat restaurant with a first-rate coffee operation. The enterprise, at 600 Monroe, opened in July and continues to evolve with the latest effort being an expanded relationship with High Cotton. Tip Sheet asked Barker about how this singular project has been going.
Tip Sheet: This is way more than a coffee shop, right?
Tim Barker: I tell people that we are a restaurant with a spectacular coffee program. It’s really easy to get pigeonholed as a coffee shop just because we have an espresso machine. Most restaurants don’t do that. Most restaurants don’t roast their own coffee. We try to treat coffee the same way we would wines, spirits, or food. We try to spend as much attention on that aspect of the restaurant operation as we do everything else.
TS: You also have what’s called a retail incubator going on?
TB: We have four micro retail spaces within our space – 4,000 square feet is a lot for a restaurant. The goal from the beginning was to show that all of these components are viable in this neighborhood: restaurant, coffee, retail, and bring them all under one roof just as proof of concept in a way. Not proof of concept for us, but proof of concept for neighborhood development. There are a lot of people that own property in this neighborhood that are not developing it because they want someone else to go first. My partner decided he wanted to be first.
TS: The coffee operation is fairly sophisticated, it seems.
TB: Edge Coffee Company, the roasting operation, is a separate company. Edge Alley uses Edge Coffee Company coffee and we’re expanding. We’ve been roasting Thai beans since we opened but recently we’ve started roasting a lot of South American product that we’re happy with and we’ve started selling that to people outside of Edge Alley. We’ve got a couple of accounts across town right now, and then we have a full-time sales person showing people the difference between the coffee that we can provide versus the coffee that restaurants typically buy. We kind of target restaurants. As a chef, I’ve been interested in coffee for a long time, and I’ve worked in restaurants where coffee is part of the program, but typically an afterthought. We’re trying to show restaurateurs it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s a chance to make a good impression, and we can help make that more effective.
As for our cold brew, we actually roast specifically for cold brew, which is something that nobody else can do, because restaurants don’t roast coffee. The roast profile for cold brew differs slightly from our regular roast profile in that we really try to bring out the citrus and the floral character in the cold brew. A lot of times cold brew just tastes like roasted cold coffee, so we try to make it a lot more interesting than just basic cold brew coffee.
TS: What about this new relationship with your neighbor, High Cotton Brewing Company?
TB: We share an investor and a partner, and from the beginning the idea has been to merge the two concepts in a very real way. We’re trying to activate this kind of campus so you can come in here in the morning, stick around until around lunch and then High Cotton will be open. So, you can have food, grab food, go next door and have a beer. As far as the guest experience is concerned, we’re trying to get people flowing between the two businesses for food, beverage, coffee, dinner, retail, shopping, everything.
TS: The Edge neighborhood is developing quickly, particularly with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative community development organization in the mix.
TB: We see a lot of pending development and projects for this neighborhood. We started this project before all of the development was announced a couple of years ago. So, we were excited to see that more people were interested in the neighborhood, not just us. It’s always been an issue for the neighborhood, with property owners that don’t necessarily either have the money to develop their property, or have the drive to build their property. We’re glad to see people making strides.
Can you hear me now?
The trend toward people using their own smartphones and tablets for business purposes is inescapable. That’s why Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programs and policies should become the rule rather than the exception. According to a survey by the B2B research firm Market and Markets, more than one-third (36 percent) of North American companies had BYOD programs in place at the start of this year and the rate is expected to climb to 50 percent in 2018.
Drayton Mayers, owner of TeamLogic IT Memphis, says, “This phenomenon means something else is rising, too: Mobile security risks.” For example, Mayers says, on any given day odds are six to 12 mobile apps are waiting for you to launch an update on your smartphone. And when you do, many apps automatically harvest and upload all phone numbers and email addresses from your contacts.
With all this data moving through the ether, increasing cyber-risk seems inevitable. Computerworld columnist Evan Schuman believes your company’s BYOD practices should be protecting business and personal data.
“Here’s the uncomfortable truth,” Schuman wrote recently. “As long as you permit your corporate apps and data to coexist on the same device as personal apps and data, you have an obligation to police both.”
The simplest, best way, he suggests, is to offer basic penetration testing for your employees’ personal devices on a regular basis. This approach recognizes the reality of the BYOD world: Any risk to your employees’ personal data presents a risk to your company’s proprietary data. The additional IT labor could be expensive, although probably not as costly as a data breach. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average per-record cost of a data breach for organizations worldwide is $225 and a whopping $380 for a medical record.
“Even modest breaches could put the incident’s expense well into seven to eight figures,” Mayers says. “For example, a modest doctor’s office in Memphis could easily have 10,000 records, therefore a breach could cost between $2 million and $4 million.”