Prepare for the speed of local business news to accelerate. Out are the plodding days of Business Pulse and in are the cat-quick reflexes of Business Cheetah.
So what exactly is this Business Cheetah? To put it as simply as possible, it’s much like Business Pulse, only faster. I’m billing it as the fastest way to get business news on the planet.
But before we can embark on this maiden voyage of Business Cheetah, there must be an ending. Business Pulse was informed of its untimely demise Friday morning and was given the afternoon to pack its things and get out. I’m a firm believer in a clean, swift break. There were no hugs, no tears, no cake.
I know you’re probably wondering what brought about this sudden separation. Did Business Pulse drag itself home late at night one too many times?
Probably the best explanation I can offer is a quote from author Samuel R. Delany who once wrote, “Endings, to be useful, must be inconclusive.”
There will always be a touch of secrecy surrounding my separation from Business Pulse. That’s by design. My family and I do request privacy at this time and no flowers please. To express condolences, send checks to the newspaper office, attention James Clark.
One chapter must end before a new one begins (although I guess this logic unravels if it’s the first chapter). So allow me to bid farewell to nearly 16 years of Business Pulse with one last kiss. It comes to us from rapper Drake who once said, “I may regret the way we ended, but I will never regret what we had.”
So long Business Pulse. It’s probably best if you don’t call or text.
Gary and Gail’s to reopen Monday
It’s been a month since the community was shaken by the incident which led to the closing of Gary and Gail’s Pit Stop. I don’t want to focus on that, but I do want to convey the news that the daughters of Gary and Gail Dodson have made the decision to reopen the widely popular Mt. Leo restaurant.
Amber Dodson and Kelly Cooke say Gary and Gail’s Pit Stop will reopen Monday morning at 5 a.m. under the same name and with the same great menu.
“We had our minds made up we were not going to reopen,” said Amber. “We even told some people we were not reopening. But we kept thinking about it and I guess we gradually started to change our minds.”
Said employee Amanda Stalcup, “I’d started to fill out job applications because I didn’t think they would reopen.”
Amber said they were swayed by members of the community who were all eager for the restaurant to get back in business.
“Everywhere I went, I would get the same two questions,” said Amber. “People would ask how I was doing and then they would ask when I was reopening.”
That day will be this Monday. Amber said regular business hours will be Monday thru Saturday beginning at 5 a.m. each day. They will serve lunch, but they haven’t determined how late they will stay open in the evening.
The menu will remain virtually unchanged with sausage and tenderloin biscuits for breakfast and free coffee with every breakfast order. Hamburgers and plate lunches will remain a mainstay on the lunch menu.
Amber knowns the business well having worked there the past eight years. Kelly has worked there nearly as long.
“This is the best and cheapest breakfast in town,” said Stalcup. “There’s nowhere else you can get this much good food for the price.”
The restaurant has been buzzing with activity the past four days in preparation for reopening. Amber said people have seen the cars parked out front and have been anxious for answers. Some have been calling the restaurant by phone, while others have been pulling around and knocking on the drive-thru window.
Amber said she realizes reopening is going to be an emotional challenge for her and her family.
“I’ve already had a few moments and I know there will be a few more on Monday,” said Amber.
The editors of Business Cheetah want to wish Amber, Kelly and their family the best of success as they embark on what must be a very painful venture. I could say I understand what they’re going through, but that wouldn’t be true. Best of luck.
Dirt work begins at Bojangles site
For those who may not have noticed, dirt work has begun on The Strip on what will be the site of a new Bojangles in McMinnville. The upcoming arrival of Bojangles has generated great glee as I’m sure many local residents are experiencing Pavlov’s Response and have already begun salivating.
Bojangles is still reluctant to provide an opening date projection but I did make my way down to the county offices to do a little bit of digging for your reading pleasure.
Do you know how much was paid for that 1.28-acre lot on New Smithville Highway? If you guessed an even $500,000 then you are correct. Yes, I said a half million dollars for just over an acre of land in McMinnville.
So how much does Bojangles expect to pay for the land and furnishing the entire building with tables, fryers, bathrooms, and the works? The grand total borrowed for the project, according to county documents, is $1.58 million.
For folks wondering why we don’t get an O’Charley’s or a Ruby Tuesdays, there’s your answer. Opening restaurants like that requires a huge financial investment. If those restaurants don’t stay busy and sell plenty of food, it’s not hard for a man to lose his shirt.
Just think how many $2 breakfast biscuits Bojangles will have to sell to reach $1.58 million. For those of you calculating at home it’s 790,000. And that's revenue, not profit. Then there are employees and electric bills to pay. You can imagine the pinch to your pocketbook.
I’m not saying any of this to suggest Bojangles won’t make it. I hope the restaurant sizzles like fried chicken. I’m just trying to sketch an image of how much it costs to open a chain restaurant from the ground up. Have I mentioned franchising fees?
Make way for The Jolly Trolley
Looking for a way to add a dash of flavor to your next birthday party or church gathering? Look no further than J’s Jolly Trolley Sno-Cone Factory, which has arrived in Warren County.
Jennifer Vaughn is the owner and operator of the Jolly Trolley, which offers 30 tantalizing flavors of sno-cones. She got the truck operational a couple weeks ago and it made one of its first appearances last week at the Standard’s Marketville.
“I grew up with the ice cream man so I’m looking to bring back a bit of nostalgia,” said Jennifer.
The trolley can actually motor around, although it’s top speed is about 28 mph. Jennifer says it used to be a part of the Barnum & Baily Circus in the late 1960s and she found it on eBay. After submitting the winning bid, she made the trip to New Jersey to pick it up.
“I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years and now I’m a grandma so this is nana’s toy,” said Jennifer. “I’m the cool grandma now.”
She’s the cool grandma indeed and the Jolly Trolley can be found parked outside UGO on The Strip from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Her business hours are weather permitting as she’s not going to set up in the pouring rain.
As for her 30 flavors, Jennifer says tiger’s blood has been a real favorite among the adults. EDITOR'S NOTE: this is only a catchy name as product does not contain real tiger’s blood. For the kids, blue cotton candy has been the most popular.
Said Jolly Trolley assistant Jessica Weismore, “It’s like eating snow with your favorite flavor.”
During bigger events, Jennifer will combine ice cream with her sno-cones to make what she calls her Jolly Dream. This is a one-pound treat that she says is delicious. However, she can’t offer this during the week at UGO because she doesn’t have a deep freezer she can easily transport to store the ice cream.
“Above all, I am making this affordable,” said Jennifer. “A family of five can get five small sno-cones for $10. For birthday parties, we’ll serve 25 kids for $65. I think that’s a really good deal.”
Jennifer says she won’t be outside UGO on Saturdays because she will be busy doing community and church events. She’s already registered to be at the Autumn Street Fair and she’s working to land a spot at the Warren County Fair. She encourages anyone who would like to reserve the Jolly Trolley to book well in advance because she can only be at one place at one time.
For more Jolly Trolley information or to make a reservation, call Jennifer at (931) 247-6426.
Dr. Franson comes to town
A new orthopaedic surgeon has joined the staff of Dr. Jeff Peterson at Pinnacle Orthopaedics. Dr. Adam Franson and his family have arrived in town and he will begin seeing patients Aug. 3.
“We’ve wanted to move to the South for awhile,” said Dr. Franson. “We really like it here. My kids have already found out about Gilley Pool and I love sports. I’m looking forward to seeing some high school football and basketball games.”
Dr. Franson will be an extension of the general orthopaedics practice already in place at Pinnacle. He can perform knee and hip replacements, handle broken bones, address ACL tears, and help manage chronic pain.
Dr. Franson’s path to McMinnville is a unique one that’s seen him travel all over the country. He grew up in Maine as the son of an English professor. He is the youngest of eight kids, with four of the eight finding careers in the medical field.
He received his undergraduate degree from BYU in Utah, which is where he met his wife. He went to medical school in Missouri then did advanced orthopaedic study in Michigan. He and his wife have four girls ages 10, 8, 5, and 2.
Dr. Franson is somewhat familiar with the area as he competed in the triathlon here last year. He enjoys biking and basketball and says he’s already been treated to some Southern hospitality.
“I blew out a tire on a bike ride and was in the process of walking back when a lady stopped and offered to fix my flat,” said Dr. Franson. “She had a spare tire in her car and she fixed it right up.”
If you’re dealing with some type of pain, you may want to give Dr. Franson a call. He’ll be practicing at River Park and also at the hospitals in Smithville and Woodbury. He will also work out of the same-day surgery center here in McMinnville, which he says patients tend to enjoy because they can have their procedure done then return home.
To schedule an appointment with Pinnacle Orthopaedics, the phone number is 815-BONE.
Douglass sues surveying company
I’ve mentioned our local Hardee’s in recent months as the restaurant looks to find a way to ease the traffic congestion created by its drive-thru window. On busy mornings, traffic will extend onto W. Main Street and create headaches for motorists.
Hardee’s is well aware of the problem and is considering options to remedy the situation. As such, a Chattanooga-based company called Northpointe Surveying was hired to evaluate the property.
Unfortunately, in conducting their surveys, employees from Northpointe entered the adjacent property of John Douglass and apparently broke some limbs off two of his America boxwoods. Douglass is now suing the surveying company for the replacement value of his 80-year-old shrubs, which he says have been valued at $2,000 apiece.
“When Mr. Douglass called the company to express his concerns, they just laughed at him,” said local attorney Ryan J. Moore, who is representing Douglass. “They aren’t laughing now. We think this is a very simple case. No one has the right to come onto someone else’s property and cause damage.”
We’ll have to see how this lawsuit pans out for Douglass, a 36-year teacher who has owned his property at 411 W. Main Street for 42 years. He moved out about eight years ago and now uses the home primarily for storage as he describes himself as an antique enthusiast.
The bigger question I have is how Hardee’s is going to reconfigure its property to relieve the drive-thru congestion. Looking at the aerial view provided below, and considering the wide turning radius of some vehicles, I say this is going to be a difficult task.
Douglass has said his property is for sale and I think he would be delighted if Hardee’s decided to buy it. “I’m getting old and I’m getting tired,” he said. The Douglass property is .4 acres.
That’s all folks
Thank you for reading this inaugural installment of Business Cheetah. To keep the cat happy, it helps to feed him with business news. Call 473-2191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.