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Business Pulse - Locke's Dibrell Market opens Monday
Locke's - Brandon Locke.jpg
Monday is opening day for Brandon Locke and Locke’s Dibrell Market, located on Smithville Highway across from the fire hall right before the entrance to Dibrell School. Brandon is a third-generation store owner.

Breakfast biscuits can be so tasty. So can lunch plates, burgers and pizza.

It’s with a heavy emphasis on mouth-watering food that Brandon Locke is opening Locke’s Dibrell Market this Monday at 4:30 a.m. He’s completely renovated what was a broken-down building on Smithville Highway and transformed it into a country store bursting with cleanliness.

“For 45 years, my family name has been known for operating stores in this community,” said Brandon. “I’m third generation.”

Locke’s Dibrell Market will offer all sorts of canned drinks and snacks that are widely known in convenience store circles. Think Doritos and Coca-Cola. 

Where the store will gain separation, Brandon says, is with its hot food that will include a wide assortment of breakfast and lunch offerings. If you’re craving a cheeseburger or slice of pizza, look no further. Or if you’d like a meat and vegetables, plus a fountain drink, Brandon will offer that too.

Store hours are 4:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday thru Saturday. Located just a few yards from the main entrance to Dibrell School, those hours will be able to accommodate traffic before and after school.

“We’ll be closing at 4 p.m. because we’re a family operation,” said Brandon. “We won’t sell beer or lottery tickets. We’ll be focused on breakfast and lunch.”

Brandon’s wife Candy just quit her day job and she’ll be joining him in the business on Monday. Brandon quit his day job months ago and has been concentrating on getting the store ready to go. He formerly worked for a food service company that supplies many convenience stores with their inventory. In that capacity, he often taught store owners how to properly prepare the food he sold.

All that is a long way of saying Brandon knows his stuff. He was brought up at Locke’s Green Hill Market, which was owned by his parents, Darrell and Tina. They recently sold the business.

“I think my parents have built a good reputation over the years and I’m going to continue that,” said Brandon.

Spec building

Nears completion

For folks who want to lure jobs into Warren County to help our local workforce, a spec building is the most proven way to accomplish that.

To use a baseball analogy, Warren County is 3-for-3 when it comes to spec buildings. The Industrial Development Board has built three of them and all three are currently alive with activity and occupied by companies that have created hundreds of local jobs.

With that said, Spec Building 4 is nearing completion. Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander estimates it will be less than a month before the 50,000-square-foot building with a 42-foot ceiling is ready to go.

What this means is any company looking to locate to Middle Tennessee has a fast lane for opening for business, should that company decide to purchase our latest spec building.

This isn’t the best of times when it comes to companies relocating and expanding. It was just a few short months ago, but then coronavirus took its grasp on the globe and paralyzed much of our economic activity.

Don says interest in Warren County hasn’t come to a complete halt, but it is driving considerably slower.

“It’s awkward like everything else,” said Don. “We’ll try to flex and adjust and keep moving forward.”

Don says the spec building represents a $2.2 million investment. Any company which agrees to locate there will be given favorable financing and mild incentives based on the number of jobs created, but the building is by no means a handout and will likely be paid off with a 20-year loan.

If you’re interested in purchasing Spec Building 4, call the Industrial Development Board at 474-4769.

A new hope

For catering

Jendee Howell has been cooking and baking since she was a child. That’s one reason why it’s such a great fit for her to have opened Hope’s Kitchen, which is available for catering and lunch.

“I accommodate single orders all the way up,” said Jendee. “I’ve catered to a crowd of 200 people before.”

Jendee has many recipes that will make you salivate, but two in particular always draw praise – her BBQ meatballs and her cucumber sandwiches. The meatballs are fairly self-explanatory. The cucumber sandwich is a playful offering that’s saturated with a cream cheese spread and served on a croissant or opened-faced sandwich.

“I’m available for dinner parties or just about anything you need,” said Jendee.

If you and your office crew are looking for something a little different for lunch, call or text Jendee at (931) 304-4402. She’ll deliver your order made with fresh ingredients for lunch.

Hope’s Kitchen launched in November 2019, has worked out all the kinks, and is now traveling at highway speeds for all your food needs.

Said Jendee, “McMinnville and Warren County have several wonderful restaurants and food trucks willing to provide meals for local events and meetings, but as far as dedicated caterers and bartenders go, there has definitely been a need. I decided to start Hope’s Kitchen in response to many conversations with friends and business acquaintances begging for a new catering option in town.”

Jendee is a licensed caterer and bartender and she can handle any job. This can be a single boxed lunch all the way up to catering a large banquet with bartender services.

Her lunch menu includes chicken salad sandwich, chicken & dumplins, lasagna, meatloaf, grilled spinach and feta croissant, chicken tenders, beef enchiladas, and the aforementioned cucumber sandwich.

While Jendee hopes to bring her ultimate dream of a brick and mortar restaurant to fruition one day, she is savoring the flexibility and opportunities that her catering has allowed and has especially enjoyed working out in the community and meeting new people.

If you’re looking to treat your mouth to something new, give Jendee a call.

There’s a new

Thrift store

Wilson and Leslie Martin have the right idea when it comes to their new thrift store. Trends and Treasures has opened on Beersheba Street in the Mt. Leo community with the goal of providing affordable clothing.

“We want to help people in need who are unable to go to the mall and buy name-brand clothing,” said Wilson. “This is a way not only for us to make a living, but to offer affordable and quality clothing to the community. It’s clothing that’s in great shape at a fraction of the cost.”

Wilson added, “I know how it is. I’ve been on that side of it and gone to thrift stores myself. I know what a thrill it is when you make a big find and land a $100 pair of sneakers for $15. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

Trends and Treasures offers clothes for the entire family – kids, women and men. Store hours are Monday thru Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wilson said he realizes Warren County isn’t on the upper end of the earning scale. It’s for that reason it’s so imperative to offer affordable clothing.

“For people going to work at a convenience store or a fast-food restaurant, they’re probably making close to minimum wage,” said Wilson. “If you don’t earn a lot, you’re not going to go out and spend a bunch of money on clothes.”

Kids clothing starts at $2 and most items are under $10. There are some coats and nice clothing priced higher, but that’s the exception.

“We welcome everybody and we hope they stop in and see us,” said Leslie.

Trends and Treasures can be reached at (931) 414-4424. It’s located at 811 Beersheba Street.

Florists not

In bloom

I thought I had covered every angle of how COVID-19 has impacted our economy from restaurants to real estate. On Friday, I realized I had forgotten florists.

When I was talking to All-O-K’sions owner Pam Wilson, she told me how all the closures and shutdowns have had a negative impact on her business.

For starters, funeral services have been reduced to bare minimum ceremonies in most situations. Just a few short months ago, it was common to have a full day of visitation at the funeral home, maybe even two days.

Now the standard practice is to have a graveside service at the cemetery. 

Family and friends are usually instructed to meet there about an hour before the ceremony. The end result is people are not purchasing nearly as many flowers and gifts as they used to.

While I was talking to Pam at her Morford Street shop on Friday, she made a powerful observation.

“Have you heard the phone ring?” she asked. “Has anybody else come in here?”

The answer to both questions was no.

“It never used to be like this,” said Pam. “The phone would be ringing all the time.”

In addition to funeral home work, another prime source of business for flower shops is delivering to hospital patients. Pam said River Park has not forbidden outside deliveries, but many hospitals have enacted policies which prevent gift deliveries to patients – with no exceptions.

This isn’t to sing the blues for All-O-K’sions and the other fine flower shops in our community. But in examining the impact of COVID from top to bottom, this is a segment of the business world which I had previously overlooked and it’s a segment which has been affected in a large way.

That’s all folks

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