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Business Pulse - Eat to live, rent to own
Welcome Table.jpg
Kent and Erica Jones are ready to welcome you to The Welcome Table at 100 W. Maple St. in Morrison.

One of the most enjoyable parts of writing Business Pulse is meeting aspiring new business owners and having the privilege of introducing them and their businesses to the Warren County public. 


Healthy eating

comes to morrison

This week, I'm pleased to introduce you to Kent and Erica Jones and their new business, The Welcome Table Kitchen & Bakery. The business is located in downtown Morrison at 100 W. Maple St. next to Town Hall. I hesitate to call it a restaurant because, as Kent and Erica state, they want it to be so much more. "We're more than a restaurant, we're lifestyle consultants. We're not doctors but we can definitely give tips and help people become more health-conscious. Our main focus is educating the community" Erica said. 

Kent is originally from Baltimore and Erica is from Philadelphia but a job with the school system brought them to the area about four years ago. Their love of educating people is also prompting their new venture. 

Erica was inspired to make a lifestyle change after attending an event a few years ago and was so pleased with the results, it inspired Kent and Erica to look into opening a business. Erica explains, "In 2016, I went to a fitness camp. It was all about health and all plant-based healthy lifestyle changes. When I left there, I knew I wanted to make a change in my home. When I did that, I wanted to make sure whatever I do wasn't just healthy but also was tasty and had flavor. My husband always says my hands have been blessed over the years and I need to share this with the world. I didn't really see it at the time but as time went on, I saw there was a need. As we started eating healthier, we started feeling healthier. We stopped getting sick. We knew this was something that could be beneficial to the community."

The inspiration derived from the camp rekindled a love of cooking and the seeds for The Welcome Table were planted. "I enjoyed cooking. I guess it was a hidden talent and people always commented on my cooking, but I wasn't driven by it. I didn't have the passion for it until I saw how I could make an impact," Erica said.

Before jumping into a brick and mortar site, the pair took their healthy meals on the road. "Over the last few years we've been doing vendoring. We've gone around Tennessee and mostly Alabama selling food items and we've developed a following. We were looking at different ideas like a food truck, but then we were connected with Morrison Mayor Sue Anderson and she provided us with the opportunity to pursue that same dream here. When we moved here in 2018, we moved to Morrison. We recently moved to Manchester but we're still in the area," Kent said.

Kent and Erica's slogan is "Enjoying tasty and healthy meals that heal," and they put the emphasis on keeping things tasty, knowing that it is a lot easier to stay on the healthy path if the experience is a pleasant one. The menu is still developing as Erica is constantly brainstorming. One of her featured homemade dishes is BBQ-roasted vegetables with tofu over quinoa. 

"We focus on plant-based cuisine. A lot of the same things people typically eat, we create in plant-based meals. We offer mac and cheese and vegan chicken. You don't lose out on taste. We see a lot of people are shifting to health-conscious eating and living so we want to provide an option to the community with not only food but with heath education - how our lifestyles affect our daily living. We provide education in disease prevention and how people can live differently so they are less susceptible to illnesses," Kent said.

To go along with their desire to educate, they offer a selection of books customers are free to browse or buy. 

The wait to try out The Welcome Table won't be a long one. Kent and Erica are holding a soft opening today, Dec. 4, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. From Dec. 5 - 17, hours will be Sunday - Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. Beginning Dec. 18, planned hours will be Sunday - Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Go pay Kent and Erica a visit when you're ready to, as Erica says, stop living to eat and start eating to live.


AAron's back

in business

After a six-month absence that had many customers questioning if the business would return, Aaron's is now back and better than ever.

Robert Garza, the sales manager of our local Aaron's said, "It took six months but we finally got our remodel done. It started in May and we reopened Nov. 7. We've been fully stocked for the better part of a month now. Of course business took a dip but we're starting to pick back up."

The closure was for a good cause, as the popular rent-to-own store in Northgate Shopping Center sports a new look and expanded showroom. "Basically what we did is we knocked down the original wall to extend the showroom floor and we now have a secondary showroom floor on the other side of the wall. That's our preleased and clearance room. We also have inventory that we didn't offer before - more living rooms, more bedrooms - our inventory grew as well," Robert said. 

In addition to furniture, Aaron's also offers large TVs, refrigerators, PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch and other popular Christmas list items. "We got our remodel done at a perfect time, just in time for Christmas shopping," Robert said. 

Formerly Rent-A-Center,  Aaron's bought the business on March 24, 2010. Robert was a Rent-A-Center employee who started in 2007 and stayed through the change. 

The remodel took its toll on the customer base but left the store in a stronger place. "We lost about 150 customers during the time because many thought we were closed, but since Nov. 7, we picked back up many of those customers and business is really stepping up right now and we appreciate it. We're always doing online specials if people would like to check our website and also we do in-store specials. If anybody wants to come back to us and give us another chance, I'll work with them and maybe even give a first month free just to welcome them back," Robert said. 

Chick-Fil-A news

If I've learned anything about Business Pulse from my predecessor, it's that if you want to get people talking about your column, mention Chick-fil-A. 

So, with that in mind, I'm here to tell you Chick-fil-A is coming ... to Manchester. According to my friends at The Manchester Times, the popular chicken chain is aiming at opening a new restaurant shortly before Bonnaroo 2023 in June. Representatives from the developers of the new Chick-fil-A attended the Nov. 21 meeting of the Manchester Planning Commission to present a site plan seeking approval for a proposed location at 2690 Hillsboro Boulevard in front of The Home Depot. Entrance and exit will feed onto Roberts Lane and not onto the Hillsboro Highway. 

So, while it's not the news Warren County Chick-fil-natics have been hoping for, it does mean the beloved chain will be only about a 30-minute drive from downtown McMinnville. 


Until next time,

same biz time,

same biz page

If you have a business you'd like to have featured here, just give me a call at (931) 473-2191 or email editor@southernstandard.com. Thanks for reading.