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Business Pulse - Depot Bottom up for sale
Depot Bottom - people.jpg
The crew at Depot Bottom Country Store was ready to serve Friday. Pictured, from left, are Flo Dyer, Faith Willett, owner Travis Young and Gracie Ping. The restaurant remains open while it's for sale.

A business that’s survived through the ages and a building that’s a century old have been placed on the market.

Depot Bottom Country Store is officially for sale as owner Travis Young says it’s time for him to shift gears and transition to a slower way of life.

“It’s not often you can buy a business that’s thriving, especially during a pandemic,” said Travis. “There’s nothing wrong with our business. We’re just ready to slow down a little bit. If we sell it, that’s great. If not, we’ll keep on operating it until something happens.”

For some 50 years, Hubert Hillis operated a legendary grocery store at that spot that was known for its thick slices of bologna. It wasn’t long after Hubert passed away that Sandy Young took over the popular spot. She operated the store for 10 years and was the driving force behind its transformation from a place to get sliced meat to a place to get delicious meals.

Sandy ran Depot Bottom Country Store for 10 years before Travis, her son, took over three years ago. Despite rocky times for the restaurant industry, mainly due to COVID-19, Travis says the store has done extremely well.

“It’s a turn-key business where you can start making money immediately,” said Travis.

He said since the store has been featured on the TV show “Tennessee Crossroads” visitors have come from far and wide.

“We just had a couple come from Hendersonville to eat here on Thursday,” said Travis. “They had seen it on the show. It helps that we were featured on ‘Tennessee Crossroads’ and they keep running it and re-running it.”

Travis says one great part of the business is its untapped potential. Current hours are Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and customers are constantly asking for more, he said.

“People really want us to be open on the weekends,” said Travis. “Customers are always telling us they would eat her on Saturday and Sunday, especially for breakfast, if we were open.”

Travis says he’s refused efforts to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He admitted that designation would be nice, but once that happens the owner is greatly restricted on the changes that can be made to the building. He said he doesn’t want to abide by those restrictions.

For an owner who would want to buy the business and expand the hours to nights and weekends, Travis said the earning potential would be enormous. He said the current Monday thru Friday schedule is more than enough for his plate because it’s still a seven-day-a-week job when you factor in ordering food and meal preparation.

If you’re reading this segment and think Depot Bottom Country Store might be a nice business opportunity for you, give Donald Hillis Realty a call at 473-7774. 

Be sure to tell Donald you read all about the store in this column. It won’t save you any money, but it might give you something to talk about.

A Spark

Of Romance

With all the hate and divisiveness going on in America, perhaps what we could all use is a little more romance. It’s difficult to be mad if we’re holding and cuddling. I can say this from limited experience.

A new business has opened in McMinnville that could very well ease all our troubles. 

It’s called A Spark of Romance and it’s a business with real vibrancy. Caleb and Charrissa Hendricks are the owners.

‘Everyone seems to love it,” said Charrissa. “People say it’s an amazing store and they love the convenience. They don’t have to drive to Murfreesboro.”

Added Caleb, “Romance is what we’re going for. We want to be your one-stop shop.”

Charrissa noted it might have previously taken a number of stops to obtain all your romance needs before their store opened two weeks ago. But now they have everything you need including lotions, rose petals, candles, lingerie, and a little bit more.

“I’ve really been surprised by all the suggestions we’ve been getting,” said Caleb. “Not only will people suggest something, but we’ll get it in stock and then it will sell out. We have really appreciated everyone’s suggestions.”

Caleb says the store specializes in candles that double as massage oil. When the candle burns and the wax gets hot, it can be used as a relaxing rub. The candles come in a variety of scents. Since Caleb makes the candles on site, custom fragrances can be requested.

If you’re looking for lingerie to add spice to your routine, Charrissa says they have a wide selection. She said plus sizes were an early request and they have made an effort to fill that need with all different offerings, large and small.

So far business has been steady as word of mouth has led to a number of customers. In just two weeks, Friday has already emerged as the busiest day as folks prepare for the weekend.

A Spark of Romance will also hold periodic raffles where customers have a chance to win fabulous prizes. A recent raffle featured 80 entries and included a free mystery bag as one of the prizes. Hmm, I wonder what was in that mystery bag.

I say we all talk a break from arguing about politics and pointing out all that’s wrong with the world. Now, more than ever, is the time to focus on enhancing our relationships and improving our lives.

A Spark of Romance is closed on Wednesday and Sunday. It opens at noon the other five days of the week and can be reached at (931) 304-8491. It’s located at 639 North Chancery Street in the same parking lot behind Advance Auto and Verizon.

More activity

In Newtown

I was asked last week about all the cleanup work taking place in Newtown at the spot I remember as Eagle’s Nest Nursery. I know that property has probably been a bunch of things since it was last Eagle’s Nest, but that’s how I refer to it.

As you’re leaving McMinnville and traveling toward Centertown, the 9 acres of property is on the left. It’s been purchased by Woodbury business partners Jordan Morgan and Ben Kimmig, who bought the land in September.

Heavy cleanup work is underway as they transform the property into … drum roll please … an equipment rental business. It will be called Mid Tenn Rental and Jordan estimates it will open in around six months.

If you survey the local business landscape, this fills in a gap that’s currently showing. Folks may remember a day when Grand Rental and Handy Rental roamed the earth and did a brisk business when it came to equipment rental. 

Well, those days have been gone for years. Now, there appears to be hope on the horizon.

Jordan and Ben are in the concrete business. They also do skid steer work. They see this spot in McMinnville as a great opportunity to expand their business and move this way. They say in addition to working here, they’d like to live here too.

Jordan told me there’s not much left of Woodbury to develop. Because of the mountainous terrain, he said just about every inch of flat land has some type structure on it. For more to be developed would take cutting into some major hills, he said.

We also got to talking about the housing market. If we think our homes are selling fast here in Warren County, think how the Woodbury folks feel. Jordan said houses typically sell in a day or two and for strong prices.

It’s great to see Ben and Jordan cleaning up what had been an eyesore of a piece of property. Newtown is making strides and it will be a nice step up to see this part of it improved.


Brewery to close

It was a history-making event when Depot Bottom Brewery became the first local brewery, to my knowledge, to set up shop and sell its unique blend of beer in McMinnville.

It was an interesting experience to say the least as the business operated on Main Street not far from the fire hall. Its goal was not to have TVs on every wall for customers to sit mindlessly watching a screen. Rather the idea was to have an environment with delightful conversation where the beer would flow freely and good times were enjoyed by all.

Then COVID-19 hit.

“I’m 100% sure we’d be in a different place right now if COVID didn’t hit,” said Jacob Bozarth, who operates Depot Bottom Brewery with Chris and Becky Weitzel.

Jacob told me Friday night the business will be selling beer until the last keg runs out. When that happens, no more beer will be made for resale.

“I’m sure Chris will probably continue to do it as a hobby, but that will be it,” said Jacob.

He said things were going well and there were big plans in store for 2020 before the pandemic hit and landed an especially hard punch to restaurants and retailers. Equally tough for Depot Bottom Brewery was the fact it doesn’t sell food.

“We built this place around people coming together to hang out,” said Jacob. “Then all of a sudden people couldn’t come together.”

He said all is not lost because the three business partners all have other jobs. Depot Bottom Brewery was never a primary source of income for any of them.

“This was always a second job that was more for fun than anything else,” said Jacob.

As for what might happen at that spot, I didn’t get a clear indication of what the next move might be. It appears Depot Bottom Brewery will remain open there until the last beer is sold, which Jacob estimates will happen before the end of November.

That’s all folks

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