The Easter Bunny was on the verge of hopping into town when an offer was accepted for local businessman Scottie Keel to buy the VFW in April.
Since that time, I’ve been looking for news to hatch about what might happen with that riverfront property located at 3340 Sparta Highway. My hunt came to an end on Thursday when I learned Scottie is in the midst of renovating the VFW and prominent BBQ maestro Bill Davis will be establishing a restaurant there at the beginning of the year.
“I’d been looking at buying the VFW for some time and thank goodness someone came along to buy it with the same kind of vision that we have for it,” said Bill. “We hope to be a good business in this community for some time to come and we have some more plans for the ballroom area that will be announced later.”
Bill has been selling BBQ around these parts for about 15 years. Some folks may remember he even operated a restaurant for a time on Sparta Street at the spot currently occupied by Chabalita’s. That was around a decade ago.
Bill won’t be managing the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, to be called Wild Bill’s BBQ and Grill. He says that will fall in the hands of his son, Preston Davis, who has years of cooking experience with Foodland Plus, his daughter Caitlyn McCormick, who has four years of local restaurant management, and his wife, Nicola Davis.
Wild Bill’s will specialize in BBQ, ribs, brisket, chicken and rib-eyes. Bill says the goal is to open the first week in January.
“We’ll have seating for around 100,” said Bill. “The restaurant will be located in the old bar area and the lobby area when you first come in the door. The kitchen was still in pretty good shape and the renovations are coming along nicely. We hope to do more with the old ballroom area later on.”
Bill says one idea is to capitalize on the kayak traffic coming off the river in the warmer months. Bill said he and Scottie have some like-minded goals for the building and he hopes to see those ideas through to fruition. After a summer of dormancy, I’m glad to see steps being taken to allow the VFW to escape from its months-long slumber and reach its potential as a fully operational dining and entertainment facility.
We’ll see what lies ahead for this proud building standing stoically on the Collins River, but the immediate future appears to be great-tasting BBQ, chicken and ribs.
Folks looking to launch a new business are often immersed in a sea of challenges. With the upcoming opening of The Biz Foundry, paying the overhead to maintain a fully functional office doesn’t have to be one of them.
The Biz Foundry offers the convenience of renting a private office, or just renting a desk. And best of all, the building comes complete with all the essentials such as internet access, copier, printer, scanner, and perhaps most importantly, a coffee maker.
“It amazes me that people will rent a building and pay $4,000 a month in overhead before they have their first paying customer,” said Biz Foundry president Jeff Brown. “So many people who go into business seem to be focused on their building and their accounting system. Well guess what. You don’t need either of them if you don’t have customers.”
The Biz Foundry is located on Court Square just down from Hoover & Son Insurance. There are four private offices available for $279 a month, or you can rent a seat for $99 a month.
All spaces have access to a downstairs conference room and a smaller upstairs meeting room. Office access will be gained through a code on your cellphone.
In this age of technology, Brown says the entire facility will be managed remotely.
“If we had to put a full-time secretary here on site, the price of rent would skyrocket,” said Brown, who added that shared co-working spaces are becoming hugely popular with more than 20 in Nashville alone.
“There are 400 people in Warren County who work remotely, according to TVA,” said Brown. “Entrepreneurship is not about hiding in a closet or working out of your basement. It’s about being around other people where you can share your entrepreneurial ideas together.”
The Biz Foundry opened a location in Cookeville two years ago and our local Chamber of Commerce has been working to establish such a facility here for about that long. The goal was finally achievable when our Chamber received a $60,000 grant from the state and used that grant to recruit The Biz Foundry.
“This plays into our vision and what we’re trying to create with our Young Professionals Group,” said Chamber president Mandy Eller.
Landing The Biz Foundry is a great asset to our business community. When it comes to creating new business, we don’t need barriers in place such as the high cost of maintaining an office. The Biz Foundry is an affordable option right in the heart of our thriving downtown district.
If you’d like more information about The Biz Foundry, an open house is set for this Thursday, Nov. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m. If that time is not convenient, you can glean more information by calling our Chamber of Commerce at 473-6611.
Loses its wheel
Natalie Parker started her mobile boutique called 21 Rays over the summer. She’s enjoyed her adventures traveling around Middle Tennessee, but she’s decided to put her operation in park for the holidays.
Natalie has traded her mobility for the stability of a kiosk at Three Star Mall. She will be open there through at least Dec. 31.
“For people who want to shop at Goody’s, they know where the store is located,” said Natalie. “They don’t have to track Goody’s down on Facebook to figure out where it’s going to be that day. That’s what I have in mind here at the mall. I want a spot where people know where I am. Plus the weather is freezing.”
Natalie says she’s well-pleased with her kiosk, which is outside the Goody’s entrance not far from JC Penney and Bath & Body Works.
“I don’t know what they’re doing inside Bath & Body Works, but there are people going in that store all day,” said Natalie.
As for her boutique clothing, Natalie has worked to develop a unique line. Her clothing has pizzazz, but without the shock of a huge price tag.
“It’s always been my goal to keep everything affordable,” said Natalie.
As proof, she pulled a flashy tie-dyed dress off the rack. The dress was soft as a cloud and sure to grab attention for the lucky woman to wear it. Natalie said it was her priciest item at $44.
Natalie says she will be open on Black Friday and she has a number of promotions to stimulate sales. She’s closed on Tuesday and Thursday but open the other five days. Hours are Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday from 2 to 6 p.m., Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m., Friday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In 20 years of writing this esteemed column – yes, 20 years – I’ve prided myself on finding answers when people come calling with business questions.
A question I’ve been asked lately is what’s happening with property on the corner of Chancery and Hill streets next to Zechman State Farm. The property is zoned commercial and there’s been work taking place there in recent weeks.
Property owner Jerry Williamson says there is work being done, but he’s not sure what will eventually happen there.
“I'm getting it shaped up now and I’m going to see what comes along,” said Jerry on Friday. “That’s a good corner spot. I may build a spec building there but I’m not really sure yet. I’m trying to get it in better shape and I’ll see what happens. There’s no big news to report.”
The property is certainly in a high-traffic and visible spot. It would be a good fit for dozens of potential businesses that don’t require a large number of parking spaces or a large facility.
I may have created unintended confusion in last week’s segment about Dr. Anisa Nayeem, who is taking over Southern Tennessee Nephrology and is the new medical director of U.S. Renal Care of McMinnville. The dialysis facility is located on Sparta Street next to The Birthing Tree.
While Dr. Nayeem is taking over Southern Tennessee Nephrology, the dialysis clinic will not become her practice. It will remain in the hands of U.S. Renal Care.
If I stated otherwise in last week’s column, you have my full apology. In any event, Dr. Nayeem is a talented specialist ready to treat your kidney woes. U.S. Renal Care can be reached at 507-5700.
That’s all folks
Thanks for tuning in for another episode of Business Pulse. I hope you’ve found it helpful and informative. Email business tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.