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Business Pulse: 6/30/13
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In just a few short days, we will be celebrating our nation’s independence and glorifying our Founding Fathers for their courage and wisdom.
Well, actually that may be laying it on a little thick. Most of us will be shoving hamburgers and potato salad down our throat and trying to figure out the best way to make a trip to the fireworks stand without spending over $100.
It’s doubtful our Founding Fathers could have ever envisioned what the Fourth of July would become a mere 237 years after they signed the Declaration of Independence. Could they have imagined it would evolve into a day where people across America flock to swimming pools and lakes to consume as much beer as possible? Nah.
Here’s an interesting tidbit. The United States imports about $3.6 million worth of American flags each year. Most of these flags were made in China. Why can’t we make a little flag and attach it to a stick?
Did you know the tune of our national anthem was originally an English drinking song?
How about this picnic statistic. Americans eat an estimated 150 million hotdogs on the Fourth of July. Judging by my grocery bill, I would estimate about 25 percent of those hotdogs are eaten at my house.
Wherever you are this Thursday, Business Pulse would like to wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July. May your baked beans be tasty and your picnic free of pesky flies.

Automotive jobs
are everywhere

I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least devote a couple paragraphs to the two huge automotive-related events which took place in this region last week.
On Tuesday, Volkswagen trumpeted the opening of a new $40 million facility in Roane County that’s nearly 500,000 square feet. The facility distributes parts for the VW Passat.
Then on Thursday, Nissan announced it would add 900 jobs at its plant in Smyrna as the company is moving production of the Rogue to Middle Tennessee. Hiring for those 900 jobs is already under way.
All of this bodes well for Warren County, which is positioned smack dab in the middle of what’s quickly becoming the automotive mecca of the country. With Spec Building 3 in Morrison expected to be complete in July, I’m going to stick with my prediction it will have a tenant by the end of the year.

Walmart getting
automated check-outs

I’ve seen automated check-out lines in bigger cities, but I believe this will be a first for McMinnville. Walmart, among its many ongoing renovations, is in the process of putting in a few automated check-out lines.
For those who aren’t familiar with the process, I’ll provide a summary. These are check-out lines where the customer scans the item and then places it in a bag. There is a scale and monitoring system to ensure the item placed in the bag is the one which was just scanned.
When all the items are scanned, the customer can swipe their credit/ debit card and complete the sale entirely on their own. If everything works as planned, no store employee is needed during any part of the transaction.
This technology is viewed as somewhat fascinating. It’s OK with me just as long as stores don’t try to get too crazy and have customers stocking shelves.
I guess this is the next step as we gradually become a more automated society. With a driverless car navigated by Google Earth having traveled more than 3,000 accident-free miles on the busy streets of San Francisco, I’m hearing the next big leap will be driverless 18-wheelers in the next decade.
I don’t know if the driverless 18-wheelers will be any safer. But I do know they won’t be texting and eating a Big Mac as they’re traveling down the interstate at 70 mph.

Technology Center
has new name

Tennessee Technology Center at McMinnville will have a new name beginning Monday. That’s when it will be renamed and officially called Tennessee College of Applied Technology.
According to Technology Center director Warren Laux, the new name more accurately reflects the post-secondary training provided by the school.
“Students, parents, industry and business leaders all need to know the service we provide better fits under the name ‘college’ and that we support personal, economic and community development in Warren and surrounding counties,” said Laux.
According to state officials, the 27 Technology Center campuses across the state have always excelled at providing workforce training. However, they say the “center” title was often misunderstood.
Tennessee Technology Centers train over 30,000 students annually and have a job placement rate of 84 percent.
Personally speaking, I don’t know how well the new name will be embraced by the public because most people still refer to the school as Vo-Tech. It hasn’t been named Vo-Tech in nearly 20 years.
For history buffs, the school first opened in 1966 as McMinnville State Area Vocational-Technical School. The Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation in 1994 to rename it Tennessee Technology Center at McMinnville.
Current full-time programs offered at the school include automotive technology, computer technology, early childhood education, industrial maintenance, machine tool technology, medical assistant, practical nursing and welding. That’s just to name a few.
Tennessee College of Applied Technology can be reached at 473-5587.

coming down

I reported last week the Industrial Development Board would like to buy the old Powermatic building on Morrison Street and demolish it. On the vacant property, the grand plan is to construct a new spec building.
When I reported that last week, I didn’t realize the old Powermatic building is already on its way down. The windows have been removed and large industrial-sized dumpsters are on site getting filled with debris.
In doing a little research, I found the building was constructed in 1953. That makes it 60 years old and it looks every bit its age.
County tax records also show the building has no value, which leads me to believe it was condemned at some point, although I couldn’t determine exactly when. The value of the land is $254,000, which represents the total value of the property.
I thought it would be appropriate to provide that update.

Miller, 17, opens
apparel business

While many kids his age are busy playing video games, 17-year-old John Taylor Miller is operating his own business. C14 Apparel has been open about two weeks at Plaza Shopping Center and specializes in vinyl printing on T-shirts and other clothing items.
“If you have an idea for a shirt I can make it, provided it’s not copyrighted or trademarked,” said John. “This is something I started thinking about when I was 12. Now that I’m 17, I figure I could be working at McDonald’s or I could be running my own business.”
John has financed the business on his own and purchased all the equipment, although he is located in a portion of Warren County Coins, which is operated by his stepfather, Joe Smith. He is preparing to enter his senior year at WCHS. The store is called C14 Apparel because John’s a member of the class of 2014.
“These shirts will be great for ball teams, although it’s not specific to ball teams,” said John. “I can do it cheaper than anybody else and still deliver a high-quality shirt with contact sport vinyl lettering. You can even have glitter or glow-in-the-dark lettering if you want.”
John says he can make a one-sided shirt for about $4.50 a shirt. He says that’s a tremendous discount from places charging $15 each.
John says he’s going to be in contact with area schools about providing class shirts that are worn during field trips and other special events. He also encourages parents to give him a call who want to have a shirt with the same number as their child.
He is currently in the running to provide the shirts for Morrison ballfield, a project that would be around 300 shirts. He says he will find out July 3 if he gets the job.
If you’re interested in giving C14 Apparel a try, John says the best thing to do is come by and look at a catalogue. He has a variety of shirts and colors to choose from. For the fabric, you can select cotton, polyester, or the hot-selling microfiber. You can also choose from hoodies, polo shirts and button-down shirts if you prefer.
“If you come in and pick out your shirt material and vinyl color, I can have it for you in two to three days,” said John. “In about a month I’m going to invest in an embroidery machine too.”
C14 Apparel will have regular hours during the summer and afternoon hours once school begins. To get in touch with him, his cellphone is 743-2223.

Variety store opens
on Beersheba Hwy

If you’re looking for pre-owned items at yard sale prices, you need to check out New to You Variety Store on Beersheba Highway. The store opened Monday and is located just past the old Kingwood Foodland in the shopping center that previously housed the district office for The Tennessean.
“A lot of customers have complimented me on my prices,” said store owner Donnitta Dunlap. “I’m a single mom so I know how it is to pinch pennies. I try to make things affordable.”
New to You Variety Store has a little of everything and the merchandise will change daily depending on what Donnitta can acquire. When I stopped by Friday, there were kitchen utensils and appliances, plenty of clothes, DVD and VHS movies, video games, a bicycle helmet, various knickknacks, and even a deck of cards.
“We try everything before we sell it to make sure it works,” said Donnitta. “I’ve been surprised how well the cassette tapes have been selling. Several people have commented about how the store is well organized and neat.”
Donnitta says she will occasionally allow people to set up yard sale tables in her parking lot in an effort to increase store traffic. She also has a neat daily promotion where she will place the name of every customer who makes a purchase in a fishbowl. At the end of every business day, she will draw one name and that person will win a prize.
“Everybody seems to like it so far,” she said of her prize giveaway.
New to You Variety Store is open Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations are accepted. Donnitta can be reached at 743-1809.

Old barbershop
vacant again

When I was talking to Billy Smith a couple months ago, he told me he would like to turn the old Smith Brothers Barbershop building into a Quiznos when it became vacant again.
The building is now vacant, but Billy says don’t count on a Quiznos at that spot in Mt. Leo.
“It’s available to rent or you can buy it,” said Billy. “It doesn’t have to be a barbershop. It would make a great car lot or an office.”
As for Dessa Burch, who formerly operated a hair salon at that spot, she has moved to a new location. She is now cutting hair at Southern Style Salon which is located on Main Street. She will have regular hours Tuesday thru Saturday and can be reached at 273-6288.

inches higher

Here’s a quick glance at the latest unemployment numbers released Thursday by the state. According to the figures, Warren County unemployment for May inched up to 9.5 percent. That’s up from 9.3 percent the month before.
Overall in Tennessee, unemployment increased in 82 counties, decreased in eight, and stayed the same in five.
The statewide unemployment rate is 8.3 percent and the national unemployment rate is 7.6 percent. Warren County employment is almost 2 percent higher than the national rate.

Regional job
fair is coming

Speaking of unemployment, state Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) is joining with the Arnold Community Council to sponsor a regional community job fair. The free job fair will be held at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center on July 16 beginning at 9 a.m.
The schedule for the event includes career coaching and job preparation assistance from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Commercial and industry representatives with expanding companies in the region will be present from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The job fair is being held in part to help AEDC employees find work as they deal with government sequestration.
“Depending on the day of the week, AEDC is scheduled to lose anywhere from 127 to 200 jobs,” said Bowling.
For more info, email, or call (931) 212-4093, or 454-4574.

That’s all folks

I received several business tips last week and it made my job easier. Keep ‘em coming by calling 473-2191.