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Business Cheetah 10-29
Blue Building interest picks up again
A development group is pitching the Blue Building to several hotel chains in hopes of getting a bite. The city-owned building has been vacant for eight years.

It’s around this time of year, when the seasons shift and people scurry to find their pumpkin spice, that interest in the Blue Building seems to percolate.
Like the end of daylight saving time, which coincidentally is next weekend, interest in the Blue Building seems to dawn once a year. And like daylight saving time, there’s a lot of initial talk, but after a few weeks people forget about it and go on with their lives.
To rekindle interest, the city pays for a Blue Building study and the process starts all over again.
With this introduction serving as a backdrop, it’s my pleasure to announce there’s once again interest in the Blue Building. A development group has taken a fancy to the property and is interested in putting a name-brand hotel there. This group is in the process of petitioning franchises in hopes of landing, say, Marriott.
The plan is not to level the Blue Building and construct a shiny, new hotel. Rather the idea is to leave the Blue Building on its feet, enhance the historical elements of it, and provide a hotel experience layered in exhilaration.
According to reports, this property development group is motivated and has experience in hotel development, including three projects currently under construction.
From my moderate understanding, incentives are available for Blue Building development through the city’s newly formed Tourism Development Board. The seven-member board has been established and includes Jimmy Haley, Mandy Eller, Katy Kemezis, John Partin, Christy Ross, Matthew Sands and Michael Griffith.
I’ve heard some people say they won’t believe a hotel chain will locate at the Blue Building until they see the sign go up. To those people I say this: It will take more than a sign for me.
If you recall, StrategicWire was going to move into the Blue Building eight years ago. According to Business Cheetah records, the company signed a lease on Nov. 20, 2009 and even installed a giant sign.
StrategicWire was going to hire 100, then hiring got pushed back and pushed back. The opening was continually delayed and eventually the deal got sucked into a giant black hole. Then the sign came down.
All of this is to say I look forward to seeing the Blue Building once it’s converted to an Embassy Suites or a Hilton. That’s exactly what McMinnville needs.

The one that got away

The old Captain D’s building is once again on the market.
The property was sold to an East Tennessee businessman who said he planned to level the building and construct a new restaurant there. But those plans have evaporated.
“I sold it, closed on it, and now it’s on the market again,” said realtor Sally Steakley.
The property was sold to Birdies Holdings LLC of Johnson City three months ago on July 27. The selling price was $375,000.
Initial plans were to put a drive-thru only restaurant at that location. The owner already operates one of those restaurants and this would have been his second. However, he had no plans to be a hands-on owner.
From what I’m hearing, plans didn’t materialize with the management team he thought he had in place locally and that’s when the decision was made to halt his plans and sell the property. It’s only been back on the market a short time, but Sally says there’s been good interest.
“I probably won’t get anything done this year, maybe the first of next year,” said Sally.

More news from Walgreens

We keep getting bits and pieces of additional information as Walgreens works to buy nearly 2,000 Rite Aid locations.
On Wednesday, Walgreens announced it will close about 600 drugstores as part of the deal.
Walgreens did not announce which stores are scheduled to close, but did say it would be mostly Rite Aid locations within one mile of another store. In case you’re wondering, our Walgreens and Rite Aid are almost exactly one mile apart. The company did say some Walgreens stores will be closing as well.
The closures are expected to start in the spring and be completed over the next 18 months. It’s my hope McMinnville keeps both its Rite Aid and Walgreens stores. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Get ready to consign

There’s an easy answer to why Mary Don Bixby named her new business The Third Week Consignment Shop. Beginning Monday, Nov. 20, the store will only be open the third full week of each month.
Bixby has selected the old homestead at 210 North Chancery Street as the location for her shop. She is currently accepting clothing, jewelry, purses, small furniture and other consignment items in preparation for her opening.
“I looked at a lot of different places and I love this place because a house has character traditional retail space doesn’t,” said Bixby. “There’s also really good parking here in the back.”
The house, built in 1934, is adorable with a coal-burning fireplace and thick, wooden trim. The main difference is its tiny size. The two bedrooms seem miniature by today’s standards. The closets are so small, they couldn’t fit all of my jeans.
The bathroom resembles a phone booth, for anyone who can remember what a phone booth looks like. And the family room is about the size of my current closet. Homes today have certainly gotten mucho grande, which I think is the way to say very big in Spanish.
This is not to suggest there’s not room for your items at The Third Week Consignment Shop. Every room in the house is dedicated to merchandise and there’s ample space for more.
In an interesting twist, Bixby remembers playing in this very home as a child. She grew up in Warren County, moved away for a bit, and now she’s back.
“One of the neat things about a small town like this is I still have some of my friends from elementary school,” said Bixby.
To drop off consignment items before the Nov. 20 opening, give her a call at (931) 304-3428.

Making a new mold

Quality Mold, established in 1976, is on the grow. The business at 4246 Smithville Highway is putting the finishing touches on a new building next to its longtime facility.
It’s a 9,600-square-foot building that gives Quality Mold more space but it’s not expected to generate any new jobs.
“We’re just getting a little more legroom,” said managing director Floyd Bouldin. “We’re expanding but we’re not hiring anybody. We’re hoping that once we get set up over there our plastic molding business will grow.”
The building has been constructed with a tall ceiling, which has become an industry standard. Floyd said the tall ceiling will add to efficiency because a hoist will be used instead of a forklift. He said the plan is to move three employees to the new building by the first of the year.
“We’re still working inside to get everything ready,” said Floyd. “It always goes slower than you think.”
Quality Mold is holding steady with a workforce of 35.

Another milestone

I could probably lead this column once a month with Tennessee unemployment numbers the way the state has been shattering records this year.
In September 2017, for the first time ever, the unemployment rate was below 5 percent in every county in Tennessee.
Statewide, unemployment dropped to an even 3 percent, a new Tennessee record for the fourth consecutive month. Tennessee has the lowest unemployment in the entire Southeast and the eighth lowest rate in the nation.
Williamson County tops the state with an unbelievable 2.1 percent unemployment rate. That’s followed by Davidson County (2.2 percent).
In our beloved Warren County, unemployment is 3.0 percent. Unemployment in surrounding counties is as follows: Coffee (2.8), White (3.2), Van Buren (3.4), DeKalb (3.7), Grundy (3.9).

That’s all folks

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