Echelon inks deal with Old Dominion

Chattanooga-based Echelon Fitness is partnering with country music group Old Dominion, which will offer themed class rides and an exclusive curated channel for the company's biking community.

Old Dominion, named last week as 2021 CMA Vocal Group of the Year, also will offer an inside look into the band's own fitness journey and a members-only appearance by the band, according to Echelon.

The channel will feature a mix of Old Dominion music as well as favorites of the vocal group. The anchor channel will live within the Echelon Fit app, which is exclusive to members.

Lou Lentine, chief executive of Echelon Fitness, said the company has always focused on pairing the offering of the widest range of high-quality connected fitness equipment across all price points with engaging live and on-demand content.

"Being able to offer exclusive content from such a well-loved and talented band, as Old Dominion, is something we believe will continue to help our members take their fitness to the next level," he said.

The Old Dominion announcement comes as Echelon has expanded its retail footprint across major retailers and entered into new entertainment partnerships and a collaboration with artists including Pitbull.


CBL sells portfolio of self-storage units

CBL Properties on Thursday announced the sale of its self-storage portfolio for a gross sales price of $42, or $22 million for CBL's share.

After repayment of about $25.7 million, $16.4 million for Chattanooga-based CBL's share, in recourse loans secured by the properties, the sale generated cash to CBL of about $8.5 million, the company reported.

The portfolio included self-storage facilities that CBL and its joint venture partner had developed on available land at Hamilton Place in Chattanooga as well as at Mid Rivers Mall in St. Charles, Missouri, Eastgate Mall in Cincinnati, and Parkdale Mall in Beaumont, Texas.

"The sale of this portfolio is a great example of the types of value creation opportunities we are pursuing across our portfolio," said CBL Chief Executive Officer Stephen Lebovitz. "We developed these assets with less than $300,000 of cash invested, utilizing existing land as our equity. Within three years of starting this program, we are able to take advantage of terrific pricing and monetize the assets to provide additional cash for the company."


VP Racing Fuels grows Tennessee operations

VP Racing Fuels announced Thursday the company will invest another $14.2 million and add 150 more jobs by expanding its Huntington, Tennessee facility and acquiring another facility in McKenzie, Tennessee near the Carroll County Airport.

The expansion at VP Racing Fuels' Huntingdon facility will comprise the company's investment in a $7 million tank farm. At the new McKenzie location, VP Racing Fuels will expand operations to include blow mold machinery for bottling its products.

"Since first establishing an operation in Tennessee in 2019, the business environment, the workforce and the welcoming nature of the community have all been what we had hoped for," said Alan Cerwick, president and CEO of VP Racing Fuels. "The state, county, and local leadership have all worked with VP to create a mutually beneficial relationship. Thus, our eagerness to expand in Carroll County."

For more than 40 years, VP Racing Fuels has focused on the production of race fuel, small engine fuel, auto performance chemical and plastics utility containers.


30-year mortgage rates rise above 3% again

The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate rose this week, with the main 30-year rate inching back up over 3%.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year benchmark home loan jumped to a still-low 3.1% from 2.98% last week. A year ago at this time the rate was 2.72%.

The rate for a 15-year loan, popular with homeowners refinancing their mortgages, rose to 2.39% from 2.27% last week. It stood at 2.28% a year ago.

As the job market has improved and demand for products and services continues to be red-hot, the Federal Reserve earlier this month said it would keep its main borrowing rate near zero but begin dialing back the extraordinary stimulus it has provided since the coronavirus pandemic erupted last year.

Robust consumer demand and ongoing supply shortages have pushed prices higher for almost everything, chipping away at recent gains in wages and salaries for workers. The government reported last week that prices for U.S. consumers jumped 6.2% in October compared with a year earlier, leading to the highest inflation rate since 1990.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner