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Business Pulse - County ready to bring jobs
Spec building - inside.jpg
Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander stands inside Warren County’s newly completed spec building which features a 42-foot ceiling and 50,000 square feet of space. The building promises to bring new jobs to our community.

People often ask me what this community is doing to attract jobs. So I’ve decided to start this week’s column with a 50,000-square-foot answer.

The Industrial Development Board has recently finished the construction of Spec Building 4, a towering structure in Mt. View Industrial Park in Morrison. The building features a 42-foot ceiling that is popular with manufacturers today and can be easily expanded by another 50,000 square feet when the new tenant is ready to grow.

The county’s previous three spec buildings are all occupied with bustling manufacturing companies and are providing hundreds of jobs to Warren County residents. Morrison Industries, Miniature Precision Components and Sansin are the companies occupying those buildings.

So the Industrial Board is a perfect 3-for-3 when it comes to finding tenants for spec buildings. It won’t be too much longer before it's 4-for-4.

“One of the things the state has talked about for years is to have your community prepared and we’re prepared,” said IDB director Don Alexander. “There are very few spec buildings in the state of Tennessee right now and we’re fortunate to have one of them.”

Spec Building 4 is a nearly finished structure. When stepping inside, the most obvious piece of unfinished business is the floor, which is still gravel. That’s by design.

“There’s no way to have a crystal ball to know exactly what your tenant is going to want and everybody’s operation is unique,” said Don. “You don’t want someone to come in and immediately start tearing up the floor so this gives them the opportunity to build a pit for a press if they need one or to pour the concrete as thick as they’re going to need it.”

In today’s manufacturing world, speed is essential. Having a spec building in place with available utilities can take years off the process for companies looking to relocate. It’s the difference between starting with an empty field and starting with a structure that’s nearly complete and just needs a few finishing touches.

Spec Building 4 is listed on TVA’s website. TVA is usually one of the first places companies look to find basic information when considering relocation or expansion to this region.

The building sits on 23 acres and has an asking price of $2.2 million. The Industrial Board has financing options for companies looking to buy, or the building can be leased if that’s the preference.

Don said the IDB has the luxury of being somewhat picky in deciding which company takes possession of the building.

“We’d like for it to be a company that wants to grow with us,” said Don. “As much forethought and planning as we’ve put into this, I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out. We’re doing our best to provide jobs for Warren countians down the road and to broaden our tax base.”

The editors of Business Pulse are united in the belief that Don Alexander and our Industrial Development Board members are doing a first-rate job for our community. 

IDB members are Tommy Foster, Jeff Golden, Sandra Haynes, Scot MacDonald, Trevor Galligan, Brent Nunley, Brent McCay, Jenny Nafrada, Andy Knowles and Mike Millard. 

Old Aquatech 

Building available

It’s been home to WastAway and Newell, but it will probably best be remembered as the old Aquatech building. In talking to Don about Spec Building 4 on Friday, he told me that Newell is no longer occupying the old Aquatech building and it’s been drawing interest.

“The building is clean, shows really well, and is move-in ready,” said Don. “A company could take it and start moving in the next day.”

The building is located on the corner of Belmont Drive and Red Road. It’s 137,000 square feet and Don says it’s already getting interest.

“Activity draws more activity,” said Don. “We’ve seen that with the hotel and really with our whole area. There’s a lot going on.”

Stay at home

With We Deliver

Jason Scott and his wife Robin opened We Deliver in Cookeville over three years ago. Since then, the family owned operation has expanded to eight other cities. 

McMinnville is the latest town in the We Deliver coverage area as the company opened here on Oct. 1. It’s now providing delivery service from more than 30 local restaurants between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.

“It’s very safe and it’s very convenient,” said Jason. “For people who don’t want to get out to their favorite restaurant, we’ll deliver to your door. Our goal is to give the customer the same dining experience at their table at home as they would have in the restaurant itself.”

There are dozens of local restaurants in the We Deliver network. These include McMinnville favorites like Gondola, Fiesta Ranchera, Collins River BBQ, Which Wich, Saki, Ming’s, Mud Bums and more. 

We Deliver also delivers for national chains like McDonald’s, KFC, Sonic, Subway, Waffle House, Krystal and more. For a complete list of available restaurants, visit

“This is a great service for restaurants, many of which have tried to offer delivery service on their own,” said Jason. “By partnering with us, they don’t have to worry about paying an employee to deliver or worry about the possible liability if something should happen out there on the road. We take care of all that.”

Jason says he’s worked with some pizza places that have abandoned hiring their own delivery drivers and are now working with We Deliver.

“In some cases we’ve been able to replace a staff of 10 drivers,” said Jason. “We want to do everything we can to help their restaurant and make them busier. In turn, they’ll make us busier.”

We Deliver will deliver from a 15-mile radius of the restaurant in which you’re placing the order. The deliver charge is $3.99 for the first 5 miles and $4.99 for 10 miles.

“If we have a big demand, we could open for breakfast at 8 a.m.,” said Jason. “We’ve done that in other areas, but I’m not sure if there will be a need for it in McMinnville.”

An easy way to order from We Deliver is to visit the website and type in the 37110 ZIP code on the home page. There is also an app that can be downloaded.

Dry cleaners

Is transforming

Stan St. Clair writes a column for the Standard where he delves into the origins of popular expressions. I’ll have to ask him where the phrase “taken to the cleaners” originates.

It appears Hale’s Dry Cleaners, a longtime business on Lyon Street, has been taken to the cleaners. The business is not doing abundantly well so owners Harry and Rachel Patel are in the process of transforming the building into a convenience store.

They are scheduled to go before the city beer board next month to see if they can be approved to sell beer.

“With the pandemic, a lot more people are staying at home so they don’t need their professional clothes as much,” said Rachel. “It’s really hurt the dry cleaner business. So we are going to try a convenience store and see if that does better.”

Rachel said they will be doing extensive remodeling work once the dry cleaner business gets closed out and she’s shooting for an opening date around Thanksgiving or early December.

“We’ll sell drinks and snacks and also have a small deli,” said Rachel. “We’ll serve biscuits for breakfast and things like that. We’ll also have beer and cigarettes.”

To the best of my knowledge, when Hale’s Dry Cleaners closes it will leave Cleaners Express on North Chancery Street as the only dry cleaners in town. 

JC Penney

Clearing out

It was sad to stop by Three Star Mall on Friday and see a sign on the window at JC Penney that says “Last 10 Days!”

Everything is for sale including fixtures and equipment as JC Penney makes its exit after nearly 40 years in business at our local mall. It was an original anchor when Three Star Mall opened its doors in 1981.

I have been told Sunday, Oct. 18 is the official closing date. Merchandise is disappearing quickly and probably one-third of the store is completely bare, with the exception of empty racks which are priced to sell.

If you want to check out what’s available at our local Penneys, this week will be your last chance to do it. Mall officials say there’s been interest in the spot, but they won’t release any information until a deal is finalized.

That’s all folks

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