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Business Pulse
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As we plunge into November and barrel toward the holiday season at full throttle, I see business news gradually gaining steam. Maybe if I’m a good boy this year, there will be plenty of business news waiting for me in my stocking.
But if I’m bad, I bet I’ll get one very large “Going Out of Business” sign. How cruel.
Before we all embrace Christmas with a warm hug, let’s take a look back at some unfinished business with Halloween. I want to address one problem I see arising. It’s the problem of old people trick-or-treating.
I realize this problem isn’t the magnitude of, say, recovering from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, but it’s a problem nonetheless. It all stems from the fact there are really no written rules pertaining to Halloween.
How old can you be and still be an acceptable trick-or-treater? Ask five people and get five different answers. One person may say 12 years old. Another may say 14. Still another may say 10. Who can really say for sure.
But here’s a general rule of thumb. If you’re old enough to have a full beard, as I saw this year, you’re too old to trick-or-treat. It’s time to give it up man, because you’re no longer cool.
You may think you’re getting all this great free candy, but every house you visit is going to have the same reaction: “A guy with a beard just came to my door trick-or-treating. He must be some sort of weirdo.” You’d be better off to pay $3 for a bag of candy and salvage your reputation.
As for other Halloween-related news, I’m sorry to report my house was attacked by yard rollers Friday night. Yes, this was two days after Halloween and after the generally accepted cut-off date for yard rolling.
This reinforces my point that we need a set of written rules when it comes to Halloween. I tend to let down my guard when November arrives. Next thing you know, people will start rolling yards in July.
Fortunately, these rascals left clues as to their identity and I’m currently tracking down several leads. I’ve narrowed the list of likely suspects to Bill Zechman, the Warren County Commission, and Ryan J. Moore, although new evidence suggests it could be preacher Coy Hathcock, who can’t seem to account for his whereabouts. I’m waiting on satellite images from Google Earth to confirm my suspicions.

Construction on
Caldwell Street

Without a doubt, the most popular question I’ve received over the past three weeks is about the construction taking place on Caldwell Street behind McKinley Chiropractic Clinic.
The property is owned by chiropractor Jeff McKinley and he is the one who is constructing the building. However, when I called him a couple weeks ago to find out the scoop, he said he’s not ready to announce his plans for the building.
I realize this is not the most informative report, but I did want to pass along what I’ve been told. I have not been ignoring your calls and emails. And thank you for those calls and emails.

Tennessee still
among best

Site Selection Magazine came out with its annual rankings last week and Tennessee was once again in the top 10 in terms of overall business climate.
The magazine ranked Tennessee No. 8 in terms of business climate, but a separate survey of business executives ranked the state much higher at No. 4.
What this means is our state is considered a favorable place to conduct business, which is important when industries are looking to expand. If you recall, Tennessee was ranked No. 2 in the nation by Site Selection Magazine in 2010.
The rankings are determined by several factors, according to the magazine. Those include: 1) lack of red tape, 2) cooperation from government officials, 3) financial assistance, 4) state and local tax structure, 5) utility infrastructure, 6) land prices, and 7) legal climate (tort reform).
It’s great when national rankings are announced and Tennessee is among the leaders. I’m so happy, I thought I’d pass that information along.

Old depot now
antique store

All aboard! Don and Sandy Griffin have taken the historic train depot in Rock Island and transformed it into an antique store. The new business, Rock Island Depot Antiques and More, has been open about a month in a building rich in history.
Don says the old depot was built in Farley, Ala., in 1893. When the railroad left Farley, the building was moved to Rock Island in 1919 by Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad. It was placed next to the railroad tracks that are right after the entrance to Rock Island State Park. After arriving in Warren County, a post office was added to the depot. Don says the building was moved across the street to its current location by a team of mules during World War II.
As for fascinating items Don has found tucked away in the old depot during the restoration process, he says those include a shoe sign that he’s traced back to the 1890s and a post office stamp with the date 1923.

Local resident Edwin Ray has even provided the letter he received from the post office when he was officially hired on May 12, 1950. Don has framed the letter and has it hanging on a wall.
With so much history, the old depot is the perfect setting for an antique store. Don says he plans to have a little of everything.
“When I started, I said I’d have only man-tiques because I didn’t want a bunch of girly stuff in here,” he said. “But my wife has done a good job of filling it with girly stuff too.”
In addition to his antiques, Don is anxious to learn more about the history of the old depot and welcomes any pictures or information. He has several old photos, including one where people are nicely dressed and waiting for a train, however two of them are not wearing shoes.
Rock Island Depot Antiques and More can be reached at 686-8554. Business hours are Wednesday thru Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ready to
get cooking

Here’s a first when it comes to course offerings for Tennessee Technology Center at McMinnville. The school is offering a 12-month diploma in culinary and hospitality with classes being held at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center.
“That conference center holds a number of banquets and special events,” said Technology Center representative Mike Garrison. “They even have a couple chefs on the payroll so it’s a great learning environment.”
Our local Technology Center serves a six-county area so Manchester is a fairly central location. Garrison says all the ingredients are in place to provide a successful course and now students are needed.
“This is a first-time offering and we have gotten accreditation. Now we need students to make it work and we can take up to 20,” said Mike. “I think it’s a valuable course because it teaches new skills, marketable skills, that can be taken straight into the workplace. It will also help the culinary businesses of the area because they can hire employees with training, not just straight off the street. It will help the nicer restaurants, not necessarily the fast-food places.”
The course begins Jan. 2, 2013 and registration is currently taking place. Call the Technology Center at 473-5587 for more information.
New business
has Knot A Clue

Since I was in Rock Island on Friday, I thought I’d feature another antique store which opened earlier this year. It’s called Knot A Clue, which co-owner Nancy Berlin says is aptly named.
“We had been trying for awhile to think of a name and when I was asked about it one day in the car I just said, ‘Not a clue,’” said Nancy, who co-owns the business with Jan Lowe. “Then I thought about it and said, ‘Hey, what about not a clue.’”
She said the idea caught on and the business was eventually named Knot A Clue. “Sometimes it applies when someone asks us about something we have in here,” said Nancy. “I tell them I don’t have a clue.”
With the addition of Rock Island Depot and Knot A Clue, the area now has four antique stores. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate how antique stores feed off one another. People who go antiquing don’t want to stop at one store. They want to be able to hit several in a small area and Rock Island now has that to offer.
“Our dream is to fill Rock Island with a bunch of quaint, little stores to make it a cozy shopping area,” said Nancy. “There is so much out-of-town traffic that comes through here because of the state park and there are so many out-of-town people who own homes on the water.”
I really like how all the antique stores are working together toward a common goal. One example is they all have the same business hours Wednesday thru Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are also all participating in a Christmas in Rock Island to be held Dec. 8.
This is similar to what the Southern Standard and other businesses are trying to accomplish with the Try Here Buy Here campaign. We’re trying to get a group of business leaders working together for the common good of the area.
As for Knot A Clue, there is a variety of craft items to accompany the antiques such as pottery, glass blowing, and hand-loom weaving. The two-story business is packed with merchandise both upstairs and in the basement.
The business can be reached at 686-7171. Its website is

That’s all folks

Business tips can be emailed to They can also be phoned in to 473-2191.