Business Briefs for March 16

Level starts Zachary, Prairieville homes

Level Homes has started construction in two area master-planned communities.

The Baton Rouge company will build about 100 homes in Shadows of Ascension in Prairieville. Prices start in the $270,000 range and homes will be ready in late spring.

The company is one of several builders that will construct more than 1,000 homes in Americana, a traditional neighborhood development in Zachary.

Level’s model home is in development and the company expects to build up to 20 homes this year. Homes in Americana range between 1,847 and 3,100 square feet, with floor plans for three to five bedrooms with prices starting in the $270,000 range.

Guffey Allstate agency opens on Lee Drive

Karen Guffey Insurance in Baton Rouge, an Allstate Insurance Co. agency, has opened at 257 Lee Drive, Suite Q.

Guffey owns and operates the agency, which offers auto, property, commercial and life insurance, long-term care and annuities.

Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Evenings and weekends are available by appointment.

The phone number is (225) 663-2212 and email is

Lafayette group sets business plan event

RockHabits, a business planning curriculum, is being presented April 16 in Carencro by the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation in partnership with The Opportunity Machine.

The event will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the North Regional Library, 5105 N. University Ave.

Introductory classes will be offered at no charge to businesses in Carencro, Scott, Duson and north Lafayette, an area that comprises upper Lafayette Parish.

Topics include an overview for business alignment via the RockHabits One-Page Strategic Plan. Participants will complete the plan’s questionnaire before attending to help accelerate the class.

Reservations are due by April 14. Call (337) 769-7649 or email

Investar opens branch on Ambassador Caffrey

Investar Bank has opened a two-story, 6,750-square-foot building at 4004 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, which will serve as its Lafayette regional headquarters.

The branch has five teller windows and three drive-up lanes, one of which is dedicated to commercial clients, a drive-up ATM, safety deposit boxes and 35 parking spaces.

Services include mortgage lending, Treasury management, and commercial, private, small-business and consumer banking.

Investar Bank, with $635 million in assets, has 10 branches serving four markets in southeast Louisiana.

Business contracts conference scheduled

Registration is open for small-business owners to attend the 10th annual “Connecting Businesses with Contracts” Conference being held April 16 in Baton Rouge.

The free annual event is hosted in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Southern University, the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center and Louisiana Small Business Development Centers.

The conference provides small businesses an opportunity to meet with various procurement officials, receive business development training and network with other businesses.

To register, go to and return the registration form via fax to (337) 482-5837 or email

For additional information, email or call (504) 589-6688.

Panama trade mission planned for October

A Louisiana business development trade mission to Panama is scheduled for Oct. 12-17, spearheaded by the Louisiana Committee of 100 and the Louisiana District Export Council.

The goal of the mission is to help participating Louisiana companies and organizations foster new business and partnerships in Panama and attract Panamanian travelers to Louisiana.

The best prospects for business in Panama include consumer-oriented agricultural products, automotive parts and service equipment, building products, computers and peripherals, electrical power equipment, franchising, hotel and restaurant equipment, medical equipment, ports and shipbuilding equipment, security and safety equipment and telecommunications equipment.

The agenda will include a commercial and legal briefing, networking luncheon, ambassadorial reception, city tour, visit to the City of Knowledge, tour of the Colon Free Zone and a stop at the Gatun Locks Panama Canal visitor center.

Transit of the Panama Canal and prescheduled business-to-business meetings through the U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key Service are optional.

Sponsorships are available for the mission. For additional details or to receive an application and information packet, contact Louisiana District Export Council trade mission coordinator Marisol Canedo at (504) 722-7894 or email or U.S. Commercial Service, Senior International Trade Specialist Delilah DeSouza at (504) 915-3301 or email or Michael Olivier, director of Committee of 100, at (225) 382-3750 or email

Jones Walker expands Alabama practices

Jones Walker LLP has expanded its health care and labor and employment practices in Birmingham, Ala.

The law firm said it added partners Mac B. Greaves and William W. Horton, along with four special counsel, lifting its Birmingham office staff to 26 lawyers. The firm entered the market in 2008.

Jones Walker LLP has more than 380 lawyers in offices and client base in Alabama, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Ohio and Texas.

MAPP starts second assisted living project

MAPP Construction has completed a Houston assisted living community and is developing a Dallas/Fort Worth facility for Caddis Partners LLC.

The two Heartis-branded communities are among six MAPP will build as part of Caddis’ $100 million investment in opening up to 12 facilities over the next 24 months.

Work will be completed this summer on Heartis Eagle Mountain, a 61,125-square-foot community with 54 assisted living and 35 memory care suites.

Founded in 1991, MAPP Construction is based in Baton Rouge, with offices in New Orleans, Dallas and Houston.

Applications sought for restaurant scholarships

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation Scholarship Fund is accepting applications through April 25.

The fund helps educate ProStart program students, culinary/hospitality students, industry employees and educators.

With this year’s awards included, the fund has awarded $200,000 to eligible students since its inception in 2009.

Applicants must be enrolled in or accepted to a degree-seeking program related to the hospitality or culinary industries.

Applicants who have completed ProStart will be eligible for the LRAEF-National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Co-Branded Scholarship. All others will be eligible for the LRAEF General Hospitality Scholarship.

Applications can be downloaded at

Mold remediation course scheduled

A training session on mold control and remediation will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., March 19-21, at the LSU AgCenter LaHouse Resource Center on the LSU campus.

LaHouse is at 2858 Gourrier Ave., directly across from Alex Box Baseball Stadium.

Satisfactory completion of the course fulfills the initial 24-hour education requirement for a Mold Remediation Contractor License in Louisiana and provides the training contractors and technicians need to safely and effectively perform mold remediation, according to Claudette Reichel, AgCenter housing specialist.

“Our course includes not only methods training and industry standards, but also the mold, building science and moisture insights needed to diagnose causes and provide long-term control,” Reichel said.

The course qualifies for Louisiana Incumbent Worker Training Program tuition reimbursement for eligible employers. For more information, see

Participants are eligible for 24 continuing education credits for Louisiana residential contractors.

Registration information, course fees and additional information are available at on the “Seminar and Events” page.

Compass Furniture adds Bassett center

Lou Rippner’s Compass Furniture has added a 3,000-square-foot Bassett Design Center at its 5025 Bloomfield St. location in Jefferson.

The center features Bassett’s furniture in a variety of settings and displays that accentuate the company’s products for every room in the home. Bassett is known for its custom upholstery and custom dining.

The 60,000-square-foot Compass showroorn already carries brands that include Ashley, Pulaski, Franklin and Klaussner.

“At Compass, we are always looking for ways to make our customer’s experience more memorable,” said Billy Rippner, Compass president.