It’s fair week in Warren County, which means nothing else matters. It’s time to drop everything and spend the entire week watching beauty pageants and cattle shows, not that the two have anything in common.
One of the perks to working for the Standard is I can spend all day at the fair and claim it’s part of the job. If I’m at a food booth, I’m just sampling the cuisine for a story. If I have to be in the front row for Daryle Singletary, it’s only because I need a good picture for the paper. If I’m watching the karaoke competition, I’m trying to make myself feel better about my own singing.
The great thing about our fair is it’s totally FREE, FREE, FREE. I just can’t understand how I end up dropping $25 every time I visit this free fair of ours. Why do I have to save for two weeks just to get ready for a free fair? It’s one of the great mysteries of the world.
I can tell I’m getting older, or rather more mature, because the carnival rides are no longer my favorite part of the fair. I knew this day would eventually come, just like I knew one day I’d be excited about getting socks for Christmas.
I can walk around the entire midway and have no desire to ride anything. I don’t even have the urge to fork over $2 to pop a balloon with a dart in hopes of winning an AC/DC mirror. What has happened to me? I’m a changed man.
Without a doubt, my favorite part of the fair has to be all the empty calories. I can already visualize the funnel cake I will soon be eating.
Unfortunately, because of this getting older thing, I have to pay more attention to what I eat. Hot fudge cakes and fried pies are not the best foods for a guy still trying to maintain his youthful figure. That’s why, in the interest of my personal health, I have taken a solemn oath to avoid eating cotton candy for breakfast. I’m going to try my best to stick to this rigorous routine, although I’m not ruling out at least one cheat day.
More musings about the fair
It’s been said the entire town shuts down during fair week so that means it’s up to Business Pulse to head to the fair. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
Dorinda Watts is ready for a hectic week at her pottery booth at Fairfield Village. Her booth is memorable because she has her wheel and does pottery demonstrations throughout the day.
“I’ve brought 500 pounds of clay so I’ll be ready,” said Dorinda. “As long as people are here, I’ll be demonstrating. I usually get here at 10 a.m. and go till whenever. Some nights I don’t get out of here till 11:30 p.m. The carnival closes before that, but some people like to come late and walk around.”
Dorinda saves all the pieces she makes while demonstrating. Then she fires them and glazes them when she gets them home. She has an entire shelf devoted to items she made while at the fair last year.
“I’ve even signed them Warren County Fair on the bottom so people know I made them at the fair,” said Dorinda, who retired from A.O. Smith after working in that building for various companies for 40 years. She says the fair and the Civic Center craft fair are her only two shows of the year.
That’s not the case for Brenda Rutledge, who travels to about 45 shows a year in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Her business is named Miss Priss Hairbows and More. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I love it,” she said.
This weekend is especially challenging for Brenda as she set up her booth at Fall Creek Falls early Friday morning before returning to McMinnville to get her booth squared away at the fair.
“I’m working on about three hours sleep,” said Brenda.
She makes the headbands and flowers that go with them. She has all sizes and colors available at her booth in the Wilson Womack Building.
On the other side of the building, Melinda Wilson has her popular jewelry booth called Beedz and Treasures. In an interesting note, Melinda was one of the first businesses I featured when I started writing Business Pulse nearly 15 years ago.
“I’ll put in 100 hours out here during fair week,” said Melinda. “But I love it, believe it or not. I love fair week. So many people stop by just to talk.”
For those who stop by to shop, Melinda says, “I have what’s in style, what’s trendy.”
Beedz and Treasures has jewelry, purses, rings, bracelets and other items. Melinda says sterling silver and purses are her two biggest sellers. This is her 14th year at the fair. She’s known, in part, because of her popular Pick Up Duck game at her booth where she says every child is a winner. If you don’t catch Melinda at the fair, she can be reached at (931) 273-9592.
This might not be business related, but no trip to the fair is complete without a visit to the chicken barn. Superintendent Ronald Elrod says he will have between 600 and 700 chickens this year. As for rabbit entries, he’s expecting about 50, a number that is slightly down.
“I boy came in this morning who I was expecting to bring several rabbits and he told me a bobcat ate all of them,” said Ronald.
I’m not a big fan of looking at rabbits, but I would like to see that bobcat.
Dr. Good back with McMinnville OB-GYN
Dr. Michael Good has joined the staff at River Park Hospital and reopened his local practice, McMinnville OB-GYN.
“It’s the same name I had before,” said Dr. Good. “I didn’t plan it, but it worked out that way.”
With Dr. Good joining the hospital staff full time, it gives McMinnville two doctors to deliver babies. With only two, Dr. Good says he stays busy.
“The way the numbers work out, it always says McMinnville should have two-and-a-half,” said Dr. Good of the number of gynecologists needed for our population. “I don’t know where you get half a person. With two you always seem really busy. With three, you seem to be stepping on each other’s feet.”
Dr. Good has 24 years of experience in private practice, including his former tenure in McMinnville. Monday was his first day for seeing patients at his new office at 140 Vo-Tech Drive, Suite No. 4. The office can be reached at 815-GOOD.
UGO celebrates 40th anniversary
United Grocery Outlet is in the process of celebrating its 40-year anniversary with some upcoming promotions planned for the McMinnville store on New Smithville Highway.
UGO, which is owned by Michael Tullock, has grown to 36 stores in five states. The local store is proud to announce a new store manager in Jamisen Jones and a new meat manager in David Hill. They say many people don’t realize meat is cut fresh daily at UGO.
David is certainly a familiar Warren County face as the former owner of Tas-T-O Donut. It’s hard to believe the donut shop has been closed for 15 years.
“People wouldn’t realize what hard work that was,” said David. “Some nights I would get there at 10:30 p.m. and make donuts all the way through till the next morning. And it was difficult getting any help. Try hiring someone who is willing to get up at 3 a.m. so they can be at work at 4 a.m.”
David said he was working in the meat department at the Kroger store in Sparta when it closed. He likes his new job at UGO and says he is glad to report his grandson, Spenser Hill, is doing well in terms of his health. Spenser is a WCHS student who is battling leukemia.
“The bone marrow transplant was successful and the leukemia is gone,” said David.
Hometown Market Ready to open
If you’ve been waiting for the opening of Hometown Market on Beersheba Street, your wait is almost over. Store owner Mona Patel told me Friday the store is expected to open in the next week or so.
New gas tanks were scheduled to be installed yesterday and the store is in the early stages of getting inventory. One of the last major projects is getting concrete work finished at the side of the property.
Mona and her family are not strangers to the convenience store business. They own three other stores – Super Gas on Sparta Street, Beersheba Market in Mt. Leo, and Campaign Market.
Jon Flanders gets promotion
Jonathon Flanders has been elected president of Botanico, Inc., a Tennessee corporation established in 1983 by Bob Flanders and Dabney Turley.
Botanico is a nursery operating on 562 acres and is a recognized leader in the green industry. Botanico ships its Tennessee-grown plants throughout the eastern and mid-western United States, Canada and China.
The announcement was made Wednesday by CEO and board chairman Bob Flanders.
“Jon has been our general manager since 2006, and our chief operating officer for the past four years,” said Bob. “Jon played a critical role in guiding the corporation through The Great Recession of 2008-12. He has led the company into the age of digital marketing. Jon is also leading the company’s transition from a primarily field-grown operation to a primarily container-grown nursery. Jon’s experience and proven leadership makes him the person to lead the company into our fourth decade, one poised for growth and transition.”
Jon said he is excited and humbled by the opportunity. “I look forward to working with our talented and hard-working team, as well as cultivating the next generation of green industry professionals.”
Jon is a 1997 graduate of the University of Tennessee. In 2003, he earned a Master of Science degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio. In 2011, he earned a Master of Military Operational Art and Science degree from Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Ala. Jon is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves where he currently serves as Commander of the 25th Aerial Port Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery.
Jon and his wife, Stacey, have one daughter, Chloe, and two sons, Cole and Will.
That’s all folks
If you have business news to report, catch me at the Warren County A&L Fair. If you don’t want to talk to me in person, email firstname.lastname@example.org.