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Business Cheetah 11-13
Rafael's Restaurant rises from the ashes
Theyre back! Teresa Martin, left, and Susie Griffith, pictured with Santa Claus, have come out of retirement and are back working at Three Star Mall until a new manager can be found. Applications are currently being accepted.

In what can only be described as a bombshell of a week, we can at least take comfort in knowing there are many great things to report in Warren County business news. Perhaps none of this news is more impactful than the reopening of Rafael’s Italian Restaurant at Cumberland Plaza.
The restaurant had been closed since a lunchtime fire erupted in the ceiling on Aug. 17. Customers fled the building, some in the middle of their meal before they could even wipe their mouth.
Since that fateful day, owner Martin Macias has vowed to reopen. Fortunately, the damage was mainly cosmetic and confined to the dining room. The kitchen was spared from the flames of destruction.
“People have been calling every day asking when we’re going to reopen,” said Martin. “I’d tell them tomorrow, then when they called the next day I’d have to tell them tomorrow again. They’d say I’ve called three times and you’ve told me tomorrow each time.”
I guess you could say tomorrow has finally arrived because Rafael’s has reopened with all of its traditional favorites. There are 2-for-1 pizzas, calzones, pasta, sandwiches, salads, and more.
My two boys adore the pizza. They will scarf down one pizza in the restaurant faster than you can say “extra cheese,” then take the other one home to eat in the rec room. It’s an all-night pizza party.
Rafael’s has been scrubbed clean and looks like an Ajax commercial. Martin says he’s thrilled to reopen and he’s ready to take your order at 474-3301.

Filling grocery shelves with wine

In the book of John, we learn Jesus performed his first miracle of transforming water into wine during the Marriage at Cana.
According to the story, Jesus, his mother Mary, and his disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine runs out, Jesus delivers a sign of his divinity by turning water into wine.
In a move not so miraculous, McMinnville voters approved the sale of wine in grocery stores on Tuesday. The measure received support from 68 percent of the voters.
If you’re eager to rush out and buy a bottle of wine in McMinnville, you’re going to have to take a chill pill. Just don’t mix it with alcohol.
According to Kroger spokeswoman Melissa Eads, don’t expect to buy wine at Kroger until 2017.
“We are beginning the licensing process,” said Eads. “We have to receive a certificate of compliance from the city, do some training of associates, and work through various other paperwork requirements in order to get our license. Any timeframe would be speculation at this point, but I wouldn’t expect us to be selling wine until after the holidays.”
I assume this timeframe would be similar for other grocery stores looking to sell wine.

Owens Market back in business

It’s been a story of determination and hope for Owens Market owner Travis Owens-Whitehead, who reopened his popular market in the Blues Hill community Oct. 25.
The store has been remodeled, is now carrying new items, and is preparing to open at 6 a.m. for breakfast beginning this Monday. In 2017, Travis says he plans to start delivering within a 10-mile radius, which will cover much of the Centertown area and extend into Cannon County.
Owens Market has all the staples of a traditional country store and is one of the few places in that area which serves hot food.
“This is a store that when we shut down, we had a lot of people in the community upset,” said Travis. “Now a lot of folks don’t realize we’ve reopened. We’ve made improvements and remodeled everything. We have pizza and a full menu that includes hot wings, burgers, calzones and jalapeno poppers. We never really made an announcement about why we closed and we haven’t had an announcement yet on why we’re reopening.”
I had a chance to listen as Travis told his story on Friday and can say it was emotionally draining to hear. He took ownership of the store in 2006 with his partner, Tim Owens. The two were married Oct. 15, 2015 after a 20-year relationship and were among the first same-sex couples in Warren County to marry. Before their marriage, they had adopted a child.
Unfortunately, their time together after their marriage was brief as Tim suffered several massive strokes and seizures on Feb. 11, 2016. As Tim’s health deteriorated after that, Travis shut down Owens Market on July 31. Tim died Aug. 1 at the age of 52. The loss of his spouse was a crippling blow for Travis.
“I couldn’t stand being in this building. I didn’t even want to look at this building,” he said. “We worked together by day and we were together at night. I was to the point of applying for other jobs and a lot of people wondered if I would be able to come back at all.”
Providing inspiration was his 5-year-old daughter, Sophie, a child Travis and Tim adopted together at her birth.
“She was born at River Park Hospital and we took her from day one,” said Travis. “She was Tim’s world along with this store.”
Travis said the Supreme Court ruling which allows same-sex marriage provided legal validation to a bond he shared with Tim for 20 years. They were married at the store.
“For me, the main thing was my family could finally be recognized for what it is,” said Travis. “Now my family could have the same rights as everyone else. For anyone who’s been in a relationship for 20 years, you already feel like you’re married. I already saw us as married. Whether it’s two men or two women, we’re just like other couples. We go to work. We raise kids. We want what everyone else wants.”
Travis said his spousal rights came into play much sooner than he would have ever imagined when Tim became ill and he was forced to make end-of-life decisions. But he said he was the right person for doctors to consult.
“I was the one making those decisions and I should have been the one making those decisions,” said Travis. “I was the one who had been with him day and night for 20 years.”
When thinking about people halfway across the globe living in different cultures and vastly different circumstances, it can be grounding to realize so many folks want the same things in life. They want to live comfortably and they want to provide for their children.
The same comparison can be made to same-sex couples here in America. Folks want to rush to judgment and think they’re so much different, but they just want to provide for their family like everyone else.
I’m glad to see Travis fight through this tragedy and reopen Owens Market, located at 4765 West Green Hill Road. The store is open seven days a week and can be reached at 939-4500.

They’re back!

Teresa Martin and Susie Griffith thought they had traveled to that great shopping center in the sky when they retired from Three Star Mall together on Dec. 31, 2015. They had worked together at the mall for 29 years.
Wanda Newby took the reins on Jan. 2 and looked ready to lead the mall into a bold new frontier, but outside circumstances prevented Wanda from continuing her role as Three Star Mall manager and she resigned. Now, like Michael Jordan, Teresa and Susie have come out of retirement to once again lead the mall.
“They are currently taking applications and when they find the right person I’m sure they’ll hire someone,” said Susie, who was on the job Friday.
Susie says she and Teresa are expected to work through the holiday season, along with mall managers from other Ershig properties. She said they are currently planning the mall’s annual Christmas promotion and in a spoiler alert she said Santa Claus will be arriving via firetruck this year on Black Friday.
If you think you’ve got the skills to become Three Star Mall manager, there’s an ad in today’s Classified section providing all the details on how to apply. Resumes are to be mailed. No phone calls, please.
As always, good luck.

Rite Aid now even grander

If you thought you liked our Rite Aid store before, wait till you catch a glimpse of it now. A complete remodeling project is now finished, capped by a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday morning. There were drinks, light refreshments, and one enormous cake.
“This is the seventh store in our district that uses this wellness format,” said pharmacy district manager Shan Parker. “These stores really do well. This is our new footprint. We want to make the community happier. This is not just a drugstore. It’s a community.”
For those with long memories, the store where Rite Aid is located first opened in February 2006. Kim Sain came on board in September 2006 and now she’s the store manager.
“Our food does well here,” said Kim. “Milk, bread and things like that. We’re a one-stop shop.”
The remodeling project makes Rite Aid look at least five years younger. Kim says the store has become much busier in recent months after picking up customers from the old Stewart Pharmacy.
If you’d like to see the difference prescription medication can make in your life, think Rite Aid. The store is located on the corner of Chancery and Locust streets.

Search for treasure atop the mountain

If you’re a pirate, you might turn to sea in hopes of finding great treasure. If you’re a Warren County resident, you probably want to stay on land.
If so, you’re in luck because Highway 8 Furniture and Treasures is open seven days a week atop Harrison Ferry Mountain. Steve and Patti Ray are the store owners.
Faithful business readers likely remember Steve and Patti from their years of operating a furniture store and then a mattress store at Village. This is a new adventure in the rural countryside far removed from traffic lights and city streets.
“I got tired of talking about springs and foam all day,” said Patti. “This stuff sells itself. If people come in and see something they like, they buy it.”
The inventory is a compilation of furniture, jewelry, glassware, pictures, and collectibles from Middle Tennessee and beyond. Steve and Patti are now offering their own furniture painting. You pick out the color and design. Then they go to work to provide a splash of new character.
“We’re always working on something,” said Patti. “We bring out new things every day.”
Despite gravitating toward isolation, Highway 8 Furniture and Treasures is a busy store. It’s located on Highway 8 near its intersection with Highway 111.
“Who would have thought we’d do so well here in the middle of nowhere?” asked Steve. “We’ve always bought and sold. It’s something we enjoy doing. We’ll buy storage units and buy furniture from people moving out of state who don’t want the hassle of moving it. You never know what we’re going to drag back.”
Patti cherishes the atmosphere and is close enough to home she can ride a four-wheeler to work. Ever the outdoorsman, Steve likes to hunt.
If you’re hunting for a unique shopping experience, allow me to recommend Highway 8 Furniture and Treasures. It’s open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. The phone number is (423) 949-4500.

That’s all folks

I’ve driven to every corner of the county to bring you today’s business offering. If you like it, be sure to give me a call at 473-2191 to let me know. If you don’t like it, my phone number is unlisted.