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Business Pulse - Gordon Mayfield will be missed
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Well-known local photographer Gordon Mayfield passed away Wednesday at age 72.

Like many folks, I was saddened to hear of the death of Gordon Mayfield, who passed away Wednesday at age 72.

Our paths would cross frequently with Gordon operating his own photography studio and with me taking pictures for the newspaper. We’d seem to be at so many of the same places at the same time and I always enjoyed our conversations.

The one story that sticks out the most for me about Gordon came during a WCHS graduation ceremony probably 10 years ago. I thought I was a fairly wellknown photographer around these parts, but Gordon clearly had me beat.

Something had happened at a prior graduation ceremony – I don’t remember what – and school officials got really weird about controlling the immediate area where graduation was taking place. The area around the graduates on the football field was roped off and nobody, absolutely nobody, was allowed in.

I wandered up as usual having no idea about the enhanced security and was greeted by officers at the roped-off area I was trying to enter in order to get pictures of the graduates walking across stage.

“No one is allowed in here, sir,” I was told by one of the officers.

“I need to get in there to take pictures for the newspaper,” I replied.

“Sorry sir, you can’t come in,” I was told.

“But we cover this every year,” I pleaded. “These pictures will be going on the front page of Sunday’s paper.”

“Well you won’t be taking them from inside this area,” one of the officers barked. “No one is allowed in.”

It was about that time I glanced over and saw Gordon walking around in front of the stage. He was busy taking pictures of the graduates as they received their diplomas – exactly what I wanted to do.

“Look!” I stammered at the officers as I pointed at Gordon. “That guy’s making pictures in front of the stage. I thought you said no one was allowed in.”

One of the officers was quick to put me in my place. “Well of course he can make pictures there,” the officer said. “That’s Gordon Mayfield.”

Hat’s off to Gordon for doing a great job and earning respect throughout our community. He always had a wide smile and nice things to say. I’ll miss his company.

An idea for MPC building

It was just a few short months ago that Metal Products Company on Garfield Street had a workforce of 49 employees. Now the company has gone out of business, leaving the Industrial Development Board wondering what to do with the 6.1 acres of property, which it owns.

Metal Products Company leased the building from the IDB during the entirety of its tenure. IDB director Don Alexander asked the board during Thursday’s regular monthly meeting if board members would entertain the idea of selling the property. No formal decision was made, but IDB members seem receptive to selling the property if an interested buyer arises.

Don says the decadeslong lease agreement with MPC worked out well.

“They provided good, solid jobs over the years and were a good tenant,” said Don. “So it was an arrangement which worked out well for both of us.”

One recurring theme I’ve mentioned in this column over the years is 1) the need for a new hotel in McMinnville, and 2) the need for some nicer apartments. A new Hampton Inn hotel is near completion on Sparta Street so that leaves me to hammer away at the need for nicer apartments.

Let me put it this way. If you had a young family member looking to return to McMinnville to start a career, which apartment complex would you recommend for living arrangements? I can’t think of many.

We have a $10 million Civic Center renovation that will soon be complete just a block away from the MPC property. That area is primarily residential as it is and very close to our main shopping districts. It would be the perfect place for some nice apartments!

As for meeting our overall need for more housing in Warren County, Rich Thompson at the Warren County Codes Department tells me he issued 99 new home permits in 2020, a number which does not include modular or mobile homes.

Inside McMinnville city limits, there were 13 permits issued for construction of new homes in 2020, with one permit for construction of a duplex. Perhaps at some point, there will one day be construction of some new apartments. We need it.

Weekly wa ges Revealed

Last week we received our W-2 forms here at the

Standard, a time of year I typically find mildly depressing. But our HR lady put a positive spin on the event this year.

“Don’t be upset about how much you earned,” she told me. “Be impressed that youcanliveonthatamount.”

I guess that’s as good a way as any to look at it.

Also last week, MTSU circulated results from its wage and benefit survey. The results were for the 40 counties that are considered Middle Tennessee.

I don’t think I need to bog down this survey with unnecessary words so here’s a list of how some counties stand. The information is for average weekly wage for the first quarter of 2020. As you might expect, Williamson County was atop the list:

Williamson -- $1,449 Davidson -- $1,282 Rutherford -- $947 Coffee -- $876 Putnam -- $756 Warren -- $750 DeKalb -- $745 White -- $676 Cannon -- $666 Van Buren -- $621

That’s just a small sampling of the 40 counties. Based on a standard, 40-hour work week, the average employee in Williamson County earns $36.22 an hour.

The average employee in Van Buren County earns $15.52. For Warren County, the average is $18.75 an hour.

Antique store Offers unique finds

McMinnville Antiques & More has opened at 1123 Sparta Street in the same shopping center which used to house The Pool Shop. It’s a surprisingly large store filled with all sorts of vintage, antique, and mid-century items.

“We’ve done really, really well,” said store owner Brooke Seibers, who has been open nearly three months. “We sell a lot of furniture and bedroom items. Tables, they’ve been going really fast and the distressed furniture is something that’s popular too.”

Michael Heaton is one of the vendors and he does furniture refinishing on premises in the back. Michael also has a booth at Renewed Creations, which is doing well on Main Street.

“We work with each other to try and keep it local and keep the money in town,” said Michael. “I really like what they’ve done with this store. It has the largest selection of lamps that I’ve seen.”

Brooke says her father, Jimmy Seibers, has been in this line of work for years, but mainly concentrated on flea markets. This store is a chance to offer a much nicer product than the typical flea market fare. They hit estate sales and look just about anywhere to find merchandise, she said.

“We try to get really odd finds,” said Brooke. “My dad thinks it’s a challenge to find something no one else has.”

There are furnishings for every room in the house. A complete silverware set from the 1940s accentuates one of the booths, while there are paintings, plates and glassware throughout the store.

McMinnville Antiques & More is currently occupying the middle spot in the threebay shopping center. Brooke says business has been going so well that she’s been in talks with the property owner about expanding into the old Pool Shop spot, which would give her two of the three spaces.

The business can be reached at (931) 254-0413.

Jeff Snider does Plumbing, electric

I probably get asked two or three times a year about someone who is good to call for plumbing and electric work. With that in mind, it might be good to write down this phone number and have it handy.

After years of working for other employers, Jeff Snider has gone into business for himself and opened Snider’s Plumbing and Electrical, Plus HVAC. He can be reached at (931) 409-5000.

“I’ve been doing this for five or six years for other people and I’ve been out on my own for three or four months,” said Jeff. “I decided to make it official and get my business license at the first of the year.”

Jeff can tackle any type of repair. He said installing new hot water heaters and fixing plumbing leaks have been common in recent months. He can perform electrical repairs and install new HVAC units.

“I always put people who need emergency service at the front of the list because you have to be there when you’re needed,” said Jeff. “I’ve been doing a lot of new construction work lately and pulling away from one of those jobs for two hours isn’t going to make a big difference. You need to get there when you’re called if it’s someone without heat or with a water leak.”

Jeff says he’s a state-certified electrician who passed his most recent state test in August so he’s completely up to date on all the latest codes. He is familiar with repairing old wiring or new. He’s also familiar with HVAC units and which one will work best in your home for your individual situation.

If you want a new home wired and plumbed, or just need to have an electrical outlet repaired, give Jeff a call at 409-5000.

WCHS graduate Drinks in success

Komal Sheth is a 2006 Warren County High School graduate. Her family is wellknown around these parts as her parents own the Best Western hotel and her brother owns Tree City Wine & Spirits.

Komal moved to Indianapolis to attend nursing school, but her life has taken a different path in recent years. She’s joined a blossoming Indianapolisbased company called Circle Beverages and currently serves in the role of marketing and culture manager.

Circle is making a name for itself thanks to its kombucha and sparking protein drinks. They are a healthy alternative to soda and they’re currently available at Tree City Wine & Spirits as the company works to expand a distribution network that includes Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

“It’s a small but mighty company,” said Komal. “Coming from the medical field, I never imagined I would enjoy this product and this company the way I do. We help people find a balance and feel good one drink at a time. It’s tasty and affordable.”

Komal explained that one of the company founders has type 1 diabetes and it was challenging for him to find healthy beverages low in sugar that also taste good. Hence, the Circle kombucha drink was born. It’s a fermented tea that’s carbonated and flavored. On top of that, it’s vegan friendly, organic and gluten- free.

The sparking protein is packed with 20 grams of collagen and is a great drink to consume before or after a workout. It comes in two varieties, one with 2 grams of sugar and one with no sugar.

Komal says she was making kombucha at her home when she became acquainted with the two owners of Circle Beverages, which was founded in 2015. She said they were trying to get their name out, working Indianapolis farmers markets at the time. She joined them on weekends and is now one of 12 people employed there full-time.

“We’re in every local coffee shop in the Indianapolis area,” said Komal. “We’re in a growth stage and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. We wanted to establish a footprint in the Midwest area because that’s an area that’s not generally associated with having healthy alternatives like the West Coast and East Coast are. We wanted to fill a need.”

Stop by Tree City Wine & Spirits if you want to try the drinks from Circle Beverages.

Unemployment glance

Statewide unemployment inched upward during the final month of 2020, according to data released Thursday from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Tennessee for December 2020 is 6.4%, an increase of 1.2% from November’s revised rate of 5.2%.

Tennessee’s jobless rate remains slightly below the national unemployment rate, which was 6.7% for December.

Unemployment across the state has fluctuated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It reached its all-time high of 15.5% in April 2020 and is currently just over 3% higher than the state’s pre-pandemic unemployment rate.

That’s all folks

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