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Business Pulse: 6-15-14
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This coming Friday is perhaps my favorite day of the year. It’s no doubt better than my birthday, but probably not as much fun as my anniversary (in case Cupcake is reading this).
It’s Banana Day at the Southern Standard, the day when we hand out free banana splits by the hundreds. In the 15 or so years we’ve celebrated Banana Day, I think I’ve heard every type of banana split recipe known to man. My personal recipe is still my favorite.
• Start with one banana. Peel banana and feed it to an animal. Do not place it anywhere near your ice cream.
• Open bottle of chocolate syrup. Tilt head backward at slight angle as to easily pour chocolate syrup down your throat.
• Get gallon of ice cream. Do not remove ice cream from gallon container. Obtain spoon and eat directly from gallon tub.
• If you feel you have slighted the sanctity of a banana split, spray whipped cream directly into your mouth and eat several cherries from jar.
If you don’t want to go to all this trouble, stop by our office Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. for your free banana split.

Manna prepares to open on Main st.

A new natural market and coffee shop is coming to Main Street with hopes to open the second week of July.
Manna Natural Market and Coffee is the name of the business being opened by Shari and Paul Newby. The business has a motto of “Eat healthy … live healthy.”
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for about 10 years,” said Shari. “I figure now that I’m 56, if I don’t do it now I’m not going to do it.”
Shari said the only drawback to following her dream is leaving her job of 17 years, which she enjoys. But she said the desire to open a store geared toward better health overrides the drawback of leaving her job.
“We will have a lot of organic and natural products that haven’t been available before in this town,” said Paul.
Manna will carry bulk foods such as nuts and seeds. Also available will be a wide selection of gluten-free products such as bread, cake and cheese. There will be frozen foods along with vegan and vegetarian offerings.
“I’ll be using the largest organic supplier in the United States so I will be able to tweak my inventory and get what people want,” said Shari.
She believes the coffee bar will be a big hit as she’ll be selling Chuck’s Roast, a brand of coffee owned by former Warren County resident Chuck Jones, a childhood friend.
“We grew up together in Viola,” said Shari.
Manna is the latest business aimed at giving local residents healthier options when it comes to food. I like this direction as I hope more people turn to healthy diet choices as an alternative to prescription medication.
Look for Manna coming in July at 122 E. Main Street. The website is

Rural hospitals in financial crisis

Tennessee state lawmakers are refusing to embrace Obamacare, a move which would increase the number of Tennesseans who have health insurance.
Since so many Tennesseans do not have health insurance, hospitals are often not paid for the care they provide. When hospitals are not paid, this creates financial turmoil.
This is what’s happening to hospitals all across Tennessee, according to River Park CEO Tim McGill and Tennessee Hospital Association president Craig Becker. It could get so bad, McGill says, a community staple such as River Park Hospital could be forced to close.
“All rural hospitals in Tennessee are being faced with this and 70 percent of hospitals in Tennessee are rural,” said McGill. “You generally have more uninsured patients in rural areas and that leads to writing off too much care.
“In Warren County, for example, there are more than 6,000 uninsured people,” said McGill. “This is something the General Assembly could address but it’s something that’s become a very political issue. The state is losing $6 million a day by failing to expand Medicaid.”
Becker made a trip to McMinnville where he addressed the Noon Rotary Club on Thursday. He hammered home the point that River Park could be forced to greatly reduce its services if Obamacare isn’t accepted by the state. Hospitals in Gelico, Oneida and Brownsville are all in serious financial trouble, McGill said.
Becker talked about how the hospital in each community is a major employer. River Park has a payroll of more than 300 so its closure would be an economic disaster.
Moreover, the healthcare professionals serving this community are very likely to move elsewhere if their central medical institution ceases to exist. Adding to the economic misery, should River Park close, is the fact business prospects tend to shun places that offer no primary care and emergency-service hospitals.
For those who fear Obamacare is a pathway to universal healthcare in America, we’re already more than halfway there, Becker says. For Tennessee hospitals, 55 percent of their revenue comes from Medicare, with the second largest funding source, 14 percent, being Medicaid. Those two government programs combined provide more than two-thirds of all Tennessee hospital income.
To offset uncompensated care provided to the uninsured, costs are shifted to patients who have health insurance plans. That’s why medical bills are so high. You’re paying for your care, plus about 30 percent of the care of someone else who decided not to pay.
What this means is we’re already knee-deep in socialized medicine whether we like it or not.
Following the Noon Rotary Club program, Becker and McGill sat down with WCPI’s Bill Zechman for a half-hour discussion of the Medicaid expansion question and related issues. The program will air on public radio 91.3 FM Tuesday at 5 p.m.; Wednesday at 5:10 a.m.; Thursday at 1 p.m.; and Friday at 1:10 a.m.

Industrial board gets on database

The Industrial Development Board is working to get property available locally uploaded on a state website utilized by TVA and the Department of Economic and Community Development.
According to IDB director Don Alexander, this will allow Warren County to piggyback with other agencies which already have a wide network.
The process is fairly simple. The available buildings and property in Warren County would be entered in the database. Then when a company from Illinois, for example, was looking for a 25,000-square-foot building in Middle Tennessee, any local facilities matching that description would show up in the search.
“It keeps a company from having to look at 95 websites in Tennessee,” said Alexander. “It’s an easy way to search for a facility that meets your needs.”
There is a fee for joining this database and Industrial Development Board members voted unanimously to pay the fee and get included.

Eating carside helps animals

Would you like to help Warren County Animal Control while enjoying a fabulous meal at the same time? You can, thanks to Applebee’s Paws for Carside event taking place this Monday and Tuesday, June 16-17, and next Monday and Tuesday, June 23-24.
On those days, 10 percent of all Applebee’s Carside To-Go sales will go to Warren County Animal Control.
Customers who choose to dine-in can also donate any amount to Animal Control. Colorful paw prints and dog bones which have customer names written on them  line the walls inside Applebee’s as a tribute to those who have donated.
There is also a donation box inside the restaurant where all kinds of pet supplies can be left. Items being donated include dog and cat food, dog leashes, toys, etc.
“Our customers have been very generous,” said Applebee’s manager John Jacocks.
Applebee’s employee Jamie Struck said, “We need all the help we can get for Animal Control. We appreciate everyone who has donated so far. We are trying to make a voice for animals because they don’t have their own.”
Animal control director Kim Pettrey said, “I think it’s absolutely wonderful! I am very glad the perception of Animal Control has changed. It used to be a death sentence to come there and now it’s not. We are very grateful for Applebee’s. The money raised will go straight to Dr. Young’s office to help pay for any medicine needed such as dewormer. It will also go to pay for spaying and neutering or any operations or medical care that may be needed for our animals.”

Kubota dealer holds open house

It was a grand celebration Friday at Tennessee Valley Tractor as our local Kubota dealer held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new location at 532 Harrison Ferry Road. The celebration included BBQ, donuts, and fun for all.
If you’re in the market for a new tractor or piece of lawn equipment, you might want to give Tennessee Valley Tractor a try. The business has a much larger selection of inventory at its newer, much larger, location.
Stop by to see for yourself or call 474-1201.

The jobs explosion

Jobs keep pouring into Tennessee. Here are two blockbuster announcements which happened last week.
Tennessee officials say the expansion of an automotive parts manufacturer in Wilson County is expected to create 210 jobs.
Southtec LLC will invest $24 million to add onto its existing facility in Lebanon, as well as develop a new property. The company produces stampings and welded assemblies for the automotive industry. It currently has 315 employees.
In the other announcement, MicroPort Orthopedics says it will expand its headquarters in Shelby County with a $100 million investment over the next five years. The expansion is expected to create 171 new jobs.
MicroPort Orthopedics designs, develops, and manufactures hip and knee implant devices. The expansion will create a state-of-the-art medical education facility to train surgeons, sales representatives and employees on their orthopedic products and surgical techniques.

That’s all folks

I am trying to uncover the deepest, darkest business news tucked under the sofa cushion. To report your business tips, call 473-2191.