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Business Cheetah 10-30
Dust off your collectibles and prepare for 'Pickers'
Frank Fritz, left, and Mike Wolfe of the hit TV show American Pickers are looking for Middle Tennessee residents to feature in November and December. If you have a sizeable or unique collection of stuff, call 1-855-OLD-RUST.

I’ve come to the determination people love to watch TV. It seems to be cause for great celebration any time this area, or a person from this community, is featured on a TV show.
If you’d like to appear on the hit History Channel show “American Pickers,” there’s hope. According to information that was sent from show producers, “American Pickers” will be emphasizing Middle Tennessee in November and December and it’s looking for fascinating people with unique collections of stuff.
Show hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have discovered their share of what they call rusty gold over the years and they’re always hunting for something they’ve never seen before. In that case, welcome to Warren County.
Mike and Frank are anxious to meet characters with remarkable antiques and then feature those antiques on TV. The amazing thing is people will sit down with a bag of chips and watch this show.
All that stuff you’ve always refused to drag to the dump could finally have some value. It could land you on TV. This could finally be your chance to proclaim to the world, “I told you so” and validate your logic for holding onto it for 30 years. If you think you have what it takes, here’s what to do.
Send your name, phone number, city, state, and a description of your collection with photos to If you’d like to use a telephone, you can leave a voicemail at 1-855-OLD-RUST. Good luck.

Collins River BBQ cooks up expansion

Joe O’Neal has been operating Collins River BBQ on Main Street for more than four years. The business has walked down the street of prosperity, in large part because of its great-tasting food.
To show his commitment to remain on Main Street in what’s become a bustling downtown district, Joe has purchased his building from Scott Barber. Business historians may recall Scott and his wife Lisa briefly operated a restaurant there in 2009 called The Magness, which featured a menu item called the Southern Standard Sandwich. Give yourself 5,000 bonus points if you remember the Southern Standard Sandwich was a grilled peanut butter and jelly.
That trip down memory lane aside, Joe has purchased the Collins River BBQ building and the building next to him that houses Stacked Bistro and Et Cetera. Those two businesses plan to remain there on the ground floor, but Joe has big plans for the second floor above them.
“I want to turn it into a banquet hall,” said Joe. “The plan is to seat about 150. It will require going through the brick wall to connect the two. I think we can get an opening about three doors wide without doing any harm structurally.”
I toured the upstairs area above Stacked Bistro and Et Cetera about two years ago and it’s a huge space, about 4,000 square feet. It has exposed brick walls so the interior will be similar to that of Collins River BBQ, but it’s not exactly in sparkling condition. Joe realizes it’s a monumental renovation project and estimates work will take six to eight months.
The most promising aspect of this transaction is we’re finally seeing business owners who are eager to invest in downtown. Being located on Main Street is no longer a penalty, but a plus. Now if we can just get that new water feature on Court Square, things will really lift off.

New Dollar General almost ready

The latest word on the street I’m hearing about the Dollar General in Newtown is the opening date will be Friday, Nov. 11. The opening will help ease the pain for nearby residents who first lost their Foodland, then lost their Meat Market.
When open, it will give Warren County a total of nine Dollar General stores. This is believed, by me at least, to be the highest concentration of Dollar Generals per capita as any county in the world.
The big question mark in my mind is whether the mighty city of Centertown will be able to keep its Dollar General once this new store opens. You may have noticed the Dollar General in Centertown is no longer on the main road now that the new four-lane to Woodbury has opened. Can it withstand the isolation? We’ll see.

What’s happening in Morrison?

I’ve been asked by several folks about the renovation work taking place on Manchester Highway in Morrison behind the Exxon station. The building that used to be Uncle John’s Café and a wine and cheese store is being completely redone.
What I’ve found is the property is owned by Gary King, who is president of Canter Oil in Shelbyville. Canter Oil operates 12 convenience stores around the Midstate, including two in Warren County.
It operates the Exxon station in Morrison, which seems to be a popular spot for truckers, and it operates what used to be Powers Four-Lane BP on Sparta Highway.
The old Uncle John’s building is located on the same piece of property as the Exxon station. It’s 8.34 acres in all. I’ve heard the renovation work is taking place with the goal of moving elements of the Exxon convenience store back to that spot. However, I haven’t been able to confirm that information from Mr. Gary King.
Since Canter Oil seems highly invested in the fuel and convenience store business, I’ll make an educated guess and say the renovation work does pertain to a new convenience store. I will provide more information as it becomes available.

Things have gotten messy

The Main Street McMinnville situation can officially be classified as a full-scale mess since both co-directors have resigned.
Now organizations are looking to distance themselves from the storm cloud of controversy Main Street McMinnville has created. This includes our Chamber of Commerce, which has submitted this statement for public consumption:
“The McMinnville-Warren County Chamber of Commerce and Main Street McMinnville work through separate boards and staff toward the common goal of economic prosperity for our community. The Chamber has a long history of support for Main Street McMinnville, and we believe Main Street McMinnville is crucial to the success of our community moving forward.”
In short, the Chamber and Main Street McMinnville are separate entities. They are not connected. Please don’t confuse the two.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve been asked by several people to explain exactly what Main Street McMinnville does. One email I received Friday asked me why the organization is needed at all. I’ve had questions about the Main Street McMinnville operating budget and the tax dollars it receives.
The tax dollars are easy to follow. The city gave $40,000 to MSM in its most recent budget. The county gave $1,250. As for Main Street McMinnville’s overall budget, finding that information has been a little bit foggier.
As for what Main Street McMinnville does, I discussed this three weeks ago in this column. A fitting analogy would be to compare Main Street McMinnville to the job of a mall manager. A mall manager isn’t responsible for the success of any one store in the mall. Rather, he or she is responsible for the overall health of the mall.
Main Street McMinnville works much the same way. It’s responsible for the overall health of our downtown district.
As for whether we can abolish Main Street McMinnville as an organization, that’s highly unlikely. The state requires it in order to obtain ThreeStar certification, which gives us preferential treatment.
Our community would automatically be excluded from a number of state grants if we didn’t have ThreeStar status. This would be financial foolishness.
The search will soon begin for a new executive director for Main Street McMinnville. The best thing to happen would be to hire someone not related to board members.

Allison joins LPL Financial

If you’ve been pondering the whereabouts of 1988 WCHS graduate James Allison, I have an update. James has joined LPL Financial in Murfreesboro as a registered representative and licensed insurance agent.
A graduate of Belmont University with a degree in finance and accounting, James holds licenses in life and health insurance, as well as his Series 6 and 63 investment registrations with LPL Financial.
“I am excited about joining LPL Financial,” says Allison, “and look forward to working with the team. LPL’s resources will allow me to serve clients in all areas of financial planning.”
As a registered representative James will provide essential services to investors, including constructing personalized investment strategies, as well as identifying specific investments and executing trades. His background in finance is a natural fit for financial planning.
James is the son of Jane Allison and the late Edwin Allison. He’s a member of First Baptist Church in McMinnville and attends New Vision Baptist in Murfreesboro. He is married to Murfreesboro native Dr. Susan Bennett Allison, and they have two children. You can contact him at (615) 216-1343 or at

That’s all folks

Once Halloween shows its ugly face on Monday, there’s nothing between us and the holiday season. Brace for two months of shopping and Christmas carols.
Should you discover business news, the number to call is 473-2191.