News roundup: First Everything Philly Ice Express to open in February … Renal Associates of Baton Rouge opens fourth clinic location … US small business confidence ends 2016 on 12-year high

    Coming soon: The first freestanding Everything Philly Ice Express will open its doors in the first week of February at 8235 Scenic Hwy., near Southern University. The express location will serve Philly Ice, a soft-serve sorbet that quickly became the most popular menu item at the full-service Everything Philly, a Philadelphia-style eatery offering pizza and cheesesteaks near the north gates of LSU. Owner Ameen Walker opened Everything Philly last year and is considering opening a second location in Baton Rouge. He also has ambitious plans to open least 50 Philly Ice Express locations between Florida and Texas. Read a recent Business Report Entrepreneur profile about Walker.

    Now open: Baton Rouge-based Renal Associates has opened its fourth location at 4753 West Park Drive, Suite A, in Zachary. Renal Associates says it is the largest nephrology practice in the greater Baton Rouge region, with locations in Baton Rouge, Gonzales and Walker. The new clinic is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. It provides services in the areas of nephrology, problem hypertension, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, among other areas.

    Feeling good: A gauge of U.S. small business confidence rose to a 12-year high in December as optimism about the economy intensified among business owners following the November election, the National Federation of Independent Business says. Reuters reports the group’s index of small business confidence rose to 105.8, its highest since December 2004. It was up 7.4 points from the prior month, which was its biggest monthly increase since the 14.52 point increase in July 1980. Read the full story. 

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