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Business Pulse: 3-30-14
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It was two weeks ago I told you about a 60x100-foot fabric building that was going to be constructed between S. High and S. Chancery Street. I guess I was shouting into the wind with that segment because no one seems to remember it.
Now that the building is nearly constructed, everyone is asking me details about it. With that in mind, here is a brief recap.
The building is owned by Melinda Breedlove, who also owns S. Chancery Mini Plaza next door. The company providing the building is called Clear Span Fabric Structures, which you can check out on the Internet at The fabric building is a new thing for this area, although they are widely popular in other parts of the country.
“They are getting pretty far along,” said Melinda on Friday. “They will probably be done with this part on Monday or Tuesday.”
After the building is up, concrete will be poured. Then there will be electrical and plumbing work, bathrooms and a small office built. The entrance will be from High Street with the north side of the building serving as the front.
Melinda already has a local business lined up to lease the building but she is not revealing the name at this time. “It won’t mean a bunch of jobs,” said Melinda. “Some people have asked about that.”

Mud Bums close
to opening

I’ve had several people ask me about the new restaurant in the works at the old Baskin-Robbins location. The new restaurant will be called Mud Bums and the owners and Charlie and Donna Turner.
I stopped by Friday and Donna told me they are still a week or two away from opening. She said their plan is to provide a great place to eat that’s fun for the whole family. The menu will include wings, seafood, frog legs and other items.
“We’re trying to fill a void,” said Donna. “We’re not a Mexican restaurant and we’re not a meat and three. This will be something different and we hope people will support us.”
Their building at Northgate Center has been home to several different businesses. Years back, it was Baskin-Robbins and Logan Farms Country Ham. After that it became House Blend Cafe. Then it was turned into a gold-buying business before Charlie and Donna got the property.
Look for the opening of Mud Bums in the coming weeks.

Local Kroger
not closing

It raised some eyebrows earlier this month when Kroger announced it was closing its longtime store in Sparta. The announcement prompted several people to wonder about the status of our local Kroger at Three Star Mall.
Kroger spokeswoman Melissa Eads called me Monday to say McMinnville’s Kroger is not in danger of closing.
“As far as the McMinnville store, we are very committed to that location,” said Eads. “Our store closings are not a rural thing or a city thing. They are based on performance. We’ve closed three stores in the Nashville area over the last three years because they were underperforming stores. We’re a big company but each store has to stand on its own. Sparta had not been doing that and there were no signs it would start doing that. The McMinnville store, as far as everything we’ve seen, is doing quite well.”
McMinnville’s Kroger is part of the Nashville division which includes 91 stores. Eads said Kroger operates in 31 states. She said there are even some mega Kroger stores which are starting to sell furniture.
I guess if Walmart can get into the grocery business, Kroger can get into the furniture business. I’m glad to hear our local Kroger is enjoying success.

Job placement
center has work

If you think there are no jobs available, stop by @Work Personnel Services which has opened on Chancery Street in the big, yellow house. The job placement business opened last Thursday and has already been putting people to work.
“We’re in the business of getting people jobs and it’s working,” said @Work area manager Angela Atkins. “We’ve been really, really busy.”
When I stopped by Friday, there were several people filling out applications with more people pulling into the parking lot as I was leaving.
The business is currently placing workers in jobs in Cookeville, Lebanon, Sparta, McMinnville and Morrison with Manchester on the way.
Industrial is the primary form of work, although staffing is also provided for some clerical and janitorial work.
I find it encouraging we’re finally getting some new employment agencies in town. Six or seven years ago, when there really were not many jobs available in Warren County and unemployment inched over 15 percent, all the job agencies shut down.
Over the past two years, these job placement businesses have started to return. This could only mean one thing. The jobs are back!

Look for Simpson
at a new spot

If you’re looking for David Mason Simpson, don’t look on Sparta Street. He has moved his realty and auctioneer business to a new location at 303 W. Main Street across from Security Federal.
David Mason had formerly shared his office with hair stylists in a mini plaza format on Sparta Street. He was so close, he could smell the perms. When hair stylists continued to rent space there, it pushed him out the door.
“It’s pretty much all rented over there,” said David Mason. “There are eight hairdressers, one massage therapist, and one nail tech is moving in.”
David Mason said he will continue to keep that building on Sparta Street as rental property. In moving to Main Street, he will continue to be next to hairdressers as Southern Style Salon is next door. In fact, he bought the building at 303 W. Main with Southern Style Salon owner Jenny Pennington.
If you have real estate or auction needs, keep D.M. Simpson in mind. He can help with your cattle too. Livestock prices are high, which is good if you’re selling. His phone number is easy to remember, 473-LAND.

Kubota dealer
to find new home

It was in December 2012 when David Woodlee took over ownership of the Kubota dealership on Beersheba Street, now called Tennessee Valley Tractor and Equipment.
After a little more than a year in business, he has outgrown his current spot and is planning to move. He will stay in the Mt. Leo area as he has found a new spot on Highway 8 in what was formerly a used car lot.
“That property became available so we decided to jump on it,” said David. “We’re still probably about a month away from moving. There are guys over there working on it now. We’re going to do some remodeling, get a fence up and do some work to the parking lot.”
The new location on Highway 8 is equipped with a large building and what will be a large sales yard. David says the plan is to expand and offer some new lines.
“We’re going to have some hay equipment and a skid loader line,” said David. “This will take us from about .6 of an acre to 3.25 acres.”
The two locations are only about a half mile apart so the Kubota dealership won’t go far when it moves to its new spot.

Papa Murphy’s
closes its doors

According to its website, Papa Murphy’s operates over 1,400 stores in 38 states offering take ’n bake pizza. However, one of those stores is no longer in McMinnville as our Papa Murphy’s at Northgate Center closed last Saturday.
The store closing has apparently created quite a stir as several folks have called me wanting to know what happened. Since businesses operate to make money, I think the easy answer is our local Papa Murphy’s didn’t make enough of it.
A sign hanging on the door simply says, “Unfortunately, Papa Murphy’s has closed. We appreciate your business and loyalty over the years!”
Papa Murphy’s opened in McMinnville on Nov. 18, 2009. At that time, it was one of 13 stores being opened in Middle Tennessee.
The community greeted Papa Murphy’s with open arms as there was a line of people that extended out the door and into the parking lot on opening night. I should note Papa Murphy’s was giving away free, one-topping pizzas at the time.
The business wasn’t so hectic when customers had to pay for the pizza. Some days the store looked desolate.
I liked the pizza, but didn’t enjoy having to take it home and cook it myself. I could never seem to find the right balance to get the pizza cooked properly on the inside and outside, which is why I stopped going there. Perhaps other people had a similar experience. Either way, Papa Murphy’s is closed.

IDB news

Industrial Development Board director George Burke is working hard to encourage board members to start the job search to find his replacement. Burke has even gone so far as to make a recommendation and provide board members with the résumé of a person he thinks will be a good fit for the job.
With Burke eager to head to the house, there is another change brewing with the Industrial Development Board as IDB attorney Susan Marttala has resigned.
“She served a lot of years for us pro bono and we appreciate her service,” said Burke at this month’s regular IDB meeting.
IDB members decided it would be appropriate to buy Marttala a nice gift as a show of gratitude and determined board member Sandra Haynes, the only female, would be best to buy the gift.
“Have you given any consideration as to who might represent us now?” asked board member Jeff Golden.
Burke said he had given it thought and mentioned attorney Ryan J. Moore, describing him as “young and fairly aggressive.” It was also said the job of IDB attorney should become a paying position.
“When we have a deal that needs to get done, we need an attorney who will be able to put everything down for a few days and get it done,” said Burke. He said asking an attorney to drop everything is not a reasonable request if pay is not involved.
IDB member Levoy Knowles said he didn’t like the idea of suddenly paying an attorney after Marttala had worked for years for free. He said the job should first be offered to her as a paying gig, then the board could consider other candidates if she declines.
Burke said he had already mentioned pay to Marttala and she seemed to indicate she was too busy to continue serving as IDB attorney at this time. McMinnville Alderman and local attorney Ben Newman was at the meeting as a representative of the city. He works at the law firm Galligan & Newman with Marttala.
It was determined to give the firm of Galligan & Newman the right of first refusal to continue representing the IDB. If that law firm officially declines, the board will consider other attorneys.

That’s all folks

If you have more business news to include in this column, let me know by calling 473-2191. You can also email me at