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Business Pulse - New apartments coming to Mt. Leo
Fashion Gallery.jpg

Should we level old buildings, or should we watch them slowly collapse to the ground and become one with the earth?

It appears Mt. Leo has become the spot to test that question.

While some buildings are being allowed to decay, a demolition permit has been granted for a Mt. Leo building that’s been vacant for well over a decade. Property owner Mona Patel told me Friday the old Fashion Gallery building on Beersheba Street will be coming down soon.

“It will probably be about two weeks before the demolition crew can get to it,” said Mona. “It’s going to be apartments. There will be six buildings with 12 apartments. The buildings will be two story. I think the area could definitely use some apartments.”

Mona said it would probably take several months after demolition before construction can begin because she says crews are extremely backlogged by building issues.

I’ve long said McMinnville needs more apartments and that spot makes great sense because it’s so close to a gas station, two banks, a car wash, a church, Dollar General, Smith Brothers Barber Shop, and Barr’s Furniture. If you could squeeze a Mexican restaurant into that block, there would be no reason to ever leave.

The old Fashion Gallery block building is one rich with history. It was built because B.B. Hill operated a grocery in the wooden building to the side and thought he would need the room to expand his grocery. He planned retail for the first floor and residential space for the second floor but those plans never materialized.

Instead, the building came to prominence in February 1963 as Barr’s Railroad Salvage.

“Merchandise came by tractor trailer and it was mainly overstocks and discontinued items,” said Earl Barr in remembering his former store. “It was a little of everything, furniture, small appliances. It was like a Sears Roebuck catalogue. We bought some clothing but we didn’t always do too well with it. We had more success with furniture so we started to transition over to that line and that’s all we do now.”

Barr’s Railroad Salvage spent 10 years at that location before moving to the current showroom of Barr’s Furniture in 1973.

With the space vacant, the building became home to Playland Arcade in 1973. The arcade featured a grill and café.

“The best seller was a grilled honeybun with a scoop of ice cream,” said Patsy Green in a post to the Southern Standard’s Facebook page reminiscing about the arcade run by her parents. “The burgers were great too. There were maybe four pool tables and about 70 video games. It was fun as a teenager playing all of those games. I’m guessing the arcade closed in the mid-’80s. Maybe in the early ’90s. Elinor opened the Fashion Gallery with around seven tanning beds.”

Elinor Biles operated Fashion Galley in that spot and it’s believed by the editors of Business Pulse to be the last business to operate at that location. You can still see faint lettering on the side which says Fashion Gallery. It’s probably been closed for at least 15 years.

Mona Patel says she frequently gets asked by people if she wants to rent the building, but she says it has far too many problems to entertain any type of remodeling plan to get it functional. Looking at it from the outside, the building has always seemed sad, but maybe that’s because it has been lifeless for so long. If you have to question whether something should be torn down, it’s time to tear it down.

I like the idea of getting rid of the building and constructing apartments. That will be an upgrade.



Corey Farley says he’s already been asked if his new business is some type of hippie store. Why else would it be named Woodstock General?

Turns out, Corey just thinks it’s a neat name that reflects the old-timey image he’s conveying with his store out in the country on Francis Ferry Road not far from Midway.

Woodstock General just finished its first week of business and Corey says early feedback has been positive.

“I built every bit of it from the ground up,” said Corey. “I built it to be the way an old general store used to look. I put a picture of it on Facebook and it’s already been noticed by a guy from Florida. He wanted to know where I bought my building. I told him that I made it myself. He said that’s exactly what he’s looking for to put in Florida for his deli and vegetable stand.”

Woodstock General carries a little of everything because Corey says there’s nothing else around in that neck of the woods.

“Ever since Paul Edge shut down Buck Edge Store, there hasn’t been anything out this way,” said Corey. “I thought we needed something else and I wanted an old-store look.”

If you want to run in for a snack and a drink, there’s a wide selection of items. There’s also milk, eggs and bread. A sampling of other items includes: ice, deodorant, body wash, cleaning supplies, flashlights, knives, and night crawlers.

Corey is already planning an expansion after just one week. He wants to add 12 feet to the back so he can offer a deli. He said it would be cold foods only with no cooking.

Corey has spent 23 years in the remodeling business and says the store is just one way he wants to venture out and try something new. He also wants to operate a throwing ax trailer because he says that’s becoming a big entertainment offering.

Corey says he’s toyed with the idea of renting a building in McMinnville to establish his throwing ax business, but he thinks it would be better to have a mobile trailer to take around to festivals. He says the trailers are equipped with safety netting because you wouldn’t want a flying ax to slip out of your hand and hit someone in the head.

Woodstock General is open seven days a week. Hours are Monday thru Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. The phone number is (931) 743-2053.

sisters store a

family affair

There’s a reason Tonya Crawford has named her new store Sisters. Her whole family is involved.

Sisters opens this Tuesday at Plaza Shopping Center as a charming new boutique with clothing for children and women.

“It’s so hard to find quality stuff that washes and wears real good, especially for boys,” said Tonya. “It’s easier to find stuff for girls, as you can tell by this store, and I’m working on getting more things in for boys.”

Quality clothing at reasonable prices is the mission of Sisters. As an added service, Sisters offers free gift wrapping and free delivery, even to places like Centertown and Morrison.

“That’s what my family will be here for,” said Tonya.

Tonya says her sister Jennifer Parkhurst is going to help her with the store along with daughters Morgan Chandler, Ashlyn Hill, Rylie Crawford and Myka Crawford. Her son Logan Hill may pitch in too.

Tonya says she’s been dressing up her children, and now her three grandchildren, for years.

“My girls were never fully dressed until they had a bow on their head,” said Tonya.

Sisters offers Junior, Miss and Plus sizes for women. There are items for newborns, children and preteens.

“I really like this location and they are doing a lot to improve this shopping center,” said Tonya. “It stays busy here. Most of all, there’s plenty of parking.”

Sisters is open Tuesday thru Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is (931) 474-7161.

When she’s not at her new boutique, Tonya can often be found on her family farm which features over 200 head of cattle. She enjoys helping in the hayfield with raking and tethering.

New owner for

Old building

I mentioned several weeks ago the old Formfit Rogers building had sold off Sparta Street and I was hopeful to catch up to the owner.

On Thursday, I was able to reach Curtis McCart, owner and operator of CPAT Distribution. He purchased the property in February.

“I’m in the process of closing down my operation in L.A. and I’ll be relocating to McMinnville soon,” said Curtis.

So how did Curtis find out about McMinnville all the way on the West Coast?

“I met my fiancé in Asheville, N.C., when I was teaching a class there,” said Curtis. “I’d been doing business in Asheville for about six years and I always like going over the mountain and coming to Tennessee. I have property in Sparta so that’s how I became familiar with McMinnville. After 32 years in the fire service business in L.A., I’ll be transitioning the shop there.”

His business works largely in providing fire training props and equipment for firefighters. He modifies 24-foot box trailers into mobile training grounds so firefighters can learn to escape potentially deadly situations. He says this includes leaping from buildings.

“There was a case in New York where six firefighters had to jump from a sixth-floor building," said Curtis. "Four of them died and two were badly injured so obviously those situations are ones we want to avoid."

Curtis said it’s common for professional firefighters to have to pass agility tests before they are certified and he has trial courses to help them prepare for the tests.

Curtis said one part of the old Formfit Rogers was constructed in 1930 and the other part in 1950. He’d like to renovate the entire facility so he can operate his shop and also lease some of the available space. He said under no scenario would he need over 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

“I’ll probably be looking to hire three to four welders for my shop and with the size of the building I might look into getting into some other things like powder coating,” said Curtis. “But I’ll still be looking to sublease some of it out.”

Curtis says he doesn’t have a definitive timeline about when his move may take place but his best guess is in the next few months.

That’s all folks

This installment of Business Pulse has been like that coveted corner piece of cake with extra icing. It’s been deliciously informative. If you have business news to convey, don’t hesitate to send me an email at