Mary Beth Laxson is one of the great American success stories.
She got her start 10 years ago selling juice from the trunk of her car. People rolled their eyes and were quick to declare she would never make it.
Those predictions have proven to be 100% wrong as Mary Beth celebrated the opening of her third Juicy’s location on Tuesday. Good times were in the air.
The third Juicy’s store is in Cookeville at 1105 South Walnut Avenue. It’s located just off Interstate Drive behind Chick-fil-A.
It joins the Juicy’s location on Main Street McMinnville, which has been open for nine years, and the Juicy’s in Murfreesboro, which has been open a little more than two years.
“For me, this seems like my purpose in life,” said Mary Beth. “I want to provide people a way to eat healthy with great-tasting food. I never would have dreamed this would catch on the way it has.”
What started as a place to grab juice has turned into a full-service restaurant with a menu loaded with delectable, plant-based items. There’s BBQ nachos, black-bean sliders, cornbread, and tons of other featured entrees to tempt your tummy.
“You don’t have to be vegan to come in and try it,” said Mary Beth. “We’re all about providing people with healthier choices. Maybe you don’t want to eat healthy 24-7. That’s OK. Eating healthy just one day a week can make a difference and it’s good food.”
Mary Beth’s desire to promote healthy eating has gained attention. She’s featured about once a month on “Talk of the Town,” a Nashville TV show. She’s also been featured on Netflix and is currently on the Million Dollar Vegan website. She was selected as 1 of just 60 people in the entire U.S. to tell her story.
“Healthy is the new cool,” said Mary Beth. “It’s a plant-based revolution. This is not just a trend. It’s a new lifestyle.”
Despite the challenges COVID has created, Mary Beth says Juicy’s has thrived. She said she was extremely nervous two years ago about opening the restaurant in Murfreesboro, but it has done great business.
“There were big chain stores all around me so I was pretty nervous about how it would do,” said Mary Beth of her Juicy’s in Murfreesboro. “But it has done spectacular, a really good business.”
Mary Beth says her growth is not complete. She didn’t want to divulge any further details but she said the three current locations of Juicy’s will likely be joined by other stores in the future.
Mary Beth should be commended for her commitment to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Juicy’s is a great asset to downtown McMinnville and it looks like it’s catching on in other communities too.
When there’s a Juicy’s off every exit of the interstate, we can look back and remember when Mary Beth was operating from the trunk of her car.
Mary Beth’s business success has earned her the Business Pulse coveted You Go Girl Award. It’s an award only given out on an extremely rare basis.
There was a firestorm of news at July’s meeting of the Industrial Development Board. I touched on just a little bit of that in last Sunday’s column by discussing residential developments that are being considered around Lake Karen, which sold in June, and at Rocky River.
Residential developments weren’t the only topic of conversation. Here are a few more things which were discussed.
Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander described interest in Spec Building 4 as being “very strong.” With the spike in material costs we’ve seen over the past year, the IDB has a building that’s nearly move-in ready that’s available for a fraction of the cost of what a new building would cost to construct today.
I bet we have a new tenant for the spec building before Halloween.
The IDB has also discussed, off and on, the possibility of relocating its offices from the Chamber of Commerce building, or locating downstairs at the Chamber as a cost-saving measure. After much discussion, a deal has been signed and the IDB is staying put on the second floor of the Chamber building on Court Square.
“I think it sends a good message for the IDB and the Chamber to be in the same building together,” said Don.
Chamber president Don Vizi said he will likely organize another job fair in August. If you recall, the Chamber held at job fair at Three Star Mall in June that would not be described as well-attended.
Vizi said the Chamber would not be footing the bill for the job fair expected in August. He said he’s been contacted by the American Job Fair about holding a local event and he is working to hammer out a few details.
I’ll provide more information on this job fair as it becomes available.
Last but not least, the IDB is continuing to work with the Tennessee Department of Transportation on a road that will connect Elam Industrial Site in Morrison to Highway 55. This land, some 200 acres of it, currently does not have road access.
The property is raw and will take years to develop. Getting an access road is a crucial first step for what was nearly a $1 million investment by the IDB.
Joins Connor Vision
Few things are more important than our eyesight. To help ensure local residents are seeing their best, Dr. Tara Elam has joined the staff at Connor Vision Center on North Chancery Street.
Dr. Elam grew up in West Tennessee in Union City, a small town similar to McMinnville. She went to college at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis and yearned to return to a small town while she was there.
Dr. Elam was interviewing at several different practices and trying to determine where to work when, by chance, separate friends mentioned McMinnville to her on back-to-back days. She perceived that as a sign she might want to consider this area. After talking to Terry and Kay Connor she knew this would be a great fit.
“I’ve been here a month and I really love it,” said Dr. Elam. “It’s a very busy practice. I’ve been able to keep a full schedule. Just coming out of school, it’s everything I could have asked for.”
Dr. Elam likes to travel and she’s been to some pretty cool places. That includes the Dominican Republic and San Diego, Calif., where she mustered the courage to ride in a hot air balloon. She’s a little afraid of heights but said the hot air balloon wasn’t as terrifying as she thought.
As for practicing vision care, Dr. Elam can conduct a comprehensive eye exam and she says the eyes are a great indicator of overall health.
“The eyes are like a window into the body,” she said. “You can see the blood vessels and optic nerve and there are some diseases which can be detected through the eyes.”
Once she determines how best to correct your vision, glasses are often the choice. Picking the right frames can be a big decision.
“Glasses are on your face all the time so you want them to look nice,” said Dr. Elam. “People are more confident when their glasses fit their face well. It also fills my design needs to serve as a fashion consultant and help people pick out a nice pair of glasses.”
Dr. Jaime Keele has currently left Connor Vision on maternity leave. Regardless of whether she returns, Dr. Elam is going to remain on staff because the practice has enjoyed steady growth.
For an appointment, Connor Vision can be reached at 473-7844.
Expands to Mt. Leo
I’ve said many times over the years there’s one thing I don’t like about food trucks. It’s that they have wheels and they can move. Just when you get used to them at one location, they’re gone and you’re left wondering where to find them.
The Alberto’s taco truck is the one exception to that rule. It’s been located at the same gas station next to McDonald’s for 12 years.
Food truck owner Alex Ramirez says that truck isn’t going anywhere. But he has opened another location for his authentic Mexican food at the Marathon gas station at 306 Beersheba Street in Mt. Leo.
Jay Patel owns the convenience store and struck good fortunate after buying the store in January. Just two months later, Mapco had issues with its store sinking into the earth and was forced to close. When Mapco closed, Jay said his business began to soar.
Jay said he has been trying to get Alex to open a location inside his store for months. They finally struck a deal and the new location opened Thursday.
“People seem to love it,” said Alex when asked about his food. “We are very busy. On Fridays and Saturdays, there can be some long lines,” he said referring to his food truck.
The menu items in Mt. Leo mirror the popular menu from the food truck. Jay said he’s happy to provide residents with a Mexican food option on that side of town because it was one of the few parts of McMinnville which didn’t have a Mexican restaurant nearby.
Also of note, Jay has a Bitcoin machine inside his store. He says the machine has been used frequently and one man has spent close to $20,000 in the machine buying Bitcoin.
I’ve invested in all types of stocks over the years and can’t wrap my mind about what to think about this crypto currency mania. When in doubt, I say buy Microsoft stock.
As for the great food of Alberto’s, Alex says he’s happy to be in a physical store in addition to his food truck. He’s also looking around town for the right location and says he plans to open an actual restaurant here in 2022. While he’s at it, perhaps he’ll open another Dollar General too.
I joke about Warren County being the Dollar General Capital of the World, but I think it’s more than a punchline. It’s true.
On my five-hour drive to Cincinnati last weekend, I saw more Dollar Generals before I left Warren County than I saw the entire rest of the trip.
When we were up in Northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio, I mentioned to Cupcake, “There don’t seem to be any Dollar General stores up here.”
So she started to pay attention to the landscape and look for Dollar Generals and she didn’t see any either. It was weird. Just imagine driving five miles down the road and not seeing two Dollar Generals. Or any Dollar Generals. It was like a sci-fi movie where the end is near.
For anyone else who may be driving to Cincinnati, take the Dollar General challenge. See how many stores you count.
That’s all folks
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