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Business Pulse: 3/3/13

There are some things you have to see in person in order to truly appreciate. One of those happened Thursday at the Senior Center when several local officials allowed themselves to get hit in the face with a perfectly good pie.
I’ve seen this routine many times on TV as someone’s great idea of a prank, but I believe Thursday was the first time I’ve seen someone hit with a pie in person. And it was great.
I realize fun is often a matter of perspective and I’m sure Sheriff Jackie Matheny, Police Chief Bryan Denton, and others have a different take on the situation since their faces were being used as the landing pads for the pies. But from my perch it was more fun than a barrel of monkeys, if having a barrel of monkeys would in fact be any fun at all.
It’s with that in mind, I would like to announce a new twist to the Standard’s popular Banana Day celebration in June. In addition to giving out free banana splits that day, newspaper employees will be available to hit in the face with pies.
In taking a page from the Bonnaroo playbook, I’m not going to announce the lineup at this time. I’m going to make you wait to build the suspense. But I would like to have such lovable newspaper employees available to pie in the face as Pat Zechman, Duane Sherrill, Seth Wright, Margaret Hobbs, Holly Cantrell, Brinda Buckner, and last but not least, Susan Newby.
Maybe I could even pull a few strings and arrange a guest appearance from city administrator David Rutherford. I think all this would be great fun – at least for me. To answer any questions about why my name is not mentioned anywhere on the list, I am referring all inquiries to my agent, who is unavailable for comment at this time.

James Goolsby
buys old Foodland

The old Newtown Foodland building on Nashville Highway has a new owner. James Goolsby purchased the property at auction last Saturday.
In case you’re wondering, it’s the same James Goolsby who owns Goolsby’s Sausage in Cookeville. I got in touch with him Thursday to ask him about his plans, but he says he hasn’t determined what to do with the property.
“Right now I’ll have to see how it’s going to shake out,” said Goolsby, who grew up on a farm in Viola. “I don’t know at this time what I’m going to do, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”
The property includes a 10,000-square-foot building and a 50-car parking lot. It’s on a heavily traveled road and has great visibility.
Our local Industrial Development Board has mentioned Goolsby’s Sausage from time to time in recent months. From what I’ve gathered from their conversations, Goolsby’s Sausage is a thriving business that has run out of room at its facility in Cookeville and doesn’t have good options for expanding at that site.
IDB members have said Goolsby’s Sausage is considering its options and could possibly be looking at locating a distribution center in Warren County. The possibility of moving the entire operation to Warren County was also discussed.
Word on the street – or rather word on Facebook – is the property will become a grocery store again. However, I’ve found Facebook information to be largely unreliable.
When I find out more information, I’ll provide you with more information.

Garage on
corner also sells

Since I’m on the topic of the auction last weekend, the garage located next to the old Foodland also sold. The high bidder was nurseryman Teddy Alley, who has all kinds of ideas for the property, but will probably put a car lot and tire shop there.
“With Hastings going out of business, some people have asked if I would put a movie store in there with video games,” said Teddy. “So we’re rolling this around and trying to figure out what to do. I have a bunch of ideas, but I don’t really know yet.”
Before the idea of a video store surfaced, Teddy says his plans involved a car lot and new tire store. Considering he has all the racks, lifts and machinery needed to get in the tire and automotive business, it’s my guess that’s what he will end up doing. Plus, Teddy and his brother have experience operating a car lot on Pike Hill Road for years.
“The problem is it takes three months to get your license for a car lot,” said Teddy.
The building appears in pretty good shape and Teddy says he’s going to devote a bunch of energy to fixing it up and making it took right.
Teddy is also quick to say what he’d like to see happen to the old Foodland building next door.
“I hope he puts a store in there because I would stop all the time to get milk and bread when it was open before,” said Teddy, who lives in Bethany. “It was a store for so long, you get used to having it there and now it’s gone. I sure hope it becomes a store again.”
Alley says he’s busy with nursery work at this time and plans to devote time to his new property in about three or four more weeks.

Woodlee reopens
his garage

Kevin Woodlee operated a garage behind his house for around 10 years before deciding to join the mechanic staff of a much larger operation. He stayed there for about three years before deciding it was time to reopen his garage and go back in business for himself.
“With me working here, I can offer much cheaper rates than a big garage with a big building and a bunch of overhead,” said Kevin, who has reopened Woodlee’s Auto Shop on Shellsford Road. “Sometimes it takes you going someplace else before you realize how good you had it all along.”
Kevin has a fully equipped shop with lifts, scanners, and up-to-date technology to diagnose any problem. He changed a transmission Thursday, and was busy replacing a rear main seal leak on another vehicle Friday. When that job was complete, he was scheduled to install a new ignition switch on another vehicle.
“The works is coming back, but after being closed for three years a lot of people don’t know I’m back open,” said Kevin. “So I figured the best way to let everybody know was through the newspaper.”
He says the old adage, “No job is too big or too small” applies to his business.
“I can do anything but body work,” he said.
Woodlee’s Auto Shop is located at 1686 Shellsford Road. He’s open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday, and also has hours Saturday morning. The phone number is 668-7341.

New restaurant
has cool name

There’s a new Mexican restaurant in town and it’s called El Coyote. The first question I asked when I arrived at the restaurant Friday was what does El Coyote mean in English? I discovered the loose translation is it means The Coyote, a wild animal known as a symbol for howling.
El Coyote opened Monday at Sunnyside Heights in the spot next to Nana’s Kountry Kupboard. Unfortunately, customers didn’t descend like a pack of wolves. The first two days were slow, according to owner Teo Diaz, but Wednesday and Thursday were better once people realized they were open.
“We have specials seven days a week and we have many different menu items,” said Teo, who is also part owner of Chabalita’s, the new Mexican restaurant on Sparta Street. “I’m happy with what we have here and the food that’s available.”
Two unique items Teo mentioned are chiles poblanos, which is peppers stuffed with cheese and covered with egg whites, beans and salsa, and camarones chipotle, which is seasoned grilled shrimp served with avocado, rice and pico de gallo.
If you don’t want to try something new, there are plenty of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos, and chimichangas on the menu. There’s also an El Coyote punch card. For every six meals you buy, you get the seventh one free.
El Coyote opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week. Delivery is available to your house or business. The phone number is 507-5511.

Problems run
deep at Hastings

As most everyone knows by now, our local Hastings will close its doors and go out of business this month. I’m sad to report the last day for the coffee shop was Wednesday.
For folks looking for the rest of the story, it appears the Hastings store problems are not unique to McMinnville. The entire Hastings Entertainment chain is experiencing its struggles as the Amarillo, Texas-based company just dismissed 14 mid-level and executive employees at the end of February.
“It was a reduction in force,” Hastings chief financial officer Dan Crow told the Amarillo Globe-News. “It had nothing to do with their performance. They’re good people.”
Hastings reported an estimated loss of $10.5 million for the nine-month period that ended Oct. 31.
I contacted Hastings to try to get a list of stores that are closing in addition to the McMinnville store. I was told by Hastings representative Brad Massie the Hastings earnings release that will come out March 18 would address that question and more.
Using my keen powers of investigation, I typed the words “Hastings store closings” into a Google search and came up with several hits. In roughly the past year, I learned Hastings has closed stores in Topeka, Kan. (Jan. 2012), Denton, Texas (Aug. 2012), and Joplin, Mo. (March 2012).
Closed in 2011 were stores in Sweetwater, Texas; Greeley, Colo.; Cordova, Tenn.; and Albuquerque, N.M.
Those are just the store closings I found on the first page of my Google search. There are most likely more.
It goes to show how tough things have gotten in the book industry. I realize Hastings sells more than books, but books are a big part of its merchandise.
If you recall, it was less than two years ago Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed all of its stores in September 2011. Borders had been the nation’s second largest bookseller with 511 stores an approximately 19,500 employees as of January, 2010.
With the Internet changing the way just about everyone does business, who knows what the retail world will look like in another decade.

That’s all folks

If you have business news, I would like to report it in this column. Send an email to, or give me a call at 473-2191.

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