Lemon gets lucky
Despite its sour name, Amanda Lowe's Main Street business has been the picture of sweet success since Lemon's opening nearly four years ago at 126 E. Main St. The clothing store has grown and evolved during its existence and is currently entering a new phase. While Lemon is moving away from selling cosmetics and is currently having a 40 percent off close-out sale on all makeup items, the store is making an exciting addition to its clothing offerings.
Amanda is very proud to announce her store now carries Lucky Brand. Lucky Brand is an American denim company founded in California in 1990 and has since established itself as one of the top names in clothing. Beginning as primarily a denim company, Lucky now also offers active wear, outerwear, T-shirts and professional attire. Lucky Brand is often found at major department store chains including Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Belk, Dillard's and specialty chains such as Buckle.
It's pretty special when a smaller store can get Lucky's approval to carry its products. "It's a very big deal," Amanda said. "I had to send them pictures of Lemon inside and out. I met with Lucky and told them about our store in McMinnville. I let them know the vibe of the store and how we really pay attention to premium denim and how that's a keystone of our business. I thought it would be a really good fit. A lot of the clothes we carry have an eclectic but all-American vibe and that's what Lucky is known for. As far as I know I'm the only Lucky Brand retailer anywhere around here locally."
Amanda is looking forward to getting feedback from her customers on her Lucky items and will base future orders on the response. "I looked at their spring, summer and fall collections and picked some key pieces to start with. I want to get some feedback from my customers. I got the first shipment in and I'm going to test it in the store and see what people think of it. If they like it, I'll get us some more. We carry sizes ranging from small to XXL. Lucky does jeans, clothing, shoes and I have an order for jewelry coming," Amanda said.
Adding Lucky means more to Amanda than just acquiring another product line. She has a personal connection to the brand that makes this a little more special. "I started selling Lucky at 19-years-old when I worked at Buckle. I could feel the quality. I appreciated the special details, the extra finishing stitches, the sturdy snaps and zippers. The fabric felt better. I just knew I wanted it. Even though I got an employee discount, I was so broke in those years I still had to put my clothes on layaway. Lucky Brand was worth it to me. Now, 19 years later I have it in my own store." Amanda said.
Amanda feels confident in selling Lucky Brand to her customers, knowing the long-lasting quality she can now offer will ensure many years of enjoyment. "During my last closet sale at Lemon, I sold a denim jacket that was 19 years old. It was a Lucky Brand jacket that I bought when I was in college. It still looked awesome. I told the buyer the story while they were checking out," Amanda said.
Lemon is open Wednesday - Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also shop Lemon online at Lemon37110.com.
Chicken Chef lives
If you heard a county-wide sigh of relief Wednesday morning, it may have been from generations of Warren countians reacting to Chicken Chef's announcement that, "We are open and do not plan to close!!" The fate of the local favorite has been the topic of much discussion for the last few weeks as rumors of its closing swirled, causing much distress for lovers of livers, nugget dinners, biscuits and all of Chicken Chef's other specialties.
I have been told there are no official announcements to make yet but the intention is for the beloved restaurant to continue operating in the same manner customers have enjoyed since 1968.
Gotta have Javi's
Husband-and-wife team Javi and Adriana Plascencia have only been operating their Javi's food truck in McMinnville for around a month and a half but have already earned a loyal, local customer base - and with good reason. The duo serves up delicious, fresh Mexican food right from their truck at 352 S. Chancery St. The food truck began business in Smithville last July but recently moved operations to McMinnville.
The duo makes a great team as Javi handles the cooking while Adriana is largely responsible for the highly professional look of the truck and its area, which often includes a large inflatable Javi out front.
"My husband Javi loves cooking. He always has. He went to college and culinary school for cooking. That's what he loves to do and I like helping him pursue his dream," Adriana said. "I love to decorate the truck and our dining area and to make the plates look really pretty."
"We found the truck in Knoxville and it looked completely different than it does now. We fixed it all up. Mike Breedlove helped us out a lot. He owns the property we're on. He's a really close friend and he's done a lot for us. He's a business owner too and he and his wife Elaine have been great advisors to us," Adriana said.
The food is as good as the truck is eye-catching. Adriana's well-placed pride in Javi comes through loud and clear when she talks about his cooking prowess. "Javi cooks his meat separately from his vegetables so they don't get soggy but cooks them long enough so they aren't crunchy. It's like some kind of science. Javi has gotten it down pat. He times his rice just right so in his huge pan none of it gets stuck on the bottom, and if you've ever cooked huge batches of rice, you know the bottom layer usually gets stuck and you have to throw it away. So, it's pretty impressive. Or maybe it's just impressive to me," she said.
My wife and I had Javi's fajitas and we can assure Adriana it is impressive to us as well. "It seems like our most popular dishes are the fajitas. Everyone loves them. And everyone loves the Mexican burger and our tacos. We're really good about portion amounts. We give you enough to fill you up. Javi pretty much makes all his own marinades and he mixes his own seasonings. He makes our stuff. We use fresh vegetables and fresh ingredients. We make our own salsas. It's a lot of work," Adriana said.
Javi's is open Monday - Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with the exception of Tuesday when the truck closes at 2 p.m. to allow time to receive shipments and prepare the ingredients for the rest of the week. Sundays are reserved for family time with Javi's and Adriana's four children, 8-year-old Juan-Carlos, 3-year-old Keanu, 2-year-old Zavier and 8-week-old Gray.
Javi's has been welcomed by the community with open arms and Javi and Adriana are very appreciative of the response. "We're busy all the time. We love being here. Everyone is so friendly. We've had a very warm welcome and it just makes us happy," Adriana said.
Adriana relayed some more news that made her happy Thursday afternoon, informing me Javi's received a grade of 98 from the health department, so diners can rest assured they're getting great food prepared in a clean environment.
Javi's can be found on Facebook or orders can be called in at (931) 259-8172.
Until next time,
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