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Business Pulse: Rock Island alive, old Fred's dead
Griffin antiques
What used to be the old train depot at Rock Island is now Griffin Antiques.

Since our local Fred’s store has used its final refill and gone to that great pharmacy in the sky, I’ve been asked several times what might move into that spot.

I’ve heard the question, I just don’t have the answer. Unlike the very receptive Walmart media relations department I mentioned last week, Fred’s is a chain that’s clearly against the ropes trying to avoid a knockout. Getting back to a reporter in McMinnville about a closed store is clearly not a priority.

In addition to all the stores that have already been closed, Fred’s announced just over a week ago on July 12 it would be closing another 129 stores. That means the nation, collectively, has to grapple with the blight of empty Fred’s stores everywhere. For those keeping count, the total of Fred’s stores to be closed in 2019 is sitting at 392.

In a statement, Fred’s said it will have about 80 retail locations left, with those store primarily located around the company’s distribution center in Dublin, Ga.

According to local property tax records, our local Fred’s store is owned by Memphis-based Badbour, Inc. Records show it’s a 25,200-square-foot building valued at $844,600.

There aren’t many retail chains in expansion mode right now. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, Dollar General has the most aggressive growth plan of any company in America. But few other brands are adding brick-and-mortar stores in this age of e-commerce. 

The best plan to fill that much space, in my opinion, is to subdivide it or for the building to become a church if there’s a congregation willing to take such a large financial bite.

The Lazy Daisy

gets Miracle-Gro

For those looking to nuzzle up to the relaxing comfort of a visit to Rock Island, there’s new ownership at The Lazy Daisy.

Winona Adcock and her husband, David, have taken over the store, which offers a farmhouse collection of primitive décor. Stephanie Moseley was the previous owner.

“Stephanie wanted more of a flea market feel and we want more of an antique and home décor emphasis,” said Winona. “The Rustic Touch does really well with the high-end market and we didn’t want to get into that, but we wanted to take a step up from flea market so we’re finding some middle ground.”

Winona said The Lazy Daisy is currently full with 18 vendors and she’s happy with the overall product. But as vendors leave through natural attrition, she and David are going to take over more of the store with their brand of merchandise.

They’ve already opened new retail space, revamped the front area near the cash register, and given the front porch a look of invitation.

“This is what we’ve done in five weeks with more to come,” said Winona, who had been a Lazy Daisy vendor for 4.5 years before buying the store. She’s a retired registered nurse with 45 years of experience, the last 12 of which were spent at NHC in McMinnville.

“This allows me to have a creative side that healthcare didn’t,” said Winona. “I was liking retirement just fine but I didn’t want this store to close. When Stephanie told me she was going to close it, we decided we wanted to step up and be a bigger part of the community.”

Store hours are Wednesday thru Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 686-5299.

Griffin Antiques

Back on track

You could say the Rock Island business community is gaining some steam after Donald Griffin has reopened his antique store located directly next door to The Lazy Daisy. 

Donald thought his life as a business owner had left the station when he closed his store 1.5 years ago. But he decided he was ready to become more active so he reopened his business at the old train depot on July 4.

“I’ve renamed it Griffin Antiques because people told me they thought it was a museum before,” said Donald. “A guy told me he passed by here all the time but never came in because he thought it was a museum.”

The stuff is old, but it’s all for sale, right down to the 1940s cash register. Donald operates under the motto that “nothing haunts you like the junk you didn’t buy,” and his store is full of items from yesteryear. His office phone is even a rotary-dial model that hangs on the wall, showing Donald has gone all-in with his commitment to old things.

“I don’t think the younger people are really into the antiques,” said Donald, who added his furniture does have a unique appeal. “It’s old-fashioned wood. Imagine that.”

For folks who are into antiques, his store is located at 76 Great Falls Road just over the railroad tracks after you pass Bino’s Market. His hours are Wednesday thru Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 686-3825.

“I used to tell people to turn at Dollar General to get here, but now there are too many Dollar Generals,” said Donald.

Remember sandals

And ice cream

Rock Island Outfitters and General Store operates under the belief that no trip to Rock Island is complete without an ice cream cone. I’ve decided I like that philosophy. Since I was in Rock Island anyway, I stopped in to get a double scoop and admire the merchandise.

This store is a stark contrast to the old-timey inventory of other Rock Island outlets. Rock Island Outfitters is a store where everything is cool, trendy and hip.

The Nature Backs line of shirts is the “in” thing right now, much like the Life Is Good line of several years ago and Panama Jack before that.

Sandals are also the thing to wear as I’ve noticed some folks have become renegades and are pushing the boundaries of acceptable sandal attire. If you like sandals, Rock Island Outfitters has Teva and Chaco brands.

Brightly colored Kavu bags are selling better than hotcakes because sales of hotcakes have pretty much been flat in recent years. Find out what a new Kavu bag can do for your image.

If you’re looking for something fun for the kids, there’s a water mining attraction in front of the store.

“It’s like something you’d see in Gatlinburg,” said employee Kelley Snyder of the water gem mine.

Ronnie Hitchcock is the store owner. He operates similar stores at Fall Creek Falls State Park and also the snack bar at the pool there. Kelley said those businesses do really well.

Rock Island Outfitters and General Store is located at 896 Rock Island Road. The phone number is 686-7467.

More storage

Space available

Dollar General isn’t the only commercial construction that’s hit full speed. If you’ve noticed, mini storage buildings are popping up everywhere because we have more stuff than we can cram in our homes.

If you don’t want to rent a storage building across town and have to drive just to visit your old sofa, Mountain View Barns at 1210 S. Chancery Street has another option. The company has a wide selection of outbuildings, including cabins, utility sheds, garages and lofted barns in all shapes and sizes.

“Instead of renting a storage building, we can put this right in your back yard,” said Mountain View Barns representative Brian Frantz. “We have rent-to-own options where if you make all the payments, you own the building. Or you can just rent the building and hand it back over.”

Mountain View Barns had an open house on Friday to celebrate its new location. Brian said one popular option right now is buildings with a front porch with railing. These are much more attractive than your normal shed.

“You can custom order and put the doors and windows exactly where you want,” said Brian. “Some of these models with a loft area really give you a lot of storage. We can also add custom features like built-in shelves and workbenches.”

Brian said the company offers free delivery and will set up and level the building once on your property. Ramps are available so you can drive equipment right into the building.

Prices start at $1,425 for a basic 8-foot by 8-foot building. A deluxe lofted cabin that’s 14-foot by 40-foot costs $12,630. If you really want storage space that’s on steroids, Brian said you can get two 14-by-40 buildings connected like a double wide trailer to give you the largest, most desirable building on your block.

Mountain View Barns can be reached at (931) 304-8716.

That’s all folks

That’s all I can think to write about this week. Tips can be emailed to