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Business Pulse - New patio takes root at Begonias
Begonias - deck.jpg
Raven Young of Main Street Center goes over details of brick work to be done with Angel Pardes in preparation for a new deck at Begonias. Begonias owner Seth Davis says he's pleased to be able to offer outdoor dining and the deck could be ready by next weekend. If you need brick work, Angel says he can be reached at (615) 995-4195.

It’s really been an enjoyable experience to have a front-row view of all the changes that have taken place on Main Street McMinnville over the past 15 years.

The $5.2 million Main Street project certainly helped when it was finished in January 2006. 

Business anchors like Collins River BBQ in 2012 and Topz in 2014 really started to get the momentum rolling when they opened.

Businesses like Evelyn Taylor Avenue and The Hitch are among the many reasons why Main Street is now a place to shop. The renovation of the old Fraley’s building, in my estimation, is one of the things which has slingshoted Main Street to a different cloud.

Begonias has been a hit since it opened just over a year ago. Now owner Seth Davis is planning his first expansion with a 20x30 patio which will extend onto the grassy lot next to his restaurant.

“The plan is to start on it Tuesday and have it open by the weekend,” said Seth. “Jace Bouldin of the Grateful Welder will be doing the work. The deck will be a steel frame with concrete pavers.”

Seth said there will be enough space to accommodate eight four-top tables and two bigger tables. He said it will be full service outdoors with anything from the menu or bar available.

“We’re going to start with one waitress floating betweem the dining room and the patio and play it by ear,” said Seth, a musician. “When this heat starts to break and the temperatures cool off a little bit we might get to the point where we assign someone out here full time and nowhere else.”

Seth said having outdoor dining was his vision from the start. He says thanks to the alignment of his building, the sun ducks down to the west at about 3 p.m. and completely shades the patio. That’s a sweet deal right there. The sun in my eyes is among my least favorite things.

The narrative surrounding Begonias is it’s a cool place to hang out and eat. Seth and Savannah are embracing their new roles as parents while also funneling energy toward the restaurant.

“Our burger menu is going well,” said Seth. “We’ve treated our burger menu like weather balloons. We send a new burger out there and see if it goes up or down.”

Seth recommends the Burnt Cheddar Burger and the Hot Honey Burger as two to try. Begonias is located at 239 E. Main Street and can be reached at 507-4174.


SAY IT WITH

A YARD CARD


A few years ago, one of the great new offerings on the market was the musical greeting card. I must admit, I went through a phase where I bought a musical card for everyone on my birthday card list.

A growing trend today is to take that greeting card from your hand to the front yard. Jessica Higgins does this with her company Wild Adventure Party Rentals.

As avid Business Pulse readers may recall, Jessica and her boys went into the bounce house rental business in April 2021. Since then, a new service has been added called Card Your Yard where personalized messages are placed to the surprise of friends or family members to commemorate a special occasion.

“We’ve done them from their first birthday to their 95th birthday,” said Jessica, who placed a message outside the home of Jimmy Barker on Friday to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Jessica says she usually likes to place her messages under the cover of night and have the recipient see it in the morning. However, she said the message can be placed at any time of day.

Messages could be used to celebrate new babies or even ask a date to the prom. The kind folks at Wild Adventure Party Rentals set up and take down the message and it’s done as a 24-hour rental.

For more information, you can call or text (931) 808-9785 or find the business on its Facebook page.


GROCERY TAX

DISAPPEARS


The Tennessee sales tax on groceries is going to disappear for the entire month of August. I applaud the move and think it should be an annual event held every August.

The state sales tax on groceries is 6.5%.

The sales tax relief is aimed at food items commonly bought at grocery stores. It does not include candy, alcohol or cigarettes. You also don’t get any sales tax relief on food bought at restaurants.

The grocery sales tax holiday is an effort by state lawmakers to fight higher prices on just about everything. With inflation so high, customers are noticing a difference in their food bill.

“We hear about it every day,” said Kiki Bozeman, a cashier at Warehouse Discount Groceries, a store which has fought to keep prices as low as possible. “With the price of gas being so high, people have less to spend so they notice any increase somewhere else.”

The sales tax holiday on groceries goes into effect Monday and lasts until Aug. 31 at 11:59 p.m.


NEW EVENT

CENTER OPENS


Not far down the road in the great city of Smithville, Bert Driver has realized his dream of opening an entertainment venue that’s like an oasis. It’s called the Harvester Event Center and it’s in the heart of downtown Smithville offering live music and picturesque gathering areas for weddings, reunions, and other events of fun.

Bert is a Smithville native who’s a nurseryman by trade and a free spirit at heart. Bert lends his ongoing support to making the local vibe in Smithville as good as possible with concerts. 

A Cookeville band called The Smoky Nights was the first to play at the Harvester two months ago. The Joe Harvey Band is among the acts that have graced the stage at the Harvester in those two short months.

Driver has experience booking bands thanks to the success of The Burlap Room, a beer tap and concert venue on the grounds of his nursery just past DeKalb County High School.  

“Music is like oxygen, always a source of joy,” said Bert. “For years we’ve showcased some of this area’s best musicians in outdoor concerts at The Burlap Room. Now with The Harvester, we’re able to bring the live music indoors as well, for a completely different kind of experience.” 

The location of the Harvester was once a tractor dealership on Main Street in Smithville back in the 1940s. Now thanks to renovation efforts, it’s a fully operational multi-purpose facility for weddings, family gatherings, business events, and live shows.

It’s great to support Warren County businesses and I firmly believe nothing, absolutely nothing, has supported local business over the past 22 years more than Business Pulse.

It’s also a playful diversion to go out of town every once in a while. More information on Harvester Event Center can be found online at Harvestertn.com. 


FIVE YEARS

OF LIQUOR


The first liquor store to open in McMinnville celebrated its fifth year of business on Thursday.

Somewhere Liquors at Plaza Shopping Center first opened July 28, 2017 and remains under the ownership of Kimberly Hunt and Mike Hopkins.

“Going in, we thought we’d fill up the store, prop up our feet and sit back and talk,” said Kimberly. “We didn’t expect this to be such work. It’s been constant, but I love it. We have a dozen employees.”

Kimberly says the beer cave does well in the summer and the wine and liquor are popular at all times of year. 

So what’s the busiest day? It’s not a hard guess.

“Thursday it starts to pick up a little,” said Kimberly. “Friday is definitely the biggest day. They really start coming in Friday afternoon. Saturday is good too.”

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since McMinnville broke the liquor store barrier. I remember thinking this town would never get liquor and the weekend convoy to Manchester would be carried on for generations.

It’s a little odd how liquor stores now seem so normal so fast. Now it would seem odd if all the liquor stores disappeared. Maybe there’s a larger point in there somewhere? Nah.

Congratulations to Somewhere Liquors for five years of business.


INDUSTRIAL

CONFERENCE


The Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association held a meeting Friday at the Embassy Suites in Franklin.

McMinnville-Warren County Industrial Development Board executive director Don Alexander was in attendance. Don says it’s a chance for people in the industry to discuss their challenges in the current economic environment.

“The foremost topic, and this was on everyone’s mind, is how can we automate,” said Don. “The thinking seems to be that since it’s hard to find the workforce, it’s better to automate and have fewer people. Those people would be at higher levels of skill and pay.”

Don says aerial shots are in demand when it comes to industrial buildings. Prospects want to take advantage of learning more information online before scheduling an in-person visit.

“They are narrowing down their choices before they travel,” said Alexander. “Close to 75% of prospects who make contact with the state are looking for available buildings. That’s the easiest, fastest way to go. The available buildings are getting scooped up so fast, they’re having to go back to available land.”

Warren County does have some available buildings in the old Novares, which is about to be snatched up, the old TeNac, which recently shut down, and the old factory on Garfield Street which has been remodeled by Keith and Adam Bouldin.


UNEMPLOYMENT

RATES


Despite the fact it seems a growing number of folks are lukewarm to the idea work, the unemployment rate continues to be low.

Here’s a look at the unemployment numbers at some counties of interest to me. This information was released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.


Cannon  3.8%

Coffee  4.2%

Davidson  3.5%

DeKalb  4.9%

Grundy  5.9%

Putnam  4.2%

Rutherford  3.4%

Van Buren  5.9%

Warren  5.4%

White  4.7%

THAT’S ALL FOLKS


It's time to think about going back to school and submitting business tips for this column by email to editor@southernstandard.com. Thank you.