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Business Pulse - Roses blooms at Three Star Mall
Roses manager.jpg

It was a couple weeks ago when I passed along the news that the VA Clinic could be locating at Three Star Mall in the area recently vacated by McMinnville Parks and Recreation.

The city Parks Department was located at the mall for over two years while a massive renovation project was taking place at McMinnville Civic Center. Now the city recreation offices have left the mall and there’s speculation the VA Clinic is eyeing that vacated space.

Somehow in my reporting, people got the idea our beloved Roses at Three Star Mall would be closing to make room for the VA Clinic. I never mentioned Roses, or gave any hint it would be leaving due to the VA Clinic, but somehow people got that interpretation.

To clear the air and make the record perfectly straight, Roses manager Holly McDonald says our local store has been thriving over the past year and there is no danger of it closing.

“Our sales have picked up, and really picked up substantially, since the pandemic,” said Holly. “I think one of the main reasons is people are looking to avoid some of the busier stores like Walmart and shop someplace where it’s a little less hectic.”

Holly also pointed out the prices at Roses are outstanding.

“We can certainly save you money,” she said.

Customers who provide their email address at the register will receive coupons sent to their account. They will also be advised of sales that don’t require a coupon. 

In addition, every Wednesday is Senior Citizens Day at Roses. Anyone age 55 or older can receive 10% off their entire purchase.

Household items are a big draw at Roses and one of the most consistent sellers. Clothes and candy are popular too. Holly says it’s hard to beat Roses when it comes to children’s clothing and price is important when kids are growing into a new size seemingly every year. Roses even has furniture.

Roses has a current workforce of 14. Holly says ideally she likes to keep 20 employees on staff but it’s been difficult to find workers in recent months. Roses is open seven days a week and Holly says, “We’re not going anywhere.”

At a time when Three Star Mall is not overflowing with stores, it’s great to hear an anchor like Roses is staying put.

Hillis Grocery

Getting facelift

It was about a month ago when I reported Joseph Defeo has purchased the old Hillis Grocery building on South Chancery Street and was in the process of deciding exactly what to do with it.

Joseph has been working on the building for the past week and says he has decided what to offer. He’s going to have a produce stand there complete with deli and delicious sandwiches made fresh daily. Joseph has been in the produce business for much of his life and says it’s important for him to stick with what he knows.

“It will take me a couple months to get this place ready,” said Joseph on Friday. “This is going to require a little more work than I thought but I don’t mind. I’ve worked all my life.”

Joseph says he can tackle most of the renovation work himself. He says his efforts will be delayed somewhat because he will be making a trip to England in August to accompany his children, the singing duo of Juna N Joey. Joseph was quick to show YouTube videos of his kids performing and I must admit they do sound really polished.

When I asked if his kids are trying to make it in the music industry, Joseph kindly corrected me. “They are making it in the music industry,” he said.

In England, Juna N Joey will be opening for Twinnie, a popular singer in the UK, for 14 shows. Joseph says they sing covers and have produced four original songs including “I’m So Over You” and “Till Your Heart Breaks.”

Maybe Juna N Joey will be the next big thing. They’re still in their teens and full of ambition, according to their proud dad.

Pizza Hut

Ready to reopen

Pizza Hut has been filling takeout and delivery orders throughout the pandemic, but one thing has been missing. The Pizza Hut dining room has been closed.

I have great news to convey! A dining room reopening day has been announced for Wednesday, June 23 at 11 a.m. 

Customers can trample through the doors to enjoy that great Pizza Hut pizza from the comfort of the restaurant dining room. There’s just one tiny detail I have to add. The Pizza Hut salad bar and lunch buffet will not be offered at this time.

“I think customers are going to miss the salad bar, but we’re going to be offering some great lunch specials instead of the buffet,” said Pizza Hut area director Audrey Michewicz, who is over seven stores. “I think reopening the dining room is energizing the staff and they’re excited about getting to see customers again on a more personal basis. You still see them during takeout and delivery, but it’s not the same as having people come in and eat in our dining room.”

Customers will also be treated to the addition of new general manager Natalie Parker, who took over for longtime manager Elaine Lawson in September. The move largely flew under the radar because the restaurant dining room has been closed.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize Elaine has retired,” said Natalie, who started waiting tables at Pizza Hut in 1999. Natalie had been general manager of the Pizza Hut in Cookeville for the past three years, but was eager to take a position with her hometown Pizza Hut when the position came open.

Elaine enjoyed quite a career at Pizza Hut, working at the restaurant for more than 30 years. For those with really long memories, our Pizza Hut was constructed in 1973, according to Warren County property tax records.

Our local restaurant was recently purchased by Flynn Group, which is the largest Pizza Hut operator in the nation with 980 stores. The restaurant offers more than just pizza. Wings, fries, mozzarella sticks, and apple pies are among other items which grace the menu.

“Pizza Hut is absolutely the best chain pizza there is, and I don’t say that just because I work here,” said Audrey. “It really is good pizza and people go crazy over the stuffed crust.”

Our Pizza Hut opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week and has a current workforce of 26 employees.

Nana’s Restaurant

Remains for sale

Devon Qualls took over Nana’s Kountry Kupboard in January of 2020 and was forced to close the restaurant earlier this year in February.

Devon called me on Thursday to say the restaurant remains for sale with the chance to reopen at its longtime location on Sunnyside Heights.

“It’s a good business that brought in money,” said Devon. “I really enjoyed running it and meeting all the people, but it wasn’t the best fit for me with my kids. I thought I had a buyer who was going to take over in February, but it fell through with the financing. When that happened, I decided to shut it down due to family issues because of my two small children.”

Devon said she operated the restaurant for one year and one month. Everything is for sale that is needed to operate a restaurant from an equipment standpoint including a grill, refrigerators, freezers, tables, chairs, plates and silverware.

According to Devon, the building owners have been trying to sell the property but the opportunity remains to continue leasing the space at Sunnyside Heights. She said she can sell all the equipment and the new owner would need to sign a lease to stay at that spot. Or a person could buy all her equipment and move the business elsewhere.

If anyone is interested in purchasing restaurant equipment for a ready-made business, Devon can be reached at (931) 314-1123.

That’s all folks

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