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Business Pulse - Fred's to close local store
Fred's cute girl.jpg
Erika Brinkley, 2, picks out an Easter basket while shopping at Fred's on Friday. The store, located at Northgate Center, is offering 50 percent off its Easter candy and supplies.

When our local Fred’s closed its pharmacy in December, I predicted in this column the move would be a tough pill to swallow. Although I didn’t say it at the time, I saw the pharmacy as the only thing keeping our Fred’s open.

Sometimes it’s not good to be right.

The news was announced on Thursday that our local Fred’s at Northgate Center will in fact be closing. It’s one of 159 stores the chain said would close by the end of May. The stores set to close represent 29 percent of Fred’s 557 stores.

When I stopped by our Fred’s on Friday to try and find a more exact closing date I was told no information could be released. Sales are currently under way with signs advertising discounts between 5 and 20 percent off the lowest ticket price. If you’re looking for Easter chocolate and other merchandise, it’s all 50 percent off.

That brings me to this week’s trivia question: How long has Fred’s been in McMinnville? Think hard because the correct answer is worth 5 bonus points. 

The trouble for Fred’s can be traced back to 2017 when it had a deal to acquire hundreds of Rite Aid or Walgreens stores. However, the deal collapsed.

Instead, Fred’s reached an agreement in September 2018 to sell the prescription files of its pharmacy patients at 179 stores to Walgreens for $165 million. That’s what happened to our Fred’s and the pharmacy closed in December.

As for what will happen to the Fred’s property at Northgate Center, it’s owned by a Memphis-based company called Baddour Inc. The property consists of 2.2 acres, has a 25,200-square-foot building, and is valued at $844,600.

As for the answer to this week’s trivia question, Fred’s moved into the building shortly after it was constructed in 1980 and has been the only tenant to operate there. Fred’s has been in McMinnville for 39 years.

As pointed out in an article in USA Today, the closing of Fred’s is consistent with the closing of other brick-and-mortar retail locations. The story I read indicated more than 6,500 stores are slated to close retail locations in 2019.

The story went on to speculate about future store closings if e-commerce rises from its current level of about 16 percent of consumer spending and climbs to 25 percent as projections indicate could happen by 2026. If e-commerce does in fact follow projections and increase by 9 percent, analysts speculate it would result in 75,000 more store closures.

Standard offers

Online discount

It’s been well documented how more people are living life online. As the previous segment about Fred’s suggests, people are shopping more online. They’re banking online. They’re finding dates online. And people are reading the news online.

Which brings me to a great story about our very own Southern Standard. We’re currently offering our online subscription for the discounted rate of just $50 for an entire year, or about 13 cents a day. That rate will be honored all this week until noon on Friday. Call 473-2191 to get the discounted online price.

When noon strikes on Friday, we’ll have a drawing of everyone who bought an online subscription this week and that person will win a charming red wagon filled with Easter goodies. It’s a prize valued at over $100.

The push to gain online subscribers comes as the news industry is embracing the internet as the fastest, most efficient way to deliver information.

With our website, we can bring you the news closer to the time it actually happens. If a big story were to break on a Wednesday morning, for example, customers would have to wait nearly two days before Friday’s newspaper to get the scoop. But with the wonders of the internet, the Standard can provide accurate information online, sometimes within the hour.

Another great thing about our website that you’ll never get in the newspaper is video coverage. Our reporters are devoting more and more attention to shooting video clips when on the scene. Based on website numbers, some of our videos have been viewed more than 50,000 times.

Our website also gives us a platform to upload dozens of pictures. Where you might only see one picture from a baseball game in the newspaper, we can put 20 pictures on our website in an album to really provide comprehensive coverage.

When it comes to Warren County news, the wave of the future is Read all your local news from the convenience of your phone. You can probably find the 13 cents a day in your sofa.

Hometown Furniture

Has arrived

Speaking of sofas, the newest furniture store in McMinnville is located at Plaza Shopping Center next to the original Fiesta Ranchero. Hometown Furniture has been open about a month and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for your shopping convenience.

“The biggest comment I’ve been hearing is ‘Wow, you guys have some really nice stuff in here,’” said store manager Nick Guess. “We’ve been selling a lot of sofas and I think a big part of that is our free delivery. We’ll deliver anywhere in this county and surrounding counties for free and we’ll even set it up when we get there. That’s a really big help for people.”

Nick said the idea to open a furniture store came from working at Mattress Plus, also located at Plaza Shopping Center.

“People would come in and ask us about furniture on a daily basis,” said Nick. “So we started to carry five or six couches at the mattress store and they’d be gone in a few days. We were doing so well, we decided we needed our own store.”

Hometown Furniture buys from the Ashley Furniture brand. Nick said he can order any piece of furniture that you can look up on the Ashley Furniture website and, because he’s a dealer, offer it for a better price than you can find online.

Nick said he is more than happy to offer bundle deals where he discounts furniture if you buy several pieces like a sofa, love seat and chair. Today’s sofas are high-tech with some offering multiple charging stations for phones and electronic devices.

Another big selling point, according to Nick, is the financing. There are two types.

If you have relatively solid credit, you can use that credit score to get a 24-month, no-interest loan on your furniture. That seems like an attractive offer.

But if your credit is on shaky ground, Hometown Furniture can still offer you a loan, provided you’ve had the same bank account for at least 90 days.

“It comes at a cost and you’ll pay a little more because the finance company is taking a gamble,” said Nick. “But even if you have no credit, we still offer 100 days same as cash.”

Hometown Furniture seems to have all the answers to your furnishing needs. There are sectional sofas, dining room tables, and patio furniture has arrived just in time for summer.

The phone number is (931) 409-5785.

That’s all folks

This is the end of Business Pulse, but don’t stop here. More local business news awaits in today’s Business section. For business tips, call 473-2191.