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Business Pulse - Family Dollar coming to Morrison
Family Dollar and Dollar Tree combo store.jpg
Pictured is a Family Dollar and Dollar Tree combo store, a concept which was first tried in 2019 and has gained popularity. It's unknown if Family Dollar is planning this type of store for Warren County.

I’d been hearing whispers about Family Dollar building a store in Morrison for a couple weeks so I decided to stop dancing around the subject and go right to the source of all things Morrison. I called Mayor Sue Anderson to see what she knows about this promising development.

Sue confirmed Family Dollar is in fact going to build a store on Manchester Highway in Morrison and it’s going to be located across the road from the Dollar General. Sue says she’s been told the new store will be operational this year.

“I asked them if there is an opening date and they said no,” said Sue. “Then I asked them if they wanted to be open before Christmas and I was told they definitely want to be open before Christmas. I was told it’s going to be a super store so I hope they have grocery items. We need a grocery store in Morrison.”

I have tried since Wednesday to get more information from Family Dollar about the store which will be built in Morrison, but I had no luck. What I did learn from the handy Family Dollar website is the chain consolidated with Dollar Tree back in 2015.

The company has aggressive plans to open hundreds of new stores in 2021. Currently, two types of stores are being built.

There’s a Family Dollar and Dollar Tree combo store that’s said to be gaining popularity. The first one of these stores opened in 2019 and now there are about 50. The store is an equal mix of both brands in an effort to capitalize on Dollar Tree’s strong sales.

The other type of Family Dollar which is being opened is called an H2 store. This is a larger store which has a Dollar Tree section of $1 items and also a freezer and cooler area.

It appears much of the Family Dollar building has been placed in a bean field located across the road from Dollar General. I have no idea when construction might begin, but I would think it would have to be in the coming weeks for the store to be open by Christmas. If Family Dollar is anything like Dollar General, an empty field can be transformed into an operational store in 28 days.

“I’m excited about this,” said Mayor Anderson. “Anything we can do to help grow the town of Morrison is a good deal.”

Folks talk about the changing face of retail and I think these type of discount stores exemplify what consumers want. People no doubt do more shopping online than a decade ago. Amazon wouldn’t be slapping up fulfillment centers all over Tennessee if that wasn’t the case.

But people definitely want retail convenience. I doubt we’ll reach the day when people place an Amazon order for a gallon of milk and a four pack of AA batteries, which is why we have 12 Dollar Generals in Warren County with a 13th to be coming soon.

With any luck, a representative with Family Dollar/ Dollar Tree will eventually get in touch with me to provide more information.

MtlWrx buys old

Cooper Manufacturing

Sound the trumpets because MtlWrx is a great American success story. The business got its start 10 years ago at the home of Jeremy Kliewer and since that time it’s proceeded to grow, grow, grow. Jeremy expanded to a building on Smartt Station Road, then he bought the building next door. 

Now MtlWrx has purchased the old Cooper Manufacturing facility on the other side of his property, giving the business an additional 21,000 square feet of space.

“We need the room,” said Jeremy. “We have to move stuff outside just to get it out of the way so we can work. Then we hope it doesn’t rain. This gives us more space and as we expand over there it will lead to more jobs.”

As its name suggests, MtlWrx handles all things metal. “Anything metal that someone needs to have made, we can do it,” said Jeremy. “It can be one or it can be 10,000. We’re an all-around job shop. We can do laser cutting, powder coating, CNC milling, lathe assembly, and things like that.”

Jeremy got his start at Metal Products Company, which is where he learned the trade. He said his first big break came when he designed an shield enclosure for a milling machine and the milling machine manufacturer became aware of his design.

“They told me they had been trying to develop something like that for three years and hadn’t come up with anything as good as what I had,” said Jeremy. “So they scrapped their ideas and went with mine and that was the spark that got me started. That led to a little money and I used that money to start buying equipment and it’s gone from there.”

MtlWrx now has 16 employees and ships orders all over the country. Jeremy says he doesn’t do much work with local companies, although he welcomes business from anywhere in America and beyond.

“We hope to start expanding to our new building by the end of the year,” said Jeremy.

The old Cooper Manufacturing building has been vacant for some time. Jeremy said the last time the building had power was in 2014 so that provides some indication of just how long it has been since any work has taken place there.

In my years of covering business news, I’ve frequently heard economists say that a community gets most of its new jobs from existing industries that do well and expand. A new industry coming to town may grab headlines, and rightfully so, but it’s the businesses that are here and doing well that create most of the new jobs through gradual expansion.

MtlWrx is the perfect example. Ten years ago, it had one employee. Now it has 16. Five years from now it could be 25.

That seems to happen more often than landing a large company, although I would like to see a new Amazon fulfillment center find its way to Mt. View Industrial Park and bring 800 jobs.

Mechanic will

Come to you

Malik Keeley has the right idea when it comes to mechanic work. He realizes it’s a pain to take your vehicle to the shop so he has a better idea. He will come to you.

Malik has opened a new business called World’s Greatest Mobile Mechanic and he’s available by calling (706) 816-6363.

“The fact we come to you is the biggest seller,” said Malik. “People who work a lot of hours don’t have time for their car to sit in a shop. If you work a 10 or 12 hour shift, you just want to go home, get dinner and go to bed. They don’t want to worry about changing their oil. We’ll go to an office, a school, the hospital, wherever. We’ll come to your house if you like.”

Malik said his focus is on smaller jobs that can be completed in a day. That includes brake work, changing oil and filters, replacing belts, and any routine maintenance. He says he can tackle other jobs like replacing a starter, but he wants to do the work in a day so your vehicle is back on the road and not stuck in a parking lot.

Another plus is Malik can also work on tractors and farm equipment. He said that’s a major benefit for nursery owners and he says he been doing much work for nurseries around his home in the Rock Island area.

“Some of the nursery guys have really had me doing a lot of stuff,” said Malik, who went to Lincoln Tech in Nashville to become a diesel mechanic.

Pioneer football fans who attended Friday night’s first home game of the season may have noticed Malik roaming the sideline. He’s the defensive line coach for the WCHS team.

“I love the sport,” said Malik, who started playing football as a child and recently spent two years coaching at Algood. This is his first year in Warren County and he’s doing a great job. He’s already developed a strong relationship with the players.

The best way to get in touch with Malik is to give him a call and set up an appointment. He’ll even work on Saturdays and Sundays, provided he doesn’t have prior plans.

Jimmy Priestley

Says goodbye

Everybody’s favorite central heat and air man is calling it a career. Jimmy Priestley has retired after 45 years of work, the last five coming at Roscoe Brown. Prior to that, Jimmy worked for 20 years with Bob’s Central Heating and Air.

“I was figuring it up the other day and I’ve sold over 8,000 pieces of heating and air equipment,” said Jimmy, who has a strong memory. “I’ve really enjoyed working here, but they’ll get by just fine without me.”

Jimmy recently returned from a vacation in Hawaii and that’s probably what got the retirement juices flowing as much as anything. Now Jimmy has a Viking river cruise planned in Europe, a trip to Southern California on the horizon, and also a trip to Panama, the Central American country with the canal, not the beach in Florida.

Everyone seems warm and fuzzy about Jimmy’s retirement, except maybe wife Teresa who will have to put up with him more around the house. They may need to invest in a bigger house.

Jimmy still plans to travel around to steam engine shows and he’s an active leader at Westwood Church of Christ. Jimmy says the wiffleball games taking place in the back lot of Westwood Church are fierce. A cute field has been constructed back there and preacher Richard O’Connor is on one of the best teams.

Congratulations to Jimmy on his retirement and happy travels.

No Batesville

contract yet

I received an email Friday asking about the status of the contract between Batesville Casket and its union workers. The company is located in Manchester and has a number of Warren County residents on its workforce.

Viola resident Vicki Pack is one of those workers and she's also vice president of the union.

Vicki told me Friday no contract agreement has been reached and she is hopeful for negotiations to continue this coming week, although another meeting has yet to be set.

So the update is that there is really no update to provide on the Batesville Casket contract talks.

That’s all folks

The Warren County A&L Fair has arrived in all its glory. Prepare to have a week filled with fun and funnel cakes. 

But among all the fun, be sure to remember there is business news to report. Send me an email at with your latest tips or you can call 473-2191.