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Business Pulse: 2/24/13

Bonnaroo lands McCartney

Twelve years ago before anyone had ever heard of Bonnaroo, there weren’t too many folks who would believe Paul McCartney would be performing in concert 25 minutes from McMinnville. Yes, I’m talking about former Beatle legend Paul McCartney, probably the biggest name in music history outside of Elvis. And he’s coming to Manchester for Bonnaroo.
Several people who have vowed to never step foot on Bonnaroo property, I guess because they want to avoid all the fun, have said this will be the year for them to attend with Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty, ZZ Top, and Billy Idol joining McCartney in the lineup. Even “Weird Al” Yankovic will be there with his brand of hilarious rock. Tickets went on sale yesterday at 11 a.m. and I’m expecting a strong turnout.
I guess this goes to show Bonnaroo promoter Rick Farman was right. When I asked him last year if Bonnaroo could get any name in the music industry – no matter how big – Farman said Bonnaroo could get anyone. To say that is one thing. To land Paul McCartney is another. I’m impressed.
No I have about four months to speculate about what songs he might play. And my co-workers here at the Standard have roughly four months to listen to McCartney music. That can’t be a bad thing.
As for other odds and ends, the big news last week was the capture of the man robbing local convenience stores at gun point. While we were dealing with that serious threat in Warren County, police officers in other parts of the country apparently had plenty of time on their hands.
In Tampa, police were searching for a credit card thief who had stolen the card from the victim’s car. Police tracked the card to the laundry room of Countrywood Apartments, where the thief had used it twice to wash clothes.
At least it’s a considerate thief. Instead of charging a big-screen TV, he or she is charging laundry. The big question I have is when did washing machines start accepting credit cards?
And in Louisiana, 33-year-old Edward Lucas was actually arrested for stealing three pens from the sheriff’s department in Slidell. Lucas was reportedly there on legitimate business requesting a file, but snatched the pens from the counter while he was there.
Officers went to the trouble of checking the surveillance video to discover Lucas was the person who swiped the pens. I guess he will be charged with theft under 30 cents.

Kidd Ford has
all-electric car

Kidd Ford is now offering a car that runs off 100 percent electricity and can be plugged into a standard household outlet.
The Ford E-Lectric has arrived at the dealership on Manchester Highway with a sporty look, quiet ride, and array of fancy gadgets. The car has the same body, suspension and steering of the Ford Focus, just with entirely different hardware under the hood.
“The Focus has always been a fun-to-drive vehicle,” said Kidd Ford manager Jon Ford. “This shows the same characteristics and provides a really great ride. It’s not like you’re driving a golf cart. Its top speed is 84 mph and it has great acceleration.”
That last statement is certainly accurate as Jon gave me a chance to test drive the E-Lectric. I hit the gas, or rather I should say the accelerator, and found the car flying down Manchester Highway in no time.
The E-Lectric can travel 76 miles on a full charge. It takes 20 hours to get a full charge from a standard household outlet, and four hours from a 240 outlet.
The car is rated at 105 mpg-e, which is a new measure the government is using to rate electric cars. Since the car doesn’t use any gasoline, the measure rates the gas mileage the car would get based on the amount of electricity it takes to travel a certain distance. The formula is a little complicated and I’m already getting confused.
These are all things we will better understand as electric vehicles command a greater share of the market. With gas prices always volatile, I feel safe in making the statement electric cars are here to stay.
“Companies like MES and Cracker Barrel already have charging stations at their businesses,” said Jon. “There are going to be more and more charging stations available as more companies get on board with this. Depending on your driving tendencies, electric cars can be a great alternative.”
For someone who normally does in-town driving, the E-Lectric would be perfect with its 76-mile range. But for someone who has to frequently make trips to Nashville or even Murfreesboro, the E-Lectric wouldn’t really fit their lifestyle.
Kidd Ford owner Terry Kidd is quick to point out there’s a $7,500 federal tax credit available for everyone who buys an E-Lectric. He also says there’s an eight-year, 100-mile warranty on the battery and battery components.
If you’d like to take the snazzy E-Lectric on a test drive, I believe it would be well worth your time. Kidd Ford can be reached at 668-2177.

Morrison Luncheonette
opens for business

Gene Dillon has spent 30 years in the restaurant business and says he loves the work. His passion for the job certainly shows as he’s working the grill at Morrison Luncheonette which has opened at the old Morrison Library building on Maple Street.
“I like it best when I’m busy,” said Gene. “When I have five or six orders on the grill and two pizzas in the oven, that’s when you really get going. You have to love the restaurant business to stay in the restaurant business and I’ve been doing this for 30 years.”
Gene says he has worked in just about every aspect of the food service industry, from fast food to upscale restaurants. He’s worked at a deli and a bar and grill. And he’s dabbled in restaurant ownership in the past.
He’s been in Warren County about a year, moving here from the hustle and bustle of New Jersey. Gene says he loves the more relaxing atmosphere in Warren County with plenty of land to ride his four-wheeler and without the constant traffic headaches. His family moved here because he thought it would be a better place to raise his 11-year-old son.
Morrison Luncheonette is open five days a week, Tuesday thru Saturday. The restaurant opens for breakfast at 7 a.m. each day, and is open for dinner on Friday and Saturday.
“If you come in here and you don’t want to try the pizza, I would suggest the Italian hot dog,” said Gene. “It has a unique flavor you won’t get anywhere else around here. So far burgers have been the No. 1 seller, but I have all different types of menu items. I have a Philly cheesesteak and a Jersey burger that’s served with bacon and a pork roll on it.”
The menu also includes wings, a club sandwich, grilled chicken, and a meatball sandwich to name a few more items. There’s a personal pizza that’s a nice size for lunch and larger pizza sizes too.
“I’m serious about all my food,” said Gene.
I was impressed with all the work Gene has done remodeling since signing a lease in mid-December. He said he sketched out how he wanted everything to look on a piece of paper and was pretty successful in sticking to a plan.
“All I had was four walls and an empty building when I got started,” said Gene. “There was nothing in here.”
He has hired three employees in Miranda Barkve, Paula Bryant, and Patsy Tigue. The phone number is 635-2575. Gene says the restaurant will deliver carry-out orders in the Morrison area all the way to Bridgestone.

Report from
IDB meeting

The Industrial Development Board held its monthly meeting Thursday afternoon and several items were discussed in a speedy fashion.
With director of economic development Jeff McCormick out of town, board chairman Joe Pugh read through a list of items he had prepared. The most notable is representatives from Project Shine plan to make another visit to Warren County.
As I’ve reported before, it looks very promising Project Shine may locate here. In fact, I’d be more surprised at this point if the company decided to locate elsewhere. I think this is going to be another big win for Warren County.
Information about these companies are always a closely guarded secret, but the little I’ve been told about Project Shine is it’s an automotive supplier that’s interested in Spec Building 3.
Speaking of Spec Building 3, I stopped by Friday and the job site was bustling with activity. The concrete slab has been poured and there’s a bunch of building materials on hand. It doesn’t look like it will be too much longer before things start going up. The building is supposed to be complete in May, per the 180-day contract that was signed.
Pugh said that Project Excel, which had been considering Warren County, has instead selected a site in North Carolina. We remain on the short list for Project Blue Sun.
More applications have been received for the job of director of economic development and I understand two quality candidates appear to be in the mix. IDB member Herschel Wells is on the search committee and told the board interviews should start in a couple weeks.
The biggest rise at the meeting came when the county’s new policy on term limits was mentioned. The Warren County Commission passed a resolution Monday that prevents its five representatives on the Industrial Development Board from serving two consecutive terms.
Members can still serve more than one term, but they can’t be consecutive. IDB representatives are appointed for six years.
The county’s five representatives are Pugh, Joe Hamby, Jeff Golden, Levoy Knowles and Greg Brock. Pugh and Hamby were just reappointed to their terms so they have close to six more years to serve. I don’t have a record of when the other three terms expire.
The county policy does not affect the city’s five IDB representatives. They are Mark Brown, Sandra Haynes, Tommy Foster, Glen Moore, and Wells.

Northcutt wins
$800 sapphire ring

I’m always on the lookout for interesting business news so here’s a neat story coming from United Diamond Brokers at Plaza Shopping Center.
The store recently finished a Valentine’s puzzle piece promotion in which Angela Northcutt won an $800 sapphire ring. The contest itself is unique.
Store employee Tina Higgins buys two of the exact same puzzle. She puts one together, minus five pieces, then mails pieces of the other puzzle off to customers. When customers receive the puzzle piece in the mail, they are informed they can stop by the store to see if their piece is one that’s missing. If it is, they will win a fabulous prize.
“We started it as a way to increase foot traffic around Valentine’s Day and people really seem to like it,” said store owner Greg Yates. “We gave away a little more than $1,000 in gifts.”
Customers who stopped by the store but were not mailed a piece could draw one from a fish bowl. Janice Champion and Collene Crumbley were the other two winners this year. The people who had the other two winning pieces never came by the store.
Stop by United Diamond Brokers to see the fine selection of jewelry Greg has available. The phone number is 473-3163.

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