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Business Pulse - Old Fraley's building has new life
Southern Traditions - Dale Groves.jpg
Southern Traditions owner Dale Groves is pleased with his store’s new location on Main Street. The business officially opens Tuesday after a couple months in transition.
Southern Traditions - Janice Crim.jpg
Southern Traditions employee Janice Crim climbs a ladder on Friday to help put the finishing touches on the store’s interior design at its new location on Main Street.
Retail center for sale.jpg
This 20,000-square-foot retail center under construction on Sparta Street is on the market for $3.6 million. It’s located in front of a new Hampton Inn hotel, which can be seen in the background.

Super Bowl Sunday is the pinnacle of pro football season – and perhaps the entire sports world. No other game attracts more viewers than the Super Bowl, which is also a shining moment for advertisers and the artist performing at halftime.

The one exception to that rule would be a few years back when the Rolling Stones were the Super Bowl halftime entertainment. It looked like my grandparents were on stage during a truly uninspiring concert that did have one redeeming quality. It made the majority of Americans feel good about the way we are aging.

Main Street McMinnville is having a Super Bowl of its own this week. After more than 16 years of being dormant, the old Fraley’s building has finally come back to life. This in itself is cause to order pizza, prepare that special cheese dip, and invite eight people over to your house to celebrate.

The very large retail space that had served as Fraley’s Furniture until 2003 has been subdivided and remodeled. Southern Traditions has moved into some of that available retail space and will open its doors this Tuesday. At long last, retail activity is returning to that portion of Main Street.

Southern Traditions has been in business for more than 39 years and was located at its previous spot on Sparta Street for 18 of those years. Store owner Dale Groves and his staff have been busy getting truckloads of merchandise moved and the new store looks fabulous.

“We’ve gotten positive comments from a lot of people and that’s certainly good to hear,” said Dale. “We knew it would be a job getting everything moved and it was. Everybody seems to be real excited that we’re downtown and we’re excited to be downtown. It will be an adjustment, but I think we’re going to like it.”

I had a chance to get a sneak peek of the new Southern Traditions on Friday and, like everyone else, was impressed. The store is spacious and, for lack of a better word, it’s pretty.

“People think this is a much bigger store, but we actually downsized our square footage,” said Dale. “The taller ceiling makes it look bigger along with a different layout.”

Southern Traditions specializes in home décor items, jewelry, dinnerware, bedding, and much more. The phone number remains unchanged, 473-4348, and so do the store hours, Tuesday thru Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check it out!

Retail center

Listed for $3.6M

McMinnville’s most prominent retail development is up for sale before it’s even complete. If you have $3.6 million handy, it can be yours!

The retail development is located at 1568 Sparta Street in front of the Hampton Inn hotel under construction. The latest I’m hearing about the Hampton Inn is the hope is for it to be open and renting rooms by the end of April. That’s the hope.

We all know how unexpected construction delays are to be expected, so we’ll have to wait and see if the hotel will be able to make that April opening date. It would be nice if it could open in time for summer travel, if summer travel is still a thing.

As for the retail development, it’s being constructed in front of the hotel and features 20,000 square feet of space on 1.7 acres. Core Real Estate of Franklin is listing the property and promotes it as a “New strip center with availability to finish and lease this new investment.”

The retail center is in a prominent spot, just across the street from our first-rate hospital and next to our fine Chevy dealership. When the hotel is operational, the retail center would be a great spot for a Mexican restaurant, perhaps Fiesta Ranchero No. 41.

Property developer David Hunt is building the hotel and the shopping center. 

Mr. Hunt is a busy man and he didn’t returned any of my calls or text messages in 2020, but he is in contact with Don Alexander, director of our Industrial Development Board.

“I think he’s just putting it out there to see if it might sell,” said Don. “He’s not under a lot of pressure to sell it.”

I’ve heard several comments from folks in real estate who seem to think $3.6 million is a very high price for that property. Perhaps Mr. Hunt is throwing it out there on the market to see if he can get a nibble and turn a tidy profit. 

For anyone interested, Jim Evans of Core Real Estate is listing the property and can be reached at (615) 614-3700. The website is

New market

Opens Monday

When the pandemic hit, the dry cleaner business got taken to the cleaners. With more people working from home, the need to have nice clothes professionally cleaned plummeted.

So Harry and Rachel Patel, owners of Hale’s Dry Cleaners on Lyon Street, decided to pivot. They closed their business, remodeled the building, and are opening Kum N Go Market. 

The first day is this Monday with the store set to open in the afternoon after its final inspection in the morning.

After Monday, the store will open at 6:30 a.m. during the week with Rachel saying the hours could be adjusted depending on customer traffic. Kum N Go Market will be open daily.

The first step is getting the word out. “We realize it will probably take at least a week for everyone to know we’re open,” said Harry.

Kum N Go Market will carry all the traditional convenience store items. This includes chips, candy bars, cold drinks, beer, milk, tobacco products, lottery tickets, energy drinks, and more. The store will also offer nicer accessories, like cellphone chargers, which can be needed in a pinch.

The Patels are especially excited about their kitchen, which won’t be serving food this week but is expected to be ready next week. Workers were on hand Friday installing a large commercial hood over the grill area and there are a few other final tweaks that need to be made before food begins to be served.

“We will be offering Shakers Pizza, which is a brand no one else has around here,” said Rachel. “It’s very good pizza. We’ll also be serving chicken strips, fried catfish, sandwiches and biscuits for breakfast.”

Also of note, there is a drive-thru window available for your convenience. Pull up and get everything you need without stepping foot outside your vehicle.

Harry and Rachel have been remodeling the building since October and are pleased to see their hard work begin to pay off. It’s located in a spot that’s not really close to another convenience store so that will be a plus. Lyon Street is not exactly a high-traffic area, but Harry points out the store is located between Sparta Street and Spring Street, which are heavily traveled.

“We’re not close to another store and a big thing is we’re not close to another store that serves hot food,” said Harry. He also pointed out the store is across the street from apartments and close to many homes.

If Harry and Rachel look familiar it’s because they may be best known around these parts as the owners and operators of McMinnville Inn on Sparta Highway.

IDB looks

To sell timber

It was a major investment in May of 2019 when the Industrial Development Board spent $981,000 to buy 218 acres that hugs the Coffee County line. 

The property was touted as the closest available property to Interstate 24 that was still in Warren County.

The land is raw and will take years to develop. It is also filled with about 60 acres of trees.

In an effort to make money off those trees, the IDB has consulted with Ben Myers of Panther Creek Forestry. Ben spoke at the most recent IDB meeting and said cutting the timber will be profitable.

“It’s definitely valuable and some good timber,” said Ben. “I would put it in the $1,500 an acre range or better.”

Doing quick math, that puts the value of the timber around $91,500. The IDB wants to use that money to establish rail spur access to the property to increase its value to an industrial tenant.

“The No. 1 question I have is how to get in and out,” said Ben. “We’re looking at going through farm fields with 18-wheelers and log trucks.”

The primary problem with the 218-acre site is it does not have road access. It’s blocked in by surrounding property. It’s likely that issue will have to be resolved first before any upgrades are made to the property, which has been named Elam Industrial Site.

Ben said there are many mills that currently have a timber shortage so he doesn’t anticipate a long wait in getting the trees cut once IDB members make a decision on how they want to proceed.

Neil Owens with the Tennessee Department of Forestry is scheduled to speak to the IDB at its regularly scheduled February meeting to provide more information.

The industrial site is a long-range project that still requires all utilities to be furnished. The IDB currently has a spec building available and other acreage that has already been prepped for construction for short-range prospects.

That’s all folks

Remember Valentine’s Day is approaching. In fact, it’s next Sunday. Nothing says romance like a subscription to the Southern Standard. Forget jewelry and flowers. Tell her you’d marry her all over again with a newspaper subscription.

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