There are two certainties about Warren County residents. We love our Mexican food and we love our medication.
I think we pretty much have the Mexican food covered, while Stacy’s Wellness Pharmacy is opening this Wednesday to address the latter.
“I love being able to take the time and get to know my customers,” said owner Stacy Hazelwood, who got his first pharmacy job at 16. “I think there’s still a place for independent pharmacies where people know their pharmacist. I know in our fast-paced world people are getting away from this, but I think there’s still a demand.”
Stacy continued, “I’ve worked at the chain stores, done it for 20 years. There’s a different person behind the counter every time you walk in the door. This will be a more personal business.”
Outside of his work at chain pharmacies, Stacy spent five years working at Stewart Pharmacy and was there when it closed. He’s getting the band back together so to speak and has several familiar faces from the Stewart Pharmacy crew on his staff. That includes David Hill, a 34-year employee at Stewart’s, Brandi Evans, a 12-year employee, and Tammy Williams, a four-year employee.
“When we open on Wednesday, it will be 400 days to the day since Stewart’s closed,” said David.
Stacy stays on top of all the key issues facing the pharmacy industry. One aspect in which he is well aware is the soaring cost of medication.
He named insulin as a prime example. He said insulin now costs just over $500 a box and some patients go through two boxes in one month.
“That’s where I want the wellness aspect of this pharmacy to come into play,” said Stacy. “If I can help people better manage their blood sugar on their own, it can reduce the amount of insulin they have to take. When that happens, it helps to lower healthcare costs in the long run.”
With Tennessee typically ranked among the worst states for prescription drug abuse, I asked Stacy about powerful medication being taken for recreational purposes.
“Pain management is an important part of this business and there are a lot of people who genuinely need it,” said Stacy. “There are also some people who abuse it.”
Stacy said he is set up to handle all types of insurance and transferring prescriptions to his pharmacy is a simple process. He is fully licensed and has been a pharmacist since 1991. He was expecting his first shipment of medication to arrive Friday afternoon.
“The wholesaler has a formula on what to deliver to this area based on what’s prescribed the most,” said Stacy.
If you like the convenience of picking up your medication without having to leave your vehicle, there is a drive-thru window. “It’s great for mamas with kids or elderly customers,” said Stacy.
After opening day on Wednesday, regular hours will be Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Even though the pharmacy won’t be open for business, Stacy said customers can call or stop by Monday or Tuesday to have their prescriptions transferred for pickup on Wednesday. The phone number is 474-0600.
I appreciate Stacy making the investment to open an independent pharmacy in McMinnville. More choices are always better, with the one exception being business columns.
Bed and breakfast closing in Viola
It was six years ago when Don and Peggy Webster opened a charming inn called Viola Valley Bed and Breakfast on Lynn Road. Peggy says they loved the business, but made the decision to sell the property and the new owner will be using it only as a private residence.
The inn will honor its current reservations, but close for good in mid-March.
“It was very, very enjoyable work,” said Peggy. “If you enjoy cooking, cleaning and meeting people, it’s not a difficult job at all. The thing I enjoyed the most was getting to meet people from all walks of life, and from all over the world. We had guests from Africa, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, England, China and New Zealand.”
I toured the inn when it first opened and was hypnotized by its charm. The lazy porches and beckoning shade trees provided a setting layered in comfort.
Peggy said the work schedule wasn't overly demanding.
“If you wanted a weekend off, it was easy to put ‘reserved’ on the calendar and take some time off,” she said.
Having sold their bed and breakfast, which also served as their home, Peggy said they are off to the bustling streets of downtown Viola. They purchased the home formerly owned by Kevin Lawrence and just completed a two-year renovation project.
“It was built in 1887 and is one of the older homes in Viola,” said Peggy.
Business quietly doing big things
When it comes to business happenings in this community, I fancy myself an expert. It may not be true, but at least let me cling to this perception.
I must not be too much in the know because before Wednesday I didn’t realize we have a contractor that specializes in building dry kilns for the lumber industry operating in Warren County.
I didn’t know this company has 47 employees and has done business in 23 states.
But now I do and I’m pleased to tell you about A.W. Stiles Contractor, which has a shop in the Highland community between Dibrell and Midway. The business recently purchased the property on Smithville Highway where Tri-Tech Molding operated before that business was destroyed by fire in March 2015.
That’s how I became aware of A.W. Stiles Contractor. Some people noticed activity taking place on the Smithville Highway property in a building that was untouched by the fire and they asked me about it.
Business owner Tommy Stiles was kind enough to fill me in on many of the details about his company. He admits most people don’t know anything about his line of work.
“When people ask me what I do for a living and I say I make lumber dry kilns, the conversation usually stops there,” said Tommy. “If you don’t dry wood properly, you can’t do anything with it. You can’t sand it. You can’t varnish it. All the big lumber distributors in this area, Cumberland Lumber, Mayfield Lumber, they all have dry kilns. You have to have them.”
I guess it’s one of those things I just never thought much about. My nice, wooden desk would have never been made into the efficient work station it is today without a dry kiln. Tommy says the business can be tricky because different types of wood need to dry in different ways.
For example, pine dries very fast. Hardwood flooring on the other hand must be dried very gently.
A.W. Stiles Contractor designs the building and does complete installation from the ground up. The buildings are largely manufactured in Warren County before being assembled at their permanent location.
“I’ve been learning this business for over 20 years and I’m still learning it,” said Tommy.
As for purchasing the property on Smithville Highway, Tommy says it was out of necessity because they needed more room. It’s about three miles from his main facility.
He says the long-term plan is to construct a large building on the old Tri-Tech Molding concrete pad that still remains in place after the fire. He said that’s still a little ways down the road.
“We’re maxed out where we are and needed more room so we moved a small part of our operation there,” said Tommy. “That’s about it for now. We’re not looking to hire at the moment and we’re not accepting applications. Eventually, we look to move in the direction of building another shop there, but we’re not at that point yet.”
I’m excited to learn about this business I didn’t realize was operating in Warren County and has been since 1976.
“We’re low key and we like to keep it that way,” said Tommy.
I appreciate his stance, but a little positive publicity doesn’t hurt either.
Odds and ends
The old River Park Hospital building is in final stages of being removed and should be completely gone in about a week, according to property owner Jewel Hale.
Jewel didn’t have much luck selling the property with the dilapidated former hospital still there so he made the decision to clear the site so any prospective buyer will be on the fast track to starting construction.
There’s more than 7 acres at that site on Sparta Street, which is a prime location due to its proximity to the current hospital, Motlow, and many medical offices.
Also of note, I understand the old Pine Hill Plastics building in Dibrell is on the verge of being sold to a local business which is looking to expand. I hope to track down the details of that deal and bring you the information before the Ides of March.
That’s all folks
Just like that, we’ve reached the last weekend in February. The Fourth of July will arrive before we know it.
Phone in business tips at 473-2191.