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VOL. 46 | NO. 35 | Friday, September 2, 2022

Small biz funds available through Rescue Plan

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Mayor John Cooper has announced 468 small businesses will receive awards from the $9 million grant program made available through the American Rescue Plan for small businesses in Nashville and Davidson County.

Located across Nashville and spanning many industries, recipients received an average of $17,500 in federal funds they will not have to pay back. Metro’s designated program administrator Pathway Lending closed applications July 31 and fully funded all the awards on or before Aug. 15 of this year.

Program support and grant awards prioritized $2.5 million for North Nashville ZIP codes, $3.5 million for distressed areas and the remaining $3 million Metro-wide in accordance with guidance set for by Metro Council.

Awards were first-come, first-served, and grants made following the order of submission time and date stamps on eligible, completed applications.

Eligible small businesses can still apply for loans at 2% interest from the $9 million loan program that opened for applications alongside the grant program earlier this summer. Unlike the grant program, there is no deadline to apply for the loan program, and applications will remain open while funds are available.

To be eligible for the loan program, Nashville and Davidson County small businesses must have a Davidson County postal address and physical location, 2021 annual revenue between $10,000 and $1,000,000, no more than 50 full-time employees and a minimum credit score of 600. Pathway Lending is offering the loans at 2% fixed interest over five years, and applicants can request loans up to 20% of annual revenue with a maximum loan request of $200,000.

To get started with a loan application, interested small businesses can visit the program website.

Hankook invests $1.6B in Clarksville expansion

Global tire maker Hankook Tire has announced a $1.6B investment to expand its Tennessee plant, located in Clarksville.

The investment includes the previously planned Phase 2 expansion that will double production capacity of Hankook’s passenger car and light truck tires, and adds a Phase 3 expansion with the company’s first U.S. production of truck, bus and radial tires.

The addition of the Phase 3 expansion project will bring 400 more jobs to the Clarksville area, for a total of 1,200 new jobs overall.

Hankook will double U.S. PC/LT production to 11 million units and enable production of 1 million TBR tires annually. The expansion also brings Hankook’s total investment in the area to $2.2B and will enable the company to further provide tire dealers and consumers with high-quality tires and industry-leading services to meet the demands of the American market, while supporting existing and future original equipment partners.

Hankook is expected to break ground on the new plant in early 2023, subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals and other conditions. Tire production at the new phases of the plant will begin by Q4 2024, and reach full capacity by early 2026.

Kroger Delivery expands to Nashville, Chicago

The Kroger Co., America’s largest grocery retailer, announced the official opening of two new spoke facilities in the Nashville and Chicago metro areas.

Serving as last-mile cross-dock locations, the new spokes will operate as a seamless extension of regional fulfillment centers, making Kroger Delivery available to more customers in Tennessee and Illinois.

Local shoppers also have access to the newly launched Boost by Kroger annual membership program. For either $59 or $99 per year, Boost provides customers with benefits like unlimited free delivery on orders of $35 or more and two fuel points for every $1 spent on groceries and general merchandise purchases through delivery, pickup and in-stores. Kroger estimates the membership can save customers more than $1,000 per year on fuel and grocery delivery.

The approximately 40,000-square-foot facility in Nashville will work in conjunction with the Atlanta fulfillment center, increasing the network’s reach to customers up to 200 miles from the hub. The facility is located on Polk Avenue and will employ more than 180 associates.

Bridgestone adds $550M expansion in Warren Co.

Bridgestone Americas has announced a major expansion and modernization of its Warren County, Tennessee truck and bus radial tire plant located in Morrison.

The $550 million investment will add 380 new jobs and expand the plant’s existing footprint by 850,000 square feet to support increased capacity and to accelerate the use of advanced technologies that support cleaner, safer and more efficient commercial truck and bus fleets.

The investment will also allow for all tires made in Warren to be equipped with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags that enable more efficient asset management and optimization of fleets’ investments in tires, including retreading.

The expansion of the 32-year-old facility is expected to begin before the end of this year, with construction expected to be substantially completed by May 2024. Employment will grow from 1,100 to more than 1,400 teammates and the plant’s footprint will grow from 1.97 million to more than 2.8 million square feet.

GEODIS to hire 580 seasonal workers

Global transport and logistics provider GEODIS plans to hire approximately 580 seasonal workers in Nashville to strengthen its warehousing and distribution center capabilities to prepare for the holiday season.

Insider Intelligence predicts the 2022 peak season is expected to see healthy consumer spending patterns continue after record 2021 holiday sales as global supply chains continue to stabilize.

GEODIS already employs 13,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada.

GEODIS says it offers competitive pay along with referral bonuses. Additionally, GEODIS offers flexible schedules where feasible, the opportunity to choose between part-time or full-time seasonal work (including weekends and multiple shifts throughout the day to better accommodate work-life balance), an expedited payment option of up to 50% of the total paycheck before pay day through an on-demand program and Day One free access to telemedicine services.

FiftyForward gets $300K digital-divide grant

FiftyForward has received $295,995 from the West End Home Foundation to help bridge the digital divide for Middle Tennesseans 60 and older.

FiftyForward was one of 30 nonprofit and governmental agencies that received grants ranging from $10,000 to $400,000.

To decrease isolation and increase older adult proficiency in the digital domain, FiftyForward’s Digital Literacy Program will provide individuals 60 and over with technology access, digital literacy training, and ongoing technological support designed specifically for older adults and provided by staff and volunteers who have a passion for and expertise in service to the older adult population.

An estimated 21.8 million older adults are offline at home, with only 58% of Americans age 65 and older with broadband internet service. The negative ramifications of this lack of connectivity became clear during the pandemic as older adults became cut off from the families, friends and communities.

USDA touts $545K in specialty crop grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has awarded more than $545,000 in Fiscal Year 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding to Tennessee.

This USDA grant will help the Tennessee Department of Agriculture fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education and research.

Through the SCBGP, TDA will award funding to 13 specialty crop projects. Among the projects, is an award of $50,000 to Cul2vate, an organization that delivers nutritional food to local food deserts and underserved communities.

The funding will allow the organization to provide end-user education related to nutrition, food safety, good agricultural practices and the implementation of urban agriculture projects. The project will also focus on equipping chronically underemployed individuals with agricultural skills. Other projects being funded focus in areas such as research, best practices, pest management, and youth education.

TN Tourism sponsors music history podcast

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Armchair Productions teamed up to launch a six-episode podcast series titled “Tennessee Music Pathways.”

Presenter and award-winning journalist Aaron Millar traveled across the state to capture unique musical stories, performances and interviews with musicians, historians and fans, highlighting each distinct region’s musical heritage.

Produced in a documentary style, the series takes listeners on a more than 1,000-mile road trip, from Bristol and the birth of country music to Memphis and the start of rock n’ roll. Along the way, listeners will hear bluegrass played fast as lightning and traditional Appalachian music performed live in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The podcast also includes separate behind-the-scenes live session episodes, including songwriter Ed Snodderly in his iconic venue The Down Home in Johnson City, Chattanooga blues player Rick Rushing and The Boogertown Gap band playing traditional old-time Appalachian music just as it would have been heard more than a century ago.

The first episode, tracing the birth of country music, premiered Aug. 24, and new episodes will debut biweekly on Mondays through October, available on streaming platforms including Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and more.

VUMC, Metro partner on nursing education

Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurses are collaborating with Metro Nashville Public Schools to mentor high school students to become medical assistants or care partners who have identified a future goal of being a registered nurse.

Members of the Medical Center’s Nurse Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will meet monthly with 19 high school seniors at Pearl-Cohn High School in North Nashville as the students prepare for a career after graduation. The mentors held a kickoff event in August with their mentees as they go into the new school year.

The program serves a mutual need. VUMC needs diverse nurses, medical assistants and care partners to care for its increasingly diverse patient population. MNPS needs career opportunities for its students.

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