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Business Cheetah 2-19
Fishing for news on old Captain D's
WCHS student Shelby Nearing signs a letter of intent to continue her education at Tennessee College of Applied Technology during the schools first National Signing Day.

With Presidents Day on the horizon for Monday, there are all sorts of colorful topics to discuss.
One thing for sure is I will never take the oath of office to become President of the United States. That’s never going to happen. But I will take an oath to avoid hurling insults, or including any nasty tweets, in today’s business column. It’s the least I can do to honor our distinguished and dignified presidents.
On the local business front, the question I’m asked most is about the old Captain D’s building. Realtor Sally Steakley has been busy showing the property to potential buyers and I’m sure some passing motorists have noticed the activity.
“I’ve had a lot of interest but no positive news,” Sally told me Friday. “Some people are going to come back and take a second look. Some of them are going to bring other people from their organization with them when they re-turn. And some have taken a look and decided McMinnville isn’t big enough for them.”
It’s important to remember high-dollar real estate deals like Captain D’s is expected to be take time to develop. If you recall, Sally had the property that would become Bojangles listed for about four years before selling it. The old Captain D’s has been on the market about three months.
“I’d like to see something happen in the next few months,” said Sally. “I’ve made a lot of calls on this.”
Only one thing is guaranteed. When a deal is finalized, Business Cheetah will be the first to bring you the news. It’s the fastest business column on the planet, thus the whole cheetah thing.

Is there room for a new inn?

After much talk and deliberation, a meeting has been set for this Thursday to dig into some of the fine details of constructing a new hotel in McMinnville.
The meeting has been organized by Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander, who plans to have some major players in place to discuss the feasibility of such a project.
“We want to try to find out the number of rooms we have leaking out to other areas and try to determine what kind of hotel we can justify,” said Don.
What Don means by the “leaking out” phrase is the number of people who come to Warren County for business, entertainment, or family, but who end up staying in other cities because they don’t like our hotel accommodations.
A perfect example would be Bluegrass Underground, which offers a package that combines its concerts with an overnight stay at the Fall Creek Falls Inn. Bluegrass Underground creator Todd Mayo says he’d love to offer the package with a lodge in McMinnville, but there’s not really a suitable place. That’s a case of our hotel dollars leaking out to another community.
Also to be discussed is how nice a hotel could be supported here. Don says he understands a super luxurious Waldorf wouldn’t fly, but he believes something could work that’s a step up from our current offerings.
Then there’s location to determine too. I expect it to be an informative meeting and I’m anxious to hear what people have to say who are far more knowledgeable on this subject than me.

A tribute to Norment Barnes

I don’t want to get too far into this column without paying tribute to Norment Barnes, who died Monday at age 78.
Probably the most fitting thing you can say about Norment is he was an all-around great guy. A construction engineer in South Florida for the early part of his professional life, Norment moved to McMinnville in 1974 and promptly carved out a career as a State Farm insurance agent.
He worked for State Farm for 40 years before retiring in April 2015. In talking to him around the time of his retirement, I know he was proud all three of his children graduated from WCHS and went on to earn master’s degrees.
Outside of his working life, Norment was a big contributor to the local Boy Scouts program. He was also active politically.
Norment was one of the first vocal Republicans in Warren County at a time when it wasn’t cool to be a vocal Republican, or a Republican at all for that matter. Early meetings were so sparsely attended they could have been held in a phone booth at a time when there were still phone booths.
One of the first breakthroughs for the local Republican Party was when former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist held a function here that attracted about 50 people. That was viewed as a tremendous success. Now the pendulum has swung and Warren County has joined the rest of Tennessee as being firmly Republican.
On a personal note, Norment was my insurance agent for years. We always seemed to find ourselves in one interesting conversation after another on times when I stopped by his office. Sometimes I would drop my bill off in person instead of mailing it in so we could chat.
I’m glad I got the chance to know Norment Barnes, a fine member of our community. He was a great American.

Volunteer Pools hopes to make splash

For 17 years, you could find Volunteer Pools at its familiar location at Plaza Shopping Center.
Not anymore.
With swim season on the horizon, Volunteer Pools has moved to Smithville Highway between Gateway Tire and L&M Floors.
"We just couldn't stand the roof leaking on us anymore," said longtime employee Cindy Beacham. "We couldn't do business that way."
Cindy is thrilled with her new building and is hopeful her customers find their way to her new spot about one mile away.
Volunteer Pools has everything you need to get your pool up and running for pool season. Cindy says the rush is about a month away.
"It's usually mid-March when people start thinking about it," said Cindy. "That's when we go back to our full-time hours and have our big chemical sale."
If you'd like to add an above-ground pool to your backyard entertainment offerings, Volunteer Pools is your one-stop shop for everything you need, including installation. The business does complete service for in-ground pools.
"We have a parts room that should have what you need for any type of repairs," said Cindy. "If we don't have it, we can get it the next day."
For pool owners looking to give their water an extra sparkle, Cindy can help you every step of the way with the chemicals you need.
"A lot of people don't know what they're doing, especially new owners," said Cindy.
To help pool owners along their journey, Volunteer Pools has scheduled a pool seminar for March 9 at the Chamber of Commerce. This will inform new and seasoned pool owners about the best practices and all the great new products on the market.
To learn more, Volunteer Pools can be reached at 815-POOL. Abbreviated store hours are currently in effect Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In mid-March, regular hours will return Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Technical College holds signing day

Why should athletes get all the glory?
There's always a great deal of hoopla any time an athlete signs a scholarship to continue their career at the college level. In trying to  transfer some of that energy to academics, Tennessee College of Applied Technology held a National Signing Day on Thursday.
The idea was to recognize the accomplishments of students making the commitment to further their academic careers beyond high school. Students came to the front of the room to sign their letters of intent indicating they plan to attend TCAT after graduation.
Several speakers were on hand to provide motivational words.
"Everybody has to have something now at a level past high school," said Gary Morgan, a representative with Workforce Solutions.
Added Allie Greer of Tennessee Achieves, "We love celebrating students and their commitment to go to college."
It was pointed out that the major industries in Tennessee crave a skilled and trained workforce. It was said by several speakers that TCAT is the premiere place to receive much-needed job training.
A total of around 50 students from Warren, White, Grundy, Coffee, and DeKalb counties participated.

Kwik Kash Pawn back in business

The original owner of Kwik Kash Pawn on North Chancery Street has reopened the business.
Billy Golden first built the building in that spot in 1989 and he's returned to run the business that's a full-service pawn shop.
"I've been in the pawn business since 1986," said Billy. "You get experience pretty quick."
I'm not familiar with the pawn business, but Billy filled me in on the details. He said items brought in for pawn are held for 60 days as required by state law. If they aren't claimed by that point, they can go to the floor for resale.
Among popular items are electronics, jewelry, musical instruments, and guns. Billy stressed the items need to be in good shape to be considered for pawn.
Billy says he's not actively trying to sell the property but he did mention it would be a prime spot for a liquor store because of its heavy traffic.
Kwik Kash Pawn can be reached at 474-5945.

That's all folks

Tell me your business news and I will report it in the newspaper. Call 473-2191 or email