By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Business Pulse: 4-13-14
Placeholder Image

Cellphones may be one of the great conveniences of the past 20 years, but they continue to be an absolute nightmare for criminals, who seem to get caught on a weekly basis because of some sort of cellphone mishap.
The latest case came last week in Minnesota where two burglary suspects were apprehended after one of them accidentally butt-dialed 911 during the crime. I hope it’s OK to say butt-dialed in the newspaper.
According to Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell, the 911 dispatcher stayed on the line after receiving the call. The police chief said it was “pretty clear based on the conversation that this was a burglary.”
Thanks again to the trusty cellphone, the 911 dispatcher was able to pinpoint the location of the call and send officers to that spot. The suspects were promptly arrested.
This is proof that technology may be a valuable tool in fighting crime, but nothing may be more valuable than dumb criminals themselves.
While that story is certainly odd, strange and curious, here’s one to file under the category of Can’t Possibly Be True. It comes to us from Canada where philanthropist Richard Wright is long known for his good deeds.
Apparently Wright went too far this time as he was busy in March handing out $50 and $100 bills on the street to complete strangers during a visit to Nova Scotia.
Wright made a simple request as he was handing out the money. He asked recipients to praise God for the gift and to pass it along to someone else if they did not need it themselves.
All that seems harmless enough, but apparently not. It wasn’t long before police converged on the scene and detained Wright for what was termed a wellness check. It was then determined he would be transferred – involuntarily – to a mental health facility.
His daughter, in a bit of disbelief, told a reporter her father only wanted to help others and had no mental health issues. She started a Facebook campaign in hopes of getting him released, but her efforts have been fruitless thus far.
The great irony of all this is you can steal thousands of dollars and not spend a day in jail thanks to a legal gem called a judicial diversion. But give away money in the name of God and you’ll be confined to a mental institution against your will. This story may be the perfect example of exactly what’s wrong with society.

Fore! Golf course
set to reopen

It was back in October when Dwight and Hannah O’Neal sold their nine-hole golf course at the foot of Harrison Ferry Mountain named The Reserve at Collins River. Local developer Jewell Hale purchased the entire 330 acres at auction Oct. 19.
Since then, Jewell has been trying to come up with the best plan for the property with the idea he would like to keep it a golf course if possible. That plan will become a reality as Junior Medley will be leasing the property and his sons, Sam and Jay Medley, will be managing the day-to-day operation of the golf course.
Plans are to have the course open next weekend. The name will remain the same and so will the phone number, 668-7749.
“We’ve been working the last three days solid to get the place back in shape,” said Jay. “I think I spent nine hours yesterday just mowing. We’re getting it cleaned up and looking like a nice golf course again.”
Jay said he believes a public golf course will work in Warren County and points to the fact the O’Neals built a solid business in the seven years they operated the course. In addition to the nine-hole course, the driving range will also be operational.
The Medleys say they enjoy golf and are familiar with the public courses in this area such as WillowBrook and Smithville Country Club. They haven’t finalized their golf prices yet, but say they will be extremely competitive with the going rate in this area.
“I’ve never really been that good at golf but that may change now,” said Jay. “We’ll be open seven days a week so I’ll be spending a lot of time here. I might just throw a cot in the back.”
The Medleys are known for the restaurants they have operated in Warren County.
Despite their rich history in the restaurant business, there will not be a push to open Medley’s Golf Course and Cafe.
“We’ll have burgers and hot dogs and things like that,” said Jay. “We plan to have a smoker too. Business will dictate how much we use it.”
I like what WillowBrook has done with Bosky’s Restaurant on its property. I mentioned the idea of expanding the Collins River clubhouse to add an upscale restaurant like Bosky’s, but that idea didn’t gain much traction.
Now is the perfect time to get the course up and running as the weather is getting nicer and golfers are eager to hit the course. Jay said they will be working on organizing some weekly scrambles but a schedule has not been finalized at this point. Stop by The Reserve at Collins River this coming Saturday to welcome the golf course back as it reopens.

Wilcher’s closes
sales yard

I’ve received several questions in recent weeks about the Wilcher’s Quality Metal & Building Supply sales yard on Sparta Highway. The sales yard is completely empty leading folks to wonder what happened.
The good news is Wilcher’s Sawmill is still open on Starlight Road and cutting logs every day. The bad news is the company decided to close its sales yard.
“We are completely out of the retail business,” said Debra McBride, who operates the business with her brothers, Doug and Tim Wilcher. “I hate it for our customers who came to us to buy their lumber. I don’t like it either because I miss our customers and really enjoyed the retail end of it. But most sawmills no longer sell to the public and we had to go that direction too.”
Debra said Wilcher’s doesn’t have the space at its sawmill to accommodate a place for retail sales. That’s the reason they purchased the property on Sparta Highway and offered other services such as metal roofing.
But Debra said there wasn’t enough business to support two locations so the decision was made to shut down on Sparta Highway.
“People prefer the convenience of shopping at places like Lowe’s,” she said. “We had a two-day turnaround, but that wasn’t good enough. People want it right then.”
Since closing the Sparta Highway location, Debra said she has heard a number of rumors about her business. She said one of them is that Wilcher’s Sawmill has gone out of business completely.
“We’re still going full speed ahead out here and still working 18 employees,” said Debra. “The lumber business has been good so far this year.”
As for the property on Sparta Highway, Debra said they are in the process of selling it. She says it’s 3 acres and includes a house with a full basement in addition to the 3,000-square-foot building that had served as the Wilcher’s office.
If you’d like to learn more about the property, you can call Wilcher’s Sawmill at 668-2947.

Dixie Drive-In
to get new life

It was back in September when Jessica Jones opened Dixie Drive-In on Nashville Highway in the Centertown area. She closed the restaurant a few weeks ago so she could concentrate on her pregnancy.
Layne Mullins and her husband, Chad, decided the restaurant would make a nice business for them so they are working to reopen it in the coming weeks.
“It’s probably going to be a couple more weeks before we are ready to open,” said Chad. “We’re going to repaint it and put down a new floor. It’s going to be a black and white checkerboard floor to look like an old diner. It will be the same concept. You can either pick it up at the drive-thru or you can come inside to eat.”
Folks may know Chad from his carpet cleaning business. He also spent eight years working at Captain D’s, many of those as assistant manager, so he is familiar with the restaurant business.
When he’s not cleaning carpets, he will be helping Layne and her mom with the restaurant.
“They have plans to revamp the menu,” said Chad. “They have been talking about that the last couple days.”
The restaurant is located on the other side of Centertown in an area where there are not really any other businesses. Kat’s Diner is the closest restaurant, but there’s little else until you get to Newtown or Woodbury.
Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for the opening of Dixie Drive-In.

What would you
do to raise money?

I believe most people support raising money to fight cancer. But few people support it to the extent they will put on a bathing suit and stand on The Strip as an incentive to get people to donate.
However, one person does and it’s none other than Pizza Hut manager Elaine Lawson. She stood on The Strip on Thursday wearing a bathing suit while one of the restaurant cooks, Michael Schrofner, wore a bikini. Elaine told the story about how the incident went down.
“A friend of mine in Murfreesboro is a cancer survivor and she told her co-workers she would stand by the road in a bikini if they raised $100 for the American Cancer Society in one hour,” said Elaine. “When our employees heard about that here, all they’ve been talking about is me standing by the road in a bikini. The whole time I said, no, no, no.”
They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease and that was the case with Elaine. When it became obvious her employees were not going to let up, she agreed to participate in a fundraising effort.
“First of all, I don’t come cheap,” said Elaine. “So $100 wasn’t going to do it. I told them if they raised $350 in one day I would stand by the road. But I made it clear I would be wearing a bathing suit, not a bikini.”
The Pizza Hut workers kept up their end of the bargain and raised an impressive $561 for the American Cancer Society in one day. Elaine and Michael added to that total with another $22.50 from the side of the road to make a rather impressive donation.
“That’s not a bad donation for one day,” said Elaine. “The American Cancer Society is Pizza Hut’s charity of choice.”

That’s all folks

Thanks for joining me for another installment of Business Pulse, where there’s always a chicken in every pot. Next week join me for more wisdom and amazing insight. The number to call to report your business news is 473-2191.