University District Neighborhood Summit On Tap

With all the efforts taking place in the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Memphis officials thought it was a good time to have a public meeting to get everything on the table.

The public is invited to attend a University District Neighborhood Summit Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Luke’s Church, located at 480 S. Highland St. Residents and community leaders will discuss activities, development and safety within the University District area. If an update on all the activity in the neighborhood isn’t enough to get you to attend the meeting, organizers will be providing lunch at the event.

Memphis City Council members Jim Strickland and Wanda Halbert and Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy will join the discussion. There will be presentations from Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir and from the Memphis Area Association of Governments on Greenprint partnerships.

After the main program, there will be a 30-minute training session on Memphis 311 services.

The University District represents businesses, residents and organizations in seven neighborhoods surrounding the University of Memphis: East Buntyn, Joffre, Messick-Buntyn, Normal Station, Red Acres, Sherwood Forest and University North.

RSVP to Leah Dawkins at

On a related note, here’s the latest from our Bill Dries on the search for a new University of Memphis president.

Artists wanted for “South Main Mosaic” project

The Downtown Memphis Commission is launching a public art program called “South Main Mosaic” that will commission up to 10 pieces of art for temporary display in the South Main neighborhood.

Artists based with 250 miles of Memphis are encouraged to submit proposals for display from October through October 2015. The artwork could be sculptures, artistic lighting, murals, video, new media, vacant storefront enhancements and more.

Artwork that’s “interactive, kinetic or interpretive of the neighborhood’s history” is especially encouraged.

Once the pieces are installed Oct. 3, a panel of judges will award $1,000 to the artist with the most creative display.

Click here to learn more.

Memphis’ first “fashion truck” launching next week

Last month I reported on the efforts of Cyndii Jo Hartley, a hairdresser at Epic Total Salon, to launch a fashion truck – similar to a food truck but with clothes.

The name of it is the Henny Penny Mobile Boutique, and in it Hartley will sell clothes and accessories from the truck that’s roughly 18 feet long by around 7 feet wide. She told High Ground News it’ll get its first public outing next week – on March 26, at the Memphis Fashion Week preview party at Wiseacre Brewing on Broad.

She’ll mostly be selling things like ladies apparel and accessories as well as some jewelry and handbags. And she hopes to keep everything in the truck priced at $100 or less.

Owner of Local Gastropub launching “Parish Grocery” food truck

Jeff Johnson, owner of Local on the Square and Local Gastropub, is preparing to launch a food truck called Parish Grocery that he said may eventually also have a brick and mortar presence.

He told me this afternoon the menu will have a “southern Louisiana, Cajun, Creole” focus. The menu is divided right now into standards (things like gumbo, red beans and rice, shrimp etouffee and crawfish pot pie; sandwiches (examples – muffaletta, roast beef, BBQ shrimp Po Boy); snacks and sides (examples – warm bread pudding, pimento mac and cheese, potato salad) and beverages. There will also be four beer taps on the side.

His plan is to launch the truck at the Overton Square Crawfish Festival next month.

“It’s a complement to our catering business,” Johnson said. “It allows us to expand that, expand the brand. And a food truck is just fun.”

Tennessee and Ireland, a ‘lucky match.’

In observance of St. Patrick’s Day the good folks at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development have sent along some information on the business ties between Tennessee and Ireland.

ECD says 14 Irish companies are operating at 29 locations across the state, employing 4,027 people and investing a combined $69.2 million. Exports to Ireland from Tennessee totaled more than $120 million in 2013, an increase of over 30 percent in the last five years. Pharmaceutical and medicine and medical equipment and supplies account for 98.6 percent of all Tennessee imports from Ireland. Three of the five largest Irish companies by employment in Tennessee are located in Memphis: Trane Company, APAC Tennessee Inc. and Smurfit Companies.

And here’s a 2012 story on Irish immigrants in Memphis.