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Business Pulse - Answering the tough questions
Trendy Trunk downtown
Ann Hawkins is in the process of opening a second location for Trendy Trunk. She’s been in business for five years, including three on Main Street.

In honor of Halloween and all the candy which is about to surround us, I did what any good reporter would do. I was determined to answer and age-old question and find how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

I was a grueling task, one that required two breaks, but my perseverance did prevail. I found that it takes, drum roll please, 465 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

This answer comes after I resisted many temptations to bite into the Tootsie Pop before actually reaching the center by licking. It was an exercise that took extreme willpower and also endurance. Perhaps I should have done more training ahead of time because I’ll probably be so sore tomorrow I can’t get out of bed.

Anyway, in the spirit of Halloween, I’ve finally solved the riddle. It’s 465 licks to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Trendy Trunk

About to double

Ann Hawkins operated The Trendy Trunk for two years in Rock Island before discovering greener pastures on Main Street. She’s been open for three years at 123 Main Street and now more news lurks on the horizon.

Ann is opening a second location of The Trendy Trunk at 1704 Smithville Highway, a location that was most recently Six Packen Angels Maximum Overdrive. The store will be called Trendy Trunk Too.

“The building has just been remodeled and the owner asked me if I wanted to take a look,” said Ann. “It’s something I fell in love with and when you fall in love with something you have to go for it.”

Ann says her goal is to be open in time for Black Friday. The store will be an extension of her current Main Street shop with boutique clothing and plenty of vendor items. There will be home décor, T-shirts, painted signs, mugs, jewelry, pillows and more.

Ann says she will likely work from the Smithville Highway location, which is just past McDonald’s as you’re leaving town. 

“Unfortunately, I can’t close myself so I’ll have to get someone to work in the downtown shop,” said Ann.

It’s my plan to visit the new store when it opens and I’ll provide more information at that time. The Trendy Trunk on Main can be reached at 507-7544.

Harbor Freight

Opens with bang

McMinnville’s newest tool store was hammered with great crowds and full parking lots when it opened on Tuesday. Business at Harbor Freight was still ratcheted at full speed when I stopped by Friday afternoon.

For those who may have missed my previous columns, the store has opened at the old Fred’s location at Northgate Center.

Employees were helpful when I started asking questions, so I guess you could say they know the drill. I learned Harbor Freight has an Inside Track Club, which is a club that comes with an annual fee of $29.99 or a two-year fee of $49.99.

I was told the club will more than pay for itself if you’re a regular customer because it entitles members to discounts that other customers don’t receive. You could pay for the membership with as little as a few purchases if you buy the right things.

It was also stressed that all Harbor Freight hand tools come with a lifetime warranty and all other products come with a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty. If that’s not enough, you can buy extended warranties if you’re concerned about the life of your tool.

Harbor Freight seems to have certainly nailed a strong business model. Stop by the store and check it out for yourself.

No date yet for

TriGreen opening

Several folks have noticed the TriGreen Equipment building going up on the bypass and have asked if I have any details about when the new store may open. The building under construction is located on the corner of Shangri La Lane and the bypass, not far from McMinnville Lawn and Garden.

When I called TriGreen on Friday morning, local store manager Adam Haston said it’s still too early to have a firm timetable on when the building will be move-in ready. They had hoped for November, but have been stymied by all those unexpected construction delays, which by now should be called expected delays.

Even without an opening date, there’s reason for excitement about the new location. Adam tells me it will be much bigger than the current store at 3766 Sparta Highway. It will have more equipment, several mechanics and several service technicians.

The new location will feature an expanded showroom, a spacious shop and even a demo area. This demo area will allow prospective buyers to try out a piece of equipment before they buy it.

TriGreen Equipment is closing in on its two-year anniversary in Warren County in December. It can be reached at 668-1784.

Register for free

Groceries, tires

Judging by the Southern Standard’s weekly Word Match contest where we give away $50, I’ve reached the conclusion that people like free stuff.

Operating off that premise, two local companies are holding promotions to give away $200 in groceries and $500 in tires. Registering for these valuable prizes is as simple as visiting

Warehouse Discount Groceries on The Strip is offering the $200 in free groceries just in time for Thanksgiving. The contest ends Nov. 10.

If you’d like to register for the prize, visit our website and click on the “Grocery Giveaway” tab on the top, left corner of our home page. From there all you have to do is answer three questions about your grocery shopping and provide an email address for them to contact you.

Champion Chevrolet on Sparta Street is conducting the promotion for $500 worth of tires. To register, visit our website and click on the “Win FREE tires!” tab on the top, left corner of our home page.

You’ll be asked a few questions about your preferences in vehicles and told what vehicle is perfect for you. I took the brief quiz and was informed my perfect car is the Buick Encore or Chevy Malibu. The quiz is accurate because I drove a Malibu for nearly eight years and loved it.

Remember, both contests can be accessed through the newspaper’s website, Enter for your chance to win! Good luck.

First National

Ready to celebrate

When you think about longevity, it’s hard to beat 145 years. That shows staying power and a business that has a foundation of strength.

First National Bank of Middle Tennessee is preparing to celebrate its 145th anniversary this Monday, Oct. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. Don’t show up at the bank because the reception will be held at the Farmers Market with food, entertainment and fabulous giveaways.

The invitation to the community says, “145 years ago, a commitment was made to the shareholders, employees and community to provide a stable financial institution. 

We are proud of our yesterdays and look forward to our tomorrows with you!”

It’s crunch time

For Halloween

I plan to finalize my Halloween costume ideas this weekend and develop a plan on how to proceed. If you’re still thinking about what costume to wear this year, stop by Party & Novelty at 2411 Smithville Highway.

The store has everything you need for Halloween, from a costume to party plates and decorations. Store employee Stephanie Miller showed how easy it is to put together a neat costume by grabbing a wig, hat and nose and transforming into a witch in a matter of minutes.

Stephanie pointed out there are even fog machines and strobe lights available to purchase if you really want to go all-in on Halloween supplies.

When asked about popular costumes, the most common continue to be Jason, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger. Dracula fangs, colored contact lenses and devil’s outfit are also big sellers.

Probably the single most popular thing to buy is a wig. It was explained that people nowadays like to throw an off-the-wall costume together and a wig is an easy way to accomplish a new look.

It’s crunch time when it comes to Halloween costumes. Party & Novelty is open Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The store can be reached at 473-3050.

That’s all folks

Remember to trick-or-treat with a flashlight and don’t assume a motorist is going to see you. It’s only a good Halloween if it’s a safe Halloween. Accidents spoil fun.

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