Daily Briefs

By Updated: February 08, 2019 1:34 PM CT | Published: February 07, 2019 4:15 PM CT
  • Event March 7 will address path out of poverty
  • Target planning $1.1 million renovation of Germantown store
  • Bankruptcy judge approves $5.2B deal to keep Sears open; company won't have a Memphis presence
  • Second Memphis officer sentenced in drug sting
  • PizzaRev closes Memphis locations
  • Leadership Memphis celebrating 40th anniversary by honoring 40 Memphis change makers
  • Memphis resident freed from prison lands book, movie deal

Event March 7 will address path out of poverty

Memphis area organizations are hosting a community meeting next month to introduce community leaders to a systematic approach they believe is critical to addressing the city’s No. 1 challenge - poverty.

Hosted by The Urban Child Institute, “Memphis Transitions to Success” will feature Dr. Marcella Wilson, executive director and founder of Transition to Success and author of “Diagnosis Poverty.” Her work and research are focused on developing a national standard of care to treat the condition of poverty. In the Transition to Success model, CARE stands for Coordinating All Resources Effectively.

In Memphis, the Transition to Success service delivery model has been sponsored by and promoted widely by the Assisi Foundation, and is at the core of “Driving The Dream,” the system of services United Way of the Mid-South has built to advance individuals in poverty toward economic prosperity.

Transition to Success is widely acclaimed and seen as a path to broad community prosperity in Memphis.

The private event will be held Thursday, March 7, at the Crosstown Concourse Doll House Theater, 1350 Concourse Ave. It is free, bringing together business and community leaders focused on making a difference in Memphis, but registration is required.

A reception begins at 5:15 p.m. with food and beverages provided by Next Door American Eatery. The program begins at 6 p.m. and a question-and-answer session at 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Poole at

-Daily Memphian Staff

Target planning $1.1 million renovation of Germantown store

Target is preparing for a $1.1 million renovation of its store on Poplar Avenue in Germantown.

The retailer filed a building permit with construction code officials this week to remodel the interior space and front façade; update the décor; and add new finishes, paint and lighting.

The Germantown store, located at 9235 Poplar in the Shops of Forest Hill, opened in 1991 and is being remodeled as part of a modernization plan announced in 2017 to help the Minneapolis-based retailer better compete with Amazon.

Among other things, the $7 billion plan called for remodeling about half of Target’s 1,800 locations by 2020, expanding curbside pickup and delivering online orders faster.

Renovations have been underway at other local Targets in recent months, including the Colonial Road store in East Memphis and the one near Wolfchase Galleria in Bartlett.

Meanwhile, Target vacated its Cordova store at 475 N. Germantown Parkway in recent days. The retailer announced in October it planned to shutter the 174,000-square-foot Cordova location and five others nationwide, citing several years of declining profitability.

The closure, which took effect Feb. 2, affected around 170 employees.

-Kate Crawford

Bankruptcy judge approves $5.2B deal to keep Sears open; company won't have a Memphis presence

Sears was given another chance Thursday when a bankruptcy judge approved chairman Eddie Lampert's $5.2 billion bid to keep the business going.

Lampert, who also is the retailer’s largest shareholder, made a bid last month to acquire all the company’s assets through his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., pending approval by a New York bankruptcy court. Judge Robert Drain blessed the transaction Thursday, saying he plans to enter the order Friday to make it official.

The deal is expected to preserve about 425 stores and 45,000 jobs. However, the company won't have a Memphis presence; Sears announced the closure of its last two local stores last year.

Illinois-based Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company for Sears and Kmart, filed for bankruptcy Oct. 15, following years of unprofitability and declining sales. The same day, the company announced it would shutter 142 unprofitable stores, including the Wolfchase Galleria location, near the end of the year.

With the Wolfchase closure, only one Sears store would remain in Memphis: the Southland Mall location. That store was cut from the company’s roster in November, when the chain announced a wave of 40 more closures by February.

Lampert hasn’t announced any specific plans for Sears Holdings, leaving the company’s long-term future in question.

-Kate Crawford

Second Memphis officer sentenced in drug sting

A former Memphis police officer convicted on drug and weapon charges in connection with an undercover sting operation was sentenced to eight years in federal prison Thursday.

Terrion Bryson, 26, pleaded guilty last year for taking part in a scheme in which he and another MPD officer, Kevin Coleman, agreed to escort heroin to a Memphis storage facility.

Coleman was sentenced in November to 10 years in prison on drug conspiracy charges and two counts of extortion in the sting operation.

The undercover sting began last February when MPD was informed that Bryson and Coleman were robbing people during traffic stops of money and drugs.

Memphis police notified the FBI’s Tarnished Blue unit, which set up the sting operation. In the operation, the officers stole money during a traffic stop from a man who was an undercover officer, posing as a drug courier.

Bryson then called the undercover officer and offered to protect an upcoming drug shipment the officer had mentioned.

The officers demanded $9,000 from the undercover officer to protect the drugs. They were paid half the money in advance and the other half when the 2.5 kilos of heroin was safely delivered to a storage facility.

The two were arrested April 12 when they met the undercover officer to escort the drugs to a storage unit on Millbranch Road. Bryson was off-duty and Coleman was on duty, in uniform and in a marked police car, according to police records.

Both officers worked at Raines Station. Coleman joined the force in 2012 and Bryson was hired in 2015. Coleman is serving his sentence at a federal prison in Pensacola, Fla. In addition to his eight-year sentence, Bryson will be on probation for five years.

-Yolanda Jones

PizzaRev closes Memphis locations

PizzaRev, a California-based build-your-own-pizza chain, has closed its three locations in Memphis.

The Memphis locations, located at 6540 Poplar Ave., 2825 Germantown Parkway and 765 N. Germantown Parkway, opened in 2017, and have closed due to “unforeseen circumstances,” according to an e-mailed statement from PizzaRev.

“We’d like to thank our loyal guests and amazing team for their support and dedication to PizzaRev in Memphis,” the PizzaRev statement said. “We’re grateful for the Memphis community and our guests who embraced the PizzaREVolution. We will miss serving you.”

PizzaRev, a “craft your own” pizza restaurant, has 45 opened locations and more than 200 under development across the United States and Mexico, according to their website. The pizza restaurant specializes in allowing customers to build their own pizza from a selection of crusts, sauces, artisanal cheeses and various proteins and veggies. The pizza is then cooked using a gas-fired oven and is ready in three minutes.

-Natalie Martin

Leadership Memphis celebrating 40th anniversary by honoring 40 Memphis change makers

Non-profit community leadership development organization Leadership Memphis is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a tribute to 40 individuals who have made Memphis better.

The organization is asking the Memphis community to nominate 40 individuals who have made the city better in the past 40 years. The finalists will be recognized at Leadership Memphis’ 40th Anniversary luncheon celebration May 21, according to a release.

“Leadership Memphis is honored to celebrate its 40th anniversary by recognizing many of the incredible people who have helped shape our city over the past 40 years,” David Williams, Leadership Memphis President and CEO, said in a release. “We are excited to pay tribute to the 40 Change Maker finalists at our celebration later this year.”

Individuals nominated must fit the definition of a Change Maker, which includes “one who drives change by gathering knowledge, galvanizing resources and using their considerable influence to facilitate change” and “a person who inspires change that impacts a broad base of people either socially, educationally, economically, spiritually or politically.”

Change Maker finalists will be selected by a panel of judges from four categories, including business, healthcare, arts/education and nonprofit/community involvement.

The deadline to submit nominations is Feb.28. Nominations can be submitted online here.

For more information on Leadership Memphis click here. 

For more information on the celebration luncheon, contact Jared Bulluck, Senior Director of Community & Alumni Engagement, at (901) 278-0016.

- Natalie Martin

Alice Johnson lands book, movie deal after being freed from prison

Memphis resident Alice Marie Johnson, whose life prison sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump last year, has a book and film deal about her experience.

Harper, a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers, announced Wednesday it will publish “After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom.”

Kim Kardashian West, who advocated to Trump for Johnson’s release, will write the foreword for the book, which is slated to be released May 21.

“I feel humbled that the telling of my story gives hope and my years of pain were not in vain,” Johnson said in a news release from Harper Wednesday.

The book will chronicle Johnson being convicted for her involvement in a cocaine trafficking organization and receiving a life sentence in 1996.

Johnson, a first-time offender, served 21 years in prison before her sentence was commuted by Trump last year. The commutation came after Kardashian West met with the president and asked that he grant clemency for a woman Kardashian West had never met, but whose case she had followed on social media.

In addition to the book, Johnson’s life rights and film/television rights were sold to Endeavor Content and One Community, for a movie.

The deal was announced the day after Johnson attended Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

-Yolanda Jones

Shelby County Court Clerk to appear before State Supreme Court on expungement case

Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk Edward Stanton Jr. has been ordered to appear before the state Supreme Court Feb. 6 to explain why his office has not complied with a previous mandate from the court regarding the expungement case of a Memphis man.

Marcus Deangelo Lee filed a petition with the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2017 over a lawsuit he filed against the state regarding the expungement of his criminal record.

In the case, Lee contended he paid the outstanding court costs and wanted the Clerk’s office to provide proof of his expungement. The Clerk's office has not done so. 

The court is requiring Stanton and his principal clerk to be in Nashville Wednesday afternoon to answer questions about how the clerk's office handled the expungement filings in Lee’s case.

- Yolanda Jones


Leadership Memphis Pizzarev Alice Marie Johnson

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