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Business Pulse - Bearded dragons are lovable lizards
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I’m mainly a cat guy now. I’ve been a shaggy dog guy in the past, but those days are long gone.

I had tropical fish when I was in college because all animals were prohibited in the college dorms. Except fish. So everybody had fish and elaborate aquariums.

I caught tadpoles and crayfish in the creek when I was just a lad and I once kept a turtle in a shoebox. Or rather I tried. For being a turtle, it sure disappeared fast. I’ve never thought about owning a bearded dragon, but maybe I should. Perhaps the best way to go is to have a lizard as a pet. No walks around the neighborhood and no playing fetch.

Dragon Smart has opened at 2416 Smithville Highway just past Gateway Tire. The store is your bearded dragon headquarters.

“We’ve sold to 49 different states,” said Dylan Geerts, who owns the new pet store with his wife Alonna. Dylan said Hawaii is the one holdout state because it’s illegal to send them there.

Alonna loves bearded dragons and has a favorite. She says “they are the best pets.”

“They are like dogs with scales,” said Alonna. “They like human interaction and let you hold them. It’s good for them to have attention. They all have their own personality when you get to know them.”

Dylan pointed out how bearded dragons are perfect apartment pets for places that don’t allow cats and dogs. They won’t bark all night or urinate on the floor. Even a small apartment is like a prairie for these guys, who are pretty quick and will cuddle up in your lap.

Dragon Smart has its own breeding program and keeps the parents on hand so customers can have an idea of what their baby might look like in several months. All this started with just two bearded dragons.

“We started with a couple of pets and then we added higher levels of quality and it's gone from there,” said Dylan.

Bearded dragons will often fight to the death if left alone together so the breeding process is not exactly an intimate moment. Put them together, dim the lights, put on some soft music, and then separate them as soon as possible when it’s over.

Diet consists of bugs and greens. Babies eat bugs daily because they’re growing fast, but adults only eat bugs every few days because it doesn't take much to maintain 1.5 pounds.

Dylan says it’s important to buy bugs that are domestically bred specifically for the bearded dragons to eat. Catching crickets in the wild could expose the bearded dragon to pesticides, he said.

“There’s a whole food chain just for them,” said Dylan.

Bearded dragons stay largely in their aquariums, but it’s OK to let them scamper around the house if no dogs or cats are around. Even friendly pets can be unpredictable around other animals.

Bearded dragon prices range from $150 to $800 at Dragon Smart. Dylan said it’s also important to budget for other initial start-up expenses such as the aquarium, lights and interior scenery. “You can probably expect to spend around $600 and that’s for everything,” said Dylan. “That's the start-up cost. After that, they are not really expensive.”

Other animals are in stock at Dragon Smart and waiting to find a home. This includes creatures like bunnies, snakes, parakeets, geckos, guinea pigs, fish, and even a hairy tarantula.

Dragon Smart is closed Tuesday and open the other six days. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day but Sunday. Hours on Sunday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is (615) 900-4515.

It’s time For fitness

John Upchurch was one of the fine citizens our community lost to COVID. I coached against John in soccer those years he ran the youth leagues at Pistole Park and he was an animated coach.

John did such a great job of running the leagues, youth soccer was turned over to the city the year after he left because it was deemed too much work for volunteers.

John was also a fitness enthusiast and the owner of Highland Rim CrossFit. His unexpected death sent the business into a downward spiral as his ex-wife did what she could to keep it open.

Linsey Cornelius- Youngblood and J Wilson are ready to help. They are already changing the trajectory of the business as the new owners of Highland Rim CrossFit on Faulkner Springs Road.

“CrossFit was developed to be modifiable to any athlete who walks in the door,” said Linsey. “There are great exercises for beginnings. I promise you that you’re going to get a good workout of functional movements. One of the great things about CrossFit is its emphasis on functional movements and fitness. It’s strength you’re going to need for a lifetime.”

Linsey is a lifelong fitness buff. She starred for the Lady Pioneers in high school and has continued to make fitness a priority in her life. J enjoys a good workout too so they make a great combination when it come to exercise knowledge.

Warren County A& L Fair president Regan Kelsey can usually be found darting around the fairgrounds during fair week. Regan is in training now at Highland Rim CrossFit so he’ll be ready for the physical demands the fair president has to endure.

CrossFit has gained popularity in recent years as a great way to stay in shape.From a community wellness standpoint, I like the idea of more avenues of fitness being available for everyone. I've always enjoyed jogging and physical activity and I believe it's vital for overall well-being. You can break a sweat at Highland Rim and get to feeling better mentally.

“Members really like it that we have a coach,” said Linsey. “Coaches undergo CrossFit training and are certified. We all understand the importance of being active. Classes are a 1-hour, fullbody workout.”

Linsey recently added her contractor’s license to go along with her real estate license and she and J have also opened JL Company. They have been buying and selling houses to stay busy and have projects in the works.

I like the CrossFit atmosphere and mixture of running and strength exercises. It’s circuit training with an element of high intensity, if desired.

Classes are held around the clock beginning at 5 a.m. Highland Rim Cross-Fit can be reached at 507-HRCF.

Getting Hitched At The Hitch

One thing I learned last week is Drew Barrett has the power vested in him to marry people. It’s interesting information to store.

Ever since The Hitch opened on Main Street, Drew has joked that he wanted someone to get hitched at The Hitch. Cody and Shawna Vaughn took him up on the offer Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

With store managers Chris and Kelley Snyder serving as witnesses and the Southern Standard on hand providing official wedding photography, the ceremony took place, fittingly enough, not far from the Life Is Good line. It was the first wedding held at The Hitch since the store opened in February next to Collins River BBQ.

Cody and Shawna were interested in a scaled-down ceremony without all the frills and getting hitched at The Hitch served their needs. Cody was able to get married and then rush back to work so that worked out well for his schedule.

“Drew had a good idea for once about this,” said Cody, who said the brief ceremony was still filled with charm.

Maybe a wedding package wouldn’t be a bad thing for The Hitch to start offering. What an idea! The store could provide punch and finger food and a grand honeymoon getaway at Joe O’Neal’s new Airbnb upstairs. Toss in tickets to Cumberland Caverns and this is an adventure wedding weekend that could be valued at $499.

The Hitch is already grabbing attention for its outfitter merchandise and oldtimey candy store in back. There’s also Warren County apparel for folks looking for Pioneer gear.

Make your lawn shine

If you're tired of your lawn looking patchy, brown and sparse, give First Choice Turf a call.

Tim Cobb has 26 years of experience in the lawn care business and he can make your grass look like something from a postcard with his unique blend of fertilizer treatments.

'I don't mow your grass, but I can make it look good,' said Tim. 'Any issue you may have with your lawn, I am equipped to handle it.'

Tim is from Middle Tennessee, although he and his wife made a sidetrip to Florida where he was general manager for a large lawncare firm. One main problem is army worms.

'Army worms will take your entire lawn in about two weeks if you don't do something about it,' said Tim. 'They work really fast and have been a problem in Florida for years. I was hoping they wouldn't be a problem in Tennessee, but I had to deal with them last year in Murfreesboro. A whole new neighborhood they just built got hit hard. I picked up about 30 cutomers from that.'

When Tim returned to Middle Tennessee from Florida he started First Choice Turf in 2017 in the Murfreesboro area. He and his wife decided Murfreesboro was no longer for them and purchased a cozy home in Warren County.

'I grew up in Nashville and Murfreesboro is getting that same feel,' said Tim. 'We wanted something a little more peaceful.'

Tim said his home in Murfreesboro sold the day it went on the market and for more money than the listing price. 'I really don't think the home was worth what they paid,' said Tim.

The Cobbs love McMinnville and Tim is looking to establish more of a customer base here. He says he would much rather help homeowners with their lawn in the community in which he lives instead of driving out of town.

Tim specializes in weed, insect and disease control for grass, trees and shrubs. He is certified through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and treats lawns once every 5 to 7 weeks for optimum results. Aeration and seeding can be done in the fall.

'We use a quality seed and quality products,' said Tim. 'The last thing you want to do is pay someone to make your lawn look better and then nothing happens. This is proven to work for a healthy, green lawn.'

First Choice Turf can be reached at (615) 240-1005.

That's all folks

Don't forget mom on this special Mother's Day. If you're looking for a great gift, nothing says 'I love you' more than a subscription to the Southern Standard. Show mom how much you really care with the gift of information.

Mom can also enjoy the convenience of getting all the local news from her cellphone with the fabulous Standard app, which is so easy to use.