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Business Cheetah 8-2-15
Construction work is progressing on what will be a new restaurant operated by Billy Foutch on Sparta Street. The building in the foreground, the former Wilma Jeans Kitchen, will be demolished.

After last week’s inaugural installment of Business Cheetah, I’m pleased to report I received a parade of feedback. I must admit, I appreciate all the input and all the varying views, but next time throw candy.
Regardless of your opinion of this newborn Business Cheetah, I think most people are amazed at the pace in which it tracks down business news. The world’s fastest land animal gets on the scene in a jiffy.
Folks have asked me if the new Business Cheetah name means this column is going to change. Probably. But one thing that will always remain is my commitment to reporting on the dumb criminals of the world. Before I get to the vast array of business news on today’s buffet table, allow me this great irony.
Police in Benton, Ark., have finally tracked down 26-year-old Tieren Watson after he eluded capture for several days as a suspect in a shooting. When arrested, Watson was wearing a T-shirt that said, “You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide.”
Great irony No. 2: A Nebraska woman is recovering after taking a .22-caliber bullet that ripped through one of her tattoos. The tattoo said, “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.”

Tennessee Rocks on

It’s time to break out the guitars and some really big amps because this is something to sing about. The results are in and Tennessee has been ranked No. 1 in two categories by Business Facilities, a national economic development magazine.
According to the magazine’s 11th annual ranking report, Tennessee ranks No. 1 for automotive manufacturing strength and No. 1 for education technical skill training.
In addition, Tennessee ranks No. 2 for best business climate and No. 2 for best infrastructure. In other words, this national ranking tells us what we already know. We rock!
In my humble estimation, this magazine ranking solidifies Tennessee’s global reputation as a premier automotive manufacturing state with companies such as Nissan, Volkswagen and General Motors. At last count, Tennessee is home to more than 900 automotive manufacturers and suppliers. I just hope I didn’t miss one.
This strength will only continue as the state department of economic development says 20 automotive projects with estimates of more than 4,500 new jobs have already committed to Tennessee in 2015.
As for being ranked No. 1 in technical skill training, that has much to do with Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise program, a first-of-its-kind initiative. Beginning this year, Tennessee Promise offers two years of tuition-free community or technical college to high school graduates. Over 16,000 students are expected to utilize the program this fall.
Tennessee Promise is a cornerstone of Gov. Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative aimed at increasing the percentage of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential to 55 percent by 2025 in order to build an improved workforce and attract employers to the state.
I find all of this to be welcome news as Tennessee puts on the gloves, climbs into the ring, and fights with other states for jobs. If you’d like to see the complete Business Facilities rankings, visit

Billy Foutch makes strides

Several people have asked me about the status of the restaurant on Sparta Street being constructed by Billy Foutch, longtime owner of Billy’s Restaurant in Newtown.
I, too, have been anxious for updates, but Billy hasn’t been receptive to answering my phone calls. Anyone who remembers the legal situation that arose more than a year ago will understand why.
I happened to see Billy standing outside his new restaurant Tuesday night so I stopped to see if he’d be willing to talk. Billy said he didn’t want to be rude, but he wasn’t going to answer any of my pesky questions about his new restaurant until his no-compete agreement expires with his old restaurant.
Looking through my files, I discovered the no-compete agreement expires on Sept. 30, 2015. That means Billy is set to open for business Oct. 1 at his new location.
While gauging the time it takes for construction is often difficult, it appears Billy is on schedule to be open in early October. The restaurant which used to be Wilma Jean’s Kitchen will be leveled before he opens.
As for what this new restaurant will be called, Billy didn’t say. But I guess we only have a couple months before we find out.

Yorozu raises its starting pay

Anyone who has spent much time reading this column knows I’m not a fan of companies which create low-paying jobs. Sure a job is a job, but paying someone minimum wage and forcing them to live off government assistance isn’t much of a boost for the economy. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call it a drain.
With that being said, I’m thrilled with the decision made by Yorozu to greatly increase its starting pay to $10.50 an hour with the chance to increase to $11.05 after 90 days. The pay increase amounts to about $2 more an hour.
According to Yorozu America president Jack Phillips, who is a fairly smart guy, Yorozu had previously used a hiring agency for its new employees. By the time the hiring agency took its cut, it left new employees earning about $8.50 an hour.
So Yorozu has done away with the hiring agency and is hiring employees directly and has also increased the starting pay with the goal of retaining employees.
“We hope it will get more people in the door and get them to stick around,” said Jack, who indicated business has been very strong and says Yorozu is “constantly looking for people.”
After the 90-day period, the employee will be eligible for a comprehensive benefit package that includes holiday pay, medical insurance and a 401(k) plan. Anyone interested should call 668-7543.

Flower shop blooms into more

Tiger Lily Florist has sprouted new petals and is branching off into a more colorful direction. While still offering floral design, the business has changed its name to Tiger Lily Boutique with a selection of snazzy clothing in stock.
“I heard one person describe it as a store for teens, moms, and hip grandmas,” said Kathyrn Burnett, who is operating the store with her sister, Katelyn Wortman.
Katelyn says the store has merchandise for all ages. “It depends on your style and how you feel,” she said.
All the new items were in place Wednesday and grand opening festivities were held Friday and Saturday. The boutique features pants, dresses, shirts, scarfs, hats, jewelry, and other accessories.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do since high school,” said Katelyn. “We’re excited about it and so far we’ve had a good response. There aren’t many stores like this in town.”
The two want to stress the boutique is an addition to the business. Fresh flowers and silk flowers will still be offered in addition to home décor items.
Tiger Lily Boutique is located on The Strip next to Sherwin-Williams. The phone number is 474-5459.

Building leveled at Sunnyside Heights

Passing motorists may have noticed demolition work taking place at Sunnyside Heights. The building which used to be home to Cantrell’s Marine was torn down last week and it looks like the property is going to remain vacant for the time being.
A company named JRN Inc., owns the property. That company also owns Papa John’s and the KFC properties here in town.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to do with it yet,” said JRN representative Tyrone Neal. “It was an ancient building with a lot of issues so we felt like it needed to go. Right now we consider it a surplus piece of real estate.”
According to county records, the property was appraised at $144,000 with the building, which was 4,356 square feet. I wasn’t able to determine when that building was constructed with the property tax card only going back to 1985. I’m pretty sure it was built before then.
So for now it appears that property is going to be an empty lot. Tyrone said he would alert me if any changes are on the horizon.

Local doctors join forces

Two of McMinnville’s orthopaedic surgeons have combined their businesses and formed a new partnership.
Dr. Doug Haynes and Dr. Brian Petersen have consolidated their practices and are now operating out of Dr. Haynes’ longtime office as McMinnville Orthopaedic Clinic.
“I’ve been over here since the first of June and it’s really worked out well,” said Dr. Petersen, who formerly had an office inside the hospital. “With both of us here together, it makes it easier to collaborate and discuss the best treatment measures for patients suffering from chronic pain.”
Dr. Haynes has been practicing here for 33 years. Dr. Petersen has been in McMinnville for four years.
The two surgeons provide treatment for arthritis, back pain, fractures, joint pain, osteoporosis, trauma injuries, and other ailments. They had an open house Tuesday evening to give members of the community a glimpse of their attractive facility and everyone seemed well-pleased by what they saw.
McMinnville Orthopaedic Clinic can be reached at 473-9624. The office is located at 207 Oak Park.

Dam undergoing routine checkup

To ensure the Great Falls Dam at Rock Island State Park doesn’t collapse and lead to a wide-scale disaster, TVA is currently conducting a routine structural analysis of the dam. Do not be alarmed. This is only a test.
TVA conducts these periodic health checks on all 49 of its dams. Over the next eight weeks, core samples will be collected for structural evaluation to ensure the dam remains in compliance with today’s stringent industry safety standards.
The drilling does not harm the dam structure. There is no reason to seek cover.
Business Cheetah is pleased to offer this announcement as a public service for anyone noticing work around Great Falls Dam and wondering what exactly is taking place.

That’s all folks

A kind lady who offered me a business tip last week said she was happy to "feed the cheetah." That’s a great philosophy and one we should all keep close to our hearts. To report business tips, email