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Business Pulse - Apollo experiencing growing pains
Apollo - Kenneth better.jpg

I noticed the parking lot of Apollo Medical Products has been empty in recent weeks and I received a call Friday from a concerned worker who told me production has been shut down since June 10.

I called company owner Kenneth Perry on Friday and asked him if Apollo is doing all right? Perhaps most importantly, is Apollo going to close?

Kenneth told me the disruption in production is part of normal growing pains. The company produces medical masks by the thousands.

“Most people aren’t familiar with startup companies, especially startup medical companies,” said Kenneth. “There are quality management procedures we have to follow.”

Kenneth quoted Mark Twain when he said the rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. He says he has a couple large contracts that are on the verge of being signed that will have him as the supplier of FDA-certified, medical grade masks.

“The two things that are keeping us from starting production now is we’re No. 1 waiting on contracts and No. 2 we’re waiting for new boxes to package the masks when we’re done,” said Kenneth.

Apollo Medical Products grabbed headlines when it opened in March on Belmont Drive in what’s known as the old AquaTech building. The company was flooded with hundreds of applicants thanks to a starting pay of $20 per hour.

The first few months of production have been choppy with Apollo employees telling the Standard the work has been inconsistent. One caller on Friday described getting 40 hours one week and then no hours the next.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that these are just ordinary hurdles. I like the fact Apollo is a local manufacturer that’s not automotive related, something which is rare around these parts.

Planet Fitness Plans opening

There’s been a great deal of interest surrounding the opening of Planet Fitness at Northgate Center. I’d go so far as to call it excitement.

Renovation work was taking place at full speed when I stopped by the building on Friday. I was told equipment move-in has been scheduled to begin July 15 and the gym is expected to open July 18.

One of the highlights is there will be a 100-foot wall of TVs in front of a massive selection of cardiovascular equipment. There will also be tanning beds, men’s and women’s locker rooms, plenty of weights and workout equipment, and also a spa area.

Planet Fitness is a nationwide company with a proven track record for success so it will be interesting to see how many members it can attract. I’ve been all about exercise ever since I was a teen so if Planet Fitness can get more people active, it has my full support.

Marketville Moves indoors

The Southern Standard’s plan to hold Marketville outdoors at the fairgrounds in the middle of July has been changed.

Due to vendor requests, the event has been moved indoors to Three Star Mall and it’s been bumped back two weeks to coincide with the state’s Tax Free Weekend and back-to-school shopping.

“A number of our vendors mentioned how they weren’t looking forward to sitting out in the heat all day so we listened,” said Standard publisher Patricia Zechman. “We’ll be moving Marketville to the mall and there are still some vendor booths available.”

In addition to booth vendors, there will be a variety of attractions. Those include a LifeForce helicopter, bounce house, firetruck, and entertainment. There will also be backpack and school supply giveaways as it’s a traditional time to start thinking about students returning to class.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 at Three Star Mall. To reserve a booth, call Sheila or Nikki at the Standard at 473-2191 or email

Aaron’s under Renovation

Aaron’s at Northgate Center is undergoing a top to bottom store remodeling. The rental center has been experiencing renovations since the end of May with a target date of mid-July for a grand reopening extravaganza.

Visibly noticeable from the outside is a much larger sign which will grace the storefront. Workers were climbing ladders and examining the new sign on Friday.

Fundraiser for Beersheba Clinic

There are things which have different levels of importance in life. Clean drinking water is one area of extreme importance. The latest Liam Neeson movie is not.

Quality healthcare ranks high on the list of important things and the medical professionals at Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic are working to provide it. Around 100 Warren County residents receive medical care there. The nonprofit clinic is at full capacity with 850 patients. There’s a waiting list of 150.

The clinic is located at 19592 State Highway 56 in Grundy County and first opened more than 11 years ago on Nov. 21. The clinic is a 501(c)3 that provides a comprehensive array of primary medical services.

Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic is looking for a financial boost with its annual Dash to the Door 5K Run & Walk. It’s set for Saturday, July 2 with a scheduled start time of 8 a.m.

The 5K will start at the medical clinic and meander through beautiful Beersheba Springs. Since its inception in 2015, Dash to Door has raised more than $175,000 for the clinic.

For more information on the 5K fundraiser, visit beershebaclinic. org, or you can call by phone at (931) 692-2229.

That’s all folks

Fourth of July is traditionally one of the worst times of the year for digging up business news since so many companies shut down around the holiday. I will show my patriotism on Independence Day, but I’ll also show my commitment to Business Pule with what I expect to be the best column of the year.