If there are three constants in this world they are 1) death, 2) taxes, and 3) Walmart. However, the equilibrium of the universe suffered a cosmic shift Thursday when Walmart shut down over 100 over its U.S. stores.
This is something that doesn’t happen, at least not to Walmart. It happens to stores that are lower on the food chain like Kmart, Woolworth and Roses, but not to mighty Walmart, which is as powerful as a Jedi Knight.
Walmart’s shield of invincibility has certainly absorbed a dent with its Jan. 15 announcement it would be closing 154 stores in the United States. In illustrating its fast action, Walmart shut down some of its stores just two days after the announcement.
The bulk of the stores to be shut down, over 100, were closed Thursday. In Tennessee, the four Walmart stores to be closed are in Dover, Cornersville, Loretto and Chapel Hill.
If you’re wondering about our lovely Walmart, let’s hope there never comes a day when it gets shoved onto the chopping block bearing its neck. Walmart said the stores being shut down are poor performers with most within 10 miles of another Walmart. I’d say our Walmart is a strong performer and it’s certainly not within 10 miles of another Walmart so maybe we’re safe.
But the fact Walmart is shuttering so many stores has me viewing life through a different periscope. If there could one day be a world without Walmart, could there also be one without death and taxes?
A new Mexican restaurant cometh
Hector Marquez and his wife, Yuliana, know a thing or two about running a Mexican restaurant. Hector worked at Fiesta Ranchero at Plaza Shopping Center for 17 years and Yuliana was there for 15 years. That’s a combined 32 years of experience.
“We figured it was time for us to go out on our own,” said Yuliana. “We wanted to be open by Feb. 14, but it will probably be the end of February before we get all our permits approved.”
The two are opening Jalisco, a restaurant located on New Smithville Highway between Foodland Plus and Sun Tan City. If you’re wondering what Jalisco means, it’s the name of the state in Mexico from which they hail.
When I stopped by Friday, I could tell the plans call for Jalisco to look sweet. Yuliana told me there will be many of the traditional Mexican favorites, but also some new items.
“There are a lot of families who like Mexican food, but there’s one member of the family who doesn’t like it so they go somewhere else,” said Yuliana. “So we are going to have some other items to appeal to them like pasta dishes and steak and potatoes. We’re also going to be adding a few more authentic items we’ve had customers ask for.”
So what’s the No. 1 selling menu item at Fiesta Ranchero? Yuliana said it’s the sizzling chicken fajitas, which would have stumped me in a trivia quiz.
I think most of us are fairly familiar with the Mexican restaurant concept as we have a few of them in Warren County. By my count there are five and Jalisco will make No. 6. That could be a sustainable amount as we’ve had as many as eight operational at one time, based on official Business Cheetah stats.
Yuliana said Jalisco will be open seven days a week beginning at 11 a.m. each day. She says a patio is in the works for outdoor dining but it’s not expected to be ready until this summer.
Bob’s ends 47-year run
In this day of company mergers, I have another one to report. Bob’s Central Air Conditioning has handed over the reins of its operation to Murfreesboro-based Roscoe Brown in a merger that was announced Friday afternoon.
The decision to partner with Roscoe Brown comes after several other offers were entertained. Mark Brown, CEO of Bob’s Central Air Conditioning, was committed to partnering with a company that holds the same family values, quality service and commitment to the community that Bob’s brought to McMinnville for so many years. After careful deliberation, Roscoe Brown was determined to be the perfect fit.
“We wanted to be sure we found a partner that would protect the 47-year legacy while creating new jobs, new products and additional services,” said Mark. “Roscoe Brown will deliver the same quality service while also offering new services like plumbing, insulation, and indoor air quality products. Plus, our customers will see the same trusted technicians that have serviced their equipment for years with some new friendly faces.”
Roscoe Brown was established in 1940 and is looking to expand its Middle Tennessee footprint. By acquiring Bob’s Central Air, the company achieves that goal.
Said Roscoe Brown president Norman Brown, “Roscoe Brown is always looking for opportunities to serve Middle Tennessee. Whether it's with new products and services or helping new people in the region, Roscoe Brown is constantly looking to grow. Partnering with Bob’s, a company with such a strong history of service, was the perfect way to grow into the Warren County area.”
This is the second local home repair operation to partner with a larger company in the past few months. If you recall, Paris Plumbing recently sold out to Hiller.
In an unrelated field, I think most of us remember Stewart Pharmacy just sold to Rite Aid. The strong get stronger.
Don’t buy harmful products
I often don’t give much thought to some of the products I use, and that’s probably not a wise move. I’ll slather gel on my hair or my face and not think twice about the chemicals in there and the damage they could be causing my health.
But the possible harm hasn’t escaped the attention of local resident Terrie Kirby, who is now a consultant for Beauty Counter, a company launched in 2013 to put healthy, high-performing products in the hands of consumers like me.
“The skin is the largest organ in your body and what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body,” said Terrie. “My mission is to educate consumers about products they’re using so they can make better choices. There are a number of products that are harmful and we have a no-no list of products which should never be used.”
Terrie’s affiliation with Beauty Counter begins today as her website goes live for the first time this Sunday. It can be accessed at www.beautycounter.com/terriekirby/.
On the website, you’ll find all sorts of skin, makeup, bath and body products. Terrie is a wealth of information about products that can harm you and she gave me a few pointers during our conversation. When I told her I often use Vasoline on my hands when they get dry and cracked, she said this is a terrible idea.
“Don’t ever use a petroleum-based product, ever,” said Terrie. “Products with coconut oil are a much better option. Coconut oil is the No. 1 source of good hydration and it’s healthy.”
Terrie has a list of the top 20 toxic ingredients to avoid, a list that includes coal tar, mercury, 1,4-dioxane, phthalates, and talc, just to name a few. She will be happy to go into more detail about what products to use and which ones to avoid if you need more information.
She can be contacted through her website or via email at email@example.com. If you’re concerned about the products you’re using, it just takes a second to hop on Terrie’s website and discover the options available.
Roberts joins Cumberland Caverns
One of Warren County’s biggest tourist attractions has a new marketing director. Kelly Roberts has joined the staff at Cumberland Caverns in hopes of bringing more momentum to a venue that’s already cruising at highway speeds.
“I’ve been on the job three days and I just finished my first big ad,” said Kelly on Friday. “If anyone is looking for a grand adventure, this is the place to go. This is one of Warren County’s natural treasures.”
Last year nearly 40,000 visitors made their way through Cumberland Caverns, coming from 19 countries and all 50 states. Tickets went on sale Friday for the PBS taping of Bluegrass Underground which is set for April 1-3. As of this writing, tickets were still available, although they typically get snatched up in about a day.
Kelly has a deep background in marketing that dates back to her days with the Warren County Chamber of Commerce. She’s also done marketing for AEDC and Charter, so this job falls right into her wheelhouse.
“We’re going to have a number of new programs to announce that are pretty exciting,” said Kelly.
Being new to the job, Kelly wasn’t about to let anything slip, but I’ve long said Cumberland Caverns would be a great place for mini golf or ziplining. Those two things would fit in nicely on that type of rugged terrain. We’ll have to wait and see what Cumberland Caverns has up its cavernous sleeve. Perhaps I’ll get to announce some of it in this column.
Good luck Kelly and don’t get lost in one of those dark caves.
Homeland Banks on Bogle
Few people in this community have as much banking experience as Diane Bogle. It's 43 years of banking experience to be exact.
Apparently that sort of work gets in your blood as Diane has tossed aside retirement after three years and decided to return to the workforce. She's joined the staff of Homeland Community Bank as a loan officer.
"I'm not much on sitting around and killing time," said Diane. "I'm the type of person who needs to stay busy. The biggest thing I missed was my interaction with the customers. When I didn't have that, it was a letdown."
So Diane has said goodbye to retirement and has returned to the world of banking. She says she's glad to be back on the job.
"Retirement is great for some people, but I prefer to be productive," said Diane. "I'm excited about being here and I hope to bring in business for Homeland Community Bank."
I have a suspicion this kid will do just fine.
Edward Jones seeks books
I always like to promote positive community programs when I get the chance so I want to take a few paragraphs and tout the book program Leann Cordell and Tanya Bess have started at the Edward Jones office on Main Street.
Leann is a big supporter of education initiatives and Tanya is a member of the School Board so they are both interested in helping our students reach their potential. They want to make sure students have reading materials if at all possible.
With that in mind, they are asking for book donations to be brought to the Edward Jones office. The books will be given to the school system and distributed to children at the appropriate grade level.
“We’ve already dropped off around 75 books,” said Tanya.
Leann said the Books from Birth program does a remarkable job of getting books to children up to age 5. But the program ends on the child’s 5th birthday.
“Sometimes there’s a problem getting books in the hands of school-age children,” said Leann. “There are things that can be done, but you have to have the books first.”
The two stressed this book campaign isn’t seasonal. They want it to be year-round and they don’t plan on it having an ending point. “We want this to be a continual program,” said Tanya.
If you have extra books, keep the Edward Jones office in mind. Books for all grade levels will be accepted. The office is open Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Unemployment rate still low
It’s been a few months since I’ve published county unemployment numbers so here’s the latest batch released Thursday by the state.
In December, unemployment decreased in 43 counties, increased in 35 and stayed the same in 17. In the community near and dear to our hearts, Warren County, unemployment was unchanged at 5.3 percent, which is almost rock star status when it comes to unemployment rates. At this time last year, Warren County unemployment was 6.2 percent.
To show how well Tennessee is faring with its jobless rate, there isn’t a single county in the state where unemployment is over 10 percent. In Williamson County, the rate is an unbelievable 3.6 percent.
As a state, Tennessee unemployment is 5.6 percent. The national rate is an even 5 percent.
That’s all folks
Tune in next week when I’ll have business news that’s fun for the whole family. Let me know your tips by calling 473-2191.