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Business Pulse: 6-1-14
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Many of us have seen the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou?” where the guy gets banned from Woolworth and asks if the ban is for that particular store or the whole chain.
I’ve wondered that myself when reading our local court dockets and seeing a shoplifter has been banned from Walmart. Is it our local Walmart or every Walmart in the chain?
This comes to mind as I was reading about a court case involving Georgia resident Richardo Riley, who was banned by a judge from an entire county. Judge Brad Brownlow banned Riley from Walton County near Atlanta, a county where he has many friends.
So what did Riley do to deserve this ban? He got a speeding ticket and was a little too insistent with the judge about reducing his $250 fine. The judge fired back by banning him from Walton County.
Said Riley, “I didn’t commit no murder. I’m not a sex offender, I’m not a criminal. I just got a speeding ticket.”
Gee, if I get a speeding ticket on the way to a Titans game can I be banned from Davidson County for life? Maybe I can get a speeding ticket on my way to work and have a judge ban me from the Standard. That would force me to work from home (code name for sleep till 10 a.m.).
As for odd, strange and curious news, brace yourself for the story I’m about to report. It’s the story of a horrible crime that allegedly took place in Albuquerque, N.M. Hide the newspaper if you think your children may find it.
According to New Mexico authorities, a cook faces charges for secretly licking sandwiches before serving them. The woman, 59-year-old Yolanda Arguello, was reportedly seen by witnesses licking cheese before putting it on sandwiches and sucking ice cubes before putting them in cups and serving them to unknowing diners. Disgusting!
For doing these unthinkable acts, she is charged with three counts of battery. An attempt to reach Arguello was thwarted because her phone is disconnected. It’s not known if she is at home or if she is out licking more food.

Campground now open

Folks who are familiar with this column know I love writing about business firsts. I’m glad to bring you another first in today’s Business Pulse installment, that being the first campground I’ve ever written about inside McMinnville city limits.
I haven’t gone back through property tax records since McMinnville was founded in 1810 to determine if this is the city’s first-ever campground, but I will say it’s the first since I began writing this column in 1999.
The campground, called Smooth Rapids Outfitters, is the next step up for the kayak business called Smooth Rapids that was started two years ago by partners Todd Barker, Mickey Heath, Jimmy Barker and Michael Lockhart. It’s located in a secluded area at 251 Durham Street.
The campground is on a wooded, 8.5 acre-tract along the Barren Fork River. The property has about 1,000 feet of river frontage and is a great place for outdoor relaxing.
“We started with the kayak business and this is sort of an extension of that,” said Todd. “Most of our kayak customers are from out of town and they’re always asking us about a place to camp. Kayaking and camping seem to go hand in hand.”
This is the second year for Smooth Rapids and its third summer. The business started out small, has enjoyed some impressive growth, and now has 45 kayaks available to rent. In addition to the kayaks, there are 10 inner tubes available to rent in what’s a new offering for this year.
“Some people are intimidated by the kayaks so we bought some inner tubes,” said Mickey. “They are much more affordable for a family wanting to float the river. They are $10 each where a kayak is $40.”
As for the campground, there are big plans in place. Todd says the important thing to note is the campground is now open and they will be working over the next year to make their plans a reality.
“We already had our first campers stay here,” said Todd. “They were from Atlanta and they just loved it. We’re open and that was a big step, but we’re still early in the process. We’ve only had the property for two months and right now we’re battling Mother Nature. We’re clearing more spots to make it easier to get down to the river and we’re going to be adding things like a volleyball court and horseshoes.”
Over the next year, they are going to work to add some campsites with electricity and a bathhouse with commodes and showers. None of that is presently available, although there is a port-o-potty on site.
Tents, pop-up trailers and RVs are all welcome.
Mickey says they have forged a partnership with Cumberland Caverns in an effort to package two adventure-type activities together. People enjoying a day at the cave might also enjoy a day of camping and kayaking. It would make for a unique weekend getaway.
Smooth Rapids is a great story of a local business that started small with an eye for bigger and better things. Its strategic plans fit right in with the Adventure Tourism angle that’s currently being pursued by the state and our county.
For reservations, call (931) 4-KAYAK-1 or visit the website smoothrapids.com.

Generations helps with drug abuse

Anyone who has driven around Warren County knows Generations has a heavy presence in this community with a number of mental health centers.
Generations has decided to branch out and extend its scope to now offer therapy for people battling drug and alcohol problems. Intensive outpatient group sessions are available Monday thru Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon each day.
“Before we started this, people had to travel to Bradford in Manchester to get this kind of service,” said Generations vice president of clinical services Joseph Stotts. “Bradford was getting people driving all the way from DeKalb and Grundy counties so this will give people an option that’s a lot closer to home.”
Licensed alcohol and drug counselor Lorie Gretzinger conducts the daily three-hour sessions. They are designed for eight to 10 people. Once the morning session fills up, there are plans for afternoon and evening sessions too.
“Treating substance abuse is a daily choice to move forward,” said Lorie. “It’s a life-long process. We look at establishing healthier coping skills, looking at the way they think, and improving their quality of life. Mental illness and addiction don’t get better unless they are treated. One thing we can do here is treat a mental disorder along with substance abuse and treat them simultaneously with a holistic approach.”
Lorie has been a drug and alcohol counselor for 10 years. She said it’s often family members who may notice warning signs first and try to get their loved one into a treatment program.
Lorie said if you know of a family member who may need help, but who is resisting treatment, feel free to call to get ideas about ways to get that person started in therapy. The number is 815-3871.
“It’s a slow process and it’s not easy,” said Lorie. “Denial is one of the hardest things to overcome. This treatment requires three things – a little honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. It can be very difficult to be honest with yourself.”
People with substance abuse issues can be like a country song where they lose their spouse, their job, their house, and their dog. Lorie said through proper treatment that song can be played backward and the person can regain many of the things they lost.
If you would like to get on the road to recovery and start the process of returning to a productive life, Generations can be reached at 815-3871. The intensive outpatient group sessions are offered at the Generations facility at 5736 Manchester Highway across from Kidd Ford.

Motlow partners with Bridgestone

Producing students with skills needed in the workforce is a constant concern. It’s with that in mind, Bridgestone launched an innovative new internship program on Friday that will give two Motlow College students on-the-job training at the plant in Morrison.
Shane Hinson and Tecca Sheets were the two students selected for this program. They are both enrolled in the Mechatronics program at Motlow.
“This is a great opportunity for students to get their degree and work for a world-class organization at the same time,” said Mechatronics instructor Fred Rascoe.
Bridgestone will pay for Shane and Tecca to continue their education at Motlow while also offering them up to 20 hours of paid work a week at the Warren plant. The goal is to develop two bright employees who can help the company in the future.
“The things companies have been doing to recruit and retain employees have not been working,” said Bridgestone representative Keith Hamilton. “Companies are realizing they have to be innovative in attracting and retaining new talent and we think programs like this are going to be the wave of the future.”
Tecca said it’s a great situation.
“I get to do what I love and continue learning with an amazing company,” she said. “What we do at Bridgestone will mirror what we learn in class.”
Added Shane, “Hopefully this will lead to a career for me at home with a good company like Bridgestone. “I’ll be turning wrenches and troubleshooting, skills that I’m learning here at Motlow.”
Both Tecca and Shane have completed Mechatronics Level I and are preparing to start Level II. Their internships at Bridgestone are scheduled to start Monday.
Bridgestone says it plans to partner with other colleges – and high schools – to extend this opportunity to more students and support growth of the manufacturing industry. I think it’s a great way for companies to train potential employees with the exact skill they are going to need if they should work for that company down the road.

Get ready for Bladez

For business-minded people who pay close attention to the retail landscape, you probably noticed The Wax Strip closed its doors on N. Chancery Street. In its place is Bladez Hair Salon, a new business that still offers waxing along with cuts, colors and perms.
“We’re not going to be under any time constraints where we have to get a customer in and out of the chair in a certain amount of time,” said hair stylist Tammy Hawkins. “We’re going to take our time and treat our clients like they want to be treated.”
Tammy has 20 years experience when it comes to cutting hair. She’s joined by Beth Scissom (seven years) and Ashley Cantrell (four years).
Tammy says she’s skilled at doing the fades that are popular with teens and young men. She also says she will offer a military discount to any veteran or retired veteran. However she will not be offering a discount to newspaper reporters.
Bladez opens Monday and will offer an $8 haircut special for the entire month of June as a grand opening introductory price. Business hours are Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tammy says her prices are so low, she’s a cash-only business. For anyone who may need money, there’s an ATM conveniently located across the street at Scot Market.

That’s all folks

School is out, the pool is open, and summer has arrived. But you won’t catch me going on vacation (at least for a few more weeks). Phone in business tips at 473-2191.