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Business Pulse 7-12-15
Auntie Annes pretzels located inside Walmart is closing. The last day is scheduled for this Wednesday, unless they run out of products sooner. While the manager and general manager declined to comment on why the business is closing, they did say a new owner is being sought in order to reopen. Anyone interested can call manager Terry Tomlin at 931-259-2591. Pictured are Tomlin and Jessica Butcher. There will be managers specials until closing. The business opened at that location just over a year ago in May 2014.

You never know what's going to arrive in your email inbox. Just last week I was looking through my messages when I noticed an urgent warning from AAA, the popular auto club group.
The message told me to never, ever take selfies of myself and my pet while driving. Well duh. What great advice is AAA going to issue next? Warning: Don't clean your gun while driving.
But apparently this is a problem. As I looked further down this email warning, it revealed results of a driving survey. The survey said 12 percent of people have admitted to taking selfies of themselves with their pet while driving. In another startling survey finding, 17 percent say they feed their pet while driving.
Just out of curiosity, I wonder how many people surveyed admitted to paying attention to the road while driving. The fact AAA has to issue a warming to tell folks not to take pictures of themselves with their pet while driving is a little unnerving.
That's my observation for the day. Thankfully, there's business news to divert my attention to more important matters.

Bank looks to cash in on acquisition

Here’s more big news in the local banking industry.
Citizens Tri-County Bank has signed a purchase and assumption agreement to acquire the Morrison branch of Massachusetts-based Berkshire Bank.
Citizens Tri-County Bank will acquire deposits of approximately $22 million, and loans of approximately $11 million, from Berkshire Bank.
The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. Citizens Tri-County Bank will retain the current employees of the acquired branch and is working closely with Berkshire Bank to assure a smooth transition for all customers.
Citizens Tri-County Bank president and CEO John V. Barker said, “Citizens Tri-County Bank is excited to have the opportunity to serve additional customers in the McMinnville area and we are working hard to lay the groundwork to ensure all of our new customers will experience a smooth transition.”
Barker continued, “This transaction allows us to expand our team with experienced and talented associates and will increase our McMinnville-area deposit base while complementing our current branch network nicely. Citizens Tri-County Bank has had significant success serving the financial needs of consumers and small businesses in the McMinnville area and we anticipate this new location, which has excellent visibility and easy access, will allow us to attract new customers and grow our market share. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers and building great relationships in all eight counties where our branches are located.”
For those of you who may not remember, Citizens Tri-County Bank first opened for business in 1972 and offers a full-range of community banking services. The bank has assets of over $650 million and currently operates in eight Tennessee counties with 18 full-service offices, five drive-thru branches, and 26 ATMs in Altamont, Coalmont, Dunlap, Jasper, McMinnville, Monteagle, Palmer, Pikeville, Signal Mountain, Soddy Daisy, South Pittsburg, Spencer, Tracy City, Tullahoma, and Whitwell.
As for Berkshire, the bank bills itself as “America’s Most Exciting Bank.” I’ve been a Berkshire customer since the bank has been in McMinnville and I don’t know if I’d describe it as exciting. Is any bank really that exciting? Maybe I’m missing something.
Business Pulse wants to extend congratulations to Citizen’s Tri-County Bank on its new acquisition. I didn’t realize the bank has over $650 million in assets. That’s strong.

Bye-bye Pretzels

A new owner is currently being sought for Auntie Anne’s, the pretzel shop located inside Walmart. The store is scheduled to close this Wednesday unless supplies run out sooner.
Word I’m hearing is that, under an ideal scenario, the store can remain where it is and reopen under new ownership. Pretzels will continue to flow and there will be goodwill toward man.
Auntie Anne’s opened at our Walmart just over a year ago in May of 2014. If you would like more information on this business opportunity, the number to call is (931) 259-2591.

Boutique opens on Spring Street

North Spring Street is starting to get busy with Shea’s Southern Boutique the latest business to open in that part of downtown. It’s owned by Shea Butcher and it opened Wednesday.
The store specializes in women’s clothing, which Shea has been selling since last fall. She started with an online store, taking orders through PayPal. Her site did so well, with some 15,000 followers, she decided to open a retail location.
“It’s been going great,” said Shea. “I started last fall when I got done with school at Tennessee Tech. I did a booth in Cookeville at Broadway Boutique Mall for a couple months and then I heard about this here. Kristin worked hard to recruit me.”
Kristin is Kristin Beedle of It All Makes Scents. That business was initially on N. Spring Street before moving to Main Street last month.
But N. Spring is still getting some punch with Shea’s located next door to New 2U Consignment and Thrift. This gives folks two stores to hit at once.
“I’d like people to be able to park and walk around downtown to do some shopping,” said Shea. “I have mostly things for women right now. I also do embroidery work which is extremely popular and I can do vinyl work for cars, caps and T-shirts. The vinyl work has a pretty quick turnaround.”
Shea says the vinyl works great as a car decal. She’s made a tooth for a recent dental graduate and scissors for a new hairstylist.
Her inventory is seasonal with summer stock in full swing. In the fall, leggings and long-sleeved shirts will arrive.
The store is open Wednesday thru Saturday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The phone number is 212-3799.

Davis Homes is moving

For 27 years, Dale Davis has operated Davis Homes on Smithville Highway. The business will remain on that road but is in the process of moving about a quarter of a mile further from town just past Gateway Tire.
Dale says he has purchased 7.5 acres on the other side of Ben Lomand Connect and passing motorists will soon notice work being done on that site.
“I’m going to need a whole lot of gravel,” said Dale. “It’s a bigger lot, but it’s a different lot. This one is mostly all road frontage. The new one is almost twice as big but it goes further back. We’re going to fancy up the place and make it look nice.”
Dale first opened Davis Homes at its current site as a 30-year-old. At that time he wasn’t interested in buying the property because he wasn’t convinced the business would be successful. But once he realized he would be able to make it, Dale says he’s tried several times over the years to buy the property. A deal never materialized so Dale decided to move the business to property he can own.
“One thing for sure is we want to sell everything we have on the lot so we’re having a moving sale,” said Dale. “I don’t want to pay to move it, then pay to move it again later. When we get to our new location we will have all new homes. It will be like starting over.”
The new location includes a nice home which Dale says he will transform into an office. He just wants his customers to know he’s made a short move and not gone out of business.
“I’d say 75 percent of my business is from outside of Warren County,” said Dale. “I’d hate for somebody to drive here from out of town, not see us open and think we’ve gone out of business. We’re just moving a little ways down the road. You can almost see it from here.”

Golf course deal lands in the rough

It was about a month ago in this normally reliable column I reported that Tony and Jeanie Poss had struck a deal to reopen Collins River Golf Course at the foot of Harrison Ferry Mountain. After a series of twists and turns, it pains me to report the deal has collapsed and the golf course won’t be reopening under the guidance of Tony and Jeanie.
The two currently run the 9-hole golf course and swimming pool in Smithville. They became interested in Collins River when a number of Warren County golfers told them they would be a nice fit to revive this course.
“We had a verbal agreement and I thought it was going to happen, but it didn’t and now it’s not going to happen,” said Tony. “I don’t have anything bad to say about it. The deal just fell through.”
Tony says he would like to get the word out they will not be reopening Collins River because they have received a number of phone calls in Smithville asking about the status of the project.
“That article really generated a lot of interest,” said Tony. “You wouldn’t believe the calls we’ve received. I know there were people who wanted that to be a go and I wish it could have happened. But if you want to play golf, we have a great public course here in Smithville. We also have an Olympic-sized swimming pool with two slides and two diving boards. People love playing golf and going to the pool afterwards.”
Most local golfers are likely familiar with the course in Smithville. I think it’s a charming, 9-hole challenge, if charming is a word that can be used to describe a golf course. Maybe it’s not masculine enough.
Tony said one big attraction is his prices. You can golf 9 holes with a cart for just $13 or 18 holes for $25. If you arrive after 2 p.m., you can play unlimited golf until the course closes for $25.
“It’s a great course to walk,” said Tony. “For people who like to do that I’ll let them use a pull cart for free.”
For more information on Smithville Golf Club and Swimming Pool, call (615) 597-6648.

Rooster’s Café not clucking

Over the past month I’ve had a couple people ask about Rooster’s Café, the restaurant that was going to open near the fairgrounds at the intersection of Yager and Old Smithville roads.
I was able to reach property owner Russell Baum on Friday and it doesn’t sound like the restaurant is going to open.
“We had it sold at auction and the guy gave me a bad check,” said Russell. “It’s no big deal about the property because we still have that, but he did take a bunch of equipment we’re trying to get back.”
I first talked to Russell about the property when I noticed renovation work taking place about two years ago. At that time, he said he hoped to have the restaurant open by Thanksgiving of 2013.
However, as is usually the case, there were some unexpected delays and the opening date was pushed back. When I stopped by and looked inside the building on Friday, there are tables in place, an ice machine, and various kitchen items visible in the dining room. Russell said the property is for sale, although he wouldn’t say Rooster’s Café is never going to open.
“I’ve learned to never say never,” said Russell. “But I’m not real crazy about McMinnville and my work is out of town now. My wife is getting to the point where she doesn’t want to mess with it.”
This doesn’t look extremely promising in my book.

The peaches are coming

If you've placed an order for a box of Georgia peaches, the delivery date is this Monday. Peaches will be available at USA Gym on South Chancery Street on Monday from 8 to 10 a.m., and from 4 to 6 p.m.
For those who didn't place an order in advance, there will be boxes available to purchase on site. The cost is $25 for a box that will contain between 21 and 24 delicious peaches.

That’s all folks

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