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Business Pulse: 7-6-14
Business Ellie Michellie
Recent high school graduate Ellen Woods has opened Ellie Michellies, a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch five days a week. Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

Hello and welcome to this special July 4 weekend edition of Business Pulse. If you’re reading this column while cooking out with your friends and family, you are not alone. I’m writing this column with a belly full of burgers having just come from a cookout myself.
Speaking of cookouts, I want to fill you in on the latest technology has to offer. It’s the new Lynx Grill, a grill so sophisticated it can be controlled from your smartphone. This grill is so advanced, it can even send you a text message when you food is done.
The way technology is advancing, I wonder how much more of our lives computers will control. It’s getting to the point where computers will do everything for us. We’ll just receive a text message when we’re in our mid-80s telling us our life is over.
According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, July 4 is the most popular holiday for cookouts with 71 percent of Americans participating in a cookout of some sorts. Memorial Day (57 percent) and Labor Day (55 percent) are the next most popular days.
The most amazing thing I take from that information is there’s an organization named the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Who started such an organization and why?
I realize a number of families have plans this holiday weekend so there’s no time for Business Pulse foolishness. It’s time to get down to business.

Teen opens new restaurant

The opening of Ellie Michellie’s Eatery in Morrison is hardly late-breaking news. In fact the restaurant has been open for a couple of months.
But due to scheduling conflicts, I didn’t have a chance to make it out to the Morrison restaurant until last week. That’s because the owner had some important things to do ­– like attend her high school prom and graduation.
Eighteen-year-old Ellen Woods has opened Ellie Michellie’s and developed it into a steady business. It’s located at the old Morrison library at 100 West Maple Street and is open Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“I guess the biggest surprise is I didn’t realize how busy we’d be,” said Ellen. “That and I had no idea there were so many ways to cook an egg. People come in and have asked for sunny side up, over medium, over easy, ship wrecked, baldheaded, done yellow, and fried flat. I’m thrilled if someone comes in and asks for scrambled eggs.”
The business has set itself apart by serving high-quality food made with fresh ingredients. Dining room customers are treated to watermelon while they wait, just one of the many fruit offerings.
“We pick Tennessee products whenever possible and utilize local growers like farmer Brown’s hydroponic lettuce,” said Ellen. “We make fresh, sourdough bread and have vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.”
Ellie Michellie’s has a menu packed with sandwich options like the popular turkey club and chicken salad. Grilled chicken day is the first and third Wednesday of every month.
“On those days pretty much the only thing anyone orders is the grilled chicken,” said Ellen. “We have the grill set up outside in the parking lot.”
Ellen may be young, but she has years of experience as an entrepreneur. She has sold Avon products for the past two years and both sides of her family have been cattle or dairy farmers for centuries. Her great-grandfather, T.R. Woods, is a former president of the Warren County A&L Fair.
Ellen is getting a big hand in the restaurant business from her mom, Denise Woods, and family members like Mel Woods who is helping out during summer break from Morrison School.
Ellie Michellie’s is also gaining a reputation for its cheesecake and its hot fudge sundae. You can get a sundae with hot fudge and Amish peanut butter to make it taste like a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup with ice cream.
For folks worried about the kids of today, Ellie Michellie’s gives us a welcome reminder that many of them are still on the right track. For more information, call 635-EATS.

New store with little of everything

For folks who love to hit flea markets and yard sales, a new store has opened in Mt. Leo that’s right up your alley. It’s Foster’s Odds and Ends which has located in the old Smith Brother’s Barber Shop on Beersheba Street.
The building is not big, but owners Jerry and Sandra Foster sure make the most of their space. Every inch of the store is packed with merchandise like clothing, DVDs, video games, household items, and tools.
“I have Confederate flags I’m selling for $5 apiece,” said Jerry. “I started with 12 of them and have nearly sold every one.”
If Jerry looks familiar it’s because he spent 40 years working for the city of McMinnville. He started on the back of a garbage truck and worked his way up to driving the truck.
“I’m retired so I’m not looking to make a killing out here,” said Jerry. “I just want to make enough to pay for my rent, lights and water.”
Sandra says they get much of their merchandise from wholesale houses in Cookeville and Crossville. She says they get new items regularly, sometimes as often as every week.
When I stopped by Wednesday, there was a phone shaped like a basketball and salt and pepper shakers on the back of a tiny tractor. There are all kinds of items you can get at rock-bottom prices.
Foster’s Odds and Ends is open Tuesday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Gun shop loaded for business

David Corley has been a longtime gun enthusiast. He has taken that enthusiasm to a new level with the opening of a new business on Harrison Ferry Mountain called D&R Guns and Ammunition.
“I can’t compete with Walmart and I’m not going to try,” said David. “I’m going to carry stuff Walmart doesn’t like AR-15s, assault rifles, handguns, and some bulk pack ammunition Walmart doesn’t carry.”
David said he and his wife, Rachel, have long enjoyed firearms and that enjoyment reached a new level when they moved atop the mountain and had more space to shoot and become proficient.
David said the biggest questions he has received thus far are about handgun carry classes and about 22-caliber ammunition.
“I don’t want to get into the liability of having a public shooting range and having people up here firing guns to get a handgun carry permit,” said David. “That’s not something I want to do at this time. The other thing I’m always getting asked is about 22 ammunition. I do have 22 ammo and I’m sure by saying that I’ll have a line of people at my door as soon as that hits the paper.”
David said he believes the demand for 22 ammo is so high because so many people have 22 guns.
“I know some people who have four or five 22s,” said David. “They are good starter guns and they’re cheap to shoot. You’ll have some people waiting in line for two hours just to buy 22 ammo. That’s something that’s happened right here in McMinnville.”
David said he welcomes all types of gun customers whether they are a seasoned gun expert wanting to trade or someone buying a gun for the first time.
“I’ve been talking with a lot of first-time gun owners and with females who have asked a lot of questions,” said David. “I’m happy to help anyone with my gun knowledge. That’s what I’m here for.”
D&R Guns has been open for three weeks without much publicity except for a sign by the road on Highway 8. David said that is by design.
“With all the ATF rules and regulations and the background checks I have to do, I didn’t’ want to be overwhelmed right off the bat,” said David. “I wanted to get used to selling a few guns and dealing with the TBI. Anyone who buys a gun has to undergo a background check and no one under 21 can own a handgun.”
After you reach the top of Harrison Ferry Mountain, D&R Guns is located two miles on the right. It can be reached at 212-9109 or 212-8588.

Get ready to dance

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines while other people are out dancing, Melonie Turner has the answer for you. She is offering ballroom dancing classes along with longtime dancer John Basinger.
Group classes are offered every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Paula’s Dance Academy. Melonie encourages people of all skill levels to give ballroom dancing a try and to make sure to bring a partner to the lessons.
“I’ll show the ladies steps and John will show the men’s part,” said Melonie. “It’s really important that you come with a partner because that makes teaching so much easier. It’s ballroom dancing so you really need someone to dance with you.”
Melonie says people are often reluctant to give dancing a try because they feel they are not good at it. She welcomes people of all levels to give her classes a try.
“People will say I have two left feet. I can’t do this,” said Melonie. “But I’ve found almost anyone can do this if they’re willing to learn. I think dancing is wonderful for your physical and mental state. I love it. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.”
Melonie has been a competitive dancer for eight years and takes lessons herself at Dance World in Nashville. John has been involved with dance for 19 years as a student and a teacher.
“My goal is to teach enough steps for students to enjoy social dancing,” said John. “It’s one of the most enjoyable things a couple can do together even if they just dance at home in their living room.”
While there are about 15 different types of ballroom dances, Melonie says the classes will emphasize the five most common – waltz, fox trot, cha cha, rumba, and swing. The group lessons are available for $12 a couple or $8 a person. Private lessons can be arranged at different times.
“Since I’ve been dancing, people have always told me I need to teach dance lessons,” said Melonie. “So here I am teaching dance lessons. They are open to people of all ages. I’d love to have some teen couples come in who are interested. Guys who know how to dance can win girls over much quicker. It’s a game changer.”
If you’re interested in the group lessons, there is no registration involved. Stop by Paula’s Dance Academy on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. Classes last an hour. For more information, contact Melonie at 273-2616 or John at (615) 904-5966.

Ropes course a hit

I know I wrote a big piece in last week’s column about the Zip Stream ropes course and zipline which has opened at Fall Creek Falls. The thing about that piece was I wrote the story before I had the chance to visit Fall Creek Falls and experience the course for myself.
I took care of that technicality on Wednesday when my family made the trip to Van Buren County to give this new outdoor attraction a try. My review is two thumbs up, five stars out of five, and any other accolade I can imagine. I loved the new attraction and so did my kids.
One thing I didn’t fully understand when I started the course is how physically challenging it is. I’ve gone ziplining before and that is fairly simple. You get strapped in and go. There is nothing difficult about it.
But this is a ropes course and zipline. You have to climb cargo nets, walk across wires, and balance on boards high above the ground just to get to the platforms with the ziplines. Then you get to hook in and go.
There are courses for different ability levels. Employees suggest everyone start on the green course, which is the easiest. If you can handle that, the courses advance in difficulty all the way to the daunting black course, which I can say is extremely challenging and a little bit scary.
I didn’t get a dollar amount, but this outdoor adventure course represents a pretty large investment inside Fall Creek Falls.
I had the chance to talk to one of the operators and she told me a similar course they run at Ruby Falls has really been a big regional draw.
For more information or reservations, call (615) 499-5779.

That’s all folks

In between cookouts and fireworks, I was able to scrap together a respectable Business Pulse. Now I’m ready for a vacation. To report your business tips, call 473-2191 or email