I'm willing to go to the ends of Warren County for Business Pulse stories and that's never been demonstrated more clearly than this week.
Low prices high
on the mountain
After a Monday-morning phone call from Patti Ray, I found myself a football's throw away from the Van Buren County line at Highway 8 Furniture & Treasures.
Owned by Steve & Patti Ray, Highway 8 Furniture & Treasures opened in its current location over seven years ago after Patti and Steve moved on from a previous Warren County business. "We used to own Mattress Center next to the old Subway. Business was great but our lease was going up so we decided to build our own building. You've heard, 'If you build it, they will come,' and they've come. I was nervous but we have been so blessed and so busy. I can't get stuff out fast enough." Patti said.
Highway 8 Furniture caters to those adventurous shoppers who like the thrill of the hunt as even Patti never knows exactly what she will be carrying at any given time. Shoppers can rest assured, whatever they discover, the prices will be as low as Patti can offer them.
A quick tour of the store reveals sports memorabilia, home decor, TVs, furniture, books and so much more. "We are seriously all over. It's a constant treasure hunt for me. We filled up my building yesterday, our carport is full, Steve's truck is still full. You'd be amazed at what we get. This week we got a lot of farmhouse stuff. We still sell furniture but we don't spend time painting it now and we've also moved more to the treasures side. We honestly don't know what we're going to get from week to week. Last week we got a lot of tools and the week before we got a lot of crafting and quilting and Christmas stuff. We just get all we can and mark it cheap. We don't even know what we'll have. That's what's so cool about it. It's a lot more fun than selling mattresses," she said.
The amount of time the Rays spend on the hunt has led to a decision to change the store's hours of operation. Highway 8 Furniture is now open on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. "I was a little nervous about changing the hours, but I've been busier than ever," Patti said. Patti also wants customers to know that, in addition to her posted hours, if they come by at a different time and see her truck parked out front, they are welcome to come on in. She tries to post on the store's Facebook page when she knows she's going to be around for a while on a different day.
Steve was quick to heap praise on his wife and business partner. "She runs circles around me. Nobody can keep up with her. She's a workaholic."
Highway 8 Furniture & Treasures is located at 15918 SR-8 and can be reached at (423) 949-4500.
In 2007, Mandy Stone started looking for a temporary way to make some extra money and that decision has turned into a thriving business that employs over 40 people today. It all started with her love of a clean house. "I'm just in a different state of mind when my house is clean. I just feel better. Clean is my thing," Mandy said.
"I started The Clean Machine when the kids were little and I was looking for some extra money. I first started cleaning houses for myself and then I just got so much business by word of mouth that, within the first two years, I had a waiting list. I started realizing that I could get business contracts and my first one was First National Bank, a contract I still have. When I got that deal, I put all the money back into the business and hired people and got my licenses and insurance. It grew from just me to a business with over 40 employees that serves Warren, Coffee, Rutherford and Grundy counties. We do Airbnbs, rental turnovers, new construction cleanup, pretty much anything that can be cleaned, we clean it," Mandy said.
With her cleaning service thriving, Mandy made the decision during the summer to expand her offerings. "Our guy that had been doing trash services for us, Tree City Trash, he shut down and I haven't been happy finding a new person. I just thought, well, this is my industry, so we decided to add that as one of our services," Mandy said. "We've got some places in the Midway area and we've gotten some big contracts in Murfreesboro, lately. We do everything from personal homes to the Ascend headquarters."
The Clean Machine has been a true Warren County small business success story that provides a living to many young mothers who remind Mandy of herself when she initially launched the business. Its success sometimes surprises even Mandy.
"I can't believe it myself, really. When the kids were little, I'd get up early and go clean businesses or empty houses for realtors, get the kids off to school and then go clean houses while they were in school. It's really been a blessing that I've been able to be there for all my kids' stuff and create a really good income for myself at the same time. Now I employee a lot of women in a similar situation. I try to schedule the ladies who clean during the day so they can drop their kids off at school, clean a couple houses and then pick their kids up. That lets them be able to work without having child care," Mandy said. "I've had people who work for me for years and they're just like family to me."
The Clean Machine Trash Services, like the cleaning services, are customizable for the client's needs. "Most people want trash pick-up once a week. We have one business that we go to three days a week. It's just based on what people need. We usually do weekly or bi-weekly but we do pricing based on need. We do trash and haul-off," Mandy said.
The Clean Machine is now a family affair as Mandy's husband, Brad Stone, quit his job to head up the trash service part of the business. "Brad came in full-time with the company in September. We've grown so much I either needed help or would have to downsize. It was a stressful summer but we've gotten it under control now. I feel like the luckiest person in the world because my best friend, Jennifer Cope, and my husband, Brad, are my left and right hand. Jennifer does the bookkeeping and is my executive assistant. Brad was a master scheduler in the automotive industry so he does our scheduling and takes us to the next level of professionalism," Mandy said. "This was all going to be temporary and September marked my 15th year in business. I'm very proud of it."
To contact The Clean Machine for trash service, call (931) 434-4023 and for cleaning call (931) 808-5178.
Until next time,
same biz time,
same biz page
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