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Business Pulse 4-19-15
Stephen Keck has joined Security Federal as a financial advisor and is bringing a number of new financial services to the bank. He can be reached at 507-4308.

Have you ever thought about having a Burger King wedding? Actually the thought briefly crossed my mind, but I could tell Cupcake wasn’t hip to the idea so I quickly dropped it.
Well the idea is sticking for a Springfield, Ill., couple who is getting an all-expenses-paid wedding courtesy of the fast-food giant. The wedding between Joel Burger and Ashley King is scheduled to take place July 17. The engagement was reported in the State Journal-Register as the Burger-King wedding and the newspaper noted the two have been together since fifth grade.
Even though it’s customary for the woman’s name to appear first in engagements, the two are happy to flip the order and be known as Burger-King. Their engagement photo was even taken outside the local Burger King restaurant. I guess you could say this is going to be one whopper of a wedding.
A Burger King spokesperson said the company felt an “overwhelming urge” to pay for the couple’s wedding. With that being said, I’m going to change my name to Waffle House before I apply for my next car loan and see what happens.

Jackson Kayak to add 250 jobs

When you talk about success stories, I can think of few better than Jackson Kayak, which announced Wednesday it would be investing $6.5 million to expand its operations and add 250 jobs.
To understand the significance of this announcement, you have to remember Jackson Kayak and its humble beginnings. It was 12 years ago when I made the trip to Rock Island to interview Eric Jackson about his upstart business.
At the time, Eric was a bit nomadic. He had been traveling around the country when Rock Island caught his fancy and he decided to settle down here. An avid kayaker, he figured making kayaks was as good a business idea as any.
The block shop he was using as his production facility was a glorified shed, maybe 750 square feet in size, and overlooking Rock Island State Park. If nothing else it was convenient because he could jaunt down to the water to give his kayaks a try. That was back in 2003.
Fast forward to 2015 and Gov. Bill Haslam was included in an announcement on Wednesday revealing Jackson Kayak will be investing $6.5 million to expand its current operations in White County in the former Philips Lighting building at 3300 McMinnville Highway. The expansion will create 250 new jobs.
The old Philips Lighting building is 300,000 square feet. In addition to its kayaks, Jackson Kayak has expanded and also produces a line of Orion coolers. Already with sales worldwide, Jackson Kayak expects its sales to double in the next five years.
In talking about the inception of Jackson Kayak, Eric said, “In 2002, after eight years of living in an RV full time with my family, we decided to start our own business. After traveling most of the USA every year, we chose White County and Rock Island as our favorite place to settle down. We originally moved here for the beauty of the area, the temperate weather, the great kayaking and the low cost of living. Then, when we started our business in the fall of 2003, we were very pleasantly greeted with an awesome work force and a very gracious and accommodating county, region, and state. I can’t imagine a better place to live and do business than White County and Tennessee.”
Warren County industrial recruiter Don Alexander says even though Jackson Kayak is located in White County, there are about 40 local residents who work there. During Thursday’s monthly Industrial Development Board meeting, the topic of Jackson Kayak was discussed with some IDB members saying this is a company Warren County let slip away.
“It would sure be nice to have those tax dollars here,” said IDB member Jeff Golden. Jeff went on to say he has had recent conversations with Jackson Kayak officials and was told Warren County was not very accommodating when approached by Jackson Kayak about possible expansion here.
Said IDB member Gary Judkins, “When we miss out on something like this we should learn from it and find out what we could do differently.”
Those comments aside, I don’t want to dilute the accomplishments of Eric Jackson and his family. This was a business that, best I can remember, had a workforce of three people 12 years ago. Now it’s preparing to hire 250. What an overwhelming success story.

Spec building for the city?

Anyone who has read this column with any regularity knows I’m a fan of spec buildings. And why not? The county is 3-for-3 in constructing spec buildings and getting them filled with manufacturing jobs. What’s not to like?
With that said, it caught my attention Thursday during the monthly Industrial Development Board meeting when talked turned to constructing a spec building inside McMinnville city limits.
“A new speculative building might be something we want to look at in the coming months,” said industrial recruiter Don Alexander. “The secret is putting in sky-high ceilings because that’s what these companies want. There are spec buildings now with 40-foot ceilings.”
IDB members discussed purchasing land inside the city limits on which to put a spec building. A number of potential sites were mentioned around town.
“We’ve always complained about not having property inside the city limits that we could do something with,” said IDB member Jeff Golden, who supported the idea of constructing a spec building inside the city limits.
The board decided to begin considering a number of locations inside the city for a spec building.

Keck joins Security Federal

Ken Smith has ridden off into the retirement sunset and Stephen Keck has taken his place as a financial advisor at Security Federal.
Stephen offers a full line of financial services including help with stocks, bonds, retirement, wealth planning, trusts and estates. Prior to coming on board at Security Federal, he did estate planning for Bryan College in Dayton.
“I’m looking to build on what Ken’s done here at the bank and keep it moving forward,” said Stephen. “There is no cookie-cutter solution that fits everyone. I like to have one-on-one conversations and develop individualized plans that fit each person’s needs.”
I enjoy buying stocks so I asked Stephen his approach to the always-unpredictable market. He said timing the market is nearly impossible as global events or natural disasters can strike at any time to throw a wrench into a bull run.
“I look at the fundamentals of the company and if those fundamentals are strong, I’ll consider that company for the long term,” said Stephen. “The one thing you don’t want to do is sell at the bottom of the market. It’s hard not to do, especially when what you have is losing value, but you don’t want to sell at the bottom and that’s a hard thing to get people to understand.”
Stephen said he’s eager to meet with all sorts of clients, whether they’re just starting out or if they’re trying to grow their wealth.
“I love to sit down and work with young couples because that’s a major part of them getting off on the right foot,” said Stephen. “One of the hardest things young couples go through is their finances.”
If you’d like your money to draw more than .5 percent interest in a savings account, give Stephen a call at Security Federal. He can be reached at 507-4308.

New manager takes root at Co-op

Ken Smith isn’t the only one to enter the realm of retirement. At Warren Farmers Co-op, Don Robbins said goodbye after an illustrious 23-year career as manager.
In his place, Josh Chandler has been named the new manager. He began his new job April 1.
“This was a personal goal of mine,” said Chandler of being named manager after 12 years with the company. “The job definitely has its challenges but we have a good business here with a lot of potential to grow. I think it helps with me taking over because I already know the customers and the employees.”
The local Co-op store has 25 employees. The bread and butter of the business is as an agricultural retailer. Chandler says about 80 percent of the company’s business comes from fertilizer, feed and fuel.
The seemingly never-ending rain we’ve been experiencing has drenched fertilizer sales because farmers have been kept indoors. But Chandler says clear skies are in the forecast for this week so he expects to be busy.
Co-op is also known for its tire shop with a full line of tires to fit everything from tractors to lawnmowers.
“We have a service truck that’s a really big part of the tire business,” said Chandler. “For some people, it’s not practical for them to bring their tractor to us, especially is they have a really big combine.”
If you want 100 percent gasoline not tainted with ethanol you can get it at Co-op. Chandler says 100 percent gas is better for many small engines and farm equipment.
As for growth, Chandler said he’d like to develop more of an outside sales staff that can go visit farmers in the field. He said that’s a goal he’d like to see for this year. Two or three years down the road he’d like expand the tire shop into a car care center.
“If we’re being honest, we probably outgrew our two-bay shop 10 to 15 years ago,” said Chandler. “This will allow us to handle more business and to do more things like alignments and brakes.”
Business Pulse would like to congratulate Chandler on his promotion. May your days be filled with feed and seed.

Miller Photography adds studio

What started as an idea for a little personal space has turned into a rustic studio for David and Shelly Miller of Miller Photography.
“This was going to be my man cave,” said David. “But that didn’t last long. She saw it and took it over.”
David, whose father was a homebuilder, learned the tricks of the trade from his dad and built the studio himself, except for the roof. It has an inviting front porch and an interior that welcomes you with large wall portraits taken by the Millers.
“There have been people driving by who have stopped and asked if I would build one of these for them,” said David. “After what I’ve been through with this, I don’t think anyone has enough money for that.”
The studio is located on Highland Road as you’re heading toward Midway. They do some shooting there, but say they do most of their work on location depending on the tastes of the person being photographed. Their specialty is photos for high school seniors.
“We really want the kids to have input in their photos and have senior pictures that are unique to them,” said David. “It’s not like when I was growing up and everyone put on the same tuxedo and you felt so awkward. I remember my senior photo and it looked awful.”
Shelly says they love to get creative and allow the students to express themselves. In addition to photos, they also provide a video segment to accompany the pictures.
“That’s the direction this is going,” said Shelly. “Most of our work is senior photos, but some of it leads to family photos. A lot of families want to have one last picture together before the bird leaves the nest. A lot of the moms will get sad. They’ll say, ‘I can’t believe it’s time for senior photos already.’”
Shelly says Miller Photography is excited about a photo of senior Lydia Wilson. The picture of Lydia was published in Shutter Magazine, which is a national publication for photographers.
If you’re anxious to give the photo services of Miller Photography a try, here are two dates to remember. The business will be holding a headshot day at the Chamber on April 29 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come and get a professional headshot made during that time.
If you’re looking for other photo services, remember to call May 1 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone who books a photo shoot on May 1 will get 75 percent off.
“We don’t take the pictures that day,” said Shelly. “That’s when we schedule the appointment. You have until the end of the year to get the pictures done.”
Miller Photography can be reached at 668-1969 or

Local veterinarians give thanks

Much of the county was spared damage from the storm that swept through on Good Friday. However, that wasn’t the case for Drs. Sam and Linda Young, whose veterinary office was hit hard. High winds blew half the roof off their clinic and pounding rain soaked the office.
“You have no idea how many people stopped in to help,” said Linda. “There are some good things that happen in Warren County and we just want to thank everyone who pitched in and helped us.”
Linda said no one – and no animals – were hurt by the storm. She says about 20 animals were at the clinic when the storm hit. The heavy rain left over an inch of water on the office floor but the major equipment was all saved.
Said Sam and Linda, “We would like to give a special thanks to all who helped us control and clean up damage to our clinic. Thanks to our staff and their families, Warren County sheriff’s deputies, Warren County Animal Control, neighbors, utility services, friends and clients who moved furniture, removed water and water-damaged materials, brought food, and roofed our building to keep us safe and secure and all within 24 hours. This is just one of the many examples of what a great and caring community we have in Warren County.”

That’s all folks

What a week it’s been in the world of business. If you know of news I didn’t report, give me a call at 473-2191.