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Business Pulse 5-31-15
McMinnville resident Crystal Gamboa won an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas and $17,500 through the Tennessee Lottery.

Are you ready for some Bojangles chicken and biscuits? Sure you are.
After months of speculation about what might locate at the old Clayton Mobile Homes lot across from Sonic on The Strip, we finally have our answer. Bojangles will take roughly half the property, which totals 2.8 acres.
A Bojangles representative appeared before McMinnville Planning Commission members Monday to request subdividing the property.
“Bojangles will take the smaller lot, the 1.28 acres,” said civil engineer Alicia McAuley in her appearance before the Planning Commission. “That’s the one we are interested in developing. The seller will retain the other 1.52 acres and I think he’s interested in selling to some sort of retail establishment.”
According to local realtor Sally Steakley, the other part of the property, which is the 1.52 acres, is currently under contract. She seems confident a deal will go through, although the retailer has remained a great mystery. However, if you put on your thinking cap and turn it to level 10, you might be able to figure it out.
It was asked during the Planning Commission meeting if Bojangles and this mystery business behind Door No. 1 would share the same entrance to New Smithville Highway or require separate entrances. McAuley said it would be one entrance, but not in the same location it is now.
“It will actually move a little bit,” said McAuley. “It will be centered on the lot line. That will put it more in a central location. We tried our best to align it with the Sonic and the strip center across the street. We tried to keep it to where access would be optimal.”
McAuley also said she has been working with McMinnville Public Works and TDOT to have an entrance to the stores from Hobson Street and that appears like it’s going to happen.
When asked about when Bojangles construction would begin, McAuley was noncommittal.
“We don’t know at this time,” she said. “Once the site plans are approved, we will go out for bids. I can tell you that once the bid is awarded, we generally give 60 to 90 days for completion within the contract.”
The Planning Commission, beginning to salivate for some Bojangles chicken, unanimously approved dividing the property.
As for Bojangles information, the chain got its start in 1977 in Charlotte, N.C., under veteran restaurant operators Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas. Some 25 years later, the chain had expanded to 300 stores. Last year, Bojangles opened its 600th restaurant.
Bojangles prides itself on flavorful, mouth-watering chicken and one-of-a-kind fixin’s such as dirty rice and Cajun pintos. Bojangles serves its made-from-scratch biscuits all day. And lookout Captain D’s because the Bojangles website claims the chain has the best sweet tea in the business.
I think the Bojangles menu will bring a certain level of delight to Warren County. Children will be happier. Strangers will be more approachable. The summer days won’t be quite so hot, and dogs won’t scratch as much.
Stay tuned folks at home. I’ll have news about the tenant taking the other part of the property in the coming weeks.
Hardee’s to get
Red Burrito
We were driving through Woodbury last weekend and pretty much minding our own business when I looked over and saw the Hardee’s there had experienced a stunning transformation. No longer just a Hardee’s, the restaurant has become a Hardee’s Red Burrito.
Let me say I’m not one to tout my powers of observation. Maybe it’s been a Hardee’s Red Burrito for months and I’ve never been the wiser. But I noticed it last weekend so I got to thinking about our lovable Hardee’s here in McMinnville. Will it become a Hardee’s Red Burrito too?
The answer is yes. In talking to Hardee’s general manager Edrie Wann on Friday, she told me we will eventually have a Hardee’s Red Burrito.
“It’s coming but I don’t know when,” Edrie said. “It’s already happened at the Hardee’s all around us in Woodbury, Smithville and Manchester. We will be remodeled and be a Red Burrito too, I just haven’t been told when it’s scheduled.”
For those of you about to hit the panic button, let me stress Hardee’s will continue to serve its great-tasting breakfast when the Red Burrito is incorporated into the business. Hardee’s will still have its menu, the only difference will be an influx of Mexican food. If Hardee’s would go one step further and add a check advance store and discount tobacco shop, there would be no reason to shop anywhere else.
Edrie says the Mexican food menu items are tasty.
“I know I work at Hardee’s, but it’s way better than Taco Bell,” said Edrie.
Better than Taco Bell? I say impossible! This calls for a taste test once Red Burrito arrives. I’ll provide the blindfold and we’ll settle this once and for all. Loser must shave their head.

Automotive Expansion

Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander has been talking about the booming Tennessee automotive industry in recent months and how manufacturers are looking to expand this way.
We got proof of that Tuesday when Ficosa North America announced it is locating a manufacturing facility in Putnam County. The new plant is projected to be a $58 million investment that’s estimated to create 550 jobs by the end of 2016.
The project had long been called Project Uno under the nifty set of code names used by the state. Codes names are used so as not to reveal the identity of the company involved and because state officials think it's cool. It gives negotiations a secret agent feel.
Ficosa is an automotive supplier. It has an existing plant in Crossville that produces mirror assemblies for Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors. The company will transfer its existing jobs to the new Cookeville facility, which will increase production capacity and allow components currently made in China and Mexico to be made in Tennessee.
If you’re curious about the nuts and bolts of the agreement, it went through the Cookeville Industrial Development Board. The Cookeville IDB authorized the issuance of up to $50 million in industrial development revenue notes to acquire the land, property and equipment for facility construction.
Our local IDB has used similar funding mechanisms to attract businesses like DN Plastics and Miniature Precision Components.
It’s not in Warren County, but the new manufacturing facility for Ficosa is still major economic news for our region. Middle Tennessee is rockin’.

If the fish are biting . . .

Local resident Chris Snow is casting his line into the fishing lure business. A lifelong fisherman, Chris began to develop his own lures a few years back. When his lures were used by other fishermen, he always got the same response.
“People would tell me that I really needed to sell these,” said Chris. “So I took that advice.”
Chris has started a company called Snow Spin Baits and he’s making all his lures in his basement. What started out as a modest project has quickly grown and Chris is now selling his baits at 10 locations around Middle Tennessee.
Chris says he has baits as light at 1/8 of an ounce all the way up to 2 ounces.
“These are not just dedicated to lake fishing,” said Chris. “They will work in creeks or in rivers from a kayak. They’re light enough where you can throw them and they won’t sink to the bottom real quick and get stuck.”
Chris says his designs come from years of experience and trial and error. He’s been fishing with Bassmaster champs and even won a $40,000 first-place prize in a bass fishing tournament on Clarks Hill Reservoir in Georgia. He’s been featured on ESPN and in Bassmaster magazine.
“A simple change in the lure can make all the difference in the world,” said Chris. “You just have to put the stuff out there and see what works. Some lures dominate lakes. Others you’ll throw out there and won’t get a bite. That’s why you have to be versatile.”
Chris says a good fishing hole will only last for so long because weather conditions are constantly changing and the fish themselves change. He says catching fish comes down to roughly 50 percent bait and 50 percent other factors such as presentation and luck.
“There’s an art to fishing and people who are good at it do it a lot,” said Chris. “It’s just like anything else. If you’re going to be good at shooting 3-pointers you have to practice.”
So far Chris has been able to handle all the work himself. He said he hopes to expand in the future to the point where he has to rent a building and hire some employees. He said the best chance of that happening will be for someone to win a major bass tournament with one of his lures.
“That will be the fastest way to take it to the national level,” said Chris. “But that may never happen. I may never go beyond Middle Tennessee.”
If you’re interested in buying one of his lures, the easiest way may be to visit his website, If you would like to see them at a retail location, they are sold at Little Joe’s Outdoors here in McMinnville. Other sites are Outdoor Junction in Cookeville, DeKalb Ace Hardware in Smithville, Murfreesboro Outdoors, and All Seasons Outdoors in Tullahoma.
Chris says because of agreements with his dealers he doesn’t sell the lures out of his home.
If you have an idea for a lure you’d like for him to make, he says he is open to suggestion. He can be contacted at 607-0218.
“I’m only going to build a lure that I’m going to fish,” said Chris. “I could build it cheaper but then what happens when it breaks when somebody has a big fish on it. They’ll never use that brand again. If you build a good product and it catches fish, you’re always going to have name recognition.”

We have a winner

I’m always talking about things in this column that create jobs so this week I’ve decided to throw it in reverse. I’m going to talk about something that resulted in the loss of one job.
McMinnville resident Crystal Gamboa won $17,500 through the Tennessee Lottery and decided to quit her job. Now she’s living the high life.
The chain of events that led to all this started when Crystal lost playing the lottery game called Monopoly Millionaire’s Club. However, she submitted her non-winning ticket online and won a second-chance drawing that gave her an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas, Nev.
“There’s a reason they call it the City That Never Sleeps,” said Crystal. “It’s because they never sleep there.”
In Vegas, Crystal said there were 200 people in her group and they picked five of them to be contestants on a nationally syndicated and televised game show.
“They picked us at breakfast and we were immediately rushed over to the taping,” said Crystal. “They did our hair and makeup and we were on the air.”
Crystal said she won $35,000 on the show and got to keep half for herself. The remaining members of her group got to split the other $17,500.
If you’d like to be like Crystal, win the lottery and quit your job, all it takes is playing the Tennessee Lottery. Even if you lose, second-chance drawings for trips to Las Vegas are June 30, July 28, and Aug. 25.
The lottery has raised more than $3.3 billion for education in Tennessee. Players have won more than $8.2 billion in prizes.
The editors of Business Pulse do not endorse gambling, even in the name of education. However, Business Pulse does support National Ice Cream Month in July. If there’s a National Hot Fudge Brownie Month out there somewhere, we support that too.

Unemployment rate drops

The Tennessee unemployment rate decreased in 94 of the state’s 95 counties in April, highlighting by an unemployment rate of just 3.7 percent in Williamson County, the lowest in the state.
In all, Tennessee unemployment was under 5 percent in 17 counties. The highest rate was Scott County at 8.9 percent.
In Warren County, the unemployment rate was announced at 5.4 percent. I could spend hours researching when the last time Warren County unemployment has been so low, or I could just say that’s the lowest it’s been in my memory.
It’s also the first I remember Warren County unemployment being lower than the state average, which is an even 6 percent. Warren County unemployment is equal to national unemployment, which is 5.4 percent.
It appears the Warren County employment picture is looking as good as a large pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese.

That’s all folks

If you have business news to report, better get it to me this week. Bonnaroo is approaching and the road to Manchester is about to be well traveled. Phone in business tips at 473-2191, or email