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Business Pulse - Providing the right medicine
Graves - nice remodel.jpg
Graves Family Pharmacy is ready to open Feb. 1 on West Main Street. Pharmacist Casey O'Neal, left, joins owners Emily and Chad Graves as this new business gets off the ground.

Watching the old bank building on West Main Street being nursed back to health has been a pleasant pill to swallow.
The building, vacant for some 15 years, was overrun with neglect back in June when Chad and Emily Graves began restoration efforts. I remember poking my head inside at the time and thinking to myself, “Good Luck!”
It turns out Chad and Emily didn’t need my encouragement. They just needed six months of working day and night to have the building looking like a magnificent castle. Graves Family Pharmacy is on the verge of opening Feb. 1 with phone lines to open a week beforehand at 473-6418 for anyone who wants to transfer their prescriptions.
“We knew we wanted to start a pharmacy downtown,” said Chad. “We’d talked about it for years.”
Chad credits Michael Griffith at Security Federal for pointing them toward the old bank, which was being overgrown with trees and leaking inside when they first looked at it.
“He told us it looked rough but the building was in good shape,” said Chad. “He said they’d do an environmental study on it to see if there was anything wrong and it was structurally in great shape. There was some surface mold from the water getting in but it wasn’t harmful. We scraped it down to the bare bones, just concrete and steel beams, and we went from there.”
Chad continued, “It’s a great find and has everything we need. It’s a downtown building but it has plenty of parking in the front and back which is rare for downtown. It also has a drive-thru window. We feel like downtown is alive and well and we’re happy to become part of that scene.”
Chad credits his dad, Stanley, for being on site every day and helping with all the dirty work, no matter how dirty. Chad also thanks Steve Harvey for all his assistance and sage advice from start to finish.
Restoring the building was just one of the steps. It should be stressed that starting a pharmacy is a lengthy ordeal, which it probably should be.
“It has required a whole lot of processes,” said Emily, who began working at Stewart’s Pharmacy when she was in high school. It was at Stewart’s when she realized she wanted to become a pharmacist.
“I worked with Nestor, Mary, Donna and David and I got to see the way they took care of their patients,” said Emily. “They were able to provide individualized care, which is something you don’t get with the big chains. It’s important to have a place where you can come and the pharmacist knows your name.”
Emily says Graves Family Pharmacy is on the list to receive the COVID vaccine and will begin receiving doses at the same time other pharmacies receive shipments.
“Pharmacies are accessible and an easy way for people to get vaccinated,” said Emily, who added they could have COVID vaccines available in February.
Helping in the business will be Emily’s sister Meleah Pitts, who is a nurse. Casey O’Neal is also on board as a pharmacist and will be valuable because of her clinical skills and her experience in heart disease management. Casey did a one-year pharmacy residency at CHI Memorial in Chattanooga.
“I can’t emphasize how important it is to have Casey’s clinical knowledge on our team,” said Chad. “She has deep roots in the community and that’s something we were looking for too.”
The next big step is getting the pharmacy fully stocked. Chad said they’ve received valuable input from Michael and Rhonda Maynard, who have opened pharmacies in Sparta, Woodbury and Spencer.
“They’ve given us an idea of the top 200 drugs that are prescribed,” said Chad.
“Anything we don’t have we can get next day,” added Casey.
When you talk about a couple making an investment in downtown McMinnville, Chad and Emily have done just that. They’ve transformed an abandoned building on Main Street into a knight in shining armor. The editors of Business Pulse say 10 stars out of 10!

Hot Diggity Dog
& Meatballs too

A new food cart is coming next to The Greek Station at the Shell on the corner of North Chancery Street and The Strip.
Joshua Robertson has received his county business license and is awaiting his final Health Department approval. When that arrives he will open Hot Diggity Meatballs & Dogs, a food cart serving smoked meatball subs and hotdogs.
“I’ve talked to some other people and I’d love to see that area of the Shell parking lot full of five or six food vendors,” said Joshua. “I think it would be a lot of fun to have that many in one spot.”
Joshua did a trial run a couple weeks ago where he offered free hotdogs to the public from the parking lot of Gee Boys Truck Repair on Old Morrison Street. As you’d expect, the free hotdogs were a hit.
“Everybody seemed to enjoy what they were eating,” said Joshua. “It was really a chance for me to interact with the public as much as anything. I’m going to offer a good product and put on a smile.”
Joshua thinks he will do well at the high-traffic corner by Shell. He will be visible with his stainless steel hotdog cart that includes an umbrella. “I will look like something out of New York City,” he said.
He said he will experiment with different locations and believes he will be in Smithville at least two days a week at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts. “I’ll be trying to determine the spot where I can find the most business,” Joshua said.
Look for Hot Diggity Meatballs & Dogs next to The Greek Station in the upcoming days.

Tax collections
way up

Sales tax collections are generally considered a good barometer of the economy because if people are spending money, the economy is usually OK.
So it should be encouraging news that even in the midst of a global pandemic, sales tax collections have increased in Warren County.
State-shared sales tax collections were up 9.8% in November over the previous 12 months and local sales tax collections were up 19.9% over the previous 12 months, according to the state.
"I think it’s safe to say that most of us figured there would be a decrease in those revenues," said McMinnville city administrator Nolan Ming. "As time passed and we started to see the numbers come in, we were pleasantly surprised to see that those revenues actually increased throughout most of the Upper Cumberland region. This is positive news and I hope that it’s a sign that when COVID-19 subsides, our local economy, and the entire Upper Cumberland region’s economy will be stronger than ever."

That's all folks

The start of a new year always brings great promise when it comes to business news. Email me your business tips to and I will get them in the newspaper.