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Business Pulse: 6/23/13
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People have been telling me about a recent survey conducted by Career Cast that lists the worst jobs in America.
And topping the list of worst jobs is, you guessed it, the job of newspaper reporter. You can imagine my disbelief.
The article said the heavy stress of constant deadlines, the often negative feedback from the public, and the laughably low wages were all reasons newspaper work ranks at the bottom of the barrel.
I don’t know who compiled this survey, but I can say I’ve never once looked at my paycheck and laughed. I think the more appropriate emotion is crying.
But wait, it gets worse. Scrolling down the list let me tell you the jobs that rank below newspaper reporter. Coming in at No. 2 is lumberjack, No. 3 is military personnel, No. 5 is oil rig worker, and No. 9 is roofer.
All these jobs are reportedly better than mine? How can that be?
Just look at what this survey is saying. A guy who could have a tree snap and fall on top of him at any moment has a job that’s better than mine. A guy who could step on a land mine and lose limbs has a job that’s better than mine.
A guy who works in the middle of the ocean and is separated from his family while stuck on an oil rig for months at a time has a job that’s better than mine. A guy who works on a roof in 90-degree heat and could plunge to his death with one wrong step has a job that’s better than mine.
Fortunately for you, dear reader, I wouldn’t trade my job for any other job in the world. And I say that not for cheap applause. I say that because my boss could be reading this.

IDB could buy
old Powermatic


In an effort to find potential industrial sites inside McMinnville city limits, the Industrial Development Board is considering a plan to buy the old Powermatic building.
The plan calls for the IDB to buy the property, level the aging building that’s currently there, and construct a spec building of around 50,000 to 70,000 square feet.
One major sticking point is the plan depends on the IDB being able to obtain a TVA grant of up to $500,000. Director of economic development George Burke said he applied for the grant just before the deadline. He says the money is a grant, not a loan.
Among the benefits of the Powermatic property is it comes with 20 acres of land and has roughly 1,000 feet of road and 1,000 feet of railroad frontage. The property is already zoned for heavy industrial use so there would be no zoning issues involved.

Burke willing
to stay longer


When George Burke accepted the job as interim director of economic development, he said he would be willing to stay three months, maybe six. Burke informed Industrial Development Board members on Thursday he is willing to stay until the end of the year.
“There are some things I want to see through and don’t want to leave open,” said George.
IDB members reacted with glee upon hearing the news. I was hoping someone would break out chips and salsa at the meeting, but it never happened.
The news came after IDB member Tommy Foster informed the board the search for a permanent director of economic development has been difficult.
“We’ve come to the end of our rope on what we can do,” said Tommy. “When we look at other cities, they are getting 100 applicants for jobs like this one. We’re getting 10 and they won’t even come in for an interview. We’re thinking of hiring the services of a professional to help us.”
Burke said TVA is a great source for finding prospective industrial recruiters. He also said some of these people don’t like to go through the application process.
“Folks in this business who succeed have big egos,” said George. “They don’t like to submit applications because they might be turned down. They want you to come to them.”
There’s no doubt the stunt by the Warren County Commission has hurt interest in the job. If you recall, the County Commission threatened to withhold funding for the IDB unless former director Jeff McCormick was fired. Most people packing up their family and moving to a new community don’t want to enter such an environment.

Other economic
observations


George Burke and McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley attended an economic development conference Thursday morning in Cookeville and returned with a bounty of interesting information.
Burke said information provided at the conference indicated the Upper Cumberland region has experienced a 52 percent reduction in manufacturing jobs since the 1980 census.
He also said 40 percent of household income in the Upper Cumberland area was from manufacturing in 1980. Today that number is 18 percent.
Burke also talked about the desire by some community officials to attract tourism dollars as a way to boost the economy. He said that may create some money, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to high-paying jobs.
“If you look at Pigeon Forge, which seems to be the epitome of improving your economy through tourism, the median household income in Pigeon Forge is $32,000,” said Burke. “It’s $35,000 in the Upper Cumberland region. If we want to increase wealth, the way to do it is through industry.”
Mayor Haley added a statistic he wanted to stress. He said 45 percent of Warren County residents now travel outside the county for employment.
Haley also said 80 percent of the job growth in the region now comes from the expansion of existing industry, leaving only 20 percent to come from new industry.
“This shows we have to make sure to stay in contact with the businesses that are here and help them with their needs,” said Haley.

Lazy Daisy opens
in Rock Island


I really like the direction Rock Island is heading with cozy shops located all around the entrance to the state park. The latest of those is The Lazy Daisy, an antique, collectible and gift shop which opened 10 days ago at 96 Great Falls Road. It’s at the former location of Tennessee Treasures, which has been closed several years to the best of my memory.
Longtime antique collector and dealer Stephanie Moseley is the store owner. She has some of her own antiques on hand, as well as 12 other booths.
“I wanted to have a little of everything so anyone could come in here and find something they like,” said Stephanie. “I wanted it to be more than just my stuff. I wanted there to be a variety and this building is large enough for me to do that.”
Each booth vendor brings their own unique flavor to the store. I’ll try to provide a brief rundown on some of the merchandise.
From a guy’s standpoint, I like the old tools, the fresh-made cupcakes, and the old sports memorabilia. This includes some old fishing poles. There is also a booth with old country albums.
There are traditional antique store items such as vintage glassware, cups and dishes. There are also decorative items like wreaths, paintings, lamps, and some furniture. There is even a bookcase filled with painted gourds.
There’s a booth featuring distressed furniture, which Stephanie says is extremely popular right now. The distressed furniture was once dilapidated and falling apart, but it’s been restored, and in some cases painted, to give it a new luster.
Karen Marsh who owns Et Cetera on Main Street even has a booth at The Lazy Daisy. She has a wide selection of handbags and painted burlap. Stephanie says the rustic look of burlap is being utilized at a lot of weddings nowadays.
Overall, The Lazy Daisy fits right in with the quaint atmosphere that’s been created in Rock Island. Stephanie joins antique stores such as Rustic Touch, Knot A Clue, The Funky Stump and Rock Island Depot.
The phone number for The Lazy Daisy is 686-5299. A grand opening celebration is set for Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with refreshments and door prizes. Regular business hours are Wednesday thru Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Taxi! New service
has arrived


If you need to call a taxi at any time of the day or night, Umbrella Transportation has opened in McMinnville. It’s owned by Kat Valentine and a super secret silent partner who she doesn’t want to identify.
Kat stresses her taxi service provides safe and reliable transportation whenever you need it. You can even call at 3 a.m.
“We were really busy the past two weekends with Bonnaroo and the CMA Fest,” said Kat. “We’ve racked up a lot of miles.”
One neat aspect of Umbrella Transportation is it’s certified to transport children age 7 and up who may be traveling alone. Kat says she had to earn special CPS certification to transport children so young. She says it’s a great way to get children to ball practice or to a baby-sitter for working parents.
“We’ll get you there safe and on time,” said Kat.
She said she got the idea to open a taxi service from a friend who enjoys going to Chattanooga. She said her friend likes to visit Chattanooga, but she doesn’t enjoy driving there herself.
Umbrella Transportation is available for trips to the doctor, the airport, or the grocery store. If you want to call a taxi, the phone number is (931) 743-6301.

New building
under construction


I bring you this next item with a touch of sadness. I’m sad because a new building is well under construction in Warren County and not a single person called to ask me about it. I guess I’ve lost my mojo.
I noticed the new building Friday on my way to Rock Island. It’s going up next to Lee’s Collision Center on Sparta Highway.
Using my amazing powers of investigation, I learned the building will be the new home to Prater’s Auto Repair. Mechanic Mickey Prater has been operating the business from his home up to this point.
“I’ve been working at my home for six years,” said Mickey. “It’s time to grow.”
Mickey says he’s not putting a timeline on when the building might be finished and when he will be open at his new location. He says he’s content to continue working at his home until the building is ready.
As far as his mechanic work, Mickey says he does everything but alignments. He can do major work such as install an engine, or he can perform smaller jobs like installing shocks.
Be looking for Prater’s Auto Repair at its new location in the coming months.

Woodbury
gets liquor


The liquor store battle is one that’s sure to resurface in McMinnville at some point in the future. While the editors of Business Pulse do not endorse liquor or the liquor industry, I am going to bring you this report about Bootleggers Liquor, which has been open about a month in Woodbury.
“It’s been kind of a historic thing with me being the first liquor store in Woodbury,” said owner Thomas Mears. “You wouldn’t believe the hoops I’ve had to jump through and the headaches. I’ve heard a liquor license is the toughest license there is to get. I measured all the paperwork associated with getting this license and it was 8 inches thick.”
What this new liquor store means for the fine folks of Warren County is it will allow some of them to drive to Woodbury instead of to Manchester. With a 4,000-square-foot store, Mears says he hopes that will be the case.
“This is a huge store and I’ve got a really big selection,” said Mears. “I think I have somewhere around 750 cases of wine and really any kind of liquor you could want. My prices are really competitive too.”
Mears said the first liquor store in Woodbury has brought with it some controversy, as I can well imagine. He admitted he came close to quitting at one point, but he’s glad he persevered.
For anyone who may want to make the trip to Woodbury to check out Bootleggers Liquor, the address is 940 S. McCrary Street, which is also known as Highway 53. As you’re arriving in Woodbury from McMinnville, turn left at McDonald’s and go eight-tenths of a mile. The store is on the right. The phone number is (615) 563-5555.

That’s all folks


I’m growing older, but I’m not too old to enjoy a good business tip every now and then. Give me a call at 473-2191.