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Garden Club meeting cultivates camaraderie
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This week in Business Pulse I’m going to try something new. Instead of bringing you my regular business report, I’ve decided instead to talk to an empty chair.
I’ll babble incoherently for awhile, then I’ll make a few off-color comments that don’t exactly make sense. In other words, it will be your normal Sunday column.
As weird as this may seem, talking to an empty chair does have therapeutic value. I’ve found it somewhat satisfying because the conversation always goes my way – and I always get the last word. I may not win many arguments, but I can sure win one with an empty chair.
So here goes:
Me: “Mr. Empty Chair, I sure don’t like the way you’re handling the economy.”
Empty Chair:
Me: “Forget about farmers. I think you should give government subsidies to everyone who works for a newspaper.”
Empty Chair:
Me: “Can you drop pallets of money from helicopters flying over McMinnville the way the government did in Iraq 10 years ago?”
Empty Chair:
I’d hate to mention this idea without giving full credit to its creator, the one and only Clint Eastwood. If imitation is the ultimate form of flattery, I’m going to stay away from this empty-chair skit. More than a week after Eastwood’s now-infamous speech at the Republican National Convention, I’m still not sure where he was going.
In his first interview since the empty-chair fiasco, published Friday in a small-town California weekly newspaper called the Carmel Pine Cone, Eastwood said the idea was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
“There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,” Eastwood told the newspaper. “When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea. I’ll just put the stool out there and I’ll talk to Mr. Obama and ask him why he didn’t keep all of the promises he made to everybody.”
Eastwood’s peculiar, sometimes rambling conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama in an empty chair still gives me the creeps. I hope it doesn’t overshadow his memorable movie career of shooting people with handguns in Westerns and as Dirty Harry.

Kidd Ford to sell
electric vehicles

I realize most people will be focused on the fair this week so fair-related news will play a large part of this column.
But before I jaunt off to the land of candy apples, I want to bring you the great news that Kidd Ford is expecting three new electric vehicles later this month.
“We’re going to be a Ford electrified dealer,” said Kidd Ford owner Terry Kidd. “We’ll have the Fusion, Focus and C-Max and I’ll stock one of each of these vehicles. With a $7,500 government incentive on electric vehicles, now is a great time to buy.”
The real excitement surrounds the C-Max, which is Ford’s plug-in hybrid vehicle. The car can fully charge overnight with a 120-volt outlet, or it can fully charge in about three hours from a 240-volt station.
Terry says the cost to fully charge a C-Max is about $3. With a travel range of around 70 miles, that translates to more than 70 miles a gallon since a gallon of gasoline is now well over $3.
Terry says the technology has developed to the point where people can have charging stations at their home. He also said the Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville triangle is becoming saturated with charging stations so your vehicle can recharge while you’re on the road. In fact, I spotted a car recharging the last time I was eating at the Cracker Barrel in Crossville about two months ago.
I’m glad to see Kidd Ford is able to offer these cutting-edge 2013 vehicles right here in Warren County. The dealership is a great place to buy a new car and can be reached at 668-2177.

Wink Skin Care
now open full time

It was around the first of the year when Cydney Langford rented a spot on S. High Street and opened Wink Skin Care on a limited basis in McMinnville. Cydney has now officially closed her Brentwood office and is operating full-time from her new store.
“We’re enjoying the small-town life,” said Cydney, who is happy to return home with her family after experiencing the more hectic lifestyle of the greater Nashville area. “Now if we’re behind five cars it seems like a traffic jam.”
Natural skin care products are a big part of her business, but so are facials, waxing, and peels. As a former massage therapist, Cydney makes sure her appointments are stress-relieving. The Wink Signature Facial, for example, features cleansing, steaming, masking and deep relaxation techniques.
She has developed quite a clientele that has stuck with her even with the move. When I was at her office Friday morning, two ladies drove all the way from Marshall County for an appointment. For those of you not familiar with Marshall County, it’s nearly two hours away.
As for her merchandise, Cydney specializes in offering all-natural products from companies that operate on a small scale.
“I like working with the smaller companies because they are more concerned with the best ingredients and making sure their product is the best,” said Cydney. “A lot of times with these smaller companies, I deal with the person who is making the product themselves. When that happens, they are always very concerned with customer satisfaction.”
Cydney is also working hard to provide products that are unique to this area.
“Many of the products I offer are not sold anywhere else in Tennessee,” said Cydney. “Everything I offer is kind of my favorite product. I’ve seen a big difference in my skin and my clients have seen a difference in their skin too.”
Wink is open Tuesday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number is 507-WINK.

A Treasure Chest
near the fair

It’s fair time in Warren County, which means thousands of people will be flocking to the fairgrounds for food, pageants, and carnival rides. I might even try to stump the guesser and see if he can guess my weight. I’ve always said if the guy is really that good, he should be able to guess my Social Security number.
Since so many folks will be making a trip to the fair, it will be a great time to check out a business that calls itself, “McMinnville’s permanent yard sale.” The Treasure Chest is located directly across from the fair and it offers customers a wide array of merchandise, ranging from jewelry and electronics to home furnishings.
“We have a little of everything,” said store manager Marla Atherton. “We are mainly second hand, but we do carry a few new items.”
Ray Hixson owns the business which started as a garage sale. But it soon became apparent there is a steady market for yard sale items all the time.
“The people in McMinnville love yard sales and that’s what this basically is,” Marla said.
Treasure Chest will buy limited merchandise, but the main focus is selling.
As for locating the store there, Atherton said Hixson bought the building a few years ago and was just looking for something to do with it, other than storage. Since then, the building has been transformed into a large two-room show room.
The store is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. It will be open fair week with the front being kept clear for customer parking.
The business is also showing its heart. The Treasure Chest is donating both sides of its business to the Noon Exchange Club for parking to raise money for its annual children’s shopping spree.

Fair commands
our attention

The movie theater will be closed for the rest of the week and many other local businesses know to expect slow sales because the Warren County A&L Fair has arrived.
With hoards of people flocking to the fairgrounds this week, business owners realize a popular way to reach potential customers is by establishing a presence at the fair. Linda Honeycutt falls into this category.
Her business, named Purses by Linda, has retail locations at the fair and at Three Star Mall around the holidays. One of her best sellers is the rag bag purses which she makes herself. She buys other purses in her inventory.
“I always look forward to the fair because of all the people I get to see,” said Linda. “I have a lot of stuff in this booth so come check it out.”
She’s located under the grandstand near the Lions Club food booth. She can be reached at 939-4874.
Further down the grandstand, Taylor Spicer was busy Friday afternoon bringing in decorative wreaths for the Rainbow Flowers booth. She said it’s the first year Rainbow Flowers has rented a booth of its own at the fair. Taylor says she’s ready to promote the business, but also to enjoy the fair.
“The food is my favorite part,” she said. “I don’t ride the rides anymore, but maybe I’ll get on one this year.”
If you’re looking for an upscale booth, Doug Bost has his cabinetry and countertops on display under the grandstand.
“I get a lot of calls through the year so I never know for sure how many saw me at the fair,” said Doug. “This is my third year at this same spot.”
He estimates about 90 percent of his cabinet customers also get a new countertop. He says quartz and granite have replaced laminate as the countertop of choice.
As for the fair food, the First Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic Faith will be offering breakfast beginning at 6:30 a.m. during the week. Fair president Kevin Lawrence said he believes that’s the only food booth that will offer breakfast this year.
Representatives from the other food booths were in their usual form Friday afternoon, all making their regular claims of having the best-tasting food at the fair. My first fair food of the year came Friday night at the Fairview CIC booth and I must say the fine folks there set the bar pretty high.
My goal, as always, is to eat at every food booth at the fair. However, I regret to say I have only one stomach to give to this cause and I normally fall short of attaining this goal.

That’s all folks

If I survive fair week without slipping into a diabetic comma from all the cotton candy and funnel cakes, I’ll return next week to bring you another rousing installment of Business Pulse.
Tune in next Sunday to find out what I say to the chair. Phone in your tips at 473-2191.