Last weekend, America celebrated the Fourth of July. This week has been a full-color business explosion here in Warren County.
There’s so much business news, I don’t know where to start. The Dollar General that I speculated was coming to Smithville Highway just past the Rolling Hills area in last week’s column is going to happen. It’s a done deal. But more on that later.
The storefront next to Begonias on Main Street has been rented and a new tenant is on the way. That’s huge news, but it’s going to have to wait too.
I’ll start today’s column by featuring a business that fills a void Warren County has endured for years. We used to have the luxury of two equipment rental businesses here in town, Grand Rental and Handy Rental. Sadly, both of those business decided to embrace the allure of closing, leaving our community without a place to rent equipment.
I’m pleased to report times have changed. Mid Tennessee Rental opened Monday in Newtown with tractors, backhoes, and skid steers available to rent. Jordan Morgan and Ben Kimmig are the business owners.
Both guys developed quite a following for their concrete work around the Midstate, but they say they are trying to ease away from that business. “It’s hard work and 12- to 14-hour days,” said Jordan. “We’re trying to get away from that lifestyle.”
With young families, it’s easy to see why. Who wants to work all the time?
So the business partners decided to pursue the equipment rental business and picked Warren County as an opportune landing spot.
“We’ll give you a rundown of how it works before you leave the yard,” said Ben. “We want you to be comfortable with it before you leave. You can use it in the yard if you need to.”
Rentals are available for a half day, a full day, a week, and even a month. Jordan pointed out that even if you need to rent a tractor for an entire month, it can still save you money.
“Some equipment might cost you $50,000, $60,000 or even $70,000,” said Jordan. “If you only need it for a short time, that’s a lot of money to spend. It will be much cheaper to rent it.”
Their sprawling equipment yard is packed full of inventory. I’m sure I will leave something out, but items to rent include: trailers, front-end attachments, pressure washers, stump grinders, brush cutters, trenchers, lifts, lights, backhoes, skid steers, saws, ladders, jackhammers, and more.
“We’ve had many people tell us that we really needed a rental store here,” said Ben.
Equipment rental is not their only game. They also do excavation work, mulching, and tree removal. While they want to get away from concrete work, Jordan says they don’t shy away from giving advice about concrete and they also sell rebar.
“It’s probably easier to ask us what we don’t do,” said Jordan.
Mid Tennessee Rental is located at 3157 Nashville Highway in Newtown. Hours are Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is (931) 815-7368.
Building for sale
It’s been several weeks since Middle Tennessee Natural Gas abandoned its longtime facility at 569 N. Chancery Street and moved to Manchester Highway not far from WCHS.
While it’s not officially for sale yet, it’s only a matter of time before the old building goes on the selling block. It’s at a glorious location on The Strip, the road with the highest traffic count in all McMinnville.
People are quick to speculate about what might come to the old Bojangles/ old Grandy’s building. I think just as big a question is what might come to the old MTNG building.
For those with long memories, Golden Corral bought the property in 1979 and operated a restaurant there before MTNG eventually took over. When I talk about Golden Corral, that’s a restaurant that raises real eyebrows around town.
I’ve found Warren County residents love the all-you-can eat concept and Golden Corral seems highly popular. That being said, I wouldn’t count on a Golden Corral return.
The old MTNG property has an appraised value of $837,600, according to county tax records.
I think it has the potential to sell rather quickly when it hits the market, whether by sale or auction. Stay tuned!
At Country Club
It was a couple months ago when I reported the restaurant at McMinnville Country Club was in the process of opening to the general public for the first time in club history.
I’m now pleased to report Maple Street Grill at the Clubhouse has officially opened with business hours Tuesday thru Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The phone number for take-out orders is (931) 668-4141.
“We’ve tried to get the word out as much as possible, but the biggest question we’re still getting is, ‘Are you guys open to the public?’” said restaurant owner Mike Zelenak, who is operating the business with his wife, Chassi. “We are open to the public and we’re getting really good feedback on our food.”
Maple Street Grill has a menu unlike most other local restaurants. Mike says the 12-ounce bone-in pork chop is an absolute hit. The grilled salmon and 12-ounce ribeye are two other savory treats.
When all else fails, there are shrimp tacos, fish and chips, chicken tenders and fried green tomatoes. There’s even a kids menu that includes a drink for $4.99.
“We’re seeing a lot of families and I know how it is trying to feed a family at a restaurant,” said Mike, a proud father of five. “We want to welcome everyone to come eat here.”
To show his commitment to the Country Club, Mike has signed a five-year lease on the restaurant with the option for two, five-year renewals. He says golf courses work best when they are accompanied by a unique restaurant and he has long-term plans to stay.
So far he’s hired 18 employees and says he has a “strong staff.” When both dining rooms and the patio are in use, there is seating for 220.
Two banquets are scheduled for August, one with 75 guests and the other with 100. Mike also said he’s catering lunch for an upcoming golf tournament.
Mike operated a successful restaurant in Murfreesboro for 10 years and currently has another restaurant in Eagleville that’s been open for seven. He said it’s interesting to see how tastes are different from Eagleville and McMinnville as different menu items are popular at each location.
If you’re looking for something different, say bacon-wrapped shrimp as an appetizer and mahi mahi as the main course, check out Maple Street Grill. If you want to stick with something more common, there’s a burger, club sandwich, or cheesesteak.
For folks who have never been treated to a meal at the Country Club, here’s your chance. Maple Street Grill is open and ready to serve.
I started last week’s column with speculation that we would get a new Dollar General after tracking down several top-secret leads. This week I’m pleased to report my speculation was 100% accurate.
I noticed a deed was recorded on Friday in the name of Montgomery Turner on Smithville Highway not far from Delores Market. The deed is for 1.8 acres of land, bought for the high-dollar price of $170,000.
Montgomery Turner is responsible for building nearly all of the Dollar Generals in Warren County with the one at the Lowe’s Shopping Center possibly the only exception.
This next store, when open, will bring Warren County’s total to 13, or XIII if we continue to count our Dollar General stores like Super Bowls. It comes after Dollar General 12 opened on South Chancery Street less than a year ago in November.
I thought I described the location of the new DG fairly well in last week’s column, but apparently not. Several people have asked me, “Exactly where will that Dollar General be?”
Since we all seem to know where to find Delores Market on Smithville Highway, let’s use that as a landmark. The new DG will be on the same side of the highway as Delores, only closer to McMinnville. It will be just past the Rolling Hills area.
I’m not a graphic artist, but I decided to sketch out a little map to perhaps make things a little easier. See if it helps. The map is not to scale and is a rough sketch.
One big question which stemmed from last week’s column is the question about Dollar General locating a store in Irving College. Every other community in Warren County has a DG. So why not Irving College?
From what I understand, there is some interest in Irving College, but so far there has not been a good spot identified. Junior Medley owns the store and gas station in that community and he told me Friday he would love to sell to Dollar General. Considering what the company pays for land, I probably would love to sell to DG too.
The problem, at least as I see it, is property tax records show Medley’s Market in Irving College as having less than 1 acre of land. It’s .96 of an acre to be exact.
Dollar General stores have all required more land than that, usually right around 2 acres. I don’t think you could squeeze one on a .96 acre spot.
Perhaps there’s another nearby area that would work other than the Irving College gas station. Would DG want to be as close to town as Fairview?
These are all questions to be considered as we race toward 15 Dollar General stores in Warren County.
If we add a store in Irving College and one atop Harrison Ferry Mountain, we’re there.
That's all folks
I've run out of space and haven't even had the chance to talk about the new business coming to Main Street next to Begonias. That will have to be a topic for a later date.
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