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Business Pulse
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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching this Thursday, I’m trying to prepare myself for all the possible traps.
Let’s see, I’m trying to remember what to do about the box of chocolate dilemma. If I give chocolates, does she get mad because I’ve brought fattening sweets into the house? If I don’t give chocolates, am I saying she doesn’t need the extra calories? Help, I can’t remember what happens in this situation.
My mode of operation for dealing with Valentine’s Day pitfalls has always been to try and conceal my thoughtlessness by spending ridiculous sums of money on Cupcake’s gifts. I figure if I spend big bucks, there’s only so mad she can get. So far the plan has worked brilliantly, just not to the point where I think I can get away with getting her a new flat screen for Valentine’s Day. She would see through that one.
Since all women yearn for romance on Valentine’s Day, I’m trying to figure out the most romantic way I can take Cupcake to Hardee’s. Maybe it would add to the ambiance if I rented a stretch limo.
Valentine’s Day aside, here’s the wildly hilarious tidbit of the day. It comes to us from Massachusetts where a man with limited English skills went to the courthouse in Springfield to pay a traffic ticket. However, things went terribly wrong.
Somehow the man ended up filing into a jury room, then got shuffled into a courtroom with other jurors to hear an assault case. If that’s not enough, the man, and the other 11 jurors, convicted the suspect of assault.
Officials say all this was allowed to happen because the man couldn’t properly read the courthouse signs and got in the wrong line. As for the man convicted of assault, he was awarded a new trial when the mistake was discovered. However, there’s no word on what happened with that traffic ticket.
Hastings appears
set to close

Before I start talking about Hastings closing its location at Northgate Center, let me make this disclaimer. The official company stance, according to local store manager Jake Vinson, is the decision to close the store has not been finalized.
I talked to Mr. Vinson on Wednesday and he told me Hastings corporate officials would be in town this Tuesday and that’s when the fate of the local store would be announced. When I asked him about widespread speculation that such a decision has already been made and the store would close, he said that wasn’t accurate.
“Everything is still up in the air,” said Vinson.
With that said, I’ve talked to numerous Hastings employees who have told me they have been informed the local store is closing. Some have already started looking for another job. I don’t know why this would happen if the local store was staying open.
Based on information I’ve received from Hastings employees, they contend the local store is doing well. That makes sense because it’s usually busy with plenty of customers.
I’ve been told sales from the Hastings café are extremely strong, which I can understand too because there’s no real competition for upscale coffee in McMinnville such as a Starbucks. I’ve also heard sales for music, video games, and books are very good.
Movie rentals have been the only department that’s slightly down, but that’s an industry-wide trend with the emergence of Netflix and cable packages with hundreds of channels.
With a profitable store, I’ve heard there may be some property issues involved with the Hastings decision to leave, but I’m not really sure what those could be so I’m not going to speculate.
If Hastings does in fact close its doors, I think this is a big loss for our community. I love the store and buy all of my music there. I rent my movies there. On top of that, Hastings has around 30 employees so that would be a blow to the local workforce.
As for the store history in McMinnville, it was in July 2002 when a deal was reached for Hastings to locate at that spot at Northgate Center. The store opened for business on March 24, 2003 in a brand new, 16,000-square-foot building.
At that time, I wrote in Business Pulse about the new competition that was coming to town in the entertainment business. I wrote that I hoped Hastings could co-exist with Bookland and Wizard’s so none of the stores would have to go out of business.
Well, we all see how that turned out. Wizard’s closed within the year at Plaza Shopping Center and Bookland closed at Three Star Mall on April 12, 2008. I’m hoping for a miraculous turn of events to prevent Hastings from closing in McMinnville.

Newtown Foodland
up for auction

An absolute commercial auction is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23 at 10:30 a.m. for the old Newtown Foodland building. It’s a prime retail location on Nashville Highway with a 10,500-square-foot building and around 50 parking spaces.
Being an absolute auction, realtor Donald Hillis says the property will sell that day. He and property owner Richard McMahan determined that would be the best way to attract interest.
“There’s no minimum bid and no reserves,” said Donald. “That’s really the best way to get people to show up and we’ve received quite a bit of interest. I think the feeling is most people would like for someone to buy it and keep it as a grocery store, but we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.”
Donald says an absolute auction will almost always attract a larger crowd.
“It’s harder to get people to show up, especially out-of-town people, if they don’t know if their bid will be enough,” said Donald. “This way you know if you have the high bid, you get the property. Nobody is going to come along and say that’s not enough.”
Donald says all display shelving and freezers in the store will also be auctioned off. He added that the two-bay, block garage on the corner will be auctioned separately.
It’s my hope the building will be purchased by someone who would like to re-open a grocery store there. History proves such a business will work at that location.

not open

Yamata Japanese Steakhouse at Plaza Shopping Center has been closed the past few days and I’m not sure about its status.
What I do know is the restaurant has not been open during its regular business hours. What happens next is anybody’s guess. It could re-open in a week or two. It could remain closed. Who knows.
What I do know is Yamato opened in April and did especially strong business right out of the gate. The first few weekends there was a long wait to get a table.
By all accounts, the food was very good. I heard some grumbling about the service, but we all know how folks like to complain. I’ll keep my eye on the restaurant to see if I notice signs of life.

New manager
at Tiger Lily

One of the biggest flower occasions of the year is approaching this Thursday as Valentine’s Day arrives. Tiger Lily Florist is ready for the rush with new manager Janet McCarter, who has been in the floral business the past 10 years.
“This is a really personal business,” said Janet. “You have to get to know your customers and let them know you care. So much of the work is funeral work and that comes at a time when families are going through a tough time so you have to be compassionate.”
Janet said Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are just two days out of the year. Funerals, on the other hand, are year-round so that makes up the bulk of the floral and gift business.
“I want all my customers to be satisfied and if they’re not satisfied I want to hear about it,” said Janet.
Tiger Lily Florist is located near the corner of Old Smithville Road and the bypass next to NHC. It can be reached at 474-5459.

Earn extra cash
by selling Avon

If your monthly budget is tight and you’re looking at ways to earn a little extra cash, you might want to consider selling Avon products.
Local Avon unit leader Rachel Harris is trying to recruit new Avon representatives so if you’re interested give her a call at (931) 743-7033. The job is touted as a great way to earn extra money while also working on a flexible schedule. You can continue with your current job while selling Avon on the side.
“Typically most people can plan on earning $100 to $300 a month when they’re just starting out,” said Rachel. “And of course that amount grows as you become most established and get more customers.”
joins Ascend

If you’ve been wondering about the job status of Morrison resident Kara Youngblood, I have an announcement. Kara has joined the legal department of Ascend Federal Credit Union serving in the capacity of  associate counsel.
“I’m a regulatory compliance attorney,” said Kara. “I provide legal counsel and opinions regarding compliance issues with federal regulations and state laws. I appreciate the opportunity to use my education and experience to maintain the integrity of this well-established and respected financial institution.”
Kara graduated from MTSU in May 2009. She received her juris doctor from The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in May 2012. She was granted a license to practice law in November and she’s a member of the Upper Cumberland Young Lawyers Association.
Ascend Federal Credit Union has a financial center located inside Three Star Mall. The editors of Business Pulse want to say congratulations Kara.

That’s all folks

With Valentine’s Day approaching, show me some business love and phone in your tips at 473-2191 or email