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Business Pulse - There's a new bank in town
Coffee Bank & Trust people.jpg
Coffee Bank & Trust has opened in McMinnville on Smithville Highway and features a staff of all Warren County residents. Pictured, from left, are Chase McGee, Denise Prince, Christy Aughinbaugh and Bobbie Hillis. The bank can be reached at 474-1976.

There’s a new business in McMinnville we can certainly bank on. It’s Coffee Bank & Trust, which has opened an office at 1502 Smithville Highway.

Warren County frequently gets new Dollar General stores and Mexican restaurants, but it’s not often we get a new bank to locate in our community. What makes this announcement even better is Coffee Bank & Trust has an all-Warren County staff, led by city president Chase McGee.

“One of the biggest things I’d like to emphasize is that we’re vested in Warren County,” said Chase, who is a 17-year banking veteran. “That’s why we’ve hired all local people to work here and it’s why we’re supporting our local schools and sports teams. All the team members who are employed at this office are born and raised in McMinnville and have 69 years of combined banking experience.”

Coffee Bank & Trust is currently located in what I call the old Allstate office not far from McDonald’s. Chase said it’s a great place for the bank to establish roots, but bigger plans are already in the works.

“We are either going to purchase or construct a much bigger building that has a drive-thru,” said Chase. “Banking is all about convenience and we know customers enjoy having a drive-thru.”

There’s not a firm timeline on when this expansion will happen, but Chase says it is definitely in the future as the bank is ready for growth. 

Coffee Bank & Trust is a full-service bank that offers checking and savings accounts, IRAs, CDs, loans, mortgages and more. It’s also technology friendly with online banking.

“For the most part, unless it’s a huge amount of money, our loan decisions are made right here,” said Chase. “That’s what community banking is all about. People want to sit at a desk and get an answer from the person on the other side when it comes to their loan and we do that right here.”

All staff members are universal bankers which means they can handle every aspect of the operation. Employees include Christy Aughinbaugh, Bobbie Hillis and Denise Prince.

“We invite everyone to come in and see our newly renovated building and let us help you take advantage of our great products and services with our low loan interest rates,” said Chase.

From an economic standpoint, it seems like a great sign to have another bank locate in our community. It shows we’re growing and that we have the financial activity to support another bank. It’s definitely a positive development.


At the mall

I undoubtedly have a soft spot for businesses that locate in downtown McMinnville. I always hope they enjoy a healthy measure of success. I also like to hear about businesses coming to Three Star Mall because I grew up at a time, years ago, when everyone flocked to the mall on Friday nights so I like to reminisce and think maybe those easygoing days will return.

When I stopped by the mall on Friday afternoon to promote the upcoming Wonderland of Trees, I noticed organizers didn’t have access to their usual corner spot. It’s the spot which used to be Claire’s years ago and was more recently LT360 for anyone who remembers that weight loss program which gained fast prominence and died out just as quickly.

When I started asking questions about that spot, I was told Wonderland of Trees wasn’t going to be there because another tenant had rented it. That immediately grabbed my attention. It’s not often a new business comes to the mall.

So I walked around and asked a few questions and was told that a new bakery is in the process of locating in that spot. From information being passed around by mall folk, the bakery will be operated by some residents who just recently moved here from out of town and they want to start a fabulous bakery.

That suits me well because I enjoy eating fabulous bakery items. I also like cornbread.

My information is scant at this time, but everyone I talked to around the mall is united in their belief that a bakery is moving into the corner spot that was once Claire’s years ago.


Of Trees

I used to say the Warren County Arts and Crafts Fair at McMinnville Civic Center was always the event which started to put me in the Christmas spirit. Since that show has been cancelled for another year, Wonderland of Trees has taken that role in my heart.

Wonderland of Trees, a fundraiser for Caring Hearts United, fills Three Star Mall from end to end with wreaths, trees, and Christmas cheer. The weeklong event is coming up next week, Nov. 15-20.

“When we started this, I would have never believed it would be something we’re still doing after 11 years,” said organizer Dianne Sneed who founded Caring Hearts United as a nonprofit to benefit hospice patients. “In a few days, the mall is going to start looking like Christmas. We’re going to have a ton of bake sale items and we’re having more entertainment on center stage than we’ve ever had before – and some quality entertainment at that.”

Volunteers were busy on Friday scrubbing and cleaning the old Cookie Shop location at the mall. It will serve as headquarters for all the homemade desserts and beverages that will be available.

Tuesday night, Nov. 16, will be Bingo Night from 6 to 8 p.m. For $1 a card, you can play for some amazing prizes.

Thursday, Nov. 18, the Agee Family will take center stage. The group travels full-time and features mom, dad and their five kids from teens to 20s. They play all sorts of instruments and have great harmony so it’s a band you might want to see.

Friday, Nov. 19, four performers will sing in a show that’s being called A Country Christmas to Remember. Entertainment is lined up all day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., including a performance from Paula’s Dance Academy.

“We’ll have 25 to 30 trees to bid on in a silent auction and we have some very pretty wreaths and gingerbread houses too,” said Dianne. “It will be a great week of family fun.”

Another store

Lands downtown

Hardly a week goes by where I don’t talk about another positive step taking place in downtown McMinnville. I’m going to continue that trend today and report the great news that Three Sisters Candle Co. is opening a store on Main Street in the new center that’s been developed from the old Fraley’s building.

Three Sisters Candle Co. will be located between Southern Traditions and Begonias with an opening date expected in the next few weeks.

One really unique aspect of the business will be that customers can schedule their own candle pouring time. This can be for themselves or a group. This will allow folks to come in and see the candle-making process first hand under the guidance of the Three Sisters crew.

I understand the new vegan restaurant on N. Spring Street will be opening soon too, so our beloved downtown McMinnville is really enjoying a trampoline-sized bounce of success right now.

Retail building

Has new owners

Jimmy Siebers and Jeff Murphy are the new owners of 1123 Sparta Street, the building that’s across the street from Chabalita’s.

They promise to continue the tradition of offering a first-rate antique mall there, while also providing some snazzy new additions.

McMinnville Antiques & More already occupies much of the building. Sally Steakley is in the process of closing her antique shop next door which will free up 2,500 square feet of space. Jimmy says he is already in talks with potential new tenants.

“We want something there which will be open full time and help us increase the traffic of our antique mall,” said Jimmy. “It made sense to buy the building because the business has really taken off. The more we got involved and moved more of our stuff in one location, it made it more feasible to do this.”

Jeff said it’s roughly a 50-50 split between in-town and out-of-town customers. Mirrors, lamps, tables and buffets are all big sellers. Jimmy says they ship lamps all over the U.S.

Also popular are items like goat’s milk soap, a soup line, and Farmhouse Paint. Also in stock is the Loveless Café brand of relish, okra, biscuit mix and more.

McMinnville Antiques & More offers furniture repair and restoration.

“If you want to keep grandma’s old chair, but it’s in really bad shape, bring it in here and we can repair it,” said Jimmy. "This is a lost art and there's not too many people who still offer this service."

Concrete lawn decorations are on the way. Many local residents may remember Whiteaker’s on Manchester Highway when the business was in its prime and had large concrete fountains, birdbaths, and figures all over the property.

Whiteaker’s is no longer in business so McMinnville Antiques is going to fill that void and offer a number of concrete items to accentuate your landscape. 

Another new line which has recently been added is sterling silver jewelry.

Be sure to check out the excitement at McMinnville Antiques & More. The phone number is (931) 414-4373.

That’s all folks

Warren County is blessed to have so much business news taking place in our community. If you have an item you’d like to see in this column, send me an email at