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Business Pulse 5-17-15
Ken Kesey is co-owner of The Liquidation Store, which offers new merchandise at drastically reduced prices. He is pictured is front of a variety of new kitchen items at the store.

We are a competitive bunch here in the Southern Standard newsroom. Toss out an activity and chances are we’ll find a way to turn it into some sort of tournament.
This all started, to the best of my memory, about 12 years ago when the “Survivor” TV series was the rage. We decided to have our own personal “Survivor” here at the office with people forming alliances and conducting daily votes to get rid of one employee each business day. This turned rather ugly as I still remember the group that conspired against me and voted me out when we were down to the final four contestants.
That was followed by our one and only Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament, a two-day event that brought office rivalries to new heights. After weeks of training, it still bothers me I was ousted by Charlie Johnson in the opening round. I should have thrown paper instead of scissors. As a bit of trivia, Rob Nunley defeated Lisa Hobbs in the championship to claim the title.
From there we progressed to eating challenges and this is where the contests began to get just a bit out of control. After weeks of battling with things such as pizza and hotdogs, we finally reached the pinnacle when Jonathan Myers agreed to accept the ultimate test – eating 50 chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s in 20 minutes.
As you might expect this ended badly. Jonathan, to his credit, managed to choke down the 50 nuggets in the allotted time. However, they didn’t stay down for long. It’s still a controversial topic about whether he won, although we did finally get the bathroom clean.
The Jonathan incident is seldom talked about here at the paper and it led us to the realization that maybe we’re taking this thing a little too far. So we’ve mellowed a bit and decided everything doesn’t have to be a test of strength.
That is until Friday. Our corporate office, perhaps sensing we’re getting paunchy around the middle, sent out a memo saying there will be a contest from June 1 to June 28 to see which employee will take the most steps. This is a blatant attempt to get us off our rumps. And to give the contest credibility, corporate is sending every employee a pedometer to measure the number of steps taken.
To get my statement firmly on the record, I’ve already declared I will win this contest and win it with ease. However, a few of my pesky co-workers have declared “game on” and think in their Land of Make Believe they’re going to beat me. I’m not going to fault their aspirations, but I am going to shatter their dreams.

Bridgestone turning 25

If I were to sit down and make a list of the top positive influences on the Warren County economy, Bridgestone would be atop that list. When you take into account the number of people employed at Bridgestone, what they earn, and what the company gives back to the community, there really is no comparison in my humble opinion.
I say this because, believe it or not, Bridgestone of Warren County is about to turn 25. The company has scheduled a festive 25-year celebration this Friday in what’s been announced as a four-hour affair. I don’t know if I have four hours of celebration in my spirit, but I do plan on attending this monumental event.
In all of the economic conferences I’ve attended over the years, one theme rings true. It’s not the number of jobs created, but the pay of those jobs that makes a difference in improving the overall well-being of a community.
For example, a company that creates 1,000 jobs that pay minimum wage is not really of much benefit. People earning minimum wage aren’t buying houses and new cars. They are struggling to survive – and likely with government assistance.
How you make a real impact is with jobs that pay well above the average wage for an area. That provides people with extra income to buy things like four-wheelers and boats. That would be Bridgestone. So let’s all prepare to give Bridgestone a big round of applause as it celebrates a quarter century in Warren County.

Just look at those prices

If you’ve been looking for a store that sells new merchandise at cut-rate prices, look no further. The Liquidation Store has opened on Smithville Highway just past Gateway Tire.
Ken Kesey has opened the store along with a silent partner who shall remain, well, silent. Ken tells me The Liquidation Store gets its merchandise from overstocked items at Walmart, Kmart, Lowe’s, Kohl’s, and Amazon.
“We want to be the store with the cheapest prices in town,” said Ken. “You’ll only pay a quarter or half what you pay in another store. If it’s something that sells for $100, chances are you’ll pay $25 here. Except for our furniture, we really don’t have anything that costs more than $25.”
Ken says he buys his merchandise by the pallet from a close-out warehouse. He says a six-person tent that regularly retails for $100 is selling for $25 at his store. He has king-sized comforters for $25 and a wide selection of kitchen items including coffee makers, toaster ovens, and crock pots.
“The store is going to change every week depending on what I buy,” said Ken. “I didn’t expect to have bedding, but when you can sell new king-sized comforters for $25, why not? We have new sheets for $15. You can’t touch our pricing.”
There’s one room devoted to toys with nothing priced over $10. This includes a number of popular board games and some remote-controlled cars and helicopters.
“We started out in a basement and it’s grown into this,” said Ken. He said he’s been in his location a month, but only had his signs up for about two weeks. “I’m just an old retired guy who needs something to do. I’m not out here trying to make a living.”
Ken said he got his business model after examining three liquidation stores in Murfreesboro. He says he has no idea what merchandise he’ll have from week to week as it will all depend on what he buys at the warehouse.
The Liquidation Store is open Wednesday thru Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 808-3875.

Time to make the donuts

Forget about nursery stock. I’ve declared Warren County the Donut Capital of the World because we all loooove donuts.
If you want a new place to get your donut fix, The Donut Fryer has opened next to L&M Floors on Smithville Highway. The business is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays selling its unique brand of giant, handmade donuts.
“I got the idea from my brother, who does this in West Tennessee,” said Charles Witmer, who operates the donut trailer with his wife, Ada. “He’s done it for three years and is pleased with his business.”
The first day for The Donut Fryer was last Saturday and Charles reports they sold 300 donuts. The donuts are very large in terms of donut size and are yeast-raised to give them a different taste.
“They taste more like donuts rather than cake,” said Charles, who resides in the Lucky community.
Business hours are 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday. Donuts are the only food on the menu for now. Beverages include coffee, soft drinks and water.
From everything I can gather, the donuts are a big hit. I brought a box back to the office Wednesday morning and could barely get my hand out of the way before my co-workers converged. When hungry women are lurking, holding a box of donuts is not in the best interest of personal safety.

New market in Morrison

With food offerings like biscuit and gravy and delicious fried chicken, Stephanie Perez has opened Morrison Korner Market on Manchester Highway. Store hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
“I was looking for a business and my brother gave me this idea,” said Stephanie, whose brother is none other than Morrison Hardware owner Billy Joe Penegar. “He used to work for Jackie (Ewton) at the old Morrison Market so he knows some of his recipes. This is the same fried chicken Jackie used to sell.”
There are the traditional biscuit menu items for breakfast, with potato wedges, burgers, cheese sticks, and fresh deli meat sandwiches among the items for lunch. There’s a three-booth dining area if you want to eat in the store.
In addition to the hot food counter, the store has grocery items like canned food, cereal, shampoo, beer, and soft drinks. Fruits, vegetables, meat, and Mexican grocery supplies are also stocked.
Stephanie says she has gone through certification with the state to accept EBT cards and expects to receive approval for that in the coming week or so. She said she hopes to provide stability for a location that’s been in constant transition.
We were talking Friday about all the businesses that have been at that spot over the years and came up with a number of them, primarily restaurants. It was the home to Medley’s, a German restaurant for about three years, Uncle John’s twice, and two or three Mexican restaurants, but who’s counting?

Farm Credit eyes new location

I was traveling back from Morrison to McMinnville on Friday morning when I noticed a sign on Highway 55 across from McMinnville Lawn and Garden. The sign was announcing that there on the corner of Highway 55 and Pistole Lane would be the new home of Farm Credit Mid-America. The business is currently located on Smithville Highway just past KFC.
I called Farm Credit representative Scott Holmes and he told me the business just recently purchased five acres on that corner about two weeks ago. He said plans are to start building a new Farm Credit office at that spot in January and move in sometime in the spring.
“This will be a bigger building,” said Scott. “We will need additional room as we will be offering additional services.”
Our local Farm Credit office serves several counties and has a number of customers in Coffee County so the new location will be more convenient for those residents. Farm Credit offers home loans, farm loans and crop insurance for customers in rural areas. It has offices in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.
Scott said the new office is part of a Farm Credit plan to make all of its locations have the same look. He said all of the offices being constructed have the same floor plan, are using the same materials, and are being built by the same contractor. For that reason, construction problems are at a minimum and work usually goes quickly.
For folks wondering about that new Farm Credit sign, there’s your answer. Just don’t expect to see construction start till next year.

That’s all folks
I remain in a never-ending search for business news. To alert me to tips, call 473-2191 or email