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Business Pulse 2-8-15
Shoe Sensations permanent location at Three Star Mall is in the final stages of remodeling. The store will move back there this week.

Here’s great news to start the day. A company called SmartAsset has ranked the top 10 cities in which to retire in Tennessee and McMinnville has made the list at … drumroll please … No. 5. That's cause for applause.
Ranking No. 1 as the top place in all of Tennessee to retire is Crossville. Rounding out the top 10:
No. 2  Paris
No. 3  Winchester
No. 4  Savannah
No. 5  McMinnville
No. 6  Brentwood
No. 7  Sevierville
No. 8  Lawrenceburg
No. 9  Union City
No. 10  Maryville
“The world is finally discovering what we knew all along,” said McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley. “McMinnville is a great place to play or stay.”
In determining the top places to retire, SmartAsset measured several factors which are deemed “quality of life” issues. These include local taxes, number of doctor offices per 1,000 people, recreation centers, retirement centers, and percentage of seniors in the area.
McMinnville would have ranked even higher in the survey if the quality of the local newspaper was taken into consideration, but that wasn’t included in the SmartAsset study.
Remember, a happy, healthy retirement depends a lot on location. And attracting retirees to an area is one way to boost an economy.
Retirees aren’t starting companies and making payroll, but they are looking for entertainment, are likely to seek volunteer projects, and they do need medical care. They also don’t have kids to put through school.
Retirees are a key piece of the equation when looking to build a vibrant community. I’m glad to see McMinnville ranked No. 5.

RadioShack in bankruptcy

Let’s turn our attention to Three Star Mall, which is a great place to visit for all your shopping needs. The long-expected news from RadioShack became official Thursday when the troubled company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
What does this mean for our beloved RadioShack at the mall? That’s a good question. RadioShack says it plans to sell 1,500 to 2,400 stores to its largest shareholder, Standard General, and has filed a motion to close the remainder of its 4,000 U.S. stores.
Standard General, in turn, has a deal with wireless carrier Sprint to open stores in up to 1,750 of the RadioShack locations it's buying. This would more than double the number of Sprint retail stores across the country as it’s said the stores will operate under the Sprint name.
It’s hard to make a cotton candy day out of this bad news. RadioShack was a once-proud company that got its start in 1921. It was huge in the 1960s and ’70s when home electronics and stereo equipment burst onto the scene.
I remember buying a boom box from RadioShack when I was 11 and it was my most prized possession for about two years until I got my first pair of parachute pants. But the days of prosperity are long gone for RadioShack, which has not turned a profit since 2011. The company has about 27,500 employees worldwide.
I’d like to think our RadioShack at the mall will be one of the stores that survives and emerges from bankruptcy. I’ve found when in doubt, the best philosophy is to remain positive.

Shoe Sensation is remodeling

Shoe Sensation is completely remodeling its store at Three Star Mall. In the process, it’s been doing business at a temporary location – the old Bookland store.
What strikes me most about this temporary Shoe Sensation is how much better the mall looks with a business that’s open at the old Bookland spot. It makes me wonder why a tenant hasn’t filled that spot in close to seven years.
If memory serves me correctly, it was in April 2008 when Bookland closed its doors at Three Star Mall. Since then the space has been used for some craft vendors around Christmas, a school-related art show, and various other things like a Coats for the Community distribution site. But there hasn’t been another permanent retailer to fill that spot.
With Shoe Sensation open for business there for roughly three weeks, it really makes a big difference in the overall impression of that end of the mall.
As for Shoe Sensation, it’s scheduled to return to its normal spot later this week. I’ve been told store employees will start the move Monday and Tuesday with hopes of being done by Wednesday or Thursday. Then there will be a grand reopening Feb. 19, complete with ribbon cutting at 9 a.m.

Second location for STAR

It was over nine years ago when Bud McGiboney first opened a STAR Physical Therapy in McMinnville on N. Chancery Street. Back in those days, Bud was close to a one-man operation, but that didn’t last long.
His business has grown and now he has four therapists working from his N. Chancery Street office as he’s been joined by Terry Ables, Scottie Sissom and Kimberly Feno. With the four of them staying busy, Bud decided it was time to expand and his second office is located below Dr. Jeff Peterson on Sparta Highway.
“When Dr. Peterson called and asked if we would be interested in expanding, I saw it as a tremendous opportunity for us,” said Bud. “Dr. Peterson has been here for three years and really grown his practice and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
Dr. Peterson operates Pinnacle Orthopaedics, which specializes in mending broken bones and performing various surgeries such as hip, shoulder and knee. When people have this type of surgery, the next step is to work back to help with physical therapy. That’s where STAR comes into play.
“Dr. Peterson can send them downstairs and have Bud and the gang take care of them,” said Bud. “It’s really nice in terms of convenience and I think this will also be good for patients in Rock Island or patients coming from Sparta.”
STAR operates 60 clinics all over Tennessee. The newest one at 3087 Sparta Highway opened last week. Bud says the four existing therapists on staff will travel between the two clinics for the time being, but he says he anticipates a need to hire more staff in the future. This means more jobs, which is good.
For more information about STAR, call 668-1595.

Thoughts on Old Fraley’s

All this talk about the old Bookland location got me thinking about the old Fraley’s building on Main Street. Ken Roberts of Security Equipment has owned the old Fraley’s building since 2005 and has long had renovation plans, but the spot has largely been vacant.
Ken told me Friday he has found no interest in anyone using the entire building because it’s simply too big. So he has dropped back, regrouped, and now has another plan. He wants to remodel the ground floor into six smaller commercial spots that would be a better fit for prospective businesses.
“This wouldn’t be a piecemeal job, but a complete renovation,” said Ken. “It’s something that would have to be done all at once because I’m envisioning six shops with six separate entrances. When you do that, you also have to redo all the plumbing for six bathrooms, you have to have six electrical boxes. It’s not a small undertaking. It’s a major investment.”
Over the past 10 years, downtown revitalization has always been one step forward, two steps back. But downtown is starting to turn the corner and I believe the Park Theatre, when it opens, will really provide some momentum.
If the old Fraley’s could be redone into six retail spaces, it would provide a tremendous boost and I believe the spots would be in demand. Ken feels the same way, although he thinks the two downtown fires have hurt his building.
“The downtown fires broke the continuity of shopping,” said Ken. “Now that those are just parking spaces, it makes it less attractive for the Fraley’s building. The psychological aspect of it is people don’t want to walk by vacant spaces when they’re shopping. I’m not sure why, but that’s the way it is.”
I’m sure it would cost quite a pretty penny to get Fraley’s remodeled from one giant store to six small retail shops and it may never happen, but at least it sounds good.

What’s that new barn?

I always encourage readers to call, write, email or text me with their business questions.
So when someone asks me a question, I feel a sense of obligation to find an answer.
This week’s question: “Hey, what’s that new barn they built on Smithville Highway by Morton’s Horticulture? When I drove by to go to work in the morning it wasn’t there and when I drove back later that day, there it was.”
Thank you for your question. The answer is that spot has been leased to Watson Brothers, a business that specializes in wooden outdoor stuff like playsets and lawn furniture. The business should be up and running in the near future, just in time to get something nice for your yard this summer.
In finding that business answer, I also received another business question. The guys at Morton’s Horticulture wanted to know who owns the building next to them that has been several things over the years but is probably best known for being a Mexican store and restaurant.
According to Warren County tax records, Jose Ochoa bought the building in 1996 for $175,000 and that’s when it was operated as an authentic Mexican store and restaurant. Beginning in 2006, the building started to change hands and it was owned by two different people before Daniel Martin bought it in 2012 to open McMinnville Bar and Grill.
Daniel owns several pieces of property around town and may best be known for opening Club 931 on Beersheba Street by the bridge.

That’s all folks

Let me know about your business thoughts or questions by emailing
If you want to hear the sound of my voice, call 473-2191.