I wrote in a column about two months ago about how the unemployment rate would be over 50 percent by the turn of the next century. The reason? Technology is replacing jobs like never before.
I’ve had several people mention this column to me, most of them doubting unemployment could ever approach 50 percent. I certainly can’t see into the future, but let me convey just a couple events that happened Thursday that show we are definitely heading that direction.
My darling Cupcake was looking to get an extra key made for our house so she figured she’d have it done while taking care of other shopping at Walmart. What she found out was there was no one at Walmart to make her key. Instead there was a computerized machine for customers to use.
Being the smart gal she is, Cupcake followed the directions and made her own key. Then she finished her shopping, went thru the self check-out line, and left the store. If she had just stocked the shelves, there would have been no need for any Walmart employees at all.
Later Thursday night, I was looking to get my mom a gift certificate to Land’s End to celebrate her 67th birthday. It seems like only yesterday when mom was in her 30s and I was walking through the door after school with a backpack on my shoulder.
If I were buying mom's gift certificate 15 years ago, I would have called Land’s End by phone, talked to an operator, and had a gift card sent to her house by mail. The process could have taken a week. But in the year 2014, I bypassed the operator, bypassed the postman, and sent her an e-card that went directly to her inbox in probably 30 seconds.
In 15 more years, who knows what the employment landscape will look like.
With fast-food workers demanding higher wages, it probably won’t be too much longer before we cook our own hamburgers at McDonald’s.
tradition carries on
Most people in the community are aware of the passing of former mayor Royce Davenport, who died last month. I always had a very high opinion of Royce and thought he was a great figurehead for our city.
If you have been wondering what would happen to his business interests around town, I have the answer. Royce’s son, Rad, has moved back to McMinnville and he will be running the day-to-day operations of Royce’s businesses, most notably Quick Wash Laundries.
“I can’t be the man my dad was, but we’re going to keep things running smoothly,” said Rad, who moved back to town with his wife, Lauren. “We’re not going to let things go to waste. We’re going to keep it clean and we’re already thinking about a few improvements.”
Rad told me about Royce’s business history in McMinnville, which dates back to the mid-1970s after he served in the Vietnam War and finished his military career. One of Royce’s first business ventures was as a partner for the motel and restaurant now known as Scottish Inn.
After leaving that partnership, Royce had a car wash on Smithville Highway across from the Shell station. But when the highway was widened, he was forced to shut down the car wash.
That allowed him to concentrate on his two Quick Wash Laundries, one at Plaza Shopping Center and the other at Northgate Center. The laundries have been open for nearly 40 years.
“My dad probably never dreamed his son would one day take over his businesses because my background is in digital marketing,” said Rad. “Fortunately, he taught me enough over the years to know what I’m doing so I can carry on the legacy he began with Quick Wash.”
I remember Rad as a WCHS track star in the late 1990s. To think that he’s gone on to graduate from college, get married, and live in different parts of the state for more than a decade makes me feel old. Rad says his wife, Lauren, and his stepmom, Patti, are also playing a big role in the family business.
“Since we’ve been here, we’ve heard from a bunch of his regular customers about how they miss Royce,” said Lauren. “Just because he’s gone we’re not going to let Quick Wash disappear or fall into a state of disrepair.”
The Quick Wash at Plaza Shopping Center is open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Hours at the Northgate location are 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Don’s Supply ends
It was a memorable 23-year run for Don’s Supply, but that run came to an end Friday when owner Ricky Howland decided to close his McMinnville store and consolidate the business at his Manchester location.
“McMinnville has taken a lot of hits over the years,” said Ricky when I talked to him Friday. “The store there is making a little money but not enough to warrant the expense of a second location. I hate to leave, but I’m at the age where I’m thinking about doing a little less.”
Ricky, 58, started the business with partner Don Pennington, which is how it got the name Don’s Supply. After about a year, Ricky bought out Don and became the sole owner. Ricky said he will be gradually moving inventory from the McMinnville store on Sparta Street to the Manchester store on McArthur Street.
“I’m not going to be in any rush. I’ll have that building for sale or for lease,” said Ricky. “It’s a good building. It’s 15,000 square feet on two acres. I built it new.”
Don’s Supply specializes in plumbing and electric merchandise, which comprises most of the business sales. Ricky said light fixtures and appliances used to be popular items, but people now look to buy those things from big-box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
“The business has gone downhill since the housing crisis,” said Ricky. “It’s still a good business but everybody is fighting for the same dollar. Some people will bid jobs and do it for next to nothing just to keep their guys working but it’s too easy to lose when you’re dealing with such low margins. If you’ll notice, most of our local contractors do all of their business out of town if that tells you anything.”
Ricky owns the old 84 Lumber building as you’re coming into Manchester and operates a home surplus business there. He said he thought about combining the McMinnville and Manchester locations of Don’s Supply at that spot, but instead opted to stay at the McArthur Street location.
Anyone interested in buying or leasing the Don’s Supply building on Sparta Street can give Ricky a call at 728-6040.
Mrs. Amy’s Preschool
Daycare veteran Amy Martin has returned to her roots and opened a daycare in her home in the Smartt Station community. She first started doing daycare work in 2002, took some time off after the birth of her twins, and has been back full-time at other facilities since 2007.
“This has been a big change for me because I’m used to a center and a group home where we had 36 kids,” said Amy, whose business is called Mrs. Amy’s Preschool.
Amy is licensed for 12 children and currently has five. She’s conveniently located just a few minutes from Bridgestone and Yorozu for anyone who may work at those large plants. Her hours are 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
For folks who are interested in getting their child a good start (and who isn’t?), Amy modifies her curriculum so it’s geared toward each student.
“Learning starts at birth,” said Amy who stresses the importance of getting children started early.
She says children will be on a structured schedule at her preschool. A regular day will consist of breakfast, learning time, morning work, free play, lunch, and nap. The $95 weekly tuition includes breakfast, lunch and a snack. Parents are welcome to send any additional food they would like for their child.
If you would like to arrange a visit to Mrs. Amy’s Preschool or enroll, call 743-1526. There is also a website that lists her services, her daily schedule, and tells more about Amy. That website is kkd2007.wix.com/kkelc.
When Bill McEwen first started smoking his own brand of BBQ, he did it for family and friends. After some rave reviews, Bill decided to go into the restaurant business. However, he didn’t go the traditional restaurant route.
“I decided I wanted to set up inside convenience stores,” said Bill. “It’s a real nice niche and one that’s worked out well so far.”
Bill opened his first location of Stones BBQ Pit in Murfreesboro at the Shell station on New Salem Highway. Since then he’s branched out and opened his second store in McMinnville at the Gulf station on S. Chancery Street next to USA Gym.
Bill has leased the kitchen at the Gulf station and is responsible for all the food. Hours are 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“I’ve done a lot of market analysis to determine the best places for these,” said Bill. “Even with that, I’m surprised at how the market is different between Murfreesboro and McMinnville. I’ll sell 12 to 16 full racks of ribs a week in Murfreesboro. So far, the ribs haven’t been selling well at all in McMinnville.”
Bill said Stones BBQ is more of a “grab and go” restaurant. With school starting on Thursday, he figures to have a big breakfast rush with the heavy traffic on S. Chancery Street.
His menu includes pulled pork, hickory-smoked ribs and wings with a Memphis-style dry rub, and some great side items like loaded potato salad, sweet slaw and beans. Bill says he’s up at 3 a.m. every morning to get ready for the day and typically spends about two days a week in McMinnville. When he’s not here, the McMinnville location is in the capable hands of manager Kandi Steele and employee Gina York.
As for the business name, Bill said he named it after his 11-year-old son, Stone. He said his son thinks he’s named after pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. But he’s actually named after TV anchor Stone Phillips. “I was a news junkie back then,” said Bill.
If you’d like to have your food waiting, the number is 474-7600.
That’s all folks
To report business news, call 473-2191 or email email@example.com.