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VOL. 44 | NO. 1 | Friday, January 3, 2020

Genesco to buy New York footwear company

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Nashville’s Genesco Inc. has agreed to acquire Togast, a New York-based company that specializes in the design, sourcing and sale of licensed footwear.

The purchase price for the acquisition is $33.7 million in cash at closing, plus up to an additional $34 million in cash contingent on the achievement of financial targets over the next four years. The purchase price paid at closing is expected to be funded from cash on hand.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in January 2020.

“The acquisition of Togast adds scale to our successful licensed brands platform,’’ says Robert J. Dennis, chairman, president and CEO of Genesco. “The combination of our licensed business with Togast’s strengths furthers our footwear focused strategy by creating an even more robust platform within Genesco that can serve multiple tiers of distribution.

“We are also excited to add the Levi’s footwear license to our portfolio and expand upon our long-standing business relationship with Levi Strauss & Co., which dates back to 1991.”

The Togast purchase expands Genesco’s portfolio to include footwear licenses for G.H. Bass & Co., ADIO and FUBU, among others.

Drury Plaza now open downtown

Drury Plaza opened in downtown Nashville at the corner of Korean Veterans Boulevard and Third Avenue South.

The property is located near the Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Music City Center and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The hotel is the company’s third in Nashville and fourth in Tennessee. The 22-story property features 389 guest rooms and more than 8,000 square feet of customizable meeting and event space.

Music City Bowl gets new name, sponsor

Nashville’s Music City Bowl will be renamed the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, reflecting its new sponsor.

TransPerfect, a provider of language and technology solutions for global business, has reached a multiyear agreement to become the title sponsor of the annual bowl game.

The company’s new title sponsorship coincides with the signing of a six-year agreement between the Music City Bowl and the SEC and Big Ten football conferences.

“As a lifelong college football fan, the spirit of teamwork required to excel in this sport parallels the spirit of teamwork needed to succeed in business,’’ says Phil Shawe, TransPerfect president and CEO. “This spirit is core to who I am, and core to TransPerfect.

“Anyone who knows our company, knows that our philosophy is deeply rooted in competition, drive and winning for our clients, our vendors and our employees alike.

“Nashville is also home to many of our clients and a big part of our future growth plans. The TransPerfect Music City Bowl is an incredible opportunity for us to connect with local businesses, student athletes, the SEC and Big Ten communities and football fans across the country.’’

The company has 6,000 employees and its Nashville-based clients include Asurion, Bridgestone, Nissan and Pinnacle Financial.

PolicyCo unveils policy, procedure platform

Nashville startup PolicyCo, a software as a service company, has launched an online policy and procedure management platform.

PolicyCo helps small businesses with the policy writing process by keeping all policy and procedure documents in one place, version-controlled and consistently formatted.

PolicyCo also provides flexible options for the distribution of an organization’s policy documents, including web-based access and PDF downloads.

Asurion joins phone tech certification

Asurion, headquartered in Nashville, and uBreakiFix are teaming with wireless industry group CTIA to validate the high quality of both companies’ phone repairs.

More than 3,200 uBreakiFix- and Asurion-certified repair technicians that provide phone repairs at uBreakiFix stores, customers’ homes, workplaces or coffee shops are being certified under CTIA’s new Wireless Industry Service Excellence Technician and Retail Certification programs. The certification provides customers with peace of mind that their phones are repaired to the highest standards for service quality and technical skill.

“No one understands the value that people put on staying connected more than Asurion and uBreakiFix,’’ says Amy Orem, senior vice president of global supply chain at Asurion. “We are passionate about helping customers keep their tech running smoothly, and we are committed to providing the highest quality repair when it’s not.

“Certifying our technicians in the industry’s best practices for diagnosing and repairing devices represents one more way we can be a hero for our customers.”

Technicians who complete the WISE Technician and WISE Retail Certification Program complete a training curriculum and pass an extensive online exam and then advance to a hands-on skills test.

The training curriculum provides a comprehensive background in smartphone repair including parts identification, repair tools, diagnostics, device disassembly and reassembly and guidance for handling the lithium-ion batteries in today’s smartphones.

Technicians must renew their certification annually to ensure they stay current on advances in the aftercare of wireless devices.

Healthpeak, HCA to build office building

Healthpeak Properties has announced it is expanding its Medical Office Development program with Nashville’s HCA Healthcare.

The companies have entered into an agreement on a development project.

The 172,000-square-foot, six-story Class A medical office building will be located on the TriStar Centennial Medical Center Campus. The $46 million development will expand the TriStar Centennial campus, which is HCA’s second-largest campus in the United States.

The project is 45% pre-leased and construction is expected to begin in mid-2020.

The company says it expects to announce additional developments to our program with HCA in 2020.

Healthpeak is a fully integrated real estate investment trust and S&P 500 company. Healthpeak owns and develops high-quality real estate in the three private-pay health care asset classes of life science, senior housing and medical office, designed to provide stability through the inevitable industry cycles.

Prince taking hot chicken to L.A.

Nashville-based Hotville Chicken, owned by Kim Prince, is opening a permanent restaurant in Los Angeles’ Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Prince, a member of the family that started the hot chicken craze in Nashville, will run the restaurant alongside mentor Greg Dulan, owner of L.A.’s legendary Dulan’s soul food.

After opening several successful pop-up restaurants in Los Angeles, with lines around the block, Prince decided to launch the venture.

“Our Hotville family tree is taking root and drawing strength from resources within the surrounding community,’’ Prince says. “I couldn’t think of a better place for us to dig in deep and be a value-add to the BHC and surrounding neighborhoods.’’

Originating in Nashville, hot chicken is cooked with a specific blend of spices and heat that makes it distinct from traditional fried chicken. Usually served on white bread with pickle chips, hot chicken has become incredibly popular on a national level since it was developed 85 years ago by the Prince Family.

Owner Kim Prince is related to James Thornton Prince, who launched Nashville’s original Hot Chicken Shack back in 1945. The recipe used at Hotville Chicken has been passed down through the Prince family for generations.

Unemployment rate drops slightly in November

New data show a slight drop statewide in unemployment in November.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports a 0.1 of a percentage point decrease in unemployment when compared to the previous month, setting the new rate at 3.3%

The current seasonally adjusted rate is close to the historically low unemployment rate the state marked earlier this year. In February, the rate dropped to an all-time low of 3.2% and remained there for three consecutive months.

In a year to year comparison, Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate mirrors the rate from November 2018.

Tennessee employers added 9,200 new nonfarm jobs across the state between October and November. Companies in the manufacturing sector added the most new jobs, followed by the leisure/hospitality and education/health services sectors.

Over the last year, nonfarm employment in Tennessee increased by 46,700 jobs. The leisure/hospitality sector created the largest number of new jobs in the state, followed by the professional/business services and education/health services sectors.

Rioch workers can apply for TAA benefits

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is accepting applications for Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits for RICOH USA, a subsidiary of Rioch Americas Holdings, Inc.

The TAA is for all workers of RICOH USA’s infrastructure division in Nashville.

Affected workers include those who were identified by the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance as having been affected by foreign competition. Workers may be entitled to benefits, retaining and reemployment services.

The U.S. Department of Labor has approved TAA petition TAW# 95104L, for benefits with an impact date of Aug. 21, 2018, a certification date of Dec. 1, 2019, and an expiration date of Dec. 1, 2021.

Former employees or those threatened with a future layoff from the company can contact their local American Job Center at 615 253-8920.

Big Ears, Bonnaroo make Best Festival list

Three events produced by Knoxville’s AC Entertainment have been named to Paste Magazine’s Best Music Festivals of 2019.

Paste, a leading digital chronicle of the music and entertainment business, selected the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Bonnaroo in Manchester and the High Water Festival in Charleston.

The honors come as Big Ears gears up for its 11th anniversary March 26-29, 2020.

About Big Ears, Paste said: “Attending Big Ears, one has to put themselves in the mindset to have their preconceptions about music repeatedly shattered with each performance. There’s no limitations at Big Ears, and the culmination of musical minds aware of this freedom has resulted in something singularly spectacular.”

Bonnaroo is billed by organizers and fans as “the most positive place on this planet, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

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